Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2017: Latent Feline Infection

This meme dates from 2010. Image Source: Know Your Meme.

Today's post concerns how cats influence human health, based on the article: Influence of latent Toxoplasma infection on human personality, physiology and morphology: pros and cons of the Toxoplasma–human model in studying the manipulation hypothesis. That article concerns the often asymptomatic or latent disease, toxoplasmosis, caused by an intercellular parasite which is passed through cats to humans and is related to human depression, autism, cerebral calcification, sex addiction, and schizophrenia. It is a disease that affects rodents and makes them lose all fear of cats; this has allowed the parasitic protozoan to return to feline systems, where it can complete its life cycle. The parasite also affects the rodent brain's sexual impulses and reward centres.

Toxoplasma gondii parasitic protozoa. Image Source: Ke Hu and John Murray via Business Insider.

Scientists believe that toxoplasmosis infection similarly makes humans attracted to cats. The disease affects an enormous number of people, which may incidentally ensure the survival of the domestic cat, while also safeguarding the protozoan. Wiki:
"Up to half of the world's population are infected by toxoplasmosis but have no symptoms. In the United States about 23% are affected and in some areas of the world this is up to 95%. About 200,000 cases of congenital toxoplasmosis occur a year. Charles Nicolle and Louis Manceaux first described the organism in 1908. In 1941 transmission during pregnancy from a mother to a child was confirmed."
Perhaps those Walking Dead zombie stories are telling you the truth about a reality you suspect, but cannot see. If you think everyone around you is infected by some mysterious bug that makes them crazy, you may not be paranoid. You may be right. From Florence Robert-Gangneux and Marie-Laure Dardé in American Society for Microbiology (2012):
"Low seroprevalences (10 to 30%) have been observed in North America, in South East Asia, in Northern Europe, and in Sahelian countries of Africa. Moderate prevalences (30 to 50%) have been found in countries of Central and Southern Europe, and high prevalences have been found Latin America and in tropical African countries."
Approximate rates of infection by country below are almost all based on tests of pregnant women. Some studies only focus on particular regions, and the numbers change from year to year. Follow the links for years and details; not all countries conduct studies or keep statistics. Note that these statistics tend to show infection passed from mother to child in the womb. They do not include post-natal infection, in which people are infected directly by handling cats or eating raw or rare meat:
  • Argentina: sources for Buenos Aires 45.6%-57.2% infected
  • Australia: 28% infected; 23% found infected in pregnant women from Melbourne
  • Bahrain: 22.3% tested positive, from pregnant women in Manama only
  • Belgium: 48.7% infected
  • Brazil: 66.9% infected; other sources range 55.6%-77.8%, depending on region
  • Canada: unknown; extrapolated estimate 14%-22% infected
  • Chile: 40%-90% of the population, depending on region
  • China: Changchun only, 10.6% infected among pregnant women
  • Colombia: 43.1%-66.7%, different sources, depending on region
  • Costa Rica: approximately 55%, increases in rural areas and with poverty
  • Croatia: 38.1% infected
  • Cuba: different studies from Havana areas, 44%-66.3%
  • Czech Republic: 30%-40% infected; in Prague, 19.8% infected
  • Denmark: statistics for Copenhagen, 27.8% infected
  • Egypt: measured in women only, 46.5% in urban areas, 57.6% in rural areas
  • France: 45% infected
  • Germany: Western Pomeranian statistics only, 63.2% infected
  • Greece: depending on different studies and different regions, 20%-36.4% infected
  • Grenada: 57% infected, nationwide estimate
  • India: 11.6%-45%, depending on class and region
  • Iran: 29.4%-63.9%, depending on class and region
  • Iraq: 49.2% infected, statistics for pregnant women tested in Basra
  • Italy: 17.5%-34.4%, a range of averages, from different studies and different regions
  • Ivory Coast: 60% infected among pregnant women from Abidjan
  • Jordan: 47.1% infected in Amman
  • Kuwait: 45.7% infected among pregnant women
  • Malaysia: 49% infected among pregnant women from Kuala Lumpur
  • Mexico: extrapolated estimate 22% infected; another source found 6.1% of pregnant women infected in Durango
  • Morocco: Rabat statistics only, among pregnant women, 50.6% infected
  • Netherlands: 35.2% nationwide
  • New Zealand: statistics for pregnant women from Auckland, 35.4% infected
  • Poland: 35.8%-43.7% infected, based on pregnant women only in three cities, Warsaw, Lodz, Poznan
  • Romania: 57.6% infected in women of child-bearing age, Timisoara only
  • Serbia: 33% infected nationwide
  • Singapore: 17.2% infected among pregnant women
  • Slovakia: 22.1% among pregnant women, Bratislava data only
  • Slovenia: 34% infected nationwide
  • South Korea: 4.3% infected; other sources range 0.8%-3.7% infected in Daejeon and Suwon
  • Spain: 18.8%-43.8% infected, averages from certain regions only
  • Sudan: Khartoum and Omdurman only, pregnant women tested, 34.1% infected
  • Sweden: 18% infected from Stockholm and Skane only
  • Switzerland: 8.2%-35% infected, based on data from Lausanne, Geneva, Basel only
  • Thailand: 5.3%-21.5% infected among pregnant women from different regions
  • Turkey: 30.1%-60.4% average infected among pregnant women, from different classes and regions, impacted by regional culinary traditions (consumption of raw meat)
  • United Kingdom: 31% infected, 20 million people in 2012, with 80% of these asymptomatic; East Kent statistics for pregnant women showed 9.1% infected
  • USA: 15%-22.5% of the population, depending on demographic, 60 million+ infected; another source states 11% nationwide, with 7.76% for US-born and 28.1% for foreign born
  • Venezuela: 38% infected among pregnant women from Lara State
  • Vietnam: from Nha Trang only, 11.2% of pregnant women infected
In humans, the disease can remain latent until adulthood, or until the body experiences weakened immunity due to other causes. The non-latent form of the disease can feel like the 'flu' and spreads to the brain, eyes, and other organs; it creates cysts in the amygdala and nucleus accumbens, and changes the connections inside the brain which deal with fear responses, sexual attraction, decision-making and memory. The parasite also increases dopamine production, altering brain chemistry in the same ways cocaine - and schizophrenia - do. Those who are infected post-natally and directly through handling cats after birth are affected more severely than those who are infected congenitally.

