BRIEF REPORTS from INVESTIGATOR MAGAZINE 60 to 69


INVESTIGATOR 60, 1998 May


WORLD'S END DELAYS ONCE MORE

Hon Ming Chen, leader of the 150 Taiwanese members of God's Salvation Church in Texas, predicted the end for March 25th. He said the Sun, Moon and stars would disappear and God would appear on television with instructions about rescue via a flying saucer. Then, on March 31st God would appear in the front yard of Chen's house. (The Advertiser March 26 p. 36)

 
TRAUMA FOR JWs

A Jehovah's Witness mother tried to burn her three children to death, then dowsed herself in petrol and lighted herself. The Arizona Republic (1998, March 21) reported that Kelly Blake, 34, was in critical condition, son Ramon, 12, was critical, daughter Vanessa, 9, was dead, and son John, 14, was OK.

In Melbourne (Australia) a JW husband defied his religion and got a court order to allow his JW wife life-saving blood transfusions after she lost litres of blood during childbirth complications. (Herald Sun 1998, February 26, p. 2) In 1993 a 12-year-old JW girl who suffered from a condition which required regular transfusions to prevent a fatal buildup of iron, died in Melbourne when her parents forbade transfusions. (p. 11)

Investigator has access to a collection of about 800 press reports about JWs. Many are about suicide, deaths from rejecting transfusion, Kingdom Hall arsons, child custody disputes, and emotional trauma and family breakups due to shunning ex members.  


FACE ON MARS

Recent new pictures of the so-called "Face on Mars" by the Mars Global Surveyor showed it to be a natural chunk of rock. Believers who used the "Face" as proof of a Martian civilization were wrong. By assessing the evidence and going with the odds Investigator Magazine concluded nine years ago that the " Face" is a "natural phenomenon" and the inference of a Martian civilization "rather silly". (No. 5, 1989 March)


SEARCH FOR ATLANTIS

Did you know there's a "Race to find fabled Atlantis"?  (The Advertiser 1998 January 10 pp. 48-49)

British adventurer Colonel John Blashford-Snell is leading a team to Bolivia. The Colonel examined satellite photographs to search the world for features that match Plato's description.

Professor Viatcheslav, director of the Moscow Institute of Metahistory, plans to examine an underwater hill 160 km off the English coast near Land's End. The area is named in Cornish legend as "Lyonesse" a city with 140 temples.

Books about theories about Atlantis number hundreds but the existence of the place has never been confirmed. Theorised locations of Atlantis can be almost anywhere — Sweden, the Antarctic, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, Nigeria, Libya, Spain, etc!


BELIEF SURVEY

A survey of what Australians believe found that 66% believe in God and 34% didn't. Over 50% believed in the paranormal including prophetic dreams and that illnesses can be cured by the power of the mind. (Sunday Mail 1998, March, p. 36)





INVESTIGATOR 61, 1998 July


JERICHO WALLS DID NOT FALL

Two Rome University archaeologists — Lorenzo Nigro and Nicolo Marchetti — did a month-long dig at Jericho early in 1997. They failed to find evidence of its conquest by Joshua and the Israelites. They concluded, from the section they excavated, that the walls did NOT fall as described in the Bible. (The Advertiser 1997 June 21 p. 6)


34% GODLESS

A survey found that only 66% of Australians believe in God. The Head of the Uniting Church, Reverend Harry Herbert, attributed this to Australians believing "in accumulating things for themselves" whereas Christianity teaches self denial and serving others. According to the survey over 50% believe in the paranormal including faith healing and prophetic dreams. (The Sunday Mail 1998 March 15 p. 36)


MISTAKES

Investigator Magazine has a few spelling/typing errors in most editions.  However, even major publications backed by immense resources have such mistakes. They've even been spotted in Time and New Scientist — although rarely. One of the most error-free, as regards spelling, is The Watchtower!

In a recent year a major Australian newspaper had the wrong date i.e. the wrong year throughout one of its January editions!

The National Baptist (1997 March) provided a checklist of ways to "Evangelise Ethics".  They probably meant "Ethnics".

New Scientist (1995 February 4 p. 40) had "ecause" instead of "because". The editorial for 1998 March 14 had "now" instead of "know".

West Care News, a Baptist newsletter, gave the year 1977 in a report where context indicated 1997 was meant. (1997 February p. 4)

The Advertiser of Adelaide had the words "bowl cancer" in a heading rather than "bowel cancer". (1997 February 15)

The Sunday Mail TV Plus (1998 January 25 p. 22) had "1994" as the production date of Missing in Action starring Chuck Norris. The date should be 1984.

