Feòrag: January 2003 Archives

January 31, 2003

Bargain of the Day: Virgin Mary windchimes

There are times in our lives when words escape us and the only comfort we can offer is that of prayer, caring and reminder of faith. Those are the times when Inspirations By Micco can help you to speak without words with a precious Christian gift. And that gift is Virgin Mary Windchimes:

The handcrafted quality of each Inspirations By Micco Wind Chime perfectly captures the grace and compassion of the Blessed Mother. The handcrafted statue of the Blessed Mother is placed between a dove of peace and a prayer inscribed teardrop pendant that the lightest breeze will brush against silvery chimes to produce delicate music that echoes with a reminder of faith.

She is available as Our Lady of Medjugorje, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Lourdes, or Our Lady of Grace and in a choice of Rust, Patina and Weathered finishes. All for a mere $59.95 (US).

Space Nazis Must Die!

Is Saddam Hussein in cahoots with extraterrestrials? Pravda doubts it—This story seems to be absolutely unlikely. As we see, the source of the information is just a Russian colonel, some Petrokov, but still draws our attention to an article in Joseph Trainor's UFO Roundup from mid December.

According to Jack Sarfatti, on Friday night, December 6, 2002, a caller into the Art Bell (radio) show, who claims to have a connection to the military, said a UFO crashed in Iraq in recent years. The U.S. is searching for any public pretext to invade Iraq, but its greatest fear is that Saddam will reverse-engineer the crashed alien spacecraft.

The craft allegedly crashed during the Gulf War (1990-1991) or more recently (possibly December 1998). This will be Iraq's Roswell. The U.S. is currently reverse-engineering the Roswell craft and fears Saddam's scientists will catch up with or even go beyond the U.S. in one or more areas. These areas of research include zero point, over-ratio or gravimetric tenchology, which would allow for a tremendous advance, allowing Iraq to become a leading power.

Another caller explained that it was the work of Nazi engineers who had escaped to Iraq, connected with the Occult SS, Thule and the Templars. Trainor's contacts in the region came up with some interesting tales:

Mohammed Hajj al-Amdar wrote, There are some very strange stories coming out of that valley. They say Saddam has given the aliens sanctuary, so they won't be captured by the Americans. Nobody will go near the citadel of Qalaat-e-Julundi at night. They say the aliens have created 'watchdogs' for Saddam. The aliens take simple desert scorpions and use their bio-engineering to grow them to giant size. Scorpions as large as cows! They have implants to control them.

The scorpions are the perfect guards. They blend in with the desert, move swiftly and silently and zero right in on their warm-blooded prey. The luckless intruder hears a strange skittering noise on the stones. Then a pincer crushes his neck, and another (pincer) his legs, and he is slammed to the ground, and the barbed tail strikes six or seven times. Death comes quickly...

I hear that Saddam says the mission of these creatures is 'to discourage guests who have not been invited.' He has a strange sense of humor, that fellow.

Is Hussein Owner of Crashed UFO?Pravda, 31st January 2003; "Saddam's Area 51"UFO Roundup, volume 7, number 51, 17th December 2002 (Beware - broken JavaScript. Turn if off first).

It's not just the Roman Catholic Church, no. 385664

A Feng Shui practitioner has been jailed by a Hong Kong court for having sex with a 14-year-old girl. He told her he was performing 'mystical rites' that would pass on his power to her. Fengshui master jailed for sex 'rite' on teen - IOL, 31st January 2003.

January 30, 2003

Bargain of the Day: laser-etched Jesus

This LASER ETCHED PICTURE OF JESUS would make a tasteful addition to any Christian home:

Laser ethced rectangle glass. The etching is a picture of Jesus. There is an optional light base that illuminates it from the bottom. The light base realy enhances the etching. The light base can be ordered for an additional $5.00 U.S.

January 27, 2003

God's creatures at work

An Australian Jehovah's Witness was attacked by a ram after he ignored a private - keep out sign and entered a farm with the intention of annoying the owners. He was apparently unaware that rams are not undead and shooing the animal away with a briefcase full of Bibles had no effect. The ram, inappropriately nicknamed 'Shit for Brains', had never attacked anyone before. The Jehovah's Witness successfully sued, and also tried suing his church for not warning him that farms might be dangerous. Ram butts Bible man - Herald Sun, 23rd January 2003.

Bargain of the Day: Mohel's tool box

Not religious tat, but an essential accessory for the woman about town, this Mohel's Circumcision Instrument Case is:

a BRAND NEW Stainless steel instrument case. It measures 3.75" wide x 7" long x 1.5" deep. It closes securely with four thumb screw fasteners. Case can be used in steam or dry-heat autoclave. Brushed steel finish looks very nice and you can probably have it engraved with a name or initials. I have been unable to locate a box like this so I had several of these made to my specs. The inside corners have some slight discoloration due to the welding proccess, but I have found it unnoticeable in use. If you are a Mohel, or practice any profession that requires the transport of sterile surgical instruments, this case is for you!

Man claims he's a witch, not a racist.

A man who erected a cross on an African-American woman's driveway, scrawled the words This is our property. Tho shalt not take on his house, called her racist names and hanged a black doll by the neck in his window was apparently practising Wicca, and not being a racist. It's a very weird version of Wicca:

On July 26, Dagenais constructed a wooden cross, placed it on the driveway and poured a liquid over the cross. The report says he was wearing a black skull cap and a black turtleneck. Dagenais said that for years he has practiced Wicca, a belief whose adherents practice a form of witchcraft. I put up a cross. I was sitting out there in black trying to scare them, he said. I didn't dress in a white cloak like the Ku Klux Klan.
On Aug. 15, McIntosh's estranged husband was at her house and saw a black-faced doll clothed and hanging by the neck in a porch window of Dagenais' house, facing toward the McIntosh home. The police report stated that a crucifix had been applied to the window with tape, and the garage door was painted with the number 666, a biblical reference to the devil. Subdivision trustees told Dagenais to remove the items. Dagenais said the doll was actually a black cat figure dressed in a brown dress.

FBI may decide whether neighbors' dispute is witchcraft - or racism - St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 26th January 2003.

It's not just the Roman Catholic Church, no. 385663

A pastor at a church in Hyderabad, India, has left from the church without informing any one after he is alleged to have molested a 13-year-old girl who came to Hallelujah Church alone to pray. She complained to her father who went to the church to discuss the matter, where he was allegedly beaten up by Pastor Subhash. Pastor accused of molesting minor flees - Times of India, 27th January 2003.

