Silence of the Lambs, Quite Literally.

El Chupacabra is believed to be a sort of vampire/alien/dog hybrid that spends its time roaming the South American countryside in search of livestock to suck the blood out of. This belief can be traced back to Puerto Rico in the late 1990’s with the findings of livestock, like lambs, who had appeared to have been drained of their blood and killed. The original report of the chupacabra came from a woman named Madelyne Tolentino, a housewife living in Puerto Rico. From there, it erupted in popularity in South American nations, and even made its way to the southern part of the United States, in states like Texas and New Mexico. Recently the belief has migrated as far as Russia! It is not empirically known how many people actually still believe in this monster, but it is without a doubt that the chupacabra is still a beast that is a topic of conversation. Honestly, the only reason I heard about it was because of Scooby Doo! and the Monster of Mexico from 2003.

Belief in the chupacabra is interesting because there is no dispute that something exists and was killing animals in Puerto Rico, where it started. Yet, the question is if it is a murderous vampire beast, or just a normal animal. One key piece of evidence that the chupacabra exists is the presence of victim bodies that appear to have been sucked of their blood. The livestock that were killed had two puncture wounds on their necks and were supposedly absent of blood. There’s no doubt that these were killed by something, and the chupacabra has been blamed for it. As well, other evidence for the chupacabra is the presence of dead “chupacabra” bodies. These were mainly from Texas and other southern US states, but only some were from South American countries. They appear to be hairless, with nasty skin and a horror-like, skinny figure. They have sharp teeth as well.

Despite these two convincing facts, there is less evidence that it is a vampire beast, and more evidence that it is actually a dog that is the culprit. DNA tests run postmortem on the “chupacabra” bodies showed that they were either dogs, coyotes, or raccoons, depending on the body that was found. They were not all scientifically identified as the same species, yet they were all identified by people as the supposed chupacabra because they were hairless and gross. Scientists have attributed this hairlessness to a type of scabies, called sarcoptic mange. This is a type of mite that finds its home in the skin of dogs and other animals, causing a horrific itch that results in self-caused wounds, stripping away the hair and creating a hairless, scarred body. As for the puncture wounds on the necks of the deceased livestock, researchers have explained this just by the nature of dogs – it is pretty normal for a dog to bite another animal in the neck. Finally, pertaining to the apparent drainage of blood from the livestock, scientists have explained this as the natural process of lividity, in which the blood from the body seeps to the lowest point and clots, which gives the illusion that all the blood has been taken from the body.

A crucial cognitive contribution to this belief is the availability heuristic. This belief was able to be traced back to Madelyne Tolentino from Puerto Rico. In her report she said that the beast she witnessed had dark eyes, no hair, little arms, and tiny holes for nostrils. She also mentioned that the creature closely resembled an alien from the movie Species, a movie that she had watched right before the alleged sighting. It brings up an interesting question about the nature of Tolentino’s report: would her report have been as alien-like if she had not have seen an alien movie right beforehand? Since aliens were more readily available in her mind from the movie, I would argue that her report of the animal she saw was heavily influenced by that availability. From that point, mass hysteria was caused by the flooding of alleged “chupacabra” sightings being posted to the internet. If the internet had not been around, I would guess this creature would not have grown in the popularity that it did.

As well, it is important to look at the cultural context within which the chupacabra originated, as this may play a key role in the maintenance of the belief. As mentioned before, the chupacabra was first “sighted” in Puerto Rico, and whether it was actually a “chupacabra” or not is up for debate. However, the explanation that was created by locals for how this beast came to exist is that the United States was conducting experiments within a forest in Puerto Rico that created the monster. Paranormal investigator Benjamin Radford explained that this belief in US experiments still exists in the face of refuting evidence because of anti-US sentiments in some Puerto Ricans. Since there were already beliefs that the US was up to no good, it was not too much of a stretch to believe that the US was also behind a beast that was hurting livestock in the area as well. Overall, the chupacabra can be explained with a little bit of cultural context and a whole lot of science. It is less likely these livestock attacks were at the hands of a deadly vampire beast, and “…Instead, the whole story is a perfect storm of scientific misunderstanding, misidentification of animals, media hype, cultural anxiety and mass hysteria, all potentially resulting from one woman’s viewing of a film,” (Gabbattiss, 2016). I couldn’t have said it better than myself.

Delsol, C. (2012, August 06). El Chupacabras: Tracing Mexico’s most infamous monster. Retrieved from

Gabbatiss, J. (2016, November 10). The truth about a strange blood-sucking monster. Retrieved from

What’s Your Sign?


What’s Your Sign?

            My sign is that of Capricorn and informs me that my sign is represented by the Mountain Sea-Goat. This sign is based the Sumerian god of wisdom and water who has the upper body of a mountain goat, and the tail of a fish. Capricorns are associated with the element Earth. Do you know your sign? Many likely do, and upon delving deeper we can uncover the basis for astrology, our zodiac signs, and why this ancient practice still holds influence over people from many different walks-of-life. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary astrology is defined as: “the divination of the supposed influences of the stars and planets on human affairs and terrestrial events by their positions and aspects.” What this means is that the alignment of certain constellations, stars, and planets during the time of your birth will forever influence your personality and your life events. This is where zodiac signs are derived from, tells us that it is 12 constellations in particular, that correspond to the 12 different months. The concept of the zodiac originated in Babylon in the 2nd millennium B.C., where the 12 zodiac symbols were associated with the four elements (Earth, Wind, Water and Fire). Astrology asserts that the signs represent certain characteristics of human behavior and personality traits within the people born under them.

