Thursday, June 30, 2005

Final Exam

Now that we've all finished our urban legends class, here are some quizzes if you want to test what you've learned.

Creation of a rumor...

This actually happened yesterday. I met a friend for dinner, we'll call her Betsy because that is her name. Betsy works on Capitol Hill yesterday, and was evacuated because of another airspace violation. She called her boyfriend to tell him that he wouldn't be able to reach her at her desk. He was out to lunch with a friend, and when he got the message, he yelled to the waitress, "we need our check right now! We're under attack!" I'm not kidding. This caused mild panic in the restaurant they were in, until boyfriend was able to contact Betsy.

The real punchline is that when Betsy was recalling the story to me at dinner last night, people overheard and thought we had been attacked and just hadn't heard about it. It's amazing how people will believe whatever they overhear.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Man suspected of 36,000 cases of child sexual abuse

Man suspected of 36,000 cases of child sexual abuse
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Authorities searched his home and found detailed,handwritten records of 36,000 assaults over a span of decades.SEATTLE (AP) - Relatives of a man suspected in thousands ofcases of child sexual abuse described him as a "black sheep"whose only ties with the family dissolved years ago.

Dean Schwartzmiller, 63, was arrested in Washington state on aCalifornia fugitive warrant.

Authorities searched his San Jose home and found detailed,handwritten records of 36,000 assaults over a span of decades.

Jack Schwartzmiller of Butte, Montana, says his cousin lostcontact with most of his relatives years ago, and described him asthe black sheep of the family.

Although police said Schwartzmiller appears to have spent muchof the past 30 years in California, he has been arrested on childmolestation charges in several others states and is wanted inOregon on sexual assault charges involving a minor.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Voodoo For Sale

I am sure that we have all heard a legend or two envolving Voodoo. Here is an interesting link to a site where a self proclaimed Voodoo Priestess is offering her services for a fee. Everything from Voodoo dolls to even a kid's Voodoo birthday party is offered.

Pulp Fiction

Just so you all know- "War of the Worlds" is quite an impressive movie.

And speaking of impressive movies, I have a "Pulp Fiction" urban legend/ question. My friend was asking several questions about the movie after she had finally seen it for the first time, one specifically being what is in that briefcase? She had evidently gotten an email about it saying that it was an interview with Tarantino, and this class having made me a complete skeptic of anything, I asked for a copy of it. Low and behold it is on, The email says that what is in the briefcase is Marcellus’ soul. Snopes can neither confirm nor deny whether this is true, seeing how Tarantino has never disclosed what is truly there, but the email adds just another item on the urban legend list. I find it interesting that, because it is never explained, people do fill in the blanks, and then spread their answers as valid truth, which seems to be similar to the changing the location on the “warning” emails that spread around.

Urban Legends Movie

Well after watching half of the movie I decided to pull up the IMDB on the movie Urban Legends. I cannot beleive I missed this, but in the trivia section I found the following to be pretty interesting...

When Paul and Natalie walk into the hidden room in Wexler's office, a puppet of Freddy Krueger can be seen just before they see the axe. Robert Englund, who plays Wexler, played Freddy Krueger in _Nightmare on Elm Street, A (1984)_ .

Freddy is in this movie... that has got to be worth SOMETHING. Anyway, pretty random post, watch out in the trivia section there are some spoilers so BE CAREFUL (don't wanna ruin a classic ya dig).

Coke poster recalled...

Hahaha, I thought this was hilarious and felt the need to share. To be perfectly honest, I didn't think things like this actually happened!

I don't want to ruin it...go check out the link!

Finger in Salad

Interesting...I heard on CNN this morning that a woman is suing Applebees because she found a finger in her salad. She claims that she found the finger a year ago in her take-out salad. Now, I don't know whether the woman is telling the truth or not, but it sounds a lot like an urban legend we all know. Plus there's the fact that it happened a year ago, in a TAKE-OUT box of all things...pretty unprovable, don't you think?

Bug Chasers

I looked into the subculture of men who want to contract HIV. It does exist, and these men are called bug chasers, and their counterparts are called gift givers.. Here is an article from Rolling Stone that explains pretty well.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

James Taylor "Fire and Rain"

I heard that the song "Fire and Rain" was written by James Taylor while he was in Vietnam fighting in the war. In addition to this I was told by a friend of mine that the song documented the death of his wife and that Taylor wrote the song after he had been informed of her death which resulted from an airplane crashing. Well turns out that nothing could be farther from the truth and here is what Snopes has to say on the urban legend. On top of this... James Taylor never went to any war and I discovered this from this Wikipedia entry. An interesting thing that fans have read so much into the music (my friend is a pretty big James Taylor fan and claimed the story to be completely true).

Death By Scarf

Since we discussed it in class I thought I would post what I found on the deaths of Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham. After much searching, because didn’t list either woman or her cause of death, I finally found some answers. listed Isadora Duncan’s death as to have been by her scarf getting caught in her tire while “motoring” in Nice in 1927. Martha’s death was harder to find, but is listed in an obituary from the New York Times as having died in her home in New York City on April 1st, 1991. I think the fact that both are crucial to the forming of modern dance as a reason why the names were switched when I was told about the “death by scarf.”

No more Tom Cruise

In an effort to silence the constant babbling regarding everything Tom Cruise, I decided to shift celebrity talk. I would like to take a moment to comment on Hutton Gibson, father to Mel Gibson. Good ole' snopes provides information regarding the radical ideas running around in this man's head. And yes, most of the rumors are true. I'll summarize below but here is the actual article:
Fact one: Hutton denies the occurrence of the Holocaust
Fact two: believes the World Trade center destroyed by remote control--not due to Al Queda
Fact three: finds the past popes to be "illigitimate anti-popes"--whatever that means
Fact four: has some anti-semetic opinion of the second Vatican council, andthat Jews wish to
take over the world with their religion, or something to that effect

So, ah, the reason I find this interesting is because conspiracy theories range from drawing slight skepticism to drawing extremely confident disbelief.

Here is an article pulling quotes from Hutton himself:

If you google Hutton Gibson, you'll find numerous cites quoting fairly looney accusations made by this man.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Tom Cruise...again.

Entertainment Weekly recently published an interview with Tom Cruise and it was interesting that in his response to questions about Scientology and psychiatry, he brought up two urban legends thinking they were true.,17129,1069956_1%7C%7C525488_0_,00.html

The question is on the 4th page of the article and it talks about psychiatry being a Nazi science. The author of the article, Benjamin Svetkey researched Tom's claims and concluded they were false.

