Alchemy 101: the art of making a witness statement vanish


 I have started to understand that false memory people and down-at-the-pub skeptics regard themselves as some kind of contemporary reverse alchemists.

But whereas the alchemist claimed to turn ordinary matter into the extraordinary – the skeptic or debunker turns the extraordinary into the mundane. So a skull becomes a coconut for example

Here is short news snipet from the Daily Telegraph  Nov 2002

Call for changes in child-abuse inquiries

A former police chief called for changes in child-abuse investigations to protect those wrongly accused.

Tom Williamson, the retired deputy chief constable of Nottinghamshire, told the annual conference of the United Campaign Against False Allegations of Abuse that interviews with those making the allegations must be tape-recorded.

Agh. the tape-recorder again.

Nothing that cannot be proved by controlled experiment in a laboratory is true. And seeing as sexual abuse tends not to come in laboratory controlled packages with in-built tape recorders, it does not exist

 Also present at this conference was a Peer of the Realm.

peer editedHe spoke about a case of apparent alchemy, where witnesses changed their story in the middle of a trial.

Apparently a defence lawyer had said to a witness

“You might as well admit it. You’re doing all this for the compensation, aren’t you?

And the witness replied

 “Yes, I am. And everything I have said in evidence is a complete pack of lies.”

Another witness did not turn up to court and instead sent a letter to the judge which read

I am not coming to court because all the statements I have given to the police are untrue.”

The judge then dismissed the case

Does anybody know what case the peer was referring to? Because if it is true then I would like to know if the witness were charged with contempt of court. Could you help me out here Earl Howe? Or are you currently too busy smashing up the NHS?


Safari newsletter no 1

Still life with coconuts. Paul Dilbert

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