Superstition and Other Silliness: September 2004 Archives

September 30, 2004

Folk magic in Russia

Russia: Folk magic is fairly common in Russian life, despite the efforts of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Soviet government. Some of the spells are rather interesting:

Ruslan, a medical student, relates the following story, chilling bordering on nauseating: this summer, at the hospital lab where he works, a good half of one afternoon was spent running some mysterious liquid through tests. The liquid was brought in by one of the lab workers who suspected that a friend was involved in foul play after the friend repeatedly invited her and her fiance over for tea. She poured some tea into a test tube and brought it to work. After brewing some fresh tea as control, the lab director tested the liquid for everything. Protein, glucose, creatine, reproductive hormones, etc, etc, after which she publicly announced her conclusion: the tea contained menstrual blood. The coworker proffered her explanation, Ruslan said: I know, she wanted to chase my fiance away from me, citing an appropriate spell that involved feeding people with menstrual blood.

Others are more familiar:

For instance, in one of the stations of Moscow's fabled luxurious subway halls there is a statue of a dog. There are many statues, covered with patina and grime, but the dog's nose shines pure gold. It's polished by the hands of students rubbing the pooch's nose before exams -- a good luck ritual obviously thought at least as effective as studying.

A Little Black Magic in Russian Everyday Life - Mosnews.com, 29th September 2004.

September 27, 2004

Nothing happens.

India: The Indian government did not fall yesterday. The demise of the coalition led by Manmohan Singh had been predicted by an astrologer, and several leaders of the opposition BJP were apparently looking forward to the day.

In a country where astrology plays a huge role in decisions ranging from missile launches and elections to weddings and jobs to crises in the family and the government, the BJP was ready to believe its loss of power had as much to do with unfavourable astral conjunctions as other political factors.
When the BJP leaders rushed to Madan for their only solace after losing the national elections, he foresaw early doom for the Manmohan Singh regime by September, coupled with a split in the ruling Congress under the influence of the dreaded Saturn.

BJP's Monday blues as government 'doomsday' passes: - New Kerala, 27th September 2004.

September 22, 2004

Fly the paranoid skies

United States: Midwest Airlines cancelled a flight headed to San Francisco because a passenger found Arabic-style handwriting in an inflight magazine.

The plane, carrying 118 passengers and five crew members, had already pulled away from the gate at Mitchell International Airport Sunday evening. It returned to the gate, the passengers got off, security authorities were notified, all luggage was checked and the aircraft was inspected. Nothing was found.

The writing turned out to be a prayer in Farsi.

Midwest Airlines Cancels Flight - The Guardian, 21st September 2004.

September 16, 2004

Education minister refuses to promote superstition

Namibia: The government has refused, point blank, to allow the ritual 'cleansing' of schools believed to be affected by witchcraft.

In [a circular, sent out less than a month ago] [Basic Education Permanent Secretary, Loine Nyanyukweni Katoma] denounced alleged cases of witchcraft at some schools and expressed her Ministry's concern that teachers and pupils were often wrongly accused of the practice.
Katoma said the policy position of the Ministry was that schools were areas entrusted to impart knowledge based on sound scientific principles and the power of reason.
Ours is not a Ministry for the affairs of witchcraft and superstitions.
The Ministry therefore does not condone the unwarranted mingling of witchcraft in the educational business of our children, Katoma said.

Govt draws line on witchcraft - The Namibian, 16th September 2004.

September 6, 2004

How to lose friends and alienate people

It's difficult being a young Christian and having to deny nature all the time, Dating to Save People from Hell is an invaluable resource of techniques for scaring away potential dates so that you never get to the stage where you have to resist temptation. (Thank you Andrew Ian Dodge).

September 3, 2004

The Big Bad Wolf strikes

South Africa: A somewhat precise wind has blown the roof off a house in Bophelong, leaving nearby houses untouched. The roof had recently undergone extensive extention work, but dodgy workmanship appears not to be an issue:

The incident has left tongues wagging in the area amidst widely held speculation that the wind could have been an act of witchcraft by jealous people allegedly envious of the extensive renovations made to the house.

House blown away by witchcraft - Vaal Weekly, 3rd September 2004.

September 1, 2004

A life-changing experience on the cards

United States: A former mayor and bookkeeper of a Texas town have been indicted on allegations that they used taxpayers' money to pay for tarot readings.

48-year old Diana Cortez and 45-year old Sandra Lopez, both of La Grulla, have been indicted for allegedly paying a psychic almost $54,000 for consultations, including tarot card readings.

Indictment: Psychic Paid $54,000 with Federal Funds - KGBT TV, 31st August 2004.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Superstition and Other Silliness category from September 2004.

Superstition and Other Silliness: August 2004 is the previous archive.

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