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  #1  
Old 28 February 2007, 02:18 AM
me, no really's Avatar
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Default Tinfoil Hats as a UL

I was making a tinfoil hat last night (well, I was using tinfoil to shield the control cavity of my guitar from electromagnetic interference - same principle) when I started to wonder if there have actually been reliable cites of people using them for real. I mean, it sounds plausible that if someone had schizophrenia they may well use one to shield themself against mind control rays or similar. The only thing is that I work in the mental health field, and have never come across any actual documented occasions where it has really happened. That of course doesn't mean it hasn't happened, because I know I haven't read everything there is to read in the field. I have seen a few websites, but they have mostly seemed tounge in cheek to me.

So, are there reliable cites of people using tinfoil hats to ward off some perceived threat, or is it in fact an UL?

me
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  #2  
Old 28 February 2007, 02:32 AM
jason13
 
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At the risk of propogating another UL, I had a FOAF, who, when off his meds, covered his walls in tin foil to prevent the little red tracking dots from getting in.

But wearing a tin foil hat is something I can easily see a psych patient doing when off their meds. Check out www.raven1.net.
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  #3  
Old 28 February 2007, 03:13 AM
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I had never heard of it before the movie "Signs."

Did it exist before then and I was just unaware?
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  #4  
Old 28 February 2007, 03:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snapdragonfly View Post
I had never heard of it before the movie "Signs."

Did it exist before then and I was just unaware?
I wandered across this website at least a year before I saw Signs.

Last edited by Spam & Cookies-mmm; 28 February 2007 at 03:50 AM. Reason: Not to mention the little smiley above.
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  #5  
Old 28 February 2007, 04:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spam & Cookies-mmm View Post
I wandered across this website at least a year before I saw Signs.
You know - people are so nutty I don't know whether that website is a spoof or not. The testimonials are hysterical though - love the aluminum skivvies.
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  #6  
Old 28 February 2007, 04:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snapdragonfly View Post
You know - people are so nutty I don't know whether that website is a spoof or not.
Of course they're real! It's certain countries that aren't real!
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  #7  
Old 28 February 2007, 05:32 AM
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Wikipedia mentions Michael Menkin, who invented a hat of a kind of metal-coated plastic that's suppoed to prevent aliens from reading your mind. See more here:
http://www.stopabductions.com/
ETA - According that site, the first prototype was made with 20 sheets of aluminum foil (in 1998, four years before Signs came out) and the idea came from science fiction.
http://www.stopabductions.com/C-Histories.htm

Last edited by ganzfeld; 28 February 2007 at 05:37 AM.
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  #8  
Old 28 February 2007, 05:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Wikipedia mentions Michael Menkin, who invented a hat of a kind of metal-coated plastic that's suppoed to prevent aliens from reading your mind. See more here:
http://www.stopabductions.com/
ETA - According that site, the first prototype was made with 20 sheets of aluminum foil (in 1998, four years before Signs came out) and the idea came from science fiction.
http://www.stopabductions.com/C-Histories.htm
I have seen a few websites along similar lilnes. I must confess I always thought them to be "joke" sites though. I guess that it would be hard for an outside observer to determine whether the authors of these sites are seriously joking or seriously deluded, that's why I was hoping for more scientific cites - documentation of observed cases by psychiatrists - that sort of thing

me
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  #9  
Old 01 March 2007, 07:04 PM
matches
 
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The concept definatly predates either Signs or the hat listed. I remember seeing films from the 1980's that used the image as a visible way of showing someone is Crazy.

In truth from my (all be it limited) experience with the mentally ill, I would find this behavior a little too ornate and rational to be real. You often come across people afraid of thought control, or unwanted thoughts being projected into their heads, but I've never heard of anyone doing anything to prevent this from happening.

Essentially, the disorder must play out to have power in the psyche of the patient. If putting on a tinfoil hat would silence the voices, its unlikely that a patient would put on the hat. Far more likely is the patient will worry and complain about various energies influencing their mind, but I've never heard of someone doing something to end the influence.

I belive this, like most concepts we have about mental illness derives from popular culture, and writers needing an easy way to project lucidity onto a charecter. It's easier to deal with a character who has to wear a hat to silence the voices than a character who actually hears voices.

It is possible for a patient to have a behavior, such as doning a hat for example, that is obsessive, but usually it's a much more vauge sense of unwellness that surrounds the behavior. Such as, if I don't put on my hat something bad will happen, as opposed to if I don't put on my hat this specific bad thing will happen. That's not always the case, but is what I have come in contact with.
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  #10  
Old 02 March 2007, 02:11 AM
HoneyBunchingOats
 
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Blow Your Top Tinfoiled again

I don't know about other countries but in the USA most wrapping foil is Aluminum (Aluminium for you Brits). The facts that the term is "tinfoil hats" may signify that this practice dates back to a time when most household wrap was made of tin.

