Archive | October, 2013

All Hallows Eve

31 Oct

No body want’s to hear a self-righteous, anti-social spout off about their hatred of all holidaze, so I’ll spare you that. 

Halloween however has always been near and dear to me. You see my born day is the day after (which could explain a lot) and growing up I’ve always celebrated my birthday on all hallows eve. I would have these big, thought out parties that my mother took much pride in and I loved as well. Classmates and friends would come over and overdose on sugar just to leave and go hunting for more. I loved those parties, and it made me love all things halloween. Also, this is the time of year when all the scary movies come on. I eat all that devilish stuff up. I have always had a morbid side, but not that out of control “faces of death” type sickness. I love stories of the crazy and scary variety, the kind I can paint pictures with in my mind. Anything  paranormal or esoteric I have a weakness for.

Anyway, in keeping with that legacy I present to you 9 stories of the creepy kind. You may sleep with your lights on tonight, but worry you none, I’ll be sleeping with mine on too.

This from

9The Hellbound Heart


On March 16, 1995, Terry Cottle shot and killed himself in the bathroom of the home he shared with his wife Cheryl. There had been an argument—there had always been arguments—and Terry had threatened himself with a gun just months before. Cheryl heard the shot from the other side of the door after watching her husband enter the bathroom with a .22. She heard him gasp “Help me, I’m dying,” and then he was gone. He’d fired a single round into his brain.

The only possible silver lining was that Terry, 33, had been in good physical condition—and an organ donor. Terry’s heart saved the life of 57-year-old Sonny Graham, who had contracted an incurable virus of the heart a year earlier.

In 1996, Sonny wrote a letter of appreciation to Terry’s widow, and though the donor procurement agency had advised against contact, they decided to meet. And when they did, Sonny fell instantly in love with the widow of the man whose heart now beat in his chest. “I felt like I had known her for years . . . I couldn’t keep my eyes off her,” Sonny told a local newspaper in 2006. They were both married at the time, but within a few years both had divorced, and they moved in together in 2001. It was a rocky relationship, just like Cheryl and Terry’s had been, but they eventually married in 2004.

Four years later, with no indication that anything was seriously amiss, Sonny’s life ended the same way Terry’s did—suicide by gunshot. The heart that had beat on for 12 years of borrowed time stopped beating for good.

8The Unspeakable Banquet


Pardon us while we take a brief detour through Crazytown. Since we failed to mention it earlier, please note that some of these entries contain stories that are not for the squeamish, and this particular entry—to paraphrase the great Roger Ebert—will make you squeam.

“Asexual” is a perfectly valid sexual orientation, or more specifically a lack of one. Some people simply don’t identify sexually at all, and don’t see sexuality as a component of their being. While this is normal (if rare), Japanese artist Mao Sugiyama took his asexuality to the furthest extreme any of us would ever care to think about: He surgically removed his genitals. But that’s not all; oh, if only that were all (we’re saying that a lot today).

Mao held a banquet during which six guests paid the equivalent of about $250 per plate for the privilege of eating Mao Sugiyama’s cooked genitals. And yes, they knew what they were eating, willingly paid money for it, and one even blogged about the experience. And though only six ate, over 70 people attended and watched.

Despite somehow adhering to health and cooking codes, and preparing his genitals with mushrooms and parsley (no, we can’t believe we just typed that either), police finally settled on a charge they could make stick—indecent exposure. As of this writing Sugiyama could be looking at a hefty fine and a couple years in jail. So what possible reason could he have for his stunt? To raise awareness of “sexual minorities, x-gender, asexual people.” We’ll leave it to you to ponder if serving your own cooked genitals to paying customers is a valid method of raising awareness of anything except your own gibbering insanity.

7The Victim’s Ghost


When hospital orderly Allen Showery was called in for questioning by Chicago police in 1977, he knew what it was about. Or rather whom it was about: Teresita Basa had also worked at Edgewater Hospital, and, early in 1976, Showery had gone to her apartment and stabbed her to death before setting her on fire. He was hoping the police didn’t know anything. They knew everything. Teresita, the woman he murdered, had told them.

