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.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Hair apparent

One of the most frustrating things about being a skeptic is that you're never truly done putting nonsense to rest.

And I'm not even talking about nonsense in general.  Of course, humans will continue to come up with goofy ideas.  It's kind of our raison d'être.  I'm talking about specific pieces of nonsense that, no matter how thoroughly or how often they're debunked, refuse to die.

We saw one example of that last week -- the ridiculous "your name's deep meaning" generators -- but there are plenty of others.  And just yesterday, I ran into one of the most persistent.  I've seen various forms of it for years, but this time, it took the form of a jpg with a photograph of a young, handsome, long-haired (presumably) Native American man gazing soulfully out at us, and the following text, which I've shortened for brevity's sake:

This information about hair has been hidden from the public since the Vietnam War.

Our culture leads people to believe that hair style is a matter of personal preference, that hairstyle is a matter of fashion and/or convenience, and that how people wear their hair is simply a cosmetic issue.  Back in the Vietnam War however, an entirely different picture emerged, one that has been carefully covered up and hidden from public view.

In the early nineties, Sally [name changed to protect privacy] was married to a licensed psychologist who worked at a VA Medical Hospital.  He worked with combat veterans with PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder. Most of them had served in Vietnam.

Sally said, ”I remember clearly an evening when my husband came back to our apartment on Doctor’s Circle carrying a thick official looking folder in his hands. Inside were hundreds of pages of certain studies commissioned by the government.  He was in shock from the contents.  What he read in those documents completely changed his life.  From that moment on my conservative husband grew his hair and beard and never cut them again.  What is more, the VA Medical Center let him do it, and other very conservative men in the staff followed his example.  As I read the documents, I learned why.  It seems that during the Vietnam War special forces in the war department had sent undercover experts to comb American Indian Reservations looking for talented scouts, for tough young men trained to move stealthily through rough terrain.  They were especially looking for men with outstanding, almost supernatural, tracking abilities.  Before being approached, these carefully selected men were extensively documented as experts in tracking and survival.

With the usual enticements, the well proven smooth phrases used to enroll new recruits, some of these Indian trackers were then enlisted. Once enlisted, an amazing thing happened. Whatever talents and skills they had possessed on the reservation seemed to mysteriously disappear, as recruit after recruit failed to perform as expected in the field.

Serious causalities and failures of performance led the government to contract expensive testing of these recruits, and this is what was found.

When questioned about their failure to perform as expected, the older recruits replied consistently that when they received their required military haircuts, they could no longer ’sense’ the enemy, they could no longer access a ’sixth sense’, their ’intuition’ no longer was reliable, they couldn’t ’read’ subtle signs as well or access subtle extrasensory information.

So the testing institute recruited more Indian trackers, let them keep their long hair, and tested them in multiple areas.  Then they would pair two men together who had received the same scores on all the tests.  They would let one man in the pair keep his hair long, and gave the other man a military haircut.  Then the two men retook the tests.

Time after time the man with long hair kept making high scores.  Time after time, the man with the short hair failed the tests in which he had previously scored high scores...

So the document recommended that all Indian trackers be exempt from military haircuts. In fact, it required that trackers keep their hair long.”

The mammalian body has evolved over millions of years.  Survival skills of human and animal at times seem almost supernatural.  Science is constantly coming up with more discoveries about the amazing abilities of man and animal to survive.  Each part of the body has highly sensitive work to perform for the survival and well being of the body as a whole.  The body has a reason for every part of itself. 
 Hair is an extension of the nervous system, it can be correctly seen as exteriorized nerves, a type of highly evolved ’feelers’ or ’antennae’ that transmit vast amounts of important information to the brain stem, the limbic system, and the neocortex.

Not only does hair in people, including facial hair in men, provide an information highway reaching the brain, hair also emits energy, the electromagnetic energy emitted by the brain into the outer environment.  This has been seen in Kirlian photography when a person is photographed with long hair and then rephotographed after the hair is cut.

