Sunday, 2 May 2010


Clinical lycanthropy is defined as a rare psychiatric syndrome which involves a delusion that the affected person can or has transformed into an animal, or that he or she is an animal. Its name is connected to the mythical condition of lycanthropy, a supernatural affliction in which people are said to physically shape shift into wolves. The word zoanthropy is also sometimes used for the delusion that one has turned into an animal in general and not specifically a wolf.


Affected individuals report a delusional belief that they have transformed, or are in the process of transforming into another animal. It has been linked with the altered states of mind that accompany psychosis (the reality-bending mental state that typically involves delusions and hallucinations) with the transformation only seeming to happen in the mind and behaviour of the affected person.

A study on lycanthropy from the McLean Hospital reported on a series of cases and proposed some diagnostic criteria by which lycanthropy could be recognised:

  • A patient reports in a moment of lucidity or looking back he sometimes feels as an animal or has felt like one.
  • A patient behaves in a manner that resembles animal behaviour, for example crying, grumbling or creeping.

According to these criteria, either a delusional belief in current or past transformation, or behaviour that suggests a person thinks of themselves as transformed, is considered evidence of clinical lycanthropy. The authors go on to note that although the condition seems to be an expression of psychosis there is no specific diagnosis of mental or neurological illness associated with its behavioural consequences.

It also seems that lycanthropy is not specific to an experience of human-to-wolf transformation; a wide variety of creatures have been reported as part of the shape-shifting experience. A review of the medical literature from early 2004 lists over thirty published cases of lycanthropy, only the minority of which have wolf or dog themes. Canines are certainly not uncommon, although the experience of being transformed into hyenas, cats, horses, birds and tigers has been reported on more than one occasion. Transformation into frogs, and even bees, has been reported in some instances. A 1989 case study described how one individual reported a serial transformation, experiencing a change from human, to dog, to horse, and then finally cat, before returning to the reality of human existence after treatment. There are also reports of people who experienced transformation into an animal only listed as 'unspecified'.

Proposed mechanisms

Clinical lycanthropy is a rare condition and is largely considered to be an idiosyncratic expression of a psychotic-episode caused by another condition such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or clinical depression.

However, there are suggestions that certain neurological and cultural influences may lead to the expression of the human-animal transformation theme that defines the condition.

Neurological factors

One important factor may be differences or changes in parts of the brain known to be involved in representing body shape (e.g. see proprioception, body image). A neuroimaging study of two people diagnosed with clinical lycanthropy showed that these areas display unusual activation, suggesting that when people report their bodies are changing shape, they may be genuinely perceiving those feelings. Body image distortions are not unknown in mental and neurological illness, so this may help explain at least part of the process. One further puzzle is why an affected person doesn't simply report that their body "feels like it is changing in odd ways", rather than presenting with a delusional belief that they are changing into a specific animal. There is much evidence that psychosis is more than just odd perceptual experiences so perhaps lycanthropy is the result of these unusual bodily experiences being understood by an already confused mind, perhaps sifted through cultural traditions and ideas.

Cultural influences are thought to strongly influence the content of psychosis and psychosis-like experiences and we have a large cultural resource when it comes to human-to-animal transformation, as many societies have included this concept into myths, stories, or rituals (see lycanthropy for many such examples). There have also been cases of feral children seemingly raised by animals after losing their parents. Psychiatrist Lucien Malson collected more than fifty alleged cases in his landmark book Wolf Children and the Problem of Human Nature. More cases have been reported since its publication in 1964, suggesting that some beliefs about lycanthropy might stem from observations of unusual maternal relationships between humans and animals.

While mainstream psychiatry assumes that someone who believes themselves to be an animal is mentally ill, someone who deliberately tries to accomplish the same with psychoactive potions and ritual is considered a shaman in many societies around the world.

In earlier times the state of the patient was commonly explained as due to possession. Marcellus of Sida reported that in Greece the patients frequented the tombs at night, and that they were recognizable by their yellow complexion, hollow eyes and dry tongue. The Garrows of India are said to tear their hair when they are seized with the complaint, which is put down to the use of a drug applied to the forehead; this recalls the stories of the witch's salve in Europe. In Abyssinia the patient is usually a woman; two forms are distinguished, caused by the hyena and the leopard respectively. A kind of trance ushers in the fit; the fingers are clenched, the eyes glazed and the nostrils distended; the patient, when she comes to herself, laughs hideously and runs on all fours. The exorcist is a blacksmith; as a rule, he applies onion or garlic to her nose and proceeds to question the evil spirit.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Urban Legend: truth and lies

We could do discussions and talk about this topic:
"Urban Legend: truth and lies"
Do you Know this mail?

