0020 - Autumn Holidays Myths
We are a few days late for Halloween, but plenty early for Thanksgiving. After all the heavy news and topics, let's keep it light and look at common myths around these two holidays. Sqeaky and Mako try not to get too hard hitting this episode, just razors and laxatives in our candy, and some genocidal game theory in our turkey day. Listen online, see the show notes, and read the transcript at: https://dysevidentia.transistor.fm/episodes/0020-autumn-holidays-myths Watch on youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRz1Yz4dC-4
MAKO: Warning. This show contains adult themes and language including practicing witchcraft for candy.
SQEAKY: Dysevidentia is an inability to reliably process evidence and this is a podcast all about it.
MAKO: This episode was released on November 8th, 2021 and we are discussing dysevidentia because it is clear millions of satanic panicers are suffering from it.
MAKO: I am Mako.
SQEAKY: And I am Sqeaky.
MAKO: We discuss logic and evidence because we both went to science podcasters for Halloween.
SQEAKY: You can support us by becoming a patron at patreon.com/dysevidentia.
MAKO: If you spent all your money replacing your deck after the turkey fryer accident you can still like, subscribe, and leave a review to help us out.
SQEAKY: If you have a paper you have written or a small business to plug, let us know.
MAKO: Today we are going to discuss COVID for just a minute...
SQEAKY: Some Halloween myths, and some Thanksgiving misconceptions.
MAKO: But first, Sqeaky is going on a rant.
MAKO: Dysevidentia is in ability to reliabubly pronoublowowa- Why am I fucking up on that word reliably?
SQEAKY: You've only practiced it every episode.
MAKO: Only every episode. Yeah, reliably-
SQEAKY: Being wrong is difficult. You need to start by getting some fact or perspective wrong- and it can be just a perspective. I guess that's easy. The hard part is acknowledging it and fixing it. I was wrong twice in significant ways since our last episode. One was in private and personal, and the other was public and out loud. The first time, I thought I was seeing every possibility in a conversation and there was no way I could interpret what someone was saying and have them be honest. I was certain they were digging for excuses. I had Mako look at the conversation --there was a chat log-- and he pointed out a comment I made at the very beginning could have been interpreted several ways. But since it was my comment, I only interpreted the way I meant it. But that extra bit of context and understanding that they were just trying to be polite to an alternate version of what I had said, it is clear that I had misinterpreted their potential dishonesty. It's hard to get more specific without outing this person, so let's move on to people in the public eye. The public error was on the dysevidentia Twitter. Kyle Rittenhouse is on trial and as a matter of settled case law and of course the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, using the word "victim" to describe "victims" is considered prejudicial. There's some legal terminology in there, and those words can seem loaded given the current state of politics. See the Opening Arguments episode 538 for a full explanation, but I had said that the judge saying we shouldn't use the word "victim" is reason to be suspicious.
SOURCE [2:45] Opening arguments podcast on Kyle Rittenhouse - https://openargs.com/oa538-the-rittenhouse-trial-instructions-explained/
That is as far as I actually pushed it. I did get defensive when several very racist very asshole people started arguing. They were very much making the claim that Kyle Rittenhouse should kill people and all but said that they should kill them because they were black, and I took that as a point to just argue that everything they were saying was wrong. Now if they had just come and said "Hey we shouldn't call the victims "victims" because it makes the presumption that Kyle Rittenhouse is guilty, that would've been a good argument and I would've owned up to that immediately. I even put out a correction tweet the day that I listened to the Open Arguments podcast and they made pretty much that argument.
SOURCE [3:21] Correction Tweet - https://twitter.com/dysevidentia/status/1455068333968142337
They even covered how much of the reporting was headline and clickbait driven even if the articles themselves were largely correct, they were inflammatory in a way that wasn't useful. Whenever you're given a chance to be wrong in the future, try to take the opportunity to look at the perspective that others might be using to look at the facts. Maybe something you thought wasn't important is, or maybe you're just having a different discussion. And we've all been there, we've all done that. But it's just hard to get into that headspace when so often, particularly on this podcast, we discuss things that are entirely preposterous. It isn't hard to discuss with a flat earther and know that they are categorically wrong but it can be hard to look at other data and know that you are categorically right.
SQEAKY: Do you want to do the...
MAKO: The ways of contacting?
SQEAKY: Sure. And then I'll edit it so we sound intelligent.
SQEAKY: I always come out sounding intelligent.
MAKO: I don't know- Yeah okay. Prior to you saying that I didn't know if to compliment your miraculous skill level accomplishing such a feat, or to just acknowledge the slap across the face by not mentioning me at all.
SQEAKY: Alright so, I think I wanna start this episode off by apologizing. I caught something in the past couple days so I'm gonna try not to sniffle into the microphone or cough or lose my voice before we're done recording, but-
MAKO: How dare you with such abundant access to healthcare in this country. How could you get sick?
SQEAKY: Uh, I dunno. It could be a hoard of little kids coming over and I think only one of them was wearing a mask that covered their mouth. They all had masks that, y'know, concealed their identities so I don't know which one made me sick.
MAKO: Mmm... The perfect crime.
*Sqeaky laughs and sighs*
SQEAKY: I dunno. I don't think that's so much of a big deal. We do have a patron, I think that's kind of a big deal.
SQEAKY: So, thank you Steven Larabee for joining us at the Evidence Only level, our highest level on Patreon.
MAKO: Yay! Ow.
*Sqeaky and Mako laugh*
MAKO: It is exciting to get more and more supporters, of course.
SQEAKY: It is really nice. And we understand how hard this whole pandemic time period has been. Not just in terms of being sick, but there are a ton of people out of the job, and a ton of people being underpaid, so if you can't support us financially, don't, but if you can, if you value what we're doing trying to correct misconceptions and myth... myth information- what am I saying here?
SQEAKY: You can totally support us. Just head over to patreon.com/dysevidentia and join us at any level you feel comfortable supporting us at.
SUPPORT US [5:43] Dysevidentia on Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/dysevidentia
MAKO: So we have a presence on a few different platforms. There are a number of different ways you can contact us. If you have some need to contact us like ideas that we could cover on the podcast or just giving us feedback in general-
SQEAKY: Corrections too!
MAKO: Or corrections. Yeah absolutely. So we have... We mentioned every episode we do have a Patreon you can contact us through, that's at patreon.com/dysevidentia.
CONTACT [6:05] Dysevidentia on Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/dysevidentia
MAKO: We do have a Reddit subreddit at r/dysevidentia.
CONTACT [6:10] Dysevidentia on Reddit - https://www.reddit.com/r/Dysevidentia/
MAKO: We do have a Twitter account @dysevidentia.
CONTACT [6:13] Dysevidentia on Twitter - https://twitter.com/dysevidentia
MAKO: And a generic email, email@example.com.
CONTACT [6:17] Dysevidentia by email - Contact@dysevidentia.com
MAKO: But one thing we don't have, a major platform we have no presence on, is Facebook. Because fuck Facebook, fuck Mark Zuckerberg, fuck Meta.
SQEAKY: Ah- You didn't leave me anything to say there. That's- you got the whole message. If you do want to review our show notes or our sources, you can head up to dysevidentia.com and find the episode you're interested in, we list them all.
CONTACT [6:36] Dysevidentia.com - https://dysevidentia.com
SQEAKY: And we also have a presence on YouTube.
CONTACT [6:39] Dysevidentia on YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBbU3rnK52CXUkK0cJ-o29g
SQEAKY: We do. I keep forgetting, it doesn't have a nice clean channel name because we need a thousand subscribers to get that and we're not quite there yet.
MAKO: Yeah we do upload a copy of each episode to YouTube as of late.
SQEAKY: Actually we started from the beginning.
SQEAKY: Episode one.
SQEAKY: Yeah Qeldaar started editing from episode two after he saw the disaster I made in episode one.
MAKO: That's fair.
MAKO: So, Sqeaky, after dealing with all those rogue artificial intelligences-
SQEAKY: Artificial stupidities.
MAKO: Right... Stupidity. I should be all too familiar with that.
MAKO: So after dealing with them, we certainly won't need any new computer this episode.
SQEAKY: Actually I do...
MAKO: What the shit are you on about now?
SQEAKY: Do you remember that loud banging noise last night?
SQEAKY: Pumpkin 458. Okay.
*Loud bang and splat*
SQEAKY: Pumpkin 459.
MAKO: You said you were smashing pumpkins for science.
SQEAKY: I wanted to see if I could start a fire with the candles.
MAKO: How does this relate to your...
SQEAKY: Well you see, I could get any customization I wanted, so I got an orange computer and...
