By The Time You Read This You Will Be Dead

On 29th April 2015 that internationally recognized, and acclaimed, organisation of geologists, spiritualists, fortune tellers and wise men, Ditrianum Media, announced that the end of the world will take place at 4pm (San Francisco time) on 28th May 2015. And as that’s less than 24 hours from now you had better start packing for heaven.

This is the latest in a long and tiring line of similar predictions but as it would interfere with my plans for the weekend I thought I had better investigate. According to my research, which is something I don’t often bother with, there is going to be, and I quote somebody who knows far more about everything than I do called Frank, from Holland, ‘a series of very critical planetary alignments whereby Venus and Mercury are really being charged up on the North-America/Pacific side.’

I kid you not.

Ditrianum Media, who I have never heard of either, may not be behind this wise and badly written prediction but they did publish the video made by Frank in Holland to their youtube channel that details all sorts of compelling and convincing evidence to prove that we are all doomed by tea time.

I, along with nearly a million other idiots, have sat through this documentary, by convincing myself it was necessary, and found that whilst Frank is not a dooms-day thinker (his words) he can see a ‘very important combination of planetary alignments coming up that will be most critical for the earth anyway because it will disrupt the earth/moon equilibrium and…..’

Do you see the sacrifices I have to make for you? I cannot tell you what Frank thinks this will all mean because at that point I pulled my head off and threw it into the swimming pool. Then I put it back on and watched a follow up video made by that other expert, MrsCindymp who has a you tube channel dedicated to the….  well, let her explain it herself.

In the video, that I also got halfway through and is as badly narrated as the above is written, she quotes a park ranger who was described as both a devout christian and home schooled. By that I read no more of a narrow minded combination than you could be unfortunate enough to meet. And stupid. Anyway, he is reported to have explained the San Antonio fault lines to a group of school children, on a field trip, and confirming the end of the world on May 28th. No doubt scaring the crap out of them in the process.

The ranger told them that a group of geologists had told him that ‘when there is an earthquake and all that, a shifting occurs and all that energy has to travel through the land and that’s what causes all that rolling and shaking.’ Unfortunately, in America, making such observations whilst wearing an I Love Jesus t-shirt leads people to consider him a wise man worth listening to and not the child abusing sociopath he must be.

Naturally the park ranger and the geologists who are referenced remain un-named by mrscindymp, as with all good conspiracy theorists, so that we cannot all hunt them down and throw them in jail where they belong. MrsCindymp also went on to warn everybody that last week she saw ‘like a screen saver on her TV that simply said ‘it’s time’ which she found interesting but that she didn’t take, like, signs like that oh whats the word, like literally or something like that but it caused me to pray.’ She then calmly announced that ‘whilst the Lord didn’t tell me anything he did remind me to keep preparing and to, you know, and that it’s coming.’

And this is what religion does for the world. It scares the children into behaving nicely. Well, that and deprive you the ability to construct a sentence properly, obviously. Does anybody know anything else organised religion, or as I like to call it, childish Stone-Age superstitions, does for humanity?

Why is it death they crave? They cannot seem to wait for Armageddon, the second coming of Jesus and the end of the world. Us atheists are even warned by these people not to fly in planes because if the pilot is a Christian he will be taken with the Lord and the rest of us will crash to the ground in a fiery explosion. They believe this and, they insist, so should I. What a way to live a life. No wonder none of them ever achieve anything meaningful.

In summery it seems, according to Frank, that by this afternoon there is going to be a massive earthquake and  San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego will all be in the sea, causing a Tsunami that will flatten Japan bringing about the end of the world for everyone. Apart from the end of the world part I don’t really see anything wrong with that. Will the rest of us be any the poorer without the three most fake cities in the world and Japan?

I think it is time now to make my own confident prediction and that is the plant alignments (or whatever is was as I forget now and can’t be bothered to scroll back) will unfortunately make no difference to the West Coast of America and Japan, Jesus will not be taking pilots out of their cockpits, there will be no fiery infernos, Frank, Mrscindymp, the park ranger and the Angel of Apocalypse will not be in jail where they should be and you will still be alive when you read this. That’s my prediction.

Beware False Prophets will be released if I ever get round to writing the rest of it.

Albert Jack books available for download here

 

Beware False Prophets – The amaXhosa Nation

The Xhosa Prophecy

During the mid 19th century, as the British cemented their military dominance and imposed political will upon the native tribes of southern Africa, a fourteen year old peasant girl called Nongqawuse and her younger friend Nombanda were sent to fetch water from a pool near the Gxarha River, close to their homestead in what is now the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Shaded by wild banana trees, the pool had a cool mist upon the surface and as the girls dipped their containers into the water both were shocked by the surfacing of what appeared to be the images of three men who claimed they were the spirits of their ancestors. They told the girls they had an important message for the current village elders. The frightened youngsters immediately ran back to their umzi to find Nongqawuse’s uncle Mhlakaza, a respected Xhosa spiritualist, to relay the news and what they told him would not only create a deep divide among the amaXhosa people, a division that can still be felt in modern times, but would also change the course of South African history.

It was May of 1856 when Nongqawuse and Nombanda ran back into the settlement, both excited and frightened, to tell Mhlakaza about their encounter with the ancestors whose ‘words were to be of such importance.’ The message, they said, was that if the amaXhosa people made certain sacrifices then their ancestors would arise from the ground, the white man would be swept into the sea by a great wind and the Xhosa tribes could re-claim the fertile lands they had been driven from by the white settlers. But, before this resurrection and great victory could happen, they must first slaughter all their cattle, burn the crops and then build new and greater enclosures for all the extra livestock that would be delivered by the spirits. They must then dig bigger and deeper storage pits for the greater harvest that would also be bestowed upon them.

