A psychic from Wales brainwashed women into stripping naked and performing sex acts after claiming it would improve their chances of contacting dead relatives.
49-year-old Karl Lang also persuaded his victims that nudity would ‘enhance their psychic powers’ at his seances because ‘the spirits are also naked’.
Lang also told two female clients that ‘being more outrageous would please the spirits’, the court heard, and that sending naked photos of themselves to him would increase their psychic abilities.
The two women, both in their twenties, were tricked after asking Lang, who claimed to be the reincarnation of Jesus, to help contact their dead relatives, a jury heard.
One of them had hoped to communicate with her father, the other wanted to contact her grandfather.
Police were finally called after Lang told one of the women that for further progress to be made, she should allow him to touch her, it is alleged.
Prosecutor Matthew Roberts said: ‘It was a cruel trick. He was a sexual fraudster and he conned them.
‘He told them that by acting more and more outrageously they could get in touch with dead relatives they were desperate to speak to.
‘He encouraged them to send him naked photographs of themselves saying it would increase their psychic powers. He told them they had to be naked as the spirits are also naked.’
Mr Roberts added: ‘He totally brainwashed them. He was a charming, charismatic spiritualist who was able to dominate his victims.’
The first alleged victim lost her father ten years ago. Mr Roberts continued: ‘She wanted to be trained as a medium to reach her dad and help other grieving people. But the training became more explicit and intense.
It involved her touching herself in front of Lang and sending Lang naked photographs of herself. Alarm bells started ringing when Lang told her that to progress to the next level he must touch her.’
The woman said: ‘He was an abuser taking advantage of the fact that my dad died when I was young and I never had the chance to say goodbye.’
The jury was told on Tuesday that the pair met weekly over a two-year period and the woman described her training as becoming more and more explicit as Lang told her to be ‘outrageous to please the spirits’.
She claims he told her some girls sent him explicit text messages, photos and videos of themselves to improve their medium skills, and though she said this made her ‘feel sick’ she sent him eight naked photos of herself.
At every meeting the woman would be naked with her eyes closed, meditating for 30 minutes, with Lang telling her to imagine scenarios – such as having sex with five men on a desert island.
Lang is later said to have told her that her father had contacted him to say her psychic skills had improved after she performed a sexual act while sitting naked.
The 27-year-old brunette, who has been prescribed anti-depressants for anxiety, yesterday spoke via a video link to the court, saying: ‘Karl blackmailed me.
He said if I ever told on him or stopped training, I would never be able to speak to my father. I was vulnerable, manipulated and brainwashed – and he knew it.
‘He reassured us by saying what we were doing was completely normal, that this was how you trained to become a medium. But I felt pressurised and uncomfortable.’
She said that one day he told her he had performed a sex act on a girl he was training.
‘He said the spirit world was instructing him to do it with me,’ she said. ‘That creeped me out. I knew it had to stop.’
She added: ‘Karl said nothing would ever happen to him. He was Jesus Christ, he was invincible. We were groomed and whatever Karl said went as gospel. Now every time I think of my father, I am haunted by Karl.’
The jury at Newport Crown Court in South Wales heard that the other woman stopped visiting Lang when he said he would have to touch her with his mouth if she wanted to ‘progress up the psychic scale’.
Lang, of Newport, denies 12 charges of causing women to engage in sexual activity without consent between 2005 and 2009. The trial continues.
An 11-year-old Vietnamese girl in HCM City can radiate and burn things that surround her, confirmed his father on May 13.
Mr T. in Ward 2, Tan Binh district, said that her daughter automatically burnt nearly everything in the third storey of their house on May 12, perhaps with the super-energy radiated from her body. The girl was not exposed to fire inducing objects.
Fire fighters were called to distinguish the fire.
Mr T.’s family discovered his daughter’s unique ability about one month ago and has recently allowed the media to meet her in the hope that both domestic and foreign scientists can step in and help treat her bizarre ‘disease’.
