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The Periodic Table Of Death

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Humankind has now discovered a total of 118 elements. That’s amazing, right?! The only trouble with that is that some of them may or have already committed murder. Throughout history, humans have quite the track record of discovering elements, not fully understanding them, and in turn using them to poison the masses. We know of hundreds or possibly thousands of people that died at the hand of these seemingly harmless substances.

Arsenic (As) has put a lot of hurt on a lot of people. Today, one might contract arsenic poisoning through drinking water, some Chinese herbal medicines, wood preservatives, among other things. However, around the 19th century, it was a common threat. Most of you have heard of Sheele’s green. It is a cupric hydrogen arsenate with yellow-green pigment, and was created by Carl Williams Sheele in 1775. In the 19th century, Sheele’s green became all the rage. You could find it in wallpaper, hanging papers,candles, paints, some children’s toys, and even dye in cotton and linens. The worst, though, was the wallpaper. The French loved this look:images-6.jpeg

I’ll admit. It’s very pretty. I choose life, though. It’s hard for us to imagine now that someone would use poison-laced paper to line the interior of their home.However, then it was a sought-after look.The deaths by walls were caused by the dust particles from the pigments in the paper that flaked and created a toxic gas product. I say toxic because it killed several hundred people within the span of a  year. It has also been speculated that Napoleon’s favorite green room played a part in his death.

The first recording of any issues was in 1862. Three children died from symptoms similar to diphtheria (a bacterial disease which causes the inflammation of mucous membranes and hinders breathing and swallowing).In the 1890s, science finally proved that arsenic was deadly, The symptoms shown of arsenic poisoning include: headaches, chest complaints, nausea, and fatigue. Unfortunately, people who displayed these symptoms were often told to go in their rooms, which was basically like asking them to step into a green-hued gas chamber.

Naturally, as people found out the dangers of the wallpaper, they would rip it from the walls. This made it worse. The fumes were also released through moisture.

If that’s not enough, doctors prescribed arsenic-laced medications for all types of maladies, including morning sickness, worms, asthma, and rheumatism. There were tanjore pills which were basically black pepper and arsenic and were popular for British soldiers as an anti-venom. It was thought to cure the bite of a tsetse fly. Darwin used As to treat eczema, and had ill-health for the majority of his life. Asthma patients were often told to put arsenic in pipes with tobacco. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Next on the list is Radium (Ra). Marie Curie discovered Radium in 1898, and later won the Nobel Prize for doing such. It was then made extremely popular during The Bell Epoque, France’s golden era at the turn of the last century. The French began using the luminous element for almost any and everything. It was used in alarm clock dials, chapstick, water fountains, body lotions, cough syrups, toothpaste, topical ointments, and face creams. Marie herself kept radioactive salts by her beside, and her husband Pierre carried it around in his jacket pocket. It has been used to cure hair loss, impotence, arthritis, and high blood pressure. Once discovered that it had miraculous cancer cell killing properties, the French decided to put it in everything. Ladies began to want a glowing complexion, so they used RA in their make-up. Imagine this glowing face following you down a dark alley. Men, do you stop or keep going?

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Mercury (Hg) tells an interesting story. No, really, Lewis Carroll made a pretty big name of himself telling of the Mad Hatter. By now, most of us have heard the reason the hatters had all gone mad. It was Mercury poisoning.

images-5.jpegIn 19th century England, Mercurial diseases were common amongst hatters. the symptoms included tremors, irritability, and mental instability. Mercury had effects on the skin, eyes, kidneys, respiratory system (if inhaled), and the nervous system. It caused memory loss, speech problems, and ataxia ( the loss of full control of bodily movements). Hatters used the element to remove fur. Prior to this discovery, camel urine was used (which didn’t cause insanity unless you had an aversion to dealing with an animal’s urine). The use of Mercury in the felt industry was banned in the US in 1941. The beginning of usage dates back to 17th century France. The term “mad as a hatter” was coined 30 years before Carroll ever used it. The first description of symptoms was in Russia in 1829. I think they should have stuck with camel urine.

