January 2002 Archives

January 26, 2002

Satan's Street

Superstitious Romanian officials want to change the house numbers in a street against the wishes of the residents. The 40 or so houses in Renasterea Street, Sinpetru all have numbers beginning with '66' which the officials associate with '666'. As new houses were added to the street, they were numbered by adding first a letter, and then an additional number, to 66. The residents are proud of this unusual system and point out that the local postman always delivers by name anyway. All change for 'Devil's number' houses, Ananova January 25th 2002.

Constitution? What constitution?

A Florida mayor's Hallowe'en proclamation banning Satan from the town of Inglis has brought the threat of legal action and might well cause her downfall. Carolyn Risher's proclamation called for action in the name of Jesus, mentioning him several times, and copies were placed in four hollowed-out fence posts marked Repent, Request and Resist. The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has written to the mayor saying that a federal lawsuit will be filed if the proclamation isn't repealed. The ACLU emphasises the United States' strict separation of church and state: The Constitution protects private assertions of faith, but absolutely prohibits government involvement in those same matters. They have demanded the removal of the fenceposts, the repeal of the proclamation and insisted that the mayor personally reimburse the town for any public funds used. ACLU action lands Satan on Inglis meeting agendaSt. Petersburg Times January 25th 2002.

January 25, 2002

Just blame Satan.

There's a mini-glut of "the Devil made me do it" murder cases right now, though in both cases it looks like an insanity plea.

Best known is the on-going case in Germany. Daniel and Manela Ruda admit they killed Frank Haagen, but insist it wasn't murder because they were only obeying orders - from Satan. The couple also claim to have learned about Satanism and drinking blood in the UK, including performing rituals in cemetaries with covens here in Edinburgh. Their defence lawyers are arguing for more lenient sentences because the couple are mentally disturbed. Satanists killed man 'on Devil's orders', BBC News January 18th 2002.

Meanwhile, over in the States, Andrea Yates has told detectives that she drowned her five children to free herself from demons and punish herself for her sub-standard parenting. While it might seem obvious why she pleaded not guilty on grounds of insanity in a state with the death penalty, it's not so simple - she wants to be executed as that's the only way to purge the demons inside her. She insists that if her head is shaved, the number '666' will be clearly visible as she is the Antichrist. If they won't shave her head to prove this, she wants her hair cropped in the shape of the crown that certain Christians believe is given to them by Jesus on their salvation. Mother Claims Devil Made Her Kill Her Children, Cosmiverse, 23rd January 2002.

Follow my leader

A Dallas professor has suggested that Enron was a cult. Dave Arnott, management professor at Dallas Baptist University and author of Corporate Cults said that cults have three basic characteristics - they demand complete devotion from their followers, have a charismatic leader and foster separation from the community. Enron scored highly on all counts. Enron cultists follow the leader - projo.com, 23rd January 2002.

January 24, 2002

Equal protection under the law

Every year, the Lancaster Family YMCA in Penryn, Philadelphia, organises a triathlon. About 600 athletes race to complete a one mile swim, a 25 mile cycle ride and a 6.2 mile run. But this year, they'll have to do without the traffic-directing skills of the local police department who have voted to boycott the event. Why? Because Harry Potter books are read to children attending the YMCA's after-school programme and the police claim that this promotes witchcraft. Penryn Fire Police Capt. Robert Fichthorn said I don't feel right taking our children's minds and teaching them (witchcraft). As long as we don't stand up, it won't stop. It's unfortunate that this is the way it has to be. He wrote to the YMCA challenging their religious integrity and accused it of failing to serve the will of God. Pa. Police Boycott Ymca Over Book, Guardian Unlimited 24th January 2002. Thanks, Charlie.

Update: Wren of Witchvox points out that American Pagans (and presumably other religious minorities) ought to protest over the police's (in)action.