January 23, 2003

Bargain of the Day: Electric mini-altar

A decorative item today - CHALKWARE? 11x11 In. GLOWLITE ELECTRIC ALTAR

This is 11 inches high x 11 inches wide x 4 1/4 inches, It has an electric plug that has to be replaced because wires are exposed on this wire. There are a couple of small chips in finish on right side bottom, 1 large chip on 1st shelf on top that holds a candle, small ones on front edge, It has 14 open holes altogether to hold 14 glass lights I have, All of them have rings around them. Then there are 2 metal 1 3/4 x 1 3/4 inch Candelabras that hold 3 candles each; 2 metal 1 3/4 inch single candle holders and 2 metal 1 3/4 inch urns, All the metal pieces are weighty, could be brass? On the 4 front bottom columns and 2 top columns there is a greenish color going down the center. There is a Picture of The Last Supper right in the front of the Altar and a picture of a Chalice on the top column. This is AS IS! Would have to be rewired and worked on.

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.)

Help oppressed women - keep them out of school.

The Dutch elections are today, and the Lijst Pim Fortuyn (LPF) are not expected to repeat their success, partly because of in-fighting and partly because the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDA) seem to be appealing to LPF voters. In Amsterdam, the CDA has said that it would ban the wearing of a burka or chador in the city's schools and colleges. They say that the garment hinders important non-verbal communication between students and teachers. Gijs Weenink told Het Parool (my translation, YMMV):

A chador or burka hinders communication. A good deal of communication is non-verbal. I am a teacher myself. During lessons, you can tell by looking at pupils' faces if they are paying attention , if they understand the material or if I need to give another example.

CDA wil burka totaal kwijt bij lessen - Het Parool, 22nd January 2003.

If it harms Windows, do as ye will

A Welsh virus writer who included Wiccan elements in tempting messages spread by his code has been jailed for two years.

Another message alluded to Vallor's interest in an ancient British pagan religion, which read: Bide ye the Wiccan laws ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust.

Ancient? Never mind. He was caught after boasting about it in a chat room. Computer virus author jailed - BBC News, 21st January 2003.

January 21, 2003

Bargain of the Day: The sound of one hand ticking

Tired of being woken up suddenly in the morning? What you need is a Zen Clock. You won't be woken by the sound of one hand clapping though:

The Zen Alarm Clock's long-resonating Tibetan bell-like chime makes waking up a beautiful experience. Once you use a Zen Clock, nothing else will do! When the clock's alarm is triggered, the alloy chime strikes just once, reverberating for nearly a minute.... 3-1/2 minutes later it strikes again... chime strikes become more frequent over 10 minutes.... eventually striking every 4 seconds until shut off. During this progressive awakening, you can work on dreams and affirmation sin the Alpha State. The Zen Alarm Clock allows you to time and guide meditations, and it's also a gentle way to start or end meetings on time.

The clocks are available in a number of designs including Zodiac, Labyrinth and one representing a raked Zen garden.

Psychic fraud in Japan

Japan: Nine people have been arrested in Yokohama, near Tokyo, on suspicion of fraud. The nine are alleged to be members of a much larger 'psychic' group that police think have swindled around 150 million yen (€1,200,000) from 1,700 people by stopping them on the street and offering to drive out evil spirits.

The nine, who called their group, Ijuin, spoke to eight women in their 20s to 50s at railway stations and department stores in Kanagawa Prefecture and Tokyo between December 2000 and last March, police said. The Ijuin members falsely told their victims that they were possessed by an evil spirit, and that they would die unless they were exorcised, according to investigators.

They then took the victims to a Tokyo hotel, or what they called a chapel in Kamakura, and received a combined 5.12 million yen to expel the evil spirits that had invaded the women's bodies.

Psychic phonies exorcise millions from 'possessed' women - Mainichi Daily News, 21st January 2003.

Singer's brother arrested for witchcraft.

Projects are under way in many parts of India to counter superstitious beliefs in witchcraft (see Witch-hunting in India - Prattle, 3rd October 2002), but it can't help that some parts of the country still have statutes against it. Raseeq Khan, brother of famous Punjabi singer Kuldeep Khan, has been arrested. Khan is a tantrik guru, and had been called in to help a boy with an illness, his parents believed, caused by witchcraft. He said that the house was full of evil spirits.

Khan told her that he would come to their house and drive away all the spirits. When Khan reached Ravinder's house at 6 pm on Monday, her husband was not at home.
Khan insisted on waiting for him. Ravinder after finishing some household works went to take bath.
She alleged that Khan then barged into the bathroom and had rubbed ash all over her body.

Punjabi singer's brother held for witchcraft - Times of India, 20th January 2003.

Holy extortion

Churches in the Pacific Islands regularly publicise donations in a cynical attempt to pressurise their poorer congregants into giving more than they can afford. The money is spent on extravagant church buildings. Islanders shamed into giving to church - Stuff, 21st January 2003.

January 20, 2003

Bargain of the Day (2): Holy hot sauce

Bethlehem's Best Hot Sauce is Filled with the Spirit!!. Each label includes Bible verses of an evangelical and threatening nature. The hottest product, Firey Furnace Hot Sauce cheerfully reminds the recipient:

They will throw them into the firey furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 12:42.

Jams, BBQ sauces, syrups, marinades and speciality butters are also available.

Bargain of the Day: Christian Kinder egg

Today we have a non-fattening treat in the form of 12 religious toy filled pastel plastic eggs - Each egg filled with one religious toy and one sticker. Assorted toys, stickers and egg colors. A great educational tool! But no chocolate.

Cannibal admits murder.

The Indonesian cannibal (see Eat Thy Neighbour - Prattle, 16th January 2003) now says he has killed and eaten at least two other people in his quest for a 'peaceful soul'.

Sumanto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, claimed his goal was to eat at least seven human bodies to gain supernatural powers and ensure a peaceful soul.

He also saved and dried the penis of one man to use as an amulet. Indonesian confesses to cannibalistic quest - IOL, 20th January 2003.

Britain a pagan country

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has told the Daily Telegraph that Britian is a Pagan country in which people will believe anything and everything. No doubt he hopes this attitude will extend to his claims that the Roman Catholic Church is doing something effective to deal with priests who abuse children. Britain is a pagan society, says Cardinal - Daily Telegraph, 20th January 2003.

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.

I see a dark stranger with a big stick

A scammer claiming to be a Dutch psychic is distributung letters around the North East of England claiming that someone hates the recipient and that something terrible will happen unless she is paid £7. She asks people to send personal details which are enough to allow her access to people's bank accounts.

Trading Standards have received a number of complaints and Durham council have urged recipients to file them in the bin. Fortune teller's threats - icNewcastle, 15th January 2003.

January 17, 2003

Bargain of the Day (2): Wedding game

I really can't wait 20 minutes to tell you all about this exciting game from Family Life Ministries - Simply Romantic.

uncover God's desire for your marriage. Are you romantically challenged, ? through a short book relationship experts will explain how God generously gives sexual freedom to every married couple.

