Some interesting facts:
1. Can witches fly? Medieval witches believed flight was possible with the aid of ointments rubbed on their skin. Practitioners rubbed their bodies with creams made from nightshade and mandrake, which, when absorbed through the skin, created a hallucinogenic effect. This produced the desired sensation of riding on a broomstick across the night sky, helping foster the legend that witches can, indeed, fly.
2. In the summer of 1692, residents of Cape Ann, Massachusetts, became convinced that an army of mysterious strangers had them under siege. They suspected that this "army" was French-Canadians allied with hostile Indians, and gunfire was exchanged. When the colonists went to view the bodies, there was not evidence of them. The strangers were accused of beating on barns and throwing stones, among other things. After the episode had run its course, a clergyman/witch hunter by the name of Cotton Mather speculated that the invaders had been demons.
3. Is it true that a town in Pennsylvania has had a fire burning underneath it for forty years? Yes. Centralia, Pennsylvania, located in the anthracite mining region of Pennsylvania, has been burning underground since May 1962. Attempts over the years to douse the fire in the coal mine under the town have been unsuccessful and the population of 1,100 residents has dwindled to fifteen.
4. In Greek mythology, the laurel was a tree with magical properties. According to myth, Daphne transformed herself into a laurel, which made the tree sacred to Apollo. The leaves of the laurel were chewed by the Delphic Oracle to induce visionary powers of prophecy. Sprigs of laurel were also hung over doorways to chase ghosts away from Greek homes. In addition, the smoke of burning laurel leaves was considered a health benefit. The unwell inhaled the fumes with the hope that their illness would vanish.
5. In late seventeenth-century England, belief in fairies was still widespread. So much so, in fact, that one Mrs. Parish persuaded Goodwin Wharton, for a decent sum of money, that she had arranged a marriage between him and the Queen of Fairies. For some reason, though, every time Mr. Wharton was supposed to meet his bride-to-be, the meeting was put off. One time, for example, he was "asleep" when he was supposed to meet the Queen. Mrs. Parish's swindle went on for a decade.
6. French researchers say that there are early indications that the north and south magnetic poles might change places! According to Gauthier Hulot of the Institute of Earth Sciences in Paris, the last such reversal took place 780,000 years ago. Now, data from an orbiting satellite indicates that a similar shift may be happening. If the rate of change continues at the present pace, the north and south magnetic poles will flip-flop in 2,000 years. Will North Become South?
7. According to occult belief, an etheric projection is a white, cloud-like replica of an individual's physical body, similar to a ghost or apparition. This etheric projection can be sent a great distance, allowing the psychic to visit absent friends or loved ones. When the etheric body is absent, the physical body lapses into a deep trance state, resembling death. Yet, while the psychic's body retains a heartbeat and a pulse, her "personality" is many miles away, observing the people who are dear to her heart.
8. In 1983, a Mrs. Carson of Lake Kushaqua, N.Y., was laid out in her coffin, presumed dead of heart disease. As mourners watched, she suddenly sat up. Her daughter dropped dead of fright.
9. Novia Scotia's most haunted locale is the Sackville-Beaver Bank region, says Darryll Walsh, an expert on ghostly happenings in Canada. Reported sightings include the Cobequid railway ghost, considered to be the wife of a man killed more than a century ago, as well as a friendly ghost who haunts the basement of a school in Waverley. In addition, there are several new reports of mysterious glowing lights at an abandoned military base in the area and frequent observations of a ghost wandering lonely Beaver Bank Road.
10. In east Africa, soccer teams hire witchdoctors to ensure their success. Known as "jujumen," these soothsaying specialists use a variety of magical rituals to create successful outcomes for their teams. In fact, witchcraft is considered part of the team's mental preparation for a game; just knowing that a jujuman is using divine powers helps team members relax. Typical witchcraft prescriptions include avoiding females first thing in the morning and leaving soccer balls on a grave during the night before a big game.