Category Archives: Family Maters

SPOT THE PSYCHOPATH IN YOUR LIFE

20 Ways to Spot the Psychopath in Your Life

Edited By Alex Santiago

The condition of psychopathy may be one of the most misunderstood disorders, although it is frequently represented in movies, books, and other media. Psychopathy is a complex issue. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, psychopathy is a subset of antisocial personality disorder. Others have argued that psychopathy is a completely separate condition. In either case, it is estimated that between .2 percent and 2 percent of the population fit the criteria for a psychopath, and it is well-documented that men are much more likely to have psychopathic characteristics than women. This means that out of 100 people you know, one is fairly likely to be a psychopath.

Modification of Parenting Plans in Florida Psychopaths tend to be much more criminally active throughout their life than other types of offenders, and are more violent, overall, than non-psychopaths. Interestingly, according to Business Insider, studies conducted by Canadian forensic psychologist Robert Hare indicate that while somewhere around 1 percent of the overall population may be categorized as a psychopath, among the financial services industry, that number jumps to 10 percent. Typically, these “financial psychopaths” work on Wall Street, and may lack empathy or interest in the feelings or thoughts of others, although, on the surface, they can display an abundance of intelligence, credentials, charisma, and charm.

Spotting the Psychopath in Your Life

Howard Ellzey - Our own family law experiences

Psychopaths most often look just like anyone else, however, the odds are that you or someone you know has encountered one of these social predators. What is important to remember is that while some psychopaths could certainly fit the bill of a deranged (probably imprisoned) murderer, most psychopaths are more likely to be a co-worker, a friend, your ex, or a family member. What these people may have in common is they constantly leave you feeling confused, doubting your own abilities and intuition. Psychopaths—along with sociopaths and narcissists—have one thing in common. They are all able to make a mentally healthy person feel crazy. Below are some traits which can help you spot a psychopath:

  • Superficially Charming – They are almost universally superficially charming, able to make their “target” feel special. This charm, however, is almost never real. The true psychopath is a chameleon—a shapeshifter who is a master at fitting their personality to the needs of the individual. If you solicited a description of the psychopath from 30 different people who knew him or her, you might find that you receive significantly different descriptions. To the shy, reticent person, the psychopath adjusts his charm, toning it down to meet that person’s individual needs, and to the extrovert, he dials up the charm and exuberance.
  • Turn People Against Each Other – Psychopaths will try to turn people against one another, through gossip and “poison,” which makes each person feel suspicious of the others. This will not be obvious, rather will be done using sad, “poor me” stories and fake concern to alter your perception of the other person. If it seems you are disliking other people whom you would previously have had no reason to have an opinion about—good or bad—then look at the psychopath spreading gossip.
  • Intentionally Cause Chaos – As an extension of the above, the psychopath will go out of their way to intentionally cause chaos among others, they will play the innocent, blaming everyone else for their reaction. In other words, the psychopath will work hard to provoke you, then when you legitimately react, he will act the innocent, informing you he will not have this discussion with you while you are so emotional, or smugly saying “Look at you, flipping out—I just can’t talk to you about anything.” The goal of the psychopath is to make you believe you are the hypersensitive nutcase. If your psychopath is in your workplace—beware. The goal of painting you as a hypersensitive nutcase is to diminish your credibility, handily turning others against you. In relationships, the psychopath will tell you about other relationships in which the person was just always “overreacting” or “always jumping on me for no reason” as a method of garnering sympathy. If you think a co-worker, spouse or partner is constantly baiting you into an argument, then acting like they are totally surprised when you react—beware.
  • No Shame or Guilt – Psychopaths see no shame or guilt even when the person’s behavior was obviously hurtful. Normal people feel significant levels of guilt, remorse, even shame when they manipulate others, steal, cheat or lie. The psychopath is aware their behavior hurt the other person—they simply don’t care. In fact, you will almost never receive an apology from a psychopath, and if you do, it is only because they want something from you, or to save face in front of others.
  • Lying seem to be a way of life – The psychopath will tell a lie even when the truth would have actually been a better story. You may feel there is no motive for the lies—and you would be right. The psychopath becomes so used to shifting personalities and stories to fit the target, they simply do not know what the real truth is. If you are brave enough to call a psychopath out on an obvious lie, be prepared to have the entire situation turned back on you, with accusations that you are just paranoid and suspicious. By the time the psychopath is done, you will be questioning yourself, wondering whether the lie really was a lie after all (it was).
  • Change Allegiances Quickly – The psychopath can change allegiances on a dime, with no second thoughts involved. When you met the psychopath you likely felt an instant connection and trust in the person, however the longer you know the psychopath, the more you will realize everyone who meets the person feels that same instant connection and trust—until they don’t. There is no loyalty, no love, no attachment possible in the true psychopath who will leave a trail of destruction behind, always blaming the victim.
  • Winning and Money is Everything – Psychopaths place a high premium on “winning,” money and power, and may have little regard for social or moral rules as they manipulate and lie to others. While the manipulation of a psychopath may be to achieve personal gain, often it is simply an impulse that the psychopath is unable to control, or simply for fun, just because they can. If you have seen or read Gone Girl, then look at the traits exhibited by the main character, Amy Dunne, who goes to great lengths to victimize the men in her life, manipulating all those around her.
  • Lacks Empathy or Conscience – If you feel a person in your life lacks empathy or seems to have no conscience, you may have met a psychopath. While most of us have that little voice inside which tells us we are doing something we shouldn’t, the psychopath does not hear that voice, and because of this, he or she can easily engage in behaviors most of us will not. As an example, if someone angers or hurts us, most of us may think for a moment, “Oh, I could just strangle him!” While we may think this, the vast majority of us will never act on such a thought. The psychopath, on the other hand, will have little compunction about acting on such thoughts, so long as he believes he won’t get caught. In other words, there is no conscience, only a fear of getting caught, and there is no empathy for the other person.
  • Low Impulse Control – Because of low impulse control, the psychopath may be quick to exhibit aggression or even violence. The psychopath is more likely to have a number of casual sex partners and more likely to engage in risky behaviors than the “average” person.
  • Bruce Przepis on what makes us different
  • Narcissists – People who are psychopaths also tend to be narcissists, with an over-inflated sense of their own achievements and personal qualities. The psychopath is unlikely to see any of his or her own flaws, rather tends to project those flaws on those around them. As an example, a narcissist who believes, deep down, that he is not smart enough, may constantly belittle those around him, calling them “stupid,” and making fun of their lack of intellect. The narcissist—and the psychopath—will go out of his way to seek out compliments. On the flip side of this, when faced with any type of criticism, the response is likely to be rage and revenge. What others may perceive as constructive criticism, the psychopath will see as a declaration of war.
  • Unable to Get Along – The psychopath has a long history of being unable to get along with others—although they will always insist it is the other person’s fault, not their own. Because of this, psychopaths tend to place themselves in positions of authority where they can “boss” others, working over them rather than beside them.
  • Never Feel Guilty – The psychopath is unlikely to feel guilt over anything—even when their bad behavior seriously impacts others. This lack of empathy prevents the psychopath from putting themselves in another’s shoes or seeing things from another perspective.
  • Manipulates Your Emotions – Once the psychopath has gained your trust, he will begin to manipulate your emotions with a goal of making you feel guilty or simply to get you to do what he wants you to do. The psychopath is a master at getting you to tell him things in confidence—then using those confessions against you down the line.
  • Early Behavioral Problems – It is highly likely the psychopath had early behavioral problems in childhood, even to the point where they had no compunction about hurting animals or lying to avoid getting into trouble. The International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology published a study which found those with high psychopathic traits began engaging in criminal activities early in life.
  • Rules Don’t Apply to Them – The psychopath believes rules apply to everyone but them. In short, the psychopath believes they are above any rules and are so “special,” they are not held to the same standards as everyone else.
  • Walking Contradiction – The psychopath tends to be a walking contradiction—a tough bravado, “been-there-done-that (better than anyone else) attitude with a false innocence that is calculated to draw the psychopath’s victims into the web.
  • Users and Takers – While many people may be users and takers without being a psychopath, the psychopath is definitely a user and a taker.
  • Feigns Emotions – Although a psychopath is a master at feigning emotion, in reality, the psychopath has very shallow emotions or virtually no emotions at all. Most psychopaths learned at an early age that others expected them to exhibit certain emotions at certain times, therefore they learned to fake these emotions. In reality, other than rage, the psychopath tends to feel few true emotions. This elevated level of anger can manifest in rage-induced aggression and even adult temper tantrums. Those living with a psychopath may feel they constantly “walk on eggshells,” never knowing what statement or behavior will set off rage in the psychopath.
  • Easily Bored – The psychopath is easily bored, therefore needs almost constant stimulation and excitement in their life. If no such excitement is present, the psychopath can easily create his own drama.

