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TBR News May 22, 2020

May 22 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. May 22, 2020: Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it. “
Comment for May 22, 2020 Scare headlines from the Guardian, May 22
• Coronavirus US live: experts urge caution on first holiday weekend of summer as deaths pass 94,000
• The disease is ripping through’: why coronavirus is devastating California’s Pacific Islanders
• Pregnant inmates languish in US prisons despite promises of release
• Will Covid-19 mutate into a more dangerous virus?
• Why we might not get a coronavirus vaccine
• Why Sweden is unlikely to make a U-turn on its controversial Covid-19 strategy
• Coronavirus hasn’t just infected bodies – it’s infected our consciousness too
• Social distancing a week earlier could have saved 36,000 US lives, study finds
• Michael Cohen released from prison over coronavirus concerns
• Rich people need to blame the coronavirus economic crash on lockdown, our profits are on a ventilator!

The Table of Contents
Trump’s hydroxychloroquine habit is the triumph of rightwing quackery
• Drug touted by Trump as COVID-19 treatment tied to increased risk of death: study
• The Encyclopedia of American Loons
• Chemtrails’ not real, say leading atmospheric science experts
• ‘Looking for Life on a Flat Earth
• What are the End Days? A study in deception

Trump’s hydroxychloroquine habit is the triumph of rightwing quackery
The president’s anti-science cult represents the nadir of a long tradition of conspiracy-loving wingnuts from the fringes of American conservatism
May 22, 2020
by Richard Wolffe
The Guardian
What kind of buffoon brags about taking a drug that could kill him?
Among the many ailments Donald Trump has inflicted on his own country – not to mention the rest of the world – there may be something even worse than hydroxycholoroquine.
Yes, it’s bad that he claims to be taking an anti-malarial that his own Food and Drug Administration says is unsafe and ineffective to treat Covid-19.
Yes, it’s astonishing that Trump’s tools forced out of office an actual vaccine expert because he dared to question the president’s love of an unproven drug.
But it’s even worse that he is a one-man delivery vehicle for a dunce cult that denies science.
We’re not just talking about the presidential brainwaves that bounced around the world, hitting bodies with very powerful light or bleaching patients “by injection inside or almost a cleaning”.
Trump’s anti-science cult does not begin with quack remedies for a pandemic, and it does not even begin with him.
He represents the nadir of a long tradition of conspiracy-loving wingnuts who used to populate the fringes of the American conservative movement. Over the last half-century they have moved steadily into the mainstream of the Republican party, where their fact-free fairytales about the evil establishment have found a natural home in the cranium of the 45th president.
In this age of hyper-connected ignorance, there are no independent experts and there are no true facts. Your scientific theories are equal to my Twitter theories, just as your FBI investigation into Russia is equal to Rudy’s supposed investigation into Ukraine. All opinions are equal, but some are more equal than others.
How can you deny this democracy of dunces when there are supposedly experts on both sides? Brad Parscale, the Ferrari-driving Trump campaign manager, slapped down the science of Covid-19 cures by citing the work of a respectable-sounding group of doctors.
“The press is going nuts over @realDonaldTrump taking hydroxychloroquine (prescribed by doctor). Of course, if he’s doing it, they must oppose it,” he tweeted on Tuesday. “But the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons says otherwise.”
Parscale linked to a story on the AAPS website about the group’s letter to the Arizona governor citing its own “frequently updated table of studies” of the drug, claiming it has “about [a] 90% chance of helping Covid-19 patients”.
What kind of crazy medical cabal is keeping such a powerful drug from dying patients?
The AAPS has a long record of exposing the obvious malevolence of mainstream medicine as part of its mission to keep government out of healthcare. It took a bold stand against the science that HIV causes Aids, citing “official reports and the peer-reviewed literature”.
It also blew open the science of how Barack Obama was using mass hypnosis to bamboozle voters with his fancy speeches. Apparently the O of his campaign logo resembled a crystal ball, which explains why so many Jews supported Obama. If you think that’s crazy, you should take a look at “a 66-page extensively footnoted but unsigned article” that inspired the AAPS article.
The AAPS counts fewer than 5,000 members, compared with more than 220,000 members of its arch-enemy, the American Medical Association. But it’s quality, not quantity that counts. Among its past members, the AAPS counts Rand Paul, the ophthalmologist who now serves as one of the few doctors in the US Senate. His kooky libertarian father Ron, a former OB-GYN, was also a member.
This is a shame because there are only 17 doctors among the 535 members of Congress, and 14 of them are Republicans at a time when the nation and the world would appreciate some informed medical opinions in the middle of a once-in-a-generation pandemic.
Instead, there’s ample evidence that most Republicans think scientists should butt out of public policy. Before the pandemic struck, recent polling showed that just 43% of Republicans think that scientists should play an active role in policy debates, compared with 73% of Democrats.
Even fewer Republicans – 34% – think scientists are any better at making decisions about science policy than you or me.
These opinions did not crawl out of the primordial soup on their own. They have evolved over time in a warm bath of fringe conspiracy groups that have spent decades fighting against the teaching of evolution, among other social evils. One of those groups was Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, which worked to push evolution out of the classroom, almost as doggedly as Mrs America fought against women’s rights and the Equal Rights Amendment.
So it’s no surprise to find her son Andrew named as general counsel to the AAPS. Among other projects, Andrew Schlafly founded a conservative alternative to Wikipedia, to correct its “liberal bias” on things like evolution.
Schlafly’s group was not alone; its brother-in-arms was the anti-commie, anti-civil rights John Birch Society, which Phyllis somehow believed was not sufficiently concerned about the Soviet Union.
Today the Birchers believe that among the many globalist plots against America – led by the UN of course – is a vast scientific conspiracy. The biggest one, naturally, is the supposed science about the climate crisis. But if you’re at all confused, the Birchers’ website cites “conspiracy” as the first thing that bothers them about science.
“By definition, a conspiracy is when two or more people work in secret for evil purposes. The John Birch Society believes this definition fits a number of groups working against the independence of the United States,” its website declares about science. “Extensive study has shown us that history is rarely accidental.”
Extensive studies are everywhere if you know where to look. It was no accident of history that Barack Obama recently tried to hypnotize young Americans by warning that the fools who ignored the pandemic were also ignoring the climate crisis.
“We’ve seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic,” he tweeted. “We can’t afford any more consequences of climate denial.”
His successor is immune to this kind of mind control known as logic, especially when it comes to testing for Covid-19. For Trump, the number of tests is both a remarkable triumph – the biggest in the world – and also a remarkable admission of failure. You see, if you test more, you find more sickness. It’s like a scientific plot conspiring against him, much like the negative hydroxy study that he called “a Trump-enemy statement”.
“By doing testing, you’re finding people,” he explained to a couple of governors and reporters on Wednesday, before bragging again that the US was testing more people than Germany and South Korea. “So we’re way ahead of everybody. But when you do that, you have more cases. So a lot of times, the fake news media will say, ‘You know, there are a lot of cases in the United States.’ Well, if we didn’t do testing at a level that nobody has ever dreamt possible, you wouldn’t have very many cases.”
This was a genius strategy, first perfected by a teenager hiding under his bed covers to avoid homework. But then one of those fake news reporters asked Trump about a per capita comparison with countries like Germany and South Korea.
“You know, when you say ‘per capita’ there’s many per capitas,” said Trump. “It’s, like, per capita relative to what? But you can look at just about any category, and we’re really at the top, meaning positive on a per-capita basis too.”
Per capita would be relative to the capita in any normal universe. But “scientists” may have also discovered signs of a parallel universe where everything is backward, including time itself. That’s the universe Trump came from, through a wormhole that leads directly to Mar-a-Lago.
It’s far bigger than one president, though. At this point of his presidency, there’s a whole team of anti-science vectors called Trump officials. Among them is the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, who promised to never lie to the media, but who managed to slam them all the same for what she called “apoplectic coverage of hydroxycholoroquine” on Tuesday.
“And interestingly, I found this out just before coming here,” she explained, “hydroxychloroquine, of course, is an FDA-approved medication with a long-proven track record for safety.”
Well Kayleigh, you make a great point. The FDA has approved lots of medications like chemotherapy drugs that will actually kill you if you self-prescribe. So maybe the scientists are wrong about everything.
America’s founding fathers knew we’d end up in this place. “Facts are stubborn things,” John Adams declared in his successful defense of the hated British soldiers responsible for the Boston massacre. “Whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence,” he said 250 years ago.
Then again, Adams thought that democracy was doomed because of the power of the plebeian mob. “Remember Democracy never lasts long,” he wrote. “It soon wastes exhausts and murders itself. There never was a Democracy Yet, that did not commit suicide.”
If not by quack medicine, then by the conspiracy theories of a president who believes in Trump-enemy science.

