Friday, May 22, 2015

Accuracy and Veracity

For what it's worth, we strive to make a distinction between "real" (hard, or solid) evidence and hoaxes, mistakes, and the like. However, we are not accredited scientists, we do not have physical access to any of this "evidence," nor can we speak directly to any eyewitnesses. While we have shared a handful of stories from others that we picked up along the way, as well as personal accounts, that's as close as we can get. In a very real manner, we are yet another spoke on that incestuous wheel, quoting and sharing stories from other published accounts.

All we can do is follow proper procedure, which means finding a second source to "confirm" the first one. The problem is that, in this never-ending echo chamber, many of those sources got their information from the same place. It's a problem and we understand it, there simply is nothing we can do about it.

So please do not dismiss us as hogwash just because we publish a story that later turns out not to be true. We do our best to distinguish between real and false stories but we are at a definite disadvantage. Mostly, we share stories that interest us and we hope you will find interesting, even if they are not entirely truthful. We also do our best to weed-out the latter or at least admit when we are uncertain of the veracity of a story or claim.

Sometimes, our posts are purely speculative - as is a lot of "paranormal research" - and shared simply because we enjoy this field and that kind of thinking. Again, it is only speculative and not meant to be taken at face value.

© The Weirding, 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Brief History of Witch-Hunting

The Ordeal of Iron
The Ordeal of Iron
As early as the 12th-Century, division was made between magic used for good and maleficia, as practiced by witches and sorcerers. Even under Alfonso the Wise (ca. 1275), any person could accuse another of sorcery before a judge and if that party be found guilty, the sentence was death. It was not for a few more centuries that this would erupt into a national fervor, attributed largely to influential clergymen who insisted the guilty be burned in fiery rhetoric and widely-distributed texts such as the Malleus Maleficarum.

Maleficia refers specifically to the Dark Arts - the diabolical and malignant. While the popular modern notion associates witchcraft with spellcasting, amulets, potions, and poisons were witches' stock-in-trade. The mythology that emerged surrounding witches included the ability to fly, enter homes, shapeshift, and kidnap children. This stereotype may have been holdovers of the Grecian Strigae and other mythical figures.

While there were prior Inquisitions, none were as wide-reaching as the Spanish Inquisition of the late Middle Ages. While it is true that many died during this turbulent period, mostly innocents, reliable sources are sparse - there is a reason it is known as the Dark Ages. The accused were predominantly women attributed abilities such as causing disease, interfering in married couples' relationships, and damaging crops or livestock. Many sources suggest a conspiracy amongst the medical community of the time to uproot midwifery but while this may be generally true, it is hardly the whole story. The average layperson believed in magic being used for both beneficial and maleficient purposes; it was amongst the Ecclesiastical elite that all sorcery was considered diabolical and it was they who called for the deaths of those found guilty of such crimes.

Trials by Ordeal were severe and involved some form of torture, such as The Ordeal of Iron, during which the accused was forced to hold red-hot irons while onlookers assessed the severity of the wounds.The most common in America was the Trial by Water, in which the accused was bound and dunked in a body of water. Important to note that, in many places, if a person was found guilty, her possessions were divided amongst her lord and her accuser - so there is no doubt that some of these accusations were financially-motivated.

Witches came to be thought of as a sect - an organized community directly opposing Christianity which gathered by night to worship the Devil. Pope [antipope] Alexander V condemned them as a secret organization which "perverted Christendom" in his 1409 Papal Bull. There had been at least one trial of a witch in the late 14th-Century but the craze really took off in the 15th-Century.

© The Weirding, 2015

A Series of Loud Booms and a Whistle

Musical instruments are extremely expensive but if you think you are going to get away with spending less on a school-sponsored program, anyone can burst your little bubble in a moment. Excepting Grand Pianos and other big-ticket items, such as tubas and Bass clarinets, are amongst the most expensive, and most challenging, field instruments to play. And buying a single instrument is never where it ens - there are costumes, drycleaning, replacement parts, and oh so much more!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Cover-Up

I am a sucker for antiques - and tablecloths. I have had a lot of antiques in my day, many of which were hand-me-downs that looked about like you would expect: replete with dings, scratches, gashes, and flimsy and rotting pieces. However, they were definitely better-crafted and are likely to outlast even me (albeit with a few more dings and scratches).

The greatest thing about them is that simple and inexpensive, wholesale tablecloths and slipcovers work wonders, regardless of the shape the furniture is in.Sometimes a simple sheet can do the trick but it is only a workaround; these things are the real deal and can help make a solid impression in any home.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

An Explosion of Fake Sites

I wanted to take a moment to mention to you guys that there has been a veritable explosion of purported "weird news" sites over the last couple of years, such as Disclose.TV - one which I bring up for a very good reason. Although I generally get the information I share from books, those I have regarding these topics are often old, mostly published in the 1970s to 1990s or before, so I'm always looking for new news items to discuss.

To those ends, I belong to several groups and lists that feature items from other sites and blogs. Disclose.TV, along with a handful of others, were never on any of these sites nor in these groups. They only started popping-up a while back. At first, I was thrilled because they are overrun with bullshit, but fun bullshit in that Weekly World News sort of way that's largely harmless.

It was only a few months ago that I learned a dozen or so of these sites are run by the same, or related, entities (unknown to me) despite having noticed previously that they are largely incestuous (that is to say, they quote from and link to one another constantly). The larger threat though is that they use bots to post into the forums and groups and I was told not to visit them because they install trackers and even malware.

Having since learned that, I've been spending a significant portion of my time since redesigning the blog (I know it still looks wonky!) on checking into which of these are "safe." At any rate, I wanted to pass along this news in case any of you visit them.

© The Weirding, 2015

Stringed Instruments Lubricant

You have certainly heard the stories regarding the rock n roll lifestyles of musicians, which is why it fills me with no small amount of twitters to discuss string lubricants with you. But even I, in my advanced age, thought I could hold it together until I found out that this particular brand name is none other than nut sauce.

Yes, I well realize that I am supposed to be an adult but there is nothing that demands I be a mature one. Still, all silliness aside, string lubricant helps prevent breakage which, as any stringed player knows, can be frequent and even painful. And certainly more expensive to replace than to care for properly.