Weird Universe Archive

August 2021

August 6, 2021

The Power of Prayer on Plants

According to the Rev. Franklin Loehr, prayer could supercharge the growth of plants. Pretty much any prayer would work. He detailed his argument in his 1959 book The Power of Prayer on Plants.

When Richard Nixon was told of Loehr's results, he reportedly said, "That sounds like a good kind of thinking to me."

However, in 1961, a group of Harvard students tried to replicate Loehr's results and failed to do so. In fact, in their experiment the plants that weren't prayed for at all grew better than plants that were prayed for by either skeptics or believers.



More details from Newsweek (Apr 13, 1959):

Prayer Food

Can prayer make plants grow faster and bigger? Skeptics think it laughable, scientists find it irrelevant, and farmers tend to rely on more mundane methods to increase their crops. But the Rev. Franklin Loehr is convinced that the answer is yes, and has just written a book, "The Power of Prayer on Plants," to tell why.

After five years and 900 experiments, the 46-year-old Presbyterian minister reports he and 150 members of his prayer group found that prayed-for wheat and corn seeds grew into bigger seedlings than ones which got no prayer or outright negative prayer. Commenting on their methods last week in his Los Angeles home, Mr. Loehr explained that they used every kin of prayer and found every one effective to a degree.

"There were silent and spoken prayers," he continued, "those to loved ones, and the humble prayer straight to God. But mostly people just talked to the plants, loved them, or scolded them. First I tried buddying up to them, and then I observed that the people getting better results were approaching the plants on their own level of consciousness."

Picking up a copy of the book, he pointed to the jacket, which shows a lone, stunted shoot on the no-prayer side of an experimental seedbed. "He wasn't supposed to be there," explained Mr. Loehr, "so we blighted him with three bursts of negative command."

Mr. Loehr dropped the experiments two years ago, having persuaded himself, at least, of their validity. He is now concentrating on "soul dynamics" prayer for people—not, of course, to make them grow faster and bigger. "The fact is," he concluded, "we used plants to test prayer just as the artificial heart is tested in dogs instead of humans."



Along similar lines, see our previous post "Does holy water help radishes grow better?"

Posted By: Alex - Fri Aug 06, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Religion, Experiments, Books, 1950s

August 5, 2021

Raisin Bran keeps you regular

Trapeze artists discussing bowel movements doesn't conjure up good images.

Lincoln Star - Apr 1, 1938



Possibly relevant, this Snopes article: Did a Trapeze Artist with Diarrhea Defecate on 23 People? (The answer is no)

Posted By: Alex - Thu Aug 05, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Advertising, Cereal, Excrement, 1930s

Walk On By

The elegance, beauty and singing talent of Dionne Warwick are embedded in a totally surreal video. Paris rooftop, stuffed cat, crowd of silent men...

Posted By: Paul - Thu Aug 05, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Music, Surrealism, 1960s, Europe, Dolls and Stuffed Animals

August 4, 2021

The Fellowship for Human Happiness

1977: New York Attorney General Lous Lefkowitz ruled that "The Fellowship for Human Happiness" could no longer claim to be a church. It was instead, he decided, a house of prostitution masquerading as a church.

Is there actually a rigorous legal test for determining what counts as a religion versus what doesn't? Or do judges (and Attorney Generals) just make determinations based on whether something feels appropriately religious to them? Google, so far, hasn't been able to supply me with an answer.

Tallahassee Democrat - Feb 10, 1977

Posted By: Alex - Wed Aug 04, 2021 - Comments (10)
Category: Religion, 1970s

Electric Football



Posted By: Paul - Wed Aug 04, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Games, Technology, Children, Twentieth Century, Twenty-first Century

August 3, 2021

People Catchers

People Catchers = Fishing lures excised from impaled anglers.

Displays of them are on view at several hospitals in Wisconsin. More info: Catholic Health World

image source: reddit

Posted By: Alex - Tue Aug 03, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Medicine, Sports

The Santa Claus Statue in Santa Claus, Indiana

I thought that in the midst of summer heat (for some of us) we could use a little wintertime.



Here is the town's official page for the statue.

But Roadside America has a much more interesting tale. More details at the link.

It was purposely built on the highest hill in Santa Claus by businessman Carl Barrett, who wanted to antagonize his arch-rival Milton Harris, who was building his own attraction a hundred yards down the road. It was dedicated on Christmas Day 1935, less than a week after Harris had opened Santa's Candy Castle.

Barrett felt that Harris was commercializing Christmas. In contrast, Barrett claimed that the Santa statue had been built with the pennies of American schoolchildren. That may have been true, but he also claimed that the statue was built on the spot where a meteor had crashed (he hinted that this was a sign of divine guidance), and that it was made of solid granite. In fact there was no meteor, and the statue was later found to be made of concrete.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Aug 03, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Cult Figures and Artifacts, Holidays, Regionalism, Rivalries, Feuds and Grudges, 1930s

August 2, 2021

Servant carried in trunk

"Goodness knows the trunk is big enough. It's big enough for two."

Red Deer Advocate - Mar 31, 1969

Posted By: Alex - Mon Aug 02, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: 1960s, Africa, Cars

The Seattle Seafair Queen







It's too bad that the raucous early years, with roving pirates, did not last into our era.

Article here.

More pictures of queens here.



Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 02, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Parades and Festivals, Regionalism, 1950s

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