Monthly Archives: February 2009

God IS in Your Brain

Michelangelo was not only a gifted artist but a bit of a Renaissance neuroanatomist according to one Dr. Meshberger. Like many artists of the day such as Da Vinci, Michelangelo studied human anatomy so as to perfect his own artistic techniques representing the body. creation1

It would appear that the centre piece of his most famous commission, the “Creation of Adam” on the ceiling of the Sistene chapel in the Vatican, contains an artistic representation of the sagital plane of the human brain with God in the middle reaching out the divine touch to Adam. Dr. Meshberger insists that the artist was allegorically portraying the moment when God bestowed Adam with intelligence.creation2

As I point out in my talks and “SuperSense” the trouble with this theory is that the human brain is wired to detect patterns in otherwise random events. This is why it is so easy to see evidence of divine signatures in all manner of mundane patterns. Nevertheless, believers see what they want to see and treat these patterns as auspicious. For example, spontaneous shrines (often with respect to the Virgin Mary for some reason), pop up in the most unusual places such as the site of a salt stain on the wall of an underpass in Chicago……


or as a refraction pattern in the plate glass windows of an insurance building in Florida….jesus026

This tendency to seeing significant features is known as pareidolia and is particularly associated with religious imagery. One the factors that appears to shape the patterns we see is our relative expertise and previous experiences. Dr.Meshberger is a gynecologist which may make him inclined to see patterns where the rest of us dare not look. There again if he was a vet then this one should have been glaringly obvious..angusassjesus_350x450


Filed under General Thoughts, Weird Story of the Week

AlphaInventions Versus Condron

By now, most of you viewing these automated blogging profile sites will have come across AlphaInventions and

From what I can work out, both are similar and yet very different.  AI appears to pluck random blogs out of the blogosphere and combines them with a core group of regular bloggers who have taken out subscriptions and regularly update their posts. (I am one).

Similarly Condron also invites bloggers to submit posts to their automatic profile site but this appears to be more dependent of active participation. 

I like the control that Condron provides as it allows you to stop and step back to a page if you missed it whereas you have to wait for it to re-appear on AI.

Also the turnover cycle of blogs on AI seems much smaller than the blogs cycle on Condron. Condron also provides both a countdown counter so that you can see when the next page will refresh and it keeps track of the different blogs with a counter. So I would regard the Condron viewer control and information as better. There is also a forum on Condron that allows you to discuss topics of choosing. 

However, the automatic hits generated by AI as it displays your site swells the hit counter of wordpress. As I have said before this inflates the number of hits but that’s not to say that viewers are not looking at your site (I sit and watch them scroll by and only stop the ones that look interesting). My visits from Condron are significantly fewer. Interestingly, many of my regulars are both AI and Condron users… we are a chummy bunch.

So IMHO, AI is more passive whereas Condron is more active. I think they are both great and there is room for each service.

Let me know if this post has been helpful.

and Cheru or Ryan, please correct me on any inaccuracies.


Filed under General Thoughts

Dream On

The number one reason people give for why they believe in the supernatural is because of some form of personal experience. What could be more baffling than the bizarre episodes that take place each night in our heads when we are deep in REM sleep?

Yesterday I posted an item on UFO’s and mentioned that many “abductees” often believe they have been probed. Where could such a weird sexual belief come from? It transpires that belief in nightmare sexual encounters has a long history. nightmare_largeFor example, Henry Fuseli’s (1782), “The Nightmare” is a depiction of a malevolent creature known as an ‘incubus’ that was believed to visit female victims in the night and have their evil way. It was typically reported as a cat-like creature that sits on the sleeper’s chest making it difficult for them to breathe while the victim feels paralyzed. The most likely explanation is that this experience occurs when sleepers become conscious while they are still immobilized by the sleep mechanisms that temporarily paralyze our bodies every night.

