The Phantom Of The Opera

For many American film lovers, it is 1925's The Phantom of the Opera that defines horror in the silent film era. Lon Chaney's Erik may not have modern moviegoers fainting as legend says they did when Christine reveals his deformed skeleton-like face, but there's no doubt he holds a special place in horror fans' hearts to this day. The Phantom Of The Opera Synopsis - Spoilers Included The new owners of the Paris Opera House refuse to believe the previous owners' warnings about the holder of box 5--a "phantom of the opera"--even though the phantom's presence is well-known and openly discussed among the opera's performers. The mysterious phantom has eyes that are just "ghastly beads", compared to holes in a grinning skull, explains stagehand Joseph Boquet, who claims to have actually seen the phantom. Over that skull, he continues, is stretched tight yellow skin with only two large holes where his nose should be. Meanwhile, the opera's

FDA Warns Consumers Not To Use Ear Candles

“Don't use ear candles,” says FDA.
FDA cautions against sham remedy ear candles.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration, or FDA, is urging consumers to avoid ear candles. In a Consumer Update issued just today, a spokesperson says that the devices "have caused great concern" in the agency.

Ear candles are made by repeatedly dipping long strips of fabric--usually linen--in beeswax then rolling the strips of fabric into long, narrow cones before the wax sets. Manufacturers sometimes also add finely ground herbs or essential oils to the melted beeswax.

To use an ear candle is a 2-person job. The "patient" lies down and allows the "practitioner" to place the small end of the long cone into the ear canal. The large end is then lit on fire and allowed to burn down to within a few inches of the patient's ear.

Practitioners claim that these devices create a gentle vacuum that softens and extracts excess ear wax, trapped pollutants and various toxins. And, indeed, when the stubs of these ear "candles" are cut opened, users often see a dark-colored mass of crumbled-looking gunk stuck to the walls of the cone.

Common sense, however, will tell you that these things can't possibly work this way. There's no scientific evidence that the heat created by the flame forms any kind a "vacuum" inside the ear and even if it did, any force strong enough the "pull" out earwax would damage the delicate ear drum.

So what about the stuff found in the stubs of burned ear candles? It's nothing more than melted beeswax and ashes from the linen.