50, 1996 September
BRIEF REPORTS from INVESTIGATOR 50 TO 59
to the German
paper BILD (1995 October 21) German and English experts now
doubt that Marco Polo went to China, because:
mention of the Great Wall;
reached Persia and relied on Arab writings about China.
much about customs and rituals he made no mention of foot binding;
made no mention
of tea drinking;
Archives from the
period in Genoa and Venice have no mention of China.
INVESTIGATOR 51, 1996
TAFE employee in
South Australia was suspended after making $40,000 worth of phone calls
to information services including Tarot readings. 0055 numbers
cost up to 70c a minute and 1900 numbers up to $5 per minute.
Information available ranges from counselling and horoscopes to sex
advice and tarot readings. These numbers were
banned on all TAFE campuses. (The Advertiser 1996 July 24)
of 26 youngsters
were on the front cover of Awake! magazine of May 22, 1994.
says: "In former
times thousands of youths died for putting God first. They are still
doing it, only today the drama is played out in hospitals and
courtrooms, with blood transfusions the issue."
three of the youths in detail. Twelve year old Lisa Kosack, for
example, died after threatening to, "kick the IV pole down and rip out
the IV... and poke holes in the blood."
arises well prepared JW elders of "hospital liaison committees" step
into action. They appeal to patients' rights and personal conscience
and freedom of worship.
elders do not mention
the intense indoctrination and the threat of excommunication and total
shunning. They don't mention the thousands of interpretations taught as
"Jehovah's truth" and later changed.
don't mention, for
example, their religion's former opposition to vaccination:
"Vaccination is a direct violation of the everlasting covenant that God
made with Noah after the Flood." (The Golden Age 1931 Feb. 4 p.293)
don't talk about
the former ban on organ transplants (The Watchtower 1967 November 15
pp. 702 704) — including bone marrow, skin and cornea transplants. This
doctrine ended with The Watchtower of March 15, 1980. (See
8, 10; 12)
WORLD'S END — OCTOBER
skeptic and author of Telling Lies for God, spoke on Adelaide
radio with announcer Julia Lester early on October 23. He said the
world would end at 4.30 pm.
Plimer told of the
calculation of the Irish prelate James Ussher who in the 17th century
calculated that creation began on October 23, 4004 BC at 9am. Mr Plimer
said that 6000 years would end that day at 4.30 pm (Adelaide time). He
explained that many Fundamentalist religions compare the six work days
of the week to 6000 years to be followed by the Millennium.
didn't end on October 23. On October 24 local skeptic Allan Lang phoned
the station to explain that there was no year "0". This meant that 6000
years will end next year i.e. 1997 on October 23 and not in 1996!
Mr Lang got his
information from Investigator 10 p.3 and #24 page 20!
not being a subscriber got things wrong!
in a German
paper read: Sect Torments German Babies.
to the report
Indian Guru Sant Thakar Singh has 25,000 followers in 60 German cities.
To create God like adults new born babies were blindfolded and had one
ear blocked with silicone to teach the babies to look inwards. Children
were forced to meditate for hours. Stubborn children who did not like
the routine are made submissive by being hung upside down by their feet!
30% of people take
astrology seriously and that although it has long been known to be
pseudo science and nonsense. For example back in 1935 The Modern
World Encyclopedia said under Astrology:
science of reading the fate of human beings from the stars… The
pretensions of astrologers are based on arbitrary systems, and such
success as they may have can be regarded only as chance or coincidence.
first attempt to
study the stars and to interpret their behaviour were made by the
Babylonians, and the pseudo science passed through Greece to India,
China, and Rome.
astrology was brought to Europe by the Arabs, who impressed their own
particular method of exposition upon it, and by the 15th cent. the
ministers of the cult had become so powerful that no Court was complete
without its astrologer, and no monarch would dare to feast, fast, or
fight unless assured that the stars were propitious. (Volume I, page
BIGTIME FOR RUSSO
Russo phoned and
said, "I've hit the big time."
31 Mr Russo gave general consideration to four areas in the theory of
relativity. A detailed article focusing on one area, Stellar
Aberration, later appeared in Speculations in Science &
Technology (1995 September).
said the article will appear in the Physics Abstracts
under three categories:
Fundamental Aspects of Astrophysics
JESUS' BROTHERS AND
statement to his
regular audience at the Vatican Pope John Paul II reasserted Mary's
virginity by stating that Jesus had no brothers or sisters. (The
Weekend Australian Aug 31 - Sep 1, 1996 p. 14)
name four brothers of Jesus and also state he had sisters. (Matthew
13:55 58; Mark 6:2 6)
said the words
"brothers" and "sisters" were used loosely because Hebrew and Aramaic
lacked the word for "cousin".
