Re-Blog: Let’s Talk To The Dead… Or Not


(Originally posted 10/5/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

When the gringa was growing up in a strict Southern Baptist household, Ouija boards were banned. The gringa should feel fortunate that my mother was more lenient than her parents. My mother grew up in an even stricter religious household where a deck of cards was considered to be just as Satanic as an Ouija board. But where did the Ouija board really come from? 


Did Satan design and deliver it to mortal man? Is the Ouija board a gateway to communicate with the dead? Does one risk demonic possession or an invitation for a ghostly haunting if a bit of fun is had with this device? Probably not.


The Ouija board was first marketed in America during the 1800s. But this was just a mordernized version of an ancient Chinese trinket that dates back to 1100AD. When early Americans became curious about communicating with the dead, a rash of mysticism arose. 


Hypnotists came on the scene but it was really the spiritualists that commanded the era. And certainly in capitalist America there was a cunning entrepreneur who realized that, although lacking in acting skills and unable to pass self off as a medium or psychic, it would be easy to head to the woodshop and craft a device that assists anyone in talking with the dead.


You heard the gringa right. The Ouija board as we know it today is nothing more than a clever capitalist’s Shark Tank dream come true of the 1800s. Designed after the many cultures who practiced supernatural “automatic writing” practices, rather than being the spawn of Satan, the Ouija board is the offspring of centuries of ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese and Medieval Europeans.


What the heck was going on in America to have good Christians begin to dabble in the black arts? After the Civil War ravaged families, there were plenty of heartbroken, lonely people, as well as guilt-ridden people, who were desperate to connect with dead loved ones. And dead loved ones were in abundance after a war that decimated the American population.


Actors and actresses turned spiritualists groomed their acting skills and added parlor tricks to their repertoires. Ghostly tapping on walls, levitating tables, and smoky emissions were the skills of spiritualists that earned them a loyal following and steady income. Some even enjoyed a celebrity status, like the Fox sisters of New York. So, if you wanted to get on the ghost-talking gravy train express but couldn’t act your way out of a paper bag, you equipped yourself with an Ouija board and held seances.


So, are Ouija boards imbued with magical powers? Certainly. They make money disappear quick as a wink. Happy Halloween season, my dear readers!

Source: The Vintage News

Image Credit: Cornucopia 3D

Video Credit: Crypticc

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Re-Blog: Are Zombies Real?


(Originally posted 10/3/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

Lovers of horror and science-fiction are most likely big fans of the Walking Dead series as well as any movie or book that is zombie-related. A visit to New Orleans will result in any number of Voodoo and zombie trinkets being purchased and brought back home. 


The first famous literary mention of zombies occurred in 1810. Robert Southey wrote of brain-eating monsters in his book History of Brazil. As the word morphed throughout the English reading world, zombies became known as once-dead humans that re-animate without intelligence or self-awareness. Their only purpose was to serve a master and survive upon human brains.


Are zombies real? Should a person have an after-death back-up plan? Should the dead be buried with emergency beacons to activate in case they inadvertently awaken? Should a trusted loved one be appointed to deliver a coup-de-grace if it turns out our brainless body recycles itself?  Before venturing into any such plans, let’s see what science has to say. Zombie believers might be surprised. The gringa certainly was.


Voodoo and santeria cultures believe that zombies are real. These religions, with origins in Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, take zombies seriously. Although details vary among different sects, the basics are the same. A practitioner of experience and power can re-animate the dead and sometimes control them. The purpose of creating a zombie was sometimes considered a means of punishment for the person that died. Another purpose was enslavement. 


For the most part, the subject of zombies has not been taken seriously by outsiders of Voodoo or santeria. In the 1980s, this outsider perspective changed when western scientist, Wade Davis, discovered a substance that could turn a living human into a zombie. 


Tetrodotoxin is a neurotoxin found in pufferfish. The good scientist found this toxin in a powder form being used by influential religious leaders in Voodoo sects throughout Haiti. This was the inspiration behind his own book that became a film, The Serpent and the Rainbow.


More recently, however, is something even more titillating. Although Davis’ zombie explanation does not actually involve re-animated corpses, only doped-up folks who were still among the living, this new discovery does, indeed, support more traditional zombie theory. And it may challenge many of today’s most popular religious beliefs about what happens after death.


Canadian medical professionals have released the findings of a recent study of the brains of critically ill patients and what happened within the brain right after death. The gringa says, “Hold on to your hats, folks.” Ya know that straight line across the machine followed by a steady whine instead of a series of rhythmic beeps that you see in movies when a patient dies? Yeah, that’s the movies. Not exactly what really happens.


