Friday, October 24, 2014

Science meets voodoo in a New Orleans festival of water

Perhaps no other city in the United States is as well-suited as New Orleans to wed a scientific discussion of environment with a celebration of the occult.

That's exactly what unfolded on Saturday at "Anba Dlo," an annual New Orleans festival where prominent scientists joined with practitioners of the voodoo religion to look for answers to the challenges of dealing with water.

In "The Big Easy," a low-lying Louisiana city devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and threatened by the BP oil spill of 2010, water is a subject nearly impossible to ignore.

Four representatives of Rand Corp, the global consultancy that helped develop the state’s master plan for coastal restoration, joined a dozen environmentalists, architects and policy specialists who took part in Anba Dlo, which translates from a Haitian dialect as "beneath the waters."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ghost children caught on tape

Demon sheep

Recently, it has come to our attention that sheep may now be a demonic threat and have taken control of the underworld. Is this creature a legitimate threat, or merely a hoax?

Ghostly 'black-robed monk' spotted

This spine-chilling picture appears to show the ghost of a black-cloaked monk skulking in a castle in North Wales.

The photo was taken by clairvoyant Christine Hamlett while on a visit to the spooky medieval building in Harlech in October last year.

The 57-year-old medium believes there is no other explanation for the haunting dark shapes in the image, reports the Daily Post.

She said: “That one was taken when I was just snapping around and when I looked at it I couldn’t believe what was there.

“I didn’t notice anything at the time, but I was looking at it recently and I said to my husband ‘What’s that in the window?’

“It looks like it’s wearing a monk’s robe. It was a cold day so there weren’t many people about and I don’t know why someone would hang out of a window anyway.”

Woman 'gives birth' to lizard, gets accused of witchcraft

As strange as it may sound, an Indonesian woman apparently 'gave birth' to a lizard and is now being threatened by an angry lynch mob that is accusing her of practicing witchcraft.

Debi Nubatonis, 31, gave birth to the gecko after an eight-month pregnancy. Though scientists say that it is clearly nonsense that a woman has given birth to a lizard, officials are sending in a team of experts to clear the mystery.

Nubatonis apparently gave birth to the gecko in May in the remote Oenunto village where a midwife "delivered" the lizard.

The news of the lizard birth led to threats being levelled against the woman and her family who were accused of witchcraft and the debate quickly made its way to the internet as well.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cerro Rico: Devil worship on the man-eating mountain

The 500-year-old mines of Bolivia's Cerro Rico mountain produced the silver that once made the Spanish empire rich. Now riddled with tunnels, the mountain is a death trap for the men and boys who work there - and who pray to the devil to keep them safe.

In a dingy tunnel, 15-year-old Marco shovels rocks into a wheelbarrow. Covered in dust and sweat, he's expected to carry 35 to 40 loads to the surface during a five-hour shift, often working at night so he can go to school during the day.
Marco's mother and her four children moved to Cerro Rico, the Rich Hill, after their father abandoned them. They live at the entrance of a tunnel, without any running water, using an abandoned mine as a bathroom.

"I want to be something better, not work in the mine… I'd like to get a degree, to be a lawyer," he says. But for now the family would not survive without his earnings.

During the Spanish Colonial era, two billion ounces of silver was extracted from the mountain. Over the same period about eight million people are estimated to have died, earning Cerro Rico the nickname, the Mountain that Eats Men.

The Thunder Beasts of Japan

Since the dawn of time, humans have looked to the skies with a sense of wonder, awe, and fascination. The wind, the sky, clouds, thunder and lightning, these are things have captured the imagination of humankind and held an undeniable mystical quality for us since time unremembered. Since long before the age of reason and science, people have gazed at the heavens and sought to explain the various phenomena of the vast skies above, to find some way to grasp how these wonders fit into the universe that they know.

In Japan, thunder and lightning were the elements of the Raijū, or literally “thunder beast,” the mighty servants of the Shinto god of thunder. These creatures were most often described as looking something like a badger, weasel, cat, or fox, although they were sometimes said to look like a wolf or monkey as well. Some accounts speak of the creatures having wings, or having multiple tails. They are quite often dramatically depicted as being wreathed in crackling tendrils of lightning, and their voices were said to boom like thunder. Raijū were said to descend to the earth upon lightning bolts, to ride atop lighting, or to travel about in hovering balls of lightning. Typically the Raijū were said to be fairly docile in nature, but during storms would become extremely agitated and aggressive, ignite with lightning, and frantically dash about leaping from tree to tree, tearing up the bark in the process with their formidable claws. In old Japan it was said that trees scored by lighting had been the work of Raijū claws, and that scorched tree trunks were the result of their wrath.

