Friday, May 31, 2019

Thoughts on the Rose Cross Ritual

A reader asked me for some thoughts on this ritual, since I have yet to post a commentary on it. I don't personally use it as written, which is why I haven't posted a commentary up until now. With the Thelemic rituals Aleister Crowley combined the functionality of this ritual with that of the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram in the Star Sapphire. Still, the ritual is part of the Golden Dawn tradition and a subject of online discussion. As always, my take on these rituals is my own, and should not be taken to represent the interpretation of any particular individual or group. Furthermore, I am not a Golden Dawn initiate, so if you are and your group interprets it differently you probably should stick with that, unless what I have to say here really resonates with you and your magical practice.

And yes, I know that it's Thursday. I originally planned to put this up on Monday, but I wound up having a little more to say than I expected and it took longer to write. Next Monday will be the elixir rite for Gemini, so I didn't want to post it then either.

The stated function of the Rose Cross ritual in the Golden Dawn tradition is to anchor the consciousness of the magician in Tiphareth, the sephira of the Sun that occupies the center of the Tree of Life in Golden Dawn and Thelemic Qabalah. It may be thought of as having a similar effect to the sephirothic version of the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram for the Sun, to which is attributed The Vision of the Harmony of Things, The Mysteries of the Crucifixion, and the Beatific Vision. The difference seems to be that the latter is more effective for reaching this state, while the former is supposed to be more effective for maintaining it - especially when performed on a daily basis.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Ark Encounter Sues Over Rain Damage

I guess it's not that good a Noah's Ark replica after all. Ken Ham's Ark Encounter attraction is suing its insurance company over, of all things, rain damage. Or flood damage, depending on who you ask. Either way, it's pretty ironic considering that the legendary Noah's Ark supposedly endured forty days and nights of rain and a (patently impossible) flood that covered the entire world. I thought that Ham's replica was supposed to be accurate!

Ark Encounter, which unveiled the 510-foot-long model in 2016, says that heavy rains in 2017 and 2018 caused a landslide on its access road, and its five insurance carriers refused to cover nearly $1 million in damages. In a 77-page lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Ark Encounter asks for compensatory and punitive damages.

The ark itself was not damaged and the road has been rebuilt, according to the suit. The park is open, said Melany Ethridge, a spokeswoman at the attraction’s Dallas-based public relations firm, who only laughed when informed that Ark Encounter had sued over flood damage. "You got to get to the boat to be on the boat," she said.

But to Ark Encounter’s lawyer, Amanda Brooke Stubblefield, at the Cincinnati firm Keating, Muething & Klekamp, the suit is no laughing matter. "We are not going to comment to the press on this case," she said. Ethridge subsequently issued a statement that said: “The lawsuit speaks for itself. We don’t have anything to add at this time, other than to say that we are highly confident of the merits of our case as we seek a fair resolution to the matter."

Okay, so it's the access road, shown above, that was damaged and I'm being excessively snarky. Still, it should be pointed out that if the ark actually floated it wouldn't need an access road. And there's at least one floating ark in the world already, so it clearly could be built. I find it pretty clear, too, that a working replica ark is a lot more impressive than a building that is just kinda shaped like one.

As far as the merits of the suit go I have no idea. Ham may be a big joke to me, but it also is true that lot of insurance companies will do just about anything to avoid paying claims. My guess is that the policy doesn't include coverage for flood damage - which you have to buy separately - and Answers in Genesis didn't buy supplemental flood insurance. So they're saying this is rain damage and the insurer is arguing it's flood damage. That's actually a legal distinction with wide-reaching implications and not just a snappy punchline.

Still, the snappy punchline is pretty darn funny.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Mixed Field Tuning

Over the years I have experimented with various versions of "mixed fields" - that is, trying to tune ritual spaces with multiple Greater Pentagram and Greater Hexagram rituals. What I have managed to work out is that mixing elements or planets or signs does not seem to work well. My current model for this is that tuning the space is like taking a flashlight and putting a colored filter in front of it. If you cover the flashlight with a red filter and then cover that with a blue filter, you'll get barely any light coming through.