Discover inmacy in a new light!
Put sizzle and anticipation into your marriage!
Reveal your spouse's romantic language!
Unveil passionate creativity!
inside are 24 sealed envelopes. Every month, you and your spouse will each pick a romantic adenture, like "Monday Night Touch Football" to rekindle the flames!
Also included is a special anniversary celebration.

Just what we need as a wedding present.

Ex-satanist in bomb-plot

The trial is underway of a group of three South African men on charges of sabotage. It is allleged that they planned to blow up the Vaal Dam. The three are described as Boer right-wingers and had, at six stages of the plot, recited an oath:

The oath declares solemnly that the takers will establish a household for God if he should give the Boer people victory in the coming battle.

The plot would have been put into action on the seventh recitation. One of the three men claims to be a former devil worshipper who had been converted by another member of the gang:

It was earlier testified that Peacock converted Rautenbach from Satanism to Christianity after driving his devils out. Rautenbach lived with the Peacock family and was like a son to Leon Peacock, the court was told.

Would-be bombers took 'Blood River' oath - News24, 17th January 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.

Bargain of the Day: eBook of Shadows

A Book of Shadows is supposed to be a Wiccan's personal book in which they write down, by hand, their rituals and lore. It's continually updated and should be a life-long labour. But in this day and age, all that learning and copying is tedious. Why bother when you can just get this Authentic Book of Shadows e-book for your special consecrated Windows computer?

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.

Child 'sorcerers' abused by churches.

Parents in the Democratic Republic of Congo are accusing their children of witchcraft in increasing numbers when things go wrong, and they end up in the hands of churches who extract outrageous confessions from them before 'exorcising' them.

Nzuzi, an eight-year-old with a sad face, said she was tricked by some class mates.
They gave me some bread at school. It was poisoned and they came to get it back later.
Nzuzi said that when her family slept, she would sneak out to join her friends to fly in the night sky.

The forced exorcisms are often simply abuse. Ange Bay Bay, a children's rights lawyer, told the BBC

There are children who are ironed with a clothes iron, there are others who are not given food for a whole week - there are these unbelievable things going on.

DR Congo's unhappy child 'witches' - BBC News, 17th January 2003.

New on the blogroll

Gullibility isn't in the dictionary describes itself as An atheist's weblog of human folly: wishful thinking and fanatacism. Laughter at mankind, its representatives and works and covers much the same ground as the Prattle, but with more emphasis on silliness and less of the depressing stuff.

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.

Metabargain of the Day

The Detroit Free Press has an article about the appeal of religious kitsch and notes that it sells well. (via Holy Weblog )

Kev the media whore (again)

While conspiracy theorists are likely to make much of the next Harry Potter book being released on 21st June, self-appointed witch king Kevin Carlyon thinks that the book will be cursed because the summer solstice release date will offend 'real' witches. Hurry PotterDaily Record, 17th January 2003.

January 16, 2003

Bargain of the Day (2): Jewish holiday dominoes

A two-in-one bargain can be had in the form of this Jewish Holidays Dominoes Games:

Match The Jewish Holiday Pictures And Play Regular Dominoes, Too!! Two Games In One! Fun and Educational Ages 3 and Up

Friday nights in the pub will never be the same again.

Bargain of the Day: Kali bag

This Goddess Kali Shoulder Bag is An item to inspire you and enlighten.

12x15 in. Hand Made shoulder Bag with a two-Inch gussett and zipper, two inches wide multicolor cotton/rayon. Shoulder strap. The image of Kaliis in vivid colors, and mother Kali is dancing on Shiva.

I quite like Kali - she's not all twinkly and twee like certain Goddesses I could mention. I feel all inspired to go and stomp all over Charlie until he is enlightened and buys it for me!

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.

Baring Witness

A group of Californian women, aged between 22 and 83, plan a series of protests in which they will spell out peace slogans using their naked bodies. Organiser Donna Sheehan said that the attention-grabbing demonstration came from frustration that pacifist opinions are being ignored in the general clamour for war. Women in the buff bash Bush's naked hostility - IOL, 15th January 2003.

Eat Thy Neighbour

An Indonesian man has been charged after he allegedly exhumed his neighbour and ate her flesh. A psychiatric examination is being arranged after he claimed that eating human flesh would give him supernatural powers. Indonesian law does not recognise cannibalism as an offence, and he will only face up to a year in prison for digging up a corpse. 'Man feeds dead neighbour to unwitting dad' - IOL, 16th January 2003.

Oh no, not again.

German police are taking seriously the allegations of a 34-year-old woman who claims that babies are eaten and women raped as part of Satanic initiation rituals. Similar stories were circulated by Christian fundamentalist groups in the UK during the late 1980s and early 90s, and many children were taken into care as a result of allegations which proved to be totally groundless. The Times reports that German media are linking this with the recent case of a self-confessed cannibal, although there are no indications whatsoever that he credited his (apparently consensual!) act with any religious significance. German Satanists 'ate babies' - The Times , 16th January 2003 (via the rather excellent Gullibility isn't in the dictionary).

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.

Resolving to Learn is go!

A mailing list has been set up for the study group proposed on January 9th. If you are interested in studying the material in the MIT OpenCourseWare module Magic, Witchcraft, and the Spirit World with others online, please sign up here.

Please note that the material to be studied is anthropological and historical in nature. The group is not about learning how to cast spells and going through the suggested readings is a process likely to slaughter any sacred cows you might have regarding the history of witchcraft. You do not have to be Pagan to join, nor is any experience of university level study required. It is recommended that you do read up on the MIT OpenCourseWare project to get some idea of what it is, and isn't.

More Bargains of the Day

It's a good day on eBay, with lots of exciting religious tat on offer. You can keep a fundie occupied for several years with this lot of Religious Magic Cube Key Chains: each of the 2 new key chains has religious picture on the 6 sides and works like a rubics cube. Less challenging are these 12-piece jigsaws featuring Moses and the Ten Commandments and The Parting of the Sea.

A puzzle of a different sort is this piece of WATCHTOWER **10 COMMANDMENTS JEWLERY** - just what is it?

I found this with my mothers jewlery things. I dont understand how it's souposto be worn but the 10 commandments are always nice to have - not real gold - To photograph it I just laid it on the scanner but it does have a shine to it.

Want less mentally-challenging entertainment? You could get these 2 NEW 14" Beach Balls in the original sealed package that says SMILE JESUS LOVES YOU. The same vendor has water bottles, harmonicas and tote bags all bearing the same rainbow and smiley sun with the words Smile! Jesus loves you.

