Archive for category Skepticism
Last night, Merseyside Skeptics Society member and prison lawyer Emma McClure gave a fascinating, funny and frightening talk on the way forensics can be misused or mishandled by police investigations, and the terrible miscarriages of justice that can occur as a result. It was a brilliant talk, in front of a packed audience, and a hugely enjoyable evening.
Given that Emma is one of our own members, and therefore had minimal expenses, we decided to use our normal collection as an opportunity to fundraise for a worthy cause: Young Legal Aid Lawyers Liverpool.
Young Legal Aid Lawyers Liverpool is an organisation close to Emma’s heart, campaigning to ensure justice is accessible for all, not just for those who can afford it. Due to the generosity of our members and attendees at last night’s event, we are able to donate £260 to the group.
We are delighted to support this important cause, and would like to thank once again everyone who donated last night.
Do you know who likes a bit of arts and crafts? Why, God does, of course.
At least the impression you get from some of Reverend Peter ‘Petey’ Popoff’s letters to me and my merry-and-increasing band of animals and imaginary friends.
When I left you last (and apologies that the gaps in this series are becoming as bad as the intervals between Inkredulous episodes…) I’d been sent many ‘interesting’ and MIRACULOUS miracle items from Petey that I had to drink or anoint myself with or wear for a specific period of time, but there were some letters that needed a little more creativity from everyone involved in order to release the blessings. It goes without saying by this point I was also supposed to send money along with all of my creations (although he did say as much, an awful lot of times).
This arts and crafts club was called the ‘112 Team of God’s Potential Millionaires’ and it’s a club I, my dog Evie and some other acquaintances have been made members of:
Petey seemed to be having funny dreams about me again where he had seen me shouting words like PLANTED, WATER LEAF GREEN with Satan’s henchmen shouting DRY PARCHED DESERT LAND whilst we all ran up and down a golden staircase like some sort of exploitative pantomime:
When: Thursday, July 30th, 2015, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool
We’re hosting a Pub Quiz!
On this rare 5th “Phantom” Thursday in July we’re organising a general knowledge, science and rational thought themed pub quiz. Come and be tested and enjoy a drink with us in The Vines! It’ll be fun..
So when we left off, Reverend ‘Petey’ Popoff had been writing to me and sending me various miracle liquids in exchange for ‘seed’ money. However Petey’s miracles also came in solid form. As time went by all kinds of weird and
rubbish wonderful things came through my letter box. Example: What would you say this is?
If you said cheap ribbon from an unwanted present, I understand where you are coming from but I’m afraid you would be wrong. It is in fact a SILVER AND GOLD BRACELET that God (through Petey) wanted me to borrow as it holds the SECRET for amassing great wealth:
It seems that the Lord has quite a penchant for shiny things and bracelets in particular, as Petey has sent me a fair few over the years.
If you have been following this series of posts the format of the shiny-stuff letters was the same as all of the others:
- Do something silly with a miracle item
- Send it back to Petey with cash
- All your problems go away!!!
Another thing common to all of the letters was that I was supposed to return not just the miracle ‘bracelet’, oil, water, pomegranate seeds (seriously, actual pomegranate seeds, watch this space…) and so on, but I was also supposed to return the whole letter in the self-addressed envelope provided each time. Or at least the portion of the letter specifically asking for money.
I can’t imagine why someone acting on God’s behalf who was repeatedly asking potentially vulnerable people for large amounts of money would need those responding to send back *all* evidence of the requests but hey ho, God works in mysterious ways and all that.
But im getting off track, this blog is about shiny things.
cheap ribbon GOLD AND SILVER BRACELET had to be worn for one night and then once I sent it back (with a £30 seed gift) I would get Petey’s personal telephone number so he could say magic words to me, and then all my problems would be solved and… get an even better bracelet! I presume that Petey wouldn’t dream of charging premium rate for any calls made to this number. That would be a completely unfair asserton. He has only been caught committing fraud/ exploiting people for money like, what, twice now? And it was ages ago. Give the guy a break.
But this fondness for shiny things wasn’t and isn’t limited to shonky jewellery. Check out this extremely fetching silver faith slipper. Only one, you’ll notice (though I actually have enough of them to start a small shonky silver slipper shop at this point, but I hope to tell you all about that later).
The slipper letter also contained a second envelope containing a “RIBBON WITH A GOLDEN COIN”.