I think it's kind of funny. Tom Cruise is so arrogant...the way he's been coming across in interviews is infuriating. He's so condescending to his interviewers and the people he criticizes and yet the information he preaches as truth is actually false!

Morse Code Beats Text Messaging

As mentioned in class today, here is a story about the morse coders beating the text messaging champs, with a link to the video.

tavel tips

I once asked a LAME in Cairns if the tropical climate caused any peculiar aircraft maintenance problems.

He thought for a moment and said, "Yes, cockroaches, because they thrive in all the hidden recesses despite blazing heat on the ground and chilly temperatures in flight, and can really make a mess."

Then he told me a story about a businessman who woke up some years ago on an international flight only to find a giant cockroach crawling down his cheek. He was so revolted by this that he filled in a complaint form about the incident and sent it off.

Some weeks later a letter from the airline's Public Relations Manager landed on his desk. It was an outstanding example of the practitioner's art and convincingly explained the airline's strict precautions against such pests before admitting that, in very rare circumstances, bugs did get on board their airliners, but when they did so, it was always somebody else's fault; the unhygienic dumps they had to land at, or when they had to rely on contractors for servicing, or when carried aboard in passenger's hand luggage.

Then to show how repentant the airline was, the PR manager invited the business man to present his letter at check-in when next he flew, when he would be automatically upgraded to first class.

After carefully filing the letter, the business man crumpled up the envelope and pitched it into the waste paper basket. As it landed he noticed something inside it. So he retrieved the envelope and withdrew one of the ubiquitous Post-it notes used nowadays to write messages in every office around the globe and apparently enclosed in error by the PR Manager's secretary.

It was his instruction to her to, "Just send this jerk the standard cockroach letter."

[Playboy, 1955]

A wealthy gentleman was badly bitten by bugs while riding on a certain railway line. Arriving at his destination, he wrote the company an indignant letter and received a prompt reply. It was, said the letter, the first complaint the company had ever had of this nature. Inquiry had failed to reveal any explanation for this unprecedented occurrence. Nevertheless, a number of new precautions were being taken to make absolutely certain such an unfortunate incident never happened again. The letter was signed by a high official of the railway.

The gentleman was well satisfied with this reply and was returning it to the envelope when a slip of paper fell out onto the floor. The hastily scribbled note on it read: "Send this guy the bug letter."

Both the method of transport (airplane, train) and the type of pest encountered (bedbug, flea, cockroach) vary from telling to telling.
Some versions situate the bedbugging in a snooty big-city hotel.
Origins: The

bedbug letter has been part of contemporary lore since the early 1940s. Its age notwithstanding, it continues to update itself, with overnight travel by Pullman car replaced by long distance journeys by airplane, and paperclipped instructions upgraded to Post-It notes.

Did a real event spark off this legend? Possibly. Brunvand reports on a 1992 letter from the corresponding secretary of the George Mortimer Pullman Encomium Society in which it was claimed the bed bugging took place on 4 March 1889 to a Mr. Phineas P. Jenkins, a salesman of pig-iron products. After spending a night in the company of far too many bedbugs (which in my book would number "one"), Jenkins penned a note of complaint to George M. Pullman, President of the Pullman Palace Car Company. In return, Jenkins received a wonderfully detailed and heartfelt apology from Pullman. Its effect was undermined, however, by the enclosure of his original letter, across which Pullman had handwritten "Sarah -- Send this S! O! B! the 'bedbug letter.'"

An interesting incident was recorded as a news story in November 2000, and there's little reason to doubt it. Ian Payne wrote the BBC to request a season of Jean Simmons films and the autograph of Lorraine Heggessey. He received back a short letter saying it could not consider a Simmons season at this time. Attached to it was a Post-It note reading: "Nutter, polite fob off -- no autograph."

The BBC has since gone on record as saying, "We have apologised unreservedly to Mr. Payne. We have tried to find out who wrote the post it note and we have compared the handwriting from the officers and we cannot find anybody’s handwriting who matches it. We are mystified at this."

Though this is not quite the bedbug story (a recurrent condition was not being passed off as a one-time occurrence), the element of a customer's written communication being responded to with a polite letter marred by the inclusion of a "send this guy a fob off note," thus revealing the real sentiments behind the response, is close.

Barbara "apology excepted" Mikkelson

Last updated: 10 December 2000

caesar salad

Status: False.

Origins: It

seems obvious, right? Caesar salad must have been named for Julius Caesar, or maybe he even invented it. After all, those ancient Romans knew how to eat, and this guy was the most famous of them all!

It's hard to argue with logic such as that. Nevertheless, we shall.

Caesar salads have no connection whatsoever to Julius Caesar, or indeed to any of the Caesars who ruled Rome and her far-flung empire. It instead honors Caesar Cardini, a famed restaurateur who invented the dish in Tijuana, Mexico, in 1924. His original recipe called for romaine, garlic, croutons, Parmesan cheese, boiled eggs, olive oil, and Worcestershire sauce. He was said to be staunchly against the inclusion of anchovies in the mixture, contending that Worcestershire sauce is adequate to provide the faint fishy flavor. (So, for the record, is Alton Brown of FoodTV's Good Eats. He too eschews anchovies in favor of Worcestershire, as per the recipe he shared with television audiences as part of a 21 September 2002 "Salad Daze" segment.)

Those intent upon locating a famed dish named for a widely-known military leader need look no further than Beef Wellington, a hearty main course offering composed of beef, liver pate, bacon, and brandy, all done up in a puff pastry. That culinary delight was named for Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington, he who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo.

Barbara "tastes better than a Wellington boot, too" Mikkelson

Last updated: 23 September 2002

Smart Professor continued

After seeing Kaitlin's posting about the smart Professor Bonk (who is a real professor at Duke), I emailed him to get the scoop:

Professor Bonk,
Hello, my name is Kaitlin Corrigan, and I am an undergraduate student at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. I am studying history and I am currently taking a class about invented traditions and urban legends. An urban legend about you recently came to the attention of my class and I was wondering if you could confirm or deny it for us. Thank you for your time.

