10 Incredibly Painful Rites of Initiation

What is taboo for one culture is tradition for another. Many places all over the world will experience agonizing rites of passage in order to prove their faith, dexterity and maturity, even at the risk of extreme pain. The dreadful sensation is worth it, considering the perks that come with passing an initiation. Generally, girls become women and are now ready to marry, while boys evolve into men, eager to be treated as adults and be considered valuable members of the community. These are just some of the most painful initiation rites (in no particular order). This list is definitely not for the squeamish.

Sepik Scarification

The tribes living along the Sepik river in Papua New Guinea have used the tradition of scarification to mature their boys into men for decades. The ceremony requires the youth to be cut along his back, chest and buttocks in elaborate patterns, to mimic the coarse skin of a crocodile. It is thought that this reptilian divinity consumes his youth during the bloody process, leaving behind a man in his place.

Before he can be treated as a man, though, the boy is subjected to humiliation in a ritual that can take weeks. In fact, the boys are referred to as women and regarded that way in order to psychologically toughen them. The scarification, parallel to the taunts, strengthens them physically because it requires a vast amount of discipline to go through the ritual, withstanding hundreds of cuts. The raw wounds are cleaned after the scarification is complete, but the pain endured continues for days as their bodies heal.

Naghol – Land Diving

In the South Pacific Ocean, on Pentecost Island, tribe members construct a tower 60 to 90 feet (20 to 30 meters) high made from the trees surrounding a clearing. Rocks and wood are removed from the ground and the soil is tilled before the tower is built. The rickety structure is then used as the world’s most extreme form of bungee jumping, with only two vines and faith supporting a diver.

The ritual is done to ensure the yam harvest that year will be successful; the higher they dive, the better the harvest will be. It’s also thought to strengthen participants spiritually, as they take the leap of faith. While it’s not required to dive, those who do are revered in the community and seen as true warriors. After all, to dive means to sacrifice your life for the tribe. They embrace the possibility of death during the initiation; it’ll be like taking one for the team. Boys around seven and eight (once they are circumcised) can participate, and they’re considered men after they survive the fall.

The risks are obvious. Divers are prone to concussions, broken hips and necks, and that’s if the vines don’t snap (and if they don’t impale themselves). If the vine is measured correctly, the only pain a diver will experience is the sudden harsh pull at his ankles once he drops, a painful feeling which will stay with him for days. It’s common to see tribe members’ heads hit the ground after a jump but for the most part, they survive unscathed.

Okipa Ceremony

Catlin Okipa

The Okipa ceremony of the Mandan Indians opened with a Bison Dance, followed by a variety of torturous ordeals through which warriors proved their physical courage and gained the approval of the spirits. The Okipa began with the young man not eating, drinking, or sleeping for four days. They are then led to a hut, where they had to sit with smiling faces while the skin of their chest and shoulders was slit, and wooden skewers were thrust behind the muscles. Using the skewers to support the weight of their bodies, the warriors would be suspended from the roof of the lodge, and would hang there until they fainted. To add agony, heavy weights were added to the initiate’s legs. After fainting, the warrior would be pulled down and the men (women were not allowed to attend this ceremony) would watch the warrior until he awoke, proving the spirits’ approval. After awakening, the warrior would sacrifice the little finger on both hands, each finger being severed by the initiate with a hatchet. Finally, the warrior would be taken outside where he would run around the central plaza of the village a number of times.

Roman Infibulations


Speaking of penis, the ancient Romans also had their own initiation method. Infibulation is the process of suturing the foreskin. Using string or a metal clasp, the foreskin was closed and the penis was drawn to the side. Most infibulations were self inflicted.

This was done for several reasons. For singers, infibulations helped keep their voice through the years. It also was thought to capture and retain gladiators’ might and vitality. In some cases, an exposed penis was thought to be vulgar, especially the head of the penis, so infibulations were done to show modesty and restraint. For the purpose of this list, youths were exposed to the process to keep them from masturbating, and to abstain from sexual intercourse. It was a show of maturity to suture your own foreskin.

Mentawai Teeth Chiseling

Female Mentawaians of Sumatra experience an agonizing practice known as teeth chiseling. Local shaman sharpens a crude blade as best he can to make the chiseling as least painful as possible. The young girl is given nothing to numb the feeling in her mouth before he takes a rock and begins to hack away. Using careful strikes, the blade carves the corners of the teeth, leaving behind pointed ends similar to shark teeth. To finish the process, her teeth are filed to achieve the desired shape.

This is done to young girls because it is believed to make them more attractive. It’s also said that sharpened teeth please the spirits the tribes believe in, and bring balance to a female’s life. It’s an old tradition the Mentawaians have been following for years, but the practice isn’t as common anymore. Today, it’s up to the girl to decide if she wants her teeth chiseled to become beautiful.

Xhosa Male Circumcisions

It’s a celebration when a boy has the opportunity to become a man, for the Xhosa people of South Africa. The abakwetha (male initiate) is shaved, and he’s given a feast, before being taken to the mountains where a hut is built for him by his family. The hut will be his home for the next several weeks, so it’s fortified to keep insects and animals away (primarily to protect from disease).

Without any preparation, the surgeon appears and conducts the circumcision. The foreskin is removed, often with a dull blade, and the boy is left alone. He takes refuge in his hut where he cannot eat or drink water until he’s healed. The risk of infection is high. The blade alone, which is used on multiple boys transitioning into men, can often carry STD’s. One of the big fears of the boys going into the procedure is news of previous abakwetha that have been hospitalized because of the circumcision.

Fulani Whip Match

The Fulani people, from Benin, have been living nomadically in West Africa for years. For their boys to be considered men, they must endure a tormenting bloody whip match that will test their strength, self-control and bravery. The initiate picks a long stick and sharpens it in a way that will guarantee the most painful blow with every whip. Once he has his weapon, clans from all over gather for the ceremony, where two youths are pitted against each other.

His goal is to hit his opponent the hardest, and wince the least when he’s struck. Three blows are exchanged between each boy. The crowd decides who has shown the most courage through the ordeal, and he is the winner of the match.

Sabiny Female Circumcisions

Girls of the Sabiny tribe, in Uganda, go through genital mutilation to achieve womanhood. The pain that comes with the tradition is part of the experience that can’t be matched. If she can survive the ordeal, she proves herself strong enough to endure any, and all, obstacles that she may face the rest of her life.