The Sunday Mail had "indentity" rather than "identity". (1998 May 10 p. 12)

The Portside Messenger, a weekly newspaper of Adelaide, had the date January 14 on its edition (No. 2412) for January 21. The previous number (No. 2411) was also January 14 but correctly so.

The 1952 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses had the cover attached upside down and back to front!


TRANSFUSION REJECTED — CHILD DEAD


JW parents sued famous American heart surgeon Denton Cooley for malpractice because their child died after surgery. Cooley's attorney argued that rejection of blood transfusion had made the heart surgery riskier. The jury cleared him. (Houston Chronicle 1995 November 18 p. 42A)





INVESTIGATOR 62, 1998 September


CONVERSION COST

A follow up report of a 1976 Billy Graham crusade in Seattle gave:
Total attendance during eight days: 434,000
Number who came forward:                18,000
This included rededications:                 9,600
Therefore converts numbered:              8,400

Of the converts 15% or 1,285 became active church members. (Time 1978 January 23)

The Franklin Graham Crusade in Adelaide this year attracted about 70,000 in three days with 3500 going forward. This ratio is close to the Seattle result. If the rest of the figures also correspond, then about 250 in Adelaide will become long-term church members. Since the Crusade cost about $500,000 to stage, this comes to $2,000 for each new active church member.


PLEIADIAN FLYING SAUCERS IN SWITZERLAND

Billy Meier of Switzerland is the reincarnation of Christ and the true prophet for the New Age. As proof he took a thousand photos of flying saucers between 1975 and 1991. In the 20 years following January 1975 he had 700 meetings with Pleiadians who come from the Pleiades — a group of stars over 400 light years away.

Meier himself has travelled, he claims, faster than light through "hyperspace" and also through time and has photos of cavemen and of dinosaurs and of God to prove it.

The Pleiadians helped Meier to produce the Talmud Immanuel — the "last true testament of Jesus Christ."

Some people think Mr Meier is a fake and a liar. Read Spaceships of the Pleiades: The Billy Meier Story (1995) by Kal Korff. Digital enhancement using Adobe Photoshop showed the pictures to be fakes.


EUTHANASIA

Investigator No. 56 provided contrasting views about euthanasia including evidence that: "Australian law has not prevented doctors from…making medical end of life decisions explicitly intended to hasten death…"

Such involuntary euthanasia actually seems widespread. A survey of 852 intensive care nurses via questionnaires in America revealed one in five had intentionally hastened death. (New Scientist 1996 June 1 p. 13)

Recently a 30-year-old nurse in Paris was charged with murdering 30 patients aged 72-78. (Sunday Mail July 26 p. 22)


STURDIER PSYCHIC TESTED

Perth psychic Tracey Godfrey has a "sturdier track record than Phar Lap." So wrote Nikki Voss in the Northern Territory News (October 12, 1996) after noting some false predictions of other psychics.

In 1991, for example, it was predicted Princess Diana and Julius Iglesias would marry and Yasser Arafat would father triplets.

Voss's article went on to list about 30 of Godfrey's predictions for the Northern Territory.

Darwin skeptic Brian De Kretser went through Ms Godfrey's list with a pencil to note the results. He marked all but two of the predictions with a "no".

The two exceptions were "a major cyclone scare" which Mr De Kretser noted "happens every year" and "The Territory Government will be hit by a financial scandal" about which Mr De Kretser wrote: "It happens every day."


SKEPTIC UNIMPRESSED

Who is the psychic astrologer of the century? He is: "Anthony Carr Master of The Tarot—Psychic Astrologer of the Century."

To present oneself as the best of the century in what one does is an impressive self-recommendation.

The two-page leaflet went on to give quotes expressing amazement from TV, radio and press and then listed: "Anthony Carr's predictions that came true!"

The leaflet, sent to Brian De Kretser, was accompanied by a letter which said in part: "The reading which I will prepare for you will amaze you, excite you…"

Mr De Kretser commented: "A letter from a world psychic who does readings by post, yet he could not divine that he was posting to one of the most hardened skeptics in the world."


NEW AGE DEATH

Breatharianism is a New Age concept according to which a person can detoxify the body by avoiding food and drink, and live on energy and air.

Northern Territory News reported that a 53-year-old woman died following a stroke which occurred while she abstained from fluids for one week and food for three weeks.

