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How Ouija Boards Work

Apparently determined to ruin the late night fun of stoned teenagers everywhere, BBC Future says ouija boards have nothing to do with departed souls:

The mystery isn’t a connection to the spirit world, but why we can make movements and yet not realise that we’re making them.

Ouija board cups and dowsing wands – just two examples of mystical items that seem to move of their own accord, when they are really being moved by the people holding them. The only mystery is not one of a connection to the spirit world, but of why we can make movements and yet not realise that we’re making them.

The phenomenon is called the ideomotor effect and you can witness it yourself if you hang a small weight like a button or a ring from a string (ideally more than a foot long). Hold the end of the string with your arm out in front of you, so the weight hangs down freely. Try to hold your arm completely still. The weight will start to swing clockwise or anticlockwise in small circles. Do not start this motion yourself. Instead, just ask yourself a question – any question – and say that the weight will swing clockwise to answer “Yes” and anticlockwise for “No”. Hold this thought in mind, and soon, even though you are trying not to make any motion, the weight will start to swing in answer to your question.

Magic? Only the ordinary everyday magic of consciousness. There’s no supernatural force at work, just tiny movements you are making without realising. The string allows these movements to be exaggerated, the inertia of the weight allows them to be conserved and built on until they form a regular swinging motion. The effect is known as Chevreul’s Pendulum, after the 19th Century French scientist who investigated it.

What is happening with Chevreul’s Pendulum is that you are witnessing a movement (of the weight) without “owning” that movement as being caused by you. The same basic phenomenon underlies dowsing – where small movements of the hands cause the dowsing wand to swing wildly – or the Ouija board, where multiple people hold a cup and it seems to move of its own accord to answer questions by spelling out letters.

This effect also underlies the sad case of “facilitated communication“, a fad whereby carers believed they could help severely disabled children communicate by guiding their fingers around a keyboard. Research showed that the carers – completely innocently – were typing the messages themselves, rather than interpreting movements from their charges…


[continues at BBC Future]

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Spain’s Mysterious Cursed Village of Witches

Nestled away within the rolling foothills of the Moncayo mountain range, in the province of Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain, is the tiny village of Trasmoz. The town has a long history, with its origins as a lordship dating back to the 12th century. It’s colorful and turbulent past has seen it being conquered by Jaime I, king of Aragón, as well as a civil war with the nearby Veruela Abbey, and it is also known as being the temporary home of Manuel Jalón Coróminas, the Spanish inventor of the mop and its bucket. Over the years the population has dwindled here from around 10,000 people in its heyday to just around 62 permanent residents, and it seems like just another quaint little Spanish countryside town, but this place is remarkable as having a rather sinister past as a place of witches, pagan rituals, and black magic.

Ground zero for rumors of witchcraft can be traced to the construction of the Castle of Trasmoz sometime in the 13th century. The layout of the spooky and imposing structure was a unique hexagonal shape, which was seen as a sure sign of witchcraft afoot, and it did not help that the castle supposedly constantly issued forth anomalous noises such as rattling chains, the banging of metal, which was seen as the result of witches mixing potions in their cauldrons and other mischief, as well as occasional shrieks and arcane wails. Even the construction of the castle was wreathed in myth, as it was said to have been created in a single night by a magician called Mutamín.

Many of these bizarre rumors seem to have been originally intentionally spread by the castle’s very own inhabitants. At the time the Castle of Trasmoz was said to be a major den of the illicit manufacture of fake coins, which was helped along by the rich silver and iron mines of the area. It is said that in order to keep the locals from becoming too nosy about all the noise they were making, the counterfeiters intentionally began to fan out rumors that the scraping and banging of metal was from the nefarious activities of witches engaged in their dark, arcane business. The ploy worked, and it is thought that this is where the village’s reputation as a haven of witches began.