Earlier in 1977, respiratory technician Remy Chua—who had worked with Teresita, but not known her well—saw the dead woman loitering about the hospital employees’ lounge. Soon thereafter, a distinct change came over Remy. She started displaying strange mannerisms and following routines that were not her own. She became distant, sometimes seeming to almost be in a trance. She would sing songs she didn’t know, then deny singing them or even saying anything. The strange events grew worse, until one day when Remy fell back on her bed and spoke to her family in Teresita’s voice.

Remy’s husband Joe was a doctor and Teresita mainly addressed him, begging him to go to the police. And she had plenty of information—she named Showery and had Joe write down various items he had stolen from her apartment and the names and phone numbers of relatives who could confirm that the items were hers. Although police were understandably skeptical, they brought Showery in and watched his alibi crumble as Teresita’s relatives pointed out her valuables, which police had indeed found in Showery’s home. He subsequently confessedand was convicted of her murder.

Remy Chua has never had another such experience. Despite the accuracy of her information and the case’s appearance on Unsolved Mysteries in 1996, no one has ever been able to explain how it happened, or why it happened to her.

6The Enfield Horror


On the night of April 25, 1973, a little boy by the name of Greg Garrett was playing in his backyard in Enfield, Illinois, when he was attacked. Not by a person, or any animal anyone had ever seen before—to this day nobody knows what it was—but it tore his shoes to pieces and left him in tears. Just minutes later, local resident Henry McDaniel opened his front door after hearing a light scratch, and got a good look at what would would come to be known as the Enfield Horror.

Greg and Henry’s descriptions were pretty much exactly the same: The Horror was short, no more than 1.5 meters (five feet), and had three legs. Yes, three. It also possessed short, stubby arms ending in claws or talons that seemed to be placed in the center of its body rather than at its sides. It was hairy, yet slimy, and had reddish-pink eyes the size of flashlights. Just minutes earlier, Henry’s children had insisted that a monster of some kind had tried to break into the house while he and his wife had been out to dinner. He’d laughed it off at first, but upon seeing this thing on his porch, Henry slammed the door and went directly for his gun.

Henry ripped open the door and fired four shots. He was sure he hit it on the first, and he said the thing “hissed like a wildcat” before bounding away, covering 25 meters (75 ft) in a few powerful leaps. He immediately called the police, and over the next few days, several more sightings were reported by searchers, sheriff’s deputies, even a radio station news director and his crew. Henry also saw it once more, a couple weeks later, out of his window as it wandered near some railroad tracks.

And then it was gone. Whatever it was, it hasn’t been seen since. Let’s hope it stays that way.

5The Children


Brian Bethel is a respected veteran journalist and current columnist for theAbilene Reporter-News. In the ’90s, Brian wrote a blog piece detailing an experience that would soon come to be shared by many others. His story is unique in that it was the first, and it was told by someone with an eye for journalistic detail and absolutely nothing to gain (and a career to lose) by spinning such an implausible yarn.

One evening as Brian sat parked outside the local movie theater, filling out a check for the night deposit next door, his drivers’ side was approached by a couple of children, no more than 10 or 12. Brian rolled down his window, expecting a request for money. Only one of the boys spoke, but even before any words came out of his mouth, Brian was gripped by fear. An irrational, heart-pounding fear that he couldn’t explain.

The boy told a story: They wanted to see the movie, they’d left their money at home, and could Brian give them a ride? Brian tried to avoid looking at them, not wanting his fear to show; he noticed that the last showing of the movie had already begun. The little boy implored: They were just a couple of kids. They didn’t have a gun. As Brian finally locked eyes with the boy, his mind went wild with horror. Both the kids’ eyes were coal black. Stammering an excuse, he began to roll up his window and put the car into gear, as the little boy called out angrily “We can’t come in unless you say it’s okay! Let us in!”

Brian burned rubber all the way home and wrote about the experience later that night. Apparently, he’s far from the only one—stories abound on the Web about black-eyed people, usually children but sometimes adults, with similar requests, who cause unexplained panic in all who encounter them. Perhaps it’s just those eyes, or the odd, somewhat alien nature of their speech—or the malevolent, predatory nature that those who encounter them can feel lurking just beneath the surface. No one has stuck around long enough to find out just who or what they really are. Perhaps you’ll find out some dark night, on some side street as you’re walking alone. Let us know, will you?