According to Sandra Capra, senior diet lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology, Breatharianism is a dangerous, extreme, fringe practice. (1998 July 3)


NATURAL HEALING INTEGRATION

Darwin's fifth Natural Health & Healing Expo took place on June 13. Natural therapists gathered to promote alternative therapies and products. The organizer, Wendy Jakeman, said that natural therapies are becoming integrated with mainstream medicine and health care. (Northern Territory News June 15)


JWs FIGHT AGAINST TAX

In 1995 the Jehovah's Witnesses in France were declared a sect — due to their opposition to blood transfusions and rejection of military service. This ended the Watchtower Society's tax free status.

The WTS refused to pay the tax which amounted to 60% of donations. The Government of France now wants all tax owed plus a late fee — total US$50 million. A tax lien has been put on WTS property.

In an open letter to Jacques Chiese, President of France, Lyman Swingle of the JW Governing Body appealed to Human Rights and wrote: "Jehovah's Witnesses in France will challenge this gross act of religious discrimination. They will do this not only to avoid unjust and oppressive tax but also to help ensure that all French people enjoy freedom of religion."

In 1997 France had 125,000 JWs going door to door and 220,000 attended the annual Memorial of Christ's death. This is a slight decline from 1994.


DOCTRINE'S LIST OF DEATH

Former JW elder David Reed (Investigator No. 10) is preparing a list of JWs who died needlessly due to the anti-blood doctrine.

On July 13 the website-published list stood at 87. Because only a proportion of such deaths become known to the media the list is only "a small sampling of the victims."  www.abaweb.com/WATCHTOWERvictimsMEMORIAL

A check of the blood transfusion section of Investigator's collection of 800 newspaper articles on JWs revealed a further 20 victims.


JW DATES LIST STILL EXPANDING

Investigator No. 56 had a list of 26 dates on which JW prophecies failed with a quote for each date.

We can now make that 27.

The Finished Mystery (1917) says:
The time of the establishment of the Kingdom in power is indicated as "in the fourteenth year after that the city (Christendom) was smitten"—or fourteen years after 1918, viz, in 1932.—Ezek. 40:1.

The context suggests that the phrase "the Kingdom in power" meant world wide paradise after global anarchy of 1914-1925, all governments and religions destroyed and gone for good, and the resurrection of the dead to live again on Earth well underway.





INVESTIGATOR 63, 1998 NOVEMBER

RETURN OF THE DEAD

In Investigator No. 29 it was speculated that premature burial following a wrong diagnosis of death could be one sort of event which kept vampire superstitions going. Fortean Times occasionally publishes lists of people "back from the dead". The list in July 1996 p. 19 had seven examples for 1995. Two became conscious just in time to avoid being burned — one in a crematorium and the other one on a funeral pyre!


COST OF CRIME

Thievery: A Theme of the Bible (Investigator 56) cited the Sunday Mail (1996 April 14) to show that fraud costs every Australian household $2,660 per year!

A more recent report said: "Crime and punishment costs the community up to $20 billion each year… The toll of about $1000 for each man, woman and child includes a $6 billion price tag for cops, courts and corrective services." (Sunday Mail 1998 January 4)

A table listed the cost of each category of crime. Fraud/forgery/false pretenses came first with $3-$3.5 billion, followed by Drug offenses ($2 billion), and shop-lifting ($1.02-$2.46 billion).


JWs BAN THREAT

A Moscow Times report posted on the Internet on October 13 said in part:
A Moscow court this week held a first hearing in a case…aimed at banning Jehovah's Witnesses…
The Jehovah's Witnesses are accused of "instigating religious enmity" by claiming to be the only true faith, "causing family breakdown" by demanding that believers make religious work their first priority and even placing lives at risk by their prohibition against blood transfusions.
If proven, these allegations would be grounds for denying registration under Article 14 of the Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Association, passed last year…
Jehovah's Witnesses…have 10,000 members in Moscow and 250,000 across Russia.




INVESTIGATOR 64, 1999 JANUARY


BIBLE DEBATE 1925 STYLE

Received a 1925 International Herald Tribune article (July 2) headed "Scopes Fined $100 After Farmers Find Him Guilty". It's about the "monkey trial" in Tennessee (USA) when a teacher broke the law by teaching evolution.

The prosecutor was William J Bryan a Fundamentalist and former presidential candidate. The defense lawyer was Clarence Darrow.

The 1925 news report said in part:
Bryan on Stand

The feature of the last day was the examination of Mr. Bryan by Mr. Darrow… Mr Bryan said he considered everything in the Bible was true, that the flood occurred about the year 2,500 B.C., and wiped out all living things except those in the Ark.

