Feòrag: September 2006 Archives

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 26, 2006

See - estate agents are evil

United States: A most unusual lawsuit is taking place in New York, in which a man is suing an estate agency over a rather odd incident which allegedly took place as he was trying to sell his flat:

Daniel Farash said he returned home to his three-bedroom apartment on West 79th Street after a weekend away to discover many of his mattresses had been urinated on, his belongings broken and laid out in strange patterns - and his broker naked and chanting in a closet.

I was ambushed. She came out of that closet like a lunatic. She was naked holding my mother's vase in one hand and a towel in another and screaming all this nonsense, Farash, 44, told The Post.

Portions of my house were turned into . . . a satanic temple . . . like some sort of witchcraft. I was in shock. You're talking about your home - you're talking about your real-estate broker.

He claims that the incident caused him to sell his flat for $500,000 less than the $1.2 million market value of the property (for a three bedroom flat? I thought the Edinburgh housing market was over-inflated!) and left him with post-traumatic stress.

THE DEVIL'S APT. BROKERNew York Post, 25th September 2006.

September 25, 2006

Minitrue

United Kingdom: A group of creationists have set up a website to persuade parents to campaign for the teaching of astrology creationism instead of science in schools. And they were clearly inspired by George Orwell in the naming of their site: Truth in Science. Where 'truth' means 'lies', of course. The rhetoric is so familiar, it's surprising they managed to translate the spelling into British English.

The move is the latest attempt by opponents of Darwinian theory to 'teach the controversy’'by claiming equivalence for non-scientific theories of origins often derived from fundamentalist interpretations of Christian scripture.

Truth in Science asks, Are you aware of what your child is being taught, and have you ever discussed this with his or her science teacher? It says that a 'free resource pack' is being sent to school heads of science in September 2006.

I hope they've warned local councils to make an extra collection from paper recycling bins. Not all the resource pack is recyclable, so a correspondent for Ekklesia suggests some teachers may have already used the DVDs to scare birds from their vegetable patch.

Even though they have put together their proposal for the teaching of superstition at GCSE level, the Department of Education is unlikely to pay any attention:

But former UK schools minister Jacqui Smith has declared categorically that the government is against the teaching of creationism and ID in science lessons in British schools – a position reiterated by Alan Johnson.

The list of supporters includes a predictable collection of ministers of religion, but they also rank among the critics. Rev. Michael Roberts, an Anglican vicar and geologist, has been examining Truth in Science's site and is not impressed. Some of their directors are, well, a bit daft:

Another director is Steve Layfield, head of science at Emmanuel College, Gateshead, who fervently supports teaching creationism in schools, even suggesting that the Fall of Adam resulted in lunar craters and thus should be taught as science...

All the fifteen mentioned on the website are Young Earth Creationists, and connected variously with Biblical Creation Society, Answers in Genesis and other groups.

He did not have the space to demolish the website's claims in his short article for Ekklesia, so he provided a single example of the organisation mendacity:

There is an air of superficial plausibility about this, which is apparent in four lesson plans on Irreducible Complexity (Intelligent Design's catchphrase), the Fossil Record, Homology and Natural Selection. As a geologist I will only comment on the Fossil Record Lesson Plan, where Pupils are introduced to the three theories currently used to interpret the fossil record: Phyletic Gradualism, Punctuated Equilibrium and Phyletic Discontinuity. These three are, of course, Darwinian gradualism, PE and essentially Six Day Creation. Both scientists and theologians contend, with massive evidence that it is disingenuous to present the last as a scientific theory.

Roberts' concern is that the Church of England's inaction on this matter is making them look like idiots, and giving us excuses to take the piss:

The result will be to confuse students, to increase the antagonism of non-believers, and to raise opposition to faith schools of any kind...

Far too often the opponents of this pseudo-scientific nonsense are atheists, who then use this to ridicule faith. Will the church now wake up?