4The Entity


Lots of people wish that one day the story of their life will be made into a Hollywood movie. Unless it’s a jaw-droppingly disturbing horror film like 1982′sThe Entity, a movie that opens with a woman being raped in her bed by an invisible being—and which is based on the events that befell Doris Bither of Culver City, California in the early ’70s.

According to the paranormal investigators who looked into her case (Doris begged them for help after overhearing their conversation in a bookstore), she was a complete mess: alcoholic, constantly drunk, abused by her parents, and abusive toward her own sons. She would also periodically be physically assaulted by three entities nobody could see, and to the investigators there was little disputing their authenticity—a room full of them saw it with their own eyes.

As Doris began cursing at and otherwise provoking whatever the entities were, lights appeared around the room, followed by a swirling green mist in the corner, in which the shape of a man’s upper body appeared. Just the shape, no facial features; just a disembodied torso in the swirling green mist, and that’s when one of the investigators fainted.

The photos captured during the incident don’t show exactly what the investigators described; that’s one of them above. Doris and her troubled family—some investigators think that the three entities were psychic projections of Doris’ hostility toward her three sons—haven’t been heard from since the 1980s.

3The Saw


Get ready to squeam again. We won’t say we’re sorry—you’re the one who keeps reading. In June 2011, emergency services dispatched an ambulance to the home of 65-year-old Barrie Hepburn. Barrie was a retired sports car enthusiast and a paraplegic. He’d been left wheelchair-bound in 2000 after being shot by a neighbor in an argument. Barrie had told the emergency operator that he was bleeding heavily, and they feared the worst, as he had fallen silent during the call. They certainly weren’t expecting what they found, which was the shock of their lives, and the grisly stuff urban legends are made from.

Barrie, who had lost all feeling in his legs, had made an enthusiastic attempt to remove one of them with a hacksaw. He had recently become despondent because he was having so much trouble getting into and out of his beloved sports cars, and his overtures to his doctors about amputation had thus far been rebuffed. Barrie had apparently decided that if he began the surgery himself, doctors wouldn’t have any choice but to continue. When the paramedics arrived his right leg was almost totally detached, the plastic sack he’d used for a tourniquet covered in massive amounts of blood, and his bag was sitting beside him, neatly packed for the hospital.

2The Monster Under The Bed


Finally, we have the story of Guy Whitall, a former cricketer (one who plays cricket, which is a British sport, Americans) who not that long ago enjoyed a peaceful night’s slumber at the Humani lodge in Zimbabwe. While getting ready for his day, sitting on the edge of his bed, the 40-year-old had no clue that he had just lived—was still living, really—everyone’s childhood nightmare.

Still oblivious as he began preparing breakfast in the suite’s kitchen, he was startled by the blood-curdling screams of a housekeeper, coming from where he had just been sleeping. Whitall came running back into the suite to receive the shock of his life.

For under his bed was a thrashing, 2.5-meter (8 ft), 150-kilogram (300 lb) crocodile. The housekeeper’s screams had startled it, but before that it had lain motionless for hours—while Whitall had prepared for bed, slept through the night, and sat with his feet dangling mere inches away. We assume he immediately began making plans to buy a futon and a very large weapon.

1The Sleepwalking Suicide


Soon after 18-year-old Carissa Glenn moved into her new Cornwall flat, she began sensing a presence. She had the feeling that someone or something was there when she was alone at night, and she often brought it up with family and friends over the month or so that she lived in the flat. She could hardly have been that surprised, she’d heard a rumor before moving in that the previous tenant had hanged himself.

According to her friends, she would have extraordinarily vivid nightmares about hanging, in addition to the feelings of being haunted. Her friends were concerned, as Carissa had a history of sleepwalking—and of acting out her dreams. And though the rumor about the previous tenant actually proved false, Carissa may have just been haunted after all.

On April 14, 2008, the “happy young woman” who had been out for drinks with friends the evening before, hung herself with a scarf. Well, her friends agree she’d been happy except for one thing—she sometimes didn’t want to go back to her flat at night because of the presence and the dreams.

And with that, we’ll wish you your own sweet dreams!



The Other Half

29 Oct



“birds flyin’ high you know how I feel,

sun in the sky you know how I feel,

breeze driftin’ on by you know how I feel.”

No milk this morning, long months coming and baby needs shoes. A meal without milk won’t kill us and may even save us.

Stretch and make do is a way of life for this half.