Darrow: "Don't you know that there are any number of civilizations that have been traced back 5,000 years before that date?"
Bryan: "I am not willing to give up belief in the Bible in deference to the views of others who make that estimate."

Joshua and the Sun

Bryan further said that he believed that Joshua made the sun stand still.

Darrow: "Don't you know that for Joshua to have made the sun stand still it would have been necessary to lengthen the day?"
Bryan: "I don't know about that, but I do know that with my puny hand I can defy the great law of gravitation and prevent this glass of water from falling to the ground. I…believe that the Almighty God could stop the sun and the earth in their courses."

The witness said he did not know the population of Egypt 3,500 years ago… He was never sufficiently interested to inquire into the old civilizations and never had studied Chinese civilization and never read much about religion outside the Bible.

He said he believed that until Babel the world had but a single language.

Bryan was loudly cheered during and after his testimony…

Darrow sarcastically remarked once: "They are cheering you who insult every man of science, who does not agree with your fool religion."
"I am simply trying to protect the Word of God against the greatest agnostic in the world," replied Mr Bryan.

EUTHANASIA

One in seven doctors in Britain have helped patients to die — 27,000 patients — by withholding treatment or by giving a lethal dose of drugs. (The Advertiser 1998, November 16, p. 250





INVESTIGATOR 65, 1999 March


NOAH'S FLOOD

The theory that the story of Noah and the Ark is based on the flooding of the Back Sea area when the Mediterranean Sea broke through the Bosphorus has been reported in Investigator. A book on the theory was recently published — Noah's Flood 1998 W Ryan & W Pitman. The water would have advanced about three kilometres inland each week for over a year.

A problem is that the Bible says "the waters receded from the earth" (Genesis 8:3) but of course the Black Sea is still filled!


BRIEF REPORT

Karen Stoilznow, a 21 year old journalism student whose GP gave her a "clear bill of health" and whose eyes were tested and declared "disease free" by an ophthalmologist", had appointments with four alternative therapists.

These were Ted Hall (iridologist), Peter Berryman (homeopath), Judith Collins (aura reader/spiritual healer) and Shirley Mason (homeopath).

The conclusion, as reported in the Skeptic was:

There was no consensus among the differing diagnoses of the alternative practitioners, apart from some vague references to the liver and lymphatic system. Karen was, according to an aggregate of opinions, suffering from a dysfunctional liver, anaemia, lymphatic congestion and scoliosis, had zinc deficiency and an excess of calcium, plus a psychological problem. To check these diagnoses, Dr Richard Gordon referred Karen for a Liver Function Test and a range of others — Full Blood Examination, Electrolytes Urea and Creatinine, Calcium, Albumin, Phosphate and Zinc. The pathology report gave Karen a clean bill of health... Biochemistry results indicated units all within the acceptable range, and the liver function test showed no abnormalities whatsoever.

For full details see the Skeptic 1998, Volume, 18 No. 2.


BLOOD AND JWs

In an article in Journal of Medical Ethics (1998; 24:223-230) neurologist Osamu Muramoto advised doctors to question JW patients to make sure they are accurately informed and not merely responding to coercion by their religious leaders.

He points out that the WTS formerly "denounced vaccinations and organ transplants … with flaming rhetoric" and also already permits members to take many blood components formerly banned to them:

One subtle irony that most JWs are not aware of is that albumen (one of the permitted components) constitutes 2.2% of blood volume, whereas white blood cells, and platelets (forbidden components) constitute 1%, and 0.17% respectively. (p. 228)

 Dr Muramoto says: "the WTS presents a distorted picture because it fails to report any benefits of blood-based treatments." (p.228)


WHEN PROPHECY FAILS

The book When Prophecy Fails (1956) described the cult of Marian Keech — a pseudonym, her real name was Dorothy Martin.

Martin transcribed numerous messages allegedly from Christ and other beings on the perfect planet of Clarion.

She predicted global disaster including gigantic tidal waves which would change the planet [i.e. Earth] on December 21 1954. She and her followers would be saved by a flying saucer taking them away.

After 1954 most followers drifted away although Martin kept on transcribing her cosmic messages.  

She reestablished herself by founding the Abbey of the Seven Rays near Lake Titicaca in South America and predicted the rise of Atlantis and other cataclysms for 1957.

Again Martin lost followers but started again in California in 1961. She predicted that the world's saviour would reveal himself to the world and perform mighty miracles in 1975.

