Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Pearls of wisdom

I swear, sometimes it seems like the universe is listening.  And laughing at me.

You may recall from Saturday's post, about people thinking that drinking distilled water can cure and/or kill you, that a few days previous I'd wondered what happened to all the alt-med woo-woos, that it seemed like we hadn't heard anything from them in a long while.  Then a loyal reader sent me the distilled water link, and I found out I was wrong.

But apparently pointing out that the quacks hadn't quacked in a long time has now opened the floodgates.  Because a different loyal reader sent me another link yesterday, this one worse than the distilled water one.

This site claims that there's a "herbal remedy" that -- and I promise I'm not making this up -- can be stuck into a woman's vagina to "detox the imprints left behind by her ex-boyfriend."

The product, which is called "Goddess Vaginal Detox Pearls," is a little lump of various herbs wrapped in a piece of cloth that supposedly can reduce menstrual cramps, increase libido, kill parasites, and "detox your ex."  The head of the company that sells these things, Vanessa White, explains that every time a woman has sex, the man leaves an imprint on her "yoni, womb, and uterus area."

The "pearls," she says, have a "vibrational energy" that can somehow sync up with the bad vibes left behind by your former lover and pull those out.  "I remove (insert person’s name) from my womb area during this cleanse," is what you're supposed to say, instead of what seems more reasonable to me, which is, "I wish like hell I had a higher IQ."

Oh, and you're supposed to leave the thing up there.  For days.

So, okay.  I have a few reactions to all of this, as follows:
  • If having sex leaves a mark on your uterus, you're doing it wrong.
  • The only "imprints" I can think of left behind from consensual sex are the possibilities of pregnancy and STDs, and I don't see the "Goddess Pearls" doing anything about those one way or the other.
  • Sticking random, non-sterile objects into your various bodily orifices seems like a good way to end up with toxic shock syndrome.  I know I'm male, so my perspective on this might be a little off, but I think I'd prefer still having the vibrational energy frequencies of previous lovers hanging around than I would dying in horrible agony of TSS.
  • If you have parasites in your vagina, you may want to see a doctor.
  • "Ewwwww."
Worse still, you should read some of the comments left by reviewers.  Wait, cancel that; many of these reviews came with photographs, and despite being a biologist and relatively inured to gross stuff, I think I'm going to need some therapy to get over looking at them.  As I read along, my expression got closer and closer to this:

Women who have used these things have had burning pain, various sorts of discharge that I would prefer not even thinking about, and -- in at least two cases -- have lost pieces of their vaginal lining.

If that doesn't make you stay in a protective crouch for the rest of the day, you're made of sterner stuff than I am.  And that's even considering that, as aforementioned, I'm male.

But of course, there's the usual "this product is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any medical condition" disclaimer, which apparently is meant to mean, "We can ask you to do any idiotic thing we want in the name of health and still get off scot-free.  We could ask you to stick cow shit up your nose.  We could ask you to stand on your head outside, stark naked, in the middle of January, and sing the National Anthem.  We could ask you to stare straight into the Sun to absorb its healing rays directly into your retinas.  And the reason we can do this is because: many of you would do it without question.  And afterwards, claim that the quantum vibrations of your auras were much improved or some fucking thing.  And then look around for the next 'cure' we're peddling."

So, yeah: if I haven't made the point clearly enough, (1) do not stick random stuff into your orifices unless you're sure they're sterile and won't burn your insides so bad your tissue starts sloughing off.  (2) Having consensual sex does not leave an imprint on your internal body parts.  And for cryin' in the sink, (3) please exercise a little critical thinking before you buy the latest thing from the alt-med gurus.


In 1983, a horrific pair of murders of fifteen-year-old girls shook the quiet countryside of Leicestershire, England.  Police investigations came up empty-handed, and in the interim, people who lived in the area were in fear that there was a psychopath in their midst.

A young geneticist from the University of Leicestershire, Alec Jeffreys, stepped up with what he said could catch the murderer -- a new (at the time) technique called DNA fingerprinting.  He was able to extract a clear DNA signature from the bodies of the victims, but without a match -- without any one else's DNA to compare it to -- there was no way to use it to catch the criminal.

The way police and geneticists teamed up to catch an insane child killer is the subject of Joseph Wambaugh's book The Blooding.  It is an Edgar Award nominee, and is impossible to put down.  This case led to the now-commonplace use of DNA fingerprinting in forensics labs -- and its first application in a criminal trial makes for fascinating reading.

[If you purchase the book from Amazon using the image/link below, part of the proceeds goes to supporting Skeptophilia!]

1 comment:

  1. Toxic shock syndrome is no joke. My friend's niece nearly died from it recently; she survived through emergency medical treatment but tragically this included having all four limbs amputated. They don't know yet what caused it. She is in her 20s. So yeah. No random shit in orifices. PLEASE.