Image Source: Twitter.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2017: This Is Real

"Ever wonder what you would do if you were kidnapped? This Is Real simulates a group abduction at a warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn." Image Source: Jessica Lehrman/NYT.

On 26 October 2016, the NYT reported on scary haunts organized for those seeking a fear-filled time on Hallowe'en. The most intriguingly unhealthy of their selection was This Is Real, a warehouse event in the neighbourhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York City, where you can pay actors to treat you like a brutalized hostage in a psycho-torture film. [Although, in an update at the bottom of this post, the creators of the event corrected me on Twitter to say that they don't actually torture the patrons. They hire actors to pretend to torture each other, and then they chase the patrons through a Saw-like warehouse maze.]

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2017: Death in the Park

Image Source: Dan Bell/Twitter.

Today's post follows urban explorer Dan Bell again (see my earlier posts on him here, here and here), as he visited Gwynns Falls - Leakin Park, which spans 1,216 acres (492 hectares) in his native city of Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Leakin Park is famous as a murderers' dumping ground; it is estimated that some 80 people have been murdered there or their bodies have been abandoned there, and the number is probably higher.  The area is so heavily forested that it was the film location for The Blair Witch Project sequel, Book of Shadows (2000).

Baltimore’s Leakin Park : The Scariest Place in America / A Creepy Documentary Featurette (15 September 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2017: Thy Love to Me was Wonderful

In February of this year, it emerged in the UK press that the guitarist of Pink Floyd, David Gilmour, owned Hook End Manor in Oxfordshire, UK. Now abandoned, the reports were an invitation to UK urban explorers to go have a look. Youtube now boasts a number of urbex videos giving us a peek into a rock star's life from thirty years ago. The description for the video below was adapted a report from The Daily Mail:
"David Gilmour bought the manor in 1980 from Alvin Lee of the blues band Ten Years After. He recorded some of Pink Floyd’s 1987 album A Momentary Lapse of Reason in a studio at the house. Horn recorded the hit single Video Killed The Radio Star and masterminded the success of the 1980s group Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

He bought Hook End Manor in the 1990s before placing it on the market for £10 million in 2007.

The house - thought to have been built for the Bishop of Reading around 1580 - boasted a gym, heated swimming pool, croquet lawn and tennis court, pergola and terracing.

The 11-bedroom Elizabethan manor house, set in 25 acres, boasted a state-of-the-art recording studio where Spandau Ballet and Jamiroquai also recorded hit tracks.

The home - worth around £12million - was sold by record producer Trevor Horn in 2007 after his wife Jill Sinclair, 55, was struck by a stray pellet fired from her son Aaron’s air rifle in the garden of the mansion.

The pellet lodged in Jill's neck, piercing an artery and she was rushed to hospital, but despite prompt medical attention she had to be put into a drug-induced coma. She died in 2014."
The house is currently on the site of RPA Architects as a slated refurbishment project.

Images Source: Daily Mail.

In the video below, see urban explorers go though the abandoned mansion. In the basement, they found a morbid memento, the tombstone of a small boy: LITTLE JACK. April 17th 1909. THY LOVE TO ME WAS WONDERFUL. Morrissey, lead singer of The Smiths, stayed in the house and reported that he (and other visitors) felt a ghostly hand on their chests, waking them each day at 4:10 in the morning.

PINK FLOYDS ABANDONED MILLIONAIRE 1580s MANSION (EVERYTHING LEFT BEHIND) DAVID GILMOUR LIVED HERE! (30 September 2017). At 10:48 (here) in the video, the urban explorers find a tombstone in the basement. Video Source: Youtube.

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Posts on the Occult are here.
Click here for my posts on Ghosts.

Check out other blogs observing the Countdown to Hallowe'en!
Image Source: 4Chan.