MAKO: And you threw your computer off the balcony because you thought it was a pumpkin?
SQEAKY: Close! I was done with the pumpkins and I thought I was doing a really sweet suplex on ex-President Trump.
*Loud bang and squish*
SQEAKY: Pumpkin 460.
SQEAKY: Holy shit! Why am I typing on President Trump?!
*Loud crashing sound*
MAKO: You know you don't really need to buy a new computer. ABK Kustomz has real experts you can contact for tech support.
SQEAKY: But if someone was better than me at suplexes and they did need to buy a new one, they should use code "evidence" for ten percent off.
MAKO: Go to abkkustomz.com to buy a custom new computer or contact them for support on your computer you inadvertently suplexed.
SPONSOR [8:35] ABK Kustomz, get a custom gaming computer and get 10% with code “Evidence” - https://abkkustomz.com
SQEAKY: News in COVID.
MAKO: There isn't a whole lot of it right now.
SQEAKY: Which is good. This is kind of a horrible disease and I'd love to get rid of this segment.
MAKO: Yeah, of course.
SQEAKY: So one piece that's only relevant to us, I did go out and get my booster, 'cause I've been relied on for like showing up to family emergencies and stuff so I wanted to make sure I was vaccinated if I had to go like help my grandmother or something.
MAKO: Yep. I have yet to do that but it is on my plans to do in the near future.
SQEAKY: Seems to me that you're in low risk categories?
SQEAKY: I don't think basement dweller is one of the CDC's risk categories.
MAKO: They're clearly biased.
SQEAKY: Mmm. All those spiders and silverfish tryna spread the 'rona.
MAKO: If you want to get all anime on me you could call me a nate.
SQEAKY: That is definitely not a high-risk category. So following the advice we gave out last week, I did wind up mixing. I got the J&J shot originally and I got a Moderna booster so in theory, I should be invincible and then of course I catch a common cold.
MAKO: If I get the choice I'll probably go with Pfizer.
SQEAKY: You got J&J also, didn't you?
SQEAKY: Okay. So other things in real news, generally COVID is on the decline so across the country we're down a little bit in terms of the actual amount of cases but we still have thousands of people dying every couple of days, so it's still not good.
SOURCE [9:44] Covid is generally on the decline - https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/map-track-summer-2020-coronavirus-hotspots-united-states-n1231332
MAKO: Yeah. But it's not obviously getting worse. Okay so that's- that's the good news. The bad news about that is is that the... last year, there was a huge spike in COVID cases around Thanksgiving and Christmas. So we're entering that time where we're probably... we probably should expect another spike.
SQEAKY: So it's November 1st as we're recording. I noticed we had fewer trick-or-treaters this year than we did last year.
SQEAKY: I'm hoping that is indicative of people taking this seriously.
MAKO: That is a nice hope, but... eh just but.
SQEAKY: We have to wait and see.
SQEAKY: The COVID decline news, there's a map that has each state. And y'know we can probably get a map for the different countries of Europe so we can get uh... the other twenty percent of our listeners. But uh, we'll be sure to link the NBC News map and we'll see if we can't find maps for other parts of the world that show how the decline is in different areas.
SOURCE [10:30] Worldwide Covid numbers not quite as good, up a few percent - https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/
SQEAKY: Alright the only other piece of news was the FDA authorizing uh, the Pfizer vaccine for kids aids-
SQEAKY: Kids aids.
SQEAKY: Uh, let's try that again.
MAKO: Yes please.
SQEAKY: The FDA authorizes the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages five to eleven.
MAKO: That's good.
SQEAKY: Yeah this is another emergency youth au- Emergency youth euthanasia mnamnmm. Emergency youth authorization.
SQEAKY: This is another emergency use authorization. What did I say?
MAKO: Youth again.
SQEAKY: I think the cold went straight to my brain. Maybe I do have COVID.
SQEAKY: 3100 kids have gotten the vaccine, no serious side effects in all of these kids. The efficacy numbers on the current variants are incredibly high, in the ninety percent range, we'll go ahead and link to the FDA's page on this because they describe it and go into quite some detail.
SOURCE [11:13] FDA authorizes for kids - https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-authorizes-pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine-emergency-use-children-5-through-11-years-age
SQEAKY: Oh and for people who might be worried, the... there are risks to getting the vaccine, but they are much lower than the risks of catching COVID.
MAKO: Yeah, it is still true now as that has pretty much always been.
SQEAKY: But it needs to be said. While researching this, I found videos of concerned parents saying nonsense like "I wanna protect my kids so I'm not gonna get them the vaccine. There are risks."
MAKO: Yeah, that's ridiculous.
SQEAKY: Even in kids where the death rate is like one-in-a-thousand, that's still a thousand times more dangerous than the vaccine. I mean one-in-a-thousand for catching COVID and dying versus we think it's gonna be on the order of one-in-a-million people has any kind of serious side effect from the vaccine.
SQEAKY: I dunno, do you have anything else on this one?
MAKO: No, it's pretty straightforward. It's good news for getting more people vaccinated.
SQEAKY: Let's jump onto something fun. Let's talk about Halloween.
MAKO: Oh, we didn't finish the next one.
SQEAKY: "We discuss logic and evidence"?
MAKO: Because with all the post-Halloween...
SQEAKY: Oh wow, we just left that open.
MAKO: Sounded like you had an idea.
SQEAKY: Well I don't now.
MAKO: Oh god...
SQEAKY: So there's uh... a lot of different ways that we could discuss Halloween.
SQEAKY: There's tons of different views and I guess we'll just touch on a few different ones?
MAKO: Well specifically myths and misconceptions that are surrounding Halloween as a holiday. Or as a practice I should say. More than just a holiday.
SQEAKY: Yeah 'cause holiday implies something holy, like it stems from something religious. Or even for very secular people it's something chosen by a... by a nation, and it's not a national holiday. Like, y- The banks don't take it off.
MAKO: No. Well, a lot of people consider it a holiday, but yeah, enough people don't that, yeah, practice is generic enough.
SQEAKY: Yeah. So I grabbed a couple sources just to get some perspective on people freaking out.
SQEAKY: Should I go over those first?
SQEAKY: Okay, so I got- These sources are awesome. jw.org, the official Jehovah's Witness website. I'm trying to say it with a straight face.
SOURCE [13:01] JW’s officially hate halloween for stupid reasons - https://www.jw .org/en/bible-teachings/questions/origin-of-halloween/
MAKO: Good luck.
SQEAKY: And cbn.com. I think they're trying to make it look like NBC, I think they're trying to say Christian Broadcasting Network or something, but their tagline is "The Christian perspective".
SOURCE [13:12] C B N News, the christian perspective is so freaked out - https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2017/october/former-satanist-warns-christians-about-celebrating-halloween
MAKO: That's pretty awful.
SQEAKY: These are both so ridiculous. Both of them make claims that Halloween is purely based in a Celtic or Gaelic holiday called "Samhain". When I looked around, historians seemed to disagree. There's no one source for Halloween. Seems that everybody likes partying in the fall when it's sure that the, y'know, harvest is gonna be- known to be good.
MAKO: Mhm. It references to Samhain is something that came up a few times when I was doing my own research as well.
SQEAKY: Yeah. And if there are times between Samhain and Halloween, it's just another one of those holidays that Christians kind of absorbed from various Pegan practices. Both of these sources are kind of hilariously bad.
SQEAKY: The JW source picks four different like myths or views and they try to rebut them with citations from the Book of Mormon...
SQEAKY: ...and the Bible.
MAKO: See at the top of the source you say 'Jehova's Witnesses officially hate Halloween for stupid reasons' and they- when I read that the first thing I thought was doesn't that describe everything from Jehova's Witnesses?
SQEAKY: Wow. That's... that's some... I- I can't say anything polite about that because you're both right and if I say that you're right I'm being a jerk to them- Ah, dammit.
MAKO: Too late.
SQEAKY: Yeah, but-
SQEAKY: So just one of 'em.
SQEAKY: They claim that by dressing up as a vampire or a werewolf you're supporting wicked spiritual forces and that those need to be opposed at all cost and they cite a random Bible quote that does say you're supposed to oppose wicked forces but they fail to make the connection between wearing a costume and being evil.
MAKO: Yeah- How does it support wicked forces?
SQEAKY: If they could do the logic thing they probably wouldn't be Jehova's Witnesses.
MAKO: Especially since like I'm sure a number of these people engage in, y'know, victicious representations of the same forces under other circumstances they describe as wicked and...
SQEAKY: Has no Jehova's Witness church group ever put on a play with a villain?
