Skepticism

Back home, for now.

Hey everyone! I’m home from the UK, trying to get caught up with all things internet-ish. It always amazes me how things pile up after a few days away – I guess it’s easy to take internet access for granted. Anyway, the trip was great, for the most part (the flight home was h.e.l.l.) We had lots of fun sightseeing with our friends, and Hamlet kicked so much ass that we’re toying with the idea of going back to see it again when it runs in London this winter.

I think I’ve become tuned in to certain things through my involvement in the skeptical movement. I noticed a lot of woo on this trip. It seemed like almost everywhere we went, there was some sort of haunting being advertised. And I think the lady working at the counter of the woo shop in Avebury put some sort of hex on me. Fun and pictures after the fold.

Tim3P0 & me in Cardiff
Tim3P0 & me in Cardiff
I still can't believe I forgot my copy of "Bad Astronomy".
(
nice suit. if only its usual occupant was in it :(
Castle Caerphilly
Castle Caerphilly
passing ourselves off as royalty. or something.
passing ourselves off as royalty. or something.
quite possibly the coolest tree ever.
quite possibly the coolest tree ever.
Avebury Henge (aka woo central)
Avebury Henge (aka woo central)
Avebury is massive and awesome. I guess I can sort of understand why people tend to associate it with all sorts of woo-ey-ness. I personally think that it’s staggeringly cool to think about from a strictly human perspective; how these people that we modern folk tend to think of as savages came together and created this enormous earthwork.

There was a neat little old cottage near the site called the Henge shoppe that looked really interesting from the outside, but its contents could have been found in any chintzy new age shop anywhere in the world. Their main thing seemed to be crop circles, which they apparently have a monopoly on, photographically. They sold lots of pictures of them in various sizes. I was talking to my friend Kelly about them, basically as art. I said something to the effect that even though they aren’t supernatural, I still think they’re beautiful. Actually, I think it makes them more beautiful that people actually get together and create them. The woman behind the counter, overhearing, shot me a dirty look and started talking about how active “they” (clearly referring to aliens or somesuch) had been lately. We did see a crop circle on our way onwards from Avebury, but didn’t stop to take a picture because there was a whole crew there already blocking it up(probably the people from the shoppe taking pictures to sell).

Tim3P0 told me that while I was in a different part of the store, he had witnessed a rather disturbing interaction between this woman and a customer. Apparently, the patron was interested in some magical bracelet that they had, and wanted to know about the specific properties of it. The woman refused to tell him unless he purchased said bracelet, so he bought two. What is wrong with people?!

Tim3P0 proves his skeptic street cred
Tim3P0 proves his skeptic street cred
I guess this particular stone, with its handy little nook (which makes a great chair) was used by the ancients as an altar, and supposedly contains a door to the underworld (upon which my lovely husband is knocking). According to our friend Charles (who told me, a bit nervously, that I may not want to sit there) they would place a sacrifice into the nook, which would then be taken by the gods, and in return they would open the door to the underworld and much fun would ensue. I’m happy to report that neither myself or my husband has yet been taken by the gods.
The Red Lion Pub
The Red Lion Pub
This is supposedly the most haunted place in all of Britain. I’m not exactly sure what that’s supposed to mean, but the kitchen was closed the day we were there, on account of a mysterious plumbing problem. Maybe the ghosts all decided to take a huge ectoplasmic dump and backed up the septic system.

We did see lots of cool stuff as well. Highlights included the one time home of the father of modern photography, as well as the really nifty Museum of the History of Science in Oxford. I’d include more pictures, but I’ve gotta run, and I really do want to get this posted before I leave for Atlanta, so I’ll send you to my Flickr stream if you care to see more.

Hope to see some of you next weekend!

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13 Comments

  1. You think that was fun? Girl, wait’ll we get you in Atlanta, where you can… ummm.. well, see, you can… er… do you drink Coke?

    I loved Avebury the one time we went there. We didn’t mess with the town, just hung out by the stones. Unfortunately we were there on the winter solstice, and my friend Will drove completely around the circles in a counter-clockwise direction. There was a flash and a soft cackle from a ghostly centaur, and no one has seen him since :(

  2. I am glad that you had a good time. My family and I had a lot of fun on our vacation. We went to Branson, MO, USA. I was absolutly amazed. I thought it was like a christian Las Vegas. I was way wrong. I actually entered a woo free zone when we toured a cave under the Silver Dollar City amusement park. Trying to stir up some trouble I asked the guide how old the cave was. The kid who was guideing the tour said “I’m not sure but it has to be like a gazillion years old.” Then he went on to explain how long it took for stalgtites and stalagmites to form. Pointed out a few examples and said that they took many millions of years to form. I waited for the inevitable creationist to say that it couldn’t be more than 6000 years old but it never happened. I went on the tour twice and nary a creationist in site. It was a blast. Though I did smash my knee getting out of a kayak and can still barely walk.

  3. lol

    hey, don’t sell atlanta short. i think the fact that lo fucking pan (tim’s words) will be at dragon con will easily make tim’s year.
    as for me, well, i was in the same building as david tennant and patrick stewart last week. i’m not sure that can ever be topped.

  4. gabriel: that’s sort of amazing. is “like a gazillion” a technical term ;) caves are cool. i’d love to take up spelunking at some point, and not just because it’s a great word.
    sorry to hear about your knee. that sucks.

  5. David Tennant’s suit. Castle Caerphilly. Patrick Stewart. One word:

    jealousjealousjealousjealousjealous

    (But five times, since once wasn’t enough.)

    carr2d2, I’m so glad you had a good time, and dang do I wish I could have stowed away in your suitcase! (It would have had to be largeish, though, due to unprecedented amounts of birthday cake consumption in the last week.) I may have missed a previous explanation, so excuse me if I ask you to repeat yourself, but what was the trip for?

    You could come visit the West Coast, if you want … I hear there is a shadowy orb that manifests itself over by Sybil’s Omelettes on Center Street. Not too surprising, really … I always get a little icked out by their sign, with a matronly-looking chicken in an apron advertising omelettes. Filicide should invite haunting if nothing else.

  6. welcome, freiddie! we’ve been having some issues in the last few days, maybe that’s related. i’ll shoot an email to rebecca. thanks.

    bee: the trip was strictly for fun. we had actually planned it initially around hamlet, figuring it was a good enough excuse to go hang out with some friends and see some sights.

    i always hate leaving the uk. such a lovely country.

  7. By Lo fucking Pan, I’m assuming he means James fucking Hong, not the League of Patriotic Nigerians?

    I didn’t notice he’d be there. I was still wallowing in depression that Katee Sackhoff pulled out. That represents 100% of my Battlestar Hotness. But Kaylee is still coming, and Paul & Storm are still performing, so it won’t be a total loss…

    Also, the skeptic track will be good. :)

  8. I can’t help wondering, if the woo-dealer came in in the morning to find a ‘shoppe circle’ – all the stock knocked over and made into a pattern on the floor – would they think *that* was down to aliens?

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