We can’t sit and wait for love and light to come and find us, ways need to be made, and a ditch somewhere needs diggin’.

On mornings when our breath is visible, and our feet have left us for some other place, and our back haven’t straightened out completely are mornings we shine the brightest.

This half has very few choices and our options are not options, but one last chance to make it through another day.

Long nights when sleep can’t find us, and our minds can’t find rest are the times that make us human. So baby can rest and make it to another day.

Stark days when all our pockets have holes and the heat man can’t hear us nor comprehend our words. Baby cold.

This half don’t have many things and many things don’t have us. We dream shiny dreams and daylight always brings us back to, baby needs.

Our tears have long since dried, and our hands are callused, our shoes are worn thin. We are slow to get up because the sitting down is a long time away.

Through dried tears and callused hands, the worn shoes, and the slow bones we keep our tender hearts………………cause baby needs tender hearts. Most of all.

they can’t see me

27 Oct


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i’m not a man but i can impersonate one.

i came up with the chickens and they moved on to nourish, i came up with the insects, and they sprouted wings and flew away. i watched the seeds take root and bare fruit.

but here i sit not able nourish, not able to fly away nor take root and bare fruit.

they can’t see me because their minds can’t override their beliefs.

ironclad thought patterns are dangerous, and words need not be spoken, i am condemned, relegated to the bottom of the ship.

they can’t see me, but they project me.

i’m just another one, vaguely familiar and strangely contorted.

my achievements are reduced to nothing much, my heights are flush with the ground.

i have one emotion, and that is searing hate.

i am a monster with dreams of becoming a monstrosity.

i can see through my eyelids.

i hate the sun that gives light that makes life.

hot poison travels though my veins in search of release.

i hate the man, woman and child before they hate me.

with development now arrested i am part animal, their vision now realty.

i won’t take my bow until this Earth is petrified, and they see me.


This one is for No Black Pete’s piece in the comment section.


The Saddest And Most Important Story You’ll Read This Year.

26 Oct

I was listening to one of my favorite podcast The Angry Human when they started talking about this story. A story that broke my heart into pieces. Something I had known but not to this depth. The story is called “The Ocean Is Broken”, and yes indeed if this story is true, we won’t be around here long. I have voiced my complete disdain for human life and the reckless behavior we display so that won’t be a surprise to anyone. We are the only animals that shits in that same place in which we live and eat. Our favorite pastime is war and how many bodies we can stack up, and we love to record it so other humans who weren’t there can enjoy the blood lust as well. It makes me want to crawl back into bed and just stay there. How can a planet as beautiful as this one can harbor such self destructive creatures. We seem bound and determined fuck everything we can see. Anyway here’s the story:

The ocean is broken


Oct. 18, 2013, 10 p.m.

  • Ivan Macfadyen aboard the Funnel Web. Picture by Max Mason-HubersIvan Macfadyen aboard the Funnel Web. Picture by Max Mason-Hubers

IT was the silence that made this voyage different from all of those before it.

Not the absence of sound, exactly.

The wind still whipped the sails and whistled in the rigging. The waves still sloshed against the fibreglass hull.

And there were plenty of other noises: muffled thuds and bumps and scrapes as the boat knocked against pieces of debris.

What was missing was the cries of the seabirds which, on all previous similar voyages, had surrounded the boat.

The birds were missing because the fish were missing.

Exactly 10 years before, when Newcastle yachtsman Ivan Macfadyen had sailed exactly the same course from Melbourne to Osaka, all he’d had to do to catch a fish from the ocean between Brisbane and Japan was throw out a baited line.

“There was not one of the 28 days on that portion of the trip when we didn’t catch a good-sized fish to cook up and eat with some rice,” Macfadyen recalled.

But this time, on that whole long leg ofsea journey, the total catch was two.

No fish. No birds. Hardly a sign of life at all.

“In years gone by I’d gotten used to all the birds and their noises,” he said.

“They’d be following the boat, sometimes resting on the mast before taking off again. You’d see flocks of them wheeling over the surface of the sea in the distance, feeding on pilchards.”

But in March and April this year, only silence and desolation surrounded his boat, Funnel Web, as it sped across the surface of a haunted ocean.

North of the equator, up above New Guinea, the ocean-racers saw a big fishing boat working a reef in the distance.

“All day it was there, trawling back and forth. It was a big ship, like a mother-ship,” he said.