Unfortunately for the villagers, the rumors spread by the fake coin forgers worked a little too well. Before long the rumor grew to encompass the whole village, until it was seen as a veritable hive of witches and warlocks, a cursed place and a center of the dark arts that stirred fear and superstition in the surrounding areas, an idea still held on to by many today. It got to the point that the neighboring monastery of Veruela had the entire village officially excommunicated from the Church, although this is often seen as just being an excuse to force Trasmoz to pay taxes to them, something from which had previously been exempt as it didn’t officially belong to the Catholic Church. With the excommunication carried out and in full effect, the villagers nevertheless refused to beg for forgiveness, with many of them Jews and Muslims and not even Christian, which only furthered their reputation as Devil worshipping heathens.

The friction between Trasmoz and Veruela Abbey would continue for many years, eventually almost leading to civil war when the abbey began trying to divert the village’s irrigation water without paying. Although the King of Spain, King Ferdinand II, deemed Trasmoz to be in the right in terms of the water dispute and ruled in their favor, the Church took this as an affront. Seething that they had been bested by this witch infested, excommunicated town, the Catholic Church went about getting revenge. Pope Julius II gave permission to dust off the powerful and rarely used Catholic curse “psalm 108 of the Book of Psalms,” which is said to be a potent curse saved for the worst of times, and in this case it was invoked to curse the entire village of Trasmoz.

It was in the wake of this wicked curse that the once prosperous and populous village fell into severe decline, suffering from a mysterious epidemic of disease, famine, a fire which burned down the Castle of Trasmoz in 1520, and other myriad woes, during which time the population fell to its current low. Even to this day the village is poor and in shambles, its buildings weathered and decrepit, its nearly empty streets cracked and weed-choked, a veritable ghost town, and for many this is a result of the Catholic curse, which is technically still in effect as no Pope has ever officially lifted it. This makes Trasmoz the only whole town in all of Spain to remain both excommunicated and also cursed by the Catholic Church, as well as to incidentally still be considered a haven for witches and witchcraft.

This reputation has brought in droves of tourists to this tiny, withered village, who come for the dark history and to see for themselves what an officially cursed town of witches looks like. Trasmoz does little to downplay this history of witchcraft, and indeed there is the yearly Feria de Brujeria festival held here, during which amulets, potions, herbs, charms, and other magical witch’s items are sold, and there is even the crowning of the “Witch of the Year,” called the Bruja del Año. There is even a museum of witchcraft now located in the Castle of Trasmoz, where the whole legend started. If one is ever to visit, there are plenty of charms to be bought against witchcraft, so rest assured you are in safe hands.

SOURCE: Mysterious Universe

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Why is it so difficult to discuss ‘occult’ topics in the mainstream media?

© pa/dpa/Chromorange/Getty

Mitch Horowitz

I am a historian of alternative religions – I document, and deeply care about, outsider spiritual views, particularly with regard to the esoteric, supernatural, and occult.

I’ve managed to write about these things seriously in mainstream news outlets, from The New York Times to The Washington Post, and discuss them on CBS Sunday Morning, Dateline NBC, and NPR’s All Things Considered. But it is a struggle. I find that the bar is raised much higher for writing about outside-the-fold topics than it is for things that editors and producers already believe (e.g., “Positive thinking is for dupes and dumbbells.”)

Here are some of the reasons it’s tough to find a mainstream mic for these issues – and some different ways to think about how we communicate:

1) Disavowal is the price of admission to the mainstream culture.

I love journalist Jon Ronson. But he plays this game all too well. He studies a fringe topic – like ESP in the military – depicting it as hooey. But then he says ingenuously in an interview: “The psychic spies do have some successes that you can’t explain. There are stories of ‘remote viewers’ divining map coordinates or sketching something that does, in fact, lead to something. Maybe.” That, to me, is where to start digging. But Ronson quickly slams shut the door. Critic Janet Maslin in the New York Times admiringly quotes himcalling his foray into ESP “frivolous.”