SQEAKY: Yeah. I'm sure that there are actors who are Jehova's Witnesses, there's like 15,000,000 of 'em. I mean, they- they're around and not all of them are overtly dumb, this is just the official source that's being this... this ridiculous. They also say stuff like uh, that "Trick-o-treating is a religious practice" and it's like I don't even know how to approach that one to debunk it because it's just pure nonsense.
MAKO: My religion requires me to consume candy.
SQEAKY: That's a good religious practice.
SQEAKY: And the other one was just so ridiculous, like I don't have a good way to rebut it because debunking it or rebuting it elevates it to a level of credibility. They start off with this nonsense where they get a "former Satanist". I don-
SQEAKY: Yeah. I've read plenty of interviews an plenty of videos from "former atheists" who were clearly like pastors their whole adult life and like Christian their whole lives. The dude even claims to have like sacrificed animals. No real description of what that was or why the police didn't get involved for animal cruelty. But one thing that this article didn't have was evidence. They did generate one set of numbers: They had a Facebook poll where eighty-seven percent of...
SQEAKY: Eighty-seven percent of the who followed them on Facebook said that they don't think Halloween should be practiced by Christians and thirteen percent of their own followers disagreed and said that they approved of Halloween. So even amongst their extremists, they're still... ten or fifteen percent of them that are okay with Halloween because- How do you even oppose passing out candy to-
MAKO: To children. Think of the children.
SQEAKY: If you wanna just read something just completely cringeworthy from the outside, or if you're somebody who's on the cusp with religious belief, start with this. And there's- There are people who nominally believe the same thing as you or your religious friends who also believe this. These people are full-on like Satanic panic brought to the modern era.
SQEAKY: I don't know. So I didn't find any real specific freakouts that haven't been really well covered in other media outlets. I'm sure you found something.
MAKO: So I did focus on a couple of very specific myths that are around Halloween and so one of them is this notion that black cats are in danger around Halloween because witches or random nutters may go seek them out particularly from animal shelters and sacrifice them in witchcraft rituals or whatever.
SOURCE [17:03] Cats Sacrificed at Halloween? - https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/cat-o-nine-tales/
SQEAKY: You're serious?
MAKO: Yeah there's belief among people that this is something that actually happens. Exactly which people I'm not entirely sure. It is not something that has really ever been substantiated. Uh, when- But my primary source for all this is Snopes. Snopes says that they attempted to look into this by contacting animal protection groups and law enforcement agencies for actual statistics on this, and none of these groups could actually produce statistics on it.
SQEAKY: But if Snopes started investigating a thing, it means that there is a market for this knowledge. Somebody wants to know.
MAKO: Yeah. One thing that is true- well, vaguely relates to this, is that animal shelters will provide enhanced protections for... particularly black cats but any animal that has an unusual uptick around Halloween, because they have- they fear and in some cases have actually experienced, cases where people will take these animals home and they will just use them as living decorations and as soon as the holiday is over, they return them.
SQEAKY: Well that's kind of a dick move but that's hardly animal sacrifice.
MAKO: Yeah. The animals are returned fine, it's just they're wasting everybody's time for some dumb party gimmick.
SQEAKY: That really sucks.
MAKO: Yeah so, shelters will provide more protection for these animals for that reason, not because they fear that they're actually going to be sacrificed 'cause that's --near as we can tell-- not a thing.
SQEAKY: Is that similar to the whole people buying bunnies around Easter thing?
MAKO: Quite possibly.
SQEAKY: Okay. I'll see if I can find a source for that and stick it in the show notes 'cause I think I've heard of people buying bunnies around Easter realizing they're real animals that take real care and then bringing them back.
SOURCE [18:39] Easter Bunny Adoptions and Abandonments - https://www.huffpost.com/entry/easter-bunny-adopt_n_1391613
MAKO: Oh, okay. So, that specifically is a little bit different. Like not realizing the kinds of responsibilities that go into animals is a whole nother category of things. And I'm sure some people do think that oh, because it's topical they'll get a black cat around Halloween and then decide that it is too much and return it- and okay. For those people, it would be nice if they did some research up front and didn't waste people's time, but at least there was no premeditation there. In fact I would say the lack of premeditation was the problem in that specific case-
MAKO: -but what I'm talking about is somebody knew they were going to return the cat before they got the cat.
SQEAKY: Yeah that's... Well I hadn't really considered living decorations as a thing.
SQEAKY: But there's a... there's a more prevalent myth around Halloween, isn't there? Something tastier?
SOURCE [19:28] Poisoned Candy Myths (mostly from Halloween) - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoned_candy_myths
BULLSHIT SOURCE [19:28] Watch out for Nickelback! - https://i.imgur.com/tpzrUJf.gif
MAKO: There's a few. So there's this notion that there's deranged strangers out there that are going to poison your candy or stick razors into things and distribute them to random kids. And that for the most part just doesn't really happen. When looking around- And there was one person in particular that did attempt to do a study on this, Professor Joel Best, his academic paper on this is unfortunately behind paywalls near as I can tell, so I wasn't really able to do a deep dive in the original source, but he investigated a bunch of claims about people that have actually behaved maliciously in tainting the candy that is handed out during Halloween. And he actually did find a number of cases like- I'm ballparking here, 'cause the places... or rather ballparking here 'cause the articles that talked about it, they didn't really give hard numbers, they were just referencing the paper and they kept it a little nebulous, but I'd maybe say a hundred different cases. Most of these cases-
SQEAKY: A hundred different cases over what time period and what geographic area?
MAKO: Uh I believe the geographic area was the United States and the time period was since the 1950's.
SQEAKY: Oh! So in the past...
MAKO: Seventy years.
SQEAKY: Sorry yeah. That's- apparently I can't do math. The cold really has gone to my brain. So a hundred cases in the past seventy years is averaging like one-point-three cases a year.
MAKO: So, the problem with this is that a lot of these initial cases, the initial reports, when they were followed up with investigation, they kind of just didn't really go anywhere. They couldn't really establish anything meaningful and the case was just dropped. And I have one such example. Uh... let me see exactly how recent this is.
SQEAKY: Is this the Connecticut one?
MAKO: Um, doodoodododoo. No this is Arizona. When was this published? In 2018? I thought it was February 2018. Okay, so there is this case, I'm not entirely sure when exactly it happened but I'm going to... I'm going to presume it was Halloween 2017 because of the publication date of the article that I'm reading, but there were some... There was an occurrence where a family put out a communal bowl where people could put candy into it, and then the ca- the family could take candy out of it. This extended beyond just the family but also the family friends and apparently they are a very social family. So the amount of people that could candy in or might have taken candy out was, based on the language of the article, quite a few. Like more than ten people. And somehow, a THC infused gummy pack found it's way in to the bowl and those packs were taken by kids aged ten to eleven --five of them-- and they went to school, they consumed these gummies, they got stomach aches and light-headed but beyond that they were fine.
SQEAKY: I mean, did they have a good day at school?
MAKO: That is not made clear from the article but I'd like to presume so, yes.
SQEAKY: I'm just thinking back when I went to school and edibles probably would've made a big difference. I probably would've liked school a lot more.
MAKO: Well, they did say they had stomach aches so there's that.
SQEAKY: I mean I had stomach aches just eating in school but okay.
MAKO: You and I had different schooling experiences. But yeah, in that case the police investigated, they determined that there's no real way for them to figure out who exactly is the culprit because there's just- and even if they did they're pretty sure it was an accident and nobody really meant to have ten and eleven year olds take marijuana gummies to school.
SQEAKY: The real victim is the person who missed out on their gummies.
SQEAKY: They're tryna get high and they're sitting over ch- y'know, chowing down on some Haribo gummies and they're like "These are way tastier than usual but there's no buzz."
MAKO: Yeah. And this bowl was not something intended to be distributed to trick-or-treaters at all, this was a communal family thing. So, things like that happen where there's just not enough there to really even think malice played a part so the investigation go anywhere, they're just like "Hey, don't do this again" and they move on.
SQEAKY: But it is really easy to see how that could turn into a larger scale myth where it's like "Woah, watch out for those crazy stoners, they're gonna give weed to call your kids. Look at this story from Arizona."
MAKO: Yeah. Especially with this weed and edibles becoming legal in more and more states and with that we're getting more and more brands of these edibles that have stronger appearances that are similar to like other actual candies. Like I have seen some gummy bear edibles out there that look a lot like non-marijuana gummy bears.
SQEAKY: I don't know man. People who think that people just want to share drugs with everybody isn't thinking about it all.