And all night it worked too, under bright floodlights. And in the morning Macfadyen was awoken by his crewman calling out, urgently, that the ship had launched a speedboat.

“Obviously I was worried. We were unarmedand pirates are a real worry in those waters. I thought, if these guys had weapons then we were in deep trouble.”

But they weren’t pirates, not in the conventional sense, at least. The speedboat came alongside and the Melanesian men aboard offered gifts of fruit and jars of jam and preserves.

“And they gave us five big sugar-bags full of fish,” he said.

“They were good, big fish, of all kinds. Some were fresh, but others had obviously been in the sun for a while.

“We told them there was no way we could possibly use all those fish. There were just two of us, with no real place to store or keep them. They just shrugged and told us to tip them overboard. That’s what they would have done with them anyway, they said.

“They told us that his was just a small fraction of one day’s by-catch. That they were only interested in tuna and to them, everything else was rubbish. It was all killed, all dumped. They just trawled that reef day and night and stripped it of every living thing.”

Macfadyen felt sick to his heart. That was one fishing boat among countless more working unseen beyond the horizon, many of them doing exactly the same thing.

No wonder the sea was dead. No wonder his baited lines caught nothing. There was nothing to catch.

If that sounds depressing, it only got worse.

The next leg of the long voyage was from Osaka to San Francisco and for most of that trip the desolation was tinged withnauseous horror and a degree of fear.

“After we left Japan, it felt as if the ocean itself was dead,” Macfadyen said.

“We hardly saw any living things. We saw one whale, sort of rolling helplessly on the surface with what looked like a big tumour on its head. It was pretty sickening.

“I’ve done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I’m used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds. But this time, for 3000 nautical miles there was nothing alive to be seen.”

Inplace of the missing life was garbage in astounding volumes.

“Part of it was the aftermath of the tsunami that hit Japan a couple of years ago. The wave came in over the land, picked up an unbelievable load of stuff and carried it out to sea. And it’s still out there, everywhere you look.”

Ivan’s brother, Glenn, who boarded at Hawaii for the run into the United States, marvelled at the “thousands on thousands” of yellow plastic buoys. The huge tangles of synthetic rope, fishing lines and nets. Pieces of polystyrene foam by the million. And slicks of oil and petrol, everywhere.

Countless hundreds of wooden power poles are out there, snapped off by the killer wave and still trailing their wires in the middle of the sea.

“In years gone by, when you were becalmed by lack of wind, you’d just start your engine and motor on,” Ivan said.

Not this time.

“In a lot of places we couldn’t start our motor for fear of entangling the propeller in the mass of pieces of rope and cable. That’s an unheard of situation, out in the ocean.

“If we did decide to motor we couldn’t do it at night, only in the daytime with a lookout on the bow, watching for rubbish.

“On the bow, in the waters above Hawaii, you could see right down into the depths. I could see that the debris isn’t just on the surface, it’s all the way down. And it’s all sizes, from a soft-drink bottle to pieces the size of a big car or truck.

“We saw a factory chimney sticking out of the water, with some kind of boiler thing still attached below the surface. We saw a big container-type thing, just rolling over and over on the waves.

“We were weaving around these pieces of debris. It was like sailing through a garbage tip.

“Below decks you were constantly hearing things hitting against the hull, and you were constantly afraid of hitting something really big. As it was, the hull was scratched and dented all over the place from bits and pieces we never saw.”

Plastic was ubiquitous. Bottles, bags and every kind of throwaway domestic item you can imagine, from broken chairs to dustpans, toys and utensils.

And something else. The boat’s vivid yellow paint job, never faded by sun or sea in years gone past, reacted with something in the water off Japan, losing its sheen in a strange and unprecedented way.

BACK in Newcastle, Ivan Macfadyen is still coming to terms with the shock and horror of the voyage.

“The ocean is broken,” he said, shaking his head in stunned disbelief.

Recognising the problem is vast, and that no organisations or governments appear to have a particular interest in doing anything about it, Macfadyen is looking for ideas.

He plans to lobby government ministers, hoping they might help.

More immediately, he will approach the organisers of Australia’s major ocean races, trying to enlist yachties into an international scheme that uses volunteer yachtsmen to monitor debris and marine life.

