The REAL exorcism of Emily Rose

The devil has all the best illusions

How about a spooky story for Halloween? Remember a film called The Exorcism of Emily Rose that came out a few years ago? Scary, wasn’t it? Well, this is worse…

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When circus acts go badly wrong

If you found the magic trick accidents I showed you the other day too distressing, you might not want to read on! Serious circus accidents are thankfully quite rare – these people are professionals. If you spend every day riding a unicycle across a wire 50 feet in the air, you have an incentive to be good at your job! But these things do happen from time to time. Watch what happens here, from about 3 minutes in:

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The most realistic horror ever made

I was really excited to hear that the BBC are going to show a behind-the-scenes documentary about “Ghostwatch“, that terrifying mockumentary from the 90s where Sarah Greene and Mike Smith investigate a poltergeist. This show scared people so much it was banned from being repeated!

This hallowe’en will be its 20 year anniversary, and it’s said to have inspired everything from Derren Brown’s Seance to the Blair Witch Project.

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How to make animals talk

How amazing is this? A beluga whale has learned to make sounds that are freakily like human speech. Give it a listen – I promise, it is so weird!
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Pretend you’re someone else

David Tennant’s Hamlet delivers the most mis-quoted line in Shakespeare

 

Acting is a form of communication – and a really important one, because we have to show the best and worst of humanity in the most honest way possible.

My top tips:

1. Let background info you have on the character drive the way you play them, and your performance will seem a million times more convincing. Make it your mission to know your character inside and out.

2. Emotion is what makes an actor. Draw from your own experience to find real emotions. Think about something happy when you have to play happiness, and so on.

3. Don’t think of it as pretending! You need to, on some level, “be” that character. We have much greater range than we think, but sometimes we have to dig deep for it.

4. Finally, however badly you want that part, know where to draw the line! Who can forget Joey from Friends acting on a full bladder… Continue reading

Could you do the firewalk?

You’ve probably seen performers doing the ancient firewalk routine – they get a bed of coals burning hot, then stroll over it like it’s nothing. It’s one of those tropes that turns up everywhere and has almost become a corporate team-building cliche. Remember this, on The (US) Office?

 

It was an empowering experience from Pam, just as it’s still a rite of passage for dozens of cultures around the globe.

But what’s really going on? There’s quite a lot of debate about how firewalking works. Some scientists say it’s all about water: if your feet are wetted before the walk, you could get ash building up to create a protective barrier. Or maybe years of practice just make for hard calloused feet that can’t feel pain. However it works, it’s definitely not one to try at home! Look at this Mythbusters clip – and weep! Continue reading

This will make you look away

Christian Bale in the Prestige. There’s only one way he can do that trick… isn’t there?

Has a friend ever told you they’ve seen someone who looked just like you? It’s not that hard to find people who look similar (and it can be quite useful in certain magic tricks as you can imagine!) but there’s a slightly more creepy kind of ‘doppelganger’. Legend has it there are ghost-like beings that take on the form of their victims, and whose appearances are a bad omen.

The internet is full of spooky doppelganger stories (the story of Emilie Sagée will give you goosebumps) and a few famous people are said to have had visits from mysterious doubles.

Abraham Lincoln supposedly saw a vision in the mirror of his face reflected twice, one paler than the other – his wife thought this meant he would be re-elected, but die in his second term, as indeed he did. The poet Shelley saw a vision of himself pointing to the sea shortly before drowning in it, and writer Guy de Maupassant’s double helpfully dictated his work for him. After Queen Elizabeth I saw her dying double in her deathbed, she soon followed suit.

What do you think? Is it just electrical stimulation of the brain, a glimpse into a parallel universe, a side-effect of too much absinthe… or are there things out there we can’t explain?