When a large group of students starts acting strangely, some collapsing and others convulsing, most school administrators would call a doctor or at least check to see if the students hadn’t studied for a surprise quiz. At a school in the Philippines last week, they took the children to an exorcist.
Officials at Toong Integrated School in a village near Cebu City say 35 students from various grades began collapsing and convulsing in their classrooms at around 3pm. Two sisters claimed to be possessed by spirits which their mother believed was linked to two mango trees being cut down to build the school.
That was enough to convince teachers to call the nearby Mary Help of Christians Parish which sent Reverend Nicolas Ramos, a deacon trained in exorcisms. He sprinkled the children with holy salts and holy water and some of them reacted violently. Those 14 students were then taken to the Mary’s Little Children Community in Talisay City where Msgr. Frederick Kriekenbeek, the official exorcist of the Archdiocese of Cebu, performed exorcisms on them.
Was a mass exorcism really necessary? Dave Tumulak, chairperson of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, says it was probably mass hysteria.
In my personal assessment after going to the site, this is mass hysteria. One student claimed to have seen a little child, panicked and fainted. Those who helped said they saw the same and likewise fainted … until it became mass hysteria.
Tumulak went to the school later to talk to teachers and officials about mass hysteria and how to deal with the situation. Msgr. Joseph Tan, media liaison officer of the Archdiocese of Cebu, said that the incident will be investigated but would not admit to mass hysteria.
Let us just wait and see if the possessions continue to hound the students.
The next time these teachers notice their students acting strange, who do you think they’re going to call?…….
They were found buried with sharp farm sickles across their necks so their heads would be cut off if they tried to rise from the dead. Some had heavy rocks placed under their chins so they couldn’t open their mouths to bite a living person and pass on to them whatever it was that turned them into strange, frightening creatures and caused their quick, horrible and mysterious deaths in 17th century Poland. Were they truly vampires? New research suggests these poor souls were instead the first victims of a cholera epidemic.
The six vampire graves were found in a cemetery in Drawsko Pomorskie, a town in northwest Poland. The skeletons were among over 300 found at the site between 2008 and 2012. There was one male, four females and a child buried like vampires and it’s possible people at the time may have believed the man infected the others. Legends also suggest that vampires were outsiders to the community. According to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers led by Dr. Lesley Gregoricka, from University of South Alabama, were brought in to analyze the suspected vampires…….
Enrico Fermi’s famous paradoxical question in response to the high probability that extraterrestrial civilizations exist and should be visiting us has spawned a controversial answer and another question … and this time, the answer could get ugly.
“What if the first life that reaches interstellar travel capability necessarily eradicates all competition to fuel its own expansion?”
Alexander Berezin, a theoretical physicist at the National Research University of Electronic Technology in Russia, proposed in a new paper, published in arXiv, that the ability to leave one’s home planet and travel to other worlds may require the attitude that nothing will stand in their way and anything that does will be annihilated. Berezin calls this his “First in, last out” hypothesis, meaning that the first civilization to achieve the capacity to travel to other worlds will be the last civilization standing. (“Last Civilization Standing” – soon to be a major motion picture?)……
“Killer jacket” means different things to different people. To a woman in New York, it may mean a high fashion item. To a strange guy in Cleveland, it may mean an overcoat once worn by serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. To the members of a village in Zimbabwe, it means a jacket that is allegedly responsible for the deaths of at least 20 people in the same family who got sick and died after the patriarch put it on. No, this doesn’t appear to be a mistake due to Google Translate. And yes, one should wonder why the family didn’t donate the coat to a resale shop (Badwill?) after the first few deaths.
The story comes from The Manica Post, which reports that the strange case of the killer jacket came to light when the Chinoona family appeared in the court of Zimunya, a small village in the province of Manicaland on the east coast of Zimbabwe. Court? Yes, the family was appealing to the chief of the Zimunya court to order their uncle to destroy an “evil jacket” which they believe is responsible for the deaths of 20 family members.
There are a number of spirits and possessions in the story, so pay close attention. A grandchild in the family claimed to be possessed by the spirit of the family’s late father. The spirit said he had been murdered by the uncle and the murder weapon was the “evil jacket.” The jacket became evil after the uncle, Mutsiyabako, committed a previous murder and the spirit of that victim came to haunt him. When the uncle tried an “underworld” ritual to rid himself of the spirit, he was wearing the jacket. Mutsiyabako then gave the jacket to his sister to give to her husband (the patriarch). She later claimed the jacket was “heavier” than usual, but her husband wore it anyways, got sick suddenly and died a mysterious death. In 1998……
Among the world’s many religions, it’s pretty common to find that believers worship a god or gods which seem to resemble their own culture. While the existence of deities is debated ad infinitum, the religions that worship them are purely social constructions and, as such, are often subject to the biases and beliefs of those who belong to them. While some religions have rather rigid or monolithic depictions of their supreme beings, others offer some leeway in terms of how their god or gods are depicted.
