Seeker presents an image that has gone viral and that some believe shows a spirit leaving the body of an accident victim as he dies. The writer notes that the victim hadn't yet died when the image was taken (thus when the blur that some viewers think is the spirit appears). So, why the blur? Is the spirit just leaving early but still hanging around, waiting because it "knows" the outcome is bad and plans on leaving but waiting around to see what happens, like some kind of dematerialized looky-loo? Kind of rude, I think. I would want my spirit to stay until the very end, and then turn out the lights and lock up. Also, how does the spirit know whether the docs at the hospital might not pull off a miracle? Again, I hope my spirit isn't that arrogant, as in, "She's done for. Docs are clueless. I'm out of here." Seems sort of pushy. Don't tell me my spirit is clairvoyant, when I'm not. That's too depressing for words.
Other people (including me) don't see a ghost or spirit. Me, I see a lighter colored something, probably vegetation. More here from People Magazine. Over to you.
The new season of Penn and Teller: Fool Us! premieres July 13 on the CW at 8 p.m., 7 Central time. Alyson Hannigan is the new host. Houdini and I will be watching; not so sure about Penn. He's not such a big fan of TV; he prefers watching videos on the laptop. (The late, lamented furry Teller will be with us in feline spirit).
Teller, whose vanishing act was quite amazing, especially right before a visit to the vet.
Polish morning TV host Marzena Rogalska probably won't be applying for another job as a magician's assistant anytime soon. She agreed to help a guest, Marcin Połoniewicz, a magician who had appeared on the Polish version of Poland's Got Talent, with a trick in which a nail is concealed, point up, in one of four paper bags. Helped along by the magician, the participant in the trick successively hits each paper bag (heightening the suspense), but not injuring herself, and the magician then demonstrates that the nail is in (ta da) the last paper bag. Unfortunately, you guessed it. The nail wasn't in the last paper bag, and Ms. Rogalska ended up with the nail in her hand. She screamed (I would have done a lot more than that). The magician thought she was pretending (I suppose until he saw the nail), convincing him that she needed medical attention, stat. Meanwhile, according to media accounts, her co-host just kept smiling. Just another day on morning TV, I suppose. Yikes.
She's doing much better now, thank you, and says that the mishap wasn't the aspiring Houdini's fault. She's more generous than I would have been, I think. I've accidentally stapled my finger, and that's painful. I cannot imagine impaling my hand with a nail.
Video (actually still pictures with narrative) here. Another account here from the Sydney Morning Herald. NB: Rather disturbing.
Divination and Human Nature casts a new perspective on the rich tradition of ancient divination—the reading of divine signs in oracles, omens, and dreams. Popular attitudes during classical antiquity saw these readings as signs from the gods while modern scholars have treated such beliefs as primitive superstitions. In this book, Peter Struck reveals instead that such phenomena provoked an entirely different accounting from the ancient philosophers. These philosophers produced subtle studies into what was an odd but observable fact—that humans could sometimes have uncanny insights—and their work signifies an early chapter in the cognitive history of intuition. Examining the writings of Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and the Neoplatonists, Struck demonstrates that they all observed how, setting aside the charlatans and swindlers, some people had premonitions defying the typical bounds of rationality. Given the wide differences among these ancient thinkers, Struck notes that they converged on seeing this surplus insight as an artifact of human nature, projections produced under specific conditions by our physiology. For the philosophers, such unexplained insights invited a speculative search for an alternative and more naturalistic system of cognition. Recovering a lost piece of an ancient tradition, Divination and Human Nature illustrates how philosophers of the classical era interpreted the phenomena of divination as a practice closer to intuition and instinct than magic.
Peter T. Struck is Evan C. Thompson Term Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Guardian visits Enchantments, New York's long-establsihed witchcraft store, and delves into the source of its success. Owner Stacy Rapp says part of the shop's attraction is due to the balance between "male and female energies." I might not be a customer for other items Enchantments offers but I am a big beliveer in balance between men and women. We''re all in this adventure together. If we can make it more of an enchantment, I'm for that.