There was an incident in the 1960s on which this story might have been based, otherwise it is totally urban legend. If it was based on that incident, it has been grossly embellished. However, I certainly have enjoyed taking credit for it even if undeserved.Thanks for your inquiry.--J.Bonk

It sounds this urban legend may actually be based in something, but if so, his ambiguity about what that actually was only gives it room for further revision. I'm really curious as to what it may be based on, I wish her weren't so evasive, but maybe it' something confidential since it has to do with grades.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Tom Cruise Video

As promised, here's the link to the Tom Cruise gets blasted (by water) video.
Water in the face!

Also, as a bonus, here's a link to the story about Ol Cruise and his knowledge about medicine.

What are they putting in the water out west these days?

Catherine The Great and the horses

Stumbled on this after an argument with a friend. Now that i'm in this class I find myself challenging anything anyone says as a myth.

this speaks to the rumor that Catherine the Great had sex with horses, and actually died while one was being lowered on her.

Wizard of Oz suicide

I guess the wizard of oz has a lot of legends associated with it. This one, which I always thought was true, is that a munchkin hanged himself on set while filming, and if you looked closely you could see it. There was always something creepy about that movie, not as much as Return to Oz, which may be the scariest movie of the past 50 years.

Jamie Lee Curtis....

Has anyone else ever heard the rumor that Jamie Lee Curtis is a hermaphrodite, or "intersexual". I remember hearing it growing up, and Snopes says its undetermined. So, if anyone knows her, could you ask, I'd really appreciate it.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

It's pretty much my favorite animal.

Though they are not bred for their skills in magic, Napoleon Dynamite wasn't making up the "liger". People seem to laugh at the idea of a lion and a tiger mix when its mentioned in the movie as if it's an impossibility. Anyway, a friend of mine quoted the movie and then said that she had heard the animal really does exist. It doesn't seem like that much of a stretch, but I figured I'd check it out anyway. Here's what had to say:

And for some comic relief...

Smart Professor

Here's another funny story about how Professors outsmart their students. I got it in a FWD from my Uncle yesterday.

Introductory Chemistry at Duke has been taught for about a zillion years by Professor Bonk (really), and his course is semi-affectionately known as "Bonkistry." He has been around forever.
Anyway, one year there were these two guys who were taking Chemistry and who did pretty well on all of the quizzes and the midterms and labs, etc., such that going into the final they had a solid A.
These two friends were so confident going into the final that the weekend before finals week (even though the Chem final was on Monday), they decided to go up to University of Virginia and party with some friends up there. So they did this and had a great time. However, with their hangovers and everything, they overslept all day Sunday and didn't make it back to Duke until early Monday morning.
Rather than taking the final then, what they did was to find Professor Bonk after the final and explain to him why they missed the final. They told him that they went up to University of Virginia for the weekend, and had planned to come back in time to study, but that they had a flat tire on the way back and didn't have a spare and couldn't get help for a long time and so were late getting back to campus.
Bonk thought this over and then agreed that they could make up the final on the following day. The two guys were elated and relieved.
So, they studied that night and went in the next day at the time that Bonk had told them. He placed them in separate rooms and handed each of them a test booklet and told them to begin. They looked at the first problem, which was something simple about polarity and solutions and was worth 5 points. "Cool" they thought, "this is going to be easy." They did that problem and then turned the page. They were unprepared, however, for what they saw on the next page. It said:
(95 points) Which tire?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Coca cola and the Swastika

Alright, I checked it out, and in 1925 Coca cola did a campaign using the Swastika emblem.
An explanation behind this dates much further back. The origins of the Swastika go back 3000 years to Troy ( The original meanings of the symbol were meant for luck and prosperity. So in the 1920s and 1930s the swastika could be found in various american ads (check out for some really interesting pictures). The Boy Scouts used the symbol as did the American 45th Air Division during WWI.

The second site that I have listed is also interesting because it presents the argument that the swastika, with its originally positive connotations, is no less offensive and evil than the christian cross, with its historically bleak beginnings.

I imagine some urban legends surfaced on the net about Coca cola being linked to Nazism because of the 1925 emblem; however, due to the use of the symbol preWWII, it is clear that none of those rumors hold up.

Another "great" essay answer

To go along with the discussion in class I am posting an email that I received from a friend, who received it from a friend… following the typical pattern of these chain letters. It is a supposed essay that some professor received, and although it is not the classic “one word” or “phrase” answers that are typical of college lore, it is funny. I looked up phrases of the essay on the internet and could not find any validation of it actually occurring, but it is posted on several blogs. I actually like it better as a possible story, as opposed to those quick answers, because the student actually wrote out an entire theory and supported it. Enjoy!

The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term. The answer by one student was so "profound" that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.

Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant.

One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no
souls are leaving.

As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different Religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell.

Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.

Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:
1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.
2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?
If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, "it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you," and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number 2 must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over.
The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct...leaving only Heaven thereby proving
the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting "Oh my God."


Old man in front of Schenley

I could have sworn I read an article a year or two ago about the old man who sits in front of the Schenley, but I didn't find anything from the Hatchet records other than this, an article which finds out what it thought to be true, but does not verify or refute any of the stories.

Drug Company Conspiracy

I'm not sure if we've talked about this already, because I remember hearing about it either on the blogger or in class. Nevertheless, I wanted to share this book with all of you. It's on the Amazon's top-seller list right now. The author is claiming that corporations (the bad guys, once again) are selling manufactured food that they, along with the FTC and the FDA, know is harmful, just to gain profit for itself as well as the drug companies. He then claims that the drugs that the drug companies are pushing are actually what is making the patient sick. According to him, the government is in this huge conspiracy with the drug companies, and they are risking our health and well-being to make money. Not sure I buy it.

Check out a blurb on the book here

Oops, here's a website that says the author was sued by the FTC for making false claims about his "All-Natural Treatments"

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


I'm addicted to the internet...luckily sometimes my addiction leads me to interesting (unbelievable) stories.

Check that out. I thought it was pretty interesting considering our recent discussions about hauntings and ghosts.

Voting Rights To Expire in 07'

According to an e-mail chain letter the voting rights of blacks will expire in the year 2007. The letter has been circulated and claims that in 2007 blacks are going to lose all that their ancestors worked for and they will once again suffer a denial of voting rights.

I thought this was kind of funny as I find it impossible to believe that this could ever happen. Even if there were any kind of truth to the claim I would imagine that congress would work around the clock to enact legislation that prevented this from happening.