Martin moved to Arizona in 1988 — still with a few followers — and died in 1992.  (Fortean Times 1998 December, p. 47)


THEOCRATIC WAR DOCTRINE

In Investigator 23 Mr Kotwall wrote "The Watchtower Society Encourages Lying". Such lying is called "theocratic war strategy" and is particularly applied in child custody cases. Now an entire book on this topic has been written by Jerry Bergman.


BILL-BURNING MINISTER

In November the SA Consumer Affairs Commissioner, Mr Hamish Gilmore, warned South Australians against accepting an offer by a minister of religion to burn lists of their debts if they paid him $100 to $1,000.  

People list their debts from $10,000 to $100,000 on a Debt-Free sheet and pay $100 for the smaller debt and $1,000 for the larger debt.

South American born John Avanzini, 62, has a doctorate in philosophy from Baptist Christian University in Louisiana. His book War on Debt (1990) offers hope of financial freedom because God can cancel debt miraculously.  The book also says: "Dr. Avanzini's television program, Pinciples of Biblical Economics, is aired five times per day, seven days per week, by more than 550 television programs."  (p. 179)

Mr Avanzini has written many other books about overcoming debt and offers courses involving tapes plus books on this topic. He came to Adelaide several years ago.

The Consumer Affairs Commissioner said that burning one's bills "will not make bills and mortgages go away." (Sunday Mail November 29 p. 3)


BAD LUCK OR BAD JUDGEMENT?

The Fortean Times Book of Life's Losers (1996) is crammed with fascinating examples of bad decisions:

Kim Molito of Texas was sentenced to seven years for burglary but objected on grounds that 7 is his unlucky number. The judge sympathized and changed the sentence to eight years. (p. 96)

Salvatore Chirilino of Italy slipped as he reached for a lucky four-leaf clover on a cliff top and fell to his death. "It's just not lucky for everyone," explained the police. (p. 41)

Grabrielle Schmitt rented a room to Andi Weber so she could nag him day in, day out to observe and report his reactions for her psychology degree. Weber eventually snapped and bashed her head four times with an axe leaving her mentally retarded. The judge gave a lenient sentence because Weber had been provoked. (p. 25)


PILTDOWN HOAX SOLVED

"Piltdown Man" was a proof of human evolution until exposed as a hoax in 1949 to 1953.

Piltdown Man was discovered in 1912 by Arthur Woodward of London's Natural History Museum and Charles Dawson a solicitor and archaeologist.

An article in Reader's Digest (1998 May) attributes the hoax to Martin Hinton a gifted archaeologist and paleontologist who worked as a clerk while doing unpaid work for the Museum on weekends.  His motive was revenge on Woodward, make him look a fool, for refusing him a paid position at the Museum despite his years of hard work there.

In 1921 Hinton finally got his position, built a reputation, and therefore could never admit the hoax!





INVESTIGATOR 66, 1999 May


NO ENERGY FIELDS DETECTABLE

"Therapeutic Touch" (TT) supposedly performs cures by manipulating patients' energy fields. The procedure has 100,000 trained practitioners including 48,000 in the USA.

Schoolgirl Emily Rosa, 11, tested TT with an experiment that got written up in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In the experiment 21 practitioners put their arms, palms upward, through openings in a screen. Emily placed her hand, left or right chosen by coin tosses, above their hands. The practitioners had to determine whether it was left or right by feeling the energy fields.

The results were no better than chance and guessing. In other words the TT practitioners could not feel any energy fields!

Emily had help from her mother (a nurse who campaigns against TT), her stepfather (National Therapeutic Touch Study Group chairman) and Dr. Stephen Barrett chairman of Quackwatch Inc. (Time, April 13, 1998 p. 35)


DON'T GAMBLE

Many newspaper reports about gambling continue to confirm what Investigator Magazine has often said which is: "If you go against the odds it's probable you'll lose."

A man, 57, won $25,000 at Keno but wanted to win more. He kept playing and stole $151,000 from Australia Post to finance his loses. (The advertiser 1999 March 15)

A woman, 29, defrauded her employers of $136,000 to play poker machines. (The advertiser 1999 April 17 p. 29)

Now, with Internet gambling on the rise, anti gambling prophets are warning: "Soon you will be able to lose your home without ever having to leave it." (The Advertiser 1999 March 20 p. 63)


GAMBLING LOSSES SOARING

Gambling venues in South Australia increased 47%, that is 363 to 533 in 3 years — 1995 to 1998. The annual loss averaged over the entire population, on racing, lotteries, pokies and the casino, rose from $276 to $450 per person. The national average is $634.

