Posts Tagged With: facts

It’s been far too long….

Today it dawned on me that I haven’t done a solid post on anything anthropological or biomedical for a very long time. I also came across an old list I have tucked into one of my biology books. There’s no author on it nor where it came from so I can’t give anyone credit for putting it all together. There is a list of where the author got all these facts and I did include those links at the end. Just know I didn’t come up with any of these. Anything in [brackets] is the first thought that came in my head after I read the fact.

Amazing and Awesome Facts About the Human Body.

-Humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin every hour. In fact, most of the dust underneath your bed is probably your own dead skin. [I shed more then all my pets combined?]

-A human baby has 99 more bones than an adult. A baby’s skeleton is mostly made up of cartilage. As a person grows up, most of this cartilage turns into bone in a process called ossification, and the ossification process results in the joining of certain bones. Consequently, new born babies have around 305 bones, while an adult has just 206 bones. [How else would they painfully squeeze their way out of a woman’s body?]

-There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in an adult human body. The largest blood vessel is the aorta, which is just over an inch in diameter. [I do not suggest measuring your blood vessels or aorta…..then again, if you cannot vanquish this urge, measure away!]

-In a lifetime, an average person produces about 25,000 quarts of saliva, enough to fill two swimming pools. We also produce about a litre of mucus per day. [Does raspberries make this count rise?]

-Your body has enough iron in it to forge a 3-inches-long nail. You also have enough sulfur to kill all fleas on an average dog, enough carbon to make 900 pencils, enough potassium to fire a toy cannon, enough fat to make 7 bars of soap, enough phosphorous to make 2,200 match heads, and enough water to fill a ten-gallon tank. [Now figure out how much all those things are worth and you’ve got the worth of a human being. Financially at least, human individuals sometimes aren’t worth a penny and they probably would have been worth the amount of a good condom.]

-We all have tiny mites living in our eyelashes. These little mites actually aren’t too choosey; they’ll live anywhere as long as they have access hair follicles. They’re found on other parts of the body and on a host of other mammals. [Strangely this doesn’t bother me]

-Pound for pound, the strongest muscle in the human body is the masseter (jaw muscle). It can clamp your chompers shut with 55 pounds of force on the incisors and 200 pounds of force on the molars. [Guess you need to stop telling people to bite you 80’s babies!]

-Sweat itself is odorless. It’s the bacteria on the skin that mingles with it and produces body odor. Bacteria that are naturally present on our skin thrive in sweaty regions. [Damn bacteria! Why must you always be victorious?]

-Your ears and nose will never stop growing until the day you die. In fact, your earlobes will also elongate from gravity. [Lie to me, tell me the truth….]

-Similar to fingerprints, everyone also has a unique tongue print. It may be some time before your local police station starts taking tongue prints, but research on the required 3-D imaging technology is already being developed and tested. [Good thing you don’t have to lick stamps any longer…]

-Ounce for ounce, human bones are stronger than steel. A cubic inch of bone can bear a load of 19,000 lbs.—roughly the weight of five pickup trucks. [Just don’t have five pickup trucks run you over…no guarantee you’ll be fine.]

-People with blue eyes have a higher alcohol tolerance. Interestingly, they also have higher rates of alcohol abuse and dependency. [I did have a high alcohol tolerance. But I stopped drinking when I turned 21.]

-If the human eye was a digital camera it would have 576 megapixels. Currently, the most expensive digital camera in the world has 200 megapixels. [I have lamented many a time how something I am looking at cannot be captured by a camera with the same brilliant look I can see. For example the damn moon.]

-All of the bacteria in our body collectively weighs about 4 pounds. That’s enough to fill a big soup can. In fact, there are more bacteria in your mouth than there are people in the world. [Four pounds of bacteria. FOUR POUNDS I NEED TO LOOSE!]

-In some cardiovascular units, slow and quiet music is used to relax the patients and lower their blood pressure and heart rate. [This is why people are calmer with slow quiet music and it’s most often found in mental health clinics and floors. The opposite is also true. Loud, quick music makes us energetic.]

-Your brain accounts for only 2% of your body weight, yet it uses 20% of the total oxygen and blood in your body. [What an o2 hog!]

-If uncoiled, the DNA in all of your body’s cells would stretch 10 billion miles, which is long enough to reach from here to Pluto and back. [You’d also die]

-Within three days of death, the enzymes that once digested your dinner begin to eat you. Ruptured cells will become food for the bacteria in your gut, which will release enough noxious gas to bloat your body and force your eyes to bulge outward. [Body Farm anyone?]