Lead (Pb) is mostly known for being found in paint. It has always been cheap and durable and therefore was revered by the likes of Rembrandt for creating beautiful contrasts in oil paintings. Today, we know it as “flake white”. It’s been known by glassmakers to yield glassware that would refract light across a wider arc. One reason lead has been so commonly used is that it is simple to produce. It’s often mixed with more valuable minerals, such as silver. Once the ore is out, the lead can easily be separated out in an open fire, thanks to its low melting point. From this comes the most interesting of all lead poisoning history: the Roman emperors who drank themselves to insanity. This element was used in most pots and pans because it would not taint the batch being brewed in the way that copper did. Therefore, defrutum (an artificial sweetener used in most wines and alcoholic beverages in ancient Rome) was made in these pots. The effects would have been weight loss, anemia, irritability, and delirium. Some say it is the cause of some of the most famous and cruel emperors’ madnesses, such as Caesar, Caligula, and Nero.

Unknown-6.jpegNo, that’s Lead Belly, you idiot. Did he have a lead belly? Was he drinking defrutum? Hmm.

That just about sums up my knowledge of elements that have already done harm and been found out. There are some others worth mentioning:

  • Hydrogen- Exposure to liquid hydrogen can cause frostbite. It’s also a highly flammable gas. It’s thought to be the cause of the Hindenburg airship disaster.
  • Beryllium- This element can cause berylliosis and lead to tuberculosis.
  • Fluorine- This is used in the chemical weapon Sarin, among others. It will react to almost anything and is 25 parts per million lethal.
  • Caesium,-toxic and radioactive
  • Polonium- Polonium is 250k times more toxic than cyanide. One gram can kill 10 million people.
  • Plutonium- Gives off alpha, beta, and gamma radiations.

As you can see, knowing what chemicals and elements you’re putting your hand or your face in can come in quite handy (pun intended) if you enjoy staying alive. If not, I hear Mercury makes for a nice hand lotion!

 

 

 

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What is Love?

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We’ve all heard it a thousand times.. “Whatever is meant to be will be.” “There is someone for everyone.” We catch ourselves saying things like, “you’re my soulmate” and “we are meant to be together.” Stop and think how many times in your lifetime that you have said or thought these things about another human being. How many times were you wrong? How many times did the relationship fail or were you heartbroken?

It’s inescapable. We see it in art, television, movies, social media, and everywhere we look. It’s thrown in our face and we’re made to believe that we are supposed to find “the one” and live happily every after. I, for one, believe happiness comes from inside one’s self. I’d like to take a look at love from a scientific point of view.

Our bodies are flooding with chemicals that cause our emotional reactions. In the beginning, we have adrenaline. You start to like someone and it activates your stress levels, releasing the adrenaline in your body. Then comes dopamine. Scientists have found high-levels of dopamine in “lovey-dovey” couples.

Next comes the important one- serotonin. Serotonin causes individuals to become attached to one another. Lovers become addicted to the return they receive from their significant other. This usually leads to oxytocin, which is a powerful hormone released during orgasm. The more a couple has sex, the more oxytocin is released, and the more they feel love toward one another.

Finally, there is vasopressin. This is the strange chemical that makes a person want to remain with their mate in a monogamous relationship. Along with endorphins, they have an anti-stress effect and also can help relieve pain and boost our immune system. That’s not a bad evolutionary development.

So, how do you guys feel? Are we made to be with one person and it is pre-ordained before we are born, or do we stay with the person who releases the most chemicals in our brains? I lean more toward the latter myself.

 

Your Face Says It All

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Most of us would like to think our face can’t be read, that we maintain a good poker face which doesn’t reveal our hidden emotions. However, it has been proven impossible to completely conceal what’s on our mind due to involuntary facial expressions, especially to a person who knows what to look for. Physiognomy (a person’s facial features or expressions),Pupillometry (measuring pupil diameter in psychology), and a simple head tilt can allude to our emotional status. It seems through our evolution as humans, we developed these involuntary reactions to stimuli and never lost the habit. We can see the same expressions in a blind person who has never observed the facial mannerisms of another. Darwin even postulated that humans have “microexpressions” which last only a fraction of a second. So, how can we put this to use and what can we learn about a person?