Drug touted by Trump as COVID-19 treatment tied to increased risk of death: study
May 22, 2020
by Ankur Banerjee and Manas Mishra
REUTERS/Diego Vara
(Reuters) – Malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which U.S. President Donald Trump says he has been taking, is tied to increased risk of death in COVID-19 patients, according to a study published in medical journal Lancet.
The study here which observed over 96,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19, showed that people treated with the drug, or the closely related drug chloroquine, had higher risk of death when compared to those who had not been given the medicine.
Demand for hydroxychloroquine, a drug approved decades ago, surged after Trump touted its use as a coronavirus treatment in early April. Earlier this week, he surprised the world by admitting he was taking the pill as a preventative medicine.
The Lancet study authors suggested these treatment regimens should not be used to treat COVID-19 outside of clinical trials until results from clinical trials are available to confirm the safety and efficacy of these medications for COVID-19 patients.
The authors said they could not confirm if taking the drug resulted in any benefit in coronavirus patients.
Weeks ago, Trump had promoted the drug as a potential treatment based on a positive report about its use against the virus, but subsequent studies found that it was not helpful. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April issued a warning about its use.
The Lancet study looked at data from 671 hospitals, where 14,888 patients were given either hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, with or without the antibiotic macrolide, and 81,144 patients were not on any of the treatment regimens.
Reporting by Ankur Banerjee and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Theresa Thombs

William Thomas, popularizer of paranoid chemtrail conspiracy theories, is apparently Canadian. Theresa Thombs, on the other hand, is not only American, but a representative for a very familiar, very American type of denialism. Thombs was a 2014 candidate for the Texas state board of education, whose campaign was largely based on warning people that the then-current board was “using your tax dollars to brainwash our children into socialist issues and ideas.” Among those socialist ideas were, unsurprisingly, the theory of evolution, and Thombs firmly denounced “people from socialist higher education” who support the teaching of evolution. “We know we didn’t come from monkeys!” exclaimed Thombs. She later said that people who criticized her attack on evolution at a school board candidate forum are actually trying to take away the right of Christians to speak freely and run for public office, because there is no difference between criticism and persecution when the criticism is directed at her.
Thombs considers herself an “international evangelist” who was in the running to fight “adgendas and ideoligies” (yes, that’s her spelling – she also asserted that parents are “criticle,” and that she’s an “advicate” and “expereinced”) and to defeat “Devil worshipers”. Her “Mission and Issues” statement also described her goal to “stem the tide of our best and brightest teachers leaving the classroom to pursue other carriers, because they can no longer live with the policies and mandates they no are harmful to their students.” We are not convinced her idiosyncratic spelling would actually count against her in a Texas schoolboard election.
On other issues, Thombs emphasized the importance of asserting “straight pride” to stop “political correctness.” To clarify her position she did say that she is “not bigoted or hateful” and that she in particular didn’t hate gay people, and then she compared gay people to murderers.
Diagnosis: Colorful village idiot, mostly. Thombs didn’t win a seat this time around, but it is worth pointing out that she probably didn’t lose because of her views as much as her tone.

Susan Stevenson

Founder of the conspiracy theory, New Age quackery, anti-vaccine and anti-GMO site Gaia Health, homeopath Heidi Stevenson, has passed away. Susan Stevenson is probably not related, but she is at least just as crazy (though somewhat less influential). Stevenson is a hypnotherapist who practices past life regressive therapy, and a promoter of angel therapy, a type of New Age therapy based on the idea that communicating with angels is a key to healing. And Stevenson sees angels everywhere: “My life seems to be teeming with angelic connections, and the momentum is building. Have you noticed this in your own life? Angelic reminders that they are with us – ‘whispers’ in our ear, ‘taps’ on the shoulder, brushes of air across your skin or changes in air pressure, ‘flutters’ from deep inside, glints of light and color – all these gentle hints to pay closer attention to their presence. Think back – have you been paying attention, listening, responding? I know I certainly have been. Doreen Virtue, Ph.D. [her “degree” is from California Coast University and not worth the paper it is printed on], in her newest book Angel Therapy [the quote is some years old], says that this increased activity is directly related to the approaching millennium.” Some might suggest that the symptoms she describes would warrant an altogether different kind of response. Stevenson offers instructions on “contacting your personal angels” here.
Stevenson is apparently “a registered and certified clinical hypnotherapist in private practice”, where she offers “private sessions for adults and children,” as well as “workshops and audio tapes on a variety of life enhancing topics.” We do, admittedly, wonder a little bit how she squares her angels with her evident commitment to reincarnation (as per “past life regressive therapy”). More than that, we wonder who on Earth certified her – she doesn’t tell, and California does not recognize any separate licensing category called “hypnotherapist.”
Diagnosis: Yes, they seem warm and welcoming and enthusiastic and positive and harmless, but one cannot help but wonder why such fluffy New Age proponents always feel the need to dishonestly market their skills and qualifications. They are, perhaps, so post-truth that dishonesty doesn’t register any more. Stevenson probably needs serious help making other important distinctions, too.

Alex Jones

Alex Jones is the guy who has yet to meet a conspiracy theory he doesn’t endorse, no matter how batshit insane it is (and, interestingly, no matter how much it conflicts with other conspiracy theories he already believes). For at least ten years he has predicted, in his rather popular radio program, the imminent roundup of Americans by the New World Order.
In addition to his radio program, he is also the director of several straight-to-video documentaries, and he runs the websites Infowars and PrisonPlanet (for those who wish to avoid the site itself, it is detailed here).
Some conspiracy theories endorsed by PrisonPlanet are:
-The Bilderberg Group (or Skull and Bones, or the Freemasons – it depends on the day, it seems) controls some/most/all governments in the world as well as the economy.
-The New World Order will kill almost everyone. Vaccine programs seem to be just one of their methods – of course Jones has endorsed Andrew Wakefield as a martyr. To get a feel for the level it is pitched at, you may want to check out this one – or then again, maybe not.
-In fact, Hurricane Katrina was merely an opportunity to test out the FEMA concentration camps.
-And the tsunami in south-east Asia in 2004 was man-made.
-9/11 was (of course) an inside job.
This is, of course, only a selection; in general it is hard to find a loon that Jones does not take seriously. He is basically a living embodiment of whale.to.
Other bizarre antics are chronicled on his wikipedia page. Apparently the ravingly mad and utterly dense (but British) Vicount Monckton views PrisonPlanet as a legitimate news outlet. That explains a lot.
The interesting thing about Alex Jones’ reasoning is that he does not seem to run with the common fallacy ‘authorities (e.g. scientific) say X; I don’t like X; hence there must be a conspiracy’, but rather with the inference rule ‘everything is part of a conspiracy; authorities say X; hence X is false’ (which is a fallacy as well, of course, but a somewhat more interesting one).
Now, some may think Alex Jones is batshit crazy, and he is. But surely he is beaten by Lorie Kramer, who believes that Alex Jones is a pawn created by the New World Order to divert attention. Seriously. And if that is not enough, this site, run by Gary & Lisa Ruby, claims that Jones is part of a scientologist conspiracy to take over the world and demolish Christianity. I guess this is what you risk when you start to gain notoriety in the hyper-paranoid and chaotic field of conspiracy theory.
Among Jones’s more notable collaborators is the equally insane Paul Joseph Watson, who may consider himself indicted by this entry as well (he does not deserve a separate one). Watson is, among other things, behind this, uh, illuminating screed.
Diagnosis: The ur-loon. Extremely famous and frighteningly influential, but one suspects that he would be able to convince anyone who were not already at least mildly unhinged. Jones may be partly in it for the money, but there is little question that he actually believes much of whatever falls out of his mouth.