One piece of evidence used in support of the legitimacy of astrology can be found in a video of Dr. Michael Shermer and astrologer Jeffery Armstrong,. Dr. Shermer is a science historian and founder of Skeptic magazine. Jeffery Armstrong is the founder of his online curriculum Vedic Academy of Science and Arts which according to his website “offers a large curriculum of ancient wisdom for modern times.” According to a blog post by Donald Kraig, a member of the magik and astrology community, the video of Dr. Shermer’s experiment went as follows. Armstrong was instructed to give nine readings and would only be provided the dates, time, place of birth and whether the subjects were male or female. After Armstrong analyzed the charts, Dr. Shermer recorded Armstrong giving three-minute readings. Armstrong had no direct interaction with any of the subjects. Armstrong watched the videos from a separate room as his readings were played for all participants. What was ultimately revealed was that Armstrong’s success rate for seven of the nine people was only as low as 66% and as high as 89%, which the blog poster detailing this experiment felt was, “far above chance or coincidence.” However, a double-blind study conducted by physicist Shawn Carlson of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory published in Nature magazine in 1985 revealed conflicting results. Groups of volunteers were asked to fill out the California Personality Inventory, a standard psychologists’ questionnaire that uses broad, general, and descriptive terms much like that needed to cast a horoscope reading. Astrologers from the National Council for Geocosmic Research constructed horoscopes for the volunteers. Then, 28 different astrologers, each selected by the Geocosmic Council were each provided one horoscope and three personality profiles. Only one of these profiles actually belonged to the subject of the horoscope. They were charged with interpreting the horoscope and correctly selecting which of the three subject profiles it matched. The 28 astrologers originally stated that they would score higher than 50% correct however, their scores were only 34% in 116 trials.

With such conflicting results why are there still so many people who, rather than read their horoscopes for fun or look up the zodiac sign of themselves and their partner, actually pay money to have their horoscopes read, genuinely believing in the practice? What it could be is the charisma and confidence of astrologers within that community and the way they misrepresent themselves to those who seek them out. For example, Jeffery Armstrong is described on his website as an award-winning poet and best-selling author who’s “humour and humanity take audiences on an incredible journey.” His website also touts his 15 years of success in Silicon Valley as an executive with no other official job titles or education associated with his supposed expertise aside from 40 years of what appears to be a self-taught journey into relationships, philosophy, and teaching of the Vedas (ancient Indian astrology). Those who trust in the knowledge of someone like Jeffery Armstrong are likely misinterpreting him as an “expert” without critically evaluating if he has met the criteria associated with that of an expert. Aside from this the cognitive contribution associated with this belief system could be that of terror management. The appeal in astrology and relying on “experts” such as Armstrong are influenced by the fear of the uncertain and insecure future and by believing in astrology and the zodiac people may feel that they are better equipped for the unknowns that lie ahead of them.

Another prominent community from which believers in astrology come from seem to stem from those who are in fact scientific and academically motivated. When looking at the American Federation of Astrologers (AFA) website there is something of a mission statement in which they state that the AFA was established to, “encourage the study of all scientific methods of astrology,” and whose, “mission is education, research, cooperation, progress.” Additionally, “The challenges facing people today are greater than at any other time in the history of mankind…Astrologers recognize these conditions and want to participate in helping others to successfully meet the challenges of life…and our principal purpose is to serve you!” This is a group of people who wish to provide the world with knowledge to make it a better place for everyone. Now, there is some evidence that the people who are a part of the AFA have undergone cognitive dissonance. Their mission statement could be seen as an indicator of one of the first elements of cognitive dissonance, which is that of a deeply held conviction resulting in behavioral consequences. I’m not sure we can reliably state that these consequences are demonstrated on their website, but I do think that a mission statement which links astrology to combating the great challenges of modern man certainly demonstrates a belief held with deep conviction. Additionally, the members of this group meet another element of cognitive dissonance; social support. Such support propels their deeply held convictions forward as well as aiding in cognitive bias where all members of this group are saying and believing in the same things.


Astrology began in a time when myth was used to understand our place in the universe, but has since been confronted by scientific evidence which challenges the validity of such beliefs. In order to sustain belief in astrology, adherents rely on the un-scrutinized word of “experts” almost displaying a willful ignorance of their lack of credentials which points to cognitive dissonance as they are so tied to their belief that it is overriding their desire to think critically. Furthermore, believer’s drive to manage their terror or fear of the uncontrolled future causes them to make seemingly frantic and un-researched decisions as to whom and what they will place their trust so long as their feelings of dread are managed. Finally, there are also astrology believers who feel that it will provide mankind with the knowledge and tools to better navigate a difficult and troubling world who also seem to feel a sense of responsibility in harnessing and providing that knowledge to others. In summary, the belief in astrology does not appear to come from the unbiased scientific search for truth, but from internally motivated individuals seeking to either quell fear or guide others.


Works Cited

Carlson, S. (1983). Double-blind Test of Astrology. Retrieved from:

History of Astrology. American Federation of Astrologers. Retrieved from:

Kraig, D. (2009). An Astounding Proof of Astrology. Retrieved from:

Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Astrology. Retrieved from:

VASA/Jeffery Armstrong. Retrieved from:

Williams, M. (2015). Zodiac Signs and Their Dates. Retrieved from:

The Government’s Hidden Agenda: A Look Inside Chemtrails

It is believed by some that contrails, or a trail of condensed water from an aircraft at high altitude, are chemtrails that contain chemicals made to harm humans.  These chemicals are supposedly put in these jets by the government for various goals such as for profit solar radiation management, weather modification, mind control, human population control, and biological warfare, that is they are causing respiratory and other health problems. This all began in the 1990s when investigative journalists started to describe implied plots by the government to inject poisons into the atmosphere by the trails of jet planes. This belief is still believed by many today but the Air Force and many other scientific agencies have responded to these various information sites with information on why they are incorrect. Information concerning this extraordinary belief is online and YouTube. This extraordinary belief is important to look at because many individuals believe that the government has a secret plan to harm their citizens.


Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. The evidence backing up the claim that there is a large secret program that the government is poisoning people from aircraft is very weak, as most are just photos of the sky and not hard evidence. It’s said that chemtrails look just like normal contrails, but are thicker, extend across the sky, and laid down in patters, like X’s, grids, or parallel lines. They do not dissipate quickly, instead they open into formations that look like fake cirrus-type clouds that last for hours. Witnesses have photographed military and unmarked jets who leave these long-lasting trails. The chemicals that are being released are said to be unknown, because only a few planes in the world can analyze them and they are expensive. Chemtrailers have said they have tested the soil that these chemtrails have fallen on and have found chemicals. A panel of 77 atmospheric chemists and geochemists have responded to these claims to give their findings. The patterns found in these contrails are from multiple aircrafts flying in different directions of each other intersecting their trails. Contrails can last anywhere from a second to several hours as it depends on atmospheric conditions at the altitude the plane is flying. There are no scientific findings of chemicals in these trails, and for the soil tests scientists say that whoever collected the samples they did not do so properly.