SQEAKY: At all. If I were in a discussion with someone and trying to convince them how ridiculous this is, I would I ask them if they thought a smoker would share their cigarettes, or if a drinker would put their beer in a kid's trick-or-treat bag.
MAKO: Well the other thing that I was also going to mention was that even though the gummy bears themselves are remarkably similar to the normal gummy bears, the package is not. These packages are clearly labeled and any reasonable adult is going to be able to spot the difference. Kids maybe not.
SQEAKY: Do you think maybe these kids knew what they were getting into?
MAKO: There's a narrow chance that yeah maybe they did.
SQEAKY: 'Cause I mean, underage drinking is totally a thing and maybe one of the parents was like "Hey kids, don't take these gummies these are special" and the kids are like "I'm definitely takin' those".
MAKO: Well if the parents care that much why not create a seperate bowl, why not- I don't know. This is speculation on my part. But there's ways to go about that. But there are some situations that are not as innocuous as that. But a lot of these cases that were investigated initially are kind of like that. There has been a number of cases where people did put sharp metallic objects inside of candy that Joel Beth did find, but in virtually all of those cases, the person that did it did it as a prank for people near them. It still wasn't something that was ever distributed amongst trick-or-treaters.
SQEAKY: So, putting things in food is a prank? Like you're talking about putting like laxatives in food to give to somebody?
MAKO: Sharp metal objects.
SQEAKY: What the fuck?! How is that a prank?
MAKO: These people are stupid.
SQEAKY: Oh that- Okay yeah.
SQEAKY: That's not dysevidentia that's that's fuckin' stupidity.
MAKO: Yes it is. So they just had the wrong idea, they thought that this would be a funny prank, no one would get hurt, and even in the vast majority of those cases, they were right: Nobody got hurt. People detected the sharp object in the candy before anything actually happened. Usually when somebody did get hurt they just got a little poke and maybe they bled a little, and they got treated and everything was fine, nothing really big happened. There was that- Nobody got hurt from this, but this last holiday- This holiday. This last Halloween-
SQEAKY: Like the one that will be a week before this comes out, right?
MAKO: Yes. As of this recording, yesterday, there were some KitKat packs --two of 'em specifically- that were found in Ohio to have been distributed and they had sewing needles lengthwise in the KitKat bar.
SQEAKY: They're doing it to good candy?
SQEAKY: They can't just like do it to like some Werther's Original or just like some other candy?
MAKO: They're still investigating 'cause this is still very very fresh. But yeah.
SQEAKY: And this was two KitKat bars? Two- two packs of KitKats?
MAKO: Two packs of KitKats yes.
SQEAKY: What- what did they do to it?
MAKO: Uh they've- Presumably they just put a sewing needle in it. The sewing needle was sticking out of the package itself but I mean not by a whole lot. Like I d- I don't know how the sewing needle got in there. The natural presumption is that somebody maliciously placed it there but...
SQEAKY: Yeah that does seem likely. We should share some sources 'cause you showed me the picture for that one.
MAKO: Oh yeah yeah the picture was pretty yeah-
SQEAKY: So that one is wtole.com, right?
MAKO: Uh, yes.
SQEAKY: And that will be titled in the show notes as "Free candy s-" Oh no, that's not right.
MAKO: No no, it's right.
SQEAKY: "Free candy screenings offered after tampered sweets discovered". Oh this is the... the hospital!
SOURCE [27:21] Free candy screenings offered in Fostoria after tampered sweets discovered - https://www.wtol.com/article/news/local/free-candy-screenings-fostoria-after-tampered-sweets-discovered/512-7e7a39d2-a6b0-44d3-a8f9-1ccd4daebfc0
MAKO: Yeah! Yeah so a lot of communities in order to calm fears about people putting metallic- sharp metallic objects in candy will offer free x-rays for candy for anyone that comes in and and wants to just be sure.
SQEAKY: Which of these other sources have you touched on? 'Cause you have a lot of 'em.
MAKO: I do. Uh, the bottom one, the azcentral was the one with the five kids that got the uh, marijuana gummies.
SQEAKY: So azcentral.com and it's labeled "Kids got edibles from student's Halloween candy bowl".
SOURCE [27:48] Kids got THC edibles from student's Halloween candy bowl - https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/southwest-valley-breaking/2018/02/01/police-kids-got-thc-edibles-students-halloween-candy-bowl-home/1088620001/
MAKO: Okay, so here there are actually worse stories unfortunately. Even though most of these stories ended up being nothing or they were kinda something just people being really stupid, they didn't really meet any of the criteria for being malicious specifically to trick-or-treaters and some of these stories still follow that trend. There is one exception to that unfortunately but when I was researching all of this I did find two particular sources. So one of my sources, Psychology Today, they cover three examples of particularly bad incidences of Halloween candy misgivings and they have different individual facets to them and things that ought to be clarified about them as we go as well but again we'll do that as we go. So in 1970, there was a child, uh, five years old, Kevin Toston, you died of a severe heroin overdose after finding his uncle's heroin stash.
SOURCE [28:41] The Men Who Murdered Halloween - https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-human-equation/201510/the-men-who-murdered-halloween
SQEAKY: Oh shit!
MAKO: He was in that like it was sugar, probably because he thought it was. The specific circumstances for how he found it and how that led to an overdose is a little bit unclear. The presumption that I have is that he thought it was some kind of sugary candy and just went at it with that in mind and it absolutely was not candy. So the family-
SQEAKY: I don't know. I wonder if heroin tastes good. Is that a thing?
MAKO: I wouldn't know.
SQEAKY: This is horrible though.
MAKO: Yes. The family tried to cover up this incident. Not by hiding the fact that their child had died, but they didn't want the heroin to be tracked back to the uncle so they sprinkled the heroin on the child's trick-or-treat candy and claimed that they got the candy that way and that's how the child experienced a heroin overdose.
SQEAKY: So they were trying to blame Halloween on the death on their family member.
SQEAKY: Blame Halloween for the death of their family member. So that's- So they're more concern- Ah god just nothing about this is good. I was going to propose that maybe one person lied to make this happen but a group of people coordinated to cover up the death, the cause of death, of a small child?
MAKO: That is... Near as I can tell, yes. The articles phrased it as "the family" did these actions.
SQEAKY: I have no good way to make fun of this but I think next year for Halloween I'm gonna go as a six foot tall sealed pack of heroin. Just a big brick of powder.
MAKO: Good luck with that.
SQEAKY: Thank you. I have the physique for it.
MAKO: You're not wrong.
MAKO: So another was in 1974. Ronald Clark O'Bryan deliberately poisoned his son in order to catch life insurance money.
SQEAKY: Deliberately?! The fuck?!
SQEAKY: How do you insure a child?!- What the... fuck!
MAKO: Well, I'm not entirely sure how you insure a child in the first place but he was absolutely stupid about it. He took out an insurance policy and then against the wishes and recommendations of the insurance company, managed to pull larger and larger life insurance policies on his young son who was eight years old at the time.
SQEAKY: So actually I've worked at insurance companies that will insure children. The thought process is when a child dies it impacts everyone involved- the rest of the family.
SQEAKY: So if you need to take time off to grieve, in theory the life insurance policy would buy that time for you. And there are costs associated with death. The price of a full-size casket and a child's casket aren't significantly different. So in theory you would insure a child who might die of cancer or something so that way in the worst case you would have an out, but yeah, seems rife for fraud and this guy got a huge insurance policy in his kid? Did he only have the one?
MAKO: He had four children total and he took insurance policies out on two of them.
SQEAKY: Well that's a red flag. They weren't sick or anything that you know about?
SQEAKY: So he's insuring half of his kids and not the other half. Wow there's- I'm going to back up before I say something horrible.
MAKO: Okay. So, we know that he ended up getting arrested on November 5th, just five days after Halloween. His son Timothy did die the night of Halloween after consuming cyanide that had been packed into pixie sticks and was forcibly given to the child. The child did not initially want to take the pixie sticks but the father made that happen. None of the other children consumed pixie sticks. He did also give another poisoned pixie stick to a boy that he recognized at church in order to establish some kind of deniability because if it was only his children that were dying then okay that raises a red flag or at least that's what he figured. So he attempted to poison another child- five children in total. Four of which were his own.
SQEAKY: So it seems like the only safe way to get candy is to go door to door and ask for it politely. Because if you get it from family members you're gonna get high or dead.
MAKO: Well based on these extreme cases, yes.
SQEAKY: Well there's only a hundred of them. They're all kind of extreme.
MAKO: Yeah. And the motive that was established for Ronald Clark O'Bryan was that he was severely severely in debt. He was a hundred thousand dollars in debt. He was losing his house, he was losing his car, he was losing his job.