The "Stella Awards" - The American Justice System At Work

Read this if you want to get p.o.'d...

In 1994, a New Mexico jury awarded $ 2.9 million U.S. in damages to 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who suffered third-degree burns to her legs, groin and buttocks after spilling a cup of McDonald's coffee on herself. This case inspired an annual award - The "Stella" Award -for the most frivolous lawsuit in the U.S.

The cases listed below are clear candidates....................

1. January 2000: Kathleen Robertson of Austin Texas was awarded $780,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running amuck inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict, considering the misbehaving little prick was Ms. Robertson's son.

2. June 1998: A 19 year old Carl Truman of Los Angeles won $74,000 and medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Mr. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car, when he was trying to steal the neighbor's hubcaps.

3. October 1998: A Terrence Dickson of Bristol Pennsylvania was leaving a house he had just finished robbing by way of the garage. He was not able to get the garage door to go up, because the automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. The family was on vacation. Mr. Dickson found himself locked in the garage for eight days. He subsisted on a case of Pepsi he found, and a large bag of dry dog food. Mr. Dickson sued the homeowner's insurance claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed to the tune of half a million dollars.

4. October 1999: Jerry Williams of Little Rock Arkansas was awarded $14,500 and medical expenses after being bitten on the buttocks by his next door neighbor's beagle. The beagle was on a chain in it's owner's fenced-in yard, as was Mr. Williams. The award was less than sought because the jury felt the dog may have been provoked by Mr. Williams who, at the time, was shooting it repeatedly with a pellet gun.

5. May 2000: A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania $113,500 after she slipped on soft drink and broke her coccyx. The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson threw it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.

6. December 1997: Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware successfully sued the owner of a night club in a neighboring city when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out her two front teeth. This occurred while Ms.Walton was trying to sneak through the window in the ladies room to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,000 and dental expenses.

7. And just so you know that cooler heads do occasionally prevail: Kenmore Inc., the makers of Dorothy Johnson's microwave, were found not liable for the death of Mrs. Johnson's poodle after she gave it a bath and attempted to dry it by putting the poor creature in her microwave for, "just a few minutes, on low." The case was quickly dismissed.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Halloween day

Can you answer the following questions?

When is Hallowe'en?
What does the word 'Hallowe'en' mean?
Why is Hallowe'en celebrated?
Whv do people dress up as witches and ghosts?
What is 'Trick or treat'?
Whv are pumpkins made into lanterns?

Answers to Hallowe'en questions

When is Hallowe'en?
The night of the 31st of October.

What does the word 'Hallowe'en' mean?
All Hallows' Eve. The evening before All Hallows' Day or All Saints Day (1st November).

Why is Hallowe'en celebrated?
Hallowe'en was originally a pagan festival of the dead. Celts in Ireland had a festival called 'Samhain' (pronounced 'sow-in'), which marked the official end of summer and the beginning of the Celtic New Year. On this night the souls of the dead were said to come out and move freely in the land of the living. The tradition of Hallowe'en was taken to the United States by Irish emigrants, and it is now spreading in Britain and other European countries.

Whv do people dress up as witches and ghosts?
In addition to the souls of the dead, the Devil, witches and numerous spirits are believed to be out, and at the peak of their supernatural powers.

What is 'Trick or treat'?
According to an old Irish peasant practice, villagers would go from house to house to ask for soul cakes (bread with currants) in return for promises of prosperity or protection against bad luck. Now children and teenagers go from house to house asking for small gifts of money, fruit or sweets in return for not playing tricks on the people inside.

Whv are pumpkins made into lanterns?
According to Irish legend, when a notorious drunkard called Jack died, he was refused entry to Heaven because of his meanness, and he was banned from Hell because he had tricked the Devil on several occasions. However, the Devil gave him a piece of coal to help him find his way in the dark of purgatory, which Jack put into a turnip to make a lantern. The Irish made similar lanterns to represent the souls of the dead on Hallowe'en, but when they emigrated to America they could not find many turnips so they used pumpkins instead.

