How Talismans Work
Researchers say talismans work by attaching a hope or wish to a physical object which induces the placebo effect. The objects demonstrate the power of the mind.
"It's often assumed that unsophisticated people are most likely to be drawn to talismans, but intellectuals and corporate titans are drawn to them, too, says Dr. [Scott] Sandage, [an American history professor at Carnegie Mellon University]. Personal talismans often are most meaningful when they offer a sense of connection to a time, place or community. Dr. Sandage, 46, keeps a small box on his office desk, which contains an odd assortment of items, including a hose clamp, a chrome lug nut, some brown string, and a 13/64th drill bit. After his dad died last year at age 88, this box was discovered among the few belongings he'd brought with him when he moved into a nursing home."
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In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.
- Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
- The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
- Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.
- In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
- This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
- Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
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