Posts from 26th September 2005

26
Sep 05

Strangest Thing No.19 – Statues That Drink Milk

Blog 71 comment • 2,093 views

Alix Campbell writes:

Statues, icons and paintings cry and bleed all the time. It can happen to almost any figure – the Virgin Mary, Jebus, any number of obscure saints, and even a Dutch statue of Elvis. Liquids exuded include blood, tears and oil. Usually hailed as miracles, weeping statues are often claimed to have healing properties, or to signal the dawn of a better time for the world, or as warning or remonstration for our wicked ways. Pilgrims rush to the statues for a squint at the bizarre sight, often signalling the dawn of increased profits for whichever house of whichever God houses the leaky icon.

There are two explanations for this strange phenomenon:
1 – It is a sign from God, or another higher power.
2 – There is a rational explanation, possibly, but not necessarily, involving some kind of hoax.
I’m 90% sure it’s number two.

There are numerous accounts of weeping statues, and plenty of photos, often rather grisly, but decent scientific explanations and details of tests on statues are not so plentiful. Most accounts are vague, or recounted by a third party. I could find no impartial accounts – instead there are all sorts of web pages claiming that these are miracles that science has yet to find an answer for. The extent of investigation into this has been to analyse the liquids – tears and blood examined have both been shown to be human. This somewhat empty fact has been accepted as proof of the miraculous nature of these events, but all it really shows is that the liquid can be identified. It does not point to an otherworldly mechanism behind the event. Weeping statues have been ‘faked’ by people curious to see if it could be done, and professional stage magic techniques can recreate similar effects, with no added divine intervention, which suggests that a somewhat less than heavenly explanation could be more likely.

In 1998 a statue of Our Lady housed in a comatose young girl’s bedroom apparently started weeping oil. People travelled for miles to pay to see this, and there were stories of a young boy being healed of a leg injury. However, the oil was analysed and shown to be 80% vegetable oil and 20% chicken fat, and the boy had been expected to recover anyway. It has been suggested that the oil was simply poured on the statue when no one was looking. The family had allowed a film crew in to document the miracle, yet would not allow them to film the statue for any length of time, leading to the above explanation. The family had good reason to allow the film crew in – they were getting paid for it. I would expect that there are people and organisations throughout the world that need money enough to fake a miracle, and there are certainly people gullible enough to believe it.

There is a casualness and subjectivity surrounding the reporting and investigation of weeping statues which means that they do remain a bit of a mystery – there’s never anyone around to really check whether anyone is filling the statue up with blood/ tears/ oil. Tempting as it is to label these inexplicable occurrences, there is really nothing that actually suggests they are anything more than hoaxes. Credulous miracle hungry people are happy to buy into this phenomenon, which is really not so different from a magician’s flashy prestidigitations, and were it not for the religious aspect which seems to make people suspend intelligence and logic, they would be dismissed as a clever fraud.

Also see – Hindu statues drinking milk. In 1995 statues of Ganesh in India started ‘drinking’ milk, and pretty soon statues all over the world were lapping the white stuff up. Although sceptics might say that the milk is absorbed into porous statues, I have to agree with one Parmeesh Soti, who pointed out that “It cannot be a hoax. Where would all that milk go to?” Indeed. Milk doesn’t just disappear. Statues must drink it. Mystery solved.

I hope I’m not wrong about all this. I really don’t want to go to Hell.

WHO BUILT THE MOON WATCH: Chapter 4

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 1,376 views

Writers are still being very coy about who built the moon in Chapter 4. Instead we have a potted history of the space race, which is interesting la, but no-one is suggesting Neil Armstrong built the moon. Maybe some mooncastles. There is a bit of a lovefest for 2001 which may give a hint at where this boon is going too. It even outlines the conspiracy theory that no-one had been to the moon, and demolishes it. The subtext is that the authors are not loonies like the moon conspiracy theorists. Nevertheless this episode is tagged with the following caveat: “We do believe conspiracies happen, because people conspire…”

So having proved that the moon exists and that we have been there Chapter 4 then gets on to Apollo 13 (they’ve probably seen the movie) and the anomalies regarding moon rock and the moon itself. Namely during the accident the jettisonned pod struck the moon, and – to quote “the moon rang like a bell”. Putting aside how anything can ring like a bell without an atmosphere, the book does inflate the importance of this sentence a touch too much. Nevertheless the point is that the moon is much lighter than it should be, leading to some exciting conclusions.
a) The Moon is hollow.
b) The moon is a giant Malteser.

The smart money is on b), because then we can definitively say that Forest Mars made the moon. Which in itself would be sort of ironic.

