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Free Inquiry

by Matt Cherry

The following articles are from Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 18, Number 2.

Psychic Friends Go Bankrupt

No one saw it coming. The owners of the Psychic Friends Network have filed for bankruptcy. The company had estimated annual revenues of over $100 million in the early 1990s. But predicting the future isn't what it used to be. Competition and management mistakes led to bankruptcy with liabilities of $26 million and assets of about $1.2 million.

Tabloid Hell

Those who claim that no one takes the supermarket tabloids seriously should speak to the folk of Starkfield, North Dakota. According to the Grand Forks Herald,

After a supermarket tabloid printed a story about a tunnel in a farm field near Starkweather, N.D., that leads to hell, the locals were amused. But their good humor soon diminished. Dealing with the influx of people searching for the hell hole quickly grew tiresome for the residents.

The article, which appeared in the Weekly World News, reported that a farmer clearing an abandoned field uncovered a stinking pit brimming with bones. Excavation revealed a spiraling staircase that appeared to wind down infinitely into the earth. The article further stated that local scientists walked 300 feet down the staircase and entered "another dimension." The governor then reportedly approved the use of a 12-man strike force including Vatican exorcists to descend into the hell hole to destroy Satan.

"Why us?" asked one of the frustrated residents. "Now I understand why celebrities get so upset with those tabloids. I never realized the power of those things."

31% of Americans say that Hell exists as an actual location, "a place of physical torment." 30% believe that Satan is "a living being."

The Boss Is God

A British court has ruled that Church of England clergy are employed by God not by the Church, according to a report in the St. Petersburg Times. What is more, the big boss in the sky is not subject to British employment laws. The ruling was in response to a claim of unfair dismissal by a laid-off priest. "A minister of religion serves God and his congregation but does not serve an employer," said Lord Justice Christopher Staughton. In addition to these theological distinctions, the judge also saw a jurisdictional problem: "I don't think you have an address for Him, so you will not be able to serve any documents."

Kleberg County, Texas, has made the blissful "Heaven-o" its official salutation, replacing the diabolical "Hello."

Dead Man Talking

The Northern Student - a newspaper at the Bemidji State University in Minnesota - reports that the "BSU College Communists" is under the direct leadership of Karl Marx. To overcome the potential leadership obstacle of Marx's death more than a century ago, the group channels the spirit of the German philosopher at a weekly sťance. The Northern Student reported group member Andrew Wiggins as saying, "Karl Marx is in charge of the group. He speaks from the dead through one of the members, and she tells us what his thoughts are." I tried to contact Karl Marx at his last known address - Highgate Cemetery - to discuss this claim, but the materialist philosopher was too busy spinning in his grave to comment.

Send interesting news items and tidbits to Sidelines, Free Inquiry, POB 664, Amherst, NY 14226-0644, or e-mail to: aszalanski@centerforinquiry.net

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