SQEAKY: And that was a 100,000 1970s dollars, right?
SQEAKY: So adjusted for inflation, what's that like?
MAKO: Uh, I think it's about half a million, roughly.
SQEAKY: Oh damn. Well yeah you did say he's losing his house and his car.
SQEAKY: Okay. Okay.
MAKO: So quite a bit of money. And he was even talking about what he was doing with the money. Saying he was going to go on a vacation at his son's funeral. It's really a grotesque thing. We have a link to the Wikipedia article all about it if you want to read more.
SOURCE [33:09] The Candy Man - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Clark_O%27Bryan
MAKO: But that is again not a case of actually distributing candy to random strangers with the exception of the one church boy which okay depending- I don't know how well acquainted he was with him so I don't know if "strangers" applies here.
SQEAKY: And it wasn't even trick-or-treating.
MAKO: Yeah, it definitely wasn't trick-or-treating. So, that particular part of this still doesn't even apply to this hanus case. The-
SQEAKY: So on this, like why would someone give out poisoned candy to trick-or-treaters anyway?
MAKO: I don't know.
SQEAKY: If you're a psychopath and you wanna see someone hurt, you're gonna hurt them where you can see them. These kids are gonna go home, they're gonna have a chance to check out the candy, a chance to avoid being hurt, and worse- or worse for you, when the kids do get hurt you can't control- as y'know this horrible attacker, you can't control when they'll call the police and because you've passed out poisoned candy to presumably multiple kids, they can ask the... the kids or any survivors where they went trick-or-treating and narrow it down to, presumably, a small group of houses and figure out where you're at. None of this makes sense as a crime. It doesn't satisfy the motives of people wanting to hurt other people, it doesn't- it leaves a huge trail of evidence, it provides every opportunity for the victims to get out and contact authorities, none of this makes sense as a crime.
MAKO: Okay so, you might have wanted to, to hold that until after the next one.
SQEAKY: Oh, really?
MAKO: This is the one and only exception to the whole trick-or-treating malice.
SQEAKY: Oh, okay. Well what happened.
MAKO: In 1959, there was a dentist named William V. Shyne. He decided one Halloween that he wanted to distribute laxatives to kids. So he candy-coated a bunch of laxative pills uh... and ended up distributing four-hundred and fifty of them to random trick-or-treaters.
SOURCE [34:50] Further reading on Shyne the laxative poisoning dentist - https://uselessinformation.org/william-shyne-dentist/
SQEAKY: Alright, so he's not giving out a normal poison...
SQEAKY: ...he's giving out a medicine. He's giving out laxatives?
SQEAKY: That's not good, but he just wanted the town to shit itself?
MAKO: I guess. I don't know.
SQEAKY: How many people were hurt?
MAKO: So there are mixed reports on that unfortunately. There's... The lowest number that all the sources I found agreed upon was sixteen...
SQEAKY: That's horrible. How badly were they hurt?
MAKO: Most of them- And okay. So that one is also something that's a bit contested. One of the sources said that one of the children suffered irreparable damage. Another source said that all the children just had severe stomach pains and then eventually got over it. But regardless, there were zero deaths.
SQEAKY: That's good. I mean, I don't know what kinds of problems you could have from laxatives but like any medicine I'm sure there were risks.
MAKO: The children that had the particularly bad reactions were children that were popping like four or five of them.
SQEAKY: Yeah if you were just eating them like candy...
MAKO: Yeah, and they were candy-coated so they thought they were consuming candy.
SQEAKY: Okay, well what happened? Did the police catch him?
MAKO: Oh yes. Very quickly.
SQEAKY: Why would a dentist presumably a professional who went to college and like understands the world enough to know that the police will come after him, why did he do this?
MAKO: We don't know. A clear motive near as I can t was able to read, was never established for him. He ended up having to be on probation violated that probation so his sentence was extended. His ability to practice dentistry I believe was suspended for two years... Overall he got a slap on the wrist.
SQEAKY: That is- Normally I don't advocate for long sentences but most crimes don't involve someone trying to poison four hundred kids.
MAKO: Yeah. So of all the cases I was able to review, read about, and near as I can tell other people were able to find when doing a very long-term study on these things, that was the only occasion where somebody actually did malice to random strangers. Every other thing, every other extreme example that actually is accurate, the poisoning was someone that was close to them.
SQEAKY: Well, that's good to know that how infrequent this is. So of a hundred cases it includes candy malfeasants, only one we know for certain was directed at trick-or-treaters randomly.
MAKO: Yeah. And that one was again in 1959 so there hasn't been a repeat of that in sixty-two years near as we can tell.
SQEAKY: Ah. Wow, okay. So trick-or-treating is pretty safe. Getting random candy from your family is...
SQEAKY: ...still pretty safe but more dangerous than trick-or-treating.
SQEAKY: 'Cause really a hundred total cases of poisoned candy, that's not much.
MAKO: People still do recommend that the parents inspect children's candy. Not because they think razor blades are in it 'cause there just isn't something-
SQEAKY: And it gives parents the chance to take some of the best candy for themselves.
MAKO: Yes, every single- Everyone that said check your kid's candy also said "Besides this enables you to take the good stuff". But-
MAKO: -the actual-
SQEAKY: That is such a dick move! That's like you worked hard for this, I'm taking your candy.
MAKO: That's the parent tax. Naw.
SQEAKY: Ah, you're saying something else besides the parent?
MAKO: But the... the real reason that they said that parents should inspect children's candy is so for one, like we said earlier with the edibles, some of these candies might be the more adult type of candy and children may not be able to tell the difference.
SQEAKY: There's also a chance that you could get like sugarfree gummy bears which have been known to cause diarrhea or anal leakage. Or check for allergies.
SOURCE [38:19] Sugar Free gummies may not agree with all people - https://www.amazon.com/review/R2JGNJ5ZPJT4YC
MAKO: Yeah. Allergies is actually a really good point. Another person mentioned simple sanitation like if you get a candy package that's been punctured. Even if it's inncolus, nobody did that deliberately, sometimes things are mishandled.
SQEAKY: Yeah some dirt or mold or shit coulda gotten in there. Yeah.
MAKO: Yeah. You just- For basic sanitation. So like there's good reasons to do explicit checks on the part of parents-
SQEAKY: Do individually wrapped little candies have expiration dates on them?
MAKO: I'm sure they do, I can't imagine what they would be.
SQEAKY: Yeah I ate about 12,000,000 of 'em, I should know.
MAKO: Okay. So yeah, check your kid's candy by all means there's good reasons to do it, just please if you're doing it because you're concerned there's going to be a razor blade in it, then yeah sure that happens in very very specific isolate circumstances, but don't go into it expecting that to happen.
SQEAKY: It happens. Like it happens that people win the lottery.
MAKO: Yeah and even then the study from Joel Best said explicitly that when there were metallic objects that were placed into trick-or-treat candies or distributed food, seventy-five percent of the time people detected the metal piece before any harm was done. It's difficult to hide that type of thing inside these candies.
SQEAKY: And that simple piece of advice of make sure it's name brand and sealed candy would totally prevent that laxative thing, wouldn't it?
SQEAKY: Unless somebody's going through the hassle of making counterfeit M&Ms and then stuffing their laxatives into an M&M bag...
MAKO: And then resealing it without people noticing.
SQEAKY: That is a lot of effort. Somebody who can counterfeit stuff that good has other options, don't they?
MAKO: I would hope so, yes.
SQEAKY: Could go on and make their own candy W&Ws. Totally unrelated to M&Ms.
MAKO: Totally. So you had other things about Halloween?
SOURCE [39:58] Wikipedia on Halloween - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween
SQEAKY: Oh I just kinda looked into the source and where things came from on it. We mentioned earlier about Samhain.
SQEAKY: We have mixed views from historians. Some of them say that they think that the Samhain or the Pagan influence to Christian influence is the biggest, some say it was purely a Christian tradition. Generally they all agree that the word Halloween, they can trace the etymology back to definitely Christian sources where it came from other phrases and eventually turned into Halloween. And some things that are confusing is the practice guising, souling, or trick-or-treating, they are all somewhat newer practices. There's a few places that practice it before 1900-
SQEAKY: -but in North America and western Europe, all the places that started this did so between 1900 and 1930. And there are examples of people discussing the practice in books just around that time, so we can trace the practice back to something new. So this isn't some arcane practice of the occult, this is something a large amount of Christians --mostly Christian children-- decided to start doing because it seemed culturally appropriate.