Mhlakaza, a wise village elder, initially laughed away the story and the girls tried to forget the whole experience but when the same thing happened again the following day, and the girls were asked if the message had been delivered, the ancestors insisted Mhlakaza himself returned to the pool four days later, but only after he had sacrificed a beast and then ritually cleansed himself. The spiritual one remained unconvinced but did return to the pool four days later with Nongqawuse and a group of other village elders. None of the men saw the ancestors but Nongqawuse claimed she could and acted as medium so that Mhlakaza could communicate with them. He first asked who they were and recognized some of the names as legendary warriors who had died many years before in battle, and who Nongqawuse could not have known or heard about. Or, at least, that’s what he thought.

The ancestors, communicating through the prophet Nongqawuse, told Mhlakaza that the great event would happen on 18 February 1857 when the sun would rise in the east and at midday would change its orbit and return to set back in the east, burning a fiery red as it did so.  So he then asked what his people were supposed to eat if they killed their cattle and burnt their crops and was told that the ancestors would take care of the amaXhosa until the new, bigger, stronger cattle arrived and plentiful crops were delivered. He was then ordered to take the message to his king, Sarhili, so that it could be spread around all of the other Xhosa tribal chiefs. The King was initially unconvinced but thanks to the deeply ingrained reverence the Xhosa people have for their ancestors, soon ordered both his own chiefs and those who had, by then, submitted to British rule to begin their cattle killing and burning crops, although he himself, it was discovered later, preserved his own corn stocks for the time being.

During the months that followed those who believed in the prophecy being spread around the tribes slaughtered their cattle by the thousands and destroyed crops by the thousands of tons, leaving rotting carcasses littering the land and pillars of smoke in every direction. However, huge numbers of amaXhosa people flatly refused to believe in the prophecy and soon found themselves responsible for their staving neighbors. It was this division between what became known as the believers and the unbelievers that is at the core of the divisions between the amaXhosa people to this day. Still, the slaughter continued, the crops were destroyed and the starving went on. By January of 1857 it is estimated that the population of amaXhosa people had dropped from around 110,000 to fewer than 40,000. Meanwhile, across to the east of the Kei River the number of dead is thought to have been around 40,000. One simple prophecy by an illiterate 14 year old girl had led directly to the death of around 110,000 of her people, devastating the amaXhosa tribe in the process, within six months. Mhlakaza and his entire family, with the exception of Nongqawuse, were among those who perished.

Meanwhile the white men, in the shape of the British settlers who were governed by Sir George Grey between 1854 and 1861, outwardly appeared to be providing aid for the starving and Grey went as far as outlawing cattle killing and crop burning completely in an attempt, it was claimed, to calm the situation. Whilst his actions were welcomed by the unbelievers, there were many of them who questioned his motives and even thought him to be responsible for the visions at the pool. It was, after all, the British who benefited the most as the weakened amaXhosa people were soon relocated (or driven from their land) which was then distributed between white settlers made up of farmers and Crimean War veterans who had fought bravely for their empire and were being rewarded with land and retirement.

As dawn broke on 18th February 1857 even the unbelievers were as excited as they were nervous. All eyes were facing east and when the sun rose the believers danced, sang and performed tribal rituals whilst other look on. Some with pity, some in sheer terror and many with overwhelming sadness. Frances Brownlee, the wife of a missionary noted; ‘Oh the pity, the heart breaking grief, the sad horror of it all.’ King Sarhili’s grandson who in 1910 recalled the day said, ‘I sat outside my hut and saw the sun rise with all the other people. We waited until midday but then the sun continued on its course. We watched until the late afternoon and yet it did not turn. That’s when the people began to despair as they saw this thing had not been true after all.’ In the end it is estimated that around 400,000 cattle, the tribe’s premium currency, had been slaughtered and more than 120,000 people had starved to death. The white man, meanwhile, had not been driven into the sea and the land was not reclaimed. Indeed, more had been lost as the settlers then moved in on the weakened amaXhosa.

In the end Nongqawuse’s prophecy devastated the amaXhosa nation who soon found themselves squeezed between the expanding lands of the white settlers to the west and the encroaching AmaZulu nation to the east. Even the spreading rumor that the British had lost the Crimean War to the ‘black skinned Russians’ who were now traveling south to liberate their brothers and sisters in Africa, failed to prevent the inevitable march of the British through their remaining settlements, finally bringing the last of the amaXhosa people under a white rule that would remain in place until 1994 and the election of the first Xhosa president, Nelson Mandela (Xhosa tribal name Madiba). Next on the British agenda were the lands of the neighboring amaZulu people, which led to the famous Zulu Wars of 1879 and, despite not possessing the self destructing prophecies of the amaXhola people, they would prove to be a much easier nut to crack.

Although the Zulu War is remembered as one of histories most famous conflicts, especially where the British are involved (which, it seems, is most of them), it, in fact, only lasted for the first five months of 1879. It was a brutal series of encounters ending in an emphatic victory for the British and the end of the independent Zulu Nation. The amaXhosa, on the other hand, was an entirely different story. As the first of the Southern African tribes to encounter the Dutch and British settlers encroaching into their farmlands, the amaXhosa engaged the Europeans no fewer than nine times between 1779 and 1879 in what became known as Africa’s Hundred Years War. Fierce and skilled warriors the AmaXhosa had kept the neighboring Zulu’s at bay for centuries and the British had been struggling to make any real progress into their territory until the Cattle Killing Crisis finally decimated the people and crushed moral. This has led to some historians wondering if the British had anything to do with Nongqawuse’s prophecy in the first place.

