Tag: Christchurch Earthquake

Conspiracy Corner – HAARP!

Last Thursday I talked about HAARP and its supposed role as a contributory cause to the Christchurch earthquake(s).

Rather than rehash material I’ve already blogged about, I’m going to point you towards my previous coverage of the Christchurch earthquake conspiracy theories.


The Christchurch Quake Conspiracy (plural) – Part Nine – Ken Ring’s Successful Opinion?

As many of you will now know, there was a major earthquake in Christchurch, Te Wai Pounamu (the South Island of what is commonly known as “New Zealand”) today and supporters of Ken Ring are claiming their belief in his lunar system has been vindicated because of this:

It means ths area of the sun that corresponds to NZ is again seeing some activation. The window of 15-25 February should be potent for all types of tidal action, not only kingtides but cyclone development and ground movement. The 18th may be especially prone. The possible earthquake risk areas are N/S faults until after 16 February, then E/W faults until 23rd. The moon will be full on the 18th and in perigee on the 19th. This perigee will be the fifth closest for the year. The 15th will be nodal for the moon. On the 20th the moon crosses the equator heading south. Strong winds and swells may arrive around 22nd to NZ shorelines.

Now, I’m already find that people are asking me what I think of this, and you’ll find some of that discussion going on here in the comments of an earlier post.

I will, if I get the time (I am busy finishing my thesis, you see) write something more substantive on this, but I do want to note one thing. Ring writes:

For an earthquake to occur many factors have to come together, but sun activity, full moon and perigee are arguably the most potent, and they are all starting to chime now. Over the next 10 days a 7+ earthquake somewhere is very likely.

Note that he is talking about a 7+ earthquake. I don’t want to dismiss just how bad today’s quake has been, but it’s just a 6.3. I say “just” here because the Richter Scale is a curious thing; it is logarithmic. The difference between a 6.3 quake and something in 7s is huge; a 7-point quake is ten times as powerful as a 6-point quake. Not only that but the frequency of a 7-point quake is about 12 a year compared to the 180 6-point quakes we normally expect.

Ring predicted a much more unique and dangerous event than the one that occurred, which is yet another good reason to treat this prediction as not being much chop. It’s no minor difference or a point that we can quibble about; what Ring predicted is not what occurred today in Christchurch

But, of course, Ring doesn’t claim these are predictions; they are, according to him:

These are opinions and not predictions…

Buyer beware.

The Christchurch Quake Conspiracy (plural) – Part the Last – A Conclusion, sort of

A conclusion, sort of

I’m not sure that I have covered every conspiracy theory about the Christchurch Earthquake of September 14th; the fact that Christchurch is still suffering serious aftershocks is bound to lead to even more theories as to what was really the cause. Frankly, I think it was probably the cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers (CHUDs). They love to party, and they love to crank up the noise.

What I have found, looking at the conspiracy theories with sometimes jaundiced eyes, is just how easily the event (the Earthquake) was placed into an existing conspiracy theory dialectic/template. Do you believe in weather manipulation? If so, then the quake can be fitted into that story. Do you believe that dairy farming is evil? Guess what, dairy farmers were a cause of the earthquake? Are the gods out to get us? Sure; look at what happened on September 4th in Te Wai Pounamu.

I was a little surprised by the speed at which these theories have appeared, but I shouldn’t be. Vague theories spread quickly on the internet, and attributing a natural disaster to some fuzzy causal mechanism such as the LHC and its perpendicular gravity waves or the potential release of pressure on the local tectonic plates due to a change in the water table is just par for the course ((I don’t like golf, but I do seem to like golfing metaphors.)). I should note that there don’t appear to be any original conspiracy theories for the quake (if we ignore the satirical take of Bob Parker, Jon Gadsby and the muffins ((Do you know the Muffin Man?)).). No new theses have been advanced for the cause of the quake; rather, existing conspiracy theories were able to accommodate the quake into their narratives with nary a pause for doubt.

Business as usual.

It has been a little draining to go through all of these theories, trying to make sense of why people would shout “Conspiracy” for something that seems, not just on the face of it, to be a natural disaster. Still, I shouldn’t complain. Despite the “hardship” of reading blogposts and forum comments, nothing compares to what the people of Christchurch are going through. They’ve been through (and are still going through) hell. The last thing they need are conspiracy theorists, who don’t know any better, claiming that the disaster was the result of this, or that, or even “them.”

