BRIEF REPORTS from INVESTIGATOR MAGAZINE 40 to 49
GIANT CATS MYTH
are no feral cats
the size of lions in the Flinders Ranges north of Adelaide. Like other
big-creature stories their size has grown in the re-telling. Field
trips by an Adelaide University researcher, Sharelle Hart, included the
shooting and weighing of 50 feral cats. The biggest weighed
5½kg. The average adult male domestic cat weighs 3.9kg. The
world record for a neutral domestic cat is 21.3kg.
AGE OF EARTH
Creationists, who claimed the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, had
to deny the theory that the continents split apart tens of millions of
years ago and are slowly moving at a few centimeters per year.
accepted by scientists in the early 1960s. Many argued that the final,
decisive confirmation would come when actual measurements of motion
could be made using satellites and laser beams or radio signals.
Recently measurements, monitored at the University of Colorado, showed
Australia going north-east at 8cm per year. This comes to one mile in
20,000 years and 50 miles in a million years.
while it seemed
that Bobby Fischer might take on the current chess champions after
being absent from competitive chess for 20 years.
27 reviewed the aging process and concluded that a successful comeback
in any sport to world champion standard after 20 years would be
unprecedented. In November, however, George Foreman, 45, regained the
heavyweight title (lost in 1974 to Muhammad Ali) by defeating Michael
EXORCISM — INSANE
Janice and Lindsay Gibson, who battered their son, 12, to death with a
paving slab to exorcise a demon were found not guilty of murder but
insane. (Sunday Mail, 1994, November 27, p22)
misdiagnosis of death were discussed in Investigator 29 &
30. Reports of this kind are still coming to hand. In New York an 86
year old woman, declared dead after a stroke, spent 1½ hours in
a body bag and morgue refrigerator — when the morgue supervisor
realized she was breathing. In Madrid a premature baby spent two hours
in a morgue when the father, wanting a last look at the infant, saw its
chest move. (The Advertiser 1994 November 19 & December 31)
CHILDREN OF GOD
of the Children of
God David Berg died aged 75 in November. Until 1987 the cult practised
"flirty fishing" (= prostitution) to attract converts. Berg's daughter
Linda deserted the cult in 1978 and claimed her father had sexually
abused her since she was 8. Alleged child-abuse on communes of the cult
have been investigated in six countries. The cult started about 1970
and now has 10,000 members in 80 countries.
onslaught by all nations against Jerusalem the Bible says: "their flesh
will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in
their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth." (Zechariah 14)
sought an explanation in new poison gases or in effects of atomic
radiation. Such believers might now consider newly discovered rain
forest viruses Ebola and Marburg which chew up
flesh, skin and internal organs, rot the testicles and even take off
the tongue surface via rushes of black vomit. (New Scientist 1994 Nov.
19 p45; The Advertiser Weekend magazine 1994 Nov. 19 p8)
squeamish don't read The Hot Zone by Richard Preston 1994.
magazine seems to be promoting ever greater superstition as time
passes. The August 1 1994 edition offered: "Get lucky with the Woman's
Day Four-Leaf Clover… It is designed to bring good luck in the four
main areas of life—health, wealth, love and career."
November 14 edition
had a close-up of Ms Starwoman's face and offers "power" by looking at
her eyes three times daily for five minutes.
hope that no one in
position to influence decisions in government takes W D seriously in
such offers. Regarding health matters give your doctor priority over a
POKIES LIGHTEN POCKETS
losses on poker
machines in South Australia currently agree with what the mathematical
theory of probability predicted.
weeks, ending April
8, players spent $1 billion, got back $875 million, with revenue to
pubs and clubs close to $125 million. The odds are set so that gamblers
get back 85% on average of what they gamble. However, $875 million is
87.5%. The extra 2 1/2% is money retrieved by players who stopped
before losing it.
being swamped with poker-machine addicts who number about 4,000.
Perhaps Welfare should distribute Woman's Day 4-leaf clovers to
addicts so that they'll "get lucky".
Ness Monster and
Bigfoot are certainly non-existent. However, a serpent like, long
necked ocean dwelling beast with short flippers and horse-like head is
said to live off British Columbia. There is supposed to have been at
least one "authentic sighting of the creature each year" for 60 years.
A mangled skeleton, 3 metres long, was recovered from a dead sperm
whale. (New Scientist 1993 Jan.23)
"Mapinguari". This in Amazonia's equivalent of the Yeti and is red
haired, eats people's heads & escapes potential captors by
releasing noxious gasses. (New Scientist 1994 Jan. 22)
another monster, this
one "toad like" but with a one metre wide mouth is being hunted by
scientists in central China. (The Advertiser 1995 March 20 p. 18)
Rex Gilroy who has committed his life to search for the elusive Yowie"
(The Advertiser 1992 Feb. 19 p.7) still has not found it.
