January 1, 2009

Annual end-of-the world post 2009

2009 looks like a quiet year in terms of the end of the world, with many of the predictions merely being the usual suspects revising their dates yet again.

Continue reading "Annual end-of-the world post 2009"

March 26, 2008

Bargain of the Day: Good stuff, for a change.

Englandshire: Dr. Who fans could find themselves a bargain as the memorabilia collection of Simon White goes on sale after he swapped science fiction for fantasy.

The collection, which Mr White estimates is worth nearly £7,000, was built up over a number of years but is to be cast aside because of his religious beliefs.

Dr Who and his materialistic obsession with it represents the greatest lie that Satan ever told according to Mr White...

He said: God delivered me from the evil that is Dr Who.

Don't offer too much now. We wouldn't want to reward him for his sinfulness now, would we?

Dr Who Tardis on sale on eBayWiltshire Times and Chippenham News, 21st March 2008.

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January 30, 2008

10km nearer to heaven, and God still pays no attention

Canada/Ireland: A Toronto-Heathrow flight had to be diverted to Shannon, Ireland, after the First Officer apparently suffered some kind of breakdown.

A passenger said the pilot was carried from the plane shouting and swearing, saying he wanted to talk to God....

He was very, very distraught. He was yelling loudly at times, he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

He was swearing and asking for God and very distressed. He basically said he wanted to talk to God.

Good job it wasn't a dark-skinned passenger yelling about his imaginary friend.

Pilot 'breakdown' diverts flightBBC News, 30th January 2008.

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January 1, 2008

Annual end-of-the-world post 2008

So, none of last year's predictions concerning the end of the world have come true. Nor has there been any sign of Jesus. This, of course, will not stop the prophets of doom. So, what can we expect in 2008?

Continue reading "Annual end-of-the-world post 2008"

November 14, 2007

Darwin's Guide to Curse Removal

Two recent stories have highlighted the extremes to which people will go to rid themselves of their imaginary enemies.

New Zealand: A woman was drowned by her relatives in an attempt to rid her of a curse.

Janet Moses, a mother of two, was held under water in an attempt to drive away a makutu, or Maori curse. Containers holding an extensive amount of water were brought into the lounge of the house, in Wellington, for the ceremony...

The exorcism ritual was held because the woman's relatives believed a curse had been put on her after another member of her family stole a taonga, meaning treasured artefact, belonging to someone else.

India: A man has married a dog to help rid himself of a curse he believes he brought upon himself by stoning two other dogs to death.

Fifteen years back Selvakumar was physically fit. But, once he attacked a pair of dogs and thereafter Kumar could not move his limbs freely, the relative, Ramu, told the BBC.

He tried every cure for his ailment but could not be rid of his disability.

“On the advice of an astrologer and others, he decided to marry a bitch to get cured. Then we arranged Selvakumar's marriage with a bitch.

One wonders if such marriages are consummated.

Woman drowns during exorcism ceremonyThe Guardian, 12th November 2007; Man marries bitch to beat curseBBC News, 13th November 2007.

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November 8, 2007

Court Report

The courts have been busy today, it seems.

Scotland: Police attended a séance in an attempt to find the killer of a Dundee woman in 1980. Fortunately, they didn't take it seriously.

Mr Robertson, who was a detective constable at the time, said there had been subdued lighting.

The officers had held hands, although not in an affectionate way.

I can recollect, possibly, at some time the woman was induced through some form of hypnosis to go to a spirit guide who took her to another area, he said.

The medium then gave information which he did not think had any bearing on the case.

I can say it was never considered to be a serious line of inquiry, added Mr Robertson.

He said the séance did not last long because the woman was unable to continue her charade.

Spain: God, it seems, has taken time off from worrying about pooves, and returned to His old trick of telling people to kill one another. In this case, He told a British man to kill and eat his girlfriend:

Following his arrest in 2004, Durant wrote to a British newspaper from his prison cell in Spain, saying that he had been driven to kill and eat Durrell by messages delivered to him by God via his television.

After I killed her I cut her body into small parts, eating what part of her I found eatable. I finally disposed of what was left in small rubbish bags around Calpe, he wrote.

My mental state was breaking down at this stage. I believed God had delivered her to me and I was getting messages from the telly.

Durant admitted manslaughter, and also told the court he had killed two people in the UK, including a man he claims abused him as a child. God's role in these killings was not explained.

Woods murder police 'held séance'BBC News, 8th November 2007; British man faces jail over 'message from God' killingThe Guardian, 8th November 2007.

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October 16, 2007

Hoary old chestnut evolves legs, wings.

United States: Yet another animal shelter falls victim to the annual urban myth about black cats being adopted for sacrifice at Hallowe'en and has sentenced the poor animals to another month of misery.

Hillside SPCA, Pottsville, prohibits adoptions of black cats now to Nov. 2, fearing the animals could be mistreated in Halloween pranks or worse, be sacrificed in sadistic or occult rituals.

We put a sign up during the month of October prohibiting adoptions, said Sylvia Nabholz, a volunteer and board member with the nonprofit animal shelter off the Gordon Nagle Trail, Route 901.

Although Nabholz said she was not aware of any cruelty incidents specifically involving black cats, the temporary ban on their adoption is a precautionary measure.

...Fortunately, she said, the shelter has not noticed an increase in adoption rates of black cats in the the month before Halloween.

Hillside SPCA nixes adoptions of black cats for HalloweenThe Republican and Herald, 15th October 2007. See also Hoary old chestnutThe Prattle, 25th October 2002; Hoary old chestnut campaigns for vote.The Prattle, 26th October 2003; Warm black pussies.The Prattle, 30th October 2003; That time of year againThe Prattle, 31st October 2006.

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July 24, 2007

Why I am no longer neopagan, part several million

England: A group of British Wiccans have pressurised the owners of Highcross Quarter to change the name of their shopping centre to something else because it sounds a bit like a neopagan holiday-- presumably one of the even-more-invented ones found in fundie dossiers on the occult.

It was our only wish all along, to be left in peace to develop our Web site and maintain the aspirations for faith and of our simple way of life, said the group's spokeswoman, who gave her name as Morrigan Wisecraft.

Of course, the easiest way to be left alone is not to be a media whore and whine publicly about perceived slights that actually have bugger all to do with your recently made-up religion (as opposed to religions that were made up some time ago), and everything to do with getting your name in the papers.

Witches happy over shopping centreMetro, 24th July 2007.

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July 17, 2007

Pagans threaten to flood England (more)

The Long Mohammed of Wilmington United Kingdom: Britian's neopagans are upset again. First of all it was Trinny and Susannah daring to change the sex of the Long Man of Wilmington, and now they're upset that a figure of Homer Simpson has been painted in biodegradable paint in the vicinity of another 400-year old cartoon, the Cerne Abbas Giant.

It's not King Kevin complaining, either, but the middle class ladies of the Pagan Federation. And, just like the Mohammed cartoon protesters, they're making threats and promising to get their imaginary friend to fix the problem.

Ann Bryn-Evans, joint Wessex district manager for The Pagan Federation, said: We were hoping for some dry weather but I think I have changed my mind.

“We'll be doing some rain magic to bring the rain and wash it away.

Well, that should solve the problem of heavy rains and flooding in England. It's enough to make you want to turn the Long Man of Wilmington into a depiction of the Prophet Mohammed.

Wish for rain to wash away HomerBBC News, 16th July 2007

Update: This image by HappyToast at B3ta is glorious:

Further update: The Grauniad is running a caption competition.

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July 14, 2007

Pratt Update

England: A doctor who prescribed Christian exorcism for a Muslim patient has been found guilty of professional misconduct and banned from practising medicine for six months.

'Exorcist' doctor is bannedThe Sun, 12th July 2007. See also Pratt-fallPagan Prattle, 9th July 2007 and Alternative medicinePagan Prattle, 8th November 2006.

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July 9, 2007

Pratt-fall

England: Last November, we brought you the tale of Dr. Joyce Pratt, summonsed before a General Medical Council Fitness to Practice hearing to account for her unusual methods of treatment. Despite claiming to be a visionary, she also claimed to have not got the letters and was therefore unaware of the hearing. She did not turn up. For some reason, possibly this one, that hearing collapsed and a new one was scheduled.

The new hearing is now being held, and the press are reporting more details. It turns out that the patient for whom she prescribed a Christian exorcism is Muslim.

The story repeats the "visionary" claims and quotes extensively from the patient's statement. It seems Dr. Pratt told the patient that her recent trip to Asia had put her under the influence of evil spirits.

In her statement to the panel, Mrs K said the doctor had told her normal medicine would not help her pain and bleeding...

She then said that there was black magic inside. She continued: Dr Pratt said that the bleeding was because of something inside my stomach and that there is nothing that a doctor can do medically, but that she had the power to help.

”She said she didn't have the total power but there is a priest at Westminster Cathedral on Friday and Saturday nights after 9pm at night who would put their hands on my stomach and make it go away.


Mrs K said she had believed Dr Pratt could help her and drank the holy water because she seemed to know private things about her family which very few people knew.

The doctor wrote her mobile number on a piece of paper and some lines from the bible and gave it to her, Mrs K said.

Mrs K left the clinic bewildered and carrying the crosses and stones, the panel heard.

This time, Dr. Pratt has refused to turn up and also any representation. The panel is expected to retire to consider its verdict tomorrow.

Family planning doctor 'prescribed exorcism' for bewildered patientThe Daily Mail, 9th July 2007.

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May 29, 2007

Politicians' witchdoctor arrested

Kenya: Politicians were among those protesting the arrest of a witchdoctor in Coast Province. Mr Rashid Salim apparantly offered advice and protection to several of them, and they now fear losing their seats. Salim has been charged with possessing dangerous items, but the news reports don't mention any guns, knives, poisons or anything like that—just a load of useless tat.

Among the items recovered from the witchdoctor's home were horns, bottles of coloured water, herbs, gourds, bracelets and chains.

One of his politician customers defended him:

A Kanu parliamentary aspirant denounced the arrest of the harmless old man.

He confirmed he had sought his release, saying Salim has helped many people overcome work, health and love related problems...

In every house of a Digo, you will not miss paraphernalia used for protection. Salim has never harmed anybody, he said.

Witchdoctor defendedThe Standard, 29th May 2007.

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Poland also behind the times.

Poland: It seems that Jerry Falwell is not dead after all—he just moved to Europe and had a sex-change.

A senior Polish official has ordered psychologists to investigate whether the popular BBC TV show Teletubbies promotes a homosexual lifestyle.

The spokesperson for children's rights in Poland, Ewa Sowinska, singled out Tinky Winky, the purple character with a triangular aerial on his head.

I noticed he was carrying a woman's handbag, she told a magazine. At first, I didn't realise he was a boy.

According to the BBC, most Poles are joking about her comments. One radio station even had a phone-in to determine the most suspicious children's characters.

Poland targets 'gay' TeletubbiesBBC News, 28th May 2007.

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May 24, 2007

Greenpeace: Climate change a myth

Turkey: Greenpeace are sending out a strong message that climate change is a myth, just like the Biblical flood. Of course, they don't see it that way, but what other conclusion can you draw from their building a Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat? That flood was just a story, after all.

Noah's Ark rebuilt to show climate change threatReuters, 23rd May 2007 (via Pharyngula).

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May 20, 2007

Bringing yourself to the police's attention

India: A pair of occult practitioners are the main suspects in the disappearance of a pair of rare owls from a zoo and, for once the police might be being reasonable in their suspicions.

A zoo official said two local occult practitioners recently offered to purchase the birds for 30,000 rupees ($A890) each, but the park refused.

It fits in with the local magical traditions too:

Owls are usually captured for black magic rituals and sorcery by a number of Jharkhand tribes. Brown fish owls are also believed to bring good luck if kept at home.

The dried flesh, beak, claws, feathers and blood are used as ingredients in black magic spells.

Black magic suspected in bird theftNews.com.au, 20th May 2007.

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April 20, 2007

The fun begins.

The Virginia Tech massacre, while not generating quite enough junk to qualify for its own Great ... Conspiracy List, has produced some interesting insights, and fortunately the Prattle's readers are very eagle-eyed.

Red Wolf found some of Cho's rant posed on the ABC website. It was rather, well, Christian. (Uni gunman: 'I die like Jesus' )

Thanks to you I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenceless people,he ranted....

Just like Jesus, he criticised the rich:

He also railed against wealthy students: Your Mercedes wasn't enough, you brats? Your golden necklaces weren't enough, you snobs? Your trust fund wasn't enough? Your vodka and cognac weren't enough? All your debaucheries weren't enough? Those weren't enough to fulfil your hedonistic needs? You had everything.

And Cho reminds us of Jesus' suffering:

Do you know what it feels like to be torched alive? Do you know what it feels like to be humiliated and be impaled on a cross and left to bleed to death for your amusement? You have never felt a single ounce of pain your whole life.

Strangely, even though Cho was clearly inspired by the Bible, there have been no calls to ban that particular book.

Alan Braggins pointed out a discussion on the Fox News website: Did the Devil Make Him Do It? Fundies, of course, disturbed by Cho's Christian blathering, say Quick, let's grasp that straw!.

Dr. Richard Roberts, president of Oral Roberts University, shouts an unequivocal Yes!

Based on what I've seen in the news, Roberts said in an interview, there's no doubt that this act was Satanic in origin.

Roberts added that he doesn’'t know if it was Satanic possession or oppression. Possession, he said, occurs when Satan takes over a person's life, and the person's actions are dictated by demonic possession within. Roberts says he's seen this type and has seen the Devil cast out of a person.

Satanic oppression, on the other hand, is that which comes against. It's not in a person, but is coming against them, trying to put evil thoughts in their minds, Roberts said.

He said that the evil thoughts in Satanic oppression can be fairly innocuous, or they can be harmful. And the oppression can be in the form of fear, depression or discouragement, he said, because Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy.

Roberts says we'll never know whether Cho was possessed or oppressed, because the killer has died. But he did leave a note blasting everyone around him, calling them rich kids, and deceitful charlatans, and then blaming them, saying you made me do this.

I thought the name of Jesus was supposed to have power over Satan. How could he possibly have tolerated his posessee shouting it all the time?

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March 26, 2007

Predictable headline

United States: A fire marshall with 22 years service has resigned after admitting he consulted psychics while at work:

Tom Weber, a 22-year fire veteran, was put on administrative leave nine months ago after he was accused of asking an online psychic on a department computer whether he and others would be successful in getting rid of Middleton's fire chief...

Weber said he's resigning effective March 31, and denied working against Harris. But he doesn't dispute contacting psychics on department computers. A computer technician found other communications dating back three years.

One wonders if he'd have been pushed out if he'd been praying for the chief's removal, or checking online Bibles for guidance on the matter?

Everyone is entitled to their spiritual guidance, Weber said.

He said he's been interested in psychics for years.

Psychic chat drives fire marshal to quitThe Charlotte Observer, 25th March 2007.

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Harry Potter Mo' fans riot over book

Yemen: Riots have broken out after rumours that a French engineer might have 'desecrated' a book by throwing it on the floor with insufficient respect.

After a fight between a French engineer and another who is Yemeni, the Frenchman - to enrage the Yemeni - threw a Koran on the floor in an offensive way, a local official told AFP news agency, requesting anonymity.

The response of the locals suggest they are probably incapable of reading any book:

Hundreds of rioting workers burnt cars and a helicopter at the French-run facility, sources told news agencies.

Unconfirmed reports say four Yemenis and a Frenchman were injured in the unrest and the engineer was evacuated.

The paper on which holy books tend to be printed makes excellent loo roll, by the way.

Koran riot grips Yemeni gas plantBBC News, 25th March 2007.

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March 25, 2007

A close shave

Malawi: A witchdoctor's unconventional magic has resulted in a two year prison sentence, with hard labour.

People in Mulanje were going about their daily businesses but for two women and a 13-year-old girl all from the same family it was a morning of lifetime experiences. The three were having their pubic hair shaved with razor blades by a self proclaimed male witchdoctor who promised them the fortune of life.

One by one the three sisters were called into a bathroom a few metres away from their main house where they stripped naked before 21 year old Peter Harawara who sat there touching and shaving their private parts.

The women began to suspect something was amiss when he threatened them with death and demanded sex.

Continue reading "A close shave"

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March 23, 2007

Loony neopagan nonsense: the motherlode

Thank you spiritof1976 for introducing me to the LJ community dot_pagan_snark. Some highlights:

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March 11, 2007

WWMGD?

Guatemala: Mayan priests plan to ritually purify an historic sacred site to remove the bad spirits they expect to be left by the visit of George W. Bush.

That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture, Juan Tiney, the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders, said Thursday....

Tiney said the spirit guides of the Mayan community decided it would be necessary to cleanse the sacred site of bad spirits after Bush's visit so that their ancestors could rest in peace. He also said the rites -- which entail chanting and burning incense, herbs and candles -- would prepare the site for the third summit of Latin American Indians March 26-30.

Priests to Purify Site After Bush VisitWashington Post, 9th March 2007 (thanks, Sister Iona Dubble-Wyde).

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March 9, 2007

Making sure.

Serbia: A metre-long stake has been driven through the corpse of Slobodan Milosevic by vampire hunters who wanted to be sure he didn't come back, ever.

...the politically-motivated Van Helsings, led by Miroslav Milosevic (no relation), gave themselves up to cops after attacking the deceased despot in his grave in the eastern town of Pozarevac. Milosevic popped his clogs back in 2006, while on trial in a UN war crimes tribunal for various unsavoury activities connected with the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia.

Miroslav Milosevic said he and his fellow vampire hunters acted to stop the former dictator returning from the dead to haunt the country. His team explained that the wooden stake had been driven into the ground and through the late president's heart.

At least they can be sure he's dead now.

Serbian vampire hunters prevent Milosevic come-backThe Register, 6th March 2007 (via Randy McDonald).

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Another miscelleny

February 22, 2007

Balls

Belgium: An airline has redesigned its logo because superstitious people were worried about it.

The new and old Brussels Airlines logos compared
The new and old Brussels Airlines logos compared

Thirteen dots looked just right to the designer Ronane Hoet. Together they had the perfect balance to form a stylised b for the new Belgian carrier Brussels Airlines and the number also matched the destinations it flew to in Africa, a key market. It was harmony, she said, wistfully.

This week, however, Brussels Airlines workers were adding a 14th ball to the logo on the tail and sides of an Airbus 319 in response to complaints from superstitious customers in the US and Italy.

Immediately after the November announcement that the successor to the merged SN Brussels and Virgin Express would come into operation on March 25 with the 13-ball logo, the firm was flooded with disapproving emails and calls.

They said they were not pleased with an aircraft with a logo with 13 balls because they think it brings them bad luck, said airline spokesman Geert Sciot.

Not quite sure how a loaded A319 makes it to the US. Still, one of the airlines forming the new one rose out of the ashes of Sabena, which is a much better reason to avoid it. The new design has 14 balls, which is fine as long as the airline does not serve east Asia.

Brussels Airlines could have gone to 12 dots or 14. It chose 14 to avoid connection with the 12 disciples. Luckily, it is not flying to China, where 14 would be a definite no-no; in Mandarin, 14 sounds like the phrase to want to die.

In both Chinese and Japanese speaking areas, the numbers 4 and 7 are unlucky because the words for them sound like the word for death. The Japanese even use alternative words for the offending numbers where possible, which is why shichimi togarashi (seven spice) is more usually labelled nanami togarashi.

Airline redraws logo as superstitious customers curse 13-ball designThe Guardian, 22nd February 2007. Related story: Superstition in strange places.The Pagan Prattle, 29th January 2004.

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February 13, 2007

The end of the world is very nigh indeed

It seems I missed at least one important date out of my Annual End of the World Post 2007: St. Valentine's Day. According to a poster on various newsgroups, ancient Egyptian astrologers knew all about it, although I suspect the bigotry is a modern addition to the prediction:

Predators such as jews, shiate and Pope Ratzinger could be in for a nasty Second Coming shock this Valentine's Day as a huge comet originating in the costellation of Aquilla the Eagle heralds the Return of the King, according to astrologers decoding the British Museum's ancient star maps found in Egypt's Valley of the Kings.

Comet Nemesis hails from the giant bright star Altair and has been predicted to usher in the Day of Judgement according to the Cheops Codex.

Exactly what this will bring is a little vague. Okay, that's me being too polite. What follows makes no sense whatsoever.

We forsee the total collapse of the Family Evil Empire as the comet transits natal fault lines that have held together for centuries with glue made from boiled cloven hooves, Gog family semen and rattlesnake venom.

But the Poodle gods in Sally, Rabat is totally blase about any collapse of its power structure on the 14 February and has even hinted that the head of the Metropolitcan Police's cash-for-honors probe may have been offered a life peerage to clear up the whole messy business pretty damned quick.

Internet spread betting index AintgottaWarholprayer.net is offering odds of 5/4FAV on Alaoui being led kicking, screaming and manacled out slowly on Wedenesday morning after the King mohamed sesta alaclaoui, the Pretender to the Throne of god and all the other Bots and Clones implants are shot at dawn for treason against Salvation.

Right-o.

Prey for Valentine's Day Second Coming says astrologersWarhol, 12th February 2007.

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January 1, 2007

Annual end-of-the-world post 2007

Yet again, the doomsayers have let us down, and the world spectacularly failed to end in 2006. Nor was there any sign of Jesus' return, so it's time, again, to see how we will meet our collective end in 2007. It looks like it will be much busier than last year.

Continue reading "Annual end-of-the-world post 2007"

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December 23, 2006

Superstition and HIV in Nigeria

Nigeria: A recent article looking at folk cures and protections against HIV among the prostitutes of Lagos included an example of the way predatory churches exploit the pandemic—by lying, of course:

Over the din of the giant generator and commercial motorbikes belching smoke into the hamathan haze, she managed to say: Please I want you to see this.

From her handbag she pulled out a crumpled newspaper publication. It was actually a page out of a newsletter published by a Pentecostal church in Lagos. The story was a good story, about a 26-year-old woman who had received miracle cure for AIDS. The woman in the photograph wore a happy smile. Her name was given as Christina Okpe. The story was a testimony of the same Christina detailing how she had lived with full-blown AIDS and how a bus preacher directed her to a healing camp where she received miracle.

Christina went on to say in the article that she had forsaken her sinful past and now lived under a glorious authority as a child of God protected from earthly afflictions. The faith healer was quoted as saying that Christina's case was yet another proof that for all those who believe in Him, they shall be healed of every sickness including blood diseases...

Getting a little impatient, the reporter looked up with a frown. Testimonies of faith healings were common in religious bulletins and newsletters. Until the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) put a stop to it, television screens were riddled with episode after episode of religious miracles. Many of the miracle receivers were believed to be phonies recruited to advertise the purported powers of the spiritual leader. It was possible Christina was just another but Esse cut short the puzzle by saying that the woman in the picture was dead. According to her, Christina died about four months after the testimony, of complications arising from AIDS.

But in a world where they have little power, and men insist on not using condoms, the women rely on other superstitions too:

Saturday Sun, discovered that among the male population of this community, it is common to possess a talisman called Iba-esu, said to protect the man from HIV/AIDS. The efficacy is only based on the belief that if the man's sex partner were HIV positive, he would receive an 'electric shock' the moment he touches any part of her body. Interestingly, the womenfolk have their own talisman, Iyo-esu, woven into fashionable waistbands. If the woman’s sex partner has HIV/AIDS or STDs like gonorrhea or syphilis, the Iyo-esu is believed to work by making the penis go limp.

Real or myth, the Iyo-esu is known to have caused serious problems for women who use them. Men with erectile dysfunction are known to have taken their frustrations out on the woman and if she is a prostitute, she is accused of using a corrupt Iyo-esu that allows her to accept money from clients but never gets to render any service.

Esse narrated that she and her colleagues tended to get the most problem from men who use Iba-esu. They are the ones who will never use the condom, no matter what you tell them.

Lime, lies and HIV/AIDSThe Saturday Sun, 23rd December 2006.

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November 8, 2006

Alternative medicine

England: A family planning doctor faces disciplinary action after she advised a patient that she needed an exorcism. The aptly named Dr. Joyce Pratt told her patient that she was under a black magic spell and had something awful inside her stomach.

She then allegedly offered to use her special powers to help the woman and told her to visit a priest at Westminster Cathedral, believing the patient was possessed by an evil spirit.

The three-day GMC fitness to practise hearing in Manchester will also investigate accusations that the GP told the patient her mother was a witch, and that the patient's husband and mother were trying to kill her.

Doctor who prescribed exorcism faces disciplinary actionThe Guardian, 8th November 2006.

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October 22, 2006

Beware of pervy demons!

United States (where else?): Crap in bed? Having trouble getting it up? Homosexual? It's probably all the fault of demons, at least according Erica Shepherd, who runs a Sexual Exorcism, Healing, Deliverance Ministry!

Your Sexual Problem May very well be Spiritual? ... Once you have been A Victim Of this type of Spiritual Sexual Abuse You require Personal Exorcism Healing Deliverance Ministry

But how could the demons have found you? The possibilities are endless, but naturally, we're only going to mention the really, really silly ones here.

I have prayed with people who have had these sex Demons unloosed upon them by witchcraft.

I have prayed with people who have had these sex Demons unloosed upon them though Astral Projection.

I have prayed with people who have had these sex Demons unloosed upon them through sleepin in a Hotel room bed and not praying over the room first.

I have prayed with people who out of contex, really believe that "Jesus" has become their husband and Is providing them with sexual gratification.

I prayed with another lady, who went to a foreign Country and was made a Spiritual bride, without Knowing it and she was plagued with a sex Demon, so badly that she almost went crazy.

And if you feel the call to help people afflicted in such a manner, you can always attend her Exorcism Healing Deliverance School.

(via The High Weirdness Project, in alt.conspiracy)

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October 12, 2006

Normal service to resume shortly

A few short items for you:

October 9, 2006

Having a veil of a time

United Kingdom: There has been much fuss in the British press of late after a man with severe hearing problems who lipreads, mentioned that the full veil worn by some Muslim women made communication difficult for him. It's been all over the net too, so here are a few select articles:

Several things that no-one has been saying—Roz Kaveney in Silence Exile and Crumpets, 7th October 2006.

Why Muslim women should thank Straw—Saira Khan in The Times, 9th October 2006.

And Jesus and Mo were rather quick to comment on the situation, too.

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September 27, 2006

Recycling in action.

United States: A financial advice site isn't the sort of place you'd expect to find barking mad religious press releases filled with allegations of human sacrifice by, well, a bunch of hippies.

Dr. Holliday recounts a woman's story, which proves the rise, and social acceptance of witchcraft in America has caused progressive interest and involvement in the occult thus capturing millions as spiritual slaves. Dr. Pat Holliday's new book, Walking Dead captures the Lamb family's ordeal with a witch in their life. It conveys the truth that Witchcraft and Satanic worship, coupled with human sacrifices is widespread and happening now!

It seems that magic is real, and a single spell can destroy your life!

The effect of the witch's spell was explosive and devastating, almost completely destroying Rita's life.

This being Loony Fundie Nonsense, the only way to protect yourself from imaginary enemies with imaginary weaponry is to get yourself an imaginary friend. Of course.

Witchcraft in America is on the Rise With Millions Captured in Spiritual SlaveryFinance Visor Markets News, 27th September 2006.

September 17, 2006

If at first you don't succeed, change the date for the end of the world.

Kenya: When Yisrael Hawkins of the Hosue of Yahweh predicted nuclear annihilation on September 12th, his Kenyan followers bunkered down to await the end.

Then nothing happened.

But they are not even slightly embarrassed, and insist they will be proved right soon enough, and that mockers will die as a result.

They say that the nuclear will start around the great river Euphrates and the house of Yahweh is only mandated to teach people what they must do to protect themselves.

But this will not be the end. The end will come 13 months later with four-fifths of the population destroyed, warns Yaaqob Kiplagat, a member of the religious group.

They are well prepared for nuclear war, although they do not explain why anyone would waste nukes on Kenya.

The group has in their bunkers molasses, honey, illegal brew — busaa — and other permissible foodstuff according to their faith.

Mosheh said they have eaten enough food which contains molasses for immunity of which will prevent them from being affected by the nuclear chemicals.

We have also prepared safe rooms of which are covered with thick paper bags which will absorb the nuclear chemicals.

They are a bit odd, even by loony fundie standards, refusing to call the Bible by that name.

Furthermore, we do not call it the bible, we call it the book of Yahweh because the bible means Babylon which is a place of idol worship, he says.

Cult: 'Those who laugh at us will perish'The Standard, 16th September 2006.

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September 8, 2006

Bargain of the Day: Rider-Waite Tarot

Bargains have been thin on the ground lately, but today you can bid on a Rider-Waite tarot pack. What? Not weird enough for you? But these cards are special because it's a Tarot Card Deck From Dead Salem Mass Witch.

