The WHY-Files

The Journal of the Inquiring Skeptics of Upper New York


Volume 3, Issue 6 June, 1997

 
 
 

June Meeting.

Cults, UFOs and Culture.

The Heaven's Gate suicides have sparked a range of emotions and responses. It is difficult to understand how 39 people could commit suicide in order to meet a UFO behind Comet Hale-Bopp. Cults and religious sects, however, have been a part of the American landscape since its earliest days. Our Panel discussion will focus on the Heaven's Gate suicide pact and the role of cults in America past and present.

The meeting is Wednesday June 4th, 7:00 pm at the Guilderland Public Library, 2228 Western Avenue, Guilderland, NY. Meetings are free and open to the public. For information about future meetings, see the last page of this newsletter.

This is the last regular meeting of the Inquiring Skeptics of Upper New York for the 1996/1997 season, and the last issue of The Why-Files until September. We will begin the 1997/1998 skeptical season September 3rd with a panel discussion on ``Skeptics, Paranormalists, Science Fiction and The X-Files.''

Local Meetings.

The Albany Area Amateur Astronomers meet the third Tuesday of each month at the Schenectady Museum. Meetings begin at 7:30 pm. For more information contact Alan French at (518) 374-8460.

May 31, Saturday: The 1997 Northeast Region of the Astronomical League (NERAL) Convention, sponsored by the Albany Area Amateur Astronomers, featuring speakers, solar observing, equipment clinics, food, T-shirts, and more, will be held from 9 am to 5 pm in the Mohawk Room of the Schenectady County Community College. Contact Sue or Alan French, 374-8460, email Sue_and_Alan_French@compuserve.com for information.

The Capital District Humanist Society meets the second Sunday of each month at the Sage Colleges Albany Campus on New Scotland Avenue. The meetings begin at 1:15 pm. For more information contact Paul DeFrancisco at (518) 272-4772.

Membership Renewals.

The expiration date for your ISUNY membership is printed on the upper right-hand corner of your mailing label. Dues can be mailed to the treasurer at the address on the back page of this newsletter, or paid at our monthly meeting (make checks out to ISUNY). Your dues cover newsletter and speaker expenses. If the date on the mailing label is circled, it means our records show your membership has expired, and may be dropped from the mailing list. If your renewal date is incorrect, please bring the error to our attention. Despite our efforts to keep the mailing list up-to-date, we do make mistakes.

Newsletter Articles

If you attend local meetings, view programs of interest to ISUNY members, or have a skeptical topic you wish to discuss, consider writing an article for The Why-Files. Membership articles contribute greatly to the quality of The Why-Files. Articles and letters can be emailed to the editor at sofkam@rpi.edu, or by U.S. mail to Michael Sofka, 8 Providence Street, Albany, NY 12203. Disks and hardcopy will be returned at the next ISUNY meeting. The deadline for articles in the September 3rd, 1997 issue is August 15th, 1997.

Membership and Publicity.

Peter Huston has agreed to chair a membership and publicity committee. The committee will consist of Peter, and member volunteers, and is charged with publicizing meetings and proposals for finding new members. If you would like to help with this and related tasks, see Peter at any ISUNY meeting.

Membership Dues Raised.

At the March 13th meeting the board voted to raise membership dues from $10.00 to $15.00. The Sustaining membership (previously $15.00) has been dropped, while Patron membership remains $25.00.

The increase brings the basic membership in line with newsletter and other expenses. It costs ISUNY $6.00/year to copy and mail The Why-Files to each member. In addition, a number of Why-Files are sent to past speakers and the press, given away at meetings, and sent to CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims Of the Paranormal) for the newsletter exchange program. This costs each member approximately $2.50, leaving little for meeting room fees, travel costs for out of town speakers, and other expenses.

ISUNY Lending Library.

The Inquiring Skeptics of Upper New York maintains a library of books, newsletters, magazines, video and audio tapes addressing various paranormal topics. ISUNY members may borrow material from this library on a month-by-month basis. Our collection has grown over the years from the kind donations by our members, and includes many back issues of the Skeptical Inquirer (including volume 1, issue 1) donated by Richard Lange M.D, audio tapes made and donated by Dorothy and Ralph Hoyt, UFO magazines by ``Lewis's friend'', and many newsletters from skeptic groups around the world sent by Barry Karr of CSICOP.

