Author: Fortean Mind

Fortean Mind is a pseudonym used by blogger Jestin Sallas. Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, in Central Washington State, an area steeped in folklore and high weirdness, Jestin fills his time with his growing family, exploring the outdoors with frequent hikes and excursions into the wilds of the Cascade Mountain Range and surrounding areas and when he finds time, writes on the world of the weird.

Hello again Grimericans! Before you ask, no, this is not a post about the late, great, Kurt Cobain or the conspiracies surrounding his death. I’ve already done that post. With this being posted somewhat around the anniversary of his death that would be an understandable presumption. Nor does this post have to do with the spirit of a teen. I just thought it was a clever title. But now I’m regretting it with all of your questioning. But it’s too late now. Moving on; the topic of this post is something I have teased a few people with. Good ‘ol Darren even mentioned it on an episode of the Grimerica Show putting immense pressure on yours truly to get this sucker out. But like most things in my life, I’ll do them when I’m good and ready, regardless of how much an overbearing, tyrannical Canadian overlord pushes me. So with that, if you haven’t guessed what the subject material is yet, it’s is on paranormal smells.

 

So the idea for this post came to me after a video call from my favorite (and only) little sister. She was at her place, eating strawberry sherbet with a side of pickles, or whatever pregnant women do, when her nostrils where suddenly hit with the distinct smell of Copenhagen chew. This fleeting aroma triggered an emotional (she was pregnant at the time) and instinctive feeling that my late grandfather had taken time out of his busy schedule of cheating at cribbage in heaven, to come and pay her a visit. She immediately called her favorite brother to ask what he knew of such phantom smells. When he didn’t pick up, she called me. All the better for her as I am of the fortean mindset (See what I did there?). I told her what I knew, which was admittedly not as much as I would have liked and basically said that if she wanted to believe that it was our cribbage cheating grandfather checking up on her and the bun in her oven, then there was nothing wrong with that. I then suggested that I might do a blog post on the phenomena. Actually what I said was, “I’ll write my next blog post on the subject.” And here we are, four or five months later, two or three blog posts in between, and I’m semi being true to my word. It’s not that I didn’t want to jump into the topic, quite the contrary. I just had a heck of a time finding much information on the subject. In fact, after hanging up with my sister, I did a preliminary search of close to two hours on the interwebs resulting in just about bupkis. It’s not just that I couldn’t find a lot on the subject but that after finding the link or small paragraph on a page that covered it, it was not any new information. After coming to this realization, I then thought to myself that someone should write a comprehensive article or even a book on the phenomena. The next day, in a synchronicity that scored relatively low on the Canadian Third Party Ranking system, fortean researcher Joshua Cutchin popped up on my podcast feed, promoting his new book on paranormal smells on the show Mysterious Universe. I then decided that I wouldn’t write this post until I have read his book. “The Brimstone Deceit:  An In-Depth Examination of Supernatural Scents, Otherworldly Odors, and Monstrous Miasmas”.

 

The book is more than I could have asked for. Not only covering supernatural scents that involve the presumed spirits of the passed on, but as the title suggests, it also covered the otherworldly odors associated with UFO’s and their occupants and the monstrous miasmas involved with bipedal hominids. But for the purpose of this post, we will focus on the scents of spirits aspect. Something that became very clear to me was that I could not write a post as in depth as his book. Then I realized that I didn’t have to. That’s what the book is for. I will try to cover the more prominent points and then recommend the book if you are still interested in more information. Which will be likely. Something that popped out to me is the often association of tobacco smoke with male spirits. Now while what my sister smelled wasn’t smoke, it was still tobacco, which I find relevant. The range of smells attributed to the supernatural is wide and varying. Smells of flowers or perfume are often attributed to female spirits and the Blessed Virgin Mary which was said to smell “not spicy, not the smell of roses… but a very fine perfume.” And along the religious line, saints were said to exude pleasant fragrances. Heaven itself is said to have “an extraordinary perfume” which rises at all times.

 

It is important to note that a phantom smell is usually an element of a broader set of, what one site calls, “‘symptoms’ of a haunting”, while the sudden manifestation of a mysterious scent is usually taken to mean a presence from the great beyond. What you smell, as mentioned, can vary widely. Logically, any mysterious ‘bad’ smells, like rotten eggs, rancid meat and even feces are often associated with bad spirits or entities whilst pleasant aromas such as flowers, freshly baked goods and sweet perfumes are attributed to good spirits and entities. The odor of sulfur or brimstone traditionally has connotations of hell or demons. I will not go into the sulfur connection here and will once again direct you to The Brimstone Deceit for its conclusion. There are of course exceptions. As the author Joshua Cutchin notes, one of the few associations between floral scents and negative beings is the ‘kuntilanak’ (or ‘pontianak’) of Indonesia. This smelly spirit finds its roots in ancient Malay mythology which describes the kuntilanak as a horrifying female ghost. She is often said to be dressed entirely in white and can be linked to the lady in white mythos of which we have examined before, but for the purposes of this post, it is said that it “smells of flowers or strong perfume” and awaits its victims to drive by so that it can cover their eyes causing crashes so that it can feast on their blood. Charming… Likewise, the tobacco smoke that is often associated with male spirits has stories of not so nice entities. This makes sense since people that aren’t pleasant in life are probably not going to be in the afterlife regardless if they are smokers or not.

 

While tobacco smoke and floral perfumes seem to be the majority of the scents reported in the sensing of passed loved ones, other things associated with those who have passed often pop up in the reports as well. As with a specific perfume that was always worn by someone no longer with us, aftershave and cologne can be detected when an alleged spirit is present. Someone who loves to bake or cook can be associated with delicious smells from which there is no obvious source. In one forum I found the following description of what the poster believed to be his late father:

 

…and on two different occasions when I was really sad having a hard time I smelled beer, sweat, and marijuana, that was his smell…

 

So it’s obvious that “pleasant” is a relative term. It all depends on the observer and as with our other senses, odors can be interpreted differently between different people which can lead to a debate on what a smell is or if it’s even present. This fact alone can make it difficult when trying to investigate paranormal smells. While there are some instruments for detecting odors, sometimes called “electronic noses”, they are not cheap (over $2,200 USD) and aren’t always applicable for the smells in question. Gas and cigarette smoke are a couple scents that this particular device would aid in finding. Even if a smell was isolated to a particular room or location with no obvious source, it doesn’t really prove anything. But it is data. And data collection is an integral part of any investigation. Smells are interpreted in our brains so while there is possibility of misperception, although it isn’t very likely. If you would like to know more how the olfactory works, here is a link that can help you out. So to quote from Cutchin’s book one last time, actually quoting a quote from odor psychologist Trygg Engen saying on the sense of smell,

 

It’s actually better to think of this ability in terms of not forgetting [emphasis added] rather than remembering… While visual and auditory memories usually decrease with time, often exponentially in light of new experiences, odor memories remain intact.

 

Before I let you go, I would like to mention something called phantosmia, which is a medical condition that can be caused by a head injury, nasal or upper respiratory infection or nose polyps.  It can also be caused by, “temporal lobe seizures, inflamed sinuses, brain tumors and Parkinson’s disease” plus a variety of other things. It causes olfactory “hallucinations’ which can vary from individual but may be either foul, called cacosmia and is more common, often being described as “burned, foul, spoiled, or rotten”, or they can be pleasant. It can be sensed in one nostril or both and may be ever present or wavering. Indeed, there are many possible causes for this condition. One popular myth is that smelling burnt toast when there is none is a sign of a stroke or brain tumor, but according to Dr. Adam Simon, chief medical officer at PushDoctor.co.uk, this is simply not true.  Saying, “A stroke can affect any area of your brain, so it’s possible that your sense of smell can be affected, but there’s no particular smell that you need to worry about. You’re actually just as likely to smell nothing at all.” Either way, please consult your doctor if you experience the symptoms of phantosmia, so that your doctor can rule out any serious underlying disorders that may be causing the detected smell.

 

So I hope this was worth the wait. I again recommend reading Joshua Cutchin’s book even if you’re tired of hearing about supernatural scents, it’s worth it. How about you? Do you have any experiences with phantom smells with seemingly no source? I would love to hear about them as I’m sure the other readers would as well so leave them in the comments below if you are so inclined. Well that’s it for me Grimerica! Stay classy.

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My Dearest Grimericans. It pains me to have to type this out, but due what I can only describe as a “difference of opinion” with one of the Grimerican boys and also to unforeseen circumstances, this will be my last blog post on Grimerica. Whilst I wish I had the patience to let his argument slide, this disagreement in moral principal won’t allow for that kind of leeway. So with a heavy heart, I must say farewell. And before you, my massive fan base, starts sending me emails pleading for me to stay, I must insist that in doing so, while thoughtful, it would be futile. There is just no way that I can continue writing and working with a person who believes, well… I’ll just leave that alone. And for those of you who haven’t realized that this is published on April Fool’s Day, then now is a good time to tell you that you fell for my Fool’s Day prank, and while I’m at it, I might as well tell you the subject of this blog post:

 

Examining the Trickster Archetype/Mythos

 

 

 

You just can’t talk archetypes without bringing up our old buddy, Carl Jung. Jung’s theory of archetypes stems from his theory of the collective unconscious. The idea that the unconscious mind, at least part of it, is derived from the ancestral memory and experiences of all mankind. In this web of memories and instincts lay common patterns of mythical characters and motifs that all of humanity is unconsciously aware of. He argued that the collective unconscious can have deep and profound impact on individuals who can live out these patterns of archetypes. He also put forth that these memories could be the origin of men’s belief in reincarnation. Whether or not you believe that we all are connected through this proposed collective unconscious, it is hard to dismiss the similarities of the mythical characters that show up all over the world in many cultures and religions. The Great Mother, the Hero and of course, the Trickster, to name a few.