In the 1960's, possible starting in the 50's and going into the 70's the USSR experimented with mind control. I'm sure this news was sure to set off John Birch-ers into frenzied search for counter measures. These were the same people who opposed flouridation of drinking water. Many of these people would probably not be clinically paranoid schizophrenic. Although some paranoid schizophrenics may incorporate mind control and foil countermeasures into their delusions. Jason 13, covering your walls with foil, makes it sound like the meds that this person went off of were either Lithium or valproic acid (used for Bipolar Disorder).

The point is that even though clinical mentally ill people may have certain delusions. Non-clinical people may also have such ideas. As an example look what happened with Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast.
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  #11  
Old 02 March 2007, 07:02 AM
charlie23
 
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as an interesting aside, in certain circles people who ride Russian motorcycles (Ural / Dnepr) are known as "foilheads"...partly because of the inferrred mental instability but also due to the poor machining of the cylinders on the bikes.
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  #12  
Old 02 March 2007, 10:13 AM
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I remember watching a documentary-like film in my freshman Psychology class about the homeless schizophrenic population, and one of the women that they showed was, indeed, wearing tinfoil on her head...she said it was to keep the aliens from reading her thoughts.
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  #13  
Old 02 March 2007, 07:00 PM
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Interestingly, I was talking to my MSci supervisor the other day and he was telling me about a study he had read which said that covering the head in tinfoil actually amplifies brainwaves to detection. Of course, it's completely FOAF as I haven't read the study myself, but it does suggest that the whole tinfoil hat thing was put about by the authorities so that they could listen in to the thoughts of the conspiracy theorists

Oh, and hi everyone!
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  #14  
Old 02 March 2007, 07:29 PM
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The first tinfoil hat I ever encountered in person was back in 1979, when Skylab was getting ready to fall back to Earth. A friend with a quirky sense of humor came to an event wearing a hard hat covered in aluminum foil, and claimed that it would protect him if Skylab fell in his vicinity. We were never entirely certain if he was joking or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HoneyBunchingOats View Post
...I'm sure this news was sure to set off John Birch-ers into frenzied search for counter measures. These were the same people who opposed flouridation of drinking water. Many of these people would probably not be clinically paranoid schizophrenic. Although some paranoid schizophrenics may incorporate mind control and foil countermeasures into their delusions...
Well, my parents were members of the John Birch Society for a short time in the 1960's (and also opposed putting fluoride in the water - mainly because they were Christian Scientists). However, I don't think either of them were paranoid schizophrenics, nor did I ever see them taking any measures (including tinfoil hats) to prevent Soviet mind control measures.

Last edited by Tootsie Plunkette; 02 March 2007 at 07:34 PM.
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  #15  
Old 02 March 2007, 07:43 PM
matches
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elphie Fabala Fae View Post
I remember watching a documentary-like film in my freshman Psychology class about the homeless schizophrenic population, and one of the women that they showed was, indeed, wearing tinfoil on her head...she said it was to keep the aliens from reading her thoughts.
Not to discount this possibility, but given that the person in question was homeless, it is possible they had taken to displaying overt "crazy behavior" in order to gain sympathy while panhandleing, in addtion to their actual mental illness.

This is not uncommon among both sane homeless people, and the mentally ill. If you just are crazy you tend to scare people, but if you are crazy in a silly or entertaining way you are more likely to gain their sympathy. Sort of a modern day variation on Ye Olde Village Idiot.

As another UL states, they may be crazy but they're not stupid.
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  #16  
Old 02 March 2007, 10:02 PM
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What I find really works is covering the windows with lead and keeping the pets outside. (Anyone get that reference?)
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  #17  
Old 07 March 2007, 01:11 AM
Kris Takuya
 
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"Cage and Aquarium" by They Might Be Giants, yes?
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  #18  
Old 07 March 2007, 01:44 AM
StillandSilent StillandSilent is offline
 
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Police

When my father was a policeman, he was frequently called to the home of a woman who insisted on wearing a tinfoil hat to keep the neighbors cats from reading her thoughts. Apprently the cats were blasting her thoughts back to her neighbor, who was then talking to the rest of the neighborhood behind her back. He said she was a really nice lady otherwise, and he felt bad for her when she was off her meds.
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  #19  
Old 07 March 2007, 01:50 AM
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Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets:
An Empirical Study

http://people.csail.mit.edu/rahimi/helmet/

don't forget to scroll to the bottom and read the conclusion.

I am now casting my vote for a smiley wearing a tinfoil hat!
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  #20  
Old 07 March 2007, 12:08 PM
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There you go, that must have been the study my supervisor was talking about! I shall have to pass that on to him.

Once I've removed all the tinfoil from my house, of course...
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