So as an example, if you perform a ritual where you are trying to use, for example, the GIRH for Mars and the GRH for Jupiter (chosen only because they match the flashlight example of blue and red), the first GIRH (Mars) puts the red filter over the "white light" invoked by the LIRH that precedes it in the operant field opening. Then the second GIRH for Jupiter tunes the red to blue - but the red has already filtered out blue. So little light, if any, remains and your ritual is likely to fail.

Where this doesn't necessarily apply is when you are combining a sign and a planet or a planet and an element. The elements, planets, and signs form complete systems of attributions in their own right and operate on different "levels" of magical reality. So you can use, say, a GIRH for Aries followed by a GIRH for Mars and wind up with a space tuned to Mars in Aries. Those happen to be about the same color, but that doesn't always hold and anyway it doesn't seem to matter.

What does matter with this method is the condition of the planet in the sign. You'll get a strong energy when your planet is dignified in the sign (Rulership or Exaltation) and a weak energy when the planet is debilitated in the sign (Fall or Detriment). Mars in Aries is a powerful energy because Mars rules Aries. The Sun would also be powerful because it is exalted in Aries. But Saturn (Fall) and Venus (Detriment) in Aries would both be weak. Jupiter, Mercury, and Moon would all be somewhere in between since they are neither dignified nor debilitated.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Fake Joel Osteen is Now a Thing

Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston has been sending out warnings about a fake Facebook account billing itself as "Joel Osteen Ministries." The account has been soliciting people to open "prayer request accounts" that are alleged to cost up to $50 per month. It's a clever scam, precisely because this is essentially what "Prosperity Gospel" preachers like Osteen imply that their parishioners should do. They just aren't quite as blatant about it.

Lakewood Church has been warning people about a Facebook account posing as "Joel Osteen Ministries," which has been asking people for donations up to $50 to activate prayer request accounts. The message has been circulating on both Facebook and Twitter, church officials told

"Unfortunately, your Joel Osteen prayer request account has not been activated," the message said. "In order to activate your account, you will need to add a monthly donation of $24.99, which will give you access to 3 prayer requests per month..." The message goes on to offer "platinum prayer request" account to anyone who pays $49.99 per month.

A church spokesperson said she didn't know where the post originated. She said the Lakewood social media team saw hundreds of people receiving the fake messages. The church quickly notified people that that they do not, in fact, charge for prayer requests.

So no, Lakewood Church does not charge for prayer requests and you shouldn't be sending these scammers money. But if you are donating to Osteen's church on the promise that God will give you back many times the amount of money you donate, you shouldn't be doing that either. Jesus never said anything about God wanting his followers to accumulate wealth or liking rich people. In fact, he taught the exact opposite.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Boleskine House Has Been Sold

Boleskine House, Aleister Crowley's former home on the shores of Loch Ness in Scotland, has been sold. Back in 2015 a fire believed to have started in the kitchen burned down much of the structure, leaving behind the remains shown in the image above. The site was placed on the market several months ago.

The former Highland home of occultist Aleister Crowley that was largely destroyed by fire four years ago has been sold. The new owners of Boleskine House near Loch Ness will be hoping for a new peaceful chapter in the property's story with it understood the house is to become home to a charitable foundation and opened up to the public.

Those who have bought the property have not been named but they plan to fully restore the house where Crowley centred his black magic investigations after he bought it, aged 25, in 1899. It was later bought by Led Zeppelin founder and guitarist Jimmy Page in the 1970s with the rock god owning the "most notorious home in the Highlands" for around 20 years.

As a point, describing the Abramelin operation as "black magic" is not very accurate, but that's to be expected. Crowley has never really gotten a fair shake in British media.

A blaze in 2015 caused extensive damage to Boleskine House with the fragile building now a danger to the public. It has long drawn those curious in the occult but the new owners have urged people to stay away until the house is fully repaired and restored to a safe state.

The new buyers have remained anonymous so far, but I imagine that they are likely Thelemites or at least occultists of some flavor with an interest in Crowley's work. Fixing up the site and opening it to the public is a great idea, and as I mentioned to a commenter here on Augoeides, if I was rich enough to afford buying the place and repairing the damage I might have done something similar.

