Monthly Archive: January 2014

How Priests Tell Between Demonic Possession And Mental Illness

In 1999, the Vatican revised its guidelines for both performing exorcisms and determining whether a person was actually suffering from a demonic possession or from a form of mental illness. Priests now consult with mental health professionals when assessing a person’s affliction. In order to be declared possessed by a demon, priests look for the ability to speak in foreign tongues previously unknown to the person as well as strength that the person should not be capable of demonstrating, as well as eliminating all other possible causes for the distress.

Rome Didn’t Fall Quite The Way You Might Think

The popular version of Rome’s fall is that a barbarian invasion tore Rome down column by column and left chaos in its wake. But by A.D. 476, the traditional date of the empire’s “fall,” the “invaders” had long been essential parts of the Roman administration and army. As a result, the fall was less catastrophic and affected the Roman population less than is typically imagined.

Mysterious Mel And The Hole To Hell

The tale of a Devil’s Hole, of a gateway into another dimension, a mysterious, bottomless pit that could resurrect the dead . . . it sounds like a tale out of Celtic mythology, right? In 1993, a Washington State man named Mel Waters came forward with tales of a mysterious well on his property. Not surprisingly, he refused to divulge the location, instead limiting himself to telling story after story about the phenomenon surrounding the bottomless well. The story got a boost in popularity when a Native American medicine man claimed to have visited the hole when he was a child.

The Popular Pesticide That Makes Frogs Hermaphrodites

Atrazine is the second–most popular pesticide in the United States, widely used on crops such as corn, sorghum, and sugarcane to combat weeds. But Atrazine has been banned in the European Union since 2004. Why? It’s known to have a significant effect on wildlife, such as frogs—who may spontaneously change sex. The EPA continues to conduct research on Atrazine’s effects on humans.

Chastity Belts Weren’t Created By Crusaders For Their Ladies

The popular tales surrounding chastity belts are rather romantic, if not sad. Unfortunately, they’re all rather untrue. Chastity belts didn’t come about as a device Crusaders gave their wives and lovers to keep them modest when they went off fighting for years at a time. Instead, they were popularly—and voluntarily—used first by parents to stop masturbating children, then by female factory workers during the Industrial Revolution to discourage rape.

The Horrifying Cannibalism Of The Colony At Jamestown

In the 17th century, a group of English settlers founded Jamestown, the oldest permanent English colony in the Americas. However, the Virginia settlement has a dark history that involves famine, disease, and most shocking of all, cannibalism. In 2012, archaeologists found the remains of a young, cannibalized girl so they asked forensic anthropologist Douglas Owsley to figure out who she was and what exactly happened to her.

The Difference Between Viruses And Bacteria

Viruses and bacteria are two very different entities, and they can both be either beneficial or harmful. A virus is both living and non-living, and is incapable of reproducing on its own, while bacteria are complete, living organisms that can self-replicate. Bacteria are usually much larger, come in a wider variety of shapes, and serve in more beneficial roles than a virus.

Difference Between Hades And Satan

They’re both rulers of the Underworld, but that’s where similarities end. The Christian Satan is the most evil of creatures who delights in torment and pain, while Hades was long known as defender of the rights of the dead, as well as the overseer of both Tartaros and the beautiful fields of Elysium. While Satan is said to delight in walking the Earth and causing trouble, most of the interaction Hades has with humans is when they invade his domain—and sometimes, they’re given what they want.