Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Mess with a crow, and it will remember your face for over five years, research shows.

Crows remember the faces of threatening humans and often react by scolding and bringing in others to mob the perceived miscreant, according to a new study published in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Since the mob members also then indirectly learn about the threatening person, the findings demonstrate how just a single crow's bad experience with a particular human can spread information about this individual throughout entire crow communities.
Given that crows have impressive memories, people who ruffle the feathers of these birds could experience years of retribution.
Bothered crows may at first "give harsh calls, which we call 'scolds' that attract other crows who are nearby to join in the mob," according to study co-author John Marzluff. "The mob of two to 15 birds hounds us, sometimes diving from the sky to within a few meters or less -- This pursuit lasts about 100 meters (328 feet) as we walk away."
Marzluff is a professor at the University of Washington's School of Forest Resources. For the study, he and colleagues Heather Cornell and Shannon Pecoraro exposed wild crows to a novel "dangerous face" by wearing a unique mask as they trapped, banded and released seven to 15 birds at five study sites near Seattle.
The released birds immediately scolded the mask wearer. Hearing the racket, other crows joined, forming an angry mob.
When the researchers later put on other masks while traveling to different areas, crows that were never captured immediately recognized the "dangerous face," illustrating how these birds learned through social means and not as a result of direct experience. Both relatives and strangers joined in the scolding and mobbing, which could occur over a mile away from the original incident.
Once such a face is locked into a crow's memory, it's likely there for good.
"Our study shows the memory lasts at least five years and counting," Marzluff said. "Individual crows that are adults can live 15-40 years in the wild (most die when young, but those that make it to adulthood can live a long time) and they probably remember important associations they have formed for much of their lives."
Prior research demonstrates that crows are particularly intelligent birds.
"Others have shown that some crows make and use tools, forecast future events, understand what other animals know, and -- in our case -- learn from individual experience as well as by observing parents and peers," Marzluff explained. "These are all advanced cognitive tasks shown by only a few animals."
He suspects other social, long-lived species that live closely with humans might also share information in a similar manner. Possibilities include animals such as coyotes, raccoons, gulls, pigeons and rats. All could practice a combination of social and trial and error learning. The latter provides the most accurate information, but it is clearly riskier than indirect social learning.

How words have the power to heal

By Amanda Enayati

(CNN) -- The first thing I did after receiving what is surely one of the top two or three most terrifying medical diagnoses was pick up the telephone to call my husband to tell him to come home, and my brother to ask him to call my parents, because I couldn't bear their grief as well as my own.

The second thing I did was open a document in Word and name it: The Second Half of My Life.

And these are the words I wrote in those first few minutes:

You probably wouldn't believe my life. In a certain light it would read like an encyclopedia of tragedy: revolution, disease, isolation, dysfunction, terrorism, failure and withdrawal. Before you check out, let me also tell you that if you were to meet me, you may think a sunnier person never lived.

The writing was automatic, intuitive and almost unconscious for me. But as time passed I felt certain that it somehow had helped save my life, though I dared not articulate it for fear of sounding irrational

I was about halfway through the Aspen Words literary festival last week when I noticed that writer after writer spoke of a basic human need to tell a story, using words like "primal," "fundamental," "necessary."

Continue Reading

Plymouth witchcraft shop targeted by religious leaflets

The shop sells Pagan and Wicca items The owner of a witchcraft shop in Devon said she had been targeted by "religious" literature

Nikki Kitchen, who practises witchcraft and runs White Trinity Witch in Plymouth, said Pro-Christian leaflets were pushed through the door.

Anonymous handwritten notes have also been delivered to the shop.

Ms Kitchen previously had to stop running a stall in Plymouth's indoor market because of abusive comments.

Ms Kitchen said: "Churchgoers think we're the spawn of Satan.

"It's been quite harsh and heavy but you've got to laugh it off.

