Seedy idea

Seed patents are the subject of a nontroversy, which maintains the patents are at the center of the malevolent control of food supplies and that they hamstring honest, hardworking farmers.

Yet these patents are as legitimate as ones on inventions and on copyrights that protect music, paintings, and software. Human molecular geneticist, Dr. Layla Katiraee, explained that to disallow seed patents would enable the competition “to reverse engineer a product at a fraction of the price.”

Officials grant seed patents if the plant variety can be shown to be new, distinct, genetically stable and uniform.

While associated primarily with genetic modification, patented seeds also exist in the plant world. For example, many varieties of orchids are the result of research and experiment.

Few would suggest that the team which achieved the long-sought blue rose should not reap the financial rewards for doing so. Yet, there are those which feel it is unethical to do the same with a seed that is made sturdier or more drought resistant.

Seed piracy is a serious issue. Besides it being ill-gotten gain, it can lead to seeds being sold and planted in regions where they have not been approved and this can cause contamination. Planting them in the wrong climate or soil could lead to devastating crop loss and land damage.

Internet legend holds that GMOs contain a self-destroying terminator gene to ensure farmers have to buy a full seed supply every year. This is false, as there have never been commercially-available terminator genes.

Since GMO Seeds are not sterile, companies prevent the replanting of seeds by having their customers sign a contract whereby they obtain an annual license. Farmers agree not to sell or distribute the product in regions where the product is not registered. None of this ties the farmer to a company for any duration beyond the length of the contract. Further, many farmers buy new seeds each season anyway, even if the seeds are not GMO or are not under a licensing agreement.

Katiraee wrote that this is because “seeds are often sold as hybrids, which have the best of the traits that breeders were looking for. However, once these plants grow and produce seeds of their own, it is unlikely that the latter will have all the beneficial traits present.”

So seed patents serve to protect food supply and distribution, not hamper them.

“Indolent bystander” (Kitty Genovese)

When an assailant raped and murdered New Yorker Kitty Genovese in 1964, The New York Times reported that dozens of people witnessed the attack and did nothing to stop it.

But in the early 2000s, another Times piece found the claims in the 1964 article were exaggerated and sensationalized. Probably less than 10 people had knowledge of the attack, with three of them intervening.

But at the time, the tragedy and the supposed apathy that surrounded it, led to a burgeoning field looking into a possible Bystander Effect, including the Smoke Filled Room study of 1968. Social psychology researchers Bibb Latane and John Darley ran a series of experiments testing their hypothesis that when other people are around, bystanders are less likely to intervene.

In the best-known of their studies, the pair recruited subjects to fill out a questionnaire. The first group consisted of subjects who answered questionnaire by themselves, while the second group involved several persons filling out the form.

A few minutes into the experiment, thick smoke pored through a vent. Those by themselves, for the most part, left the room immediately and informed Latane and Darley.


Subjects in the second group, however, responded differently. Only one was an actual subject, the other persons were in on the experiment and had been instructed to take no action. Most of the time, the subject likewise failed to act.


In all, 75 percent of solo subjects intervened in the smoke, while just 10 percent of the subjects surrounded by confederates did. This seemed to confirm Latane and Darley’s hypothesis. Similar experiments yielded similar results, though not all of them as pronounced. But the differences were consistent enough that the duo concluded that there was a casual effect to the number of persons present and the likelihood of intervention.


But then in 2019, publications reported that the Bystander Effect was largely nonexistent, that a review of public conflicts showed that most people do intervene.


This research focused on public altercations captured on video. More than 1,200 conflicts were examined, in Lancaster, UK, Amsterdam, and Cape Town. In each city, intervention occurred nine times out of 10. Further, stepping in was most likely to occur if there were more bystanders.


As to the opposite conclusion being reached in the Smoke Filled Room studies, that can be explained by the study’s flawed methodology. Other than a lone subject, participants were instructed to not act. Had smoke began filling a room of 20 persons not in on the charade, some of them would have almost certainly taken action, as the results of the 1,200 public altercations demonstrate.


When an assailant raped and murdered New Yorker Kitty Genovese in 1964, The New York Times reported that dozens of people witnessed the attack and did nothing to stop it.

