Madeleine McCann, the Observer, and their special magic quantum DNA box (with secret energy source)

October 7th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in media | 66 Comments »

Madeleine McCann is a 4 year old girl who went missing from her parents’ holiday hotel room in Portugal 5 months ago. Danie Krugel is an ex-policeman in South Africa who believes he can pinpoint the location of missing people anywhere in the world.

He does this using his special magic box, which works by something to do with “quantum physics”, “complex and secret science techniques”, a secret energy source which nobody is allowed to know about, and a strand of the missing person’s hair or some other source of DNA. His secret method can miraculously pinpoint the missing person’s location anywhere in the world on a map, using their DNA and international GPS technology, so he says.

This might sound ridiculous to you, but today Krugel is featured in a completely serious news story in the Observer newspaper about the hunt for Madeleine McCann, where they report – in all earnestness – that he has found traces of her body on a beach in Portugal. This is not a quirky story about an optimistic eccentric. There is no mention of his top secret quantum technology; instead they explain that “forensic DNA tests” by Krugel have revealed traces of Madeleine’s body in a specific location.

To avoid any ambiguity I’ve reposted their article in full below, because as we know from their recent and entirely bogus front page MMR scare, news stories like this can sometimes disappear from the Observer archives, unannounced and without trace.

Psychics telling your future at the fairground are fine. When it comes to newspapers printing horoscopes, I couldn’t care less. But exploitative misreporting of this scale on this subject is contemptible. You’re as capable as I am of reading about Krugel’s work, and so are the Observer, but still this reputable UK newspaper is presenting magic quantum box tomfoolery as serious DNA evidence on the whereabouts on a little girl who has disappeared and may well be murdered.

Or maybe Krugel’s onto something – I’m perfectly prepared to be convinced – in which case perhaps the Observer could run us through the evidence for his magic quantum box. And while they’re getting that piece together, maybe Krugel would like to apply for James Randi’s excellently passive aggressive one million dollar prize for anyone who can prove their paranormal abilities.

EDIT:

Okay, to be fair, a friend of mine who works as king geek in a forensic science lab points out that the Observer have at least led the field in being unbonkers on the “real” “McCann DNA evidence” “story” a month ago.

observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2165453,00.html

And more than that, it seems the Observer are in excellent company.

Here’s another totally straight faced piece in the Telegraph:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/10/08/nmaddy108.xml

And the tabloids have picked it up too, although at such length that you can at least tell, with their coverage, that there is something fishy about the Krugel device. Even so, according to The Sun “Krugel has scoured Pria da Luz in Portugal and the surrounding area for clues using hi-tech equipment he developed which uses a person’s DNA to track them down.”

In The People Krugel says: “The technology I use picks up a trace using DNA and complex and secret science techniques. The trace was strongest in one area. The machine was highlighting the same co-ordinate and it kept drawing me back there. It left me convinced Madeleine was there. I’m convinced Madeleine’s body is in Praia da Luz. Too much time has been spent accusing Kate and Gerry and not enough searching for Madeleine.”

According to the News of the World “his method uses DNA fragments and Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite technology to find missing persons, alive and dead.” The story also appears in the Daily Mail.

Here’s your man Danie Krugel.

Danie Krugel

And here he is discussing his invention in a South African documentary on his work. “If you get a signature sample of something… let’s call it organic or non-organic… a very small sample. I have developed a method to use that small sample and to create data that I use to search for its origin. So you transmit and you receive.” [Interviewer]: “Is there anything metaphysical involved? Are you psychic?” Krugel: “I‘m a Christian and I put it clearly… this is science, science, science! That is what is so fantastic about it. It is tied to the science we hear but people didn’t realise it… it’s just science. That’s it.”

Science, science, science! That is what is so fantastic about it.

Forensic DNA tests ‘reveal traces of Madeleine’s body on resort beach’

Mark Townsend and Ned Temko
Sunday October 7, 2007
The Observer

Traces of Madeleine McCann’s body were found on a Portuguese beach weeks after she was reported missing, during tests by a former detective renowned for locating abducted children.

Forensic analysis by retired South African police superintendent Danie Krugel claimed to reveal Madeleine’s body had either been temporarily buried or was still beneath the beach at Praia da Luz, the resort from where she disappeared on 3 May.

Based on a combination of Madeleine’s DNA sample and GPS satellite technology, Krugel’s findings were taken so seriously by Portuguese detectives that officers twice searched the beach.