 In 1998 gambling venues made a net profit of $667 million in SA and $11,800 million nationwide. (The Advertiser 1999 April 9 p. 25)


DESTROY DEBT BY PRAYER

If gambling venues create debt don't worry — prayer destroys debt!

John Avanzini Ministries which offered to burn your bills if you donate 1% of their total (Investigator 65 p. 54) made news again.

They now circulate a booklet, Miracle Money, which asks you to send a list of your debts plus a 1% donation and they will pray for you. The Ministry is said to be lobbying the Federal Treasurer to make donated money tax deductable. (Sunday Mail 1999 March 28 p. 12)


PROGNOSTICATOR

An ad in The Silver Cord (1993 February p. 31) said:
Our world is about to be turned upside down. The Earth is experiencing a rapid acceleration of volcanic and earthquake activity which will continue to increase from now until 1997. Quakes in the order of 10, 12 and even 15 on the Richter scale will occur. These movements will fragment the continents and flood coastal area all over the world with enormous tidal waves. Not a stone on the planet will be left unmoved.

Gordon Michael Scallion, author of this prophecy, also published Earth Changes Report newsletter and a 60 minute audio tape Earth Changes Australia. Predictions on the tape for the 5 to 7 years after 1993, include flooding of Australia's coasts with business districts of Melbourne and Sydney relocating inland, the Federal Government replaced by regional governments in 1996, and natural water making Australia's inland deserts habitable leading to new cities!


A REAL ‘NUTTER' OR MAYBE NOT

The image at Yankalilla (South of Adelaide) of Mary with baby Jesus could be fading said Susan Fehlberg (discoverer of the image) on TV.

The one hour documentary titled About Us: Visions of Yankalilla showed Father Andrew Nutter's mission to place Yankalilla among the world's important religious sites.

The skeptics appeared too — Allan Lang claiming he could see nothing and Laurie Eddie claiming he could see the Phantom's Skull Cave.

The bubbled plaster on the wall above the altar of Christ Church is good for tourism but has also caused extensive bickering.

The Sunday Mail quoted Vivien Hobbs of the tourist information office: "… half think he is a real nutter, while others think he is right and they see it." (Sunday Mail 1999 March 21 p. 14)





INVESTIGATOR 67, 1999 July


BLUE MOON

A Blue Moon refers to a second full Moon in a given calendar month.  According to Keith Harper  the frequency of blue moons is 4.1%. (New Scientist 1999 February 13 p. 56)  

Investigator No. 25 p. 49 calculated that a blue moon occurs on average once in 33½ months i.e. about 3%.


JESUS' FACE AGAIN

A face which Roman Catholic visitors said resembled Jesus appeared on a concrete wall at the Buddhist Purple Lotus University at Union City east of San Francisco.

Alfred Wang, a Buddhist Monk, declared: "It's a miracle…to show people to believe in Jesus again." (Sunday Territorian 1999, April 4 p. 5)

In Investigator No. 50 psychologist Laurie Eddie explained that such "optical illusions" are called "simulacra" and are quite common. (pp. 44-47)


JOIN THE SEARCH

In May the Planetary Society started distributing a computer program that will allow thousands of computer owners to use their PC to analyse radio signals collected via the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. The screensaver program can be downloaded via the internet.


UFOs CHASE TOURISTS IN HOT SPOT

Wycliffe Well, a roadhouse 370km north of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory has a reputation as a "UFO hot spot".

It's claimed that in September 1994 UFOs appeared "every night for three weeks." The latest sightings occurred on March 4 and 5. (Northern Territory News 1999 March 12) One worker claimed she saw "jellyfish" shaped lights like tentacles that changed from silver to red.

According to the manager, Lou Farkis, terrified tourists often claim that their cars had been followed by UFOs!


EVOLUTION

Evolutionists considered birds to be the closest living relatives of crocodiles and alligators. Genetic tests have now shown that the closest living relatives of crocodilians are turtles with the two groups sharing a common ancestor [apparently not yet identified] about 200 million years ago. (The Advertiser 1999 February 13 p. 48)

For the past century evolutionists assumed that whales evolved from four-legged creatures. Evidence in support has now turned up. Funk & Wagnalls 1992 Science Yearbook reported: "Paleontologists working in Egypt found a 40-million-year-old whale fossil with small feet." (p. 125)


GOLDEN CALF SUPPORTS OLD TESTAMENT

An archaeological expedition led by Lawrence Stager of Harvard University found an 11cm-long metal figurine of a calf dating to about 1550 BC. The body is bronze, the head silver, and the horns and tail copper. Funk & Wagnalls 1992 Science Yearbook says: "Since new bronze objects have a color similar to gold, the ancient figurine found in the ruins of a temple may well be a "golden calf" of the type mentioned in the Bible." (p. 249)

The shape may be right and the date close but the calf in Exodus 32 was actual gold and not gold-colored bronze.