Next stop Ducks Deluxe!*

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 929 views

I am listening to a track by THE ROOGALATOR! Another tiny ambition fulfilled, it’s called “Love And The Single Girl” and it’s a bit ‘jazzy’, like a naffer Joe Jackson maybe. It will not be being played at the next Poptimism, which will be on October 14th and which is perhaps best described as “the usual”.

I’ve updated the sidebar with permalinks to some of the other pop things I’m doing. I’m hardly abandoning NYLPM but the change of scenery helps me relax a bit.

*or maybe Grab Grab The Haddock

J.G.BALLARD: “My work is done here”

Do You SeePost a comment • 253 views

“The crew of the Blyth-based Oceania accidentally left their radio switched to the emergency channel on Thursday as they were off the North East coast. They then settled down to watch the film Crash on a TV which was next to the radio – not realising it was being broadcast over a 30-mile radius.”

pleasingly, the headline and strap refer to Crash as, respectively, “sexy film” and “an erotic film”.

also: the phrase “blyth-based oceania” sounds like shakespeare!

WHO BUILT THE MOON WATCH: Chapter 3 SuppleMENTAL

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 228 views

More on the Big Whack theory and its problems…
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tothemoon/origins2.html

Note that the Nova website is pbs.org and therefore completely Proven By Science. There is even a video of the model.

WHO REVIEWS #ef6: cat lick your heart….

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 288 views

MANAGRA by Stephen Marley, featuring the Fourth Doctor (huzzah!), Sarah Jane Smith and a cast of thousands…

“Europa is invested by ghosts, vampires, werewolves, ghouls and other grotesques spawned from old European folklore. I think we’re in a spot of bother, Sarah Jane.’

And you thought I was some sort of Dan Perry, didn’t you! Ha! Consider yourselves well and truly SHOWN! I return with an absolutely FANTASTIC dark fantasy Missing Adventure set in a lunatic Europa of the future that lives in a designed imaginary past. Lord Byron combats Torquemada’s Inquisition, Mary Shelley is writing her sequel to Frankenstein, and Richelieu schemes to become Pope Supreme while Aliester Crowley and Faust tie for the post of official Antichrist.

Let me say this first, Stephen Marley is a Visionary Genius. Unforunately, this is the only Who he appears to have written, but fans of JUDGE YAWNDREDD may be more familiar with his work. However, Who books are bad enough and I fear to go even further. You wouldn’t ask that of me, would you, Wedge Readers?

Back to the book. The Doctor and Sarah materialise in a gothic frescoed hall instead of the beaches of Shalonar, a flimsily veiled excuse if ever I’ve seen one to dress Sarah Jane in a bikini for the first couple of action scenes, where instantly the Doctor and companion get accused of murdering the Pope. Teaming up with Byron, who proceeds to dress Sarah in an altar-boy costume, they hear of Byron’s plans with the young Casanova and an as yet unknown named Miles Dashing. The poet and the lover are Reprises, recreations of historical characters of yore, while Miles is a rare natural born of Britannia. Gothier yet is the appearance of the sinister travelling THEATRE OF TRANSMOGRIFICATION (and before you tell me off, YOU try typing that in lower case)!!

The Missing Adventures, more so than the BBC novels, seem to be utterly enthralled to the history and skills of Gallifrey and thus in the end of the books we tend to get a preposterous (FABULOUS!) explanation of Gallifreyan mimesis, and the knowledge of the Doctor’s Gallifreyan heritage saves the day, which may not be to everyone’s tastes but I BLOODY LOVE! A particularly good tool often used by the darker authors IE THE BLOODY GRATE BIG GOTHS is the transformation of magic into science and vice versa, thus enabling the well-trodden ideas of science fantasy to transform themselves into SUPER TROPES of GOTHIC HORROR – hurrah!! The TARDIS through the lens turns into Dimensions Extraordinary &c. Unleash the batz0r!! And add this to the richest characters of Europe past, and then add their mad and vampiric other Reprises, and you’ve got a STAR on your hands. But despite the implausible scenarios described, there’s still moments of downright creepiness. The Doctor is incredibly haunted by his past experiences with Countess Bathory, and his fears personified in the Black Forest before being driven away by Gallifreyan science/musical charms. We’re constantly pulled in to one extreme and the other, like all the best televised Tom Baker horror adventures, and you’re left relieved, and a small part of you is glad you’ve got electric lights at your disposal and a CD to stop the silence turning into whispers. echo my echo…

WHAT WAS THAT?!

Marks: 10 bats out of 10

THE FT TOP 23 UNEXPLAINED PHENOMENA: 20: The Face Of Jesus On Toast

Blog 7Post a comment • 501 views

Or indeed the face of Elvis burnt into a deBrevilled Toasted Sandwich. Perhaps even the name of Jehovah in the seeds of an aubergine. The commonplace occurrence of this phenomenon has never been explained, but used as definitive proof of God’s existence. After all, how better to prove to his followers that he exists than to keep hinting via the medium of food.