People who believe in this conspiracy think that the government has their own agenda and should be to blame for many health issues in America. Ultimately these people are misinformed. When scientists try to disprove their beliefs, their explanation is ultimately considered just a part of the ‘cover up.’  The evidence that is presented for chemtrails do not have any strong evidence that explains it. The belief of chemical spraying would mean that thousands of people would be sworn to secrecy, like pilots, delivery men, aircraft maintainers, ect., and that not one person would have leaked the truth.


Believers in this theory come from all around the United States and all levels of education. There is a chemtrial group on Facebook with about 114,000 members. Many of these people are outcasts, and having this social group of similar people backing up their beliefs they feel more accepted. These believers feel a sense of belonging in their group but also have a sense of being different as only a small population believes this. A reason people believe in chemtrails is they want to blame bad things happening to them, like sicknesses, on a higher power because they are controlling them.


Ockham’s Razor, or when choosing a possible explanation for a phenomenon the simplest one is usually the best, can help fight this theory. As water vapor condensing in high-altitude, very cold air is simpler than the idea that the government is secretly spraying people with chemicals for their own personal benefit. Closed groups of like-minded people one of the big reasons why conspiracy theories solidify online. When closed off groups are supporting each other by sharing their ideas who believe the same things often further confirms what they believe. There’s confirmation biases where people can get caught up in only believing that chemtrails are real and anything against it is fake or covering up the truth. These people also have a distrust to authority as the government are the people who are running chemtrails.




“Bloody Mary”: From the Bathroom to the Laboratory

Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody…even joking about the mirrored specter gives me
chills. One of the most popular urban legends is that of Bloody Mary, the spirit of a woman who
can be summoned by repeating her name thirteen times into a dimly lit mirror. For whatever
reason, this practice has persisted across generations with research on the topic beginning in
1978 when Jane Langlois wrote about the “game” as she came to call it and the origins. In
2014, Italian researchers explored the science and psychology behind Bloody Mary, ultimately
adding a bit of credibility to the legend. If this story is true then it essentially proves witchcraft,
ghosts, and an afterlife; a truly extraordinary claim.
A surprising number of adults will admit to at least hearing about the infamous “Bloody
Mary” (or any of her variations) and the ritual to summon her at least once in their lives. If any of
these individuals are like me, the story was told at a sleepover or campfire by a friend or older
peer. As with most legend the story started with “A friend of a friend” or “My cousin’s friend”, to
add validity and personality to the story, attempting the ritual. Alan Dundes writes in his article
“Bloody Mary in the Mirror: A Ritual Reflection of Pre-Pubescent Anxiety” that most participants
are young girls at sleepovers who decide to try and summon Bloody Mary, or her alias ‘Mary
Worth as she is commonly believed to be a witch who was burned for practicing magic
(Snopes). Some modern iterations believe she is a young woman who died in a car accident, in
some stories specific lines need to be uttered, and in different regions a different image is said
to appear. Whatever the name or story the process remains the same regardless of region or
era, somebody walks into a room with a mirror and utters a phrase until an image appears
behind them.
It is important to understand how legends spread, according to a Washington Post piece
it is due in part to word-of-mouth and the practicality of a concept. The word-of-mouth is
precisely what I spoke of previously, sitting around a campfire and sharing stories. In the same
way the stories of the “murderer in the backseat” or the “phone call from inside of the house”
persist in our culture we latch to stories that are told to us in an appropriate setting. The other
essential part is that the story must make sense to us or at the very least seem fun or
interesting. We discount alien abductions and flat earth because it inherently sounds ridiculous,
which whether or not we should is a different post entirely, but when we hear “a girl had a killer
in her backseat” it seems just real enough for us to go along with. A post on The Conversation
elaborates that urban legends play on our social fears and insecurities, people are afraid of
being kidnapped, murdered, and ultimately stalked by a witch’s spirit (apparently).
In concept the whole summoning ritual of Bloody Mary should result in nothing of
significance occurring. Giovanni Caputo and his colleagues found however that there is
something happening that could be responsible for the urban legend. In the article “Visual
Perception during Mirror-Gazing at One’s Own Face in Patients with Depression”, researchers
found that staring into a mirror in low light does result in seeing apparitions and distorted faces.
According to findings within neuroscience (BBC) humans have a fascination with faces, being
capable of finding a face within food, machinery, and household appliances. It therefore makes
sense that when faced with little to no stimulation the brain attempts to find a face within a dimly
lit mirror. There is actual science behind Bloody Mary, which is not what many expect and that
makes the allure of the urban legend even stronger.
If kids today are anything like me they will go into the bathroom, spin and say “Bloody
Mary” thirteen times, and then run out of the bathroom. Odds are, most will never see the
tortured woman due to their own cowardice but if someone stares into the mirror, according to
the research, a face or distortion will most likely occur. So, while nothing extraordinary seems to
have been proven from the research into the topic, neuroscience uncovered a chilling
phenomenon. Ghosts, witchcraft, and urban legends are still unproven but why not go and stare
into a mirror now that you know your brain will attempt to scare itself!


Mikkelson, D. (2001, April 28). Fact Check: Is there a True ‘Bloody Mary’ Story Behind the
Legend? Retrieved from
Caputo, G. B., Bortolomasi, M., Ferrucci, R., Giacopuzzi, M., Priori, A., & Zago, S. (2014).
Visual perception during mirror-gazing at one’s own face in patients with depression.
Dundes, A. (1998) Bloody Mary in the Mirror: A Ritual Reflection of Pre-Pubescent Anxiety,
Western Folklore, 57(2), pp. 119 – 135
Stubbersfield, J. (2014, June 30) Why some urban legends go viral, Retrieved from
Dagnall, N., Drinkwater, K. (2017, May 15) Why urban legends are more powerful than ever,
Retrieved from
Robson, D. (2014, July 30). From Virgin Mary in a slice of toast to the appearance of a
screaming face in a man’s testicles, David Robson explains why the brain constructs
these illusions. , Retrieved from

Are You an Indigo Child Too?