Female circumcisions are complete when the clitoris is partially cut or completely removed. The Sabiny believe this will make a woman faithful to her husband, and keep her from sexual promiscuity. Infection and likeliness of death is high. This, among other health complications, are just part of the tradition that a woman must withstand to prove herself.

Blood Initiation

Papua New Guinea isn’t know just for the crocodile scarification ritual as seen earlier in the list. Deep in the highlands, an equally gruesome rite of passage exists. The Matausa believe that if a boy doesn’t complete the blood initiation, he may suffer the consequences his entire life. He will never be seen as a real man, and he won’t experience the vigor and strength that the others have. That’s why boys are eager to go through the initiation, regardless of pain, to become warriors.

In order to do this, they must cleanse themselves of any remaining female influences left in them from their mothers. First, they must slide two thin wooden canes down their throats to induce vomiting several times to empty their stomachs. Afterward, a collection of reeds are inserted into the initiate’s nose to further expel bad influence. Finally, they must endure repeated stabbings to the tongue. This bloody ritual thus purifies them, and they are truly men afterward.

Bullet Ant Glove

The Brazilian Satere-Mawe tradition, that makes young boys into warriors, has become notorious in recent years. Explorers, adventurers and documentarians flock to the Amazon to catch a glimpse of what is considered to be one of the most painful rite of passage on Earth. What makes the initiation so torturous? The culprit is the bullet ant.

According to the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, the bullet ant has the worst known insect sting. A single sting is comparable to being shot with a bullet (ergo the name). The intense pain lasts a full 24 hours, and can lead to vomiting, nausea and cardiac dysrhythmia. And that’s all from one sting. The Satere-Mawe don’t use just one ant.

Employing natural sedatives, more than thirty bullet ants are submerged in the liquid drug until they are unconscious. A glove weaved from leaves is fashioned and then completed by placing the ants in the tight openings, stingers pointed inward. Once they are conscious, they struggle to free themselves from the weaving, growing increasingly anxious and desperate by each passing second. The boy being initiated has his hands coated in a thin layer of charcoal before slipping on two bullet ant gloves. He must endure their stings for ten minutes. The goal is to keep from screaming or showing signs of weakness. He and the tribe members present chant and dance to take his mind off the pain. Once the ritual is complete, he will suffer from the stings for days but he’s one step closer to being a warrior; this process must be repeated an additional 20 times in the following months for it be officially complete.

source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheListUniverse/~3/q-19E1jkiB4/


10 Truly Ridiculous Criminal Acts

Back in our first year of existence, we published a list of the most stupid thieves. Nearly three years to the day later, we have a second similar list – the most ridiculous criminal acts. We are certain you will love it – most especially item 1. If you ever decide to venture into a life of crime, let these entries be lessons to you.

Not Lion About Any of These


This one won a Darwin Award in 1989. Direct from Melbourne, Australia, a 24-year-old black belt in Chinese Kung Fu, on receiving his 1st degree, was pumped up by his instructor with the brilliant knowledge that he could now overpower and kill a wild animal with his bare hands.

He immediately put the Lord his God to the test, as it were, by driving to the Melbourne zoo, sneaking in after dark and jumping into the lion exhibit. Not that the lions couldn’t have taken him one-on-one, but they saw no need to fight fair. All the police and zookeepers found in the morning were his hands, clenched with red fur in them.

This qualifies as a crime, since it is illegal to trespass in a zoo after closing time, and besides this, the lions had to be retrained not to attack humans, as they now had a taste for human flesh.

Read the Signs


On 29 July 2007, two burglars thought the prime target in North Richland Hills, Texas, would be a store that sells personal home-defense security systems and accessories. In their defense, they managed to stuff over $10,000 worth of surveillance equipment, mostly security cameras and house alarms, into a couple of trash cans in only 1 minute and 15 seconds. All while being recorded by 17 security cameras of the same make and model as the ones they were stealing. There were no less than 12 warning signs across the front of the store advising criminals that, among other things, “someone besides Jesus is watching you, and neither that someone nor Jesus is going to be happy if you break the law.”

There was at least one very good vantage point of their getaway car, including the license plate, which was not stolen, but registered in one of their names. The police tracked them down to one of their homes two days later, a Monday, because on Sunday, the day after their robbery, the police were hampered by too many car accidents to rush the investigation. They still pled “not guilty.”

Barney Fife Was a Rocket Scientist


On 17 August, 1981, Miss Terry Johnson of Chicago was woken at about 2:30 in the morning by two men wearing police uniforms, complete with badges, utility belts, handguns, cuffs and hats. Their nameplates read Tyrone Pickens and Stephen Webster, and Miss Johnson stated later that she was more bewildered than scared. She thought either that these men had stolen the uniforms, or were policemen who thought she was a thief, and were confiscating the stolen property before arresting her.

She waited for them to leave, then wrote down their badge numbers, names, and the number of their police car, and found out by the end of the day that the uniforms were real, and belonged to the two men. They had used police equipment to break into her home, robbed her with their uniforms on, while on duty, and not fled the city afterward. The men pictured above are NOT the criminals named in this entry.

Don’t Trust Those You Rob


In February 2006, a New Zealand shoplifter named Amy Adams returned within a day to the butcher shop she had robbed, because she saw her picture on a local TV news station stating that she had won a lottery and had to appear in person to claim her prize. So she rapidly drove back to the shop, announced her name, pointed herself out in a still photo from a surveillance video, and was promptly handcuffed by undercover policemen. She still denied having broken any law, all the way through court, until the judge explained that she was guilty and had no hope of convincing anyone to the contrary. She then pled guilty, and still claimed she was innocent.

Wrong Move Wrong Time

Car-Thief 0

In this lister’s hometown of Raleigh, NC, on 11 December 2007, someone was stabbed multiple times in an intersection, and 10 police officers responded to the scene. While they were there, in the middle of the day, Anthony William, not the stabber, decided that the traffic jam at the intersection made for some ripe vehicles to steal. He waited for a woman to get out of her car, then walked right up, jumped into it and tried to drive away. Every policeman in the world came down on top of him, one of them even banging on the car hood and shouting to get out. This officer was less than 15 feet away from him and watching him the whole time when he committed the theft.

When he insisted on driving away, they all memorized his license plate and let him go, to avoid a dangerous pursuit. He was picked up in Virginia, when he tried to sell it to a used car dealer.

SILENCE! I kill you!