-In a lifetime, your brain’s long-term memory can hold up to 1 quadrillion (1 million billion) bits of information. [But apparently we don’t always have access to any of it when we could really use it]

-Your heart will pump about 1.5 million barrels of blood during your lifetime. That’s enough to fill 200 train tank cars. [Best not to try this at home]

-As long as it has an oxygen supply, your heart can keep beating even if it’s separated from the body because it has its own electrical impulse. [In case you ever thought that scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom couldn’t happen]

-Your brain keeps developing until your late 40s. [Learn, learn and learn some more!]

-Human fingers can feel objects as small as 13 nanometers. This means that if your finger was the size of the Earth, you would feel the difference between houses and cars. [Brings a whole new level to ‘Your momma’ jokes..]

-The highest recorded body temperature in a human being was a fever of 115.7°F. A fever over 107.5°F is enough to damage the brain and, if untreated, cause death. [♪♫ You give me fever♬♩♫]

-The human heart is not on the left-hand side of the body. It’s in middle of your chest, in between your right and left lung. It is, however, tilted very slightly to the left. [In 6th grade we were taught that it was on the left side. And that blood is blue until it hit oxygen then it turns red. ‘(◣_◢)’ ]

-Half of your genes describe the complex design of your brain, with the other half describing the organization of the other 98% of your body. [This must mean that some people have only 10% of their genes describing the complex design of their brain and 90% describing the organization of the other 98% of the body.]

-Your taste buds are replaced every 10 days. Conversely, the average age of a human fat cell is 10 years. [I wish 80% of them would die already].

-There is no scientific evidence that shaving or waxing will make your hair come back thicker. There are believed to be two reasons that the myth continues to flourish. First, humans just aren’t the best observers. Second, hair often does grow back thicker when people first start to shave, but this isn’t caused by shaving. When an adolescent boy shaves his mustache for the first time, it’s likely to grow back thicker. This isn’t because shaving caused this; it’s because the hormonal changes in his body (which occur regardless of shaving) are encouraging new and thicker facial hair growth.

-1 in 10,000 people has their internal organs reversed or “mirrored” from their normal positions. The condition is called situs inversus. [I have a rare one in a million skin thing that pops up every so often that I was diagnosed with in middle school of whose name I can’t remember as I haven’t had problems with it until possibly recently. Also, would a doctor think about this condition when they can’t find a patient’s organ or freak the hell out?]

-Without your pinky finger, you would lose about 50% of your hand strength. While the index and middle fingers function with the thumb in pinching and grabbing, it’s the pinkie that teams up with the ring finger to provide grip power. [Pinkie Power! ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ]

-Men’s Testicles hang between the legs to keep cool because sperm dies at body temperature. Keeping those baby-makers cool is a top priority, so make sure to keep your laptop off those bad boys! [And depending on some factors you may want to keep that laptop and other hot things ON those bad boys]

-1 person out of every 200 people has an extra rib. [And women actually do have the same number of ribs as men. The myth that says men have more is from a work of fiction]

-Your mouth is made of the same skin cells as a vagina. Flattened epithelial cells are well suited to areas in the body subject to constant abrasion, as layers can be sloughed off and replaced quickly. [How do you think some women get Angelina Jolie lips??]

-Muscle comes from the Latin “musculus.” Musculus means “little mouse,” and this was used to describe muscles because biceps were thought to look like mice. [*flexes bicep* Mine looks like, well, not a cute mouse that’s for sure!]

-When telling a lie, people blink less frequently than normal. After the lie is told, they speed up to around eight times faster than usual. [Now knowing this is going to make you quite self aware for a bit whether you are lying or not]

-More than 3% of people are born with phonagnosia: they can’t recognize the voices of familiar people. People suffering from phonagnosia do not suffer from aphasia (an inability to comprehend and formulate language), which suggests that separate areas of the brain govern linguistic comprehension and voice recognition. [I once thought I heard my husband’s voice at a gas station when he was in Germany. For a moment I thought he had come home early. So disappointed.]

-A scientist cracked his knuckles on one hand for over 50 years to prove it did not cause Arthritis. After 50 years, he concluded that there was no arthritis in either hand, and no apparent differences between the two hands. This is, of course, a rather small data set, but it’s interesting none the less! [I used to crack them, but I got bored with it so stopped for the most part.]

