27 November 2006


While watching TV (FedEX commercial with delivering the heat-sensitive voodoo dolls), I just learned that my wife thinks there's something real to the claims about voodoo dolls. That is all.

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At November 27, 2006 4:43 p.m., Blogger Zeno said...

And this past week I discovered that my sister-in-law thinks she can treat a bowel tumor by washing it away with enemas! Her "natural health" practitioner told her not to worry about what the medical doctor saw on the CT scan.

I am more than slightly furious.


At November 27, 2006 5:09 p.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

Yikes. At least my wife is able to spot medical frauds a reasonable (but by no means high) percent of the time.

At November 28, 2006 9:11 a.m., Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

There is a religious tradition in australia which used to be practiced by the aborigines called "pointing the bone" where the spiritual leader of the tribe would use a kangaroo bone of something like that to enact "magical punishment" on a tribe member who had done something really bad.

The tribal belief was that if the bone was pointed at them, that they would die, and of course, some of them did.

Like voodoo, it is based in belief. It is the belief that harm will come to you, where the "power" is, not in the ritual itself.

The ritual itself has no power, it is the belief that the rtiual is powerful, that causes the damage.

At November 28, 2006 9:53 a.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

I've heard of that, and it's sounds plausible, but that's not what my wife has in mind. She's thinking of some "attacking the soul" thing.

At November 28, 2006 8:11 p.m., Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

I don't think it attacks the soul. I think it relies on the strength of belief.

If people were not told that someone had a voodoo doll likeness of them and that they were sticking pins in it, or if they did not see someone point the bone at them; I doubt that it would have any negative effect at all.

The negative effect, if there is one, relies on the person's knowledge that someone is out to do harm to them. It also relies on the belief that this ritual can actually do anything.

So, people talk themselves into being ill, or feeling sick, or not eating, or whatever it is, because they BELIEVE that the ritual will have a negative effect on them.

The ritual doesn't really do anything. It is the peron's belief that the ritual can harm them, that does the trick.


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