Nongqawuse, the only member of her family to survive, was arrested by the British and imprisoned on Robben Island, a place that would later become famous for it’s connection with Nelson Mandela himself, before being released and sent into exile. She died in 1898. Many of the Xhosa people blamed Chief Sarhili for the disaster, claiming he intended to use the situation to encourage his starving people to attack the settlers, although others insisted he engineered the crisis together with the Governor, Sir George Grey. However, most Xhosa people today simply blame the British Governor alone, claiming he used Nongqawuse’s prophecy to weaken the amaXhosa Nation into submission and finally subdue them after a century of bloody and expensive warfare.

Albert Jack books available for download here

Beware False Prophets – Our Lady of Fatima

The Propehcy of Our Lady of Fatima

On 13 July 1917, three children were startled to find a mysterious figure approaching them as they tended their flock of sheep in pastureland near Fatima in Portugal. Lucia dos Santos and her two cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto reported seeing what they described as a ‘pretty lady from Heaven’. Lucia said the lady was ‘brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun’. Just the sort of description you’d expect from an illiterate ten-year-old shepherd girl. Lucia also claimed the lady had also entrusted her with three important secrets, which she did not reveal until many years later.

Instead of being cuffed around the ear, the three scallywags were firmly believed and the devout soon identified the mysterious visitor as the Blessed Virgin Mary herself. Word of the vision rapidly spread, and thousands began making the pilgrimage to the Cova da Iria (the area of pastureland near Fatima in which the children had grazed their sheep) hoping to see the Mother of Jesus for themselves. Artur de Oliveira Santos, the mayor of Vila Nova de Ourem and the most powerful man in the region, became increasingly anxious about the political implications of the pilgrimage to Fatima. Reports of new miracles were only swelling the number of pilgrims. His open hostility to the alleged apparitions was well known and he ordered the arrest of the little ones. On 13 August, the children were captured on their way to the pasture at Cova da Iria and thrown into jail. Other prisoners later testified the youngsters were initially frightened and upset, but were soon chanting their rosaries and leading their cellmates in prayer.

When Santos interrogated the children, they wouldn’t tell him anything. So, as the story goes, he arranged for a large pot of boiling oil to be delivered to the interrogation room. He then took the children one by one to the room, claiming that each of the others had been boiled to death in oil for ‘failing to tell him the truth’. The ‘remaining’ child was urged to do so or suffer the same fate. Remarkably, despite such persuasive techniques, the psychopath still failed to persuade the youngsters to tell him anything at all.

With that, Santos was forced to release them. Six days later, on 19 August, they reported another visitation at nearby Valinhos. On 13 September, the Blessed Virgin appeared in the field again and this time the children reported she had promised them that at noon on 13 October she would reappear and perform a miracle, so that ‘everybody will believe’.

As dawn broke on 13 October, a thick layer of cloud hung over the entire area and heavy rain fell, soaking the thousands who had gathered to see the expected miracle. Many were present only to witness what they were sure would be a non-event. The tension mounted as crowds of between 70,000 and 100,000 gathered during the morning. People from every walk of life were there, including doctors, lawyers and scientists (not normally inclined to be credulous), religious leaders and the great and the good, all eagerly awaiting the great event. Noon passed without incident, but in the middle of the afternoon tens of thousands of people witnessed the cloud gradually part, to reveal a dim, opaque sun spinning on its axis and emitting various bright colours that illuminated everything around. After a short while the sun apparently began to detach itself from the sky and plummet towards the earth, but instead of crashing to the ground and wiping out the entire human race, it slowed down at the last moment and only came close enough to heat the land and dry out everybody’s soaked clothing before slowly making its way back to its regular place in the sky.

This event, which lasted for between eight and ten minutes and in which the sun appeared to sink and rise again three times, became known as the ‘Miracle of the Sun’. Previously a strongly Catholic country, Portugal at that time had been a secular state for only seven years – since the monarchy had been abolished during the republican revolution of 1910. Since then, the new government of Portugal had been severely hostile towards religious groups, explaining Mayor Santos’s unpleasantness to the devout children. However, even the pro-government O Seculo, Portugal’s most influential newspaper, was unable to repress its excitement on this occasion. Popular columnist Avelino de Almeida noted the following:

… in the astonished eyes of these people, whose attitude takes us back to Biblical times and who were white-faced with shock and with their heads uncovered, facing the blue sky. The sun has trembled, the sun has made sudden movements that were outside all cosmic laws – the sun has ‘danced’, according to the typical expression of the country people. Covered with dust on the running board of the bus from Torres Novas, an old man recites the Creed, from beginning to end. I ask who it is and they tell me it is João Maria Amado de Melo.

I see him later talking to those around him, who still have their hats on, begging them strongly to take them off in the presence of such an extraordinary demonstration of the existence of God. Identical scenes are repeated in other places and a woman shouts, bathed in tears and almost suffocated, ‘What a shame! There are still men who don’t take off their hats in the presence of such a miracle.’

And next they ask each other if they have seen it or not. Most confess that that they have seen the dancing of the sun but others, however, declare they have seen the smiling face of the Virgin herself. They swear that the sun span about itself like a ring of fireworks and that it came down almost to the point of burning the Earth with its rays. Some say that they saw it change colour. It was about three in the afternoon.’

De Almeida claimed to have witnessed the whole event, but the photographer standing next to him, Judah Ruah, nephew of the famous snapper Joshua Benoliel, said he saw nothing at all. When asked why, he replied, ‘because nothing strange happened to the sun. But when I saw all those people kneeling I understood something to be happening and so I photographed them instead.’

Another journalist, from the Lisbon newspaper O Dia, reported how

‘The silver sun, enveloped in the same gauzy grey light, was seen to whirl and turn in the circle of broken clouds. The light turned a beautiful blue, as if it had come through the stained-glass windows of a cathedral, and spread itself over the people who knelt with outstretched hands. People wept and prayed with uncovered heads in the presence of the miracle they had awaited. The seconds seemed like hours, so vivid were they.