-You can burn 20% more fat by exercising in the morning on an empty stomach. Sex burns 3.6 calories a minute, so fifteen minutes of morning sex should burn off 130 calories. [Take THAT to the bedroom!]

-Humans have no more genes than worms. We have less genes than a tomato. How could this be, given that the all-powerful homo sapiens are clearly a more complex species? We’re not sure, but scientist have noted that the number of genes in the genome may be less linked to complexity than we thought. [Gives new meaning to being as smart as a tomato.]

-A strong cough forces air out of the airways at speeds up to 620 mph, which is almost as fast as the speed of sound. [Never mind the pain in the ribs at repeated coughs]

-Hearing is the fastest human sense. Your brain can recognize a sound 10 times faster than the blink of an eye, in as little as 0.05 seconds. [I was told I have better hearing than most people. This isn’t always a good thing as I am annoyed by more sounds then normal people. And it’s usually the normal people that are making those sounds.]

-Bras make breasts sag. Bras also do not reduce back pain. A leading study found that women who never wore bras had nipples an average of seven millimeters higher each year than regular bra users. Before you go throwing away your bras, note that the benefits of not wearing a bra will only be seen in younger women who are not obese, according to those managing the study. [I feel sadness for the millions of women who moan and complain about their bras hurting them. Bras shouldn’t hurt. Stop buying them from Walmart! Get your tits to a lingerie store and get fitted for a bra that isn’t going to hurt you, you won’t even feel it’s there and you may just forget to take it off! It’s what I did and although I paid a higher price for the bras, they also lasted longer and made my girls happy. Always get more than two good fitting bras and rotate them daily, hand wash them, let them dry on a flat surface (NEVER hang them to dry, stretches them out) and store them in a familiar fashion instead of inverting one cup into the other. Happy breasts are sexy breasts ( o ) ( o ) ]

-After child birth, a woman’s vaginal muscles can take up to 6 months to get back to their normal shape and size. [Probably takes that long for her to want to open her legs up again]

-We can’t digest grass because our bodies don’t have what it takes to break down the cellulose found in the plant. Grass also contains a lot of silica, an abrasive that quickly wears down teeth, so your dentist wouldn’t be thrilled about a grass diet. Grazing animals have teeth that continually grow to replace worn tooth surfaces. [Can this be used against vegetarian (or as I like to call them ‘bad hunter’) diets?]

-Your big toe carries more weight than any other toe, bearing about 40% of your body weight. To enlist in the United States army, you need to have all ten toes intact. [New meaning to going toe to toe?]

-One prevailing theory as to why butt hair exists is that there’s simply no significant evolutionary pressure against butt hair. I.e. it doesn’t affect our ability to mate, so the random mutations that caused butt hair persisted.

Other theories take a smellier view of things, suggesting that butt hair helps scent communication. We have body hair in the same areas where we produce odors. The hair is there to hold onto oily secretions that have their own smell and are consumed by bacteria that produces even more smells. Early human ancestors used their personal smell to actually help them with everything from broadcasting territorial rights to attracting mates. [Wait, I have butt hair!!! (__(__)]

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Until next time, amaze your friends and family with facts about their own body they didn’t know!

Categories: Anthropology, Biologic, Life | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

I just want to sleep

I am so very very tired. Been moving around still getting things out of the old place so that it’s completely empty by tonight (only two rooms to go so not bad actually) except for garbage which will be cleaned up tomorrow. Yay?

Still need to unpack the car from the trip made this morning. And I don’t wanna. After tomorrow I have exactly two days to rest and relax before having to go up to America on Friday. Can’t remember how long we’ll be up there. Part of me is excited to see all the mail, it’s almost like Christmas again.

Why doesn’t the mail app on Windows 10 have a spam option? I mean, hello? And apparently it never has. It’s been out for a year and has updated as recently as earlier this month but I cannot for the life of me mark messages as spam.

Also, Photoshop decided it would be awesome and freeze my computer up for a couple of days any time I tried to use it (like when I make the featured images for these posts maybe) so that is why there is some missing featured images.

Wil Wheaton once again has something useful and great to say. You might as well like and follow his blog as well.

OH! Almost forgot to rant about so called Pro-Lifers! This is how tired I am!

I understand completely how not all of the people screaming Pro-Life are clueless and heartless as the loudest and dumbest ones among the group, but it needs to be said and said again.