If you have been romantically involved with a psychopath, you were likely left feeling emotionally battered and bruised, unsure of yourself, and unsure of your own self-worth. The psychopath tends to leave romantic partners in a constant tailspin, even to the point where they start wondering if they are the crazy one. It can be extremely difficult to disengage from a psychopath—until they themselves want to disengage, then they will dismiss you from their lives without a second thought.

HOW TO MAKE REAL MONEY ONLINE

By Nicole Martins, Author

Edited By Alex Santiago

From online poker to selling your collection of Beanie Babies, there are lots of popular get-rich-quick, money-making ideas that always pop up. Do they work? Not really. Will you make money doing it? Maybe. But you’d probably make more money from your 9 to 5 job. At least then it’s a guaranteed paycheck. 

The truth is there are real ways to make money online – millions of people are doing it each day. From freelance digital nomads to savvy marketers to rising entrepreneurs, there are plenty of business ideas you can try at home using your laptop and a solid internet connection. So let’s break down how to make money online… the real way.

How to Make Money Online: 28 Real Ways

1. Start Dropshipping

Let’s start our list off with one of the most popular ways to make money online. According to Google Trends, dropshipping’s popularity is rapidly growing, highlighting its viability as a way to make money online. With success stories about how an entrepreneur made $6,667 in eight weeks or how a store owner made six figures selling just one product, there’s plenty of proof that dropshipping is a real way to make money online.

In case you don’t know what dropshipping is: dropshipping is a business model where you sell a product to a customer, but the supplier stores, packages, and ships the product to your customers on your behalf. With Oberlo dropshipping, you have access to millions of products that you can add to your store. Oberlo’s toolkit also allows you to hand-pick your product images, edit item descriptions, and give your business a personalized vibe, so people love shopping from you.

Image showing the dropship business model

The best way to make money online dropshipping? Most entrepreneurs have been focusing on a few marketing strategies: running Facebook ads, having influencers promote your products, and sending Direct Messages (DMs) to potential customers on social media.

2. Try Print on Demand

Print on demand is proving to be a popular option too. Graphic designers are turning to the business model to sell their designs on clothing and other products to monetize their art better. With their unique designs, they can create a consistent and established brand for their business.

Print on demand is similar to dropshipping in the sense that you don’t need to carry inventory or ship out products to customers yourself. There are two slight differences, though. First, you can add branded labels on packages. Second, shipping costs are excessive, making it difficult to create a sustainable business unless you charge higher prices or sell higher quantities.

The best way to make money with your print on demand business? Free marketing channels. Your best bet would be to promote your products for free on Instagram, Pinterest, or with  Instagram influencers who convert their audiences well.

You can get a complete overview of print of demand vs dropshipping by watching us get into a healthy debate with Wholesale Ted about the pros and cons of each business model.

make money with print on demand

3. Make Money with Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to make money online. Throughout the years, its popularity has gone up and down, but it continues to prove to be a stable way to make money online. The best part about affiliate marketing is that you can be an affiliate for nearly any company, from Shopify to Amazon to Uber to FabFitFun.

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn a living by promoting other brands. If you’re a savvy marketer, you can earn a commission from sales by promoting retail products, software, apps, and more. While earning a commission may seem small, keep in mind that you can be an affiliate for several brands and include several affiliate links on a single blog post.

If you really want to make money online doing affiliate marketing, your best bet is to focus on content marketing. By building out a blog with several pages of high-quality content, you essentially create an asset you can call your own. The best part about focusing on content marketing is that if an affiliate program shuts down, you can switch the affiliate link to a competitor without negatively impacting your side hustle income.

4. Start a YouTube Channel

If others can make money from YouTube, so can you. The highest-paid YouTuber is 7-year-old Ryan, who reviews toys on his YouTube channel, which made him $22 million in 2018. Another high earner is Jeffree Star, who’s made more than $18 million on YouTube and has a cosmetics brand that sells about $100 million in products annually. His YouTube (and Myspace) fame helped him use his influence to make money online beyond his YouTube earnings.

Your YouTube channel should focus on a single niche so you can build a strong, loyal audience. For example, you can create makeup tutorials, stream video games, review products, teach skills, create prank videos, or anything else you think there’d be an audience for.

The secret to making money on YouTube is to create content people want that either educates or entertains. You can use a headline that’s witty to entice people to watch, or you can use keywords that are optimized for YouTube search. Once you’ve reached the 1,000 subscriber milestone, you can officially monetize your channel with YouTube ads.

make money with youtube

5. Become an Influencer

Building a personal brand can also help you make money online. Did you know in 2019, Cristiano Ronaldo earned $975,000 for every sponsored Instagram post, making him the highest-paid influencer? While it may seem like reality stars, singers, and athletes are the biggest influencers, keep in mind that even smaller-scale influencers can make more money today than they did a few years back

To become an influencer, you need to build a healthy following. The easiest platforms to do that: YouTube and Instagram. Some of the biggest non-celebrity influencers often gained their first taste of exposure on these platforms. You might want to check out how to get more Instagram followers if you want to build a big Instagram audience.