Personally, I’d say it a cheap plastic medal, a bit like what you might find in a child’s party bag, but you know, I say potato you say RIBBON WITH A GOLDEN COIN. Anyone who came to my QED Skepticamp talk back in April will have seen me sporting my amazing ‘coin’. As with a few of the other letters from Petey this one seemed to think that I would appreciate the colours because, as the letter explained, they are a reference to the USA:
I’ve placed one more thing in this MIRACLE MONEY BREAKTHROUGH PROPHETIC WORD LETTER- your very own GOLDEN COIN attached to a Red, White & Blue Ribbon. Red, White and Blue represent the USA…
A cynical person might think this is because these are form letters that have been poorly and hurriedly amended for a UK audience but, you know, the same colours are in the Union Jack so it still totally works. The coin was a particularly amusing letter as it invoked an image of Petey running around the world on my (and also my dog’s) behalf:
Evie, I must then cast your coin into the SEA OF GALILEE in ISRAEL where the Apostle Peter caught the FISH WITH GOLD IN ITS MOUTH… This act of faith will release your DOUBLE PORTION anointing upon your life.
I will RUSH THE DOLLAR OF SILVER upon my prayer altar TO YOU for I truly believe it will be the FIRST DOLLAR OF MANY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS COMING TO YOU. You will receive good news by phone as well as in your mailbox. LACK WILL FLEE AND INCREASE WILL COME!
As with the bracelet swap, Petey was promising I would get an even better coin or ‘dollar’ as long as I was an obedient girl and sent back the gold coin. And some money. And any evidence of Petey having asked me for any of this.
Now it’s unfair to say that the letters always asked for money. There was one occasion when Petey seemed to be tapping into the recession, and rather than asking me for a monetary seed gift God wanted me instead to fill a little bag with gold and send it to Petey.
One of the bracelet letters, in addition for asking for £20.00, also asked me for bank details, so I could make a credit card payment to set up a regular ‘seed’ gift. I decided against sending Petey my bank details, for some reason.
By this point in my Petey penpal escapades I had received 10 letters, and the requests showed no signs of stopping…
Popoff’s Plush Pad Pot: £500 + a bag of gold + my bank details (from 10 letter)
Next time: PLANT, WATER, LEAF, GREEN – The Blue Peter Letters
Postscript: The cascade of letters for Evie has continued as have letters to some her imaginary (my imaginary) friends. This has included some very interesting Popoff post recently along with some adventures that I hope to tell you all about soon. Watch this space.
When we left off a little while ago, Reverend Popoff (or ‘Petey’ to his friends/collaborators) had sent me my miracle water and I was working out how best to respond. Just as I was doing this another letter arrived. And then another. And another.
Each of these new letters were basically the same as the previous water letter – the only difference was that these later letters contained a range of different ‘miracle’ things that I had to use. Along with, of course, further demands from God to show faith and send more ‘seed’ gifts/money to Petey…
The miracle items can generally be split down into a number of themes, and one of these gift themes was ‘oil’. Quite a lot of oil. A seeming slick of oil, in fact. For whatever purpose, it’s seems God was very keen that I was well *ahem* lubricated.
The first of these slimy letters contained ‘Holy Debt Cancelling Green Prosperity Oil’ and a long, long letter genuinely containing the phrase “A BEAUTIFUL BOX FILLED WITH MANY BEAUTIFUL MIRACLES”.
It seemed that Petey’s sleep had been disturbed (rather disturbingly) by me…
I am still quite shaken after seeing the vision which interrupted my sleep so intensely. I can never forget the beautiful things God let me see. I felt you so close to me
This bordering-on-creepy approach only got worse as he began to talk about what God has in store for me if I do indeed follow Petey’s instructions:
Emma, your soon-to-be climatic life is now in the very direct future and will shortly blossom forth in a meteor of unparalleled victory and splendor.
Yeah. Is it just me that finds that a bit… icky? It’s not, right? In any case, setting Petey’s questionable pick-up techniques aside, he went on to tell me that a couple of important dates were coming up for me, where blessings would be poured upon me. Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s how Reverend Peter Popoff opened his first letter to me when I asked for a sample of his ‘miracle’ spring water:
‘Emma our prayer center received your phone call and I have been praying on you behalf non-stop ever since the operator gave me your name. Emma …, did I spell that correctly? When you called perhaps you thought it was by accident… I feel that A HIGHER POWER directed you to call. I HAVE SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO TELL YOU… SO PLEASE READ ON.‘
This apparently personal opening from ‘Petey’ was only slightly damaged by the assertion that I had called – I hadn’t, I’d actually filled out an email request form…
Still, nevermind, I’m sure Petey gets a lot of mail so we’ll let that one slide. After all, the letter does have lots of seemingly handwritten annotations – those must have taken him a long time. At least, that’s what I thought… until I received a second identical letter with the exact same ‘handwriting’ printed on it. Nevermind, Petey must be very, very busy.
