Compiled and Written by Lenny Giteck
Witchcraft and 'Swimming':
A Horrific, Always Deadly Test
Today we think of swimming as a fun, healthful, refreshing activity, but it was not always so. According to the Web site Suite101.com, a gruesome practice called "swimming" was used in 16th and 17th century Britain to ascertain if someone was a witch. Many thousands of women - and some men as well — suffered the consequences.
Suite 101.com reports the details of one typical case: "In Coldred, a small village of the outskirts of the Port of Dover in Kent, the village pond was regularly used for swimming during witch trials to establish guilt by whether the accused floated or sank. In the 1640s, an elderly woman, Nell Garlinge, was tightly bound, her thumbs and toes being tied crosswise, and then she was hurled into the water. Nell drowned and was pronounced innocent!"
And if Nell had not drowned? She would have been deemed guilty of being a witch and would have been promptly executed using one of the preferred methods of the day: burning at the stake, strangulation, beheading or hanging.
Suite101.com observes that often the women accused of witchcraft "may only have offended a malicious neighbor or been branded a 'scold' by their husbands. It is also claimed that twenty-five percent of accusations of witchcraft were made by children informing on their relatives."
Ripples laments all those unfortunate human beings — the vast majority of them women — who suffered untimely and cruel deaths due to ignorance and superstition.
Swim With Dolphins Right
In Your Backyard Pool!
Who wouldn't want to swim with playful dolphins, multicolored fish and even a beautiful mermaid or two? Now homeowners can do just that — virtually, of course — in their own backyard pools, thanks to a unique system created by acclaimed German interior designer and trompe l'oeil artist Paul-Bertram Petereit.
Petereit calls his melding of painted fantasy scenes with projected, interactive images "Aquatic Dreamworlds: Virtual Underwater Seascapes in Swimming Pools." The beguiling effect was unveiled at the Interbad 2010 trade fair, in Stuttgart, Germany, toward the end of last year.
A press release from Petereit's company states: "What seems miraculous in snorkeling paradises like Egypt, the Maldives or Thailand is now possible in a swimming pool. Whether coral reef communities, shipwrecks or blue lagoons — the illusions are deceptively realistic."
Video: To see a sample of Aquatic Dreamworlds in action, click on http://tinyurl.com/49ayoxs
Note: Some Web sites may open behind this page.
10-Year-Old Swimmer Doesn't
Let Legal Blindness Stop Him
Andrew McLeod, a 10-year-old Kansas boy who is both legally blind and passionate about swimming, has been honing his swimming technique at the Northwest YMCA in Wichita — so much so that he participates in swim competitions.
A report on the Web site walb.com quotes the youngster as saying: "I think I've improved a lot. You just keep on trying and trying and trying, and you'll finally just figure out that you're really good at it." And, "I'm just like everyone else. I'm trying to swim and cut my time and stuff."
One reason for McLeod's improvement is the fact that he's now training with a coach. "It was a little different for me," admits Dustin Welch. "This is the first time I have coached someone who is legally blind. It was a lot of hands-on in the water with him."
Brady McLeod, the boy's father, says, "...you just do the best you can [in swimming competitions] and I think Andrew understands that extremely well."
Video: To watch a video about this inspiring young swimmer, go to http://tinyurl.com/4pg6woy.
Texas Man Swims His Way
To 100-Pound Weight Loss
There is no question that regular swimming provides a multitude of health benefits — but one related question is still being debated: Can swimming laps help people lose weight? One Texas man is sure he knows the answer: Absolutely!
Two years ago, Harry Chapman, then 57 years old, wore size 44 pants and was significantly overweight. Today, the Dallas resident is 100 pounds lighter and in great shape.
A report on the Web site sunherald.com quotes Chapman as saying, "I didn't have any physiological calamitous problems to deal with. It's not like my doctor said, 'You're going to die.' I was headed the wrong direction. My blood pressure was going up; my resting heart rate kept climbing. As some point on that path, I was going to be seriously unhealthy, and that would be impacting the enjoyment of my life."
Chapman began swimming laps at an area pool. "I looked like a beached whale," he recalls. "You show up and you're big and fat and out of shape. I could swim to the end of the pool and had to rest awhile. The coach said, 'Be consistent. Give yourself six weeks, three times a week.'"
He kept at it far beyond six weeks. In addition to swimming, Chapman rides a bike over long distances on weekends, watches his caloric intake and makes better food choices. He credits the high intensity of his workouts — both in the pool and on the bicycle — for much of his weight-loss success.
"He is an incredible shining example," says Jim Montgomery, an Olympic gold-medalist swimmer and co-owner of the Dallas Aquatic Masters Swim Club, where Chapman trains six or seven days a week. "He was out of shape and extra determined. Once we got our initial three to four months, we could see the light at the end of the tunnel. You don't make changes unless you see something ahead."
Ripples has only one word for Mr. Chapman: Bravo!
Photo: To see the new and improved version of Harry Chapman, go to http://tinyurl.com/66u88tl.
Did Argentina UFO Drain
Pool to Grow Dope?
In the last edition of Ripples, we reported on the mysterious draining of a swimming pool in Argentina, which the Web site UFOdigest.org seemed to blame on extraterrestrial ne'er-do-wells. At the time, Ripples wondered why the H2O space bandits would drain a swimming pool — rather than, say, a Coke or 7UP factory, Starbucks or liquor store.
The answer may have come in a completely unrelated case, the details of which we read on FirstCoastNews.com. According to the item, Flagler County (Fla.) deputy sheriffs discovered a "large, sophisticated" marijuana cultivation operation in a house in the town of Palm Coast. "The system took water from the swimming pool and ran it into the climate-controlled grow room in the house," the Web site reported.
Could this be the solution to the Argentina mystery? Instead of your regular, garden variety UFO, could Argentina have been visited by a UFDF (Unidentified Flying Dope Farm) piloted by a bunch of wacked-out space cadets?
Until next time, happy watershaping to you!