Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Haiti: fears of child-eating spiritsBy Matthew Bigg and Joseph Guyler Delva
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – The earthquake that shattered Haiti has unleashed fears that child-eating spirits, mythological figures entrenched in Haitian culture, are prowling homeless camps in search of young prey.
The 'loup-garou,' which means 'wolf man,' is similar to werewolf legends in other parts of the world, but in Haitian folklore it is a person who is possessed by a spirit and can turn into a beast or even a dog, cat, chicken, snake or another animal to suck the blood of babies and young children.
Haitians fear loups-garous in the best of times and even more since a powerful earthquake wrecked the capital of Port-au-Prince two weeks ago, killing as many as 200,000 people and forcing hundreds of thousands more to sleep outside in vast camps or on the streets.
Some people accused of being loups-garous have apparently been lynched since the earthquake, including a man killed at the La Grotte camp for displaced people on a barely accessible hillside that looks down on Port-au-Prince.
"After the earthquake, the loup-garou fled from prison. He was bragging that he was in jail because he was caught eating children ... During the night he went into the tents and tried to take someone's child," said Michaelle Casseus, a camp resident.
In another camp, residents described beating a man almost to death after he tried to take a baby during the night.
Night-time patrols have been set up to deter the spirits, who are also called 'lougarou' in the Creole language.
"The loup-garou is profiting from the earthquake to eat the children," said Milot Bazelais, a civil servant who was left homeless by the quake and also works for a charity group to help neighborhood children.
He said he had heard that one patrol killed a spirit before she had time to change form.
Most of Haiti's 9 million people are Roman Catholics but many also practice voodoo, a religion with African roots.
The belief in loups-garous cuts across religious identity and is most strongly adhered to among Haiti's poor, which are the majority in the most impoverished country in the western hemisphere.
Sylvain Lafalaisse, Haiti's secretary of state for finance, says the fears are stronger in times of social dislocation.
"People talk about loups-garous to give a name to their fears, but it is child snatchers who snatch children, not evil spirits," said Lafalaisse.
Thousands of Haitian children have been orphaned or separated from their parents by the earthquake, and the government and aid groups warn of of a growing threat of child traffickers seizing young children for illegal adoptions.
Haiti's government says it has already buried 120,000 victims of the Jan. 12 earthquake, and tens of thousands more are believed to have been buried by their families or are still in the rubble of wrecked buildings.
At a mass grave in Titayen just north of Port-au-Prince, mechanical diggers have churned personal possessions of the dead to the surface -- a student ID card, a child's pink sandal, a school satchel complete with school books and pencils and a Bible lay strewn across the enormous grave site on Monday.
Voodoo priests are objecting to mass burials, saying they do not respect the dignity of the dead.
Monday, January 25, 2010
A documentary by Alexandra Pelosi takes a behind-the-scenes look at a recent life and hard times of ex-minister, Pastor Ted. Ted Haggard had it all: prosperity, a doting wife, five kids- and a ministry that reached out to approx 30 million followers who counted on his every word, whether on TV or in person at one of his arena sermons. In 2006, it all fell apart when Pastor Ted admitted to having sex with a male prostitute and to buying methamphetamines. He was exiled from his church and home in Colorado and became a pariah who now makes ends meet as a traveling insurance salesman.
If you watched TV in the past three decades, you probably saw Larry Anderson. He appeared on more than 30 shows, including Charlie's Angels, Mork and Mindy, Desperate Housewives andMad Men. He hosted three game shows and had bit parts in eight movies.
He got lots of parts but isn't well known. Except to Scientologists.
Anderson starred in the Church of Scientology's 1996 film Orientation, a 40-minute promotion central to church recruiting efforts. Translated into 15 languages, it has been shown at church facilities worldwide not only to potential recruits but also to parishioners and staffers, to get them more involved in Scientology.
