By Samantha Weaver - Weekender Wire Service

Strange but true: Eskimo wine, a huanted city and naming your fears are just some of the Strange but True topics this week

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It was 20th-century British journalist, travel writer and literary critic, Dame Rebecca West, who made the following sage observation: “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”

• The infamous Ouija board may be surrounded by controversy, but the origin of its name is not mysterious; the creators simply combined the French word for “yes” — “oui” — with the German affirmative — “ja.”

• Everybody is afraid of something, right? And whatever the fear, there’s doubtless a name for it. For example, erythrophones are afraid of blushing, peccatophobes are afraid of sinning, and aichmophobes are afraid of needles. If you’re afraid of going insane, you’re lyssophobic; if it’s disease that frightens you, you’re nosophobic; cremnophobia is a fear of precipices.

There’s even a word to describe the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth: arachibutyrophobia.

And finally, you may at this point be suffering from sesquipedalophobia — the fear of long words.

• Located in the Sierras at 8,000 feet above sea level, the town of Bodie was once the second-biggest city in California. These days, it’s deserted for most of the year, but every summer more than 200,000 people travel to the upper altitudes just to see the slowly decaying town, hoping to catch a glimpse of one of the ghosts that reputedly inhabit every crumbling building that remains.

• Alcoholic beverages are pretty widespread across cultures. There’s even a recipe for Eskimo wine: “Put a seagull in a bottle. Fill with water. Let it ferment in the sun.”

Thought for the Day: “We’re in the same tent as the clowns and the freaks — that’s show business.” — Edward R. Murrow

Reach Weekender at [email protected]

By Samantha Weaver

Weekender Wire Service

Reach Weekender at [email protected]