In the mid-70s, a supernatural idea was born from a self-proclaimed synesthete (someone who reads people’s auras to tell them of their personalities) named Nancy Ann Toppe called “indigo children.” According to her, this was a new wave of highly spiritually evolved souls reincarnating on Earth born with the purpose of starting a spiritual evolution for all humans. She identified them through their indigo aura, which she observed more and more child clients having. The concept was further developed by Lee Carroll and Jan Tober, and then gained some mainstream popularity in the 2000s by a popular psychic Doreen Virtue in her book The Care and Feeding of Indigo Children. Some celebrities began to use the phrase to describe themselves or their children, like Will Smith’s children for example. So what are the unique traits differentiating indigo children from their ordinary counterparts? The first chapter of Doreen’s book lays it out with a list of indigo symptoms: strong-willed, born in 1978 or later, headstrong, creative, prone to addictions, an “old soul”, intuitive or psychic, tendency to isolate, independent and proud, possesses a deep desire to help the world in a big way, wavers between low self-esteem and grandiosity, easily bored, diagnosed with ADD, prone to insomnia or nightmares, history of depression, looks for real friendships only, and easily bonds with other non-human living things (Virtue, p. 22). If somebody checks off at least 14 of the above 17 characteristics, then that person is in fact an indigo. This claim is certainly extraordinary because if proven to be true then it would change the fabric of understanding how the universe works. For one, that would prove that there is more beyond this Earthly plane and that souls do exist. The term “indigo” came from the indigo-like auras around these children, as purported by Nancy Ann Tappe. Indigo is the color of the third-eye chakra, which deals with all other abilities beyond the ordinary – psychic intuition, clairvoyance and out-of-body experiences. It is not the responsibility of the nonbeliever to convince us that such auras exist and that there is a color trend among a particular group of children to young adults. The burden of proof is on these parents and the respective authority figures of indigo children literature.

To Doreen Virtue’s benefit, she did include scientific research in her book to back some of her claims. For example, talking about the belief that indigo children have psychic abilities,  she actually cites an Ohio State sociology professor’s research – “William MacDonald at the University of Ohio [presumably she meant OSU] found that children had the highest number of verifiable psychic experiences, compared to other age groups” (Virtue, p. 34). It does turn out that this was a legitimate survey done by him in 1995. She mentions a lot about what she sees as the correlation between attention deficit issues and being spiritually evolved. A Washington Post article does state that there has been a significant increase in children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD – about a ten percent rise in the last 20 years. However, one explanation of this could be that the criteria for ADD has changed or at least been more well known in the last two decades. A young girl who could have had ADD symptoms in 1975 may not have been targeted by her teachers or parents to investigate it, due to lack of knowledge it. Today, ADD/ADHD is commonly spoken of on mainstream television and between parents or schools. Even with these scientific studies that Doreen purports to go with her views, none of them give definitive proof of the existence of indigo children or more precisely that these children who exhibit these certain traits all have indigo auras. The scientific evidence to work against belief hardly exists because there isn’t really a clear way of falsifying this belief. That said, like Carl’s Dragon, this belief may not be a belief at all since it can’t be argued against. There are definitely societal contributions to this belief system. The biggest one I see here is the apparent disdain or at least distrust of the pharmaceutical and food industries in regards to what products children are ingesting. The perceived uniqueness of indigo children and the concept’s approach of straying from medications to treat autism and ADHD have created narratives in which “Big Pharma” is seen as a conspiring giant to create disorders and harm children further with their damaging vaccinations and harmful, body-altering medications. These parents are not wrong to think that greed and shadiness may play a role in prescriptions getting on the market with biased supportive research. Same goes from the food industry, where genetically-modified foods have been shown to bring about new allergies or illnesses to those that eat them.

This belief system of indigo children may very well have transpired and taken off in popularity from the amount of overly concerned parents are to protect their children from what they perceive as evil, opposing forces. Although there isn’t one cohesive group in person or online that each follower is a part of, there are large enough Facebook groups dedicated to the cause of raising an indigo children such as the “Indigo Children Group” with 95 likes or the “Indigo, Crystal, Rainbows, Starseeds, lightworker support group” which has over 12,000 likes. Looking at those group pages, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of activism or any specific concerns reported. Rather, a lot of the content is inspirational quotes and guides for healing, etc. I’m sure if I looked more extensively though I would find community posts about the dangers of GMO foods or why vaccination is wrong. All in all, there are 17 characteristics of an indigo set out by Doreen Virtue, wherein if a child has 14 of them then they are an indigo. Believers think these children were sent here in this carnation on Earth to bring about spiritual evolution to all humans, through dismantling current power structures that are harmful from government to medicine to the food industry. These children are special because they possess personalities and psychic abilities that are unusual but uplifting. These specific traits can be misconstrued in the eyes of medical professionals as having ADHD or autism. Parents’ believe indigo children do not need medication or even to be diagnosed because they are instead simply made of things beyond this Earthly plane and should be treated as extraordinarily.

Works Cited
Strauss, Valerie. “The Huge Issue That Most Autism Research Funding Ignores.” The
Washington Post, WP Company, 14 Dec. 2018,
Virtue, Doreen. The Care and Feeding of Indigo Children. Hay House, 2006.

Let Abraham Hicks Help Create Your Reality

The second belief I chose to investigate is the spiritual phenomenon “Abraham Hicks”. It’s not so much one belief as a set of core beliefs. It all came about when a women named Esther Hicks began meditation and supposedly began to be possessed by a spirit known as Abraham Hicks. With her husband dictating what the spirit said, Abraham Hicks began to speak on the wonders of the universe and their main laws. The first law, and arguably the most popular, is the Law of Attraction. According to this law, simply how you are feeling or thinking most strongly is what you attract. For example, if you worry that you will get sick and you put majority of your energy in this fear, you will attract sickness. The second law is this Science of Deliberate Creation, in which what you give thought to be what you believe and therefore should expect to show up in your life. Similar to the first law, it says that every person can deliberately alter their lives by their wishes with enough gusto of mind. The third law is the Art of Allowing, in which the saying “I am that which I am, and I am willing to allow all others to be that which they are” comes into play. It seems this law would lead someone to treat others fairly and without competition, because it is the belief that everyone is entitled to be allowed to do as they wish.