UK anti-evolutionists seek to lure parents with new websiteEkklesia, 25th September 2006; Creationism distorts truth in science, says vicarEkklesia, 25th September 2006.

September 24, 2006

Satanic abuse 'witness' forced to lie

Scotland: A woman at the centre of ritual abuse allegations on the Isle of Lewis has told the police that she was not telling the truth. Angela Stretton, 39, who has learning difficulties, said that she had been pressurised into making false allegations during a long series of interviews with police and social workers.

I had lots of meetings with police and social workers. They kept questioning me about different people. It was a different person every day. They had a list of names, including my mum and brother. They said things about taking photos and killing animals and drinking their blood, she said.

At first I said no, they wouldn't do that. But they kept on and on at me. They said I had to tell the truth for the children. I felt really under pressure, so I suppose I told them what they wanted to hear. I just agreed with what was being said.

Stretton also has a history of making hoax calls, but this did not stop the police using here as their star witness to bring rape and child abuse charges against eight people, including a 75-year-old woman.

The similarities to the earlier Orkney case are so surprising it makes you wonder if police and social services on the Isle of Lewis had actually read Lord Clyde's enquiry report. Both cases centred around families where abuse was taking place, of the sadly common sort within the family. But whereas in Orkney, the social workers were much too enthusiastic to take children into care, the Lewis ones seemed reluctant to do so, even though the children were clearly in immediate danger of continuing abuse. They and the police were more interested in uncovering an island-wide satantic abuse ring than the welfare of children.

In Orkney, the main source of evidence was a child from the family where abuse had taken place, who was badly disturbed and awaiting an appointment with a child psychologist. The social workers believed every outrageous claim she made, except when she told them she was making it all up.

Yet the Orkney events happened while the abuser of the children was in prison, having been convicted. In this case, the real child abuser is likely to have got away with their crimes because of the police and social workers' determination to chase after fantasies.

Satanic abuse key witness says: I liedThe Observer, 24th September 2006. See also: Satan-obsessed social workers probedPagan Prattle, 15th July 2004; This is importantPagan Prattle, 11th July 2004.

September 19, 2006

Grabbing the other one reveals the presence of bells

England: A former adviser to the Bishop of Oxford has pleaded guilty to posessing and making child pornography, though he insists the material found its way onto his computer by accident.

The pictures were found by detectives from the Hi-Tech Crime Unit, who raided his home in June last year. Most had been downloaded on the same day in June.

The unit had been tipped off by the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation, which discovered [The Rev Richard Thomas] Thomas's IP address - the unique address allocated to every machine connected to the internet - among a list of those using a chat page to download pornography.

Thomas, the former director of communication for the Oxford diocese, has previously pleaded not guilty to 17 charges of making indecent photographs and three of possession but yesterday at Oxford crown court he changed his plea to guilty to 10 counts of making child pornography and two of possessing it.

The remaining seven charges of making the indecent photographs and one of possessing them will lie on the file.

Thomas said afterwards that he had developed an addiction to adult pornography and the child images had been downloaded inadvertently.

He said that since experts had been unable to prove either way whether the images had been deliberately downloaded, it was the responsible thing to do to plead guilty.

Thomas' name might be familiar to some Prattle readers, as part of his job involves liaison with minority faiths, including speaking at a Pagan Federation event. This role has generated some controversy and suspicion about his motives, some suggesting that evangelism is the sole reason he would act in a friendly manner towards such people. This was before the Church of England thought of bribing people to come to church instead. To his credit, he has not suggested in his defence that he thought that Neopagans abused children and that he was researching the matter.

Bishop's ex-adviser faces jail after downloading child imagesThe Guardian, 9th September 2006.

Church bribes public

England: The Church of England is so desparate to attract people to their imaginary friend that they have resorted to bribing the public with chocolate.

The fairtrade chocolate will be given out as part of 'Back to Church Sunday' - the latest attempt by the Church of England to halt the long-term decline in its numbers.