To those participating in the March For Life:

First of all, good for you. Raise your voices, express your concerns, gather, make signs, do your thing. I won’t call you names. I respect your right to do this, and I respect your conviction.

Second, be clear with your cause. You don’t march for life. You march for the birth of a fetus. Think about this: at what age does this life stop mattering to you? When it’s in the womb, you cry for it, you fight for it, you empathize with it, you march for it. When it becomes 1 month old, you hope the mother supports it, feeds it, and nurtures it. But you don’t support the mother in this endeavor. You think she should “work hard,” “pull herself up by the bootstraps,” and get by on her $7.25/hr minimum wage job. You vote for those who block legislation to protect its mother from violence, from making the same wage as men, from getting basic healthcare, from getting food stamps and support to care for it.

When it becomes 6 years old, you hope there’s a public school around to teach it. But you vote for those who don’t want to fund public schools. You vote for those who believe our schools are “flushed with cash” yet somehow failing. The wealthier kids that live by it are able to go to different schools, but this fetus is stuck at the public school that is overcrowded, underfunded, and it falls behind in reading and math. You feel bad for it, but you don’t march for it. You mostly blame its single mother for not doing more to be involved in its schooling. “She should do homework with it. She should read to it more. Maybe she should get it a tutor.” But she is working two jobs and barely getting by.

Now it’s 14 years old. It just had its first experience with a boy. It’s not sure if it was safe with this boy and it thinks it needs to go see a doctor. But it is scared, and it is embarrassed, and it does not want to get in trouble with mom. So it looks for a Planned Parenthood in its area, but they’ve all been shut down. But you feel no sympathy for it anymore. It’s now a slut to you. It should have made better choices, been more Christian.It is no longer worthy of your support, and you do not march for it. Because you‘re not marching for life. You’re marching for religion, and righteousness, and oppressing women with your outdated views of how they should behave.

So it gets no prenatal care. It goes on living for the next three months wearing baggy sweatshirts and hoping no one notices. When its mom finally does notice she tells it to get an abortion, because they don’t have the money to support another it, and because it is still a child trying to go to school and have a life. But again, you don’t march for this life. You have voted for making abortion illegal and you feel good, you feel “right with God,” because you saved another fetus.

This time it was given up for adoption. It joins more than 400,000 children in the US foster care system. If it is lucky, it will only spend the average three years in foster care. If it is lucky, it will not fall into the 78% of foster care children who experience some form of abuse. If it is lucky, it will not be one of the 80% of imprisoned people who spent some time in the foster care system. If it is lucky, it will be one of the 50% of foster kids that graduate high school by the age of 18. If it is lucky, it will be one of the 9% of former foster care kids that earn a bachelor’s degree. If it is lucky, it will be adopted before it turns 18 and is thrown out onto the streets to fend for itself. But you don’t march for those lives.

Now it is 18. It jumped from foster home to foster home. It doesn’t have a family. It is depressed, emotionally damaged. It needs help. It could use some healthcare, but obviously can’t afford it. It could use a job, but has no clothes and nowhere to stay. You avoid it on the streets, taking the long route to your car hoping it doesn’t stop you to ask for some change. You wish it would go somewhere else, anywhere but your neighborhood. It gets too hungry. It turns to sex work, because it’s the only option it has. It starts using drugs to numb the pain of this sex work. But you don’t march for this life. This life is a burden on society to you. This life is un-Christian, unworthy of your tax dollars. This life should get its act together, overcome all odds and become a self-made it just like your granddaddy. And when this life has a new it inside of it, again you will march.

I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.

Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B.

Crack Babies: A Tale From the Drug Wars | Retro Report | The New York Times






Until next time, say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t say you are for or against something unless you plan to be all in. This means all or nothing. Don’t half ass stuff.

Categories: Life, Pro-Life vs Pro-Birth, Travel | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Halloween Facts You Never Knew You Never Knew.

I don’t care what the idiots around me believe or think, I’m going to talk about Halloween right up until I run out of things to say about it or the day after. Whichever comes first.

So I have found some facts about my favorite holiday in all the year (my birthday actually comes in second) from around the good old Internet and had the sudden desire to share these useless but perhaps entertaining facts with you. Do let me know in the comments if I manage to actually spell a word backwards–it’s been happening quite a lot lately I’m afraid….

