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David Hume

The Skeptic Tank is dedicated to undertaking scientific reviews of claims of the paranormal, and debunking and exposing such notions without ridicule, adopting the classic philosophic attitudes of David Hume.

I received e-mails a month or so ago asking whether an update to this web page might be performed since it has been more than 10 years since The Skeptic Tank started taking an academic, scientific look at astrology as it relates to the self-expressed and self-exposed mindset of various unfortunate people who still profess to believe in the profoundly debunked notions of astrology.

It seemed like a good idea, more so since after a decade of having set the whole rather distasteful (though somewhat amusing) arena of astrology belief aside, I think it's reasonable to come back and post some updated opinions about the state of astrology belief today.

At the same time, looking through the first review of astrology belief and whether it causes madness or whether madness causes astrology belief, I see that there's some focus on a particular astrology believer, one who used to have a fairly wide audience on the Internet at the time yet is no longer even a marginally significant advocate of astrology lunacy on the Internet today.

So in September of 2009 I have updated the information that follows, adding useful links that might prove more informative that the opinions that have been provided over the past decade. In that decade, a great deal of medical science has progressed, cures have been found for numerous human ailments, yet alas, willful occult belief in obvious nonsense remains the primary bane of human existance.

"The FBI has been notified under 'Crimes and Criminal Procedure 1030.' These are forged posts to make me look immature and unstable. As a 20 year counselor (please see 'Saturn Opposed Saturn' discourse) this amounts to serious defamation." -- Edmond H. Wollmann

The Skeptic Tank has (since 1978) taken an academic look in to a wide variety of nutty notions harbored by people over the past 30 years, and after three decades of observation in to the phenomena, it is believed that the occult notions that people hold may accurately be split in to various groups:

Marshall Applewhite

The question is, Is it possible that prolong exposure to astrology causes symptoms that appear very much like profound insanity? Numerous psychological studies have been performed over the past five decades which cover the cognitive dissonance which arise from years of attempting to reconcile (and yet continue to believe) a set of mutually conflictive beliefs. (An Internet search found 5,520 web pages which mention cognitive dissonance, interestingly enough.)

(See: Susan Blackmore books on some interesting ways in which the brain functions, either while in a healthy individual or while an individual is dying.)

The world has seen that belief in flying saucers causes insanity to be expressed, reinforced, and acted upon ( Heaven's Gate), and science already has well quantified the mindset of gamblers who have beliefs that they could win through acts of periodic pay-outs reinforced which further seats the mistaken belief, but what about astrology?

It would be interesting to see if belief in astrology for long periods of time can cause paranoid delusions or expressions of other cognitive difficulties. Such an academic study might be able to explain astrologers who express unusual notions such as Mr. Edmond H. Wollmann's unfortunate public comments. Take a glance at this particular quote provided under the terms of "Fair Use" directly from one of Mr. Wollmann's many Internet web pages:

"It appears he (or those sympathetic to him at these businesses) also collaborates with several search engines to stop my sites from coming up at all under astrology (Lycos is appears (sic) to be trying to as their submission pages says that URLs will appear in 7 days and I have been submitting mine for 6 months. I have received letters from them stating they will list them, and GOTO and Infoseek do not bring up my sites when searched).

Sherilyn (the male transvestite) collaborates to attempt to censor my sites fromtheir (sic) search engine services, and place his abusive one above mine (in sequence of order through keywords allows it to come up first over mine) as I have tried to list my sites with some of them for as long as 6 months to no avail..." -- Edmond H. Wollmann

Google Search Engine

If we evaluate the beliefs being stated here, we find that the concept of a massive conspiracy is being expressed, one so massive that the world's major Internet search engines are apparently part of the conspiracy, a conspiracy which apparently keeps Mr. Wollmann's unusual web sites from being listed on various Internet search engines, a conspiracy which makes sure that his web sites don't appear first.

The addition of male transvestites being involved might well deserve some further examination yet academics should have no problem evaluating the comment themselves by drawing upon psychology theory.

At the time that this academic review of astrology as a means to insanity was first published, The Skeptic Tank joined the ranks of the conspiracy. Take a glance at the following message which The Skeptic Tank received from Mr. Wollmann and note particularly the list of destination e-mail addresses of individuals who also received Mr. Wollmann's unusual emails.

Scientology L. Ron Hubbard

Typically problem citizens who send seemingly endless disjointed letters and emails to law enforcement agencies accumulate an information folder within the agencies that they target, information compiled not about the intended focus of such people's letters but information compiled about the letter writers themselves. (A good example of this is the profoundly insane Scientology crime syndicate creator L. Ron Hubbard who also sent bizarre, insane rants to the FBI, numerous records of which the FBI has made available here.)

