Ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties – where do they come from? #halloween2021 #ghost

What will you see Halloween night, either when you’re out Trick-or-Treating or just walking the dog?

We’ve all seen this explanation:

“If you’re walking in the woods and you see movement, you can make two errors,” says Michiel van Elk, a professor of social psychology at Leiden University. “You can either think it’s nothing, and it could be a potential predator, or you can think there’s a predator, and there’s nothing.” Psychologists suspect humans evolved a cognitive bias toward the latter mistake for good reason: Our ancestors had to keep a constant lookout for stealthy hazards like leopards and snakes, and folks with a “better safe than sorry” attitude were more likely to survive and reproduce. That’s why a snapping twig can activate the fight-or-flight reflexes that make us scream. Popular Science

The article offers more explanations for seeing spirits:

Zhong Kui, the vanquisher of ghosts and evil beings, painted sometime before 1304 A.D. by Gong Kai
  • We want to believe, to be part of the great ghost-hunting tribe.
  • Ghosts aren’t all bad, so why not? “In a 1995 survey in The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 91% of participants said their encounter had at least one upside, such as a sense of connection to others.”
  • Our brain is having problems from seizures or schizophrenia to drugs (recreational and otherwise.)
  • Infrasound! That’s as weird as any ghost. Sounds that are “inaudible to human ears, whose range bottoms out at 20 Hz, the interval creates some fairly insidious side effects.”
  • Geological phenomena where someone knows the explanation, but it’s not me and you. Here’s a fun name for the effect: “the devil’s magic.”

No one’s ever proved ghosts exist, at least not scientifically, and – no – listening to faint garbled radio signals on a device with no proper antenna or frequency tuning is not proof. Neither are those green-lighted night-vision offerings on cable.

Still looking over your shoulder? Here’s a solution from my past, tried and true:

When I was a kid, the door to our home’s attic was in my bedroom. Eek! Every night as darkness fell and the house cooled, creaks and groans floated down to me. I outwitted the monsters by lining all my stuffed animals up facing the door. I know the scary thrill and the sweet relief.

Thanks to Popular Science for their article at

True Face #MerryChristmas #history

When the Romans raided the garden of Gethsemane, Judas had to show the soldiers which one was Jesus because they couldn’t tell him apart from his disciples. While icons and artwork can be beautiful and inspirational, what about the real man? This question and its answer doesn’t erase two thousand years of our developed religions, morals, and traditions. For me, it deepens my understanding.

Original article is behind a pay-wall

What did he really look like? Popular Mechanics produced an answer in 2002 using forensic anthropology, and it’s still my favorite. If he looks a bit puzzled in this rendering, I can imagine many reasons why. Historian Bart D. Ehrman writes “Jesus would not recognize himself” in modern Christian preaching. “[H]is world was not ours, his concerns were not ours, and – most striking of all – his beliefs were not ours.”

Jesus looked like the people of his time and place, and it’s only natural for us to each envision him as a person of our time and place. History doesn’t negate that at all.

Christmas Morning #MerryChristmas #HappyChristmas

Crescent Moon – Jupiter/Saturn Conjunctions #astronomy #citizenscientist

Quite the holiday treat!

As we are getting ready for the Grand Conjunction on the 21st the Moon reappears in the evening skies and waxes its way past Jupiter and Saturn on Wednesday the 16th and Thursday the 17th.

Click here for details: