You grow up, you look things up in Wikipedia --- and illusions shatter. Darn. Take P.T. Barnum, for example, that great American showman. So far as anyone can determine, he never said "There's a sucker born every minute." But he should have. It's a great line. And assuredly true.
Ghosts and demons, for example. I was surprised early in the week to note a big uptick in views of a 2011 Lucas Countyan post entitled "House Proud in Garden Grove."
I'd thrown that one together hurriedly utilizing old snapshots of the since-restored Stearns mansion and Realtor photos of the J.J. McClung house, which had come onto the market recently.
As it turns out tall (and improbable) tales involving a demon, told by a former owner of the Stearns house, apparently have been incorporated into an episode of a low-budget series called "A Haunting" that seems to be part of a dumbing-of-America television service called "Destination America." Other affiliated programs have titles like, "Hillbilly Blood," "BBQ Pit Wars" and "Armageddon Arsenals." You get the idea.
This episode seems to have been broadcast first over the weekend, and quite a few viewers have then rushed to their computers to Google "Stearns" in some combination of words. Apparently some of them actually take this crap seriously.
Old houses are haunted by failing roofs, dry rot, outdated wiring, rusty plumbing and faulty foundations --- but not by spirits of the deceased --- or demons. Get a clue, people.
And then yesterday, a video clip purporting to prove that Jesus identified Barack Obama by name as the Antichrist somewhere in the New Testament popped up in my Facebook feed. Just for giggles, I watched it through "Barack" to the start of "Obama." Oh my ...
Sadly, I'm afraid the poor soul who launched this took it seriously.
The concept of Antichrist has been around for centuries, based upon a couple of New Testament verses that reputable scholars agree have nothing to do with an actual personage. Protestant reformers had a bone to pick with the Vatican, so quite naturally identified a succession of Popes as the Antichrist (some demented Protestants still do).
More recently, religious loons have taken to looking among politicians. I abandoned that train of thought when Ronald Reagan died, but others carry on.
The lovely thing about this, of course, is that it bodes well for Hillary Clinton. She's a woman, you know, and women aren't allowed into positions of authority in the celestial scheme of things. Since the Antichrist obviously will have authority over men, Hillary's off the hook.
Earlier this summer, somebody stuck a video entitled "Evolution vs. God" between the front doors after I'd inadvertently left the storm door unlocked. I held on to that for a week or so, thinking it might be good for a laugh or two, then finally tossed it after deciding life was too short for such nonsense.
I suspect some religiously-affiliated group purchased these in bulk for distribution, since that's one of the ways the video is being marketed. No idea who, however. Well, actually ....
I did read a review or two, however.
Prepared by an evangelist named Ray Comfort, the video claims to prove that one or another of the creation myths recorded in the Hebrew Bible book of Genesis somehow is factual.
Unfortunately for Comfort, even proponents of creationism among fundamentalist and evangelical scholars were not impressed simply because the video is so poorly done.
Fortunately, for Comfort, there's a sucker born every minute --- as P.T. Barnum didn't say. But he should have.