In medieval times, the incubus (Latin: ‘the one lying above’) was believed to torment women while the succubus (Latin: ‘the one that lies below’) had their evil sexual way with men. I think that these little sleep demons are also responsible for alien probing, the modern version of the incubi and succubi.

However, such physiological explanations have little impact on how people interpret their dream experiences. In a recent study of students in the US, India and S. Korea, researchers found that most believed that dreams revealed hidden truths about themselves and the world.

Moreover, people follow their dreams. When asked to imagine one of four scenarios, a national terrorist alert, a report of an airline crash on the same route, dreaming about a plane crash or simply imaging a plane crash, it was the dream that was the most likely factor to deter people from flying!

Dr Carey Morewedge of Carnegie Mellon University also reported that people who believe in God were likely to consider any dream in which God spoke to them to be meaningful; agnostics, however, considered dreams in which God spoke to be more meaningful when God commanded them to take a pleasant vacation than when God commanded them to engage in self-sacrifice.”

Sweet dreams!


Filed under General Thoughts, Research

The Religious Ecstasy of Pain

imagesThe idea of looking at images of the Virgin Mary while administering electric shocks to the devout just seems too much like some form of modern flagellation or at least Orwellian conditioning experiment. I did not think that sort of experiment got ethical approval these days. I have enough trouble with my own board just on the wording of some stupid consent form that most people don’t understand anyway.  

Yet Oxbridge researchers have reported a study showing that practicing Catholics can tolerate more pain induced by electric shock when they look at portraits of Jesus’s mum compared to a control picture. Non-religious individuals did not show any modulated pain tolerance when looking at the two images. 

religious-imagesJust in case you didn’t know, the one of the left is the Virgin Mary.

Brain imaging also revealed increased activation of the prefrontal regions of the brain which controls and suppresses emotional responses, leading to the very outrageous claim in the report that pain should not be viewed so negatively but has positive association for Catholics. Well there’s a surprise. Talk about a loaded research agenda.

Pass me the spikey belt. I feel the need to give myself a damn good thrashing.


Filed under Research

Dum-da-da-Dum….Dutch Cover!

Well, you wanted to see it and here it is. The Dutch cover for SuperSense.picture-3


Filed under book publicity

Psychic Predicted Heath Ledger’s Death & Success at Oscars

166Nikki – psychic to the stars not only predicted the untimely death of Heath Ledger but also his nomination for an Oscar at tonight’s ceremony. Nikki has made over 150 predictions for 2009 and has conveniently published these on her blog at the Divine Woman site under various headings. Here is a list of the top 5 predictions in each category.

Star Predictions

Lots of splits in Hollywoodheathjoker

  1. The great late actor Heath Ledger will be nominated for an Oscar.
  2. Mickey Rourke will be nominated for an Oscar.
  3. Angelina Jolie will be nominated for an Oscar.
  4. Anne Hathaway will be nominated for an Oscar.
  5. Johnny Depp winning an Oscar for playing a Russian in a future movie within 36 months.

The Royals

  1. Sex scandal in British Parliament.
  2. Duke of Edinborough has to watch his health.
  3. A wedding in Monaco.
  4. A yacht on fire in Monaco.
  5. A tragedy around Princess Caroline.

Sports Predictions

  1. The Toronto Maple Leafs will win the Stanley Cup within 36 months.
  2. A new Canadian Hockey League.
  3. A blimp explosion over a sports stadium.
  4. A Formula One car out of control – a fiery crash hitting the stands and killing the driver.
  5. A long distant swimmer will swim the English Channel.

Fashion Predictions

  1. Mustaches for men – very Clark Gable, Burt Reynolds.
  2. Black for men (think Johnny Cash).
  3. Thin ties like the 50’s and 60’s.
  4. Suspenders will be back.
  5. Capes for men.

Women – A Lot of Glamour

    1. Business attire – mixed with glamorous accessories.
    2. 40’s compacts.
    3. 40’s accessories.
    4. Silver and grey.
    5. High shoes and boots.