Once the heart stopped beating and any sign of a pulse ceased, the Canadian doctors continued to see activity in the brain. The cerebral organ continued to produce the same kind of brain waves that occur when you sleep. So, for as long as 10 minutes after being declared dead, the dead were, evidently, still dreaming.


Now, this didn’t happen in every single individual the doctors studied. It occurred in about 25% of those who died. And the good docs don’t have a clue how to explain this. While most of their patients, 75%, had zero brain activity before their hearts even stopped beating, this 25% defies explanation according to medicine as the doctors know it.


Even after auditing the equipment, in the hopes they could attribute it to a mechanical mistake, the doctors were still left scratching their heads. Their equipment was operating perfectly.


And the mystery is heightened when it was discovered that in the first minute after the cessation of a heart beat (official death), for the 25%, there was actually a SURGE of brain activity. The gringa supposes those individuals were experiencing something like this, “Holy cow! Check this out! I’m floating! No more pain! This is amazing! Hey! Doc! Get in here! I’m cured! I’m flying! Oh, wait! I’m dead! Am I dead? Then how am I talking to myself? Do dead people still think? Maybe I’m not dead. I could just be dreaming.”


And the gringa thinks that maybe a zombie is just the pre-cursor for a ghost. And a ghost would be the consciousness of that 25% who seem to be very confused about what they are supposed to do when their heart stops beating. So, maybe the 25% are those considered rebels, those folks who never follow the rules. Maybe they are those with unfinished business. They could just be mean people who refuse to relieve the world of the pain and grief they cause. Who knows.


And, these 25%’ers are not the only ones confused. The Canadian doctors were further confused by other activity that continued after “official” death. Not only were delta brain waves active (the dream wave), but the genes of the 25%’ers were also active, doing whatever it is that genes do. Which means, while the heart is telling the body, “It’s all over”, the genes were still going about their business making the proteins necessary to regulate bodily functions. Seems like stubbornness may not be a learned trait but “in the genes”.


And, so far, no one knows why any of this is happening. So, for at least 25% of the world’s population, zombies and ghosts might be the real deal!


Happy Halloween Season!

To view a video on this discover, click the Independent’s video link here.

Sources:

Image Credit: Top Form Fitness

Video Credit: Independent

Re-Blog: An Irish Haunting Of Canadians


(Originally posted 8/31/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

Why would an Irish ghost haunt Canadians? Is it a race thing? Is it a case of mistaken identity? Perhaps the Irish ghost has become displaced throughout history? Is there even such a thing as ghosts?


Well, first of all, the question of whether or not ghosts exist. The gringa believes in the possibility of energy-based beings that most humans call ghosts. I believe that when a person’s physical body expires the energy which animates that body does not expire. The consciousness lives on, in a different dimension, the 5th dimension that the gringa believes to be found in what science calls the Dark Matter universe. Life in this other invisible universe where matter doesn’t matter can sometimes cross-over and interact with those of us still living an existence where matter does still matter.


Being sentient beings, these dark matter beings also retain their individuality, remembering their identity from their physical matter-based existence on Earth. That would mean that an Irish ghost would remember its Irish identity and be able to identify physical humans according to nationality as well. But, chances are, moving on to a higher plane of existence, such “matters” like national identities would no longer “matter” to such a being. So, an Irish ghost haunting Canadians wouldn’t be a race thing or case of mistaken identity.


But what about displacement? Would a 5th dimension, Dark Matter universe being find itself limited to where it could interact with physical matter in our universe? Would the consciousness of a disembodied person be restricted to only areas that are most familiar or emotionally significant? The gringa says, “Perhaps.” Such a question might be answered by understanding how a consciousness is able to manifest itself in a physical world. 


When residents and guests of Canada’s official ambassador residence in Dublin experience their Irish ghost, they describe events like banging noises, heavy breathing and loud footsteps in hallways. How old is this residence? Who has lived there in the past? Who might have developed such a strong connection with the place that they insist on sticking around and making their presence known?


The most powerful events connected with the building is the April 1916 Irish rebellion known as the 1916 Easter Rising. During this 6-day armed rebellion more than 450 people were killed and thousands injured. The Irish leader who crafted the master plan, Patrick Pearse, lived in Glanmire house that is now the residence of the Canadian Ambassador. 


Once British rulers squashed his rebellion, Pearse was executed. Sounds to the gringa like a good reason to hang around. Pearse probably feels like he has unfinished business. And he is also emotionally charged with loyalty, bitterness, anger and determination.

The residence’s current inhabitant, Canada’s ambassador, Kevin Vickers, is not some melodramatic child keening for attention. He has faithfully served his country for almost three decades. First with the Canadian Mounted Royal Police. Then as Sergeant-At-Arms in the House of Commons. He is a cool customer, hailed as a hero for killing a rampaging gunman in Canada’s parliament building in October of 2014. Appointed the Irish ambassadorship in January, 2015, however, may be his most interesting assignment, yet.