Skeptoid’s Brian Dunning wrote that a better-designed experiment would have had no confederates and, indeed, that would have produced a more authentic result. The test, he noted, served as an experiment on peer pressure, but not the bystander effect it was presuming to examine.

“Rose-colored splashes” (Red rain)

Colored rains, most often in red hues, have been sporadically observed in India since the 19th Century, with the most recent occurrence in 2012.

The picturesque precipitation usually falls on areas of just a few square miles, with some extremely localized cases that were spread over mere meters. During their investigations of the phenomenon, scientists have discovered that a brownish-red solid they separated from the rain contained 90 percent round red particles and the rest debris.

One hypothesis, long of conjecture and light on facts, speculates that the debris might be an extraterrestrial life form that rode in on a comet. The proponents this interstellar idea, Godfrey Louis and Santhosh Kumar, were employed as physicists at Mahatma Gandhi University in 2001 when such rains occurred. When the pair examined the red particles under a microscope, the particles appeared to living cells.

Pairing this with a loud bang heard early in the morning of the first red rainfall that year, Louis and Kumar concluded this was the sonic boom of a comet. They further speculated that its contents were spewed throughout the sky and into rain clouds.

But this idea failed to explain how debris from a meteor could have continued to fall on the same area over a period of two months, despite the changes in climatic conditions and wind pattern spanning over two months. Or why it would have been limited to such a small geographic area.

Besides, a joint report issued by the Indian government and private science organizations concluded that there was no meteoric, volcanic, or desert dust origin present in the rainwater. Moreover, its color was not found to be caused by dissolved gases or pollutants.

And the joint report concluded, “The color was due to the presence of a large amount of spores of a lichen-forming alga belonging to the genus Trentepohlia.” The red rain has even happened several times since 2001 and each time botanists have found Trentepohlia spores to be the cause.

“Sleeping chills” (Nocturnal assaults)

There have been reports of sleeping persons being attacked in their slumber by hideous beasts for centuries. We are referring here not to jackals or bears or wolves but of demons, shape-shifters, aliens, and alluring women whose beauty masks an intent most evil.

The tales vary by culture, but as Brian Dunning noted in a Skeptoid podcast, the stories within a culture are largely uniform.

In Europe, especially in and around Shakespeare’s time, the attackers were sometimes thought to be incubus and succubus, demons who raped their victims. This was consistent with a time that blamed every misfortune on the devil. More frequently, the creeping creature took the form of a Macbeth-worthy witch. This could play on the aversion and distrust of old maids, who were chastised for shirking their societal responsibility to have and raise children.  

In the East, the female fiend is the physical opposite of an old hag, and is portrayed as a stunningly beautiful. But the intent remains the same, with the nocturnal interloper using charm and guile, rather than force and revulsion, to overtake her victim.

Again, this plays on society’s prejudices, treating women as temptresses leading individuals and civilization to ruin. 

One culture that bypasses the prejudices are the Slavs, whose nighttime attackers were described in a Brian Dunning Skeptoid podcast as “an elf-like gypsy man with wild glowing eyes who sits on your chest, riding you like a horse.” Meanwhile in Japan and China, these apparitions have traditionally taken the form of ghosts.

Consistent with the notion of attackers adapting to the times, the nightmarish visions turned to alien visitors with the advent of the Space Age. Witches’ cackles were replaced with silent telepathic communication and clubs were transformed into probing implements.

While there have been many varieties of nighttime attackers, a common thread is that these are likely the result of sleep paralysis. That would explain most of what happens, with cultural expectations being responsible for some specific details. 

During sleep paralysis, the victim is unable to move or speak and often feels as if their chest is being crushed. This may be accompanied by hallucinations. Dunning noted that paralysis only happens during REM sleep and this makes sense, as frightful characters would manifest in dreams.

Sleep paralysis occurs because of a disconnection between the brain and the rest of the body when drifting into or out of sleep. And since REM represents the deepest stage of sleep, this is when the disconnection is at its most pronounced.

Sleep paralysis is a reasonable explanation for persons thinking they’ve been assaulted by witches, sirens, elves, and aliens. The presence victims feel would be consistent with hallucinations, a sleep paralysis hallmark.

“It’s not a wash” (Brainwashing)

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Today we will examine a moral panic that peaked in the 1970s and 1980s. The terrifying tales centered on persons being brainwashed and led into cults, crime, or other undesirable destinations. Many times, those telling the tale were the same ones selling or touting the cure: Deprogramming.