600X400 Gallery Sc Movie Theater 1

In early 1994, an Islamic terrorist organization in Jordan ordered violent reprisals against all Jordanian stores that sold either videos or liquor. This meant bombing such stores. On 1 February, Eid Saleh al-Jahaleen, 31 years old, accepted $50 in U. S. currency to plant a bomb in a Turkish movie theater, in Zarqa. He entered and discovered that the theater was showing Turkish pornography. He had never seen anything of the sort, and was immediately fascinated.

He stowed his bomb under a seat in the center of the theater, as instructed, then sat down in the same seat and watched the show. 10 minutes later, the bomb blew off both his legs and his testicles. His penis was relatively unscathed, since it was safely inside his right hand. He mercifully bled to death in the aisle.

My Kingdom for a Blackbeard

Somali Pirate Skff

On 1 April, 2010, Somali pirates deliberately attacked the USS Nicholas (FFG-47). These Somali pirates are primarily armed with AKMs (AK-47 upgrades), RPGs, pistols and grenades. The USS Nicholas, a guided missile frigate, is armed with 40 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, one Otobreda, 3-inch artillery rifle that fires 120 rounds per minute, 2 triple-tube torpedo launchers, 4 .50 caliber machine guns, and one 20mm computer-automated Vulcan gatling cannon that fires 4,500 rounds per minute.

Assuming the pirates simply failed to notice the Nicholas’s massive armament, they might have considered the standard U. S. Navy steel-gray paint, and its 453-foot length, as somewhat different from the private yachts on which pirates prefer to prey. But, alas, it was not to be. The Somali pirates opened fire with their small arms. The sailors on board the Nicholas ran to general quarters, the Vulcan cannon shot down three of the four rocket-propelled grenades, and sailors manning one of the .50 caliber machine guns disabled the pirate skiff. The grenade that made it through the hail of cannonfire, struck a bulkhead of the frigate’s superstructure and dented it. The 3 pirates on board surrendered, and then the Nicholas sighted their mothership, an ex-shrimping schooner converted into an armed trawler of sorts. This ship simply turned and fled, but was overtaken and two more pirates were captured.

The bulkhead dent was hammered out and repainted.

Filming Your Own Crime


Not all idiotic criminal acts are funny. The Abu Ghraib Prisoner Abuse scandal of 2004 resulted in a, nearly worldwide, condemnation of the United States (not that the United States was particularly popular before then) for “sinking to the terrorists’ level,” as it were. The primary guilty person was Specialist Charles Graner, the ringleader who incited numerous other guards to torture and humiliate prisoners, or at least look the other way.

What makes these criminals acts truly idiotic is that the perpetrators filmed themselves committing them, with cell phone videos and photos. They collected the evidence that would have convicted them in any court of law on the planet. Others responsible were PFC Lynndie England, Staff Sergeant Ivan Frederick, Sergeant Javal Davis, and soldiers with ranks up to Lt. Colonel and Colonel. Iraq was, at the time, utterly anarchic, even more so than it is now, in 2010, and the guilty persons were under the impression, both that their crimes would not be noticed, and that no one would care.

Wrong Item to Steal


On 22 August, 1911, Vincenzo Peruggia hid in a janitor’s closet in the Louvre, in Paris, France, waited until well after the museum had closed, and then walked out with the Mona Lisa hidden under his coat. His motive was multifold. He was Italian, and so is the painting and its painter, and he wanted it returned to an Italian museum. That might have been construed as selflessly patriotic, except that he didn’t just give it to an Italian museum. He tried to sell it to one: the Uffizi Art Gallery in Florence. He also intended to make some money through a friend who would sell replicas, because with the real one out there somewhere, replica buyers would play the lottery, as it were, trying to buy the real one for cheap. The problem with all of this is that you can’t exactly resell the real Mona Lisa.

The Uffizi curators somehow discovered that it must have come from the Louvre, since, after all, there’s ONLY ONE Mona Lisa and the Louvre is well known for housing it, in which case, the Louvre was not likely to have sold it to one of its part-time employees. Must be a thief in their midst. He was arrested on the spot. Nevertheless, Peruggia was hailed as a hero throughout Italy, as he had hoped, and only served 6 months in prison.

Wrong Person to Mug


If someone were to ask you who the last person anyone should ever dare to mug is, what name would be your answer? This lister is betting on 80% or better of respondents answering, “Chuck Norris.”

Amazingly, astoundingly, two idiots managed to try just that. It happened in 1994. Norris mentions this whole thing in his autobiography, “Against All Odds.” And, by his testimony, this is what happened. Honest to God, it really happened.

In 1994, right at the beginning of his run as Walker, Texas Ranger, Norris was, and still is, living in Dallas, Texas, where the show was filmed. One day he was walking down the street by himself, no entourage, no fans following him, no bodyguards, not even his wife. He turned a commercial block in the downtown skyscraper area and saw two men a little bigger than he coming straight for him from the other end of the block.

They were staring right at him, and he figured they wanted autographs, which he enjoys signing. So he walked up to them and stopped with a smile, whereupon they stood in front of him, whipped out a couple of large pocketknives, and one of them demanded, “Give me your wallet, Chuck! Give it here!”

Norris actually opened his mouth wide and then asked, “Are you insane!?”

“No! We know who you are! And we know you got a lot of money! Now give it up, or you’re dead!”

Now before we go further, let us just go over a few of the particulars. All jokes aside, Chuck Norris truly does have the following black belts: 1st degree in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, 8th Degree Grandmaster in Tae Kwon Do, 9th degree in Jeet Kune Do under Bruce Lee and Lee’s best student, Dan Inosanto, 10th degree in Shito Ryu Karate, 10th degree in Tang Soo Do, 11th degree in Chun Kuk Do.

Granted, the last art is his own concoction, a hybrid of all the best moves he has learned over the years, all blended for both self-defense and competition, and you are only allowed a 10th degree or better in anything when you found your own dojo. But suffice to say, the muggers didn’t even use guns. From a hundred feet away. They used knives within arm’s reach. What happened next was rather anti-climactic.

The police arrived about 4 minutes later, 3 officers in two cars, and were greeted by the scene of two men with SEVERELY broken arms (the bones had gone through the skin) sitting on the curb, two bloody knives in the gutter, and Chuck Norris, the Almighty Himself, leaning against the wall, wearing his beard, jeans, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat….he shrugged at them. The police started laughing so hard that they bent over, holding their sides, unable to put the handcuffs on the muggers. One of them managed to ask, “Did you not know who he was?!”

One of them said, “Yeah, we knew who he was! We figured all that crap on TV was fake!”