Possessed Or Bad Karma? We Will Let You Decide

Hello, And welcome to another auction brought to you by Power Mix Fm

After our listeners have heard that we were running some crazy ebay auctions we recieved a phone call from cindy in Salem Mass. and her phone conversation gave myself and the producers all chills up our spines, for that reason we are going to tell you her story and the reason why we are selling these cards for her.

It was 2 weeks befor Halloween when she stumbled upon a yard sale next to an old witch cemetary, she sensed that something on the table was eager for her to buy as she walked closer to the table a deck of Tarot cards fell onto of her foot the lady running the sale snickered in the background and approached her and asked if she needed help and out of the blue cindy said ill take these.

after the transaction the lady told her that these cards belonged to her daughter that was evolved in witch craft for 5 years but died by a freak accident in her apartment as cindy gulped and was just about to change her mind, her cell phone ringed and she had to leae fast.

Later that night cindy arrived home and tried to play with the cards but could not figure it out.

Night 1: about 2am cindy woke up to a loud scream of a female screaming for help and then as the girls tone got louder she could hear a man in a language that almost sounded german as cindy put it, She quickly went to the couch and slept there for the night.

Night 6: same time around 2am cindy heard the same as befor and once again slept on the couch,

and this would happen every 5 days, since then cindy has moved and had the tarot cards stored in a storage facility.

Untill today Power Mix FM has taken the cards for cindy and we are listing them here on ebay for hopes that someone in this world may know how to handle this type of deal.

Or maybe you are just a collector of ghostly objects and this would help with your collection.

Power Mix Fm has no way to verify this story besides what cindy has told us but we will keep the Deck of cards on the studio desk so during our 2AM dj sessions we will see if our DJ's experience the same scenario as cindy did.

All questions may take upto 24 hours to respond as we will forward them to cindy's home email address.

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August 28, 2006

The end of the world is nigh, again

United States: There always has to be at least one person getting their end-of-the world predictions in too late to feature in the Prattle's Annual End-of-the-world post. The latest miscreant is Yisrayl Hawkins of the House of Yahweh (no relation to Prophet Yahweh), who has announced that the current crisis in the Middle East will go nuclear on September 12, 2006 in the area around the Euphrates River. How does he know? Because it's in the Bible!

[Yisrael Hawkins]Yisrayl Hawkins, well known Bible scholar and author, reports that the Bible predicts the exact date and the location that nuclear war will begin. Hawkins states that the current crisis in the Middle East will go nuclear on September 12, 2006 in the area around the Euphrates River. Calling upon his 50 years of biblical research, Hawkins correlates numerous Bible prophecies with world events to support his claim.

According to Yisrayl Hawkins, the countdown to nuclear war began with the signing of the Oslo accords on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993. He says that the book of Daniel shows that although this is a seven-year agreement, it would take fourteen years to be fully carried out, ending on October 13, 2007. He then cites prophecies in the book of Revelation showing that nuclear war would begin a year, a month and a day prior to the end of the Oslo agreement.

He's even produced a video in which he explains it all.

But Religion News Blog is on the ball, and have noticed something about this prediction: the Tribulation was originally going to start when the Oslo Agreement was signed, and the end of the world would be seven years after that date. Oops. They also note that Hawkins is not the only Prophet to fail to get his prediction in on time. The Lords' Witnesses and the True Bible Code (also auf Deutsch) have a similar nuclear annihilation forecast for a few days earlier.

We now predict a terrorist Nuclear Bomb will hit the UN plaza in Midtown Manhattan on the sabbath of 2006Elul13 (Sundown Friday September 8th to Sundown Saturday September 9th)...

We correctly predicted that the UN would lose its headship in 2006Tammuz (this being the 2nd head of the image of the Beast of Revelation 13) which gets a death stroke but then recovers. It lost its head on 2006July12 (2006Tammuz14) when Israel invaded Lebanon without a UN mandate. The UN lost credibility and lost control for a month. It lost headship over Israel for one month. But the image of the Beast does not lose two heads, it only loses one head. Each of the 7 heads of the image of the UN Beast stands for one month of military headship over the governments of the world, just as the 7 heads of the UN Beast itself each stand for one year of military headship over the governments of the world - see below. So we knew it had to regain headship in the month of Ab. It did this on August 11th by means of the UN Security Council Resolution 1701, passed that day, and demanding an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon. Now the UN will has been declare Peace and Security since the UN Peace Building Commission was added to the UN Security Council in our understanding. So sudden destruction will befall them according to 1 Thessalonians 5:3. So please leave NYC for the 2nd sabbath in September!!!

Of course, they admit they've made mistakes with this prediction, at least 11 times in the past, but they know they're right this time!

NUCLEAR WAR BEGINS SEPTEMBER 12, 2006House of Yahweh press release, 28th August 2006; Nuclear War Begins September 12, 2006Religion News Blog, 28th August 2006.

August 27, 2006

Always be nice to airline employees

England: A woman who made a racist comment to a member of staff at Stansted Airport has been temporarily banned from flying with easyJet. No news there, except the woman concerned is a barking mad fundie who got upset when a member of staff reacted in a perfectly natural way to an injured child.

Fiz Thomson, 55, was returning from a trip to Israel where she had been helping war victims, when she heard boarding staff at Stansted airport repeatedly exclaiming Oh, my God after a child fell and hurt herself.

She said she politely asked them to stop taking God's name in vain. She was then approached by a security official and she claims she was called a racist for remarking that her complaint would have been taken more seriously had she been Islamic.

She did not mention, though the airline did, that the member of staff she said this to was of Indian origin.

Thomson was offloaded and hired a car to drive back to Fife, being apparently unaware of the existence of the night train between Euston and Edinburgh.

Air ban on woman in blasphemy rowDaily Telegraph, 26th August 2006.

March 20, 2006

Prat of the Year 2006, first nominees: George Sauter and the Babis

United States: Over in the Bennett School District, Colorado, there is a school superintendent and a board member even more bigoted and mean-spirited than principal Guy Bowling.

Tresa Waggoner, Christian singer and music teacher, has been forced to resign from her job after she showed an extract from the opera Faust to pupils in a music class. Blissfully unaware that it is a Christian morality tale, some loony fundie parents complained, saying the opera promoted Satanism and abortion. Waggoner was put on paid leave. Even though a school board meeting voted overwhelmingly in her favour, superintendent George Sauter declared it would be 'disruptive' to allow Waggoner to teach again.

Mike Babi is a member of the school board and a parent at the school. Along with his wife Cori, he is suspected of having a vendetta against Waggoner after the school Christmas concert featured no religious songs, and the ongoing stushie has also forced the resignation of Mayor Karen Grossiant. She noted that her town, Bennett, has a mean-spirited undertone.

When the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built a meetinghouse in nearby Strasburg last year, there was a debate over whether Mormons were Christians, she said.

The issue with Tresa Waggoner wasn't the opera, but that she had run the holiday pageant without Christmas songs, said Grossiant.

Waggoner also connects the concert with a plot against her, and recalled being threatened by the Babis:

Cory Babi, the wife of school board member Mike Babi, called four days before the program and said there would be problems if there were no Christmas songs, said Waggoner.

I told her we couldn't sing them because public schools didn't want to offend people of other religions, including Jewish people, Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses, she said.

After Waggoner showed less than 12 minutes of the Faust videotape, Cory Babi said her daughter asked about abortion and suicide. Babi declined comment Thursday.

The connection is transparent. They lied and said Faust is about abortion, said Waggoner. The only thing I can do is expose this as the injustice that it is.

Waggoner has said that she will pray for Sauter so he could live with himself for doing something so wrong and plans to seek work as music director for a church.

Faust is a mediæval tale of a magician who does a deal with Satan and gets into Deep Shit as a result—precisely the message you'd think fundie parents would want teaching to children.

Teacher seeks new job after 'Faust' flapRocky Mountain News, 10th March 2006.

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March 3, 2006

The lunatics have taken over the asylum

United Kingdom: Prime Minister Tony Blair has admitted that he asked his imaginary friend before sending British troops to Iraq. The voices in his head apparently told him it was okay.

Prime Minister Tony Blair says he prayed to God when deciding whether or not to send UK troops to Iraq.

Mr Blair answered yes when asked on ITV1 chat show Parkinson if he had sought holy intervention on the issue....

In the end, there is a judgement that, I think if you have faith about these things, you realise that judgement is made by other people... and if you believe in God, it's made by God as well, Mr Blair said...

The only way you can take a decision like that is to do the right thing according to your conscience.

Blair 'prayed to God' over IraqBBC News, 3rd March 2006.

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February 13, 2006

Don't tell them their neighbours shower in the nude!

Scotland: I'm beginning to get really worried about drinking the tap water round here, even when it's filtered. You see, there seems to be something in it which turns you into an irrational loon, although evidence so far seems to suggest it only affects Christians.

First, one of the nearest churches to Prattle Towers (Northern Hemisphere): Loons Trying to Close Tourist Attraction. Then, an even nearer one, Greenside Parish Church, did something which I was going to put in the Prattle and never got round to. I think it was connected with Jerry Springer: The Opera.

Today's it's the turn of St. Paul's, Pilrig. Situated on a busy junction, with really illogical traffic lights, you would think that the parents in the congregation would have some very real worries about their children's safety. But heavy traffic, doesn't seem to be that important, nor is the pawn shop over the road. What worries them is that the Church has a nice, tall steeple, perfect for disguising a mobile phone mast, and a phone company has offered them money to use it for that very purpose.

Joette Thomas, 38, of Parents Against Masts, said: I don't want my three and eight-year-old girls exposed to potentially harmful radiation so that people can get porn on their mobile phones. That a church is facilitating this is outrageous. They should drop this plan now.

Should we let them know about that enormous nuclear reactor, extensively used as a source of power, that's located only 93 million miles away?

Church accused of profiting from phone pornographyEdinburgh Evening News, 13th February 2006 (thanks, Roy).

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January 6, 2006

Annual End-of-the-world post 2006

A little late, but seeing as none of last year's end-of-the-world predictions came true, it's time to see how we will meet our doom this year. 2006 promises to be an exciting year, with nuclear war, the start of the Tribulation, comets and asteroids hitting the earth, and some very bizarre astronomical phenomena.

Continue reading "Annual End-of-the-world post 2006"

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December 1, 2005

World AIDS Day: Passing the blame

In many societies, AIDS preventions efforts are hampered by sheer supersition. In Zambia, fears of Satanism are effecting a testing and counselling project:

And Kanyama residents yesterday shunned the HIV/AIDS voluntary, counselling and testing (VCT) preliminary HIV/AIDS function, for fear that their blood samples would be used for Satanism purposes.

Kanyama Member of Parliament Henry Mtonga said HIV/AIDS counsellors had faced resistance from the people in the area following last Saturday's riots in which a church was accused of practising Satanism.

The Member of Parliament then went on to give credence to the rumour, contributing to the problem:

Mr Mtonga said it was important for people to distinguish between blood samples meant for VCT and those that were meant for alleged Satanism activities.

And in news media everywhere, there are stories of stigma and denial, placing the blame on witchcraft. Here's just one example, from a long article explaining how cultural traditions in one area have helped spread the virus:

There is a big number of number of people who do not want to go through VCT [voluntary counselling and testing centres], who do not utilise the antiretroviral programmes that are already in place in Nyanza. In fact, they do not want even to know what killed people, he said.

People continue interacting sexually with these women even after their husbands have died of HIV/AIDS, Olayo observed. Alternative explanations are given for every death. It is either a neighbour's witchcraft, or chira [a curse], or something else.

High HIV/AIDS death toll worries British envoy - Times of Zambia, 30th November 2005; KENYA: Cultural traditions fuel the spread of HIV/AIDS - IRIN Africa, 30th November 2005.

November 24, 2005

One for our readers in the US

It will come as no surprise to discover that Thanksgiving, despite its blatantly Christian veneer, is one of the Evil Satanic Holidays. Well, it is according to Satan's Days of Worship (Edition 1.0 20030312-20030312), published by the Christian Churches of God in Woden (honest!), Australia.

The cornucopia, which is typically seen at Thanksgiving in the United States, was originally the horn of the Great Mother in her cow or goat form. Her names were Io, Ceres, Hera, and Hathor. All good things poured forth from the hollow horn, which was symbolic of prayer to the goddess. Cornucopias are still frequently seen as decorations although many do not know its pagan meaning as a sacred festival (ibib., p. 90). The original day of Thanksgiving was moved to this date for pagan reasons by the early USA secret cults.

The END-TIME DELIVERANCE MINISTRY DEMONBUSTER.COM DELIVERANCE MANUAL: HOLIDAYS AND HOLY DAYS also warns us that it is Evil, but this time because it's a Native American festival:

Did you think Thanksgiving day was started by the Pilgrims in 1621? Nope! According to a Public Broadcast program I saw, the Indians taught the Pilgrims that this special Indian day was to give thanks to their god. You may need some DELIVERANCE in this area. .

The Nazarite, a web site built to bring believers to the truth by exposing some of the twisted man-made doctrines of modern Christianity includes a page on Christian Holidays which manages to explain how both of these threads tie together:

The pagans in Rome celebrated their thanksgiving in early October. The holiday was dedicated to the goddess of the harvest, Ceres, and the holiday was called Cerelia. The Catholic church took over the pagan holiday and it became well established in England, where some of the pagan customs and rituals for this day were observed long after the Roman Empire had disappeared. In England the Harvest Home has been observed continuously for centuries.

In our own hemisphere, among the Aztecs of Mexico, the harvest took on a grimmer aspect. Each year a young girl, a representation of Xilonen, The goddess of the new corn, was beheaded. The Pawnees also sacrificed a girl. In a more temperate mood, the Cherokees of the American Southeast danced the Green Corn Dance and began the new year at harvest's end.

No wonder Chief Massasoit and his ninety braves felt right at home with the Pilgrim Fathers on that day in 1621!! Obviously, the idea for this first Thanksgiving did not just pop into the mind of Governor Bradford as most people believe! On the contrary Thanksgiving, in the guise of the pagan harvest festivals, can be traced right back to ancient Babylon and the worship of Semiramis!

So there!

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August 13, 2005

We'd never have guessed.

Pakistan: An (Indian?) astologer has predicted troubled times in Pakistan:

Renowned astrologer and palmist Sana Khan has forecast that 2005 would be Shaukat Aziz's last year as Prime Minister.

She said that Pakistan's 59th year would be significant for President General Pervez Musharraf, as it would provide him with an opportunity to demonstrate his skill and abilities.

2005 maybe Shaukat Aziz's last year as Pak PMWebIndia123, 13th August 2005.

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July 9, 2005

20/20 hindsight

India: An astrologer has claimed he predicted the London bombing, and has distributed undated typewritten sheets as evidence:

He distributed typed pages of what he claimed to be part of the contents of his predictions. I had in four recent issues of Babaji written about the possible terrorist attacks on the British capital London. I had said that these attacks could paralyse the transport system of London and both tube stations as well as surface transport would be hit, he told rediff.com on Friday.

If he gave the reporter actual dated copies of the magazine, the journalist strangely neglected to mention this.

I had predicted London blasts: Astrologer - Rediff, 9th July 2005.

June 16, 2005

Superstition in America

United States: Stories like the one below are somewhat less surprising when you learn that three quarters of people in the US hold at least one paranormal belief (excluding God, in which case it would go up to almost 100%!). A Gallup survey found that the most common beliefs were in ESP (41%) and haunted houses (37%). The results are consistent with a similar survey conducted in 2001.

The survey also asked about belief in things which are not necessarily paranormal, including satanic possession (42%), spiritual healing (55%) and that the earth had been visited by aliens in the past (24%). Very little difference was found between vartious demographic groups, though Christians were slighly more likely to be superstitious.

The poll shows no statistically significant differences among people by age, gender, education, race, and region of the country. Christians are a little more likely to hold some paranormal beliefs than non-Christians (75% vs. 66%, respectively), but both groups show a sizeable majority with such beliefs.

Possession by the devil was left out of the final results because it is unclear how many people treat that statement literally, and how many interpret it in metaphorical terms, but 'witches' was left in, even though that single word does not differentiate between belief in the existence people who practice malevolent magic, or belief in the existence of a group of people who consider themselves to be witches.

Three in Four Americans Believe in Paranormal - Gallup, 16th June 2005.

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May 7, 2005

Just another day at the office

Ireland: Some people have more interesting jobs than others. A friend of mine works in a shop selling beads, crystals and a handful of New Age books. Not normally a very interesting job, except today:

The phone rang. I answered it. An adolescent male voice asked Do you sell Ouija Boards? No I said. Why not? he asked. We can't get them, I replied. Well, what do you use, then? he asked. Use for what? said I. To summon demons, he replied. He seemed surprised when I told him that we didn't feel any real need to.

A phonecall at work, Pádraig Ó Méalóid's LiveJournal, 7th May 2005.

May 1, 2005

Beast changes number, no longer at 666

A fragment of the oldest known New Testament has been discovered, and it seems the number of the beast has been mistranscribed in subsequent editions. It isn't 666, but 616.

The new fragment from the Book of Revelation, written in ancient Greek and dating from the late third century, is part of a hoard of previously unintelligible manuscripts discovered in historic dumps outside Oxyrhynchus in Egypt. Now a team of expert classicists, using new photographic techniques, are finally deciphering the original writing.

Professor David Parker, Professor of New Testament Textual Criticism and Paleography at the University of Birmingham, thinks that 616, although less memorable than 666, is the original. He said: This is an example of gematria, where numbers are based on the numerical values of letters in people's names. Early Christians would use numbers to hide the identity of people who they were attacking: 616 refers to the Emperor Caligula.

A representative of the Church of Satan was unfazed. Peter Gilmore told the press By using 666 we're using something that the Christians fear. Mind you, if they do switch to 616 being the number of the beast then we'll start using that.

Revelation! 666 is not the number of the beast (it's a devilish 616) - The Independent on Sunday, 1st May 2005 (thanks, Rick).

April 19, 2005

Very expensive blacksmith

Scotland (alas): The Paisley Development Trust is convinced that a missing horseshoe is responsible for all the town's woes:

Piero Pieraccini, treasurer of the Paisley Development Trust, blamed high rates of violent crime, hardship and natural disasters, including flooding in the town, on the loss of an iron horseshoe which marks the communal grave of six men and women, who were believed to be the devil's disciples.

The band were found guilty of witchcraft in 1697, hanged and publicly burned at the stake before their ashes were buried and the tomb sealed with the horse's stamp.

Without the horseshoe, it is said, the town cannot prevent witches rising from the dead leaving the town at the mercy of their evil spirits.

Their solution is to replace the missing horseshoe with a new one, something which a blacksmit should be able to knock up in a matter of seconds.

Now the trust has applied for a grant for almost £2500 from Renfrewshire Council to recast a brand new stainless steel horseshoe in the hope that it will bring good luck to Paisley.

At that price, they must be getting Wylundt himself to do the job!

Paisley seeks horseshoe to rein in ancient witches' curse - The Herald, 19th April 2005.

April 9, 2005

Pope - Bush is the Antichrist.

Vatican City - Avedon Carol has dug out an old story, which has some bearing on one of our old stories -- it seems the late Pope John Paul II feared that George W. Bush was the Antichrist.

According to freelance journalist Wayne Madsden, George W Bush's blood lust, his repeated commitment to Christian beliefs and his constant references to 'evil doers,' in the eyes of many devout Catholic leaders, bear all the hallmarks of the one warned about in the Book of Revelations--the anti-Christ.

Madsen, a Washington-based writer and columnist, who often writes for Counterpunch, says that people close to the pope claim that amid these concerns, the pontiff wishes he was younger and in better health to confront the possibility that Bush may represent the person prophesized in Revelations. John Paul II has always believed the world was on the precipice of the final confrontation between Good and Evil as foretold in the New Testament.

The Pope did not agree that Harry Potter is evil, though.

Pope fears Bush is antichrist, journalist contends - Catholic New Times, May 18, 2003 .

April 7, 2005

Pope born again.

Colombia: Pope John Paul II has risen from that dead as The Incredible Popeman!

Like any self-respecting superhero, the Incredible Popeman has a battery of special equipment. Along with his yellow [anti-devil] cape and green chastity pants, the muscular super-pontiff wields a faith staff with a cross on top and carries holy water and communion wine.

In the comic book, the pope dies and is reborn with superpowers beyond the infallibility Catholic doctrine gave him on Earth.

Pope reborn as superhero in Colombian comic -AZ Central, 6th April 2005 (thank you, Rick).

March 20, 2005

Grandstanding via eBay

It looks like QuePirate has started a trend among those who are too insane to work out how to get free web space. This time it's a xilliontherockopera who's abusing eBay, and rather than listing something for sale, is using the space to rant about their imaginary friend in A LECTURE. JESUS APPEARED TO ME. I KNOW WHERE HEAVEN IS. AFTER 21 YEARS I AM READY TO GO PUBLIC WITH THIS.

Continue reading "Grandstanding via eBay"

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March 18, 2005

The origin of the word 'lunatic'

It seems the staff at the Arkham Asylum have given our old friend QuePirate access to the net, and simultaneously reduced his medication. It hasn't affected his English language skills, though.

Notice the position of the crescent moon lately - I'ts not like a chair anymore but more like a couch like Islam portrays it - think it is the "distress of nations" like it says in the Gospel [Luke 21:25] - if not why hasn't the scientific community mentioned the change of planetary allignment - you dont think they've missed it do you! Ha Ha
BTW it changed same time as the earthquake which occured year 2000 of christ nativity " "Great Earthequake in divers places" at after the sabbath crack of dawn beginning of the week, Mathew last chapter first 2 sentences. Oh-Yeah! do you know the parrable of the fig tree?

Of course, as the moon is currently waxing, it will be some time before we are able to confirm that the moon looks just the same as she ever did. It's probably a crescent in QuePirate's head though.

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March 10, 2005

Cursing stone to stay put

England: Carlisle City Council has voted overwhelmingly to deny fundie requests to get rid of its 'cursing stone'. Only two councillors voted in favour of removing the stone, and a familiar member of the public found himself in trouble when he heckled in an aggressive manner:

Leslie Irving, editor of the Christian magazine Bound Together and a campaigner against the stone, was escorted out for squaring up to Currock Labour councillor Paul Im Thurn.

Nor will the current Archbishop of Glasgow do anything to lift the alleged curse placed by his predecessor in the 16th century:

It was suggested that Archbishop Conti, as his modern-day equivalent, would be able to lift the curse - blamed for disasters including foot and mouth and floods in the city. However ... Archbishop Conti's spokesman said: The Archbishop may send a letter offering his good wishes but he won't be getting his Latin prayer book and his holy water and heading down the M74.

Still, there has been a couple of more unusual offers. The council has already declined an offer from Simon Ralli Robinson, a Dumfries-based shaman:

Mr Robinson said: I can do cleansing ceremonies. That energy can be got rid of. I have sacred wood from Peru which, when burned, has a cleansing effect.

Nor did they seem particularly impressed with the offer from the better-known Uri Geller:

He told Reuters press agency: I have offered to take the stone off their hands, put it in my garden and exorcise it.

The Domesday book records an ancient healing centre in my village and all the ley lines converge on my garden.

I will use my pendulum and cleanse the stone of any evil forces. After that I would like to keep it. It is a work of art.

Indeed, as well as not wanting to look like superstitious idiots in front of the whole world, it seems the council had a very important consideration in mind when they voted to keep the stone:

However, [city council leader Mike Mitchelson] is hopeful that world-wide publicity about the stone will bring many more tourists.

It won't be our number one attraction but hopefully it will have a positive effect on visitor numbers, he said.

Carlisle votes to keep the stone as Christian campaigner thrown out - News and Star, 9th March 2005; Archbishop won't lift stone's 'curse' - Glasgow Evening Times, 10th March 2005; Uri wants the cursing stone -- for his garden - News and Star, 10th March 2005. See also Catching up: A fuss about a lump of rock - Pagan Prattle, 9th March 2005.

March 9, 2005

Catching up: A fuss about a lump of rock

Okay, I've been slacking, but my faithful correspondents have not. First up is tjc, who sent me a succinct message with a tasty link:

It seems that a cursing stone in Carlisle is responsible for foot and mouth as well as the local football team being totally crap. Now a local councillor (Also a god-botherer, what a surprise) wants it removed.

Five years ago, as part of a millenium project, a monument was erected in Carlisle which featured a 1069-word rant against the Reivers, first proclaimed by Archbishop of Glasgow, Gavin Dunbar, in 1525. Now a LibDem councillor has demanded the demolition of the monument. His reasoning is a little odd given that the 'curse' being the work of an Archbishop, and framed in Biblical terms:

Many groups and individuals warned the council that placing a non-Christian artefact based on an old curse on local families would bring ill luck on the city. This has seemed to be correct. I therefore urge the council to support this motion to remove the stone, the physical embodiment of the curse upon families in the West March.

The Bishop of Carlisle , the Rt Rev Graham Dow, has asked the present Archbishop of Glasgow to perform a magic spell lift the 'curse'. Dow is an interesting character - according to a 2003 article dug up by Richard Bartholemhew:

Bishop Dow has hit the headlines on several occasions this year after joining the row over homosexuality within the Church of England and after it was revealed he believes evil spirits can be introduced into the world through miscarriages, abortions, oral and anal sex.

In 1990 Bishop Dow, a close friend on the Prime Minister Tony Blair, wrote a booklet, Explaining Deliverance, in which his views on evil spirits were revealed. He said the spirits could also cause untreatable diseases.

He also wrote that people who repeatedly wear black or always purchase a black car may be possessed by evil spirits. He says clear signs of evil spirits at work are sexual lust and deviant sexual practice.

He is also connected with organisations which promoted the satanic ritual abuse myth. He's not the only loony fundie who's waded in this particular quagmire. Leslie Irving, editor of the rather kinkily titled Christian magazine, Bound Together, warned journalists that the (entirely Christian, remember) stone could become the focus of satanic rituals.

There are some sensible people in Carlisle, though. Lee Northern was inspired to write a letter to the editor of the News and Star:

I feel I must respond to the barrage of nonsense written about Carlisle's Cursing Stone.

To read many of the News & Star letters you would think that Cumbria was in a time warp in which even witchcraft was seriously regarded as a possible cause for Carlisle's recent troubles...

...Surely it is ridiculous to suggest that the stone could be cursing Carlisle? I wonder what impression people in others parts of the UK must have of Cumbria thanks to the publicity that blaming the stone has brought to our county.

It's hard to lift a 7.5 tonne curse - The Herald, 2nd March 2005; It's ridiculous to blame stone - News and Star, 8th March 2005; Dow-Curse Index - Bartholomew's notes on religion, 8th March 2005; Love Thy Brother - News and Star, 6th December 2003.

February 3, 2005

Scouse spooks

England: Paranormal researchers have been called in by the owners of a former shipyard in Liverpool because Weird Shit allegedly happens there:

Site manager Mike Rider said: You can walk down the corridor, it's cold even in summertime and feel your hair stand up and tingles down your spine.

Quite a lot of times, when I've been sitting here at the desk, you see something in the corner of your eye.

His daughter, Amy, says she regularly finds the same glass fallen from a tray in the canteen.

She said: Every morning when we come in there's normally a glass fallen off that tray. It's always that glass and it's never, ever broken. It's very strange.

Ex-shipyard calls ghost hunters - BBC News, 31st January 2005 (thanks to Andrew Ian Dodge).

January 27, 2005

Messy farmer blames witchcraft for death

Vanuatu: A plantation owner who found his dead cow's stomach was full of leaves, bits of cloth and plastic is convinced that the cause of death is not the cow eating rubbish, but witchcraft!

It was my first time to see such things as people tell me of how black magic is used to kill people in similar way, that is removing intestine and replacing them with dirt, Sara plantation owner Abel Stallon told the Daily Post.

I think a witchcraft practitioner must have tried out his magic on my cow to see if it worked, Mr Stallon said.

The Department of Livestock disagrees, noting that there have been a number of cases of plastic, from plastic bags, cloth and similar objects killing cattle.

Black magic causes death of a cow? - Vanuatu Daily Post, 27th January 2005.

January 14, 2005

Another prediction to remember

United States: A writer who boasts of his appearances on Pat Robertson's 700 Club, Thomas Horn, has penned a short piece suggesting the George W. Bush will start Armageddon in 2006, and that it is all predicted in a book of Middle Eastern myths and legends.

According to Michael Drosnin's best selling book, The Bible Code, the Bible contains a hidden text that was first discovered by an Israeli mathematician, Dr. Eliyahu Rips, who presented his findings in a major science journal. The code foretold the Kennedy assassinations, World War II, the Holocaust, the Hiroshima bomb, the Moon landing, and one more thing: That in 2006, BUSH would start an END DAYS war that would involve THE NATIONS UNDER ALL OF HEAVEN.

Does the Bible Predict President Bush Will Start WWIII in 2006? - Raiders News Update (which is nothing to do with the NFL), not dated, 2004.