Well, the e-mail turned out to be a hoax although there is some truth to the rumor. The Voting Rights Act is due to expire, but as I though congress would not allow this to happen. Statements have been issued to assure that voting rights infact are permanent.

Here is the link to the story. . .

What's In Lake Tahoe?

I've lived and worked in Lake Tahoe for about three years now. Working at a ski resort I come into contact with tons of tourists every day. They all have questions about the lake and, not even thinking about what I am saying, I often answer them as if I were an expert on the area. The lake itself is kind of an unsolved mystery since it is so deep that is has yet to be charted. I guess this fascinates people because tourists always seem to have a million questions about what's down there. I always reply to their questions by telling of the human bodies that are suspended in the lake in perfect form.

The story goes like this, murderers (specifically the mafia) used to use Lake Tahoe as a dumping ground for bodies because the nature of the lake makes it so that the bodies will never float to the surface to cause question or present evidence of crime. The great depth makes it so that the bodies remain suspended in the water about half way down. And if you were to dive in the lake you would find hundreds of these bodies floating there, and they will all be in near perfect form since the low temperature of the lake makes it as though the bodies were freezed in a block of ice.

I probably tell this story about once a week. But now that I think about it I have no idea why. I've never taken a class or read a book about Lake Tahoe so the only way I could of come across this story is by hearing it from others. The very fact that the lake is uncharted would suggest that people have no idea what is down there. Yet, I recite the tale as the absolute truth nearly every time I am questioned. In looking up the story, I found the below article in the San Francisco Chronicle. It recites the story almost exactly as I do, but provides no more proof of the claim then I can. When looking it up on snopes I was disappointed to see that there was no reference to the story. Perhaps it is just an urban legend, or perhaps it is truth. Untill someone is able to go deep into Tahoe we'll never know for sure. But, if you talk to us locals we'll tell you that what is in Tahoe is indeed dead bodies suspended in the water, and we will give you everything short of hard evidence to defend our story.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Spike Through the Head

Our class discussion today reminded me of a lesson I had in psychology. There was a case in which a railroad worker, Phineas Gage survived for years with a railroad spike through his brain, suggesting that we do not need certain parts of our brain to function... its kind of crazy, check it out:

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Elevator legend

I found an article on Snopes that discusses the Reggie Jackson-with-a-dog-in-the-elevator-and-a-clueless-white-lady legend discussed in Brunvand's chapter the Choking Doberman. This analysis of the legend is similar but also quite different in several ways, for example, in not asserting the centrality of the presence of the dog or in keeping Reggie Jackson as the prime character. Apparently not only do urban legends change with the telling, but so do objective studies of them, reminiscent of our game of telephone.

Other Conspiracy theories

Last Thursday's class got me thinking about other theories I have heard about. In fact, at my old high school our "sociology" class was actually one professor talking about this stuff. Great class. Have you guys heard about these or any others??

Black helicopters spying on Americans
The real rulers of the world
My personal favorite: Ancient nuclear weapons

Pop rocks and Coke...

My friends and I were at a gas station convenience store this weekend and, feeling a little nostalgic, picked up some old school candy. We saw Pop Rocks, and them all having heard me talk about urban legends, decided to get them, and some Cokes. After slightly freaking ourselves out about the possibility of our stomachs exploding, we simultaneously ate the Pop Rocks and then chugged the Cokes. None of us died, but we were suffering from belches for the rest of the evening.
Our little challenge to fate made me want to research this urban legend. reports it as false. This rumor has been going around since the late seventies after the candy was introduced. Little Mikey, the kid for the Life cereal commercial, did not die from eating the candy and drinking soda as he was rumored to have done. Instead the makers of Pop Rocks have done serious PR work to make sure this urban legend is reported as false.

The Wakulla Volcano

Here's an urban legend from my neck of the woods... Apparently back in the 1800s a column of smoke could be seen near the Florida capital. While Tallahassee was somewhat dry, the surrounding areas were and, some still are, thick in swamps. This smoke column was located deep in the Wakulla swamps and was impossible to reach. In any case, the real reason for the smoke has never been found and even today the story continues to be told and investigated.

Wakulla Volcano Archive

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Move over Ghostbusters

SO I was intrigued by Michaela's information on haunted areas and ghosts in DC. I laughed, but I shouldn't have, because apparently, the area of DC is protected by Ghost watchers. I'm not joking:
Yes, they actually refer to themselves as Ghost watchers. THey do not have the capabilities to exterminate the ghosts, they just like to watch them.
Sorry, I am being completely inconsiderate, just check out the webpage if you are so inclined. Based on my expertise on this subject, I have concluded that these guys are all loons.
Not to worry though, further googling of DC ghost watchers led me to this site: Now, this site is serious, it has accounts and recordings of spirit voices that can be heard in your kitchen. Well, maybe not YOUR kitchen, but definitely the people's kitchens on this webpage. As the website suggests, you can apparently hear ghosts speak through your coffee pot. I think I shall go brew a cup right now.
Now, one more website. Based on this website:,
there are "ghost stalkers" all over the united states and in other parts of the world. I imagine these people also comprise the X-files fan club, but yes, there are actual ghost stalkers, hunters, trackers, watchers, spirit seekers, apparition chasers....I looked for some ghostbusters but found none, to my dissapointment.
Very interesting.

Friday, June 17, 2005


Kaitlin's post got me thinking about the subject of ghosts, and how many places we believe to be haunted. There are so many inns, restaurants, and other miscellaneous places that gain a lot of their customes simply because they claim to be haunted. These places usually have an urban legend to tell about their ghost or ghosts, who is usually a former resident of the house. I'm sure people believe these stories, but do you think others who may not believe play along just because they enjoy the thrill? Here is a website listing a bunch of places in DC that are apparently hauted. I think people like to be scared (that is why we go to scary movies, right?), and adding a legend to a ghost makes it more real.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


As promised, here is the link to an entirely off-topic phenomenon: the metamorphosis of Michael Jackson's face. Enjoy!