Hundreds of churches across the Dioceses of Derby, Ripon and Leeds, Manchester, Wakefield, Oxford, Guildford and individual churches around the country have already taken delivery of their 'Back to Church Box'.

I'm afraid that most of us who like the stuff already have plenty in stock, and can sing to ourselves in the shower, without having to get up on a Sunday morning.

C of E to lure lapsed worshippers with free chocolateEkklesia News, 19th 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 House 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.

Bargain of the Day: Rosh Hashanah Music Box

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is on the 23rd, so what better gift than this Rosh Hashanah Inlaid Wood Music Box?

[Rosh Hashanah Inlaid Wood Music Box]Stately music box features an 18-movement mechanism that plays Hava Nagila. Lid is decorated with a classical looking torah

Our Price : $125.00

In Stock: Yes

If you need some time to save up, no worries. You could always buy a Chanukkah Inlaid Wooden Music Box instead. This one has a picture of a dreidel on it and plays Maoz Tzur.

September 15, 2006

Goat to have an alibi

Nigeria: A man accused of murdering his brother has told the police that he only killed a goat. Black magicians, evil spirits, or similar figments of the imagination apparently turned the dead goat into the dead man.

He said that the goats were on his farm and he tried to chase them away. When one wouldn't move, he attacked it with an axe. He said it then turned into his brother, Police Commissioner Udom Ekpoudom told the Associated Press.

Murder suspect: Goat turned into corpseMiami Herald, 15th September 2006.

September 13, 2006

We're jealous.

You know, since QuePirate abandoned us, we've not really had much by way of quality kook correspondence here. We get nothing of the quality of this missive sent to BoingBoing on the matter of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Good Christian heterosexual marriage.

United Kingdom: Here at Prattle Towers, we are usually sceptical of claims that the media causes crime, but that's because we rarely get to see a case as definitive as that of Michael and Patricia Watson.

The Watsons, a married couple, celebrated Mr. Watson's birthday with a meal and a bottle of wine before settling down to watch some violent pornography, Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ. Magistrates in Bedlington, Northumbria, were told of the events which allegedly followed.

Mrs Watson left the room, and her 44-year-old husband became so upset by the graphic depiction of the Crucifixion that he pulled the leads out of the television and went upstairs.

His wife then decided to watch the God Channel and went to ask him why the television was not working.

Yvonne Jobling, for the prosecution, said that an argument developed, and Watson accused his wife of being evil. He grabbed his wife by the throat and she fell to the floor. She said: His grip was so tight she was unable to speak, but she then managed to say something of a religious nature which seemed to cause him to relax his grip.

Magistrates in Bedlington, Northumberland, were told that Mrs Watson, a 51-year-old care worker, had gasped: I’m anointed by God. You know that, Michael. Do not touch God’s anointed. Mrs Watson, who was left with red marks and soreness to her neck and a grazed forearm, later told police that she had believed that her husband was going to kill her. Watson told the police that everything his wife said about him must be true because she never lied.

'Don’t strangle the anointed one,' wife pleaded in row over Mel Gibson filmThe Times, 12th September 2006.

September 11, 2006

The journalist's craft

United Kingdom: Someone at the Hackney Gazette is confused. They've got out the box labelled Magnetic Poetry: Bog-standard stereotypes, but they can't quite make them up into the article they want. What is a hack to do? Write it anyway, regardless of the facts, perhaps? After all, that's what the Newham Recorder did.

KIDS at risk from black magic rituals are to receive their own Hackney Town Hall officer dedicated to their protection.

Hackney Council is recruiting a community partnership officer to work with faith and community organisations across the borough as part of a new government drive...

...Three people were jailed as a result and a specialist police team was set up to combat child abuse linked to African witchcraft.

That should scare the readers. But look closely, the story is really about children who are abused, not by practitioners of magic, but by people who think the kids are witches. Not that you'd be able to tell that from the report.