Bargain of the Day: Spam for Jesus

Now you too can spam for Jesus and lose your internet access. It's as simple as: Point. Click. SAVE! with Easy E-mail Evangelism:

Now YOU can be a successful evangelist for God right from the comfort of your own home.
Easy E-mail Evangelism is the first of its kind to usher in the NEW evolution in sharing the Gospel - Internet Evangelism. This new wave of outreach is quickly extending around the globe to reach people of all nations.
This product makes is so simple to share your faith without fear. It provides you all the information you need (no matter what the situation) and it provides you a very easy way to share the information. Simply click a button (to copy the information you want) and paste it into any program you desire. Paste it into a Word document, an email or even to your own website - it's as easy as 1-2-3.

Well, I suppose it's one way of getting annoying evangelists off the net.

Does he take offerings of grapes?

A local saint in Portugal has a sense of humour. St. Goncalo of Murtosa, in the north of the country, has a reputation for curing haemorrhoids if you show him the affected part. He can also help in cases of teenage acne and his festival is particularly relevant to young lovers:

The mischievous Saint Goncalo has a loyal local following. Every June, during a festival in his honour in the nearby town of Amarante, unmarried men and women exchange penis-shaped cakes as tokens of their affection.

Mischievous saint gets to the bottom of parishioners' woes - The Guardian, 15th January 2003.

Harry Potter is evil, again.

The Greek Orthodox church is in a tizzy over the film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In Thrace, the Orthodox See quoted fundie sources when it claimed that the film and books would turn children into Satanists:

(The books and films) acquaint people with evil, wizardry, the occult and demonology, the announcement said. It is beyond doubt that Harry was made to resemble a young savior. Upon his birth people try to kill him, he is forever subjected to injustice but always supernaturally manages to prevail and save others. Let us reflect, who else... is held to be the unjustly treated God?

Similarly in Cyprus, Bishop Chrysostomos has complained that the highly successful film made children familiar with evil, sorcery and apocryphism. There is no tradition of children's magical fantasy in Greek-speaking areas. Church: Harry Potter film a font of evil - Kathimerini, 15th January 2003; Church Cross at Potter - Sky News, 15th January 2003.

It's the demons, honest.

United States: A woman displaying the classic symptoms of schizophrenia, and side-effects of drugs used to treat it, plans to protest outside a church HQ over what she sees as the unpardonable neglect of people who are possessed by a demon.
The symptoms started in 1993. I heard hateful voices, I had an involuntary blurb here or there. I had involuntary motions. For example, if I had been cutting a vegetable, the knife would move. My eyes would move without my permission, she said at an interview in her home Tuesday.
A priest in Connecticut convinced her she was posessed by 19 different demons including Masonic spirits from her mother's father, a spirit of ‘voodoo’ associated with occult dabbling by ancestors and a seaman involved in the African slave trade, but other priests were more sceptical. She claims she travelled from state to state seeking an exorcism, but had difficulty getting one. Sprague woman plans exorcism protestNorwich Bulletin, 15th January 2003.

Witch murder suspect arrested.

A 32-year old man arrested in Kabompo, Zambia, is believed to be the leader of a gang responsible for the murder of a number of elderly people on suspicion they were practising witchcraft.

[North-Western police chief Innocent] Kalebwe said the suspected serial killer who, had no fixed abode used to be paid by people including young boys to kill suspected witches and wizards in the two provinces.
You know in these areas, there is no normal death. They strongly believe that any death of a young person is caused by witchcraft. So, many people have been killed by hired killers on such suspicions.
We tried to infiltrate the villagers, but we could not capture the suspects because they were liked by the young as they were saved from deaths by the hired killers. Even if they knew where the suspect was, they could not reveal to the police, so it was very difficult.

The suspect is in hospital after receiving a couple of bullet wounds when he tried to flee arresting officers. Karavina Gang Leader Arrested - The Times of Zambia (via allAfrica.com), 15th January 2003.

Flying falsie spotted

A mystery smudge has appeared on a photograph taken of the the Cardrona Bra Fence in New Zealand. A number of people have since reported seeing a flying saucer at around the same time the picture was taken. Bras were first attached to the fence by persons unknown a couple of years ago, and women from all over the world have sent bras to be added to it. Many share theories over bra fence 'UFO' - Stuff, 15th January 2003.

It's not just the Roman Catholic Church, no. 385662

A Canadian Hindu priest has been charged with with sexual assault and several other offences. The charges relate to alleged assaults on two 14-year old girls who attended a group based at one of the two Toronto temples where Rudy Madho is priest and include sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation. He also faces one count of invitation to sexual touching. Hindu priest faces sex charges - Globe and Mail, 15th January 2003.

January 14, 2003

Bargain of the Day: a penny

There are no less than five separate auctions for a Ten Commandments Pressed Penny. Though you can find machines to make such pressed pennies at tourist traps all over the world, this one has The Entire TEN Commandments imprinted on a Penny which apparently makes it a Great Witnessing Tool!. A friend of mine acquired a few on his recent trip around Europe. This auction explains why he drinks beer—it's because of the mysterious influence of the one from Prague. I dread to think of the effect of an Amsterdam pressed 2 cent piece!

January 13, 2003

Bargain of the Day: Christian hologram bracelet

Today's offering is a Hollogram of Last Supper Bracelet (sic.):

This unusual'hollogram' of the last supper pendant charm on a golden 7 inch bracelet makes quite a statement when worn!The image, like a spirit moves with the light. It is one of a kind!

Through her eBay store, Sweet Adeline's Novelties, vendor Adele offers A little bit of this and a little bit of that... mostly jewelry, including the same Last Supper Hollogrom on Chain, a Hollogram of Jesus, Mary, Joseph Bracelet, a Blessed Virgin Hollogrom on Chain and a Large 4 inch Golden "Jesus" on Heavy Chain. And that's not all, you see she has a purpose in life:

I have been a writer/ author for 20yrs and still do that... ;-) My new book, September 11, 2001 Remembered is now for sale on ebay at almost half price. 50% of profits going to the schloraship fund for the victims children. The rest of the money goes for printing and mailing costs. Buy an autographed book for them! Receive a FREE photo of the WTC in a wood frame with every order!

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".

About that cookie and new interface bits

When you go to comments the first time, the site will try and set a cookie. All it's for is to save your details (on your machine), to put in the comments form when you comment. You don't have to accept it to be able to comment, and you might get the same functionality better with the form manager in your browser. Also, it's read by a Javascript thing, so it doesn't work if you have remotely secure settings in Mozilla.

If you want to comment you must give an e-mail address but, if you also give the form a link to your own web site, it will use that with your name instead of the e-mail address and you won't be barraged with spam after the harvesting robots get here. I do not save the information anywhere other than in the database which handles the comments. I'm not going to spam you and I ain't going to sell it to anyone who will.

