Superstition and Other Silliness: December 2002 Archives

December 26, 2002

Don't have a cow

You have a problem. You are Hindu, and your religion demands that you sanctify your place of worship by splattering it with cow dung and water. But, you are a sophisticated, city-dwelling Hindu and cow poo, no matter how holy it might be, well, stinks. Cows tend to be a little thin on the ground, too. Well, a company in Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh has just the product for you--specially processed cow shit, mixed with camphor, turmeric and sandalwood to give it a more acceptable odour.

I used to avoid cow dung because of its bad odour, one young housewife said. But this holy cow dung does not smell that bad and now I do not have any problem to apply it at home before the rituals.

The manufacturers also point out that their cow crap has anti-fungal properties and plan to export it for use by Hindus all over the world. Dairy farm making a packet from cow dung -, 26th December 2002 (via New World Disorder).

December 25, 2002

Sssssssso careless

Passengers on a commuter minibus in Kenya were surprised when an elderly woman removed her clothing and complained that her snaked had gone missing. The snake was to be used in a ritual to ensure that her brother won a local election. Passengers' shock as poll ritual snake slithers out - Daily Nation, 25th December 2002.

December 24, 2002

Be an annoying git, even when you're gone.

At Rapture Letters, Christians can arrange to have pestering evangelical e-mail sent to their loved ones when they all mysteriously disappear at the Rapture. Once names are added to the database, they will be stored indefinitely and a letter will be sent out to each of them on the first Friday after the rapture. Then they will receive another letter every friday after that. I have my doubts about this site, but the sample letter is so disgustingly sincere, it must be real. The site is a personal ministry but the anonymous individual(s) behind it don't explain how their computers will know when the Rapture will happen and so trigger the letter-sending. It's not as if they're going to be around themselves, is it?

December 12, 2002

A bar to avoid

How about some fizzy keg reading to go with your fizzy keg beer? You can have both dubious delights if the Reverend Peter Winkle and restaurateur Renee Visser get the licence they want from authorities in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They plan to open a Christian theme bar called 'Graces' where Bibles will be on offer alongside the usual fake beer and junk food. Reverend and restaurant owner plan to mix Bibles and beer - ABC7 Chicago, 12th December 2002.

December 11, 2002

Are unicorns covered by CITES?

Officials from New Zealand's Agriculture and Forestry Ministry were surprised when an importer told them that the unlabelled box of bones he'd had sent from Indonesia were the remains of a unicorn. But the bones, which had been covered with a thin layer of cement to make them look like fossils, were from a more mundane cow or water buffalo. A representative told the Dominion Post The importer, when he was asked, said they were unicorn bones. Whether he was ripped off or what, who knows? 'Unicorn' bones in unmarked shipment - Dominion Post, 11th December 2002.

God's some claims exemption from law

The Son of God has issued a three-page rant from his Australian prison cell complaining that he has been gaoled for his beliefs--specifically his belief that the Traffic Act is the work of the Devil and does not apply to him. Terence Michael Malaher is serving an eight-week sentence for driving while disqualified and driving an unregistered vehicle with no premium cover. Mahler insisted he was exempt because of his divine status, and also insisted I follow only God's code of conduct, which is 'walk in peace and do not disturb the peace of others'. He doesn't explain how driving a car is the same as walking. 'Messiah' rants over jail sentence - The Examiner, 10th December 2002.

December 10, 2002

Is there anybody there in the Jury?

A senior Scottish judge has called for an end to secrecy surrounding jury deliberations in certain circumstances. As an example, he referred to an case in the English courts when a ouija board was used to decide the guilt of the accused in a murder case:

The most bizarre feature is perhaps not that the jurors held a seance ... it is perhaps even more extraordinary that, legally, it was not a straightforward matter to have any inquiry made into the allegation, said Lord Reed.
The appeal court had permitted an investigation, which led to a retrial, only because the seance had been held in a hotel during an overnight stay and not within the jury room.
It remains to be seen how the court would respond if a jury were alleged to have set up a ouija board in the jury room, but the precedents--cases where the jury was alleged to have tossed a coin or drawn lots--suggest that the court should do nothing whatever about it.

Judge moves to end jury room confidentiality - The Scotsman, 7th December 2002.

December 4, 2002

Women's mysteries

Part of Victoria is suffering its worst drought in decades, so hundreds of Australian women plan a mass nude raindance in the outback. The event follows a similar, apparently successful, one in Nepal and will be strictly women only. It will be followed by a (clothed) barbecue. Aussies go bushwhacking in the buff for rain - IOL, 4th December 2002.

December 3, 2002

Thou shalt not relieve stress

Ah, voodoo dolls! I have one shaped like an old Macintosh, which works wonders when a deadline looms and the computer knows it., and last time I was in Amsterdam, I picked up a Linux Voodoo Penguin for Charlie. They're a wonderful way to relieve stress and frustration without actually hurting anyone.

But some people seem to think they really work. A voodoo doll designed to relieve the frustrations of teenage girls has been withdrawn from sale in Australia after an outcry.

Complete with 17 pins and a variety of instructions to break up relationships or hex a friend's birthday party, the spells offer chants such as I don't ever want to see your face again, while plunging the pins in the heart of the voodoo doll is encouraged to break up lovers.
There are also spells for giving someone bad breath and to make someone disappear.

Voodoo dolls a sore point - The Australian, 3rd December 2002.

AIDS-related beliefs

An article on AIDS in Botswana reveals some interesting superstitions associated with the disease:

At funerals in Botswana, there is always a ritual announcement of the cause of death, and it is almost never announced as AIDS. It is attributed to tuberculosis, or a mysterious slimming disease, or the anger of ancestors. Traditional healers are still the doctors of choice, and they often blame AIDS-related illnesses on witchcraft, or on sex with a widow who had not been ritually cleansed. They often prescribe bleeding, and sometimes suck out the blood of victims, which can spread the disease yet again.

In Botswana, Efforts at Prevention -, 3rd December 2002.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Superstition and Other Silliness category from December 2002.

Superstition and Other Silliness: November 2002 is the previous archive.

Superstition and Other Silliness: January 2003 is the next archive.

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