The difference between influence and brainwashing is that the latter seeks to have the victims completely dedicate themselves to a cause or position that they previously had been ambiguous to or even opposed. Additionally, washing of the brain is forceful. Someone showing up at your front door to sell you rain gutter protection or asking you to sign a petition to bring back the high school marching band will take no for an answer. Someone intent on brainwashing will not and, in fact, will seek to control most aspects of your life.

Writing for Skeptoid, Dunning noted that even the Hare Krishnas fall short of brainwashing since they attempt influence, not intimidation. He explained, “They convince intelligent adults to shave their heads, wear robes, and forego worldly possessions. That’s pretty radical. And their recruitment methods are absolutely systematic. However, they generally don’t force this onto anyone, so it’s not brainwashing.”

By contrast, he continued, the Scientology organization Sea Org qualifies as brainwashing since it “is notorious for confining and isolating new members, imposing uniforms, and cutting off ties to family and friends. It is radical, systematic, and forced.” Other examples would include Patty Hearst and U.S. POWs during the Korean War.

So it has genuinely occurred, although as we will see shortly, its effects were short-lived. Moreover, most supposed brainwashings would more accurately be called instances of wayward or curious youth trying to find their way and place in the world. 

Questioning a tenet of one’s faith or political leanings that one has been imbued with is healthy and checking out new groups or beliefs is common. Even if one comes to embrace “the other side,” that is part of life’s journey and there is no need to be deprogrammed. In fact, attempting that on an adult who has made the choice may qualify as kidnapping and, ironically, as brainwashing.

According to Dunning, the concept of deprogramming was the brainchild of Ted Patrick, who claimed his son had been consumed by a cult, and Patrick was one of many deprogrammers who were convicted for their activities.

Beyond its often-illicit nature, deprogramming is likewise unnecessary. That’s because brainwashing’s impact on victims is temporary, if it exists at all.

Dunning noted that two experts who studied the U.S. POW brainwashing, psychiatrist Robert Lifton and psychologist Edgar Schein, found that most of the victims had merely gone through the motions of saying and doing what their tormenters wanted so as to avoid further torture. The few who came to believe in communism stopped doing so upon release. Similarly, many deprogramming subjects also just went through the motions and gave the desired responses so as to put an end to it.

In summary, brainwashing is nothing to worry about unless it is followed by a deprogramming. 

“Allergic to the truth” (Benadryl Challenge)

In August, an Oklahoma teen reportedly died of a Benadryl overdose, said to be the tragic result of a social media dare to get high by popping the allergy pills.

Did this happen and, if so, how widespread is the trend? Is this something we should be terrified of or is a more measure response justified?

According to Reason’s Scott Shackford, the Benadryl Challenge has elements of truth. Three Texan teens, being young and quarantined, did have an emergency room excursion after overdosing on the over-the-counter medication. The stupidly curious (or curiously stupid) trio were treated at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth. The facility claimed the idea came from a TikTok video whose producer promised that this misadventure would get users high and induce hallucinations. In another case, a 14-year-old girl was treated after popping one pill for each of her years on Earth. 

TikTok officials confirmed to the Fort Worth Star-Telegramthat the company had removed content for encouraging the practice.

Later that month, KFOR and the New York Post reported that 15-year-old Chloe Phillips had died, with a deleted Facebook post from her great aunt blaming the challenge.

However, the reports lack any attribution from medical professionals confirming that as the cause. Further, other than the one deleted post, there were no quotes from family members suggesting that’s why the girl died. KFOR did interview Scott Schaeffer, director of the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information, who explained how a Benadryl overdose can cause heart problems, seizures, and hallucinations. But there was nothing to tie that into the Phillips tragedy. Schaeffer later told Reason he had no reason to tie her death or any other to any Benadryl Challenge.

That leaves us with two instances in which a total of four youth sought medical treatment for an intentional overdose. None of them died. That has not stopped a moral panic from ensuing about a deadly trend, which by all available evidence, seems to be neither.

“Blown save” (Missing children)

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Each year about 800,000 US children are reported missing. Around 99.98 percent are found safe, ran away, or were taken by a noncustodial family member. About 200 are abducted by strangers. Zero are snatched by billionaire-funded satanic cannibals.

