Swiss tunnel opening ceremony deemed “satanic”: features guy dressed as goat

June 13, 2016

You should be listening to No Such Thing as a Fish and watching No Such Such Thing as the News, the QI Elves’ foray into television. I just learned a very interesting fact in a recent episode. Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland ran a very unique opening ceremony.

I don’t know what’s going on here.

Breitbart attempts to explain:

The ceremony was intended to represent various aspects of Swiss culture. But, men in masks, others in costumes made of long brown grass, weird angels descending from the ceiling, even a man in a goat mask that others seem to be worshiping are all said by some to be from the pits of hell…

The part that has most galvanized the worldwide web is when a goat man emerges and appears to be worshiped by the dancers, some dressed in grass costumes, others wearing horrifying masks.

It is all a mishmash that is odd and confusing to any casual observer, modern dance that is likely not the taste of the men who built the tunnel, some of whom lost their lives…

Google “Demons of the Alps” and you will see the most troubling part of the show, the men in grass consumes and others in scary masks and even the goat man, are part of Swiss Christmas tradition.

Every year on the December 6th Feast of St. Nicholas of Bari (a Catholic saint who provided the dowries of poor girls so they could get married rather than end up in prostitution and upon whom Santa Claus is based), St. Nicholas wanders around town giving out gifts and money. He is followed by Krampus (Demons of the Alps) who try to scare the children, not unlike what happens at Halloween.

So if you come across anyone claiming it’s demonic, it’s not. It’s just a different culture showing off how they celebrate notable things. Weird as hell, but think about what other cultures must be thinking of yours around Turducken time…


Thanksgiving Satan Weekend part 4

October 13, 2014

I’m Canadian and for Thanksgiving weekend I decided to give thanks to the fact that I live in a country where I can do this and have a bit of fun. Also, we’re approaching Halloween and dark, sinister stories are more likely to be in the news right now, just like “We really found Christ’s tomb this time!” articles pop up at Easter.

Not that dead animals are fun. I don’t wish to make light of any crimes perpetrated by whichever individuals would have been involved.

Fourth and second last piece, satanism accused of being behind recent animal beheadings in Colorado.

one person posting on the Wheat Ridge Police Department Facebook page claims to have knowledge of the perpetrators.

“It’s the Satan worshippers that always have rituals back in there, along with Prospect Park,” he writes. “I know where they tend to have them and always find evidence to prove they have been there…. Most times it’s Thursdays and Saturday nights about 2 a.m. I saw them sacrifice a chicken once. That was three years or so ago.”

Maybe next time you think you see something like this going down, instead of playing Rogue Detective all on your own, call 911 and report the behaviour and the location. Satanists or no, it’d definitely fit in some category of criminal activity and the police can look into it for you. You’re probably not on Kolchak’s level and you’re definitely not Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Back to serious. I found another article about animal deaths, this time being linked to black magic and Santaria in New York. (Yes, I know Santaria is not satanism.)

Detective Marcos Quinones runs seminars on Occult Recognition Training and was quoted in the piece, offering suggestions about what religious/occult motivations may have been in play there.

Another local animal death case, the mass killing of cats decapitated, bludgeoned andhung from trees in Yonkers is less easy to pin down. Quionones said hanging the bags of cats was ritualistic in itself. “It could be anything from Satanism to Santeria to Palo Mayombe,” he said. Or, it could just be “someone who wanted to [get] rid of cats.”

I’d make a joke about the need to spay and neuter both pets and any sacrificial animals you have, but that seems a bit tactless.

Hopefully they’ll find out who was responsible.


Thanksgiving Satan Weekend part 3

October 12, 2014

It’s Satan weekend here. I’m Canadian and for Thanksgiving weekend I decided to give thanks to the fact that I live in a country where I can write about these things for kicks.

Third story, the Satanic Children Big Book of Activities — the handy PDF for anyone who wants it — was designed by the Satanic Temple supposedly to counter the habit of Orange County schools agreeing to let outsiders come in to distribute bibles. The Orlando Sentinel had an update on the story. Other sources were taking it as a “this is really happening!” story and some clarification was required.

