Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday the 13th Superstition Bash

This being Friday the 13th, the Harvard Secular Society is holding a "Superstition Bash":

"We're going to have the grand, four-foot mirror breaking under a ladder, in a circle of salt," said Christopher M. Kirchhoff '01, public relations director for HSS. "It's going to be a great time."

Members of the Lampoon, a semi-secret Bow Street organization which used to occasionally publish a so-called humor magazine, said yesterday that they were planning a prank for today.

"We have 13 black cats, and the plan right now is to glue them to trees in the Yard, but I can't tell you where--that would ruin it," said Matthew J.T. Murray '99, the Lampoon president.

"When people pass them, then they'll have bad luck. We hope we get a lot of people," Murray added.
I went to a Catholic high school, so of course I used to cover my homework diary and files with pentagrams and Satanic imagery (I mean, come on, it's tradition in Catholic schools). I guess I thought it would piss off the staff, but I doubt many of them really cared--except, perhaps, for the science teacher who told me I would be struck down by lightning for not believing in God. Anyway, I've been inspired to contribute to this "superstition bash" by having a bash at a particular piece of magical thinking I recall from my Catholic school days: the superstition that if you recite the Lord's Prayer backwards you will summon Satan . . .

(That ought to boost my emo readership significantly . . .)

Back in the 70s and 80s, the Religious Right accused various artists of "backmasking" subliminal Satanic messages into their songs in order the corrupt TEH CHILDREN. (Backmasking involves the backwards recording of a sound or message on a track that is meant to be played forwards.) Apparently if you play "Stairway to Heaven" backwards, you'll hear the message "Here's to my sweet Satan." While artists such as the Beatles have used backmasking as an audio effect, and while some have deliberately inserted Satanic messages into their music in order to piss off the reason-challenged, in most cases allegations of such backmasked evil messages can be sheeted home to pareidolia.

Here's Madonna apparently declaring her love for Satan on "Justify My Love."

And here's Britney Spears
allegedly beckoning listeners to "Sleep with me--I'm not too young" on "Baby One More Time." (From Backmask Online)

Via Friendly Atheist.