on this point Investigator's
anonymous theologian wrote: "New Testament writers quote Psalm 69 a
number of times and apply the Psalm to Christ. Verse 8 says 'my
brethren' and also 'my mother's sons' the point being that Christ's
closest relatives rejected him. We should note that the 'brethren'
the mother's 'sons'."
to John Foley
writing in The Southern Skeptic:
is finally incorporated. We are now an official body with a
constitution. Which means we have an AGM, ordinary membership,
committee election and the usual nonsense. But it is necessary that the
controlling membership be "sound". There is a lot of money tied up in
The Australian Skeptics Trust Fund, and there are people out there who
would like to get it for their own use… If membership were completely
open, it wouldn't take long before the skeptics were out voted by
clairvoyants, psychics, charlatans and con artists. (1996 September p.3)
Mr Foley is the
of the Skeptics SA.
were discussed in Investigator
48 in a religious context. According to the Information Please
Almanac 40th edition 1995 about four million AIDs (Acquired Immune
Deficiency Syndrome) cases had occurred worldwide by June 30 1994 since
the pandemic began, and 17 million people had the virus (HIV).
United States the cumulative total of reported AIDS cases was
361,509 on December 31, and 1993 and deaths numbered 220,871.
World Health Organization minimal estimates for four bacterial STDs
STD were estimated at 20 million. (p. 86)
infections 50 million
- Chancroid 2
CHRISTMAS MAGIC SANK
Christmas and his
helper fell off an aluminium boat when leaving a party for police
officer's children. His soggy white beard hindered his breathing and
two police constables stripped and dived in to the rescue. Disappointed
children then threw rocks and chanted, "Santa's a fake." (The
Advertiser 1995 Dec. 11)
A PROBLEM NOT YET
building of the
Hindmarsh Island bridge was banned in 1994 for 25 years due to
unspecified aboriginal "women's business". (Investigator 43)
the SA royal
commission ruled that the women's business was a fabrication.
further 6-month inquiry
by Federal Court judge Justice Jane Mathews advised that concerns about
desecration of aboriginal sites had "insufficient evidence". This cost
over $1 million but was ruled invalid by the High Court in September.
This led to calls for a third inquiry.
costs on inquiries
and court disputes have been estimated at $12million which is almost
double the estimated cost to build the bridge.
bridge was promised
by former SA Labor Government in 1990 to persuade a Westpac subsidiary
to keep a marina company going on Hindmarsh Island. The SA Brown
government said in 1994 it would have to pay Westpac at least $12
million if the bridge is not built.
came out of all this
is that the Heritage Protection Act of 1984 seems inadequate for
solving disputes involving the issue of secrecy.
latest phase is
dispute over the possibility of special legislation by the Federal
Government to exempt Hindmarsh Island from the Heritage Protection Act.
BEAUMONTS NOT FOUND
disappeared from an Adelaide beach in January 1966 it sparked one of
the biggest police investigations in Australian history.
Croiset, was flown to Adelaide by property developer Con Polites and
stayed for three days in November 1966. The clairvoyant indicated a
warehouse close to the beach where, he said, the children were buried
in a ditch or tunnel when sand caved in. The landlord at the time did
not permit excavation and the floor was later covered with concrete.
the warehouse had
new owners. Mr Polites too was still around and willing to finance
drilling there was national coverage via Channel 2 on the 7.30 Report
(April 26). John Foley of the Skeptics appeared and said, "No
clairvoyant's ever got it right yet."
Arthur, retired in
1995 after 30 years as a detective, said, "If the police did excavate
every site that every clairvoyant came up with .. .we'd have holes all
drill holes failed to
reveal remains of any children. It was then decided to excavate the
floor to a depth of several metres. By September the warehouse faded
from the news and was padlocked.
20TH CENTURY NOT SO BAD
religions claim that
the 20th century tops every other century in deaths from wars,
pestilence and earthquakes.
600 years ago the
world population was about 1/12 what it is now and yet experienced
among other calamities the following:
invasion of China 1210-1219
invasion of China 1311-1340
Black Death 1347-1350
War in China by rebel leader
a 30 year old
movement of people who expect to live forever. Up to 1,000 have
congregated together — the oldest in their nineties.
members interviewed on television said: "We're saying no… I am not
just another body that's going to start degenerating, whingeing about
my illnesses. I don't want that life; I want to go on and on.
believe disease happens to me. I believe I have responsibility
for my life. I can choose. I can say I'm not going to have cancer.
Cancer is not going to happen to me. I am not going to have heart
BLACK SEA FLOOD
flooding of the
Black Sea which raised its level 60 metres 7,750 years ago may be
related to Noah's Flood and Noah's Ark. So say Dr William Ryan and Dr
Walter Pitman, authorities on marine geology, at the Lamont Doherty
Earth Observatory in New York.
the Black Sea switched suddenly from fresh water to saline. Russian
research revealed ancient shorelines. The Black Sea has a uniform
sediment layer containing Mediterranean molluscs. Pre flood mud
contains roots of vegetation suggesting much of the area was a plain.
metre deep groove
in the Bosporous indicates a sudden rush of Mediterranean water. (The
Times Monday December 9 1996)
DISCOVERED! THE PLACE
WHERE MOSES MET GOD!
the heading of a
report in the German paper Bild (Leipzig) of August 1, 1996.
