Re: virus: ostention, repression, ignition, exhaust

Eva-Lise Carlstrom (
Thu, 20 Mar 1997 23:20:06 -0800 (PST)

On Thu, 20 Mar 1997, Tony Hindle wrote:

> My scource is a BBC. t.v. program I have on tape called W.S.H.
> (wierd shit happens- an interesting show, a docu-drama about a professor
> who investigates urbam legends, I can send you a copy if you want). The

Interesting, and it's kind of you to offer, but I won't make you follow
through and mail a video to the States.

> >Thanks for the legend, I hadn't heard or read that one. I think I'll go
> >bleach my toothbrush now in case someone broke in and I didn't notice.
> Didnt I mention, the burglars also pissed in the bleach.

I can live with that; piss is sterile anyway.

> >> BTW Eva did you read my posting on repressed memories?
> >> what do you think?
> >
> >Yes, and thanks for posting it. I found it interesting, but not enough to
> >base my own conclusion on about the existence or nonexistence of repressed
> >memories in the clinical and legal senses.
> I was convinced beyond reasonable doubt after reading all the
> scources in the bibliography. Even though my first reactions were "it

Hm, well, the only one I had handy to look up was the Hofstadter, and it
wasn't much support. If I had the rest around perhaps I too would be so

> must exist, otherwise why would it be so widely believed?" I remember at
> the time thinking to myself that faith in the construct of repressed
> memories was the foundation stone of a load of psychobabble in the same
> way as faith in the bible is the foundation for so much religiobabble.
> > There are certainly cases in
> >which someone has seemingly forgotten something and then recalled it,
> I agree. But I dont accept that people can forget completely
> about severely traumatic events (how the holocaust survivors must long
> for such an ability.)
> > and
> >there are also cases in which someone has unknowingly concocted a false
> >memory for themselves.
> I agree
> > I can think of banal personal instances of both.
> Same here
> >I am inclined to think that while such methods as hypnosis might possibly
> >help draw out real memories that might otherwise not be accessed readily,
> >they are also extremely vulnerable to suggestion and bias.
> I agree. except that I dont accept that there is such a thing as
> the hypnotic trance (this is another foundation on which a lot of

There is such a thing as the hypnotic trance, in that the various
prescribed methods of relaxation and suggestion do produce in many
subjects a brain state that is measurably different from a normal waking
or sleep state. Whether that state has some special attributes such as
privileged memory access is a different question and more arguable. I
personally have hypnotized a friend of mine and suggested to her that two
identical sensations would be different, and she perceived them as
different; I don't think she woulda been convinced to do so without the
hypnotic leadin. So I know about the suggestibility part firsthand.

> hypnobabble is constructed - consider past life regression, dont you
> think it's a bit of a coincidence that everybody seems to have had such
> glamorous past lives, nobody ever discovers that they used to be a
> lavatory cleaner in Rotherham.)

There's a comment to that effect in the movie _Bull Durham_. I recommend
seeing it five times.

> Compliance, communication of expectations and role playing are
> sufficient to explain all. A prof. in England called Graham Wagstaff has
> written a book called "Hypnosis, compliance and belief" on which I base
> my position.

If I run into the book I'll check it out.

> Have you heard the following urban legends
> Gang initiation, lights off.
> Batman wardrobe
> aeroplane toilet / fat man (yes, if his guts get sucked out)

No (I snipped the ones I'd heard)

> Have you ever tried inventing one? I invented this one
> but it's never come back to me yet.

This girl decides she's gonna get her navel pierced. So she goes to this
body piercer guy who's like all tattooed and with like eyebrow rings and
stuff, and he has this boa constrictor, generally kinda far out. Anyway,
she's lying in the chair with her belly exposed, waiting for the needle,
with her eyes closed cause she's chicken about it, and she feels the stab
and thinks it's done, and when she opens her eyes she finds the snake
biting into her stomach! And the guy's really apologetic and everything,
but you know how long it takes belly piercings to heal, well the bite
never does, and she ended up dying from the infection! I know this girl
who's the sister of the friend of the girl it happened to!

> Woman washing baby, no hot water, puts metal tub on gas ring,
> baths baby when water is warm, distracted by telephone in other room,
> baby boils to death.
> I know why its crap. Nobody would leave baby in bath to answer
> phone etc. But I reckon with a lot of effort it can be done.

Actually, I have bad news for you on this one. I actually did know a girl
this happened to. When she was a baby her mom was giving her a bath in
the sink, and the phone rang, and in the time it took the mom to answer
the phone, she (her name is Patience) managed to turn the hot water on
full blast and scald most of her body. The water was hotter than the
legal limit for tap water, and she was in critical condition at the
hospital for some time. She still had scars over much of her body when I
knew her in grade school. This one I'm not making up.

> > I am going away for 3/4 days when I get back we can see if we
> can invent an urban legend that has memes that press all the right
> buttons to get it propogating nicely, what do you say?

Anyone have something better than the piercing story? Actually, I'm
not much interested in such an effort unless I think it would be a really
good story to have people spreading. And although I would like to reduce
the number of pierced navels in the world, I'm insufficiently inspired by
that cause to spread lies about it.