CHINESE ASTROLOGY BAD FOR HEALTH?The debated ability of the mind to influence states of health is thought by some to explain the death rates among those people who believe in Chinese astrology. Tests, performed by a University of California-San Diego team, took into account 15 diseases, and made use of 28,169 Chinese Americans and 412,632 caucasian Americans. These showed that those believers whose elemental birth signs (earth, water, etc.) were not propitious, to whatever disease they were suffering from, died earlier than expected.
The results, published in the November 6 issue of the Lancet, held for nearly all fifteen illnesses.
THE MURDERER TURNS HERSELF INOn July 22, 1984, the 13-month-old baby boy was drowned in a bucket filled with bleach and water, according to a Hamilton County coroner and the police. Almost a decade later, the infant's cousin turned herself in for the murder. She was now 12 years old.
"We don't anticipate her going to jail," said police Sgt. Bob Disbennett on February 27, 1994, as quoted in the February 28, 1994 St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "They're not here to crucify a 12-year-old who committed a crime when she was 3." The intent was for the girl to be put into the system so she could get needed help.
THE DOCTOR PRESCRIBED DEATHNadia Hafez Shabeeb was told by Dr. Aladdin Muhammad that she was possessed by jinn. In an attempt to remove the presumed evil spirits from her, he fatally beat her, and he was subsequently arrested in Cairo during early November 1993, according to a Reuters report.
GREEN RAIN ON SAN FRANCISCOTwenty or more people told health inspectors and fire officials how they observed sheets of bright green liquid that rained down around 2:30 p.m. February 17, 1994 upon part of San Francisco's Mission Street.
Preliminary examination of the substance indicated it was not dangerous. All examined samples were very diluted, hampering analysis.
The phenomena was compared to a mass hallucination or an apocalypse.
DON'T BREATHE; YOU MIGHT LIVE LONGERIn the February 25, 1994 issue of the journal Science, Southern Methodist University researchers described how they used genetic engineering to increase, by approximately 30 percent, fruit flies' production of enzymes that eliminate oxygen free radicals, which cause cell damage and thus apparently aid aging. Thus, among one specially bred group of flies, an average lifespan of 72 (days, that is) was reached, a noticeable advance upon the average 55-day lifespan. The special breed lived--at maximum--to 93 days, while the normals could at best achieve 71 days.
Biology professors Rajindar Sohal and William Orr were involved in the endeavor, in which micro-injections were made of two genes, which produce anti-oxydant enzymes, into fly embryos.
This was done because, according to certain theories of aging, when oxygen is, during the process of breathing, absorbed by cells, unstable free radicals are formed.
The work may soon lead to longer-lived pets and livestock, but not--due to present ethical concerns--older and healthier human beings.
SHAKESPEARE: ENGLAND'S GREATEST QUEEN?According to a computer analysis by Lillian Schwartz, reported in the May 17, 1994 Washington Post, the engraved portrait of William Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout, which adorns the 1623 First Folio of the playwright's works, is not a picture of the man at all. It is an altered portrait of a woman: Queen Elizabeth.
Earlier, Schwartz analyzed the Droeshout portrait in comparison with many Elizabethan worthies, but came up with no matches. Then she noticed that Droeshout's Shakespeare had eyes like Queen Elizabeth's, and scaled a portrait of Elizabeth to the same size, and concluded, "It's a made-up face, based on the portrait of Queen Elizabeth dating back to the same period."
The bulbous forehead and odd second jawline in the famous engraving would certainly be explained by Schwartz's theory that Droeshout was trying to turn a female visage into a male one. Matching elements in the two portraits include many eye measurements, the forehead alignments and the left eyes.
But why would it have been done? According to Charlton Ogburn (a supporter of the theory that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, actually wrote the Shakespeare plays), Elizabeth and Oxford--when young--conceived a son, the Earl of Southampton.
Droeshout's portrait of the Bard is not all that different from the apparently accurate circa-1623 bust of Shakespeare in Holy Trinity Church at Stratford-on-Avon.
THE OVER-EQUIPPED MAN
The Kathmandu Post, a newspaper in Nepal, published a picture of an unusual 50-year-old man, according to early January 1994 reports. The publication claimed that Taranidhi Kharel, who lives in an out-of-the way hill region of eastern Nepal, has three tongues, 30 fingers and toes, and 60 teeth.
Pictures of the fellow were said to be selling well.
HIGHWAY TO H_____
George Swanson, a native of Pennsylvania, bought twelve cemetery plots. This was to realize his great wish: to have his ashes buried in one his favorite places, sitting behind the wheel of his car, a white 1984 Corvette.
Circa late March 1993, on his deathbed at the age of 71, he told his wife, Caroline Swanson, that he still wanted to be buried this way. She recalled how she told him, "I promised you I'd do the best I could."
According to the April 5, 1994 Washington Post, his fate depended on the decision of the Brush Creek Cemetery's governing board. If they decided against such a burial, his widow would have to bury his ashes in a Corvette-shaped whiskey decanter. She recalled: "He loved to drive, and drive fast. He loved to zoom. The Corvette was his pride and joy."
Mixed Bag appears regularly in STRANGE MAGAZINE.