Search Results for “voodoo”

August 15, 2012

Voodoo Death

pointing the bone

Voodoo death, a term coined by Harvard physiologist Walter Cannon in 1942 also known as psychogenic or psychosomatic death, is the phenomenon of sudden death as brought about by a strong emotional shock, such as fear. The anomaly is recognized as psychosomatic in that death is caused by an emotional response—often fear—to some suggested outside force.

Voodoo death is particularly noted in native societies, and concentration or prisoner of war camps, but the condition is not specific to any culture or mentality.

July 20, 2016

Trombone Shorty

trombone shorty

Troy Andrews (born January 2, 1986), also known by the stage name Trombone Shorty, is an American musician, producer, actor and philanthropist from New Orleans. A multi-instrumentalist, he is best known as a trombone and trumpet player but also performs and records on the drums, organ and tuba.

A highly sought after musician for his unique style and approach, he has worked with some of the biggest names in rock, pop, jazz, funk, hip hop and EDM. Andrews is the younger brother of trumpeter and bandleader James Andrews as well as the grandson of singer and songwriter Jessie Hill. He began playing trombone at age four, and since 2009 has toured with his own band, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue.

December 15, 2014


nuyorican by George Garrastegui Jr

Bastard Tongue by Serifcan Ozcan

Creolization [kree-uh-lahy-zey-shuhn] is the process of two or more cultures mixing, as happened in in the Americas between people of indigenous, African, and European descent. Creolization is traditionally used to refer to the Caribbean but can be extended to represent other diasporas. The mixing of populations creates a cultural melting pot which ultimately leads to the formation of new identities. Creolization also is the mixing of the ‘old’ and ‘traditional,’ with the ‘new’ and ‘modern.’

Furthermore, creolization occurs when participants actively select cultural elements that may become part of or inherited culture. Social scientist Robin Cohen states that Creolization is a condition in which ‘the formation of new identities and inherited culture evolve to become different from those they possessed in the original cultures,’ and then creatively merge these to create new varieties that supersede the prior forms.

July 11, 2013

Sympathetic Magic


tiger penis

Sympathetic magic, also known as ‘imitative magic,’ is a type of magic based on imitation or correspondence. It has been said that the theory of sympathetic magic was first popularized in 1889 by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer in ‘The Golden Bough’ (a comparative study of mythology and religion); German geographer and ethnographer Richard Andree, however, anticipates Frazer, writing of ‘Sympathie-Zauber’ in his 1878 ‘Ethnographische Parallelen und Vergleiche’ (‘Ethnographic Parallels and Comparisons). Frazer further subcategorized sympathetic magic into two varieties: that relying on similarity, and that relying on contact or ‘contagion’:

‘If we analyze the principles of thought on which magic is based, they will probably be found to resolve themselves into two: first, that like produces like, or that an effect resembles its cause; and, second, that things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed. The former principle may be called the Law of Similarity, the latter the Law of Contact or Contagion. The former allows a magician to produce any effect he desires merely by imitating it, and the latter informs him that whatever he does to a material object will affect equally the person with whom the object was once in contact, whether it formed part of his body or not.

June 19, 2013

Committee for Skeptical Inquiry

skeptical inquirer

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), formerly known as the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), is a program within the U.S. non-profit organization Center for Inquiry (CFI), whose stated purpose is to ‘encourage the critical investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims from a responsible, scientific point of view and disseminate factual information about the results of such inquiries to the scientific community and the public.’

CSI was founded in 1976 by skeptic and secular humanist Paul Kurtz to counter what he regarded as an uncritical acceptance of, and support for, paranormal claims by both the media and society in general. Its philosophical position is one of scientific skepticism. CSI’s fellows have included many notable scientists, Nobel laureates, philosophers, educators, authors, and celebrities. It is headquartered in Amherst, New York.

May 24, 2013


vodoo economics


Reaganomics or ‘voodoo economics’ is a negative term which critics use to criticize supply-side economics. The term originated from George H.W. Bush, who criticized Ronald Reagan’s plan for the economy during the Republican presidential primaries in 1980. Reagan’s attitude towards the Federal Government Budget was to drastically reduce taxes – primarily for the wealthy – while greatly increasing spending – primarily for the military. Bush Sr. and others recognized that this could not possibly produce a balanced budget, and would result in great national debt.

The four pillars of Reagan’s economic policy were to reduce the growth of government spending, reduce the federal income tax and capital gains tax, reduce government regulation, and control the money supply in order to reduce inflation.