An eminent eye surgeon, Dr Domingos Pinto Coelho, recorded how ‘the sun, in one moment was surrounded with scarlet flame and at another aureoled in yellow and deep purple. It seemed to be in an exceedingly fast and whirling movement, at times appearing to be loosened from the sky and to be approaching the earth and strongly radiating heat.’ There can be little doubt his eyes were not deceiving him (or they shouldn’t have been at any rate). Another medical man, Dr Almeida Garrett of Coimbra, wrote how ‘the sun, whirling wildly seemed to loosen itself from the firmament and advance threateningly upon the earth as if to crush us with its huge and fiery weight. The sensation was terrible.’ And another learned individual, Dr Formigao, a professor of Santorem in the Distrito de Leiria, noted that ‘suddenly the rain stopped. The clouds were wrenched apart and the sun appeared in all its splendour. Then it began to revolve on its axis like the most magnificent fire wheel that we could imagine, taking all the colours of the rainbow and sending forth multi-coloured flashes of light, producing the most astounding effect.’

With an estimated 100,000 people present, the weight of witness evidence is overwhelming. This, coupled with the children’s ability to predict the event to within a few hours, proved to many people that they truly had experienced a miracle. Even so, a careful examination of individual statements reveals many contradictions. In some the sun looked like a ‘ball of snow’ and in others an opaque disc. Some reports state the sun was ‘dancing’ and in others that it was zigzagging. Some witnesses believed it actually touched the earth’s surface while others failed to see it move at all. There have been statements claiming columns of fine blue smoke and others describing how the very air seemed to change colour. Everybody claims to have witnessed the miracle at the same time and simultaneously let out either a roar or loud gasp that echoed around the valley, but the timing of the reports vary from between midday and dusk.

The only connecting theme is that most people saw something happen at around the same time and on the same afternoon. But scientific records contain no reports from anywhere in the world of unusual astronomical or solar activity. This is strange because even if there had been a natural reason for the phenomenon, such as a cloud of dust from the SaharaDesert or unusual atmospheric gases, as has been suggested, then astronomers would have recorded those. That is exactly what happened when stratospheric dust made the sun appear to be blue and red to the people of China in 1983, or the blue moon reported for two years after the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883.

It is hard to believe that so many well-educated and rational people could either make their story up or be fooled by what might amount to a vast con trick. But for those who claim some sort of collective hallucination at Fatima, there is the evidence of witness reports from as far away as thirty miles from people going about their normal business.

Some years later, in 1931, Lucia claimed Jesus himself had visited her in Rianxo, Galicia, to teach her two new prayers and he had given her a message for the Pope. Soon afterwards the Catholic Church added its considerable weight to the debate by announcing they were ‘approving the visions as worthy of belief’. So, with the official stamp of approval from the Man Wearing the Dress in Rome, the Blessed Virgin as she appeared at Cova da Iria became known throughout the world as Our Lady of Fatima. By then little Lucia de Jesus Rosa Santos had become Sister Lucia of Jesus, following her ordination as a Carmelite nun.

In 1942, as the Second World War was at its bloodiest, Sister Lucia finally decided to reveal the first of the secrets confided in her by the Virgin Mary all those years ago. The first was a terrifying vision of Hell, which she recorded in her third memoir, published towards the end of that year:

Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be beneath the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and all the time the shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent.

Fortunately, as she goes on, ‘This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, during the first Apparition, to take us to heaven? Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.’

The second secret included Mary’s instructions on how to save souls from Hell and convert the world to Christianity:

You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace in the world. The war is going to end, but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given to you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, famine and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.

To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer and various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted and a period of peace will be granted to the world.

All of you who find the timing and content of this revelation suspicious, what with it coming in the in the middle of a ‘worse’ war and during Pope Pius’s reign (even if it was Pius XII rather than XI by this time), will be struck down by the next bolt of lightning. But come on! This is a serious matter. The Catholic Church actually approved the visions as ‘worthy of belief’, and granted them genuine, bone fide miracle status, eleven years before revealing one of the three big ‘secrets’ with its anti-Russian warning. Are they really expecting us to believe the Virgin Mary visited three young peasant children in Portugal in 1917 to warn the world about something as specific and politically biased as the threat from Russia in twenty-five years’ time?

For reasons best known to themselves, Vatican officials refused to release the third secret until the late 1990s when Pope John Paul II finally unveiled Sister Lucia’s (somewhat disjointed) account of the third secret:

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an angel with a flaming sword in his left hand. Flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’ And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’, a Bishop dressed in White, ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’.

Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious [sic] going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark [sic]; reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fire [sic] bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died, one after another, the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium [a vessel for holding holy water] in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God. 

It is said that Pope John Paul II believed that the text refers to the attempt on his life in St Peter’s Square by Mehmet Ali Aqca in 1981, while others have suggested it is a prediction of the end of the world. Although I, to be honest, can make neither head nor tail of it.

In March 1948, Sister Lucia joined the Carmel of St Teresa at Coimbra, where she remained until her death on 13 February 2005, passing away shortly before her ninety-eighth birthday. During her lifetime she wrote six memoirs and two books. The day of her funeral, 15 February, was declared a national day of mourning, even disrupting political campaigning for the Portuguese parliamentary elections a few days later. Before she died, Sister Lucia claimed to see her ‘pretty lady from heaven’ many times throughout her life time, although nobody else ever witnessed or corroborated her claims. I wish I could. In fact I only wish the Blessed Virgin would appear round here. We could do with a few heavenly visitations to pep things up a bit.