If the FBI has treated Mr. Wollmann's letters and emails the way they usually handle problem citizens, it could be expected that the FBI would have Mr. Wollmann solidly in their "harmless nut database" since a dedicated effort by citizens to alert "the authorities" about conspiracies, alien invasions, the end of the world, and no end of profound delusional notions which routinely acquire a folder.

Law enforcement agencies encourage citizens to send in complaints, emails, letters, and phone calls since agencies like to keep informed about who their customers are to better serve the people in their regional departments. Federal agencies maintain folders so that if there is actionable behavior on the part of the nut, they have an established Federal history. (Citizens may request their file from the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, and citizens may file Freedom of Information Act requests to acquire copies of their files being held by law enforcement agencies. Most such agencies usually refuse to comply with such requests in violation of the law, and law enforcement agencies must be sued to retrieve one's records which will often be, in any event, heavilly redacted.)

Why this astrology believer is sending his unfortunate letters to someone in the Netherlands is a mystery. Why he sends himself a copy (legal@astroconsulting.com), is doubly curious.

Message-ID:   <36EFD9B7.10CE@earthlink.net>
Date:         Wed, 17 Mar 1999 08:35:03 -0800
From:         "Edmond H. Wollmann" <arcturian1@earthlink.net>
Reply-To:     arcturian1@earthlink.net
Organization: Astrological Consulting/Altair Publications SAN 299-5603
To:           secadm@corp.earthlink.net,
              Zenon Panoussis <oracle@xs4all.nl>,
              legal@astroconsulting.com,
              postmaster@skeptictank.org
CC:           "Fredric L. Rice" <frice@skeptictank.org>,
              postmaster@fbi.gov,
              postmaster@ftc.gov,
              postmaster@aclu.org
Subject:      The Edmond Wollmann page

Header below.

This will be my first legal documentation of threats, harassment, and defamation by these criminals and scientologists. I ask that you contact their ISPs and inform them that we will recieve no further abusive mail from this individual or his religious zealot freak that is illegally defaming, harassing and maligning me on the internet (sic).

I am cc'ing a copy of this to the FBI and FTC to further demonstrate the criminal and Mafia-like coercion, blackmail, censorship and copyright violations that are being perpetrated against me and my companies.

I have been honored by the city of San Diego and in no way am under investigation by the "police" etc (sic) as these bigots assert. I am legal, proper and will take all appropriate actions.

I have documented the abuse and censorship of me for two years now and am fully prepared to excercise all options.

I ask that this stalking cease, California is now passing a law that provides for 20 years in prison for this, and I will do all in my power to see that this individual (who resides in California) is the first to experience it.

[...cuts...]

I have had two pages removed from the internet for this complete lying, abusive and harassing bigot zealot's stalking, and his obssesion with me for absolutely no reason other than his psychological insanity, bigotry and fear of others having freedom to express whatever they wish.

This has been attempted against me for 2 years now.

Please take all appropriate action.

Thank you.

Edmond H. Wollmann P.M.A.F.A.
© 1999 Altair Publications, SAN 299-5603
Astrological Consulting http://www.astroconsulting.com/
Artworks http://www.astroconsulting.com/personal/
http://home.earthlink.net/~arcturian1/

As previously stated, the question is, does long-term belief in astrology cause mental dysfunction? Or was this poor unfortunate fellow suffering from difficulties before he started trying to believe in astrology?

Tarot Cards

After 10 years, Mr. Wollmann has never, to my knowledge, offered an answer to such a question, and considering the mindset of believers in the whole spectrum of loon beliefs -- from Astrology to Tarot cards to psychic powers to water dowsing and beyond -- it seems unlikely that contemplation of one's motives for beliefs is rare, ergo honest answers are rarer still.

After reviewing the complaint, more questions come to mind almost immediately:

  • Who are "these criminals and Scientologists" Mr. Wollmann is refering to? And isn't "criminals and Scientologists" rather redundant?
  • What are these mysteriously vague "threats?" Has Mr. Wollmann informed the police about them? Does Mr. Wollmann have a police docket number for his criminal complaints? If not, why not? Surely it's one's duty as a citizen to file criminal charges when one is threatened else we're all at risk. Why is Mr. Wollmann refusing to report these "threats" to the police?
  • Where are these mysteriously invisible "defamations?" Why is it only Mr. Wollmann is capable of seeing them? Does one have to be an astrologer before one can see them?
  • Why was there no examples of these "harassments" Mr. Wollmann is complaining about?
  • Who is this "religious zealot freak" Mr. Wollmann refers to?
  • What's this "maligning on the Internet" all about? Is there some reason why Mr. Wollmann was unwilling to provide an example? Are these URLs only accessable by astrologers?
  • If Mr. Wollmann is being blackmailed, why doesn't he notify the police? If he has, why didn't Mr. Wollmann provide the police docket number for his criminal complaint? If he hasn't notified the authorities about this blackmail yet, why not? Isn't it the duty of every citizen to report such criminal activities?
  • If Mr. Wollmann is being stalked, why doesn't he notify the police? Why would he tell complete strangers he's being stalked and not ask the police to arrest these stalkers? He doesn't want them running around free to stalk others, does he?
  • "Coercion?" "Censorship?" "Copyright violations?" What's all that disjointed nonsense about? Why so vague?
  • What did the city of San Diego "honor" Mr. Wollmann for? Does the city of San Diego hand out awards to every problem citizen that walks their streets now?
  • Who are these Scientologists that Mr. Wollmann keeps refering to?
  • Do believers in astrology automatically pretend that everyone who points out the absurdities of astrology is part of the Scientology cult some how?
  • Does Mr. Wollmann believe that only Scientologists know that astrology is silly nonsense?
  • What "two pages" were "removed from the Internet?" Nobody who received Mr. Wollmann's unfortunate claims knows anything about that, it seems. Why so vague? Why no specifics? There were millions of web pages on the Internet ten years ago, which two pages was Mr. Wollmann refering to?
  • What's this "fear of others having freedom to express whatever they wish" complaint about?

We will probably never get a satisfactory answer to any of these pressing questions. Perhaps Mr. Wollmann would like to provide some thoughtful, contemplated responses to these questions. If and when he does, we'll make sure to update this web pages with those answers.

More detailed information on Mr. Wollmann's unfortunate behavior apparently motivated by his beliefs can be found on his own web pages (ProPagan), performing a Google Search or by reviewing the following web page:

http://www.xs4all.nl/~oracle/ed-w-con.htm

Michael Shermer's Book

In summation, people who believe really stupid things probably start out being reasonably mentally healthy, their beliefs usually start honestly and they are among the first subgrouping of beliefers enumerated above, they don't set out to harm others either physically or financially, they honestly believe yet they are not obscessed.

Usually after teen years are done with, infantile beliefs fade and new beliefs -- usually political or religious -- gain stronger footholds.

Believers in stupid nonsense that persists past middle age, however, get more dysfunctional as time progresses and as the mistaken beliefs become reinforced -- through sharing said beliefs with others, through seeing signs and indications that their beliefs work, through stresses caused by unfufilled wishful thinking and through other cognitive means -- belief can become delusion, cognitive dissonance builds, and a profoundly disturbed person erupts.

One very profound example of mistaken beliefs that start out honestly and then become obsessions that harm others physically and financially is the belief in Satanic Rital Abuse (previously known as Satanic Sexual Abuse such as during the McMartin Preschool fiaso where many innocent people lost their jobs, homes, and freedom before everyone was eventually ruled innocent of all delusional charges instigated by cult loons.

Whether believers in astrology go insane because of astrology or whether people are insane before they start believing in astrology is probably not an either/or, black-vs-white inquiry. Collectively people in any grouping will harbor various degrees of mental health, be motivated by broad spectrums of belief, and people who are prone to delusional thinking may start up the increasing ramp of insanity may reach a point at which they stop and go no further.

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud was a well known neurologist who developed some rather delusional notions of his own while believing that he was accurately and scientifically describing mental problems and proscribing suggested treatments.

I mention it here because with Mr. Freud we had a rather nutty loon who became well respected, who infected others to believe his notions also, who proclaimed to be helping others, and who has since fallen out of favor except among the most rabid of his cult followers among the head-skrinking professions.

The point being, who's to say that the loons among us are loons? That's also a question that should be asked when wondering whether astrology causes insanity or whether insanity causes astrology. We can all agree that when lunacy results in murder, suicide, arson, bank robbing and other social woes, the individuals responsible have exceeded the point where their beliefs have become insanity by virture of their actions.

But there isn't wide agreement that mundane beliefs and the mundane behavior that said belief causes constitute insanity. We all have perceptions of our own which delineates another person's behavior as either sane or insane. Most of the world's educated people accept the fact that belief in astrology is anywhere from loony to screaming insanity however the gross uneducated among the world's populace might consider astrology to be on a par with a flat Earth -- a phenomena that's possible to believe, perhaps, given a lack of education.


A word of thanks go out to everyone who provided me with background information in to the phenomena of occult beliefs and for the detailed opinions and explanations of Mr. Wollmann's unusual language and disjointed claims. A special thanks to the individuals who sent me emails suggesting an update to this web page.


Note: If there is anything inaccurate, mistaken or wrong presented in this academic review of astrology and mental difficulties, pleasez email me at the email address provided in the link below so that I may make corrections. Additionall if you would like to contribute to this article, email me your suggested additions and I will fold them in.

Thank you!

--- The Skeptic Tank ---

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