2. Cue the demon
When it comes to other systems of belief, techies are willing to go pretty far afield if they're desperate. Michael Robinson says, "Some years ago I directed a small team developing a frame grabber -- a board that would digitize a video signal from a television camera and place it in computer memory. For some reason we just could not get it to work properly. I promised the group I would bring in a demon to help us find the problem."
"It happened that I had at home a small Balinese demon statue. In Balinese mythology demons are horrible-looking creatures that serve a beneficent purpose by driving away evil spirits. I had come across the statue in an import shop and picked it up to decorate my mantelpiece. The statue looks like a sort of humanoid vulture/dragon with outspread wings. The next day I brought the demon statue to work and trained the camera on it. Although the statue was only about four inches high, since it was right in front of the camera, it looked huge and imposing in the video image. We started work and within about a hour we had located the problem and fixed it. From then on the frame grabber worked flawlessly."