 

The Trickster archetype, as mentioned above, crosses many different cultures and religions. Folklore around the globe is riddled with different types of Trickster spirits, anthropomorphized animals, and gods and goddesses (Okay, maybe not too many goddesses). While these characters take on different forms depending on their region, the one thing that most have in common is their personality. It’s what makes the trickster a trickster. They are both admired and despised. Cast as thieves and liars and then held in reverence for their caliber and fortitude. They are the creators of elaborate, imaginative schemes that are skillfully executed and then by the same token, painted as a fool. They are forever the practical joker, and their pranks can be either malicious or benign. You never know if they are trying to impart wisdom or just trying to get a sick laugh. The Trickster itself can be duped and humbled, and then call attention to the folly of man. Indeed it would seem that for every admirable facet of their character, there is an equal and opposite one attached. Let’s explore a small selection of Tricksters from around the globe. I’ll try and keep it brief. I promise.

 

 

The Tales of Sang Kancil

Malaysia & Indonesia

 

Sang Kancil (pronounced: sung kahn-chill) is a clever mousedeer (a small, mostly herbivore ungulate that inhabits primarily South and Southeast Asia. Picture Bambi with stumpy legs, weird nose and solid black eyes). The collection of traditional folklore are popular children stories and are amongst the most famous folktales in the Malay and Javanese cultures of Malaysia and Indonesia. They tell of the sly mousedeer named Sang Kancil, outsmarting mightier creatures than it using it quick wit. This theme is popular in all Trickster analogs. As with most traditional folklore, these stories have been passed down orally from generation to generation so it is common to have multiple variations and names to stories. One such tale called “Kancil Steals a Cucumber” or “Kancil and the Farmer” relates the cunning mousedeer stealing cucumbers from a farmer’s garden. Successful in its attempt, the trickster makes fun of the scarecrow’s inability to keep the mousedeer away. In doing so, Kancil punches the scarecrow only to break through and get stuck in the glue the farmer used to make it. The farmer finds Sang Kancil and throws it in a cage. Later that night, the farmer’s dog comes to mock the mousedeer saying that it will be the morning’s breakfast. Using its wit, Sang Kancil remains unprovoked. This confuses the dog who then asks the mousedeer why it remains so calm. Sang Kancil replied that no breakfast would be made of him and that he was to wed the farmer’s daughter and become a prince. Adding that the dog got the raw end of the deal for all of his loyalties to its master. The dog begged the mousedeer to trade him spots so that he can become a prince, something that Sang Kancil obliged to. The next morning, all the farmer found in his cage was his own dog, happily wagging its tail.

 

 

Anansi the Spider

West Africa & the Caribbean

 

This itsy-bitsy spider is said to be the god/spirit/keeper of all knowledge and stories. The origin of the honor being bestowed is probably the most popular tale. There are a few variations but it goes something like this: The sky-god, Nyame had possession of all stories, leaving none in the world. Anansi sought out the Sky-God and asked for the price of the stories. Nyame gave the spider what he thought to be a high price to pay. For Anansi to buy the tales, he must bring the Sky-God Onini the Python, Osebo the Leopard, and the Mboro Hornets. Though his cunning and wit, Anansi easily brought back all three. Tying the Python to a palm branch to “measure it”, the leopard fell into a hole dug by the sly spider and then the trickster helped it out with the use of its webs, thus trapping the feline, and the hornets he trapped by producing fake rain and offering a hollowed out calabash plant as shelter, then closing the lid. Upon delivery of the three specimens, the Sky-God then named Anansi the GGod of all stories and from that day on, all stories are called Anansi Stories. You might recognize the character from a few comic books as well, appearing in both DC’s Justice League of America and Marvel’s The Amazing Spiderman.

 

 

The Coyote and the Raven

North American Natives Tibes

 

Popular characters in many different Native American tribes are the Tricksters Raven and Coyote. Although I don’t know of any tribes that regards them both as their main trickster players, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few. Something that these characters have in common, and indeed, most anthropomorphized tricksters, the two previous included, is their small stature, relatively weak physical strength and their extreme intelligence that they use to deceive perceived bigger, stronger characters. Whether it’s stealing the sun for mankind or freeing the buffalo on the Earth, these two Tricksters are important players in the cultures of Native peoples of North America. In Europe, the Fox is the Coyote’s counterpart, and sometimes instead of the Raven, it’s a Crow. Why are these creatures so common in Trickster tales? A French anthropologist, Claude Lévi-Strauss, suggested a stucturalist theory that says the Coyote and Raven obtained their mass mythical status as a result of being seen as mediator animals between the living world and the next.

 

There! I told you I’d keep the examples short! I had to! There are so many Tricksters that permeate the cultures of the globe that to try and examine them all in a blog post would be next to impossible. Well, if I wanted to keep you reading, that is. But there are so many, many more! In some Greek tales, the one and only Hermes plays the trickster part. The now well-known Loki is the mischievous prankster in Norse mythology. And if you have kids then you are probably familiar with Trickster God Maui. In the movie Moana, he is a demi-god which I guess is fair because depending on the source, he is either a god or a mere human. One similarity I feel should be pointed out is that the Trickster often has the ability to shapeshift. Every trickster character mentioned has a story or ten of it changing shape to further its current goal. Maybe that is why this ability has been given to the trickster. To trick. If seeing is believing, than the Trickster has got one up one you.

 

In regards to the previously mentioned Greek God Hermes, I did notice a small relation with alchemy and the Trickster. I recently finished Joshua Cutchin’s amazingly well written and researched book, “The Brimstone Deceit: An In-Depth Examination of Supernatural Scents, Otherworldly Odors, and Monstrous Miasmas” and in the end chapters, he discusses the origins of Alchemy and Hermeticism. Hermeticism derives its name from Hermes Trismegistus, a kind of mixing between the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth. Both were the gods of magic and intelligence and in Hellenistic Egypt and back in Greece, they were generally seen as one god. What does this have to do with the Trickster? Well Hermeticism is synonymous with Alchemy and a fundamental concept of which is the Two Contraries. A principal where, for the alchemist, there are two primary ways of viewing reality. The rational, intellectual and scientific way and the instinctive, imaginative and nonlinear way. Two opposites that balance one whole. An idea that can be seen in the Taoist yin-yang symbol. This concept embodies the Trickster to a T. The paradoxical dichotomy of rational and irrational. Is there something to this thought? I don’t know. Just saying.

 

 

Now in a moment of synchronicity, I was typing out this post while simultaneously catching up on some back episodes of Mysterious Universe when what do the hosts, Ben and Arron start discussing? Rhetorical question. It was tricksters. They helped provide some insight that I had not previously thought of and will share some of that here. They were discussimg a book called, “Holy Madness: Spirituality, Crazy-Wise Teachers, and Enlightenment”. Yet another book to add to my list of “Must Reads”. They quote the author, Georg Feuerstein, saying:

 

From the conventional point of view, the crazy-wise teachers are eccentrics who use their eccentricity to communicate an alternative vision to the one that governs ordinary life. They are masters of inversion, proficient breakers of taboos, lovers of surprise, contradiction, and ambiguity. They share this skill and penchant with the figure of the trickster and the clown… He’s a being who is really clever but unprincipled, delighting in the irrational… There is an element of malice in many trickster spirts, though they are never entirely demonic… They are out to best their adversaries and spare no cunning to achieve their goal. As part of their duplicity, they often pretend to be stupid… The trickster knows no shame because he does not delineate between right and wrong.

 

So I think that is a good place to wrap it up. Again, the Trickster bench is deep and would be more of a book project rather than a blog to try and examine them all.  Maybe a part 2 is in order. Before I leave, I want to leave you with one with one more gem from Ben and Arron. It is a short tale of the Winnebago Trickster, Wakdjunkaga, moments after the creation, the Trickster scattered all creatures by means of an enormous flatulence. This same trickster keeps his penis in a box and is assumes a life of its own, and he also orders his anus to guard some geese he has just killed while he catches up on some sleep. Its anus’ alarm is, you guessed it, more flatulence. So there’s that… Sorry again if I gave you a panic attack with the thought of me leaving. I doubt it, but a guy can dream, can’t he? So which Grimerican did you think I had a tiff with? Don’t worry, I won’t tell. Leave comment below. Well that’s it for me Grimerica! Stay classy!

 

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Hello Grimericans! Here we are only two months into 2017 and I’m getting out a blog post! Whoo-Hoo! Looks like I might have just learned something after all my whole time traveling fiasco. But we’ll see how the rest of the year goes before claiming that victory. Anyways, in case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t misspell the title. This post is about suspending one’s belief. Or more accurately, one’s overwhelming willingness to accept claims without doing the due diligence to verify said claims. Now this can be a complicated position to take although, it really shouldn’t be. If you partake in the “Fortean Community”, whether it be on the topic of Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon, relict hominins or ghosties and Ghoulies, you might find it hard at times to cast shadows of doubt on your fellow Forteans’ theories, stories and beliefs for fear of being called the “S” word. I would like to say that my inbox is inundated with accusations from my countless readers that even I am too skeptic to be writing a blog called “Fortean Mindset”. Truth be told, I have never once received an email from a reader.

 

 

 

 

That might actually be a blessing in disguise. Disregarding the lack of email accusations, I do from time to time get to interact with self-proclaimed skeptics and believers alike. More often, when touching on the subject of foteana, it is usually with someone who is just curious. In any case, the outcome is usually me being told by the other party that I’m more skeptic than what they would have thought. Personally, I take this as a compliment. I like being able to keep one foot on the ground while exploring the possibilities, and if in that exploration I find something that doesn’t make sense or makes perfect sense or moreover, makes me more curious, then at least I have that foot, or in some cases, a couple of toes, on the ground. When told that I am more skeptic or too skeptic, I always iterate that skepticism is a good thing. Hell; EVERYONE is a skeptic! Whether you question the stories of people seeing discs in the skies or Ape Men in the forests, or whether you question the explanations given to phenomenon; you’re still a skeptic. Much like the word “conspiracist” has been weaponized in mainstream culture to cast doubt on someone’s rational, the word “skeptic” has been weaponized in the Fortean community to cast doubt on someone’s willingness to be open minded. The two are collectively exhaustive and not mutually exclusive.

