O-Bits—A Bhoot and a Shoe Edition

A group of women go out to a clearing in the woods. They form a circle around a fire, and begin a rite which they claim will cast out the evil spirits. Harvey Weinstein’s worst nightmare? No, it’s the annual Bhoot Ki Mela,” an annual festival held in small central Indian village, The rituals, which include dragging the possessed by their hair, or lashing them to a tree, cast the malign spirits out, and into a banyan tree.  And according to Asian Age, women from across the subcontinent make the trek to rid themselves of ghosts that have troubled them.


The upcoming Helen Mirren movie, “Winchester: The House That Ghosts Built” tells the story of a woman who had another way of warding off evil spirits.  Mirren stars as Sarah Winchester, the wife of the inventor of the Winchester repeating rifle. After her husband’s death, she became convinced the spirits of all the men, women, and children killed by his invention were haunting her.  She came up with the idea that  she could fool those ghosts by constantly adding rooms to her mansion. The movie arrives February 2018.


According to Bustle.com, the actual Winchester house is even stranger than what you see in the movie. It’s construction is so maze-like and convoluted (would you like a door to nowhere? Sure, why not!) that a room nobody knew existed was discovered last year.



Finally, Chabad.org litigates the question “it is wrong to wear the shoes of a dead person?” As anyone who went to Hebrew school can tell you, the And unsurprisingly, it’s not a strict yes-or-no question. The answer depends on many issues, including was the deceased wearing the shoes when they died? While some think the injunction applies to dead animals as well, so all leather shoes could be traif.  After kicking the issue around for a while, the editors punt, and advise the reader who asked to consult their rabbi.


Steven Mirkin

Steven Mirkin’s diverse career has taken him from politics to pop culture to high art, offering him a front row seat to some of the most fascinating events and personalities of our time: writing speeches, fundraising appeals and campaign materials for Ed Koch, John Heinz and independent presidential candidate John B. Anderson; chronicling the punk/new wave scenes in New York and London; interviewing musicians such as Elton John, John Lydon and Buck Owens; profiling modern masters Julian Schnabel, Paul Schrader and Jonathan Safran Foer; and writing for TV shows including 21, The Chamber, Let's Make A Deal, and Rock Star: INXS.

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