When is a placebo not a placebo? When it’s a nocebo.

Can we THINK ourselves to death? In New Scientist, Helen Pilcher tells the story of a US man who was told by a local witch doctor that he was going to die. He promptly took to his bed and began to do so. When he was admitted to the hospital, his wife told one of his doctors, Drayton Doherty, what had happened.

Doherty went to the man’s beside while his family was there and told them he had used his OWN voodoo on the witch doctor, causing him to die from a lizard that was eating him from the inside. He then gave the patient an innocuous injection and produced a lizard from his doctor’s bag. Pilcher quotes Doherty as saying, “Look what has come out of you. The voodoo curse is lifted.” The patient was cured.

Experiments have shown that these “nocebo” diseases can even be CATCHING, ending up as epidemics (when nothing is physically wrong with anyone). Could Swine Flu be an example of this? Stay tuned!

Sometimes a tiny virus can be the cause of problems that were blamed on genes and lifestyle choices. A new study suggests for the first time that a common viral infection affecting between 60 and 99% of adults worldwide, is a cause of high blood pressure, a leading risk factor for heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. When coupled with other risk factors for heart disease, the virus can lead to the development of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

This is one of those secrets that not everyone knows, but that we let YOU know in our “News of the Edge.” If you like secrets, come to the Dreamland Festival, where you can meet all your favorite Dreamland hosts and hear lots of things you never knew. For instance, Linda Moulton Howe will, for the first time, link newly discovered secretdocuments to attempts to back engineer alien technology involving crop circles.

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