Friday, January 19, 2007

Psychic Investigators 8

This week's episode is a little different. No heinous murder, just a couple of scammers (is it only EoR, or do others experience a frisson of delight at a psychic being set to find a scammer?):

In September 1975, two con-men who had swindled millions of pounds vanished without a trace. The case was going cold until psychic Bob Cracknell had a vision and put his reputation on the line. Cracknell was convinced that the two lay preachers who disappeared after a massive fraud scandal involving the financing of church organs came to light, were hiding on an island off the coast of Scotland.

It's a strange choice of case since this particular psychic is "The UK's Number One Psychic Detective" and also solved the Yorkshire Ripper case (well, he provided invaluable information to the police - or he told them something - or whatever. Anyway, there's a picture of him standing in front of the Ripper's house on his website). He was "100% correct" about that case, as usual, even though:

Cracknell was engaged by the newspaper to travel to Bradford and was driven by car around the area. Without any prompting, he directed the driver past all the landmarks he had previously described - until eventually they had left the built-up area of Bradford and finally arrived at a T-junction Cracknell was then asked the most important question - 'Which way do we go now?' He chose left. As a result the car ended up in a desolate area. Cracknell was unable to come up with anything else, other than that he knew the Ripper lived close by. After the arrest of Peter Sutcliffe, it became quite clear that had Cracknell chosen to turn right, instead of left, they would have located the murder's home - which was a few hundred meters further down the road.

So, given a 50/50 choice and, choosing the wrong direction, makes him 100% correct?

Mr Cracknell's biography may be a miracle of psychic powers, but it's also a wonderful demonstration of how not to write English, how to mix metaphors, and how to abuse hyperbole:

Abused and tormented as a lonely war child separated from his mother, and never knowing his father, Cracknell's desperate search for survival and emotional succour unlocked the psychic gateways - and the genie was very much out the bottle - the painful voyage of psychic and personal discovery had begun. Cracknell suffered a nervous psychic breakdown which cut short his military service in the RAF. His psychic abilities had simply developed beyond his current understanding and capacity to control them. Cracknell made a physically fruitful yet mentally barren marriage of misunderstanding. Then came the final emergence as the honed psychic adept from the nurturing chrysalis under the guidance of aged masters of the psychic and spiritual arts.

Poor English, of course, isn't a sin in itself, but this man has written a number of books, including one that promises to make you a psychic just like him. Here's a sample of the turgid prose it contains:

My name is Robert Cracknell. I have risen to the top of my profession. I am a psychic whose abilities have been forged in the harsh fires of a cynical, fearful, stereotypical world. I state that I am a psychic in the same way as another person might say: "I am an electrician," or "I am a baker." Unlike other professions, my apprenticeship has taken place over a period of thirty-five years, where I have continuously and steadfastly sought to improve my abilities - and will continue to do so until it is my time to leave this third-dimensional existence.

Those of us living in a four-dimensional world may be feeling sorry for the man, though at least he's improving his skills in answering difficult questions such as "Which way do we go now?"

Mr Cracknell also spends time encouraging conspiracy theories (the wrong man was convicted of the murder of Martin Luther King [Jr], and the truth was deliberately covered up), and also appears to be a qualifed quantum scientist as well (at least in the company of dowsers):

Bob will explain all about Entanglement, how it makes dowsing work and how it affects Ley lines. This is where the Quantum scientist meets the psychic and the dowser. Whatever happens to one particle will thus immediately affect the other particle, wherever in the universe it may be. Einstein called this "Spooky action at a distance." Bob Cracknell is a former Instrumentation Scientist with the Defence Research Agency. His research includes understanding the Ley line signal, the dowsing mechanism and gravitationally entangled protons.

How dowsing works? When was that proved? Steve Luttrell provides a more coherent explanation of entanglement.

Back to Psychic Investigators. EoR really doesn't want to waste his readers' time by going over the same ground again, so he'll just point you to Mr Cracknell's own incredible telling of the tale (including his taunt to the police to "prove him wrong") and will just go over a few points.

The events described took place 31 years ago. While Mr Cracknell claims his visions were documented in the Daily Express they are not available online and EoR does not have access to them to verify those claims. The case was high profile at the time though (as evidenced by a number of newspaper cuttings shown on the program - none of which were about Mr Cracknell's supposed involvement and revelations) which leads to an interesting statement by a journalist. Either Mr Cracknell was amazingly psychic (how else could he have known all those details?), or...

"If he'd done some research, then he might have known."

Mr Cracknell was convinced the fraudsters were hiding in a monastery. Or a church. Or a cave (his claims altered over time). The fraudsters were heavily involved in the church, they were lay preachers, their scam involved church organs, and they had also talked about joining a monastery. Apart from all those clues, those are pretty amazing psychic guesses.

There is no monastery where Mr Cracknell apparently said the men were hiding. They did, however, spend some time in a stone building and, as the stunned narrator says:

A primitive stone dwelling not entirely unlike a cave!

Retrofitting "clues" is such a fun game! And the "church"? They also spent some time on Priest Island! Get it? Priests? Churches! It's so obvious (after the fact). How could the police have been so stupid to not find them?

And in what is fast becoming a cliche for this program: the psychic did not solve the crime (the breakthrough came when a colleague of the fraudsters confessed to the police).

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