At the film's dramatic climax, Anderson is a portrait of rectitude as the background music swells and the camera zooms in:
"If you leave this room after seeing this film and walk out and never mention Scientology again, you are perfectly free to do so. It would be stupid. But you can do it. You can also dive off a bridge or blow your brains out. That is your choice.
"But, if you don't walk out that way, if you continue with Scientology, we will be very happy with you. And you will be very happy with you.''
Now, after 33 years as a Scientologist, the past 13 as the voice extolling the virtues of Scientology and the perils of walking away, Anderson is walking away. He says the church failed to deliver the spiritual gains it promised.
He also wants his money back, nearly $120,000 he says he prepaid for services never taken. A church policy says parishioners can get repayments, but if they do, they cannot come back.
Read complete story HERE
MOSCOW – More than 100 Russian Orthodox believers have been hospitalized after drinking Epiphany celebrations in the eastern city of Irkutsk, an official said Monday.during
A total of 117 people, including 48 children, were in the hospital complaining of acute intestinal pain afterfrom wells in and around a last week, said Vladimir Salovarov, a spokesman for the Irkutsk Investigative Committee.
Salovarov said 204 people required some medical treatment after consuming the water, the source of which was a stagnant lake. He said, however, that it was too early to say what caused the illness.
Many Russians consider any water obtained on Epiphany — which they celebrate on Jan. 19 — to be holy.
The water is typically bottled for consumption later. Russia is undrinkable.in most of
sent in by Brother Ben via
Friday, January 22, 2010
One of two brothers sentenced to death in Contra Costa County in 2005 for slaughtering five people in a bizarre murder-extortion plot designed to hasten Christ's return to Earth has been hospitalized after apparently trying to commit suicide.Justin Helzer, 37, was found in his cell at San Quentin State Prison about 2:20 p.m. Thursday, said Terry Thornton, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Helzer was taken to a hospital, where he was in critical condition. Citing privacy concerns, Thornton would not discuss the manner in which Helzer injured himself.
"I am saddened," Helzer's attorney, Daniel Cook, said today. "If true, it would appear to be another indication of a deeply troubled man, unable to cope with the profound psychological forces that have so greatly influenced and impacted him for so long."
Helzer, his older brother Glenn Helzer and Dawn Godman were convicted of bludgeoning and dismembering Ivan Stineman, 85, and his wife, Annette, 78, of Concord during a plot to extort $100,000 from them in the summer of 2000.
They then killed Selina Bishop - daughter of blues guitarist Elvin Bishop - to silence her after she collected the money. Their bodies were cut up and were found in gym bags that surfaced in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
Glenn Helzer, a self-described prophet on a crusade to save the world from Satan, then shot and killed Bishop's mother, Jennifer Villarin, and Villarin's boyfriend, James Gamble, at Bishop's Marin County home because Villarin had seen his face and he was afraid she could identify him.
During his 2004 trial, Justin Helzer was portrayed as a shy young man whose older brother often told him, "I'm No. 1, and you're No. 2." Godman was described as a lonely woman who was hooked on speed and had tried to kill herself.
Glenn Helzer, a former stockbroker, enlisted them in a cult-like plot to train Brazilian orphans to slaughter the leaders of the Mormon Church so he could become its prophet and "transform America," Godman testified.
They needed money for the scheme, so they decided to blackmail one of Glenn Helzer's former clients. They chose the Stinemans and kidnapped them to extort $100,000 from them. Justin Helzer then beat Ivan Stineman to death, while his brother slashed Annette Stineman's throat.
Justin and Glenn Helzer, now 39, were sentenced to death. Godman, now 34, was sentenced to 38 years to life in prison.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Via: ABC News:
Coded references to New Testament Bible passages about Jesus Christ are inscribed on high-powered rifle sights provided to the United States military by a Michigan company, an ABC News investigation has found.