 

 

“Check out the big brain on Fortean Mind…”

 

 

Why the word “skeptic” has become weaponized, I think, is quite simple. People don’t like having their beliefs attacked. To borrow from Dogma, one of my favorite 90’s movies of all time.

 

I think it’s better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier. People die for it, people kill for it.

 

And people shun other people for it. Make others outcasts for it. Beliefs are a powerful thing. And in the framework of the Fortean community, its members are used to ridicule for their ideas, their beliefs. Ridicule can hurt and hurt people can lash out. This is why being skeptical can be a complex position to take. I am by no means claiming that all those who are “believers” hate or shun a skeptical voice. There are a lot of people whose views and ideas can be considered fringe who welcome a questioning eye. There are many who feel that getting down to the crux of whatever matter they are examining is the most important thing to achieve. But by the same token, there are many who are dug deep in their beliefs, whether it be Fortean phenomena or scientific Dogma.

 

 

Oh… He said it. Clever…”

 

 

So where does that leave us? Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe one day, all of these questions will be answered and there will be no need for name calling, shunning and all together unpleasantness. Barring that, it’s up to all of us, self-proclaimed skeptics, believers and the curious alike to just be nice to each other and hear one another out. Someone having a different opinion than you isn’t the end of the world. I for one want to question EVERYTHING. That means the ufoligist’s theories about what people see in the skies as well as the official version of it just being swamp gas reflecting off of Venus. It might seem corny, by I want to be a truth seeker. You can’t seek something you think you’ve already found it. So yes, I might not quite believe that you can conjure ice spikes by thinking about it (yes, I’ve tried, many times, and to no avail) but that doesn’t mean I’m closed off to the idea that there might be something to it. Yes, I question the possibility of an interdimensional Sasquatch but that doesn’t mean I can discount how many loose ends that ties up. So if I meet you or happen to correspond with you and I seem a little too skeptical for your liking, please just know that I’m not trying to be cynical or snarky, I just have a need to question everything. Whether that’s questioning the reality of consciousness or the supposed haunted house at the edge of town. For me, being open-minded means being skeptical. I honestly would love to hear any thoughts of anyone who gave the time to read this has to say. Leave a comment below and let others know what you think. Spark a conversation. Who knows where it will lead. Well that’s it for me Grimericans, stay classy!

 

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Hello Grimericans! What can I say? It’s been a fun year for me. Not that you would know because as I noticed a few weeks ago, I have only published one single, solitary blog post this year! That is unacceptable to Darren, Graham, myself and of course all three of my regular readers (the latter parties excluded). And as 2016 is rapidly coming to a close, with only a few hours left before the proverbial and literal ball drops, I am frantically researching the topic of… I don’t know. I have so many ideas for posts, but all topics on my list would require more research than I have time for. Time for… Time… Time travel! I’ve got it! I will simply construct a device that will allow me to travel back into history and provide me with the adequate time needed to satisfactorily write a well laid, thought provoking article. Heck! Why stop at just one?! I can write a whole year’s worth of blog posts. Well that’s taken care of. I’ll just do that. No problem. Now if I remember correctly from a previous post I wrote on time travel, I’m going to need a safe word in case I run into myself and I need to warn past me of something… I would have to already have had to come up with it, that way, past-me would know it… Damn… this time travel stuff is confusing. Maybe I can afford a little time to research what could go wrong if I were to go back into the annals of 2016 and pop out a few posts. What am I saying? I have all the time in the world. Let’s see. The first thing I would have to worry about is obviously the…

 

 

The Butterfly Effect

 

Sweet, I love this movie! Amy Smart all the way! Am I right?! But now that I think about it, things didn’t go too well for good ol’ Aston in the end there; did it? Actually, I don’t remember. That movie had like four different alternative endings. I’m sure one of them had to be good. But okay, the butterfly effect. That’s the one that if you were to hypothetically travel back into time and accidentally (or purposefully, you demented bastard) kill a butterfly, then that seemingly little act can have a huge effects and a cascade of consequences that change history as the time traveler would have known it. If one were to dig more deeply into the subject, you would find that the butterfly effect is part of Chaos Theory which has its place in mathematics. Now since I have a tendency to write way more than I should and always fear that I lose readers halfway through my posts, I will not start talking about math. I will let the words of Edward Lorenz, who coined the term “butterfly effect” and was the driving force of developing chaos theory, summarized it as:

 

Chaos: When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future.

 

 

So I think what this is saying is that I need to avoid butterflies at all costs. Now, without hurting your head or mine (mostly mine), we’ll move on to:

 

 

The Grandfather Paradox

 

Probably the second best well known time travel paradox. It goes, for those of you who don’t know, if you were to travel back in time to kill your own grandfather, for whatever reason, let’s say you just didn’t like the cut of his jib, upon completion of this morbid deed, you would cease to have ever existed and therefore you couldn’t have traveled back in time and killed your grandfather for his smug attitude and thus, with you not killing him, you were eventually born and are able to travel back in time and kill your grandfather for his holier than thou demeanor, but in doing so, you again seal your nonexistent fate meaning… you see why this is a paradox, right? Now scientists love trying to come up with solutions to these paradoxes and some theoretical physicists have come up with a few ideas on how this situation could pan out. But we’ll get to those in due time. For now, I think for my purposes, all I need to take away from this is to stay away from my grandfather, who was a really nice man anyway and I assure you that there is no bone in my body that would wish that kind-hearted soul ill will, even if he did always cheat at cribbage. So now onto…

 

 

The Bootstrap Paradox

 

Another well-known time travel paradox, the bootstrap paradox gets its name from the old phrase, “to pull oneself up by their own bootstraps” which basically means to improves one’s own situation by one’s own efforts. It makes the mind conjure up rather odd imagery of trying to accomplish this impossible task. And although the origin of the saying is unknown, at least as far as my quick research determined, I’ve read that the term was popularized by science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein, either by or from his book “By His Bootstraps” (Full PDF here) As I am on a deadline, (at least until I figure out whether or not I should time travel) I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I am sure I will, given the time (LOL). As for the paradox itself, it goes something like this: Let’s say that in my quest to travel back into 2016 and try and get a whole year’s worth of articles out, to save even more time, I simply give my past-self all of the blog posts at once. My past-self then publishes them and claim they are of his own creation. Then, when past-me gets to the point on the timeline where current me is, he travels back in time to give his past-him the posts to publish. The paradox part is: where did the original information come from? Maybe that wasn’t the best example, I was just trying to tie it in with my current attempts to transverse time and space. The best example that I read went like this: “What if a time traveler went back in time and taught Einstein the theory of relativity before travelling back to his own time. Einstein claims it’s his own work, and over the following decades the theory is published countless times until a copy of it eventually ends up in the hands of the original time traveler who then takes it back to Einstein, begging the question ‘where did the theory originate’. We cannot say that it came from the time traveler as he learned it from Einstein, but we also cannot say that it is from Einstein, since he was taught it by the time traveler. Who, then, discovered the theory of relativity?” Yep. Try to wrap your mind around that. Maybe this whole, traveling back in time isn’t such a great idea. Especially with things like…

 

 

The Predestination Paradox

 

Well this one is disheartening to my current goals. It is also a popular one for movies. It basically goes that anyone who tries to travel back in time to change history will, by their actions, causes the event that they are trying to prevent to actually occur. The time traveler (me, in this case) would be forever entrapped in a “temporal causality loop” in which the event I’m trying to prevent (being lazy and not writing blogs for 2016) is actually caused by me traveling back in time trying to prevent it. Now there are a few “solutions” to this and the others but I’m starting to think those might have to be a post unto themselves. But for now, it would seem that this paradox says that, “the past is the past, man. Leave it alone.” Damn, I hate this paradox’s casual attitude! Ya know what? I think that I’m thinking too small with this blog post thing, if I’m going back in time, I might as well do it for the good of humanity, right?! I could prevent some horrible disasters, maybe even save some lives! Hell, I could kill Hitler! Except for, of course the…

 

 

Let’s Kill Hitler Paradox

 

Oh my god! I just can’t win, can I? I can’t even go back and prevent horrible events from occurring! Damn it! The “Let’s Kill Hitler Paradox” says that by traveling back in time and killing the führer, I would erase any reason for me to go back in time in the first place. Everything that Hitler did wouldn’t have happened and would have changed the world, and one of those changes would be not giving me a reason to travel back and put one in his little mustache wearing skull. So if there is no reason to go back, then I don’t, and if I don’t go back, then I couldn’t kill him, that would mean that all of the horrible things he did happend and there is a reason to go back, and if there is a reason to go back, then I do go back and I kill him and… UGH! I’m starting to think this isn’t worth it. Is there any way that I can go back and not cause some mind f*#king effect? Nope, because of the…

 

 

Timeline Corruption Hypothesis

 

Well this one pretty much seals it and dashes my dreams of a 2016 full of awesome blog posts. The timeline corruption hypothesis states that any time travel will result in unavoidable changes to history. I liken it to the observer effect where a subject (in this case, the past) will alter its behavior by being observed. Anything I would do in the past, including the mere act of observing it, would change it. And that’s not a risk that I, for one, am willing to take. I guess all I can do now is throw away this useless time machine and simply make a conservative effort to my future posts here in Grimerica. Who knows what would have happened if I went back in time. Hell, Trump could have won the presidency. Lol. Like that would have ever happened. Well, maybe I’ll just take a peek…

 

 

“Great Scott!”

OH SHIT! Sorry America! I promise I won’t do that again. I didn’t even give myself the posts I had. I guess it was predestined for me not to put those out in 2016. I’ll guess they’ll just have to wait until next year. Seriously though America, sorry. Well I guess there’s nothing left for me to say except that that’s it for me Grimerica. Have a happy New Year and don’t forget to stay classy!