To make money as an influencer, you can charge for sponsored posts, speaking gigs, create your own online store and sell products, add affiliate links in your bio, sell your photos, sell ads on your own podcast, get paid as a brand ambassador, create a book, get paid to appear at events, and more.

6. Create an Online Course

Sharing knowledge is one of the best ways to make money online. If you’re an expert on a subject, you can monetize your knowledge by creating courses online. You can sell your course on Udemy or, if you already have your own audience, on your own website. Some entrepreneurs earn as much as $5,000 per month with online courses.

To create a popular and successful course, your best bet is to watch other courses on your topic. Then, look at the reviews. What are the aspects that people praise, and what are the things people hate? How can you create something better than what’s already been created? Focus on creating content that solves the biggest complaints while emulating the positive aspects people rave about.

The platform you sell your course on will determine how to best make money. If you sell your course on Udemy, you don’t have to do much to promote it. You can almost set it and forget it. Maybe promote it to some blogs or on your own website. However, if the course is hosted on your own website, you might want to run ads to promote the course. You can also build an email list so you can continue to promote future courses to that same audience. 

how to make money online with courses

7. Publish an Ebook

With Amazon KDP, it’s never been easier to publish an ebook. All you need to do is write the ebook, format it, create an ebook cover, publish, and promote it. Back in 2013, I created several ebooks on Amazon (took all but one down), and even though it didn’t make me rich, I still make some money from it.

You can choose to hire a writer for your ebook, a graphic designer to design the cover, or a freelancer to format the ebook for you to help minimize the work you need to put into it. It’s best if you focus on keywords based on popular searches on Amazon. I often use the Keyword Tool, which allows you to find the words people use while searching so you can craft your title around it.

To make money online selling ebooks, you can market it in a number of ways. You can give away your ebook for free for a few days. This helps you rank high in search results for some time and get some reviews, which helps you rank better for paid listings. Plus, I like to create custom graphics on Pinterest that match the “Pinterest style” rather than just placing the ebook cover as a pin. This has helped me get some clicks to my ebook from Pinterest.

8. Start a Blog

Blogging is one of the oldest methods for making money online. People who love writing tend to start blogs with a niche focus. For example, a blog about procrastination, cars, dropshipping, toys, etc., is often a narrow enough focus so you can build a loyal following, but big enough that you can cover a lot of ground.

You can start a blog on various platforms, from Shopify (remove the checkout feature, so you don’t have to pay a subscription as you build it out) to WordPress. When you start your blog, focus on very specific keywords with a tight focus and continue to expand into other but relevant categories as you grow and dominate new spaces. This will allow you to build a massive blog over time. Remember that design is also important for making a good first impression on visitors.

There are several ways to make money blogging. You can add affiliate links in your posts (don’t forget a disclaimer). You can monetize with AdSense by placing ads strategically on your website. Sponsored posts can help you make money from specific brands – this is popular among review bloggers. Bloggers can also sell digital or physical products on their website either (hint: you can add Oberlo products to your website). You can also use it to build authority so that you can eventually get speaking gigs, television deals, or big contracts from clients. 

make money online blogging

9. Consider Freelancing

The easiest way to make money online is to take your current job in your 9 to 5 role and do it online instead. For example, if you’re a writer, administrative assistant, graphic designer, teacher, developer, etc., you can  market these skills and find clients online who are willing to pay you for them.

There’s a never-ending list of websites for each sector of freelance jobs too. For example, freelance writers can apply for jobs on specific online writing job boards, but also general freelance websites like Fiverr, Freelancer, Upwork, and all the others. If you find that your job doesn’t have direct online money-making streams of income, you can look for other transferable skills you may have. 

To make money online as a freelancer, you need to start by building out a strong portfolio. That may mean doing some free work with some reputable mid-tier brands to start. Once you gain a strong portfolio, you can start reaching out to potential big clients to earn more money online. Remember, freelancing is a numbers game: the more personalized emails and applications you fill out, the more likely you will get a response back.

10. Create an App

If you’re not a developer, you’re probably looking at this money-making idea and feeling a bit stuck. Fortunately, there is a way to have an app made that doesn’t involve any programming skills.

These days, marketers are using freelance platforms to find affordable developers to create apps for them.

When it comes to making money on your app, your best bet will be to add it to Google Play and the App Store. And while it may seem counterintuitive, having a free app can help you make more than a paid app. With a free app, you can add ads or premium features to help you make money. Since the free app will attract a higher volume of people, it’ll be easier for you to upsell them.

make money with apps

11. Become a Writer

With a growing interest in content marketing, more brands are looking for great writers to create content. The secret to succeeding as a writer is to be an expert in a niche. A lot of writers try to be generalists, writing for a wide range of categories, from food to tech. However, having a niche focus as a writer allows you to write better content. 

When you have experience in the niche, you can add a different perspective to a piece of content. That means you’re not just saying the same thing as every other article online. And that’s what brands really want to pay for — your thoughts, experiences, and inside information into their niche.

If someone asks for a marketing writing sample, send them marketing writing samples. Don’t send a finance article. Or a fitness one. It’s hard for a hiring manager to know how well you understand the niche’s industry if they can’t see a relevant writing sample. Apply to opportunities suited to your skills and experience. Also, if your pitch doesn’t have a list of links to writing samples, it’s going to get ignored.

ideas to make money online

You can make money online on sites like these:

  • Problogger
  • Craigslist
  • Blogging Pro
  • Freelance Writing
  • Media Bistro
  • Flex Jobs
  • Be a Freelance Blogger

12. Create Side Gigs

Side gigs can help you make money online while you keep your full-time job. If you’re looking to make an extra couple hundred dollars per month, this is a great idea. The work doesn’t always last long-term, but it can.

Use platforms like Fiverr to create gigs. When you’re new to Fiverr, you’ll want to focus on offering a low price so you could get your first review. I’d recommend getting a friend to buy your gig to leave your first review so you can get started faster. Treat the friend like a client and actually deliver a finished product that you can feature on the platform on your portfolio. 

The thing with Fiverr is that it’s also a numbers game. If you look at top Fiverr users, you’ll see that they have multiple gigs available. The more gigs you have, the more likely you are to be found.

earn money with FiverrIf you don’t want to get paid Fiverr prices, you can turn to platforms like FlexJobs to find side gigs. Under their jobs section, you can search for contract or telecommute opportunities. The great thing about the telecommute opportunities on FlexJobs is that you can apply for them in any city in the world. 

FlexJobs has a variety of side gigs from writing, business, design, accounting, and more. So if your talents don’t match up with anything else on this list of money-making ideas, you might want to try a side gig from FlexJobs, and start making money online. Apply to multiple opportunities to land a few small side gigs. 

13. Do Translation Work

If you need to make money now, translation work is a fairly underserved niche. You’ll need to be fluent in at least two languages to do this successfully. So if you’re bilingual or majored in a popular language in school, this may be a great money-making idea for you to try out.