One of the citations on the gun sights, 2COR4:6, is an apparent reference to Second Corinthians 4:6 of the New Testament, which reads: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Other references include citations from the books of Revelation, Matthew and John dealing with Jesus as “the light of the world.” John 8:12, referred to on the gun sights as JN8:12, reads, “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Trijicon confirmed to ABCNews.com that it adds the biblical codes to the sights sold to the U.S. military. Tom Munson, director of sales and marketing for Trijicon, which is based in Wixom, Michigan, said the inscriptions “have always been there” and said there was nothing wrong or illegal with adding them. Munson said the issue was being raised by a group that is “not Christian.” The company has said the practice began under its founder, Glyn Bindon, a devout Christian from South Africa who was killed in a 2003 plane crash.
The company’s vision is described on its Web site: “Guided by our values, we endeavor to have our products used wherever precision aiming solutions are required to protect individual freedom.”
“We believe that America is great when its people are good,” says the Web site. “This goodness has been based on Biblical standards throughout our history, and we will strive to follow those morals.”
Spokespeople for the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps both said their services were unaware of the biblical markings. They said officials were discussing what steps, if any, to take in the wake of the ABCNews.com report. It is not known how many Trijicon sights are currently in use by the U.S. military.
The biblical references appear in the same type font and size as the model numbers on the company’s Advanced Combat Optical Guides, called the ACOG.
A photo on a Department of Defense Web site shows Iraqi soldiers being trained by U.S. troops with a rifle equipped with the bible-coded sights.
“It’s wrong, it violates the Constitution, it violates a number of federal laws,” said Michael “Mikey” Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an advocacy group that seeks to preserve the separation of church and state in the military.
‘Firearms of Jesus Christ’
“It allows the Mujahedeen, the Taliban, al Qaeda and the insurrectionists and jihadists to claim they’re being shot by Jesus rifles,” he said.
Weinstein, an attorney and former Air Force officer, said many members of his group who currently serve in the military have complained about the markings on the sights. He also claims they’ve told him that commanders have referred to weapons with the sights as “spiritually transformed firearm[s] of Jesus Christ.”
He said coded biblical inscriptions play into the hands of “those who are calling this a Crusade.”
According to a government contracting watchdog group, fedspending.org, Trijicon had more than $100 million in government contracts in fiscal year 2008. The Michigan company won a $33 million Pentagon contract in July, 2009 for a new machine gun optic, according to Defense Industry Daily. The company’s earnings from the U.S. military jumped significantly after 2005, when it won a $660 million long-term contract to supply the Marine Corps with sights.
The sights are used by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the training of Iraqi and Afghan soldiers. The maker of the sights, Trijicon, has a $660 million multi-year contract to provide up to 800,000 sights to the Marine Corps, and additional contracts to provide sights to the U.S. Army.
U.S. military rules specifically prohibit the proselytizing of any religion in Iraq or Afghanistan and were drawn up in order to prevent criticism that the U.S. was embarked on a religious “Crusade” in its war against al Qaeda and Iraqi insurgents.
“This is probably the best example of violation of the separation of church and state in this country,” said Weinstein. “It’s literally pushing fundamentalist Christianity at the point of a gun against the people that we’re fighting. We’re emboldening an enemy.”
The soul of American Televangelist Pat Robertson is being offered for sale at online auction site ebay in the form of a Voodoo doll.
It comes after Robertson brought condemnation from church leaders and even the White House, for saying that Haiti's earthquake was caused by Haitians' pact with the devil.
A White House spokesman Robert Gibbs fiercely criticised the evangelist broadcaster saying: "It never ceases to amaze, that in times of amazing human suffering somebody says something that can be so utterly stupid."
The day after the earthquake, Robertson said Haitians pledged to serve the devil if he would help them win their independence, and the devil said, "It's a deal."
Robertson said, "ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other."
His spokesman said Robertson's comments were based on Voodoo rituals carried out before a slave rebellion against French colonists in 1791.
Now, a Pat Robertson Voodoo doll is being offered for sale on ebay, with proceeds going to the American Red Cross.
"After an exclusive deal with devil, we are finally able to bring black magic into your very own home!" the item's description states.