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Hello Grimericans! I have a confession to make. And while it doesn’t really pain me to admit it, this truth about me and my way of thinking has the power to cast doubt on my person; as a person. A logical thinking one, anyway. It is the way I approach anecdotal stories in relation to “paranormal” events. I love them. I thrive off of them if I’m being honest. Nothing keeps me more interested in the strange, weird and otherworldly than the stories of the people who have claimed to have witnessed them. Now the skeptic in me, and in many of you, obviously find this way of thinking as a conflict of interest when one is trying to put their logical, “good” skeptic foot forward. But how harmful is it to indulge in the anecdotes of the supernatural and the like? If one keeps their little ‘s’ skeptic cap on whilst remaining open-minded when this data is learned, then isn’t that how the scientific method is supposed to be approached? With one foot in skepticism and one in the unknown? Moreover, is anecdotal data really worthless? By the way, for the sake of brevity, I will refer to it as anecdotal data as opposed to the more commonly used anecdotal evidence. Because that is really what it is: data, after all. As I’ve pointed out before, the word evidence denotes that the burden of proof is lifted. If that was the case, then it wouldn’t be anecdotal. Not to get too tied up in semantics, but like I said, for the sake of brevity. So let’s strap in and examine some anecdotal data at its best.

 

 

handing-in-my-skeptics-card

Whoa, whoa… Hold on a second…

 

 

Now I know most of you are probably critically thinking, skeptically minded individuals who won’t just accept any story without solid proof, or at least strong data, to at least cast a shadow of possibility on someone’s claims. And given the nature of anecdotes and what some “big S Skeptics” might rightfully point out that most anecdotal evidence is cherry-picked, you might not want to read what this article is about. I mean, the title of this post is “Anecdotal Evidence at [it’s] Best”. But before you hand in that skeptic card, please remember the importance of anecdotal data in regards to science. Hell, the importance of it in everyday life. Humans have ALWAYS used anecdotal data as a starting point to a clear answer. Sometimes it takes longer than other times and more than likely, not everyone will agree with the result. I’m not saying that EVERY important discovery was the result of some chestnut of personal experience or observation, but a lot have. Things like…

 

Bioelectricity and the Battery

Eighteenth century biologist, physicist and physician Luigi Galvani was dissecting a frog on a table that was previously used for experiments with static electricity. To his surprise, he noticed that when he touched a brass hook that held the frog’s leg with his metal scalpel that had acquired a charge, the muscle contracted and probably made him jump (Galvani, not the frog). This made him raise an eyebrow (and probably change his pants) and he investigated further. He then reported that he believed he had discovered what he called animal electricity. He thought it was a life force within the muscles of the animal. A contemporary of his, Allesandro Volta, was able to reproduce Galvani’s results but remained skeptical of his explanation. He proposed the resulting contraction what due to the contact of the two metals and external electricity and the frog’s muscle was only a detector or the small differences of the external source. To try to prove this, he invented the first true battery, known as the Voltaic Pile, to aide in the experimentation to disprove Galvani’s claims. So, if you’re reading this on a mobile device, that battery that powers it is one of the side results of what started out as anecdotal evidence… just saying. While Galvani was eventually proven wrong, it was his raised eyebrow that started humans down the path of what is now known as electrochemistry. The Voltaic Pile also led to accelerated discoveries such as the electrical decomposition of h2o into hydrogen and oxygen, as well as the isolation of the seven chemical elements including calcium, potassium and magnesium by Humphry Davy. Volta was such a nice guy, he still named that process of electricity produced by a chemical reaction after Galvini, galvanism.

 

 

The Microwave Oven

One day in 1945, American born engineer Percy Spencer was building magnetrons for Raytheon and was standing in front of a live radar set when he noticed that a candy bar in his pocket had melted. After getting over the loss of his mid-day snack, he began a mission to figure out was caused the premature end of his favorite munchies and vowed revenge. Okay, the revenge might be a little exaggerated. Just making sure you’re still paying attention. And while he wasn’t the first to notice the effects of microwaves on food, he was the first to investigate further. The result of that investigation being the microwave oven and all of your favorite, “no time to cook a real meal’ meals that you’ve come to love. Percy Spencer, you’re my hero..

 

WC burger

*Wipes drool*

 

 

Evolution

Yep. Evolution. It was the anecdotal observations of Charles Darwin that led him down the path of discovery of one of the greatest revelations in history. I think everyone is well versed on this topic that I don’t have to cover it in detail. But I would be remise if I didn’t mention that when Darwin first published his theory in his book “On the Origin of Species” he was met with overwhelming rejection from the scientific community. Evolution not good enough for ya’? How about…

 

Freakin’ Gravity

Okay, this is an anecdotal story of an anecdotal story. A young Sir Issac Newton was resting under an apple tree when the winds of fate blew an apple down and struck the young genius on his crown. It was this event that made Newton ponder and conceive the idea of gravity. Or some variation of that story. The tale has long been called apocryphal. Fortunately, a manuscript by William Stukeley that would later go on to become a biography on the apple catching scientist, was found hidden away in the archives of the London’s Royal Society. The story about the apple was relayed to Stukeley by Newton himself and it follows as such:

“After dinner, the weather being warm, we went into the garden and drank thea, under the shade of some apple trees…he told me, he was just in the same situation, as when formerly, the notion of gravitation came into his mind. It was occasion’d by the fall of an apple, as he sat in contemplative mood. Why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground, thought he to himself…”

 

 

So the apple story was true. Well, mostly. The point is, anecdotal data sparks the imagination and can start the process of inquiry. Imagine where we’d be as a culture if we never acted on those inspirations. And while I do think it’s important to remain skeptical, I also believe it’s just as important to imagine. I think some forget that latter part. Here is a link to an article that I found very useful and insightful about the importance of anecdotal data. They provide a huge selection of links from Wikipedia that shows historical examples of serendipity that show the importance of anecdotal data. In case you don’t want to click the linky-link, I took the time to copy and paste them below. I will provide a quote from the article for those who feel like this post was long enough and don’t feel like reading any more:

“The most important statement a scientist can make is, ‘Huh, that doesn’t make sense. That shouldn’t have happened.'”

Well that’s it for me Grimericans. Stay classy.

 

 

Chemistry 

  • The German chemist Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz having a reverie of Ourobouros, a snake forming a circle, leading to his solution of the closed chemical structure of cyclic compounds, such as benzene.
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (or LSD) by Albert Hofmann, who found this potent hallucinogen while trying to find medically useful derivatives in ergot, a fungus growing on wheat.
  • Gelignite by Alfred Nobel, when he accidentally mixed collodium (gun cotton) withnitroglycerin
  • Polymethylene by Hans von Pechmann, who prepared it by accident in 1898 while heatingdiazomethane
  • Low density polyethylene by Eric Fawcett and Reginald Gibson at the ICI works in Northwich, England. It was the first industrially practical polyethylene synthesis and was discovered (again by accident) in 1933
  • Silly Putty by James Wright, on the way to solving another problem: finding a rubber substitute for the United States during World War II.
  • Chemical synthesis of urea, by Friedrich Woehler. He was attempting to produce ammonium cyanate by mixing potassium cyanate and ammonium chloride and got urea, the first organic chemical to be synthesised, often called the ‘Last Nail’ of the coffin of the Élan vitalTheory
  • Pittacal, the first synthetic dyestuff, by Carl Ludwig Reichenbach. The dark blue dye appeared on wooden posts painted with creosote to drive away dogs who urinated on them.
  • Mauve, the first aniline dye, by William Henry Perkin. At the age of 18, he was attempting to create artificial quinine. An unexpected residue caught his eye, which turned out to be the first aniline dye—specifically, mauveine, sometimes called aniline purple.
  • Racemization, by Louis Pasteur. While investigating the properties of sodium ammonium tartrate he was able to separate for the first time the two optical isomers of the salt. His luck was twofold: it is the only racemate salt to have this property, and the room temperature that day was slightly below the point of separation.
  • Teflon, by Roy J. Plunkett, who was trying to develop a new gas for refrigeration and got a slick substance instead, which was used first for lubrication of machine parts
  • Cyanoacrylate-based Superglue (a.k.a. Krazy Glue) was accidentally twice discovered by Dr.Harry Coover, first when he was developing a clear plastic for gunsights and later, when he was trying to develop a heat-resistant polymer for jet canopies.
  • Scotchgard, is a 3M brand of products used to protect fabricfurniture, and carpets fromstains, was discovered accidentally in 1953 by Patsy Sherman. One of the compounds she was investigating as a rubber material that wouldn’t deteriorate when in contact with aircraft fuel spilled onto a tennis shoe and would not wash out; she then considered the spill as a protectant against spills.
  • Cellophane, a thin, transparent sheet made of regenerated cellulose, was developed in 1908 by Swiss chemist Jacques Brandenberger, as a material for covering stain-proof tablecloth.
  • The chemical element helium. British chemist William Ramsay isolated helium while looking for argon but, after separating nitrogen and oxygen from the gas liberated by sulfuric acid, noticed a bright-yellow spectral line that matched the D3 line observed in the spectrum of theSun.
  • The chemical element Iodine was discovered by Bernard Courtois in 1811, when he was trying to remove residues with strong acid from the bottom of his saltpeter production plant which used seaweed ashes as a prime material.
  • Polycarbonates, a kind of clear hard plastic
  • The synthetic polymer celluloid was discovered by British chemist and metallurgist Alexander Parkes in 1856, after observing that a solid residue remained after evaporation of the solventfrom photographic collodion. Celluloid can be described as the first plastic used for making solid objects (the first ones being billiard balls, substituting for expensive ivory).
  • Rayon, the first synthetic silk, was discovered by French chemist Hilaire de Chardonnet, an assistant to Louis Pasteur. He spilled a bottle of collodion and found later that he could draw thin strands from the evaporated viscous liquid.
  • The possibility of synthesizing indigo, a natural dye extracted from a plant with the same name, was discovered by a chemist named Sapper who was heating coal tar when he accidentally broke a thermometer whose mercury content acted as a catalyst to producephthalic anhydride, which could readily be converted into indigo.
  • The dye monastral blue was discovered in 1928 in Scotland, when chemist A. G. Dandridgeheated a mixture of chemicals at high temperature in a sealed iron container. The iron of the container reacted with the mixture, producing some pigments called phthalocyanines. By substituting copper for iron he produced an even better pigment called ‘monastral blue’, which became the basis for many new coloring materials for paintslacquers and printing inks.
  • Acesulfame, an artificial sweetener, was discovered accidentally in 1967 by Karl Claus atHoechst AG.
  • Another sweetener, cyclamate, was discovered by graduate student Michael Sveda, when he smoked a cigarette accidentally contaminated with a compound he had recently synthesized.
  • Aspartame (NutraSweet) was accidentally discovered by G.D. Searle & Company chemist James M. Schlatter, who was trying to develop a test for an anti-ulcer drug.
  • Saccharin was accidentally discovered during research on coal tar derivatives.
  • Saran (plastic) was discovered when Ralph Wiley had trouble washing beakers used in development of a dry cleaning product. It was soon used to make plastic wrap.
  • A new blue pigment with almost perfect properties was discovered accidentally by scientists at Oregon State University after heating manganese oxide.[8]