Friday, 31 October 2008

The Yellow Lady

King Zygmunt August met his future wife at the Royal Castle in Warsaw. At that time Barbara lived in the palace of the Radziwill and the lovers met secretly in her palace through the secret passage, which connect the Castle with her house. After secret wedding in Wilno and the ceremony of Barbara’s coronation they returned to Warsaw again . They lived in a newly built wing of the castle overlooking the Vistula river.
Their marriage did not last long because Barbara suddenly got ill on a mysterious disease and died.
King Zygmunt August had been sad for a long time after the death of his beloved wife Barbara Radziwiłłówna. When he fell in depression to remedy this, his aides hired German magician Tureus to raise his wife. One night in 1569 Tureus closed with the king in the queen’s chamber . Tureus told him to sit on a chair facing back-to-door and set before the king a mirror. Queen appeared in the yellow dress after a special rite behind the king’s back but he could see her in the mirror. The legend says that her spirit was seen several times on the old town in Warsaw, it always wore the yellow dress and held the the mirror at the height of her face.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Person trapped in cemetery overnight dies

Person trapped in cemetery overnight dies
Urban Legend: A person makes a bet with their friends that they can spend the night in a cemetery and she is found dead in the morning in the arms of a graveyard statue.
What It's About: A person makes a bet with a group of friends that he or she (more often it's a she) can spend the night in the cemetery. The person is found dead in the morning, laying across the arms of a large statue, usually of an angel with it's arms out-stretched. This legend also included a statue of an old woman seated with her arms out stretched. Variations on this are: as an initiation into a gang, a fraternity or sorority or into a high school clique. The dead person is found dead with no sign of injury or has also been found to be sitting on the lap of the seated statue with crushed ribs, presumably by the arms of the statue. But the end result is always the same, the person is dead in the arms of the statue.

Origins: This legend has been told as having happened in various parts of the United States but no true origins can be found.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

The legendary violator from The North Praga, Warsaw

In 2003 the citizens of The North Praga, old district of Warsaw were terrified by the rumour going arround about a secretive violator.

He had many faces, sometimes wore black long coat, some other time he was seen in a short green jacket, but all the witneses were sure about one thing: he was a very tall and strong-built man.

The women were afraid to return home from work in the evening. Their husbands, boy-friends or parents waited for them and took them back from offices, schools, shops or the church. The violator usually had been atacking after dusk or in the evening.

He used to strike his victims with a knuckle-duster and he waited until they awoke from the faint. Next he violated them and cut their fases with a blade. He forever remained an elusive bad man from the North Praga. The police never captured him.

Monday, 20 October 2008


The Victim of A Drunken Driver

Warsaw, 1946. The intersection of Bracka Street with Sikorskiego Avenue. Pictured: Lodzia (Leokadia Kubanowska), a policewoman from the Road Traffic Company. She had been regulating the traffic on the same intersection for ten years although there was no traffic at all. Only police cars drove in th streets. In the 80's she appeared again in the center of Warsaw on the intersection of Marszalkowska and Jerozolimskie Avenue - old, mentally ill woman, and was all drivers' nuisance. One day she died in a car accident killed by a drunken driver who drove away from the place of the accident . From that time she was seen on the same intersection and made collisions in which died drunken drivers.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Urban legend

The employee with the wheelbarrow.

Every night for twenty years, an employee left the factory pushing a wheelbarrow full of waste materials. On the day of his retirement, the guard told him:
- "I’ve seen you walk out of here every night, and I know you’ve been stealing something. But I can’t for the life of me see what it is!"
- "Wheelbarrows" said the employee.

Second version:

A man who worked in a large factory was stopped on his way out every night as he wheeled out a wheelbarrow full of straw.
Each night the suspicious security guard would sift through the straw to make sure the employee wasn’t stealing, each night he found nothing but straw.
Years later the man was retiring and as he left the guard said that he knew he was stealing something all these years, what was it.
The retiree answered “wheelbarrows”.

More, clic here.