Weird NJ

I don't know where the rest of you are from, but I grew up in between PA and NJ (long story, don't ask). Weird NJ has been a popular magazine among my friends and I since middle school and I've actually been to a lot of the places where the stories come from. I have had a fascination with ghosts since I understood what death was and a lot of the Weird NJ stories have to do with hauntings in insane asylums, etc. Basically the website is just a massive collection of Urban Legends. It's actually quite fascinating. I figured you all might be interested in reading about NJ a little may offer an explanation as to why people from NJ are so weird! :-P

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Telltale Heart

I was watching an old episode of The Simpsons the other day and stumbled across an episode that reminded me of our class. A good summary of the story can be found here. A shorter summary is posted here from

Bart tries to impress Jimbo Jones and his friends by stealing the head of the Jebediah Springfield statue in the town square. The townspeople are devastated by his act of vandalism and only Homer can help him return the head to its shoulders and fend off the angry mob.

Eventually the entire town turns on the culprit and goes after Bart with torches because they are so enraged. It reminded me about the important role that statues play in providing a place with a sense of unity. To help sum up how intense the town gets about finding the culprit (Bart of course), I have a quote again and it is from Krusty the Clown:

Krusty: (Grimly) There's someone out there in Krustyland who has committed an atrocity! If you know who cut of Jebediah's head, I don't care if it's your brother, your sister, your daddy or your mommy. (Cheerfully) Turn 'em in, and Krusty will send you a free slide-whistle just like Sideshow Bob's!

Also the episode has a part that even mocks the validity of these sensational monument stories (Apple Tree anyone) in the following sequence (this one is from The Simpsons Archive)

[Caption: SPRINGFIELD: A CITY HELD HOSTAGE. DAY ONE (dramatization)] Jebediah Obadiah Zachariah Jedediah Springfield, he was…
[A cheesy documentary. Jebediah chops wood.]
In 1838, along the way, he met a ferocious bear…
[What is obviously a man in a bear costume appears.]
[Jebediah discards his axe and wrestles the bear.]
[The caption `dramatization' reappears.]
And killed him with his bare hands. That's B-A-R-E hands.
[Jebediah wins]
We've recently uncovered evidence that the bear, in fact, probably killed him.

Anyway in the end the episode was pretty funny. But I was laughing because the whole time I could not get over the fact that the statue looked familiar. Well everyone… here he is… a man who needs no introduction. Oregon’s own The Golden Pioneer.

Yeah I’m not gonna lie… he is a pretty boss statue. Can anyone rival The Golden Pioneer? Post a statue from your state if you would like. But come on… be real… nothing can REALLY compete with The Golden Pioneer. Over and out.

cellphones in gas stations

this i heard from a friend. if you use your cellphone while filling gas your gas tank may explode because of the radio waves can light up the benzine.i dont know if this is true or not but i will try to find out if it true or not will let you know.

sun screen

I wanted to tell you a story about a very serious thing. We still use sun screen on our whole family, but we are more cautious now. I tell you this only to make you more aware and use caution.
When Zack was 2 years old I put on the waterproof sun screen like I always had. I don't know how but he got some in his eyes. Most likely from his hands. It happens so easily at that age or any age really.He started screaming!! So I tried to flush it out with water. But guess what? Didn't matter . . . Remember WATERPROOF. So I just held him and let he cry, thinking the salty tears would flush it all out. But it got worse.
I called the poison control center. They told me to RUSH Zack to ER NOW!! I was surprised. I got him there and they rushed me back without a second to spare. They started flushing his eyes out with special medications.
Anyway, I found out for the first time that MANY kids each year lose their sight to waterproof sun screen. It burns the eye and they lose complete sight.!!! I was appalled. I could not believe the sun screen we use to help keep our kids safe from skin cancer can make them go blind!
Well I made a big stink about it. I wrote the sun screen company and they admitted to the problem but they said something to the fact that the seriousness of getting skin cancer is much worse then the chance of going blind. I think it's wrong if just one child goes blind! They should change ingredients or should at least have a huge warning on it. But they claim that if you put a huge warning on it then parents won't use it due to fear. I kind-of get that but there needs to be a change. We did this huge article in our big city and went on the news warning parents. Education along with the importance of using it.
Well anyway Zack did go blind for 2 days, it was horrible. So please be careful!!! Don't stop using sun screen, just be very careful your children don't touch there eyes for at least 15-20 minutes after you put it on!! And if your child does get it in his/her eyes then get to the emergency room at once!

Judas Priests

After our discusion about music on Wednesday, I googled Judas Priest and dicovered that it was them that were charged with encouraging the suicides of two young fans. They were sued by the boys' famillies but the band won. During my googling I discovered a web site that shows a brief history of bands and their battles with censorship from 1950's musicians like Elvis Presly and Loyd Pierce to more relativly modern bands like The Dead Kennedy's and Marilyn Manson. It's pretty intresting.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Wow! Here's one for the cannibalism pages...

Courtesy of Matt Drudge, here is quite a story! It's as if they made it up just for our class:
Abortionist accused of eating fetuses
Kansas City clinic closed as grisly house of horrors

Posted: June 14, 200510:49 p.m. Eastern
© 2005

A Kansas City abortionist is out of business after investigators discovered a grisly house of horrors at his clinic – with fetuses kept in Styrofoam cups in his refrigerator and one employee accusing him of microwaving one and stirring it into his lunch.
The unsanitary conditions in Krishna Rajanna's clinic prompted legislative approval of new abortion regulations in Kansas, a bill that was vetoed by the governor. Rajanna's activities have reportedly been the subject of law-enforcement investigations for nearly two years.
Rajanna first came to the attention of police in September 2003 when he called police to investigate alleged employee theft.
Detective William Howard of the Kansas City Police Department responded.
"I thought I had heard and seen every vile, disgusting crime scene, but was in for a new shock when I started this investigation," he would say later. Howard turned the matter over to the local district attorney and three state agencies.
Topping the list of horrors was an employee's account that she and others witnessed Rajanna "microwave one of the aborted fetuses and stir it into his lunch," as Howard recalled earlier this year when testifying before a Kansas House committee.
Rajanna denied the accusation. But he did keep fetuses in Styrofoam cups in the refrigerator along with food and drink.
"Dr. Rajanna lacked personal hygiene," testified Howard. "His hair was messy, hands dirty, and his clothing was wrinkled and stained. He put on old, used foot booties while we were there."
Howard testified the clinic was dark, dingy, had poor lighting and smelled musty. There were dirty dishes in the break-room sink and on the table, trash everywhere, and roaches crawling on the countertops. Howard was afraid to sit down.
Howard noted there were no hazardous waste containers anywhere. (An employee later testified Rajanna took home all contaminated, medical and biohazard waste for residential trash pick-up.)
As for the "procedure room," Howard's partner spotted dried blood on the floor and said the room looked "nasty."
Two dishwashers located next to the staff toilet served as sterilizers, according to employee testimony. Photographs show the toilet was bloody and functioned as a human waste disposal in the literal sense.
On Saturday, the State Board of Healing Arts voted unanimously to revoke Rajanna's license.
In March, a board inspector made two surprise visits to Rajanna' clinic. He reported the facility was unclean and that he found syringes of medications in an unlocked refrigerator. The inspector also reported finding a dead mouse in the hallway.
Rajanna said in his 10 years of performing abortions in Kansas City, no patient has complained about care.
Rajanna can appeal the decision to district court. He argued that he had not been given an opportunity to meet with the inspector to correct the deficiencies. But board members concluded that Rajanna's clinic represented a danger and said that as a doctor, he shouldn't have needed the board's prodding to keep a clinic clean and safe.
Board members also noted that Rajanna had been previously disciplined, in 2000 and 2001, for not properly testing his patients for their blood types and for improperly labeling medications. Also, in February, Rajanna signed an agreement to improve his clinic's conditions and paid a $1,000 fine.
With Rajanna's case pending, abortion opponents won legislative approval of a bill requiring abortion clinics to obtain an annual license from the Department of Health and Environment, hire surgeons as their medical directors and report patient deaths to the state within a day. The measure also mandated that the department set standards for equipment, medical screenings, ventilation and lighting.
But Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, an abortion-rights advocate, vetoed the measure, saying medical professionals – not legislators – should set standards.

