Photo: CTK

A Czech waitress snaps a robber’s knife in two with her bare hands, a Czech doctor is to be locked up in a nuclear bomb shelter for ten days to test the effects of sensory deprivation therapy and, could that mammoth have been a family pet? A Czech comes forward with a mind-boggling theory. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarová.

A robber who broke into a sports bar in the town of Olomouc late at night was surprised by a waitress who was preparing to lock up and leave. Although terrified she fought back as he held a knife to her throat. In the skirmish the twenty-five-year-old waitress grabbed the blade and broke it in two with her bare hands. Shocked the man grabbed her by the hair, locked her into a toilet cubicle and made off. It is the only known case of a Czech woman breaking knives with her bare hands, although legend has it that Eliška Pomořanská, the fourth wife of Emperor Charles IV could twist metal and break swords with her bare hands.

Photo: European Commission
March 8th is International Women’s Day and Czech women either celebrate the occasion or totally refuse to acknowledge it. Although International Women’s Day is still a “noteworthy” day in the Czech calendar, it was discredited by the communist regime to such a degree that many women want nothing to do with it – associating the holiday with “Dear comrade” speeches, carnations and drunk colleagues at work. However flower shops geared up for the day this year and did good business and many men around the country were seen carrying bouquets. The DEMA agency even conducted a poll to find what women like best as a gift – and what men think they appreciate most. Its outcome suggests that Czech women are not materialistic girls because what the majority of them want is quality time with their partner – an evening spent together, dining out or at home but definitely without the TV on. Only six percent of men said they suspected the best gift they could give the woman in their life would be to “disappear from her sight”. Four percent of female respondents confirmed this.

Illustrative photo: archive of Radio Prague
As the mentioned survey indicates Czechs are turning into real couch potatoes –with many of them spending their free time watching TV or surfing the net. According to Mediaresearch 40 percent of the population gets no exercise whatsoever – most of them are young people and city dwellers who spend all their time zapping from one programme to another and whose social life is purely “electronic”. Many predict that the country’s tradition of ballroom dancing may soon be a thing of the past. These days many Czechs prefer watching celebrities dance – on TV, how else.

Andrew Urbiš,  photo: CTK
A Czech doctor from the Beskydy rehabilitation center is experimenting with so-called “sensory deprivation therapy”. Sixty-two year old psychologist Andrew Urbiš believes that spending a certain period in total isolation, in the dark, without any impulses from the outside world will enable the body to begin to heal itself. This form of therapy is practiced by Tibetan monks who spend as many as seven weeks in total isolation. Japanese doctors are said to have used it to cure various forms of neurosis with considerable success – sources say 65 percent of patients were completely cured and 30 percent greatly improved. Tests reveal changes in awareness, perception and emotions with many people saying their eyesight improves as well. Sensory deprivation therapy was first brought to Europe in 1968 by a German doctor – a certain Holger Kalweit – who spent some time in Nepal. Now Andrew Urbiš wants to offer this form of therapy in the Czech Republic – if it proves effective. He has so far only spent three days in isolation but his goal is to spend ten days alone in the dark, meditating, doing breathing exercises, stretching exercises and drinking fluids laced with vitamins and minerals. As of this Monday he is to be locked up in the bowels of a nuclear shelter –in a former Ostrava mine. His colleagues will be monitoring his pulse and heart rate throughout and people will be able to see the whole experiment on-line. Urbiš says that if he feels weak he will eat some insects which are low in fat and high in protein – ideal food for the mind and body.

Reportedly this form of therapy is particularly good for any kind of neurosis, burn-out syndrome and general fatigue and is recommended to managers and politicians as well as to anyone who is under permanent stress. If it is found to be effective it should be made available at the Beskydy rehabilitiation centre – a nice place for Czech politicians to spend their holidays.

Photo: CTK
Could the mammoth have been a domesticated animal? A Czech thinker and traveler from the town of Hučín has come forward with a mind-boggling theory based on cave drawings of mammoths in man-made constructions resembling a pen or enclosure. The cave drawings which were discovered in France in Faunt-de-Gaume in 1991 have led Jiří Sonnek to think that the construction may not have been a trap as generally thought but an enclosure that primeaval hunters used to restrict the movement of baby mammoths after hunting down their parents – in view of keeping the animal close by and under control – as a future source of food. He claims that the construction could have been made of willow-weeds braided together which would have enabled the animal movement within a restricted pasture –but would have prevented it wondering too far away. Sonnek has so far only seen photos of the cave drawings but he is preparing to set off for France to see them in person and try to find more proof for his theory. Well – echoes of the Flinstones there – next thing we’ll hear is that they were household pets. You must admit though, it’s a nice idea.