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No. 54: Nov-Dec 1987

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A Hoax Admitted

Above, we summarized a paper entitled "Uncanny Prophecies in New Zealand: An Unexplained Scientific Anomaly." The author of this paper, R. Kammann, has revealed that the whole business was a hoax. He now comes forth with details of the hoax and an explanation of why he chose to withhold data from the readers of the Zetetic Scholar.

"In writing up this episode for readers outside of New Zealand, I chose initially to hide the skeptical origin of these bogus prophecies to allow readers to experience them as they might be presented by paranormal advocates. Although the predictions drew widespread attention in New Zealand media, their impact was undoubtedly dampened by their honest portrayal as an anti-astrology lesson by a skeptical psychologist. For a proper evaluation, it was therefore necessary to hide their true origin for at least one public presentation. Even there (in Zetetic Scholar, #11) I constrained myself to scientifically accurate reporting and quoted my own original wordings of the prophecies and their fulfillments from the tapes of the radio programs. For the miracle mongers of the paranormal press, such loyalty to the facts would be considered a bad precedent."

(Kammann, Richard; "New Zealand Prophecies Exposed as a Hoax," Zetetic Scholar, no. 12, p. 34, August 1987.)

Comment. Kammann's confession is nice to have, but can anyone be certain that he is not now playing a new game with us? Even more so, can we now trust any statements by individuals dedicated to shielding us from the paranormal?

From Science Frontiers #54, NOV-DEC 1987. 1987-2000 William R. Corliss