My question is this: clearly the man was incredibly unhygenic, but does being that gross really mean you'd cross the line that easily into eating aborted fetuses? I know plenty of people with no grasp on cleanliness, but that is a big accusation. The fact that the man was shut down for being disgusting on many levels is one thing, fine really. But the headline is about him possibly eating fetuses. I guess the story wasn't quite attention getting enough...
There is a link at the bottom of the story, quite the editorial. I can't get the pics to work...if you can, would you mind posting them (that is, if they're not x rated)? Thanks!

Field of Dreams

So as an Iowan, of course our discussion of the Field of Dreams got me thinking about Dyersville and Shoeless Joe. This website says that the field in Dyersville is actually the site where the movie was made. IMDB confirms this. Somehow as a native Iowan, I missed that they were actually making this movie a few hundred miles away.

Anyway, the point is, the Field of Dreams has become such an Iowan invented tradition that never existed prior to the movie in 1989. Driving anywhere in the state you are still, almost 20 years after this movie, guaranteed to see several "Is this heaven?" bumper stickers. The created nostalgia surrounding this movie and the baseball field made for the filming is amazing. And while I don't know anyone who has actually visited Iowa for the purpose of seeing this field (in fact I don't know anyone who has visited Iowa for any reason other than they had to), the hype around it keeps it going. If you don't believe me, look at this website. All you saps out there better get some tissues before you click.

The real Iowa is nothing like this at all. Not even the small towns. Call me a cynic, I can handle it.

Bother, the links aren't working. Here is the first one:
and the third:
Yes, I know the opening pages look the same, but they are different sites, believe me.

Boston Strangler

I was stuck, sick in bed at home in Boston this weekend. On her way out one morning my mother playfully reminded me not to open the door to anyone-- not even a police man. Her paranoia springs from the experience she had while growing up, when the Boston Strangler terrorized Boston neighborhoods by dressing in different uniforms, such as a service man and then strangling women in their homes. When I was a little girl her warnings were not playful, but strict and serious. Many of my friends parents instilled the same practice in their children. Of course there is not currently a Boston Strangler, so our parents' warnings seem a little stupid, but I think this practice is an example of a certain value being passed on to future generations because it is effective. Being wary of opening the door to strangers is a Boston tradition that continues becuase people feel that it is better to be safe than sorry.

Becareful who you talk to...

I guess even the big stars get it wrong sometimes- In an interview with “Entertainment Weekly” Tom Cruise answers questions about his religion (Scientology) and blatantly re-lays an urban legend.
“The movie star continued, "Look at the experimentation the Nazis did with electric shock and drugging. Look at the drug methadone. That was originally called Adolophine. It was named after Adolf Hitler." The magazine also questions Cruise on this point, explaining, "According to the Dictionary Of Drugs And Medications... this is an urban legend."
While did not have any information on stories behind Adolophine or methadone, I did find the history of the drug at this website- . I think that this quote from Mr. Cruise is a representation of how religions, and stories that are incorporated into these religions can directly affect one’s beliefs. And how one should be careful when discussing religion with journalists.
To read the interview with Tom Cruise go to

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Mountain Dew

Anyone remember this one? I was at work yesterday and somehow the topic of Mountain Dew lowering sperm count came up...obviously I know it's not true, but I distinctly remember the boys in my 5th grade class being deathly afraid of yellow number 5 dye and Mountain Dew. I decided to see what had to say about it and it's origins. Unfortunately it doesn't have much to say about how the rumour originated, but it has some funny variations of the story...

The Residents

Stumbled across this interesting band called The Residents. had this to say about the band...

Over the course of a recording career spanning several decades, the Residents remained a riddle of Sphinx-like proportions; cloaking their lives and music in a haze of willful obscurity, the band's members never identified themselves by name, always appearing in public in disguise — usually tuxedos, top hats and giant eyeball masks — and refusing to grant media interviews. Drawing inspiration from the likes of fellow innovators including Harry Partch, Sun Ra, and Captain Beefheart, the Residents channelled the breadth of American music into their idiosyncratic, satiric vision, their mercurial blend of electronics, distortion, avant-jazz, classical symphonies and gratingly nasal vocals reinterpreting everyone from John Philip Sousa to James Brown while simultaneously expanding the boundaries of theatrical performance and multimedia interaction.

The reason that this caught my attention in regard to Urban Legends is because many people refuse to allow the band to remain a secret. In countless interviews (including this interview with Chris Hollow) you find the spokespeople for the band fighting off someone who is pressing about the identity of the band. I sense that there is some similarity to urban legends, because people really want to understand something that they cannot. In The Residents case, the band members have remained a secret for 30 years and yet people still ask questions about the members in the band. In the case of urban legends, I get a feeling that many of them start or are formed because people need to understand something that they cannot understand. For instance with cow tipping, I highly doubt cattle owners started the urban legend. Instead it was most likely started by people who knew nothing about cows (or the country life in general) and so in an effort to understand it this ridiculous story surfaces. Well in the end the late and great dead Frank Zappa is NOT a member of The Residents (as asked by interviewer Chris Hollow) and the countless attempts at pinning famous artists to this collective will most likely never stop, but luckily the band does not seem to mind all that much. Long live bands that wear eyeball masks.