Esther Hicks has wrote a series of books in her time since channeling this interdimensional angelic entity known as Abraham Hicks. Their first book, “Ask and It Is Given”, was first published in 2004. This is a relatively new phenomenon then by other’s standards, but nevertheless these ideas have picked up momentum in these two decades. One effort that brought this book into a larger audience was through the documentary “The Secret” that came out in 2006. Esther Hicks appeared in it channeling Abraham and discussed how to manifest material abundance via their principles. This spiritual phenomenon has definitely gained access to mainstream platforms, such as celebrities sharing its views on their social media pages or interviews. Abraham Hicks is extraordinary on multiple levels – first, one would need to believe that Esther is in fact channeling an interdimensional spiritual entity and if that’s the case then one would need to believe in other planes of existence, followed finally by the extraordinary beliefs that one can wholly create their reality through their mind.

Honestly, the only evidence that the Abraham Hicks phenomenon is real is the supports who testify that following its principles did alter their lives. A surprising personal account of this would be Jim Carrey. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, he stated that when he was still a broke comedian, he wrote out a check for a million dollars and put it in his wallet. He then from that day onward used it as part of a visualization technique to manifest for those million dollars in his real life. He would drive by the homes of Beverly Hills, imaging that one day he will catch his break by a movie producer. He dated the check for 5 years and supposedly it took that amount of years for him to land his first movie deal for… you guessed it … a million dollars (and then some)!

The most obvious evidence against these beliefs is that it all could just be the power of the placebo effect. These people want to believe that their lives will improve and so, through self-fulfilling prophecy, they set out to do just that. Or if not, then they accredit it with not believing hard enough. A core component of the Abraham Hicks ideology is that one can never be in a bad mood, for that frets with their creative energies to improve their present. But, according to a study mentioned on’s entry on Abraham Hicks, workers in a ‘negative mood’ tended to work harder and longer than their happier counterparts.

As I previously mentioned, it could be said that those who believe that Abraham Hicks’ laws improved their lives were actually just subject to their own made up self-fulfilling prophecies. So, in this sense, they did create their futures through their beliefs. But, it wasn’t because of a spiritual force doing the work but rather themselves. There is power in positive thinking, to a certain extent (lest we forgot about gambling.) Because there is no scientific process for them to go off of, I don’t think it’s possible for these believes to be misinterpreting any evidence or misinformation. These people reject materialism for their solipsism.

These laws came at a perfect time when New Age Thought was continuing to progress and gain followers since its inception at the end of the 19th century. The New Age Thought Movement is all about how love conquers all and through the acts of positive thinking one can manifest the reality they want. It is not that there is this wrathful, singular Supreme Being in the sky known as God that is looking downcast on its sufferers. Rather, New Age takes the view that we are all coconspirators with God on our life path. Another social influence I think has sustained these followers belief in Abraham Hicks is the celebrities that support it and how other areas of spirituality, such as yoga and meditation, can be infused with these beliefs. Yoga has maintained if not increased its popularity within the last decade and I don’t see it slowing down any time soon. I say yoga and meditation are related to Abraham Hicks beliefs because it does appear that those who believe in New Age thoughts tend to practice more eastern spiritual methods.

In conclusion, there is no substantial evidence to support Abraham Hicks beyond the numerous testimonies set forth by their followers throughout the world – famous and not. Abraham Hicks is an interdimensional being channeled through an ordinary woman, Esther Hicks that has spoken about three core laws in the universe that controls everyone’s reality. The first is the Law of Attraction, followed by the Science of Deliberate Creation and then the Art of Allowing. Through the dedicated following of these rules, anyone can manifest a better reality for themselves. And if they don’t, well, it’s their fault.

Sources Cited
“‘Abraham’ (Esther and Jerry Hicks).” Abraham-Hicks,

Esther Hicks – The Skeptic’s Dictionary –,

Area 51: America’s Secret Base

As I remember Las Vegas in the 1990s, alien conspiracies were about as hot as the summer sun. My parents frequently tuned in to TV shows like “Roswell” and “The X-Files”, one of the state highways outside of the city was renamed “The Extraterrestrial Highway”, and the minor league baseball team in town became the “51s.” However, Nevada wasn’t always at the center of an alien conspiracy. The attention began in earnest after a short interview on a local TV station in 1989. Investigative reporter George Knapp presented viewers to an anonymous man,  revealed in later interviews to be Bob Lazar, who shared an extraordinary story.

As Lazar told it, he was hired through a contractor in 1988 to work at a secret military base known as Area 51 (Corbell, 2018). This area, a secluded and well-guarded military zone located at a dry lake bed named Groom Lake 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, had been long been a site of frequent U.F.O. sightings and suspicion (Prothero, 2017). On his first day, Lazar was taken to a mysterious complex of hangers south of Groom Lake called S-4. After going through intense security, signing documents allowing his home phone to be monitored, and waving his constitutional rights, he was shown a flying saucer and told his task was to reverse engineer the alien anti-gravity technology. There were nine saucers overall, and several of them were functional. He was then given documents with explanations of the extraterrestrial origin of the craft and drawings of alien pilots. He claimed to make a total of ten trips to the site during which he learned about the existence of stable “element 115,” the source of gravity for the propulsion system, and saw a glimpse of a small, gray alien with a large head standing between two men dressed in white coats. Convinced that concealing advanced technology and proof of alien life was a crime against science and humanity, Lazar shared his experiences with close friends and family and took them to see the flight tests. After a series of events leading to his dismissal from the facility, Lazar began to fear for his life and came forward to Knapp to tell his story (Jacobson, 2011).