MAKO: I saw one thing that I didn't bother writing down 'cause I'm a little dubious on the claim in the first place. It was kinda, y'know, making my bullshit meter wiggle a little but they claimed that the practice was initially encouraged in order to discourage other destructive Halloween activities.
SQEAKY: That does sound like post hoc rationalization, but it also sounds plausible.
MAKO: Yeah. It is plausible-
MAKO: -is why I mentioned it at all.
SQEAKY: Yeah. So yeah I can see why the bullshit meter would wiggle there, 'cause we don't have any evidence backing that. If I wanted to keep kids out of trouble on a night where kids had reportedly gone out and made a bunch of trouble, giving them a place to channel their energy and activities seems like a good idea.
SQEAKY: From this it seems like anyone claiming to have a single source talking about where the origin of Halloween was, is probably oversimplifying to the point where I would call it bullshit. There's a lot of these stories that have a... a hint of truth, like a lot of places will go back to Gaelic and Celtic sources and say here's where it came from and there's definitely something that we picked up from those cultures 'cause these festivals that aren't the main celebration for a religion, they get mixed and molded and adapted culturally.
MAKO: Yeah. We are a melting pot here in the United-
MAKO: -States so we almost certainly have had Halloween get influenced by a number of different sources.
SQEAKY: Yeah and uh, I have a small list of places where we have early documented incidents of trick-or-treating, guising, souling it's called- these different terms and different places, but it's all kids getting dressed up and demanding candy.
SQEAKY: The earliest was in Scotland in 1895, but then England, Ontario, and the Philippines, and in the United States both in Massachusetts and Chicago, we have really examples and documentation of it happening between 1895 and 1930, and the common thing between all of these places is that they are all English-speaking and predominantly Christian. This isn't something that sprung up from, y'know, some place with some other weird religion, this is definitely... I don't want to say homegrown, but it's grown in all of the familiar cultures that Americans were all already used to. I don't know, I didn't have anything deep and insightful after your incredible report on-
SQEAKY: Yeah. All I have is pithy nonsense like uh... In 2018, Americans spent 480,000,000 dollars on costumes for their pets.
SOURCE [42:58] Half a billion on pet costumes - https://www.marketwatch.com/story/instagram-loving-pets-owners-will-spend-nearly-500m-on-animal-costumes-this-halloween-2018-10-16
SQEAKY: My source for that is Market Watch.
MAKO: Of course. And it looks like they even have provided a list of which costumes were popular.
SQEAKY: The most popular costumes for pets are the pumpkin, followed by the hotdog, and the bumble bee in third place.
MAKO: I'm sure there's a lot of people out there that thought they were being super witty by getting the hotdog costume for their dog.
SQEAKY: I do believe they most often go on Doxins.
MAKO: Of course they do.
SQEAKY: A weiner costume for your weiner dog.
MAKO: Yup. I hate it.
MAKO: Go to abkkustomz.com to buy a custom new computer or contact them for support on your computer you inadvertently suplexed.
SQEAKY: Could you say it more deadpan please?
MAKO: So we covered some details about Halloween, a few myths, and a bit of history. But Halloween is not the only holiday that we're thinking about covering this go.
SQEAKY: I suppose the other major fall holiday is Thanksgiving.
MAKO: Yes. That is a pretty significant one.
SQEAKY: So it turns out turkeys aren't real, they're drones.
MAKO: Oh. Go on.
SQEAKY: Oh, that's a myth we covered earlier. The birds are drones thing's a myth.
BULLSHIT SOURCE [44:03] Birds aren't real is bullshit - https://birdsarentreal.com/pages/the-history
MAKO: Yeah that's a pretty readily testable one.
SQEAKY: Yeah that'd be a tasty drone wouldn't it?
MAKO: Yeah. I would imagine somebody out there would be like cutting into a turkey and be like "Oh wow, what is all of this here" and y'know which- that doesn't happen.
SQEAKY: Mmm, this motor is so delicious.
MAKO: ...juicy from all the oil.
SQEAKY: So, I sort of saw, looking into this, three sort of categories of myth. There's a whole bunch of just common misunderstandings because we don't teach very good history here in the US.
MAKO: We really don't.
SQEAKY: There's a lot of people trying to claim that Thanksgiving is a Christian holiday, and then there's the ever-persisting view that pilgrims are- were persecuted.
MAKO: I mostly understand why people would think that Thanksgiving is mainly a Christian holiday, largely because of its proximity and and lot of- I don't want to say tie-ins but kind of- it's lumped together with Christmas a bit because like it's not really given a whole lot of distinct advertising I guess between it and Christmas and a lot of people that take Thanksgiving seriously as far as making sure like people get together and do the family thing, they do the same thing with Christmas so maybe it's just y'know family values, but I kind of understand a little bit of that tie-in. But anyone who has been taught even the basics of the origins of Thanksgiving should know that it's not exactly- it doesn't have- well okay, no. I was gonna say it doesn't have strong religious origins although actually that's not entirely true but it's not in the context that we're thinking of it here.
SQEAKY: Yeah. You were stepping right onto a thing that I was going to bring up.
SQEAKY: The pilgrims who had the first Thanksgiving- and that might not be true. I read some claims- a couple different people claiming "the first Thanksgiving was actually somewhere else" but when we're thinking about it, the Pilgrims that landed in Massachusetts, them having the first Thanksgiving, it wasn't a religious thing. Yeah sure they were all religious people, but they didn't do it in the name of God or because of Jesus, they were just like "here's a big meal" so eh... there's no way it's a religious holiday. And even when it became a national holiday- and I read exactly when George Washington declared that... Let me see. My source for that was christianity.com of all the places.
SOURCE [46:17] Christianity.com on if Thanksgiving is a christian holiday - https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/is-thanksgiving-truly-a-christian-holiday.html
SQEAKY: They made a point to say "yeah, George Washington was a deist" and christianity.com says that it's not a... a religious holiday, it was a national holiday to celebrate the initial people founding European style colonies here in the Americas, not dying to winter, not dying to a failed harvest.
MAKO: Yeah. I could see why people would want to celebrate something like that.
SQEAKY: Yeah, especially after hard times. I don't have hard numbers, but the first batch of pilgrim settlers, something on the order of one-half to one-third of them died either on the boat getting here or after arriving and to disease and conflict with the natives.
SQEAKY: So, if you're in a group where half of ya die, celebrating with just a big meal seems... reasonable.
SQEAKY: And I would even argue it would be hard to be thanking God for the opportunity to, y'know, be on the right side of that coin flip. But it's really easy if you're a Christian nationalist to say "ah yeah, Christians did it, this is a Christian country, the founders were all Christian". Just ignoring reality. We don't know anybody like that, do we?
MAKO: Well clearly Christianity won so yeah, all the people worth mentioning must be Christians, or something.
SQEAKY: Let's dig into this nonsense without bringing fresh nonsense into it.
SQEAKY: Okay so let's dive first into the category of the collected mishmash of myths.
SQEAKY: So I've got three sources, the Smithsonian and- as ashamed as I am, I found some things people might call lysticals to cite. The History News Network has a collection of myths and some debunking, bustle.com has a collection of some myths and some debunking, and all of these corroborated nice and neat with a very in-depth interview from Smithsonian magazine, where the correspondent Claire Bugos interviewed David J. Silverman about his new book --heh, his new book from two years ago-- The Land is Theirs. So somebody who specifically researched this, knew a lot about this, wrote about it, and all three of these sources pretty well corroborated. I think this is the accurate accounting.
SOURCE [48:10] Smithsonian on Thanksgiving Myths - https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/thanksgiving-myth-and-what-we-should-be-teaching-kids-180973655/
SOURCE [48:10] History News Network on Thanksgiving myths - https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/406
SOURCE [48:10] Bustle on thanksgiving myths - https://www.bustle.com/p/9-myths-about-thanksgiving-the-real-facts-behind-them-13123858
SQEAKY: M'kay. So these were addressing certain preconceived notions that people seemed to have. It seems that a lot of people confused the puritans with the pilgrims. Two seperate groups. That's weird, I never met anyone holding that view that they're the same group, but there were people that were arriving in the Americas pre-pilgrims, post-Christopher Columbus, these were just one more group that happened to be slightly more successful than the others when everything was done. Uh, there's a commonly held view that this was a big deal. That this first Thanksgiving was a big event, that they were gonna start celebrating it annually, but that just doesn't appear to be the case. They were like "We barely survived this first year. Let's eat." And then the next year they kind of decided to do it again, and then slowly it turned into a thing. So we do know when this holiday emerged, between 1620 and 1623, they started doing this on an annual basis and it just continued. Something else that wasn't commonly known was turkey wasn't the main course then. That started in the late 1900s or early 20th century, and then actually a big marketing push pushed it from a thing a lot of families did to a nationwide thing. That was also interesting.