The events in Fatima during 1917 have never been fully explained and remain as mysterious today as they did in the beginning. Nobody knows what happened, although everybody agrees that something did. I find it hard to completely rule out the appearance of some sort of vision or natural phenomenon occurring near Fatima on those four separate occasions because that would suggest that around 100,000 people were either mentally ill, deluded or simply lying. The sightings were, however, made in the midst of the Great War when things looked particularly gloomy. Perhaps people so badly needed evidence of something spiritual, some proof of divine interest in them, that they were able convince themselves that they had witnessed something rather more impressive than they actually had.

After all, the famous incident of the Angels of Mons (the supposedly supernatural force of ghostly warriors that intervened to help protect British forces at the crucial moment in the battle of Mons), which had happened only a couple of years earlier, is commonly considered now to be a mixture of morale-boosting propaganda and hallucinations on the part of sleep-deprived soldiers. And we have seen how it possible to create an illusion on a huge scale, as evidenced by the way in which magician David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty appear to vanish before the eyes of millions of people, and yet we know it didn’t really go anywhere.

So that leaves us with one final question. Even without the assistance of ‘magic’, is such mass deception otherwise possible – convincing a vast group of people to believe in the same lie at roughly the same time? Anybody would have to hesitate before saying yes. But then you think of Tony Blair’s second and third election victories and you realize that of course it’s possible; in fact it’s surprisingly easy. Or to quote Abraham Lincoln, it’s perfectly feasible to ‘fool all of the people some of the time’.

Albert Jack books available for download here

Beware False Prophets – William Miller

The Millerites

William Miller was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts on 15 February 1782 to Captain William Miller, a veteran of the recent American Revolution, and his wife Paulina. Within a few years the family had moved to a rural farm in Low Hampton, New York and the young Miller was educated at home until a small school was established nearby. An enthusiastic reader, with access to the private libraries of several eminent local figures, Miller Jr developed an open minded approach to matters of the day such as war, politics and religion and, after marrying Lucy Smith in 1803, he moved to her hometown of Poultney where he became a farmer and local politician.

Before long Miller became acquainted with the town elders, who were largely Deists (believers that nature itself was enough to prove the existence of God and therefore there was no need for any form of organized religion) and had abandoned his Baptist heritage completely. He then fully integrated with the community becoming firstly a constable, then a deputy sheriff, a justice of the peace and a lieutenant in the local Militia. With the outbreak of the War of 1812 against the British Empire, still sore at losing one of their lucrative colonies, Miller joined the regular army where he spent two years as a recruiter before following his father to the rank of captain and it was then, in 1814, that he would experience military action that would change his life forever and, to this day, the lives of tens of millions of people all over the world.

On February 1 1814 Captain Miller, serving with the 30th Infantry Regiment, became trapped at the lakeside town of Plattsburg, New York and were outnumbered by vastly superior British forces. Miller himself later wrote, ‘The fort I was in was exposed to every shot. Bombs, rockets and shrapnel fell I think as hailstones.’ Indeed they did, as the British pounded the American positions. One rocket exploded within two feet of Miller, instantly killing the man standing next to him and seriously injuring three others but the former Baptist survived the blast without so much as a ringing in his ears. This, and the fact that the small American force then counter attacked and drove the British all the way back to the safety of Canada, seemed more than a coincidence to William Miller.

It is often true that humans, who survive the severest adversity, when death or defeat seem certain and yet survival and victory prevail, who find themselves unable to explain, justify or understand their good fortune, choose divine intervention as their answer. Miller was no exception and noted, ‘It seemed to me that the Supreme Being must have watched over the interests of this country in a special manner and delivered us from the hands of our enemies. So surprising a result, against such odds, did seem to me like the work of a mightier power than man.’ He might have also noted that this sort of thinking was completely at odds with his newly acquired deistic belief in a distant God with no involvement at all in human affairs. It is impossible to subscribe to both that belief and the idea that God protected him and his army unit from the British Army who, by the way, also believed that they had God on their side too. Of course, history is littered with such irrational belief systems that are replaced with new ones to suit particular circumstances, but it is worth noting here because this single incident was the catalyst to some of the most momentous events of the next two centuries, the effect of which still ripple throughout communities all over the world.

Upon his return to Low Hampton in 1815 Miller first attempted to combine his re-ignited faith by re-joining the Baptist congregation, whilst still publicly promoting deism. One Sunday, when reading a sermon in the absence of the local minister, Miller became overcome with emotion and declared that there was a ‘supreme being’ after all and, when challenged by his deist friends to justify his re-established faith, he asked for time to try to rationalize his conflicting beliefs and then began a seven year bible study, beginning with the Book of Genesis. Three years later Miller had interpreted Daniel 8:14, ‘Unto two thousand three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,’ as clear evidence of Christ’s Second Coming, arguing that the ‘sanctuary’ was planet earth and the ‘cleansing’ was the damning of all sinners to hell and the resurrection of the devout.

Miller also, conveniently, interpreted the ‘two thousand three hundred days,’ to mean two thousand three hundred years using the day-year principle favored by many bible studiers to prove their otherwise unexplainable claims. Finally Miller became convinced that this time period commenced in 457BC and Artaxerxes I of Persia’s decision to re-build Jerusalem. This meant, Miller calculated, that the Second Coming of Christ would be precisely two-thousand-three hundred years after 457BC, and that means 1843 to you and me.

When Miller announced his conclusions in 1822, to his ever decreasing number of friends, very few took him seriously and he later wrote, ‘To my astonishment, I found very few who listened with any interest. Occasionally, one would see the sheer weight of evidence, but most passed it off as an idle tale.’ That should have been the end of that but, remarkably, it was only the beginning. After further study Miller then began a series of public lectures and was encouraged by the little interest his beliefs aroused. In May 1832 the first of a series of sixteen articles explaining his belief that the son of God was to make a spectacular return to planet earth, that he submitted to the Baptist rag, The Vermont Telegraph, was published and Miller began to receive a steady stream of letters and visitors from readers eager to hear more of his radical views.