Start Quote

Any witchcraft shop is working for Satan ”
Dr Danson-Smith
'Lost eternity'
"They expect us to accept their religion but they don't look at Paganism as being one of the oldest religions going.
"I think people are just uneducated, it's not about devil worship at all.
"It's about love light and using the earth to heal the people around us."
Ms Kitchen said her shop in Plymouth's Frankfort Gate, sold items for "witchcraft, Paganism, Wicca and all sorts of spiritual religions."
The shop has had religious leaflets and anonymous handwritten notes pushed through the door about five times since it opened in October 2010.
Ms Kitchen said she had not reported the leaflets to the police but had emailed the company behind them to complain and had heard nothing back.
Dr Theodore Danson-Smith who runs a company which distributes leaflets like Ms Kitchen received, told BBC Radio Devon: "We don't sell any hate mail whatsoever.
"It's not hate mail, it's telling the way of salvation.
"Any witchcraft shop is working for Satan not for God."
He said he did not know which Christian group had posted the leaflets, which are entitled "The Beast" and written in comic book form, through Mrs Kitchen's door.
"I don't know who they are but God bless them, they're wanting to save her from going to a lost eternity."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Egyptologists plan to restore 4,500-year old boat found near pyramid, hope for tourism boost

By Associated Press, 

CAIRO, Egypt — Archaeologists have begun excavating a 4,500-year-old wooden boat found next to the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of Egypt’s main tourist attractions, Egypt’s top antiquities official said Thursday.

Stonehenge Road Closure Proposal

By Chris Bradley
English Heritage has proposed that the road passing by Stonehenge should be closed. They feel that turning the road back to grass will preserve the site and restore the dignity of the most famous stone circle in the UK. However, there has been opposition to the move by a selection of people.
Chief Druid Arthur Pendragon is one of those that feels the move would not be good. He says that it would give English Heritage a monopoly on the site access. An inquiry is taking place, to look at the plans and see whether they will be practical. The proposal is to take away the current car park and visitors centre and lay that to grass. In order to do this they will put in a new roundabout and close part of the A344 and B3086 and improve the Longbarow Roundabout. These changes should help to ease traffic flow in the area thus not causing congestion due to the road closure. They feel that the intrusion of traffic near to the site compromises the landscape and they want to eliminate this.
However, Pendragon is very much on opposition to the scheme feeling that this will stop many people from being able to enjoy the area because it will be too costly for them to get near to the stones. Planning permission has already been granted for a new visitors centre to be built 1.5 miles from the site, allowing the existing one to be demolished eventually, as the first stage of the new plans.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

'I can't thank her enough!' Finance worker told she would never conceive has two children after meeting a white witch

Desperate for a family: Claire Anderson, who thought she would never conceive, had two babies within 15 months of each other after being given fertility spells by a white witch (pictured with husband Stephen and children Ellie and Stephen Junior)By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

A woman told she had a one in a billion chance of having a baby naturally has become a proud mother-of-two - after seeking help from a white witch.

Finance worker Claire Anderson, 28, had always dreamed of having a family with husband Stephen, 41, but after two years of trying the couple underwent fertility tests and were devastated to be told that there was little hope.

Claire had suffered from polycystic ovaries and combined with her partner's low motility, the couple were informed their chances of conceiving naturally were virtually nil.

Desperate for a family: Claire Anderson, who thought she would never conceive, had two babies within 15 months of each other after being given fertility spells by a white witch (pictured with husband Stephen and children Ellie and Stephen Junior)

As Steven already had a child from a previous relationship, the couple didn't qualify for NHS assistance, and so faced a long struggle of trying to save or borrow enough money to pay for the expensive ICSI treatment which they required to give them any chance of conceiving.

But then she met white witch Wendy Binks, 41, in a chance meeting that was to change her life as she offered an alternative solution to her hopes of starting a family using Chakra Cleansing and special fertility spells.

Sceptic Claire and her husband Stephen, who are both Catholics, initially dismissed the suggestion, but desperate to have a child together they agreed to try it and keep an open mind as they began Wendy's 'magical' process, as well as leading a healthier lifestyle with Claire working hard to lose 2st in weight and Stephen stopping smoking.

Helping hand: Wendy Anderson and her coven helped Claire to conceive after just three sessions of fertility spells
Helping hand: Wendy Anderson and her coven helped Claire to conceive after just three sessions of fertility spells

They visited Wendy several times as the high priestess performed various chants, cleansing their energies and performing fertility spells before giving the couple a specially designed lunar sex schedule, and continuing to cast spells for them with her coven in their absence.

Just six months later, Claire was amazed to discover she was pregnant. Baby Eleanor Marie was born in September 2009, but the couple were stunned to discover that Claire was expecting again just six months later and baby Stephen was born in November 2010.

Now a happy mum-of-two, Claire is grateful for the magical assistance of her new best friend, Wendy, and is bracing herself for the possibility of adding to her brood with her latest psychic prediction that a third baby could be on the way soon.

