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A bull market in weirdness.

From "The 1993 FT Index," in the February/March issue of Fortean Times, a bimonthly magazine of "strange phenomena and experiences, curiosities... and portents," published in London. Using news reports, the magazine's editor tracked trends in thirty-four categories of phenomena, including crop circle, mass deaths, "water monsters," and spontaneous human combustion, as well as those listed below. From these figures, the magazine calculated a worldwide "increase a strangeness" of 3.5 percent from 1992 to 1993.

IMAGES - figures of faces and so forth found in spontaneous or natural forms or arrangements of things, as well as the finding of "holy" images on unlikely objects; e.g., Jesus appears in a photo or on a potato chip.

1993 example: A credible image of a lion's head formed in a grease stain on a glass in Cyril Legge's dishwasher. Cyril, of Liverpool, also found a figure of a Christlike man on another glass.

Trend: Falling.

STRANGE BEHAVIOR - Extraordinary and extreme acts and beliefs, from amusing robberies with vegetables, through the social nuisances of toenail-painting fetishists, to grim feats of self-mutilation.

1993 example: Nigerian police arrested a transvestite who claimed to have murdered 200 people. He was, he said, a water goddess disguised as a woman to lure men to the river to suck their blood.

Trend: Rising.

GOOD LUCK - the entire genre of coincidence (holes in one at golf, being dealt a complete suit in bridge, "miraculous" escapes from injury, etc.).

1993 example: Chris Saggers plunged 220 feet from a Manchester tower and broke his fall on the roof of a car below. The roof completely caved in, and Chris walked away saying he felt "fine."

Trend: Rising.

FALLS - Falling frogs and fish, stones, ice lumps, colored rain, and related meteorological oddities.

1993 example: Constable Eric Asjes was surprised when he was rained on by two-inch-long freshwater bream in a remote area of Australia.

Trend: Falling.

DEATHS AND SUICIDES - Bizzare suicides, suicide waves, mass suicides; also, ludicrous exits and appropriate deaths of iconoclasts, blasphemers, and other taunters of the Fates.

1993 example: For fifty-six days the body of Thakur Balak Brahmachari was kept on ice by followers of his Hindu sect, who believed he would rise from the dead; 1,200 police battled 4,000 devotees to enforce the guru's cremation.

Trend: Rising.

HOAXES AND PANICS - Any bizarre belief, suspicion, story, or rumor that is largely unverifiable; also, deliberate hoaxes. Crop circles and UFOs excluded.

1993 example: In Cairo and other towns in Egypt, 1,300 schoolgirls were affected by nausea and fainting fits, which closed thirty-two schools. "Mass hysteria" was blamed.

Trend: Rising.

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Title Annotation:reprinted from Fortean Times, February/March 1994; trends in strange events
Publication:Harper's Magazine
Date:Jun 1, 1994
Words:432
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