In the months that followed the initial interview (the first of several), the secrets at Area 51 became a global phenomenon. Area 51 and Bob Lazar’s story have become part of a wide-ranging conspiracy: that the government, either the United States or a globalist “New World Order,” has alien technology and pilots hidden in a secret testing facility. Others take this belief further and claim that aliens live in the surrounding towns and instruct government pilots in exchange for humans as test subjects in scientific experiments (Knight, 2003). If these extraordinary claims were substantiated, they would shatter much of what is generally believed to be true about the U.S. Government, alien life, and technological capability. Nonetheless, an incredible number of people currently believe in these conspiracies and related ideas. For example, a poll in 2013 showed that about 91 million Americans (29%) believe that alien life exists and 66 million (21%) believe that the government covered up a U.F.O. crash at Roswell in 1947 (Public Policy Polling, 2013). Further, a recent documentary about Area 51 and Bob Lazar’s story indicates sustained interest in the truth at Groom Lake (Corbell, 2018).

As exciting as the possibility of anti-gravity spacecraft in Nevada might be, no physical evidence has ever been produced to validate Lazar’s and others’ claims about Area 51. In fact, Lazar’s story has drawn intense skepticism from the beginning. Many of the claims about his education and work experience, including his time at MIT, Caltech, and Los Alamos National Laboratory, cannot be verified (Jacobsen, 2011). He has also been criminally involved several times, including a 1990 conviction for aiding a prostitution ring (Bates, 1990) and a guilty plea in 2007 for shipping restricted chemicals across state lines (US Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2007), raising questions about his character. Possibly just as concerning, Lazar admits to using hypnosis to recall memories of his experiences at Area 51 in the new documentary (Corbell, 2018). Conversely, the U.S. Government has released troves of documents about the military base at Area 51 in the last decade which acknowledge the existence of the base (Kramer, 2013) and describe the purpose of the facility as a testing site for nuclear weapons and stealth American aircraft. In her book, Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base, Annie Jacobsen interviewed 19 men who served on the based secretly for decades as well as 55 other military and intelligence personnel with knowledge of the operations of the base who all corroborate the declassified information (Jacobsen, 2011).

Millions of people, including Bob Lazar and the producer of the recent documentary about him, continue to believe that the U.S. Government is involved in an alien conspiracy. It should be noted that the military has been highly secretive about any operations at the facility and only confirmed its existence five years ago. In addition, there is some evidence that the military may have fueled suspicion (or at least permitted the stories to be propagated) about alien aircraft in order to distract from their real operations (Jacobsen, 2011). However, with so much contradictory evidence available now, several cognitive errors seem to be at play in their commitment to this belief. First, scientific inquiry has established that our systems of perception and memory make consistent errors. Lazar (assuming he’s not completely fabricating his whole story) and those who claim to have seen alien spacecraft in Nevada likely saw something, but the human visual system predictably sees patterns with incomplete information. Further, confirmation bias makes it more likely to see and understand things in a way that confirms a previously held belief, such as the conviction about a government conspiracy already. Lazar could have worked at an Area 51 facility, but what he perceived is dependent on what he wanted to see. Second, memory is malleable, and the fact that Lazar and many other believers in alien encounters undergo hypnosis to remember their experiences raises concern about the origin of their claims. Third, Lazar and other firm alien believers have spent much of their time, money, and reputations to uncover the truth about this base. With any belief that involves high expense, cognitive dissonance makes it incredibly difficult to leave that belief behind when confronted with other information.

Like any conspiracy theory, the social context is an integral part of the belief formation. Fears about alien visitations and government conspiracies to hide them came about in the 1940s and 50s when lives were being uprooted and vanished by violent governments and new technology. The Cold War that followed was a time when governments operated in the dark and concealed military programs. In the face of misinformation and death, a person can feel powerless and alone. However, belief in conspiracies can provide a tempting escape, social support from other believers, and superiority over those who “can’t see.” It is often difficult and painful to gather substantiated evidence and reevaluate your own convictions, yet the decision to believe requires nothing but the conviction to do it.

Barring an actual alien invasion, Area 51 will likely remain a source of secrecy and conspiracy. With modern fears about new technology, corrupt governments, and continued clandestine operations of our military, it is no wonder to me why people hold fast to the allure of alien secrets. Those who do accept that premise may accuse me of simply believing the government’s narrative so I can maintain the illusion of comfort in my life. In fact, this isn’t true at all. I do believe that a government conspiracy is happening: a conspiracy by malicious governments around the globe to stir up misinformation about aliens, vaccines, fluoride, and reptilians to distract us from the very real ways they are killing and taking advantage of vulnerable people in pursuit of power.

Works Cited

Bates, W. “Judge Gives UFO “Witness” Lazar Probation on pandering charge”. (1990, August 21). Las Vegas Review Journal. p. 2c.

Corbell, Jeremy Kenyon Lockyer (Director). (2018). Bob Lazar: Area 51 and Flying Saucers [Motion Picture]. United States. Available on Amazon Video.

Globalcities. (2017). Majority of humanity say we are not alone in the universe. Retrieved March 27, 2019, from

Jacobsen, A. M. (2011). Area 51: An uncensored history of America’s top-secret military base. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

Kramer, M. (2013, August 17). Newly Declassified Map Reveals Area 51 Exists. Retrieved March 27, 2019, from

Knight, P. (2003). Conspiracy theories in American history: An encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.

Prothero, D. R. (2017). Area 51: what is really going on there? UFOs and U-2s, aliens and A-12s. Skeptic (Altadena, CA), (2), 42.

Public Policy Polling. (2013, April 2). Democrats and Republicans differ on conspiracy theory beliefs. Retrieved March 27, 2019, from

US Consumer Product Safety Commission. New Mexico Company Fined, Ordered To Stop Selling Illegal Fireworks Components. (2016, August 22). Retrieved March 27, 2019, from U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website:

Is the Government Lying About Area 51?

Area 51, believed by some to be an alien related private property, is owned by the government and located roughly 70 miles away from Las Vegas. It is popular due to the secrecy surrounding its purpose (Pappas 1). It is closed off to the public and guarded by security 24/7. Area 51 is surrounded by a group of mountains in the middle of the Nevada dessert. People are forbidden to walk anywhere near it, and any sign of their trespassing will have them chased down by guards and arrested (Ugc “Area 51”). Conspiracy theories about area 51 began around the 1950s and are still being contemplated today. Some of these conspiracy theories surrounding area 51 include, that the government is hiding alien beings inside as well as that the moon landing was actually a hoax and it was filmed at area 51.