January 2, 2005

King fails geography

Cambodia: A former king of Cambodia claims his country was saved from the tsunami thanks to his astrologer:

Former Cambodian king Norodom Sihanouk says an astrologer warned him that an ultra-catastrophic cataclysm would strike, but that his country would be spared if proper rituals were conducted.

My wife and I decided to spend several thousand dollars to organize these ceremonies so our country and our people could be spared such a catastrophe, Sihanouk, who abdicated last year, wrote on his Web site at www.sihanouknorodom.info.

A quick look at a map suggests that Camboidia was very unlikley to have been affected seeing as it is sheltered by Thailand (as demonstrated by the animation on this page.)

Cambodia saved from tsunami by astrologer, says Sihanouk - ABS CBN News, 2nd January 2005.

January 1, 2005

Annual End-of-the-world post 2005

Everywhere: 2005 looks as if it was going to be a quiet year, with To Infinity And Beyond! only listing two occasions on which the world will end this year:

Not content with ordinary asteroid obliteration, the Weekly World News folk have scared up one Mark Crealer, purported astronomer, who insists that our planet's Lunar pal has been getting far, far too friendly of late and that this sudden cuddliness is sure to come to no good end. Specifically, he referred to a degradation of its orbit and a most embarrassing and inconvenient collision to take place in a very short span of time...

An amused astronomer managed to mirror the Weekly World News web version of the article. The other end of the world is a more traditional Biblical climax:

2005 CE - Evangelist George Curle has this year marked on his calendar as the definite, absolute, gotta-be date for the Second Go-'round. One hopes he only marked it in pencil.

Curle died on 12th July 2002, and so presumably will not be making any more forecasts.

But, the tsunami has opened the floodgates of predictions from all quarters. In India, a group of astrologers has warned that the disaster is the start of the end as seen by Nostradamus:

Continue reading "Annual End-of-the-world post 2005"

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November 21, 2004

The Church of Christ, Furry.

Molatar Seth Pyragent is a missionary with a difference:

This site is dedicated to spreading the Gospel in the werewolf and furry communities. It is my hope that many trans-species people will accept Jesus as their Savior through this ministry. I will explain the etymology of this website's name. I got the idea from Werewolf Tobias' tradition of calling a werewolf stronghold a House. Well, I'm a dragon, so my ideal stronghold would be a Castle. And since this is MY website where I am MASTER, I call this my Castle.

And though he does not accept Jesus' mastery (tsk, tsk), he does feel your pain:

I too know the shame and anger about being trapped in a powerless and ugly human body. If you desire a shape-shift, please click on the P-shift essay link to your left and I will guide you. If you desire clarification of God's Word, please click on the salvation, essay, and bibliography links provided at left.

And like every other evangelist, he knows that apostrophes are a Satanic plot:

Nor do I have the time to prove everything I say with verses from the Bible. Not everything I say needs to be proven from the Bible because its basic common sense.

November 4, 2004

Lions 1, Christians 0

Taiwan: Most people know that annoying lions or other large carnivores will usually result in a clue being administered by said beasties. One loony fundie didin't and on a visit to the Taipei Zoo decided that a bit of evangelical zeal was just what the lions needed. They didn't, but they did give the nutjob a good gnawing for his troubles.

A man with psychological problems leapt into the lions' den at Taipei zoo yesterday to try to convert the king of beasts to Christianity.

He was bitten on the leg and arm for his efforts.

Jesus will save you! the 46-year-old man shouted at two lions lounging under a tree a few yards away at Taiwan's main zoo.

Obviously Chen's imaginary friend didn't save him, perhaps he was trying to teach the silly sod a lesson about the dangers of teasing lions.

Continue reading "Lions 1, Christians 0"

October 12, 2004

Night Fever

Romania: The inhabitants of the village of Cristinesti fled their homes because they were convinced an alien invasion was underway. The lights turned out to be a local open-air disco.

Fleeing villagers mistook disco lights for aliens - Only Punjab.com, 12th October 2004.

September 30, 2004

Folk magic in Russia

Russia: Folk magic is fairly common in Russian life, despite the efforts of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Soviet government. Some of the spells are rather interesting:

Ruslan, a medical student, relates the following story, chilling bordering on nauseating: this summer, at the hospital lab where he works, a good half of one afternoon was spent running some mysterious liquid through tests. The liquid was brought in by one of the lab workers who suspected that a friend was involved in foul play after the friend repeatedly invited her and her fiance over for tea. She poured some tea into a test tube and brought it to work. After brewing some fresh tea as control, the lab director tested the liquid for everything. Protein, glucose, creatine, reproductive hormones, etc, etc, after which she publicly announced her conclusion: the tea contained menstrual blood. The coworker proffered her explanation, Ruslan said: I know, she wanted to chase my fiance away from me, citing an appropriate spell that involved feeding people with menstrual blood.

Others are more familiar:

For instance, in one of the stations of Moscow's fabled luxurious subway halls there is a statue of a dog. There are many statues, covered with patina and grime, but the dog's nose shines pure gold. It's polished by the hands of students rubbing the pooch's nose before exams -- a good luck ritual obviously thought at least as effective as studying.

A Little Black Magic in Russian Everyday Life - Mosnews.com, 29th September 2004.

September 27, 2004

Nothing happens.

India: The Indian government did not fall yesterday. The demise of the coalition led by Manmohan Singh had been predicted by an astrologer, and several leaders of the opposition BJP were apparently looking forward to the day.

In a country where astrology plays a huge role in decisions ranging from missile launches and elections to weddings and jobs to crises in the family and the government, the BJP was ready to believe its loss of power had as much to do with unfavourable astral conjunctions as other political factors.
When the BJP leaders rushed to Madan for their only solace after losing the national elections, he foresaw early doom for the Manmohan Singh regime by September, coupled with a split in the ruling Congress under the influence of the dreaded Saturn.

BJP's Monday blues as government 'doomsday' passes: - New Kerala, 27th September 2004.

September 22, 2004

Fly the paranoid skies

United States: Midwest Airlines cancelled a flight headed to San Francisco because a passenger found Arabic-style handwriting in an inflight magazine.

The plane, carrying 118 passengers and five crew members, had already pulled away from the gate at Mitchell International Airport Sunday evening. It returned to the gate, the passengers got off, security authorities were notified, all luggage was checked and the aircraft was inspected. Nothing was found.

The writing turned out to be a prayer in Farsi.

Midwest Airlines Cancels Flight - The Guardian, 21st September 2004.

September 16, 2004

Education minister refuses to promote superstition

Namibia: The government has refused, point blank, to allow the ritual 'cleansing' of schools believed to be affected by witchcraft.

In [a circular, sent out less than a month ago] [Basic Education Permanent Secretary, Loine Nyanyukweni Katoma] denounced alleged cases of witchcraft at some schools and expressed her Ministry's concern that teachers and pupils were often wrongly accused of the practice.
Katoma said the policy position of the Ministry was that schools were areas entrusted to impart knowledge based on sound scientific principles and the power of reason.
Ours is not a Ministry for the affairs of witchcraft and superstitions.
The Ministry therefore does not condone the unwarranted mingling of witchcraft in the educational business of our children, Katoma said.

Govt draws line on witchcraft - The Namibian, 16th September 2004.

September 6, 2004

How to lose friends and alienate people

It's difficult being a young Christian and having to deny nature all the time, Dating to Save People from Hell is an invaluable resource of techniques for scaring away potential dates so that you never get to the stage where you have to resist temptation. (Thank you Andrew Ian Dodge).

September 3, 2004

The Big Bad Wolf strikes

South Africa: A somewhat precise wind has blown the roof off a house in Bophelong, leaving nearby houses untouched. The roof had recently undergone extensive extention work, but dodgy workmanship appears not to be an issue:

The incident has left tongues wagging in the area amidst widely held speculation that the wind could have been an act of witchcraft by jealous people allegedly envious of the extensive renovations made to the house.

House blown away by witchcraft - Vaal Weekly, 3rd September 2004.

September 1, 2004

A life-changing experience on the cards

United States: A former mayor and bookkeeper of a Texas town have been indicted on allegations that they used taxpayers' money to pay for tarot readings.

48-year old Diana Cortez and 45-year old Sandra Lopez, both of La Grulla, have been indicted for allegedly paying a psychic almost $54,000 for consultations, including tarot card readings.

Indictment: Psychic Paid $54,000 with Federal Funds - KGBT TV, 31st August 2004.

August 26, 2004

Psychic fails to predict own sacking

United States: The St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association has sacked a consultant after he started to mix his psychic beliefs with his work. David Levin had been paid $1.4 million over the last seven years to advise the Chamber on leadership and growth issues.

Chamber of Commerce fires its psychic - KTVO TV3, 26th August 2004.

August 17, 2004

World to end day after tomorrow

A giant comet will explode in Greece on August 19th, according to Pravda, causing massive disruption of the Olympic Games. The newspaper's source is the ever-reliable Nostradamus, and a spamming net.kook:

Leading newspapers, governmental institutions, public and scientific organizations started receiving anonymous emails this week with To all people of the Earth in the subject line. The emails warn of a catastrophe which is supposedly to take place on August 13th or 14th 2004 at the Olympic Games opening. The anonymous writer refers to Nostradamus's 10th Century, Quatrain 74. The prophet predicted: The year of the great seventh number accomplished, It will appear at the time of the games of slaughter: Not far from the great millennial age, When the buried will go out from their tombs.

The spammer's date was clearly wrong, but another author has examined the prophecy in more depth and come up with the August 19th date. Just to add to the confusion, someone referring to themselves as World War Three 2003 insisted over a year ago that Nostradamus predicted:

The 2004 Athens Olympics will be canceled due to a major event to take place in late 2003 or early 2004, sometime between Nov 2003 and Feb 2004...........

Nostradamus: Giant comet to collide with planet Earth on August 19th - Pravda, 16th August 2004; Cen.8, Qua.16 Olympic Fiesole 2002-2006 - alt.prophecies.nostradamus, 6th May 2003.

August 7, 2004

Loonies Dig Up "Dragon" Bones

United States: When confronted with the proof of dirty great bones being dug out of the ground creationists still won't admit they could possibly be wrong about that whole bible as truth thing. It seems those big old dinosaur bones are actually from dragons. Who knew?

Continue reading "Loonies Dig Up "Dragon" Bones"

July 28, 2004

Magical beliefs in Jamaica

Jamaica: Belief in magic is strong in Jamaica, and various illnesses and misfortunes are regularly attributed to obeah. It's good for business too.

Walk into some drug stores downtown Kingston and you will be able to purchase a variety of 'oils'. These oils are chemicals, esters, that are sweet smelling without any real effect. One pharmacist told me that oils account for a significant part of sales. There are oils for success, oils to promote healing, oils to 'tie' someone into a relationship, oil to 'get rid of someone'. Other products include 'compellance powder', 'tan there oil' and 'oil of come back'. Baths, costing up to $10,000, are an important part of these rituals and may be used to cast off evil spirits, to 'wash off' bad luck or promote success.

The author of the article, Wendel Abel, is a consultant psychiatrist and know it's all headology:

My opinion, however, is that although obeah is widely practised in Jamaica, there is no basis for it. People experience personal tragedies every day and a lot of the associations made with someone's experience is both false and coincidental. Contrary to some belief, evil spirits, spells and obeah cannot cause illness. The reality is that there is a number of medical disorders for which there is no adequate treatment or cure. Many persons will turn to the supernatural out of desperation.
For many conditions with psychological bases such as anxiety disorder and depression, healing can take place by suggestion. This is similar to what we describe as 'the placebo effect' in which an individual with pain may get an injection of water and will feel better.

'Dem obeah me!' - Jamaica Gleaner, 28th July 2004.

July 23, 2004

Lighten up, and drink more of the local beer

Scotland: A sub-editor's slip has caused consternation in Innerleithen. A placeholder caption concerning a local tradition where Satan is burned on a bonfire was not replaced before the Southern Reporter went to press.

One of the picture captions ran: Caption, caption about these pious little bleeders and the lady busser doing that interminably boring thing so cherished by Border festivals. What on earth is going on in this picture - these people have got to get out more often for their peace of mind and sanity.

Locals are upset. Norman Scott, the treasurer of the Games Committee told The Scotsman Whoever wrote those words must be at least in league with the devil. The person responsible has apologised, and Scott has shown true Christian forgiveness, pointing out that if the editor turned up at a meeting He'd probably get lynched.

Town's anger as newspaper gaffe sees religious ceremony ridiculed - The Scotsman (BugMeNot), 23rd July 2004 (thanks Tony).

July 22, 2004

The killer mobile app

Nigeria: A new rumour has appeared - that answering phone calls from certain numbers will cause you to drop dead instantly.

A BBC reporter says experts and mobile phone operators have been reassuring the public via the media that death cannot result from receiving a call.
He says that in such a superstitious country unfounded rumours are common.
A list of alleged killer numbers has been circulated but no-one is reported to have died from answering the phone.

Panic at Nigerian 'killer calls' - BBC News, 19th July 2004.

July 20, 2004

His and Hers Church

United Kingdom: The Catholics have to deal with the problems of have an insane misogynist taking dictation from his invisible friend, whereas the Anglicans get the joys of death by committee.

Proposals to divide the Church of England into two — one part with female clergy and one without — are being discussed by Church leaders to avert an exodus of traditionalists when women become bishops.
The Archbishop of York, Dr David Hope, has told friends he believes such a scheme, though highly controversial, is probably the only way to hold the Church together if it decides to consecrate women.
He has privately won support from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who agrees the options facing the Church are limited.
Both are worried that more than 300 traditionalist clergy could quit in protest, potentially costing tens of millions of pounds in hardship payments to those who leave.
Continue reading "His and Hers Church"

July 19, 2004

Christians to cast spells against crime

Jamaica: How do you deal with a high crime rate? Perhaps you could do something about corruption in the police? Maybe set up a Civic Dialogue Project to allow the whole community to address issues such as crime, violence and unemployment? Or maybe just stop eating and complain to your imaginary friend?

More than 10,000 Christians led by over 200 pastors are expected to converge on the St William Grant Park in downtown Kingston on August 1, Emancipation Day, for fasting and intercessory prayers asking God to halt the rise in murders, crime and other problems affecting the country.

This isn't the first time this kind of magick has been tried. The first was in 1999. Since then, crime, and murder in particular, has risen in Jamaica.

Christians plan day of prayer to halt crime - Jamaica Observer, 19th July 2004.

July 13, 2004

A chip off the old block

Ghana: A stabbing incident at Kumasi High School was not as the authorities suggested, according to a representative of the school's alumni. Mr. Samuel Oduro told a newspaper that the truth would bring ridicule on the school, which is why it had not been mentioned.

According to Oduro, investigations conducted by the old boys revealed that those students went in for concoction elsewhere, which was believed to be containing cutlass juju power that could make them cutlass proof.
So one morning, he said, these students decided to test the potency of their juju by slashing cutlass on each other. And in the process one of them overpowered the rest inflicting several wounds on them.

Because of this, gossips preferred to spread tales about the Taliban and Al-qaeda operating and the school, and school authorities suggested that it was the Muslim students at fault. It was a composition of individuals who belong to diverse religion, Oduro countered.

Untold story of the stabbing incident at Kumasi High School - Students test their juju powers - The Ghanaian Chronicle, 13th July 2004.

July 8, 2004

Take the piss twice daily.

Zimbabwe: Urine therapy is causing a bit of stir, especially the claims that it is helpful to people living with HIV and AIDS. And traditional healers have been quick to point out that it has other benefits too.

Zinatha [Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers' Association] acting manager Mr Hezekias Bhebhe said urine could also be used to diffuse witchcraft by squirting the liquid on the juju or muti. It is also used to cast off witchcraft-induced spells...
...Urine can also be ingested by a person who would have taken poison. It neutralises that poison. If you put droplets of urine in the ear of an unconscious man, he will regain consciousness.
Urine is definitely something we prescribe on a regular basis, Mr Bhebhe said.

Urine As a Therapy to Ailments - The Herald (Harare, via allAfrica.com), 7th July 2004.

Mystery Princess

Australia: A psychic has predicted a royal wedding at the Holy Trinity Church in Williamstown next February. More stunningly, this is because she has declared that she is really Princess Liala Farouk, the Grand Duchess of Alexandria, daughter of an Italian princess and the Egyptian King Farouk.

Princess Liala said her mother was an Italian 'Anastasia', who was believed to have been killed in a Nazi concentration camp in 1944, but survived.
Liala claims her mother, Princess Mafalda, was given a new identity by Rudolph Hess and left to start a new life in Australia with her three children.
She said her mother had met King Farouk when she was a young woman but travelled to Europe after the war, met him again and married him, bigamously and in secret, shortly before Liala was born.

She claims she has evidence, but won't let it be checked.

Liala said King Farouk was listed on her birth certificate as her father, but she refused to show Star a copy of her birth certificate.

Riddle of the royal bride - The Star, 8th July 2004.

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July 6, 2004

The first domain of its kind on Earth

Pastor Best forwards me a press release he received today from Gayhoodoo.com. It all sounds terribly exciting:

The new domain will reveal for the first time, innovative new programming and content, devoted exclusively for the gay sexually enlightened, sensually endowed and spiritually empowered.

Arcanum One, Located in Sacramento, California, in association with the world's leading expert in classical Pythagorean numerology, Hans Decoz, will unveil the first re-translations geared to the current vernacular of the gay lifestyle, and gay lifestyle only.

Gayhoodoo will show how to manifest and use naturally occurring influences (the mathematics of nature) on behalf of gay men and women, and will do so for the first time anywhere. Gayhoodoo guarantees this claim with firm, unalterable resolve.

How can they be so certain about this whatever-it-is? Well, they believe that

gays possess unique sensitivities beyond normal society, and have the innate capability to tap into these hidden forces. The time has now come for these abilities to manifest. Gayhoodoo.com, and Gaynumbers.us guarantees these methodologies will not only empower, but enlighten as never before.

And there's more...

To further enliven the experience, Individually prepared potions, spiritual therapy fragrances, and centuries old ritual, based on time tested methods and procedures with an exotic gay slant will inspire and regain faith and belief in unseen forces, sadly overlooked in today's culture. Gayhoodoo will not only be the first to offer gay potions, it will be the only gay website offering private consultation for both gay men and women, using accurate numerical sequencing techniques and trained intuitive numericists.

But, ultimately, it's about shagging.

Another innovative step will offer the first and only gay matching service that does not use sexual intrigue, psychology, or astrology as a means to finding gratifying companionship. Gaynumbers.us will employ profile matching techniques that accurately predicts compatibility on levels never obtained before. This dating service is free, and to gay men and women, transsexuals, and bisexuals only, and will be directly linked to Gayhoodoo.

Hang on, what about the other T-folk who don't identify as transsexual? Can't be real Californian New Age tripe after all!

The House (Witch) Doctor

India: It seems that the imaginary qualities of houses affect their value in India, and some houses cannot be sold at all.

The words used to describe them vary - cursed, jinxed, haunted - but the basic idea is the same.
These properties scare people away, said Sheikh Pervez Hamid, a real estate broker.
The supernatural is deeply embedded in everyday Indian life, and such practices as astrology and numerology are widely believed, not to mention vaastu, a set of ancient Hindu design principles encouraging harmony with nature.
When former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, for instance, left his official residence, Indian newspapers reported that he didn't like certain numbers, and had asked that his new house's address be changed from No. 8 to 6A.

Cursed Mansions Stay Empty in New Delhi - The Guardian, 6th July 2004.

June 29, 2004

Belief in witchcraft stymies committee

Botswana: The activities of a Village Development Committee (VDC) have ground to a halt because of the members' belief in witchcraft. Whenever there is a problem, no-one will raise the issue for fear that they will be cursed. Facillitators at the umbrella organisation Botswana Community Based Organization Network (BOCOBONET) are exasperated:

Abel Mabei a facilitator from BOCOBONET, told the participants to be vigilant, ignore witchcraft and always elect responsible committee members. Mabei said it was high time people learnt that witchcraft does not exist. He warned that if witchcraft beliefs' overpower their thinking the village would lag behind in development projects. He told the participants that a committee must not sit in office for a long time since it risks becoming redundant. He said a committee must only sit for one term then a new one should be elected. VDC committees should be elected annually so that people don't occupy the same position for long. People should do their part and then go while those who elected them still love them. If they stay long, then you start to see their wrong doings and that's when fear is initiated, he said pointing out that some members were power hungry such that they would do anything to get re-elected. Even witchcraft can be used as a tool depending on people's beliefs, he said.
Mabei said all members in the committee should know that they have the same powers as the chairman and are allowed to challenge him or her. The facilitator said that the chairman is a leader and was not supposed to be feared. You should not treat your leader like a god. The leader is your mouthpiece and should not be feared. If fear rules, you will be oppressed by power hungry people, he said, adding that things are stolen in community projects and people keep quiet out of fear. He said leaders enslave others and personalize organizations by threatening or dividing people through fear and people choose to keep quite hence the whole system collapses.

Witchcraft leads to poor performance of VDC - MMEGI, 29th June 2004.

June 26, 2004

'Islamic' black magic

Tanzania: A Muslim member of parliament has threatened to cast a spell on government ministers if nothing is done to fight corruption.

He told parliament that he would use a Koranic verse to make ministers drop deadlike locusts...

...Mr [Masoud Haroub] Saidi, MP for Koani in Pemba Isle, said that he decided to turn to the Koran because as a Muslim he believes that it is the strongest method of punishing corrupt elements.

When we [Muslims] want to stop things from happening we use Halbadiri - an Islamic death curse.

Halbadiri cannot harm a clean person. But those people who continue to commit such evil deeds will be affected, he said.

It doesn't sound like the sort of thing a good Muslim would do - I thought Islam had the same kind of downer on magic as Christianity. Anyone know better?

Death curse for Tanzania ministersBBC News, 25th June 2004.

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June 24, 2004

Sweating it out

Nepal: devotees are worried after a statue of Bhima, the second Pandava, started to 'sweat'. Apparently, the holy perspiration always comes before a terrible disaster.

Disaster, most Nepalese believe, has befallen their country every time the image sheds sweat. And the catalogue of such calamities is quite long, the most recent one being the 2001 massacre of King Birendra and his family.
In the past, the sweating had preceded the 1934 earthquake that killed thousands in Kathmandu, the 1940 hanging of Nepal's first four democracy fighters by the Ranas, the 1950 anti-Rana revolution, the passing away of King Tribhuvan and King Mahendra (grandfather and father of the present monarch) in 1953 and 1972 respectively and the 1988 earthquake that caused destruction in many parts of the kingdom.

Anxious Nepal tries to placate 'sweating' deity - Hindustan Times, 23rd June 2004.

June 15, 2004

Catholic Church Outsourcing Prayers To India

United States: As if it wasn't bad enough that IT workers were losing their jobs to overseas outsourcers, now the Catholics are outsourcing prayers to Indian priests.

With Roman Catholic clergy in short supply in the United States, Indian priests are picking up some of their work, saying Mass for special intentions, in a sacred if unusual version of outsourcing.
American, as well as Canadian and European churches, are sending Mass intentions, or requests for services like those to remember deceased relatives and thanksgiving prayers, to clergy in India.
About 2 percent of India's more than one billion people are Christians, most of them Catholics.
Continue reading "Catholic Church Outsourcing Prayers To India"

June 11, 2004

Lazy Cops Blame Satan

Italy: The lovely Feòrag passed this on to me before she departed for her tour of the continent. Well, bits of it. All right, the fine purveyors of beer in Berlin.

It seems that the plods in Milan are either incredibly lazy, superstitious or both. When confronted with the bodies of two teenagers, rather than investigate, they jumped to the astounding conclusion that, as they were both members of a metal band, their deaths were the work of Satanists.

A gruesome find in a wood outside Milan has sparked fears that bored young Italians could be coming under the influence of Satanic cults.
The news has caused an outbreak of soul-searching in Catholic Italy.
Even hardened police officers were shocked by what they found outside the sleepy commuter town of Busto Arsizio.
Two teenagers' bodies were discovered in a makeshift grave, killed — police say — as part of a satanic ritual involving sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Hmm... sex, drugs and rock and roll, in my part of the world we call that a party.

Continue reading "Lazy Cops Blame Satan"

June 2, 2004

Waiter, There's A Crustacean In My Water

United States: A sect of loony fundies in New York, obviously of the belief that there's nothing more important to worry about in the world, have their knickers in a twist over crusteceans in their drinking water.

Orthodox Jews in New York have become concerned that the city's drinking water may not be kosher because it contains tiny crustaceans known as copepods.
The organisms, which measure about a millimeter long, pose no threat to human health, according to the city Department of Environmental Protection. But Orthodox teaching bars the eating of crustaceans — aquatic animals with skeletons outside their bodies, including shrimp, crab and lobsters.
The organisms first came to the attention of Jewish leaders in Brooklyn two weeks ago, The New York Times reported Tuesday. An Israeli produce company that exports kosher vegetables to New York alleged that its products had become infested with insects after being washed in the city's water.

If you're a company involved in water filters or bottled water it looks like scaring the insane is a great way to boost business.

Orthodox Jews Worry Water Isn't Kosher - AP, 1st June 2004.

May 29, 2004

Canadian Fundies Infesting US

United States: Canada has found a novel way to rid itself of the more loony fundie elements in its midst, they ship them to the US where they fit right in.

Two Pentecostals got a tad carried away in New York this week by announcing that the 11 Spetember attacks were a damn fine reason to pray. Perhaps, if you're so inclined, but making a loud declaration on a plane about to take off is probably not the best way to go about it.

Two preachers grounded a flight leaving Buffalo, New York, after they frightened passengers by declaring the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were a good reason to pray, officials said on Thursday.
Continue reading "Canadian Fundies Infesting US"

May 28, 2004

Elementary school

Has Disney come up with a challenger to Harry Potter in the Offending Fundies Stakes?

Will. Irma. Taranee. Cornelia. Hay Lin. Together they are W.I.T.C.H. - five ordinary friends with an extraordinary secret - they each have the power to control a natural element. W.I.T.C.H. is the acronym of the first names of the 5 heroines, all of who are 13 or 14 years old and are just like others of their age; they wear trendy clothes, they have fun with their friends, they're classmates.... But they also have magical powers.

And what's worse, unlike Rowling's boy wizard, there are definite references to 'real' neopagan magic:

Will controls energy, Irma commands water, Taranee has power over fire, Cornelia controls earth, and Hay Lin dominates air. The girls use their powers to guard against evil and to uncover the truth behind mysterious portals leading to other worlds.

Unsurprisingly, fundies are not happy bunnies.

Unfortunately, the fantasy that so many people are living is one that's not going to have a happy ending. They will end up in a very real Hell where they won't live happily ever after. One thing is for sure, the Disney Empire and the "Magic Kingdom" certainly have the ability to captivate minds with its fantasy. In an American Culture that thrives on being constantly entertained, The Disney empire has access into the minds of literally hundreds of millions of people.

Better not let them know about Mahou Shoujo Tai Arusu (Tweeny Witches), then.

Disney Brings the Magic of Friendship to the U.S. with the Launch of W.I.T.C.H. Books - LPWire, 23rd March 2004; Mickey Mouse leading children to Hell - ac18.org, not dated; Disney leading kids to hell? - WorldNetDaily, 28th May 2004; W.I.T.C.H. site (Flash only); Tweeny Witches fansubs.

May 26, 2004

An unusual skyscraper

India: A Sikh cleric wears what he thinks is the largest turban in the world:

[Major] Singh wears a huge tower-shaped turban using 400 meters of cloth, some 100 hairpins, and embellished with 51 religious symbols made in metal. Needless to say, the saint who wears only a blue frock, attracts attention where ever he goes and is pestered with questions about the weight and height of his big headgear.

His motives are purely spiritual, of course, and he hopes to encourage young Sikhs to wear turbans instead of the caps or short hair they prefer.

We want to keep our tradition alive. Those who have taken the pledge to devote their lives to the Sikh gurus, we will help them. We want to carry forward the virtues of life preached by the Sikh gurus, Singh said.

Such a spiritual quest requires appropriate recognition, so he has applied to The Guinness Book of Records. Holy 'Turbinator' eyes record books - Hindustan Times, 26th May 2004.

May 25, 2004

Calling All Qualified Sorcerers

Niger: Considering the targets, scantily-clad women enjoying the nightlife, I think the local marabouts have hit the nail on the head. They claim the evil spirits are nothing more than conmen, but the mayor isn't taking chances.

The mayor of Niger's capital has ordered qualified sorcerers to chase away evil spirits reported to be making terrifying appearances at night.
Nightlife lovers in Niamey have repeatedly complained of a woman who appears from nowhere, curses and threatens them before vanishing as if she had evaporated. Young women in skimpy outfits have been particular targets for the evil spirits.
Continue reading "Calling All Qualified Sorcerers"

Woman Accused of Witchcraft Murdered

India: There's nothing like ignorance to bring out the loon in people. In today's exciting story, our hero is a total wingnut who needed a reason for the death of his niece. Being a backwoods type, he trotted off to the local witch doctor who nominated a handful of completely innocent women as witches, one of whom is now dead at the hands of said wingnut.