Could it be magic? Claire and Stephen were overjoyed when they found out she was pregnant just six months after their first child was born
Could it be magic? Claire and Stephen were overjoyed when they found out she was pregnant just six months after their first child was born

Claire, of Ellesmere Port, Cheshire said, 'Being a mum is even better than I could ever have imagined. This is all I could have even dreamed about back then.

'I don't know if it was magic, or just the fact that we were finally allowing ourselves to relax, but whatever it was Wendy certainly helped us to realise our dream and I can't thank her enough!'

Claire had always wanted to be a mum and when she married office worker Stephen in October 2006 the couple had already begun trying for a family.

When they discovered they wouldn't be able to conceive a child naturally, with Claire's polycystic ovaries and life-long smoker Stephen's motility down to just 5%, they were devastated.

Stephen already had a daughter, now aged 14, from a previous relationship the couple didn't qualify for IVF on the NHS.
Claire said, 'I always knew I wanted to be a mum, I've just always been a very maternal person. So to have that taken away from me was awful, there was nothing Stephen or anyone could have said to me to make a difference.'
The couple overhauled their diet, swapping all junk food for healthier meals and going on long walks with their dog, which saw Claire lose 2st in weight, and Stephen stopped smoking and also stopped carrying his mobile phone in his pocket as an extra precaution.

Then Claire met Wendy, aka Ladysnake, during a shopping trip with her sister who was going to get her belly-button pierced at her Enchanted store.

Claire said, 'I went with my sister to Wendy's shop one day and we just got talking because she was so lovely.
'She mentioned she had time to do a reading and within minutes she said she knew I was having problems, but that she kept getting the image of baby blue ribbons.

'I was astounded at some of the things she was able to tell me, so when she suggested fertility spells and Chakra cleansing I thought why not.

'Stephen took a little persuading and was quite sceptical but I told him it could even help his bad back and I think he just knew how desperate I was.'

The couple embarked on a series of sessions with Wendy's coven, beginning in June 2008, where they had their Chakras cleansed before Claire was asked to lay down on a piece of paper as her outline was sketched and surrounded with positive phrases, which they performed spells with.

They were given romantic homework, and details of how, when and where to best make love to increase their chances of conception, in line with the moon's monthly cycle.

Then six months later they discovered it had worked.

Claire said, 'That December before I found out I was pregnant was one of the worst lows that Stephen and I have been through and that was after Wendy's involvement.

'It got to New Year and we decided to try and move on and focus on nice things like going on lots of holidays.
'We had a year of crying and stress but little did we know that at that point I was already pregnant!'

Now eighteen months on, and a mum to two young children, Claire is delighted that she opened her mind to the possibility of asking a white witch for help, and recommends other would-be mums: 'don't rule anything out, or give up hope and keep an open mind.'

High priestess of her coven, Wendy, said: 'Claire's not the only one I've had success with, but she's the only one that's admitted that Paganism or magic has helped her.

'We did various rituals and spells to help Claire and Stephen, but a lot of the initial stuff was to do with building up trust and talking.

'We use lots of symbolism such as eggs, almost as an old midwife would. The rituals in total took place over eight or nine months and involved the whole coven.

'We drew around Claire and added hopes and wishes to the drawing so that when she wasn't there we could continue working.

'We gave the couple strict instructions on how and when to do it and the coven even went out into open places such as the beach and forest.

'When she first came in she's just come in for a reading and then the next minute I picked up that she was having problems and said they should both come in.

'I think they realised it was worth a go and I think Stephen saw that his wife was desperate. But things like this only work if you've built up trust together.

'I'm just really pleased for Claire and we've become great friends through this. And I've even just predicted her third, so watch out!'

Read more:

Win a Copy of "Fairies: Meet the Fairies"

by Erika Olson

It’s time for our weekly giveaway!
Not too long ago we talked about the best movie dragons whenAdventures of a Teenage Dragonslayer was up for grabs, and so now I think we need to discuss the best movie fairies, seeing as how we’ve got two copies of Fairies: Meet the Fairies to dole out this time around.
Now, you don’t need to tell me your favorite film fairy’s name in order to be eligible — I know that might be tough. But you do have to tell me what movie he/she was in. (Here’s a hint if you’re stuck — almost all of the older Disney classics showcase at least one fairy… think Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Cinderella…)
The Official Rules:
  • Only one entry per person.
  • In the comment field below this post, name your favorite movie fairy.
  • Leave your email address in the email address field ONLY — this will not be published on the site, but we’ll be able to see it and will need it to contact you if you win. Anyone who leaves their email address in the main comment field will be disqualified and their entry will not be published.
  • You must live in the US or Puerto Rico.
  • Enter before 3 PM Eastern Time, Friday, June 24, 2011. We will select two winners at random after that time and will post their names here on the blog in addition to emailing them.
May pixie dust fall upon you and bring you good luck!