The people of the Canterbury Plains should not have to deal with such conspiracy theorists. Not now, possibly not even at some point in the future. Whilst I don’t know that anyone will be making much capital out of these conspiracy theories (although Jonathan Eisen and “Uncensored” might well prove me wrong), if they do… Well, point them out to me.

One final thought. I started this series of posts with the disclaimer “Conspiracy theorists are just like us and any one of us could have been a conspiracy theorist.” I have, maybe, moved away from that assertion over the last few days. Even though my doctoral work doesn’t really indicate to me that conspiracy theorists are any more pathological in their inferential mechanisms than anyone else, reading all this stuff has made me go “Hey, maybe the psychologists are right after all…” I suspect this is just a symptom of spending too much time trying to make sense of what seems like a truly crazy proposition, claiming that a natural disaster was the result of a conspiracy. I can understand conspiracy theorising when it comes to events of political import, but earthquakes? No. That seems a tad bit of crazy too far.

If new theories come up, well, I shall cover them. For the moment I think nit’s time to take a rest from this “investigative journalism” and go back to focussing on finishing this PhD of mine. I do want to do write on the Chemtrails NZ people at some point in the future; the letters Will Ryan (he who called me one of the country’s top debunkers) has been sending to Nick Smith and John Key are worthy of note. One thing this series of posts has shown to me is that local conspiracy theories really could be my bread and butter post the submission of the dissertation. Between them and the Celtic New Zealand people, why look overseas for weird and wacky ideas to entertain, critique and do the fandango over?

And, of course, there is always Plan B; become moderately less poor than I am now by endorsing one of these theories and doing a lecture tour through small towns, playing to the kind of people who believe such things.

I probably jest.

Next time: Well, unless something new and interesting comes up, next time will be a pretty PDF (and maybe even an ePub) of all these posts, put together as one article. I might even try to submit it to darling old “Uncensored” to see if they would be willing to print something of a critical thinking perspective around conspiracy theories about the quake. Then again, I’m loath to legitimise Eisen and his crusade, so maybe I should submit it elsewhere. The Fortean Times, perhaps? Any other suggestions?

The Christchurch Quake Conspiracy (plural) – Part Six – Astrology

Written in the stars

Is a natural disaster natural if it was caused by the stars or the Moon? Probably, although most geologists and meteorologists would be surprised to hear that such distant bodies were causal factors in such essentially seismic activity. The astrological explanations for the Christchurch Earthquake of September the 4th are not conspiracy theories per se, but they are interestingly related to them, given that the assertion of these rival explanations being not just plausible candidate explanatory hypotheses for the quake but being the explanation is usually accompanied with some claim that the reason why this isn’t commonly known is because mainstream science is run by a rich elite who do not want is to know…

Over at Darkstar Astrology, earthquakes are considered to have a clear astrological origin or contributory cause.

[W]e have looked at charts for major earthquakes in relation to the aspects involving trans-Neptunian planets, especially Sedna and Eris.


Sedna again looks to be important in this Christchurch earthquake. It is the action point of a Yod aspect pattern to Mars sextile Ceres.

Now, most sceptics, and most members of the public, will not be aware that earthquakes, tsunamis and the like have astrological causes, mostly because we learnt, during the Enlightenment, that such theories are bunk. Still, the modern astrologer will claim that even if the ancients were wrong (although surely they can’t have been?), new science has proven that their intuitions were basically correct. They will point towards new theories ((One webage, Astrology Notes on Earthquakes: Increased seismic risk with Saturn and Uranus in opposition , whilst talking about the link between the stars and earthquakes, has the line “Using my astro-seismic formula…” Comedy gold.)), or Quantum Physics (citing spooky action at a distance), or to the work of Richard Hoagland on hyperdimensional physics ((Which claims that vast amounts of energy, which originate from imperceivable dimensions, are to be found at latitudes 19.5° both sides of the equator on every solar body in our solar system.)).

Whatever the case, according to another of my Te Wai Pounamu-based correspondents (with her wry face set firmly to on, the astrologists claim the aftershocks should stop in first week of October. A testable prediction; I would be more impressed by the claim, if it weren’t both likely and already predicted by the rival, geological theory for seismic activity.