Does anybody see the irony of having a witch doctor accuse people of witchcraft?

It's just two days since Savsinh Makwana and his brother Raman of Jari Bhuzarg village in Dahod killed their their neighbour — a 40-year-old widow. But as he sits in the lock-up of Garbada police station, remorse is the last thing on his mind.
For, he is convinced that he has done the right thing by killing Ditaben Punia Sanghor, who, according to him, is a daakan (witch). His conviction has been reinforced by the fact that when he and his brother hit her on the head with an axe on Friday, she did not bleed.
It is yet another gory tale emerging from the dark world of superstition from the tribal hinterlands of Dahod district. Ditaben was killed by Savsinh and Raman who believed that it was her witchcraft which led to the death of their eight-year-old niece.
Continue reading "Woman Accused of Witchcraft Murdered"

May 20, 2004

"But rabbi, my wife's sheitel is the only part of her that's human."

Israel: Sally Berkovic has written an interesting article about the fuss over the hair used for wigs by Orthodox Jewish women, touching on the rules, the role of rabbis, and the status of women.

Interestingly, this current scandal broke in the same week as It's Your Turn, an hour-long video endorsing the importance of modesty for women, was shown simultaneously in Orthodox communities around the globe. This international campaign championing modesty is promoted by Bnos Melochim (Daughters of Royalty), an organization that has produced a year-long diary with a daily law of modesty for women to study.
Of course, there are many positive aspects of the Orthodox approach to modesty in a world where the prevailing attitude to women's (and men's) bodies is derogatory. But if the rabbis are the captains of the modesty movement, it is the cadre of women lieutenants that leads the battalion of foot soldiers on the way to higher necklines, more severe head coverings, and ankle-length hems.

As well as the coincidental timing (the issue was first raised nearly 15 years ago, and had been conveniently forgotten), Berkovic wonders why the fuss, when there are many more important issues right now:

While terror haunts Israel every day, while anti-Semitism increases around the world, and while thousands of Jews remain woefully ignorant about the basics of their own religion, you have to wonder. How can it be that the great sages of our generation are concerned once again about women's bodies, women's hair, and women's desires?

Is this really about modesty... - Jerusalem Post [BugMeNot], 19th May 2004; see also Rebuilding the Berlin Wall around the Torah - Pagan Prattle , 14th May 2004.

Original Sin

United States: You've got to admire the snake-handlers. When they get a clue from their invisible friend via one of his fanged emissaries that it's time to go, they take it in their stride.

A preacher bitten by a rattlesnake as he handled it during an Easter service at a rural church died after refusing medical treatment, authorities said.
Continue reading "Original Sin"

May 14, 2004

Rebuilding the Berlin Wall around the Torah

Israel: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish women are in a tizz after a Rabbi warned them that the hair to make wigs might have been used in Hindu ceremonies.

The storm began four weeks ago, when someone told the rabbis that most natural wigs imported from Europe are actually made of Indian hair. Two years ago, rumors had begun circulating that this hair was bought from Indian priests who gathered it up after the women cut it during a Hindu religious ceremony. This would be a serious problem, since Jewish law forbids the use of objects employed in idol worship (which in Judaism means all polytheistic religions). Apparently many wig-sellers concealed the fact that their wigs, though made in Europe, used Indian hair.

Married Ultra-Orthodox women are not supposed to let anyone other than their husbands see their natural hair, and while some prefer to wear headscarves, a more popular choice is wigs of bright blond hair that falls softly to their shoulders. And the letter of the Law is clearly more important in this case than the spirit.

People began running around preparing lists of permitted and forbidden wig shops; others demanded that the sellers of wigs made from Indian hair be tried in a religious court. In Bnei Brak, some people even started collecting Indian wigs and throwing them to the bonfire.

So far, the only Hindu hair-cutting ceremonies the denizens of Prattle Towers have found relate to young boys and comments as to what ritual the Rabbi refers to are welcome. A hair-raising fear of idols - Haaretz, 14th May 2004.

May 11, 2004

Engineers trust magic over their own skill

Russia: The once-great Russian engineers have lost faith in their ability to produce huge, reliable space launchers and have been routinely using priests to consecrate rockets prior to launch. They have also admitted making cosmonauts undergo a ritual at a local church. Russia consecrates its spaceships - Pravda, 10th May 2004.

Russian parliamentarians generate excessive levels of evil

Russia: The Supreme Shaman of Siberia, Toizin Bergenov, has offered to cleanse the State Duma, the parliament building, of evil spirits.

Hereditary shaman considers that in the course of 10 years too much negativity has accumulated in the lower chamber. This negativity, apparently, spoils lives of everyone who works in the building, stated head of the Committee.

The building was apparently cleansed and consecrated by an Orthodox archbishop ten years ago, but this was not enough to deal with the levels of evil found in a building used by politicians:

The Shaman really enjoyed the idea of attracting Orthodox priests to fight Duma's evil. According to the shaman, however, one ritual will not be enough to exterminate all negativity in the State Duma, said a Committee's spokesman.
In order to conduct the ritual, Shaman is willing to come to Moscow in the end of June when the Spirit of the Sun is most powerful, according to him.

Siberian Shaman to cleanse State Duma from evil spirits - Pravda, 8th May 2004.

May 6, 2004

Bachelor of Arse

India: Vedic Astrology may be studied in Indian universities after the Supreme court dismissed a petition brought by a scientist.

Joshi has been a staunch advocate that students should be provided a forum to research in Vedic astrology and allied subjects. The Union government argued that Vedic science was part of Indian culture and heritage and formed an important part of our ancient science in which India had made substantial contribution to the world.
The petitioners had questioned the decision to introduce the subject in universities at the graduate and post-graduate levels and also paving the way for research in jyotir vigyan at the M.Phil. and PhD. levels.
Bhargava had contended that the guidelines issued by the UGC were irrational as Vedic astrology could not be held to predict the unforeseen. He also contended that astrology did not qualify to be a subject of study in the university.

Green signal for astrology studies - The Telegraph (Calcutta), 6th May 2004.

April 17, 2004

An Eye For An Eye

United States: No doubt thinking he was taking the law into his own hands, a man accused of killing his family seemed to think that removing his own eye would be fair compensation.

Andre Thomas, the Sherman man accused of killing his wife, son and his wife's young daughter a week ago, quoted a Bible scripture Friday night after he apparently used his hands to pull out his own right eye.
Grayson County Sheriff Keith Gary said Thomas was in a jail cell directly across from the book-in station when he turned his back on the jail staff. Gary said the staff heard a scream, and then Thomas turned around with his eyeball in his hand.

Suspect pulls out own eye - Herald Democrat, 7th April 2004 (via Die Puny Humans).

April 10, 2004

Madonna Can't Please Everybody

Ireland: You schedule a concert on a Sunday and you're blamed for everything from disregarding the state religion to being in league with a Jewish conspiracy. There's a nice line in tin foil beanies available to block out the government's mind control rays that should take care of this complaint.

Pop diva Madonna has come under fire from Christians in Ireland after it was confirmed she would play her first ever Irish concert on a Sunday.
Madonna is due to play Slane Castle, 30 miles (50 km) north of Dublin, on Sunday, August 29, the castle's owner Lord Henry Mount Charles confirmed.
He denied that Madonna, who has developed an interest in Jewish mysticism recently, had refused to play on Saturday because it is the Jewish Sabbath.
It is the only date and day feasible, he said on Friday.
Continue reading "Madonna Can't Please Everybody"

April 2, 2004

Fleecing the gullible

United States: A 'psychic' who defrauded a woman of $130,000 (US) has been sent to prison for a year and a day. Julia Tan was contacted by the woman to help find a lost cat.

Tan then told the woman she was surrounded by evil spirits but for a $5,000 fee she could get rid of them and return her cat.
Tan later offered to repair the woman's aura and find her a soul mate for $10,000 in cash. The woman complied, and in April 2003 traveled to Philadelphia to meet Tan and give her $10,000.
Tan sought and received more money by telling the woman she needed to buy special candles from Israel and burn them near images of the woman and her cat in order to remove the evil surrounding them, Anderson said.
After the woman returned to the La Crosse area, Tan convinced her to send still more money for gold jewelry that Tan claimed she needed to drive away evil spirits.

The woman eventually contacted the FBI after the cat failed to return. 'Psychic' sentenced for fraud - La Crosse Tribune, 2nd April 2004.

Silver Cockroach Dung Beetle

Someone calling themselves The Snow Queen is fed up with a particular fashion for names found in the Pagan community, and fluffy Pagans in general.

Fluffy pagans believe that nature is a happy, bouncy place where little bunnies cuddle up with the fuzzy tigers and no one ever gets turned into a goon or, well, eaten. The vast majority of members in the Ministry of Silly Names are more or less fluffy. Yet they continually choose predatory animals for their namesakes! Or even better, carrion birds like ravens. Nobody wants to be a prey animal, no matter how genteel they think the law of the jungle is.

The contributors to this fine publication would like to point out that the rant is neopagan-specific (via Larry).

April 1, 2004

Rabbi full of hot air

Israel: Three members of an Israeli tank maintenance unit have died recently, and not due to the usual things members of the military die of. So, obviously the base must be cursed. A rabbi was called in to perform a Kabbalistic exorcism involving 100 shofars. Although the ceremony took place during the soldiers' own time, one senior officer was not amused.

MK Ilan Shalgi called the event a voodoo ceremony. He said, This puts the IDF in line with the Zulu and Tutsi armies in Africa. Primitive tribes hold such official witchcraft rituals and I suggest that the IDF appoint a senior witchcraft officer instead of its chief rabbi.

Despite the date, the story did not appear until after midday. Rabbis blow shofars to exorcise curse at IDF tank base - Israel Insider, 1st April 2004.

March 31, 2004

Goat Collecting Buddhist

United States: Usually when goats are mentioned around here it's in the context of silly buggers killing them. This time it's a wingnut goat collector who blames his obsessive goat collecting problem on his religion — Buddhism.

State officials are investigating a man whose goats and his religious convictions against killing them have collided in a possibly inhumane and definitely stinky way.
There were three goats on the farm Chris Weathersbee's mother bought seven years ago. Now there are 300 — including 70 living in his house, much of which is covered with a mix of goat droppings and hay.
Continue reading "Goat Collecting Buddhist"

March 29, 2004

Child Witches Murdered

Angola: Many children seem to be cursed these days in the impoverished hinterlands of Angola — accused of witchcraft by their loony fundie families, then systematically abused, abandoned and even killed for imagined acts of witchcraft.

The scale and viciousness of the attacks on so-called criancas feiticeiras, or child witches, confounds even hardened human-rights workers in the war-haunted country, and some said the abuse is one of the most disturbing outbreaks of domestic violence seen in Africa in recent years.
In Uige, a sleepy hill town near the Congo border, children's advocates said that a teenager accused of sorcery was set ablaze by a mob that included his own relatives. Another boy was buried alive, beneath the corpse of a man he allegedly hexed, rights workers said. The luckier children are merely banished from their homes. They roam the streets like pariah dogs, surviving hand-to-mouth off food scraps from the markets.
Continue reading "Child Witches Murdered"

March 28, 2004

Don't Panic

United States: An American Airlines flight had to be cancelled after someone describing themselves as a psychic warned there might be a bomb on board. The plane was searched with sniffer dogs after the psychic called in the tip. Nothing was found but, by the time the search was done, the crew were out of hours and unable to operate the flight.

The purported psychic's call was unusual, conceded Doug Perkins, local administrator for the federal Transportation Security Administration director.
But in these times, we can't ignore anything. We want to take the appropriate measures," he said.

Psychic tip prompts bomb search on plane - CNN, 27th March 2004 (via Electrolite).

March 24, 2004

In typo veritas

A group of scientists, teachers and astronomers plan a giant scale model of the Solar System, with the Earth located at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire. Saturn would be placed in Lancaster, but according to the local paper, the intention is to encourage children to develop an interest in science and astrology! City joins the solar system - Morecambe Today, 24th March 2004.

March 22, 2004

Religious Leaders Urged to Stop Spreading Lies

Angola: Religious leaders, who cause more problems amongst HIV ravaged areas than anything, have been urged to drop their prejudicial whining and to get off their arse and help people instead.

Angola, emerging from almost three decades of civil war, faces the threat of a massive spread of HIV/AIDS and religious leaders must join the fight against the pandemic that has ravaged much of Africa, Christian Aid said.
Official statistics put prevalence rates in Angola at between five and seven percent, but Rachel Baggaley, head of Christian Aid's HIV unit, said the figure could soar to over 20 percent within five years if the country did not act immediately.
The church and other faith-based organisations have a massive role to play in HIV prevention and care, she said. The church is part of the problem. Church leaders often stigmatise people living with HIV and are not compassionate or open about HIV.
Continue reading "Religious Leaders Urged to Stop Spreading Lies"

March 18, 2004

Darwin's remedy

United States: Azogue, a popular folk medicine is causing concern among authorities in New Jersey. Felix Mota, voodoo priest and owner of a botanica, who refuses to sell it, explains:

It speeds the magical effects of spells cast for the loveless, the luckless, and the sick, some believe. It is a talisman to the gambler, a protector against the evil eye. Some sprinkle it in rooms, cars -- even baby cribs -- for protection.

The problem? It's mercury.

Researchers say mercury is used in two ways: as part of an organized religion, such as Santeria, Espiritismo, or voodoo, where priests imbue it with spiritual power in certain rituals, or in cultural or superstitious practices in which people believe it brings good luck.
People buy it to put in candles -- candles for money, for love, to pray for somebody, Mota says. He used to put a drop of mercury in perfume or bath oils, to spread over the body for good luck, but he doesn't anymore.
I tell people, 'Don't use it. It's so dangerous.'
One woman Mota treated six or seven years ago had swallowed mercury at the instruction of a santero, a Santeria priest, before she came to the United States.

Mercury as Folk Potion Sickens Users, Pollutes New Jersey Waterways - The Miami Herald, 16th March 2004.

Losing by a nose

Taiwan: Forget the fact that President Chen Shui-bian has made a mess of the economy and annoyed neighbouring countries, according to a fortune teller, he will lose the forthcoming election because his nose is too small.

The size of a leader's nose has a direct relation to the fortunes of the country they lead," said Fan [Yun], who mans one of the many small fortune-telling booths that line a pedestrian underpass near the Hsin Tien Temple in Taipei.
Everything about Chen's face is small and that's why the last four years have been so bad, she said, referring to the economic downturn that hit the island's economy a year after Chen swept to office in 2000.
Never mind the fact that Chen's face was graced with the same nose when he trounced his opponent, Lien Chan of the Nationalist party, four years ago.

Others disagree - it's not his nose that signifies defeat, but his complexion which indicates he will win.

To gauge a person's fortune, you have to look at their complexion and Chen's appears very bright as you can see from his ruddy cheeks, said Cheng Wen-kuei, a fortune teller who said he has been in the business for more than 20 years.

Astrologers don't want to miss out on the free publicity either.

Born in 1950, the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese zodiac, Chen will not gain much help from the heavens in 2004. This is the Year of the Monkey, which usually spells difficulties for tigers, say the fortune tellers.
On March 20, Chen's luck will flow like the Yellow River, dirty and unclear, said Joe Lee, who sits at a small fold-up table in the underpass, reading from the astrological chart he has drawn up for the president.
Chen's term as president will end on that day, said Lee, who said he had accurately predicted the date on which the United States launched its strike on Iraq last year.

And let's not forget Feng Shui. Chang Hsu-chu, Chinese Geomancy Research Association chair, thinks the Nationalist challenger Lien Chan will prevail, because of where his ancestors were laid to rest:

Lien and his running mate James Soong's ancestral grave sites are both located in the First Public Cemetery in Taipei's Yangmingshan. The area is shaped like a dragon and widely known as a dragon cave, which is believed to bring prosperity to the offspring of those laid rest there, according to Chang.
Besides, Chang points out that the Lien family burial itself resembles the shape of a phoenix and the tomb of his late father is situated right on the wing of the phoenix.
Grass and trees are two important harbingers in geomancy. The lush green in the surrounding area of the Lien family burial is a sign of good fortune, he says.

Taiwan president's nose too small for re-election - Swissinfo, 18th March 2004; Graves, noses clues to election outcome - The China Post, 17th March 2004.

Update: Chen won.

March 17, 2004

Slow news day

I wondered how long it would take before the newspapers asked astrologers about the significance of the newly-discovered, might-be-a-planet, Sedna. What's surprising is that it isn't a US tabloid, but The Scotsman! They asked three astrologers about it, and Anna Estaroth of The Astrology Centre in Edinburgh told them:

In Sedna they've chosen an Inuit goddess rather than a Greek one. At the moment we have a whole issue about sea conservation and the ruining of our fishing industry and Sedna is supposed to be the goddess of abundance. On the plus side you might argue there is a symbolism for improving our fish stocks and also we don't want to lose our fishing industry, so it's symbolic that she's turned up at this very crucial stage.

Morelle Smith only party agrees:

To me, what immediately comes to mind is the interconnectedness of the whole planet. On the negative side, we have the unpredictability of terrorist attacks and the uncertainty of weather, climate and a variety of ecological changes, some of which are a direct result of humanity's abuse of the Earth and its natural resources. On the positive side, we have contacts, communication and relationships with people from parts of the world that only a handful of years ago we knew very little of, so we are able to see our similarities and points of contact with all other human beings, however different their customs, cultures etc; the internet has been invaluable here.

It's written in the stars - The Scotsman, 17th March 2004.

God Equation Total Bollocks

United Kingdom: Dr Stephen Unwin, Manchester University graduate and professional wingnut, has calculated that there is a 67% chance that God exists.

Dr Stephen Unwin has used a 200-year-old formula to calculate the probability of the existence of an omnipotent being. Bayes' Theory is usually used to work out the likelihood of events, such as nuclear power failure, by balancing the various factors that could affect a situation.
The Manchester University graduate, who now works as a risk assessor in Ohio, said the theory starts from the assumption that God has a 50/50 chance of existing, and then factors in the evidence both for and against the notion of a higher being.
Factors that were considered included recognition of goodness, which Dr Unwin said makes the existence of God more likely, countered by things like the existence of natural evil — including earthquakes and cancer.

Aloysius finds the whole claim a bunch of old cobblers.

Continue reading "God Equation Total Bollocks"

March 13, 2004

The Earth, It Burns

United States: What weird fetish involves not allowing your feet to touch the earth? Isn't that the sort of loony direction Howard Hughes was heading before he popped his cogs?

For days now, the job at Eisenhower Park in Nassau County has been to follow the order from the White House through the Secret Service and down to the park workers:
The president's feet are not to touch the dirt...
Continue reading "The Earth, It Burns"

March 12, 2004

Education a vaccine against superstition

Christian researchers have been disappointed to discover that education is the main factor in people rejecting imaginary friends. They divided unbelievers into five categories - U1 to U5 - with U5s least likely to accept religion.

More than 39 percent of the U5s had a master's or doctoral degree, compared to 14 percent of the total unchurched population. And over one-fourth of the U5s had a doctoral degree, compared to only 4 percent of all the unchurched.

They gave an example of one of these terrible people, 'Mark J.', who stated The more education you receive, the more you realize that religious beliefs just don't make sense. And Christians turn him off Christianity more than anything else:

The Christians I know pray for everything, he lamented. I can't stand it when they pray for trivial things that just aren't important. In my mother's church, some of the people were praying for their new pastor to find a good place to live. Isn't that ridiculous?

U5s Are the Most Educated Among the Unchurched - Church Central, 11th March 2004.

March 11, 2004

The Masons Have Had a Rough Couple of Days

United States: On Monday night, a ritual inside Patchogue, New York's Southside Masonic Lodge No 493 ended with the accidental killing of a new initiate. Another member shot him in the face. The shooter was carrying two guns, one with blanks and one with live ammo, and grabbed the wrong one during the ritual — doh! Both the shoter and the initiate were old enough to know better.

The shooter, a 76-year-old Mason, Albert Eid, was carrying two guns, a .22-caliber handgun with blanks in his left pocket, and a .32-caliber gun with live rounds in his right pocket.
He reached into his right pants pocket, pulled out the wrong gun and shot William James, a 47-year-old fellow Mason, in the face, killing him, the authorities said.
Continue reading "The Masons Have Had a Rough Couple of Days"

March 9, 2004

Aristide a Victim of Voodoo

Haiti: The Telegraph isn't exactly renown for its journalistic integrity, and in a prime example of their love of Bugger the facts. What's the spin? we have the delightful story of President Aristide's kidnapping by the US military ignored in favour of voodoo being at fault.

The rise and fall of Mr Aristide, its first democratically elected leader and an ordained Catholic priest who adopted as his symbol the cockerel, a voodoo icon, illustrates this. Mr Aristide, whose library contained many books on the national religion, was guilty of the voodoo equivalent of hubris and then struck down by its version of nemesis, several voodo priests said this week.
Continue reading "Aristide a Victim of Voodoo"

March 6, 2004

Headology in action

Mexico: Catemaco is known for its witches, and last Friday was a particularly important day for those who seek their services. And some, at least, have heeded the words of Granny Weatherwax:

He puts on a black cape and hood when required to undo somebody else's black magic and shows off scars he says he acquired when he almost lost control of the devil.
Rafael Aguirre attends his patients in a bright white, air-conditioned room, wearing a three-piece white suit with a tie and breast pocket handkerchief - his celestial aura augmented by piped music.
Aguirre acknowledges that much of his gift has nothing to do with devils or saints and boils down to a talent at psychological manipulation. But he insists the work is for the good of his patients.

Witchcraft, Capitalism Thrive on Magi - The Ledger, 6th March 2004.

February 28, 2004

Asimov's Science Fiction is an Adult Magazine

United States: It seems that in the backwaters of Michigan, conservative is easily confused for stupid. The local muckraking telly station is a mouthpiece for those of a loony fundie persuasion and seems to cast a far wider net when looking for things that could be classed as stroke mags.

The local TV station had been running radio promos for a story about a local school magazine fundraiser that included an adult magazine. It's a conservative area, so we figured maybe they accidentally got order forms with Playboy, or maybe the locals were just throwing fits over FHM and Maxxim.

Nope — the adult magazine in question was Asimov's Science Fiction.

In Which I Discover My Wife's Adult Magazine CollectionBrian.Carnell.Com, 16th February 2004 (via BoingBoing).

February 26, 2004

Satan 1, Loony Fundie 0

One of Scotland's most notorious cranks has died of lung cancer. Pastor Jack Glass believed the disease was a direct attack by Satan himself. He was a loving, Christian man:

He hit the headlines after organising a protest to coincide with the Papal visit to Scotland, which he argued violated the British Bill of Rights.
Pastor Glass also picketed Billy Connolly's shows after he was angered by one of the comedian's sketches based on the crucifixion.
An angry pastor was reported to have said: If the Forth was lava, I would throw him in.

More recently, he had fallen for one of popular culture's more obvious trolls and had been campaigning against Marilyn Manson. Pastor Glass loses cancer fight - BBC News, 25th February 2004.

February 25, 2004

John Ashcroft Is Insane

United States: Among other things, the recent Vanity Fair article describes how loony fundie John Ashcroft fears calico cats, how he attended opponent Mel Carnahan's funeral against the family's wishes, how Ashcroft's father put him at the controls of a plane with no training at age eight and how parts of Justice Department boilerplate were altered because they conflicted with the Seven Deadly Sins.

At 61, he is a devout member of the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination that disapproves of drinking, dancing, and pre-marital sex. As a boy, he never went to the movies, because, he has said, his parents told him, If you pay 15 cents to get into a movie, 7 cents of that will go to support a Hollywood lifestyle we disagree with. But he is not indifferent to power and its trappings — indeed, he harbored strong presidential hopes as late as 1998 — and it is in his nature to combine piety with ambition. In 1995, for example, when he became the junior senator from Missouri, he was anointed by friends (in the style of the ancient kings of Israel, he has noted) with Crisco oil from the kitchen...
Continue reading "John Ashcroft Is Insane"

February 23, 2004

A pleasing rant

Garry Otton, whose Scottish Media Monitor examines the treatment of sexuality in the Scottish media and is printed monthly in SCOTSGAY magazine is on form this month:

As the Church disintegrates around us, the voices of its militants become ever more shrill. There was an Almighty fight going on in the playground over campuses shared by Catholic and non-denominational schools. And who had we at the centre of the fight? Well, well, well! If it wasn't our old friend, Religion! Reporter Graham Grant in The Scottish Daily Mail casually described the spat over the bringing together of children of different faiths. Faith is only ever imposed on children. They're not born with one and there's precious little evidence of it bringing anyone together! (Not counting mass graves). Catholic Church militants threatened to pull out of a £150m public-private partnership scheme to create seven shared campuses. Their demands included separate entrances, staff rooms, libraries, and -- I kid you not -- separate Catholic and non-denominational lavatories! Even convent-educated Old Mother (Joan) Burnie gasped in The Daily Record: Is there really a difference between a Catholic and a Proddy willy?

Time to Declare War on Militant Religionists says Garry Otton , Scottish Media Monitor, March 2004.

February 21, 2004

Smile! It can't be that bad.

Karen Armstrong, a writer on fundamentalism, has penned an interesting article in today's Grauniad. She starts with the observation that children know what to read, and it tends to be the sort of stuff parents would rather they didn't.

In fact, the best children's classics have always evoked the dark side of life. Alice's Wonderland reveals the arbitrary demands and heartless craziness of the adult world from a child's perspective. The sinister menace of the Wild Wood is a constant threat in The Wind in the Willows. In the novels of Frances Hodgson Burnett, children are regularly abandoned, bereaved, neglected and ill-treated. Some parents would prefer their children to read books that are more upbeat, but Wilson's success and the endurance of these classics remind us that children know instinctively what is best for them, and find that their worst fears become more manageable when they are made explicit. It seems that many children have not yet succumbed quite as fully as adults to the positive thinking that is fast becoming a social orthodoxy.

She then observes how society doesn't like to cofront pain and suffering--An acquaintance once told me that quite the most difficult aspect of her cancer was her friends' strident insistence that she develop a positive attitude, and her guilt at being unable to do so--before noting that fundies are the worst offenders.

Continue reading "Smile! It can't be that bad."

February 16, 2004

Gifts From the Cheap Bastard

United States: Too cheap for a Valentine's Day gift? The fundies in Texas have the perfect thing, promise your beloved that you'll stop looking at porn. I'm sure that idea's really going to go over well with your other half when you lob up empty handed, you cheap bastard.

Chocolates are always nice, and a diamond necklace would be delightful. But a Dallas-based ministry thinks it has a better idea for Valentine's Day.
Her gift for Valentines? Stop looking at porn, proclaim billboards put up by NetAccountability, a nonprofit software company that aims to help Christians confront the secret sin of pornography.
Continue reading "Gifts From the Cheap Bastard"

February 12, 2004

Bargain of the Day: Dibbuk Haunted Jewish Wine Cabinet Box

United States: People actually buy this stuff. You're too late for this thrilling auction, but you can console yourself that some wally parted with US$280 for a box that came with a tall tale.

Continue reading "Bargain of the Day: Dibbuk Haunted Jewish Wine Cabinet Box"

February 8, 2004

Deaf and dumb

United States: The United States government has decided that people with hearing disabilities are too stupid to differentiate between fantasy and reality. The Depratment (typo deliberately not corrected) of Education has ruled that 200 shows are unsuitable for closed-captioning, and no grants will be given for doing so.

The government is refusing to caption Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, apparently fearing that the deaf would fall prey to witchcraft if they viewed the classic sitcoms.

The National Association of the Deaf is not amused:

They've suddenly narrowed down the definition of those three kinds of programming without public input, says Kelby Brick, director of the NAD's law and advocacy center. Basically, the department wants to limit captioning to puritan shows. The department wants to ensure that deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals are not exposed to any non-puritan programming. Never mind that the rest of the country is allowed to be exposed.

Censor 'Scooby-Doo'? Words fail - Palm Beach Post, 8th February 2004.

February 2, 2004

Muslim Mosh Pits

Saudi Arabia: Taking part in the fun of throwing stones at the devil is one of the highlights of the hajj pilgrimage. Unfortunately, the brochures tend to leave out the bit about two million other people wanting to take a crack at the devil too.

At least 244 Muslim pilgrims have been trampled to death in Saudi Arabia at the climax of the annual hajj pilgrimage, the scene of deadly stampedes in past years.
A similar number of pilgrims was also wounded during the stampede, which lasted 27 minutes, said Saudi Hajj Minister Iyad Madani last night.
The tragedy happened after 2 million pilgrims flocked to Jamarat Bridge in Mena to throw stones at pillars representing the devil.
Police and medical teams said the victims were crushed to death.