Article continues
Krugel, of the University of Bloemfontein, claims that his technique is able to locate a missing person anywhere in the world using only a single strand of hair. He became famous in South Africa after helping a television crew locate the whereabouts of five South African girls who went missing during the Eighties. Last July the retired detective spent four days in Praia da Luz following a request for assistance from Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann.

‘He clearly identified an area of the beach where Madeleine may have passed through or was buried,’ a close friend of the McCanns said yesterday.

Krugel’s report of his findings to Portuguese detectives eventually led to British officers being asked to bring in sniffer dogs to supplement the search for Madeleine. The subsequent reaction of the dogs to Kate’s clothing – the so-called scent of death – led to the couple being declared formal suspects over the death of their daughter.

The results of Krugel’s investigations come amid mounting concern that the Portuguese-led investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine has stalled with an increasingly exhausted core of ‘half-a-dozen’ CID officers awaiting potentially crucial final forensic results from laboratories in Birmingham.

Reports in the Portuguese press claim that the original team of more than 200 police who were involved in the frantic early days of the investigation has now been whittled down to a small core who have been working without holidays and are ‘completely exhausted’.

The inquiry, increasingly managed by UK-based detectives, appears once again to be focusing on trying to find a missing child rather than on the role of Madeleine’s parents in their daughter’s disappearance.

www.carteblanche.co.za/Display/Display.asp?Id=3233

Secret Science Tested

Date : 03 December 2006

Ruda Landman (Carte Blanche presenter): “Can you remember when the fax machines first became part of the office set-up? When the computer replaced the typewriter? The first time you used an auto teller, the first cell phone call you made? It wasn’t all that long ago, yet at the time it was mind boggling.”

Today it is the most common thing to do. You probably don’t even think twice about it.

Ruda: “Now imagine this: A person disappears, you find a few strands of hair left on a brush, you put those hairs into a gadget and that points out on a map where in the world that person may be.”

That’s exactly what a group of Bloemfontein businessmen claim they are able to do.

Steering the project is Danie Krugel, former police superintendent and current Director of Health and Safety at the Central University of Technology of the Free State.

Danie Krugel (Inventor): “If you get a signature sample of something… let’s call it organic or non-organic… a very small sample. I have developed a method to use that small sample and to create data that I use to search for its origin. So you transmit and you receive.”

Ruda: “Is there anything metaphysical involved? Are you psychic?”

Danie: “I‘m a Christian and I put it clearly… this is science, science, science! That is what is so fantastic about it. It is tied to the science we hear but people didn’t realise it… it’s just science. That’s it.”

Given the massive potential of the invention, Danie refuses to divulge exactly how it works. He says the energy source is his most precious secret.

Meanwhile in the Mirror they’re even more detailed on the science:

www.sundaymirror.co.uk/news/sunday/2007/10/07/i-know-where-maddy-body-is-98487-19909854/

I KNOW WHERE MADDY BODY IS

EXCLUSIVE THE SEARCH FOR MADELEINE DAY 157

Expert pin-points spot on Algarve beach

He accuses police of ignoring his report

By Nick Owens Nick.Owens@Sundaymirror.Co.Uk 07/10/2007

Danie Krugel Danie Krugel

 

Related Articles

Desperate Kate and Gerry McCann have hired a professional “bodyfinder” who says he has pin-pointed the exact spot where their daughter Madeleine is buried.

Scientist and former South African police colonel Danie Krugel secretly flew out to Portugal to meet the couple before spending a week tracking the four-year-old’s DNA trail.

Using cutting-edge technology, Krugel led Portuguese police to an area of beach 500 yards from where she vanished.

Detectives took his finding so seriously that they sealed off the entire area.

But in what could turn out to be yet another astonishing bungle, Portuguese police never bothered to dig at the spot.

Now, as sacked police chief Goncalo Amaral is off the inquiry and a new officer, Carlos do Carmo – dubbed “Portugal’s Robocop” – takes over, Krugel is heading back to reinvestigate.

A source close to the McCanns said last night: “Kate and Gerry are pleased he’s returning. They worked with him before and want to see his leads investigated.”

The former South African detective has an amazing 90 per cent success rate in tracing missing people.

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Mirror, he said last night: “I’m preparing to fly to Portugal again because the investigation seems to have come to a halt.

“I’m convinced Madeleine’s body is in Praia Da Luz.”