Mr T. said his family has been worried, tired and tense following several recent incidents.
At first, his family’s electricity network underwent repetitive short circuiting. Many electrical sockets in the house also burnt when the girl approached them.
Taking the girl to other homes causes the same phenomenon. She also burnt the hotel room where her family stayed during their holiday on Vung Tau beach.
Recently, the girl burnt a corner of the toilet seat . Sometimes, her clothes suddenly burst into flames.
Her family now guards her around the clock to prevent any possible incident. When she goes to sleep, water buckets and a wet towel will be placed next to her bed to put out the fire in case of emergency.
The T. family took the girl to a scientist, named Du Quang Chau, at Hong Bang International University for treatment.
After several tests, the scientist said he noticed variations from the norm in her cerebral hemisphere. Further research into her strange case is needed, according to Chau.
The girl was medically examined at Cho Ray Hospital and the Children No 2 Hospital but doctors found nothing abnormal about her body.
The girl once had a serious accident at the age of 3.
A miniature long-haired dachshund who has saved the life of her owner twice after she suffered seizures, has been nominated for an award.
Dachshund Ellie-May is not trained for rescues, and first showed her skills when her owner collapsed in a country lane.
Now the three-year-old barks and “screams” to alert people when Yolande Rees-Hopkins, of Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, is in danger.
Ms Rees-Hopkins said Ellie-May’s ability was amazing and had even saved her from drowning in the bath.
“My husband had gone out and he’d just come back in by the time I was under the water, and he would not have found me in time if it wasn’t for Ellie-May,” she said.
Ellie-May even seemed to sense when her owner has a seizure even if they are apart, she added.
“I could be 50 miles away from her and she will still know what is happening. I’ve never heard of this kind of thing before.”
Ellie-May is one of a number of dogs owned by Ms Rees-Hopkins, but none of the others have had the same ability.
While Ms Rees-Hopkins said winning would make no difference about how she felt about Ellie-May, it would be “nice for her to be recognised”.
“She’s the only dog in her category which has not been specially trained for what she does,” she added.
Memory tests carried out by Daryl Bem in 2010 ‘proved’ that we have the ability to predict the future by picking out certain words.
The Cornell University academic published a paper which claimed subjects shown a list of words could better recall the ones that they would later be shown again – but before they actually knew which words made up the second list.
The apparently rigorous exam seemed to prove that participants could see into the future, and ‘pick out’ the words that they would soon come across.
The report was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and sparked outrage among many psychologists, who could not believe the result.
But now other scientists have tried to replicate the results – and found nothing.
University of Hertfordshire psychologist Richard Wiseman and University of London psychologist Christopher French both conducted the rebuttal experiment using a group of 50 people.
Explaining his scepticism in the original study, Wiseman told LiveScience: ‘It’s almost as if you study for an exam, you do the exam and then you study for it afterwards and then you get a better mark.
‘So you can see why we were kind of surprised by that.’
‘We found nothing. It might just be because the [original] statistics were a fluke.
‘You’re going to get some false positives sometimes.’
In the original study, Bem’s participants saw a list of 48 words flashed onto a computer screen, and were then treated to a surprise memory test in which they were asked to type in as many of the words as they remembered.
Then a random sample of 24 of the previous 48 words was presented again, and the participants did some practice exercises with these words.
Analysing the results, Bem found that the students were more likely to recall the words that were about to appear on the later exercise list, implying they could predict the future.
Bem published his research and methods, and encouraged other testers to try to replication of his results. The computer program used in the experiment was placed online.
Following the follow-up studies, Bem said more research was needed, and suggested the experimenters were sceptical, which may have unwittingly influenced the results – athough the computer-based study is designed to alleviate this effect.
Bem said: ‘This does not mean that the results are unverifiable by independent investigators, but that we must begin regarding the experimenter as a variable in the experiments that should be included in the research designs.’
