July 2010

Kids See Dead People

What if the whole Bruce Willis scenario in The Sixth Sense were much more than M. Night Shyamalan’s greatest hit film? Caron Goode is playing a true life, though living, role of Wills’s character, investigating the minds of children who might possibly see ghosts.

The psychologist says that her efforts stem from her own childhood experiences, and she’s out to discover whether or not the imaginary friends that so many kids have are actually the spirits of the dead instead. She’s even written a book, Kids Who See Ghosts: How to Guide Them Through Fear, about it.

Spontaneous Human Combustion

When I was a kid, I had this incredibly morbid book about spontaneous human combustion.  It was written in as lurid a fashion as possible, had a collection of glossy photos in a central inset, and put forth the most preposterous theories with great enthusiasm.  I'm pretty sure I bought it out of the nickel box at someone's garage sale.  

(Sometimes I wonder what my parents were thinking, letting an eight year old girl read a book about spontaneous human combustion.  Maybe they didn't notice, or maybe they were just happy that I read books at all.  Certainly I doubt they realized that I was both compelled to read it, and suffering from nightmares where I woke up with half my body burnt and reduced to ash.)

Is Elvis Presley Still Alive?

The King of Rock and Roll would be 75 years old if he were still alive today.  That's what fascinates me about the "Elvis faked his own death" legend: what happened afterward?  

I can believe that Elvis Presley faked his own death.  Although I think the possibility is unlikely.  Let's be honest, surely anyone who wanted to fake their own death would leave a better fake death behind than "died while pooping." 

Something like, "died while rescuing a kitten from a tree" or even "died quietly in his sleep."  Something with a little dignity, you know?  Something better than the existing story, which is that he was found approximately 10 hours after his likely death, face down in a puddle of vomit on his bathroom floor, with his pants around his ankles.  That's just sad.

UFOs Over China!

Maybe… maybe not!  A ton of images and video purporting to show a rash of UFOs over China last week have gone through a flurry of internet activity.  Debunked!  Bunked!  Re-debunked!  It's missiles!  It's a counter-missile system!  It's an optical illusion!  It's UFOs and China doesn't want to admit it!

Here are the facts: something happened to shut down Xiaoshan Airport.  To quote CNN, "Eighteen flights were delayed or rerouted and operations shut down after twinkling lights were spotted above the terminal around 9 p.m. July 7."  Some people thought it was a private aircraft which had gone astray.  Others thought it was something military - an experimental aircraft, perhaps, or who knows what.

What CNN describes as "twinkling lights" has been described by other sources as "a glowing object hovering in the afternoon sky."  

The Psychic Properties of Clutter

Oh clutter, does anyone escape your grasp?  I am considered (both by myself and by others) to be a ruthless, effective, and tireless fighter of clutter.  And yet I can point to six things that belong somewhere else within arm's reach of my keyboard as I type this right now.  

Clutter propagates in the dark, it creeps in on little cat feet, and can even destroy lives.  Philip K. Dick coined the term "kipple" in his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

"Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday's homeopape. When nobody's around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there's twice as much of it. It always gets more and more."