The McCanns turned to him in July to spend a week investigating Madeleine’s disappearance after being deluged with emails from members of the public recommending him as a “genius”.

He said: “Gerry sent me a strand of Madeleine’s hair for DNA purposes, which had been removed from her coat.”

Krugel became a household name in South Africa when he created a DNA tracking device which solved a 19-year mystery about the whereabouts of six schoolgirls snatched by a paedophile.

He told last night how he used the same method to track a potential burial spot for Madeleine on the beach in Praia da Luz.

The area was sealed off and Krugel suggested sniffer dogs be brought in to further pinpoint the spot where they needed to dig. Yet ironically, when the dogs arrived they were used by cops to turn the finger of suspicion on to Gerry and Kate.

Portuguese police were more excited about the dogs’ reaction when they searched the McCanns’ Ocean Club apartment and hire car.

It means the area on the beach has still not been searched properly by officers and no dig has ever taken place.

And it came amid new reports from Portuguese newspaper Correio yesterday claiming police believe Madeleine was buried on the beach in Praia da Luz soon after her death.

Krugel added: “After I conducted my investigation I gave the police a map pinpointing the spot I think Madeleine is. And I handed over a 2,000 word report on what they should do next.

“I said sniffer dogs should be brought in to start the search. But I warned that this alone was not enough as dogs are only a success in missing person hunts three out of four times.

“That is why I also suggested a fingertip search of the area and a dig of the spot I located. But if this has not been done, the police really need to start from scratch and investigate that area again.”

He added: “Too much time has been wasted accusing Kate and Gerry and not enough has been spent searching for Madeleine and following up on leads.”

Krugel’s device apparently combines quantum physics and global positioning technology to pin-point a body on a map.

His invention has already helped solve the riddle of a man reported missing by his family.

South African cops had no clue where he was – until Krugel was called in.

He used his DNA expertise to track down the body to a hospital mortuary where he had lain unidentified for days after being knocked down by a car.

Krugel claims his invention works much like a metal detector but tracks minute DNA traces rather than metal.

Krugel landed in Praia da Luz with his machine on July 17 and embarked on a four day search – with the blessing of Portuguese detectives. He said: “I had a meeting with Kate and Gerry where I explained exactly how my technology works and what I was going to do.

“They knew a lot about my work already because people had posted messages about me on the Find Madeleine website.

“The police were fully aware of the work I was about to do.

“I set off with some colleagues and we conducted an extensive search of Praia da Luz using the machine.

“I scoured many different places across the resort and spent time near ports and other exit points in Praia da Luz.

“We spent 16 hours a day searching everywhere – nothing was left unsearched.”

Under Portuguese law Krugel is forbidden from revealing the exact spot as he has mentioned it in a police statement. But sources close to the investigation told the Sunday Mirror that it is a spot on the beach in Praia da Luz near where Gerry regularly went running.

Krugel said: “The technology I use picks up a trace using DNA and complex and secret science techniques. Every day the trace was strongest in this one area.

“The machine was highlighting the same co-ordinate and it kept drawing me back there. It left me convinced that Madeleine was there.

“My machine has a 90 per cent success rate, so I am convinced this is the place where Madeleine is buried.”

Krugel added: “The Portuguese police took my findings seriously at first, but now the work seems to have stopped. In the short time I have had with Kate and Gerry it is clear they are really concerned that the search for Madeleine is getting put to one side because of rumour and speculation. To them, all that matters is that the search for their daughter should go on day and night.”

Krugel’s DNA-tracking machine was first featured on South African TV. Respected news programme Carte Blanche introduced Krugel’s invention last year showing how it helped recover the remains of six children killed by a paedophile in the late-1980s.

The police knew they had been abducted and murdered by paedophile Gert van Rooyen and his female accomplice Joye Haarhoff.

But where the pair had buried the children was one of the biggest criminal mysteries in South African history – until Krugel was called in.

He used his machine to track down an area near to Van Rooyen’s home and in a dig of the area he pinpointed human remains which were found buried deep underground.

The programme claimed that DNA evidence recovered from the skeletons found in the dig proved the bones were those of the missing children. Krugel – head of health and safety at the Central University of Technology in the Free State – is regularly drafted into help in missing children enquiries by South African Police.

The McCanns’ decision to fly Krugel to Praia da Luz is one of many steps they have taken to conduct their own search for Madeleine, missing now for 157 days.

