Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Austrian Druids Battle Traffic Fatalities

Remember the article awhile back about the English town that put the power of prayer to work bringing down the crime rate and reducing traffic accidents? Not to be outdone, Austrian druids are putting their own practices to work protecting the country's commuters - and just like the Christians, they seem to be getting some positive results.

As well as using quartz standing stones to restore the area’s ‘natural energy’, the druids have come up with a cheaper modern-day option – burying plastic slates with magnets in the ground.

Arch druid Ilmar Tessmann was called in as a last resort after a high number of fatal accidents were reported on a straight stretch of motorway near Salzburg.

He said the crashes were caused by radiation from a nearby mobile phone mast disrupting the area’s normal ‘terrestrial’ radiation.

Installing the monoliths has successfully counteracted that, he claimed.

Austrian motorway authority ASFINAG said it was sceptical at first and kept the project a secret. But it went public after the druids’ efforts cut the number of deaths at the notorious crash site from six a year to zero in two years.

Considering that the Earth is bathed in electromagnetic radiation of all sorts and that magnets have a very limited measurable area of effect, it's pretty clear that if all we're dealing with is something physical the explanation has to be bogus. The thing is, this is magick, and in that context it's possible that the radiation could have some sort of spiritual correlate that the magnets and crystals address. Or there might be a more obvious explanation, like people wanting to talk on their cell phones while driving in areas where the reception is better.

‘Natural sciences need evidence. ‘Whatever can’t be measured, does not exist,’ Dr Georg Walach from the geophysics department at Leoben University in southern Austria said.

‘These energy lines and their flow cannot be grasped or measured therefore their existence is rejected by scientists.’

But Mr Tessmann claims the proof is in the results. ‘If you ask me to give you a scientific explanation, I can’t, I just know it works, and even critics can’t argue with our success rate,’ he said.

As a magician I tend to agree with Tessman, though it should be pointed out that a drop in fatalities from six to zero is not all that statistically impressive, especially if those fatalities involved multiple people in the same car or cars. The article doesn't mention if the overall accident rate was reduced, or if the accidents were just less severe.

I'm also wondering how secret the program really was. Putting up a quartz monolith by the side of the road isn't exactly invisible. If people know that someone is going so far as to set up magical rocks at a particular patch of roadway it might prompt them to pay more attention while driving through that area or at least stay off their phones. I'm thinking the Christian effort probably succeeded for similar reasons - it involved the whole town and everyone knew about it, which could have prompted local residents to drive more carefully.

Of course, as a student of Aleister Crowley I would still point out that both efforts are magical even if they involve human psychology rather than paranormal forces. These magicians willed a particular change to occur in their environment and used the tools at their disposal to make that change happen. But the mechanism is not irrelevant - if the effect is caused by special attention being paid to particular areas it probably won't work well to scale it up to whole country. If everywhere is the same, no particular area is special and I'm guessing folks will revert to their old driving habits.

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