The timestamp at the bottom of each post is a permalink, and clicking on it will also open up the comments page in the same window, rather than a pop-up.

When commenting, any HTML will be stripped out, and returns are converted to breaks or paragraphs, depending on how many you do. There is no need to ever hit return except at the end of a paragraph. URLs are converted to links to that URL.

Bargains of the Day: tricky puzzle for fundies

Although billed as a Wonderful item for the Christian child, this Christian race car puzzle/LARGE pieces should keep your average adult fundie occupied for a few days trying to fit together the sixty or so pieces.

What appears to be the same vehicle is also available as a 1:24 scale die-cast model from the JC Racing Team. Fortunately, their site requires Flash to get into it, so I'll have to guess that this team is a good reason to insist all motor racing only take place on Sunday mornings.

Sacred mountain row

In New Zealand, Maori are upset about the possibility that a sacred mountain might appear in the background of a film being made in the area. At the same time, they're charging the crew large sums of money for 'spritual ceremonies'. This sentence hints that the real motives are far from religious: Maori are also unhappy that there is no financial recognition of their interest in the mountain. Maori row over use of Mt Taranaki - Stuff, 12th January 2003.

January 11, 2003

A little bit of politics

If you are British and the proposals for ID, sorry, 'entitlement' cards bother you, but you don't know what to do, or are not confident writing your own letter from scratch, The Stand has a useful service. On this site, you can check boxes for the issues which concern you the most (with links explaining each of the selected issues) and a letter will be auto-generated for you. You may choose to use all your own words if you wish. You can then customise this to your heart's content, fill in your address etc, and when you are happy with it, it will be sent to the appropriate bit of the Home Office. Optionally, they will fax it to your MP as well. When you go for this option, you get information about your MP too, like a link to the Register of Members' Interests and how many letters they actually reply to.

If you want to persuade other people that it's a bad idea, or even see a concise summary of some of the arguments against the cards, take a look at Leafnet - they produce PDF leaflets, 2-up on A4, for putting through doors. Their current campaign is the ID card one.

Whatever your political opinions are, being able to express them is vitally important in a truly democratic society.

Bargain of the Day: Glow in the dark crosses

New on eBay is this lot of 12 God Is Love Glow in the Dark Crosses.

Perfect for the nightstand, window ledge, car dashboard or any other spot to bring reassurance of God's love during the nighttime hours. Comforting for children and adults alike. White in daylight...glow yellow-green at night; 3 1/2" cross on a 2 1/2" base.

They would use much less electricity than the nightlights featured on 5th January.

Pagan Prattle policy statement

Some people seem to have some very strange ideas about the Prattle and the person behind it. Let's clarify things a little and answer some of those questions and strange comments. Think of this as a policy statement which explains where the Prattle is coming from.

Exploiting the fear of terrorism

Japan: A man has been arrested in Osaka after he allegedly tried to extort money from a camera shop by pretending to be a member of a militant Islamic group.

Hokazono visited Big Camera's Nanba outlet in Naniwa-ku, Osaka, Thursday evening, and handed a letter to a female employee demanding 60 million yen in cash, police said.

I'm a member of an Islamic radical organization. I've set a bomb to go off in your shop. Hand over 60 million yen and I'll tell you where it is, the letter read.

He later made several threatening phone calls to the shop. Police traced a call he made Friday evening, and arrested him.

A small incendiary device was found.

'Islamic radical' plants fire bomb in Osaka camera shopMainichi Daily News, 11th January 2003.

January 10, 2003

Muslim foils synagogue attack

A Muslim employee at a New York petrol station is being hailed as a hero after he stopped an arson attack on the synagogue opposite his workplace.

Syed Ali, 35, was working at the Amoco station on Ocean Ave. in Sheepshead Bay at about 4 a.m. when he sold $2 worth of fuel to the alleged would-be arsonist.
The Pakistani immigrant said he watched in disbelief as Sead Jakup, 22, took the canister across the street and began dousing the Young Israel of Kings Bay synagogue.
Ali quickly called 911, and cops arrived before Jakup, a Bosnian Muslim, could set the temple ablaze.

The incident is being investiagated as a hate crime, though relatives of the would-be arsonist say that he is mentally disturbed: It's not about religion , he just flipped.

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.

Resolving to learn.

According to the BBC, the most popular New Year's resolution for 2003 is to learn something new with 44% of us wishing to widen our knowledge over the next 12 months. With this in mind, the MIT Open Courseware project is interesting. It aims to:

  1. Provide free, searchable, coherent access to MIT's course materials for educators in the non-profit sector, students, and individual learners around the world.
  2. Create an efficient, standards-based model that other universities may emulate to publish their own course materials.

It is currently at the pilot stage, and includes materials from representative courses from all five MIT schools. One of those courses is Magic, Witchcraft, and the Spirit World:

This Anthropology course, Magic, Witchcraft, and the Spirit World, focuses on spiritual, magical, and "occult" aspects of human behavior in anthropological and historical perspective. Includes detailed study questions relating to films and thought-provoking discussion topics.

The materials include a lesson calendar and a reading list. Each lesson has detailed discussion questions associated with it. The second half of the course is most interesting, examining the early modern witch hunts and moving onto alien abduction and the ritual abuse myth.

It occurs to me that this material could be used by an online study group, with members reading the texts and getting together via a fourm such as Quicktopic, IRC and/or a mailing list to discuss the questions. Please leave comments!

Church and State

An interesting opinion piece appeares in the Eagle Herald, a local publication based in Wisconsin and Michigan, concerning a debate between Christians and Asatruar over a pubically-funded nativity scene. Michael D. Brant argues that it is completely unconstitional to force any citizen to fund the promotion of another religion and looks at the reason the US exists in the first place, and why the separation of church and state is the first amendment.

The majority leads to my next point. I'm shocked by Mr. Carpio's conclusion, Christianity is the majority religion in this country. Get over it! Majority religion is why so many people fled the oppressive state-run religion to our county, and hence the Constitution's very first amendment. Mr. Carpio also makes references to the founding fathers' religious intents, yet in order to guarantee an atmosphere of absolute religious liberty, this country's founders mandated the strict separation of church and state. The Constitution makes no reference to God or religion, except for its protection and separation.

He goes on to argue against popular beliefs concerning the origins of certain God-related statements on money and in the Pledge - they were nothing to do with the Founding Fathers, but were added in the paranoid 1950s. Public nativity scenes unconstitutional - Eagle Herald, 8th 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.