The report went on:
on which the Ten Commandments were announced to Moses has been
Paul Imhof and the Italian archaeologist Emmanuel Anati stumbled across
more than 2,000 finds near the Egyptian-Israeli border from the period
1400 to 1250 BC. The 900 metre high mountain is part of a massif in the
numerous rock drawings, stone monuments, a cavern as well as a shrine
with sacrificial altar and priests' accommodation.
in their opinion
allow conclusions regarding Bible scriptures which report on Moses and
the Exodus of the people of Israel out of Egypt."
INVESTIGATOR 53 1997
STAR OF BETHLEHEM
A conjunction of Jupiter
and Venus in 2 BC became the brightest object in the night sky that
year after the Moon.
significant enough for the Magi to see the event as a new star — the
"star of Bethlehem". The birth date of Jesus would then be 2 BC. This
would require relocating the death of King Herod from the commonly
accepted 4 BC to 2 BC or 1 BC. (The Australian 1996 December 10 p. 11)
NO LUCK WITH LUCK
newspapers have stories of people trying to solve financial problems by
gambling. They lose and then some try to recuperate losses with bigger
One couple defrauded Social Security of $100,000 after losing
much of a $130,000 compensation payout at the Adelaide Casino. (Sunday
Mail 1997 Feb. 21; The Advertiser March 8)
lady gambled away
$150,000 taken from the government funded Aboriginal Legal Resource
Centre in Sydney. (The Advertiser 1997 Feb. 15) A man lost $26,000 out
of a $30,000 compensation payout during 9 months on poker machines.
(The Advertiser March 8)
estimated that the
SA Government will get $273 million from gambling taxes this financial
year. Investigator has often pointed out that you can't
honestly control luck but you can control yourself and choose not to
DRINK LIQUID GOLD
drinking has had occasional advocates. Last year NEXUS
(February March) published the article "Urine Drinking" reprinted from
the book Your Own Perfect Medicine (1994) by Martha M Christy.
according to the
article, is "an extraordinary natural healing substance" considered by
"the medical research community...to be liquid gold" its contents
acting as "natural vaccines, antibacterial, antiviral, anti cancer
however, rush to
bottle and sell yours because any person's urine is "medicinally
valuable" only to himself. To ignore this point and promote yours as
"medicinally valuable" might be construed as false advertising!
on liquid gold in the Skeptic Richard Gordon said, "The
benefit on the imbiber as the substances contained therein are at best
recycled food in a less than tasty vehicle and, at worst, the already
rejected by products of metabolism (ie waste)." (Volume 16 No. 3 p. 3)
INVESTIGATOR 55 1997
FASTING TOWARD PARADISE
issue of Nida'ul
Islam magazine (January February 1996) had the article "Fasting
Ramadan, Its Virtues & Rulings".
first section of the
article explained that the Prophet: "singled out fasting when asked
about a deed that leads its doer to the best of rewards, Paradise."
"fasting the month
of Ramadhan is obligatory and that Allah has prescribed it for us in
section is about
the "Virtues of Fasting" e.g. "Fasting is an expiation of various sins…"
third section has 25
paragraphs of activities which are permissible and/or enhance the
benefits of fasting and activities which nullify fasting. E.g.
"Deliberate eating or drinking, making oneself vomit, menstruation,
after birth bleeding, injection containing nourishment and sexual
intercourse all nullify the fast."
prevent menstruation and after birth bleeding?
NEW BOOK ON UFOs
Local Government Community Development officer, has researched three
hundred Australian "close encounters". He has studied UFOs for twenty
years and is a coordinator of the Australian Centre for UFO Studies.
His book, recently released, is UFOs: a report on Australian
Basterfield is a
skeptic: "I consider most sightings are balloons, imagination and
natural phenomena." (Sunday Mail June 8 p. 43)
there are also:
"unknown phenomena at work" and "I accept there are things which are
not hoaxes... The Victorian Kelly incident one of the most outstanding
in the world, defying explanation."
recent issues of Investigator
Vic Lloyd and Harry Edwards disagreed on the implications of continued
human population growth. Mr Lloyd has sent a letter saying:
presented our cases and it is pretty obvious that we are not going to
agree. I feel there to be a looming tragedy unless some very radical
action is taken — but, clearly Harry doesn't see it that way.