Nevertheless, QAnon and its allies interpret any missing child report to be evidence of another youngster being swallowed into a nightmarish black hole of blood-drinking, flesh-eating, and gang rape perpetrated by members of the Deep State, which once meant Hollywood and Democratic leaders, but now means anyone with whom the believer disagrees.

The panic is a continuation of a perpetual fretting which ignores that the 21st Century in the Western World is the safest ever time and place to be a child. But it adds the sinister twist which allows the proponent to congratulate themselves on rooting out an evil. The conspiracy theory is more than just paranoia and hysteria, it is also having deleterious effects on genuine attempts to #SaveTheChildren.

Any child abducted by a stranger is cause for utmost concern and all available resources should be utilized to get the victim home safely. But this is best done on a case-by-case basis, not through launching baseless assertions that the abducted are now part of a Soros-funded pedophile ring.

Meanwhile, those with such concerns do not extend their passion to combating poverty, funding inner city schools, or reversing policies that cage children and kill Tamir Rice.

They also seem OK with police on campus, which creates a literal school-to-prison pipeline where activities as innocuous as drinking soda in class and talking out of turn leave pre-teens jailed and with a lifetime criminal record. These grave overreactions disproportionately impact minority students.

Focusing in these issues is a much better use of time than promoting QAnon, Pizzagate, and Wayfair conspiracy theories, which hold that President Trump is waging a heroic and solitary battle against satanic child molesters permeating Hollywood,  Capitol Hill, Silicon Valley, and anyone else the proponent despises.

Believers are taking action in the form of vigilante attacks and they are also wasting valuable resources. Crusaders who have spent years working for organizations that fight human trafficking and child abuse have been inundated with theorists touting these absurd claims and demanding that they take action, or else.

One such worker, Brandy Zadrozny, detailed this is a piece for MSN and Rochelle Keyhan, the CEO of the anti-trafficking nonprofit Collective Liberty, has been bombarded with such messages.

Before QAnon adherents took over the #SaveTheChildren hashtag, they invented the conspiracy theory that the furniture site Wayfair was trafficking missing children, using a code whereby overpriced shelves and pillow were euphemisms for specific types of kids.

Collective Liberty, which was inundated with Wayfair tips, put out a statement explaining that the exorbitant prices were due to search engine optimization gone wrong, and not proof of a Satanic cabal. This was necessary because, as Keyhan explained, “The extreme volume of these contacts has made it more difficult for the trafficking hotline to provide support and attention to others who are in need of help.”

So when QAnon believers post their hashtags and urge action, they are, in fact, doing nothing to help #SaveTheChildren.

“Fright pattern” (Wind turbines)

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Birds often slam into buildings and powerlines but some people consider wind turbines an even more egregious threat, with their enormous blades whirring overhead.

However, these kill far less birds than almost any other contributor, and the strategic placement of wind farms can make the threat even less pronounced.  

Objections to wind turbines largely come from two groups: Well-meaning but misinformed bird lovers; and ill-meaning, informed fossil fuel fans who show an isolated, disingenuous interest in wildlife conservation in this one instance.

The key question is how many birds are being sliced and diced. Are we talking avian apocalypse or a much lower number that represents an infinitesimal fraction of feathered flyers we lose to buildings and power lines? Studies show it’s the latter, as wind turbines are responsible for the smallest number of bird deaths among all manmade causes.

There are about 50,000 wind turbines in the country and they cause an average of five annual bird deaths apiece, or a quarter of a million birds every year. The biggest killer of birds in the U.S. are members of the cat family, who take out a whopping 2.4 billion birds each year. Collisions with building windows cause the demise of another billion.

Crunching these numbers, we find that the percentage killed by wind turbines is so microscopic that it could be rounded down to zero.

Of the relatively few killed by turbines, the vast majority are songbirds, which are experiencing no population issues. Of greater concern are raptors since they exist in smaller numbers, have much lower reproductive rates, and have flight patterns that make them more likely to be near wind turbines.

Wind farm operators can be slapped with heavy fines when their product kills a bird, although since it’s impractical to avoid all deaths, a limited number of the unintentional kills are legally permissible. Whether out of concern for wildlife or the ledger book, wind farm operators embrace technology aimed at avoiding these fatal encounters.