Humans May Have 'Magnetic' Sixth Sense

Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Managing Editor

Humans may have a sixth sense after all, suggests a new study finding that a protein in the human retina, when placed into fruit flies, has the ability to detect magnetic fields.

The researchers caution that the results suggest this human protein has the capability to work as a magnetosensor; however, whether or not humans use it in that way is not known.

"It poses the question, 'maybe we should rethink about this sixth sense,'" Steven Reppert, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, told LiveScience. "It is thought to be very important for how animals migrate. Perhaps this protein is also fulfilling an important function for sensing magnetic fields in humans."

Past research has suggested that in addition to helping animals such as sea turtles andmigratory birds navigate, the ability to detect magnetic fields could help with visual spatial perception. Reppert said to picture a magnetic-field coordinate system overlaid on objects we view. [7 Amazing Superhuman Abilities]

"It may aid how animals perceive how objects are in time and space in a way we haven't thought about before," said Reppert, who is a neurobiologist.

Animals' magnetic sense is thought to rely on special proteins called cryptochromes, which are also found in the human retina. While past behavioral research has suggested humans can't sense magnetic fields, with studies showing such a capability remaining controversial, there is evidence that geomagnetism affects the light system in our eyes.

To see if humans perhaps possessed this other sense, Reppert and his colleagues tested wild fruit flies, with their cryptochromes intact, and those that had their own cryptochromes replaced with the human version of the protein.

They placed the fruit flies into a T-shaped maze, with each arm equipped with a coil wrapped in such a way that when a current was sent through it, the coil became magnetized. The team varied which side was magnetized and its strength, which went up to eight times that of Earth's magnetic field.
The flies with the human cryptochromes showed sensitivity to the magnetic fields — either avoiding them as they might naturally do if not acclimated to the magnetism, or showing a preference for the magnetized arm of the maze when trained with sugar rewards to go toward the magnetic field.
The human protein only worked in the blue range of light, the researchers found.

The research is detailed in the June 21 issue of the journal Nature Communications.

The Fifth Sacred Thing

They say that movies are collective dreams.  If so, we’re heading for a nightmare—for there are very few films that show a positive future on earth.  We want to change that.  How can we create a thriving, just and balanced future if we can’t even imagine it?  We want to bring alive a vision that can inspire people—and we’ve found the story in Starhawk’s novel, The Fifth Sacred Thing.