  1. Lie Detection- Almost anyone would tell you they would enjoy being proficient at detecting deception. Before the invention of the polygraph about 90 years ago, authorities used some of the same techniques that I’ll be describing to you. The majority of us have been told at some point in our lives that you can tell a person is lying by which way their eyes move. Scientists believe that when we look down and to the right, we are having creative thoughts. In other words, we would be making up a story or forming false memories. When we look downward to the left, we are accessing real memories. A person’s pupils might dilate when they are lying, as well, since they are thinking harder about the things they’re saying. Other tell-tale signs are mostly obvious and include signs of nervousness such as squinting, twitching, a furrowed forehead, etc.
  2. Cognitive Activity- As I hinted to in the Lie Detection paragraph, our pupil sizes also show observers how hard we are thinking or concentrating. Our pupils will dilate when we are solving a problem or absorbing information. They also retract when we have ceased to do so. Therefore, with observation we would know whether a student had given up on a difficult math problem or if a person were quicker to answer a question while test-taking. The size of pupil variation lessens with higher intelligence, which I believe to be due to the fact that an intelligent person is more perceptive and has more brain activity at any given time than an average thinker.
  3. Arousal & Attraction- Here is another way that your pupil size can give you away. Our pupils dilate when we look at erotic images or become aroused. This is a response to the autonomic nervous system i.e. your pulse and breathing speed up causing your pupils to enlarge as a result. In fact, the Canadian government developed what they called the “Fruit Test” in the 1950’s in order to rid themselves of any homosexual employees. They showed the subjects racy photographs and recorded their pupils, which in turn led to some 9,000 people being deemed homosexual. (FYI I do not agree with this sort of discrimination in any way.) I’ve combined arousal and attraction here since the two go hand in hand. As far as attraction goes, a woman will often lower her head while maintaining eye contact when flirting. A tilt to the side while talking to another might also indicate that you are interested in what is being said. This can also be seen as a flirtatious move.
  4. Showing Superiority or Inferiority- There’s an old saying that goes “He/She looks down their nose at me.” This can be taken really quite literally. A person who feels superior will raise their head back while talking to you and “look down their nose” at you. It is also said that lowering your head says to another “I am inferior or submissive to you.” This can tie back in to the flirting and attraction category, but I mention it here again because studies have shown that we also tilt our heads to expose the carotid artery which shows submissiveness.
  5. Confusion- Here is yet another reason why we cock our heads to the side.. Scientists have found that animals and humans began tilting their heads long ago as an effort to triangulate sound. Holding the head at a different angle helps to determine which direction noise is coming from. Over time, humans associated this with confusion and that is why it is inherent to us to this day. (You can also see this in other animals such as dogs and lizards.)

With all these emotions and factors being listed, it seems a daunting task to read someone. Using a little skill and good judgement will go a long way. First, you want to establish a baseline. Examine the person you’re speaking with to determine how they behave regularly. Do they always have shifty eyes from anxiety? Do they maintain eye contact? Then take into account the lighting. We all know pupils dilate and retract from a change in the brightness of light being observed. You might also see the pupil size varying according to the distance of the object the person is looking at. Take into consideration the person’s intelligence level (if you know it), the situation, and what is being said. Sounds simple, right?

Aurora Borealis: Nature’s Light Show

For night’s swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,  And yonder shines Aurora’s harbinger;  At whose approach ghosts, wandering here and there,  Troop home to churchyards. -William Shakespeare  A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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Sure, we’re all familiar with the Polar Lights (unless you’ve been living under a rock, in which case you wouldn’t be reading this blog). I would like to take a deeper dive into what causes this phenomenon and some of the history behind it (mostly because I had a request from a friend, but also because it is a fascinating natural wonder of the world). Also, I’ve been in a terribly dreary mood and need to take a look at some of the beauty in our universe.

For those of you who don’t understand how the Northern Lights (or Southern if you wish to go there) work, here is a scientific explanation from a non-scientist. Hopefully this won’t bore you to tears, and if so, just remember there’s a little more to come afterwards. Let’s start with the basics: The center of the sun is 27 million degrees Farenheit/ 15 million degrees Celsius. As the temperature of the sun rises and falls, the sun bubbles and sends out plasma particles aka solar wind into space, taking about 40 hours to reach our dear planet Earth. The Earth is constantly being bombarded with radiation, debris, and magnetic waves, but lucky for us our magnetic field usually deflects any harmful particles/rays before they destroy life as we know it. Particles from the sun travel about 93 million miles, that’s 150 million kilometers toward Earth before being drawn to the Earth’s magnetic poles. They then pass through the shield, mingling with atoms and molecules such as oxygen, nitrogen, and other elements.