12 People Who Died Performing

As a one-time professional singer, I understand how grueling live performances can be. But, unlike all of the entries on this list, I survived my years in the spotlight. This list looks at twelve people who died in the midst of a performance.

Johnny Ace


Johnny Ace was a rhythm and blues musician, active from 1949 to 1954. Born in Tennessee in 1929 as John Marshall Alexander Jnr., he served his country in the Navy during the Korean War before becoming a musician. On Christmas 1954, Ace was performing in Houston, Texas, when, during a break in the set, he began playing with a .22 cal Revolver – as band members often did, shooting at road signs etc. It is widely reported that Ace was either playing Russian roulette during the break, or bragging about how the gun wasn’t loaded, when in fact it was. It’s reported he had been drinking, and was warned to “Be careful” as he waved his pistol around, before stating “it’s okay, gun isn’t loaded see?” while putting it to his head and pulling the trigger.

Edith Webster

Stage Front State

Edith Webster was an actress who performed on stage in theaters. She was performing in Baltimore, and, while singing her swan song “Please don’t talk about me when I’m gone”, collapsed and died, both in the play, and in real life. She had suffered a heart attack at the exact moment her character was meant to collapse and die. Obviously, the audience thought it was part of the act and applauded, unknowingly, at both her death, and the stagehands call for help, thinking it was part of the play.


R 31-04A

Real name Jerome Irving Rodale, was a playwright, editor, author and publisher, born in 1898. During his life he published various Organic Farming magazines. While not technically a performer, he died while appearing as a guest on the Dick Cavett show in 1971. Having finished his interview, but still being on-stage, Cavett brought out his second guest, Pete Hamill – a columnist for the New York Post. It was during this interview that Rodale let out a “snoring sound”, which got laughs from the audience, before the camera zoomed in on his face and Hamill said jokingly, “This looks bad”. Still, the audience laughed, although Cavett wasn’t – he says he ‘knew’ Rodale was dead. Two interns rushed on to stage to try and revive him, but couldn’t. Ironically, during his interview, he said “I’m in such good health that I fell down a long flight of stairs yesterday and I laughed all the way”, “I’ve decided to live to be a hundred”, as well as “I never felt better in my life!” He had also previously bragged that “I’m going to live to be 100, unless I’m run down by some sugar-crazed taxi driver.”

Paul Mantz


Stunt pilots live on the edge of life and death all the time, but Paul Mantz managed to survive a long career as a stunt pilot and racing pilot champion. It was during the filming of ‘The Flight of the Phoenix’, in 1965, that Mantz died, while attempting a very low flight over a desert site in Arizona. According to reports, Mantz’s plane struck a small hillock and he lost control. After trying to save the aircraft, it split in two and nosed into the ground, killing him instantly. Officials have blamed alcohol consumption before the stunt as the reason his judgment and efficiency were not as they should have been. The final credit in The Flight of the Phoenix says, “It should be remembered… that Paul Mantz, a fine man and a brilliant flier, gave his life in the making of this film…”

Karl Wallenda


Karl Wallenda was a German daredevil born in 1905, and the founder of ‘The Flying Wallendas’ – an international dare devil circus act. He was most famed for his wire walks, which he would perform between two very high structures without a safety net, particularly in his later years. In 1978, at age 73, he died while attempting to cross between two towers of a ten story hotel in Puerto Rico. While crossing the gap, winds of around 30 miles per hour were enough to cause Wallenda to lose his balance and fall 121 feet to his death. He was quoted as saying, “Life is being on the wire; everything else is just waiting.”

Leslie “Les” Harvey


Leslie Harvey, born in 1945, was a Scottish guitarist for many bands during the 1960s and 1970s, most notably Stone the Crows. Before their formation in 1969, however, Harvey played with the band ‘Cartoone’ as they toured the United States supporting Led Zeppelin. On 3 May 1972, while performing with Stone the Crows at the Swansea Top Rank Ballroom in Wales, he touched an unearthed microphone with wet hands and was electrocuted. The shock killed him.

Eric Morecambe


John Eric Bartholomew, OBE was an English comedian who, together with Ernie Wise, formed the award-winning comedy duo ‘Morecambe and Wise’. He took his stage name from the seaside town of Morecombe, in which he grew up. He became a famed presenter and comedian throughout the years, co-hosting the hugely popular ‘The Morecambe and Wise Show’, which hit a record 28 million viewers on one of their Christmas Specials. Throughout his career he suffered 2 heart attacks, before succumbing to the third on 28 May, 1984. He was appearing at a comedy show at the Roses Theater in Tewkesbury, and, due to his huge popularity, returned to the stage six times after the end of his show. After his sixth return he announced “That’s your lot!” before leaving the stage. After walking off-stage, he joked “Thank goodness that’s over”, before collapsing. He was pronounced dead at 4am the next morning. He was 58.

Jon-Eric Hexum

Jon Erik Hexum 10

Jon-Eric Hexum was an actor and model, born in the 50’s in New Jersey. He played various roles in American television programs before landing his big lead role in the series ‘Cover Up’ in 1984, in which he played a model turned weapons expert and CIA agent. As with most shows that include guns, the prop .44 Magnum was loaded with blanks, however, it is reported that Hexum was unaware that this prop gun would still shoot out paper wadding which was used to seal gun powder in the shell. During the shooting of a scene where he was to empty the gun of real bullets and load it with blanks, a technical problem meant the scene was delayed, and Hexum fell asleep. Upon waking he realized the scene still wasn’t done and began playing with the gun. It is reported he was playing Russian roulette with the gun, which was loading with 3 empty cartridges and 2 blanks. He put it to his head and said “Let’s see if I’ve got one for me” before pulling the trigger. While the paper wadding didn’t penetrate his skull, it hit with enough force to dislodge a quarter-size piece of skull and propel it into his brain. The accident happened on 12 October, 1984, and, despite 5 hours of surgery, Hexum died 6 days later – he was declared brain dead due to the massive bleeding in his brain. His mother flew his body to San Francisco to be harvested for organ transplants before he was buried.