"The lucky winner of this auction will attain the soul of Televangelist Pat Robertson in a handheld figurine comprised of the finest straw, cloth, and other organic natural materials!
"Ever wanted to cause Pat Robertson a massive headache? Give him back pain? Jab him in the crotch?" the entry states. "Of course you have! Well then BID NOW to own your very own physical representation of the dark, dark soul of Pat Robertson.
Accessories included with the doll are "Pat's very own Holy Bible, and Bag of money taken from real Americans!"
Sunday, January 17, 2010
It almost felt like returning to the scene of the crime.
Back when I was digging around on TV preacher Robert Tilton, people often called to say they had spotted him in a high-dollar shop at the Galleria or at the Westin Hotel there.
The Galleria Westin was where Bob and his wife, Marte, stayed while in town after they had secretly moved to a mansion in California.
Well, when Marte Tilton agreed to visit with me the other day, where did she suggest we meet? At the cafe just outside the Westin Hotel in the Galleria.
It felt a little weird. But I guess we're all creatures of habit.
To be honest, I lost interest in Brother Bob a long time ago. People still ask me about him. And I tell what little I know – that he moved to South Florida and carries on with a smaller, cheesier version of his TV ministry.
But it's Marte I have continued to wonder about. She's the one who stayed around – through the collapse of their church, through their divorce, through Bob's quick marriage and messy second divorce, through the laughingstock that the name Tilton became.
"God has done a lot of healing in my life," she said as we visited over coffee. We had found a quiet table out of the way, overlooking the ice-skating rink.
"I don't remember a lot of things – which I'm glad about. Obviously I wouldn't be sitting here today with you if I remembered a lot," she said, laughing.
And I laughingly told her how hurt I was to not get a single nasty mention in her recent book, The Only Way Out Is Through – Courage In Times of Trouble.
Rightfully, she gives credit for the ministry's public disgrace to Diane Sawyer's PrimeTime Live exposé. But Marte still insists that the central accusation of that program – that prayer requests went straight into the trash – was wrong.
"They were absolutely wrong. I set the system up. I knew how it was supposed to work," she said.
But on the other hand, she doesn't contend that the ministry was innocent. "I don't blame the media for all this," she said. "It has to do with the heart."
In her book, as well as face to face, Marte is frustratingly vague about the sins of the ministry. "There was a shift in our hearts," she said. "It was gradual. I can't say exactly how or when it happened."
But what happened?
"I can't speak for Bob. I was just trying to keep up. I became a workaholic instead of ministering to the people. When you don't have time to open your Christmas gifts for six months, you've got a real problem. Our focus had been lost.
"As for Bob, I don't know what happened. But obviously something happened in his heart or he would not have dropped his family as he did."
That's about all she will say about her ex-husband. She said they have spoken only twice in the last year.
"I don't hate him. We had 25 wonderful years together. We had four wonderful children. How could I hate him? I don't know why things happened like they did. But I know that God did a lot of good things in those 25 years, and that's what I try to look at."
The Tiltons have two grown children and two teenage sons who live here with Marte. She asked that I not specify their suburb.
"My kids have suffered a lot because of their last name," she said.
My biggest problem with the Tiltons was always one of stewardship. The ministry brought in $70 million a year at its peak, and the Tiltons controlled every cent. They lived like royalty – with no deacons to answer to, no elders, no oversight of any kind.
Yet Marte still sees no problem with their lifestyle. "Obviously it was a higher level than a lot of people lived. But not higher than a lot of high-profile ministers."
And what became of the millions of dollars in church property that she and Bob controlled?
"I have no idea," she said. "After the divorce, I was kicked out and cut off."
Since the divorce, Marte has operated a small gifts business. For a while, she sold from a kiosk at Vista Ridge Mall in Lewisville – feeling conspicuous and humiliated.
She speaks some at pastor conferences and women's retreats. But she knows she doesn't have the charisma of her ex-husband.
"I'm more of a behind-the-scenes person," she said. "My real gift is administration. I'm an organizer, for goodness' sake."