By the time the last of the articles had been published Miller had been overcome with visitors, letters and invitations to lecture and so he published a sixty four page pamphlet detailing his conclusions in full, including that the world would effectively end with the Second Coming of Christ during 1843. For the next eight years Millerism remained a small local movement, albeit with growing support, until Joshua V. Himes, a Christian church leader and publisher in Boston, Massachusetts read Miller’s pamphlet and invited him to lecture at his own Chardon Street Chapel. Himes was impressed and, probably only sensing a profitable opportunity, (it is recorded that Himes himself didn’t initially believe Miller at all) formed a newspaper called Signs of the Times which became the first Millerite publication. Sales boomed and Himes organized lecture tours and conferences. Miller’s reputation grew quickly as the date of his big prediction approached and by the end of 1842 there were over fifty Millerite newspapers. By the end of that year over 600,000 copies had been sold in New York alone.

Religious men across the world traveled to hear William Miller preach, returned to their local parishes to spread the word and Millerite publications popped up in England, Australia, Norway, Chili, Canada and Hawaii (to name but a few). By now, Miller was being pressed for the exact date in 1843 of the Second Advent. Initially he refused to be specific although, under growing pressure and with questions about his credibility being asked, he did announce, ‘My principles in brief are that Jesus Christ will come again to this earth, cleanse, purify and take possession of the same, with all the saints, sometime between March 21 1843 and March 21 1944. With that the preparations began. Otherwise well educated and intelligent men began giving away their belongings and wealthy men channeled funds in Miller’s direction in order for news of the Second Advent to be spread further and more convincingly. This, Miller argued, would give as many people as possible the chance to embrace Christianity in time to avoid eternal damnation. And many folk did just that, joining The Millerites in increasing numbers on a daily basis.

When March the 21st 1844 passed peacefully with no hell fires, shifting mountains and heaving seas, not to mention no sight of the Son of God who, it was suggested, would still be making a personal appearance in America, a part of the world that Jesus and the original Christian elders new nothing about, at some point in the ‘near future’ and followers were urged to be ready. Miller himself was staggered by the failure of his calculations and wrote to Himes noting, ‘I am still looking for the Dear Savior. The time, as I have calculated it, is now filled up and I expect every moment to see the savior descend from heaven.’ It must have been exhausting to wait for the Second Advent, but how exactly would you do that? Look up and down the road as if waiting for the postman? Stare endlessly towards the heavens and look for signs of movement? Perhaps climb into the mountains for a ringside seat? Whatever it was the Millerites did in preparation, they soon would be left trying to explain their beliefs to their less gullible friends. The same friends they had recently been convinced were about to be ‘cleansed’ from the planet.

Leading Millerites gathered together to cobble some sort of explanation but, instead of quietly fading away they announced a new date of April 18, 1844 giving them another few weeks to terrorize the weak willed and attract more fee paying members. As April passed with no sign of Christ to be found more bible study was carried out and more new dates between May and July were announced. These too passed without drama and Millerite preachers found themselves being questioned about their real intentions. Much head scratching took place and meetings were convened. At one of them, in Exeter, New Hampshire a certain Samuel S Snow announced he had learned from a vision that Christ would finally be making his appearance on 22nd October 1844, the Jewish Day of Atonement.

William Miller immediately accepted this new interpretation although, by then, even his most enthusiastic followers were becoming skeptical, not to mention embarrassed. However, many still waited for the day with eager excitement.  In the end, as we all know, 22 October 1844 was another uneventful day and passed without incident. At this point many followers promptly gave up their Millerite beliefs and returned to their original churches, presumably with many tails between many legs. Some became reclusive to avoid the mocking jeers of friends and neighbors who had refused to believe the Advent Message. Others took steps to claim their money and other material contributions back but for those who had given away their property and other possessions away to the less fortunate, had themselves now become the less fortunate. 22nd October 1844 became universally known as the date of The Great Disappointment, well, it was for the Millerites.

For others it became the day of Great Fun Making, although I am sure there were many who were quietly relieved. Even so, the backlash against the Millerites began in earnest. Miller himself, who was reported to be shattered and disillusioned by the consequences of his misjudgment, (as he put it) suffered criticism and ridicule. Miller:

’Some people have been tauntingly enquiring. Have you not gone up yet? Even small children in the street are shouting at passers by, ‘have you a ticket to go up?’ The public press, of the most popular and fashionable kind, are caricaturing in the most shameful of manners the white robes of the saints, the going up and the great day of the burning. Even the pulpits are desecrated by the scandalous and false reports concerning the ‘ascension robes,’ and the priests are using the full power of their pens to continue the scoffing in the most scandalous periodicals of the days.’

In modern language this translates as ‘everyone is taking the piss out of us, and me especially.’ More alarmingly for the Millerites, there were acts of violence and vandalism. Some of their churches were burned to the ground. Some congregations were attacked with knives and bats, whilst others were shot at. One group in Toronto were tarred and feathered, such was the ill feeling towards those who had spread the word of William Miller, initiating fear and behavior in people that was entirely out of character for them. The remaining Millerites were both confused and bewildered; they really had believed in the prophecy. But they were still not ready to abandon their new found beliefs completely. Instead, it was soon claimed, by a resolute member called Hiram Edson that he too had received a vision and this time it was revealed that the date now represented the transfer of the Millerite Movement from ‘one part of heaven to another.’ This too was eagerly accepted by residual believers and a conference was convened on April 29th 1845 to discuss a new way forward.