District counsel Woody Rodriguez confirmed Thursday night that the group hasn’t approached the district with a formal request.

If that request were made, the district would first review the materials. Sublette said he didn’t know if they would be allowed or not. And when I first reported this story several weeks ago, the group said they didn’t have printed booklets on hand and had no local group to give them out.

At a board retreat Thursday night, Sublette strongly urged the board to put in place a policy that would ban the distribution of all religious materials by outside groups on school campuses, even if it would lead to a lawsuit.

That sounds like a good idea. If it can’t all be allowed, then none of it should be allowed. Seems plain and simple if you ask me.


Thanksgiving Satan Weekend, part 2

October 11, 2014

It’s Satan weekend here. I’m Canadian and for Thanksgiving weekend I’m giving thanks that I live in a country where I’m allowed to do this. A few stories worth throwing together came around over the past few weeks and I felt like doing a thing, which brings me to the second news story: Satanists expose Christian hypocrisy:

The article is about politically minded satanists and the Christians in Oklahoma who might take issue with people who demand to have the same rights Jesus lovers seem to get automatically just by being Jesus lovers.

Baphomet

The idea of a Satanic monument sitting on government property in Oklahoma—which is like the Bible Belt’s Bible Belt—seems a bit far-fetched, but Greaves says that “there has been quite a bit of discussion among legal scholars who recognize how difficult it would actually be for Oklahoma to turn us down… Constitutional law is quite clear on this issue: The state can’t discriminate against viewpoints. If they’ve opened the door for one, they’ve opened it for all.”

A sign advertising the ten commandments went up on the lawn of the Oklahoma State House and the Satanists want to make the point that letting that sign be on government property is tantamount to claiming there is a state religion and that religion is Christianity.

I’ll have to check back to see how this goes.


Thanksgiving Satan weekend part 1

October 10, 2014

It’s Satan weekend here. I’m Canadian and for Thanksgiving weekend I’m giving thanks that I live in a country where I’m allowed to be critical of beliefs and poke fun at things in a way that could be considered blasphemy in other places. A few stories worth throwing together came around over the past few weeks. Here’s the first one.

Late September in New Mexico. Bernard Pritchard sued his prison for not letting him practice his religion. The fact that it’s Satanism might have a teeny weeny bit to do with it.

Pritchard is asking for an injunction to practice “Satanic worship” as well as $100,000 “jointly and severally” from his defendants for “emotional injury” and another $20,000 from each defendant for punitive damages.

Notably, Pritchard’s lawsuit fails to explain specifics about how his defendants allegedly infringed his religious rights. Alex Tomlin, a spokeswoman for the department, says prison officials go out of their way to accommodate inmates’ abilities to practice their religion.

So, that’s worth the bolding. Does the man have a case or is he just stirring up something for the hell (haha) of it? Without any solid evidence of mistreatment or denial of rights to worship as he sees fit (or at least, as is feasable from prison) then I suspect this lawsuit will get thrown out.

Pritchard is in prison for aggressive stalking and is a registered sex offender, which has nothing to do with the story that I can tell, except as character description. The Church of Satan was contacted about the guy but he’s apparently not a member and in the email they clarify,

“Satanic worship” and “inner faith” are terms “we Satanists reject…as that concept plays no role in our skeptical philosophy.”


Holy crackers, Batman.. not this again!

August 25, 2014

Holy crackers – also known as communion wafers – evoke powerful feelings in the hearts and minds of dutiful Catholics. According to their beliefs, the wafers contain the body/essence of Christ to be consumed with great ceremony during mass. In November of 2008, I wrote about a fellow in Jensen Beach, Florida, who tried to leave church with a handful of wafers. The congregation freaked out and attempted to stop him. He injured a couple trying to escape. From the original article I used then,

Deputies arrested Ricci and charged him with two counts of simple battery, theft and disruption of a religious assembly. He was still being held Sunday afternoon at the Martin County Jail on $2,000 bond.

