When it comes to “old wives’ tales”?
Our ancestors often believed in the darnedest things!
And by “darnedest things”?
I mean things, which definitely makes us question THEIR sanity:
[via io9]The Weird but True History of Sin Eaters ~by Keith Veronese
In 18th and 19th Century Scotland, families placed a piece of bread on the breasts of their dying loved ones. That’s not the strange part — the families then hired someone to eat the bread, believing that the practice would somehow absolve the sins of the deceased. Where did this strange ritual come from? And what sort of people worked as Sin Eaters?
Death and Dine
Eating food at a funeral (or shortly thereafter) is not uncommon — large family dinners often follow the death of a loved one, while drinking has been a cornerstone of wakes for the past couple of centuries.
But Sin Eaters were different — because they had a very singular role within some segments of Christianity. Sin Eaters performed a ceremony wherein they took on the sins that the deceased performed — sins that went unforgiven or without confession prior to death. People typically hired a Sin Eater in situations where the deceased died unexpectedly.
By consuming bread and a drink (usually wine or beer) placed on, or ritually waved over, the dead body, onlookers believed the dead person’s sins were digested by the eater after he or she consumed this beggar’s feast. The act appears to be confined to 18th and 19th Century Europe, with no accounts of necro-cannibalism noted.
In time, the practice expanded in popularity, so that Sin Eaters also attended to people who had just died of natural causes — because people believed the ritual could help prevent the dead from wandering the countryside after death.
This wasn’t an especially well-paid job — the Sin Eater would receive a half-shilling or more, in addition to the scant meal. A half-shilling amounts to no more than a couple of US dollars when inflation is accounted for.
No amount of money paid, however, could overcome the social stigma stemming from a Sin Eaters’s line of work, or ameliorate the poverty and solitude most officiates lived amidst. Each village typically had its “own” Sin Eater, and the villagers believed this individual would become more and more horrible, with each and every ceremony.
Sin eaters often came under church scrutiny, since the sin eater did not have an affiliation with a local church. The eaters willfully carried the sins of the deceased for the rest of their mortal lives, going against the teachings of many sects of Christianity that were active in 18th and 19th Century Europe.
The practice of sin eating could be seen as a very macabre and misguided take on a Jewish tradition. Jewish priests would use a goat as a physical manifestation of the sins of the Jewish people, releasing the goat into the wilderness during Yom Kippur.
But did you know…
That some of the craziest “old wives’ tales”?
Are absolutely true!
[via ListVerse]10 Old Wives’ Tales That Are True ~ by Morris M.
Most old wives’ tales are just that: tales. Nobody really believes money spiders bring money, or pulling a face when the wind changes direction will curse you to a life of looking like Carrot Top. Trouble is, we’ve gotten so used to being skeptical we now dismiss the handful of tales that are demonstrably true.
Old Wives’ Tale: The Cold Causes Colds
As anyone who’s ever heard of science knows, the common cold is nothing more than a bunch of viruses living it up in your snot glands. Since low temperatures can’t cause viruses to spontaneously appear, being cold can’t cause colds, right?
Maybe not, but it can definitely cause the symptoms. As far back as 2005, researchers at Cardiff University were testing the correlation between temperature and illness. By making a bunch of people stand in icy water while a control group waited in the warm, they found that those exposed to the cold were more likely to catch one than those who weren’t. Specifically, twenty-nine percent of the ‘cold feet’ group developed a cold in the next few days, compared to nine percent for the control. So what gives?
Well, according to the study director, most of us spend the winter months with mild infections we don’t even notice. But lower our body temperature and our defense system takes five, allowing the virus to go supernova. It’s one of those weird situations where both science and your Gran managed to be simultaneously right and wrong.
Old Wives’ Tale: An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
Nobody seriously believes apples are a magic illness-fighting wonder fruit. Good for you, maybe; delicious in a pie, absolutely—but life saver? Come on.
Not so fast. According to researchers at Ohio State University, apples may help fight off everything from cancer to strokes. Thanks to something called phytochemicals, eating a whole bunch allows your body to break down cholesterol twenty percent faster, freeing up your arteries to do important stuff like keeping you alive. This in turn decreases your chance of taking a fatal nosedive into your morning pizza; while increasing your lung capacity to Brian Blessed proportions. And while we’re on the subject of fruit . . .
Old Wives’ Tale: Bananas Make Boys
Let’s say you and your partner are trying for a boy. You don’t fancy IVF, but are willing to play loose with nature’s rules. What do you do?
You could try eating all the bananas. A comprehensive study by Oxford University found a high potassium intake around breakfast time increases your chance of having a boy. And guess what? Bananas are the kings of potassium. From a sample of 740 mothers, the researchers found that those on the banana diet had a fifty-six percent chance of having a boy, compared to forty-five percent on a separate diet. An eleven percent difference may not sound like much, but holy hell, when you consider the amount of children born each year, that’s potentially quite significant.
Old Wives’ Tale: Seizures Increase during a Full Moon
The ‘Transylvania Hypothesis’ is a theory that states weird stuff happens around a full moon. Since the dawn of time people have reported dogs going mad, cats getting their love on and seizure rates shooting through the roof. So in 2004, a bunch of researchers got together to measure the phenomenon and found . . . nothing.
So much for Dracula theory, right? Wrong. Five years later, Dr Sallie Baxendale decided her colleague’s research sucked so she started her own study. By correlating for cloud cover, she found that seizures really did increase during a full moon—but only so long as sufferers could see it. The theory is that the seizures are triggered by the super-luminosity of a full moon, rather than moon magic or vampires. Which is kinda disappointing, come to think about it.
…[Read More - See All 10 HERE!]
due to our disbelief, makes me question OUR sanity.
When it comes to what we THINK we know…
In direct comparison to what IS.
So seldom, I think…
Are we near as smart as we like to think we are.