Posts Tagged peter popoff

Peter Popoff: All that glitters isn’t gold

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?


One of Petey’s shiny gifts (click to expand)

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:


(click to expand)

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:

  1. Do something silly with a miracle item
  2. Send it back to Petey with cash
  3. ???
  4. 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.

The 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.


The instructions for the GOLD AND SILVER BRACELET (click to expand)

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.


The ‘cash my gold’ bag. (click to expand)

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.


The request for bank details with miracle bracelet strip. (click to expand)

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.


Peter Popoff – My Persistent Pen Pal

When I think about the great moments in skeptic history a few things spring to mind: the 10:23 campaign; The Australian Skeptics getting the Anti-Vaccination to change their name, getting Derek Acorah to channel the spirit of Kreed Kafer, things like that. Of course no list of great skeptical achievements would be complete without James Randi’s many famous stings, and particularly his investigation of the Reverend Peter Popoff in 1986.

Popoff appeared to be a miraculous faith healer with an accuracy rate that would make some well known stage psychics green with jealousy. Sensing something was afoot, Randi, using a radio scanner, discovered the somewhat un-messianic source of these amazingly accurate addresses and ailments: Popoff’s wife was reading off ‘prayer cards’ the audience had filled in before the show, and was passing the information to the Reverend by wireless earpiece. “Hello Petey can you hear me? If you can’t you’re in trouble”. Oh, for simpler and more innocent times, when stage psychics would use earpieces…

Peter Popoff's Miracle Spring Water

Peter Popoff’s Miracle Spring Water

This expose was shown on national news in the US. You would have thought that he would have retreated into embarrassed and disgraced obscurity. And indeed it was that poor Petey filed for bankruptcy in 1987. Hooray!

Except… except fortune favoured plucky Petey, and after his fall from grace he discovered a real, definitely-genuine miracle. As he has described on his show, he became acquainted with a priest from Pripyat (the town near Chernobyl. Yes that Chernobyl) who had prayed to god after the reactor meltdown and god had answered by turning the water in a lake near town into ‘miracle’ water that was free from radiation, safe to drink and had  healing and other wonderful properties.

So Petey dusted himself down and reinvented himself as a televangelist with TV shows on religious TV channels all over the world including the UK to tell everyone about this ‘miracle’. Now I say TV shows, what I really mean is ‘infomercials’ for this ‘miracle’ spring water which he offers viewers for free! Free! Good old Petey. Giving away his miracles for free. So selfless. So lovely. So not at all a way get around advertising rules because he isn’t technically selling something. Nope.

So of course when I first heard about this miracle water a few years ago I immediately filled out a request form on Petey’s website, and just a few weeks later my water arrived… along with a long, seemingly-personalised letter from the man himself! This sparked off a long and protracted correspondence between myself and Petey (and, more recently, my dog) which i’m going to tell you all about in my next few posts. Stay tuned!

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