You will need to show proof of your ability to translate. If you have a language degree or experience translating text, make sure to show samples of your portfolio. Most companies will require a translation test. Keep in mind that you need to be fluent in the languages you’re applying to be a translator for. So you can’t use translation tools.

make money with translatingSites where you can make money online include:

  • Upwork
  • People Per Hour
  • SDL
  • Gengo
  • Pro Translating
  • Translators Base

14. Sell Your Stuff

When you’re desperate to make money now, sometimes the only option is to sell your stuff. If you’re unemployed and struggling to find a job, selling your possessions is a great way to make money fast. You can earn money online using the links below, or you can head to a pawn shop. Keep in mind the shipping costs associated with selling online. Be sure to charge the buyer for it if you’re shipping products internationally. 

Most people immediately think of selling their junk like books, DVDs, and CDs. But most people don’t want to buy those things. It’s 2021 – are you really going to buy a CD? Probably not. So don’t waste your time trying to sell it. When you’re thinking about how to make money fast, focus on items of value like laptops, TVs, phones, furniture, designer handbags, or clothing. Try selling the same items on multiple platforms. For example, you might try selling your product in Facebook groups and Instagram instead of just one of them. If you sell your stuff everywhere, there’s a chance of someone finding it.

Be sure to take amazing photos and edit them. An online retailer doesn’t upload images as is. They hire a photographer to take great photos. Images are enhanced. The background is often removed. Approach your product post like an online retailer. Avoid taking pictures of products on tables. If a product is on a table, remove the background to make it white. If you don’t own high-end photography equipment, you can consider taking this product photography online course to learn how to take stunning product photos without the fancy gear. 

After you’ve figured out stuff to sell online, start your own online store using Shopify. You’ve proven that you’ve got what it takes to be an online retailer. So, now you can start making money from home.

How to earn Money online

15. Become an Online Tutor

You can make a lot of money online and choose your own hours by being an online tutor. According to Studenomics, Bohdan made $2100 from tutoring. What’s interesting is that he built up his client base through word of mouth, visibility, and great group rates. While sciences and maths often have a high demand for tutoring positions, you’ll also find English popular among international audiences. If you’re an expert on a topic, tutoring may be the right platform for you to make money fast.

Having a degree or experience in a language is essential for this type of job, so showcase your degree, high grade average in a course, or other proof that you’re qualified to tutor that topic. If you have a teaching degree, you may be more likely to land a tutoring position. If you’ve spoken at a conference or event about the topic, you might also be considered for an online tutoring, teaching, or mentoring position. Focus on tutoring in your field of expertise. If you’re not the best, you probably shouldn’t be tutoring on that specific topic.

earn money tutoringYou can find online tutoring jobs on platforms like these:

  • Tutor Me
  • Chegg Tutors
  • Tutor.com
  • Yup
  • Cambly

16. Drive Your Car

If you own a car, you can make some spare cash as an Uber driver or delivery person. If you don’t own a car, you can still be a delivery person using your bicycle or moped. Uber drivers looking to make even more money off their car can turn their car into an advertisement using Free Car Media. Your car will be wrapped with a removable vinyl decal. There have also been cases of Uber drivers selling products in their cars. As a driver, you’ll often start talking about what you and your passenger do for a living.

how to earn money with UberWant to know how to make money fast driving Uber? If you own your own side business, you can showcase your products to your passengers if they’re interested. Not all will be, though. However, if one expresses interest in your products, you can have products for sale under the driver’s seat for a passenger to sift through. If customers don’t have the cash, you can ask them to pay its cost with Uber’s tip function. 

17. Become a Virtual Assistant

With so many entrepreneurs building businesses, the demand for virtual assistants is increasing almost daily. As a virtual assistant, you’ll do a variety of tasks. Writing, order processing, bookkeeping, social media, and customer support are just a few of the tasks you might be asked to do as a virtual assistant. 

You can earn money online on websites like Virtual Assistant Jobs, Indeed, or Upwork. Many virtual assistants have also found ways to make money online by reaching out to brands and entrepreneurs, asking if they’re interested in hiring a virtual assistant. Using a combination of job posting applications and outreach, you’ll be more likely to make money fast. Build an active social media presence on Twitter and LinkedIn to help you find new clients.

18. Become a Twitch Streamer

Twitch streaming is becoming increasingly popular. While it started out as a gaming platform, it’s quickly evolving to include other types of content. To make money fast on Twitch, you’ll need to grow your following. If you’re consistent, streaming on Twitch can help you build a sizable audience fast. 

You’ll need to find a popular game or channel that isn’t overly competitive so that people can easily find your content. In order to make money online from streaming, you’ll need to have a consistent style to your channel: is it going to be funny, educational, or entertaining? Engaging in the chat feature on Twitch is another way to grow your following. You’ll want to communicate in popular chats. However, you’ll also want to engage with those chatting on your streams as well.

There are five ways to monetize your Twitch channel: selling products, brand sponsorships, fan donations, subscriptions, and Twitch ads. As a Twitch streamer, you’ll want to focus on tapping into all five monetization methods to ensure the highest financial gains. You could make more on Twitch than YouTube, making it one of the best money making ideas for video creators.

19. Invest in Stocks

You can also make money fast by investing in stocks. If you aren’t an expert in picking stock, you might want to skip this money making idea. While it can have one of the highest rewards, it can also result in money loss if you’re inexperienced. If you currently hold a 9 to 5 job, look into your company’s financial programs. 

Do they allow you to invest in company stocks? If so, sign up for it. At least with a company stock program, you have some influence in the company’s success as an employee. If your company has an RRSP matching program, you can also sign up for that if your goal is to save up for retirement or a down payment on your first home.

20. Sell Your Photography

how to make money with photographyWhether you’re a professional photographer or just love snapping great pictures, you can monetize your photography in several ways. You can make money fast by posting your photography services in local Facebook groups for your community. 

If you’re looking for more exposure, you can use a site like Burst. However, if you’re looking to monetize your phone photography quickly, you can use Foap. Learn more product photography tips to help you start making money with photography.

21. Sell Your Clothes Online

You likely have clothes you haven’t worn in the past year. And you don’t have the intention of wearing them ever again. Rather than letting them take up space in your closet, why not make money off of them?

Whether you sell your clothes, handbags, or shoes, there are quite a few websites that allow you to sell your used fashion items. Poshmark, Refashioner, TheRealReal, ThredUp, and Tradesy are a few of the online sites where you can sell your used apparel. 

You could make money online by selling on several different platforms. If you’re looking to sell items in person, you can use Facebook buy and sell groups in your community to find people online and sell the items in person. I’ve personally sold in these groups before and know they work.

22. Become an Extreme Couponer

When money is tight, using coupons can help save you a few bucks. However, with websites Coupon Chief, it can also help you make money online. Such websites offer a Pays to Share program where you’ll receive some percentage of sales from the coupons you share on their platform. You’ll need to add coupons that haven’t already been shared. In return, you’ll make a 2-3% commission. 