I thought I’d see if there was more news about John Samuel Ricci and discovered an article written a few days later, crediting possible satanic links because Ricci wasn’t the only thief in the church; earlier someone made off with a book of prayers. Oh, and someone saw some snakes. Right, because Florida wouldn’t have any of those unless Satan…

“I’m not one to believe in coincidence, but there were snakes outside the front entrance of the church trying to get in on the heels of this incident,” Moligano said.

Moligano said the priests later found a live snake wrapped around the handlebars of Ricci’s bicycle, which they had placed in storage.

“I’m not saying that this individual was satanic or possessed or anything of that sort, but again, evil exists,” Moligano said.

And so does something called confirmation bias. If you’re primed to see signs that align with your beliefs, you’ll start seeing signs everywhere.

Let’s move ahead now to 2014. Another wafer theft, another fear of satanists. This time, though, the Satanists have admitted they planned to use a wafer in a black mass scheduled for September.

The wafer was turned over a day after Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley filed a lawsuit seeking its protection and restoration to the Church.

This is what belief can do to people. A lawsuit to protect a cracker. A cracker.

The Diocese dropped the lawsuit once Adam Daniels, the leader of that particular group in OC, handed it over and promised in writing to not use a wafer in his service.

“We couldn’t be happier,” said Mike Caspino, the lead attorney for the Catholic Church. “This is a victory for decency, a victory for all people of faith.”

Caspino, of Irvine, Calif., said he was “really grateful for the leadership and courage of Archbishop Coakley. He did a great thing for the Church.”

If you say so.

Daniels buys them in bulk from a local Christian supply store (probably the same one the church uses) and uses them every week during his services. The only difference between his box and the Church’s box is that a priest waved his hands and said some words over them. Words they actually think infuse the wafers with the body of Christ. Until the words are spoken, they really are just bits of flat bread. After the words are spoken, they still are just bits of flat bread but believers convince themselves something holy went on and want to eat Jesus every week, or every day of the week if they’re that convinced.

Coakley has called for city leaders to block Daniels from using the theater in the Civic Center, which is supported by tax dollars.

City officials have said they cannot pick and choose which events to allow, as long as organizers pay their rent, adhere to the rules and follow the law.

Thanks for not caving in to Coakley, city officials. If Catholics don’t like the idea of the satanic service, they don’t have to go. Nobody’s forcing them to do something that goes against their beliefs. They just have to deal with the fact that others want to believe and do something else. Such is life as it should be. How hard is that to get behind? Be Catholic if you want to be Catholic. Be Satanist. Be atheist. Whatever you want to be, just adhere to rules put down by your culture and follow the law as put down by your city, province, state or country.

There are Satanists who believe Satan is a deity on par with God and others practice an atheist/agnostic version where Satan is merely symbolic and represents humanity as a whole and all its foibles. Religious Tolerance does a nice rundown of the different types and also the types of behaviour commonly mistaken for satanism. It also goes a bit into the history and pseudo-history (read: mythology) surrounding the practice.

(Extra back in time reading: PZ Myers, AKA Pharyngula, and his coverage of wafer insanity in July 2008.)


The One Minion Search Party – back in the saddle again

May 2, 2012

Now that my hours have altered at work, blogging doesn’t require setting aside the first few hours of my morning (5-8am) for hard core writing sessions. I didn’t mind when I was single because I had no after work life to speak of, aside from the odd Freethinker or Skeptics outing, which I could write about the next day (and should get back into doing that. Update the Freethinker page more often, too). I was fond of early nights and early mornings. The Man’s a bit of a night owl, though, so that’s required me to manually reset my internal clock and remain awake past 10pm. It took some doing, let me tell you.

Anyway, this renewed interest in my blog has got me looking at my search results again. I used to enjoy setting aside a post on Wednesdays to feature one or more of them. A few from the past week, then.

once, just once i’d like to be able to land someplace and say: “behold, i am the archangel gabriel.”