  • Americans will spend $6.9 BILLION on Halloween this year.  That roughly breaks down to $27.85 on costumes, $22.37 on candy, $20.99 on decorations and $3.82 on cards. Most of us spend MUCH more in any of those categories, except maybe cards.
  • More candy is sold on October 28th than any other day of the year.
  • Each year, about 75% of households plan to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.
  • 81% of parents confess that they take candy from their child’s Halloween haul. 9% lie about it.
  • Chocolate is Americans’ favorite Halloween candy, with candy corn taking second place.
  • Invented by George Renninger, a candy maker at the Wunderle Candy Company of Philadelphia in the 1880s, Candy Corn was originally called “butter cream candies” and “chicken feed” since back then, corn was commonly used as food for livestock (they even had a rooster on the candy boxes). It had no association with Halloween or fall, and was sold seasonally from March to November. After World War II, advertisers began marketing it as a special Halloween treat due to its colors and ties to the fall harvest.
  • Black and orange are typically associated with Halloween. Orange is a symbol of strength and endurance and, along with brown and gold, stands for the harvest and autumn. Black is typically a symbol of death and darkness and acts as a reminder that Halloween once was a festival that marked the boundaries between life and death.
  • The first Jack O’Lanterns were made from turnips, not pumpkins.
  • While pumpkins are typically orange, they can also be white or yellow.
  • The world’s largest pumpkin, grown by Tim Mathison, weighed in at 2,032 lb.
  • The word “witch” comes from the Old Saxon word “wica”, meaning “wise one.” The earliest witches were respected dealers in charms and medicinal herbs and tellers of fortunes.
  • Ireland is believed to be the birthplace of Halloween.
  • Immigrants from Ireland and Scotland brought Halloween to the United States in the 1800s
  • The celebration of Halloween started in America as an autumn harvest festival.
  • “Halloween” is short for “Hallows’ Eve” or “Hallows’ Evening,” which was the evening before all Hallows’ Day or Hallowmas on November 1.
  • Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year. This is also why children dress up as “spirits” or other demons.
  • In Hollywood, CA, there’s a $1,000 fine for use, possession, sale or distribution of silly string.
  • In Rehoboth, DE, Sundays are off limits for trick-or-treaters.
  • In Dublin, Georgia, it’s against the law to wear hoods or sunglasses. Now is this just on Halloween or every day though?
  • In Virginia, kids over 12 are banned from participating in sweet-treat soliciting or what the rest of us call trick-or-treating.
  • In Alabama, it’s illegal to dress-up as a priest. What about a nun though?
  • Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.
  • The owl is a popular Halloween image. In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches, and to hear an owl’s call meant someone was about to die.
  • Irish legend has it that one day the devil himself came to take the soul of a thieving man named Jack. But Jack managed to trick the devil, making him promise to never take his soul. After eventually living a long life, Jack tried to enter the Pearly Gates, but could not, for he had lived a life of evil. He then attempted to enter Hell, but the devil kept his word, being no big fan of Jack anyway. When Jack complained of having no way to see, the devil laughed at him and threw him a glowing ember, which he fashioned into a lantern using a turnip in his pocket. He became Jack Of The Lantern, doomed to aimlessly walk the Earth with nowhere to go. While the legends may sound incredible, they were based on a real phenomenon. Swamp gasses that interact with decaying matter will sometimes give off a strange light that seems to vanish when you get closer. Before we had a scientific explanation, people believed these were trapped souls who could enter neither heaven nor hell and would lead you astray. Some legends say the Irish would use turnips or beets to create jack-o’-lanterns—for multiple purposes. The lanterns were sometimes used as a means of honoring those souls trapped in purgatory, but their mocking faces were also used to scare away evil spirits. 
  • With their link to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (a precursor to Halloween) and later to witches, cats have a permanent place in Halloween folklore. During the ancient celebration of Samhain, Druids were said to throw cats into a fire, often in wicker cages, as part of divination proceedings.
  • Scarecrows, a popular Halloween fixture, symbolize the ancient agricultural roots of the holiday.
  • Halloween has variously been called All Hallows’ Eve, Witches Night, Lamswool, Snap-Apple Night, Samhaim, Nutcrack Night and Summer’s End.
  • Halloween was influenced by the ancient Roman festival Pomona, which celebrated the harvest goddess of the same name. Many Halloween customs and games that feature apples (such as bobbing for apples) and nuts date from this time.
  • Scottish girls believed they could see images of their future husband if they hung wet sheets in front of the fire on Halloween. Other girls believed they would see their boyfriend’s faces if they looked into mirrors while walking downstairs at midnight on Halloween.