In addition, ISUNY thanks the many members who have dug deep into the dusty shelves of used bookstores and contributed to our growing collection. If you would like to borrow a book, newsletter or tape, see our librarian Lewis Treadway before or after any ISUNY meeting. All material is lent free to members except for tapes for which we ask a $1.00 donation that will be used to purchase further library material.

Mystery Of The East Caves Of Syracuse.

The East Caves of Syracuse, located near the Clark Reservation, have been known for many years. In 1948 they suddenly acquired a new importance when Clay Perry, in his classic book on caving in New York State entitled Underground Empire, published an allegation made by a Salt Lake City woman claiming that the caves formed the western entrance to a subterranean passage that extended all the way under the Atlantic Ocean to the British Isles.

Now that would be an incredible cave indeed! Literally a 3,000-mile passageway connecting the continental United States with Great Britain, just as England is now joined, by the Chunnel, with continental Europe.

But can such a cave even theoretically exist? And, if so, do the East Caves of Syracuse qualify?

To be sure, the Earth has been imperfectly understood---more so the further back in time we go---with fiction often predominating over fact. For this reason, when wild claims were made that the Earth possessed a hollowed interior, or that immensely long cave systems extended under the planet's surface---criss-crossing between continents---it was frequently impossible to scientifically refute such assertions.

To make matters even worse, some of the most outlandish claims were made not by the lunatic fringe, but rather by scientists themselves who, being the natural philosophers of their day, took it upon themselves to find solutions to mysteries, even when there was insufficient data to do so.

For instance, take the famous English astronomer Edmund Halley (for whom Halley's Comet is named). In 1692, Halley theorized that the interior of the Earth was semi-hollow and composed of a series of shells, all surrounding an inner solid core about the size of the planet Mercury. Between these shells was an atmosphere and an abundance of inhabitable surface where life could flourish As to how the interior was illuminated, Halley suggested that the substratum atmosphere was luminous, and used the existence of the Northern Lights as proof of this luminescent gas (which he believed was slowly escaping near the polar regions).

In 1812, a retired captain from the U.S. Infantry---John Cleves Symmes---came up with an even more ingenious theory, stating that the interior of the Earth was completely hollow (no concentric shells or solid core here), and that huge openings (thousands of miles across!) could be found at both poles of the Earth where the oceans poured through and out, allowing plants and animals to thrive inside.

Symmes' theory---based upon multiple conjectures and speculative assumptions (but little, if any, scientific fact)---was impossible to empirically disprove at the time because humans had yet to penetrate to the extreme limits of Earth's polar regions. This lack of knowledge rapidly changed when Robert E. Peary reached the North Pole in 1909 and Roald Amundsen made it to the South Pole in 1911. Both explorers discovered nothing but vast areas of ice and snow, and no openings into the Earth. We now know that the North Pole is not even land-based. The polar ice rests on an ocean of water---a fact proved by the first nuclear powered submarine, Nautilus, which made the trip to the pole and back completely underwater.

Symmes' notions, nevertheless, inspired a whole genre of science fiction writing. Jules Vernes based his popular novel, Journey to the Center of the Earth, on the concept of a hollow Earth where access into the planet's interior was obtained through a dormant Icelandic volcano; Edgar Allen Poe wrote ``MS Found in a Bottle'' and ``Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym,'' which both deal with hollow Earth themes.

As it turns out, while the interior of the Earth may not be hollow, neither is it solid. Rather, for all essential purposes, it is a liquid---only hot and incredibly compressed, with a solid metallic core near the center, and the merest crust at its exterior upon which all life sustains itself. Furthermore, the only conduits into this world of high-density, super-heated magma are volcanoes, and they are not enterable for any depth.

As the 20th Century emerged, it became evident that natural cave systems do exist which extend vertically into the Earth, but that these cave systems neither plunge to any significant depth, nor do they penetrate into a hollow planetary interior. The deepest known cave known to date is Sistema Huautla in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico, which has been plumbed to a depth of 4,839 feet---less than 1 mile!

Not withstanding, humans have penetrated still further into the Earth, but not by natural means. In Carltonville, South Africa, miners have burrowed to a depth of 11,500 feet in pursuit of gold. However, at these depths, the weight of the Earth overhead is so irresistible that tunnel collapse is always a constant threat, and the heat is so great that continuous ventilation must be provided if workers are to endure.

Humanity's maximum descent into the Earth (with the exception of drill borings) turns out to be slightly over 2 miles---a mere scratch on the Earth's surface when you consider that the planet is approximately 8,000 miles in diameter.