Best wishes to the new owners, and I look forward to someday being able to visit.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Pat Robertson Opposes Alabama Abortion Ban

It's not every day that I agree with evangelical leader and longtime Augoeides punching bag Pat Robertson. In fact, make that just about no day ever.

Sure, I pointed out that he made sense when he responded to even-more-laughable Augoeides punching bag Ken Ham's debate with Bill Nye. I also noted awhile back that he correctly referred to a piece of scripture that's widely misunderstood by the evangelical community at large. But that's about as close as I've come - at least until now.

In response to the draconian abortion ban recently passed in Alabama, Robertson actually criticized the measure, commenting that he though the state went too far and that the law was "extreme." This is a pretty telling criticism, as Robertson has been one of the big evangelical leaders pushing to overturn Roe v. Wade for decades.

Could there be hope for him still?

Televangelist Pat Robertson, who is opposed to abortion, criticized an anti-abortion bill passed by the Alabama legislature Tuesday as "extreme."

“I think Alabama has gone too far," he said during a Wednesday appearance on "The 700 Club", referencing the bill's 99-year maximum sentence for doctors who perform abortions and the fact that it does not provide exceptions for rape or incest cases. He added that he does not think the bill would be upheld by the Supreme Court.

"It’s an extreme law, and they want to challenge Roe vs. Wade, but my humble view is that this is not the case we want to bring to the Supreme Court because I think this one will lose," he said. “The Alabama case, God bless them, they’re trying to do something, but I don’t think that’s the case that I’d want to bring to the Supreme Court," he later reiterated.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Exorcism Summit Open to Non-Catholics

Sadly, though, you still have to be Christian.

In a move that I imagine can only be positive for non-Catholic reverse-conjurers everywhere, the Roman Catholic Church has opened up its annual exorcism summit to exorcists belonging to other Christian denominations. By exploring techniques from other strands of their tradition, they hope to improve their methods and develop "best practices." You know, like a great big Agile team or something.

With a rise in reported demonic possessions and devil worship in the era of social media, the Roman Catholic Church opened its doors to non-Catholics for the first time during its annual exorcism training conference.

This article is from Fox News, so I want to interrogate some of its implied assumptions a bit. Is there really a "rise in reported demonic possessions and devil worship in the era of social media?" Members of groups like The Satanic Temple are atheists, and while there are theistic Satanists their numbers are much lower. "Lifestyle witchcraft" is not "devil worship" either - nor is it really even magick or witchcraft as I think of it, just a fashion trend.

I do realize that conservative Catholics think anybody who isn't a Catholic, and certainly anyone who isn't Christian, is basically a devil worshipper or might as well be one. But to be clear, I'm a Thelemite and I don't "worship the devil." I actually don't really "worship" anything. I work with deities and spirits as a peer, not a supplicant. And I have to say, in the occult community I don't think literal "devil worship" is much of a thing for the most part.

Also - has there actually been an increase in "reported demonic possessions?" I scour the Internet for anything that looks like a real case of possession so I can cover it here on the blog, and I can't say that I've seen any increase in reports over the course of at least the last decade and probably longer. It was rare before, and it remains rare now.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Colors For Kamea Sigils

One of the reasons there have been fewer Magick Monday posts up lately is that I am no longer sure what information I need to publish here. I've posted practical operations, initiatory rites, and a comprehensive model of how magick works that seems to stand up to the data I keep compiling as a practical magician. But I got a question from a reader yesterday about something that I have mentioned but not covered in as much detail as it probably deserves. The subject is how to use the four scales of color from Liber 777 when drawing sigils on the kamea squares for the various angels, intelligences, and spirits.

The basic method works like this. The four color scales represent the four Qabalistic worlds. King = Atziluth, Queen = Briah, Prince/Emperor = Yetzirah, Princess/Empress = Assiah. I'm not clear why Aleister Crowley decided to change Prince and Princess to Emperor and Empress in Liber 777, but that's how the scales are named in there and it can be a little confusing. It might have to do with the Aeon of the Crowned and Conquering Child, so the Prince becomes an Emperor or something like that, but it is also useful to point out that in the Thoth Tarot you do see Princes and Princesses rather than Emperors and Empresses.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Ba'al Chemtrails Enhance Devil Frequency

He's finally done it. "Firefighter Prophet" Mark Taylor now has his own tag here on Augoeides, just like evangelical elder statesman Pat Robertson. He must be thrilled. For that matter, maybe they both are.