The extraordinary belief that the government is hiding aliens from Americans began in 1954 with the establishment of area 51 as a secret training and testing site for the U-2 project to advance USSR missions. The secret military base began tests with U-2 (a high-tech American aircraft) in the summer of 1955. Shortly after these tests began, people started to claim they saw UFOs. Specifically, pilots of commercial airlines spotted these flying objects in the Nevada air region and reported them (Blitz 1). People then began to claim a flying saucer (which the U.S government said was a weather balloon at the time) that had crashed in 1947 was actually an alien spacecraft that was then taken to area 51 and reengineered into U-2 (Pappas 3). The government later claimed it was actually a nuclear monitoring balloon. So, should the government be trusted? Because area 51 is so secretive, there is little known information about its use today. People have dedicated years of their life searching for information about area 51 with little success, but there have been CIA reports published on the topic, such as “Developing the U-2,” which was released in 2013. If the government is lying about the existence of aliens, they would be hiding essential information that could lead to a whole new world of knowledge. However, there is no real evidence of the existence of aliens so a conclusion cannot be made of whether they do or do not exist.

Before information about the U-2 project was released to the public, people’s want to believe in aliens lead them to think that extra-terrestrials were visiting Earth. Without the knowledge of what was going on at area 51, confirmation bias, the tendency to search for information that confirms someone’s belief, contributed to the misinterpretation of what U-2 actually was. People also may have misinterpreted evidence due to the circumstances in which they saw these flying objects in. For example, if it was dark and they saw strange flashing lights in the sky, their cues to depth and distance would have been reduced which may have led to seeing ambiguous shapes of ambiguous sizes in the sky. Without important visual cues, it is hard to decipher what is being seen, so the assumption was made that the government was flying Alien spacecrafts. Now, UFOs are very real, but it cannot be assumed that belong to aliens (Van Zandt).

People could also have been misinformed due to social influences surrounding the belief of UFOs. When pilots began to report these UFOs, the media hopped on it immediately. Newspapers all over began to include exciting information about these UFO reports. Also, doctored photos and hoaxes contributed to people’s beliefs as well (Van Zandt). People who believe in extraterrestrials come from all over America and even other countries. Those who believe in the conspiracy theories surrounding area 51 often have trust issues with the U.S. government. Some believe because they want to think there are other forms of life in the world, but others believe due to personal experiences that they have had, such as if they claim they were abducted by aliens (which can usually be explained by sleep paralysis).

Most extraordinary beliefs surrounding area 51 have been proven false by the government, but some people still question whether the government is being completely honest about the purpose of area 51. People who believe or did believe in the conspiracy theories surrounding area 51 likely sustained their beliefs due to the confirmation bias phenomena. The media as well as reduced depth and distance cues and hoaxes could have also contributed to people’s beliefs.

Works Cited
Blitz, Matt. “The Real Story Behind the Myth of Area 51.” Popular Mechanics, Popular Mechanics, 25 Apr. 2018,
51-history/. Accessed 26 Mar. 2019
Pappas, Stephanie. “15 Far-Out Facts About Area 51.” LiveScience, Purch, 13 Nov. 2017, Accessed 26 Mar. 2019 Ugc, Mikel. “Area 51.” Atlas Obscura, 12 July 2009,
Accessed 26 Mar. 2019
Van Zandt, P. (2019).Perception [PowerPoint slides].

Is 13 really that unlucky?

The number 13 has been known for centuries to be “unlucky” but why? How can a number be attached to so much superstition and meaning. Several buildings either don’t have a 13th floor or 13th room. Some people even go the distance of not traveling on the 13th day or hosting important events on this day because of the fear that something will go wrong. There are several reasons why people believe that 13 is unlucky, stemming from religion to science. Those who are very religious may associate 13 to the 13th individual who came to the last supper. Judas was the 13th person and the person who went against Jesus. The number 12 has much significance in our everyday life. There are 12 months in a year, the hours in a day are easily divisible by 12, 12 inches in a foot, 12 days of Christmas, the list goes on and on. The number 13 is the imperfect number that falls behind the “perfect” number. Most people who believe this superstition grew up around other people who believe it. By hearing the message and association between bad luck and 13 peoples superstition develop even farther. The beliefs are cemented by occasional events that take place on the 13th day that are less than fortunate. Individuals who experience the most traumatic experiences or bad luck might even develop Triskaidekaphobia which is the fear of the number 13. Like many other phobias this in turn can lead to anxiety and other psychological effects. Depending on why someone believes 13 is bad luck, this superstition could date all the way back to the 1890s.

There are certain events that occurred that may contribute to the belief in this superstition. For example, the Apollo 13 was a space mission that was supposed to land on the moon. On April 13, 1970 there was an explosion that halted the mission and they had to return back to Earth. There may have been people following this mission with a preconceived idea that this mission was going to fail simply because of the mission number. A more specific unfortunate event that occurred was in England. There was a 13th year old teenager who was struck by lighting on Friday the 13th. He was said to been struck at 13:13. Fortunately, he was able to make a full recovery. Things like these happen and people feel no reason to believe that the number 13 is not bad luck. So they avoid it at all cost and become afraid of it. However, 13 is just a number and these events most likely would have happened regardless. It was just a coincidence.

An obvious cognitive contribution to this belief system are patterns. In our brain, it’s a lot easier to assign things to each other when we see patterns or sequences that frequently occur. We, as humans, evolved through symbols and its in our nature to use those associations in our everyday life. It strengthens when we connect with other people who believe and see the same patterns. They aren’t necessarily misinformed but are forming connections in places that weren’t meant to be.

The most notable influencer to the 13th belief is the media. The media uses those outlets to their advantage. For example, the Friday the 13th movie series with the killer main character, Jason. They have made over 10 movies and millions of dollars off of a fear that they took to the next level. Even though people may believe this superstition on their own there are groups of people that also believe that have a bigger impact on society. Some hotels, airports, and hospitals don’t have 13th floors. For a hospital to not have a 13th floor someone of higher power must also believe that 13 comes with bad luck which would make my belief even stronger.

