Skepchick Quickies, 6.1


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

Related Articles


  1. That was a great skeptical look at Oprah and the harm she does. There was a great story on page 6 of the lady who has breast cancer and decides to forgo chemo and “cure herself using The Secret.” She writes a letter to Oprah, who then has her on air and urges her to follow her doctors advice.

    It’s as if wishy-washy imaginary science works great when there’s nothing going on; you’re healthy, not being attacked by tigers, and everything’s because you have your magic book.

    Of course, when you get terminal cancer, things change.

    Things like that make me think that Oprah really does know exactly what she’s doing, which is sad. Sad or malicious, one or the other.

  2. Can someone explain the Stephanie Meyer XKCD strip to me? I understand trolling, message boards, and am vaguely aware that Twilight is about teenage vampires, but lacks that Joss Wheadon touch.

    tragically unhip

  3. @davew: You’re probably better off as is. :)

    But, for the record, 4chan is a notorious forum for hardcore hackers and internet folk who like to be annoying. Meyer writes the Twilight books, which have equally intense groups who love/hate them. And Skepchick’s connection with Twilight stems from this:


  4. Definitely going to pass along that sleep hallucination article. I have a friend who describes that exact type of experience and is completely convinced it was supernatural. I’m sure it’s not going to change her mind, but it’s worth a shot!

  5. Sleep paralysis/hallucination is scary shit (about as scary as it gets for something that’s actually harmless). I don’t sleep on my back anymore because all but one of the experiences with it that I’ve had were while sleeping like that (3 hallucinations that I remember and lots of shocks awake from vertigo).

  6. I was plagued by sleep hallucinations/sleep paralysis as a child, and they certainly did spur me into my obsession with the supernatural as a teenager. Fortunately, I also had a deep scientific interest that eventually made me think it was some sort of sleepwalking/dreaming.

    I had no idea it was actually a common phenomenon with an actual label until a couple years ago, when I saw a fairly good documentary on the phenomenon on tv. It gave me absolute chills while describing the hallucinations. Apparently, a lot of people from many cultures have similar hallucinations, mostly creatures sitting on their chests and breathing heavily (the succubi and incubi myths) and old hags or ghosts just in the corner of their vision that turn and rush toward them as they wake completely (I had both hallucinations). It’s fascinating how our brains all seem to like to fill in the same way. Of course, the show also predictably devolved into an uncritical showcase of some guy who was convinced he was possessed, because his hallucinations were of being thrown (something I also experienced) and whose life had been completely derailed and ruined by his conviction that he was possessed despite his doctor’s explanation of what was really going on.

    I’ve tried to tell other people about the experiences in a ‘isn’t it so weird and cool what our brains do?’ way, and found almost everyone will tell me to stop explaining, because it all sounds so scary it ‘must be demonic or supernatural’ and they don’t even want to think about it. It’s mind-bending that even when it’s being actively presented by the experiencer as a natural phenomenon (I know what I saw: and it wasn’t real!) most people would still rather believe it’s supernatural.

  7. I have seen floating skulls and red space marines while hallucinating. Just ask my brother. He was in my room playing computer and I woke up in a frenzy and pushed him out of the way of the computer screaming
    ” The Red space marines are going to get us!!!”
    I then came to and realized it was a sleep hallucination. I still get teased about that.

  8. That’s a really good article on Oprah.

    And there’s nothing like a good dose of real woo to cheer me up in the evening.

    But Northrup believes thyroid problems can also be the result of something else. As she explains in her book, “in many women, thyroid dysfunction develops because of an energy blockage in the throat region, the result of a lifetime of ‘swallowing’ words one is aching to say.”

    Really? You managed to get through med. school with thoughts like that in your head? Did you ever write “lay out some tarot cards” as answer to “how do you diagnose disease”, or did you keep that a secret?

  9. An interesting old Time article as well, although I had to look up connatural to figure out the meaning of this sentence: “rational agnosticism is connatural to certain very positivistic forms of intelligence.

    Interesting fellow this Lepp.

  10. I just realized how much source material there is in that one Oprah article. Bookmarking for later. (bwahahahaha)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button