Wiseman said the follow-up research did show some insight and issues with current reporting of experiments.
The Journal decided to publish his follow-up studies, and Wiseman said: ‘There’s a real problem with finding shocking findings and then not being interested in publishing replications.
‘It’s kicked up a huge debate about how scientists do work and how journals publish that work, and I think that’s very valuable in itself – even if I’m not that confident that these findings are real.’
Bizarre claims of a plot to assassinate Pope Benedict XVI are reverberating beyond just Italy as the report spreads around the globe.
Oservers say that this story signals the latest twist in an increasingly cutthroat internal Vatican power dispute.
The Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano published the sensational ”mordkomplott” letter detailing an alleged plot against the Pope on its front page on Friday.
Despite a Vatican spokesman claiming it was ”nonsense – not to be taken seriously”, the content of the anonymous warning letter, dated December 30, 2011, was reported widely in Italian and German media.
The letter was delivered in early January to the Vatican Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, and the Pope’s private secretary, Georg Ganswein, by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos of Colombia, according to Il Fatto Quotidiano.
The paper suggested it had been written in German to avoid attracting the attention of certain Vatican officials while communicating clearly and directly with close advisers to the Pope, who is German.
Labelled ”strictly confidential for the Holy Father”, the detailed letter reports several conversations that Cardinal Paolo Romeo, the Archbishop of Palermo, allegedly had with Italian businessmen in Beijing on a trip last November during which he predicted the pope would die within 12 months and suggested his replacement would be Angelo Scola, the Archbishop of Milan.
”This seems something so far from reality and not serious that I don’t want to even comment,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said when asked for comment by the paper.
Cardinal Hoyos felt the threat was serious enough that he suggested the Vatican open an inquiry into exactly what was said during the China trip, which, if it happened, was not widely reported publicly.
According to Il Fatto Quotidiano, these latest revelations are further proof that a messy internal power dispute is unfolding inside the Vatican.
Earlier this month, four clerics publicly defended their management of the sovereign, 44-hectare Vatican City, in the heart of Rome, after a former deputy governor levelled harsh criticisms of corruption over how bids and contracts were managed.
Princess is the star of New Jersey’s Popcorn Park Zoo and she has correctly picked the winner of five of the last six Super Bowls.
She went 14 and 6 predicting regular season and playoff games this year, and has a lifetime record of 88-51.
The Bactrian camel’s prognostication skills flow from her love of graham crackers. Zoo general manager John Bergmann places a cracker and writes the name of the competing teams on each hand. Whichever hand Princess nibbles from is her pick.
On Wednesday, she made her pick with no hesitation at all, predicting bad news for Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, even though the Las Vegas oddsmakers have New England favored by about 3 points.
Her only miscue in the big game was picking the Indianapolis Colts over the New Orleans Saints two years ago, indicating that even camels know it’s generally risky to go against Peyton Manning.
“It started out when a local radio station was looking to have some fun, so they asked Princess who was going to win a particular game each week, and it just took off from there,” Bergmann said. “Now we have guys calling up on Sunday morning wanting to know who Princess has picked that week. One guy even asked if she does lottery numbers.”
Her best season was 2008, when she got 17 out of 22 games right, including correctly picking the Pittsburgh Steelers to win the Super Bowl.
Princess doesn’t do point spreads. But she has nearly mastered the art of picking straight-up winners.
The cunning camel was once the personal pet of heiress Doris Duke, the only child of tobacco and electric energy tycoon James Buchanan Duke.
Doris Duke raised Princess and her sister Babe from youngsters, Bergmann said.
The pair of camels had their own barn, and spent summers at Duke’s Rhode Island estate. During bad weather, they were put up in the solarium.
After Duke’s death in 1993, the camels stayed on her estate in Hillsborough. Babe died several years ago, leaving just Princess.
When Princess’ caretaker was about to retire, the estate offered Princess to Popcorn Park Zoo, which took her in. The zoo cares for abandoned and abused animals.