For example, most California Condors are tagged so that when one approaches a wind farm, the turbine detects a radio transmission, which shuts it down.

A similar system employs skyward cameras to keep a lookout for eagles, with a shutdown procedure in place if the birds are in jeopardy. Radar, light, sound, and thermal cameras are additional allies in this ornithological protection plan.

But – cliché alert – an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure. The best idea is to placing wind farms away from bird migration routes and condor populations, and this trend has been embraced.

 

 

“Skies and lies” (LUCIFER telescope)

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The Catholic Church has a sordid history with science, from its maltreatment of Galileo and Giordano Bruno to today’s geocentric seminars headed by Robert Sungenis and the rest of the gang at Catholic Apologetics International.

But according to one conspiracy theory, the Church has embraced the science of astronomy, albeit for malevolent purposes. The hypothesis holds that Rome employs a telescope whose aim is to find aliens that will help the Pope and his minions subdue all Earthlings. The one-sixth of world’s population that the Vatican already lords over is apparently insufficient. The telescope is named LUCIFER, put in all caps as if the name by itself wasn’t enough of a giveaway.

Like the weather-control theory that centers on another all-cap evil, HAARP, the LUCIFER theory takes a few unrelated facts that are true in isolation, then adds massive untruths and eventually arrives at an untenable, easily-disproved conclusion.

The Catholic Church does have a history of dabbling in astronomy. In the 16th Century, it looked to the skies to ensure that Easter was being observed at the correct time. And they do maintain the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) at an international facility in Arizona.

It is the nearby Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) that theorists insist the Catholic Church is using to arrange an apocalyptic rendezvous with E.T.  But the Vatican has no connection to the LBT, which actually refers to two side-by-side telescopes. A pair of instruments that do infrared spectroscopy in conjunction with the telescopes are dubbed LUCI1 and LUCI2. LUCI stands for “LBT Utility Camera in the Infrared,” and these spectroscopic measurement tools were built by a German consortium that has no relation to the Vatican.

The LUCI instruments serve as the source for the name LUCIFER. They were originally named this as a tongue-in-cheek, not-quite-acronym for the beyond-wordy “Large Binocular Telescope Near-infrared Spectroscopic Utility with Camera and Integral Field Unit for Extragalactic Research.”

Beyond the issue of which telescope the Vatican operates is the matter of what the instrument’s capabilities are. Let’s consider the process in reverse. If a search for alien life were undertaken by exoplanet beings who honed in on Earth, these creatures would notice a red edge created by chlorophyll. Skeptoid’s Brian Dunning explains that chlorophyll “creates a very obvious jump in the spectrum right around the 700 nanometer wavelength. At the red end of the visible spectrum, chlorophyll appears almost totally black, but then at slightly longer wavelengths in the infrared, it becomes virtually transparent. We call this sudden cliff in the spectrum the ‘red edge.’”

However, even if such an edge were to emanate from an exoplanet, no telescopes owned by the Catholic Church or any other Earthly entity are powerful enough to see it.

In summary: There has never been a telescope called LUCIFER; The LUCI instruments are non-telescopes with no relation to the Vatican; no optical telescopes on Earth are capable of detecting evidence of alien civilizations; and the VATT and LBT telescopes are unconnected and housed in separate locations.

The theory which rejects all those truths stems from the creative minds of evangelicals Tom Horn and Cris Putnam. They outlined their notions of a Rome-Ming alliance in a book with the bewildering title, Exo-Vaticana: Petrus Romanus, Project L.U.C.I.F.E.R. and the Vatican’s Astonishing Plan for the Arrival of an Alien Savior. In this work, the crusading Christian duo claim the Catholic Church plans to recruit a savior from outer space and establish him/her/it as the leader of a New World Order. The book also includes a failed prophecy that this alien’s home planet would be revealed by astronomers in 2013. Additionally, there is the impossible-to-disprove assertion that the telescope’s location serves as an interdimensional portal through which aliens come to and fro Earth.

Another claim, again without evidence but again impossible to disprove, is that the giants referenced in Genesis 6 are demons with whom the Catholic Church is attempting to channel to help with this conquest. Rome’s plan is to unite all mankind under the Pope, peaceably at first, and then by force using this conscripted demon/alien army.

