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Bizzare & Odd

Ethnobotany and Zombies: The Skeptic and the Rainbow

Ethnobotany and Zombies: The Skeptic and the Rainbow 86

Gino Del Guercio’s article The Secrets of Haiti’s Living Dead, along with some criticisms, shed light on the accounts of Wade Davis’ adventures with VouDon Zombies.

We open with the Haitian Clairvius Narcisse’s claims that he was drugged to appear dead, buried alive, and dug up by a Houngan priest who subsequently extracted labor from him while Clairvius was kept in a perpetual stupor or ‘zombie’ state. Clairvius claims he was beaten with a sisal whip and transplanted to a Haitian sugar plantation where he worked with other zombified victims.

What distinguishes Narcisse’s account from other modern and folkloric accounts of Haitian zombies is its documentation- his death was officially recorded in a hospital under American authority. Having entered the facility spitting up blood, feverish, and with complaints of aches, doctors were at a loss in their attempts at a diagnosis. Three days later they mispronounced him as dead.

Dr. Lamarque, a Haitian-born Canadian-trained psychiatrist, had been studying zombies for years and postulated the seeming revival from death was really a rousing from the effects of a metabolism lowering drug. But what drug, and how was it accomplished/ administered? To find the answers Lamarque sent word to New York searching for an ethnobotanist, whose peculiar discipline was needed to flesh out the zombie phenomena.

Harvard Botanical Museum’s director, Richard Evans Schultes, would have been ideal to investigate the phenomena as a professor of biology who had spent over a decade in the tropics indexing (and probably sampling) native medicines and potions. But as his dance card was already filled, he passed the task to the story’s protagonist, one Wade Davis, an ethnobotanist and researcher from Harvard.

During a previous trip to south America researching plants, Davis had proved himself as an ‘outstanding field man’ (or so says his mentor, Schultes), and one willing to go native in the ritualistic imbibing of sacred Ayahuasca vine (or the derivative hotchpotch brew).

While many had attempted before to extract the secrets of the Haitian VouDon, previous researchers searching for Zombie magick had failed. Davis claims it was his infiltration of VouDon’s clandestine groups and secret societies that facilitated the discoveries he made. Wade Davis’ highly sensationalized account of the Zombie research was made famous in his book The Serpent and the Rainbow: A Harvard Scientist’s Astonishing Journey into the Secret Societies of Haitian Voodoo, Zombis, and Magic, which finds him portrayed as a mystical Indiana Jones buttressed between worlds of science and carnal low-magic.

He managed to procure a sample (finally) of the Zombie powder used to bring about the death-like state. He discovered that (among the fetid, ground remains of a child’s corpse), there was dried Puffer fish which contains a fierce poison known as tetrodotoxin, which was also found in every subsequent sample.

The tetrodotoxin brew isn’t what causes the zombification, though. A subsequent and perpetual dosage of paste from the Datura plant, or the “zombie’s cucumber”, is what keeps the ‘risen’ dead in their mesmerized state. It is part of the ‘magick’ that leads to Haitian Zombies.

An interesting note from Davis is that there is a third aspect to the spell: the cultural presuppositions about the verisimilitude and efficacy of VouDon magick and its Houngan practitioners. The victims were raised in an atmosphere that bought into the mysticism of neo-African low-magic. This is a major tenet of American new-thought infused ritual magick- that energy follows intent. Indeed it seems to be what Robert Anton Wilson calls the ‘high-strangeness’ of the human mind that is the catalyst in any effective witches-brew.

Bob Corbett, an expert of Haitian culture and history of Webster University, notes that while he supports Davis’ zombie theories, he finds the personal narrative of ‘The Serpent and the Rainbow’ to be fantastic and barely plausible. The idea that the Haitian secret societies would so quickly and easily embrace a long-nosed and thin-lipped Yankee of education and the middling class seems implausible.

What is more troublesome is Davis’ too-easy capitulation to the propaganda narratives of those who hold secret sway over under-educated peasants. Gino Del Guercio summarizes the author’s views by stating “Davis believes the secret societies are responsible for policing their communities, and the threat of zombification is one way they maintain order.”

This to me smacks of indoctrination and superficial understanding on behalf of Davis, who seems to have been snookered by some local cult. I’m sure any local Freemason will also tell you of the pervasive power and providence of the clandestine fraternity, but the reality is probably more along the lines of a bunch of weirdos with romantic world-views who like to imagine they have power that didn’t evaporate scores if not hundreds of years ago.

One wonders if Davis supports secret government corruption and extra-legal action, which he in like might reconcile as a stabilizing force. A good rule of thumb is this: secrecy breeds corruption, and transparency breeds egalitarianism. People who drug and manipulate dissidents aren’t local peace-keepers, they are magickal rapists who use force to silence opposition and terrorize the common people. The embedded video intimates a similarity to Military Intelligence complex’s rendition tactics.

Davis’ book was made into a film, released in 1988 and directed by Wes Craven. It is a low-budget horror romp that further sensationalizes the already shaky account. The film sees the protagonist (Davis) played by b-actor Bill Pullman, who tries unsuccessfully to act his way out of a paper-bag script that cartoonifies the VouDon religion.

Through a series of dreams the male lead is haunted by prescient allegories that guide him to true understanding: that he works for a company wanting to market a new drug. Enlightening. His interactions with the local fuzz/secret society hierophants are probably truer than the book in their depictions of the bully-factor of the mystical sects and how they use temporal and perceived ephemeral abuse to solidify their own ascendancy.