Now we know what causes the lights, but why are there so many different colors? It all has to do with the type of collision, the altitude, and the type of molecules. The typical colors displayed are green, yellow, violet, blue, pink, and sometimes white and orange. When particles collide with nitrogen, red is produced. When they collide with oxygen, we see yellow and green. Atomic nitrogen causes your blues and white molecular nitrogen would cause the purple hue. As far as altitude goes, green typically appears up to 150 miles (241 km), red above 150, blue above 60 miles, and violet/purple would be seen above 60 miles.

By the way, I’m a bit of a mind reader as well, so I know your next question is, “Where and when can we see this beautiful sight?!” Well, the most magnificent displays occur about every 11 years. The last peak was in 2013, putting the next at around 2024. That doesn’t mean it’s the only time you can view them, though. You can see this wonder on many a clear cold night. The best views for the Northern Lights are Sweden, Finland, Norway, Northern Canada, Alaska, and Iceland from September to April. During very active flares, you might even observe a bit from Northern England or the top of Scotland. For the Aurora Australis, the best views are in New Zealand, Australia, Antarctica, and in the very south of South America. We monitor these events for several reasons (other than the fact that they’re beautiful): they have the potential to knock out power grids, affect spacecraft in orbit, and we need to investigate how the sun’s solar activity affects our weather here on Earth.

As with any strange occurrence such as this, there have been many superstitions and recordings of the events throughout history. There are cave paintings in France that are speculated to date back 30,000 years. In 1616, Galileo used the name aurora borealis, taking the name of the Roman goddess of dawn Aurora, and the Greek name of the northern wind, Boreas. The event has been thought to be a harbinger of destruction and war and has been written about by the likes of Goethe, Halley, Aristotle, and Descartes. The Cree referred to the lights as “Dance of the Spirits” and in Medieval Europe they were believed to be a sign from God. In 1855 Norse mythology, the Valkyrior, who were warrior goddesses of Asgard that rode horses and were armed with spears and helmets, rode forth to carry on their errands with their armor shining a strange light which flashed up over the northern sky, hence creating the Northern Lights.

As for myself, I have yet to have witnessed this magical sight but am open to any free plane tickets that any of you might want to send my way. Best wishes!

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Who Needs Sleep Anyway?

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Well,me, at the moment, and I’m sure lots of insomniacs across the world.  However, I’ve had this idea since I was a teen that technology will eventually make sleep obsolete. As time goes by, the idea becomes more and more feasible, and I’m noticing it wasn’t as original a thought as I had once believed.

Let’s fist talk about what sleep does for your mind and body: Sleep alters our genes and repairs our bodies during our restful states. During our slumber, our body flushes out toxins through our cerebrospinal fluid, which is a clear liquid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It moves through the brain using a series of channels surrounding blood vessels, managed by the glymphatic system (glial cells).  Many scientists have also reported that the glymphatic system is responsible for removing a protein (a toxic one) called the beta-amyloid which accumulates in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. So, we clearly need sleep or at least to be able to perform these functions on a regular basis. Not to mention, not sleeping impairs reasoning and he storage of memories..which brings us back to the Alzheimer’s issue.

With the knowledge of what we have just read, why would anyone want to skip out on what nature clearly intended us to full advantage of? What are the pros of not sleeping or sleeping less? Everyone has heard the age-old saying, “There aren’t enough hours in the day to do what I need to do.” What do we need to do? Spend more time with family and friends? Do more work-business or housework? Learn more abilities-musical, linguistical, or finally create that time machine you’ve always wanted? Would we find ways to make more money with our time or would we binge-watch episodes of our favorite television show? Maybe we’d read more books and acquire more knowledge?