But the inevitable disputes arose as the power struggles began and splits emerged. At the Albany Conference the hard-line Millerites formed the Evangelical Adventists which later became the Advent Christian Church who still resolutely believe in the Second Coming although, perhaps wisely, no longer predict a date for it. In modern times they claim to have over 100,000 members worldwide.  The second group to emerge from The Great Disappointment was influenced by a retired sea captain called Joseph Bates who claimed that the seventh day of the week, during which God had rested, was in fact Saturday and not Sunday, meaning Christians had been damning themselves for centuries by failing to observe the correct day of rest. From this group emerged the Seventh Day Adventists who now number over 17 million followers with 17,500 ministers preaching Millerite principles in over 70,000 places of worship.

The Seventh Day Adventists went on to spawn, in 1955, the Davidian Day Adventists, many of whose members perished in the fiery inferno that ended the infamous Waco Seige of 1993. (see David Koresh) Other groups that would evolve from The Great Disappointment, either directly or indirectly, include The Christadelphians (circa 60,000) , The Church of God Seventh-Day (circa 200,000), The Church of God General Conference (circa 300,000) Church of the Blessed Hope (circa 800) The Seventh Day Adventists Reform Movement (circa 35,000) Davidian Seventh Day Adventists (unknown)  United Seventh Day Adventist (unknown) primitive Advent Church (circa 500) and The Sabbath Rest Advent Church (circa 250). Finally, Charles Taze Russell admitted that a presentation by Millerite preacher Jonas Wendell in 1870 (outlining Wendell’s own belief that Christ’s Second Coming would happen between 1873 & 1874) was the direct catalyst for the formation of his Bible Student Movement the same year. That group, which later included Millerite writers George Stetson and George Stoors, eventually led to the formation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1931 (approx 8 million)

So that means approximately 30 million people alive today still subscribe to William Miller’s beliefs and possibly ten times that number over the last one hundred and fifty years, have all had their religious beliefs and therefore their way of lives, considerably influenced by a British shell, fired in 1814 into the fort at Plattsburg, New York, that exploded in the wrong direction.

Footnote: It is worth noting that central to the Seventh Day Adventist principal beliefs, according to their interpretation of The Apocalypse of St John, chapter 7.4, is that only 144,000 souls who observed this commandment would be saved at the end of the world. This amount was probably all that was needed in St John’s day but that was before they invented America and its 200million people. What will they do now, hold a lottery for their places in heaven?

Albert Jack books available for download here

Beware False Prophets – The Dorothy Martin Prophecy

The Martians are Coming to Take Us Away – The Dorothy Martin Prophecy.

Although reports of unidentified or unexplained objects in the sky have dated back as far as the Egyptian Empire, during the period the pyramids were under construction (around 2600BC) most of them, especially over recent times, have simply taken the form of ‘I saw a big shiny thing in the sky.’ Or, ‘I saw some strange lights in a place where no lights should be, officer.’ However, since the Second World War, a time that coincided with a major revolution in the aviation industry, many more detailed observations were made and the public’s interest in the possibility of life on other planets reached entirely new levels. Few realise that it was a recently as 1947 that the term ‘flying saucer’ was used and U.F.O did not become part of the common language until 1953.

This then, was the decade of the spacemen, the Martians really were coming this time, despite H.G.Well’s warning half a century earlier. It was against this backdrop of public feeling (and fear) that Dorothy Martin (1900-1992) who, despite possessing the astrobiology qualifications (that’s the study of life on other planets to you and me) of a humble Chicago housewife, which is what she was really supposed to be doing, was able to rise to international fame as the Prophet from the Planet Clarion during 1954. (By the way, if you are spending your life’s work studying life on other planets then please do write to me and tell me exactly what you do all day. Just interested, that’s all.)

Until the 1950’s Dorothy Martin had spent half a century as an obscure and anonymous resident of Chicago and so little is known of her history or upbringing that we can only begin her story during the late 1940’s and her involvement with the Dianetics Movement (a series of beliefs and practices relating to the metaphysical relationship between the mind and body. And, no, I don’t know what that means either) being touted around by a certain L Ron Hubbard as a fore runner to the Church of Scientology he would form in 1954. As Hubbard and his followers moved in one controversial direction, embracing the ancient, and some would say noble, art of Relieving as Many Gullible People As Possible of Their Hard Earned Dollars, Dorothy Martin and her small band of followers adopted a far less vulgar approach. So small, in fact, was her congregation, that they held services around her kitchen table.

It would be early 1954 when the previously unheard of Dorothy Martin issued a statement to reveal she had been receiving messages via a method she called ‘automatic writing.’ This enabled her, she said, to receive telepathic messages from the unknown planet Clarion, in code, which she could then translate and write down, automatically, in English. One of the messages, she claimed, was that the world was about to end, destroyed by a great flood prior to the dawn of 21st December 1954. Now, I am not sure how an unknown housewife manages to issue a press statement in the first place, let alone one of this nature. I find it hard enough and I have a press officer. Even so, the story appeared in the pages of a local newspaper under the headline, ‘Prophecy from planet Clarion, call to the city: flee the floods.’ (I must try this one day)

It cannot have been long before somebody pointed out that no such planet existed, which the good housewife explained as ‘being behind the moon, so no-one has seen it yet.’ And she the re-assured the folk of Chicago by claiming life forms from that planet would be sending down a spaceship on the night of the 21st December to rescues any soul that needed saving. All they had to do, she claimed, was to wait for them to arrive at her house on South Cuyler Avenue, Oak Park, Chicago. Now, stop laughing, this is where it starts to get serious! Serious because in no time at all she attracted a number of followers who had already left their jobs, given away houses, money and other possessions and some had even walked out on their wives and husbands.