Twelve charged for witch hunt

Twelve people have appeared in court in Namibia on charges relating to an incident in which two women were illegally detained and threatened with death. The mob believed the women had bewitched a man who had recently drowned. 12 in Court for Witch-Hunt - The Namibian (via allAfrica.com, 9th January 2003.

Satanist eats mother

According to police, a Texas man convicted of murder for beating his mother to death and eating part of her heart claimed he did so because he was a Satanist and was upset that the police had disturbed his sacrifice. 'I'm a devil-worshipper and I ate my mother' - IOL, 9th January 2003.

'Demon' neighbour killed

A California man has been arrested for allegedly shooting neighbours he believed to be demons. A 67-year old man was killed and his son critically injured during the three hour seige at a house in North Hollywood. Man arrested for allegedly shooting 'demonic' neighbors - Sacramento Bee, 7th January 2003.

January 8, 2003

Witch murders in India

A two-year old child was one of three people beheaded in Orissa for practising witchcraft. A traditioanal healer had told the accused that he and his family had come under the influence of an evil spirt. Three of them had died in the last two years, and his wife and daughters were ill.

The accused Habili Sidu (28) wanted to avenge the deaths of some members of his family. He believed the deceased were practising witchcraft and thus causing the deaths, police said.

Three beheaded for 'witchcraft' in Orissa - Sify News, 8th January 2003.

January 7, 2003

Bargains of the Day: nun tat

The image of a nun in traditional habit is one of enduring appeal, and one that inspires all sorts of amazing products. But picking out one or two exceptional items proved impossible. Here, instead, is the search I made.

Witchcraft in Africa

allAfrica.com brings us a number of recent incidents concerning witch beliefs. In Namibia, thirteen people have been arrested in connection with the New Year's Eve murder of a man accused of witchcraft.

According to [Ohangwena Police Regional Commander Deputy Commissioner Tuveefeni] Mlukeni, the mob of villagers attacked Nghiimbwasha with sticks and killed him on the spot over accusations that he was practising witchcraft against other villagers.

This is not the first such incident in the area:

Last year, also in the Ohangwena Region, a mob of villagers attacked and killed their headman, Paulus Kahana, in a similar manner.
Kahana, who was headman of Omahayi village in Okongo Constituency, was also killed by villagers accusing him of practising witchcraft and linking him to the death of a resident.

In South Africa, Limpopo MEC for safety, security and liaison Dikeledi Magadzi has felt the need to point out that no-one is above the law and urged the police to deal severely with those resposible for attacks on people believed to be witches. His words were in respose to a recent incident where a mob set fire to the house of a man they believed was responsible for severe lightning that had affected their village.

In Zambia, a chief has been charged with murder over the death of a woman in 1998 whose 'private parts' were removed. Chief Nshimba, of Lake Mweru's Kilwa island in Luapula, has been implicated in a number of grisly ritual murders in the past. Villager Beaten to Death On New Year's Eve - The Namibian, 6th January 2003; No One is Above Law, Says Mec Magadzi - BuaNews, 31st December 2002; Cops Arrest Chief Nshimba of Luapula for Murder - The Post, 5th January 2003.

Fjian 'witch' assaulted.

A Fiji man has received a supsended sentence after he knifed a fellow villager he accused of witchcraft. He apologised to the court and said he wouldn't do it again. Knifing incident lands Waya islander in jail - Fijilive.com, 7th January 2003.

One I missed

There was an interesting leader in the Guardian on Christmas Eve. It seems that some Anglicans are a little upset that the new Archbishop of Canterbury might be a teensy, weensy bit left wing, including Ruth Lea, head of policy for the Institute of Directors, who moaned: I get the impression he wants to be a politician, and a lot of his politics will be anathema to many people in the Church of England. I see a lot of this as a political tract of a leftwing cleric, which I don't think shows an in-depth analysis. The leader writer responded:

Dr Williams's condition may well be incurable. The trouble appears to be that he has spent so much of his life with his nose buried in subversive literature. Among his favourite reading, it is said, are books which assert the following deeply undesirable principles: that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven; and that money is the root of all evil. There is even a much-lauded central character who overturns the tables of the money-changers in the Temple, not a practice to earn approval in Pall Mall. Such teachings consistently fail to underline the essential truth - that what some petty, envious people take to be greed is really incentivisation.

For richer, for poorer - The Guardian, 24th December 2002 (via The Sideshow).

January 6, 2003

Mosque attacked in Amsterdam

Two male youths were seen riding away on a moped after a bang was heard coming from an Amsterdam mosque last Friday night. Workers at the mosque on Baden Powellweg contacted the police on Saturday morning and fragments of a hand grenade, the type of which could not be determined, were discovered. Police think it was thrown in through a window. No-one was in the building when the grenade exploded. Grenade explodes in mosque - Expatica Netherlands, 6th January 2003; Handgranaat ontploft in Amsterdamse moskee - ANP (via de Volkskrant), 5th January 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.

Bargain of the Day: Heavenly love wrap

Via Teresa Nielsen Hayden's Making Light comes this SACRED RAINBOW HEAVENLY LOVE WRAP:

REMEMBER,said the WUNJO CROW
You are a SACRED BEING,
Love yourself,
Embrace your shadows and you will find joy in who you are

DESIGNED AND HAND COLOURED IN THE CENTRAL DESERT AREA OF AUSTRALIA BY KYE AND GILL OF WUNJO CROW CLOTHING.KYE HAS BEEN CREATING CLOTHES THAT CELEBRATE OUR BEAUTY,FOR THE LAST 15 YEARS AND WAS JOINED BY GILL,HER PARTNER,8 YEARS AGO,WHO BROUGHT WITH HIM,A WONDERFUL SENSE OF COLOUR, TOGETHER,THEY MAKE A GREAT TEAM.

WUNJO CROW CLOTHING IS MADE WITH JOY AND CELEBRATION

EACH GARMENT IS INDIVIDUALLY DYED ** THEREFORE NO TWO GARMENTS ARE EVER THE SAME

This LOVELY HOODED SHAWL is DIVINE,superbly coloured in your very own MAGICAL Rainbow. Once again in rayon, a delicate soft knitted fabric which is a joy to wear (JUST ASK ANYONE WHO HAS PURCHASED ONE)

will look GORGEOUS WRAPPED AROUND THE SHOULDERS OF ANY GODDESS.{free size}

SEWN WITH LOVE ,SPRINKLED WITH MAGIC MADE TO CELEBRATE YOU

It's not just the Roman Catholic Church, no. 385661

A Presbyterial Commission (a kind of church court in the Church of Scotland) is in the final stages of its inquiry into a minister who tried to assault a 14-year-old boy. Reverend Ian Andrew was convicted at Stonehaven Sheriff Court in October and put on the Sex Offenders' Register, but sentence has been deferred until the kirk's own investigtion is complete. At the time of the offence, Andrew was a happily married man with two daughters.