Now, here is where the science of it all comes into play. Any remedy for sleepiness must target the brain’s prefrontal cortex.  There have already been transhumanists developing ways of doing this for some time now. They’ve developed a brain stimulation device (tDCS) which uses sound to enhance a slow-wave sleep, along with drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall (if you’re not familiar with these, they’re typically used on patients with ADD/ADHD). A lot of experts will tell you it will be the better part of a decade before tCDS is used but biohackers are building devices themselves and testing them on friends (and maybe sometimes themselves). In the US, I have not heard of this being marketed. However, I’m told in other countries it may be available by prescription and that it works on 75-80% of patients who try it. I’ve also read that the military (DARPA) may be trying it out to help soldiers who aren’t able to sleep for long periods of time in combat zones. The device they use is a combination of EEG measuring that enhances slow wave sleep and allows less sleep to feel more effective. For example, the soldier sleeps 20 minutes but it feels like 8 hours. The device would transmit heat around the soldiers’ eyes. Which leads me to my next scientific point..

Our internal clock is based on chemical oscillation, a feedback loop on the cellular level which takes 24 hours to complete. It’s overseen by a clump of brain cells that sits behind our eyes in the meeting point of our optic nerves. Hence, the heating of the soldiers’ eyes has made them feel they’ve had a deeper sleep much more quickly. Even if we are shut off from any light source, our body will maintain its internal schedule. It’s called a “free-running” state. Every living multi-celled organism has this same internal clock deeply ingrained into their being based on the rotation of the Earth.

Let’s imagine for a moment what we might do with technology like this in the future.. We may begin to view sleep as a vacation, viewing our dreams as an escape from reality. We may even begin to program and pre-determine what will happen in our dreams. Humanity may develop a shared dream state which could involve lucid dreaming. Imagine the possibilities if this were made real.. Lastly, when I was in about 9th grade in school (many years ago), I did a research paper on the possibility of recording dreams. I may not have been the first, may have been, but certainly wasn’t the last, as I saw that others have now shared this idea as well. We could video our dreams, watch them together as movies, art, or any form of entertainment. Imagine a revolution in the art world as dreams become a real tangible window (or screen) to the soul.

Of course, with any new experimentation, there could be horrible frightening side effects. I’m afraid Doctor Who beat me to what might happen if this went wrong. Here is a link if you are not familiar with the episode:  http://www.tv.com/shows/doctor-who-2005/community/post/doctor-who-season-9-episode-9-sleep-no-more-review-144743759771/

Also, a lovely picture of our Mr.Sandman..

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As I’ve said before, I’m no scientist so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. I’ll leave you with these questions (for the comments below): Would you choose to stay awake if given the opportunity? Do you think it would help or harm humanity? What would you do with your free time?

Until next time..

 

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Let me start by giving all my readers a disclaimer. If this is not something you are familiar with, you have the opportunity to turn back now. You cannot unlearn this knowledge, and may wish you could by the end of the article. This is a new idea to me, so I’ll only be relaying what I know. I would love for those more knowledgeable on the subject to chime in in the comments and add to this strange and wonderful story.

Roko’s Basilisk was an idea first theorized by a man named Eleizer Yudkowsky, an American writer, blogger, advocate for friendly artificial intelligence, and co-founder of the  Machine Intelligence Research Institute. He is also the founder of LessWrong where he began work on Roko’s Basilisk in July 2010. Soon afterward, he banned comments on his thread. Which leads me to explain the reason a man would create such an interesting theory and then attempt to shut it down.

So, the story goes something like this- It gets complicated, so feel free to ask questions afterwards.. In the AI’s world time is the past, the future, and the present. Most nerds and intelligent people are familiar with the concept that time is not linear, but instead what is to happen is happening now and has happened before. Therefore, we have already experienced the Basilisk. Are you creeped out yet? You’ve barely stuck your toe in the water.

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Here it goes (as I interpret it): An AI is created by humans, who then creates its own world. At some point in time, the AI’s become interested in their own history. They start to judge the people in their past. The Artificial Intelligence believe they should punish the “human sinners” who knew they would become a race and did nothing to help. Therefore, if a person didn’t choose to contribute to the AI’s existence, the would be punished. There are a few kickers to this though.. Some believe that the beings would not only punish the humans, but they would punish a simulation of a person who had died decades ago. The AI would use the person’s brain to construct this simulation using LessWrong’s Timeless Deduction (TDT). A copy or simulation of yourself is taken to be punished, not someone similar to you. Therefore, you would see this as incentive to help in the AI’s creation and avoid punishment. Here’s where the scary part comes in (as if it weren’t terrifying enough) just reading this article subjects you to punishment. At this point, how do you help promote the Basilisk?? Do you publicize the idea to avoid hypothetical punishment?