YETI SEEN

American adventurer Craig Calonica, 45, claimed he saw on Mount Everest two creatures which might be Yeti. He said they walked like humans, has thick black fur, hunched shoulders, long arms and big hands. (Herald sun 1998 October 14 p. 32)


ALIEN LIFE RARE OR NON-EXISTENT

Dr Ian Crawford of University College, London, argues that if alien life were common, Earth would have been taken over many times.  However, there is no sign that such a takeover or visitation has ever occurred. (New Scientist 1996, October 5 p. 52; Sunday Territorian 1999, May 16 p. 13)

Michael Hart in An explanation for the absence of extraterrestrials on Earth also examined possible reasons for the absence of aliens. (Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society Volume 16 p. 16)

Dr Crawford reasoned that if we assume one civilization per 1000 light years, our Milky Way Galaxy would contain 1000 civilizations.  Furthermore, there would have been 10 million civilizations since the galaxy began!

The vast distances between stars, is not a decisive barrier. Humans already have designs for nuclear-powered space ships that would go 10% of the speed of light. (Mallove E & Matloff G 1989 The Starflight Handbook)  At that speed the entire galaxy could be colonized in less than 10 million years. Also the number of Sun-like stars extinguished since our galaxy began number 700 million — lots of scope for civilizations to have developed if such things happen. And when stars start to die wouldn't the inhabitants of a star's planet(s) be motivated to escape and go elsewhere?

Perhaps all alien civilizations are hyper-ethical so as to prefer to die out rather than colonise, or are simply sedentary by nature, or perhaps they all destroy themselves. On the one planet of which we have any certain knowledge – Earth – the dominant life form is not very ethical to other creatures (or even to themselves), is expansionist, and has not destroyed itself!

Furthermore, all SETI programs – the search for extraterrestrial intelligence – have so far failed!

UFO research groups worldwide have provided nothing substantial as evidence — no item of alien manufacture, no alien-supplied scientific break-though, nothing.   

It seems that alien civilizations are either extremely rare or completely non-existent!





INVESTIGATOR 68, 1999 September


COLD GHOSTLY TOUCH

Josie Smith, 36, testified in Derby County Court that she felt she'd been raped by a ghost. Something "very cold", she said, touched her "beneath my nightdress."

Josie and husband Andrew were being sued for not paying the final $8,000 on a $115,000 cottage they purchased in 1994. In a counterclaim they contended that the former owners had not warned them the house was haunted! (Sunday Territorian 1999, January 17 p. 11)


AUSTRALIAN BERMUDA TRIANGLE

The Northern Territory News reported: "Australia was 11 per cent weirder last year — and the Territory can take the credit for the big jump in strange phenomena." (1999 June 30 p. 3)

According to the report the Northern Territory had 200 UFO reports (up 50%), 30 poltergeist reports, plus increases in Tasmanian Tiger sightings.

John Bull of the Australian Centre for Mystery Investigations compared the Territory to the "Bermuda Triangle".

The report also quoted Simon Potter, spokesman for the Darwin Skeptics: "Just because people don't understand what they are seeing does not mean it can't be explained scientifically. You have to dig deeper and not just listen to hearsay."

The Sunday Territorian added that 12 yowie sightings were reported and a local radio station sent a 4WD to try to find one! (1999 July 11 p. 7)


GAMBLING IS PRODUCTIVE

In 1998/99 Australians could legally gamble at 2,785 pubs, 2,419 clubs and 13 casinos. Turnover in bets and wagers was $80 billion and this generated $11 billion in net takings and commissions. Businesses providing gambling employed 150,000. Gambling revenue accounted for 12% of taxation receipts.

The Productivity Commission, a government attempt to quantify the commercial/social impact of gambling, found that 35% of gambling revenue came from 330,000 problem gamblers (2.3% of all adults).  About 82% of gamblers gamble without evidence of harm to themselves.

Each of the 330,000 problem gamblers affect five to ten additional people. This may be by selling the family home, crime, stealing kids' pocket money, relationship breakdown, poverty, debt, depression.