244 trampled to death in hajj - The Australian, 2nd February 2004.

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January 29, 2004

Superstition in strange places.

When I'm flying, I like to think that my safety is guaranteed thanks to the endless vigilance of teams of maintenance engineers, well-trained crews and alert security staff. So seeing this at Edinburgh Airport (EDI/EGPH) one morning isn't too comforting:

Gate 12; Gate 12B; Gate 14.

(Click for large version) Picture taken 08:35, Friday 16th January 2004. Many airlines have a similar lack of faith in their own competence, and their aircraft have no row 13. The airline I flew with was not one of these.

January 25, 2004

Avoiding temptation

So, you're a teenager, and we all know how hard it is to not bonk, and those who promote abstinence also know that their ideology is about as sensible as promoting holding one's breath to avoid asthma. So, they have used all their knowledge of teenagers to put together a list of useful suggestion for young couples, which will put all thoughts of sex out of their minds. Suggestions like:

  • Play hide-and-seek in a cornfield.
  • Play Twister.
  • Take a walk on the beach.
  • Take a hike in the woods.
  • Play in the leaves.
  • Look at the stars (and share your ideas about life on other planets!).
  • Invent a new game.

Nope, no possibilities for things to turn sexual in any of that.

January 23, 2004

Prayers In Case Of Sin

Israel: An Israeli rabbi has composed a prayer to help devout Jews overcome guilt after visiting porn web sites while browsing the Internet.

Continue reading "Prayers In Case Of Sin"

January 20, 2004

Santa Researcher Makes List, Checks It Twice

United States: Kids these days don't smile when they visit Santa Claus, according to research performed by Ig Nobel Prize winner John Trinkaus of the Zicklin School of Business. Professor Trinkaus observed children at two large shopping malls and a major department store, noting each child's facial expression as the children visited Santa Claus. Every child was accompanied by a parent or guardian.

What Professor Trinkaus saw surprised and saddened him. More than 95% of the children were visibly indifferent or hesitant as they approached Santa. Only one percent of them smiled or showed other signs of happiness. On the other hand, Professor Trinkaus noted, nearly all of the parents were visibly quite happy and excited.

Continue reading "Santa Researcher Makes List, Checks It Twice"

January 19, 2004

Female Circumcision Surgical Package

Indonesia: It's Indonesia's biggest secret. Most of its women have been subjected to an operation which the World Health Organisation says is unnecessary.

Hospitals across Indonesia are offering new parents a one-price surgical package for their just-born girls — when they pierce their ears, they'll circumcise the girls as well.

Continue reading "Female Circumcision Surgical Package"

January 12, 2004

Poetic Justice

United States: Patricia Parra, a 60-year-old bell ringer for the Salvation Army who suffers from cerebral palsy, was working at a store in South Tucson, Arizona, when Edward Sanders grabbed her collection kettle, containing all of $54, and ran. As he dashed across the street to make his getaway he was run over by a car.

Scrooged - Tuscon Weekly, 1st January 2004 (via Dodgeblogium).

January 5, 2004

It's all headology

Lucky charms don't improve a carrier's chance of winning the lottery, but they do make them feel luckier, which has beneficial knock-on effects on confidence and success.

The study, by Professor Richard Wiseman of the Psychology Department of the University of Hertfordshire, found that carrying a charm had no effect on the chances of choosing winning lottery numbers.
But 30% of those tested felt their luck had improved.
Nearly all those who did report increased luck had said prior to the study that they expected the charm to work, suggesting the charm's efficacy was based on expectation.

It's All in the Mind - The Scotsman, 5th January 2004.

January 1, 2004

Annual end-of-the-world post 2004

So, how many ways will the world come to an end in 2004?

Continue reading "Annual end-of-the-world post 2004"

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December 27, 2003

...and we don't care!

Australia: Christian religious leaders are in a tizzy because the latest census shows massive increases in the numbers of people describing themselves as Pagan, witches and atheists. Although the numbers are still tiny, National Church Life Survey researcher Ruth Powell, claimed After 2000 years of dominance, some people say we are now moving into the post-Christendom era and said that if churches did not act, the Christian epoch could come to an end.

Catholic Cardinal George Pell, who undoubtedly eats pork and wears mixed fibres, declared people were being lost to a pick'n'mix belief system the goal of which he described as "selfish" inner tranquillity. Christianity's toughest test of faith- The Australian, 27th December 2003.

Coming up trumps

A group of evangelists has decided to encourage comments about them talking out of their arses by making themselves fart more. Having noticed that no-one is going to church any more, and especially not young people, Mission Scotland are organising events such as curry nights to to make connections with people who don't have any church background. Our Father, give us this day our daily nan bread - Edinburgh Evening News, 26th December 2003.

December 21, 2003

Excuse of the year

Japan: A train conductor facing punishment for smoking on duty has an original explanation for his actions: It was the first time I'd ever done something like this. I was possessed by a demon. 'Possessed' conductor lights up on train - Mainichi Daily News, 21st December 2003.

December 18, 2003

Not So Charming

Nigeria: Ashi Terfa, a traditional doctor in central Nigeria, has been shot dead by a patient, Umaa Akor, who was testing the potency of an anti-bullet charm the herbalist had prepared for him.

To confirm its efficacy, the herbalist tied the charm around his neck and insisted that Akor should fire a gun at him. The experiment proved fatal for the herbalist and his skull was shattered, he [police spokesman Bode Fakeye] added. He died immediately.

'Bullet-proof' man shot dead - News24, 17th December 2003.

December 15, 2003

A devil of a hand job

Philippines: An anonymous presidential palace official has declared that a hand gesture used by opposition candidate Raul Roco is really an evil, Satanic symbol. He says he got his information off the net. The offending gesture is used in American Sign Language to mean I love you and is widely understood by young Filipinos. A representative for Roco commented:

This Palace official is totally desperate. It's a sign of desperation. It's not within the normal realm of imagination to research on the Internet and link satanism to a hand symbol that's been universally known and accepted as 'I love you,' he added.

Roco camp chides Malacañang for saying hand signal 'satanic' - The Manila Times, 16th December 2003.

Twinkle, twinkle...

Australia: The outgoing director of the National Museum of Australia, Dawn Casey, has complained that politically-motivated members of the council have behaved in bizarre ways to prevent her doing her job. They seem to have some interesting opinions too:

Mr Barnett distrusts the museum's staff, dislikes its exhibitions and claims still that the museum's architecture was deliberately encoded with sinister messages, she says.
He imagines, for example, that the night sky ceiling of tiny twinkling lights at the entrance to the First Australians gallery is an encoded reference to the Holocaust. This makes just as much sense as saying it endorses astrology or witchcraft. These and other bizarre assumptions have been politely refuted and disproved again and again, but continue to be offered as evidence of the museum's problematic bias - despite rejections of bias by the museum's recent review, Ms Casey writes.

Casey's farewell to 'white-anters' - The Weekend Australian, 15th December 2003.

December 9, 2003

Groundhog Day

United States: Proving that weird fundy phenomenon of seeing god in a potato, the latest object they have latched onto is a movie; Groundhog Day. The Museum of Modern Art has included it in it's The Hidden God: Film and Faith, retrospective of religious films.

Don't think that it's just one flavour of fundies who believe that the movie beautifully expresses Christian belief, apparently Groundhog Day crossed all religious boundaries. Rabbis are using it because of its illustration of the Jewish faith and the Buddhists are claiming it is quintessentially Buddhist.

Continue reading "Groundhog Day"

December 7, 2003

The Lord Moves in Mysterious Ways

Germany: Frithjof Schwesig, vicar in the southwestern town of Lampoldshausen, ordered 300 copies of a video film portraying the life of Christ as told by the gospel according to Luke.

Unfortunately there was a wee bit of a mix up at the Munich video copying plant when they accidentally sent through the wrong movie. At a marathon viewing session that night, the good vicar and his staff established that 200 of the videos were pornographic.

Continue reading "The Lord Moves in Mysterious Ways"

December 5, 2003

Fighting the Myths of AIDS

South Africa: South African-based health workers and researchers are struggling to educate the public about safe sex, but it's a tough battle when they are have to combat some of the insane myths about the disease.

Continue reading "Fighting the Myths of AIDS"

December 3, 2003

Scaredy cats scared of cats

Israel: You'd think the population of Tel Aviv would have more pressing concerns, but a municipal vet has banned a black cat from the stairwell of a block of flats because some residents are scared of him.

Even if this reaction is based on superstition, people who are afraid of the cat should not be forced to encounter it on the stairwell, particularly when the area is not illuminated, the letter said. It ordered the couple to carry the cat when walking down the stairs.

Kooshi's minions are contesting the order and have contacted an experienced animal rights lawyer, who said that the order is illegal.

The city of Rishon Letzion doesn't have a leg to stand on, he said. A veterinarian can issue an order like this only if an animal constitutes a threat to public health or to public order. Kooshi is clean, he's been vaccinated and neutered, and is extremely well mannered. He's being singled out only because of his color.

Black Cat Banned From Tel Aviv Stairwell - Yahoo! News, 2nd December 2003.

December 1, 2003

Virus spreads through risqué lyrics.

Kenya: Anti-AIDS campaigners complain that their efforts to prevent the disease are frustrated by traditional beliefs:

Leaders attending an Aids conference in Kisumu said self-proclaimed cultural experts were using a Kenya Broadcasting Corporation radio programme -- Abila -- to frustrate the fight against the disease by linking it to witchcraft...
...Talks on the Luo culture by some elders are retrogressive. They make people believe that Aids doesn't exist and instead link all illnesses to chira (curse), Ms Oketch said.

Rather then using it as a hook to get people talking about AIDS, the campaigners wish the community would be a little less sex-obsessed:

Moi University Chancellor Bethwel Ogot urged the community to stop some customs which tied sexuality to all important family events such as planting, weeding and harvesting. Such cultures misled people to believing nothing important could be done in a family without sexual intercourse.
The conference blamed Luo musicians for contributing to the spread of Aids, saying a majority of Benga and Ohangla singers composed songs with strong sexual messages that lured their fans to risky sexual behaviour.
Our musicians sing nothing but sex. Women dancers are barely dressed while on stage and this is a setback to the fight, said Ms Oketch .

She did not explain how HIV passes from exposed flesh on stage to the audience. Cultural traits blamed for Aids spread - Daily Nation, 1st December 2003.

November 28, 2003

Passionate Reply

Unlike every other Ultravox song ever, the meaning of Dancing With Tears in My Eyes is crystal clear. But an unnamed contributor to "What You Talking 'bout Willis?" The Meaning Behind Songs of the Eighties hears far too much

The song is more likely about Nuclear disaster or Armagedon than sex. Why? I used a vocal remover on the song and this uncovered a subliminal message (I kid you not) Lord is the Savior (or was it God..., I can't remember). Anyway, if you want to try it, it's easy to pick out, because it is in an extremely clear human voice, just before the begining of the lyrics. There are plenty of vocal removers on the internet to download. Don't bother trying to hear it without the vocal remover; you'll hear nothing. I tried to, but it is very well hidden. Point is, if this band is putting Christian subliminal messages into their music, I doubt highly that it has ANYTHING to do with sex!

Anyone want to point out the backwards bit in Rage in Eden?

November 22, 2003

Ronaldo and the anal probe

Brazil: The mayor of Bocaiuva do Sul has asked his alien friends not to land their spaceship during this week's Brazil v Peru football match.

Elcio Berti told Estado de Sao Paulo online: I cancelled the landing because I was worried they might abduct one of the Brazilian footballers.
Mr Berti, the Mayor of Bocaiuva do Sul, claims to be in regular touch with aliens and says they are helping to fund a UFO landing pad he's building in the town.

Mayor cancels alien landing over abduction fears - Ananova, 21st November 2003 (via Gullibility isn't in the dictionary).

November 21, 2003

It all adds up

English Language Encoded with Calculation Proofs is a calculator which shows a Miracle Warning Designed into the English Language before it came into being, to Warn us and to Prove the Existence of God, Logically and Scientifically beyond all doubt.

Many have tried to calculate the number of the beast with many different ideas and methods tried, and it seems that most methods used point towards a 666 calculation. One of the end times prophets came up with using the English Alphabet and giving them a value from 1 to 26, then multiplying the results by 6. The results are very interesting. While 666 is not evil in itself, it is quite amazing when you see how the key words which are required to set up the computerised personal identification system are being revealed with this calculation to add up to 666. Coincidence?
It would seem that these have been provided as proof that there is something going on, beyond coincidence. Computers themselves are a numbering system, and convert various numbers to mean various letters and other keys and characters. Part of the development of the computer system was to have what is called the ASCII code, which gives every character a number value. Interestingly when the calculation is written into a computer program, the ASCII code gives us other values which would not otherwise be given a value by the English Alphabet multiplied by 6.

Except it doesn't calculate, not for me anyway. Presumably you need to sell your soul to Microsoft first, and we already have proof that Bill Gates is the Antichrist.

November 18, 2003

Voodoo to-do

United States: Menen Osorio-Fuentes, the losing candidate in a Democratic Party selection battle is suing the winner, Migdalia Castro, claiming she accused her of witchcraft and voodoo.

(Castro) made the said allegations knowing that a substantial number of the persons hearing said allegations, because of their ethnic and cultural heritage, would believe said allegations and would believe, as a result, that (Osorio-Fuentes) was a dangerous and evil person and would, as a result, hold (Osorio-Fuentes) in contempt, the lawsuit says.

But Castro's advisor thinks the allegation itself is racist:

Fair Haven has a large Puerto Rican and Dominican constituency, he said, and there might be some who practice Santeria, which melds Catholicism with indigenous religions in the Caribbean, but is a different belief system from witchcraft or voodoo.
The lawsuit does not mention Santeria, but Reyes said language that suggests some voters would be predisposed to believing witchcraft and voodoo accusations because of their ethnic and cultural heritage could be misleading and offensive.
I don't know how she's going to make a tie to the election. It's a specious claim. Even more, it's disrespectful of people who practice those religions Tomas Reyes said.

Lawsuit claims 'voodoo' slander - New Haven Register, 15th November 2003.

November 2, 2003

Letters to the Editor

Redwolf corresponds: Does Transcendental Meditation count as loonie fundie nonense?, and points us at this interesting article from HogBlog:

David Lynch is even weirder than you think: he's a devotee of Transcendental Meditation out to raise $1 billion to build 100 peace palaces around America in which crowds of Transcendental Meditators will whip up the fresh, creamy karma that will bring about instant and total world peace, no strings attached.
But he's still going to make disturbing films filled with sex and violence...

Thank you for that one. Pastor Best sends a Humanist press release:

Bishop Declares Jesus' Teachings Wrong
We've gone against, absolutely against, the word of Jesus in revising our regard for divorced people who want to remarry, said Bishop Gene Robinson in an interview in The Daily Telegraph.
He is the newly consecrated Bishop of New Hampshire in the USA and he pointed out that the teachings of Jesus on marriage, sex and slavery, as well as on divorce, were wrong.
This is the first time in recorded history that a Christian Bishop has corrected the teaching of Jesus, said Roy Saich of the Humanists web site.
When the Humanists led the campaign for divorce reform in the nineteen sixties the Bishops opposed it, as they have other important reforms, continued Mr. Saich, but I am pleased the new Bishop is honest enough to acknowledge that, like Humanist morality, Christian morality can change. Of course he is no longer a Christian if he opposes the teaching of Jesus on these issues. He can hardly claim Jesus as God incarnate, concluded Mr. Saich.

October 28, 2003

Le nettoyage ethnique de Hallowe'en

France: A French fast food chain (surely not a very French thing in itself) has put the Auld Alliance at risk by claiming Hallowe'en is Anglo-Saxon. Flunch has replaced the Scottish and Irish festival with their very own invented Celtic New Year.

Gilleron said the Gallic promotion, which features stores decorated with cardboard druids, was in the spirit of French ancestors. The eve of the Celtic New Year was a big event and would be followed by weeks of parties and banquets.

Customers have so far failed to notice. Asterix Spirit Stems Halloween Invasion - Yahoo! News, 28th October 2003.

October 26, 2003

New Age authors are from Uranus

Polly Vernon has a look at the massive market in self-help and mind, body and spirit books in today's Observer:

On reaching her flat, she disappeared into the kitchen to make drinks, and he started absentmindedly checking out the contents of her living room, at which point he discovered that her bookshelves were monopolised by upwards of 50 titles from the self-help genre. I'm OK - You're OK. Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. The Road Less Travelled. Women Who Love Too Much. Chicken Soup for the Soul. A Course in Miracles. Etcetera. He looked at the books for a millisecond and drew what he insists was the obvious conclusion. He was trapped in the home of a nutter.

Last year, sales of such books generated £38m in the UK alone, and that figure has been steadily increasing, though it includes kook diet books read by those who cannot accept that all they need to do is eat less and be more active. And what of the future - surely this is the best genre to know that?

Alongside the Goddess revival, Danuta Kean predicts a major move towards interest in psychic powers and mediums. Apparently, she says, anything that the Living Channel is endorsing heavily is a very good indicator of forthcoming trends in self-help. The ageing baby-boomers are investing heavily in books that prepare them for old age, to guard against failing mental faculties. And for the younger demographic of readers, teenagers and early twentysomethings, the trend in Wicca persists, fuelled, Kean suspects, by Philip Pullman, Harry Potter, Sabrina, The Teenage Witch and Buffy.

Feel the fear... and read it anyway - The Observer, 26th October 2003.

October 25, 2003

The end which was postponed is nigh again

New Zealand: No-one told Walter Foott about Planet X failing to destroy the world last May (see The End of the World, as usual - Prattle, 1st January 2003; Planet X - the mundane truth - Prattle, 14th May 2003) and so continues to prepare for impending doom.

Mr Foott claimed he and several other members of his group had built fibreglass cocoons and electricity systems on a mountain range in the Waikato province.
The structures were designed to withstand high winds, abrupt temperature changes and meteorite showers, and were sited above potential flood levels.

As evidence, he cites a webcam image taken at by New Zealand's Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences which he says shows an unexplained light, which he explains is Planet X, but which an NZIGNS representative explained was caused by the moon. Taranaki man ready for the apocalypse - The Daily News, 24th October 2003.

Go to hell: the survey

United States: The Barna Research Group in Oxnard, southern California, conducted a poll into American beliefs in the afterlife. Around 100 people were interviewed for the poll which asked opinions in every American state apart from Hawaii and Alaska. The results?

71% of Americans believe in hell, but only 0.5% think they're going to end up there.

Actually, only 5% of Americans don't hold some sort of superstitious belief in an afterlife, but let's not exaggerate the hell business: 39% of those surveyed see hell as a state of eternal separation from God's presence, and another 13% see hell as some kind of unwanted bad outcome after death, leaving only a 32% minority who believe in a hellfire-and-brimstone-is-literally-true place of suffering where Bad People go after they die.

Mind you, 76% of Americans believe in heaven; 30% see it as an actual place of rest and reward and 46% see it as an eternal place of existence in God's presence.

Oh, and 64% believe that they are on the way to heaven after death.

These guys have got nuclear weapons. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Everyone else can go to hell, Americans say - The Guardian, 25th October, 2003.

(Read LiveJournal commentry on this item)

October 19, 2003

The president's soul is missing

Thailand: Angry farmers have performed a traditional curse on George W. Bush.

A photograph of the US leader was sealed inside a pot amid black magic mantra chants, then tossed into the Ping River yesterday by demonstrators after they rallied at the US consulate in Chiang Mai, a farm group leader said.
This is a traditional northern Thai ceremony aimed at keeping his spirit down on the riverbed so he could not come and exploit our natural resources or suppress our (farming) brothers with his superior influence, Weerasak Wan-ubol, an executive of the Northern Farmers Alliance, said today.

Bush's 'spirit' cursed, tossed into Thai river - Sydney Morning Herald, 18th October 2003.

Slow news day

Tanzania: There mustn't be much going on at the moment, as the Sunday Observer has had to go out and ask a few people what they think of astrology to fill space. Having already dismissed those who think it superstious as extremists, Patrick Kisembo seeks out some more reasonable views:

Hashim Madege of Kunduchi-Mtongani doubted whether astrology was acceptable in religious circles. In his view, astrology was a form of devil worship.

He also noted that the problem is that the practice is much carried in towns and cities but not in the villages.

He said the practice was bad because it killed the creative spirit of the believers, who surrendered their whole lives to stars.

But what do the astrologers think?

A popular astrologer, Sheikh Yahya Hussein, was reluctant to comment much on the subject when contacted by this reporter, arguing that it was an old debate dating back to the 1960s.

On why predictions differed from one astrology to another, he said that Those (other astrologers) are small kids with whom it was beneath his integrity to enter into an argument.

Astrology is controversialSunday Observer, 19th October 2003.

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October 18, 2003

Happy Birthday Charlie

Charlie is prone to saying things like this:

It's a good thing I'm an atheist. If I believed in the same God as -- say -- Pat Robertson, I'd have to donate my soul to Satan with no strings attached. [rec.arts.sf.written, 29th June 1999]

But what if he already has? According to Believer's Web, escapism through thrill- seeking ,science fiction, soap operas, or some other addicting hobby/activity is an open door to demon oppression. Alas, they go into no further detail than this. Looking elsewhere, Millennium Madness by E. L. Bynum, a Baptist perspective on Heaven's Gate, warns us Science Fiction Is Dangerous:

I have read some science fiction, and I have watched a little of the science fiction movies that have been on television. I believe that the Lord impressed upon me that this is Satanic. I refuse to read it, or watch it. I heard a conservative movie critic on radio, telling about the movie, Return of the Jedi. He thought the Star Wars movies were great, along with some of the other science fiction movies. He thought they were fine for children. He is an interesting man, but he is an unsaved Jew. I would warn parents to keep this stuff out of your home, and out of the minds of your children. Many, if not all, of the "Heaven's Gate" cult were believers in UFO's, flying saucers, etc. According to Newsweek, they loved the Star Trek movies. On March 3, just a few days before the mass suicide, the cult members went to see "Star Wars." Later they watched the sequels.

But it's still short on the details. Then Great God Ministries came to the rescue with an article Will Aliens Invade the Earth? In it we learn that Satan is trying to convince people that extraterrestrial life exists and is conspiring to destroy mankind and takeover the earth:

Our children are also being subjected to mind-conditioning from an early age. Cartoons, which used to emphasize merely competition and violence in a "friendly" way, have now given way to an almost constant barrage of space invaders. Computer and video games are filled with the same violent extraterrestrials, as are comic books. Children, fascinated with science fiction and futurism, are a ready and willing audience and a high-profit target for purveyors of such satanic mind-conditioning. Parents beware!

And why would Satan do this?

Jesus Christ, the Messiah, with His armies (Revelation 19:11-16) will be seen as an alien force come to destroy the earth and its inhabitants. The nations of the earth, having planned to fight each other, will unite to oppose Christ and His heavenly host, the true inhabitants and possessors of the heavens and the earth.

So there we have it. The Fundies have spoken—Charlie, you're doomed, unless you join their protection racket.

October 15, 2003

More on Jomanda

The Netherlands: Jomanda, the Dutch witch mentioned by Dick Advocaat has her own website, including a biography in English.

At home and abroad Jomanda has meanwhile successfully familiarized people with her method of working during the Healing Service sessions. The cause of disease or ailment may be traced through the medium of Jomanda. Her deceased father is her guide and the intermediary as well for so-called spiritual doctors who can use her as a channel/medium to cure diseases of the body and the mind. Everyone can and may receive the help from the Divine world that is possible for him or her at that moment. But there is always help for everyone who sincerely asks for it and exacts nothing. This can be done by means of Jomanda's hands, voice or entire physical radiation. Healing also take place by means of so-called spiritual operations; directly during the sessions or indirectly e.g. at home and her radio and/or TV programs.

She also publishes a full-colour, 36-page magazine Vrijheid (Freedom) which promises From the medical to alternatives, regular columns from familiar names and the less well-known (my translation -YMMV). Four issues will cost you a mere €22, but she hasn't got online ordering sussed yet, and you need to print out a form and send it to her!

It's only a game.

Ghana: Witchcraft has a strong presence in Ghanain football, according to a former head coach of Okwawu United, who provides lots of in-depth information about local beliefs:

Their powers range from washing the Football Jerseys in spiritual waters and offering prayers to the gods. They produce special concoctions for the players to sprinkle on themselves and to be used on the field of play. They produce powders that on the blast of the first whistle from the Referee are ceremoniously thrown into the air by a player or one of the coaches or official of the club. Objects are provided for the Goalkeeper to place within his defending goal and more noticeable the players are given handkerchiefs which are normally placed around the wrist of every player.

As an example, he described the various superstitions observed by the teams in the recent LG Top Four tournament, involving Ghana's top teams.

Accra Hearts of Oak in their home game against Kumasi Asante Kotoko spent no less than one hour prior to the kick-off in full view of waiting spectators performing a variety of rituals. Concoctions and powder along with other items were disposed of on the field of play. Incessant chanting by the players at the half-way line and every corner flag of the field as well as within the goal post were all designed to ensure victory. The game after 90 minutes actually ended goal less!

As a coach, he's rather fed up with this complete lack of faith in his abilities. Is there football after Juju? The Ghanaian experience. - GhanaWeb, 15th October 2003.

October 14, 2003

The Gospel according to Homer

A Scottish minister is so desperate for congregants that he is basing a series of sermons on episodes of The Simpsons:

Religious leaders believe the adventures of balding family man Homer, whose catchphrase is doh, are a great way to explore moral and religious dilemmas.
A Church of Scotland spokesman said: This seems like a wonderful idea.

IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD, AND THE WORD WAS DOH! - Daily Record, 14th October 2003.

October 2, 2003

Quote of the Day

This is from a Christian review of a single (probably New Age) book, at the far fringes of the Green movement:

Greens hate progress if it means a better life for everyone on Earth. The Greens worship Gaia, the pagan Earth goddess, not the universal God of mankind.

On the basis of this, it's presumably okay to assert that all Christians are barking mad lunatics, and not just the barking mad lunatic ones. The Green Enemies of Progress - CNS News, 2nd October 2003.

September 21, 2003

South African Muti

South Africa: A recent soap episode has highlighted the widespread use of 'muti' to bring luck, ward off bad luck or attract a lover.

In the series Refiloe went to a sangoma to get a potion that would make Bra Zeb love her more. In the beginning it seemed as though it was working, until Bra Zeb got sick. When he found out that Refiloe was putting muti in his food, he kicked her out.

But, of course, it isn't witchcraft, honest, according to Selina Letsoko, a sangoma in Johannesburg's inner city:

Witches work as group and they are the ones spoiling everything. Their muti doesn't help, it kills. Sangomas are there to help, we have ancestors that guide us.

Use of love potions rife in real life - IOL, 20th September 2003.

Christian spell doesn't work

United States: Pat Robertson recently urged his followers to cast a spell, sorry, pray in the name of Jesus to turn Hurricane Isabel away.

On today's broadcast of The 700 Club, Robertson gave God credit for turning past hurricanes away in response to prayer.

Praying in the name of Jesus, Robertson said he believes that God will put up a wall of protection.

He added that he and those praying with him command this storm to go out into the sea and to pass land harmlessly.

Robertson has a history of blaming disasters on the behaviour of the people affected, and claiming that they are punishments from God for 'crimes' such as tolerance of homosexuality. As Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell observes:

Remember when Pat Robertson suggested that gay-pride flags in Orlando might incur God's wrath in the form of a storm? How odd, since Isabel is now heading toward Virginia Beach -- where Pat is.

Pat Robertson prays that Hurricane Isabel will turn awayHampton Roads NewsChannel 3, 17th September 2003 (via Stageleft—scroll down to find the story if you appear to have a blank right column—the layout is hosed); Taking Names: Hurricane IsabelOrlando Sentinel, 18th September 2003.

September 13, 2003

The terrible effects of caffeine

Canada: Did an Ontario Tory have David Icke in mind when mailing out a press release to news organisations. For Friday's release had something rather odd to say about the Liberal leader: Dalton McGuinty: He's an evil reptilian kitten-eater from another planet. Without apologising, Tory leader Ernie Eves tried to explain it all away as a failed attempt at humour: I think someone either had way too much coffee this morning or had way too much time. PCs call Liberal leader a kitten eater - Canada.com, 12th September 2003.

August 22, 2003

Pride

Sam writes (to my dear beloved):

The Pagan Prattle is number 1 in Google for the word entryism.
You must be so proud.

Indeed.

August 17, 2003

A Mars a day

The close proximity of the planet Mars continues to provide entertainment. Neil Lark, a retired professor of physics and astronomy at University of the Pacific, told a local newspaper in Stockton, California:

Misguided wonderment over Mars isn't relegated to the history books, Lark said. During a recent sighting, a resident called Lark convinced the bright orb hovering over Stockton was an alien space ship. Lark did his best to calm the worried caller, saying the space ship was actually Mars.
He was sure this was a UFO, Lark said.