 

 

Pharmacology

  • Penicillin by Alexander Fleming. He failed to disinfect cultures of bacteria when leaving for his vacations, only to find them contaminated with Penicillium molds, which killed the bacteria. However, he had previously done extensive research into antibacterial substances.
  • The psychedelic effects of LSD by Albert Hofmann. A chemist, he unintentionally absorbed a small amount of it upon investigating its properties, and had the first acid trip in history, while cycling to his home in Switzerland; this is commemorated among LSD users annually as Bicycle Day.
  • 5-fluorouracil’s therapeutic action on actinic keratosis, was initially investigated for its anti-cancer actions
  • Minoxidil‘s action on baldness; originally it was an oral agent for treating hypertension. It was observed that bald patients treated with it grew hair too.
  • Viagra (sildenafil citrate), an anti-impotence drug. It was initially studied for use inhypertension and angina pectoris. Phase I clinical trials under the direction of Ian Osterlohsuggested that the drug had little effect on angina, but that it could induce marked penileerections.
  • Retin-A anti-wrinkle action. It was a vitamin A derivative first used for treating acne. The accidental result in some older people was a reduction of wrinkles on the face
  • The libido-enhancing effect of l-dopa, a drug used for treating Parkinson’s disease. Older patients in a sanatorium had their long-lost interest in sex suddenly revived.
  • The first anti-psychotic drug, chlorpromazine, was discovered by French pharmacologistHenri Laborit. He wanted to add an anti-histaminic to a pharmacological combination to prevent surgical shock and noticed that patients treated with it were unusually calm before the operation.
  • The anti-cancer drug cisplatin was discovered by Barnett Rosenberg. He wanted to explore what he thought was an inhibitory effect of an electric field on the growth of bacteria. It was rather due to an electrolysis product of the platinum electrode he was using.
  • The anesthetic nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Initially well known for inducing altered behavior (hilarity), its properties were discovered when British chemist Humphry Davytested the gas on himself and some of his friends, and soon realised that nitrous oxide considerably dulled the sensation of pain, even if the inhaler was still semi-conscious.
  • Mustine – a derivative of mustard gas (a chemical weapon), used for the treatment of some forms of cancer. In 1943, physicians noted that the white cell counts of US soldiers, accidentally exposed when a cache of mustard gas shells were bombed in BariItaly, decreased, and mustard gas was investigated as a therapy for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • Prontosil, an antibiotic of the sulfa group was an azo dye. German chemists at Bayer had the wrong idea that selective chemical stains of bacteria would show specific antibacterial activity. Prontosil had it, but in fact it was due to another substance metabolised from it in the body, sulfanilimide.

 

 

Medicine and biology

 

 

Physics and astronomy

  • The quite possibly apocryphal story of Archimedes‘ prototypical cry of Eureka when he realised in the bathtub that a body’s displacement water allowed him to measure the weight-to-volume ratio of any irregularly shaped body, such as a gold crown.
  • Isaac Newton‘s famed apple falling from a tree, supposedly leading to his musings about the nature of gravitation.
  • Discovery of the planet Uranus by William Herschel. Herschel was looking for comets, and initially identified Uranus as a comet until he noticed the circularity of its orbit and its distance and suggested that it was a planet, the first one discovered since antiquity.
  • Infrared radiation, again by William Herschel, while investigating the temperature differences between different colors of visible light by dispersing sunlight into a spectrumusing a glass prism. He put thermometers into the different visible colors where he expected a temperature increase, and one as a control to measure the ambient temperature in the dark region beyond the red end of the spectrum. The thermometer beyond the red unexpectedly showed a higher temperature than the others, showing that there was non-visible radiation beyond the red end of the visible spectrum.
  • The thermoelectric effect was discovered accidentally by Estonian physicist Thomas Seebeck in 1821, who found that a voltage developed between the two ends of a metal bar when it was submitted to a difference of temperature.
  • Electromagnetism, by Hans Christian Ørsted. While he was setting up his materials for a lecture, he noticed a compass needle deflecting from magnetic north when the electric current from the battery he was using was switched on and off.
  • Radioactivity, by Henri Becquerel. While trying to investigate phosphorescent materials using photographic plates, he stumbled upon uranium.
  • X rays, by Wilhelm Roentgen. Interested in investigating cathodic ray tubes, he noted that some fluorescent papers in his lab were illuminated at a distance although his apparatus had an opaque cover
  • S. N. Bose discovered Bose-Einstein statistics when a mathematical error surprisingly explained anomalous data.
  • The first demonstration of wave–particle duality during the Davisson–Germer experimentat Bell Labs after a leak in the vacuum system and attempts to recover from it unknowingly altered the crystal structure of the nickel target and led to the accidental experimental confirmation of the de Broglie hypothesis. Davisson went on to share the 1937 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery.
  • Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, by Arno A. Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson. What they thought was excess thermal noise in their antenna at Bell Labs was due to the CMBR.
  • Cosmic gamma-ray bursts were discovered in the late 1960s by the US Vela satellites, which were built to detect nuclear tests in the Soviet Union
  • The rings of Uranus were discovered by astronomers James L. Elliot, Edward W. Dunham, and Douglas J. Mink on March 10, 1977. They planned to use the occultation of the star SAO 158687 by Uranus to study the planet’s atmosphere, but found that the star disappeared briefly from view five times both before and after it was eclipsed by the planet. They deduced that a system of narrow rings was present.[9]
  • Pluto‘s moon Charon was discovered by US astronomer James Christy in 1978. He was going to discard what he thought was a defective photographic plate of Pluto, when his Star Scanmachine broke down. While it was being repaired he had time to study the plate again and discovered others in the archives with the same “defect” (a bulge in the planet’s image which was actually a large moon).
  • High-temperature superconductivity was discovered serendipitously by physicists Johannes Georg Bednorz and Karl Alexander Müller, ironically when they were searching for a material that would be a perfect electrical insulator (nonconducting). They won the 1987 Nobel Prize in Physics.
  • Metallic hydrogen was found accidentally in March 1996 by a group of scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, after a 60-year search.
  • A new method to create black silicon was developed in the lab of Eric Mazur.

 

 

Inventions

  • Discovery of the principle behind inkjet printers by a Canon engineer. After putting his hotsoldering iron by accident on his pen, ink was ejected from the pen’s point a few moments later.
  • Vulcanization of rubber, by Charles Goodyear. He accidentally left a piece of rubber mixture with sulfur on a hot plate, and produced vulcanized rubber
  • Safety glass, by French scientist Edouard Benedictus. In 1903 he accidentally knocked a glass flask to the floor and observed that the broken pieces were held together by a liquid plasticthat had evaporated and formed a thin film inside the flask.
  • Corn flakes and wheat flakes (Wheaties) were accidentally discovered by the Kelloggs brothers in 1898, when they left cooked wheat unattended for a day and tried to roll the mass, obtaining a flaky material instead of a sheet.
  • The microwave oven was invented by Percy Spencer while testing a magnetron for radar sets at Raytheon, he noticed that a peanut candy bar in his pocket had melted when exposed to radar waves.
  • Pyroceram (used to make Corningware, among other things) was invented by S. Donald Stookey, a chemist working for the Corning company, who noticed crystallization in an improperly cooled batch of tinted glass.
  • The Slinky was invented by US Navy engineer Richard T. James after he accidentally knocked a torsion spring off his work table and observed its unique motion.
  • Arthur Fry happened to attend a 3M college’s seminar on a new “low-tack” adhesive and, wanting to anchor his bookmarks in his hymnal at church, went on to invent Post-It Notes.
  • The chocolate chip cookie was invented through serendipity. Chocolate chip cookies were invented by Ruth Wakefield when she attempted to make chocolate drop cookies. She did not have the required chocolate so she broke up a candy bar and placed the chunks into the cookie mix. These chunks later morphed into what is now known as chocolate chip cookies.

 

 

 

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Electronic Voice Phenomenon. EVP’s. The supposed captured, disembodied voices of the passed-on. The audible recording of the deceased. The dead. Much like how with the advent of the camera ushered in the advent of ghost photography, shortly after Edison’s phonograph, came the claims of capturing ghostly voices. So before we go any further, let’s establish what exactly the EVP hypothesis is. To make this as simple as possible, an EVP is an intentional or unintentional sound recorded on analog or electronic devices that are interpreted as those belonging to the dead or from the past. I include “from the past” because in some EVPs, other ambient noises that are deemed relevant to the particular situation or question asked, can be heard sometimes in congruence with or in absence of a “voice”. Sounds like water where there isn’t a source near or the sounds of battle and cannon fire when there is none. So let’s go over a very brief history of recorded, supposed discarnate noise.

 

EVP_waveform

It’s either saying, “In the beginning of the history of EVPs…” or “Windmill.” It’s hard to say…

 

EVPs are part of a broader claimed phenomena known as Instrumental Trans-Communication, or ITC. This includes communication with the dead through radio, computers, video camera, telephone, television and as mentioned above, photography. Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in the late 1800’s and it is often sited that he was working on a device that would make it easier to communicate with deceased persons. Some skeptics will say that his claim of working on a device to communicate with the passed-on is misinterpreted and exaggerated, and in fact all he said was that such device “could” be made and that he was never actually actively working on one. This is most likely attributed to an interview Mr. Edison gave with Scientific American (which is available for a price on PDF here) in which he said:

 

it is possible to construct an apparatus which will be so delicate that if there are personalities in another existence or sphere who wish to get in touch with us in this existence or sphere, this apparatus will at least give them a better opportunity to express themselves than the tilting tables and raps and ouija boards and mediums and the other crude methods now purported to be the only means of communication.