  • Because Protestant England did not believe in Catholic saints, the rituals traditionally associated with Hallowmas (or Halloween) became associated with Guy Fawkes Night. England declared November 5th Guy Fawkes Night to commemorate the capture and execution of Guy Fawkes, who co-conspired to blow up the Parliament in 1605 in order to restore a Catholic king.
  • Harry Houdini (1874-1926) was one of the most famous and mysterious magicians who ever lived. Strangely enough, he died in 1926 on Halloween night as a result of appendicitis brought on by three stomach punches.
  • According to tradition, if a person wears his or her clothes inside out and then walks backwards on Halloween, he or she will see a witch at midnight.
  • According to superstition, there is a good chance on Halloween that you are being shadowed by Death himself, and if you look upon him it will be your end. But the parting of the veil between worlds on Halloween is cause for more than the fear of spirits and fell apparitions coming to claim you, it is also considered a very important night for divination. Many of the superstitions involving divination also have to do with love, and some are extremely specific. One tradition suggests holding a candle in one hand, a mirror in the other, and attempting to walk backward down the stairs. This will supposedly allow you to see your future spouse, although it seems more likely that you’ll end up seeing a doctor. (But is the doctor single?)
  • Mexico celebrates the Days of the Dead (Días de los Muertos) on the Christian holidays All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2) instead of Halloween. The townspeople dress up like ghouls and parade down the street. Some people think of the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) as a Mexican version of Halloween. With its focus on death and spooky costumes, it could easily seem that way to an outsider, but the two holidays actually boast very different perspectives. Halloween is very much based on the fear of death and spirits, but on the Day of the Dead, death is embraced and even celebrated. On this day, the spirits of the dead return to the Earth, guided by the strong aroma of marigolds and incense to shrines set up for them by their families, who celebrate their return. As the day comes to an end, the families may head to the cemetery to spend the rest of the night with their loved ones before they go back to the other world. While many of our Halloween traditions find skeletons to be scary, the Day of the Dead uses them both to celebrate and laugh at death.
  • During the pre-Halloween celebration of Samhain, bonfires were lit to ensure the sun would return after the long, hard winter. Often Druid priests would throw the bones of cattle into the flames and, hence, “bone fire” became “bonfire.”
  • Dressing up as ghouls and other spooks originated from the ancient Celtic tradition of townspeople disguising themselves as demons and spirits. The Celts believed that disguising themselves this way would allow them to escape the notice of the real spirits wandering the streets during Samhain.
  • Halloween is thought to have originated around 4000 B.C., which means Halloween has been around for over 6,000 years.
  • In 1970, a five-year-old boy Kevin Toston allegedly ate Halloween candy laced with heroin. Investigators later discovered the child had gotten into his uncle’s heroin stash and the candy had never been tainted in the first place.
  • In 1974, eight-year-old Timothy O’Bryan died of cyanide poisoning after eating Halloween candy. Investigators later learned that his father had taken out a $20,000 life insurance policy on each of his children and that he had poisoned his own son and also attempted to poison his daughter.
  • Customers at Creepyworld (a haunted house) in St. Louis were walking through a bathroom scene drenched in fake blood when they saw a very realistic-looking corpse hanging from a noose—a little too realistic. As it turns out, something had gone horribly wrong. A teenage volunteer had somehow gotten up on the bathtub and become caught in the noose, ending up in a coma for three days. The creepiest part of the story is that, despite surviving the accident, she has no memory of how it happened or the days leading up to it. The only clues the police have are footprints on the bathtub and scuff marks on the walls.
  • Teng Chieh or the Lantern Festival is one Halloween festival in China. Lanterns shaped like dragons and other animals are hung around houses and streets to help guide the spirits back to their earthly homes. To honor their deceased loved ones, family members leave food and water by the portraits of their ancestors.
  • Halloween celebrations in Hong Kong are known as Yue Lan or the “Festival of the Hungry Ghosts” during which fires are lit and food and gifts are offered to placate potentially angry ghosts who might be looking for revenge.