This is potentially serious situation, folks. Everyone in these United States is entitled to equal protection under the law. On the day that any public agency, federal or state, can refuse to enforce, uphold or offer protection to any group or citizen because of religious belief, we are in deep, deep trouble. Capt. Fichthorn's comments and the 'boycott vote' of his department cannot go unchallenged. Pennsylvanian Pagans should call or write their state governor, attorney general and their Congressional representatives and demand that the Constitutional guarantee of equal protection be upheld in the state of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvanians should be outraged and deeply embarrassed that such an outrageous act by a public agency could occur in a state so instrumental in our nation's history and in the founding of U.S. liberty and justice.

Addresses to complain to are at Wren's Nest on the Web.

It's a busy day for fundie criminals.

Firstly, a Nevada man has pleaded not guilty to charges that he broke into Bohemian Grove and set fire to a building. Bohemian Grove was featured on one of Loius Theroux's programmes (Correction: having read the excellent Them, I now think it was Theroux's great influence, Jon Ronson) and is host to an annual gathering of bigwigs where they get drunk and witness a dramatic, but silly and badly-performed, ritual to get rid of the burden of their cares. Conspiracy theorists see something much more suspicious. Richard McCaslin allegedly went to the Grove last Saturday, armed with a semiautomatic rifle/shotgun hybrid, a .45-caliber handgun, a crossbow, a 2-foot-long sword, a knife and a hand-made bomb launcher. He told detectives he had gone there to kill child molesters and those performing human sacrifices, which he claims he heard about on a radio talk show and saw in a related film. Grove intruder enters plea, Press Democrat 24th January 2002.

Meanwhile, over in Maryland, a man seems determined to ensure that a woman accused of murder does not get a fair trial. Joesephine Gray is accused of killing her boyfriend, Clarence Goode, and two of her husbands so that she could get the insurance money. So far it's fairly boring. But, Goode's brother claims that she's a witch who uses voodoo to make other people do her bidding and to scare people out of testifying against her. The local press have dubbed her the Black Widow and this could cause problems when the case comes to court. As her attorney pointed out It is unfortunate that sensationalized labels like that are being distributed to the potential jury pool. Black Magic Cited In Md. Killings, The Guardian, 24th January 2002 (Thanks, Steve).

In Colorado, a church near Denver has been sprayed with anti-gay statements by vandals, who also damaged furniture and musical equipment with bleach. Michael Hayes, Columbine United Church's choral director, is openly gay and believes he was the target of the attacks. The church is supportive of lesbian and gay members of its congregation. Rev. Stephen Poos-Benson, the church's senior pastor said We consider this a direct attack on our theological stance... we will not tolerate this type of hate in our community, nor will we let this type of hate deter our mission. Anti-gay messages deface Colorado church, Gay.com, 22nd January 2002.

January 20, 2002

Sacred Cows

Hindu fundamentalists have threatened a Delhi professor over a book which questions the sanctity of the cow. Dwijendra Narayan Jha's The Myth of the Holy Cow argues that beef was once part of the Indian diet and since it was published in India, it has been burned outside the author's home and he has received death threats. It is banned in Hyderabad and government officials have demanded Jha's arrest. He told the Observer:

It is not my intention to hurt anybody's religious sensibilities. I thought I should write something on the history of the sanctity of the cow. Fundamentalist forces try to associate abstention from beef with Hinduism. As a historian I don't believe in the sanctity of the cow.

The author is vegetarian and pointed out that he is happy for the cow to be protected but doesn't see why it should be the only animal which is treated well. Cow controversy divides Hindus, The Observer, 20th January 2002.

January 19, 2002

Suffer little children

Authorities in Atlanta, Georgia, have cracked down on a church which physically abuses children as part of their services, taking the children of six families into care. Services at the House of Prayer last up to eight hours, and regularly feature public beatings where children are held up by church elders and thrashed for up to half an hour with a belt. The church call it tough love, but county Child Services diagree. Beverley Jones said It's not parents administering tough love, or discipline. This is five adults holding little kids up in the air, beating them, to the point of abuse. It's cruelty to children. Atlanta child-beating church warned, BBC News, 19th January 2002.

