Question of The Week: What Foreign Woo Have You Found On Holiday?

Woo doesn’t recognise geographical boundaries, as we found out when the 10:23 campaign caught the imagination of skeptics not just in England, but in countries as far afield as Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The ability to believe utter bollocks is a shared human trait, and it is in full view all over the world. Whether it’s the widespread use of homeopathy in France, Aids denialism in Africa or the belief that 9/11 was an inside job in the USA, woo is in rude and lively health, and it’s clocking up the airmiles.

So the Question of The Week is this: What Foreign Woo Have You Found On Holiday?

Were you accosted by Italian Scientologists? Did a small Brazilian boy try to sell you a mystical crystal skull? Maybe you’ve come across something ridiculous in another country that you’ve never found anywhere else. Whatever it is, let us know. Satiate our desire for new and wonderful woo!

Please leave your answers below.


  1. #1 by Tom Williamson on March 12, 2010 - 22:21

    Not strictly woo, but we saw some quality Catholic garbage in Mexico City. My favourite was a plastic framed holographic photo, which featured Pope JP2 from one angle, and Jesus from the other. Jesus, Pope, Jesus, Pope, hours of fun!

  2. #2 by Jon d on March 12, 2010 - 23:39

    Icelanders will leave a vacant plot of land on a street if it’s rumoured that trolls already live there.
    I saw a dream catcher in canada years ago… But they’re everywhere now so you’ll have to decide for yourself if that counts.

  3. #3 by shelley on March 13, 2010 - 00:07

    Cruise ships are the worst! Lots of detoxifying treatments in the spa.

  4. #4 by Stu on March 15, 2010 - 11:21

    Mexico City? Iceland? Cruises? Pretty well travelled readership we have here!

    I was once offered a psychic reading on a day out in Blackpool. She was Irish though. Does that count?

  5. #5 by Mark on March 15, 2010 - 19:23

    In Kyoto, Japan there’s a wonderful temple with quite a bunch of woo. There’s the love stones, where you have to walk from stone to stone repeating your loved one’s name to be together happily ever after. (It’s a straight line, but I’ve actually seen someone fail.) Then there’s the magic fountain which makes you live longer if you drink from it. Well, no harm in trying, right?
    Not so much with the platform they’ve now fenced in. Regularly (a certain festival, iirc) people would jump down from there because it would make them manly. Or something like that. Luckily there’s trees below, so rarely someone died… broken bones is something else though…

  6. #6 by Dave on March 16, 2010 - 13:58

    On a bus trip in southern Portugal, as part of the commentary our tour guide informed us that using water divining was the best way of finding where to site a well.

    Since i don’t believe in Portuguese dowsing does this make me a Euro Skeptic?

    By the way the sun is 93 million miles away 🙂

  7. #7 by Stu on March 17, 2010 - 15:50



    Now you’re just showing off!

  8. #8 by Clive on March 17, 2010 - 18:00

    In Cuzco Peru, while visiting the inlaws we visited a ‘doctor’ who used a fresh egg as a diagnostic tool. We were given the egg and told to hold it for a while. The ‘doctor’ then broke it into a glass of water and examined it, basing her healing work on its appearance.

  9. #9 by Sel on March 17, 2010 - 22:27

    As Shelley said about cruises and detoxifying seaweed. But the initial assessment included an expensive bioelectrical impedance test normally used by athletes to measure percentage fat – I think for the obese americans on our cruise a mirror would have been sufficient, and a hell of a lot cheaper! also it is a test doctors know about, but conceal from their patients apparently

  10. #10 by Mark on March 18, 2010 - 20:03

    Sorry Stu, I’m a Japan fan and went there last summer, so that was the holiday freshest in my mind 🙂

  11. #11 by Marc Johnston on March 23, 2010 - 13:42

    I live “on holiday” here in the Canaries and there is every kind of woo going – particularly in the Brit and German ex-pat comunities. Everything from Reiki – crystal reading – homeopathy – hot stone therapies – wellness (a word I understand was infact invented by the Germans) centres popping up in every hotel that has space for a pool of salt water and some pumps, including the sale of various bottles of potions – astro lunacy abounds also with a “renowned Psychic” – the local british magazine is choc full of BS and DailyMail type articles on WHATS KILLING YOU and ear waxing and my favorite —“” offering a whole range of batty rubish.

  12. #12 by Gavin on March 23, 2010 - 15:44

    Unfortunately I don’t own the Space Museum yet. Sorry Mike. 🙁

(will not be published)