Sceptics would point out much of the following

  1. We don’t actually know what Jesus looked like to recognise him
  2. It is just the coincidence of the burning of toast
  3. Surely there are better ways of proving your existence than spoiling perfectly good toast.

All good arguments, but none convincing enough to disprove the fundamental fact that it keeps happening. What is more disturbing is that people these days try to sell it on eBay.

Even forgetting the logistics of selling a piece of bread more than a week old*, this is unfortunate. After all the major tenet of the Catholic Church is transubstantiation of the communion wafer into the physical body of Christ. If Catholics have no problem noshing down on his body, why would they baulk are chomping into his face. Surely one would expect this phenomenon to occur just so that people can get their fix of Jesus in a number of other tasty flavours. Wafer does get dull after a while: why not smear a bit of marmite on his mug and eating more tasty Jesus toast. It is not meant to be saved, sold or worshiped – Jesus toast is for eating.

*And one can’t even suggest that the mouldy rotting piece of toast resembled Jesus in the grave, considering.

Good ILE Thread Alert

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 278 views

Racial puppetry in right-wing comics – fascinating and well-researched stuff, right-wing strips (as opposed to editorial cartoons) have never really caught on in the UK so it’s hard to think of an equivalent for this kind of thing. Also just on an artistic level it’s an interesting thread for illuminating the crapness of some of the cartoonists getting work today.

Day 47: Mexican Divorce
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 LOUSY DAYS

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 384 views

Crispian woke me up lying on the beach in Acapulco. I have to say, I had the most horrendous hangover. And whilst my head hurt it did not hurt as much as that of the imbecilic Passepartout I was travelling with. You see as soon as I realised what had happened I battered him with a hand Boogie Board over the head for about three hours.

It turns out that when I discovered his mistake at taking me against the grain of our journey that I fell into a deep depression. The kind only sated by Plymouth Gin, which when found in a high class beach hotel was liberally applied to my liver. Crispian, in my bad books, had been tasked with keeping these drinks flowing, so much so that he soon ran out of money. Nevertheless the Mexican idea of Macho allowed for a man to draw on the funds of his wife.

You heard right. Crispian pretended that I was his wife. More than just a cultural faux pas, it was a sickening idea which could only be absolved by more drinking. Which is what I proceeded to do until somewhere along the line in a small church attached to the hotel I ended up ACTUALLY MARRIED to Crispian.

The ring was cheap plastic, but it was there. At least I knew it had not been consummated. But the time it would take for me to get a annulment would eat into our precious time. Not to mention that the whole affair appears to have eaten completely into all of our funds. I ended up on a Mexican beach, married to a simpleton and no way across the Pacific. At least battering Crispian made me feel better.

MEXICAN DIVORCE The Drifters

What is it about black US vocal groups from the sixties and songs about Mexico? Is it some sort of suggestion of sophistication, that they have nipped across the border and are now cosmopolitan enough to order refried beans? Whatever, they are not convincing anyone with this Burt Bacharach song that he shat out one lunch hour.

The Drifters were named after the rubbish version of a Twix which the biscuit taken out, and were themselves a rubbish version of the Four Tops. Skip back to yesterdays entry to see what I think of the Four Tops and therefore the complete and utter disdain in which I hold the Drifters. One which was held by the Drifters management who on a number of occasions fired the whole band for the temerity to demand wages. Like they should be paid for this crap. The Drifters therefore existed in about eighteen different versions, all of whom tour today, and there is some talk of them setting up their own nation state where Up On The Roof will be the national anthem (with me shouting, Go on then, jump directly afterwards).

Possibly the most famous member of the Drifters was Ben E.King, latterly famous for having a hot in the eighties with Stand By Me. Whilst this went to show how poor music in the 80s were, his resurgence in popularity was merely because kids wanted him to go on Saturday Superstore and ask him if he was a Ben E tied to a tree.

Mexican Divorce is an unusual song in as much as it pretends to have a point, and yet never explains it. What exactly is a Mexican Divorce? It seems to be relatively quick, ending a love affair overnight. Perhaps it is the kind of love affair people had with Drifters records. One day on sale, next day free: you cant sell crap like this. Still, as I said, the absolute poverty of talent on display is not all the Drifters fault. Songwriting God* Burt Bacharach was responsible for this along with Bob Hilliard and its clear why Bob did not stick around writing lyrics for long. Burt was responsible for many records of mass destruction in the sixties, but this ones make mariachi stylings are just offensive. This is a killer combination, and one which therefore should have ended with both parties banged up. Or at least deported to Mexico.

*God of terrible songwriting.