His latest is this gem, which... well, just read it.

During an appearance on the Bless to Teach show this weekend, Taylor declared that chemtrails are not just a secret government program designed to quell an unruly populace, they’re also a tool used by Satan to cut people off from God, or something like that.

In a video clip flagged by Right Wing Watch, Taylor said that “everything in life gives off a frequency” and that “all of creation cries out to God in the frequency,” which is how humanity worships God. To counteract this, Satan uses chemtrails to turn humans into “giant antennas” receptive to a devilish frequency that’s designed to tune out God’s frequency.

“All the spraying is to detract us from hearing God’s frequency,” he said. “They are spraying aluminum and barium in the chemtrails and if you look on the periodic table—barium is BA, aluminum is AL; it spells BAAL.”

Of course, Taylor is referring to the Old Testament Canaanite god Ba’al, which was often portrayed as the main enemy of the Hebrew god Yahweh. According to Taylor, this is “no coincidence.”

The levels of wrongness here are just staggering, even for Taylor, who has said some doozies ever since he decided that he was a honest-to-goodness prophet.

My comments follow below.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Via Solis Taurus Elixir Rite - Year Three

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Taurus Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday May 7th, at Leaping Laughter Oasis, our local Twin Cities body of Ordo Templi Orientis. We will continue the momentum of the last two years by performing one of these per month for each of the twelve signs. I will be posting the full scripts here on the preceding Mondays so people can take a look at them if they want to attend. Also, if you are in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota) and would like to attend, let me or someone at the oasis know. This is a public ritual and all are welcome.

0. The Temple

The ritual space is set up with an altar table in the center. The bell chime, banishing dagger, and invoking wand are placed on the altar. In the center of the altar is placed a cup of wine for creating the elixir, within the Table of Art corresponding to Taurus. The power attributed to Taurus is "the secret of physical strength," so if you have a specific intent, something related to health, healing, vitality, and so forth would be appropriate. This ritual may be performed with one, two, or three officers, who may alternate taking the Officiant role and divide up the reading from Liber 963. The Via Solis Elixir Rites were written by Michele Montserrat in 2010 for the Comselh Ananael magical working group.

I. Opening

All stand surrounding the altar. Officiant inhales fully, placing the banishing dagger at his or her lips. The air is then expelled as the dagger is swept backwards.

Officiant: Bahlasti! Ompehda!

Officiant then performs the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. All rotate accordingly.

Officiant: We take refuge in Nuit, the blue-lidded daughter of sunset, the naked brilliance of the voluptuous night sky, as we issue the call to the awakened nature of all beings, for every man and every woman is a star.


Officiant: We take refuge in Hadit, the secret flame that burns in every heart of man and in the core of every star, as we issue the call to our own awakened natures, arousing the coiled serpent about to spring.


Officiant: We take refuge in Heru-Ra-Ha, who wields the wand of double power, the wand of the force of Coph Nia, but whose left hand is empty for he has crushed an universe and naught remains, as we unite our awakened natures with those of all beings everywhere and everywhen, dissolving all obstacles and healing all suffering.


Officiant: For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.

All: All is pure and present are and has always been so, for existence is pure joy; all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass and done; but there is that which remains. To this realization we commit ourselves – pure and total presence. So mote it be.

Bell Chime

Sunday, May 5, 2019

May Day Parade 2019!

For those who don't know, my home town of Minneapolis, Minnesota is the site of a unique event that happens on the first Sunday in May - the MayDay Parade and Festival held at Powderhorn Park. This is a park that happens to be right next to my house, so we can enjoy the parade and festival without really leaving home.

This is not just any parade, either. It basically is a public pagan ritual that attracts twenty to thirty thousand people, and it has been going on since 1976. The parade travels through South Minneapolis, arriving at Powderhorn Park. There, a ritual is performed for the rebirth of the Sun, during which a huge Sun puppet is rowed from across the lake by attendants in canoes. This article from the local City Pages newspaper describes the event further.