It didn’t take long for the Irish ghost to make his presence known. Vickers reports that he hears sounds like chains being thrown down onto hardwood floors. Activity is so prevalent that his dear little maid won’t even venture upstairs. 


The gringa wonders how good of a housekeeper Vickers is. Is his bureau dusty? His bed unmade on a daily basis? But, I digress. Back to how a disembodied consciousness might succeed at affecting a corporeal world. 


If corporeal humans can achieve supernatural feats through highly-disciplined, deep meditative practices, the gringa believes it is possible for the opposite to be also be true. If dear Pearse reflects with great passion on the events of the past, he may just be able to produce enough energy to spill over into our universe. 


Scientists have already reported tracking movements by dark matter. Wherever Pearse is in the unseen dark matter universe, his consciousness could direct itself back to the physical place where he suffered the most. His grief for lost comrades may be so great that he wishes to see how things developed after they lost their leader. His only solace and comfort may actually be found in returning and seeing the state of current events in his beloved country. It may be that he will only stop his hauntings (return trips) when Ireland is once whole again.


Source & Image Credit: 

BBC


Additional Image Credit: Deviant Art

Video Credit: worcesterjonny

Why Won’t Physics Give Ghosts A Chance?


Darn those scientists. They have gone and spoiled it for the gringa again. I mean, who doesn’t love a good ghost story? The reason such a tale is so tantalizing is because no one really knows if ghosts are real or not. Until now. Yeah. Thinks Neil Degrasse Tyson and Brian Cox, you ol’ fun-spoiling physicists, you.

The dear reader would probably like to know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about an experiment that took place with the Large Hadron Collider. And the results are being interpreted to prove that ghosts just don’t exist. At least according to the laws of physics. According to Cox, a British theoretical physicist, he explains that if there were information zipping about after a person’s dies, the Large Hadron Collider would detect those bits of data. This is how his theory goes:

-For a ghost to exist, after death, a pattern of information from living cells would travel through some other medium.

-The traveling pattern would interact with particles of matter from the human body it leaves while it makes the transfer from one medium to the other.

-The Large Hadron Collider has detected nothing like this.

Is it possible that there is a physics law not yet  known by today’s scientists which might then make it possible for ghosts to be real?

Cox’s answer for this is that scientists would need to invent a new model for Particle Physics. But, considering the energy scale by which particles interact with the human bodies, this is not conceivable with today’s knowledge or technology. So the gringa remains hopeful that ghosts still have a chance.

Tyson, however, likes to rain on the gringa’s ghost parade. He says that just because there are gaps in what physicists do know doesn’t mean that what they don’t know will automatically support the existence of things like ghosts. Darn it. In fact, he believes that Cox’ work at the European Centre for Nuclear Research is sufficient to definitively conclude that ghosts don’t exist.

Tyson references the law of entropy as proof. There is a complicated physics law related to entropy in thermodynamic states. In a nutshell, what it means for ghosts is that energy is simply lost, whether it is man-made energy or natural energy. Energy simply expends itself and is lost and you can’t get it back.

But the gringa says, “Whoa, there, Nellie!” I mean, entropy is about the relationship of matter and energy. There is also the principal that, although matter may lose energy and experience entropy, energy doesn’t cease to exist. Energy may simply change into another form and never cease to exist.

The gringa thinks that Tyson errs to use entropy to kill off ghosts. Entropy is what happens to the physical body when energy leaves the body. If the energy is consciousness, the inspiration and existence of thought and individuality, that energy would not cease to exist simply because the human body of matter lost control of it.

Cox answers this idea with the assertion that if consciousness exists as an energy that animates the human body, then it must interact with the particles the human body is made of. So far, with the precision instruments that he has at hand, he sees no evidence of such interaction. But does that mean it doesn’t happen? After all, there was a time when man couldn’t “see” an atom or a blood cell, but they still existed.

So, the gringa started out disappointed but, in the end, I find myself right back where I started from. Believing that ghosts might possibly be the consciousness energy of inspiration of each unique human being’s individuality. After death, this energy may very well transform into another existence, possibly residing in a dark matter universe. The gringa is still a believer in ghost possibility until physicists can come up with something better than “so far with what we know and the instruments we’ve got we have to say no to ghosts”.

After all, Cox nor Tyson were able to explain whether or not consciousness exists. They cannot explain why humans have individuality and how though originates. In other words, the only thing they do know are the laws of physics that relate to matter. A “ghost” has no matter. These guys need to get back to the drawing board. And the gringa suspects Tyson may secretly be a believer in ghosts:

Sources:

Physics-Astronomy

Image Credit: WDFYFE

Video Credit: StarTalk Radio