Someone tagged me on a Facebook post that shows the supposed power of the evil world. A bottle washed ashore a river. The bottle contained a crucifix and a man’s picture. The person tagged me because of my scepticism about the supernatural. He felt since he couldn’t explain this, perhaps I wouldn’t be able to do too and then I would surrender and abandon my scepticism. I appreciate the gesture though because it has provided another opportunity for me to liberate a few more people from the shackles of superstitious and supernatural nonsense.
In Africa, this incident means something tragic. A crucifix is a supernatural symbol especially among the white garment church members and a picture of a person is widely believed to be something that can be used to cast a spell on the person as it represents the person’s life essence. It means the man whose picture is in the bottle has been annihilated supernaturally by the Evil Force. By now, he is probably dead or has been struck by a strange illness as a result of this spell cast on him or something catastrophic will soon happen to him. The supposed irreversibility of the spell is established by the fact that the totem was thrown into the river.
This is how my people think. That’s why so many Nigerian websites published it as “Beware! This world is evil”.
Meanwhile what you need to do is not to beware of Satan, demons, witches, and all whatnot. Rather what you need to do is to stop being stupid, silly, and ignorant. What you need to do is to learn to doubt everything. Every single thing. Unfortunately you need to drop your belief in the supernatural for you to doubt everything. Once you believe that the supernatural is possible by any margin, then you have left yourself in a vulnerable position epistemologically and you won’t but always appear like a fool to someone like me.
If this happened 1,000 years ago, many people would bow down in awe of the supernatural. This would mean the sign of a God or a totem of a religious movement. This was how Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Confucism, and thousands of other faith systems, both extinct and still alive, started. Folks saw stuff that they couldn’t explain and immediately revered it. Miracles or whatever you guys call them. It’s because the level of inquisitiveness was low. In those days, literacy was low compared to nowadays and there were not many tools of inquiry around. Furthermore there was no way humans could exchange information and knowledge.
However today, the ever increasing levels of inquisitiveness have propped science up so high that it’s increasingly less appealing to revere supposedly inexplicable occurrences. In 2018, there’s a camera and internet in almost everybody’s hands and this means that we can accurately record events and share information all across the globe. However it’s sad that in 2018, there are still a few people who are still stuck in the era of 1,000 years ago. It’s because they have decided to retain the beliefs and mindset of that ancient era. Once you uphold those ancient religions, automatically you’re bound to retain the way of reasoning of that era in which those religions started.
Let me tell you how 2018 works. Unlike the era of Jesus, Mohammed, Greek mythology, the Norse mythology, etc, the internet now exists. For those who think the internet is all about Facebook and WhatsApp, let me tell you what it is. The internet is the totality of all the knowledge and information human beings have ever gathered and are still gathering. So when you encounter something supposedly mysteriously, start from Google. There’s a chance someone else somewhere else has come across it and documented it. If text is difficult for you, YouTube will show you videos of the same thing. YouTube isn’t just for watching Mark Angel’s cheap comedy videos or Olamide’s songs. You can get educated on YouTube too.
A simple Google search of “crucifix in a bottle” reveals the following images:
Now you can see that a crucifix in a bottle is nothing special. It’s a religious folk art that dates back a few centuries. Records show that it wasn’t even magicians that did those bottles. Prisoners and regular homeless people produced them and sold them for a living. You can still get them today. If you visit religious tourist centres across the world, there is a chance you can get a couple for yourself. Here is a website of someone who collects them as a hobby.
On his website concerning folk arts, the same person had this to say in the crucifixion bottles section:
Crucifixion bottles have many features common to most of them: besides the cross, there are almost always tools which are mentioned in the Gospel accounts of the passion and death of Jesus. Most common are a ladder, a spear, a long stick with a sponge on the end, hammer and nails, and sometimes a shovel. Other common objects are the cock that crowed when St. Peter had denied Christ three times, a flail, dice representing the soldiers who cast lots for Jesus’s cloak, a chalice, and a crown of thorns. Often there is a small banner with “INRI” on the cross, and often there is a carved body of Jesus on the cross. In the more elaborate scenes, there are soldier guards and/or the two thieves on smaller crosses. Some of the crucifixion scenes are painted, but most are not. Sometimes the figure of Christ is a cut-out from a picture. In rare cases, the bottle stopper is carved in the shape of a cross or steeple. I have one bottle with no cross, but it has tools and a sign with the letters INRI.
Now to the man’s picture part. People even customize these bottle artworks. To immortalize their loved ones, people ask that framed pictures of their loved ones be inserted alongside crucifixes into the bottles. There are rumours that the one in the Facebook post I was tagged on followed one from South America. Therefore there’s a chance that it wasn’t for voodoo as Africans have hysterically concluded. It could be that someone made it for himself or a loved one. And if it’s for voodoo, does it mean it has any supernatural powersm
The next thing is: can you put a crucifix in a bottle? Well, it’s a trick meant to entertain. Tricks that are for entertainment are meant to be difficult to explain for the average person. Otherwise it won’t entertain. Over thousands of years, humans have perfected the art of tricks that originate from our imaginations. One of such many tricks is what is called “the impossible bottle” or “the puzzle bottle”. Again you don’t need me to remind you that Google is your friend here, do I?
A puzzle or impossible bottle is generally defined as a bottle that contains an object that shouldn’t normally enter into the bottle. Objects that people have smartly put in bottles are eggs, packs of cards, ships, etc. A crucifix is just another example. A Nairaland user claimed that putting a crucifix in a bottle requires magical powers. How gullible! Even his suggestion for putting an egg in a bottle doesn’t cut it at all. Don’t mind him.
All you need to put an egg inside a bottle is not some supernatural powers; all you need is some knowledge of physics. I’ll leave you to search it for yourself on the internet. To put complex objects like a crucifix in a bottle, you don’t need to be a voodoo man; all you need is some carpentry skills. Normally we shouldn’t explain tricks because the entertainment value is lost that way and that’s not good. However for the sake of superstitious folks who think a crucifix in a bottle is a sign of Satan, voodoo power, or the end of the world, let’s sort this out once and for all.
The trick is simple. To place a wooden object inside a bottle, you can either make it soft and pliable and then squeeze it in or you reconstruct it inside the bottle. The following is a video of how to put a chair in a bottle using the reconstruction method. I guess a crucifix being less complex than a chair should be easier to do, shouldn’t it?
A blogger explained how to put a complex crucifix bottle together. It’s painstaking definitely but it can be done with the right skills and tools. And if it’s too complex for you, you can always open the bottle from the bottom, insert everything and seal the bottle back. There are many ways to achieve the feat without needing voodoo or supernatural powers.
There you have it my people. I don’t believe in the supernatural because it’s either there’s no evidence or all the evidence for it is fraudulent or mistaken. That your brain can’t figure something out and you’re too lazy to find out doesn’t mean it’s supernatural. It simply means that your brain can’t figure it out and you’re too lazy to find out. Simple. Please and please, you can’t afford to be gullible any more. It’s not good for you, it’s not good for us, and it’s not good for humanity as a whole. Drop all nonsensical beliefs and be 21st century-compliant.