Brandon Lee


Brandon Bruce Lee was the son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, and was born in 1965. During his relatively short career, he walked in his father’s footsteps and starred in many kung fu and action films throughout the 80’s and 90’s. In 1992, he landed the starring role in ‘The Crow’ – a film based on an underground comic book about an undead musician. On March 31, 1993, the crew were filming a scene in which Lee’s character, Eric Draven, finds his girlfriend being beaten and raped by thugs. As he walked onto set, an actor playing one of the thugs was supposed to shoot at Lee with a gun loaded with blanks. Because of various tamperings with the gun, and the blanks being used (the extent of which is still not fully understood), the gun was left with enough primer to push the bullet cartridge out of the gun. Although at a speed much slower than a proper bullet, from close range, it could still prove dangerous. The malfunction went unnoticed and Lee was hit in the abdomen as the bullet traveled through his body and lodged in his spine. The scene was immediately cut and an ambulance called, though it is believed his heart stopped beating on the way to the hospital. Despite a six-hour operation, and 60 pints of blood transfusions, Brandon Lee died at 1:04pm. He was just 28 years old. He was buried next to his father in Washington.

Dimebag Darrell


Dimebag Darrell (real name Darrell Lance Abbott) was an American guitarist famous for being a founding member of the metal bands Pantera and Damageplan. Born in 1966, throughout his music career he was praised and widely regarded as “one of the most influential stylists in modern metal”. He was killed on stage while performing with Damageplan, on December 8th 2004, by an ex-marine called Nathan Gale. Gale shot Abbott 5 times, including once in the head, before turning on others and shooting a further 10 shots. He killed 3 more people, including an employee of the arena, and Damageplan’s head of security – both of whom tried to wrestle the hand gun from his hands, and an audience member as he tried to perform CPR on Abbott. He also wounded 7 others. He was killed by a policeman who approached him from behind, as he had a hostage in a headlock, and he was shot in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun. A nurse tried to revive Darrell but he was dead by the time paramedics arrived.

The reasons for Gale’s attack have been debated. An initial motive that was theorized was that Gale was angry at the breakup of Pantera and blamed Abbott for this, or that, apparently, Pantera had stolen a song written by Gale. Another theory suggested Gale was a paranoid schizophrenic and was convinced Damageplan members were reading his mind and stealing his thoughts. Darrell Abbott was buried in a KISS casket, with Eddie Van Halen’s Charvel Hybrid VH2 guitar.

Owen Hart

Owen Hart

Owen James Hart was a Canadian wrestler, born in 1965, who won multiple titles during his career, most notably during his time at the WCW, and the WWF. He started his wrestling life in Japan, wrestling for the NJPW (new Japan pro wrestling) circuit, and gained popularity throughout his time in America. He was most memorable for his relationship with his brother, Bret, and his feud with Jerry Lawler, as well as winning his tag team title with Yokozuna. Hart died on May 23rd, 1999, during his arrival to the ring for an Intercontinental Championship match with The Godfather, during the Over-The-Edge pay-per-view event. He was supposed to be lowered into the ring on a harness, where he would be dropped a meter or so from the surface for comedic effect. Tragically, his harness malfunctioned and released Hart too early. He fell 78 feet (24 meters) into the ring and landed chest first on the top rope before being propelled into the middle of the ring. He was able to sit up for a short while after the accident, before losing consciousness. He was rushed to hospital, but pronounced dead on arrival. Hart had died from internal bleeding, due to a severed aorta.

Tommy Cooper


Tommy Cooper was a welsh-born, British prop comedian and magician, famous for the red fez he always wore, and the persona he crafted of a magician whose tricks always go wrong. Cooper died on April 15, 1984, as he performed live on television for a variety show entitled “Live from her Majesty’s”. During a sketch in which he was to pull numerous objects from a gown, just after his assistant helped him put the gown on, Copper collapsed and sat against the curtain while the audience and his assistant laughed, thinking it was an impromptu part of his act. He then fell backwards onto his back, creating more laughs. However, as the minutes passed, it was apparent that something had actually gone wrong, and it wasn’t part of his act. Another curtain was closed to hide where he had fallen, and other acts carried on on the front of the stage. People backstage tried to resuscitate him but couldn’t. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Westminster hospital, from a heart attack. He was 63 years old. Controversy later arose from the fact the video of him collapsing was posted on YouTube. It can be found by searching ‘Tommy Cooper death’.

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10 Best of the Worst Films

What is it about bad movies we love so much? It’s perhaps the same interest that compels us to watch train wrecks, car crashes and buildings implode. We’re just addicted to disasters. However, if the tides are right and the stars are aligned, one fortunate bad movie will luck out and receive the attention that it never even dreamed it’d have. Suddenly, that implausible plot is plausible, that atrocious acting is Shakespearean, and those horrific special effects would make James Cameron weep tears of bitter jealousy. These are just some of the best of the worst films, in no particular order. And there are many more diamonds in the rough, so give us your favorites in the comments!

Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus

Premise: Thousands of years ago, a megalodon and giant octopus were frozen in place during an epic battle. Cut to the present, when the glacier they were trapped in breaks apart, thawing these ancient foes and unleashing them back into the oceans. The monstrous creatures cause havoc across the globe, so it’s up to a special team of scientists to work with the government to ensure these living legends are no longer a threat to humanity.

What’s Bad: Oh a number of things. Besides the fact that the Giant Octopus can whip its tentacle at a fighter jet and knock it out of the sky, Mega Shark can bite into the Golden Gate Bridge, and protagonist Debby Gibson is mankind’s one shot at surviving this horrific ordeal, there are still far too many issues contradicting the believability of the film.

How That Becomes Gold: The conglomeration of overacting, poor production and the slap across the face to every law of physics, transcends absurdity into brilliance. When you consider the magnitude of the premise, you can, at least, appreciate the filmmaker’s efforts to capture these fascinating creatures on film, even if octopi aren’t normally this aggressive (the use of camouflage would have cut this film down exponentially, but we don’t want that now, do we?).

Highlight: While I’m partial to the scene where Debby Gibson’s horrifically acted boss berates her, the real beauty of the film can be witnessed in the iconic scene when Mega Shark brings down a passenger airliner from several thousand feet in the air, after jumping out of the ocean, propelled by its own awesome force of prehistoric mojo.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space


Premise: An alien race (you know they’re aliens because they spell clowns with a “K”) prey on a small town, where they begin to harvest humans to feed all those aboard their circus tent spaceship. The appearance of the aliens is their biggest advantage, making the townsfolk believe they are nothing more than quirky clowns. It’s up to the local police to stop the murderous alien jesters before they kill everyone, and spread out to neighboring cities.

What’s Bad: An evil alien race that looks like Earth-based clowns – does that not provide enough of an answer? Okay, I’ll go on. They use a variety of whimsical weapons that are seemingly harmless, like their rabid balloon animal bloodhounds, their tangible savage shadow creatures, and ray guns that encase a human morsel into a cotton candy cocoon. Somewhere, the Joker is desperately searching for his favorite bludgeoning tool.

