Believe it or Not

Written by Dylan Kinnett (with links to sources).

half-truth, generality, paraphrase, innuendo, rumor, here-say, heresy, best-recollection, secondary source, speculation, word on the street, testimonial, sources who decline to be named, exaggeration, sources whose identifying information has been redacted for purposes the statement of which has been redacted for reasons classified; statistical tendency; allegation; guesswork; uncorroborated witness accounts

all that: let's give it a name like "believe it or not."

Believe it or not, these are medicine: snake oils, the application of leaches, worm pills, invigorators, elixirs, lectuaries, tinctures, pills, plasters, poultices, patent medicines, aphrodisiacs.

There are many others, but of these, there are some colorful examples:

You are encouraged to try one of those but you should be advised that side effects may include: headache (for which, incidentally, see above); severe nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain; upset stomach, heartburn; drowsiness; headache; fever lasting longer than 3 days; swelling, pain lasting longer than 10 days; hearing problems, ringing in your ears; black, bloody, or tarry stools; or coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

Those are all things that might happen; they probably won't happen but they might happen. To continue, these are some more things you can believe, or not:

There is a global conspiracy to make people eat their vegetables; Green M&M candies encourage sexual activity; The "Russian woodpecker" over-the-horizon radar signals heard on shortwave radio are actually a mind control experiment from which you can protect your brain by wearing tin-foil on your head or by wearing () on your head; the election at () was rigged by (); there's something sinister that they are not telling us about ().

Where "believe it or not" is concerned, you can in place of "it" because we believe that you are free to believe or to not believe whatever-the-hell-you-damn-well-please. We could not believe this. This hasn't always been a popular belief, but we believe this now, some of us, not all the time, but still we believe it.

but how are we to know?

How are we to know?