It’s like affiliate marketing where you share referral links and get a commission when someone buys through your link. Coupon companies are known to pay their affiliates regularly, so it’s a legit way to earn money online. Coupon Chief has already paid out over $1.4 million in commissions.

23. Sell Domains

If you regularly buy domain names but fail to use them, you can always try to sell them for a profit. Selling domains is ultra competitive, though. If you own a one word .com domain, you’ll have a better chance of selling. Words that have high search volume sell well too. 

Also, domains that are on trend at that moment have a better chance of selling. For example, a year ago, fidget spinner domains were an easier sell than they are now. You can search for available domain names and buy a custom domain through the Shopify domain registration platform.

You can sell your domains on GoDaddy’s Domain Auction. Look through the domains with the highest bids to see what type of domains sell well. It’ll help you know whether or not your domains are worth selling and how much money you can make selling them.

24. Sell Your Designs Online

Graphic design is an amazing skill that you can monetize in several ways. You can go the print on demand route and sell your designs on your own custom products. Alternatively, you can pitch your designs on a crowdsource platform like 99 Designs. You can create your own graphics, templates and more and sell them on marketplaces like GraphicRiver or Creative Market. Or you can pick up some clients and work as a freelance graphic artist.

25. Review Websites, Apps, and Software

money making ideas

If you’re passionate about user experience, User Testing pays reviewers $10 to give other entrepreneurs feedback on their websites and apps. That’s one fast way to make money online. You’ll be given a set of questions that you need to answer as you browse through their website. 

Through a video, you’ll communicate your ideas and feedback to the entrepreneur while navigating their website or app. Your video is only 20 minutes in length, so if you do three videos per hour, you’ll make $30. It can be pretty competitive, so you have to act fast when a new website or app is added to be reviewed. Those who want to earn money online by reviewing software can use a tool called Software Judge.

26. Get a Part-Time Job

When you’ve done whatever it takes to make money fast but struggle to make an impact, sometimes you’re left with no choice but to get a part-time job. A lot of the money-making ideas on this list are great for building up to. They can be really successful over the long-term too. But if you’re struggling to make money fast enough, you might need to apply for a part-time job in your field. You can browse part-time jobs on job bank websites like Indeed, Monster, or a job website for your industry.

Whether you’re looking to make an extra couple hundred a month or grow a successful six-figure brand, I hope these money making ideas have inspired you to take action. Learning how to make money fast or how to make money from home is an important part of success, but the execution is what helps you make money now.

27. Become a TikTok Consultant

One of the trendiest new ways to make money online is to become a TikTok consultant. Brands will contact you for brainstorming video ideas, developing engaging bios, and more. It’s the perfect money-making opportunity for digital nomads – you can run the entire business from your smartphone. Compared to Instagram, TikTok is relatively new and untapped, so helping brands grow brand awareness on the app might turn fortunes.

However, you need to have a few talents before you begin offering TikTok consultancy to businesses. The most important is knowing how to create viral videos that get people to engage with brands. If you don’t have the expertise in this platform, you can still learn how to create killer contact by taking this TikTok course.

28. Sell Greeting Cards

If you have a knack for picking out the perfect greeting card for different occasions, this might be an easy way to make money online. However, I don’t recommend that you market your services to anyone and everyone – it’s not a smart way to do business. Instead, you can open a greeting cards brand geared towards a certain segment of the population.

 For example, you can make greeting cards that cater to C-level executives wanting to thank their Senior Vice Presidents for making profitable decisions last year. Or you can target healthcare professionals wanting to thank their patients for choosing their clinic. For designing the cards, you can use an online graphic tool like Photoshop or Canva. These tools make it easy to put together nice-looking cards that will cheer anyone up.

Conclusion

Making money online can help you earn some extra side hustle money, but it can also help you escape your 9 to 5 job so you can become a full-time entrepreneur. By making more money, you gain more financial freedom, improve your financial security, and inch closer to living life on your terms. It really is possible to earn a living online if you work hard and stick with it. So, which side hustle will you try out first?

28 Business Ideas to Make Money Online

  1. Start Dropshipping
  2. Try Print on Demand
  3. Make Money with Affiliate Marketing
  4. Start a YouTube Channel
  5. Become an Influencer
  6. Create an Online Course
  7. Publish an Ebook
  8. Start a Blog
  9. Consider Freelancing
  10. Create an App
  11. Become a Writer
  12. Create Side Gigs
  13. Do Translation Work
  14. Sell Your Stuff
  15. Become an Online Tutor
  16. Drive Your Car
  17. Become a Virtual Assistant
  18. Become a Twitch Streamer
  19. Invest in Stocks
  20. Sell Your Photography
  21. Sell Your Clothes Online
  22. Become an Extreme Couponer
  23. Sell Domains
  24. Sell Your Designs Online
  25. Review Websites, Apps, and Software
  26. Get a Part-Time Job
  27. Become a TikTok Consultant
  28. Sell Greeting Cards

THE USA ECONOMY

U.S. Economic Outlook

Edited By Alex Santiago

The economy likely recovered robustly in Q3, after Q2’s unprecedented contraction due to the blow dealt by Covid-19. In September, the unemployment rate dropped 0.5 percentage points from the month prior while non-farm payrolls continued to rise, although they were still down 10.7 million compared to February. This, coupled with consumer confidence hitting a six-month high, likely boosted private spending, as suggested by a jump in auto and clothing sales in the same month. Furthermore, upbeat construction activity and a surge in housing starts in Q3 should have supported residential investment. Meanwhile, Joe Biden and the Democrats are currently leading the polls ahead of the presidential elections on 3 November. Under a Biden administration, economic growth would likely benefit from increased spending on infrastructure and social security, as well as a less disruptive foreign trade policy.

United States Economic Growth

Next year, GDP should rebound on the back of ample monetary and fiscal stimulus and as the impact of the pandemic fades. A lower unemployment rate and rising consumer confidence levels should support household spending next year. U.S.–China trade tensions and renewed lockdown measures are key downside risks to the outlook, however. Focus Economics panelists see GDP growing 3.8% in 2021, which is unchanged from the previous month’s forecast. In 2022, our panel sees the economy expanding 2.9%.

United States Economy Overview

Economic Overview of the United States

Despite facing challenges at the domestic level along with a rapidly transforming global landscape, the U.S. economy is still the largest and most important in the world. The U.S. economy represents about 20% of total global output, and is still larger than that of China. Moreover, according to the IMF, the U.S. has the sixth highest per capita GDP (PPP). The U.S. economy features a highly-developed and technologically-advanced services sector, which accounts for about 80% of its output. The U.S. economy is dominated by services-oriented companies in areas such as technology, financial services, healthcare and retail. Large U.S. corporations also play a major role on the global stage, with more than a fifth of companies on the Fortune Global 500 coming from the United States.