I have no particular solution to this, as I refuse to disavow my sympathies – any more than historians such as Robert Peel, Gershom Sholem, or Richard Lyman Bushman should be expected to, respectively, disavow their dedication to Christian Science, mystical Judaism, or Mormonism.

2) Cable producers often deem fraud and fudging more saleable than fact.

This is a source of constant frustration – and it’s why I do fewer cable documentaries than I used to. Producers want you to juice up stuff. If you don’t comply, they may do it for you. For example, a certain show on the Travel Channel wanted me to do a piece based on my tours of occult imagery in New York’s Grand Central Terminal. I made it clear that I didn’t deal with conspiracy theories, fantasies about the Illuminati, or any such stuff, and wouldn’t discuss these things other than to voice my disavowal. You can witness the (sneaky) result right here. (But y’all come back now – it gets better).

For my real views on Grand Central, check out this mini-doc from The Midnight Archive:

On a happier note, I also participated in a Discovery channel documentary called Secrets of Secret Societies (see below), which was more ardently factual than I had hoped for, not that I stand by the testimony of every talking head in it. I told the truth – and they used it: “Conspiracy theorists have a passion for making connections. It explains everything. It simplifies everything. If an individual looks out his window and sees a world wracked with tragedy, accident, unexpected events, all he has to do is take a leaf from a conspiracy theory and suddenly everything that had seemed complex before seems simple. And his fear and his anger now have a target.”

3) The greatest barrier to seriously discussing the occult and the offbeat in public is the inability of critics and gatekeepers to understand that seriousness depends not on topic but on terms of engagement.

This is a persistent problem in our intellectual culture. Many academics and journalists simply cannot wrap their minds about around the principle that you can study an arcane topic without propagating it. For example, a friend of mine who is a professor of French history at New York University recently wrote a biography of Nostradamus. He wanted to consider all aspects of the 16th-century prognosticator’s life, including his work as a professional astrologer. He discovered that Nostradamus had a poor grasp of the generally agreed upon tenets of astrology in his time. “He was actually a bad astrologer,” my friend told colleague. “Is there such thing as a good one?” the colleague replied. Can you see the obtuseness of that remark? My friend’s study had nothing to do with the value of astrology but with evaluating Nostradamus as a practitioner. Is there an emoji for “duh”?

In a recent debate about the legacy of 19th century occultist Madame H.P. Blavatsky (which has been going on now for about, oh, 140 years), my friend Richard Smoley, a historian and philosopher of mystical traditions, remarked: “There is a great deal of value in HPB’s work and a great deal of nonsense. I see absolutely no reason to be forced to either take it or leave it all.” This false choice to “take it or leave it” is perhaps the most limiting factor in how people view the world. It makes it difficult to discuss esoteric topics, and it wreaks hell on our political dialogue. For example, look at the video below. In a typical comment someone posted on YouTube (and I recount this almost humorously): “He doesn’t even believe what he’s saying – lying through his teeth…watch his eyes.” Watch my eyes indeed.

4) Finally, when reasonable people don’t get in the mix the space gets filled by wingnuts.

A lot of sloppy, anti-intellectual people are drawn to occult topics. They find them spooky, paranoia-inducing, and fun. But these toe-dippers often promulgate conspiracist dreck – I’m talking to you Alex Jones – that impoverishes our entire culture.

That is, finally, is why I keep at it. As the social activist and writer Michael Harrington once said in a different context: “We call ourselves socialists because it’s the truth. And all we have is the truth.”

MITCH HOROWITZ was raised in a world of Bigfoot stories, UFO sightings, and Carlos Castaneda books. He grew determined to find the truth behind it all – and today Mitch is a PEN Award-winning historian and the author of Occult Americaand One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life.Mitch has written on everything from the war on witches to the secret life of Ronald Reagan for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, and The Washington Post says Mitch “treats esoteric ideas and movements with an even-handed intellectual studiousness that is too often lost in today’s raised-voice discussions.” He is the voice of audio books including Alcoholics Anonymous, and hosts the web series ORIGINS: SUPERSTITIONS. Mitch is vice president and executive editor at TarcherPerigee, a division of Penguin Random House, where he publishes authors, living and dead, including David Lynch and Manly P. Hall. Visit him at and @MitchHorowitz.

