PSYCHIC'S COLOSSAL COLOSSUS FLOP
born psychic Anne Dankbaar, 58, of Adelaide claims to have pinpointed
the location of the Colossus of Rhodes by means of her psychic powers.
Colossus, a 32 metre high man-shaped monument to Helios the Sun God,
was built 192 – 180 BC and is classed among the seven wonders of the
ancient world. It stood on a square base itself 20 metres high. An
earthquake toppled the Colossus in 224 BC. Around 120 BC Philon of
Byzantine described the Colossus as made of stones, overlaid with
bronze and held together with iron bolts. It was lying on land! The
bronze was salvaged in 652 AD, taken by Saracens to Tyre and sold.
In May 1988 Mrs Dankbaar announced she was about to fly to Greece to see the Colossus uncovered. New Idea
(1988, May 21) quoted Dankbaar: "The Colossus is where I said it is. I
expect to hear something in few weeks and I will be there when they
confirm they have found the statue."
The confirmation did not take place. Nor was this the psychic's first error:
The Advertiser (1987, January 2) of South Australia reported Mrs Dankbaar as claiming:
(With special thanks to Ron Evans for use
of his collection of newspaper reports)
(Investigator 7, 1989 July)
a. The broken-up Colossus lay in 41 metres of water 750 metres off shore from Rhodes;
three predictions b, c and d all failed. As regards the legs of the
Colossus an engraving by Maarten van Heemskerk (1498-1574) does have
the legs astride the Harbour. But van Heemskerk had no independent
information and relied on imagination. Greek technology was probably
unable to build a statue of that size like that. Therefore the entire
Colossus would have stood on one side of the harbour entrance.
(1987, January 3) reported: "I'll sell my Rhodes vision; says psychic".
As yet, 2½ years later, she hasn't. Also the Psychology
Department of Adelaide University denied issuing a certificate of
psychic performance to Mrs Dankbaar. But tests were done in the
Department of Electrical Engineering.
(1987, January 5) reported that The Society of South Australian
Skeptics offered Mrs Dankbaar $20,000 to prove her paranormal
abilities. Then, quoting one of the skeptics: "Mr Evans said the
society had tested water diviners and clairvoyants and 'not one had
ever come up trumps'."
(1987, January 6) reported a statement by Mr George Karolyi, Senior
Lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering, that the
certificate to Mrs Dankbaar was a "personal reference" and not a
confirmation of her powers.
three tests done by Mr Karolyi, Mrs Dankbaar had scored 1/100, 1/100
and 1/10000 against chance. Peter Delin of the Psychology
Department, however, said, "There is no compelling evidence of psychic
(1987, June 29) reported the finding of "fragments" by divers of the
Greek Merchant Marine searching for drugs, at about the position Mrs
Dankbaar had in January specified.
(1987, July 6) of Adelaide reported that the object was "fist" shaped,
about 1.8 metres wide and 0.9 metres thick. Also: "heavily armed navy
boats patrol Rhodes harbour to prevent removal of recovered
(1987, July 7) reported, "Mr Stathis Alexandris, the only government
official prepared to gamble on the vision of the psychic, is flying to
Rhodes tonight to supervise the search."
Greek officials, however, were not prepared to "gamble". George
Papathanasopoulos, head of the Department of Underwater Archaeology,
stated: "the stone object is nothing but natural rock formation." (The
Australian, July 8)
Mercouri, a former filmstar who became Minister for Culture said,
"There is no indication that a large piece of stone in the sea off the
Greek island of Rhodes is part of the ancient Colossus." (The News,
July 7; The Australian, July 8)
Kazianis of the Department of Underwater Antiquities agreed: "It's a
stone just a stone." (The Weekend Australian, July 11-12)
1987 July 8 reported that the grooves and scratch marks that caused the
limestone rock to resemble a fist had been made by a mechanical digger
three years earlier.
to the weight of evidence Mr Alexandris then changed his mind and
agreed that the "fist" was not part of the Colossus. This left Mrs
Dankbaar alone in claiming it was! She was conveniently in Europe again
at the time and close to the action. By about July 13, however, she too
changed her psychic mind.
On July 14 The Australian reported: "What started out as one of the world's most exciting scientific discoveries … has degenerated into a farce."
controversy then faded from the world's press. The Greek tourist
industry did splendidly but Mrs Dankbaar didn't make the fortune she
had predicted. Fate, in effect, remained "tight fisted".
b. A piece of the Colossus would be found in May 1987;
c. The Colossus would be largely reconstructed by the end of 1987;
d. Mrs Dankbaar would become "very wealthy";
e. The legs of the Colossus were originally built astride the harbour entrance.
f. The University of Adelaide acknowledged her as having "very significant paranormal powers."
But things weren't finished yet.
A year later New Idea
magazine quoted Mrs Dankbaar as saying: "I knew the fist they brought
up was not from the Colossus. It was from the wrong place and it was
not of the right material… The real statue is bronze." (1988 May 21, p.
December 1988 Mrs Dankbaar said on Adelaide television that the
Colossus would be found in 1989. By mid June [when this article was
written] there were still no results.
In New Idea
Mrs Dankbaar stated: "It will give me a lot of pleasure to see the
sceptics' faces when we find the statue." The skeptics' faces, however,
are still full of smiles.