The Mermaid Situation

Mermaids. Throughout the world, these half-fish, half-human creatures have embedded themselves in folklore and legend, film and literature. The first known story was that of the Syrian goddess Atargatis, who inadvertently transformed into a mermaid. She had intended to become a fish, as self-punishment for killing a human she loved. But the powers that be …

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Strange Patents: The High Five Machine

If there’s one mystery of the universe I’ve never fully understood, it’s what to do when I feel like giving someone a high five and no one’s around. I know I’m not alone on this, because in 1993 someone filed patent US 5356330 to answer all of my high-fiving prayers.


Why Would Ghosts Cause Cold Spots?

One of the many signs of a haunted house is the existence of alleged cold spots, areas where the temperature inexplicably drops, leaving haunted individuals with supernatural chills. I’d like to explore this concept from two perspectives: 1.) if ghosts were real, why would they cause cold spots?; and 2.) assuming they’re not real, what …


Why Superstition May Actually Work

As you’ve probably heard, this month’s Friday the 13th coincides with a full moon, something that won’t happen again for another 35 years. This strange mixture of lunar madness and bad luck has left many to wonder if something peculiar might happen today. But those are just superstitions, right?