MAKO: Was there any specific food that was consumed as a part of the feast?
SQEAKY: Uh, I don't know that there was a central course like that that was customary.
MAKO: Hmm. I do know that like when the initial Europeans got here there was some species of bird that is now extinct that existed in the Americas.
SQEAKY: I don't think we had passenger pigeons if that's what you're getting to.
SOURCE [49:31] Passenger Pigeon extinction - https://www.audubon.org/magazine/may-june-2014/why-passenger-pigeon-went-extinct
MAKO: No. No, it was a big bird. Not like quite ostrich big, but big.
SQEAKY: Oh damn. No, carrier pigeons were bigger than modern pigeons but they were like a couple pounds not fuckin dodo sized or anything.
MAKO: Yeah it was roughly dodo sized. I can't remember what it was called.
MAKO: No. No, it went against like not too long after Europeans got firmly-
SQEAKY: I don't even know man.
MAKO: I'll look it up while you continue-
SQEAKY: Wait are you talking about the... the... there was an auk, the North American Auk, 'cause there were like three auks. Okay.
SOURCE [50:00] Dow's puffin is a kind of now extinct Auk native to North America - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dow%27s_puffin
MAKO: I'll look.
SQEAKY: Yeah I am but you're typing.
SQEAKY: Yeah one of my sources on the topic of food, it does say that we know for sure they didn't have corn on the cob, apples, pears, potatoes, or even cranberries for the first few Thanksgivings. We do know for a fact they had deer, but no forks.
MAKO: Hmm. Deer makes a lot of sense.
SQEAKY: So did you find that bird?
MAKO: Thought I did but no, no, this bird went extinct too early.
*Typing starts again*
SQEAKY: Yeah there's a lot of birds that could have been there for that. Okay, so now starting to touch on things that some people will consider political for not great reasons.
SQEAKY: The native group closest to where the pilgrims landed, the Wampanoag, were led by a person named Ousamequin. I'm sure I'm butchering that. Could be Wee-sa-mockin. But this person advocated for peaceful resolution of disputes between them because in the years leading up to the pilgrim's landing, there was some pandemic that had killed many of the people right on the water. So there was just a big open place where the Pilgrims landed. If this hadn't been the case, like many of the other people who had landed before, there likely would have been violence and the pilgrims would have been driven off because they weren't exactly huge in numbers. But the native peoples had uh... disagreements with each other. And that was their main point of conflict 'cause they just kinda presumed that they wouldn't be invaded whole sale that was outside of their their context. An outside invader taking them all over. So they didn't even view it as a natives vs European type issue. It was just like "oh here's one more group we have to deal with". So any picture we have of the original pilgrims eating and sitting in harmony with the natives is almost certainly just bullshit. At most there would have been Wampanoag and his close diplomatic party-
SQEAKY: -would have been eating with them to try to build a rapport but it certainly would've been a... would not have been a mixing of cultures as is sometimes depicted. Now this one isn't directly Thanksgiving related, but it's often described that Europeans traded trinkets or beads or greatly underpaid for land but all of the documentation and all of the information we have pointing to how the native cultures behaved and operated, they did have an understanding of property, did know how incredibly valuable land was, but when the pilgrims came to buy into it, they didn't think they were buying a chunk of land, they thought they were buying into to use the land and it's resources so they could cohabitate. The goal was eventually peaceful integration. And then they just kind of took it and kept it.
SQEAKY: And as they made a treaty with Wampanoag- with the Wampanoag people through Ousamequin, they kept overstepping the bounds because they had already been exposed to all the diseases --they brought smallpox with them-- so a disease ravaged people. They are fighting against a force of technologically superior people who also brought smallpox, so you're- y'know the natives were dying in large numbers, they had political strife between each other 'cause there were other native groups to the north and the south and further west, pretty much every direction except east 'cause that's the Atlantic ocean. So you're surrounded by political... I don't want to say enemies, but other political forces that you have to contend with, at the same time you're dealing with a disease that has a death rate between ten and thirty percent depending on which population you are, and they've got guns and you don't, so they were at a massive political loss and periodically pilgrims took chunks of land or they would raid food stores or uh... places that the natives... the natives stored resources or supplies, and then when winter came, they asked them for help and not knowing the exact culprit behind the raids, sometimes the Wampanoag would help- y'know would be a begrudging like "Yeah, here's the thing you can do so that way when you survive in Spring you'll treat us better" and then they didn't.
MAKO: Yeah, it sounds like uh... early colonials were huge jerks to say the least.
SQEAKY: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I don't even have anything funny to say here about this 'cause it's just slow conquest by force of economics. It's not even like they showed up with a good plan. A lot of those seem like the... just a broad grouping of misunderstandings, that it was fundamentally religious that Puritans and Pilgrims were the same people, that this was a... they were planning it to be a holiday, that there were more agreements and more harmony between the natives and the uh... incoming European pilgrims and the notion that the natives didn't understand the value of land or the concept of property, all of those are myths.
MAKO: Yeah, obvious bullshit.
SQEAKY: And actually there's one segment I wanted to read from this article.
MAKO: Go for it.
SQEAKY: This is just to highlight using the word "Indian" which is problematic, but to highlight the difference between the Pilgrim's view of the natives versus the Wampanoag’s view. So the quoting the Smithsonian magazine article. "The politics of Indian country are more important to native people than their differences with colonists. There were no ‘Indians’ when the English arrived. Native people didn't conceive themselves as Indians—that's an identity that they have had to learn through their shared struggle with colleagues and it takes a long time—they have been here for 12,000 plus years, and there are a lot of differences between them. Their focus is on their own people, not on shared interests of Indians and very often, what's in the best interest of their own people is cutting deals with colonial powers with an eye towards combating their native rivals." So seeing this, the incoming Pilgrims knew that it was a Pilgrims- and all of the natives which this excerpt called Indians, was all of the natives versus the European colonialists and the Pilgrims acted appropriately here, playing different groups off of each other. So, if there was ever an opportunity for the pilgrims to gain by pitting two former rivals against each other, they would do it. And they did it early and often.
SQEAKY (Editor): This is Sqeaky listening to this section again in editing and I could have been much more clear when I described the Pilgrim's behavior as appropriate. I only mean it in the strictest game theory sense. Their behavior was reprehensible and not to be emulated by any right-thinking or ethical people. If one is interested in conquest, dividing one's enemy and behaving reprehensively and killing them is often an effective way to make conquest real.
SQEAKY: Bah. So having a nuanced view of politics kind of plays into the third category of myth that we were discussing. There's constant discussion that the Pilgrims were persecuted but other than England officially declaring the state religion being Anglican, I couldn't find any examples of them being persecuted. There were apparently threats of people being arrested, but I can't even find evidence of that. I might if I dug much longer. But I found some other evidence. These people all just left England and they went to Holland where- well first they were able to just hop across the English channel en masse so they weren't exactly poor. But then reading about their times in Holland, these people were former nobles landed gentry and they didn't take well to being tradesmen and businessmen actually having to work for their pay. Well they just had enough money to hire ships and just up and leave? That doesn't sound like someone who's persecuted.
SOURCE [56:48] Claims of puritan persecution in England - https://raymundtamayo.com/theology/what-religious-persecution-were-the-pilgrims-fleeing.html
SQEAKY: And then when we read what they wrote when they were there... I'm going to use some modern terms here, but they didn't seem to like how liberal the place was. In one article, again from christianity.com, sorry I keep going there. It seems like uh, maybe they've been infiltrated with atheist trolls trying to undermine the very notion of Christianity.
SOURCE [57:05] The Pilgrims didn’t like the liberal society Holland offered - https://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/why-the-pilgrims-really-came-to-america-hint-it-wasn-t-religious-freedom.html
MAKO: I doubt it, but maybe.
SQEAKY: They do accept pieces from people submitting them. One Pilgrim, William Bradford, wrote about the "great licentiousness of youth in Holland" and he lamented the "evil examples and manifold temptations of the place". They had brothels, uh, they had things that in general weren't in line with what the pilgrims thought was appropriate like freedom of religion for example. They could be things not this extreme- 'cause what Pilgrims were religious extremists, right?