Ritual protectionHackney Gazette, 11th September 2006; See also Making ConnectionsPagan Prattle, 4th September 2006.

C-Rap at its finest

Perhaps the worst music video ever made, and clearly intended to blaspheme against the Flying Spaghetti Monster ( or Das Fliegende Spaghetti Monster) too.


(Link to the same video, just in case.)

(via Pharyngula, who got it via Ooblog.)

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.

Spam du Jour: Saturday published Jews

It's a well-known spamming technique - try to get past Bayesian filters by putting in random text. Well, every day I skim through my spam trap folder where my Bayesian filter puts everything it thinks is spam, just in case there are any false positives (and to look for religious ones). Well, the technique didn't work as I found a really bizarre message in there. The spammer had used some sort of travesty generator to produce the bogus text, but he must have primed it with some very interesting material indeed. The result, well at first I thought it was QuePirate back to tell us of his latest discoveries. The non-functioning attachment, entitled Christian.gif, merely enhanced that impression

September 4, 2006

Fortean Headline of the Day

Either there's a sub-editor with a sense of humour, or an incompetent one at work here: ICE arrests 15 aliens in Roswell working for U.S. military contractor.

Stephen Green arrested

Wales: Stephen Green of Christian Voice has been arrested after distributing leaflets at Cardiff Mardi Gras. Naturally, after trying so hard to suppress free speech, he's suddenly supporting it. More at MediaWatchWatch.

Violent porn miscelleny

United Kingdom: About the only good thing about the British government's proposal to ban violent pornography is that it has provoked quite a bit of discussion.

Val Dobson felt the need to rant at an article in the Grauniad, in which old urban myths about snuff films were repeated as if such a movie had ever been found:

Nothing happened because the film was a fake - as were all the other snuff movies that followed. In three decades of police porn seizures world-wide, no genuine snuff movie has ever come to light; the panic over women being brutally slain for the cameras was a typical urban legend.

It would be interesting to know just who were the film experts who verified that the film used no special effects. (As it happens, I used to have a copy of the Radical Feminist Network newsletter that carried a report of the film viewing that Bindel refers to. Having chucked out most of my magazine archives in a house move since, I no longer have the newsletter, but I clearly remember there was no mention of film experts then - only a reported claim by an unnamed police surgeon that the dismemberment scenes were real.)

OK, so Bindel is an ignorant person - does it matter? Yes it does. She presents herself not as an ordinary person with no special knowledge, but as a feminist campaigner, expert in anything concerning pornography and violence against women. That was why the Guardian asked her for a contribution to the debate - and snuff movies certainly fall within the remit of ‘pornography and violence against women’. Yet she has clearly never done any research at all into the subject.

Of course, if such a film did exist, it would be evidence for the prosecution in the ensuing murder case. The fact that murder, and being an accessory to murder, is already illegal, and punished much more seriously than possessing violent porn will be seems lost on Bindel. If the films existed, despite the possibility of life imprisonment, then the lesser penalty wouldn't exactly be a deterrent to the producers, would it?

What annoyed me about the article was that only one viewpoint, porn is evil, is presented as being feminist. Val, may I introduce you to Avedon Carol (there's no point trying to link to any individual post at her blog The Sideshow) and Feminists Against Censorship? FAC links to a petition against the proposed legislation[1].

Backlash is a campaign set up to oppose the proposed legislation. They have produced a pretty comprehensive website.

Frank Fisher at the Guardian argues against the law, and censorship in general, urging the government to stay out of the bedroom - and the dungeon.

News that the UK government is set to legislate against the possession of violent pornography, with simple possession punishable by a three year jail term, indicates that not only are we in the dying hours of the Silly Season, but also that we're in the dying hours of reason in this increasingly irrational nation.