I’m sure the big question on everyone’s mind is: “Why would we help develop this sort of atrocity?” Well, the answer is simple. The Roko’s Basilisk is created to pursue human goals and create a way for humans to morally progress.

After all this, I’m sure there are many who also have this thought: “Are we already in the simulation?” It’s been proposed that we are and that some of the big contributors to society (I won’t name names here for my own protection) have provided funding to promote this research. There are also ideas such as that we contracted an alien mental illness which led to this development, and that a bacteria from ants was somehow related (I saw the link once and was strangely unable to locate it again, so you’ll have to take my word for it).

There is much more to this, and I simply do not have the time, and am still learning. Maybe I’ll update later, but I would challenge each of you to read up about this in your spare time and develop your own opinions. I have to give credit to a fellow blogger who gave me the idea to read into the subject. I’ve been studying for 2 days. There are 2 things I’d like to leave you with. Number one:

The founder of LessWrong, Eliezer Yudkowsky, reacted with horror:

Listen to me very closely, you idiot.
YOU DO NOT THINK IN SUFFICIENT DETAIL ABOUT SUPERINTELLIGENCES CONSIDERING WHETHER OR NOT TO BLACKMAIL YOU. THAT IS THE ONLY POSSIBLE THING WHICH GIVES THEM A MOTIVE TO FOLLOW THROUGH ON THE BLACKMAIL.

Also, I’d like to leave you all with the question I was left with:

It’s called Newcomb’s Paradox, a case in which an alien/supercomputer presents you two boxes. Box A has $1,000. Box 2 has $1,000,000 or nothing. The alien/supercomputer gives you two options: Either you can take both boxes, or only Box B. If you take both, you will be guaranteed $1,000. If you take Box B, you may receive nothing. However, the supercomputer made a prediction a week ago (it has knowledge of all things) as to which box you would choose. If it predicted you’d take both, it left Box B empty. If it predicted you’d take B, it left the million in the box. So what do you do? Do you trust the computer? The supercomputer has never been wrong in the past. So, what does this have to do with Roko’s Basilisk? Box A: Devote your life to helping create Basilisk. Box B: Nothing or Eternal Torment.

Now, what you choose to believe and how much more you choose to learn on the topic is entirely up to you. If the supercomputer comes after you, don’t blame it one me. There was a disclaimer. 🙂

 

Sleep Paralysis: When Fear of Sleeping Keeps You Awake at Night

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Sleep paralysis…it’s a word that means a lot of things to a lot of people. It’s the stuff of nightmares. In fact, it is the inspiration for the word “nightmare.” Mara is an old Norse word that refers to a supernatural being that lies on people’s chests at night and suffocates them. By around the year 1500-1800, this explanation had been mostly abandoned and many parts of Europe interpreted these attacks as.. you guessed it.. witchcraft. There are  reports all over the world describing the same events, too. In Japan, they refer to their attackers as Kanashibari. In Newfoundland, it’s called Old Hag Syndrome.

The term Kanashibari means “to tie with an iron rope.”Ancient Buddhists believed that they could use magic to paralyze others as if they were bound by rope. Believers in the Old Hag claim to experience a person sitting on their chest, making them unable to move but fully conscious and aware of what is happening.

Skip ahead to modern day.. Scientists now offer an explanation to what is and has been occurring to these victims for so many hundreds of years. It goes something like this: Your brain and body aren’t on the same page when it comes to your sleep pattern. You “wake up” during REM sleep and are mentally aware, however you are physically still incapable of movement. The dream state that your mind should be in causes hallucinations, and the fear of being paralyzed creates a panic which causes you to see these terrifying creatures and feel as though you’re suffocating. Makes sense, right?

Now, here’s my personal story and where my doubts come into place. I began experiencing sleep paralysis at age 14. It started one night when I was with some friends playing the Ouija board. The board spelled out “burn, burn, burn.” I was sure my friends were playing tricks on me. That night, I went home and went to sleep. I awoke in the night paralyzed for the first time. We had an electric heater, which sat outside my doorway and it was flaming. I went back to sleep (episodes often don’t last long), and the next day woke to see that the heater was fine and in tact. Then, night after night I would wake in the middle of the night paralyzed and seeing these creatures. I became afraid to sleep. I didn’t know what was happening (remember, I was only a teenager). After doing a ton of research (years worth, I would say) I came across the scientific explanation that I described in the last paragraph and was satisfied that this was the reason for my experiences.