Monsters (D Cohen, 1982) lists over 100 monsters.
UNIVERSE NOT INFINITE
astronomer Kepler argued that the Universe is not of infinite size. He
reasoned that if the Universe were infinite and uniformly filled with
stars then every line of sight would lead to a star. There would then
be no dark spaces and the night sky would shine with the brilliance of
the Sun. The night sky doesn't do this and therefore the Universe of
stars is not infinite in size.
this to a forest.
If there are few trees and the forest is small then many lines of sight
show us the plain beyond. If the forest is large then every fine of
sight leads to a tree.
answer is that for
every line of sight to lead to a star we need starlight from as far
away as 1023 light-years. However, we can't get this because
the Universe is only 1.5 x 1010 years old and all the
are even younger than this.
approach is to
calculate the average density of matter in the Universe. This would
show that there is insufficient matter and hence insufficient energy
available to make the sky bright.
Canadian production The
X-Files is such a hit that comics, books and conventions may follow.
in 1993 the
series is about two FBI agents who investigate unsolved cases labelled
cases include the
whole range of the paranormal — ESP, ghosts, UFOs, conscious computers,
Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) is the sullen believer
partnered with Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) who is placid, unruffled,
and often skeptical to the extent of appearing stupid. Scully's
skepticism always turns out invalid.
television contribute to belief in the paranormal among the public?
SHROUD OF TURIN
African art dealer
Dr Nick Allen of the University of Port Elizabeth claimed that crude
photography was briefly known about 700 years ago and the image of
Christ on the Shroud is a result.
short account of
the Shroud is in Reader's Digest October 1989. Tests in 1988 showed
of Turin was made about 1300 A.D. and therefore the image on it could
not be of Jesus
NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES
week major news
agencies in Adelaide seem to have new first-issue magazines.
Woman Spirit described near-death experiences — the tunnel, the
light, etc. "All through history" we're informed, the near-dead "have
returned with uncannily similar visions."
(September 1993) explained: "When the brain is failing, confused by
pain, fear and stress, it will continue making models of the world —
but drawn from imagination rather than from the senses." (p.24)
not everywhere "uncannily similar". A study of near-deaths among
Japanese revealed serious differences including not seeing any tunnel
of light. (New Scientist 1991, November 30, p.5. Investigator No.6 p.8;
Astrology Centre (AAC) was investigated in Investigator 34.
appeared after the
Office of Fair Trading forced a very similar astrology centre called Astrology
Today to disappear. (Investigator 15, 24, 27, 28)
AAC ads get a letter announcing an imminent "rewarding period" or a
period of good fortune "for only another 3 months". The catch is that
to benefit from one's lucky stars requires further help from AAC for a
who don't reply
get another letter. This may announce "Fate seems to be giving you
another chance" or "Astrological projections of your chart show that
you will not enter a period as wonderfully beneficial as this for
another 12 years."
readers of very different birth dates had the latter sentence
in their letter.
lose about $3 billion at gambling per year. This comes to $40 per
person per week.
means less spending
money and therefore drops in turnover for shops, restaurants and
businesses. Welfare agencies and charities are under stress due to
gamblers who lose too much joining the queues. Consequences include
poverty, marital stress, social isolation and domestic violence.
articles have shown that to go against the odds and expect to come out
ahead is to go against science and sense.
(January 1993) posed the question "Are Earthquake Lights Real?" One
investigation showed that 80 of 150 "reports of luminous phenomena"
including UFO sightings occurred near earthquakes.
earthquakes generate lights in the sky which are mistaken for flying
saucers cannot be answered conclusively. See Handbook of Unusual
Natural Phenomena 1983 by William Corliss.
Christadelphianism there are many split-offs from the sect. One group
of 15 to 20 was reported in Investigator
No.14. Another Adelaide group,
founded 1984, calls itself Pilgrim's House Brotherhood.
group accepts most
Christadelphian doctrine and differs by having meetings in the nude. A
pamphlet says: "Our membership is limited to those who accept and enjoy
nudity and related practices in a chaste fashion."
are limited to
the summer months.
abduction have been attributed to vivid dreams, suggestion under
hypnosis, effect of repressed memory of child abuse, and deliberate
lying to gain notoriety.
Dr John Mack,
professor of psychology of America's Harvard University Medical School
apparently thinks that kidnapping aliens exist.