In the story, set in 2048, Northern California has survived eco-catastrophes, wars and epidemics and forged a society based on respect for the Four Sacred Things that support life: air, fire, water and earth.  Streets are turned into gardens, streams flow free, people of all races and religions live in harmony – until the militarist Southlands attack.  How can the people of a peaceful society fight against ruthless invaders without becoming what they’re fighting against?  Musician-turned-guerilla Bird, his story-teller grandmother Maya, and Madrone, the healer, must wield a force more powerful than weapons—the fifth sacred thing.
In the eighteen years since its publication, hundreds of thousands of people have read The Fifth Sacred Thing and been moved by its imagery and drama.  Now, at this time when our future seems so precarious, we want to bring it to the screen and to a whole new generation who are more visual than verbal.  To do it right—big screen, special effects, major actors and director, will take lots of money.  What we hope to raise here is just the beginning, but a very important one.
Making a movie of a book that so many people love is a scary venture.  We feel a huge responsibility—first to be faithful to the book’s artistic vision, to make a film that moves people emotionally, that’s dramatic and funny and edge-of-the-seat powerful.  But also, we want to be faithful to the values of earth-care and social justice the book represents.  Not just in what the movie portrays, but also in the way we go about making it.  We’ve written a Green Plan that will set new standards for environmental accountability in the film industry.  We’ll bring resources into the inner city by networking with community organizations with whom we have longstanding relationships.  We’ll put up a website with extensive resources and develop many ways that people who are inspired by the vision can learn the skills they need to create it and connect with others who share it.  We want the movie to help nurture and support the movements that are already growing to put our world on a path of peace, justice and ecological harmony.
The normal way of making a big movie is to sell the idea to a studio and give up control.  Even the screenwriter has little say over the finished project—and the author of the original work is rarely allowed to write the screenplay.
We want to do it differently.  But will we be able to pull it off?  To make an end-run around the entrenched studio system and find backers and investors who will share the full vision with us?  To have any hope of doing so, we need your help. 
We need to put together a pitch that the major film studios can’t refuse - so vivid, so comprehensive, so compelling that they’ll climb on board instead of attempting to hijack the train.
That’s why we’ve turned to Kickstarter.  The more capital we can raise, the more we bring to the table, the more clout we’ll ultimately have to make the movie we want, in the way we want - the way that the fans of the novel can believe in.
Already we’ve received so much support – from artists, musicians, permaculture designers, filmmakers and actors who all want to be part of this.
Now we’re asking for your support.  What will we do with the money?  You’ve seen in the video some of the brilliant artists who inspire us, and who want to work with us.  With your help, we’ll be able to create the next phase; designs for sets and costumes, visuals of key scenes, and storyboards for the action.  We can secure the rights to the music and art we need, and do those dull but oh-so-necessary things like finalizing contracts, budgets and financial plans.  To ensure that we are able to continue to develop the strongest possible project, we estimate that we'll need about double our Kickstarter campaign goal of $60,000, and we're certain that with your help, along with the tremendous support we've been receiving from our entire community, we can do it.
There are also other ways you can help.  Forward this link to your own networks.  ‘Like’ our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, or sign onto our mailing list on our website.  Help us spread the word.
By demonstrating the enormous interest and popular support that’s out there, we’ll convince investors and studios that we’re a good risk—provided we keep true to the vision!

Caledonia Resident Uses Her Energy to Care for Others

Karuna Krinsky is a Reiki Master, mother, gardener and volunteer who does her best to bring calm into her world and the worlds of others.
By Heather Rayne Geyer 

Caledonia resident Karuna Krinsky brings a unique energy to our area. Karuna is a healer by nature and follows that course in all aspects of her life. As a Reiki Master, she brings a unique service to Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant and Caledonia Patchers. Karuna is a mom, gardener and volunteer, all of which brings her great joy and fulfillment.
Reiki is a form of energy. It is a frequency known as Chi and it invigorates areas of the body which have been depleted for any number of reasons; addiction, depression, chemo symptoms, injuries and more. Reiki can assist those dealing with a multitude of ailments and maladies, but it is not a medical practice or procedure. Reiki can work in conjunction with medical treatments by providing spiritual and emotional relief and support.
Be sure to visit Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant Patch later this week to find out more about Reiki practice.
Karuna has been a Reiki practitioner since 1999. She became a Reiki Master, which allows for her to teach the practice to others, in 2002. In dealing with her own physical and emotional issues, she discovered Reiki through the suggestion of her massage therapist.
“I was so impressed that I couldn't stop using it on others and very much on myself. It started me off on a different path,” says Karuna, “Some of us carry a load of burdens – from the past and current troubles – which weigh us down. Reiki is like a breeze of fresh air. It flows through dark and stuffy corners of our minds and emotions. There is a kind of lightness felt, even physically, when we let go of our baggage.”
Karuna's healing abilities do not stop after her Reiki sessions have ended. She also volunteers for a Pleasant Prairie hospice organization.
Karuna truly enjoys where she lives because the feel of a green, rural area so close to the city provides the best of both worlds. She considers our part of Racine County "absolutely perfect," where she can garden and interact with nature right in her backyard.
“Wildflower gardens are my passion. I enjoy playing God and provide little sanctuaries for the different critters in our backyard. All of them are welcome here and protected – from butterflies and tiny native bees to river otters and majestic deer," Karuna said. "Although disappointed with their dinner choices, I am quite forgiving.”
This summer is busy for Karuna; she's taking time to recharge, is attending an 11-day spiritual retreat, and has plans to travel to Europe. She has a theory about seasons:
“Summer is always gone in a blink and we all enjoy the gifts of nature and outdoor activities. Fall and Winter are the perfect times to focus on body and soul. Summer is a good time to do serious internal work as nurturing oneself on all levels is important to remain effective and dedicated.”
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Reiki practitioner or about becoming a client, please visit Karuna's WEBSITE for further information.