She hopes to turn that gift into consulting work for private schools and ministries.
As Marte talks, her voice warms most when she recalls those early days – when she and her exuberant young husband first got saved, when he felt called to begin a tiny church.
"Nobody could bring people to the Lord like Bob. It was thrilling and all so exciting," she said.
"Our hearts were pure."
Saturday, January 16, 2010
For Erol Josué, the earthquake was mother nature, the land of Haiti, rising up to defend herself against the erosion, deforestation, and environmental devastation that have been ongoing for the last few decades. "Everybody was smashed to the ground," said Erol. "Rich and poor. But look how symbolic this is. The Palace is smashed, the legislative building, the tax office, and the Cathedral. The country is crushed. We are all on our knees." This Vodou priest is not speaking about divine retribution, as has Pat Robertson. God is not punishing us for disobedience. Erol is speaking about a giant natural rebalancing act, a reaction against human dealings with the ecosystem.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
A sheep gave birth to a dead lamb with a human-like face. The calf was born in a village not far from the city of Izmir, Turkey.
Erhan Elibol, a vet, performed Cesarean section on the animal to take the calf out, but was horrified to see that the features of the calf’s snout bore a striking resemblance to a human face.
“I’ve seen mutations with cows and sheep before. I’ve seen a one-eyed calf, a two-headed calf, a five-legged calf. But when I saw this youngster I could not believe my eyes. His mother could not deliver him so I had to help the animal,” the 29-year-old veterinary said.
The lamb’s head had human features on – the eyes, the nose and the mouth – only the ears were those of a sheep.
Veterinaries said that the rare mutation most likely occurred as a result of improper mutation since the fodder for the lamb’s mother was abundant with vitamin A, CNNTurk.com reports.
A goat from Zimbabwe gave birth to a similar youngster in September 2009. The mutant baby born with a human-like head stayed alive for several hours until the frightened village residents killed him.
The governor of the province where the ugly goat was born said that the little goat was the fruit of unnatural relationship between the female goat and a man.
"This incident is very shocking. It is my first time to see such an evil thing. It is really embarrassing," he reportedly said. "The head belongs to a man while the body is that of a goat. This is evident that an adult human being was responsible. Evil powers caused this person to lose self control. We often hear cases of human beings who commit bestiality but this is the first time for such an act to produce a product with human features," he added.
The mutant creature was hairless. Local residents said that even dogs were afraid to approach the bizarre animal.
The locals burnt the body of the little goat, and biologists had no chance to study the rare mutation.
Pat Robertson, the American Christian televangelist and host of "The 700 Club," said that Haitians need to have a "great turning to god" while he was reporting on the devastating 7.0 earthquake that shook the island nation — the most powerful to hit the country in a century.As Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said "well over" 100,000 people may have died in the national disaster, Robertson took to the airwaves Wednesday on his show and said that the country has been "cursed by one thing after another" since they "swore a pact to the devil."
"Something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people might not want to talk about," Robertson said Tuesday.
"They were under the heel of the French, you know Napoleon the third and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the prince.' True story. And so the devil said, 'Ok it’s a deal.' And they kicked the French out. The Haitians revolted and got something themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another," Robertson said.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Rumors about Baby Soup have been circulating around China for a while, but the shocking proof came when a reporter decided to go undercover and see it with his own eyes. “Spare Rib Soup”, as it is commonly referred to, is not on a regular menu and people have to wait until a baby is available…for cooking. The Chinese reporter, for example, had to wait two weeks until a couple who had aborted their child, sold it to the restaurant. They already had two girls and when they learned their third offspring was again a girl, they decided to terminate their pregnancy and make some money.
Now a restaurant in Canton, China, is serving Spare Rib Soup as a delicacy. The baby is boiled together with pieces of chicken and expensive herbs, that consumers swear by. A client said he is 62-years-old while his wife is just 19, and thanks to the Baby Soup, they have sex every day.
boiled baby soup