Which leads us back to the East Caves of Syracuse. If we imagine that the maximum depth a natural cave can achieve is roughly 1 mile, is it possible that the East Caves of Syracuse are able to reach to the British Isles and stay within these limits?

To begin, the East Caves of Syracuse would have to be many times longer than the world's longest known cave---Mammoth Cave in Kentucky---which is more than 300 miles in length and covering an area 50,000 acres wide. Furthermore, it is important to realize that Mammoth Cave is not 300 linear miles. Rather, its passageways intersect, go off in tangential directions, turn at right angles, and form on numerous levels. Even the longest known cave, then, only proceeds in a straight line for a scant distance.

Secondly, if a 3,000-mile long tunnel-like cave existed, where did the water come from that formed it and where did these waters disappear to? In the case of the East Caves of Syracuse, wouldn't the entire Atlantic Ocean now be running through its thousands of miles of corridors?

Furthermore, once a transatlantic cave started its plunge downward to clear the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, what natural phenomenon would cause it to rise back up on the opposite side of the ocean?

And what about the formidable mid-Atlantic Ridge, the result of tectonic plates that are in constant motion, that extends 10,000 miles from Iceland to Antarctica? Just how could any transatlantic cave system pass under the bedrock of the Atlantic Ocean and endure the compressive forces brought to bear in such a geologically unstable area?

But there's still more to consider if you're a doubting Thomas. We have already determined that there are limits on cave depths before collapse is imminent. For natural caves, we are talking about a maximum depth of perhaps 1 mile; for mine shafts---shored up by gargantuan supports and entered at high risk by humans---perhaps 2 miles at best, but no more! Even if we assume that the East Caves of Syracuse go no deeper than 1 mile as it continues beneath the eastern continental United States and out under the Atlantic Ocean, there is a major problem which must be faced. The Atlantic Ocean is thousands of feet in depth---in fact, miles deep as you travel out from shore. Add the stupendous weight of the ocean to the weight of the bedrock already above the cave, and you have more crushing weight than any natural cave could withstand.

Finally, there's the matter of exploration. Just who were these early intrepid explorers who discovered the East Caves of Syracuse and determined that they extended all the way to the British Isles? Why haven't their exploits been documented, for surely theirs is the greatest speleological story of all times. A feat accomplished only by undertaking the journey ladened with an enormous supply of food, water, equipment, and dependable (in fact, infallible) sources of power and lights. Putting men on the moon was a far easier task to accomplish!

For all of these reasons, then---namely, the cave's inconceivable length, its impossible depth, the crushing force of the ocean above that would obliterate any passageways, the unbridgeable mid-Atlantic Ridge, and explorers of unknown and dubious existence---we can deduce that the East Caves of Syracuse cannot possibly be a trans Atlantic cave system.

And, indeed, fact bears us out on this matter. In real life, the East Caves of Syracuse are only of modest dimensions; at best, several fissures descending to a depth of no more than a hundred feet.

The caves were first documented in a 1914 New York State Museum Bulletin (#171 ``The Geology of the Syracuse Quadrangle'') by Thomas Cramer Hopkins, and are described as deep fissures penetrating a rock bed of Onondoga limestone, located on top of a high escarpment overlooking the Jamesville valley. Any interested readers should contact a local caving group or outing club. Then you can learn the basics of caving, and accompany those who know the location of area caves.

If you do get to go to the East Caves of Syracuse, you will find it a fascinating place to visit, even if you don't venture into the huge cracks. Just walking about on the exposed limestone escarpment---which is barren because of the carbonate of lime and the erosive effect of water---can be quite exciting, besides the tremendous views of the valley below.

Old photos of the top of the escarpment show early visitors attired in black suits and top hats, jutting out of the cracks like swimmers bobbing about in an ocean of white.

Several of the fissures are quite wide, so that you feel as though in a rock shelter when you climb down. You will quickly discover, however, that the cracks are limited in depth.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the East Caves of Syracuse is that ice and snow linger in its fissures right into the dog days of summer. Hikers, then, are in for a rare treat on a hot day.

It should be clear to all that the East Caves of Syracuse are not the western terminus of a cave route under the Atlantic. However, these caves fired the imagination of recent generations of cavers, representing as it did the local equivalent of the proverbial hole through the Earth to China.

-Russell Dunn

Ask The Skeptic.

This is the third and final installment of Peter's series on satanic ritual abuse, false memory and sex abuse claims. Parts 1 and 2 were published in the April and May Why-Files.