How That Becomes Gold: Again, you’re looking at a premise that is so far-fetched, it works. Killer Klowns became a cult classic for its (surprisingly) original premise, outlandish use of puppets and distinctive costumes. Plus, anything that can agitate our coulrophobia is going to be memorable, if not scarring (check out Listverse’s own clown homage).

Highlight: “Whaddya gonna do? Knock my block off?” Local gangsters face one of the aliens, and begin to tease it, only to then destroy its tricycle afterward. How does the alien respond? By punching the thug’s head straight off his neck and into a trash can. I think we learned who the real monster is, here. Kids, don’t pick on others.

Troll 2

Premise: A family goes on vacation to a town called Nilbog (hold your monitor up to a mirror to decode the secret behind the town name). During the course of their stay, they come to realize that the area is inhabited by a kingdom of vegetarian trolls, that trick humans into eating or drinking a concoction that would then turn them into a plant. It’s up to the family to discover a way to ward off the trolls, and survive the frightening experience.

What’s Bad: Everything. The acting, costumes, plot and special effects (floating dead grandpa head isn’t a winner in any movie) were each more terrible than the last. If there was ever a movie that seemed like it was made in a week, with only a few bucks and old camera equipment, this is it. And correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe the trolls in the movie are ever even identified as trolls; they’re called goblins.

How That Becomes Gold: Troll 2 is the epitome of this list’s theme: its badness eclipsed our ability to reason, and we ended up falling in love. It even gained its own cult following, and recently spawned a documentary honoring the film and its actors. There are a ton of fans who would argue that this film was a thing of beauty.

Highlight: Three words: “Oh my God!”

The Rocky Horror Picture Show


Premise: A young couple is stranded in the middle of nowhere after their car gets a flat tire. They arrive at the nearest residence, to ask the head of the household if they may use his phone, when they find they’ve stumbled upon a festival of sorts. The castle is home to a scientist named Dr. Frank N. Furter, whose madness is more than apparent. It’s up to the couple (notice a trend yet?) to survive the night with these strange people, who conceal a terrible secret.

What’s Bad: Now, I’m probably going to get an angry mob chasing after me for putting this film on the list (the cult following is cut-throat!) but hear me out. Transvestites from outer space. Already you can see the issue with the plot, right? All the lunatics in Dr. Furter’s castle (which is also a spaceship) are aliens from the planet Transsexual. Come on, fans. Even you can admit that’s out there. On paper, this movie has a lot of issues.

How That Becomes Gold: However, no matter what argument I can make, I’m going to be wrong because this is probably one of the only movies on this list which people genuinely believe was great. Why? Well the music is fun to sing along with, the dancing adds a nice kick to the action and the plot, as insane as it turned out, is intriguing. And yes, I’ll admit it – Tim Curry was working that corset.

Highlight: Besides Curry in fishnets? Probably the Time Warp song and dance number that introduces our young heroes to the castle inhabitants. It’s so unexpected for them and for the audience, and it’s really only the start of the insanity for both parties. Be forewarned. It’s catchy!

Snakes on a Plane

Premise: Does it matter? There are snakes on a plane! Alright, alright. A quick summary: A man witnesses a murder. Two FBI agents escort him from Hawaii to Los Angeles, so that he may testify against the murderer. Once their flight is discovered, a crate full of venomous snakes is planted on the plane, to ensure this witness won’t survive the trip. It’s up to the FBI agents to ensure the plane lands safely, and its passengers are protected from these reptilian villains.

What’s Bad: Snakes on a plane. Everything you need to know about what makes this film horrible is in the title. And while there’s a lot more that adds to its list of awful flaws, we should all be most upset over the special effects. Clearly, whoever was in charge of making those snakes look believable had never actually seen a snake move. When you have snakes hissing like cats, striking like cracks of a whip, and biting with an aim not even skilled archers have, you lose credibility.

How That Becomes Gold: Snakes on a plane. Even before the film was released, it became an internet sensation, when the trailer slithered onto the scene. Everything about this movie seemed so ridiculous that people couldn’t help but revel in the scales, screams and venom. It became the kind of film you’d watch when you have friends over, you need a good laugh and a reason to quote Samuel Jackson. And speaking of which…

Highlight(s): Samuel Jackson. Mile high club death. Heel to the ear. Kenan Thompson landing the plane. Crotch bites. And of course, snakes on a plane!

Batman and Robin

Premise: A criminal known as Mr. Freeze stages a number of robberies through Gotham City, while Poison Ivy, another dangerous villain, is gaining her own notoriety through use of her plant manipulating powers. It’s up to Batman, with the aid of his sidekick Robin, to stop these two fiends before they destroy the city and move on to their plans of dominating the world.

What’s Bad: As a DC Comics fan, I couldn’t possibly tell you everything wrong with this, but I’ll boil it down to a few problems. It’s campy, contrived, poorly acted, badly written and so outlandish that it’s a surprise Batman’s reputation wasn’t completely sullied by Schumacher’s vision. Plus, there were nipples on the Batman suit. Is it really important to know where his nipples would be if he wasn’t wearing that suit? I want an answer!

How That Becomes Gold: Apparently, the nipples have an audience. Batman and Robin became such a joke that, instead of cringing, people were laughing along with it. Many hardcore fans excuse the film by saying it was a literal interpretation of a Batman comic book, back in the Silver Age of comics (1950s-1970s) while others simply adore the cheesy one-liners.

Highlight: Definitely the ice puns. “Let’s kick some ice!”

Rocket Man

Premise: When a trained astronaut is unable to properly utilize the navigation system aboard the spaceship scheduled to be used in the first manned mission to Mars, its original programmer replaces him. Fred Randall is a clumsy nerd with good intentions, who has always dreamed of traveling in space. He joins the crew, only to realize his accident prone nature is just as bad in zero-gravity as it is on Earth. They arrive on Mars and are met with terrible sand storms, leaving it up to Randall to save them before they lose power completely.

What’s Bad: Now this movie is a personal pick and I’ll tell you why: there’s so many cornball, awkward and utterly foolish aspects to this film that, right away, people should have known to stay clear of it (as we know, Disney is not celebrated for their live-action comedies). It relies heavily on slapstick humor to highlight the bumbling protagonist’s childlike mentality, the premise is ridiculous and insulting to the arduous training and tests real astronauts must endure, and there’s a chimpanzee sidekick to, I don’t know, make primates interested in watching. The point is, the movie is just silly!