Robert Kennedy Jr.

Since D. James Kennedy has been an ex-fanatic since his death in 2007, we’ll move on to one of the more famous (though probably not for his woo) people in the Encyclopedia. Robert Kennedy Jr. is the son of Robert Kennedy. He’s a lawyer and a staunch environmentalist who has actually done a lot of good in that respect (kudos for that, but doing something right does not mean that you’re not a loon). Lately he has made himself notorious for his anti-vaccinationism and for propagating the thoroughly debunked vaccine-autism connection myth – together with the shitload of paranoid conspiracy theories that follow in its wake.
He has been working closely with the repugnant David Kirby, and has published opinion pieces devoid of fact or critical thinking in several places, including (unsurprisingly) the Huffington Post. See him peddling half-truths and paranoia here, as well as displaying a complete misunderstanding of scientific evidence when lamenting the fact that court cases on the purported vaccine/autism link is based on evidence rather than opinion: “vaccine court gives overwhelming weight to written medical records which are often inaccurate — over all other forms of testimony and evidence. Observations by parents and other caretakers are given little weight.” A typical, willful failure to see why anecdotal evidence is disregarded in science and why science-based categorizations of ailments are preferred to untrained observer’s diagnostizations.
He also emphasizes that the fact that science disagree with caring mothers’ conviction that their children’s autism was caused by vaccines, means just that scientists and professionals hate mothers. He also recommends chelation therapy for children with autism.
More insane paranoia and conspiracy mongering. You get the idea.
Diagnosis: Kennedy is a traditional crank and deluded conspiracy theorist who is thoroughly anti-science (even on the topics on which he is right, he relies almost exclusively on non-scientific arguments); a typical crank and crackpot with little aptitude for actual evidence (as opposed to twisting any fact to look like evidence to lay people). He is enormously influential, and must be considered one of the more dangerous people in the US today.

Chemtrails’ not real, say leading atmospheric science experts
by Carnegie Institution for Science
Well-understood physical and chemical processes can easily explain the alleged evidence of a secret, large-scale atmospheric spraying program, commonly referred to as “chemtrails” or “covert geoengineering,” concludes a new study from Carnegie Science, University of California Irvine, and the nonprofit organization Near Zero.
Some groups and individuals erroneously believe that the long-lasting condensation trails, or contrails, left behind aircraft are evidence of a secret large-scale spraying program. They call these imagined features “chemtrails.” Adherents of this conspiracy theory sometimes attribute this alleged spraying to the government and sometimes to industry.
The authors of this study, including Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira, conducted a survey of the world’s leading atmospheric scientists, who categorically rejected the existence of a secret spraying program. The team’s findings, published by Environmental Research Letters, are based on a survey of two groups of experts: atmospheric chemists who specialize in condensation trails and geochemists working on atmospheric deposition of dust and pollution.
The survey results show that 76 of the 77 participating scientists said they had not encountered evidence of a secret spraying program, and agree that the alleged evidence cited by the individuals who believe that atmospheric spraying is occurring could be explained through other factors, such as typical airplane contrail formation and poor data sampling.
The research team undertook their study in response to the large number of people who claim to believe in a secret spraying program. In a 2011 international survey, nearly 17 percent of respondents said they believed the existence of a secret large-scale atmospheric spraying program to be true or partly true. And in recent years a number of websites have arisen claiming to show evidence of widespread secret chemical spraying, which they say is linked to negative impacts on human health and the environment.
“We wanted to establish a scientific record on the topic of secret atmospheric spraying programs for the benefit of those in the public who haven’t made up their minds,” said Steven Davis of UC Irvine. “The experts we surveyed resoundingly rejected contrail photographs and test results as evidence of a large-scale atmospheric conspiracy.”
The research team says they do not hope to sway those already convinced that there is a secret spraying program—as these individuals usually only reject counter-evidence as further proof of their theories—but rather to establish a source of objective science that can inform public discourse.
“Despite the persistence of erroneous theories about atmospheric chemical spraying programs, until now there were no peer-reviewed academic studies showing that what some people think are ‘chemtrails’ are just ordinary contrails, which are becoming more abundant as air travel expands. Also, it is possible that climate change is causing contrails to persist for longer periods than they used to.” Caldeira said. “I felt it was important to definitively show what real experts in contrails and aerosols think. We might not convince die-hard believers that their beloved secret spraying program is just a paranoid fantasy, but hopefully their friends will accept the facts.”