Ah yes, that’s one of my favourite quotes from Star Trek TOS. Good old Bones McCoy. Stargate built its main enemy out of a similar premise. The alien race called the Goa’uld were advanced enough to make ignorant humans think they were gods and take serious advantage of the misunderstanding. Arthur C. Clarke made a good point once, too. “Any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic.” Near enough, I suppose. Weren’t there tribes in the world wary of cameras because they were convinced a camera could capture a soul? Still wary, apparently. Might have some truth to it, though.. look at how unreal some of those celebrities start to seem. They’re around cameras all the time and of them don’t really seem to be human anymore.. plastic, soulless people with stiletto heels and silicone lips…

was helen keller a satanist

Apparently Keller did dabble in some spiritualism but given the time she was living, she was hardly alone in that. It was the in thing. Christians are torn as to her value. If you believe the Jesus is savior website, she was a devil worshiper. Swedenborg Foundation Press, on the other hand, offers up a documentary featuring her positive reactions to the teachings of the “visionary sage and philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg.” Can’t say I’ve heard of him, but Wikipedia fixes that quickly enough.

Swedenborg had a prolific career as an inventor and scientist. In 1741, at the age of fifty-three, he entered into a spiritual phase[5] in which he eventually began to experience dreams and visions beginning on Easter weekend April 6, 1744. This culminated in a spiritual awakening, whereupon he claimed he was appointed by the Lord to write a heavenly doctrine to reform Christianity. He claimed that the Lord had opened his spiritual eyes, so that from then on he could freely visit heaven and hell, and talk with angels, demons and other spirits.

He said that the Last Judgement had already occurred, in 1757, although only visible in the spiritual world, where he had witnessed it…

So Harold Camping was 254 years too late.

was john lennon a satanist

My blog is third on Google’s list when this question is posed because I pondered this question way back in 2009 and it’s still a hot one.

I don’t get what makes the Beatles so wonderful, but I don’t think I’d ever say the devil’s in the details. Listening to their music today, there’s maybe a couple songs I could say I liked but overall their style doesn’t thrill me. I don’t know if I would have been insane for them had I been a teen in the 1960s. My tastes lean more into motown[sic] and doo-wop.

And time with the Man has altered that impression of Lennon and the rest of them. Hell, I’ve even watched Yellow Submarine now and A Hard Day’s Night. We tried watching Help!, too, but the DVD had some issues. Another time maybe.

doctor who christian review

I top the list for this question, too. Yay me.

how i found the lost atlantis paul schliemann

This is mildly interesting. The grandson of Heinrich Schliemann, excavator of Troy (and scandalous thief of relics), claimed his granddad had bequeathed that his successors do all they could to find proof of Atlantis. In 1912 Paul published an article in the New York American, a precursor to such famous quality newspapers as the National Enquirer and Weekly World News, stating he’d done just that.

this turned out to be a flash-in-the-pan hoax. There was no follow-up book, and Paul Schliemann dropped out of sight as quickly as he emerged. The promised artifacts were never produced, and scholars who worked closely with Heinrich Schliemann confirmed that he had never demonstrated any interest in Atlantis whatsoever.

A close read of this article reveals many howlers that even an armchair archeologist will spot instantly. For instance, “…a collection of objects excavated from Tiahuanaca, in Central America.” He misspells Tiahuanaco, and it’s in South America. Or how about “…engraved with a sentence in Phoenician hieroglyphics”. The Phoenicians used a phonetic writing system, not hieroglyphs. And “the Egyptian and the American pyramids [were] covered with a thick coating of smooth and shining cement”, which is completely untrue. Some of the Egyptian pyramids were originally covered with casing stones; none of the American pyramids were encased, let alone with cement.

People just love to believe Atlantis is still to be found out there somewhere. I get such a kick out of that. Any underwater ruin of a city and people try to sell it as a possible site of Atlantis. Natural catastrophe or hubris? It probably didn’t really exist, so why give a crap!?

I think that will do for this round. I’ll try to remember I rebooted this series and post again next Wednesday.