How That Becomes Gold: It’s charming. All those bad qualities of the film boil down to a surprisingly entertaining space story (although, most of that credit belongs to comedian and protagonist of the film, Harland Williams, for his wide-eyed, astronaut-wannabe performance). So then, yes, I can believe he accidentally eats hemorrhoid cream, that the chimpanzee steals his hypersleep pod, and that a klutz could become a space hero. The film is just another guilty pleasure.

Highlight: The announcement, of course!

Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare

Premise: A rock band travels to an abandoned barn in rural Canada, where a studio has been built for them to record their new album. They’re taken aback to learn that the area is haunted by armies of Satan. Band members are consumed, one rocker at a time, until only the lead singer is left. Little does Beelzebub know that this headbanger conceals a secret that’s as ancient, and powerful, as the ruler of Hell himself.

What’s Bad: Have I used “cornball,” “camp” and “lame” too many times already, or can I get away with using those words again? That’s, essentially, what this B-horror rock opera is, in the end. The special effects are atrocious and the acting makes you roll your eyes. Not to mention the dialogue! The list goes on and on here. However…

How That Becomes Gold: This is an awesomely bad fun movie. You’d actually be shocked to hear the music in the film is both rockin’ and rollin’ (it’s all hair/glam rock if you’re into that)! In fact, the soundtrack alone excuses a lot of the campiness and contrivances, much like another musically-inclined film in this list. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself loving this action-packed movie and all its flaws.

Highlight: The starfish fight. “When will you ever learn?”

Howard the Duck

Premise: A dimensional-jumping device, pointed at Duckworld, inadvertently brings an anthropomorphic alien named Howard to Earth. He finds himself stranded on this strange new world, searching for a way to get back home. Meanwhile, he confronts another alien that refers to himself as the Dark Overlord of the Universe. It’s up to Howard and the friends he’s made on Earth to stop the Dark Overlord from bringing more of his kind to this dimension.

What’s Bad: He’s a duck. He’s a talking, cigar smoking, music-loving duck. Granted the film is based on a Marvel Comics character, so we, at least, know he wasn’t an original idea made for film, but still! He’s a duck! The science in the movie is a mix of cool sounding jargon that doesn’t have any real significance, the plot jumps all over the place, and the action sequences are laughable. Did I mention it was produced by George Lucas? Not that I’m suggesting anything though…

How That Becomes Gold: Once you reconfigure your mind to accept Duckworld and its inhabitants, like Howard, the movie’s fun to watch. So what if most of it doesn’t sense? The music is great, Lea Thompson looks hot in the film and Howard is one cool cat that knows how to party (er, metaphorically speaking).

Highlight: The clip above. I’m not sure how to describe it so I’ll just show you. If this doesn’t make you cringe and laugh at the same time, nothing will. I can’t imagine what was going through Lea Thompson’s mind when she filmed this.

Mortal Kombat

Premise: The Elder Gods hold a fighting tournament once every generation to keep the realms from initiating war. However, if the Outworld wins ten consecutive times, evil emperor Shao Kahn will invade Earthrealm. Raiden, this realm’s defender, chooses three fighters to win the tournament and keep Shao Kahn from invading. It’s up to them to defeat the monsters and villains trying to conquer Earthrealm, while battling with their own demons and desires of vengeance.

What’s Bad: It’s lame. If you watch the fighting sequences, you can almost count along with the actors and predict their next move. It falls into a routine that looks so robotically engineered, it becomes distracting. The acting, too, is exaggerated; either actors show no emotions, or too much, through strange facial expressions. I won’t even get into the special effects because you can see that for yourself in the clip above.

How That Becomes Gold: The opening credits tell you everything you should expect from this movie, and it delivers. It doesn’t promise to be an Oscar worthy film. Instead it says, “We’re going to blow your mind by fighting the entire time to rapid techno rock music.” And they do! It’s an exciting movie that pumps you up and makes you want punch someone, in a good way (if that’s possible).

Highlight: Any and all fight sequences.

Honorable Mention: Plan Nine from Outer Space, Manos: Hands of Fate, and The Room


10 Craziest Scientific Theories

Crazy is such an ugly word but how else can we describe these concepts? They each try to explain some aspect of our universe in a manner that just seems bizarre. Granted, most things in the universe are odd already, and we haven’t even begun to fully understand a fraction of it, but there’s something particularly disturbing about these theories. They express ideas that are too mindboggling and inconceivable, even for fellow scientists. While none of them have been verified or completely dismissed, we should still speculate because in a universe as crazy as ours, we just never know what might be true.

Ekpyrotic Universe

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The ekpyrotic scenario provides an alternative to the widely accepted Big Bang theory. It suggests that, unlike the Big Bang that began from singularity, our universe is one of a pair of universes that collided. The effect of the collision resets the universe. From there, it expands for billions of light years (the way we imagine the Big Bang occurring) until it contracts back to the Big Crunch. The speed and energy of that reduction creates another massive collision and the universe is reborn. The cycle continues for infinity.

Did you catch the crazy part? This theory states there’s another universe out there. That’s not too strange considering we accept the possibility of parallel universes. But if the ekpyrotic scenario is correct, our twin universe is right next to us in another dimension, separated by a distance less than the diameter of an atom. That’s close, even for siblings.

White Holes


White holes, unlike their black hole neighbors, have not been studied because they only exist in an extremely hypothetical situation. In fact, there’s not even a clear understanding what a white hole could be. Is it the other end of a black hole? Is it a wormhole? Is it something else entirely?

Generally, white holes are thought to spit out matter, much like black holes eat matter. For this to happen, the matter that passes through a black hole would have to be protected during the voyage, avoiding the process of merging into singularity. No white holes have ever been detected, up to this point, and no black holes have been seen without an event horizon (the guarding force around a black hole that prevents us from seeing them) that may show us just how matter passes through. To do that, white holes would have to break a few laws of physics and reinstitute some ideas that have been discarded; that’s asking a lot. Until then, white holes are best left for hypothetical ideas or naughty jokes.

Dark Energy is Murder

Dark Expansion-Lg

According to Professor Lawrence Krauss, every time we look at dark energy, we’re killing the universe. Now dark energy, as you may recall, makes up 70% of the universe. It answers for all the invisible peculiarities we see in deep space. It’s also one of the most perplexing concepts that’s becoming more accepted nowadays. Why wouldn’t we try to explore it?