Meanwhile Ken Ring, astrologer and someone who claims he can predict the weather based upon the phases of the Moon, claims here that he predicted the earthquake of September 4th. Ring is an astrologer who thinks the Moon is the bee’s knees when it comes to weather prediction. Like the more traditional astrologers, he’s not really advancing a conspiracy theory about some sinister sect that induced the quake (although he does suggest that mainstream science, by deliberately downplaying good old accurate Astrology, is somehow at fault for the quake ((I.e. This suggests Ring does think there is some conspiracy, by the establishment, to keep astrologers like himself on the outside of the debate.)).

Gone are the days when all scientists were astrologers first and foremost, and when Sir Isaac Newton described astrology as the first science. Subsequently also gone are the times when science could predict anything useful.

Yes, pity poor modern science. It might be able to get objects to land on Mars and skirt close enough to the outer planets to take spectacular photos, but it’s no match for the predictive majesty of the daily horoscope.

Sarcasm aside, Ring bases his weather predictions on the phases of the Moon, which allows him to create a rather ornate pseudoscience with claims like:

A fortnight beforehand the full moon was passing over close to the equator, which would have provided enough of a tidal force to lift that plate, in other words weaken it, and then a fortnight later when the moon was high in the N hem and just rising, it would have provided the lateral force required to trigger the rest. The unusual closeness of the moon is the key.


And here’s how the big earthquake unfolded. On Sept 4th the moon came significantly within range of the node at 3.37am (5deg of applying), about an hour before the earthquake occurred at 4.30am. In a manner of speaking it gave the moon an hour to take aim.

Here’s Ring’s prediction for the next big quake in March next year:

Next year, the morning of 20 March 2011 sees the South island again in a big earthquake risk for all the same reasons. This date is the closest fly-past the moon does in all of 2011. The node arrives on the 20th at 9.44am. As that date coincides with lunar equinox this will probably be an east/west faultline event this time, and therefore should be more confined to a narrower band of latitude. The only east/west fault lines in NZ are in Marlborough and N Canterbury. All factors should come together for a moon-shot straight through the centre of the earth and targeting NZ. The time will be just before noon. It could be another for the history books.

Should we take Ring seriously. One word answer: No. For more words, look here and here, where someone actually debates Ring over his claim that he predicted the events of September 4th ((This post, from the people at “Silly Beliefs” is informative for just how, well, clueless, Ring is.)). There’s no real point my replicating their work here, especially as if you read the “Silly Belief” comments thread, you get the pleasure of seeing Ring try to dodge and eventually debate his opponents.

Next time: The conclusion, probably.

The Christchurch Quake Conspiracy (plural) – Part Five – Falling and Free Masonry

Would you believe that there was a conspiracy to sell more lingerie behind the earthquake? No, nor would I, and this article doesn’t even suggest it (even though it does suggest the two are causally related). Still, if I were the writer behind the Bob Parker website, I’d be including it in the narrative.

The Eye in the Pyramid in the Field (in Christchurch)

Freemasonic plots are not common (as far as I’ve found in my reading of the local literature) in the conspiracy theories of Aotearoa. We don’t really do the “fear of what those ancient and secret societies are up to” thing; we just tend to think that the members of such fraternal orders are bit sad ((Sorry, guys, but it’s true. Your secret societies, your robes and your wacky handshakes aren’t going to get you into the parties you’d like to be going to.)). However, someone in Christchurch, writing in to The Press ((One of my bugbears, as a researcher, is that newspapers do not publish “Letters to the Editor” online, so I’d like to give a very special shout out to a friend down in Christchurch who goes out of her way to provide me with pieces like the following tidbit. Cher, mi’dear.)), thinks that there is something suspicious about the quake and the devastation it has caused to certain Masonic landmarks:

Thanks for the schematic of the epicentre. My attention was instantly drawn to the eye at the apex of a perfectly pyramidical paddock, itself part of a larger equilateral triangle formed by Kivers (Covers), Grange and Aylesbury roads.

Given that the eye in the pyramid is a classic Masonic symbol, it is strangely coincidental that much of what was destroyed in the quake involved the work of masons, my great-great-grandfather, William Brassington, chief among them.

As my Christchurch-based correspondent wrote:

Although I … [PROFESSION REDACTED TO PROTECT THE INNOCENT] make some sort of living decoding visual images, clearly it didn’t make such a profound impression on me as on the letter-writer, who is probably contacting Dan Brown with urgent new information as we speak.