Even though the services sector is the main engine of the economy, the U.S. also has an important manufacturing base, which represents roughly 15% of output. The U.S. is the second largest manufacturer in the world and a leader in higher-value industries such as automobiles, aerospace, machinery, telecommunications and chemicals. Meanwhile, agriculture represents less than 2% of output. However, large amounts of arable land, advanced farming technology and generous government subsidies make the U.S. a net exporter of food and the largest agricultural exporting country in the world.

The U.S. economy maintains its powerhouse status through a combination of characteristics. The country has access to abundant natural resources and a sophisticated physical infrastructure. It also has a large, well-educated and productive workforce. Moreover, the physical and human capital is fully leveraged in a free-market and business-oriented environment. The government and the people of the United States both contribute to this unique economic environment. The government provides political stability, a functional legal system, and a regulatory structure that allow the economy to flourish. The general population, including a diversity of immigrants, brings a solid work ethic, as well as a sense of entrepreneurship and risk taking to the mix. Economic growth in the United States is constantly being driven forward by ongoing innovation, research and development as well as capital investment.

The U.S. economy is currently emerging from a period of considerable turmoil. A mix of factors, including low interest rates, widespread mortgage lending, excessive risk taking in the financial sector, high consumer indebtedness and lax government regulation, led to a major recession that began in 2008. The housing market and several major banks collapsed and the U.S. economy proceeded to contract until the third quarter of 2009 in what was the deepest and longest downturn since the Great Depression. The U.S. government intervened by using USD 700 billion to purchase troubled mortgage-related assets and propping up large floundering corporations in order to stabilize the financial system. It also introduced a stimulus package worth USD 831 billion to be spent across the following 10 years to boost the economy.

The economy has been recovering slowly yet unevenly since the depths of the recession in 2009. The economy has received further support through expansionary monetary policies. This includes not only holding interest rates at the lower bound, but also the unconventional practice of the government buying large amounts of financial assets to increase the money supply and hold down long term interest rates—a practice known as “quantitative easing”.

While the labor market has recovered significantly and employment has returned to pre-crisis levels, there is still widespread debate regarding the health of the U.S. economy. In addition, even though the worst effects of the recession are now fading, the economy still faces a variety of significant challenges going forward. Deteriorating infrastructure, wage stagnation, rising income inequality, elevated pension and medical costs, as well as large current account and government budget deficits, are all issues facing the US economy.

U.S. Economic History

The end of World War II marked the beginning of a golden era for the U.S economy. This period was marked by a surge in economic activity and productivity, a growing and more prosperous middle class, and the rise of the baby boomer generation. From the late 1940s to the early 1970s, U.S. GDP grew at an average annual rate of nearly 4%. By the 1970s, the structural change in the economy away from industry and manufacturing to services was in full force. However, after several decades of unprecedented growth, the economy began to show signs of slowing and a series of events, including the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, the 1973 oil crisis and increased global competition, precipitated important economic changes. The 1970s were marked by a period of stagnating growth and inflation referred to as “stagflation”.

The 1980s gave rise to Reaganomics, a series of economic policies promoted by President Ronald Reagan. The main objectives were reduced government spending and regulation, as well as lower taxes and a tighter money supply. Regan was highly successful in overhauling the tax code and pushing ahead with deregulation in several major sectors of the economy; and while growth and productivity increased, the government’s debt multiplied significantly. In a broader sense, Reaganomics marked a turn toward free-market supply-side economics and away from the Keynsian-inspired economics that had been favored since the Great Depression.

Increasing global integration and the rise of new technology, including the adoption of productivity-enhancing IT in the workplace and the surge of high-tech companies, helped fuel an economic boom in the 1990s. The period between 1993 and 2001 marked the longest sustained expansion in U.S economic history, and powered a steep rise in employment, income and consumer demand.

Moreover, the strong growth and low unemployment during this time were particularly remarkable because the government budget was reigned in simultaneously and actually achieved a surplus for four years between 1998 and 2001. The fiscal improvement was made possible in part by tax increases introduced by President Bill Clinton, but also thanks to the booming economy and surging stock market. The stock market was driven up by the rise of internet-based companies in what is known as the “dot-com bubble”, which generated vast sums of unanticipated revenue for the government on capital gains taxes and rising salaries. However, the overvaluation of dot-com stocks eventually became apparent and the bubble burst in 2000.

The first years of the 2000s saw a sharp drop in economy activity following the dot-com burst. The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and several corporate scandals put a further damper on economic activity and business confidence. The Federal Reserve (the Fed), under Alan Greenspan, stepped in to counteract the struggling economy by introducing low interest rates. This move would later be considered a major factor in causing the massive housing market bubble that burst and precipitated the Great Recession that began in 2008.

United States’ Balance of payments

Over the past several decades, the U.S. current account balance has been heavily influenced by international trade flows, with the ongoing trade deficit resulting in a consistent current account deficit. Earnings on U.S. assets and investments owned abroad have a very small part in the current account, and a surplus in this category is not nearly enough to offset the large trade deficit. Overall, the current account deficit implies that the value of the goods and services being purchased from abroad by the United States exceeds the value of the goods and services being sold to foreigners. The U.S. current account deficit widened progressively since the 1990s and reached an all-time record and global high of 5.8% of GDP in 2006. The deficit has since narrowed due in part to increased domestic oil production.

The current account deficit is mirrored by a capital account surplus. The net amount of capital inflows received in the United States from abroad makes it possible to finance the current account deficit. Foreigners continue to invest in U.S. assets and companies, and so the net international investment position of the United States has grown over time. The United States is by far the top recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI). About 80% of FDI in the United States comes from a set of just nine industrialized countries. The UK, Japan and the Netherlands are the top sources of FDI in the U.S. The U.S. manufacturing sector draws about 40% of FDI.

United States’ Trade Structure

The U.S. is the 2nd leading exporter of goods and services in the world and the number one leading importer. The U.S. has consistently run a trade deficit, mainly due to the dependence on foreign oil to meet its energy needs and high domestic demand for consumer goods produced abroad, however thanks to advances in domestic oil production, the energy gap is closing. The main trading partners of the U.S. are Canada, China, Mexico and Japan. Canada is the main destination for U.S. exports, whereas China is the main source of imports.

The U.S. plays a major role in the international trade system and is generally seen as a proponent of reduced trade barriers and free trade agreements. The United States currently has more than a dozen free trade agreements in place. Among them are the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was created in conjunction with Canada and Mexico in 1994. The United States is also an active member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Exports from the United States

Although the United States has lost some of its competitive edge in recent decades, material goods still represent two thirds of its total exports. The United States mainly exports high-value capital goods and manufactured products, including industrial machinery, airplanes, motor vehicles and chemicals. In 2015, the U.S. exported USD 1.510 trillion in goods.

The United States is the world’s leading exporter of services. This includes financial and professional business services as well as other knowledge-intensive services. Travel, transportation and tourism services are also a major export. Services represent about one third of total exports.