‘Looking for Life on a Flat Earth
What a burgeoning movement says about science, solace, and how a theory becomes truth.
May 30, 2018
by Alan Burdick
The New Yorker
On the last Sunday afternoon in March, Mike Hughes, a sixty-two-year-old limousine driver from Apple Valley, California, successfully launched himself above the Mojave Desert in a homemade steam-powered rocket. He’d been trying for years, in one way or another. In 2002, Hughes set a Guinness World Record for the longest ramp jump—a hundred and three feet—in a limo, a stretch Lincoln Town Car. In 2014, he allegedly flew thirteen hundred and seventy-four feet in a garage-built rocket and was injured when it crashed. He planned to try again in 2016, but his Kickstarter campaign, which aimed to raise a hundred and fifty thousand dollars, netted just two supporters and three hundred and ten dollars. Further attempts were scrubbed—mechanical problems, logistical hurdles, hassles from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Finally, a couple of months ago, he made good. Stuff was leaking, bolts needed tightening, but at around three o’clock, and with no countdown, Hughes blasted off from a portable ramp—attached to a motorhome he’d bought through Craigslist—soared to nearly nineteen hundred feet, and, after a minute or so, parachuted less than gently back to Earth.
For all of that, Hughes might have attracted little media attention were it not for his outspoken belief that the world is flat. “Do I believe the Earth is shaped like a Frisbee? I believe it is,” he told the Associated Press. “Do I know for sure? No. That’s why I want to go up in space.”
Hughes converted fairly recently. In 2017, he called in to the Infinite Plane Society, a live-stream YouTube channel that discusses Earth’s flatness and other matters, to announce his beliefs and ambitions and ask for the community’s endorsement. Soon afterward, The Daily Plane, a flat-Earth information site (“News, Media and Science in a post-Globe Reality”), sponsored a GoFundMe campaign that raised more than seventy-five hundred dollars on Hughes’s behalf, enabling him to make the Mojave jump with the words “Research Flat Earth” emblazoned on his rocket.
To be clear, Hughes did not expect his flight to demonstrate Earth’s flatness to him; nineteen hundred feet up, or even a mile, is too low of a vantage point. And he doesn’t like that the mainstream media has portrayed things otherwise. This flight was just practice. His flat-Earth mission will come sometime in the future, when he will launch a rocket from a balloon (a “rockoon”) and go perhaps seventy miles up, where the splendor of our disk will be evident beyond dispute.
If you are only just waking up to the twenty-first century, you should know that, according to a growing number of people, much of what you’ve been taught about our planet is a lie: Earth really is flat. We know this because dozens, if not hundreds, of YouTube videos describe the coverup. We’ve listened to podcasts—Flat Earth Conspiracy, The Flat Earth Podcast—that parse the minutiae of various flat-Earth models, and the very wonkiness of the discussion indicates that the over-all theory is as sound and valid as any other scientific theory. We know because on a clear, cool day it is sometimes possible, from southwestern Michigan, to see the Chicago skyline, more than fifty miles away—an impossibility were Earth actually curved. We know because, last February, Kyrie Irving, the Boston Celtics point guard, told us so. “The Earth is flat,” he said. “It’s right in front of our faces. I’m telling you, it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us.” We know because, last November, a year and a day after Donald Trump was elected President, more than five hundred people from across this flat Earth paid as much as two hundred and forty-nine dollars each to attend the first-ever Flat Earth Conference, in a suburb of Raleigh, North Carolina.
“Look around you,” Darryle Marble, the first featured speaker on the first morning of the conference, told the audience. “You’ll notice there’s not a single tinfoil hat.” He added, “We are normal people that have an abnormal perspective.”
The unsettling thing about spending two days at a convention of people who believe that Earth is flat isn’t the possibility that you, too, might come to accept their world view, although I did worry a little about that. Rather, it’s the very real likelihood that, after sitting through hours of presentations on “scientism,” lightning angels, and NASA’s many conspiracies—the moon-landing hoax, the International Fake Station, so-called satellites—and in chatting with I.T. specialists, cops, college students, and fashionably dressed families with young children, all of them unfailingly earnest and lovely, you will come to actually understand why a growing number of people are dead certain that Earth is flat. Because that truth is unnerving.
The November conference was held in a darkened ballroom of an Embassy Suites near the Raleigh airport. Dozens of rows of chairs had been set out and nearly all were filled. To my right, a young couple with a stroller listened intently; a man in front of me wore a T-shirt with the words “They Lied” across the back. Onstage, Marble recounted his awakening. Marble is African-American and was one of a handful of people of color in the room. He had enlisted in the Army and gone to Iraq after 9/11; when he returned home, to Arkansas, he “got into this whole conspiracy situation,” he said.
For two years, Marble and his girlfriend drank in YouTube. “We went from one thing to another to another—Sandy Hook, 9/11, false flags,” he said. “We got into the Bilderberg, Rothschilds, Illuminati. All these general things that one ends up looking into when you go on here, because you look at one video and then another suggestion pops up along the same lines.” Finally, he had to step away. “You come to a place where you start to feel that reality is just kind of scary,” he said. “You’ll find out that nothing, ultimately, is what it seems to be. I hit my low point, where everything was just terrifying.”
Marble found the light in his YouTube sidebar. While looking for videos related to “Under the Dome,” a TV sci-fi drama, he came across “Under the Dome,” a two-hour film, which takes the form of a documentary, by Mark K. Sargent, one of the leading flat-Earth proselytizers. The flat-Earth movement had burbled along in relative darkness until February of 2015, when Sargent uploaded “Flat Earth Clues,” a series of well-produced videos that, the Enclosed World site notes, “delves into the possibility of our human civilization actually being inside a ‘Truman Show’-like enclosed system, and how it’s been hidden from the public.” (Access to those videos and more is available on Sargent’s personal Web site, for ten dollars a month.) It announced itself as “a Reader’s Digest version” of the flat-Earth theory; Marble watched it over and over, all weekend.
“Each thing started to make that much more sense,” he said. “I was already primed to receive the whole flat-Earth idea, because we had already come to the conclusion that we were being deceived about so many other things. So of course they would lie to us about this.”
If we can agree on anything anymore, it’s that we live in a post-truth era. Facts are no longer correct or incorrect; everything is potentially true unless it’s disagreeable, in which case it’s fake. Recently, Lesley Stahl, of “60 Minutes,” revealed that, in an interview after the 2016 election, Donald Trump told her that the reason he maligns the press is “to discredit you all and demean you all so that when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.” Or, as George Costanza put it, coming from the opposite direction, “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”
The flat Earth is the post-truth landscape. As a group, its residents view themselves as staunch empiricists, their eyes wide open. The plane truth, they say, can be grasped in experiments that anyone can do at home. For instance, approach a large body of water and hold up a ruler to the horizon: it’s flat all the way across. What pond, lake, or sea have you ever seen where the surface of its waters curves? Another argument holds that, if Earth were truly spherical, an airplane flying above it would need to constantly adjust its nose downward to avoid flying straight into space. If, say, you flew on a plane and put a spirit level—one of those levels that you buy at the hardware store, with a capsule of liquid and an air bubble in the middle—on your tray table, the level should reveal a slight downward inclination. But it doesn’t: the level is level, the flight is level, the nose of the plane is level, and therefore the surface of Earth must be level. Marble performed this experiment himself, recorded it, posted it on YouTube, and a co-worker started a Reddit thread that linked to it. Soon Marble had twenty-two thousand followers and a nickname, the Spirit-Level Guy.
“We’re not trying to express any degree of intellectual superiority,” he said at the conference. “I’m just trying to wake people up to the idea that they’ve been lied to. It’s what you would do with any friend.”
The modern case for a flat Earth derives largely from “Zetetic Astronomy: Earth Not a Globe,” a book published, in 1865, by a smooth-talking English inventor and religious fundamentalist named Samuel Rowbotham. I found a copy at a bookseller’s table in the corridor just outside the conference ballroom, alongside books about the Revelations and New Testament apocrypha. The vender, a friendly woman who looked to be in her late sixties, offered her thoughts on Earth’s flatness and the enshrouding secrecy; I moved on when she got to “the Jews.”
Rowbotham began espousing his theory in the eighteen-forties, writing and lecturing under the pseudonym Parallax. He envisaged a disk, with the North Pole at the center and Antarctica a wall of ice around the perimeter. The sun, moon, and stars? All less than a thousand miles away and “much smaller than the earth from which they are measured.” Rowbotham proceeded by way of “zetetic” reasoning (from the Greek zeteo, meaning “to seek or inquire,” he explained), arguing that the facts show that Earth is flat whereas the theory of its roundness is unproven. He had demonstrated this himself at a drainage canal in the east of England. The canal runs arrow-straight for six miles, and Rowbotham, standing at one end, claimed to be able to see a boat at the other. (The planet’s curvature drops eight inches for every mile of distance squared, so an object six miles away ought to have been twenty-four feet below the sight line.)
Rowbotham’s ideas gained traction, and when he died, in 1884, his followers formed the Universal Zetetic Society. It published a magazine, The Earth Not a Globe Review, that decried the teaching of astronomy to schoolchildren, ridiculed evolution, and entertained alternative theories, including the possibility that Earth is a cube. And it developed a base in the United States; until the nineteen-forties, the town of Zion, north of Chicago, followed a strict religious code that embraced a flat-Earth doctrine. The Universal Zetetic Society sputtered out but was revived under different names over the years—in 1956, 1972, and 2004. The core model remained largely unchanged from Rowbotham’s day, although it was updated to account for space travel and other mid-twentieth-century fictions.
I encountered Robbie Davidson, the organizer of the conference, in a corridor outside the ballroom. Davidson is the director and sole employee of Kryptoz Media, a company based in Edmonton, Canada. He is tall and sharp-featured, and when he speaks his sentences spill into one another. He told me that he was turned on to the flat-Earth scene in 2015; before that, Kryptoz was marketing cryptocurrencies to everyday consumers. He described the modern flat-Earth community as a confluence of three strains of thought. “There’s the conspiratorial,” he said. “It’s like, ‘That’s kind of weird with the moon landing. Maybe I’ll look into it. What else could they be lying about?’ ” The second is “the scientific-minded,” people who “just want to go out and do the experiments.” The third, Davidson said, “is the spiritual—people that want to say, ‘Wait a minute, what would happen if I took the Bible literally?’ ” In style and substance, the flat-Earth movement is a close cousin of creationism. At the end of the conference, Davidson would be screening his new documentary, “Scientism Exposed 2,” which dismisses dinosaurs, evolution, gravitational waves, and a spherical Earth as part of a broad agenda “to hide the true creator of Creation,” according to the trailer.
Davidson was pleased with the turnout in Raleigh and was already planning for the 2018 conference, in Denver; another, in Canada, will be held this August. “More people are waking up,” he said. Davidson was careful to note that the conferences are unaffiliated with the Flat Earth Society, which, he said, promotes a model in which Earth is not a stationary plane, with the sun, moon, and stars inside a dome, but a disk flying through space. “They make it look incredibly ridiculous,” he told me recently. “A flying pancake in space is preposterous.”
Here are some reasons why you may think that Earth is actually a rotating sphere. For one, some of the ancient Greeks said so: if the moon is round, Earth must be, too (Pythagoras); as you move north or south from the equator, you see a changing array of stars and constellations (Aristotle); you can calculate Earth’s circumference by comparing the lengths of the shadows of two tall sticks placed many miles apart (Eratosthenes). More recently, we’ve noticed that solar noon—the point in the day when the sun is highest—doesn’t happen everywhere on Earth at the same time. (Time zones were invented to address this dilemma). Also, the higher you climb in elevation, the farther into the horizon you can see; if Earth were flat, you’d see an equal distance—to the edge of the world, with a strong enough telescope and an unobstructed view—regardless of altitude.
Human engineering seemingly takes Earth’s curvature into account. Lighthouses are deliberately built tall so that their beams can be seen from ships far away, over the intervening curve of sea. Radio towers send their signals dozens or hundreds of miles by bouncing them off the ionosphere, which wouldn’t be necessary if Earth were flat. A long bridge appears flat because its span parallels Earth, but its supports betray the curvature; the towers of the Verrazano-Narrows, in New York, are more than an inch and a half farther apart at the top than at the bases. And, of course, we have photographic evidence of a globular planet—millions of examples since the nineteen-fifties, taken by spacecraft and orbiting satellites.