Later in the article, astrologer MerriAnn Messenger warns:

The Earth's proximity to Mars -- the God of War -- is raising testosterone levels and stirring the blood in everybody from terrorists to sharks, she said. She charges Mars with leading President Bush and U.S. troops into another war-torn country, Liberia.
And Mars is entering the constellation of Pisces, which symbolizes water, health and institutions such as hospitals. The aggression of Mars combined with Pisces explains the recent strikes at San Joaquin General Hospital, Messenger said.

Closer, brighter, always fascinating - RecordNET, 17th August 2003.

August 12, 2003

The original blue screen of death

Jesus explains his father's smiting tendencies in this parody of an Apple 'Switch' ad (Quicktime; via Holy Weblog).

August 1, 2003

Gin-nie in a bottle

Cameroon: Odontol is a spirit which is widely consumed in Cameroon, even though it was declared illegal in 1998 after 45 people died drinking it. But relatives of the ten mourners who died after drinking it at a wake are in denial:

Some locals who attended the wake believed witchcraft might be to blame. We have been consuming this drink for centuries and there have never been any deaths. Why only now? said one.

Gin, witchcraft blamed for deaths at Cameroon wake - Reuters (via CNN), 30th July 2003.

July 21, 2003

SoH DIchDaq ghobe'...

I've mentioned the Bible translated into Polari before, but never noticed the Universal Translator Assistant Project's translations of the Bible into Klingon, Vulcan and Romulan. But the author observes the UTA project is a pretty simpleminded translation process - The Klingon Language Institute is working on a serious translation, and provides a link to an FTP site with the materials for your perusal.

July 6, 2003

Listen to the words of the Great Computer

New Witch magazine has some useful advice for Windows-using Pagans:

TURN THE COMPUTER OFF COMPLETELY WHEN YOU ARE WORKING MAGIC, the Rev. Galina Krasskova writes in New Witch's spring issue. I cannot emphasize this enough. I've had friends who have had their computers completely crash due to simple energy overload when they inadvertently left them on while doing spellwork.
Krasskova also suggests that a witch should name her computer and talk to it in a soothing, friendly manner. This is because vaettir, which are nature spirits, can take up residence in your hard drive.
Do not curse, yell, smack or otherwise vent your anger on your computer, she writes. Most vaettir are extremely sensitive to emotions.
If you do curse at your computer -- and even the most even-tempered witch sometimes does -- you can clean away the bad energy by shaking a coffee can full of coins around the computer. Or, better yet, you can bless the machine.
Simply put your hands on the computer, Krasskova suggests, and bless it in the name of your patron Goddess or God.

Personally, on those rare occasions when she does play silly buggers, I find Saya responds promptly to a well-chosen swear word or two.

The magazine is published by the same people who publish SageWoman, PanGaia and Blessed Bee, and they've had some problems with their choice of title:

In fact, it was too hot for one natural food store chain -- she won't say which -- that carries her other magazines but refuses to stock anything bearing the W-word. Borders bookstores carry the magazine, though. New Witch is selling nearly 10,000 copies an issue and growing steadily.

Hex Advice, Coven To Coven - Washington Post, 3rd June 2003. (Thanks, Charlie)

May 29, 2003

Jesus was a poof.

An Australian academic claims that Jesus and at least three of his disciples were gay. Dr Rollan McCleary came to this conclusion based on the solid, scientific evidence found in the scriptures, biblical translations and Jesus' astrological chart!

Dr McCleary has just been awarded his doctorate for a thesis on gay spirituality. An Anglican and a qualified reader of astrological charts, Dr McCleary said that Jesus' chart shares an attribute found in the charts of many gay men -- a prominence by the planet Uranus.

A forthcoming book will shed more light on his hypothesis. This is probably an appropriate point to mention The Bible - Polari Edition, as translated by the Manchester Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Jesus was gay, says Australian academic - Gay.com News, 29th May 2003.

May 22, 2003

Still not dead

Today is the second date for Panawave Laboratory's predicted cataclysm. With under three hours of the 22nd left in Japan, so far, all is quiet, even in the press.

May 16, 2003

Not dead yet.

Japan The Panawave laboratory cult have returned to their headquarters in Fukui after nothing happened yesterday. Doomsday has apparently been postponed until next Thursday.

Planet X was also conspicuous by its absence. In an editorial posted yesterday, Jeremy Rogers also decided that the cataclysm could happen anytime in the next week:

Today of course marks the arrival of the provisional date given for the pole shift a few years back. By provisional, I mean the date at which people should be at their safe locations in anticipation of the monumental event ahead. The pole shift was scheduled to occur shortly after today, and definitely within the month of May. Looking out of my window today, you would not guess that a potential worldwide calamity was imminent! Nevertheless, I still urge people to stay vigilant and watch for any possible signs of rapid rotation slowing, which is predicted to take place in 48 hours, anytime in the next week.

No news from Zetatalk, which has been refusing connections for a few days now. The UK mirror is up, though. In the transcript of an IRC session on 10th of May, Nancy Leider assures us that the date is STILL shortly after May 15 for rotation stoppage, with the shift occuring before June 1 but that NO exact date will be given as this will allow the White House to bomb bridges and trap innocents in LA or wherever.

2003 Poleshift: A Revelation to Mankind is a site I've only just discovered, which explains that the events are those described in Revelation and THERE MAY BE LESS THAN A WEEK UNTIL THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE DAY OF THE LORD. Updated today, the author is having doubts about the Zetas, but only in their ability to time God's Will:

Yet there is still that part of us that says to ourselves, the Zeta have not been truthful with us. Many hold this possibility to be remote, yet still find it just difficult to shake. But in the larger scheme of things, think not about one little detail - think rather about the bigger picture. This has, after all, always been something that we were told by Jesus himself that this will occur and it is something that he tells us will come upon us suddenly, like a trap. It's really a time to question just how much faith you really do have. For many of us, whatever decision we make, it should not be regrettable. Most of us that have taken it seriously have prepared to some degree and will be better prepared logistically and more importantly psychologically to deal with the ensuing chaos of coming world events.

Oddly, Planet X did arrive for some Iraqis yesterday, as that's the name commanders of the US occupation forces gave to the operation to arrest them. White cult awaits 'postponed' doomsday at Fukui HQ - Mainichi Shimbun, 16th May 2003; U.S. Forces Arrest 260 in Iraq Raid - ABC News, 16th May 2003.

May 14, 2003

We apologise for any inconvenience caused

The second-in-command of the Panawave Laboratory has said that the cataclysm due to hit the world tomorrow has been delayed by a week:

The high-ranking cultist corrected a prediction that a major disaster will devastate the Earth on Thursday. I think it will be delayed till around May 22.

Still, the group feels it has enough time to initiate legal proceedings against legal authorities over police raids. Police raid bizarre "white cult" - Mainichi Shimbun, 14th May 2003.

May 13, 2003

Two days to go...

A few days ago, someone enquired via the comments mechanism as to whether the Panawave Laboratory had an e-mail address. Well, I can now confirm that the group has a web site. Alas, it's in Japanese, which is a little harder to guess than Spanish. Still, the acronyms UFO and KGB appear prominently in romanji on the Wellcome page, and the Katakana (the script used in Japanese for foreign words) includes such juicy phrases as 'maindo kontorol'. Tomorrow's Independent assures us that it says the world will end on 15 May with a series of cataclysmic events, including earthquakes and tidal waves provoked by gravity from the unseen planet. The article itself is an interesting discussion of Japanese attitudes to odd cults pre- and post- Aum Shinrikyo, and whether the Panawave laboratory folk are anything like that. So, will the world end tomorrow? - The Independent, 14th May 2003.

May 7, 2003

Oops

New Zealand: A food safety measure designed to prevent the sale of fortified wines in supermarkets and dairies has accidently led to a ban on the sale of that Pagan favourite, mead. The mix-up occurred because the Food Standards Agency appears to have become confused as to exactly what an 'off-licence' is. A glass of sherry is now illegal - Stuff, 8th May 2003.

May 6, 2003

The issue is sealed

Japan: A statement issued yesterday in the name of Panawave laboratory leader Yuko Chino confirms that they are, indeed, awaiting Planet X.

The statement, filled with strange jargon, said the approach of the Nibiru star will be delayed nearly a week from Monday and those who do not listen to this message will face death.

Nibiru is an alternative name for Planet X, which some believe will pass Earth on 15th May this year, causing the poles to shift and massive destruction. The main reason for the Panawave statement was to call for the protection of a particular bearded seal which is significant to the group. Cultists enter Nagano; issue statement about Tama-chan - Japan Today, 6th May 2003. See also Separated at birth? - Pagan Prattle, 5th May 2003; The End of the World, as usual - Pagan Prattle, 1st January 2003.

May 5, 2003

Separated at birth?

Japan: Watchers of doomsday cults might have noticed something interesting about the white-clad Panawave group, currently in the news in Japan. Here's one summary of part of thier beliefs:

The group claims that electromagnetic waves are causing catastrophic environmental destruction, including a rise in temperature. The damages caused by the waves will ultimately result in the end of the earth, according to the cult. Cult members believe a massive earthquake will occur on May 15, destroying humanity. It claims the domes in Oizumi can withstand any natural disaster.
They also allege that scalar wave attacks are being carried out by communist terrorists who have dispersed around the world following the break up of the Soviet Union.

See that date? 15th May, 10 days from now. Mainichi Daily News also has an interesting photo essay on Panawave with another explanation of what they believe is going to happen:

Cult members are convinced that the human race will be destroyed on May 15 this year because of a dramatic change in the angles of the Earth's axis.

Heard that anywhere before? Back on 1st January 2003, the Prattle looked at end-of-the-world prophecies for 2003, and linked to a site called Prep2003. Go there today, and you will see that we have 10 days remaining, although the site's maintainer has lost faith in the proposed date:

Although Mr. Sitchin has stated that he does not support the 2003 timeline, Nancy and the Zeta's insist that Planet X is due to pass between the Earth and the Sun on or around May 15, 2003 and that this information is being withheld from us by the world governments. Russia caused quite a stir in 2001 with their highly-sourced, very public comment that the country will no longer exist in 2003. After pressure to clarify the statement, the official version is that this will happen if the current economic situation remains unchanged. The Zeta's maintain that this 2003 flyby will cause worldwide death and destruction as the tremendous forces generated by the molten core of our celestial visitor tries to align with the molten core of the Earth and that this tremendous magnetic pull will cause Earth's crust to slip, creating a new north and south pole. In effect, a pole shift is what will happen. Unfortunately, there is an incredible amount of scientific evidence from many sources which supports the theory of recurring, catastrophic pole shifts on our planet! The only real debate left is when this is going to occur!

The origin of the date is almost certainly ZetaTalk, which I note is available in Japanese translation. Could they be related? Perhaps not - Panawave members have been wandering around Japan looking for a safe place, but ZetaTalk warns For Japan, there will be no safe place. It is like asking where in a tornado one should stand to avoid the tearing of the wind! Kooky cult gets all clear - Mainichi Shimbum, 5th May 2003.

April 18, 2003

This wouldn't happen in Greenland

Patna, India: The incoming Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Arjun Munda, moved into his official residence on Thursday. But first, the government splashed out on paying a Hindu priest to exorcise the evil spirits which had caused his predecessor's premature departure.

The chief minister will now complete his full term, said an optimistic Gauri Kant Thakur, a Hindu priest from Begusarai in Bihar, who performed the rituals for the grih pravesh. It was a worship of Vaastu Purush for prevalence of peace, he added. The grih pravesh also coincides with Munda completing one month in office on Thursday. The changes effected appeared simple yet tasteful. Ceramic tiles have now replaced the previous cement flooring with wall to wall carpeting.
The wooden staircase leading to the first floor, which was earlier south-west facing, proved to be inauspicious for Marandi and hence has been blocked now. The staircase now faces the north-east which, according to Thakur, will augur a problem-free regime for Munda.

The cost of the exorcism was between 800,000 and 1, 000, 000 rupees. ( £10,731 - £13, 414 or €15,494 - €19, 367). Evil spirits gone, CM Munda moves in - The Times of India, 18th April 2003.

April 8, 2003

Barking mad fundies

India: A well known television personality and her husband have been reported to the police after naming their dog Sardar Ruginder Singh Bedi. The name is a combination of Sikh honorifics and a name associated with the religion's founder's clan. Ironically, the star is herself a Sikh from the Bedi clan. 'Please Sikh another name for your dog' - IOL, 8th April 2003.

April 2, 2003

Crystal Faze

The Sci-Fi Channel in the US is to show Mad Mad House, a rather bizarre game show:

This show puts contestants into Alt Manor, a house inhabited by a vampire, a witch, a voodoo priest, a yoga master and a psychic, where the contestants must compete in a series of increasingly bizarre challenges to claim a grand prize.

SCI FI Gets Real - SciFi.com, 2nd April 2003.

George Bush is the Antichrist

Trebor has put together this page, Nice Guy? or the Devil's Spawn, to demonstrate that George W. Bush is the Antichrist.

I first posted this almost two years ago to sound the alarm. Tragically, nobody listened. Now, eight months after stealing the election and assuming power, the stock market has crashed, people are losing their jobs, the World Trade Center is gone, and our nation is heading off to fight a bloody Holy War in the Middle East. Suddenly, nobody is laughing anymore.

Now if only he'd spend some time honing his Photoshop skills...

March 28, 2003

Are those Catholic evil spirits or Protestant evil spirits?

If Rangers sign up Saliou Lassissi , a defender from the Ivory Coast, the fans will have something other than the usual religious arguments. Lassissi was badly injured in a game two years ago, but his rehabilitation has been delayed because he believes that modern medicine is evil.

Italian clubs have long been at the forefront of sports injury rehabilitation but, for Lassissi, his employers came to embody the devil incarnate.
A variety of injections were included in his treatment - vitamins, cortisone, painkillers - anti-inflammatories, but, according to sources within the Roma treatment room, Lassissi refused them all.
He believed that injections carried evil spirits, that everything his Ivory Coast upbringing had taught him screamed out that great harm would befall him if he accepted the physio's treatment programme.
Roma were dumbfounded. Lassissi refused to have anything to do with bad medicine and Roma saw his rehab stretching further and further into the distance.

FOOTBALL: SPELL OF A PLAYER - The Daily Record, 28th March 2003.

March 26, 2003

Surprise, surprise

The current attacks on Iraq have inspired predictions of Armageddon and the Second Coming - this article from an Ohio newspaper looks at them in more depth. Iraq war generates predictions of Apocalypse - The Beacon Journal, 22nd March 2003.

Teaching history 'discriminates against witches'

A theology graduate has complained that a display about 17th century attitudes to witchcraft put together by school pupils as a history project encourages discrimination.

Theology graduate Pauline Charles said the 17th Century attitudes had no place in a 21st Century classroom.
She saw the exhibition when she went to an adult education workshop at the college and was shocked the paintings were stereotypical images of old women with bulbous noses and tall hats.
She said: I was horrified schoolchildren should be encouraged to discriminate in this way.

A local 'white witch', Marina Pepper, did not feel oppressed on being told about the exhibition and was keen to see it.

It sounds very much like this was a proper history project to me. I would be intrigued to see the paintings. I am sure the students will have learnt from it that religious fundamentalism in any form is wrong.

School in 'witch discrimination' row - The Argus, 19th March 2003.

March 18, 2003

There's nowt so queer as folk

Yorkshire: Two residents of Brighouse are concerned that a planned mobile phone mast on a church tower will be used to transmit pornography.

Mr Craig Drake and his wife Melody, who live in Haigh Street opposite the church, are leading a campaign against the installation of the masts. They made sure church members were aware of the possible pornographic link by placing leaflets on car windscreens during last Sunday morning's service.

We are very worried about the proposals. As well as the link with pornography there are health risks attached to the equipment and we do not feel the church tower is the right place for this equipment, said Mr Drake.

He said the video 'phone technology had only previously been available in Japan and it had become known that video phones were used to transmit pornographic images.

We fear this will happen in this country. Paedophile rings on the Internet are being clamped down on and we are worried people will use the new video 'phones instead, said Mr Drake, who has an 11-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter. I do not feel this is an appropriate use of the church tower.

Porn 'beamed from church mast' - Brighouse Today, 7th March 2003 - link likely to break as they keep moving it. (Thanks, Tez)

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March 13, 2003

Letting it all hang out.

Zambia: Police who said that a suspect had been using witchcraft to elude them have now been accused of using witchcraft to enable them to catch him! The officers are said to have engaged the services of a witchdoctor.

Accusations that police removed their underpants to make the search more effective would be interpreted in Zambia as a sure sign of witchery; black magic is best practised naked.
But police said that, apart from the lack of underpants and their urination on traditional herbs found at Kalumba's hideaway, it was a conventional operation.
In the latest twist a journalist has been cautioned by police after claiming in an article that the president, Levy Mwanawasa, sanctioned the police's use of witchcraft as a last resort in the search for Dr Kalumba.

Worldwide: Police accused of using witchcraft to catch fugitive - Daily Telegraph, 8th March 2003. See also: Police blame witchcraft for their incompetence - Pagan Prattle, 16th January 2003.

March 4, 2003

Ham-fisted ban

Batley, West Yorkshire: A primary school has banned any reference to pigs, including traditional stories such as The Three Little Pigs in case it offends Muslims, much to the bewilderment of Muslims themselves.

Inayat Bunglawala, of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: This is bizarre. There is nothing to stop children reading about pigs. The ban is simply on the consumption of pork and pig products.

The ban was discovered when a parent realised that all references to pigs had been removed from homework sheets. Children banned from reading Three Little Pigs - Ananova, 4th March 2003.

Thou canst not get me

Ministers on the Church of Scotland are so worried about changes to their working conditions that union membership among them has doubled in recent months.

[Reverend Ian Fraser] said: I think people are coming into the trade union because they want the support of an organisation which knows how to negotiate and to achieve better conditions of service for all those involved in the work of the church.
The church is a complex organisation with committees and the minister very often feels very alone, so, it needs the support of a network, like a trade union, to see us through the difficult times.

Clergy signing up to union - BBC News, 3rd March 2003.

February 28, 2003

Bible studies in cross stitch

Mira Reisberg has produced some interesting artwork. Take the Ten Plagues of Exodus Wallpaper designs, one for each plague. I quite like death of the Egyptian's first born myself. She's also created a series of Seven Deadly Sins needlepoint canvases which are unlikely to be found in your local needlecrafts shop any time soon. But, if you hadn't already guessed from the Hell Money, she isn't any kind of raving fundamentalist, but is instead informed by her family history:

As a daughter of the holocaust, reconciling Judeo/Christian constructs has been a lifelong dilemma. How do I reconcile the idea of God with my families history? How do I reconcile everyday horror with the beauty I see every day? The goodness of people in the world with the cruelty of people in the world? My own goodness with my own cruelty?

(via Everlasting Blort)

Taking the eruv with the smooth

An eruv is a special enclosure used by Orthodox Jews to symbolically extend the boundary of the home, and therefore permit certain actions, such as pushing a wheelchair, which would not otherwise be allowed on the Sabbath. In other words, it's a legal hack. After much arguing with planning officials, the North West London Eruv is due to go into operation any day now, and as it's fragile, the website provides an eruv status message to warn the observant if a recent inspection has revealed any breach in the eruv. But, as Yoz Grahame has noticed, there's a problem with the warning on the website:

What's that? You can't see it? Ah. That'll be because you're using Mozilla. Or Safari. Or a phone browser. Or anything that isn't MSIE. Or you're running MSIE with Javascript turned off. Or you're a disabled person using a browser with extra accessability features, and now you're really annoyed because the main recipients of the benefits of the eruv are, of course, disabled people. The silliest thing here is that the web page seems to be dynamically-generated anyway (or, at least, hand-edited at least once a week)

Maybe it's to promote other, more profitable, methods of finding out about the eruv's condition? Yoz continues There's also an email and SMS service, though (in classic synagogue style) they seem to be demanding an 18 quid donation for subscription. (via BoingBoing)

Trees to marry

Thailand: a traditional engagement ceremony has been held, except that the happy couple are both trees - a teak tree and a lamduan, the engagement rings made of flowers and vines, and the bride received gifts of rice, peas and pressed fertiliser.

The ceremony began with the boisterous sound of traditional drums, gongs, cymbals, and Thai dancing from the groom's khan mark procession.
The ladies who carried the khan mark (present trays) wore leaves and flowers in their bodies and hair...
...The procession moved to where a match-maker and two ageing couples, pretending to be the bride and groom's parents, were seated.
Negotiations started with the groom's parents asking the bride's parents for their daughter Lamduan. After the deal was made, presents were handed to the bride's parents. Then two sides tied rings to the trunks of the trees, completing their engagement.

The ritual was designed to promote love of plants and nature, and the trees will be married on 8th March. Trees engaged in Thai-style ceremony to promote nature - Bangkok Post, 28th February 2003.

February 24, 2003

Spelling it out

Kenya: A government minister has laughed off attempts to bewitch him by people who misappropriated local authority funds.

He caused laughter during a meeting with chief officers, civic leaders and staff at the Kwale County Hall when he said some culprits may even try to bewitch him.
Some of those who have had a hand in stealing from Government coffers will try to use all means, including witchcraft, to evade detection but they will fail this time around, he warned.
The Minister said since his appointment to the Cabinet, he had lost weight due to his busy schedule.

He used the meeting to announce that, in future, only lawyers would be eligible for the position of Town Clerk. Govt will only hire lawyers as Town Clerks, says Maitha - East African Standard, 24th February 2003.

February 21, 2003

Amusing timewaster

Reasonably Clever's LEGO Tarot modestly describes itself as Possibly the goofiest attempt at a custom-made tarot deck. Ever. You can't buy it - the creator created all 72 cards for their own personal enjoyment - but it's a well-done variation on the Rider-Waite deck.

February 19, 2003

Jesus asked to demean self by acting as lawyer.

A man accused of tampering with a judge in Missouri has asked to have Jesus Christ represent him in court.

Richard John Adams requested Jesus Christ as his trial attorney during a hearing Wednesday on tampering charges. Adams, who described himself as a patriot and a Christian, says lawyers are devils who are trying to undermine the Constitution.

Unfortunately, the Son of God is unqualified and only a lawful attorney may represent defendents in Missouri's courts. Accused man requests Jesus Christ as trial attorney - ABC7 Chicago, 13th February 2003.

February 13, 2003

The Death Star, actually

390,000 people in England and Wales answered the controversial religion question on the 2001 census forms with 'Jedi'. The response was most popular in Brighton and Hove, where 2.6% of respondents claimed it as their religion. Census returns of the Jedi - BBC News, 13th February 2003.

Christians roasting on an open fire, lions nibbling at their toes...

Picked up a copy of the latest Weekly World News last night, because of the headline: Saddam feeds Christians to lions and a picture of a special non-shadow casting lion looming over a shadow-casting man (and looking somewhere else entirely). The 'story' comes from a missionary, so it must be true.

In another story, we learn that crop circles are post-it notes for aliens and Stonehenge is part of a worldwide network of markers and road maps for space travelers. Most importantly, the US National Security Agency uses the codes themselves to communicate with exrtraterrestrial travellers:

NSA uses crop circle memos to warn UFO pilots of upcoming spaceshots. We don't want a UFO crashing into a space shuttle.

It's nearly as good as Pravda!

February 7, 2003

Supersition in strange places?

I went to Boots to buy some hair dye the other day. The dye is normally £9.99, but they were offering a third off which is why it cost £6.65.

Yet More Shuttle Silliness

It's amazing what some people see in the artifacts you get when you over-process a low-resolution image. Wiolawa Press specialises in Extraterrestrial ART in Nature and has been quick to analyse Shuttle photos as they appeared on news websites. First, an analysis of a picture in the Louisville Courier:

this image has been from the one cut above and taken to desaturation.. black and white and enlarged to 1472 pixels per inch.. i believe from what im observing the SHUTTLE crew that survived were taken off the blown ship.. and you should be able to see what are called the BEKS ( little doctors of the ORIONS- who currently reside on earth i.e. under and above) probably administering to those who have injuries.. it is easy to see also on this image that one of the females is climbing out of one of the ships..probably from below to climb to the ship above to be rescued....... i think you will see there is alot happening in this photo enlargement, including CRITTERS you have never seen before.. from the LOUISVILLE PAPER PHOTO!!.. my take is that the ORIONS have taken the astronauts who survived.. however, i have no idea where they are taking them.. i suggest others do an analysis also and see what you observe and can find.. to verify these remarks.. ALSO THE CIRCULAR DISKS SEEM TO BE THE BEKS VEHICLES FOR INSPECTING THE SHIP AND ADMINISTERING TO THOSE WHO SURVIVED.. THE CIRCULAR VEHICLES ARE NOT DEBRIS!!!>> ah ho Wiolawa

And of an image published by CNN. This page has an exciting-sounding link to the analysis of the ILLUMINATI METHODICAL PLANNING BEHIND THIS HORRIFIC EVENT By S. Swerdlow, where we learn that the disaster was the Global Ceremony for the Iraq war and staged alien invasion, both leading to the NWO and the New World Religion.. He cites a long list of 'evidence' including:

* This was the 113th space shuttle flight.
* Columbia has been flying for 22 years (twinning).
* The shuttle took off on 01-16-2003, which equals a number 13.
* Ft. Hood, Texas is sending a recovery team calling it a 24/7 operation, which equals a number 13.
* CNN used a local station "13" in Florida to cover Cape Canaveral.
* The runway to which it was heading is Runway # 33 which is 3 miles long.
* 02-01-03 leaves 333 days in this year.
* The event took place on the exact anniversary week of the Challenger accident in 1986.
* The event took place on the date of the Chinese New Year.
* The event took place on the date of a New Moon.
* Challenger exploded while taking off; Columbia exploded while landing--a completion cycle.

I wonder which Chinese New Year took place when it wasn't the New Moon. Meanwhile, New World Disorder is tracking Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster Conspiracies, Anomalies and Oddities.

February 6, 2003

Dead people - live on TV.

A US TV channel is to show a pay-per-view seance during which psychics will attempt to contact Princess Diana. The $9 show will be shown on March 9th and features interviews with unbiased observers such as Mohammed al-Fayed and Andrew Morton. It will be broadcast live from London and features mediums who had regular contact with Diana. US cable channel to screen Diana seance - Ananova, 6th February 2003.

January 23, 2003

Arsonist worried about voodoo.

A man has been jailed for two-and-a-half years by Cardiff Crown Court after he admitted setting fire to his own home because he thought it had been cursed with voodoo. Arson man had voodoo fears - BBC News, 22nd January 2003.

January 22, 2003

Stand up for Jesus

A Dutch parish council is convinced it is the victim of a deliberate trick after it distributed a hardcore porn video believing it to be a tape of a local church choir. A mix-up seems more likely. Church choir video turns out to be porn - Ananova, 22nd January 2003. (Note: I found the story below while looking for more on this one. It hasn't appeared in any of the Dutch papers as far as I can tell.)

January 18, 2003

Satan gets everywhere these days

A small Bible college in Kentucky wants its phone number changing because the 666 prefix is putting off potential students. So far, it's taken the phone company six months to get around to it. Bible college shuns beastly 666 phone number - Ananova, 18th January 2003.

January 17, 2003

Not hermetically sealed

Public health workers have become increasingly concerned about the use of mercury in rituals associated with Santeria, a syncretic magical religion of Caribbean origin.

There had been much talk in the public health world of practitioners of Santeria, Vodun and other underground religions of Caribbean origin contaminating their homes and vehicles by sprinkling mercury. But so far, no one had been able to document just how far-reaching this practice might be.

Unfortunately, the only person who would speak to researchers was a rather confused owner of a New Age shop, who misheard them and thought they said "salt water":

In fact, the only merchant who would even admit to knowing anything about mercury was the owner of a New Age store in New Hope, Pennsylvania, who told them mercury is part of some pagan rituals of European origin.

The mostly 'Latino' practitioners are naturally concerned about being scapegoated if they co-operate with the investigation.

But these large-scale federal investigations are being greeted with some misgivings by practitioners of Santeria and Vodun as well as community groups working in Latino communities in the region--even among some of the people who will actually be working on the new efforts to educate and inform the public on mercury's hazards. They are concerned not only that any findings will be ripe for more sensationalistic headlines, but that the focus on household poisoning singles out an exotic-seeming practice--and a single, relatively powerless group of people. Why, they ask, are other contributors of mercury to the environment, which may be just as devastating to human health, not getting the same attention?
It has been shown by the EPA and other people that the biggest source of mercury is from coal-burning power plants. How many articles do you see about that? asks Marian Feinberg, health plan coordinator for the South Bronx Clean Air Coalition, an environmental justice group that is participating in the NIH project. It is very easy to lay blame on an individual--much harder to consider the larger physical environment that people live in.

Mercury Rising - City Limits, February 2003.