World Predictions

  1. Death of Charles Manson.
  2. Danger around the Dahlia Lama.
  3. Trouble with Tibet and China.
  4. An explosion at the Great Wall of China.
  5. Passing of Fidel Castro.

Death and Health Watch

Annette Funicello, Hillary Clinton, Doris Day, Willie Nelson, Pamela Anderson, Loretta Lynn, Ted Kennedy, Unice Schniver, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, President Masharoff, Billy Graham, Jerry Lewis, Tony Curtis, Debbie Reynolds, Barak Obama, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Nelson Mandela, Farah Fawcett, Nancy Reagan, Patrick Swayze, Dick Cheney, Dick Clark, George Bush Sr., Barbara Bush, Elizabeth Taylor, Larry King, Mick Jagger, Arnold Swarzenagger, Kirk Douglas, Hugh Hefner, Shirley Temple Black, Alex Trebek, French President Sarkozy, Queen Elizabeth, The Duke of Edinborough, Prime Minister Brown of England, Amy Winehouse, Aretha Franklin, Bob Barker, Burt Reynolds, Karl Lagerfield, David Copperfield, Jackie Stallone, Chris Angel (Mind Freak), Jimmy Carter, Keith Richard, David Blaine, Lauren Bacall, Joanne Woodward, Marilyn Manson, Michael Jackson, Sean Penn, Madonna, and Axle Rose of Guns’n Roses.

Some of these health watches are dead certs.  Amy Winehouse  is the epitome of a health scare and frankly everyone is still surprised to see Keith Richards is still around. Don’t hundreds of people swim the English Channel every year anyway? What would Hollywood be without lots of celebrity couples splitting and British Parliament is synonymous with sex scandals.

Still, there are some specific predictions worth keeping an eye out for. 

But win Heath win an Oscar for best supporting actor? If he does, then this will go to his 3-yr-old daughter, Matilda. 

I am not psychic but I predict that Hollywood will not pass on an opportunity like this.


Filed under supernatural

Stop the Killing of Tanzanian Albinos

albino_226An article appeared in this week’s New York Times about the plight of albinos in Tanzania which  reminds us that supernatural beliefs sometimes lead to appalling acts and that witchcraft is not always a harmless foible of human belief.

Since 2007, more than 40 albinos have been killed by gangs of men who hack off legs, heads and genitals to be used in various muti practices. Apparently the going rate for an albino corpse is $2,000. One trader caught with the head of an albino baby was taking it to a businessman who was prepared to pay for it by weight.

Even though 170 have been arrested for these attacks, not one has been prosecuted demonstrating a lack of conviction to stamp these atrocities out. Last month the Tanzanian government banned traditional healers and revoked licenses but with such supernatural beliefs deeply ingrained in the population, it will be a difficult practice to eradicate. Four of those charged with these crimes are police officers.

There are 17,000 albinos in Tanzania, so the potential for slaughter of these ostracized individuals is not acceptable. It is bad enough to have medical problems associated with albinism, but  to be feared and shunned with the constant threat of mutilation or death seems outrageous.

Thankfully, former Baptist minister Peter Ash, himself an albino from Canada has stepped in to try and help the situation with his charity “Under the Same Sun.” I have signed the online petition to help embarrass the Tanzanian government into doing more to stop these attacks. I hope you do as well.


Filed under supernatural

Geronimo Goes to Yale

geronimo_smallGeronimo, the last great war chief of the Apache Indians, is not at piece. To be more precise, he may be in pieces. This is the claim from his great grandson, Harlyn Geronimo who launched a lawsuit against the US government this week

Geronimo famously led an Apache uprising with some success against the US forces during the Indian wars towards the end of the 1880’s. He eluded capture by 5,000 soldiers who set out specifically to track him down and was reputed to have magical power. Geronimo eventually surrendered in 1886. 