What are the End Days? A study in deception
‘Armageddon’ is actually purported to be a battle. According to Pentecostal interpretations, the Bible states that Armageddon will be a battle where God finally comes in and takes over the world and rules it the way it should have been ruled all along. After this vaguely-defined battle of Armageddon, Pentecostals firmly believe that there will follow 1000 years of peace and plenty which, according to their lore and legend, will be the sole lot of their sect and no other religion.
The actual scene of the fictional battle is referred to by Pentecostals as being clearly set forth in Revelation 16:14-16. It is not. The specific citation reads, in full:
“14. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
“15. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
“16. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”
This sparse mention of Armageddon has given rise to the elaborate but entirely fictional legend of the Final Battle between the forces of good and evil. There is no mention in Revelations 16: 14-15 whatsoever of Parusia or the second coming of Jesus, the apocryphal Anti-Christ, the Rapture or the many other delightful inventions designed to bolster the Pentecostal elect and daunt their adversaries. These adversaries consist of all other branches of the Christian religion with especial emphasis placed on Jews and Catholics. The Pentecostals also loathe Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, and an endless list of anyone and everyone whose views clash with theirs such as scientists and any academic who views the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel as anything but tissues of lies.
The Antichrist
The Antichrist is described by Pentecostals as the “son of perdition” and the “beast”!
They claim that this interesting creature will have great charisma & speaking ability, “a mouth speaking great things”.
The Antichrist, they allege, will rise to power on a wave of world euphoria, as he temporarily saves the world from its desperate economic, military & political problems with a brilliant seven year plan for world peace, economic stability and religious freedom.
The prophet Ezekiel names him as the ruler of “Magog”, a name that Biblical scholars agree denotes a country or region of peoples to the north of Israel. Many have interpreted this to mean modern day Russia. It could also be Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, perhaps one of the Baltic States or even the lewd and dissolute Socialist Sweden.
His power base will include the leading nations of Europe, whose leaders, the Bible says, will “give their power & strength unto the beast.”
The Bible even gives some clues about his personal characteristics. The prophet Daniel wrote that the Antichrist “does not regard the desire of women.” This could imply that he is either celibate or a homosexual. Daniel also tells us that he will have a “fierce countenance” or stern look, and will be “more stout than his fellows”–more proud and boastful.
Unfortunately, the so-called Book of Daniel was written during the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero, not many decades earlier as its proponents claim, and has been extensively modified by early Christian writers to predict the arrival of their personal Messiah, or Christ, on the Judean scene. The so-called “wonderful” prophetic statements put into the mouth of Daniel are absolutely and wondrously accurate…up to the reign of Nero and then fall as flat as a shaken soufflé afterwards
It is well known that Pentecostals loathe homosexuals, among many other groups not pleasing to them, and would like nothing better than to shove them into a bottomless pit filled with Catholics, rock and roll fans, teenaged mothers, Communists, gun control advocates, Tarot card readers, Christian Scientists, abortionists, Wayne Newton fans, Asians, Jews, African-Americans and Latino Surnamed Hispanics.
The seven year peace-pact (or covenant) that is engineered by the Antichrist is spoken of a number of times in the Bible, and may even have already been signed in secret. The historic peace agreement signed between Israel and the PLO at the White House on September 13, 1993, vividly illustrates how dramatically events in the Middle East are presently moving in this direction eager Pentecostals, awaiting their Celestial Omnibus, will inform anyone who is interested and a greater legion of those who are not.
Under the final terms of the fictional Covenant, Jerusalem will likely be declared an international city to which Judaism, Islam and Christianity will have equal rights. Scripture indicates that the Jews will be permitted to rebuild their Temple on Mt. Moriah, where they revive their ancient rituals of animal sacrifice.
According to modern prophecy the Antichrist will not only be a master of political intrigue, but also a military genius. Daniel describes several major wars that he fights during his 7-year reign, apparently against the U.S. and Israel, who will oppose him during the second half of his reign.
For awhile, most of the world is going to think the Antichrist is wonderful, as he will seem to have solved so many of the world’s problems. But, three-and-a-half years into his seven year reign he will break the covenant and invade Israel from the North.
At this time he will make Jerusalem his world capitol and outlaw all religions, except the worship of himself and his image. The Bible, according to the Pentecostals, says that the Antichrist will sit in the Jewish Temple exalting himself as God and demanding to be worshipped. If this passage, and many others of its kind, actually appears in the King James Version of the Bible, no one has ever been able to find it
It is at this time that the Antichrist imposes his infamous “666” one-world credit system.
It must be said that the Antichrist does, in point of fact exist. He can be seen on a daily basis on the walls of the Cathedral at Orvieto, Italy in the marvelous frescos of Lucca Signorelli. He looks somewhat like a Byzantine depiction of Christ with either a vicious wife or inflamed hemorrhoids .
Pentecostals strongly believe that U.S. public schools “departed from the faith” when in 1963 the Bible and prayer were officially banned. Now, Pentecostals believe with horror, thousands of these same schools are teaching credited courses in “the doctrines of devils”–the occult and Satanism.
Even a cursory check of curriculum of a number of American public school districts does not support this claim but then the Pentecostals have stated repeatedly that they represent 45% of all Protestants in America. The actual number, excluding the Baptists, is more like 4%.
What they lack in actual numbers they more than compensate for by their loud and irrational views so that at times it sounds like the roar of a great multitude when in truth, it is only a small dwarf wearing stained underwear and armed with a bullhorn, trumpeting in the underbrush
Frantic Pentecostals estimated that according to their private Census for Christ there are over 200,000 practicing witches in the United States and allege there are literally millions of Americans who dabble in some form of the occult, psychic phenomena, spiritualism, demonology and black magic. Their statistics claim that occult book sales have doubled in the last four years.
What is seen by terrified Pentecostals as The Occult today is no longer the stuff of small underground cults. They believe that many rock videos are an open worship of Satan and hell that comes complete with the symbols, liturgies, and rituals of Satanism, and the Pentecostals firmly and loudly proclaim to anyone interested in listening, that “millions of young people” have been caught in their evil sway.
Popular music is termed “sounds of horror and torment” that Pentecostals firmly believe is literally “driving young people insane and seducing them into a life of drugs, suicide, perversion and hell.” It is forgotten now but the same thing was once said about ragtime and later, jazz. If this had been true, perhaps the real reason behind the First World War, the 1929 market crash, the rise of Franklin Roosevelt and the lewd hula hoop can be attributed to Scott Joplin and Ella Fitzgerald.
It is also to be noted that the immensely popular Harry Potter series of children’s books are loudly proclaimed as Satanic books designed to lure unsuspecting children into the clutches of the Evil One. Any sane person who has read these delightful fantasy books will certainly not agree with these hysterical strictures. In point of fact, it would be exceedingly difficult to locate any person possessing even a modicum of sanity who would believe any of the weird fulminations of the Pentecostals.
Outraged Pentecostals now firmly state that in the beginning years of the Twenty First Century, “even the most shameless acts of blasphemy and desecration are socially acceptable.”
“Acts of blasphemy and desecration” sound like human sacrifices carried out on nuns at bus stops during the noontime rush hour or lewd acts with crucifixes performed by drug-maddened transvestites on commercial airlines.
In his weird Book of Revelation the lunatic John of Patmos claimed he foresaw that in the last days the world would turn away from God in order to worship and follow Satan.
Such a prophecy would have seemed believable to previous generations, but not so in our more enlightened and secular humanist day. Hard-core Satanism has been called by rabid Pentecostals noise-makers as: “the fastest-growing subculture among America’s teens”, and the revival of witchcraft and the occult is “one of the World’s fastest growing religions!”
It is near; it is at hand. Maybe tomorrow but probably never