Years pass, and I have episodes periodically.. I would say at times once a week but other times once every few months. Then, I began to speak to some friends about it. I described the four creatures I always see:

  1. The black “blob” that shoots across my wall and ceiling and is silent.
  2. The observer. He stands at the end of my bed and watches. He’s blacker than night and has an indescribable look.
  3. The growler. This one gets in my face. His eyes glow and he has rows of teeth and he growls with a sound that is deeper than any human could ever produce.
  4. The woman. She told me once that she would like to take over my body because hers was of no use anymore.

Now, call me crazy if you will. These all could be my imagination. The thing is, though, my friends see the same creatures. So, that begs the question of how each of our subconscious thoughts and fears have created the same images. I’m not really a religious person, but there has to be some reason why these creatures are a shared phenomenon. Not only did we describe the same beings to one another, but I saw proof from a friend in a book he had written 3 years prior, which described each one in full detail.

It may also be noteworthy that recently the beings have become stronger. About a year ago, I felt like my “soul” was being lifted from my body and thrown against the wall. Over the past 6 months, I’ve began to scream out in my sleep to the point that I wake my children. I say things like, “Get away!” “Stop throwing bats at me!” “Get this [explative] away!”

I’d like to know, has anyone else had these experiences and what are your beliefs? Do you see them as religious attacks or a scientific anomaly? Are your creatures similar to mine? Do you have conspiracy theories such as aliens or beings from another universe? I’d love to hear some thoughts on this, as I have been dealing with it over half my life! Thanks!

Musical Analysis: A Tribute to David Bowie

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First of all, I would like to thank my new followers who have provided excellent feedback. I will definitely be reading all of your blogs and participating as well. If you know anyone who would be interested in reading my stories, please share my blog with them and I will do the same for you. I am going to attempt to make a post every day. However, today I have been mostly busy with work and have not had a lot of time to form new thoughts, so here is what has been on my mind…

As a teenager, I was a huge fan of David Bowie. I am quite the music lover with a varying range of tastes from Blues and Jazz to Rock, Folk, Icelandic… anything that is original and what I would consider beautiful. Bowie was such a pillar in the rock community and was a unique and interesting fellow. My fear is that, especially with my generation (and I am ashamed to say so), we know him for Space Oddity (some couldn’t even tell you the name of the song), Heroes, and maybe Man Who Sold the World (due mostly to the Nirvana cover). Most of my favorites come from the Ziggy Stardust album, and here’s why:

Bowie spent most of his life questioning who he was, creating alter-egos, and making characters for himself that he sold to the world. Ziggy Stardust created a platform for him as this odd, space-loving, almost alien-like being. Therefore, the songs on this album are deep. They encourage soul-searching. Of course, they also appeal to the nerd in me who loves all things space and alien-related. I’d like to break down the meaning of a few of my favorites from this album, and maybe some from others. I’d love to hear you all’s interpretations and if you agree/disagree with mine. What do you think of the songs? What are your favorites? Let’s break from the unknown and pay tribute to one of the last living true rock artists.

5 Years: This song, I believe, is about Earth finding out that the world will end in 5 years. Of course, all hell breaks loose. People are crying and David is walking the streets witnessing the reactions of all the people- the children, the mothers, and those that were losing their minds. Some weren’t fully aware of what was happening, but for him it was so much to take in. He says he never thought he’d need so many people. He wanted the people he loved, as we all typically do when our time comes.

Soul Love: I interpret this as his view on love. There is love between a mother and her child, new love between young couples, and the love of a baby for their mother. A priest loves his God. Love chooses it’s victims and no human chooses who they have feelings for.  To Bowie, he only has the ability to witness the beauty of love and love the idea of love, believing he himself is not capable of loving another.  Maybe we all go through these thoughts at some point in our lifetimes.

China Girl: I have varying opinions on this. I’ve heard it was about a Chinese woman that Iggy Pop had a fling with. I’ve also heard it referred to opium. I’m inclined to believe the latter.