As you can see the letter is quite a tough read as it, like all of the letters I have received from him, is a complete horror show of CAPITALISATION and random bold text, but essentially the letter says that:
I am going through some unspecified difficulty (money and/or health and/or relationships);
God wants to help me with that;
All I have to do is anoint myself with the miracle water;
Send the empty packet back with my name on to Petey to show i’d done it;
Oh and also send a £25 ‘seed gift’ to show my faith:
‘I am asking you to plant a a(his typo) Holy Consecrated Seed for a Great Harvest Offering of £25.00. NO, I don’t want you to send £45 or £105…No, SEND EXACTLY £25.00.‘
It is absolutely vital that I send this ‘seed’ money. This language conjures up the amusing image of Petey planning to literally plant this ‘seed’ in order to grow money trees for God to reward me with. Or, more realistically, an image of him planting seeds in order to grow a tree-worth of paper to turn into lengthy and aggressively persistent letters requesting money to send to vulnerable and desperate people…It’s almost… almost, like Petey-the-Proven-Pretender is up to his old tricks again…
No way! I hear you uncritically cry. Surely no one would be so brazen?! Petey is a reformed man of God as can be seen by the many biblical quote smattered through each letter. Indeed he justifies this particular request for money using Luke 6:38:
‘According to St Luke 6:38… you MUST QUALIFY YOURSELF for a Supernatural Blessing… Yes, this this harvest of a great INCOME…’
There are also constant references to obedience – and speedy obedience at that:
‘After you use the Miracle Spring Water exactly as I direct take the small sticker and write your name on it and put it on the empty container. When I get it back I’ll know that you have acted in faith and followed the instructions of the man of God.’
Petey insists that I need to comply with his instructions as soon as possible so God can help me with the unspecified problem I have… and Petey speaks from experience:
‘..I have PERSONALLY overcome some of the same challenges you are now facing in my own life.’
Presumably a reference to his little earpiece faux pas…
The other really weird thing about the letter was the sheer volume of stuff it contained. The Miracle Water letter consists of a 4-page (pink, double-sided) letter, plus a second envelope containing the water itself as well as another 4 page note, which also had with it a sticker to attach to the empty water packet, and then a self-addressed pre-paid envelope in order to send the whole lot back to Petey (or at least to the PO Box address for Peter Popoff Ministries Ltd – which is PPM Ltd, PO Box 6279, London, W1A 6DN if you feel like sending him any correspondence).
Another thing about the composition of the letters is the sheer volume of them that Petey sends after a single prayer request. While I was still considering my first water letter with befuddled disbelief I received 3 more letters! This was without any response from me to the first one. Each of the letters were as voluminous as the first. These letters, however, didn’t contain water – they contained various other miracle items and… more requests for money.
At the time I didn’t feel I could spare the £25 asked for in the original water letter, but I thought God would understand my circumstances, so I sent back the form back to Petey explaining it all, and enclosed in the envelope some copper coins that I had found so at least I had sown a little ‘seed’ for good measure. I fear that these coins were fairly weighty and may has caused Petey to incur additional postage costs-but I felt I needed to give something back and this was the very least I could do…
Speaking of money (as Petey almost constantly seems to be), for my whole series of posts about Petey’s letters I’m going to keep track of the amount of money he’s asked for using the patented ‘Popoff Plush Pad Pot’ totaliser. Not that I want to suggest that Petey has materialistic rather than spiritual motivations, of course…
Current Popoff Plush Pad Pot Total: £25.00.
So I now had four letters from Petey, and this was just the beginning…
Next time: A veritable slick of grimy-yet-godly Oil.
Potscript: As I mentioned in my first blog my dog Evie is now receiving letters from Petey. She has had three sent to her so far, in just over three weeks. Her Miracle Water letter states a miracle will occur for her on 19th April 2015 as long as she follows Petey’s instructions.
It seems odd that God would concern himself with the financial position of an admittedly-cute canine, but oh well, mysterious ways and all that. Obviously I am far, far too late to be able to use my miracle spring water to heal what ails me as I received my letters a few years ago – but for Evie, there is still hope. Therefore she has followed the instructions in Petey’s missive to the letter. Well, almost. As a dog she doesn’t actually have any money to send Petey… but we’ve managed to work something out, so i’ll keep you updated.