 

But what most people who say that Edison was working on such a device are referring to an interview he gave to American Magazine titled “Edison Working On Way to Communicate With the Next World” in which he said:

 

If the apparatus I am now constructing should provide a channel for the inflow of knowledge from the unknown world – a form of existence different from that of this life – we may be brought an important step nearer the fountainhead of all knowledge, nearer the intelligence which directs all.

 

He then added:

 

But, mind you, I am not promising results. All I promise is that I will make it easier than it has ever been heretofore for personalities who have ‘passed on’ to communicate with us, if they are so circumstanced that they can or want to communicate with us.

 

So Edison aside, another prominent person of interest in the research of EVPs is one Konstantīns Raudive. So prominent was Raudive’s work that EVPs are sometimes referred to as Raudive voices. Raudive was a parapsychologist who, after reading Friedrich Jürgenson’s book Voices from Space, became greatly interested in the phenomena. Jürgenson himself, is often regarded as “the father of EVP” and is credited for discovering the phenomena. Raudive’s disembodied voice has said to make contact from beyond the grave as well via phone call.

 

There have been devices created that are supposed to help in spirit communication via EVP. The Frank’s Box or Ghost box is a device that supposedly allow spirits to splice radio signals to produce answers to questions given. Another nifty piece of technology doesn’t necessarily allow for communication to passed on humans but it actually determines if what is recorded IS a human voice. Praat is one such software. This link will take you to the site where you can download the free software and read the manuals of its function. Most of which is beyond my understanding. But those of you so inclinded…

 

So what are we to make of these claims of communication from the next plane of existence? There are many explanations for how these sounds can make it to audio tape or electronic devices. Cross modulation is one of these reasons. It is basically interference with radio or TV signals that can leave audio imprints on magnetic tape. It can also leave imprints on electronic recordings. While most believers of this phenomena will argue that the recordings in question are done in a solitary space and that the answers given are relevant to questions asked, it could be argued that given the hypothetical state of a spirit, that one could simply place a blank tape on a table without a recording device and ask questions and relevant responses should be given. But despite this perceived relevance of the question or circumstance, cross modulation happens. In an episode of Ecto-Radio, hosted by the founding members of the Southwest Ghost Hunters Association, the two host recall an instance where they were investigating the infamous Boothill Cemetery in Tombstone, AZ. Now the SGHA is a smart bunch and have an intricate knowledge of Tombstone’s history and were well aware that there probably wasn’t anybody buried at a gravestone that claimed that the person buried there had been hung, so you can imagine their surprise when they played back their recording to find a “response” saying. “If you’re going to hang a man, you better look at him.” After the initial excitement wore off, they realized that what had been recorded sounded very familiar. In fact, it was a line spoken by Clint Eastwood in the movie “Hang ‘Em High” which was being aired at the time in question. Like I said, SGHA is a smart bunch and they quickly realized this as nothing more but irony.

 

Another explanation given for these sounds is audible pareidolia, which is basically the brain looking for patterns. Other explanations include audio artifacts, meteor showers which the tails of meteors can reflect and distort radio waves, and hoaxes. One thing that I found interesting about EVPs are that most are indecipherable until someone tells you what they think its saying. Then the message becomes very clear. I will keep this post short since it was meant as another Halloween blog that is coming out a day late. But who says spookiness is designated for October alone? I will leave you that in my opinion, and this is just the opinion of a Fortean blogger, there is not enough scientific data to suggest that what is being recorded on devices is anything more than pareidolia. And this opinion is coming from someone who would indulge in such evidence of life after death. But the proof just isn’t in the pudding. I will also leave you, my audience with some EVPs that I either found chilling or convincing, just not convincing enough. Like the saying goes, keep an open mind but not so open your brain falls out. That’s it for me. Stay classy Grimerica.

 

Bonus! As a bit of tongue-in-cheek, here is a list of the 8 Best EVPs Anyone Has Ever SEEN!

 

As a little experiment, I won’t include what these EVPs are supposedly saying. Leave what you think they say in the comments. Try not to read the comments to see what others have written until you’ve listened to them yourself. Headphones are highly recommended. Enjoy!

 

 

EVP #1

EVP #2

EVP #3

EVP #4  Called “The Most Horrific EVP ever recorded” 10:52 long.

EVP #5 My vote for “The Most Horrific EVP ever recorded” from Art Bell’s Coast to Coast. Skip to 3:53 for the EVP. Then you can listen to the story after you’ve made your guess.

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Hello Grimericans! I know the title of this post probably caught your attention. My original title was going to be, “The Vampire Watermelons of Gypsy Lore!” but it being October and all, I thought pumpkins was a better choice and ‘Romani’ is more P.C. than gypsy. In fact, I hope that me using the word hasn’t offended any of my readers. But back to the subject at hand: Vampire pumpkins and yes, watermelons. I’m not just making this up for a catchy title. I’m not positive if these beliefs still hold sway in the Roma culture today, but they certainly did at one point. Now the Romani culture is steeped in supernatural lore and superstitions that both give and take from the many surrounding cultures that they cohabitate with. But the lore I am going to cover in this post is focused out of the Balkans including vampire legend from Romania, Hungary and Slavic lands. This area has a large array of supernatural beliefs and superstitions. Many of those which include death, dying and the dead, and yes… the undead.

 

Researching this topic, one thing became very clear to me. Just about ANYTHING can either be a sign of or the cause of someone becoming a blood sucker. People who were particularly horrid looking could be a vampire. Those who were missing fingers or had appendages similar to those of an animal such as a tail were considered vampires. As with most cultures, there was a set of rituals that were to be performed after the death of a person and the neglect of these rituals could cause someone to become a vampire. Such as not burning the deceased possessions and keeping them or giving them away instead could cause the dead to rise. People who had a violent death, committed suicide or death resulting from an accident could cause the fangy transformation. Those who went astray from or were excommunicated from the church could be a vampire.  Children conceived on certain days or out of wedlock could become a vamp in the afterlife. Children born with teeth were believed to become vampires after death. Female vampires were believed to be able to return to their normal lives and basically exhaust their husband to death, much like the succubus of lore. Those who passed before being baptized were also condemned. Now with so many ways of becoming the undead, it’s not a huge surprise that other living creatures such as horses, sheep, snakes and even man’s best friend could join the ranks of the damned. There are even ways of inanimate objects can gain a lust for blood. Things like leaving a latch unlatched for too long can result in the latch developing a thirst for the red life force. If, for instance, your name is Darren Grimes and live in Alberta, Canada, and you give me a synchro score less than a seven, you will most definitely become a vampire. Certain agricultural tools such as the wooden rods used for binding sheaves of wheat. “… if such a rod, used for tying up a sheath by making a knotted loop on its narrower end and thrusting the other end through it, remains undone for three years, becomes a vampire.” So it’s not really a stretch to think that a belief that things like plants can gain this unholy thirst.

 

 

Four Loko Watermelon 3

No, no… The OTHER unholy thirst…

 

When I first came across this lore, it seems to only be referenced by one source in scholarship. One source that is quoted over and over. And whilst I would love to not repeat it here, it being the only source, I would be remiss if I didn’t include it here. It is from the Journal of Gypsy Lore Society and is written by Tatomir Vukanović, who was, from what I could ascertain from the ONLY source that I could find on the interwebs, the always reliable Wikipedia (I did find a few others but they all seemed to be copied and pasted from Wikipedia), a Serbian born “prominent historian and ethnologist of the Balkans region of south-eastern Europe” who focused primarily on “the history, folklore and culture of the Serb and Roma (Gypsy) inhabitants of Yugoslavia in general and the southern province of Kosovo in particular.” In all references about the entry into the Journal of Gypsy Lore Society, which was a four part piece and can be found here, they were said to be written several years after his journeys through Serbia, which I would find odd since he was born there. But before I go off on a tangent, here is what is written:

 

The belief in vampires of plant origin occurs among Gs. [Gypsies] who belong to the Mosl. faith in KM [Kosovo-Metohija]. According to them there are only two plants which are regarded as likely to turn into vampires: pumpkins of every kind and water-melons. And the change takes place when they are ‘fighting one another.’ In Podrima and Prizrenski Podgor they consider this transformation occurs if these ground fruit have been kept for more than ten days: then the gathered pumpkins stir all by themselves and make a sound like ‘brrrl, brrrl, brrrl!’ and begin to shake themselves. It is also believed that sometimes a trace of blood can be seen on the pumpkin, and the Gs. then say it has become a vampire. These pumpkins and melons go round the houses, stables, and rooms at night, all by themselves, and do harm to people. But it is thought that they cannot do great damage to folk, so people are not very afraid of this kind of vampire. Among the Mosl. Gs. in the village of Pirani (also in Podrima) it is believed that if pumpkins are kept after Christmas they turn into vampires, while the Lešani Gs. think that this phenomenon occurs if a pumpkin used as a syphon, when ripe and dry, stays unopened for three years. Vampires of ground fruit origin are believed to have the same shape and appearance as the original plant.

 

Another cause for the change, I found, is if a melon is kept after Christmas for x number of days. And while these vampires aren’t as ferocious as some, it’s still supernatural none the less. It’s important to understand that a “vampire” wasn’t considered what we see in movies and books today. A vampire was an evil spirit that would take up residence in a body or object and therefore wasn’t the subject in question before being commandeered. In this context, it is kind of easy to see how these unholy invaders would try to take up space anywhere that was available, and that includes plants. And considering the rampant view of these transient evil spirts, it probably wouldn’t have taken much for this belief to arise. The aforementioned “trace of blood” from Vukanović’s excerpt, is naturally discoloration that happens, as it would seem, when the fruit of vegetables would become too ripe. But try as I might, I couldn’t find what causes them specifically.

 

 

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Apparently the only picture on the internet of this occurrence.