--The Editor

In the past two columns, I've written about pseudo-science in the field of sex abuse and child sex abuse claims. I've focused on the problems within the field of Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA). As mentioned in those columns, the list of pseudo-science in these fields is virtually endless. I offer the following examples in the final part of this series.

Question: What are considered to be the signs used by a Satanic cult?

Answer: According to the work, Breaking the Circle of Satanic Ritual Abuse,1 a dreadful book at best, there are several of these. Bizarrely enough, if the ``experts'' are to be believed, virtually anything that is the least bit discomforting to a mainstream White, Republican, American suburbanite can be designated a Satanic symbol. (This, actually, makes a twisted kind of sense because in the eyes of many people, anything that reinforces their own values is godly, anything that questions them comes from the devil. In technical terms, this sort of thinking is referred to as ``egotistical bullshit.'')

Anyway, a selection of signs from the book with their actual origins appended:

According to Sandi Gallant, an ``expert'' on Satanic cults (see Hick's In Pursuit of Satan2 for more details on Gallant), we also have the following ``symbols used by Satanic cults.'' Several are the same as those above, but I'll repeat them.

There are also the symbols used by the hardcore band, Black Flag, and the rock band, Blue Oyster Cult. (Uh oh! I have albums from both in my record and tape collection!)

As if these were not bad enough, often Afro-Caribbean religions, many, such as Santeria, of Hispanic origin, are tossed into the mix with the Satanic symbolism in a way that would, inaccurately, indicate that the two are similar.

In other words, symbols which are Jewish, Islamic, Taoist, Hippy, Nazi, Mystical, New Agey, Anarchist, or Rock music oriented, are none of the above. They are, in fact, signs of Satanism at work in your neighborhood. In fact, according to these experts, anything your children might possibly draw with the intent of upsetting you or establishing an identity of their own, distinctly different from their parents, is a sign of Satanic cult activity in your neighborhood!!! In fact, not even a circle or a triangle is safe. (Squares are somehow not mentioned, so just hope that the vandals in your neighborhood go around spray painting squares on things!! If they stick to cubes then you're safe!) Hispanics who practice their folk magic traditions are highly suspect, and God save you if your new neighbors turn out to be Haitian!!

Please note that there is no way in which the experts describe how to distinguish between the original meaning and the new, Satanic meaning. Nor do they indicate what possible use such a long list of symbols has for anyone, be they Satanists or ``investigators'' interested in Satanism. Nor are sources for this ``information'' given.

Clearly, this is patent nonsense and the fact that it's even being printed is a sad state of affairs.

Last spring, I spoke with Jeffrey Victor, sociologist and author of the book, Satanic Panic.3 He told me that he had in the past spoken to several organizers of conferences where police ``experts'' gave seminars on Satanism and satanic crime (often including symbols such as the above). Naturally, he asked the organizers why they had chosen such a sensationalized and questionable topic for their conferences. Some were not aware that the subject was controversial. Others answered that often by choosing a topic such as ``satanic and occult'' crime as part of the conference they could increase attendance for other, more meaningful and factual parts of the conference.

-Peter Huston

Peter Huston's work appears regularly in the Skeptical Inquirer and Skeptic. He is the author of two books, most recently Scams from the Great Beyond: How to Make Easy Money Off of ESP, Astrology, UFOs, Crop Circles, Cattle Mutilations, Alien Abductions, Atlantis, Channeling, and Other New Age Nonsense by Paladin Press, Boulder, CO.

Ask the Psychic.

Question: Mr. Psychic, I read an article recently on the ``science wars.'' The author claimed that postmodernists and deconstructionists are waging war on science and rationality. What is a postmodernist, and what do they deconstruct? As a skeptic, should this concern me?

-Deconstructed in Decatur

Answer: DnD, allow me to validate your concern. The questions raised cut to core of the non-linear discourse of our reality. Postmodernism is either a philosophical movement which denies the absoluteness of reality, a literary movement that doesn't believe in getting to the point, or the greatest threat to western civilization since the Sonny and Cher show.4 Indeed, what are postmodernists, and why wasn't the modern world good enough for them?

To answer your questions I engaged the help of my good friend Jaques Desiderata, relativist philosopher and author of Knowledge and Non-ledge: Outlines of Muticultural-Deconstruction and What I Believe is True: A Guide to the Postmodern. Here is his answer:

The Postmodern does not exist independently of particular readings of particular texts or received concepts. It is not an ism. It is not a philosophy. It is not a systematic method. If you want to know what Postmodernism is, you will be no wiser looking for cereal-box definitions---although there are plenty to be found, especially in idiotic `dictionaries' of philosophy.