When hair is cut, receiving and sending transmissions to and from the environment are greatly hampered. This results in numbing-out.

Cutting of hair is a contributing factor to unawareness of environmental distress in local ecosystems.  It is also a contributing factor to insensitivity in relationships of all kinds.  It contributes to sexual frustration.

In searching for solutions for the distress in our world, it may be time for us to consider that many of our most basic assumptions about reality are in error.  It may be that a major part of the solution is looking at us in the face each morning when we see ourselves in the mirror.

The story of Sampson and Delilah in the Bible has a lot of encoded truth to tell us.  When Delilah cut Sampson’s hair, the once undefeatable Sampson was defeated.
Well.  Let's take a closer look at this esoteric information hidden since the Vietnam War that is so incredibly top-secret and arcane that you'd only find it if you did a fifteen-second Google search for "the truth about long hair."

First, the alleged controlled experiments using Native trackers in the military never happened.  F. Lee Reynolds, of the United States Army Center for Military History, was asked to look into the claim and see if there was anything to it, and responded that the story was "pure mythology." 

The whole thing apparently didn't originate anywhere even remotely military.  It was dreamed up in toto in 2010 by one David "Avocado" Wolfe, an American conspiracy theorist, anti-vaxxer, alt-med proponent, and raw food advocate, who is also noted for saying that "gravity is a toxin" and that "water would levitate right off the Earth if the oceans weren't salty" and that solar panels drain the Sun's power.

So we're not exactly talking about someone with a shit tonne of credibility, here.

There's no doubt that in a lot of cultures, men wear their hair long, and forcing them to cut it can cause some distress, but it has nothing to do with stopping them from "receiving and sending transmissions to and from the environment."  If this was true, bald people would be significantly stupider than people with full heads of hair, and all you have to do is compare John Fetterman (bald) with Marjorie Taylor Greene (full head of hair) to see this can't be true, because you will find that Fetterman is a pretty smart guy while Marjorie Taylor Greene appears to have the IQ of a PopTart.  

Hair does increase your skin sensitivity some, but it is not an "extension of the nervous system," much less "exteriorized nerves."  Hair is made of strands of keratin -- i.e., not living cells.  Can you imagine how much getting a haircut would hurt if it was actually living tissue?

And if anecdotal evidence counts for anything, I can vouch first-hand for the fact that long hair does diddly-squat for your perceptivity.  I've had long hair during three periods in my life -- like, down to the middle of my back -- and I can state authoritatively that during those times, I was not receiving magical signals from the Earth Spirits or whatnot, nor was my rather abysmal sense of direction any better than usual.  Mostly what it turned out to be was a confounded nuisance, because my hair is really thick and gets curly when it's long, so in even a mild breeze I ended up looking like this guy:

Well, I have better teeth than he does.

I now have my hair really short, which is far more comfortable when it's hot, and I haven't noticed any significant impairment of my spatial awareness.

Oh, and Kirlian photography is not picking up "electromagnetic energy emitted by the brain."  It's a photograph of the static electrical discharge emitted by an object when you place it in contact with a high-voltage source.  You can take a Kirlian photograph of a dead leaf, and last time I checked, dead leaves (1) are unable to send and receive transmissions from the environment, (2) have very poor tracking skills, and (3) don't have hair.

[Image licensed under the Creative Commons Rarobison11MDR Dusty MillerCC BY-SA 4.0]

So the whole thing is kind of a non-starter.

Anyhow, the claim is patently absurd, but that hasn't stopped it from circulating, and (like the fake name meaning generators) seems to be coming around once again.  It'd be really nice if you see it posted somewhere, you'd send them a link to this post, or at least respond "This is bullshit" (feel free to reword if that's a bit harsh for you).  I don't know if my feeble efforts to stop the flow of nonsense online will do much good, but you do what you can.

Even if you're all "numbed out" from wearing your hair short.


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