Tackling bigotry in Scotland

Sectarianism is a nasty problem in Scotland, not helped by politicians who seem to think that bigotry based on someone's percieved religious background has everything to do with genuine religious belief. Hence the Roman Catholic church in Scotland is worried about legislation which would prohibit fans and players from making the sign of the cross before matches or at times like before a penalty kick. Liberal Democrat MSP Donald Gorrie is on the working group and reassured the BBC that the passage the Catholic Church is worried about was a discussion of the problems legislation could bring, and not a proposal.

My understanding of the sentence the church is concerned about in the report was that it was part of a section illustrating the difficulties of introducing specific legislation for football matches.
There are actions which are very praiseworthy in the right context, such as a Catholic crossing themselves or singing a national anthem, but these can become very provocative if they are made in a very 'in your face' way to try to rile the other side.
It was an illustration of the difficulty of the problem rather than a solution to the problem.

Church in religious gesture warning - BBC News, 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.

Call the Time Team

A group of 'Knights Templar' plan to use advanced geophysical surveying techniques to find the Holy Grail. They hope to find a vault somewhere in the vicintiy of Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian. The chapel itself is a fascinating building, full of intricate carvings including depictions of sweetcorn dating from before Columbus set foot in the Americas. But John Ritchie, Grand Herald and spokesman for the Knights Templar, sees a deeper symbolism:

There is a whole series of stuff on each section of the chapel, which relates to a different period of time, Mr Ritchie added. We have to go back to the 15th century and read it with a medieval eye to understand what it all means. All these symbols relate to events in history. It is a book created in stone, which brings in all the apostolic religion, laid over by an astrological form which tracks the seasons, and the plants in the seasons. Both the Freemasons and the Knights Templar claim the ornate stonemasonry of the church is a secret code which, if broken, will reveal the whereabouts of treasures.

Knights Templar to use latest imaging in search for Grail - The Independent, 6th January 2003.

Thou shalt not kill on my patch

Muslims and Christians in a Ugandan village are engaged in a feud over who gets to slaughter animals.

The meeting followed an earlier letter written by the Busembatia Mosque leaders accusing the Discipleship Mission Born-Again Christians of defiantly slaughtering and selling animals to the public during the festive season.

Christians, Muslims clash in Iganga - The Monitor (via allAfrica.com, 4th January 2003.

Wizard drops in

A praying Christian congregation in Zanzibar must have received the shock of their lives when a sparesely-dressed man fell from his flying saucer into their midst. But according to the self-styled 'wizard', the incident is why he is now a Christian.

When asked why he had failed to continue with the flight, he said he didn't know why. I always make sure that everything is okay before I leave on a mission within and beyond Kongwa District. I did the same tonight, but I was shocked when the craft would not go on when I reached above this area. I really don't know why it failed, he explained. He said it was God's will that he should now stop witchcraft and live a righteous life. He then burned all the pieces of talisman, the piece of skin and the "aircraft". He was later given clothes by the believers.

The truth of the story is suggested by the fact that his family, with whom he lived, were completely unaware of his nocturnal activities. 'Wizard' drops from heavens - The Guardian (Zanzibar), 6th January 2003.

Crying Mary painting.

Two men claim to have seen a painting of the Virgin Mary cry in a small Romanian church. The Romanian Orthodox church has sent a delegation to investigate. Thousands flock to church after Virgin Mary painting starts to cry - Ananova, 6th January 2003.

Cilla consulted dead husband

Cilla Black has revealed that she used a medium to contact her husband Bobby to discuss her decision to quit TV show Blind Date. She had not told the clairvoyant why she wanted to see her and was told You are frightened and excited. Bobby says that is OK - you are doing the right thing. Cilla says psychic's message from Bobby said it's OK to quit - Ananova, 6th January 2003.

Jesus was a hippy.

A study of scripture published this month claims that Jesus healed the sick by using cannabis. The anointing oil used by Jesus and his disciples contained an ingredient called kaneh-bosem which has since been identified as cannabis extract, according to an article by Chris Bennett in the drugs magazine, High Times, entitled Was Jesus a Stoner? The incense used by Jesus in ceremonies also contained a cannabis extract, suggests Mr Bennett, who quotes scholars to back his claims.

The use of cannabis-based anointing oils in ancient Judaism is already well established. Jesus 'healed using cannabis' - The Guardian, 6th January 2003.

January 5, 2003

Bargain of the Day: Jesus night light

Do you have a deep and abiding religious faith, but are still scared of things that go bump in the night? What you need is a Jesus night light NIB bulb included:

Beautiful night light provides security and safety, low wattage bulb included with this brand new light in the original package. Made of resilent plastic with rotary shade and wall hugger construction. Let his light , light your way.

Another religious nightlight comes in the form of Praying Hands. Seeing these reminded me of some novelty lightbulbs I saw in a shop in Amsterdam. While searching for them, I discovered these charming Praying Angel lamps (Beware - the site is a Cookie Monster):

Your choice of angel and cherubs, or kneeling angel. Standing angel is painted in pastel colors; praying angel is in all-ivory. Made of resin. Each 15-1/4"H overall.Uses 40-Watt bulb (not included).

This Novelty Light Bulb-Crucifix is an older, more elegant version of what I'm looking for, and shows that religious tat is not a recent phenomenon:

This unusual novelty light bulb encapsulates Jesus on the Cross. The bulb glows neon red when lit and measures 4" in height. This bulb is most assuredly vintage with a brass bottom and Aerolux-New York stamped around metal rim. In fine working order now, but since this bulb is old I can not guarantee how long it will burn. It came from an estate, which mentioned the bulb was only used on the holidays.

So, I returned to eBay. They have Masonic light bulbs (and Eastern Star and Shriner ones) and several skull-shaped blacklight bulbs (which I quite liked), but it looks like I'll have to go back to Amsterdam to photograph the bulbs I spotted--shame.

January 4, 2003

Rabbi stabbed

A French Rabbi needed hospital treatment after he was stabbed ouside his Paris synagogue. Rabbi Gabriel Farhi's synagogue had already been damaged by fire last May. The assailant was apparently a French Muslim.

Someone rang at the door, I opened and a man a bit shorter than me... wearing a motorbike helmet with its visor down said Allahu Akbar [God is Great] and then stabbed me, Mr Farhi told AFP.

Rabbi Farhi has received a number of threatening letters. Rabbi stabbed at Paris synagogue - BBC News, 4th January 2003.

New on the blogroll

I should've added it ages ago, but morons.org has made it onto the list of blogs I read. What's it about?