A compendium of endless predictions of the Second Coming based on period documents

An untold number of people have tried to predict the return of Jesus by using elaborate timetables. Most date setters do not realize that mankind has not kept an unwavering record of time. Anyone wanting to chart, for example, 100 BC to 2000 AD, would have to contend with the fact that 46 BC was 445 days long, there was no year 0 BC, and in 1582 we switched from Julian Years (360 days) to Gregorian (365 days). Because most prognosticators are not aware of all of these errors, their math is immediately off by at least several years if not decades.
The return of Jesus Christ for His Church will easily be the most important event in Pentecostal fictive history and long before the Pentecostal sect evolved in 1900, empty-headed religious zealots, banging on their empty drums, have been predicting the Second Coming. Herewith we present a brief compendium of the more entertaining prophesies for the entertainment of the reader.

53 AD
Even before all the books of the New Testament were invented, there was talk that Christ’s Return had already taken place. The Thessalonians panicked when they heard a rumor that the day of the Lord was at hand, and they had missed the event..
500
A Roman priest living in the second century predicted Christ would return in 500 AD, based on the dimensions of Noah’s ark. Someone must have used a bad ruler because Jesus did not appear in 500 AD
1000
.All credulous members of what passed for normal society seemed affected by the prediction that Jesus was coming back at the start of the new millennium. The magic of the number 1000 was the sole reason for the expectation. During concluding months of 999 AD, everyone was on his best behavior; worldly goods were sold and given to the poor; swarms of pilgrims headed east to meet the Lord at Jerusalem; buildings went unrepaired; crops were left unplanted; and criminals were set free from jails. When the year 999 AD turned into 1000 AD, nothing happened. Many citizens of the world who had given their property away, but certainly not those who accepted it, were stunned but eventually hopeful that the event would be postponed until 1001. Nothing happened then, either.
1033
This year was cited as the beginning of the millennium because it marked 1,000 years since Christ’s alleged crucifixion.
1186
The “Letter of Toledo” warned everyone to hide in the caves and mountains. The world was reportedly to be destroyed with only a few spared, including the letter writer. It was not.
1420
The Taborites of Czechoslovakia predicted every city in the known world would be annihilated by fire. Only the five mountain strongholds they occupied would be saved from the Celestial Barbeque. This did not happen
1524-1526
Muntzer, a leader of German peasants, announced that the return of Christ was near. After Muntzer and his men destroyed the high and mighty, the Lord would supposedly return. This belief led to an uneven battle against government troops. He was strategically outnumbered. Muntzer claimed to have had a vision from God in which the Lord promised that He would catch the cannonballs of the enemy in the sleeves of His cloak. The prediction within the vision turned out to be false when Muntzer and his followers were mowed down by cannon fire. If one believes their stories, the disintegrated had the pleasure of going to heaven in a number of pieces which God Himself would lovingly sort out just like pious Jewish religious ambulance workers reassembling those fragmented in a Jerusalem bus attack.
1534
A repeat of the Muntzer affair occurred a few years later. This time, one greatly deluded by apparently very forceful, Jan Matthys took over the city of Münster in Germany. The city was to be the only one spared from Divine destruction. The inhabitants of Münster, evicted by Matthys and his men, regrouped and laid siege to the city. Within a year, every one of the strange occupiers in the city was dead. They also had an express ticket to Heaven.
1650-1660
In an England beset by religious fanatics, the Fifth Monarchy Men beseeched Jesus to establish a theocracy. They took up arms and tried to seize England by force. The movement, and most of the senior leaders of it, died when the British monarchy was restored in 1660. Jesus apparently was not listening or was otherwise engaged. Heads rolled, quite literally, as England finally escaped from the unwanted attention of dim witted fanatics.
1809
Mary Bateman, who specialized in fortune telling, had a magic chicken that laid eggs with end-time messages on them. One message said that Christ was coming. The uproar she created ended when an unannounced visitor caught her forcing an egg into the hen’s oviduct. Mary later was hanged for poisoning a wealthy client. History does not record whether the offended and sodomized chicken attended the hanging.
1814
Spiritualist Joanna Southcott made the startling claim that she, by virgin birth, would produce the second Jesus Christ. Her abdomen began to swell and so did the crowds of people around her. This gathering is similar to certain ethnic groups who see visions of the Virgin Mary on refrigerator doors or reflected on rooming house walls. The time for the birth came and passed with no Jesus appearing. As for the miraculous Southcott, she died soon after. An autopsy revealed she had experienced a false pregnancy. Her followers blamed the Antichrist for this.
1836
John Wesley wrote that “the time, times and half a time” of Revelation 12:14 were 1058-1836, “when Christ should come” John Wesley was wrong in this matter as well as a number of other items of religious thought he preached.
1843-1844
William Miller was the founder of an end-times movement that was so prominent it received its own name, Millerism. From his studies of the Bible, Miller determined that the second coming would happen sometime between 1843-1844. A spectacular meteor shower in 1833 gave the movement excellent momentum. The buildup of anticipation continued until March 21, 1844, when Miller’s one-year timetable ran out. Some followers set another date–Oct 22, 1844. This too failed, collapsing the movement. One follower described the days after the failed predictions: “The world made merry over the old Prophet’s predicament. The taunts and jeers of the ‘scoffers’ were well-nigh unbearable.” People in general do not suffer fools gladly.
1859
Rev. Thomas Parker, a Massachusetts minister, looked for the millennium to start about 1859. It did not. Parker subsequently was placed in a lunatic asylum when discovered running, buck naked, down the street in Bainbridge, screeching that Jesus was right behind him. What were behind the Reverend Parker were local bailiffs with nets.
1910
The revisit of Halley’s comet to the earth’s bemused vision was, for many, an indication of Jesus’ Second Coming. The earth actually passed through the gaseous tail of the comet. One enterprising man sold comet pills to people for protection against the effects of the toxic gases. Toxic gasses, mostly vocal methane, from frantic Fundamentalists did not need pills. It might have been better if the predictors had used Thorazine tranquilizer pills but as they had not yet been invented, this is a moot point.
1914
Charles Russell, after being exposed to the lunatic babblings of William Miller, founded his own organization that evolved into the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In 1914, Russell predicted the return of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was not listening and did not appear in 1914.
1918
In 1918, new studies assisted Russell from extending his predictions to that year. Jesus Christ, or His travel agent, did not oblige.
1925
The Witnesses had no better luck in 1925. They already possessed the title of “Most Wrong Predictions.” They would expand upon it with great zeal and no sense whatsoever in the years to come.
1967
When the city of Jerusalem was captured from the Arab inhabitants by the Jews in 1967, prophecy watchers declared that the “Time of the Gentiles” had come to an end.
1970