Similarly, in one of the world’s largest religions, Christianity, depictions of God can vary somewhat due to the fact that the only descriptions of God found in the Bible are rather vague. The book of Genesis famously states that “God created man in his own image,” while Revelation 1:12-15 offers the following description of the Christian god:
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.
So does that mean God is an old man with bronze feet, flaming eyes, and a bushy white beard? While that seems to be one of the more common depictions in popular culture, a team of psychologists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill set out to determine how modern Christians visualize their lord and savoir. For their study, the team gathered 511 American-born Christians and showed them hundreds of pairs of randomly-generated faces. From those pairs, participants were asked to select one they felt most accurately matched how they imagined God to look. And the survey says………
Dissociative identity disorder, or DID, remains one of the most mysterious psychological conditions known to science. DID, formerly known as multiple personality disorder, causes individuals consciousnesses to essentially ‘split’ into distinct personality states. In these states, body language, vocal patterns, and even emotional states can vary significantly. Many individuals do not remember events that occurred while in different personality states. While Hollywood and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde tend to exaggerate the symptoms of this mental disorder, there have been documented cases of individuals with DID carrying out violent, sometimes demonic acts while in various personality states.
DID challenges our understandings of consciousness and the human mind, suggesting that consciousness might exist in discrete units separate from the brain or mind-body altogether. If one person’s mind can house multiple distinct personalities, which one represents that individual? Are all of the personalities ‘them?’ Where exactly in the mind do those personalities exist, and what are they made of?
While neuroscience and psychology are still tackling those questions, a new paper published in the Journal of Consciousness Studies takes our understanding of DID one step further into the strange. According to the paper, all living organisms in the universe are different dissociated alter personalities of one singular cosmic consciousness. The paper was written by philosopher Bernardo Kastrup, who according to his website “has a Ph.D. in computer engineering with specializations in artificial intelligence and reconfigurable computing.” You know, the stuff that makes you an expert on the nature of reality and consciousness…….
Earlier this year, Internet discussion forums were ablaze with a somewhat bizarre debate over whether extraterrestrials can go to Heaven. But more serious theologians have less provincial questions to ask, and some of these questions were explored at NASA’s September astrobiology symposium, titled (appropriately enough) Preparing for Discovery: A Rational Approach to the Impact of Finding Microbial, Complex, or Intelligent Life Beyond Earth. The event echoes similar interdisciplinary symposia on the social impact of discovering extraterrestrial life and the academic community’s possible responses to it.
While the full recording of the two-day symposium is not yet available online (the Library of Congress has promised to make it available within the near future), this 73-minute panel discussion from June on astrobiology and theology hints at some of the topics under discussion (though the symposium itself fortunately reflects a more diverse range of speakers):……
If you’re a sociologist of religion, one of the biggest stories of 2014 has been the decline in religious affiliation in the United States. Both the Pew Forum and the University of Chicago found that the number of unaffiliated Americans has more than doubled in recent years, to the point where roughly 1 in 5 Americans identifies as non-religious.
There are a wide range of theories as to why this happened, the most credible—in my opinion—centering on the culturally transformative role of the American Religious Right, which has made it very difficult to be both theologically conservative and politically liberal. But there’s another interesting factor that could help explain the growth of the secular community: the Internet. The MIT Technology Review’s end-of-year feature highlights an April study that found an interesting correlation between increased Internet usage and decreased religious participation……
Earlier this year, we talked about the possibility that it might be categorically impossible to tell you’re being lied to—and that lie detectors, even those that rely on neuroscience, might prove unreliable. A recent study is unlikely to change our minds much, but just as a traditional lie detector test can at least detect nervousness, neurological imagining may soon be able to tell us whether someone is actively in the process of recalling memories rather than constructing a new narrative.
That’s in part because we understand the neuroscience of perception and sensation, including the neuroscience of recalled perception and sensation, better than we understand almost any other kind of neuroscience. If a memory comes from recalled perception or sensation, it’s coming from a fairly familiar place. ……
Ghosts already have a scary appearance, frigid breath, loud noises and levitation in their bag of tricks. Do they really need to knock people over to get their attention? That may be the case as the number of videos of persons appearing to be knocked over by seen or unseen spirits is on the rise.
Charlene Hood of Bridgend, Wales, recently took this video of her one-year-old daughter Lexi playing peek-a-boo with her father, Gareth. It shows Lexi, who her parents describe as being “sturdy on her feet,” appear to be knocked over by an invisible force. They heard her say “naughty boy” as if she had seen who or what pushed her down. Naughty is too kind – what kind of ghost knocks down little girls? Since this happened, the Hoods report hearing creaking sounds in their house.
This security footage from late December 2014 shows Cecilia Carrasco appear to be violently pushed over in her lawyer’s office in Santiago, Chile. Cecilia reported feeling invisible hands push her down so hard that she had to be taken to the hospital where she was treated for head injuries. She says she now believes in ghosts and is afraid to leave her house.