Wednesday, May 1, 2019

I Suppose It Takes All Kinds...

You want to talk about frivolous lawsuits, it sounds like the man you want to talk to is Howard B Wright Jr. of central Pennsylvania. Or maybe he's just the guy to talk to about flat-out crazy lawsuits. Wright alleged in his complaint that the police were using "voodoo and witchcraft" to place him under mind control, and sued for $5 million in damages.

In a shocking twist, the court didn't believe him and the case was thrown out - even though he explained in an entirely reasonable fashion that the same people were looking to reanimate an army of dead police officers as part of an insidious plan for world domination.

Howard B. Wright Jr. claims in his rambling complaint that he was targeted for the paranormal attacks because one of his relatives was convicted for the slaying of a police officer during the 1969 York race riots.

“Wright’s allegations of witchcraft, voodoo and mind control are fantastical and obviously have no basis in fact or law,” Chief Magistrate Judge Susan E. Schwab wrote in urging U.S. Middle District Judge Yvette Kane to give Wright’s suit the heave-ho. Wright, 42, of York, filed his complaint, along with about 100 pages of various photos, letters to state officials and other documents, in February.

As Schwab noted, Wright claimed that once under mind control, he had been forced to impersonate a police officer. There is a Walking Dead angle to the supposed conspiracy as well. “Wright alleges that the ultimate goal of the mind control is to use reanimated police officers to ‘take over the country’,” the magistrate judge wrote.

To be fair, there really are such things as mind control spells - but they really work more like mind-influence spells. Most magical effects are not deterministic enough to be accurately described as "control." The version of mind control that you see in movies or on television is not something magicians go around doing. As far as I know it's not even possible, at least to that extent.

And if somebody has a spell to reanimate dead police officers and turn them into an infernal army of the night I totally want to know how it works. I find it a little suspicious, though, that this allegation is being thrown around at the same time as the new season of Game of Thrones, which features a conveniently similar plotline involving an army of reanimated corpses trying to conquer the world.

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