The ‘True Light Church of Christ’ made its claim to fame by incorrectly forecasting the return of Jesus. A number of church members had quit their livelihoods ahead of the promised advent. In earlier time, such deluded creatures gave their property away to their gleeful, non-believing neighbors, donned white nightgowns and stood up on hilltops, waiting for the Celestial Elevator. It never came for them but pneumonia did.
1973
A comet that turned out to be a visual disappointment nonetheless compelled one preacher to announce that it would be a sign of the Lord’s return. It was not.
1975
The Jehovah’s Witnesses were back at it again with commendable zeal in 1975. The failure of the latest forecast did not affect the growth of the movement. The Watchtower magazine, a major Witness periodical, had over 13 million subscribers. Many of them actually are able to read, albeit very slowly, but the majority love the large pictures. However, over 40 millions have read the Left Behind books or, as they have irreverently been termed, the My Left Behind books.
1981
One author boldly declared that the rapture would occur before December 31, 1981, based on Christian prophecy, astronomy, and a dash of ecological fatalism. He pegged the date to Jesus’ promised return to earth a generation after Israel’s rebirth. He also made references to the “Jupiter Effect,” a planetary alignment occurring every 179 years that supposedly could lead to earthquakes and nuclear plant meltdowns. Also, there were saintly rumors of the Lost Continent of Atlantis suddenly emerging from the depths of Lake Baikal in Russia, or according to other enlightened cretins, Lake Michigan, New York Harbor, the Mississippi River just off of New Orleans or the main public reservoir of Phoenix, Arizona. There was no rapture and Atlantis never surfaced.
1982
The lunatic fringe was at it again in 1982 when they loudly proclaimed that the world as we all knew it was going to end in 1982, when the planets lined up and created magnetic forces that would bring “Armageddon” to the earth. Astrologers and religious predictors joined forces here and when nothing happened, all of them went back to the Ouija boards. Armageddon is, of course, pure fiction and is not found in the Bible, even in the weird rantings of the lunatic John of Patmos.
1982
A group called the Tara Centers placed full-page advertisements in many major newspapers for the weekend of April 24-25, 1982, announcing: “The Christ is Now Here!” They predicted that He was to make himself known “within the next two months.” After the date passed, they said that the delay was only because the “consciousness of the human race was not quite right…” Obviously, this same statement can easily apply to the mental stability of the Tara Center people. Unfounded rumor had it that Jesus in fact did arrive but was arrested by New York City Vice Squad for unmentionable acts in a public lavatory in Central Park.
1984
The Jehovah’s Witnesses made sure, in 1984, that no one else would be able to top their record of most wrong doomsday predictions. The Witnesses’ record currently holds at nine. The years are: 1874, 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975, and 1984. Tired of loud public scorn and derision, the Witnesses have modestly retired from the field and now spend their time banging on doors and hawking their magazines, T-shirts and Second Coming bath mats and ashtrays.
1988
The book, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1988, came out only a few months before the event was to take place. What little time the book had left to it and its feeble minded readers, it used effectively. By the time the predicted dates, September 11-13, rolled around, whole churches were caught up in the excitement the book generated. Not unnaturally, nothing happened. The writer and publisher, however, benefited greatly from the sales.
1989
After the passing of the deadline in 88 Reasons, the author, Edgar Whisenant, came out with a new book called 89 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1989. This book sold only a fraction of the number of copies his prior release had sold.
1991
A group in Australia predicted Jesus would return through the Sydney Harbor at 9 a.m., March 31, 1991. Rumors are that He was doing the breast stroke in the Harbor but was run over by a car ferry and drowned.
1991
Menachem Schneerson, a mystic Russian-born rabbi, called for the Messiah to come by September 9, 1991, the start of the Jewish New Year. Apparently, Jesus was not listening and failed to appear. The good rabbi passed away and his followers eagerly anticipated his own return. He did not do so.
1992
A Korean group called Mission for the Coming Days had the Korea Church in a state of frenzied excitement in the fall of 1992. They foresaw October 28, 1992 as the date for the Glorious Rapture and arrival of the Celestial Ominbus. Numerology was the basis for the date. Several camera shots that left ghostly images on pictures were thought to be a supernatural confirmation of the date. Careless photography was a more likely suspect.
1993
If the year 2000 is the end of the 6,000-year cycle, then the rapture must take place in 1993, because you would need seven years of the tribulation. This was the murky thinking of a number of prophecy writers. They were all wrong.
1994
In the book, 1994: The Year of Destiny , F. M. Riley foretold of God’s plan to rapture His people. The name of his ministry is “The Last Call,” and he operates out of a Missouri that has produced both John Ashcroft and Jesse James.
1994
Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church in Los Angeles caused quite a stir when he announced he had received a vision from God that warned of apocalyptic event on June 9, 1994. Hinkle, quoting God, said, “On Thursday June the 9th, I will rip the evil out of this world.” From a proper reading of Bible prophecy, the only thing that God could possibly rip from the earth would be the Christian Church. Some people tried to interpret Hinkle’s unscriptural vision to mean that God would the rip evil out of our hearts when He Raptured us. As usual the date came and went with no heart surgery or rapture.
1994
Harold Camping, in his book Are You Ready?, predicted the Lord would return in September 1994. The book was full of numerology that added up to 1994 as the date of Christ’s return. The numbers did not crunch and Camping joined a long list of failed prophets, seers and other mountebanks in blessed oblivion.
1994
After promising they would not make anymore end time predictions, the Jehovah’s Witnesses fell off the wagon and proclaimed 1994 as the conclusion of an 80-year generation; the year 1914 was the starting point. Magazine sales are up but the ashtrays are not doing as well as expected. This group of lovelies is now selling Rapture Travel Suits, matching Rapture luggage and Dramamine pills for the trip.
1996
A self-proclaimed California psychic Sheldon Nidle predicted the end would come with the convergence of 16 million space ships and a host of angels upon the earth on December 17, 1996. Nidle explained the passing of the date by claiming the angels placed us in a holographic projection to preserve us and give us a second chance. His doctors will not let him write any more and even took away his crayons.
1997
When Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat signed their peace pact on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993, some saw the events as the beginning of tribulation. With the signing of the peace agreement, Daniel’s 1,260-day countdown was underway. By adding 1,260 days to September 1993, you arrive at February 24, 1997. Jesus, on the other hand, did not arrive nor were the Elect of the Pentecostal cults shot up into the stratosphere like so many ballistic missiles.
1997