Likewise, you can't define deconstruction; it defies definition. To define the term would be to view the world from a positivist epistemology and assume you can delineate clearly `signifiers' in the `grand play of signifiers.' Your discourse of definition conflates `rationality,' engages in the grand metaphysical procedure of `logocentrism,' and `reifies' the Derrida's text by placing in it a hierarchy between one text and (an)other. To define is to draw a box around a limitless and hence `unverifiable'/`undefinable'/`uncritiqueable' entity known as `deconstruction.'

Derrida states: `All sentences of the type ``deconstruction is X'' or ``deconstruction is not X'' a priori miss the point, which is to say that they are at least false. As you know, one of the principal things at stake in what is called in my text's ``deconstruction'' is precisely the delimiting of ontology and above all of the third person present indicative: S is P.'

The postmodernist movement that is very much part of the deconstructionist readings and politics is in a large sense designed to defy definition. Definition would trivialize the notion that, in a post-industrial capitalist order, one could grasp the (w)hole. And that is exactly where we are, if in fact, a we can be found in this complex.

I hope this clears up the matter for you. This psychic certainly takes great solace in the works of Professor Desiderata that science is safe from the postmodernist.

-David Quinne

David Quinne is ISUNY's official psychic. He is a graduate of Maharishi International University where he studied quantum metaphysics with a minor in political science. Questions to the Psychic can be sent to this newsletter care of the editor.

Minutes Of May 7th Meeting.

In a departure from the ISUNY's usual practice, the meeting began with refreshments and a period for socializing. Not only was there the usual display of ISUNY's library materials, there were also two tables with books and various resources on ``false memory syndrome,'' which related to the topic of the evening's program. More in keeping with a traditional meeting, President Mike Sofka began the meeting by welcoming the audience and describing our group, newsletter and the range of topics of our meetings. Vice President and Publicity Chairman Peter Huston reported on the second appearance of ISUNY members on WRPI (91.5 FM on your radio dial).

On April 24, 1997, Peter Huston and Dot Sager again appeared on a radio call-in show, accompanied by ``Elaine,'' a club member who could provide information on the False Memory Foundation. ISUNY member Alan French called in with details about the probable source of the report of a bright object following the Hale-Bopp Comet.5 In a weirder segment of the program, Dot attempted ``channeling'' a character from the future called ``Rampo.'' Her purpose was to demonstrate that it was all too easy to fake such New Age nonsense; unfortunately one caller seemed all too convinced of ``Rampo's'' validity, although other callers seemed to catch on. Dot is willing to attribute this ``success'' to the gullibility and naiveté of some of the public, rather than to any special abilities on her part (other than a willingness to be silly). Fortunately, the program was brought back to the temporal plane by a call by Mark Pendergrast, author of the critically acclaimed book, Victims of Memory: Sex Abuse Accusations and Shattered Lives. Mark was very interesting and enlightening and gave some insight into the issues that would be dealt with by May's speaker.

Let's turn now to that speaker, Gladden Schrock, a professor at Bennington College, whose topic for the evening was ``Contemporary Hysteria.'' His premise was that no progress has been made in understanding hysteria in 2000 years, and that currently we have the largest degree of hysteria in our nation's history. Illustrative of this is the phenomenon of the False Memory Syndrome which has been described variously to involve between 120,000 and 210,000 therapists and to have affected between 75,000 to one and a half million families. He pointed out that belief in Satanic Ritual Abuse is also wide-spread, although at least 12 thousand cases have been investigated by the FBI with no resulting confirmation. Dr. Schrock spoke of his childhood awareness of hysterical reactions by his mid-western community to WWII conscientious objectors and to Japanese-Americans. McCarthyism and the nation's witchhunt against communism was an example he gave of hysteria in the 1940s and 1950s. Usually during hysterical times, part of the society remains uncontaminated; however, these days almost all parts of American society---education, social services, legal services, religion---are affected. His analysis of individual hysteria is that it leads from narcissism (i.e., consumed by self) to dependency (e.g. to a therapist) to suggestibility (e.g. finally accepting a personal history that the person had no memory of). There were interesting questions and comments from the audience of almost 40 people.

After such a thought-provoking program, the audience took advantage of an extended meeting and enjoyed more refreshments and discussion. Thanks to all who provided the food and drinks. Some of the attendees had just happened upon our meeting while visiting the library and expressed great interest in the group. We hope we see the many new faces attending our meetings again.