Encounters with Aliens based on 13 interviews with abductees led
calls for his sacking.
team deplored the scholarship of Dr Mack and concluded that he ought to
have had his 13 subjects evaluated by psychiatrists.
HOLY GRAIL APPEARS
Indiana Jones movies, in 1989, has the good guys in a race with the
Nazis to get the Holy Grail.
Grail is the cup
used at Christ's Last Supper. Joseph of Arimathea who arranged the
burial of Jesus supposedly took the Grail to England where it
disappeared and became the focus of much legend and literature. King
Arthur's Knights of the Round Table, for example, started to decline
when they scattered to search for the Holy Grail. Sir Galahad, a
mythical figure invented in the 12th century, found the Grail.
August 1995 the grand
master of the Knights Templar (an Order founded in 1119) displayed
the "Holy Grail" at a news conference in Rome. It was a small glass
flask 9cm high, the base 7cm circumference.
earlier a British
historian, Graham Phillips, claimed an onyx goblet discovered in a
British attic is the Grail. There are also several European churches
which house items they claim to be the Holy Grail.
scientific evidence these claims are all dubious. The New Testament
makes no mention of preserving the Last Supper cup or any other item
a German court
ruled that the "Church of Scientology" is a business not a Church.
Advertiser (1995 October 7) has the story of Alison Braund's (a
Adelaide journalist) attempt to infiltrate the Church of Scientology in
England. She described doing expensive and "inane" Scientology courses
which courses alone, it was claimed, could solve her alleged emotional
criticism of courses or the church was strictly forbidden."
She had to
fill out questionaires detailing her friends, uses of drugs, sexual
history, jobs, interests, perversions, etc. Everyone watched and
reported on everyone else: "Sometimes I was even followed into the
toilet and asked questions."
A useful brief report on the origins of
Scientology is in Reader's Digest, June 1980.
guilty in September to defrauding hundreds of Americans of $US5995
each for computer software which, it was claimed, would pick racetrack
winners with 72% accuracy.
is that even
very experienced punters, who may size up many variables from past
performance to condition of the track and experience of the jockey,
rarely stay financially ahead indefinitely.
racing is arranged
so the odds are against the person placing the bets. It's like playing
against loaded dice — something which software can't alter.
newspapers earlier this year had the heading; "'Miraculous Candle
Rituals Give You Control Of Your Life — Automatically!"
rituals which give
"fast and powerful results from burning ordinary candles" are in a book
for $25.90. You have to burn your candles at the right time while
speaking the right words.
this you can:
"automatically gain control of an unjust person..."
Also: "You can get all the
money you need…" "You can banish bad luck out of your life for ever."
of ethics of the
Media Council says in part: "Advertisements shall be truthful and shall
not be misleading or deceptive." "Advertisements shall not exploit the
about all this and
come to a conclusion.
married in Seoul, Korea, last August, in history's largest wedding
ceremony by Sun Myung Moon leader of the Unification Church or
"Moonies". 325,000 more couples in 545 locations in 160 countries were
linked in via satellite and also married.
were selected by Moon and almost all had met only days before and many
had never met. At costs of $2,000 per American couple and $35,000 for
each Japanese couple Church profit for the episode may exceed the
national budgets of some countries. A 40 day no sex rule operated after
started in 1954 as an attempt to combine religion and politics to
"conquer and subjugate the world". Reverend Moon is sometimes claimed
to be the return of Jesus Christ.
luxuries and live a Spartan life spending much effort to collect money
and new con¬verts for the Church. The mass weddings commenced in
1961 with 35 couples.
account of the Moonies
including the deprogramming of a "well educated schoolteacher" is
in Reader's Digest 1983 September.
DEAD PERSON RETURNS
topic of people
misdiagnosed as dead was considered in Investigator 29 30 and
connection of this to vampire rumours speculated on. Such misdiagnoses
year old woman—wife
of a prominent landowner and friend of the British Prime Minister, Mr
Major—is recovering in hospital after she was earlier pronounced dead.
She had been taken in a body bag to a mortuary's cold freezer." (Sunday
Mail 1996, January 7, p. 21)
NIGEL THE PROPHET
talkback radio program
(February 6) hosted by John Laws included comments by Nigel: "He [God]
appeared to me in a rose bush eight years ago… I was invoking the Lord
all day yesterday in my back yard.
said, 'I will help
Paul Keating to win.'
he was the God
of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."
Laws: "What if Paul
Keating doesn't win?"
"I'd go down as a
Keating and the
Labor Party lost on March 3 by a landslide!