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The Scrivener: Determined To Be Deceived

...Now, in the 21st century, there is a museum in Kentucky which has exhibits showing children happily playing among dinosaurs, along with Adam and Eve swimming in a river with huge and obviously friendly reptiles. The question of how Noah managed to get a pair of every type of dinosaur into his Ark is answered very simply: they were baby dinosaurs...

Brian Barratt agrees with the comments of a researcher 220 years ago: "fools in all countries are determined to be deceived''.

In 1791, Johann Wilhelm von Archenholz, formerly a Captain in the Service of the King of Prussia, published his 'A Picture of England, Containing a description of the Laws, Customs and Manners of England'. He covered a very wide range of topics and issues, including the fortune-tellers of London.

Evidently the fortune-tellers were usually young men who dressed up in exotic costumes, pointy hats, and false beards, and spoke in a faked foreign language. They purportedly came from the mysterious East. There was an interpreter 'to give an air of truth to their imposture, who explains the meanings of the oracle to the dupes, and shares the spoils with his master'.
The practice was illegal but prosecutions were not pursued as long as the charlatans did nothing to disturb the peace. Archenholz commented 'fools in all countries are determined to be deceived'.

About 50 years later, the great showman Phineas T. Barnum exhibited 'the most wondrous curiosity in the world: the Mermaid'. Dr Griffin of the British Lyceum of Natural History gave lectures about it. Numerous copies of a leaflet, with drawings of lovely mermaids, were distributed around New York. Thousands of people turned up for the lectures and to view the remarkable creature. What they saw was not exactly a mermaid.

There was no such place as the British Lyceum of Natural History. Dr Griffin was a fake. The 'mermaid' had been made by joining the tail of a large fish to the body of a monkey. What the thousands saw was a dried up fake monstrosity, nothing like the drawings of mythical mermaids in the leaflet. But, as Barnum said, there's a sucker born every minute.

In the early 1950s I went with a friend to the local Spiritualist church to witness a medium, Madame Helena, commune with the departed and convey messages from them to those who believed. My friend and I were of similar age and appearance, wearing glasses and looking rather studious. Madame Helena eventually looked in our direction and addressed the young man who probably studied psychology or something similar. I assumed she was speaking to me.

She gave forth a message from beyond, and I silently nodded. Then the young man who stood behind us thanked her. The message had been for him. Afterwards, my companion said he thought the message was for him. In its vagueness, it applied equally to all three of us. We could each interpret it as personal.

Madame Helena might not have been a fake as such. It is possible that she really believed she had psychic and clairvoyant powers. Her little congregation certainly did, and rolled up every Sunday for messages from their departed loved ones.

The method used by so-called psychics who appear on TV nowadays is transparently fake. They go through a rigmarole of 'fishing', announcing just the initial of a name, and then guessing at names starting with that initial. In due course, after trying 'A', for instance, they find someone who has a departed loved one named Albert or Agatha, and the message from beyond is given. It's usually something totally insignificant or non-specific such as, 'And he says you must look after his chair' or 'She says she does miss those lovely meals'. It's sad that many people apparently believe this nonsense from a medium who doesn't even know the names of the dead people who want to pass on messages.

A new type of mediumship emerged: it was called 'channelling'. Rather than communicate messages from ordinary people beyond the grave, a channeller was taken over by some great luminary from the past who gave forth his or her wisdom. In 1990 an American lady appeared on a television shows in Australia to discuss and demonstrate this gift. In her final appearance on ABC TV, she stiffened her body, stretched her legs, grimaced, and adopted an entirely unconvincing male voice. It was a case of very bad acting. Her words then came from Mafu, a fellow who had lived in ancient Pompeii. Believers were rapt, but she was then asked to speak in Latin, which would have been Mafu's own language. With a great deal of huffing and puffing, he (or she) declined. The great spiritual guide could not speak his own language. There is a full report here:
http://www.geocities.ws/cruzview/Mafu.html

Now, in the 21st century, there is a museum in Kentucky which has exhibits showing children happily playing among dinosaurs, along with Adam and Eve swimming in a river with huge and obviously friendly reptiles. The question of how Noah managed to get a pair of every type of dinosaur into his Ark is answered very simply: they were baby dinosaurs.

All this seems to be based on a primitive interpretation of parts of the Bible and the idea that God created the world only 6,000 years ago. The USA was one of the leaders in the world of Science. With hoaxes such as 'Creation Science' museums, a generation of children is emerging, or already exists, with numerous kids who have no idea what Science really is and how it works. But, of course, thousands of people willingly gullible people visit these places and are hoodwinked.

Archenholz summed it all up very well 220 years ago: there are fools in all countries determined to be deceived.

Copyright Brian Barratt 2012

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To read more of Brian's entertaining and clear-sighted views of the world and its ways please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_scrivener/

And do visit his stimulating Web site
www.alphalink.com.au/~umbidas/

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