Another one:

I remember a story about a guy that the customs officials were sure was smuggling. He would come up to the aduana (the customs office) every day, and he'd come across on a bicycle. He'd ride across and they'd search him every time. Finally the head of customs talked to him. He said, "Ignacio, I'll tell you what, we are going to make a deal with you. You tell us what you are smuggling and we'll let you go. We'll never stop you again." Ignacio looked at the customs agent and said, "Bicycles." --Arturo Carrillo Strong, Tucson AZ

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Urban legend

Vanishing Hitchhikers

A friend of a friend and his daughter were driving along a lonely country road at night and happened upon a female hitchhiker. The woman asked for a ride to her home just a few miles up the road. The travelers obliged and continued on with the woman riding silently in the backseat. As they approached their destination, the driver turned to inform the passenger they were arriving, only to discover she had vanished from the backseat without a trace! Thoroughly spooked, the travelers inquired at the house and learned that a woman matching the description of the hitchhiker had indeed once lived there, but died several years earlier in an automobile accident. Her ghost, they were told, was sometimes seen wandering beside the highway...

More, clic here.

Thursday, 16 October 2008



The black volga car was spotted frequently in the streets of Warsaw in the 60's packed with kidnappers who were snatching children.The origin of this legend propably came from Kremlin. The high rank soviet officials drove the black volga in Moscow in the 30's and kidnapped young, pretty girls for the sexual pleasure. After years the victims who had survived described their experience. The other version of this legend tells that vampires or bodies venders drove the black volga car.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Urban Legend

Boiled Brains

Milagros Esteves was a fine girl, but not too bright. One day she got asked a date by one guy she really liked, so on the day of the date she wanted to look pretty.
The day came but she never showed up and as days went by her boy decided to pay her a visit in order to know what happened. Telephone calls didn't work so he went to her home and after waiting for an answer he decided to take a look inside from the back part of the house which had a window to the kitchen only to find out his date laying on the kitchen's floor.
When police arrived they could reconstruct the girls last moments. As time for the meeting came closer Milagros noticed her hair was still too wet to be combed so an idea struck her mind. She would go to the kitchen, get a knife, head for the microwave oven, open its door, falsely lock the door in order to keep it open and dry her hair by placing her head inside the oven.
Doctors diagnosed death by boiled brain.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Urban legend

The Barrel of Bricks

I am a general contractor and heard this story from an insurance investigator:
A bricklayer working on a three-story-tall chimney had set up a pulley system so that his helper could raise the bricks up to where he needed them. As he was working, his helper complained about how difficult it would be to get the last of the bricks up to the flat roof of the building. Just then another contractor had some material delivered and it was placed on the roof by a fork lift brought to unload it. The bricklayer asked if the driver would load the rest of the bricks up there as well and the driver agreed. The bricklayer realized that he would not need his helper any more and sent him home.
When the bricklayer completed the chimney he noticed that he had quite a few bricks left over and that the fork lift was no longer at the jobsite. Now he had to figure out how to get the leftover bricks back down by himself. If he dropped them, they would surely break. So he decided to use the pulley he had set up earlier to lower them down.
First he went down to the ground and raised a large metal bucket up to the roof level using the rope and pulley. Next, he tied the rope off onto a railing and climbed back up to the roof and loaded the bricks into the bucket. Then he went back down to the ground. He knew that the bricks would be heavy, so he wrapped the rope around his hand a couple of times and then untied the end of the rope with his other hand. Well, the bricks were heavier than he imagined and with physics being as it is, he was immediately launched upwards at a high rate of speed.
As he was racing up towards the roof he encountered the bucket full of bricks coming down at an equally fast rate. He collided with the bucket and broke his nose and his shoulder. The bucket passed him by as he sped upwards. He reached the pulley just before the bucket hit the ground and broke a few of his fingers as they were pulled into the pulley. When the bucket hit the ground, its bottom fell out and all of the bricks spilled onto the ground. Now the fun reversed. As the now light bucket sped upwards, the mason took a shot to the groin when one of his legs slipped into the empty bucket.
He then tilted enough to fall out of the bucket and continued with his gravity experiment. Eventually he landed on top of the pile of bricks and broke both feet. He collapsed in pain there on the bricks, but was glad to be alive. He let go off the rope and cried out for help.
It was then that the bucket hit him in the head and fractured his skull.