Moronic behaviour and attitude knows no political, social, or economic boundaries. Hypocrisy plays no favorites. Therefore, this site is neither liberal nor conservative. It is our wish to neither uplift the poor while vilifying the rich or vice-versa. We're neither yuppies nor hippies. We're just people, just like you (we're all people), who have grown weary of the morons in our society dragging the rest of us down.

You see, we're thinkers and armchair philosophers. We want to be free to think and reason. We want to be free to live our lives and make decisions as we see fit. We are tired of the interference we get from a variety of sources. We are angry at them for trying to block us from being happy because they cannot attain happiness for themselves.

The site is strongest on stories about homosexuality and those who are scared of it.

Bargain of the Day: car mezuzah

Today we have a unique mezuzah for your car.

The mezuzah measures approximately 1 1/3 inches in length, 1/3 inch in width and 1/2 inch in height. The scroll is encased in a clear glass tube (through which you can see the scroll) which is surrounded by silvertoned scrolling spelling "Shaddai" in Hebrew letters.

Why would you need such a thing? Jewish Law does not require a mezuzah in the car, but it is a lovely reminder of faith and a wonderful momento from Israel, the seller claims. Charlie says It's religious tat.

Worried about gays adopting?

The leaders of a Kansas City Church have been charged with the murder of their adopted 9-year old son and of abusing their three other adopted children. Neil E. Edgar and Christy Y. Edgar are pastors of God's Creation Outreach Ministry which teaches that children should be subject to strict, physical discipline. Their son, Brian, died on December 29th.

Wyandotte County Coroner Alan Hancock said in an interview that Brian's mouth had been taped shut and that something like a sock had been stuffed in it. He said there were signs that Brian had vomited and that he had been bound around the chest with a belt. The boy died of asphyxiation, Hancock said.

This is about as bad (a case of child abuse) as any of them, Hancock said.

The autopsy, he added, showed that Brian had been dead for several hours before being brought to the hospital. The autopsy also found bruises on his cheeks and old marks on his wrists and ankles, suggesting he probably had been bound with a rope in the past.

A few years ago, a member of the church was convicted of using a stun gun against a child. Church leaders charged in murder of adopted sonKansas City Star, 1st January 2003.

January 3, 2003

Odd behaviour

You might see random old stories appearing at the top of this page and then disappearing again. Don't worry - I'm restoring the archives the hard way, and I have to add the entry first and then change the date.

Sorcerer's death suspicious.

A suspected sorcerer has been found dead under suspicious circumstances in a well in Katheru village (Hyderabad, India). Villagers say he could have been murdered or forced to commit suicide. Mystery shrouds 'sorcerer's' death - Times of India, 3rd January 2003.

Bargain of the Day: Pray And Grow Thin

Eat less, exercise more -- that's the only guaranteed way to lose weight and keep it off. But it's hard work, and a bit of magic can help keep that willpower up. But what about those poor Christians who aren't supposed to indulge in that particular form of headology? Help is at hand with Pray And Grow Thin:

Better introduce myself, my name is Ron Rogers.... I know we're just meeting through this letter, but what I'm about to share with you could CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOREVER, it did for me....
But wait....I know when you accessed this page, you expected to hear about PRAY AND GROW THIN. Well hold on.....you won't be disappointed, utilizing the secrets you'll learn in this book, you can lose all the weight you need to.
But here is the amazing part, the power of prayer is THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE IN THE UNIVERSE. Utilizing it's power is tapping the very heart of the Creator. The one who made the heavens and the earth, with His help you can achieve anything you desire in life... IT'S TRUE!

And now, through the wonders of electronic publishing, Windows users can have the entire book for a mere $9.95! (there's a PDF version for other platforms, but not in this auction).

And there's more...

I knew Pray and Grow Thin was an excellent book, but I wanted to give you something extra FREE. But what? Well I figured if you're like me, I'd like to find a word or verse that nails the way I feel, but I'm no theologian. What I did was this; I wrote letters, made phone calls, talked and talked, etc., and here's what I found. All of us at one time or another share about 36 common problems. I had several experts look into these and they found ONE VERSE FOR EACH DAY of the week per section. So, we have 36 sections x 7 (days in the week) giving a total of 252 (Two Hundred Fifty Two). I think you'll like this, it's been very helpful to me and others who've used it.

And remember - With Pray and Grow Thin, the power of the universe is at your beck and call through God.

January 2, 2003

We're moving

As part of the promised changes to the Prattle, the address has changed. Please redirect your links, bookmarks etc to http://www.prattle.net/ as soon as you've confirmed it's propagated to where you are. The current address will not stop working for the time being.

South Africa, again

In South Africa, man has allegedly shot his stepmother and set her hut on fire after accusing her of witchcraft. He also accused and attacked his father, but did not hurt him. the alleged perpetrator fled and has not been captured. Man kills stepmom for witchcraft - SAPA/News24, 2nd January 2003.

Anti-semitism in South Africa

A total of 38 graves have been desecrated at two Jewish cemetaries in Cape Town. The police have yet to open a criminal investigation, though they are aware of the attacks.CT Jewish graves vandalised - iAfrica, 1st January 2003.

Mob attacks elderly 'witch'

Thirteen people have been arrested in South Africa after an elderly man was attacked and his huts burned down by a mob. They accused the old man of witchcraft. Thirteen held for attack on 'witch' - iAfrica, 2nd January 2003.

Trust the tabloids

The police describe the main suspect in the bin bag murders as a violent dangerman with a history of mental illness, but the Daily Mirror has a much more important point to note: the presence of Christian symbols means he must be Pagan.

The walls of the dingy flat were daubed with pagan-style symbols, including a large black cross.

More sensible news sources speculate that the dead women might be prostitutes who worked nearby Kings Cross. Police name bin bag murder suspect. - Daily Mirror, 2nd January 2003; Man arrested in body parts inquiry - BBC News, 2nd January 2003.

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.

Bargain of the Day: Six religious foam gliders

The sky's the limit with these six religious foam gliders:

this auction is for 6 new FOAM RELIGIOUS GLIDERS the gliders measure 6 and a half inches in length and say FLY WITH THE LORD each glider will be in the original sealed package the 6 gliders will be assorted colors

They're not very decorative though, nowhere near as much fun as the rubber-powered flying Isis I bought in a museum shop in the US a few years ago.

Aliens in France

A French driver has been taken into custody after crashing through a roadblock. He told police I resorted to force because I saw Martians on the motorway. He was tested for alcohol, but had not been drinking. Police plan drug tests and a psychiatric evaluation. 'Motorway Martians' drive man round the bend - IOL, 31st December 2002.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries written by Feòrag in January 2003.

Feòrag: December 2002 is the previous archive.

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