Magical scams in Malaysia

Malaysia is suffering a spate of fraud by people pretending to be shamans, mediums and sorcerers, and several gullible people have lost their life savings as a result.

[ State police chief Senior Asst Comm I Datuk Ahmad Fuaad Mohd Sidek] said in most cases the sorcerers approached the victims and convinced them that their money could increase two or three fold with the help of supernatural beings.

SAC Ahmad Fuaad said the victims would undergo ritual ceremonies where they would be asked to place their savings in black clothes while the shamans chanted magical spells.

He said the wrapped black clothes, which seemed heavier after the ceremony, would be returned to the victims with instructions that they should only be unwrapped after the shamans had left.

Later when the victims unwrap the black clothes they find only ashes inside.

Other scams involved claims made to elderly people that their illnesses could be cured through witchcraft.

Cops: More cases of people being conned by 'sorcerers'The Star (Malaysia), 17th January 2003.

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Dry spell

A Romanian witch has agreed to pay a refund to a customer who threatened to sue after spells he bought to cure his sick wife and make his 40-year-old son marry failed to work within the time specified by the witch. Witch sued after spell doesn't work - Ananova, 17th January 2003.

January 16, 2003

And rip that antenna from your radio

Egyptian spiritual leaders have called for a boycott of Ariel washing powder because they believe it is named after Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. As proof, they have found a Star of David on the packet. Arabs Think that Ariel Washing Powder Is Named After Ariel Sharon, Russia Makes it Funny (Pravda), 16th January 2003.

Police blame witchcraft for their incompetence

Police have captured a former Zambian cabinet minister wanted on charges of embezzling millions of dollars from government funds. It took them three months - the police claim he used witchcraft to make himself invisible to them.

When police finally found Kalumba, he was wearing traditional charms from his waist, neck and arms that were intended to make him invisible, police spokeswoman Brenda Mutemba said.
Kalumba also had attached a charmed string with beads to his laptop computer so he could use the machine in the unelectrified village where he was hiding to monitor what was happening in Lusaka and to see anybody entering the village, Mutemba said.
Mutemba maintained police had difficulty arresting Kalumba because he used the charms to disappear whenever they approached. He eventually gave himself up after someone told police he was lying invisible under a shrub, she said.

Cops nab ex-cabinet official - News24, 16th January 2003.

January 15, 2003

Know your market

A Minnesota sex shop has put up a notice offering a discount to clergy. Pure Pleasure is located next door Midwest Baptist Church in Stewartville:

To people driving towards the church, the sign reads: And God said go out into the world and have great sex. God's gift to women. Amen and amen.
People leaving the church see: No need to mail order. Gay videos in stock. Clergy discount. Have good sex. Hallelujah!

Sex shop beside church under fire for 'clergy discount' sign - Ananova, 15th January 2003.

January 12, 2003

Sleazy Listening

365 days is a year-long project which makes available some unusual piece of music or spoken word as an MP3 download. Today's offering is Michael Mills - Hidden & Satanic Messages In Rock Music:

This 1981 Christian radio show (with host Michael Mills) exposes the threat of secret messages in your Rock and Roll! During the 45 minute radio show he covers a ton of artists... I'm playing 4 of my favorite segments on... Led Zeppelin, Kiss, The Beatles and Queen. Burn your records! Repent!

When today ends, there will be a link at the bottom of the archives page, where all the previous excerpts live too. Don't miss Janeen Brady & The Brite Singers - I'm A Mormon".

January 9, 2003

'witch-doctoring and other mumbo-jumbo'

Greenland's new coalition government is experiencing an unusual political scandal after a senior civil servant employed an Inuit traditional healer to perform a cleansing ritual in his office.

Shortly after taking the job, Mr Lyberth also urged nearly 600 civil servants to use similar spiritual healing methods in an attempt to promote better harmony between Greenlanders and Danes.

Greenland caught up in 'exorcism' row - BBC News, 9th January 2003.

Wasting police time

South African police are using dogs to search for human remains after candles and women's underwear were found in a cave. They seem to think this indicates some sort of occult ritual took place, though a surreptitious shag seems far more likely. No symbols of any kind were found. A representative of the Pagan Federation of South Africa noted that Wiccans would never use a cave for rituals, presumably because a suburban living room is much preferable to liminal space in that tradition. Cave 'graves' to be inspected - News24, 8th January 2002.

January 6, 2003

Sacred trash clogs river

Authorities in Delhi have problems with plastic-wrapped offerings chocking the Yamuna. Railings have been built along all the bridges, but the river is still a mess. A similar problem exists in London. Choking the river in God's name - Times of India, 6th January 2003.

Welcome return

Holy Weblog is back after a long hiatus and providing links to interesting stories about religion such as this discussion of the interpretation of Genesis 6 (the one about the elohim) by orthodox Jewish scholars and 'fringe' religious groups, with particular reference to the oh-so-topical Raelians: Parsing the Bible for space aliens - Philadephia Inquirer, 5th January 2003. In a weird case of synchronicity, according to her other blog, Joyce Garcia is also suffering from nerves over forthcoming nuptuals, the death of a well-loved cat, a crappy festive season and following a hopelessly losing sports team.

January 1, 2003

Annual end-of-the-world post 2003

Another year has passed and most of us have recovered from our Hogmanay excesses, so now is the time to see what 2003 has in store.

Continue reading "Annual end-of-the-world post 2003"

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December 26, 2002

Don't have a cow

You have a problem. You are Hindu, and your religion demands that you sanctify your place of worship by splattering it with cow dung and water. But, you are a sophisticated, city-dwelling Hindu and cow poo, no matter how holy it might be, well, stinks. Cows tend to be a little thin on the ground, too. Well, a company in Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh has just the product for you--specially processed cow shit, mixed with camphor, turmeric and sandalwood to give it a more acceptable odour.

I used to avoid cow dung because of its bad odour, one young housewife said. But this holy cow dung does not smell that bad and now I do not have any problem to apply it at home before the rituals.

The manufacturers also point out that their cow crap has anti-fungal properties and plan to export it for use by Hindus all over the world. Dairy farm making a packet from cow dung - SMH.com.au, 26th December 2002 (via New World Disorder).

December 25, 2002

Sssssssso careless

Passengers on a commuter minibus in Kenya were surprised when an elderly woman removed her clothing and complained that her snaked had gone missing. The snake was to be used in a ritual to ensure that her brother won a local election. Passengers' shock as poll ritual snake slithers out - Daily Nation, 25th December 2002.

December 24, 2002

Be an annoying git, even when you're gone.

At Rapture Letters, Christians can arrange to have pestering evangelical e-mail sent to their loved ones when they all mysteriously disappear at the Rapture. Once names are added to the database, they will be stored indefinitely and a letter will be sent out to each of them on the first Friday after the rapture. Then they will receive another letter every friday after that. I have my doubts about this site, but the sample letter is so disgustingly sincere, it must be real. The site is a personal ministry but the anonymous individual(s) behind it don't explain how their computers will know when the Rapture will happen and so trigger the letter-sending. It's not as if they're going to be around themselves, is it?

December 12, 2002

A bar to avoid

How about some fizzy keg reading to go with your fizzy keg beer? You can have both dubious delights if the Reverend Peter Winkle and restaurateur Renee Visser get the licence they want from authorities in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They plan to open a Christian theme bar called 'Graces' where Bibles will be on offer alongside the usual fake beer and junk food. Reverend and restaurant owner plan to mix Bibles and beer - ABC7 Chicago, 12th December 2002.

December 11, 2002

Are unicorns covered by CITES?

Officials from New Zealand's Agriculture and Forestry Ministry were surprised when an importer told them that the unlabelled box of bones he'd had sent from Indonesia were the remains of a unicorn. But the bones, which had been covered with a thin layer of cement to make them look like fossils, were from a more mundane cow or water buffalo. A representative told the Dominion Post The importer, when he was asked, said they were unicorn bones. Whether he was ripped off or what, who knows? 'Unicorn' bones in unmarked shipment - Dominion Post, 11th December 2002.

God's some claims exemption from law

The Son of God has issued a three-page rant from his Australian prison cell complaining that he has been gaoled for his beliefs--specifically his belief that the Traffic Act is the work of the Devil and does not apply to him. Terence Michael Malaher is serving an eight-week sentence for driving while disqualified and driving an unregistered vehicle with no premium cover. Mahler insisted he was exempt because of his divine status, and also insisted I follow only God's code of conduct, which is 'walk in peace and do not disturb the peace of others'. He doesn't explain how driving a car is the same as walking. 'Messiah' rants over jail sentence - The Examiner, 10th December 2002.

December 10, 2002

Is there anybody there in the Jury?

A senior Scottish judge has called for an end to secrecy surrounding jury deliberations in certain circumstances. As an example, he referred to an case in the English courts when a ouija board was used to decide the guilt of the accused in a murder case:

The most bizarre feature is perhaps not that the jurors held a seance ... it is perhaps even more extraordinary that, legally, it was not a straightforward matter to have any inquiry made into the allegation, said Lord Reed.
The appeal court had permitted an investigation, which led to a retrial, only because the seance had been held in a hotel during an overnight stay and not within the jury room.
It remains to be seen how the court would respond if a jury were alleged to have set up a ouija board in the jury room, but the precedents--cases where the jury was alleged to have tossed a coin or drawn lots--suggest that the court should do nothing whatever about it.

Judge moves to end jury room confidentiality - The Scotsman, 7th December 2002.

December 4, 2002

Women's mysteries

Part of Victoria is suffering its worst drought in decades, so hundreds of Australian women plan a mass nude raindance in the outback. The event follows a similar, apparently successful, one in Nepal and will be strictly women only. It will be followed by a (clothed) barbecue. Aussies go bushwhacking in the buff for rain - IOL, 4th December 2002.

December 3, 2002

Thou shalt not relieve stress

Ah, voodoo dolls! I have one shaped like an old Macintosh, which works wonders when a deadline looms and the computer knows it., and last time I was in Amsterdam, I picked up a Linux Voodoo Penguin for Charlie. They're a wonderful way to relieve stress and frustration without actually hurting anyone.

But some people seem to think they really work. A voodoo doll designed to relieve the frustrations of teenage girls has been withdrawn from sale in Australia after an outcry.

Complete with 17 pins and a variety of instructions to break up relationships or hex a friend's birthday party, the spells offer chants such as I don't ever want to see your face again, while plunging the pins in the heart of the voodoo doll is encouraged to break up lovers.
There are also spells for giving someone bad breath and to make someone disappear.

Voodoo dolls a sore point - The Australian, 3rd December 2002.

AIDS-related beliefs

An article on AIDS in Botswana reveals some interesting superstitions associated with the disease:

At funerals in Botswana, there is always a ritual announcement of the cause of death, and it is almost never announced as AIDS. It is attributed to tuberculosis, or a mysterious slimming disease, or the anger of ancestors. Traditional healers are still the doctors of choice, and they often blame AIDS-related illnesses on witchcraft, or on sex with a widow who had not been ritually cleansed. They often prescribe bleeding, and sometimes suck out the blood of victims, which can spread the disease yet again.

In Botswana, Efforts at Prevention - Deepikaglobal.com, 3rd December 2002.

November 29, 2002

The ringtone of the Beast

Nokia's logo is the number 666, allegedly. (via the Psychoceramics mailing list.)

November 27, 2002

Is this covered by the Representation of the People Act?

A Namibian politician has been fined eight cattle for sorcery. A tribal court found Florence Simaimbulwa guilty of engaging an 'old man' to ensure that her rival was not elected. Swapo Politician Fined for 'Sorcery' - The Namibian, (via allAfrica.com), 26th November 2002.

November 17, 2002

What's that smell?

Christians throughout the United States are taking part in a 'prayer chain' so that God will bring and embalmed boy back to life. Zion Jungck was killed in an accident at home when a filing cabinet fell on him and his body was embalmed last week. His parents are keeping the body at home and have not arranged a funeral. Family praying for son's rebirth - Denver Post, November 17th 2002. Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 18:54 | Comments (1) | View blog reactions

Nun better

Roman Catholic nuns are not offended by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, but men do get upset by the (mostly) gay male order of nuns, according to the Rev. Donal Godfrey - a Jesuit priest and scholar at the University of San Francisco. A fairly positive article in yesterday's Indianapolis Star focuses on the spiritual side of the Sisters and their good works. 'Nun' order serves purpose of faith, mockery - Indianapolis Star, November 16th 2002.

November 8, 2002

It must've been the bandages around his face.

Iranian police are hunting a fake sorcerer who convinced a would-be bank robber that he was invisible and could commit crimes with impunity. He was caught when he started snatching banknotes from customers at a Tehran bank. 'Invisible' thief arrested by puzzled police - IOL, November 7th 2002.

Goblin instead of demons this time.

A 15 year old girl in Zimbabwe is haunted by goblins, and blames a neighbour for the attacks. The neighbour has gone to the police after being called a witch. Although free medical treatment is available in Zimbabwe, the girl's mother is sticking with traditional healers to whom the goblins are happy to speak.

We do not think this child needs psychiatric help. No tablets are going to exorcise the spirits. If it is a psychiatric problem, then why is the girl revealing our dark secrets, bad things that happened to some families before she was even born.

Condition of haunted Chitungwiza girl worsens - The Herald, November 6th 2002. Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 18:27 | View blog reactions

October 26, 2002

Peer review doesn't mean it's done by fellow idiots

United States: A creationist group has filed a lawsuit against Los Alamos National Laboratory, Cornell University,the National Science Foundation and the U. S. Department of Energy because they've refused to publish the papers of Dr. Robert V. Gentry. Even though Gentry claims the papers scientifically disprove the big-bang theory and its assumptions of cosmic evolution, the suit is for religious discrimination.

Dr. Robert Gentry, World renowned Nuclear Physicist files lawsuit over alleged censorship of scientific evidence against the Big Bang theoryThe Young Earth Creation Club Press Release, not dated. Also check out Evolutionism contributes to spiritual blindness about the dangers of Communicating with the Dead, Communicating with Other spirits and Reincarnation, for some class LFN:

Thanks in large part to the dogmatic teaching of atheistic evolutionism in the public schools, many young people today may never learn the truth about how spiritually dangerous these practices are. The connection between evolutionism and these counterfeit spiritual experiences will be explained in more detail in the paragraphs that follow. If you are involved in these activities, or know someone who is, please take the time to look at the information presented on this page and the other links for a different, but important perspective on this phenomena (sic.).

Also The connection between homosexuality and evolutionism!

Bampot tags: , .

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Posted by Feòrag in Pooves and closet cases and Superstition and Other Silliness at 02:31 | Comments (4) | View blog reactions

October 24, 2002

Must be a ghost

Someone is nicking Hallowe'en ornaments from one woman's garden in Roslindale, Massachussets.

Dating back to Oct. 6, a group of unidentified bandits have hit the Short's home three times, taking carloads of Halloween props and decorations worth an estimated $200. Without a clue as to who the thieves might be, or why they have targeted her house, Short is finding this year's trick-or-treating season downright depressing.

Enough is enough already, said Short, a self-described Halloween and Christmas decoration nut. I don't understand why we're the only ones having this problem. We went to our neighbors and they haven't heard a thing.

It's almost like they know when we go to bed. It's kind of creepy.

All she has left is a full-size Frankenstein. Ghouls disappear three times from her lawnWest Roxbury Transcript, October 24th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Hallowe'en and Superstition and Other Silliness at 02:13 | View blog reactions

October 23, 2002

The 'See You Jimmy' hat is in the post.

Uri Geller is pretty sure he's worked out the site of the Battle of Falkirk after visiting five possible locations. He was contacted by the Falkirk History Society after successfully locating a sunken submarine.

Mr Geller said he had watched Braveheart in an attempt to recapture the spirit of the time and wore a tartan shirt to get closer to Scottish culture.

The next stage is to go up in a helicopter and view the possible sites from the air:

I need to see sites like this from above because it is there where I feel a real surge, like a laser beam, when I know I am in the right place.

Geller is not charging for his services because he considers this particular task so important. Psychic 'solves' battle riddle - BBC News, October 22nd 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 02:01 | View blog reactions

October 22, 2002

Route 666

A Romanian mayor has dealt with a high accident rate on local roads by adding more obstacles for drivers to crash into. Mayor Mircia Munteanu, of Deva has erected four wooden crosses because he believes soil from local graveyards was used in the roads' construction and the spirits of those who were disturbed are causing the accidents. Mayor erects wooden crosses to ward off angry spirits - Ananova, October 21st 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 01:53 | View blog reactions

October 18, 2002

He'd better not try it!

Serbian men have revived a surefire way of telling if their fiancée is a witch.

The women are weighed and then weighed again sitting on the broomstick. If they weigh more the second time round they are not being supported by the broomstick and certainly not a witch.

Non-witches receive a certificate in a choice of languages, including English. Broomstick test tells grooms whether bride is a witch - Ananova, October 17th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 01:40 | View blog reactions

October 12, 2002

Durga e-Puja

I haven't tried this out, because it's a Flash presentation, but Bangalinet's Durga e-Puja allows you to pay tribute to the Goddess Durga without leaving your desk:

It is a unique way of worshipping. It is an interactive presentation where the devotee can offer flowers, light the lamps, play the dhak, and do aarti.

The rest of their Durga Puja site is more accessible, and contains a lot of information about the festival, the myths behind it and, most importantly, vegetarian recipes associated with it.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 01:30 | Comments (1) | View blog reactions

Substandard sweeties

An Indian minister has taken a temple to task over the poor quality of the sweets it sells. Endowments minister D Sivaramaraju made a surprise visit to Lord Venkateswara temple in Tirumala and was disappointed by the use of poor quality ingredients used to make a type of laddu called Srivari Prasadam.

The faith with which devotees purchase laddus should be taken into account and maximum priority should be given to quality. The TTD should not hesitate even if it comes to spending a few crores for maintaining high quality.

The cardamom was singled out for particular criticism. Poor laddu quality at Tirumala irks minister - The Times of India, October 12th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 01:29 | View blog reactions

October 11, 2002

Evening classes at Hogwarts

Fortune telling is booming in Japan, and one college of the divinatory arts has 8oo students, mostly women between 20 and 40. Academia College President Akio Morinobu told Josei Jishin:

Fortune telling is a popular job with women because they can continue doing it for a long time regardless of whether they marry or have children. It pays better than most part-time work and it's possible to do it from home. Many people become astrologers because it's a profitable way for them to pursue their hobbies. Even though it's a good job, until recently nobody really knew about how to go about going it. But now, people realize that if you study hard enough, you can become a professional fortuneteller. Astrology has become a vital part of morning news programs and now just about anybody knows what their star sign is. It's a time when you can go up to just about anybody and ask them what their sign is. The shiftiness once associated with astrology is a thing of the past.

Fortunetellers see bright future in their crystal balls - Mainichi Daily News WaiWai, October 10th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 22:43 | Comments (1) | View blog reactions

October 7, 2002

What's an ISIS neutrino machine?

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Bill Clinton are making separate visits to Phoenix between Spetember 29th and October 31st, and one woman is really worried:

SATANIC TRIADIC HIGH MASS COMING TO PHOENIX
& the CLIMAX of HU_man Sacrifice is at HALLOWEEN
is it their INTENT to kill me or my daughter? with the ISIS neutrino machine? or FRY a part of AMERICA or OTHER country/like IRAQ?

The politicians are apparently Satanist lizards and have been personally attacking her and her family., and nobbling search engines to stop you finding out about their nefarious deeds:

Phoenix has one of the three largest COVENS in the United States of Satanists......the Satanists have thrEAtened to kill me on more than one occasion..& my entire family.. my daughter just returned to high school and was "randomly"given the number 4086 as a student number.. ( meaning for 86-termination---already two children in my family of brothers and sister have been murdered) even the search engine GOOGLE lists my website page.. KOHOLISIS as the second most important page of my website.. because the lizard-satanists-nazis rule GOOGLE search engines.. .. ( check it out and look up "wiolawa"-9-27-02.. well i guess the nazis on yahoo read my message today and changed the order of links.. deceptive kreeps who the lizards love to eat.. ho ho ho to them).....
Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 22:21 | View blog reactions

A precise forecast

A Nigerian pastor has stuck his neck out and declared that Christ will return sometime in the next 998 years.

Really we are in the end time which is the day the Lord will return to earth. What we don't know is the hour, the day the month and the year. It might be 2002, 2003,2004 or any other year within the millennium.

He also blamed Christian themselves for the attacks they have suffered in northern Nigeria - he says it's because they haven't tried hard enough to convert people. Jesus Christ Returns This Millennium - Adeboye - This Day (via allAfrica.com, October 6th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 22:16 | View blog reactions

October 3, 2002

But surely God made it anyway?

A group of Christians in South Africa want to change the name of a mountain because it has the word "Devil" in it. The African Christian Democratic Party want to call Devil's Peak, near Cape Town, "Dove's Peak" instead. Christians take exorcism request to new peaks - IOL, October 2nd 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 21:55 | View blog reactions

September 19, 2002

Religious Automata

A technological marvel will greet pilgrims visiting a pandal in Vijayawada for celebrations in honour of Ganesh. A figure of saint-composer Annamayya stands as a guard at the threshold of God. Placing a 5 rupee coin in his hand causes the statue to move into the sacred sanctuary and fetch a sweet for the devotee.

The seven dwarams (doors) open one-by-one as the saint steps towards the idol. There he collects a 'laddu' in a bowl and walks back to give it to the devotee.
The dwarams close one-by-one as Annamayya makes his exit. By the time he reaches the devotee, all the doors would be closed.

A local cloth merchant sponsored the installation. 'Annamayya' ladles out Ganesha laddus The Times of India, September 19th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 17:24 | View blog reactions

Annoying angry youths further

London's police chief wants barking mad fundies to help deter young people from crime. Sir John Stevens wants to the Bible bashers to reach out to disaffected young people, citing research done as a result of the Damilola Taylor case. The Evangelical Alliance is naturally enthusiastic:

Senior members of the Evangelical Alliance are to meet Sir John in coming weeks to discuss ways of collaborating. The alliance, which is launching a values advertising campaign on the theme of forgiveness, also issued a 10 point plan, including praying for the police and even adopting individual officers and police stations to offer them support.

There is evidence that young people listen to evangelists - look at the increased success of the Harry Potter books after Christian extremists started campaigning against them.

Posted by Feòrag in Popular Culture: Harry Potter and Superstition and Other Silliness at 17:20 | View blog reactions

September 15, 2002

Hot chocolate

Hindu devotees have been working hard to prevent a two-metre high chocolate Ganesh melting in temperatures of up to 35°C. The statue was made for an annual ten-day festival in which worshippers honour brightly painted statues before immersing them in the sea for good luck. Chocolate god melts in the Bombay heat - IOL, September 13th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 17:01 | View blog reactions

Next: Wednesday opening

Loganair (who operate services on behalf of British Airways) and British Midland have upset the Lord's Day Observance Society on the Isle of Lewis with their plans to offer seven day air services into Stornoway airport. Protestors claim it would be the thin end of the wedge and would threaten a traditional way of life on the island which has caused most people born there to move to Glasgow or Edinburgh. Caledonian MacBrayne is also considering a Sunday ferry service. Second airline makes Sabbath plans - BBC News, September 13th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 16:59 | View blog reactions

August 21, 2002

They don't make 'em like they used to

Way back when I was first shown Usenet, Robert E. McElwaine posted IMPORTANT Information all over the place. Information such as:

"Global 2000" GENOCIDE
"Global 2000" is an international CON$PIRACY to WIPE-OUT most of the world's population by the YEAR 2000 by means of war$, famine (via weather control), disease (including GENETICALLY-ENGINEERED A.I.D.S.), slow-motion food poisoning (additives, pesticides, etc.), drugs (including tobacco and alcohol), violent crime (induced by poverty, drug addiction, TV violence, etc.), accidents (unsafe products), suppression of natural health remedies (including those against CANCER), infant formula samples given to 3rd-world mothers (mixed with filthy water; breasts dry up while using sample, cannot afford to buy more), etc., ETC., for POPULATION CONTROL. [And the Catholic Church is making this WORSE by banning use of artificial birth-control methods among its many members WORLDWIDE.].
UN-altered REPRODUCTION and DISSEMINATION of this IMPORTANT Information is ENCOURAGED.
Robert E. McElwaine

Now there is a Robert E. McElwaine Archive containing many of his postings and background information.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 16:38 | View blog reactions

August 18, 2002

Things you see on lampposts

Wandering through Edinburgh yesterday, I spied a typewritten notice stuck to a lamppost. Promising - it was either going to tell us that we'd burn in Hell unless we repented right now, or it would allege that Ariel Sharon pours the blood of Christian and Muslim babies on his Corn Flakes each morning. Hoping for some class Loony Fundie Nonsense, I examined it more closely. It wasn't quite what I was expecting:

[ The notice ]

There is a huge planet approaching Earth. It is called Hercolubus - five or six times bigger than Jupiter. It will pass close enough to wipe out life on Earth, through earthquakes, floods and diseases.
There is God and there is Divine Justice.
There are extraterrestrials, some of whom will save a handful of people from the catastrophe.
The ones who survive will be working on and removing their psychological defects, and will be practising astral projection.
All this and more information can be found in HERCOLUBUS OR RED PLANET by V.M. RABOLU.
This book was not written as fiction, but as a warning. Order from a good bookshop - Price £5.95, ISBN 1857765117
Continue reading "Things you see on lampposts"
Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 16:30 | Comments (7) | View blog reactions

August 12, 2002

But don't mediatate and drive

Bangkok's drivers are being asked to be aware of Buddhist teachings in an attempt to improve road safety. Billboards have appeared all over the city bearing messages such as Have the wisdom to prepare your journey before leaving home and Have mercy and lend a helping hand to motorists with car trouble. More are promised. A senior Education Ministry official in charge of religious education gave the scheme his approval:

A high state of consciousness and concentration, and the fifth precept -- abstention from alcohol and other intoxicants -- should be practised by all drivers.

One taxi driver said that the billboards were good to read while stuck in Bangkok's notorious traffic, but admitted Once I'm on the road, all I want to do is drive my passengers to their destinations as quickly as I can without hitting other cars. Drivers encouraged to adopt Buddhist ethics behind wheel - The Bangkok Post, August 12th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 16:22 | View blog reactions

August 11, 2002

Listen with Mother

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin. Today's story is an adventure about cuddly toys: Tales of Plush Cthulhu.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 16:20 | View blog reactions

August 9, 2002

Smelly companion

A Louisiana woman who kept her husband's body in her caravan for a month after his death will not be charged. Myra Foreman said that she had seen the face of the devil every time she made funeral arrangements. She also told detectives she had protected her husband from supernatural beings that came to the house each night. No charges to be filed against woman who kept husband's body in trailer - The Town Talk, August 7th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 16:07 | View blog reactions

Pass me an alcopop

Just back from the Great British Beer Festival, where CAMRA launched a new campaign ostensibly to attract more women to the delights of proper beer. Using the figure of Ninkasi, a Sumerian predecessor to Ishtar creditied with inventing beer 4000 years ago, the campaign builds on previous ones, which featured naked models on beds of barley, barely covered with hops:

Last year's campaign helped us shake off real ale's flat cap image and proved very popular, particularly with younger men. With Ninkasi we are turning our attention to women and creating a new, powerful icon for female as well as male beer drinkers. We now need to see real ale brewers following our lead with innovative and exciting marketing campaigns to put British beer back at the top of the shopping list for the increasing numbers of female pub-goers.

This year's campaign should prove more popular with young men - rather than a dusky middle-eastern mother figure, Ninkasi has been depicted as Lara Croft with a pint glass. Hale Ninkasi! - CAMRA press release, 5th August 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 16:06 | View blog reactions

August 4, 2002

Gospel Science Fiction

My fiancé has been known to write science fiction, and so might be interested in joining William Charles Deich IV's Gospel Science Fiction Revolution:

Several years ago, when the LORD started an awesome move in my life, I came to the Revelation that we have Christian music, Christian T-shirts, Christian bumper stickers . . . . and nearly everything else, . . . . but no Christian science fiction! My immediate response: Let's invent some! This is why I want to start the GOSPEL SCIENCE FICTION REVOLUTION where millions of people around the world will be writing GOSPEL SCIENCE FICTION to save the lost!

To get you started, he's included a number of his own tales - William's Gospel SI-FI Adventures (sic.) - inspired by a certain well-known work of fantasy. The Lost Boy is a play - Lost in Hyperspace, Brandon must find his way to God and rescue a mining colony around a black hole!

However, they still haven't found any life. Of course most of Brandon's colleges are totally brain washed by evolution and offer the standard explanation for this: since life is a rare and random event, they just haven't checked out enough star systems closely enough, but it has to be out there! However, when they ask Brandon, he has a different idea . . .