With all of this fierce and dramatic imagery of flickering lightning and cracking thunder surrounding the Raijū, it is perhaps no wonder that the people of Japan have long feared and respected these otherworldly creatures. Additionally, although they may seem at first to be a totally mythical construct, these beasts were once considered to be quite real to the people of Japan. Most locals in rural areas were well aware of which woodlands were inhabited by Raijū and were careful to stay away during storms. In fact, areas said to be the lairs of the Raijū were for the most part avoided altogether, as they invoked a potent fear in most people.

Texas Football Player Finds Skull

An El Paso middle school football player has discovered a human skull while cleaning a pauper cemetery as part of a community service project.

El Paso police told the El Paso Times that the skull was not near a grave, but likely from the children's section of the McGill Cemetery. The Magoffin Middle School football player made the discovery on Monday.

Police are working to determine where the skull came from and whether it was unearthed by a person, recent floods or an animal.

The cemetery dates back to the 1930s. It houses thousands of unclaimed and unidentified bodies as well as people whose families couldn't afford a funeral.

No Universal Threefold Law in Wicca

The popular misconception that there is a Wiccan Rule or Law of Three or Threefold Return comes from a misinterpretation of a passage in a work of fiction written by Gerald Gardner, the grandfather of modern Wicca. The book was called High Magic’s Aid, and he wrote it with the permission of his High Priestess. It had to be fiction because at that point, witchcraft was still illegal in Britain. In that book and its fictional story, the protagonist undergoes a sort of initiation rite in which he is taught “mark well when thou receivest good, so equally art bound to return good threefold.”

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Kuldhara, India is a cursed ‘village of death’

Two hundred years ago, an entire community vanished overnight.

Nobody saw them leave, or figured out where they went. But as the 1500 villagers abandoned the town of Kuldhara, India, it’s believed they left behind a curse bringing death to anyone who tried to inhabit it.

So to this day, few dare to tread here, and even fewer dare to stay the night.

Just why the residents left remains a mystery.

Legend has it that Salim Singh, the minister of the state of Jaisalmer, fell in love with a beautiful girl upon visiting the village and wanted to marry her, threatening the locals if this was denied.

New England’s Stone-Throwing Devils

It’s true that sticks and stone might break your bones, but once in a while, the real question to be asking is who is throwing them? At least that’s the question that has plagued many locations over many hundreds of years. Mysterious invisible stone-throwing assailants and rocks falling out of thin air might be a rare occurrence, but the number of incidents spanning across time is impressive.

In the United States, one of the earliest documented cases of hurled stones coincides with the witchcraft hysteria which swept across New England during the 17th Century. In a place called Great Island—today known as New Castle, New Hampshire—a tavern owned by George and Alice Walton became the center of strange activity in 1682. The poltergeist activity was so feared and famed that they gave it a name: Lithobolia.

Richard Chamberlain, secretary of the New Hampshire colony, was a boarder at the tavern during the incidents and was a first-hand witness to the unusual activity which included rocks being thrown against the sides of the building, objects inside the tavern moving of their own accord, disembodied footsteps, and “snorting” sounds (attributed to a “daemon”). It wasn’t until 1698 that he published his account of the “stone-throwing devil” in a London pamphlet.

Man Dies In Haunted House, Mistaken For Prop For Almost 2 Weeks

WAUKEGAN, Illinois - Man Dies In Haunted House, Mistaken For Prop For Almost 2 Weeks

Halloween in Waukegan, Illinois is anticipated by the entire town, as every October for the past 8 years, the Graham family has unveiled their haunted house to the neighborhood, with the event drawing thousands of visitors throughout the season.

The event became so popular that for the third year in a row, local police had to set up barricades to keep both automobile and pedestrian traffic moving along at an orderly pace, and the Graham’s started pre-selling tickets to the event to keep track of visitors.

“That’s how we noticed something was off,” said Hank Graham, owner of the Wicked Waukegan Haunted House. “The tickets came up one short when we counted out the receipts at the end of the day. That was the first or second night of the attraction, at the beginning of this month.”

The mystery of the incorrect ticket count was solved late last week when a 6-year-old visitor told his parents he was very frightened of the “old, dead stinky man” on the second level.  “I heard the little boy say that,” said Hank, “and I thought – ‘Oh great!’  If kids are getting a scare, well, that’s the whole fun of it. Every year we add new props – we have mummies, skeletons, and mannequins, plus the ol’ peeled grapes as eyeballs in a bowl, strobe lights, fog machines – crowd favorites, I guess you’d call them. Unfortunately, it was not one of our props that had scared the boy.”