Mr Lloyd included
clipping (The Advertiser 1995 December 29) about a world population
rise of 100 million— "the biggest 12 month increase yet"
footnote 1 quote
Dr Asimov's Our World in Space: "If anyone thinks that the important
reason for exploring space is to find outlets for our expanding
population, let him think again...within five thousand years, at our
present rate of increase, the total mass of flesh and blood will equal
the mass of the known universe."
GOOD LUCK PIXIE
booklet of Pocket
Saver Coupons included a coupon offering a "magic 24 carat gold
plated Pixie pendant" with chain for $14.95 plus post.
said: "This beautiful Pixie...is believed to be the most
powerful Good Luck Bringer of all." The ad referred to "Incredible
reports" of "improved...Health, Wealth and Romance" and suggested "Put
it through the most demanding test you can."
full-page ad in TV
Plus said, "Your wishes come true with the famous Cornish Lucky
Pixie." (June 22)
request to receive a
Pixie to be paid for afterwards from the proceeds of the good luck did
not meet with agreement.
CURES & REMEDIES
superstitions and spells try The Oxford Dictionary of Superstitions
(1996 I Opie & M Tatem).
good cure for
January 1st hangovers? A Scottish method is to use a straw brush
to sprinkle urine on the sufferers in bed!
know that 19th
century British schoolboys wore their caps backwards to prevent being
"enticed into the fairy rings and made to dance"? And how could you
counteract the bad luck of walking under a ladder? Simply spit
luck to you if you
try these procedures.
machine patrons in
SA lost $364 million in the 1996/97 financial year. Bets on
10,451 machines at 484 venues totalled $3023 million of which $134
million went in tax to the State Government. (Sunday Mail 1997 Dec. 7
losers do stupid
things. One lost his dole money, robbed a service station and was
sentenced to 5 years. (The Advertiser November 15 p. 8) A bank
officer stole and lost $360,000 and was sentenced to 3½ years.
(November 27 p. 9) A casino employee stole from fellow employees'
lockers, had to repay what he stole and lost his job. (November 1 p. 17)
reported: "40 per cent of gamblers believe superstitions can lead to
big wins on poker machines." (November 1 p. 16)
social impact of the
"pokies" in family breakups, decreased trading and job loss in other
areas, addiction to gambling, and crime has been tremendous.
was presented in
Parliament to phase out gambling over five years. Premier Mr Olsen
responded that compensation (of over $1000 million) "to all those who
invested lawfully would be horrendous… The State simply could not
afford to pay." (November 27 p. 9)
17,000 in SA and has a capital value of $1500 million.
CON MEN? SURELY
Kretser sent Investigator
press clippings about "superstition" in Darwin:
Mr De Kretser
"Darwin is awash with con men"!
- Tom Lo, a
master advises on the best position to build your house to survive
cyclones. Feng Shui (= "wind" & "water") is the belief that
good luck is related to the position of your house, work place and
Brett "used Tarot to predict the demise of Shane Stone as Territory
leader within 14 months." (Sunday Territorian January 4)
Debbra Schembri and Gregory Cook offered a weekend course to obtain a
Reiki Masters Certificate. The complete system used to be a "costly
affair…beyond the reach of most people." (Suburban October 9)
attended Festival SA at Football Park in Adelaide on each of
three nights to hear Franklin Graham.
this to 65,000
who turned out in one day in 1959 to hear his father Billy Graham!
ran from January 30 to February 1, took 500 churches of 16
denominations one year to organize and cost $500,000.
half-hour exhortation was addressed to persons who had previous
Christian background. There
was no proof or evidence — simply the speaker's assertion that this is
how things are. The argument was:
sinners and qualify for Hell; Sin is disobedience to God and includes
sex outside of marriage, drunkenness, false testimony, dishonoring of
parents, sabbath breaking, and following other gods; Sin separates
people from God leaving "a great big empty hole in your life"; Jesus
was sinless and so qualified to pay for sin — Buddha didn't, Mohammed
didn't, Krishna didn't; By dying for us Jesus offers heaven; This night
is the opportunity to come forward, "accept Jesus into your heart", be
forgiven and make a new start.
on each night came forward, were led in prayer for
forgiveness and spoke with counsellors who wrote details on cards for
churches to follow up.
Evangelistic Association (BGEA) was founded in 1950 and by 1995 had
revenues of $88 million.
converts at 22, joined the Samaritan's Purse (an international relief
organization) in 1974, and was elected its president in 1979. He
conducts about ten revivals with BGEA each year. He preached in
Brisbane two years ago but church membership did not significantly
JONAH AND THE SHARK
had an impressive photo of a diver dwarfed by the massive mouth of a 20
metre-long whale shark. The shark lives off plankton and sucks them up
like a vacuum. Marine photographer Valerie Taylor disbelieves stories
of such sharks swallowing people but said, "if it did I don't know what
you'd do — maybe climb out of its gills." (1996 September 29 p.
extended from Investigator No. 35 to No. 46.