Waterboarding Spirits

During the previous run of the show  I gave a fair amount of coverage to the increasing number of exorcisms finding their way into the news. While the Vatican seemed to be devoting some real resources to it, I also looked at the secular concept of spirit release promoted by a small faction of the psychiatric community.

A recent story from Japan, points to a sect of Buddhism, Nakayamashingoshoshu, also interested in purging evil. In this case via bastardization of the “waterfall rite” known as takigyo. The victim, Tomomi Maishigi, a thirteen year old girl had a history of health concerns, both mental and physical, that doctor’s were not able to bring under control. Her father enlisted the help of Kazuaki Kinoshita, a monk. Kinoshita determined the Tomomi was possessed by evil spirits.

She was belted into a chair where water was dropped on her face from a pump 2.5 meters (about 8 feet) above her. This was an established apparatus at the temple where she was “treated,” indicating she likely wasn’t the first to undergo such a thing.  She was subjected to this over 100 times, before it killed her. She died of suffocation after losing consciousness in the chair.

A spokesperson for Nakayamashingoshoshu’s main temple indicated both the binding of the subject and use of the rite as a means of exorcism is not its intent. It is rather a means of helping one bring their wishes into reality. The participant is meant to endure the ritual standing and the water is not delivered to their face. Whether that is the case, or this exposed a process they would have preferred to keep secret, a 13-year-old girl is dead because she was believed possessed.

Here’s a video of a more traditional application of the rite. It’s easy to see how this could go sideways under the influence of someone with bad ideas.

Beezlebufo & It’s Not Necessary Being Green

The Associated Press sent out a story that has made the rounds of news outlets today about the discovery of the bones of a giant prehistoric toad in Madagascar. Nicknamed the “Devil Toad” or Beelzebufo, it weighed in excess of 10 pounds, the largest current living frog the Goliath Frog can get up to about 7 pounds. It is believed the Devil Toad was capable of taking down small dinosaurs. Also of interest is the similarity between the the Beezlebufo and current toads in South America on the other side of the world. It’s led to renewed speculation about prehistoric geography.

While I’m here, here’s an older story I have been holding onto for awhile. Back in September it was announced that Japanese scientists had created a transparent frog. Their reasoning for prompting the transparency mutation was so that the organs would be visible without dissection for educational purposes and general coolness. Professor Masayuki Sumida whose team bred the frogs has hopes that with further experimentation they will be able to create a frog that will glow when it develops cancer. Sumida plans to patent the transparent frog technology.

The Yamabiru Are Coming!

Long sequestered in the mountains of Japan, the Yamabiru have decided their time is at hand. Urbanization and reforestation efforts have ignited the flames of migration and the long silent Yamabiru have teamed up with their forest brethren and come down from their isolated realm to feed. Feasting on the blood of the humans that have inadvertently rousted them from their quiet existence, they have been known to gorge upon their victims to the point that they reach 10 times their normal size. So clandestine are the methods of the Yamabiru that frequently their victims are unaware they have been visited until they discover the bloodied point of entry and the predator has moved on.

The Japanese see three options in confronting this invasion. They can dramatically reshape the environment to something less hospitable in the hopes that the Yamabiru return from whence they came; they can fight them off with poisons and chemical warfare, or they can concede and accept their place in the food chain. All of these are obviously dramatic and carry their own hazards. However, in these dire times when nature is rising to subjugate humanity the dramatic may be the last hope.

– Prof. Gruntsplatter