Stan Johnson of the Prophecy Club saw a “90 percent” chance that the tribulation would start September 12, 1997. He based his conclusion on several end-time signs: that would be Jesus’ 2,000th birthday and it would also be the Day of Atonement, although it wouldn’t be what is currently the Jewish Day of Atonement. Further supporting evidence came from Romanian pastor Dumitru Duduman. In several heavenly visions, caused by the imbibing of too much plum wine, Dumitru claimed to have seen the Book of Life. In one of his earlier visions, there were several pages yet to be completed. In his last vision, he noticed the Book of Life only had one page left. Doing some rough calculating, Johnson and friends figured the latest time frame for the completion of the book would have to be September 1997. There were, quite naturally, more bitter disappointments as the time came and passed without a sight of Jerusalem Slim.
1998
Numerology: Because 666 times three equals 1998, some people point to this year as being prophetically significant. This incredible information was posted on the internet where it stunned dozens of true believers. .
1998
A Taiwanese cult operating out of Garland, Texas predicted Christ would return on March 31 of 1998. The group’s leader, Heng-ming Chen, announced God would return and then invite the cult members aboard a UFO at group excursion rates, no meals served.
The group abandoned their prediction when a precursor event failed to take place. The cult’s leader had said that God would appear on every channel 18 of every TV in the world. Maybe God realized at the last minute, the Playboy Network was channel 18 on several cable systems, and He didn’t want to have Christians watching a porn channel.
1998
1998 Marilyn Agee, in her book, The End of the Age, had her sights set on May 31, 1998. for the Glorious Arrival. This date was to conclude the 6,000-year cycle from the time of Adam. Agee looked for the rapture to take place on Pentecost, which is also known as “the Feast of Weeks.” Another indicator of this date was the fact that the Holy Spirit did not descend upon the apostles until 50 days after Christ’s resurrection. Israel was born in 1948; add the 50 days as years and you come up with whatever figure you like.
After her May 31 rapture date failed, Agee, unable to face up to her error, continued her date-setting by using various Scripture references to point to June 7, 14, 21 and about 10 other dates. Marilyn then set a new date for the rapture: May 21 or 22 of the same year, Again, she and the dozens of believers who read her works were doomed to disappointment. Eventually, later rather than sooner, Agnes joined the ranks of the Disproven and passed into blessed oblivion.
1999
TV newscaster-turned-psychic Charles Criswell King had said in 1968 that the world as we know it would cease to exist on August 18, 1999. It did not.
1999
Philip Berg, a rabbi at the Kabbalah Learning Center in New York, proclaimed that the end might arrive on September 11, 1999, when “a ball of fire will descend . . . destroying almost all of mankind, all vegetation, all forms of life.” Nothing happened on that date of note except that the Devil was arrested at a sex arcade in Times Square using counterfeit coins in a porn film viewer.
.2000
The names of the people and organizations that called for the return of Christ at the turn of the century is too long to be listed here. If there were a day on which Christ could not return, it must have been January 1, 2000. This day came and passed and the waiting multitude did not see Jesus descending on Dallas, arrayed like Solomon in all his splendor. Many had hangovers and the only visions they had on that day were of the double variety.
2000
On May 5, 2000, all of the planets were supposed to have been in alignment. This was said to cause the earth to suffer earthquakes, volcanic eruption, and various other nasty stuff. A similar alignment occurred in 1982 and nothing happened. People failed to realize that the other nine planets only exert a very tiny gravitational pull on the earth. If you were to add up the gravitational force from the rest of the planets, the total would only amount to a fraction of the tug the moon has on the earth.
2000
According to Michael Rood, the end times have a prophetically complicated connection to Israel’s spring barley harvest. The Day of the Lord began on May 5, 2000. Rood’s fall feast calendar called for the Russian Gog-Magog invasion of Israel to take place at sundown on October 28, 2000. It did not. Perhaps Prophet Rood might have considered the annual Harvest of the Floating Condoms from the waters of New York City as an alternative event.
2000-2001
Dr. Dale SumburËru looked for March 22, 1997 to be “the date when all the dramatic events leading through the tribulation to the return of Christ should begin” The actual date of Christ’s return could be somewhere between July 2000 and March 2001. Dr. SumburËru is more general about the timing of Christ’s second coming than most writers. He states, “The day the Lord returns is currently unknown because He said [Jesus] these days are cut short and it is not yet clear by how much and in what manner they are cut short. If the above assumptions are not correct, my margin of error would be in weeks, or perhaps months.”
2003
ARKANSAS CITY (AP) — A Little Rock woman was killed yesterday after leaping through her moving car’s sun roof during an incident best described as “a mistaken rapture” by dozens of eye witnesses. Thirteen other people were injured after a twenty-car pile up resulted from people trying to avoid hitting the woman who was apparently convinced that the rapture was occurring when she saw twelve people floating up into the air, and then passed a man on the side of the road who she claimed was Jesus. “She started screaming “He’s back, He’s back” and climbed right out of the sunroof and jumped off the roof of the car,” said Everet Williams, husband of 28-year-old Georgann Williams who was pronounced dead at the scene. “I was slowing down but she wouldn’t wait till I stopped,” Williams said. She thought the rapture was happening and was convinced that Jesus was gonna lift her up into the sky,” he went on to say. “This is the strangest thing I’ve seen since I’ve been on the force,”said Paul Madison, first officer on the scene. Madison questioned the man who looked like Jesus and discovered that he was dressed up as Jesus and was on his way to a toga costume party when the tarp covering the bed of his pickup truck came loose and released twelve blowup dolls filled with helium which floated up into the air. Ernie Jenkins, 32, of Fort Smith, who’s been told by several of his friends that he looks like Jesus, pulled over and lifted his arms into the air in frustration, and said “Come back here,” just as the Williams’ car passed him. Mrs. Williams was sure that it was Jesus lifting people up into the sky as they passed by him, according to her husband, who says his wife loved Jesus more than anything else. When asked for comments about the twelve dolls, Jenkins replied “This is all just too weird for me. I never expected anything like this to happen.” This event is probably the most illustrative of all the great compendiums of Prophesy.
2011-2018
For the past several decades, Jack Van Impe has hinted at nearly every year as being the time for the rapture. Normally, he has only gone out one or two years from the current calendar year. However, Jack’s latest projection for the rapture goes out several years. His new math uses 51 years as the length of a generation. If you add 51 years to 1967, the year Israel seized Jerusalem from its Arab inhabitants, you get 2018. Once you subtract the seven-year tribulation period, you arrive at 2011. Dozens will be energized and will sell off their bicycle training wheels and lifetime collection of dignity pants but again, sad to say, nothing will happen.
2012
New Age writers cite Mayan and Aztec calendars that predict the end of the age on December 21, 2012.
2060
Sir Isaac Newton, Britain’s greatest scientist, spent 50 years and wrote 4,500 pages trying to predict when the end of the world was coming. The most definitive date he set for the apocalypse, which he scribbled on a scrap of paper, was 2060. The original scrap is now in the archives of Brother Pat Robertson. It appears to have been written in a ball point pen which was not invented until 1948.

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