 

 

So have you read enough to convince you to keep a more wary eye on your fruits and vegetables? Myself, personally, I would throw a pumpkin and a watermelon in the ring together and start an underground edible Fight Club. Or sell the little boogers as pets. I think there’s real potential in the idea and a sound business opportunity; but I digest. What are your thoughts about vampire food? Hell, what are your thoughts on inanimate object vampires?  Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. That’s it for me Grimerica. Stay classy.

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Hello again, Grimericans! Can you feel that crispness in the air, or in the case of our Canadian Brethren, the freezing cold in the studio.  Halloween is getting closer and closer and the night of frights that most of us look forward to every year is almost on our doorstep, and probably begging for candy… I’ve decided to look a little bit more into the history of the origin of a famous ritualistic teenager pastime, that which involves summoning an evil entity to one’s mirror. Damn, teenagers are stupid. I must admit being this stupid at one time, which doesn’t say much for my generation. In all fairness, a lot of generations before me have engaged in this rite of passage, and in all likelihood, many generations after yours and mine will continue to do so, although with some futuristic variation. I of course am talking about the varied story of Bloody Mary.

 

 

Bloody Mary JPG-inline

                                                                        I would summon this daily if I could.

 

The Mirror Witch has many names. Agnes, Black Agnes, Aggie, Bloody Mary, Hell Mary, Bloody Bones, Mary Worth, Mary Worthington, Mary Whales, Mary White, Mary Jane, Mary Lou, Svarte Madame, and of course, probably the most famous two out of all of the variations, Sally and Kathy. Okay, the latter two might not be as well-known as mainstream as the rest but they’re still included. The stories involved with the origin of the Mirror Witch are as varied as what to call her. In some versions, usually the ones associated with Mary Worth or Worthington, she is an actual witch while others indicate she was merely accused of practicing the dark arts. In either case, here fate usually ends with here tied to a stake shrieking a curse to the townsfolk who sentenced her to this horrific end. The curse being if her name is mentioned in front of a mirror in a darkened room, that she would send her soul for the foolish mortal. Another version of the Mary Worth story that involves the same ending has her as a 19th century woman who lived north of Chicago in Lake County where she would capture and subsequently torture runaway slaves. When the locals discovered her demented ways, well, ya know, the whole ‘burning at the stake’ thing. I’m not saying that this version of Mary Worth isn’t real or that her hobby of torture never happened, I’m just saying that I couldn’t find anything to suggest that she ever existed or that these events took place in Lake County, Illinois. Other versions tell of a woman who was in a terrible accident and for some reason can be summoned through a mirror. The story I heard growing up was similar to that of the Lady in White stories in that she was a woman who killed her infant, intentional or not, and was forever seeking it or a replacement. The Bloody Mary of American Folklore often gets confused with the very real Mary I of England. She was the daughter of the infamous Henry VIII and after deposing her wrongfully appointed cousin, Lady Jane Grey, of the throne, she was, despite the brief reigns of her cousin and Empress Matilda, the first queen regnant of England. She earned her unfortunate nickname, “Bloody Mary”, from the vast amount of Protestants that she had executed while she was reestablishing Catholicism to England. She WAS NOT given the nickname because she had the habit of killing young, virgin girls whose blood she would drain and then bathe in in order to retain her youth and beauty. That was Countess Erzsébet Báthory of Hungary. Indeed, the names and historical figures, fictional or real, are as diverse as the rituals used to summon her.

 

 

 

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“Okay, after 3 months of training, I finally got hit to do it. What’s this ritual for again? Summoning WHAT?!?!”

 

 

 

So the version that I heard growing up in the Pacific Northwest was pretty strait forward. First you gather your cojones and then proceed into a room with a mirror, usually the bathroom. Next step was to do a second count on your cojones present, then turn off the lights so that the room is pitch black. Then, assuming all of your cojones were in order, you would then proceed to say, “Bloody Mary” three times in the mirror. Then the magic starts to happen because before your eyes, a very bloody and very horrific looking woman appears in the mirror holding what looks like an infant child wrapped so that you can’t make out any distinguishing features. The mirror witch then tosses here child at you and you have one of two options. #1: You can nope right the fuck out of anything doing with touching the baby being hurled in your general direction, the result of which is you dying a gruesome and terrible death by having your face scratched off or #2: Catch the mystery child only to find it is as gruesome as its mother, its mother who now wants to pulls you into the mirror with her as a cheap caregiver for her forsaken offspring and ultimately driving you insane. Why the hell did we do this as kids again? Anyways, like I said, the ritual varies greatly. The amount of chants needed can be from one to one hundred. The chant itself can be any variation of Bloody Mary’s name. Some include the need to assert your belief in the entity, “I believe in Mary Worth.” Etc. Some of these ritual include the use of a single candle, others involve a candle on either side of the mirror. A few allow a companion or two. There are some where you start the chant off in a whisper and slowly build momentum in a near scream. There is one where the person performing the summoning is required to spin around in circle whilst chanting, glancing at the mirror with each pass. Usually around the thirteenth repetition, a face become visible in the mirror. You then would presumably be too dizzy to fight back. Touché Mirror Witch, touché.

 

 

merrygoround_0562-940x626

Another tool in the Mirror Witch’s Dizzy Arsenal.

 

Mirror have always been thought of as gateways or portals to other worlds or dimensions. An old custom use to be to cover the mirrors in a house when someone passed away. The though being that if the recently departed caught a glimpse of him or her self, they would get trapped in the mirror. This is when the deceased used to spend days in the house of family being prepared for burial. As far as the story at hand, the most commonly accepted version of the origin of this practice was a ritual to for young maids to see the future and find out what their future husband would look like. It usually involved holding a candle in one hand and a hand mirror in the other to help guide your way walking backward in a dark house. The young maid would have to walk backwards up a flight of stairs into a room with a mirror. She then would spin around to face the mirror and the image of her future husband would be there. Then again, sometimes she wouldn’t see her future husband. Sometimes she would see a skull, or a skeleton or even the Grim Reaper himself. This would indicate that the young lass would die before being wed. It was probably this part of the tale that eventually morphed into the Mirror Witch lore we have today. We’ve come a long way, huh? This practice was also supposed to be performed on Halloween which is another suggestion as to why it moved into the direction it has taken. Either way, as long as you keep the lights on and your mouth shut, you should be fine right? Actually, there are tales that the entity can get to you through any mirror in a dark room without the use of the incantation. So I guess my power bill is going to sky rocket from the lights being on 24/7 or I’ll have to start shaving at work because of the lack of mirrors in my house. Decisions, decisions. Well that’s it for me Grimerica. Stay Classy.

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Hello fellow Grimericans! I must tell you all that I had a plan to write about a scary, spooky and downright frightening topic every week of October in celebration of All Hallows Eve 2015. My blog post last week about the glitches in the matrix didn’t quite follow that line of spooktasticness, but I hope to make up for it with this one. I’ve been trying to find more obscure tales, legends and mysteries that hopefully not all of you Fortean literature historians have heard about. I came across this one and thought it fit the bill. I have a vague memory of hearing this creepy tale before, be it from a podcast or in the aforementioned Fortean Literature that fills most of us Grimerican’s free time.  Either way, it seemed like a tale worth sharing and so for you, the Grimerican readership, I have dug deep into the lore and lost a few good pairs of underwear so that I can bring to you the legend of…

 

 

The Hairy Hands of Dartmoor

hairy palm

What’s scarier than your parents being right?

 

 

This piece of creepiness begins in the early 1900’s where a series of road accidents involving automobiles and motorcycles down the route B3212 through Dartmoor, in the United Kingdom. More specifically, the stretch of the route between Postbridge and Twobridges. The story basically goes that somewhere along the way between these two destinations, a set of hairy manlike hands would take control of the wheel or handlebars and overpower the driver off the road and try to cause an accident. Cyclists and even horse drawn carriages would report this happening as well. It wasn’t until 1921 when things took a fatal turn (pun intended) and these phenomena took its first life. A medical officer from Dartmoor prison, a one Dr. E.H. Helby, was traveling on his motorcycle along with two young girls in his attached side car. Although it is apparently unclear if the two children were his or the prison’s governor. Regardless, the good Doctor began losing control of the motorcycle and yelled at the girls to jump. They survived the fall but Helby wasn’t so lucky. And while the children didn’t report seeing any hands, they did report seeing Helby apparently struggling with something. This is usually seen as the first fatality caused by the Hairy Hands. It is worth mentioning that up until this incident, the hands had been seen more of a nuisance than anything, albeit an extremely horrifying one.

 

 

funny-car-crashes-2

“Damn! These hands are annoying!”

 

 

In August of the same year as Dr. Helby’s fatal accident, a Captain in the British Army was driving his motorcycle down the same stretch of infamous road. He too lost control and crashed but unlike Dr. Helby, he survived. It was really this incident that made this phenomena a global story and projected the legend of the Hairy Hands of Dartmoor. The young captain gave an interview that quickly spread. In this interview, the young captain recalled what had happened to him. He said,

 

It was not my fault. Believe it or not, something drove me off the road. A pair of hairy hands closed over mine. I felt them as plainly as ever I felt anything in my life – large, muscular, hairy hands. I fought them for all I was worth, but they were too strong for me. They forced the machine into the turf at the edge of the road, and I knew no more till I came to myself, lying a few feet away on my face on the turf.

 

More incidents happen after and in 1924, a folklorist named Theo Brown was camping in the area of the phenomena. She would later report seeing a disembodied, hairy hand crawling up toward a window in her caravan. She quickly made the appropriate sign of the cross which reportedly made the hand recoil and slunk away back into the darkness. No other strangeness happened during her stay, although more accidents and reports of the Hairy Hands have been reported up until 2008. At least that’s what I heard on YouTube so it has to be true, despite my efforts to confirm the claim.