While Horn and Putnam attempt a 21st Century sci-fi twist on their anti-Catholic bigotry, they are tapping into what was once a common theme among evangelicals: That Catholics are confused Christians at best and Satan’s soldiers at worst. Those ideas have largely faded as the line between church and state has become increasingly blurred. We have reached a point where it is de riguer for Republican presidential candidates to declare that God told them to run, while conservative Christians conflate equality with persecution whenever they are asked to follow the same laws and rules as everyone else.

Growing a base this powerful and entitled would have failed if its leaders had continued to shun the country’s 50 million Catholics. This switch has transformed what had once been the robust anti-Catholic industry into a niche market, and books and videos by the likes of Horn and Putnam are reserved for obscure corners of the publishing and online worlds. If only that could be the fate for ​99 44100  percent of  conspiracy theories. 

“Shakespeare Trip” (Macbeth curse)

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My cat is named Hamlet, but had I gone with Macbeth instead, he may have quickly used his nine lives. At least if a longstanding theater legend is to be believed.

The euphemistic “Scottish Play” is said to be associated with onstage deaths, riots, and lesser misfortunes.

Supposedly, performing Macbeth or even uttering the name in a theater, potentially unleashes the curse. The cause is said to be the play’s references to witches, ghosts, and regicide. But those elements are in other Bard productions, so why does only Macbeth carry a curse? That stems from the assertion that for this play, William Shakespeare employed genuine witch incantations, specifically, Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.”

The story holds that practicing witches saw the play and took great offense at this misuse of their sacred craft, and so placed a curse upon any who might perform the play thereafter.

Supposed manifestations are: Actors being killed or injured during the stage fights when real weapons were used by mistake; natural disasters happening during performances; and accidents and illnesses striking the crew before, during, and after shows.

While there is ample room for selective memory with such claims, there is one documented tragedy associated with a Macbeth production. It took place in 1849 at New York’s Astor Place Theater.

At least 25 persons were killed and 120 were injured, many of them by National Guard soldiers who had been proactively summoned to quell the expected riots. The melee stemmed from two actors playing Macbeth on the same night at two different New York theaters, each representing a different social class. That last part is the key. Economic and cultural turmoil caused the riot, with Macbeth being a bit player.

Skeptoid’s Brian Dunning explained, “The Astor Place Theater had been built as a way for the well-heeled to have somewhere to go other than the Bowery Theater, which catered to all classes. That the rising American star with a blue collar image, Edwin Forrest, planned his opening on the same night as the upper class’s favorite British actor, William Macready, was largely seen as a slap in the face.”

This caused a long-simmering feud to boil over.

“Unrest had been growing for years between the working class, which included many Irish immigrants, and the Anglophile upper class,” Dunning wrote.  “Irish and American workers planned to express themselves by crashing the opening night of Macready.” They did so violently and the heartbreaking results included a dead child.

While this is one instance of real-life tragedy associated with Macbeth, the play in question could have been Othello, West Side Story, Annie, or a musical based on the Bad News Bears. The competing performances that night in New York were merely what finally lit the powder keg.

In other less-known instances, blaming misfortunes on a curse requires extreme cherry picking.  And when it comes to thinking what might cause the curse, let’s not yield to Tooth Fairy Science. Before trying to explain why something happens, we need first to ascertain that it does.

We are talking about one of the most performed plays in history, a production that has been shown non-stop for close to half a millennium. With so many chances for something to go wrong, it would be more remarkable if nothing ever did.

There is no reason to suspect that Macbeth has a higher percentage of mishaps than any other theater offering. And even if there did prove to be a little more tragedy associated with it, the production usually involves dim lighting, trap doors, flying harnesses, trick scenery, and stage weapons, all of which could explain harmful results without needing to invoke vengeful witchcraft.

Rather than a curse, we have a time-honored legend, which has been told and retold, embellished, grown tangentially, and become part of folklore and fun.

It also represents a chance for veteran actors to spook newbies with stories about when they’ve seen the curse manifest itself. In these cases, it’s not unlike my basic training first sergeant who, during our bivouac, warned us that an escaped murderer was on post.

There was, of course, no such killer, and any deaths associated with first sergeant’s putative murderer were as fabricated as those in the Scottish Play. And it seems that just as made up are real-life deaths associated with one of Shakespeare’s most beloved works.