Arts & Entertainment:
Retrospective: BBC’s ‘A Ghost Story For Christmas’
Britain’s adoption of Halloween as a season for all things ghoulish is a relatively recent phenomena, gathering momentum by minute gradations, but still is somewhat fleeting compared to the glorious renditions accorded to that season by our friends in the U. S. of A. This has little to do with any discontent at larkish shenanigans generally, nor prudishness at a festival so rooted in things Pagan, naught a scintilla with disinterest in all things macabrely malignant. It has simply to do with the fact that for Brits, Christmas – with its long, dark nights – has long been established as the time for fear and it’s been that way multos annos. In terms of what we would today consider popular culture, the man most directly responsible for this unlikely paradigm is a chap known in his own lifetime, affectionately, as ‘Boz’. Mr. Charles Dickens, like many a Victorian, was obsessed with the supernatural. As editor of ‘All the Year Round’, one of Victoriana’s most popular ’zines, he published not only his own unheimlich offerings, but a plethora of others by some of the best in the genre. The most important of these, by far, was Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. But the techniques Le Fanu pioneered – the slow escalation of narrative, the meticulous use of suggestion, the excessive under-statement, the well-used psychological underpinnings, the almost obsessive use of folklore would prove far less important in his own lifetime than they were to become to his most renowned protégé – M.R. James, who always placed Le Fanu “absolutely in the first rank as a writer of ghost stories”. Read full story from brutalashell.com
Saturday’s Lunar Eclipse Will Include ‘Impossible’ Sight
This year’s second total lunar eclipse on Saturday (Dec. 10) will offer a rare chance to see a strange celestial sight traditionally thought impossible.
Ringside seats for the lunar eclipse can be found in Alaska, Hawaii, northwestern Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and central and eastern Asia. Over the contiguous United States and Canada, the eastern zones will see either only the initial penumbral stages before moonset, or nothing at all.
Over the central regions of the United States, the moon will set as it becomes progressively immersed in the Earth’s umbral shadow. The Rocky Mountain states and the prairie provinces will see the moon set in total eclipse, while out west the moon will start to emerge from the shadow as it sets. Read full story from space.com
‘Witch’s cottage’ unearthed near Pendle Hill, Lancashire
Engineers have said they were “stunned” to unearth a 17th Century cottage, complete with a cat skeleton, during a construction project in Lancashire.
The cottage was discovered near Lower Black Moss reservoir in the village of Barley, in the shadow of Pendle Hill.
Archaeologists brought in by United Utilities to survey the area found the building under a grass mound.
Historians are now speculating that the well-preserved cottage could have belonged to one of the Pendle witches. Read full story from bbc.co.uk
Psychology lecturer is also a practicing Wiccan
Laura Wildman-Hanlon, a practicing Wiccan, is not your Hollywood witch. She doesn’t wear a pointed hat or have green skin, and she certainly doesn’t turn men into frogs. This she says, is not at all what real Wicca and witchcraft are about.
“Wicca is a modern form of witchcraft,” said Wildman-Hanlon, office manager for the psychology department at the University of Massachusetts. “It’s more of a religious component. It is earth-based spirituality that acknowledges the divine in many forms.” Read full story from dailycollegian.com
Black, atheist and living in the South
(CNN) – Benjamin Burchall first realized how different his experience in the South was going to be while looking for something to watch on television on a Sunday night.
“I couldn’t find anything on television but religious programming,” says Burchall, 38, a former Christian minister and agricultural consultant who moved from Long Beach, California, to Atlanta for work, “And I thought, ‘Oh my God, where am I? Is this all that is on television here?’”
And he quickly found other differences from West Coast living.
“I was not used to meeting someone for the first time and having their first question be ‘what church do you go to?’”
Burchall’s proud response to such queries was, “None.” He is part of an increasingly visible minority – black atheists living in the Bible Belt. Read full story from cnn.com
Camp Pendleton Cross Does Not Honor Non-Christian Fallen Marines
The United States military is highly diverse. According to a 2010 analysis, many different Christian denominations are represented in the ranks, but some personnel are Humanist, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan or followers of other traditions. One survey found that as many as 25 percent cited no religious preference at all.
Thus, when a group of marines at Camp Pendleton erected a large cross on their California base as an unofficial memorial to soldiers wounded or killed in combat, they left out a lot of their comrades. A cross may honor Christian service personnel who died, but it doesn’t include those of other faiths and those who follow no spiritual path at all. Read full story from opposingviews.com
Study: Some atheists with children attend with religious services
Washington (CNN) – Nearly one in five atheist scientists with children involve their families with religious institutions, even if they personally do not agree with the institutions teachings, a recent study says.
The study, conducted by Rice University and the University at Buffalo, found that these scientists affiliate with churches for both social and personal reasons. Additionally, the scientists indicated a strong desire to prepare their children to make educated decisions about their personal religious preference. Read full story from cnn.com
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