Get ready for a mega-dose of joy, puppets, and community as In the Heart of the Beast hosts its annual MayDay Parade and Festival. With art bikes, giant puppets, stilt dancers, marching bands, costumed characters, flowers, and glitter, this is Minneapolis’ quintessential spring celebration. So find a spot on Bloomington Avenue for the parade, make your way to the Tree of Life Ceremony afterward, and stay for a festival filled with peace and love at Powderhorn Park.

MayDay is a must-see event, and a chance to revel in beauty, wonder, and social activism. This year, with news of HOBT’s financial struggles, you definitely won’t want to miss the party. If you can, be sure to give a donation to ensure this lovely event continues for years to come with help from the community. The parade starts at the corner of 25th Street East and Bloomington Avenue South, travels south on Bloomington to 34th Street East, and ends at Powderhorn Park.

The video above shows the "battle train," one of the most impressive floats (or really, a group of floats being pulled together like train cars) that I have seen. My friend Michele also took a bunch of Facebook videos of the parade, which you can find here, here, here, here, and here. As the quote mentions, there are looking to be some financial challenges if this event is going to continue next year. I think it's worthwhile - to my knowledge there is literally nothing like it anywhere in the United States.

The deal is that the organization that has been sponsoring the event for decades, In The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater, is having some financial problems and is doing fundraising towards next year's parade. If you are able to make a donation, you can do that here. We're all hoping that this fundraising effort will be successful and we will be able to keep enjoying the festival for years to come.

One idea that I had was to move the parade to a model like what's been going on in New Orleans for a very long time with their Mardi Gras parade. The parade is supported by "crewes" who create floats, costumes, decorations, and so forth. There are already a few groups up here who enter something in every parade - the "battle train" was built by a group who work out of a garage with a full metal shop a few blocks west of where I live, and there are a number of others. That might be a viable way forward, seeing as the New Orleans parade has been very successful.

Here's wishing you all a Happy MayDay! Hopefully there will be many more festivals to come.

Uri Geller Brings Down The House

If by "bring down" you mean "made a pipe leak" and by "house" you mean the House of Commons. I missed this story back in April, but I'm catching up now.

After posting an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May stating that he would stop Brexit with his psychic powers, the famed (and debunked) psychic made good on his threats. He claims to have caused a pipe to leak, which resulted in the temporary closure of the House of Commons. This is a logical extension of his old spoon-bending powers, but it also is a little sad. If I were going to try and influence a political body with magick, I could do so much better than a leaky pipe.

He shared a video on Twitter this morning of a leaking pipe at the Uri Geller Museum in Tel Aviv, taken at about 12.40PM UK time. He says this gave him the inspiration to carry out his sabbotage of Parliament.

‘This is when I got the idea! PARLIAMENT! I can’t sack them but I can soak them,’ tweeted Uri, who is a British citizen but lives in Israel. Uri Geller said coffee shop leak 'inspired' him to sabotage Parliament

It’s not like you couldn’t see it coming, after the 72-year-old self-proclaimed psycic warning sent an open letter to Theresa May last month saying: ‘I love you very much but I will not allow you to lead Britain into Brexit. ‘As much as I admire you, I will stop you telepathically from doing this – and believe me I am capable of executing it.’

At this point, many hardcore remainers might think that anything is worth a try, but it probably would have helped if MPs were actually talking about Brexit at the time of the flooding and not the introduction of the 2019 Loan Charge.

It's almost as if Geller were an ineffective superhero from The Tick or Mystery Men with the power to "kind of bend metal a little, you know, some of the time," like a super-super-low-budget Magneto. And speaking of The Tick, "Spoon!" should totally be Geller's battle-cry. But could he really not think of anything better to do than mess with a pipe? Mind-to-mind influence is way more effective than random parlor tricks like this, and the House of Commons wasn't even discussing Brexit when he alleges he did it.

