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Researchers Say Mold Might Make You See Ghosts

Shane Rogers will spend this summer touring some of New York State’s most haunted buildings. But it’s not ghosts he’s looking for. Rogers, a professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Clarkson University, is hunting for mold. 

“I’ve had an interest in ghost stories and paranormal exploration and shows and other things for a long time,” Rogers told mental_floss. “Back in grad school watching these shows I thought, ‘Jeez, some of these places they’re going into are pretty dingy and moldy. I wonder if there’s some kind of a connection.’” 

Indeed, recent research hints at a potential link between certain toxic molds and symptoms like “movement disorders, delirium, dementia, and disorders of balance and coordination,” which could account for the visions and overall “creepy” feelings that often accompany reports of paranormal activity. But the evidence is scarce, so Rogers is setting out with a group of undergraduates to investigate further.  

"Hauntings are very widely reported phenomena that are not well-researched," Rogers says. "They are often reported in older-built structures that may also suffer poor air quality. Similarly, some people have reported depression, anxiety and other effects from exposure to biological pollutants in indoor air. We are trying to determine whether some reported hauntings may be linked to specific pollutants found in indoor air." 

The team will travel the state gathering air quality samples from spooky spots like the Frederic Remington Art Museum in Ogdensburg. By comparing the samples from reportedly haunted locations to those from ghost-free zones, they’re hoping to find commonalities that might demonstrate a link between mold and perceived paranormal activity. 

"What I do hope is that we can provide some real clues as to what may lead to some of these phenomena and possibly help people in the process," he says

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© 2017 USPS
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Pop Culture
Speedy Delivery: Mister Rogers Will Get His Own Stamp in 2018
© 2017 USPS
© 2017 USPS

USPS 2018 Mister Rogers stamp
© 2017 USPS

After weeks of mailing out this year’s holiday cards, postage might be the last thing you want to think about. But the U.S. Postal Service has just given us a sneak peek at the many iconic people, places, and things that will be commemorated with their own stamps in 2018, and one in particular has us excited to send out a few birthday cards: Mister Rogers.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred Rogers’s groundbreaking PBS series that the USPS says “inspired and educated young viewers with warmth, sensitivity, and honesty,” the mail service shared a mockup of what the final stamp may look like. On it, Rogers—decked out in one of his trademark colorful cardigans (all of which were hand-knitted by his mom, by the way)—smiles for the camera alongside King Friday XIII, ruler of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Though no official release date for Fred’s forever stamp has been given, Mister Rogers is just one of many legendary figures whose visages will grace a piece of postage in 2018. Singer/activist Lena Horne will be the 41st figure to appear as part of the USPS’s Black Heritage series, while former Beatle John Lennon will be the face of the newest Music Icons collection. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, will also be honored.

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Can You Spot the Christmas Pudding?

Whether it’s a sheep hanging out with Santa Claus or a panda bear hiding among some snowmen, regular Mental Floss readers know that hidden picture brainteasers are one of our favorite things. And the optical experts at Lenstore.co.uk have released a delicious one, just in time for Christmas. Somewhere in the midst of all these holiday-themed goodies above, there’s a holiday pudding just waiting to be discovered. Can you spot it? Your time starts … now.

If you give up, or are the kind of person who reads the last page of a book before the first one and just wants to know the answer, scroll down to see where it’s hiding.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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