Friday, January 08, 2021

The Alleged Pagan Roots Of Holidays

David Wood recently interviewed Michael Jones (of InspiringPhilosophy) about the supposed pagan background of Christmas. Michael has done a lot of research on the topic, and they discussed many of the issues that are often brought up in this context (the origins of the December 25 date, whether certain Biblical passages are opposed to Christmas trees, etc.).

I've done some work on the history of the December 25 date, but I haven't looked into most of the other issues much. That's partly because I don't think a lot is at stake. Even if things like Christmas trees and the use of mistletoe in the context of Christmas had the sort of pagan roots that people often allege, the association with paganism would be too distant to have the implications those people often suggest. Similarly, there are distant pagan connections to the calendar names we use (names of months, names of days, etc.), the food we eat, the clothing we wear, and so on. The people who are so upset about the supposed paganism of Christmas don't seem nearly as upset, if they're upset at all, about other pagan connections, like the ones I just mentioned. Meat sacrificed to idols had a relationship to paganism, but Paul considered it acceptable to eat such meat (1 Corinthians 8, 10). The relationship was distant enough to not be significant.

Many good points are made during David's discussion with Michael, and a lot of what they discuss is relevant to holidays (and other issues) in general, not just Christmas. Apparently, Michael has done similar work on Valentine's Day and Easter and is planning a discussion of objections to the history of Thanksgiving. I don't know enough about some of the Christmas issues they discuss to make much of a judgment of the accuracy of Michael's conclusions, but there's enough good material during the program to make it worth listening to.

Monday, January 04, 2021

Listen To A Poltergeist Dragging Somebody Out Of Bed

The large majority of the Enfield tapes recorded by Maurice Grosse and Guy Playfair haven't been made available to the public, but some of the audio has occasionally surfaced in one context or another. Grosse gave people copies of some of his tapes, and he sometimes played portions of the audio during public events, for example, so there have been opportunities for people to get the material in contexts like those. Sometimes a portion of the audio will make its way onto YouTube, by whatever means.

Last year, a video was posted there that strings together some audio from several incidents in the Enfield case. One of those is an occasion when the poltergeist dragged Janet Hodgson out of bed. The most significant part of the original tape involves two draggings, not just the one that's now on YouTube, and it lasts about eight minutes. The segment I'll be linking below is only about one and a half minutes long in its original version, but the form on the YouTube video is a little longer, since the audio is being played at a slower speed. That slower speed makes it easier to hear what people are saying, but it also distorts their voices. A lot of YouTube recordings of the Enfield audio run at a slow speed, maybe in part because that slower speed makes the poltergeist's voice sound more dramatic. Whatever the reasons for the distorted audio, a large percentage of the Enfield tapes you find on YouTube are of much worse quality than the digitized version of the tapes, and the clip I'll be linking below has that sort of lower quality. It's better than nothing, though, and it adequately conveys some of what occurred and the evidence for it.