Star of Bethlehem is Satanic symbol

A Suffolk church has been asked to change the illuminated Christmas decoration on its tower because the five-pointed star is a symbol of witchcraft. Hedley Griffin, a resident of the nearby village of Laxfield, wrote to the Venerable Geoffrey Arrand, Archdeacon of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich claiming that the star, made by local craftsmen around 25 years ago, was Satanic and should not be used. Griffin complained The five-pointed star is a witch's mark, but a lot of people, including members of the church authorities, don't seem to realise this. It is puzzling to me why a symbol of the opposition should be used on the spire of a Christian church. I don't believe it is right. He then suggested a six or seven pointed star would be better! Row over church's..., East Anglian Daily Times, 18th January 2002.

January 17, 2002

I'd like to talk to you about this issue of 'Hello'.

Fed up with being regularly disturbed by Jehovah's Witnesses, a Sussex woman called on her local Kingdom Hall in the middle of a service and started offering the congregation free magazines. Jane White said I've been having regular visits from them in the 12 years I've lived in Peacehaven. It is not the religion I object to, it is just the intrusion into my privacy which I find annoying. Neighbour returned Witnesses' cold call, The Times, 17th January 2002.

January 14, 2002

Leave me alone, I'm a god

Indian conservationists are protecting endangered turtles from poachers by claiming the creatures are incarnations of Vishnu - a Hindu god. According to officials from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Visakhapatnam, fishermen no longer kill Olive Ridley turtles when they accidently catch them, but instead worship them with flowers and vermillion powder before returning them to the sea. They consider this approach to be more effective than the threat of prosecution. Endangered turtles 'saved by Hindu god link', Ananova, 14th January 2002.

Here kitty, kitty.

An Aberdeenshire woman has been bitten by a large, black cat leaving marks down her left thigh. The sleek, black beastie was about the size of a labrador dog, but with the shape and motion of a cat. There have been a number of big cat sightings in the area, and experts have suggested they are a hybrid between a wildcat and a domestic cat. Big cat fear as beast bites woman, Aberdeen Press and Journal, 14th January 2002. (The Press and Journal story has now expired, so here's Ananova's version).

January 12, 2002

Blue, blue, my world is blue

David Icke has responded to recent news that the universe is turquoise (BBC), with an I told you so, back in 1991. He doesn't explain why his shade of deep turquoise is nothing like the pale jade discovered by the scientists. David Icke 'knew space was turquoise first', Ananova, 12th January 2002.

Bite me.

The star attraction at Whitby Abbey's new visitor centre is to be Count Dracula, much to the annoyance of some local Christians. The Abbey ruins were the inspiration for Bram Stoker's classic tale and an actor will be hired to play the author. 'Unchristian' Dracula is Abbey attraction, Ananova, 8th January 2002.


The gods have a sense of humour, if this particular psychic gift is anything to go by... Sexy seer says more to fellatio than meets the eye, Mainichi Daily News, 7th January 2002.

January 10, 2002

Vandal demands police protection

A Kenyan minister expects the local police to protect him after he led his congregation in cutting down and burning a sacred tree. The tree was used as a location for rituals by people in the Mukogodo division and Rev Dominic Kiloku of the Assemblies of God Church in Laikipia District has refused to aplogise or atone for his hate-driven vandalism. Atonement seems to follow the Old Testament tradition of giving the elders stuff - a goat and beer in this case - in payment for cleansing! The priest claimed that it was his God-given duty to stop my people from worshipping objects yet that same deity is apparently incapable of protecting him from a few traditional chants, hence the appeal to the police. Priest Seeks Police Help Over Sacred Tree Threat, The Nation (via allafrica.com), 7th January 2002.

January 9, 2002

404 Sysop not found

Oh dear, looks like the Fortean Times web site has been cracked by some illiterate script kiddie. Follow the link, or (once they've fixed it) check out this screenshot. I went to a non-existent page on the site as well, and the 404 message told me something which will surprise precisely nobody whatsoever: the idiots were using Microsoft IIS instead of a secure and reliable web server.

