Series P, Episode 13 - Phenomena
- In her introduction Sandi describes Alan as the "Pope Lick Monster". It is a part man, part sheep, part goat creature that supposedly lived beneath a railway bridge over Pope Lick Creek in Louisville, Kentucky. The creature lures people to their death by hypnosis.
- When testing the buzzers, they go off before the panellists press them, all of which are the theme tunes to supernatural films and TV shows. Cariad has The X Files, Paul The Twilight Zone, Josh the theme for the original John Carpenter version of Halloween, and Alan Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
- The panel are shown three ink-blots that form part of the Rorschach test and are asked what they see. Created by Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Hermann Rorschach in 1921, he was looking for a way in which you could diagnose schizophrenics, but rather than being a substantive test to analyse different illnesses, it did allow people to sometimes tap into the unconscious. Thus it makes people talk about things that they wouldn't ordinarily talk about. "Pareidolia" is the human tendency to see images where maybe they don't exist. Rorschach was also looking for a way to look for depression or anxiety in disorders and violent criminal tendencies, but it does not do this. The test can however unlock things that people can't articulate. Regarding the ink-blots themselves, the first is known as the "sex card" as it has the most reported sexual answers, but many also see it as an animal skin or rug; the second is sometimes called the "mother card" because people often see women or children in it; and the third card can also induce a variety of sexual responses.
- The weirdest place to feel another person is on Mount Everest or somewhere during an expedition, especially if you are suffering from Third Man Syndrome. Under this syndrome, you feel the presence of an extra, unseen person, that doesn't actually exist. It happens under extreme conditions, normally by adventurers. In 1933, there was a solo attempt to climb Everest by British explorer Frank Smythe, and he got within 1,000ft when he was under the belief that there was someone else with him. It was so strong that he broke off a piece of Kendal Mint Cake and tried to hand it to this unseen person. Ernest Shackleton also reported the same sensation. In his book South he wrote: "During that long and racking march of 36 hours over the unnamed mountains and glaciers of South Georgia, it seemed to me often that we were four and not three." Third Man Syndrome may be a coping mechanism of the brain to provide comfort. The electrical stimulation of the temporoparietal junctions of the brain are important in how people interpret all thing that comes into our senses.
"Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you."
The words to the passages are on the screen, which Alan says looks a bit like karaoke, leading to Alan and Cariad to sing the verse karaoke-style.
- Sandi gives Alan a special helmet with electrodes and a metal plate on it and asks why you are more likely to see God when wearing it. This "God Helmet", invented by Stanley Koren, a technologist at Laurentian University in Canada, and neuroscientist Michael Persinger, creates a minor electrical stimulation that interferes with the brain's function, so it was used in experiments to see if it can recreate the sense of a religious experience. Some people when wearing claimed that they felt they were in the presence of God. Persinger's theory is that religious and mystical experiences are caused by disruptions of the brain.
- XL: Everyone glows in the dark. A Japanese study from 2009 used special hyper-sensitive cameras and found that humans are bioluminescent at levels 1,000 times less than what is detectable by the human eye. The study photographed five volunteers for 20 minutes every three hours, inside a dark room for three days straight, and they discovered that the light was brightest in the late afternoon, when we expend the most energy. The brightest part of the body was the cheeks, followed by the upper neck, and then the forehead. All living creatures produce light, as it is a side effect of our metabolism.
- The most terrifying thing about Anne Robinson is when she tricked the woman she worked for that her home was haunted. The Stockwell poltergeist of 1772 supposedly terrorised Mrs. Golding of Stockwell, smashing crockery and moving furniture. One of Sandi's favourite books, Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay in 1841 says: "Mrs. Golding, an elderly lady who resided alone with her servant, Anne Robinson, was sorely surprised on the evening of Twelfth-Day, 1772. She was sorely surprised to observe a most extraordinary commotion among her crockery. Cups and saucers rattled down the chimney, pots and pans were whirled downstairs, and every room in the house was, in a short time, strewed with fragments." However, these incidents only happened when Robinson was in the house. Robinson had tied horse hairs and wires to objects in order to scare Golding. Mackay wrote: "Anne, it appears, was anxious to have a clear house to carry on an intrigue with her lover and resort to this trick to effect her purpose."