Another example of this comes out from Clare Swinney. She writes:

The first earthquake report, which was numbered: 3366146/G, stated that the focal depth was 33 km and the magnitude was 7.4 on the Richter scale. Consider that 7 + 4 = 11 and that the numbers 33 and 11 are of pivotal importance to the highest echelons of the Freemasons.

The Scottish Rite of Freemasonry consists of 33 degrees and 11, 22, and 33 are deemed Master Numbers, numbers worshipped to empower them in their bizarre quest to destroy humanity.

Those evil Scottish Freemasons (whose natural home is Dunedin, which is the enemy of good old Christchurch ((Well, so I imagine.))). Anyway, Swinney goes on, making supposition after conjecture after, well, whatever passes for argumentation in her world, finally saying:

I have yet to find hard evidence to substantiate this. I will let you know if I do. ((She’s talking about evidence for Tesla’s rumoured earthquake machinery, but, really, it applies to the entire screed.))

Still, it gets better, trust me.

Obligatory “The Big Lebowski” Reference

Let me return to that letter to the editor of the Press. He finishes with the following classic flourish:

Christ said he would build his assembly upon a rock. Paradoxically, our city, ostensibly named for him, is built on sand, shingle and swamp – and some deeply concealed faults.

The religious angle on the Earthquake is interesting; a fair number of right-wing commentators in the States have either lamented that a place named after the Church of Christ might be destroyed in a quake (which is how a lot of people overseas seem to be reading our natural disaster) or claim that the people of Christchurch deserved it because they had the hubris to name their city after the Lord Someone’s God, who would appear to be a vengeful spirit who really only likes hypocrites and Conservatives. Or something; the dialectic about god-induced natural disasters is all very confusing and it tends to boil down to two things.

1) Can we find some (any) transgression by the locals to blame the disaster upon, and

2) Are we such complete arseholes that we’re willing to tell the victims, who are already suffering, that they deserve to suffer because they did (or, in most cases, where alleged to do) something we’re not comfortable with.

I suspect what this proves is also twofold.

1) (Some) Religiously-minded people are incredibly vindictive, and

2) The god (or the gods), that they hold so high, obviously sub-contract out these matters to incompetents (since some of the faithful always seem to get hurt in the process), which is why:

a) We really shouldn’t worship such entities if they aren’t going to bother to micro-manage (it is their job, for god’s sake ((Oh, my comedy instinct is really running on empty at the moment.))), and

b) Perhaps this suggests that the natural disasters weren’t induced by supernatural agency after-all.

That, one would hope, pretty much wraps it up for god (or the gods). Still, the religious angle is being played out elsewhere in our own conspiracy theoretic blogosophere. Over at Issues That Matter Most one post starts:

“The NZ CHRISTCHURCH earthquake is definitely a sign from God to the CHURCH OF CHRIST. The time 4:35 AM has been mentioned several times by the doves. However, no one seems to notice the coordinates: 43.55°S, 172.18°E (link). The number 435 is in the coordinates as well — 43.55°S! What is more, 29 cubits is 43.5 feet — a direct link to NOAH and our ESCAPE at the rapture !!!!!! The remaining digit 5 & the number 172.18 form two numbers that suggest HARPAZO (518 Greek gematria, from amalgam of digit 5 and .18°; link) on the 17th day of the 2nd month (from 172°) !

The local time 4:35 AM is 16:35 universal time. GET THIS RIGHT: It is 7 hours 26th minute from MIDNIGHT (G726 is HARPAZO) !!!!!!

Now, weird numbers, simple ciphers and symbolic architecture is really the play set of a certain class of conspiracy theorist. They “see” much more by the way of connection between events in the world, the landscape that makes up the world and a number of arbitrary features that exist in between. If there is a class of conspiracy theorist I do not understand, it is this kind, who I call the cabalist.

It is hard to know where to start a critique of this kind of conspiracy theorising. The use of numbers is, of course, meaningless; you can select and manipulate the names and symbols used in Numerology to get the right values and the values themselves only have particular import if you have already arbitrarily assigned meaning to them. As for finding meaning in architecture… Well, whilst it marks for best-selling pieces of fiction, in the real world sometimes a Square and Compass motif on a building usually just tells you who designed (or built) it, rather than revealing some hidden and sinister history.

Next time: It was written in the stars; the Astrology of the Christchurch Earthquake of September 4th.