Cannibalism in Old Town Alexandria, or how pink lemonade was created

I went on a ghost tour last night of Old Town and towards the end of the tour we stopped at an icehouse. Our tour guide began telling us stories about things that had happened there and then he began talking about the town mortuary. Turns out that owners of restaurants would rent blocks of ice in the ice house to the mortuary across the street. Families could pay to keep the “stiff on ice”, or so to speak. The funny thing about dead bodies though is that they decompose even if kept refrigerated, so as the body decomposed and some of the ice melted, the bits and pieces of the dead body would re-freeze into the ice. Well unsuspecting families could come and buy a block of ice, even one that had once kept a dead body cool, and take it back to their homes. For some reason the people in Alexandria were really fond of lemonade and as they would put ice into their lemonade, it of course melted. This caused the bits and pieces of human decay that had been stuck in the ice to mix with the lemonade, and supposedly turning it pink.
I have no clue about the validity of this story, but I found it interesting that the people of George Washington’s era were supposedly unsuspecting cannibals.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Infomercial credibility??

Alright guys, I too find infomercials to be a waste of time for sad, late-late night television channel surfers--yeah, the magic bullet was a colossal disappointment; however, I find myself wondering if this one upholds some credibility.
I've seen this particular program on tv several times, what do you guys think?? This guy promotes his book "Natural Cures they don't want you to Know about."
Basically, the book details the efforts of pharmaceutical companies, government regulators, and doctors to scam money from us by creating FDA approved medication instead of encouraging the use of cheap, natural cures for diseases ranging from MS, to cancer, to obesity, to Alzheimers, to depression, etc etc. This guy, Kevin Trudeau, claims that there isn't a profit in creating cures, so why tell patients you can cure depression naturally when you can perscribe expensive medication instead?? I haven't read the book, so I can't say how convincing the information is or how extensive, but the program on tv sparks my curiosity every time.
Check out the website for more information:

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Cancer From Hair Dye?

My father isn't one for fake beauty or messing with products to change your appearance. So of course it is always a big dramatic fight whenever myself or one of my brothers comes home with dyed hair. Whether we dye our whole head another perfectly natural color or just put in a couple of radical streaks he flips out. Most parents would give the whole speech about loving yourself and not changing who you are and all that. But my dad always instantly comes out with 'that stuff'll give you cancer.' My dad is not the most eduated person in the world so we always just laugh at this remark, dying your hair does not give you cancer.

But I got a little curious as to where he got this from. He couldn't have just pulled it out of nowhere. I figured it was some urban legend. So I did a little looking and found this report that ran in USA Today. Apparently my dad is not insane and hair dye really can give you cancer.

Tracking Cannibalism

In working on the paper for today on cannibalism I spent a lot of time looking through books in the library and sites online about different instances of cannibalism. What I mostly found were accounts of cannibalism referenced here or there, mentioned in passing but never fully explained. In searching for a topic I went through a number of cases, searching for one that had substantial evidence to back up the claims. Well, I never did find much subsantial evidence. With the exception of the Anasazi that we read about, the Donner Party, and a few other cases it seems like most of these accounts are primarily a product of oral tradition. This is not to say that cannibalism didn't or doesn't exit. But it definately makes me wonder how much truth there is to many of these stories.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Hurricane tracks

This map is great. I was in Germany for two of these hurricanes and it was somewhat difficult to keep up with US news. Soon after the end of hurricane season, I recieved the same email with the supposed paths of these canes. I loved how they went through Gore territory.. Good thing Leon County voted for Bush... Do yall know of any other situations where maps have been used to help prove or make a case for a point??

Snoopes debunking the email

Da Vinci Codes

I was just thinking about the Da Vinci Codes and the other Dan Brown books that have been so popular lately. We are told in Brown's introduction that not all of his claimed "facts" are indeed facts, but that some of his historical references are real. However, we can judge by the popularity of the so-called decoding books that followed Brown's book that people tend to believe most of what Brown has written. His stories just seem so believable because he writes about things that remain unexplained. People feel lost when they do not have an explanation for things, so they tend to grasp onto any explanation, no matter how accurate it appears. Even having read Brown's introductions and remaining skeptical of his "facts", I still find myself wishing that his stories were true. It's almost as though if something is in print, then we believe it to be true. This reminds me of the Jayson Blair scandal (the guy who was caught embellishing and lying in his NY Times column). I won't go into the scandal, but when is the last time you really questioned the news?

Monday, June 06, 2005

Vanuatu cannibalism

I found Aren's article on cannibalism particularly disconcerting because for a long time I have been addicted to travel television and I remember watching many programs in which cannibalism was alleged by the natives themselves. On an old tape I found an interview between travel guide Ian Wright and a native of Vanuatu about cannibalism. While again it is not a first-hand account (although I could swear on "Exotic Islands" hosted by Hunter Reno she talked to someone who had eaten human flesh) this is not a case of white westerners making the islanders the Other. The islanders themselves avowed that they did. I surfed the web a little bit to see if I could find any information, but I couldn't easily find any authoritative sources. Interestingly, however, many tourism related sites mention cannibalism, while the official site of the government of Vanuatu does not. Also, in the interview the native of Vanuatu says cannibalism last took place around 1939, while I saw different dates, such as the 1960s and 1987. Here is the dialogue from the show, I also have a copy of the show on video tape if anyone wants to see the interview for themselves;

Traveler: Missionaries arrived here in 1839 and the first two immediately got eaten. They still don't like strangers wandering around on their own, so it seemed wise to take a tour with one of the island's chiefs, Chief Enos.
Traveler: "So, what's all this talk about um cannibalism on the island then? Why do you eat people?"
Chief Enos: "If you are a champion..."
"A a strong man then we want to eat you because we will be strong...
"like you."
"Yeah. And will use use all your bones to make arrows to kill other people."
"But if you eat me you might end up stupid like me"
"It might work the other way won't it.?
"Yes, that's true."
"What does it taste like"
"Oh very sweet, better than uh all other meat."
"Have you have you tasted some?"
"No, no that's what they say."
"Ah I think you have haven't you?"
"No no."
"You mean not at all? No? When did cannibalism die out? When did it finish?"
"Cannibalism finish, Cannibalism is finished about 1939."