After being paraded around various Wild West Shows and riding during Roosevelt’s inaugural parade, Geronimo ended his days as a prisoner of war at Fort Sill, Oklahoma dying from pneumonia at the age of 79. According to Fort Sill, the remains of Geronimo are under a stone pyramid monument at Fort Sill where he was buried 100 years ago.

Harlyn believes that some of his ancestor’s bones have in fact gone to university.skull_bones_tombBizarrely, he believes that his great grandfather’s skull is currently being fetishized at Yale’s infamous ‘Skull & Bones’ fraternity society. Famous alumni include the current ex-presidents, Bush & Son. 

Harlyn is seeking an order to dig up Geronimo’s grave and recover all his ancestor’s relics so that they can be re-buried at the site of his birth in New Mexico. Has this man lost his marbles? Clearly he, like most, has supernatural beliefs about the bones of the deceased and the need to re-unite the remains in death. We had a similar case in Bristol a few years back, where angry parents where horrified to discover that small samples of body tissue removed during the autopsy of their dead children where being kept in storage for analysis. The parents demanded that these various slivers of diseased tissue were buried again with their children as if somehow their children were not complete and could not be laid to rest. 

Meanwhile, Harlyn, who is now 81, has been mocked by the authorities but I think there is some merit to the old indian’s concerns. Apparently, a letter from 1918 from one Yale Bonesman to another, was discovered by researchers a few years ago which read, “The skull of the worthy Geronimo the Terrrible, exhumed ffrom Fort Sill by your club…is now safe inside [the clubhouse] together with his well worn femurs, bit & saddle horn.”

And who was alleged to have committed this act of grave-robbing? None other than Prescott Bush, the grandfather of George W.


Filed under In the News, supernatural

About Face from Facebook

Following my last post, Facebook has made an about turn regarding their policy of retaining ownership of any material posted on the social networking site,  irrespective of whether subscriber’s wish to remove files, unsubscribe or simply die.

Clearly SuperSense can wield extraordinary power and influence. Or at least that’s what I would like to believe.

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Filed under General Thoughts

Facebook From Beyond the Grave: Update

nokiacoffin1Yesterday, Facebook announced that it now has 175million users. It was only one month ago that the figure of 150 million was announced. With that sort of exponential rise, it seems that even if it can’t find a decent way of making money, it will continue to dominate the social networking world.

But what happens in the next world? Fear not, local digital media superstar, Peter Gabriel has been working on, “a social networking site for the dead.” From what I understand, it works in much the same way of his current site, “The Filter,” which keeps track of individual preferencespeter-gabriel and tastes in movies and music. By adding various social networking functions such as sending out birthday reminders and inane stupid gifts to others on the network, I can see how the actual individual does not necessarily have to be still alive. Seems really spooky.

But how does the dead person update their profile? It would appear that maybe “Tweetie” is the answer as an increasing number of people are requesting that they are buried with their mobile phones in the coffin. This practice which started out in witchcraft-fearing South Africa reflects the same Victorian fear of being buried alive. That’s why some Victorians were buried with a chain attached to a bell at the graveside to alert passers-by that the interred was still alive. 

Such coffin alarms have been superseded by the mobile phone. Apparently, low battery power is not a problem. Frank Jones, whose wife Sadie was buried with her mobile phone five years ago, still receives calls and text messages. Even in this technological scientific age, supernatural beliefs simply adapt to fit what most of us want to believe. That’s why you can’t get rid of them that easily.

Update: Aparently death is not legally binding as far as Facebook is concerned. This month, when Facebook updated its terms, it deleted a provision that said users could remove their content at any time, at which time the license would expire. Further, it added new language that said Facebook would retain users’ content and licenses after an account was terminated.

So be careful what you post. As soon as you press ‘return,’ it is no longer under your control – even if you delete the file or yourself.


Filed under General Thoughts, supernatural