He suggests that the Big Bang was initiated when strange high energy with repellent gravity decayed into zero-energy; it went from a false vacuum to an ordinary vacuum causing the universe to happen. Now in quantum mechanics, there is what’s called the quantum Zeno effect. It states that if an unstable object is observed regularly, it will never decay. Krauss argues then, that under the same principle, if dark energy is continuously observed, we are keeping it unstable and reducing the universe’s lifespan by forcing it back to that state when it was a false vacuum. With our interest so high in the invisible dark energy that makes up the universe, it seems unlikely that astronomers will stop studying it. If Krauss is right, we’re doomed.

Matrix Universe


Does anyone remember that little movie that came out a few years ago? The protagonist could stop bullets and see time slow down as he fought his enemies. It was called the Matrix. Did you catch it?

If you haven’t, (been living under a rock much?) go check it out, because it might provide the ultimate answer to the universe: we live in a computer program. It surely seems like science fiction to say that one day computers will become so powerful that they will be able to simulate consciousness, but as technology advances, that crazy thought could become reality. In a simulated world, we could be trapped in the mundane until death or live out fantasies and never even realize we’re hooked up to a machine. Hell, for all we know, we’re in a matrix universe right now. Time to start a rebel team and escape, don’t you think?

Universe is a Hologram

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On the subject of the unreal, there’s another theory that suggests we’re not in an elaborate computer program but that much of what we think is the universe is nothing more than a hologram made by the universe itself.

The idea is when we look at the night sky, we’re seeing a wall with an image on it (that includes all the galaxies and stars). This holographic principle might explain why the universe appears grainy on the most basic of energy scales. Remember that a holographic image is created when an object is bathed by the light of a laser and a second laser jumps off the first’s reflective surface (which is then recorded). A third light illuminates the image to reveal the holograph. If changes to gravity waves is caused by patterns of light, than it would simulate what is, essentially, the process of creating a holographic image. If this was proven, then it would change most of what we think we know about the universe.

Black Hole Babies

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We could be the child of a black hole. The idea is, when matter gets pulled into a black hole, it becomes so dense before reaching singularity, that the black hole might spit it back out and form a universe from that very same matter.

In other words, a universe with many black holes would have created many baby universes. We still can’t detect exactly where black holes are located in our universe (though we can estimate their location by recording the movement of stars and planets around them) but that might just be because we’re a baby universe, a product of another universe’s black hole with insufficient means. This idea supports the possibility of the multiverse where there could be an infinite amount of universes.

Many-Worlds Interpretation

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On the subject of an omniverse, the many-worlds interpretation takes a different approach explaining multiple universes. While I can tell you that this concept of quantum mechanics argues the objective reality of space but denies the reality of wavefunction collapse (or rather the condensing of physical possibilities into one single occurrence) but I go cross-eyed just thinking about that. Basically, the interpretation says for every decision we make, a new universe is born.

When you woke up this morning, did you brush your teeth? Another you may be living in a different universe where you didn’t, while you live in the universe where you did (I’m giving the present you the benefit of the doubt). After that, did you floss? Again, a separate universe exists depending on the outcome of your choice. Each decision then is played out in full until you come across another decision and another universe branches out from there. If this is the case, then there are an infinite amount of universes, each accounting for every person’s every decision.

Heat Death


The argument uses the second law of thermodynamics by stating that if the universe was infinite, it should also be infinitely old. Or to make that sound less daunting, a star one hundred light years away could only be there if the universe was at least one hundred years old (if the speed was constant, more on that later). So if the universe is infinitely old, heat death suggests everywhere should be the same temperature and there should be no stars in the sky because they all would have died out (or they should all be at the same cooled temperature).

The explanation: If the universe was infinitely old, then stars should be cool because they warmed their surroundings, making the temperature across the universe uniform. However, there are stars and the universe doesn’t have an equal temperature throughout (as detected by cosmic background radiation). This idea also only works if the speed at which the universe is expanding has remained constant because such ideas as cosmic inflation claim expansion is not always the same. When you have variables such as dark flow and dark energy also pushing and tugging on matter, heat death’s vision of a starless sky appears dim (slight pun intended).

Theory of Everything


The theory of everything will be the ultimate discovery. It would combine quantum mechanics and general relatively to solve all the riddles around us into a neat little package. It would be able to name all the physical constants in the universe, whether or not those constants vary over time, locate other fundamental elements in the unobservable universe (such as dark matter and dark energy), and so on.

But why mention it here? Well, to have a theory that would explain all the mysteries of a seemingly changing universe seems insane. Think of a screw trying to fit into hundreds of holes in a wall but every hole is a different size and shape and possibly in a different dimension or universe. That’s a big achievement but scientists hope to find a unified answer. The closest possibility we have right now is the M-theory, an extension of string theory.

Time Travel


What do Marty McFly, Dr. Who and Bill and Ted have in common? They’re time travelers. They were able to do the impossible and make the voyage through our perception of time. It should go without saying time travel comes with a whole universe of problems, making the possibility extremely unrealistic. Consider the following:

You go back in time and kill your father. Theoretically, you can’t kill him because then you wouldn’t be born to kill him. You do so anyway and it turns out, he isn’t your real father and you actually killed your step-father. You’re real father goes untouched and thus the past and present line up perfectly. Well, not yet. When you left the present to go into the past, there’s an issue about your body. Do you become a duplicate so you exist in your own present time and in the past or are you displaced from time itself and inserted in another? That also doesn’t make sense because if you follow the rules of what we perceive as time, you’d return to the past as a baby, if even that. What if you go back in time and kiss your high school crush, making him/her fall in love with you? That should alter the future where you lived by yourself that led you to go to the past in the first place. That kiss and its alteration of history keeps you from going to the past at all. If in that different chain of events you still go to the past to make it in time for that kiss, you’ll be trapped in a cycle. And consider that all these questions are only applicable if time is cyclical. If time is linear, your past, present and future aren’t constantly happening somewhere, making time travel impossible (there would be nothing to travel back to). If time was cyclical, this suggests that everything is preordained and you have no free will. What you think of as free will would already be recorded and whatever action you believe is different than the original action is actually the decision you were going to make anyway.

Don’t worry, I got lost along the way too. To simplify all this, we look to Stephen Hawking who provides us with one question that indicates whether time travel will ever be possible: Why aren’t we inundated with time travelers from the future? They should be here right now, knowing full well that we’re interested in such topics as time travel to explain just how they accomplish it from a future tens of thousands of years in the future. This isn’t the case because maybe this science fiction dream is just that: a dream.

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