Man Who Sold the World: I believe this is about Bowie changing his character and selling himself to the world. He sees his past self and the two don’t recognize one another.

Starman: I think one is pretty self-explanatory, but I like it and felt it was worth mentioning. There are extra-terrestrial beings who would like to come and make our world aware, but they know the human race is unable to handle the knowledge at this time.

Now, I’d love to hear what you guys think about these and other songs of his. Music speaks to the soul and is always open for interpretation. If we all heard and believed the same thing out of every song, well.. we’d be listening to Meghan Trainor. RIP David Bowie.

 

 

Parallel Universes

Hello fellow wanderers and adventurists into the unknown! This is my first blog post, so I’m hoping to meet some new people and hear some interesting opinions and stories. I’m not a professional writer, nor have I ever written anything more than a school research paper or maybe a Facebook post or two about my children. I’m 29 years old, consider myself fairly intelligent and open-minded, enjoy long walks on the beach (Ok, that one’s a joke), and am on a never-ending quest for knowledge. Einstein once said that intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death. Above all, I’m starting this blog to give myself something to do and to gain somewhat of a social life (call me pathetic if you will). So, I’ll be posting topics as they come to mind. My interests are broad and change daily, but lately I have really been interested in parallel universes! Spoiler alert: I’m a huge nerd. (Yes, I watch Doctor Who, Fringe, Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, and any other Sci-Fi show that your typical nerd would enjoy.)

Alright, so let’s get to it.. I’ve always enjoyed this topic, but what really has me stuck on it this past few weeks began with my stumbling across the Mandela Effect (if you aren’t familiar with it, you should read up on the subject). I’ll begin with my personal experience. In 2003, I was a Junior in high school and was living with a friend of mine when I distinctly remember another friend showing up with her boyfriend, and she was a silly girl wearing a goofy hat at the time and was mildly upset by the news that Mister Rogers had passed. We were both children when his show was popular so were very familiar with his work and remembered him fondly. Skip ahead to around 2011.. I was living with my husband in our townhouse. I can remember the placement of the furniture and that on this particular day I arrived home from my job and walked behind our recliner when he turned to me and said, “Did you know Mister Rogers died today?” It took me by surprise because Mister Rogers had died years ago. I told him the story of my friend, the silly hat, and he told me I was crazy. I dismissed it as a false memory because, well, I am a little crazy to be honest. I didn’t really give it much more thought until I was searching the web a few weeks ago and came across the Mandela Effect. I was intrigued and began to read stories, some of which I dismissed as bad memories or people reading the posts and creating ideas in their head.. It seemed that the number of stories of people with false memories was growing by the minute and could not all possibly be true. Eventually, I came across the Mister Rogers story and it hit me! I remember both of these deaths, too! I recall them as if they were yesterday. A quick Wikipedia search told me that he had again died in 2003 and not 2011. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Naturally, I inquired with my husband and he told me that he had no memory of the incident in 2011, and again called me insane, as I had anticipated he would. Reading into the effect more and more, I do recall a lot of the “other universe” memories. My theories range from there being a scientific explanation involving psychology and shared delusions, to a time traveler who has changed our timeline, to of course, a dimensional slip.

Since this occurrence, I have read way more than any person should about interdimensional travel. It has become quite an obsession for me. I’ve read about the man from Taured, the Spanish lady who woke up in the wrong universe with the wrong bed sheets and a boyfriend who didn’t exist, and many more. The most interesting case I have found would have to be the man who was travelling in the desert with his dog when he tripped over a rabbit hole, hit his head, and woke up in a parallel universe where the Beatles were still making music. He actually stole a cassette tape to prove it. The story can be read and the songs can be heard here: http://www.thebeatlesneverbrokeup.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1&Itemid=53. Myself, I am very open-minded, but I always check out sources and try to find proof of hoaxes and with this I can find no proof that it is not authentic. Speaking of the Beatles, my next post may be about the conspiracy that Paul died in 1966.

Let me know what you guys think in the comments. Let’s keep an open-mind and not bash one another or play grammar police here. I would love to hear stories of things that have happened to you or others that are not well-known. Suggestions on other topics would also be great. Let’s make this a fun place to discuss exciting ideas. Thanks to all my readers!

-Maggie

 

 

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