I just saw this pop up on my Twitter feed from Derren Brown about a US magician who was set alight by the host of TV show in the Domican Republic. Here is a link to the article and details are still very sketchy but apparently, the host ignited a liquid that is used to exorcise witches, and threw it over the head of US magician Wayne Houchin.
Wayne suffered severe burns and is currently in hospital though he has just Tweeted that he may not be permanently scarred. Doesn’t matter, he could have been killed. This is such a strange attack as the host seems to offer assistance but we are assured that this was not a stunt to get publicity. Derren Brown tweets that the host set fire to Wayne to rid him of evil spirits. It doesn’t look like a stunt and so reminds me of the blog I wrote about modern beliefs in witches and the horrific examples of witch burning in Africa as shown in this distressing footage. WARNING – NSFL . So it is not just, primitive, uneducated natives in Africa who don’t know better (BTW I am being deliberately facetious!) but also Westernized, presumably well-educated TV presenters.
I am due to give a talk in Gothenburg (Göteborg) Sweden next April at a International Science Festival. I was planning on talking about The Self Illusion or some other brain-related talk but after hearing about the arrest of an unnamed woman who has been charged with violating the peace of the dead, I think that I must talk about disgust and essentialism.
When police turned up her apartment they discoverd over 100 human bones and initially thought that a murder had taken place. It turns out that she probably obtained them from a morgue. However, it is not the theft that has the liberal Swedes in such a bother but rather this may be a bona fide case of necrophilia.
In addition to the bones, they discovered photos on two CDs labelled “My necrophilia” and “My first experience” which contained a number of document files and pictures where she is using the bones as sex toys. I am assuming that the femur came in handy. I have posted one of the less disturbing images of her licking a skull. Actually, the one of the skull and her teddy bear kills two birds with one image so that I can talk about essential objects and how these are extensions of our materialism of the self.
Somehow, I don’t think I can resist the temptation to talk about our attitudes to the dead and the bones they leave behind when I visit in the spring. This will be one example of disgust that the Swedish audience should understand!
Apologies for my absence but I have been working on a new book which has a December delivery date. It is due out next year and to be published by Penguin. That will be five books since 2009 (two academic, SuperSense, The Self Illusion & the new one) I am also blogging over at the Huffington Post and Psychology Today and it is the start of the academic year so I have all the teaching as well so as you can imagine, it is difficult to find the time.
Excuses, excuses. Anyway, I thought I would tell you about children’s sentimental toys as there is a growing interest in this. Journalist Laura Wexler interviewed me for a forthcoming article she is writing for The New Republic magazine about adults’ attachment objects. I have also been contacted by an artist, Susan Swartzberg, who has started a remarkable project called “The Honey Project” to collect stories and images of adult’s attachment object. She has created a Facebook page about it and you can visit the Honey Project wonderful website that looks fab. If you have one of these object please visit.
Of course, I covered sentimental objects in SuperSense and continue to research this fascinating aspect of child development. Do you remember the photograph of the wanted poster in the book? Well here is another.
In July this summer The Daily Mail reported this story of the Swedish police who have posted a similar wanted poster for a child’s missing teddy bear on their official Facebook page. Immediately the police force was criticised by some who thought they should be dealing with more important issues. In defense the police replied, ” The article above was written by an off-duty policeman, so the cost to us was zero. If we, through two minutes’ work, can help her get her friend back, we’d say it’s good prioritizing, don’t you think?”