SQEAKY: So you could be something else and you didn't have to line up with their ethos and the pilgrims didn't like that so this wild liberalism there in Holland was enough to make them uncomfortable but then it looked like there was going to be war with Spain so they all noped out to dodge the draft. They hired two boats to cross the ocean. One of the boats flaked out on them so they all hopped on the one boat, the Mayflower, and they went across the Atlantic. And at this point they could still hire boats? That's a ton of money to have to just have enough money to cross... cross major bodies of water twice as a population? And they dodged the draft as an entire population? That's not actions of a persecuted people!
SOURCE [58:13] Pilgrims were rich and their “persecution” was unspecified - https://reaberg.com/2018/11/22/the-pilgrims-persecution-prison-pain-and-providence-2/
MAKO: Yeah no. Unless you want to try and make the claim that "Oh, you're gonna draft me, that makes me persecuted." Yeah, which is, don't do that. Don't make that claim. But yeah, they're not persecuted.
SQEAKY: Yeah. They showed up in a new culture, attempted to integrate, but then didn't want to do the things that the culture viewed as socially responsible. They just didn't want to participate in other people's culture, they want to be in charge. When have we ever seen that with other religious zealots?
MAKO: Oh I wonder...
SQEAKY: That's like every religious group and actually it has a lot of parallels to the Mormons going west leaving the United States trying to claim Utah as its own- as their own country. Uh, stopped as soon as the U.S. Army went out there and said "No, this is gonna stop" but the MAGA Trump people today make claims like this?
SOURCE [58:47] All the Dirt on Mormon Conquest - https://nakedmormonismpodcast.com/
MAKO: Oh the talk about Texas trying to break away?
SOURCE [58:59] Texas has so much Secession anxiety, that this comment could mean one of many historical or contemporary events - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_secession_movements
SQEAKY: That comes up every couple years. Or if you're in California there's a northern part of California they call Jefferson, they want to break off that's like five or six counties between- it's just in Northern California, just up in the mountains.
SOURCE [59:11] Jefferson Secession - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_%28proposed_Pacific_state%29#Counties_intending_to_leave_California
SQEAKY: Just south of uh... Oregon where they want to break off and make their own extreme right-wing Christian ethnostate, I don't know. There are places where religious zealots always seem to want to do this and they always start persecution, and I can't see any real persecution here. They- I didn't see any records of arrests or torture or even their businesses being shut down. They were allowed to go freely and pay for boats and be rich up until they got to America is where their money didn't do anything. Then they abused and robbed from the native peoples and enriched themselves. So I don't know for certain that they weren't persecuted, and lots of sources say that word but very few sources back it up and I I'll link to some of them like there are several places where the question "What religious persecution did Pilgrims flee from?" and there's nothing in the answer section. And I don't mean there's bad answers, I mean the answer section is just fuckin empty there's there's no answers.
SQEAKY: So I'll link to one of those from answers.com.
SOURCE [1:00:05] Lot’s of non-answers on persecution like this - https://www.answers.com/Q/What_religious_persecution_did_the_pilgrims_flee_from
SQEAKY: But yeah as far as I can tell, their perspective on persecution was "Our religion isn't the one in charge, therefore persecution".
MAKO: Yeah that sounds familiar.
SQEAKY: Yeah so I guess everything I've got in summary is a bunch of little myths, Thanksgiving isn't a Christian holiday, and the whole Pilgrim motivation is kind of bullshit. They appear to have just wanted to set up a... religious theocracy and they did for a while.
SQEAKY: I dunno.
SQEAKY: That's all I've got on that I mean the core of it, a bunch of people got in the boat and ate food, that definitely happened.
*Sqeaky and Mako laugh*
MAKO: Yeah when you break things down to their absolute most basic details glossing over any and all possible nuance you tend to be like "Ah yeah that's kinda true, maybe" I mean that's certainly believable. Like you wanna tell me 2,000 years ago there was a carpenter that thought about social reform. Okay, face value that, I can believe it.
SQEAKY: Yeah even I would accept that one. Jeez.
*Mako and Sqeaky laugh*
SQEAKY: My brain is too addled by this cold to actually uh, have good jokes here.
MAKO: Yeah, that's fair.
SQEAKY: Okay. So we're gonna do annunaki next week?
MAKO: Yeah. Well next episode. We do bi-weekly releases.
SQEAKY: You know I'd know that if my brain weren't so fucked by COVID.
SQEAKY: Do you think I have COVID?
MAKO: Probably not.
SQEAKY: Yeah I probably don't have- It's the one thing I'm really vaccinated against.
SQEAKY: I probably got measles, mump, rubella, and tetanus. Not vaccinated for any of those- wait-
MAKO: Yeah hold on.
SQEAKY: -those are exactly the things I'm vaccinated against. What's left?
MAKO: The normal seasonal flu.
SQEAKY: Son of a bitch. I knew I forgot something.
*Mako and Sqeaky laugh*
SQEAKY: Give me just a second.
SQEAKY: Ouch! Be gone demon! And that demon's name was Loki. He's an adorable siamese cat.
SQEAKY: He is adorable.
SQEAKY: But he has a little jangly bell that ruins recording.
MAKO: We should strip him naked next time.
SQEAKY: That's not a bad idea.
MAKO: Thanks to Qeldaar for video and graphics work and thanks to AlphaWolf for transcription.
SQEAKY: Thanks to all of our Patreon supporters. Our supporters at the Evidence Investigator level or higher, Jarod, DuktTape, Qeldaar, Lazori78, and Steven Larabee.
MAKO: Thanks for listening and don't forget to like, subscribe, leave a review, or tell a friend.
SQEAKY: Copyright 2021, BlackTopp Studios Inc.
MAKO: Intro music was Slow by PitX, used with permission.
MAKO: Real quick. The bird I was thinking of from doing the research while you were talking. I'm pretty sure I was thinking of the Moa, not-
SOURCE [1:02:23] The Moa is a big bird - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moa
MAKO: -specific to...
SQEAKY: That's New Zealand.
MAKO: Exactly, exactly. But it matches every other criteria that I was remembering.
SQEAKY: But they're not as big as ostriches, they're like ten fuckin feet tall.
MAKO: I said they were a little bit larger than ostriches and Moa's come in a variety of sizes.
SQEAKY: Oh there's a range of sizes?
SQEAKY: Okay I've only seen them on magic cards, they're always like eating a knight in shining armor whole.
MAKO: Y-yeah they're pretty big. *random noises* Yeah they have a range of sizes but they all disappeared within a century after the New Zealand colonists landed because of... well, they were hungry.
SQEAKY: I would imagine a ten foot turkey is good eating.
SQEAKY: Didn't Haast's Eagle also come from New Zealand? Wasn't that like the stupidly large eagle with like a twelve or a fourteen-foot wingspan or something?
SOURCE [1:03:03] Haast's Eagle wingspan were typically 8~10 feet - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haast%27s_eagle
MAKO: Yes it also went extinct largely because of the hunting of the Moa or something like that. It went extinct because of the hunting of... maybe it wasn't the Moa that it used as a food source-
MAKO: -but they, they hunted its food source.
SQEAKY: Oh okay. Well that's really interesting. The largest turkeys ever are gone because all the Maori ate them.
SQEAKY: And they didn't even have a Thanksgiving holiday.
MAKO: Yeah I'm not a hundred percent sure that the Moa is what I was thinking of but I'm like eighty-five ninety percent sure 'cause it matches everything except the geography that I was thinking of.
SQEAKY: This was somewhat recently, right? The New Zealanders didn't land there until... what like 13, 14, 1500?
MAKO: Something like that yeah. Uh... Yeah they settled in 1300 and it was about a hundred years after settling so Moa went extinct roughly 1400.
SQEAKY: How recently a bunch of these gigantic animals, these megafauna were around. 'Cause like, I think the last group of wooly mammoths go extinct like a thousand years ago in the northern... was like some in like the northern Siberian island.
MAKO: Something like that.
SQEAKY: Yeah I don't know. That's not this episode, we're not eating these things for Christmas or Halloween. Oh, trick-or-treat, here's one tiny wooly mammoth.
*Sqeaky makes the sound of a tiny wooly mammoth being dropped into a trick-or-treat bag*
SQEAKY: Put it in your bag.
MAKO: Yeah, okay. It says by 1445 all Moa had become extinct along with the Haast's Eagle which had relied on them for food. Okay so I was thinking of that correctly.
SQEAKY: Yeah yeah yeah. Haast's Eagle was absolutely enormous. I mean, it could eat people for food.
MAKO: Yeah there were claims that hunters were hunting Moa's as recently as the 1770's but-
SQEAKY: It doesn't have to be there for you to hunt it, just ask any snipe hunter.
MAKO: Uh, but yeah. They... those claims were not substantiated.
SQEAKY: Ah okay. Cool.