- The audience celebrate that last question by doing a wave celebration, leading to Sandi to ask who invented that wave. It was invented by giant honey bees. Called "shimmering", it is a defensive mechanism to warn off predators. Each bee flips their abdomen upwards in turn, creating a shining pattern that confuses and deters hornets, forcing them to chase individual flying bees rather than jumping in on all the bees. Giant honey bees (Apis laboriosa) are the largest bees in the world at 1.2 inches in length, live on trees and cliffs in the Himalayas, and produce hallucinogenic honey out of pollen taken from rhododendrons. This honey is collected by teams of Nepalese men who descend cliffs, harnessed to a ladder by ropes. A single comb can contain over 60,000 bees. The Mexican wave was made popular in the 1986 World Cup that was held in Mexico, but no-one is sure on the actual origins. It may come from 1970s USA. (Forfeit: Football fans)
- The panel are shown pictures of three people and are asked which world records they hold. The first is Susan Ridgedon, the holder of the women's record for the fastest marathon in a toilet roll costume, at 4 hours and 54 minutes in the 2017 London Marathon. The second is Martin Brady, who has bradycardia, and thus the slowest heart rate in the world at 27 beats per minute. In comparison, the average male heart rate is 72 beats per minute. The third is Stephen Wildish, holder of world record for the 100m sack race. While Mo Farah held the record in 2014 at 39.91 seconds, but Wildish set a new record in 2017 at just 26.3 seconds. Wildish had tried earlier that year but his sack had had been ruled-out for being too small. Wildish is in the audience and has a race against Josh, which Wildish wins easily while Josh falls over.
- You might be able to commit various crimes with an ear bud, depending on the DNA on it. In Germany, the police hunted down the Phantom of Heilbronn, aka the Woman Without a Face, for two years. Between 1993-2009, the Phantom was held responsible for over 40 crimes and her DNA was found at all of the crime scenes. A €300,000 bounty was placed on her head, and after the two year investigation they discovered that the Phantom did not actually exist. The DNA came from the factory making the cotton buds, the buds being contaminated with the DNA of the women making the buds. Newspaper Bild had the headline: "Are the heads of our police stuffed with cotton wool?"
- The best poker face is a positive expression, according to research. Smiling and looking cheerful will lead your opponent to make greater mistakes.
- The fastest creature on land relative to body length is the Californian mite. It is the size of a sesame seed, but has been clocked at speeds of 322 body lengths per second, which in terms of distance is an inch. The previous record holder was the Australian tiger beetle at 171 body lengths per second. While cheetahs run at 57.8mph, that is only 16 body lengths per second. (Forfeit: Stephen Wildish; Josh Widdicombe; Cheetah)
- XL: The German phrase for the phenomenon where of encountering your perfect double is: "doppeltgänger", spelt with a "t". Both this and "doppelgänger" come from a German novel from 1796 called Flower, Fruit and Thorn Pieces; or the Married Life, Death and Wedding of Siebenkas, Poor Man's Lawyer. "Doppeltgänger", means your lookalike, "doppelgänger" is the name of a meal in which two courses are served at the same time. (Forfeit: Doppelgänger)
- Friday 1st February 2019
- BBC Two
- 30 minutes
Cast & crew
|Sandi Toksvig||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|James Harkin||Script Editor|
|Ed Brooke-Hitching||Question Writer|
|John Lloyd (as John Lloyd CBE)||Series Producer|
|Justin Pollard||Associate Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|
|Nick Collier||Lighting Designer|
|Andrew Hunter Murray||Researcher|
|Alice Campbell Davis||Researcher|
|Sarah Clay||Commissioning Editor|
|Kalpna Patel-Knight||Commissioning Editor|