Macfadyen signed up to this scheme while he was in the US, responding to an approach by US academics who asked yachties to fill in daily survey forms and collect samples for radiation testing – a significant concern in the wake of the tsunami and consequent nuclear power station failure in Japan.

“I asked them why don’t we push for a fleet to go and clean up the mess,” he said.

“But they said they’d calculated that the environmental damage from burning the fuel to do that job would be worse than just leaving the debris there.”

This is Mount Kimbie

25 Oct


23 Oct

This from


10 Semantic Satiation


Have you ever repeated a word several times and found that, after a while, it started to lose meaning? If you have, you needn’t worry—scientists have studied this phenomenon and call it semantic satiation. Studies found that as you repeat a word, your brain becomes satiated and you start to get confused about what the word even means. You see, normally when you say a word (e.g., “pen”), your brain finds the semantic information for a pen and connects the two things together. However, counter-intuitively, if you repeat the word a number of times in quick succession, your brain becomes less able to connect it with that semantic information each time.

Researchers have found practical uses for this information beyond just amusing themselves with how easily we trick ourselves—by using semantic satiation in a controlled environment, they have been able to help those who stutter, and in one case were able to help someone with coprolalia, the uncontrollable cursing sometimes associated with Tourette’s syndrome, by having him repeat his favorite curse words over and over.


9 Peripheral Theory Of Emotion


Let’s say you finally get to go on that camping trip you’ve been putting off for a long time. You enjoy a long day of hiking, fishing, and other activities, then go to your tent to get some rest for the next day. When you wake up in the morning, you realize that something is horribly wrong—to be more precise, there is a bear in your tent. You might imagine that the first thing you’d feel is fear, which would result in a rapid heartbeat. But, once again, your brain is deceiving you.

According to James Lange’s theory of emotion, it actually works the other way around. His peripheral theory states that when you see the bear, your heart starts to beat faster, and only then does your brain start to think it must be afraid and send out fear signals. Those who study emotion have not been able to disprove the theory thus far, although some believe emotional responses are more of a loop.


8 Earworms


Have you ever had something incredibly terrible yet catchy stuck in your head for days at a time? Well, now you have a name for this horrible phenomenon, which scientists have dubbed an “earworm.” The explanation some scientists give basically involves your brain getting stuck in a loop. You probably remember one verse of whatever catchy song you are stuck with almost perfectly, but don’t know the rest of the song as well. After singing the first verse, your brain tries to move on to the next, but doesn’t know the rest of the song. Because your brain likes to go back to unfinished thoughts, it gets stuck in a loop, continually trying to start again and finish the song. After presumably struggling to get the Spice Girls out of their heads, a group of scientists were determined to find out how to break this spell. After a lot of study, their advice is a sort of Goldilocks philosophy—you need to focus on a cognitive activity that isn’t too easy or too hard. They suggest solving anagrams or reading a novel.


7 Moral Dumbfounding


Most of us have strong opinions on issues like cannibalism and incest, with the majority of us considering them to be morally wrong. However, researchers have found that, when asked about these issues, most people’s brains sit there sluggishly, unable to come up with an appropriate response, even though the behaviors in question are considered taboo by most modern societies. This phenomenon is termed moral dumbfounding—quite simply, the subjects were “struck dumb” and unable to properly explain why they felt so strongly about an issue.

One of the scenarios described someone working with a body that was going to be cremated anyway and taking a small chunk of flesh home with her to eat. She made sure to cook it thoroughly to remove any diseases. Another told of an adult brother and sister who were on vacation and decided to get freaky, making sure they used protection. The participants were asked if what these people had done was wrong, then asked to explain why. The researchers found that people felt very strongly that these behaviors were morally wrong, but struggled mightily to verbalize their reasoning. Research has not yet explained why this response occurs. It may be that society’s taboos are simply ingrained into our consciousness so deeply that we feel a powerful moral drive against them even though we cannot logically explain why.


6 The GPS Effect


Do you rely on your GPS to get everywhere? Do you even use it to navigate to familiar places? If so, perhaps you might want to consider using it less. It turns out that using GPS is an easy way to lull ourselves into a false sense of security and lose our sense of direction—too much use of GPS actually makes it harder for us to create spatial maps. Even worse, some researchers believe that if we don’t use our spatial abilities regularly, it could lead to a higher risk of early-onset dementia. The researchers suggest that we use GPS only when we don’t know the route, and use it more as a tool than a crutch.