Of the 333,000  50% are under 35 years old, 25% under 25, 40% are women, 40% have completed tertiary education(!), 60% have children, 50% are married, and 50% borrowed money in the past year without paying it back.

The overall analysis of gambling benefits versus harm to Australia expressed in $ is that yearly costs are $1.1 billion to $5.2 billion and benefits $5.4 billion to $6.3 billion.

It's possible that gambling revenues have prevented serious collapses in State finances. However, the question needs to be asked, "Is there no other way of raising $6.3 billion such that we don't lose up to $5.2 billion in the process?" (The Australian 1999, July 20, pp. 4, 5, 15)


ROCK FROM SPACE MAY HIT

An asteroid named 1999AN10 could come within 30,000km of Earth on August 7, 2027.  That is only 1/12 the distance to the Moon.  

There is also 1 chance in 10,000,000 that the close encounter in 2027 will so shift the asteroid's path due to the influence of Earth's gravity that it will come within 8,000km in 2034 and could hit in 2039! (The Advertiser 1999 May 22 p. 45)

1999AN10 has a dimaeter of 800 metres.

Applying information and formulae supplied in Investigator No. 62 (pp. 47 & 49) gives the energy of impact of a rock this size as 38,000 megatons. That's about 2½ times the combined power of the world's nuclear arsenals at the height of the Cold War.


WRONG CRATER AGE

The list of Earth's impact craters of over 8km diameter - Investigator 62 pp. 43-44 - includes one serious mistake.

The 320km crater in Czechoslovakia is not 15 million years old but 150 million years. "Anonymous" says he correctly cited New Scientist magazine but in this instance New Scientist was wrong.


EXORCISMS ARE REAL


For 20 years Father Shanley, 68-year-old Irish Catholic priest of Lakes Entrance on the coast of Victoria, has performed up to 20 exorcisms per year.

When a demon is expelled from a person, "The stomach contracts so much that their heads and legs lift off the floor."  At that stage Father Shanley feels a "tingling…like an electric current". (The Advertiser 1999, June 26 p. 36)

The Advertiser says that exorcisms are increasing. In Italy 300 priests now practice exorcism — up form 20 in 1993. Revised Vatican exorcism rules warn priests to distinguish demonic possession from psychotic episodes.





INVESTIGATOR 69, 1999 November

NOURISHED BY LIGHT

Jasmuheen (formerly Ellen Greve) of Brisbane claims not to have eaten for 5 years. The 49-year-old New-Age guru and founder of the Self Empowerment Academy claims she subsists on liquid light taken from the air.

The Advertiser reported that one of Jasmuheen's followers, Verity Linn, 48, of South Australia died at a remote loch in Scotland while fasting according to the group's teaching.

Scotland's equivalent of the Director of Public Prosecutions, however, said that Ms Linn died of hypothermia and dehydration. (September 23 p. 9; September 25 p. 18)

The Northern Territory News (October 2) reported that Queensland Skeptics, and New Zealand Rationalists have offered Jasmuheen $100,000 if she can live without food for a month "under strict observation conditions" without losing weight. Apparently the guru has accepted and told the skeptics to have their cheque-books ready!


GENERATION OF 1917 NEAR ITS END

The Northern Territory's last surviving veteran of World War 1 has died aged 104. Of 331,781 Australians who served overseas in World War 1 less than 50 are still living. (The Advertiser October 29, p. 7)

In 1996 Investigator's editor attended a home meeting of the Christian Revival Crusade and inquired about their doctrine that Christ would return in the lifetime of people alive in 1917, that is within one generation of 1917. The meeting conductor explained: "That doesn't get mentioned much any more."  


SPIRITUAL AGONY

A question in the "Dear Miriam" column of The Mirror newspaper of London:
I'm a Jehovah's Witness but I can't stop masturbating. When I told an elder he said I shouldn't feel lust, and masturbation is self-abuse… Because of all this guilt, I've missed a lot of meetings. They think I've lapsed and nobody wants to know me. How do I stop masturbating?
Miriam answered that the sex-drive is natural and a God-given gift and there is "No need to feel guilty." (1999 July 26)


COUSIN CAVEMAN

Current conclusions about Neanderthals are that they died out 28,000 years ago, were a separate species to modern humans (Homo sapiens) but probably sometimes interbred with them. (The Advertiser 1999 October 27 p. 38)

A question for "Anonymous": What does the Bible say about Neanderthals? Were they related to Adam and Eve?


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