 

 

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“Ha, Ha! How Cute! Wait. What was I looking for again? Oh, well…”

 

So while most locals attribute the accidents to out-of-towners misreading the road and being too reckless, another theory for the Hairy Hands’ origin is a result of the Dartmoor Prison Massacre. Built in 1809, HM Prison Dartmoor housed over 6,000 French and American prisoners at any given time between its opening and the year 1850. A large portion of the prisoners were American sailors from the war of 1812. With the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, these American sailors expected quick release which never came. They began planning an elaborate, large scale escape feeling abandoned and forgotten by their country. This plain didn’t pan out when their escape tunnels were discovered leading to the death of some 270 prisoners who were trapped in the prison yard and fired upon by the British forces. 15-20 of these prisoners were seen escaping through nearby fields. A near riot caused by the mass shooting gave cause to let the escapees go in order to deal with the near mutiny. These prisoners were later found one by one, dead or near death all except for one. One American sailor made it to an old turnpike road called Carters Road, present day B3212, where he attempted to commandeer a horse and carriage and in the struggle, was crushed beneath the wheels and died. The amount of hair on this sailors hands is unknown.

 

Another piece of lore about the origin of the Hairy Hands tells of a blacksmith who was at either a black powder mill or a blacksmith shop and neglected to follow the rule of wearing only soft-toed shoes and not steel toed or heeled shoes. The latter can cause a spark resulting in the ignition of the surrounding black powder and, well, you can figure out the rest. The story I heard said that only his large, hairy hands were the only pieces left to ever suggest the poor soul existed. I personally think that it would make more sense if his big, hairy hands were never found. But I digress.

 

Another theory is that the hands are some form of gremlin. The same gremlins that WWII pilots would report purposefully trying to cause their planes to malfunction and crash. Another tale claims that they are some form of a cryptid from the surrounding area called a Kelpie. The tales of the kelpie describe it as a water horse that would lure victims into the water to drown them. But we’ll save the details of this cryptid for another time. Nick Redfern proposed that it could even be the spirt of a werewolf or Sasquatch. I tend to think that as with most things, it’s probably the American sailor still holding the grudge. Merica! Well that’s it for me Grimericans. Stay classy.

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Hello Grimericans! Fall is here and with the changing of the season comes the changing in atmosphere, in outlooks and in the internal awareness of one’s mortality, at least for me, anyway. In the 1600’s, as more and more people started living in larger towns and cities, the word harvest fell out of use and people started using the phrase, “ fall of the leaf”. The word fall itself, comes from the old English word feallan which means “to fall or to die”. Eventually, “fall of the leaf” was shortened to just Fall. And while the Autumnal Equinox happens late September signaling the beginning of fall, it doesn’t really feel like Fall for most until October. The third season has always represented an ending in many cultures and in many aspects of human mentality. The end of the harvest season. The end of decent weather. The end colorful leaves on the trees and maybe, after this post, the end of the way you view reality.  For some of you, the following will be nothing new or mind-blowing and might even seem ridiculous for being proposed. To the rest of the Grimerican readers, they might not be able to sleep after reading some of these reported glitches in the matrix. But for those of you who share the mainstream/current version of these memories, I ask you this. Isn’t it odd that so many others remember these things a different way? What follows is a list of some of what I found to be the craziest alternative memories shared by many people. This is by no means a comprehensive list and more alternative memories of events can be found all over the web, including a couple subreddits dedicated to this phenomena widely called The Mandela Effect.

 

Nelson Mandela Died in Prison

On the 5th of December, 2013, an announcement was made that Nelson Mandela, civil rights activist, anti-apartheid revolutionary, philanthropist and South Africa’s first black president, passed away in his hometown of Houghton, Johannesburg after suffering from prolonged respiratory infection at the age of 95. This came as a shock to many people who all shared the distinct memory of Mandela dying many years prior in prison. Wait, what? Apparently, there are many people, hundreds, if not hundreds of thousands, that have distinct memories of the late Mandela dying sometime in the 80’s while still incarcerated. These memories include snippets of the funeral service on T.V., legal talks over book rights, some rioting in cities, the mourning of his passing by the South African people and even a heartfelt speech by his wife/widow. It was this collective “false” memory that coined the usage of The Mandela Effect by Fiona Broome who then created the website mandelaeffect.com and also an upcoming book on the collective topic of mass memories of alternate history. Don’t be mistaken. This phenomenon has been going on before “this timeline’s” version of Mandela’s death in 2013. It has also been called The Still Alive Effect. It basically encompasses the memories of people who recall hearing someone has passed away and finding out later that they are alive and well or passed away at a different date that what is remembered. Here is a short list of some of those people. See if any of them don’t sound right to you.

  • Betty White. As of this post, she is alive and well and a beautiful 93 years young.
  • Brian Dennehy. Still acting with a few future projects in the works.
  • Quite a few people remember Billy Graham’s televised funeral but as of October, 2015, he’s still alive.
  • Many report remembering that David Soul of Starsky and Hutch fame committing suicide but apparently, he’s still alive and kicking.
  • Dom DeLuise passed in 2009 but many people (including me) remember him passing in the 90’s.
  • Louie Anderson’s T.V. show was not canceled due to his sudden death as many (also including me) remember, as he is also still alive.
  • Muhammed Ali did not pass away in 2009 but at the time of this post, is still living at the ripe old age of 73 in Louisville, Kentucky.

A few of these, I must admit, blew me away. I have a distinct memory of Dom DeLuise Passing away in my youth and watching memorial footage in honor of his career. I also remember Louie Anderson dying and thus the cancellation of his show. I also remember hearing of Muhammed Ali’s passing a few years ago. Am I taking crazy pills?! Well I’m not the only one. Many people remember these people passing and others as well. This phenomena is not restricted to celebrity deaths, it also includes things like…

 

 

The Berenst(E)ain Bears

This one has been getting a lot of attention as of late but has actually been around for a number of years. It basically goes as this. The spelling of the surname in the series of books about a family of bears that teaches morals and the difference between right and wrong HAVE BEEN TAMPERED WITH BY TIME TRAVELERS IN AN EVIL ATTEMPT TO… TO… well, no one really knows why. But that doesn’t negate the fact that many people who grew up reading the Berenstein Bears have had the minds blown with the apparent sudden realization that the series has ALWAYS been spelled The Berenstain Bears. Wait, what?! Um, yeah. According to the publishers of the book series, the title has always been spelled Berentstain and never Berenstein, after the books creators, Stanley and Janice Berenstain. This might not come to a shock to some of you but my brain almost melted when I frantically tore my children’s book collection apart looking for proof of the opposite and desperately trying to draw up distant memories of my youth for verification. This is actually the reason for this post. Upon further research into this subject, I found many other instances of alternate historical memories. Many include alternate spelling of words like Berenstain- stein… whatever. Not a big deal you say. Well many people will tell you that they remember certain words being taught in school to be spelled one way and not until years later do they find out that it is spelled completely different. This definatley causes quite a dilemna. I mean definitley causes a dilemma. See what I mean. Now whilst I remember always using the later spelling of definitely, with an i instead of an a, others do not. Grammar.net lists it as one of the top 15 misspelled words in the English language. As far as the word dilemma is concerned, I too have memories of using an n instead of two m’s. Misspelled words not enough to blow your mind? How about out-of place countries?

 

 

New Zealand is South East of Australia

This one also blew my mind because of how recently I looked for New Zealand’s geographical location. As some of you know, I do the newsletter here at Grimerica and was determining the time zone for the broadcast reminders. I remember getting curious with its location as I had also recently listened to a podcast about the Treaty of Waitangi and as some of you might remember, we here at Grimerica have a Kiwi Ambassador to New Zealand. I remember that its location being north east of Australia, and yet alas, upon checking it now, it lies to the south east. It’s not just New Zealand that has got people crisscrossed on its geographical location. Some include Cuba, Japan, Mongolia, Portugal, Poland and Sri Lanka. Still not crazy enough for ya’? How about…

 

 

A Portrait of Henry the VIII With a Turkey Leg In His Hand

Sound familiar? Can you picture the pudgy King of England in his royal clothing and a huge turkey leg in his hand? Me too. And many other people as well. Apparently, this portrait doesn’t exist. Evidence that suggests that this shared memory is indeed false is the fact that Henry VIII couldn’t have dined on turkey as it is native to North America and wasn’t even on the menu in England during his time. Still, I can clearly picture this image. How about you?

 

 

So what’s going on? Some examples can be attributed to simply not remembering correctly. As I’ve mentioned before, the human memory is a tricky thing. We have the ability to change our memories every time we think about them. For instance, some famous quotes from historical figures and movies are often misquoted. In Star Wars, Darth Vader never says, “Luke, I am your father.” But instead says, “No. I am your father.” The evil queen in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty doesn’t say, “Mirror, mirror on the wall…” but rather, “Magic mirror on the wall.” Forest Gump doesn’t say, “Life IS like a box of chocolates.” He says, “Life WAS like a box of chocolates.” Neil Armstrong, upon laying the first human foot on the moon (supposedly… a-wink) didn’t iconically say, “That’s one small step for man…” the historical quote was actually, “That’s one small step for a man…” He maintained up until his death in in 2013 (although some recall him passing in 2012) that apparently no one heard the a. And if people can get a whole quote wrong, then a few misspelled words isn’t so far fetched. The truth is, once something becomes embedded in popular culture and in what is considered “common” knowledge, it’s pretty hard to nudge it free from its common usage as fact, regardless if it is true or not. One hypothesis brought forth to explain this phenomena is the merging of two alternate dimensions. It basically goes that, for example, in one dimension (the right one… a-wink) the book series was always spelled Berenstein and then some unknown and incomprehensible force merged our dimension with some wacky one where the book series was spelled Berenstain. So why do only some remember it one way and not everybody? Well, with the merging, some of the people’s consciousness stayed here while other went over to crazy town. On the bright side of things, in the other dimension, there are thousands of people who suddenly realized that it’s spelled with an e instead of an a and after trying to explain this crazy hypothesis on their blogs, their readers will give a resounding, “Uh… nope.” Another possible explanation is what is called “glitches in the Matrix” which goes into the whole “what is reality” question. And we’ll save that for another discussion. So there are our options. Or ya’ know, time travelers and stuff. Well that’s it for me Grimerica, as always, Stay Classy.

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