March 11, 2013

Dimebag Darrell

Dimebag Darrell by Gumball Designs

Darrell Lance Abbott, also known as Diamond Darrell and Dimebag Darrell (1966 – 2004), was an American guitarist and founding member of the groove metal band Pantera, as well as Damageplan. Abbott also contributed to the record Rebel Meets Rebel, a collaboration between Pantera and outlaw country music singer David Allan Coe.

Darrell is considered to be one of the driving forces behind groove metal (a subgenre of heavy metal characterized by a slightly slower tempo than most metal). Abbott was shot and killed while on stage during a Damageplan performance on December 8, 2004, at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio.

January 11, 2013

Paleolithic Religion

clan of the cave bear

Religious behavior is thought to have emerged by the Upper Paleolithic [pey-lee-uh-lith-ik], before 30,000 years ago at the latest, but behavioral patterns such as burial rites that one might characterize as religious – or as ancestral to religious behavior – reach back into the Middle Paleolithic, as early as 300,000 years ago, coinciding with the first appearance of Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens.

Religious behavior may combine (for example) ritual, spirituality, mythology and magical thinking or animism – aspects that may have had separate histories of development during the Middle Paleolithic before combining into ‘religion proper’ of behavioral modernity.

November 20, 2012


Fetishism and curiosity

Commodity Fetishism

A fetish (from Latin ‘facticius,’ ‘artificial’ and ‘facere,’ ‘to make’) is an object believed to have supernatural powers, or in particular, a man-made object that has power over others. Essentially, fetishism is the emic (intracultural) attribution of inherent value or powers to an object. Initially, the Portuguese developed the concept of fetishism to refer to the objects used in religious cults by West African natives.

The concept was popularized in Europe circa 1757, when French scholar Charles de Brosses used it in comparing West African religion to the magical aspects of ancient Egyptian religion. Later, French philosopher Auguste Comte employed the concept in his theory of the evolution of religion, wherein he posited fetishism as the earliest (most primitive) stage, followed by polytheism and monotheism.

November 1, 2012

Pathological Science

Voodoo Science

Pathological science is the process by which ‘people are tricked into false results … by subjective effects, wishful thinking or threshold interactions.’ The term was first used by Irving Langmuir, Nobel Prize-winning chemist, during a 1953 colloquium at the Knolls Research Laboratory. Langmuir said a pathological science is an area of research that simply will not ‘go away’—long after it was given up on as ‘false’ by the majority of scientists in the field. He called pathological science ‘the science of things that aren’t so.’

Sociologist Bart Simon lists it among practices pretending to be science: ‘categories [.. such as ..] pseudoscience, amateur science, deviant or fraudulent science, bad science, junk science, and popular science [..] pathological science, cargo-cult science, and voodoo science ..’ Examples of pathological science may include homeopathy, Martian canals, N-rays, polywater, water memory (homeopathy), perpetual motion, and cold fusion. The theories and conclusions behind all of these examples are currently rejected or disregarded by the majority of scientists.

October 17, 2012

A Rape in Cyberspace

A Rape in Cyberspace, or How an Evil Clown, a Haitian Trickster Spirit, Two Wizards, and a Cast of Dozens Turned a Database into a Society’ is an article written by freelance journalist Julian Dibbell and first published in ‘The Village Voice in 1993.’ The article was later included in Dibbell’s book ‘My Tiny Life’ on his experience at LambdaMOO (a text-based online virtual reality system to which multiple users are connected at the same time).

Technology advocate Lawrence Lessig has said that his chance reading of Dibbell’s article was a key influence on his interest in the field. Sociologist David Trend called it ‘one of the most frequently cited essays about cloaked identity in cyberspace.’

September 26, 2012

L. Ron Hubbard

Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (1911 – 1986), better known as L. Ron Hubbard and often referred to by his initials, LRH, was an American pulp fiction author and the founder of the Church of Scientology. After establishing a career as a writer, becoming best known for his science fiction and fantasy stories, he developed a self-help system called ‘Dianetics’ which was first published in 1950. He subsequently developed his ideas into a wide-ranging set of doctrines and rituals as part of a new religious movement that he called Scientology. His writings became the guiding texts for the Church of Scientology and a number of affiliated organizations that address such diverse topics as business administration, literacy, and drug rehabilitation.

The Church of Scientology describes Hubbard in hagiographic terms, and he portrayed himself as a pioneering explorer, world traveler, and nuclear physicist, with expertise in a wide range of disciplines, including photography, art, poetry, and philosophy. His critics have characterized him as a liar, a charlatan, and mentally unstable. Though many of his autobiographical statements have been proven to be fictitious, the Church rejects any suggestion that its account of Hubbard’s life is not historical fact.

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