-Dot Sager, Secretary

ISUNY Meetings.

Cults, UFOs and Culture.

The Heaven's Gate suicides have sparked a range of emotions and responses. It is difficult to understand how 39 people could commit suicide in order to meet a UFO behind Comet Hale-Bopp. On June 4th our Panel will dicuss the Heaven's Gate suicide and the role of cults in America past and present.

Skeptics, Paranormalists, Science Fiction and ``The X-Files.''

When Chris Carter spoke at the First World Skeptic's Conference in Buffalo, NY, the audience was split between X-Files fans and X-Files detractors. How can a fictional television program evoke such a range of responses? Can one be a skeptic and enjoy science fiction? Join use September 3rd when our panel of science fiction fans, critics and skeptics (sometimes all in the same person) as we discuss skepticism, science and science fiction.

What the Book of Revelations Really Says.

The Book of Revelations is frequently used as a guide for the end of the world in our times. What does this last book of the Bible really say, and can it be understood historically? These are some of the questions Jim Farrell will attempt to answer at our October 1st meeting.

Science in the Court Room.

What role does science have in the courts. On November 5th, our panel of legal experts and scientist, will discuss evidence in and out of the courts, and how science affects the judicial process.

Cold Fusion.

On December 3rd Bill, Walker of General Electric laboratories will review the current state of cold fusion research.

All meetings are held at the Guilderland Public Library, 2228 Western Avenue, Guilderland, NY, at 7:00 pm, on the first Wednesday of each month. Meetings are free and open to the public. For more information call Mike Sofka at 437-1750 or email sofkam@rpi.edu.

Thank You.

Thank you to Peter Huston, David ``the Mighty'' Quinne, Russell Dunn, and Dorothy Sager for their contributions to this newsletter. Thank you also to the anonymous members of the Internet derrida list who answered David's question. Without you there would be no ``Ask the Psychic.'' Thanks also go to Peter Huston, Robert Mulford, and Dorothy and Ralph Hoyt for their help planning and publicizing ISUNY meetings, and to Herb Jones for making room arrangements with the Guilderland Library. A special thank you to Dorothy Sager for copy-editing. Dot does an excellent job removing spelling and grammar errors, and offering clarifications. All un-expunged mis-corrections in discourse are to be relegated to chaotic perturbations of the incommensurability in the choosen explicable methods of post-colonial expression.

ISUNY thanks all of its members for their support. We would especially like to thank our Patron members: Jordan Coleman, Charles Davies, Larry Jones & Barbara Eisenstadt, Alan & Susan French, Dr. Richard H. Lange, Christopher Masto, Hugh A. McGlinchey, Bob & Dee Mulford, Dorothy and Carl Sager, Mike & Carla Sofka, Douglas Wells, Guier Scott Wright.

About the Newsletter.

The WHY-Files is the newsletter of the Inquiring Skeptics of Upper New York. Articles, reviews and letters can be sent to the editor at sofkam@rpi.edu, or to 8 Providence Street, Albany, NY 12203. Hard copy and disks will be returned only if accompanied by a self addressed and stamped envelope, or at regular club meetings.

The newsletter was typeset using the document preparation system written and placed in the public domain by Donald Knuth of Stanford University. Macros for this newsletter are available at http://www.rpi.edu/~sofkam/tex.html. The Why-Files are available at: http://www.rpi.edu/~sofkam/isuny/.

Unless otherwise stated, permission is granted to other skeptical organizations to reprint articles from The Why-Files as long as proper credit is given. The Why-Files also requests that you send copies of your newsletters that reprint our articles. All articles printed in The Why-Files remain the copyrighted property of their author.

Articles, reports, reviews, and letters published in The WHY-Files represent the views and work of individual authors. Their publication does not necessarily constitute an endorsement by Inquiring Skeptics of Upper New York or its members unless so stated.


1 Daniel Ryder, Breaking the Circle of Satanic Ritual Abuse: Recognizing and Recovering from the Hidden Trauma, CompCare Publishers, Minneapolis, 1992

2 Hicks, Robert D., In Pursuit of Satan: The Police and the Occult, Prometheus, Buffalo, New York, 1991.

3 Victor, Jeffrey S., Satanic Panic: The Creation of a Contemporary Legend, Open Court, Chicago and La Salle, IL, 1993.

4 Think about it.

5 This news may have precipitated the mass suicide of Heaven's Gate cult members (see articles in The WHY-files for May).