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Sinister Occult Logos Used by Technology Corporations

Everywhere, we are being constantly bombarded with occult logos and symbols. Like, for instance, the occult logos used by corporations. There is an underlying sorcery connected to them, intended to have an unconscious effect on us. Remember, the insignia and hidden meaning behind corporate occult logos is seen by the corporations owning them with their products as a symbolic representation that they control a deaf, dumb and blind public who are totally unaware of what is going on. The sinister and creepy occult logos used by corporations in technology are no exception.

As with the other occult logos the recurring patterns and occulted connections of these technology logos can be recognized. Then their intended unconscious effects can be neutralized.

In reflection of this, here is a brief overview of some of the occult logos used by technology corporations.

Freemasons occult connections can be found in a number of technology-based corporate logos. The fact that there are only a limited number of Masonic symbols available and that they are frequently used by many major technology corporations makes it virtually impossible to dismiss them as mere coincidence when chosen over an infinite number of alternative deigns:

The Freemasons are a major world controller. A number of major corporations such as Wal-Mart and McDonald’s were founded by Freemasons. Many American Presidents and British Prime Ministers have been Freemasons. It’s no surprise that the Masonic influence extends itself into technology corporations…

2. X – More than just a letter in the alphabet!

X is known to be an important symbol in occult societies. In these groups X is considered to be a symbol of ‘transformation.’ (Therefore, Is X used to represent technology products because they are considered to be innovative..?)

After going through a number of rituals Freemasons reaching the 17th degree of Freemasonry are symbolised by X – the symbol of transformation… Thus, in the Marvel comics and films the X-Men mutants represent transformation with their superpowers.

Also, note that in the transformation, the X and O (circle) symbols are conveyed in the technology occult logos. It is said that X and O together represent the fusion of opposites in the dualistic nature of reality…

X also represents a symbol of death (as in the ‘Skull and Bones’). Then there’s X as in X marks the spot, symbolizing a location, mark-up, or a planned Illuminati event

Finally, X is referred to as the ‘mark of the beast.’

For details on all these features of the X symbol go here.

3. Saturn and the Cube

Saturn occult symbolism has been frequently associated with the cube. It heavily symbolises the matrix of control. For background information on this, go here.

One such sinister and creepy looking technology-based logo can be seen in a computer game called Orwell. The logo looks like Saturn’s hexagonal 6-pointed star.

The game invites you to become a virtual reality expert spy through monitoring imaginary citizen’s activities!

Indeed, these days, with so many governmental fascist snoops bent on monitoring just about every aspect of our lives, the idea of desensitizing the effects of us spying on other fellow citizens would be welcomed by our control freak government in the Orwell game.

4. 666

The association of negativity with ‘666’ symbolism originates with the ‘mark of a beast’ reference in the Bible’s book of Revelation… Some may consider the above CERN logo with the hidden ‘666’ to be fitting when considering CERN’S sinister involvement in the occult… 

Some more hidden ‘666’ symbolism. Notice the disturbing resemblance of Vodafone’s logo compared to the Klu Klux Klan’s (right).

The first Apple computer went on sale for $666.66, coincidence??

5. Pyramid One-Eye Symbolism 

Like the other symbols pyramid and one-eye occult symbolism has negative connotations.

Many surveillance technology companies have the luciferian pyramid one-eye symbolism:


Whether it’s with technology or other corporations, when these occult logos are exposed, it gives us some idea of how deep the matrix illusion programme runs. How deep the deceptive manipulations are, spun and run by those in high places who want to control us.

However, upon realization of this, we become more conscious and no longer at the effect of these logos.

About the Author

Paul A. Philips is the author of

This article (Sinister Occult Logos Used By Technology Corporations) was originally created and published by and is re-posted here with permission. 

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