Local Wiccans Resist Thermometers
ORONO – You may have heard some crotchety Downeast Mainer say that it is “colder than a witch’s teat” outside, but how cold is that, exactly?
Researchers at the University of Maine are determined to find out.
“Usually, when someone says it’s ‘colder than a witch’s teat,’ you can assume the temperature is less than ten degrees Ferenheit,” says UMaine climatologist Jeff Churchill. “But there are variations, depending on whether the person was simply going out to get the mail, or was maybe trying to chop frozen firewood.”
Furthermore, sometimes people will instead say that it is “colder than a witch’s tit,” but there is no empirical data showing whether they are simply eschewing specificity for rhyme, or if they are referring to an entirely different temperature.
“From a scientific perspective, it’s frustrating to not have precision,” says Churchill.
So his team of researchers set out to measure the exact temperature of a witch’s mammary anatomy, but found a surprising dearth of female Wiccans in the area willing to subject their nipples and/or breasts to the climatology department’s two digital electroscopic thermometers, purchased with a federal grant in 2009 for $20,000 each.
“The number of people in Maine who are willing to self-identify as Wiccan, even for an anonymous academic study, is startlingly low,” said Churchill. “Of the few who did admit to some Pagan beliefs, none so far will let us hook them up.”
Gretchen Stanhope, President of Central Maine Wiccans, told The Sardine Report that the notion that witch’s teats are colder than anybody else’s is an unfortunate prejudicial stereotype.
“Every part of my body, breasts included, is quite warm, actually,” Stanhope insisted, a claim she regrettably would not allow this reporter to validate. “On behalf of Wiccans everywhere, I resent the idea that we should be ‘studied’ in such an objectified manner.”
But Churchill argues the potential benefits to science outweigh the risk of individuals taking personal offense. “Once we know the precise temperature of a witch’s teat, we can calculate how many of them we would need to place at or near the equator to counter the effects of climate change.”
When informed that participation in the study could lead to an all-expenses-paid trip to the Caribbean, Stanhope immediately called the Climatology Department to volunteer.