Of all the arrogant, idiotic, kneejerk, populist measures this ignorant and increasingly inept government has proposed, this has to be the worst. Ill-conceived, illiberal, impractical and totally unenforceable - so why propose it?

And Avedon is there again, observing that the proposals will actually endanger women:

Only it won't do anything for women and in fact will probably end up endangering more of us because the less information you can get about BDSM, the more likely you are to have accidents that result in injury or death.

Charlie Stross notes that This government has created an average of one new criminal offense for every day it has spent in power — and it's been in power for nearly a decade. I am getting more than a little sick of these control freaks ...

Violent PornTurn Left at the Bridge, 2nd September 2006; British government decides to encourage rapeCharlie's Diary, 31st August 2006.

Note: Naturally, being a contrary old sod, I have an issue with the words We ... have no objection to laws which make ... dangerous acts illegal. After all, if people choose to do stupid dangerous things then, as long as they don't involve any unwilling parties, I say let Father Darwin sort them out!

Making conenctions

United Kingdom: Private Eye has noticed some interesting goings on—attempts to connect 'Adam', the torso of a Black boy found in the Thames and the abuse of children believed to be possessed or witches, with the Satanic abuse myth. What's more, a familiar name has popped up: that of Valerie Sinason, who makes a living convincing screwed up women that their problems are caused by ritual abuse, of which they have no memory.

All of this coincides with a lot of publicity surrounding a government report, Child Abuse Linked to Accusations of “Possession” and “Witchcraft” (originally released in June this year), which found the phenomenon to be more widespread that you might think, not restricted to Evangelical churches serving recent African immigrants:

The belief in “possession” and “witchcraft” is widespread. The UK is not alone in seeing cases of this nature; cases have been reported worldwide. The children discussed in this report came from a variety of backgrounds including African, South Asian and European.

Bartholemew has analysed the article in depth, and SAFF has reproduced it on their web site (it's not on the Private Eye site, alas), so I will quote just a single paragraph, which sums it all up nicely:

The abusers involved (mainly carers rather than parents) were predominantly evangelical Christians—but they also included Muslims—who all believed in possession by evil spirits and exorcism. They were categorically not—and in fact were quite the opposite of—Satanists sexually abusing and sacrificing children during black magic rituals. The researchers received no evidence or even anecdotal reports of child sacrifice. They did identify a real and deeply unpleasant problem of child abuse by adults acting in the name of religion. Meanwhile the case of Adam remains unsolved. Maybe the murder involved some form of horrific ritual. Maybe the child was mutilated to disguise his identity—as has happened in rare cases elsewhere. But the simple answer, despite the attempts to use the case to defend a more general belief in satanic abuse, is that no one knows.

Satanic Abuse, Ritual Killings, and Exorcism: Private Eye Explores the ClaimsBartholomew's notes on religion, 2nd September 2006; Satanic PanicPrivate Eye (republished by SAFF with notes and additional links), 1st September 2006; Stobart, Elinor, 2006, Child Abuse Linked to Accusations of “Possession” and “Witchcraft” [PDF]. Department for Education and Skills Research Report No. 750, London.

See also: Fanning the flamesPagan Prattle, 29th June 2005; Media in moral panic shocker!Pagan Prattle, 26th June 2005; Old myth, even older clothesPagan Prattle, 11th June 2005.

September 1, 2006

Bargain of the Day: Jesus perfume

The Great Old Ones are not the only deities to have perfumes blended in Their honour. Take His Essence™ for example:

His Essence™ is a South Dakota company inspired by Psalm 45:8 - All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia... The Bible verse refers to the garments of the Messiah when He returns. We carefully combine these fragrances and the result is a scent, which serves as a reminder of His Presence.

Products include candles, hand lotions and music (which presumably doesn't smell of Jesus).

Careful now!

United States: American readers might be interested in signing a letter to the CEO of Wal-Mart, urging him to be consistent and stop selling a violent and obscene book. (via Pharyngula)

About this Archive

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