4 Body Parts That Allegedly Reveal Hidden Secrets
Some parts of your body genuinely indicate hidden characteristics about yourself. Examine someone’s fingernails, cheeks, ear wrinkles, arms or jaw, and you may make all sorts of reasonable assumptions about them, thanks to the near-miraculous field of correlation.
Today, though, we’re not going to talk about the stuff that really indicates anything in particular. We’re going to talk about stuff that people say indicates stuff in particular. And by “people,” we mean nuts. Or con artists. Or nutty con artists.
Your Ass Reveals Your Future (According to Sylvester Stallone’s Mom)
Let’s say you really like looking at bare butts. But you have a problem: Every time you ask to look at someone’s butt, they say, “Sure, that sounds like a good time for both of us,” and that doesn’t work for you because you insist on being the only one getting off through this encounter. Clearly, you must convince people that you have some non-sexual reason for examining their butt. It can’t be medicine since you’re not a doctor.
Enter rumpology, the practice of examining the buttocks to reveal someone’s character and destiny. Obviously, the idea of hiring someone to reveal your character is absurd. You already know what your character is like, so this part of the session is just about flattering you and tricking you into further believing the rumpologist. The idea of their telling the future by examining your crevices would be slightly more useful, if it were possible. The whole thing works similarly to palm reading. That means it’s nonsense, but some people hear that comparison and think, “Oh, so, it’s legit then.”
The word rumpology was coined by Jackie Stallone, whom you might know as Sylvester Stallone’s mother. She worked as a butt reader and astrologer till she died at the age of 98. You can find other rumpologists, too. A blind man in Hamburg named Ulf Buck made a living as a rumpologist (reading via touch, of course, rather than sight) because when you’re born with the name Ulf Buck, a blind rumpologist is your most likely path in life. Apple bottoms are charismatic, said Buck, while pear bottoms are patient.
You can even set up an appointment with a rumpologist over Skype. If you’re doing this because you’re excited by the thought of mooning some via webcam, be sure not to reveal this. Remember: They need to think they’re deceiving you. Otherwise, it’s no fun for them.
Your Biggest Part Reveals Your Personality (According to Eugenics)
Perhaps you’ve heard of the terms “ectomorph” and “endomorph,” referring to people’s body types. It sounds somewhat scientific. Some people absorb stuff, while some other people give off more stuff — that’s how it goes, right?
These words were coined by William Herbert Sheldon, a psychologist. They’re named after two germ layers, which means layers of cells of the embryo. Ectomorphs are named for the ectoderm, a layer that eventually becomes the skin and other outer organs like that. Endomorphs are named for the endotherm, an embryotic layer that becomes the digestive system. A third group exists as well: mesomorphs. They’re named for the mesoderm, which becomes the heart and muscles.
Those germ layers are real — that much is true. But almost anytime you try to categorize people into discrete groups, you’re going to run into problems. Half a century after Sheldon’s work, a new formula divided people into the groups he invented, according to mighty math:
via Wiki Commons
Well, that certainly sounds scientific, doesn’t it, an objective formula akin to body mass index? It’s called the Carter-Heath formula, and is named for J.E. Lindsay Carter and Barbara Heath, a phys ed professor and an anthropologist respectively. Those aren’t exactly pseudosciences on the same level as rumpology, but you may still question this attempt to mathematically evaluate each person. If this sounds like BMI, well, note that BMI was devised hundreds of years ago by a eugenicist and no reputable doctor nowadays will defer to just your BMI when assessing your health.
So, were Carter and Heath modern nuts who perverted William Sheldon’s good work? Haha, no, just the opposite. Sheldon was a psychologist (that’s one step further down the road from hard science) and was nuttier than they were. According to Sheldon, your morphology didn’t merely categorize your shape but determined your personality. Ectomorphs are smart and gentle, said Sheldon, and tend to be introverts. Mesomorphs are extroverts and competitive. Endomorphs are also extroverts and tend to be lazy and selfish. Mesomorphs are the most likely to be criminals, said Sheldon. Data does not back this up.
Sheldon was a eugenicist, which is almost as bad as being a psychologist. And when we dismiss people for being eugenicists, that’s not just because that’s some Nazi shit. It’s because this overemphasis on genes shows a limited and unambitious understanding of how people develop. Your genes are responsible for creating your brain, but as for what sort of person your brain turns into, well, that’s beyond just your genes. That’s up to everything your brain takes in, everything dished out by the rest of us.
Your Eyes Reveal When You’ll Die (According to Iridologists)
Can you learn something about people by looking into their eyes? Yes — kinda. The genes that determine eye color correlate with other factors, as does people’s ability to maintain eye contact. But if you think you can examine the iris of someone’s eye and make assumptions about their health, that would make you an iridologist and therefore wrong.
The discipline of iridology goes back at least as far as a 19th-century physician named Ignaz von Peczely. Von Peczely noticed that a man with a broken leg bore the same characteristic black mark in his iris as an owl whose leg von Peczely had broken as a boy. If the owl story makes young von Peczely sound more like a budding serial killer than a future pioneer of science, you should know that some say it’s made-up, and in fact, von Peczely invented the field out of nothing, which is clearly better.
In reality, we see no evidence that your iris has regions that correspond with parts of your body. If your kidney breaks down, for example, the “kidney” sector of the iris will not gain any new streaks. For a surer diagnosis, we recommend looking at the kidney.
Your Shape Reveals Your Intelligence (According to Ivy League Perverts)
Between the 1940s and the 1970s, all incoming freshmen at several Ivy League colleges submitted to mandatory nude photo shoots. This happened at Yale, Harvard, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as women’s colleges like Smith and Mount Holyoke. During the process, the photographer affixed pins to the nude student’s back, explaining that this was an investigation into posture and the bone condition known as rickets. If that were true, this would still be deeply weird, but it was not true.
The photos, revealed one Yale professor, were really an anthropological research study. They were aiming to link students’ body shapes to various characteristics. Behind the study were such people as Harvard’s E.A. Hooton and Columbia’s W.H. Sheldon. Hey, we recognize that second name. Yes, it’s Sheldon again, and this study aimed to go beyond his previous conclusions about personality types and now link body shape to such factors as moral worth, intelligence and future achievement. These students, while a large number of research subjects, did not represent a very wide spectrum for studying any of those factors.
Did the students really need to shed their underpants for such an investigation? Surely not. For years afterward, the students joked about what salacious ends awaited those photos. Someone was out there selling photos of a decades’ worth of Wellesley students, went one rumor, and while no one has been able to substantiate that exact accusation, unseen people definitely masturbated over these photos, right? That’s just how this sort of thing works. You don’t need an anthropology degree to know that.
In 1995, the world learned that over 100 pounds of these photos and negatives had made their way to the Smithsonian. Besides violating the rights of thousands of students who now regretted posing for the photos, the photos also represented a national security threat, as they included nude images of numerous people who went on to high-profile government positions, including the presidency. What would happen when bandits inevitably steal the photos and use them to blackmail politicians into handing over some treasure map?
Facing pressure, the Smithsonian announced that they shredded all of the nude material in their possession. Based on the actions of every ex who has promised that they deleted our nudes, we completely trust that they’re telling the truth.