While Ethnobotany is fascinating, and traversing jungles indexing and sampling exotic medicines seems fun, it seems we still have more to learn about the magick of neuroscience and where it crosses the path of pharmacology.


Bizzare & Odd

Tesla autopilot sensor recorded “ghost” in an empty cemetery

Tesla autopilot sensor recorded "ghost" in an empty cemetery 89

A Tesla electric car with an activated autopilot function recorded an invisible person who allegedly moved around the cemetery. Social network users jokingly noted in the comments that, most likely, this is some new function from Elon Musk, which allows you to see ghosts.

In the United States, a Tesla electric car with an activated autopilot function recorded an invisible person who allegedly moved through a cemetery.

The corresponding video was posted by Twitter user Ovidiu Maciuc.

The recording shows how a silhouette of a man appears on the monitor of an electric car, moving around the cemetery. After that, the driver raises the camera and starts filming the graveyard through the windshield, but there are no people there.

After some time, the “ghost” went in the opposite direction from Tesla and disappeared from the on-board computer screen.

Social network users jokingly noted in the comments that, most likely, this is some new function from Elon Musk, which allows you to see ghosts.

For many though, if you take into account the comments, the video seemed rather creepy. Some even tried to guess what the navigation system actually showed.

Some users thought the system could recognize ghosts. Others refuted this version and said that the reason for all this is an insufficiently accurate sensor, which was used for the equipment of the Tesla car.

Earlier it became known that Tesla electric cars in the near future may receive a new function with which they can talk with pedestrians. For this, American cars will be equipped with special external speakers. 

In addition, Tesla cars in the future will receive the option to change the horn and sound of movement at low speeds to warn pedestrians. According to Elon Musk, among the sounds of movement there will be the sound of the clatter of a horse’s hooves, and as a whistle – the bleating of a goat.

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Bizzare & Odd

Mysterious energy source melts Tel Aviv sidewalks, leading to the evacuation of several buildings in Israel

Mysterious energy source melts Tel Aviv sidewalks, leading to the evacuation of several buildings in Israel 90

About two weeks ago, Tel Aviv residents noticed that the concrete surface outside their homes was heating up and steam was coming out of the ground. Tests showed that steam that reached 60 ° C (140 ° F) was water based.

The witness explains: “I was afraid that there was a power line in the area and asked a worker to dig out the ground with a shovel. Steam suddenly came out. I imagined it was probably a geyser. It seemed to me that this was a geological incident – also because there were no problems with electricity in the building. “

Although the experts did not find any hazardous substances or any risk to the stability of buildings at the site, residents as well as kindergartens in the area were evacuated.

Officials described the heat source as “trapped energy” of unknown origin.

Work continues, steam is still rising and the ground is still hot. It is currently unclear what is causing the warming. Note the hole dug in the area. The area is still blocked.

Mysterious origins

City officials said they will “continue to monitor the temperature of the earth, which is expected to cool down for a long time, and will continue to investigate the causes of the unusual event.”

Israel Electric Corporation has not found a connection between heat and power in the area.

The Israel Geological Survey confirmed the rise in temperature after testing ground and water temperature levels, but said it has not yet found an explanation.

Despite their best efforts, municipal officials, the fire department, Israel Electric Corporation and the Ministry of the Environment have yet to find a source of heat.

Meanwhile, the Tel Aviv municipality has informed dozens of evacuees that they can return to their homes. However, residents are not going to return until they receive a detailed account of the source of the mysterious event.

“They evacuated us because they were concerned about our safety, and now they are urging us to return without any convincing explanation. How can you be sure that there is no more danger? “

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Bizzare & Odd

The night sky in southern Taiwan shows a weird red moon alarming netizens: 2021 disaster year omen?

The night sky in southern Taiwan shows a weird red moon alarming netizens: 2021 disaster year omen? 91

Some people in Chiayi, Taiwan took pictures of a large dark red moon hanging in the night sky on the first night of 2021 and uploaded them to Facebook. There are also people in Tainan who have photographed the rare “red moon”. The weird scene has aroused heated discussions among netizens. Some people worry that an earthquake may occur, while others suspect that this is a precursor to the year of disaster in 2021?

Yesterday, on January 1 at about 8:00 in the evening, Chiayi residents shared a photo of “2021’s first red moon” on Facebook. As you can see in the photo, the weather was quite good at that time. There was a clear big round moon in the night sky, but it was a dark red moon, which was very different from the usual moon.

Later, people in Kaohsiung and Tainan also posted photos of the red moon they had taken.

The weird and rare “big red moon” immediately attracted the attention of netizens. Some people think that such a sight is caused by air pollution, and some people think that the red moon is “extremely beautiful”, but many people worry about whether it is a harbinger before the disaster ? 

“Hope is not a harbinger of disaster~”, “A harbinger of disaster in 2021???”, “It looked uneasy”, “After seeing the red moon, I hope everyone will be safe”.

Some netizens worry that this is a pre- earthquake omen.

“Remember the red moon before the 921 earthquake (omen)”, “earthquake precursors”, “I feel that there will be an earthquake again recently”, and “It seems that 2021 will be another year of bloody disaster.”

The British clairvoyant Craig Hamilton-Parker published his prediction for 2021 on YouTube in December last year, stating that, as far as the world is concerned, 2021 will be a year full of social unrest, armed conflict and political changes. There will be difficult times right now until 2025.

He also predicted that the biggest worry is climate and earthquakes. A tsunami will occur near Japan. Large earthquakes will occur in the Himalayas, Iran and the Americas. There will also be problems such as floods, dams bursting, and huge icebergs obstructing shipping. Until 2025, the severity of environmental problems will gradually increase.

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