The belief that the number 13 is bad luck or an unlucky number is essentially a superstition. Superstitions thrive on confirmation bias. Once you have a belief and your mind is set on this idea its hard to change your mind. Its even harder because subconsciously we look for evidence and memories that support them rather than those that refute them. Days that bad things happen on will just be unfortunate times but if something was to happen on the 13th day its because of the number 13. People with strong believes would most likely say that if it wasn’t for the association with 13 the bad thing wouldn’t of happened at all.



‘Unlucky’ 13–It’s All a Matter of Psychology

What’s so unlucky about the number 13?

Why Is 13 Unlucky?

Why Do People Think the Number 13 Is Unlucky? Let’s Talk About Triskaidekaphobia

Tupac Isn’t Dead!!

Tupac Amaru Shakur, born Lesane Parish Crooks, was known to be one of the best rappers of all time. He died on September 13, 1996 in a drive-by shooting after attending one of Mike Tyson’s fights. But did he actually die? Since his death was so sudden and he was such a big celebrity, many of Tupac’s loyal fans entertain the idea that his death was a coverup. There are a plethora of rumors circulating the internet on the status of Tupac, where he is, and what he is doing. Such reports include an attempt to cover-up Tupac’s own death to leave fame behind, multiple hideouts where Tupac may be living, and hidden clues he has left behind. With new reports still coming out after 22 years, information on the conspiracy theory can be found all over the internet, but a specific article written by Tom Connick of NDE compiles all the stories together.

Tupac was known to have a strong personality and constantly clashed with others. He was involved in the East Coast versus West Coast rap rivalry that occurred during the 1990s and had many enemies as a result. He was considered a prominent hip hop artist and is known to be one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with much of his music discussing contemporary issues. Considering he was an activist that also dealt with legal troubles, people assume that his death was strategically planned. One of the most popular theories behind Tupac’s death is the Machiavelli-Kasinova theory, stating that Tupac faked his own death because he was inspired by the philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli, who favored the notion of faking one’s death to gain advantage over his or her enemies. The rapper eventually changed his stage name to Makaveli, which references the philosopher and is an anagram of “AM ALIVE K”. The K in this anagram is thought to allude to a present-day rapper named Kasinova The Don, who vocally compares to the likes of Tupac. Furthermore, Kasinova The Don released a song called Mystery that contains lyrics that allude to Tupac and his faked death.

A second mainstream theory is that Tupac is living in either Malaysia or Cuba. Several doctored images, such as Tupac partying with Rihanna, have been released to fuel this rumor. Furthermore, Tupac’s aunt is said to have moved to Cuba after receiving asylum for her political activism in the United States, so he may be living with her. Suge Knight, the founder of Death Row Records, was with Tupac when he died; this man doubts Tupac’s death because he said it seemed like Tupac was getting healthier the last time he saw him, so he must be on a beach “smoking a Cuban cigar” at the moment. Furthermore, Suge Knight’s son used vague evidence to assert that Tupac is currently living in Malaysia, such as screenshots of text messages and an image of Tupac supposedly with 50 Cent and Beyoncé. Though it has been incredibly difficult finding articles attempting to disclaim the conspiracy theories, an article by Gabby Hart depicts an officer’s recollection of the shooting and Tupac’s last words as the officer held him in his arms. It was also said that much of the community knew the culprit behind the shooting was Orlando Anderson, who was murdered shortly after he killed Tupac. In addition, Snoop Dogg answers in an interview that the conspiracy theory claims make for good press and entertaining television, but that his good friend is truly resting in peace. The rapper also believes that Tupac’s prodigious legacy makes people want to believe that he is still alive, so they continue to fuel the theory even though it has been over twenty-two years since his death.

There are multiple cognitive contributions that add to the belief that Tupac is not dead. Firstly, the use of irrelevant conclusions is relevant for a majority of the theories. People assume that because the killer has never officially been identified that one can assume that Tupac never actually died in the first place, which does not make any sense. Secondly, Tupac’s obsession with Machiavelli and the anagram behind Makaveli are used as a basis to sustain the idea of Tupac faking his death and there is no concrete evidence substantiating the significance behind either. Moreover, the media plays a huge role in fueling confirmation bias because they only discuss information that adds to the conspiracy theory, purely because it is more entertaining to read about. Affirming a conclusion from a negative premise is also relevant because one of the main arguments is that the person who was sitting next to Tupac, Suge Knight, did not get hit even though Tupac did, therefore Tupac could not have died. Lastly, cognitive dissonance plays a role in keeping the conspiracy theory alive because fans do not want to believe that the famous rapper could have actually passed away. These people find evidence that strengthens their desire for Tupac to still be alive (the media or sporadic claims that he is living in Cuba or Malaysia) giving them a reason to remove any cognition that suspects his death is real. These people are definitely misinformed because there is no actual physical evidence that would allow people to jump to this conclusion, there are only photoshopped photos, vague elements that are given meaning, and unproven claims made by other celebrities.

The community of believers originates from both fans as well as conspiracy theorists who want to believe in something so extraordinary. Their beliefs are sustained through the use of social media and new articles coming out constantly. In addition, people are easily fooled and are willing to believe anything they read online, such as doctored images. All in all, the Tupac conspiracy theory has been circulating for twenty-two years, but there is no credible evidence that proves it to be true. The reason the conspiracy theory may have been created in the first place is because of the controversy Tupac was surrounded by during his life and his strong fan base creating connections that allude to anything other than death. None of the premises have strong foundations that lead to real conclusions, and both cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias play strong roles in keeping the legend alive.


Connick, T. (2018, October 08). Is Tupac alive? A comprehensive guide to the rumours and conspiracy theories. Retrieved March 27, 2019, from blogs/tupac-still-alive-rumours-2386712

Hart, G. (2018, July 9). First officer on scene of Tupac’s death recalls his last words, speaks on new revelations. Retrieved March 27, 2019, from tupacs-death-recalls-rappers-last-words-speaks-on-new-revelations

On the 22nd anniversary of his death, here are the craziest Tupac conspiracy theories. (2018, September 13). Retrieved March 27, 2019, from 13108237.php#photo-7256875

Warner, C. (2017, October 31). Snoop Dogg Responds To Rumours That Tupac Is Still Alive. Retrieved March 27, 2019, from to-rumours-that-tupac-is-still-alive/