In case you forget, this badly spelled space opera has a Puropse:

While these stories take place far away in the future and in far away places, they are not intended to contradict the Bible or belief in the rapture or tribulation; they are merely intended to protray the Gospel in new and unusual ways. In fact these stories show that Jesus would have to come back before man spreads out to other planets. According to Daniel 9:24, one of the reasons there must be a Tribulation is to bring an end to sins. If that did not happen before man colonized other planets, then there would be no way of stopping it and sin would go on forever.

Go on Charlie, join in. You never know, Maybe some day we can publish our works together.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 16:04 | View blog reactions

July 31, 2002

Bugger off

New Zealand: A campaigner has his most recent complaint rejected by the Broadcasting Standards Authority and been ordered to pay costs. Paul Schwabe has made nine complaints in two years about the use of the word 'bugger', and this complaint was about the use of the phrase 'bugger all' by a mentally impaired farm worker during the Country Life radio show.

Mr Schwabe has complained about: A One News story about a horse named 'Bugger Me' (Feb 2000); the phrase 'bugger the international media' during a Holmes item (Feb 2000); the word 'bugger' in a National Radio play (July 2000); the use of `bugger' twice in the Tux Super Dog Challenge (Nov 2000); the phrase 'it's going to be a bugger to lose that shop' in a One News item about Deka's closure (March 2001); the Toyota ad (April 2001); the use of 'bugger' in documentary Inventions from the Shed (June 2001); the use of 'miserable buggers', National Programme (July 2001); the use of 'bugger' in an Assignment item (Oct 2001) and its use in a Lions documentary (Nov 2001).

In New Zealand, 'bugger' is an extrememly mild term and its use is considered acceptable by 75% of the population. Moaner gets the message: Bugger off - The Dominion Post (via Stuff), 31st July 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 15:49 | View blog reactions

July 17, 2002

A new tactic for Earth First!

One of Nigeria's main oil terminals has stopped production after a group of women threatened to remove their clothes in protest at the behaviour of western oil companies. Stripping is considered to be extremely insulting by the people who live along the Niger Delta.

This time it was Chevron's Escravos (Slaves) Terminal which was practically shut down as tens of women blocked the nearby airstrip and helipad and threatened to strip naked. Their leader, Helen Odeworitse, declared Our weapon is our nakedness.
The women have two basic demands. One, that a percentage of the oil revenue be spent on improving the living conditions of the local population and two, that the local menfolk be employed by the oil companies, so that the local people can benefit from the local resources in Nigeria's poorest region.

Bare women bar oil - Pravda, July 17th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 15:44 | View blog reactions

July 5, 2002

New on the blogroll

The Jesus Museum is a website so named to display the silliness perpetrated in the name of that infamous dead wino.

Speaking of dogma, all religions are mind-numbing delusions, and their supporters are draining resources and delaying human progress. I make no exceptions when it comes to people who build lives around imaginary beings, but I choose to focus on Christianity because it's prevalent where I live (America). It's also the most corporate and techno-savvy of all cults, so it's that much easier to find its websites.

Current links on the site include some rather gruesome statues of Jesus and an organisation that's decided to preach to people who have taken vows of silence in protest at a lack of protection is schools.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 15:04 | View blog reactions

July 4, 2002

Make love, not war, on terror

Transcendental Meditation guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has told Americans he can end world terrorism with love for a mere $1 billion (US). The money would be used to train 40,00 "Vedic Pandits", expert meditators who, according to the Times of India, would generate enough good vibes to save the world. The guru has shunned the public eye recently and is apparently unaware of the current troubles in his native India:

I have confidence that India will be the lighthouse for total knowledge. From there this total knowledge will radiate in the whole family of nations ... that would generate a powerful influence of peace that would spread throughout the whole world and neutralise the stress, the hatred and tensions that fuel terrorism and war today.

Give me $1 bn, I'll give you peace: Maharishi Yogi - The Times of India, July 4th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 15:02 | Comments (1) | View blog reactions

Wet patch causes excitement

A damp stain on the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem has attracted a lot of attention. Two Jewish men have tried to climb the wall because they think that the wall is crying - a sign of the coming of the Messiah. The men were led away by police and the rabbi in charge of the wall is looking for a leak. Leak may be causing water stain believed to hail the Messiah - Ananova, July 3rd 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 15:01 | View blog reactions

June 28, 2002

Offerings clog canal

London's Hindu community has been asked not to wrap religious offerings in plastic. Items such as barley and coconuts are regularly thrown into the Grand Union Canal in the hope that they will eventually end up in the Ganges, but are being wrapped to protect them on their long journey. As a result, they are more likely to end up in a skip as the non-biodegradeable offerings are a danger to wildlife. Canal clogged by religious offerings - Yahoo! News, 28th June 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 15:59 | View blog reactions

June 26, 2002

Pooclear fallout shelter

Hindus have nothing to worry about should the tension over Kashmir turn nuclear - cow poo will protect them. The Uttar Pradesh Cow Protection Commission has recommended smearing cow dung on the body to protect against radiation burns, and daubing it on buildings to prevent fallout. Radheshyam Gupta, a representative for the commission, said:

Even if the enemy carries out the threat to bomb us with nukes we don't have to panic. You can fully protect yourselves by covering the roof with cow dung. Applying cow dung paste to the body from head to toe will serve as an extra shield.

Hindu group recommends cow dung against nuclear fallout - Ananova, June 24th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 15:56 | View blog reactions

Diviners investigate defenestrations

Austrian military officials are using diviners to help find out why soldiers are sleepwalking and falling out of windows. A representative said:

The army keeps an open mind on such things. If the mystics do find negative energy then we will be taking whatever action they deem necessary to make sure it is dealt with. In the first case the man suffered serious internal injuries, but made a full recovery. In the second case the sleepwalker injured his head and broke several bones, and is still in hospital. There have also been several other cases where we awoke the soldier in time. We have no idea what could be causing it.

Army hopes divination will solve mystery of sleep-walking soldiers - Ananova, June 23rd 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 15:55 | View blog reactions

June 21, 2002

Braying for rain

Villagers in a drought-stricken part of India have married off two donkeys to appease Varuna, a Hindu rain god.

Dressed up like a bride and groom, the donkeys were escorted to a temple in the village in Tamil Nadu state. A priest then chanted prayers and led the donkeys in a ritual ceremony to propitiate the rain god, Varuna. The animals were then led in a procession that ended with a wedding feast - for the donkeys and residents in the village of Sakkayanayakanur.

Indian villagers marry off two donkeys - Ananova, June 20th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 15:49 | View blog reactions

June 20, 2002

Vicars want 'dress-down Sunday'

A motion presented to next month's Church of England General Synod would, if passed, allow vicars to wear ordinary clothing to celebrate communion rather than the traditional cassocks and surplices. Reverend Mark Tanner of Southwell, Nottingham said that the traditional vestments made vicars seem apart from everybody else. He told the BBC we want the freedom to make what we wear more culturally appropriate to our congregation. Vicars campaign for casual dress - BBC News, June 19th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 15:48 | View blog reactions

June 19, 2002

Jesus would be Wiccan

If Jesus were here today, he'd be a witch according to Wiccan author Carl McColman. He gives 13 reasons why, of which the first is the most compelling:

Jesus criticized the hypocrisy and legalism of the religious status quo, and chose to embrace an alternative spiritual path. Matthew 23:1-36. In Jesus' day, the religious establishment included the Pharisees and Sadducees, dominant factions in first century Judaism. Jesus' alternative path followed the radical teachings of his mentor, John the Baptist. Nowadays, in Europe and the Americas the status quo is mainly Christianity; the path of the Goddess -- Wicca -- is one of the most compelling of available spiritual alternatives. Many people who embrace Wicca have the exact same criticisms of Christianity that Jesus is said to have had about the religious establishment in his day. Hypocrisy, legalism, blind obedience of the rules to the point of ignoring spiritual values like love, trust, and freedom -- these are the problems Jesus attacked in the official religion in his day, and that many Wiccans today see in the religious status quo of our time. Perhaps Jesus, were he here today, would join Wiccans in criticizing mainstream religion and trying to find an alternative way.

Naturally this upsets fundies, especially the ones who like to pretend they used to be Wiccan. (Thanks Jan - do you ever do any actual work?)

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 15:46 | View blog reactions

June 17, 2002

Old woman unwell.

Natalia Petrovna Belikhodze is over 100 years old and claims she is really Princess Anastasia Romanova - a member of the old Russian royal family who was thought to have been killed in the 1917 revolution. Now she has told Vladimir Putin in a letter that the constant prayers for her and her family are making her ill:

Now, my health is getting worse, because the whole Orthodox Russia is praying for my family and myself, for the Romanov family was canonized... I ask for your assistance in solving my question and returning my name and rendering medical assistance to me for the time of solving this question.?

Pravda is sceptical:

Orthodox Russia is guilty of Mrs Belikhodze's weak health. If she addresses not Putin, but a doctor, he would explain to her that weak health in the age over 100 is not unusual, so Orthodox Russia's prayers have nothing to do with it.

Pseudo-Anastasia is ill because she is being prayed for - Pravda, 17th June 2002 (Russian version, just in case Steve wants some practice).

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 15:41 | View blog reactions

June 14, 2002

Black Jesus

The projects have a new Messiah. Black Jesus, a homeless evangelical street preaching prophet. Temple of Black Jesus tells you everything you need to know.

Many peoples say Jesus was a black man. So it stands to reason that he had need for a round bubble butt and pair of wobbly big brown breasteses. Jesus was a man. Mens have the cravings. Don't give me that saint shee-it. Jesus had the rubber neck when a fine black mamma with an ample breasteses walks by. Jesus is getting a hard bone just like we all does from times to times. I even think Jesus got laid. Yeah, Jesus was a playa. But the girls didn't get pregnant 'cause jesus zapped them asses infertile. He can do that you know. He's ain't gonna bother hisself with the child support. He don't wants to be nobody's baby's daddy. Jesus was a man! Mens loves the big butts, big legs, and the full breast! It's just the way things is. Even Jesus, the son of God, know that.

Once you've studied this unusual gospel in depth, you can buy your very own Black Jesus Action Figure.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 15:33 | Comments (5) | View blog reactions

June 12, 2002

I have mail

I recently received this interesting variation on the Nigerian Scam:

Return-path: <clinic1@caramail.com>
Delivery-date: Tue, 11 Jun 2002 12:28:10 +0100
Received: from mail2.caramail.com ([213.193.13.93])
by raq3.antipope.org with esmtp (Exim 3.13 #1)
id 17Hjoo-0007XN-00
for xxxxxx@antipope.org; Tue, 11 Jun 2002 12:28:10 +0100
Received: from caramail.com (www23.caramail.com [213.193.13.33])
by mail2.caramail.com (8.8.8/8.8.8) with SMTP id NAA11264;
Tue, 11 Jun 2002 13:28:05 +0200 (DST)
Posted-Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2002 13:28:05 +0200 (DST)
From: PENTICOSTAL CHURCH <clinic1@caramail.com>
To: clinic1@caramail.com
Message-ID: <1023794884021751@caramail.com>
X-Mailer: Caramail - www.caramail.com
X-Originating-IP: [64.110.29.56]
Mime-Version: 1.0
Subject: CONFIDENTIAL ASSISTANCE
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2002 13:28:04 GMT+1
Content-Type: multipart/mixed;
boundary="=_NextPart_Caramail_0217511023794884_ID"


[ The following text is in the "iso-8859-1" character set. ]
[ Your display is set for the "US-ASCII" character set. ]
[ Some characters may be displayed incorrectly. ]


PENTICOSTAL CHURCH CLINIC PENTICOSTAL CHURCH MISSION INC
23 BPV 4700 ABIDJAN 23 23 BPV 4700 ABIDJAN 23
E MAIL.clinic1@caramail.com E MAIL pentmission@yahoo.com


Dear Sir,
I have a business proposal which I know might interest you. My name is REV.Dr.FRANCIS TAMA, A Rev and a medical Doctor,the sole proprietor of the above specialist Hospital and also the REVEREND of the above church. I understand that through Internet is not the best way to link up with you because of the confidentiality which the transaction demands.

However, I have already sent you this same letter by post one month ago, but I am not sure if it did get to you since I have not heard from you, hence my resending it again. I have a widow here in my Clinic who is on a political Asylum in Abidjan-Cote d'Ivoire Refugee Camp, she has been so ill for some couple of months now. This woman confided in me based on the free medical attention I have been giving to her and her children.

She had revealed to me of her life history and about her late husband who was a top military officer in one of the west African country(Sierra-Leone) before his death during the civil war and the fortune she inherited from her late husband. She has asked me to source a credible and trust worthy partner abroad who will manage her funds for investment, the sum of Twenty Eight Million US Dollars (US$28m) which her late husband deposited in a safe Fiduciary Agent in Europe through a Security Company based in Abidjan.

I wish to chose you for this venture and I believe you will be in the position to assist in managing this large sum in a profitable venture and also to help create a safe heaven for her and her children by making a residence arrangement for them in your country. After she had disclosed this information to me; I saw the reason to request from her to allow me see the documents relating to this deposit of which she did, now I have the documents covering the deposit which I will not hesitate to fax to you the copies as a prove for your confirmation as soon as I receive your response via email.

I am obliged to assist this lady knowing too well that she has a limited knowledge in the business world and as such she can not manage this funds her self and in Africa in order to avoid any trace of her by the government, I will need from you a mutual understanding and then we shall make plans on how the funds would be secured into an account in your name; after which you will arrange and travel immediately to meet with the security company Agent in Europe for clearing.

This amount is contained in a sealed trunk box and it is registered and declared as containing family treasures, so even as I am writing you now the security company and it's Agent is not aware that there is cash money in the trunk, let me assure you that this transaction is 100% hitch and risk free,from my discussion with her, she has agreed to give you a reasonable amount of percentage for your involvement in this and this has to be discussed upon the receipt of your quick response.

Thanks and God bless for your understanding,

Sincere regards,

REV.Dr.FRANCIS TAMA.
Posted by Feòrag in Fleecing the Gullible and Superstition and Other Silliness at 15:27 | View blog reactions

June 4, 2002

WWJE?

Breatharianism isn't the only contender for the One True Jesus Diet (see March 9th 2002). A doctor in Orlando, Florida, has written 21 "Bible Cure" books which provide Biblical guidelines for healthy eating. He follows in a long tradition - books linking faith and health have been around since at least the 1950s. Holy diet - Books advise on maximizing health by dining the way Jesus did - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 20th 2002. (via Holy Weblog).

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 15:17 | View blog reactions

May 24, 2002

Burning Desire

A woman has claimed that West Lothian council's decision not to allow her to handfast in a public park is the result of religious discrimination, and nothing to do with the bonfires and flaming brands the couple planned to use. Jessica Turner and her husband hoped to re-enact the handfasting scene fron Braveheart this coming Samhuinn. She claimed other groups would be allowed to use the park:

If this were a Catholic, Jewish, or Muslim ceremony there would be no problem, but for some reason they are afraid because it is a pagan ceremony. In actual fact it is more of a Celtic ceremony than anything else and is exactly like a Catholic wedding except it is outside. These ceremonies are happening in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Peebles - so why not West Lothian?

A representative told the Herald that West Lothian Council had every respect for people's right to reflect their own religion. But Safety implications have to be taken into account. Witch's woe at Wiccan wedding refusal - The Herald, May 24th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 14:47 | View blog reactions

May 21, 2002

Star bores

The new Star Wars movie seems to have caused a bit of excitement, but did you know that Jedi Knights and unicorns are one and the same thing?

Now let us summarize the similarities between Jedi Knights and Unicorns. They are both born with their powers, although they often forget who they are and need reminding and training. They were both considered almost extinct, but they were found and then lead the fight against evil with help from others. They both use a glowing rod with mystical powers as their main weapon. They both are closely related to and feel a unity with all living things. They are both guardians of justice. They both believe in the goodness of others almost to a fault. They both are only effective in fighting when they fight in the defense of others without anger or hate. You can see that they are very similar.

And you too could be a Unicorn/Jedi Knight and not know it! You can find out by buying the author's book, or maybe the service offered by star wars : a new hope:

get your star wars astrology scope now horoscope for star wars fans or those who just want information on their future web sites and services for entertainment only sorry no charge card orders please send birth information, payment offer OVER 98% HAVE RETURN FOR MORE

The June horoscope for those with the sun sign 'jar jar binks' (June 22nd - July 22nd) reads:

clone trooper (gemini) and pade amidala (virgo) and the letters E,N,W WILL IMPACT YOUR LIFE ENORMOUSLY OVER THE MONTH OF JUNE 2002 YOUR CONNECTION TO CLONE TROOPER (GEMINI) IS SOME WHAT TRADITIONAL, EXPECTED, AND ROOTED IN THE DISTANT PAST you feel like clone trooper (gemini) really knows and understands the whole you, including your secrets, virtues, and shortcomings this clone trooper (gemini) can be a kindred spirit, and there will be good and helpful communications over the month with padme amidala (virgo) the connection is neighborly, may be a sibling or cousin with whom you might grown up with there can be a connection with long a go studies, hobbies, events at puberty padme amidala plumps for stability, whereas your connection with clone trooper can have some up and downs but most likely these ups and downs are old hat nothing to cause concern the june lunation occurs on the 10th there could be a pall covering events in the distant past venus and jupiter make you magnetic but avoid the limlight til after the summer solstic binks are born moody but firey mars makes them worse the full moon on the 24th forms in your seventh house it is imperative to avoid any temporary falling out with

If you want more, it'll cost you a mere $45 (US) and you can also have special rituals performed for $200. But is the film any good? Alas, The Tarot Reviewer hasn't been updated since March 1999. Here, a four card tarot spread is used to review movies and assess their chances of success. Here's what they had to say about the new version of The King and I:

first card: Death (U) Transformation, A door opening as another closes
Second Card: Six of Cups (U) looking back on fond memories. a new beginning
Third Card: Knight of Cups (R): Trickery, Rivalry
Fourth card: ten of pentacles (U): Family matters, an inheritance, Gain
the Review: The King has transformed himself into a winner. look for this movie to inherit it popularity for the original version. Guaranteed to bring back memories of the original.

It's a pity they didn't keep it up - it would have produced more accurate and useful reviews than the Childcare Action Project. They seem to like Attack of the Clones, despite the serious occult content of the Star Wars films.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 14:42 | View blog reactions

All fall down

The demise of an old tree has caused a crisis of confidence in India's opposition party. The 125 year old banyan tree stood outside the Congress Party's HQ, but was uprooted in a storm. The falling tree destroyed part of a temple, and some party members fear this means the gods are unhappy.

Newspaper Dainik Ujala claims worried senior party workers are consulting with astrologers and religious leaders to see if the collapse of the tree has any messages.

Decayed roots are likely to be the real problem. Party's low ebb after fall of old tree - Ananova, May 20th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 14:37 | View blog reactions

Bargain of the Day

Nathan Wright has put his soul up for auction on eBay.

His soul, housed in a glass jar that "may or may not" have contained fudge at one time, was going for $5.50 by Thursday afternoon. The bidding started at 99 cents.

The sale is, in part, a publicity stunt for his online magazine monkeycube.com. Wright hopes it doesn't fall into the wrong hands:

Hopefully, the buyer won't be someone who uses it maliciously. I'm not really worried about selling it, unless the devil has an account on eBay. I don't know, maybe that's something he's resorted to.

Iowan offers soul for sale on eBay, and bidding opens at 99 cents - Des Moines Register, May 20th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 14:36 | View blog reactions

May 7, 2002

Manners for evangelists

Last weekend, Memphis hosted the fourth annual National Street Preachers' Convention. Attendees heard about the legal issues involved, using music and dealing with hecklers. Kenneth Lansing, a veteran of 31 years, gave advice to budding street preachers:

Try not to antagonize people. Mr. Lansing said people usually approach street preachers if they're interested in a conversation. When you force a conversation on someone, you've got antagonism, he said ... Hecklers are not something to be necessarily agitated by, Mr. Lansing said. They'll draw a crowd.

How to: Be a street preacher - Dallas Morning News, May 4th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 14:19 | View blog reactions

May 1, 2002

Springtime for Hitler?

Barry Manilow has written a musical about the Holocaust. Manilow finds a new harmony - Jewsweek, not dated but late April 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 14:13 | View blog reactions

Jesus in the way

A 17ft (5.5m) statue of Jesus belonging to an 83 year old woman is causing headaches for the Texas Department of Transportation. A survey of Evelyn Blazek's property suggests that the statue is in the State's right of way. If the survey is correct, she might have to move her fence too. Blazek claims the survey is wrong and that her "Christ of East Texas" statue should stay put:

It's buried 4 feet in the ground. I don't want it moved. I'm just a little old lady that doesn't know much... They said it was further out on the highway than it should be, they said my fence is on state property. I don't understand it either. They've widened the highway twice. They never told me my fence was on the right-of-way. I would have moved it; I would have moved it back.

Highway officials want 17-foot Jesus moved - Houston Chronicle, April 29th 2002 (via Holy Weblog).

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 14:11 | View blog reactions

April 26, 2002

Do these people eat bread?

The Coca Cola logo reveals its true meaning when viewed in a mirror:

If you read it from left to right (mirror orientation) it clearly says NO MOHAMMAD NO MEKKAH in arabic letters.
Dear Brothers and sisters of Islam, If you are true Muslims then you will not drink Coca cola. Why? Would you really like to drink something that says No Mohammed No Mecca on it? If the answer is YES then in this case you are not suited to be called a Muslim.

And apparently some of the ingredients are extracted in alcohol, so it isn't Halal anyway. Is Coca Cola Haraam? via Avedon Carol's The Sideshow.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 12:44 | Comments (1) | View blog reactions

April 22, 2002

Not so grey and boring after all.

Aberdeen is the most ungodly city in Britain according to a group of evangelical Christians, who plan to bring up to 4,000 missionaries to the city for 40 days in June and July. Backed by Somebody Cares America, a group based in the United States, Jesus Revolution 2002 plans to spend around £30,000 trying to convince the Aberdeen's children that they need an imaginary friend. They have tried to gain access to schools, making no attempt to get permission from the local education authority, plan to disturb every single household in the city and have made a TV advertisement which aims to win converts by insulting Aberdeen. Scottish Media Monitor, May 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 12:38 | View blog reactions

April 15, 2002

Gd lvs u

Filipino Catholics can now learn that "Gd lvs u" thanks to a new service offered by the Catholic Church in conjunction with the two top mobile phone companies and the Dublin-based Jesuit Communication Centre. To access Catextism, users send the word "Amen" to a special number to get a menu of spiritual readings and prayers. The gospel according to SMS - The Star (South Africa), April 12th 2002.

An older story linked to from the one above: A court has allowed superstitious taxpayers in St. Petersburg, Russia, to pay their tax without being issued with a tax card, which many regard as Satanic. The cards contain a barcode which the plaintiffs (mistakenly) claim conatins the number 666. Court tosses devilish digits out of tax card - IOL, February 21st 2002.
Urban Legends Reference Page on barcodes and the Number of the Beast

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 12:25 | View blog reactions

April 12, 2002

Live Nude Vicars

Wales: Welsh Anglicans are in for a surprise if they miss off the .uk part of the Church In Wales' URL because http://www.churchinwales.org/ redirects to Tina's Free Live Cam, a 19-year old exhibitionist student's webcam. The Church is not amused, but a spokesman commented that it would be impossible to buy all the additional domains.

Churchgoers shocked as stripper 'hijacks' websiteAnanova, April 12th 2002.
The Church In Wales / Yr Eglwys yng Nghymru, in case you're interested.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 12:20 | Comments (1) | View blog reactions

April 5, 2002

Another fundie doesn't like having the piss taken.

Jerry Falwell has complained to the World Intellectual Property Organization over a site which satirises his extremist views. He claims the site, JerryFalwell.Com violates a common law trademark of his name. The non-commercial site parodies Falwell's views that September 11 was God punishing an unrighteous America and urges readers to follow all of God's Word, not just the bits affecting people you don't like:

Thank you for giving me a second chance to express my views about the recent terrorist attack. While it is true that in my heart I believe that God is punishing our nation, I now know the real reason that God is so angry. We have been claiming to be a God-fearing, and a scripture following nation, but we have only been "cherry picking" the Bible. If you think that the Bible is a morality guidebook, to pick and choose from, then you should leave now. If you believe as I do that the Bible is the word of God to be followed, then we must follow the entire Bible. God has commanded men not to shave their beards (Leviticus 21:5). That means we must never cut or trim our beards, or we will go to hell for disobeying God. I am asking that all American men stop shaving at once. We must show God that we are faithful to ALL of his commandments... You must not ask yourself what would Jesus do, you must ask what DID Jesus do! Jesus did not cut his beard, and wants us to also follow God's word in order to be a righteous nation.

In a previous attempt to stop people making fun of him, Falwell famously sued Hustler publisher Larry Flynt. He lost that case, as the Supreme Court decided that even the most extreme parodies were protected by the First Amendment - that part of the United States Constitution which guarantees freedom of speech. Rev. Jerry Falwell files complaint over Web site bearing his name - Boston Globe, April 4th 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Jerry Falwell and Superstition and Other Silliness at 12:07 | View blog reactions

March 22, 2002

Where's Jesus?

Seven members of a Kenyan Christian group have been arrested after locking themselves away in a secluded den to await the second coming, which they believe will happen on April 24th this year. The Emmanuel Church members had sold their property and removed their children from school to await the momentous occasion. Police Arrest Seven Doomsday Cult Members - The East African Standard, March 21st 2002 (via allAfrica.com).

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March 19, 2002

Unsafe Sex

An ancient tradition has been axed because of safety fears. Every three years, the maypole at Barwick-in-Elmet in West Yorkshire is lowered for maintenance and then raised again using only ropes and ladders. In future a crane will be used because organisers fear they'll be sued if anything goes wrong. Ancient maypole tradition axed on safety grounds - Ananova, March 18th 2002.

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March 9, 2002

School teaches myths instead of science

Fundamentalist teachers are teaching mythology as scientific fact at a state-funded school in Gateshead. Emmanuel College, one of the Tories' City Technology Colleges, is supposed to be a beacon school with high standards yet young people there are taught that a being known as 'God' made the universe in six days and that this folk tale has more credibility than theories based on observable evidence. A representative for the Department for Education and Skills told The Guardian What schools need to do is teach the national curriculum in an impartial way. Personal doctrines should not override anything that should be taught in the curriculum. Top school's creationists preach value of biblical story over evolution, The Guardian March 9th 2002.

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David Icke was wrong after all.

The scientists who declared that the Universe is turquoise have admitted that there was an error in the software and that the Universe is, in fact, magnolia. One of the researchers noted It is embarrassing, but this is science. We're not like politicians. If we make mistakes, we admit them. That's how science works. Universe is off colour - BBC News, March 8th 2002

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March 1, 2002

Star to Stay

A five-pointed star on top of a Suffolk church will stay, despite a local resident's complaint that it is a satanic symbol inappropriate for a Christian building. The church council decided unanimously to take no action, and the rector, Rev. David Streeter, noted the symbol's long Christian heritage. Hedley Griffin, who made the original complaint, was disappointed: what they have done is the equivalent of putting a swastika on top of a synagogue. Five-pointed star to stay on church, East Anglian Daily Times, March 1st 2002.

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February 11, 2002

Staying Alive

The South African 'apostle' who forecast his own demise is still not dead and has run up massive debts in the last couple of months. An anonymous businesswoman told the South African Press Association He originally predicted his death to be on the 28th of January, so in December he went on a wild shopping spree buying things and now he can't pay for it because he's still alive. I can think of a few businesses who want him dead Apostle Running Away From Earthly Debts, South African Press Association (via allAfrica.com) February 9th 2002.

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February 6, 2002

Thou Shalt Not Mix

The House of Commons has voted overwhelmingly to encourage intolerance and separatism, and to allow tax money to be spent on spreading superstition among children by promoting religious schools. An amendment to the Education Bill put forward by Frank Dobson, which would have required faith schools to offer a quarter of their places to children with parents of other, or no, religion, was defeated. Citing the example of the problems surrounding Holy Cross School in Belfast, he told the House If you were to substitute race or colour for the word 'religion', it would be unacceptable. Faith school rebels defeated, BBC News February 6th 2002.

In Scotland, where children from Roman Catholic families are educated separately from the rest, there are still serious sectarian problems. In 1999, David Hutton was jailed for life for murdering a teenage boy in a sectarian killing. Violent reminder of sectarianism, BBC News September 22nd 1999.

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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.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 19:45 | View blog reactions

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.

Posted by Feòrag in Church and State and Hallowe'en and Superstition and Other Silliness at 19:43 | View blog reactions

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.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 19:41 | View blog reactions

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.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 19:39 | View blog reactions

January 19, 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.

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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.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 19:20 | View blog reactions

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.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 19:16 | View blog reactions

January 3, 2002

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.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 18:13 | Comments (1) | View blog reactions

December 30, 2001

Nudists get their kit on

I'm in the paper (again): Nudists get their kit on for calendar.

Posted by Feòrag in Superstition and Other Silliness at 18:04 | View blog reactions