On a more positive note, it turns out that constantly using our spatial abilities makes our brains stronger. London cabbies have to go through an extremely rigorous process to learn their routes, which only cover a 9.5-kilometer (6 mi) radius but include 25,000 streets with 320 separate routes and about 20,000 different points of interest. Researchers studying London cabbies found that not only seasoned veterans but also those who had only just taken the training had an increase in grey matter in the brain. Scientists believe the more important implication of this study is that it shows the human brain is extremely good at adapting well into adulthood.


5 Sensory Deprivation


You probably won’t often end up in a situation where you are temporarily deprived of sensory input. However, if that does happen and you start to see things that don’t make sense or hear strange noises, don’t be too alarmed—it’s just another example of your brain playing tricks on you. Researchers put test subjects in something called an anechoic room, a chamber designed to block out noise and light. The goal of this particular experiment was to see whether people hallucinated when deprived of sensory input.

People reported seeing shapes and faces, and some even had olfactory hallucinations. Even weirder, some thought that something evil was in the room with them and that something “important” had happened while they were in there. According to researchers, the explanation is that our brain gets confused when it is deprived of sensory input, so it creates some to fill the void. The result is that we can’t tell what is real and what is just inside our heads.


4 Sympathetic Pain


Have you ever heard seen someone slam their foot in the door and winced in pain even though nothing happened to you? Or just heard a story of someone getting hurt and had the same experience? That’s sympathetic pain. The researchers who studied this used MRI machines to test how subjects’ brains reacted when looking at faces with certain expressions, and when making those expressions. What they found is that the brain displays the same activity in either case. The part of the brain responsible for this is called the “mirror area” and scientists believe we have something called “mirror neurons,” which are responsible for creating a sympathetic response. Essentially, humans are hardwired to think we are feeling the same things as other people—essentially a very strong version of instinctive empathy.


3 False Memories

False memory

Most of us are very sure of our recollections, and why shouldn’t we be? In a strange and ever-changing world that often doesn’t make sense, our experiences can be one of the few things that ground us in reality. However, scientists have conducted experiments on memory and found that it is incredibly easy to plant false memories. According to one researcher, the reason we are so easily fooled is because our minds try to take in everything in our surroundings but inevitably fail, which leads to gaps in memory. To deal with these gaps, our minds automatically plant whatever false memories they think make sense based on our current knowledge and experience.

But it gets even worse. In one experiment, researchers convinced a woman that she had been lost in a mall when she was young. Not only did she believe them, but she started making up details about an old woman who had helped her and talked about looking at puppies. The researchers were able to convince her so well that when they told her the memory was false and it had all been an experiment, she didn’t believe them until she had called her parents to confirm that she hadn’t been lost in the mall.


2 Sleep Drunkenness

tired driver

Most people probably know that if you go for long enough without sleep, the results can be quite similar to being drunk. However, what you might not know is that too much sleep can have a similar effect. Have you ever slept longer than usual, woken up feeling groggy, and wondered why you should feel bad when you got plenty of sleep? It should stand to reason that you can never sleep too much—sleep is, after all, how we recharge, and many of us are constantly trying to catch up.

When you sleep for too long, your brain can get confused and leave you in a state that is halfway between sleeping and waking. This is dangerous, because many who are sleep-drunk are unlikely to realize how much of a hazard they are on the road. One doctor tells of a patient who was so groggy from sleep drunkenness that his wife thought he was having a stroke.


1 Hypnagogia

Frightened Woman in Bed

Many of us are under the impression that only those under the influence of drugs are likely to experience hallucinations, but nothing could be further from the truth. Hypnagogic hallucinations occur in that span of time when you are falling asleep but not actually asleep, whereas hypnapompic hallucinations occur when you are waking up. Both forms of hallucination can be either auditory or visual in nature. They are distinct from dreaming—research has shown that your brain can cause you to hallucinate when you are still partially conscious. While those who are especially tired or have previously existing mental conditions are slightly more likely to have these experiences, they are very common in healthy individuals as well. And our brains are not satisfied with their games only when we are sleeping or in that twilight state between worlds—neurologically normal people can have auditory hallucinations even when wide awake.


What To Do When They Stop You.

18 Oct