Although that may just have been a convenient excuse. And it was also serious because her growing group of followers were soon spreading the word, although a few of them, thankfully, were a group of social psychologists headed by Leon Festinger who saw the Martin Prophecy as the perfect chance to study his theory that the disproving of deeply held beliefs in many cases led to the increased conviction in the very same beliefs. I say thankfully, because Festinger’s notes mean we know exactly what happened next.

As December loomed Martin and her followers became something of a local curiosity. Children would approach her in the street to hear stories of space travel and life on other planets, and then had the crap scared out of them by news of the impending doom closing in on the one they lived on. Some of the children experienced trouble sleeping while others were scared out of their wits to the point where parents were urging the police to bring charges of ‘contributing to the delinquency of minors’ whatever that is. Meanwhile Leon Festinger and his colleagues Stanley Schachter and Henry Riecken quietly settled in with the merry band of future space travellers, observing and taking their notes.

As December 20th approached the group began to avoid publicity, rather than embrace it, and few interviews were given. Access to Martin’s home is restricted to only those who can convince the whole group they are new believers and the growing number convince themselves that the ‘automatic writing’ from the planet Clarion is indeed providing details of the impending apocalypse, the reasons for it and how the group will be saved from this disaster. At midnight, they are told, a visitor from outer space will arrive and escort them all to a spaceship hidden at a secret location. As the day dawned excitement spread throughout the neighbourhood. A ‘boisterous’ crowd gathered outside the Martin household, blocking the road and forcing police to introduce crowd control measures. A small earthquake near Eureka, California, the effects of which could be felt between southern Oregon and San Francisco, was heralded as the beginning of the whole mad event to follow.

As midnight approached, bra straps, watches, jewellery and all other metal objects were removed and the group sat in silence, watching the clock and waiting. Midnight then sounded but by 12.05am there were still no visitors. Somebody then noticed that a clock in another room read only 11.55pm and the whole group immediately agreed that it was not yet midnight after all. Again they waited. The second clock strikes midnight and the group sat in stunned silence. Some were frightened as the end of life on planet earth was now less than seven hours away, but they were still on it. By 4am no-one in the group had uttered a single word, although Dorothy Martin began crying. Forty five minutes later she had sufficiently composed herself and claimed to have received another message, by automatic writing, informing them that because of their belief, commitment and personal sacrifice the God of Faith had decided to postpone the catastrophic destruction of the planet. Martin read the latest message aloud, ‘The little group, sitting and waiting all night long has spread so much light that God has decided to save the world from destruction after all.’ The following afternoon Martin’s followers once again began embracing the media, this time giving interviews to spread the message that they alone had managed to fend off the destruction of the planet. One of them, a doctor no less, in which case, you would think, an intelligent and educated man, went on record claiming that it was the crowd in the street who had scared the spacemen away.

This was fascinating stuff in the 1950’s when little was known of psychological disorders and Festinger’s subsequent book, When Prophecy Fails, introduced the expression ‘Cognitive Dissonance,’ which is the anxiety felt by people holding two or more completely conflicting beliefs, ideas and emotional reactions. In a state of dissonance a person may experience embarrassment, guilt, anger, dread, fear, frustration and a general feeling of confusion. (It’s a pity Festinger wasn’t around to help poor old William Miller) see the Millerites. Festinger’s work on cognitive dissonance, largely thanks to the Dorothy Martin Prophecy, later proved to be a revolutionary study that went on to influence psychology, economics, politics, advertising, marketing and corporate structure, to name but a few. But that’s a different story.

In summery, Festinger concluded that a belief has to be held with deep conviction and that a person must be committed to it. So committed that they have taken an important action, or made such a sacrifice that it cannot be reversed, the greater the sacrifice the greater the commitment will be to the belief. Also the belief must be specific and related to the real world. (which during the UFO thirsty 1950’s this one would certainly seem real to many) There has to be no way or ‘disproving such a belief.’ There needed to be evidence and in this case the many UFO sightings, coupled with Dorothy Martin’s automatic writings bringing messages from afar was certainly accepted as evidence by the believers. And finally, an individual believer must have social support. That is others who either show a passing interest or those who fully subscribe, albeit not immediately, once they see others doing the same. Again there are many parallels between this false prophecy and with the Millerite Prophecy of a century earlier. Red faces and ridicule being only one of them, albeit my favourite one.

Dorothy Martin and her followers soon slipped off the social radar and Festinger himself moved his studies forward and into more important areas of psychology although did record later that ‘in the few ordinary letters she sent us she still seemed to be expecting some action in the future from outer space.’ By then the prophet had exiled herself to a dianetics centre in Arizona before retreating to the Peruvian Andes to recover. In 1960 Dorothy Martin reinvented herself as Sister Thedra and founded the Association of Sananda and Samat Kumara in Mount Shasta, California, just in time for the arrival of the hippies and their mind altering drugs. Business boomed and Martin once again found herself with an audience eager to hear her messages from outer space. She eventually died peacefully in 1992, quite possibly unaware of her massive contribution to the study of human psychology.

Albert Jack books available for download here

Albert Jack Bibliography

Bibliography

Forget Debt in 90 Minutes – (2002) London: Management Books 2000 Ltd. ISBN
The Jam: Sounds From the Street – (2003) London: Reynolds and Hearn. ISBN
Red Herrings and White Elephants – (2004) London: Metro Books.  ISBN 978-1843581291
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Last Man in London (2014) ISBN-10: 1494358433
Rose Versus Thistle (2014) ASIN: B00KQO2F3A
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Debt Freedom Program (2015) ASIN: B0119RSN6K
Want To Be A Writer? (2015) ASIN: B011A8AJH4

 Albert Jack books available for download here