Imports to the United States

More 80% of total imports brought to the United States from abroad are goods. Roughly 15% of these imports are in the form crude oil, fuel oil and petroleum products. Industrial machinery, supplies and equipment represent another 15% of imported goods. Almost 25% of imported goods are capital goods, such as computers, computer accessories, electronics, medical equipment, and telecommunications equipment. Consumer goods represent another 25% of imported goods. Cellphones, pharmaceuticals, toys, household equipment, textiles, apparel, televisions, and footwear are the main types of consumer goods imported to the United States. An additional 15% of imported goods are automotive vehicles, parts, and engines. Food and beverages represent only about 5% of imported goods. Services represent only 20% of total imports, and are primarily financial services, as well as travel and transportation.

United States’ Economic Policy

The U.S. government has faced the momentous task of reversing the effects of the recession with a combination of expansionary fiscal and monetary policy. On the fiscal side, government stimulus spending and tax cuts prevented further deterioration of the economy. On the monetary side, the Federal Reserve has tackled economic weakness with both traditional and unconventional policies.

The United States is typically regarded as the home of free-market economic policies. However, the U.S. government exercises a significant amount of regulation over economic, commercial and financial activities. Following the recession, the government stepped up its oversight in the financial sector. The Dodd-Frank act, passed in 2010, represents the most comprehensive reform of financial markets regulation since the Great Depression.

United States’ Fiscal Policy

The U.S. government tends to spend more money than it takes in, and thus has incurred fiscal deficits almost uninterruptedly during the past several decades. The only time when the government managed to balance a budget in recent history was between 1998 and 2001, when the strong economy resulted in higher-than-usual tax revenues. The fiscal deficit reached the highest point since 1945 in 2009 at 9.8% of GDP, but has improved progressively since then; the deficit dropped to 2.4% of GDP in 2015.

The largest portion of government spending is mandated by existing laws, with a large amount of funds allocated to entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicaid. Mandatory spending represents nearly 60% of total government spending. The remainder is referred to as discretionary spending, and is determined by the annual federal budget. About half of the discretionary budget is spent on the military and defense, with the other half spent on government programs and public services.

Nearly 50% of tax obtained by the U.S. government comes from income taxes on individuals, with an additional 10% coming from income taxes on businesses and corporations. Another 35% of collections come from payroll and social security taxes. Excise taxes charged on goods such as liquor, tobacco and gasoline bring in a smaller amount, less than 5%. Tax revenues equaled about 18% of GDP on average between 1970 and 2010. Total tax revenues as a percentage of GDP were about 18% in 2015.

The stimulus package introduced by the Obama administration in 2009 included USD 288 billion in tax cuts and incentives. Less than two years later, Obama announced an extension to the tax cuts that had been introduced during the Bush administration at a cost of more than USD 400 billion over two years.

United States’ Monetary Policy

The U.S. Congress has established that the monetary policy objectives of the Federal Reserve are to promote maximum employment and price stability in what is known as the “dual mandate”. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is the Fed’s monetary policymaking body. The FOMC meets about eight times a year to discuss developments and the outlook for the U.S. economy and to debate different policy options, including the level of interest rates. The federal funds rate, the main interest rate managed by the Fed, is the rate which deposit banks charge each other to trade funds overnight in order to maintain reserve balance requirements. The federal funds rate is one of the most important in the U.S. economy because it influences all other short term interest rates.

During the years since the recession hit, the Fed has been very active.. Interest rates were initially supposed to be kept low only until the unemployment rate dropped to 6.5% or inflation surpassed 2.5%. However, this specific forward guidance was revamped in March 2014 when the Fed announced that any future decisions to hike interest rates no longer depended on previously-established quantitative thresholds, but rather on the assessment of a broad range of more qualitative information. In an additional response to counter the effects of the recession, in December 2012, the Fed announced an unconventional policy known as “quantitative easing”. This policy involves the purchase of vast sums of financial assets in an attempt to increase the money supply and hold down long-term interest rates.

United States’ Exchange Rate Policy

The U.S. dollar is often referred to as the world’s currency because it is by far the most used currency in international transactions and also the most widely held reserve currency. Almost two thirds of currency reserves held throughout the world are in U.S. dollars.

Although the Treasury Department has the primary authority to oversee international financial issues, the Treasury’s decisions regarding foreign exchange are made in consultation with the Federal Reserve. However, U.S. intervention in the foreign exchange market has become increasingly less frequent. U.S. authorities typically let the open foreign exchange market and domestic monetary policies determine rates.

ten famous mysteries solved

Explaining the unexplained: 10 famous mysteries solved

Author Rebecca Northfield

Edited By Alex Santiago

The most famous supernatural phenomena can be explained by science. Or can it? Well, yes, it can.

Brown Lady of Raynham Hall

This picture captures one of the most famous ghosts in Great Britain, the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall. Or does it?

It has been said the Brown Lady haunts Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England. She is supposedly the ghost of Lady Dorothy Walpole (1686-1726), sister of Robert Walpole, who is regarded as Britain’s first Prime Minister.

The image was taken by Captain Hubert C Provand, a London-based photographer working for Country Life magazine, and his assistant, Indre Shira. They were taking photographs of Raynham Hall for an article, and had just taken a shot of the Hall’s main staircase.

Allegedly, Shira saw “a vapoury form gradually assuming the appearance of a woman” coming down the stairs, and the duo snapped a picture under his instruction. The later negative showed the ‘Brown Lady’, which was published in Country Life in 1936, along with Shira and Provand’s written account of events.

Critics claimed Shira put a greasy substance on the lens to create the figure, or moved down the stairs during an exposure. There is also a theory of double exposure upon detailed examination, as well as one picture being superimposed over the other due to a patch of reflected light at the top of the right hand banister appearing twice.

The magician John Booth said the ‘Brown Lady’ could be duplicated by natural methods. By covering fellow magician Ron Wilson with a bed sheet – like a last minute Halloween costume – and instructing him to walk down a staircase, the faked image looked very similar to the Lady.

It is also said the ‘Brown Lady’ closely resembles a standard Virgin Mary statue that is found in a Catholic church.

The public were bamboozled by cheap camera trickery. Good effort, though.

Bermuda Triangle

The infamous region of the Atlantic Ocean, which earned its reputation due to claims of planes and ships disappearing between Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and Miami, Florida without a trace, turned out to be not as scary as it seemed.

Bermuda triangle

In 1975, Larry Kusche, a research librarian at Arizona State University, found some disappearance claims were either exaggerated or wholly false. Additionally, the Bermuda Triangle doesn’t actually have an unusual number of shipwrecks or plane crashes when compared to any other areas that experience similar traffic. To explain the mysterious absence of wreckages, the strong current of the Gulf Stream is powerful enough to wash away any evidence of destroyed ships and planes.

Coast Guard records also proved that many disappearances were down to human error, boat failure and other natural sea-based problems. Also, it would be strange for there not to be vanishings due to the colossal size of the triangle.

Stonehenge

Ah, some stacked, Neolithic stones. Wonder what this could be?

Stonehenge is a circle of old stones in Wiltshire, England. Carbon dating makes it between 4,000 to 5,000 years old, so it puzzled many when you look at how advanced the architecture is, given what kind of tech was available back in the day.