Yes, psychic abilities are just like spells in that sometimes their effects don't manifest the way we expect. Now it could be that he's spent the last month using mental influence to defeat each of May's attempts to get a Brexit plan through Parliament, and the idea is now as unpopular as it's ever been. So maybe I'll cut him a little slack. You know, maybe

Because let's face it - I was hoping for something really dramatic once the spoons started rolling. Instead, I got a leaky pipe. It's a bit of a letdown, almost as if he didn't really do anything and just took credit for something that happened on its own.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Sweet, Sweet Alien Blood

Sabrina Sabrok is not just an adult film star, television personality, and satanic cult leader. She also claims to be the offspring of humans and aliens, due to her sweet, sweet alien blood. That's the kind of blood they would call "Rh-negative" if you were in the hospital and needed a transfusion, you might have it too, and there's absolutely no scientific evidence that it has anything to do with beings from another world. But then, that's exactly the sort of thing an Rh-positive full-blooded human like me would say, right?

Sabrina Sabrok, a self-styled psychic and medium who has recently set up a Satanic cult, appears to believe that her blood came from outside sources. "I worked with researchers who told me that my blood type is not from this planet," the 43-year-old former Playboy model told the Daily Star. "There are even theories that aliens carried out experiments with humans, mixing DNA and things like this. As a result, some people are Rh-negative," she was quoted as saying.

Rh-negative blood refers to the type of red blood cells that do not have a protein called the Rhesus (Rh) factor on their surface. Nearly 85 percent of the world's population is estimated to have Rh-positive blood, while the rest are Rh-negative. Rh-positive individuals can be given transfusions of both types of blood, but Rh-negative people should only get Rh-negative blood, because there's a chance that an incompatibility might happen otherwise.

Scientists believe that Rh-negative blood is the result of a mutation that happened during our evolution, but some conspiracy theorists suggest that Rh-negative individuals have evolved from aliens who mated with or experimented on humans when they came to our planet.

It's not clear where the Rh-negative = alien thing came from, but I have heard it floating around the Internet for awhile in the context of stories about alien abductions and the like. The "Rh" stands for "Rhesus factor" based on the erroneous conclusion that the human Rh factor was the same as a similar factor found in Rhesus monkeys (even though, in fact, it's not - but the name stuck). So maybe somebody might think that people without it didn't evolve from Rhesus monkeys? That would mean aliens had to be involved - even though, you know, humans are apes and none of us evolved from Rhesus monkeys.

Augoeides readers interested in Sabrok's satanic cult can find (a little) more information here, though not a lot of details are forthcoming about what kinds of practices membership actually entails. A lot of it seems to have to do with following Sabrok on Instagram.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Scientology Cruise Ship Under Quarantine

Clearly the dark space lord Xenu is at it again. The cruise ship Freewinds, which is owned by the Church of Scientology and used for religious retreats, is currently under quarantine in the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia because a passenger with a case of measles was discovered onboard.

"Given the highly infectious nature of measles, along with the possibility that other persons onboard the vessel may have been in contact with and are now possibly infectious due to this disease, a decision was made not to allow persons to disembark," said Merlene Fredericks-James, the island's chief medical officer.

She added that the infected patient was a female crew member and that the ship was the Freewinds -- a 440-foot (134-meter) vessel the Church of Scientology says is used for religious retreats and is normally based in Curacao.

The ship asked for 100 doses of measles vaccine, which Saint Lucia authorities are providing at no cost, with the patient under observation. The church, founded by science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard in 1953, did not respond to requests for comment. Its teachings do not directly oppose vaccination, but followers consider illness a sign of personal failing and generally eschew medical interventions.

Tony Ortega, who runs a blog about the group, told AFP: "When a Scientologist gets a cold, they would be asked to write an essay about who they think that is against the church that is making them sick. "They would definitely be interrogating that person and they would punish that person because when you're sick like that, in Scientology, it's always your own fault."

It also should be pointed out that Scientology is explictly opposed to psychiatric treatment, on the grounds that anybody suffering from mental illness should just go for a bunch of Dianetics auditing to overcome their "engrams" and/or "body thetans." The only reason everybody doesn't do that is the corrupt psychiatric establishment is suppressing the work of the greatest man who ever lived, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

None of that necessarily means that the infected crew member is an anti-vaxxer, as a few early reports suggested. It is possible to still get measles even if you are vaccinated, the odds are just a lot lower. It is true, though, that continuing to believe in Andrew Wakefield's study linking autism to the MMR vaccine when Wakefield himself admitted that he made the whole thing up is perilously close to mental illness territory these days. I would suggest any Scientologist who does should get themselves to an auditor at once.

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.