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Posted inParenting & Family

Daddy issues: Do ‘defective fathers’ lead children to reject the idea of God?

Reading Time: 4 minutes Few atheists will be celebrating their dads on Father’s Day. At least that’s the solemn judgment of Dr. Paul Vitz, psychologist and author of Faith of the Fatherless: the psychology of atheism. Published in 1999, Vitz’s book argues that absent or abusive fathers cause their children to lose trust in father figures, leading those kids […]

Posted inMyth & Folklore

What if she comes anyway?

Reading Time: 3 minutes Her name was first spoken in hushed tones among children all over America [over] twenty years ago. Even in Sweden, folklorists reported Bloody Mary’s fame. Children of all races and classes told of the hideous demon conjured by chanting her name before a mirror in a pitch-dark room. And when she crashes through the glass, […]

Posted inParenting & Family

You don’t have to ‘be fruitful and multiply’: More Americans having just one child

Reading Time: 7 minutes For much of history, “only children” were rare. Whether due to religious traditions, lack of birth control, cultural norms, or the simple need for manual labor, women commonly gave birth to numerous children. Having multiples also offset the common childhood deaths resulting from harsh conditions of life. In 1800, American women typically had seven to […]

Posted inParenting & Family

An Easter horror story

Reading Time: 2 minutes As a little kid, I was not allowed to watch horror movies. In the early 80s, they were all the rage. Such masterpieces like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th were favorites of my older siblings. And they knew that because I was prone to nightmares, my mother didn’t want me watching […]

Posted inMyth & Folklore

The death of a useful monster

Reading Time: 3 minutes High in the Pennines in the north of England, in the gold-brown water of the River Tees, lives a creature named Peg Powler. She’s a mermaid, kind of, but she’s no Ariel. Peg is a river hag, with green hair and skin and a row of jagged teeth. And unlike Ariel, she lives not to make children […]