The Christchurch Quake Conspiracy (plural) – Part Four – Mining, Dairying, the Reptiles and You

Whilst the LHC and HAARP conspiracy theories for the earthquake of September 4th are well fleshed out (fatty, even), the other contenders, aside from, of course, the official theory that it was perfectly natural (but inopportune) seismic activity, are young, thin and pliable. Yet, and I say this advisedly, some of them are much more plausible than their bigger, elder siblings.

Mineral Westcoast ((No puns.))

Over at Trademe (the local equivalent of eBay), the finger of guilt has been firmly pointed in the direction of “Minerals Westcoast,” a local, Crown-owned, prospecting firm. Apparently they have been puncturing the Earth with their drills, and this has resulted in a release of pressure which caused the earthquake.

The argument presented on Trademe is complete supposition. There are no facts being cited, just conjecture and pseudoscientific handwaving, but that shouldn’t get in the way of the story ((Although, in this case, maybe it should, given that it isn’t a very good story.)). Indeed, the Trademe post is so lacking in actual details, aside from the name “Minerals Westcoast,” that it seems like a perfect case of disinformation. It is almost as if this absurd theory has been pushed out there so it can be used to tar the other conspiracy theorists with it (i.e. if they believe that, then they’ll probably also believe this ludricous theory, so obviously they must be wrong; let’s go and have a drink). Frankly, if I had thought of that hypothesis, I’d have been tempted to lay claim to it.

The argument that prospecting caused the quake rests upon the ambiguous way “shallow” has been used and re-used with respect to both the earthquake and the aftershocks. The earthquake originated in a relatively shallow layer of the Canterbury Plains were shallow. The prospectors have been drilling holes and thus their holes must have had some effect on the tectonic plates.

Now, the tectonic plates are a long way down and the kind of exploratory drilling Minerals Westcoast may (or may not) have been doing are not going to reach that far; the earthquakes originated in the relatively shallow layers some ten kilometres beneath the surface.

The mining arguments falls down at the first hurdle, but it does link in with another, related, conspiracy theory, one that claims the dairy industry is truly evil.

Water, water, everywhere…

It’s no secret that dairy farmers are evil; they pollute the waterways, they produce foodstuffs most of the world’s population are allergic too and then they try to sell said product overseas ((As you can tell, I’m not a big fan of the diary industry or its products.)). However, I was not aware that they might be out to get us via induced natural disasters.

Take this (local) letter to the editor:

Have any studies been made into the role of excessive water extraction around fault lines in the generation ofearthquakes or exacerbating the consequences of an earthquake?

Now, there is a legitimate worry that the dairy industry, with its quite heavy water usage, has lowered the water table. Some have gone on to speculate that, maybe, this has changed the weighting of the Canterbury Plains on the tectonic plates beneath them, thus causing the earthquake and the aftershocks.

This thesis relies, like the Minerals Westcoast conspiracy theory on the ambiguous nature of “shallow.” The shallowness of the earthquakes and the shallowness of the water table are taken to be equivalent when, really, they are not.

The earthquake and the aftershocks originated ten kilometres beneath the surface (which, for quake in this region and of this magnitude, is relatively shallow). The water table is, however, much, much higher; despite the fact that water extraction has lowered said table, it hasn’t lowered it to the extent that it would become a contributory cause for the quake (although it might have contributed to the extent of the damage caused by said quake). Both the water table and the area in which the earthquakes originated are shallow, but they are shallow with respect to their geological peers and not to each other.

Now, a finessed version of this conspiracy theory would talk about how the National Government abolished the local, democratic, control of the Canterbury region and gave it over to a cabal of dairy farming interests, who then used it to… Test their new geological weapon? Experiment on the local populace? Whatever the case, this conspiracy theory would show that the dairy industry have been planning this earthquake for quite some time and that the national (National) Government is in on it.

Seems like a plausible story to me.


Well, probably not.

Bob Parker and Jon Gadsby – Reptilian Overloards and Muffin magnates

Possibly the most interesting site to emerge from the chaos of Christchurch is this one. It proposes that former “This Is Your Life” host and current Mayor Bob Parker:


Pure satire, but the amount of work that has gone into it to give it the right amount of verisimilitude is scary. It almost looks “right,” (if you know what I mean) and yet, at the same time, it looks just a little too polished to be true to the fiction. Still, I’d recommend keeping an eye out on this one; who knows where it might go. If you also know who might be behind this marvellous deception, then please drop me a line. I’d like to congratulate the purveyor of such a fine entertainment.

Next time: Some concluding thoughts and maybe a few Freemasons.