Slave labour and even alien activity populated the theories about how the mysterious rocky collection came to be.

We may never know what the structure was used for, but to disprove the notion that its construction was somehow magical, Michigan carpenter Wally Wallington built a Stonehenge replica in his garden, on his own, using only what was available to humans back then. This proved at least the possibility that the celebrated stone circle was pretty much a doddle for even an ancient group of builders if they were tech-​savvy enough.

Sailing stones in Death Valley

At California’s Death Valley there are hundreds of trails from large, rough blocks of rock in the aptly-named Racetrack Playa. It clearly means the stones are moving, but nobody pushes them, and no one has seen them move. Ooooh.

Supernatural theories for the phenomenon include the rocks being remains of a UFO crash, mysterious ‘unseen hands’ that move the rocks, or magnetic fields of some kind.

So what was the best way to figure out how these creepy rocks were moving? Fit them with GPS units, use time-lapse cameras and study the weather, obviously.

Scientists figured out that although Death Valley is blisteringly hot in the summer – its highest recorded temperature stands at 56.7°C – during the mild winter, rain collects to form a shallow lake, which subsequently freezes into thin sheets when the temperatures drop at night.

In the morning, the sun warms the ice, which breaks into small plates. If a plate is under a rock – which can weigh over 300kg – wind and flowing water slowly pushes it. A rock can move 224m in the winter, leaving a trail in the mud.

Flying rods

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s probably a moth.

In photographic and video recordings around the world, a strange solar entity – lines of light dashing across the sky – would sometimes occur, with no clear reason why. A common interpretation of these rods was – you guessed it – an incident of the paranormal, or tiny alien life forms. Adorable, right?

Jose Escamilla is a spokesperson for the rod aliens, as he claimed to be the first to film them back in 1994. The location? Roswell, New Mexico, no less. This guy has gone on to lecture on the subject, as well as make more videos of the tiny ‘aliens’. So it must be true?

Alas, this totally plausible theory wasn’t paranormal. It was, well, normal.

Tonghua Zhenguo Pharmaceutical Company in Jilin Province, China, thought Escamilla’s claims were poppycock. With huge nets and surveillance cameras, they captured the spooky rods doing their thing. When they checked the nets, there were no aliens. Just moths and other flying critters.
The rods were actually motion blur – ‘afterimage’ traces of bugs and wingbeats – caught on camera. It’s an optical illusion, and is more likely to occur in interlaced video, where slower recording speed makes moths look like aliens.

Ley lines

A weird connect-the-dots moment occurred in 1921, when archaeologist Alfred Watkins noticed that many ancient sites seemed to line up in a too-straight-to-be-a-coincidence way. He called them ‘leys’, and later, ‘ley lines’.

This sort of finding doesn’t go unnoticed by believers in the supernatural. They think where the leys intersect there are pockets of concentrated energy: deep and mythical power which can be harnessed. There’s one line, from Ireland to Israel, that connects seven locations linked to St Michael.

Sadly though, it all seems to be bogus, and the lines pass through the sites by chance. Watkins himself believed ancient Britons used landscape features as navigation points.

The Nazca Lines of Peru

Discovered in the 1930s (when we could finally fly high enough), the Nazca Lines are massive white geoglyphs – some being 275m across – made from shallow lines dug into the ground. The whole area is about 190 square miles (500km²). They are thought to have religious significance to the Nazca culture.

Given that aeroplanes are thought to have been in short supply between 500 B.C.E. and 500 C.E., how could the Nazca people see what they were doing?

Author Jim Woodman thought it could have been done by using a basic hot air balloon and shouting directions to the diggers below. To test the theory, Woodman made a functioning balloon with materials they would have had back then. The only problem is there is no proof the Nazca people even knew what a balloon was. Popped that theory.

However, wooden stakes at the site, carbon-dated to the Nazca period, have given researchers a hunch that people at the time may have drawn long ropes between stakes to make the lines. So Dr Joe Nickell and three assistants – including an 11-year-old – used the method to make a giant bird. And it only took them a few hours.

Mystery solved.

Ball lightning

Ball lightning is a potentially dangerous atmospheric electrical phenomenon. It’s reported as looking luminous and spherical, and can vary in diameter – from pea-sized to several metres long.

Ball lightning doesn’t happen very often, so it hasn’t been recorded under natural conditions.

It is said to occur during thunderstorms, but it lasts a good deal longer than your usual split-second lightning. Early reports noted that the ball explodes and leaves a sulphurous odour.

I know we’re all about explaining the unexplained here, but the cause of ball lightning remains unclear; scientists can only really theorise about how these little devil balls are created.

The best explanation comes from a team of Brazilian scientists back in 2007. They passed large amounts of electricity through a silicon wafer, which created a vapour. When it cooled, the vapour condensed into an aerosol which glowed when recombined with oxygen, leading to little balls of electricity bouncing around like jumping beans. Because of this, the Brazilian scientists reckon the ball lightning phenomenon occurs when bog-standard lightning strikes quartz-or-silica-rich ground – like sand. The theory has gained such traction that other scientists are rumoured to have agreed. Shocking.

Spontaneous human combustion

Have you ever been so angry that you feel like you’re going to burst into flames? Well, these people look very much as if they did. Spontaneous human combustion was first described in the 1600s: someone would burn to death without an obvious source, the head and trunk being reduced to ash. All that would remain would be the leg or legs, poking out from the remains. Quite horrific.

However, investigation into this frightening phenomenon has shown that exploding fiery humans combusting into dust was actually widely exaggerated.

People are, it turns out, mostly made of water, so the likelihood of us actually randomly bursting into flames is negligible. If you look at images of supposed spontaneous combustion, victims were often near a source of flame, like a fireplace. One further explanation would be the person’s clothing being set on fire by a candle or cigarette. Old age or physical condition justified why the victim couldn’t put out the fire or move away from it. Clothing acts as a sort of wick and when the skin breaks, fat from the body is fuel to prolong the burning. How pleasant.

Corpse candles

The name is a bit gross to begin with. Rather like spontaneous human combustion, but more manufactured.

It’s not how it sounds, though.

Back in the day, when you were transporting your dead loved one to the cemetery across the gloomy marshes, a flame or ball of light would float just above the Earth, seeming to travel with you to and from the burial ground. This was aptly named the corpse candle, following you in your time of deepest grief.

Mystery and folklore surrounded this strange occurrence – many associated the corpse candle with pesky spirits of the dead, or other supernatural wanderers like stillborn and unbaptised babies that were in limbo between heaven and hell. How depressing.

Science has determined that the creepy corpse candles were in fact luminescent barn owls that had fungus growing on them, or, more likely, methane gas made by rotting organic material, which is usually found in swamps and marshes. The gas can produce a low-temperature ‘flame’ through chemiluminescence.

So instead of seeing an attentive spirit, you’d be witnessing the Earth doing a glow-in-the-dark fart. You’re welcome.