This is from Globe Trekker's "Fiji, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands" episode hosted by Ian Wright.

Strange but true

If you click on the pop-up for old lady who microwaved her pet at, you'll find stories of accidentally cooked pets. Snopes lists the origin and validity of the story as undetermined. I, however, do know someone who accidentally cooked a cat themselves. This is no foaf, I saw the cat after, which miraculously lived. A friend of mine in high school lived in a family with many cats. On day, her aunt pre-heated either the over or the broiler, I forget which one, and went about her business. Shortly thereafter, she heard a cat screeching, and figured the cat had gotten locked into a kitchen cabinet, washer, dryer, etc., and began opening all the doors and drawers in the kitchen looking for the cat. Finally she noticed a buring smell and put two and two together, and opened the oven, and the cat leaped out. Most of its fur was cinged off, it was missing its whiskers, I believe its ears and tail were a little messed up, and the cat never acted quite right again, but they took it to the vet, and it did live. I saw the cat myself after. This true story does have some parallels with the ones circulating also. It was a woman who cooked the cat, and my friend lived with her single mother and several single aunts, paralleling the woman alone motif. Maybe it's just always a woman in the story because men are less likely to actually cook something?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

very funny tanning legend

I was reading a wedding chat board and ran across this legend (the typos belong to the original author, I left them as they added to the story, in my opinion):

A bride was to be married and wanted to have a nice tan, so for the 4 days before her wedding, she went from tanning salon to tanning salon, hitting the max amount of time that each salon would allow her, maybe hitting 4 or 5 salons in one day. she did this for about 4 days before her wedding. well the day of her wedding came and her MOH or someone else with her, was telling the bride that she had bad breathe so the bride brushed her teeth several times and could not get rid of the odor. everyone arrived at church and as she was walking down the isle, she collapsed and died. here she had fried the inside of her bodies, her organs and everything. she basically burned to death. i almost stated crying as i heard the story. that was the information that i was told, it could vary some but it is a true story. i just wanted to warn everyone has to how dangerous tanning beds can be if not used properly. so for those of you wjo tan, be cautious. sorry if i upset anyone here.

I found this to be absolutely ridiculous and browsed Here's what they had to say about it.
The sad thing is many people believed her story! As though the danger of cooking your guts is worse than skin cancer...

Friday, June 03, 2005

Dixie or Yankee??

The Coke/Soda debate we had yesterday (its Coke!!) reminded me about this quiz. There are 20 questions that, when answered, will tell you what region it is most common in. Then, at the end, it will compute your score. When ya'll get a chance, take it, and post your score.

I got 74% Dixie!!

P.S. How do you cut and paste the address on here??

Thursday, June 02, 2005

McDonald's Urban Legend

My sister called me last week to warn me that at the McDonald's down the street from my Father's store a man had taken a bite of his big mac and discovered that his "hamburger" was a rat patty (with a tail)! I laughed and told my sister that it couldn't be true, but she insisted and swore to me that she had seen the police outside the restaraunt. I can't verify that she was telling the truth, but I don't know why she would make it up. There are just so many fast food myths floating around that I had trouble believing her.

Please follow this link:
Hold the Mayo.

Pink Floyd and The Wizard of Oz

Apparently, if you begin Pink Floyd's album Dark Side of the Moon at the same moment that the THX logo come on the screen on the Wizard of Oz, what follows is a series of eerie coincidences. The words in Pink Floyd's songs reference what is going on in the movie. I tried this many years ago, and it actually does work. What is strange, however, is that the Dark Side producer, Alan Parsons, claims to have no idea how the two works became connected, as does Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright. Popular opinion seems to lean toward the coincidence being purely accidental. Anyways, why would a band decide to create an alternative soundtrack of a movie that was produced 34 years earlier? Whether or not the connections were intentional, the coincidences are disturbingly accurate. I highly suggest you all check it out.

Sex Images In Disney Movies

Since about highschool I've been hearing people say that there are hidden sexual images in most Disney movies. They always go on to tell me about the word 'sex' spelled out in the Lion King and about the priest getting an erection in the Little Mermaid. The people at Straight Dope seem to think these images are really there and claim to have seen them. . .

I've actually tried a couple times to watch these videos and pick out the so called subliminal sexual messages but I've never been able to find them. The people at snopes seem to have their doubts about the images as well and the status of the legend is still undetermined.

I guess when it comes down to it cartoons are art and art is sometimes absract so people can see things in different ways. So it's probably possible that some people really do see these sexual images. I find it hard to believe, however, that Disney and the animators intentionally put such images in the movies. But I don't know, has anyonoe ever actually found the sex implications in the Lion King, Little Mermaid, or any other Disney movie?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Seward's head on Lincoln's body

Today's field trip reminded me of a statue in Madison Square Park in New York City. Supposedly Randolph Rogers, the sculptor commissioned to cast Lincoln's rival William Seward in bronze, ran out of time/money/supplies and cast only Seward's head, affixing it to a "stock" body he had done of Lincoln years before. Here, the New York City Parks Department denies that.
However, if you've ever seen this statue, it does seem hilariously out of proportion. And wasn't Seward rather short and fat?

Historical Inaccuracies

I feel jipped. As I was searching for a topic to write my paper on, I happened on this site. I will admit I do not remember a lot of the history I learned in elementary school, but to discover that something I do remember learning isn't even true... (I cut and pasted below)
Luther and the 95 theses: It is a very widely held belief that Martin Luther, one of the leaders of the Reformation, had 95 theses printed up and that he subsequently nailed them to the cathedral door in Wittenberg, Germany on 1517-OCT-31. (Halloween). This action led to the creation of Reformation Sunday -- a Protestant celebration of the Reformation. But the nailing of the theses apparently never happened. The first account of the quasi-event did not appear until after Luther's death. Luther himself never mentioned it. In reality, Luther wrote a letter to his superiors on that day. In it, he denounced the sale of indulgences, asked that the believers receive their money back. He included 95 theses which he suggested as the basis for a discussion of the proposal. What a pity; the scene of Luther nailing his list to the cathedral door makes for great drama. (this site also talks about the school taught lie).

The obvious larger importance of this realization on my part is the question, well then, how much of history has been fabricated in some way?