Author Varla Ventura joined George Noory to share some bizarre and weird Christmas stories from around the world. The Christmas season is supernaturally charged, she said, noting how various cultures believe that spirits can more easily step into our dimension at this very special time of year. In some Scandinavian countries, it is tradition to lay out a supper for any ghosts that might roam into one's home, as a way of honoring the dead and insuring good fortune for the coming year, Ventura explained. This is similar to the Western practice of leaving milk and cookies out for Santa Claus, she added.
There are numerous beliefs about magical things occurring on Christmas Eve. In old Europe it was commonly held that water left out on that night would turn into wine, Ventura continued. Water drawn from a well on Christmas Eve was changed to blood, and if gazed upon, would shorten the curious viewer's lifespan to less than a year, she noted. A Slavic belief held that young women could see their future spouses on Christmas Eve. According to this tradition, a single woman put out a loaf of bread, along with a plate, knife and fork, and in the night the 'spirit' of her future husband would arrive and throw the knife at her, Ventura said. If the knife hits and injures the woman, her future spouse will die young; if it does not hit her, he will be a good and kind man, she revealed.
Some believe that animals can converse and be understood by humans at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve. Ventura recounted a story about a woman who, after overhearing a dog and cat talk about her impending demise, ran out of her house and into the hands of thieves who murdered her. In Scandinavia, folkloric tales warned people to stay in after dark for fear of encountering vicious Christmas Trolls who dance and drink throughout the 12 nights of Christmas, she reported. Ventura also spoke about Ruprecht, a devil-like figure and companion of Saint Nicholas who beats bad children with sticks and chains, and, in some cases, takes them home in a sack for dinner. Ventura announced that two of her eBooks have been made available for a limited time as free PDF downloads: A Kidnapped Santa Claus and The Christmas Troll.
The remainder of the show featured Open Lines. At the end of the program, George played a recording of Detroit broadcaster Lee Allan's reading of A Letter from Michael.
A spectacular image of Comet Lovejoy, which recently survived a close encounter with the Sun, was captured by International Space Station Commander Dan Burbank as the object appeared over Earth's eastern horizon. Burbank described the view as "the most amazing thing I have ever seen in space." Robin Scagell of the Society for Popular Astronomy suggested the Star of Bethlehem could have been a comet like Lovejoy. More at The Telegraph.
Bumper music from Friday December 23, 2011