  • Both Salem, Massachusetts, and Anoka, Minnesota, are the self-proclaimed Halloween capitals of the world. Salem is chock-full of shops that cater to witches, with a witch museum and scores of other spooky sites. However, like any city, the thing that truly gives it the spark of life and wonder are the people. Salem on Halloween is an extraordinary experience, with people thronging the streets in every sort of costume imaginable. But Salem can be like walking through a dream on any ordinary day as well. Many Wiccans have taken up residence in the city and some walk around wearing traditional garb on a daily basis. The city lives and breathes the culture of witchcraft and, as Halloween approaches, the amount of people in costume steadily increases. Some people have even likened Salem to a 365-day Halloween party. It’s a place where dreams (or nightmares) come alive.
  • Boston, Massachusetts, holds the record for the most Jack O’Lanterns lit at once (30,128).
  • The Village Halloween parade in New York City is the largest Halloween parade in the United States. The parade includes 50,000 participants and draws over 2 million spectators.
  • In many countries, such as France and Australia, Halloween is seen as an unwanted and overly commercial American influence.
  • Children are more than twice as likely to be killed in a pedestrian/car accident on Halloween than on any other night.
  • Many Christians are disturbed by Halloween and consider it wrong to take part in it, seeing it as a celebration of evil. This has become such a commonplace concern that pastors find themselves asked about it yearly. In a way, the fear is perfectly understandable. According to many Christians, the devil is the enemy. So the idea of dressing up as him or any of his minions doesn’t seem like something a good person should take part in. Like many fears, this simply stems from ignorance of the history of Halloween. Back in the days when Christians first co-opted Halloween as All Hallows’ Eve, they believed very literally in the devil. However, to them, one of the best ways to fight the devil was to attack his greatest weakness, the pride that led him to become a fallen angel in the first place. To this effect, they would depict him with red horns and a ridiculous tail to mock him, hoping it would cause him to flee. Intent can get lost over time, so many people have an unrealistic idea of the devil, not understanding the ridiculous caricature as the mockery that it is.
  • Years ago, a couple days after Halloween, a mail carrier was making his rounds when he saw what looked like a fairly realistic dead body on a porch. Given the time of year, he decided that it was simply been a Halloween decoration and went on his way without reporting it. He was horrified when he later discovered it was actually the body of a man that had collapsed just hours prior; the family was distraught and felt the mailman should have done something. It is not the first time something like this has happened. In a small suburban neighborhood, the neighbors noticed an extremely realistic corpse hanging from a tree. Many people drove right by it, thinking it was just a Halloween decoration. The neighbors were shocked when the police investigated and found it to be the body of a woman who had just committed suicide. More recently, in an apartment complex in Los Angeles, the tenants ignored a very realistic dummy that looked like it had been shot in the eye. What the neighbors believed was a Halloween decoration turned out to be a corpse that was allowed to decompose for almost a week. The police ruled it a suicide.
  • However, the origins of trick-or-treating are shrouded in mystery. Many cultures had similar practices—for instance, in the UK, children would go door to door on Guy Fawkes day and ask for “a penny for the guy.” In Ireland, in the old Samhain days, it was fairly customary for orphans and widows to beg for supplies. After all, Samhain marked the beginning of the cold months and they would need all the help they could get. The actual phrase “trick-or-treat” likely has much more modern origins. Some suggest that the phrase began in America in the early 20th century with the arrival of Irish immigrants who brought their mischief along with them. To combat pranks and other mischief by poor children, people suggested offering treats to them as a small bribe. For this reason, in its early days, Halloween was often known as “beggars’ night.”
  • Though a common trope in horror movies and Halloween decorations with witches flying across the full moon, the next full moon on Halloween won’t occur until 2020. The most recent Halloween full moon was back in 2001, and before that it was in 1955.
  • Trick-or-treating was brought to America by the Irish and became popular during the early 20th century, but died out during WWII when sugar was rationed. After the rationing ended in 1947, children’s magazine “Jack and Jill,” radio program “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” and the “Peanuts” comic strip all helped to re-popularize the tradition of dressing up in costumes and asking for candy from door-to-door. By 1952, trick-or-treating was hugely popular again.

And I am sure there is a whole heck of a lot more out there, and I am sorry for any repeats. It’s hard to remember which I have shared and what not.

Until next time, look at a calendar. Any calendar will do be it electronic or old fashioned (meaning it hangs on a wall) and tell me which holidays are coming up from now to the end of the year IN ORDER. I’ll bet you Christmas falls last (not counting New Year’s Eve).

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