January 7, 2002

God's Love

United States: Pat Robertson has decided that witchcraft is the greatest evil in America today and that it is bringing divine displeasure upon the USA. The comments came in the December 5th edition of the 700 Club which included an interview promoting an anti-Harry Potter video. This follows on from the September 13th show which blamed gays, feminists and civil liberties campaigners for bringing about the September 11th attacks. According to People For the American Way

In Robertson's post-interview comments, he returned to his Sept. 13 theme that God was lifting his annointing, his mantle from the United States of America. Citing Deuteronomy, Robertson made a list of reasons nations could invoke divine displeasure, putting witchcraft at the top of the list (we're now teaching witchcraft in the schools), followed by sodomy (we're legalizing sodomy,) bestiality, incest, and sacrifice of children (the sacrifice of children through abortion is in the 35 to 40 million range).

Religious Right leaders stick to theme that gays, abortionists, and others invite God's wrath on AmericaPFAW Right Wing Watch Online,/cite>, 4th January 2002.

January 5, 2002

Blast from the Past

Way back when, there was a barking mad fundie magazine called Diakrisis. Well, it seems they are alive and well on the web, and still completely barking mad - http://www.diakrisis.org/. Check out The Shape of Things to Come: Global Conspiracy & the World Trade Center which exposes the dark, satanic web of intrigue involving secret conspiracy, political cabals, global elites, extra-terrestrials, UFOs, etc. (Thanks to Val Dobson for the link).

January 4, 2002

They're Wiccan, they must be to blame.

In typically clue-free style, police in Loudoun, Virginia, have decided that the Wiccan faith of three people accused of murder is somehow relavant to the case.

The body of the victim, Robert M. Schwartz, was found with multiple lacerations, consistent with a frenzied killing resulting from rage, according to Loudoun County Sheriff Steve Simpson. Despite this, a bigoted local detective has claimed in an affadavit that miscellaneous documents that contain language of killing and human sacrifice in a Wiccan fashion. Wicca is a cult which involves pagan rituals and sacrifices. In a positive sign, even the local newspaper is somewhat sceptical! Occult items seized in murder probe, Loudoun Times-Mirror January 4th 2002.

January 3, 2002

Not wanted here

United States: Notorious gay-hater Fred Phelps found himself outnumbered when he decided to picket a high school in New Hampshire for the second time in just over a year. He and 10 others from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, decided to protest after the school recognised two female students as the senior year's best couple. 20 residents mounted a counter-protest and students showed their contempt for Phelps by ignoring him and his group.

The church had previously picketed the school to protest against its decision to allow homosexual dorm parents. Then, both staff and students wore rainbow badges in support of the school. On neither occasion did locals join Phelps' protest.

Fred Phelps is best known for demonstrating at the funeral of Matthew Shepherd, a student murdered because he was gay. Anti-gay group from Kansas pickets Dover High SchoolPortsmouth Herald, 2nd January 2002 via Avedon Carol's The Sideshow.

I name this child

A Christian woman in Calabar, Nigeria, has divorced her Muslim husband after he named their new-born baby boy after Osama bin Laden. She and the child are currently staying with relatives.

When a journalist from the Vanguard newspaper tried to speak to the father, he was told:

Why do you journalists always poke your noses in other people's problem? ... How many times have you written to condemn the killings of Muslim Palestinians by the Israelis... For your information, the name of my child is Osama bin Laden, he is a hero who has taught America a lesson of their lives.

Calabar Woman Divorces Husband for Naming Child After Bin Laden, allAfrica.com 2nd January 2002.

January 1, 2002

Bonking Dogs found

The discovery of an elaborately carved knife has added to the confusion surrounding the burial of dogs around Silchester. A number of apparently ritual burials have been found at the Roman site. The knife depicts two dogs mating and was buried in a pit containing the bodies of two dogs. It suggests that the dog burials were going on over a longer period of time than previously thought. Knife twists mystery of dog burials, Guardian Unlimited, 1st January 2002.

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