As “arguidos” – suspects – Kate and Gerry retain the right to request that certain investigations are carried out.

Krugel said: “Kate and Gerry are right to try anything at all to find their daughter.

“You can’t just rely on the police and they have done all they can to think of other ways of looking for Madeleine.

“I have told them I am ready to return to Praia da Luz or wherever they need my help.

“All that matters is to keep searching and to keep trying to find this little girl.”

moonflake.wordpress.com/?s=krugel

www.randi.org/jr/2007-08/081007reason.html#i4

www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=vn20070802104403549C501923

www.news24.com/News24/Columnists/Guest_Column/0,,2-1630-1647_2156231,00.html

Etc.

Sigh.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
If you like what I do, and you want me to do more, you can: buy my books Bad Science and Bad Pharma, give them to your friends, put them on your reading list, employ me to do a talk, or tweet this article to your friends. Thanks! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

66 Responses



  1. misterjohn said,

    October 9, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    I find it somewhat disturbing that even though the McCanns are doctors, they are willing to believe an obvious charlatan. It’s true that the loss of a child under any circumstances affects the parents’ mental state, but there remains some rationality, surely?

  2. pv said,

    October 9, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    misterjohn said,

    October 9, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    “I find it somewhat disturbing that even though the McCanns are doctors, they are willing to believe an obvious charlatan. It’s true that the loss of a child under any circumstances affects the parents’ mental state, but there remains some rationality, surely?”

    Maybe one should be suspicious rather than disturbed.

  3. Robert Carnegie said,

    October 10, 2007 at 1:55 am

    Don’t believe that the McCanns really have anything to do with White-Man-Science Witch-Doctor. The McCanns are a giant newspaper Not-True Zone. I’m not quite convinced they exist at all.

  4. Steve Senior said,

    October 10, 2007 at 10:45 am

    I don’t know who is the bigger fuckwit – Danie, for using Madeline to peddle his lies, or the various editors who approved these stories.

    Actually I do. It’s the editors. They are all cretins.

  5. john barleycorn said,

    October 10, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    The barefoot doctor chat linked to above is truly hilarious and a thumping good read!

  6. Diotima said,

    October 10, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    Yes John barleycorn: the dialogue with BD restored my faith in human nature with its impressive niagara of dark cynicism. Many thanks to the person who pointed that this thread was;’slightly agressive’ and suggested that contributors should all ‘form a circle and begin a healing chant’. You saved my life at 4 a.m.I assure you that reading this ended one of the worst asthma episodes of my life. Perhaps Glaxo-Wellcome could get out and patent/fund dark or medium dark cynicism?

  7. Dr Aust said,

    October 10, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    I like the idea of “dark cynicism”.

    Any relation to “dark matter”, as in Phillip Pullman’s excellent His Dark Materials

    Dark times indeed.

  8. Dr Aust said,

    October 10, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    Just read some of that Barefoot Doctor link – truly a resource to treasure, thanks Bolly.

    Perhaps someone ought to mirror it somewhere in case the Graun get wise to its renewed fame and take it down?

    I always thought they missed a trick calling him the “Barefoot Doctor”. In the light of his later infamy I think it should have been

    “Tantric Sex Machine”

    or more allusively:

    “Tao-er of Power”

    Taking Barefoot as an example, perhaps Danie Krugel could be re-christened the “Barefaced (lying) Detective”.

    But only if he shaves off the HairBear ‘tache.

  9. Aletheia said,

    October 11, 2007 at 10:38 am

    It’s not the only link to Pullman. His Dark Materials features a *quantum bomb* that uses snipped off hair, placed in a mysterious box, to locate someone in another universe. Remind you of anyone? Of course, Pullman’s writing FICTION…

  10. cvb said,

    October 11, 2007 at 11:11 am

    That barefoot doctor post is truly outstanding. Not being an Observer reader I was not aware of this tosspot. When was his column excised?

  11. Ambrielle said,

    October 11, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    I too, was unaware of that BD thread. Fantastic! I wish I’d known at the time.
    I like the “Darkness Remover [i]candle[/i]” which he apparently peddles. 😀

  12. Dr Aust said,

    October 11, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    Nice spot Aletheia. Which of the trilogy is that in?

    Do you suppose we could persuade Pullman to sue Danie “corpse dowser” Krugel for stealing his idea?

  13. pv said,

    October 11, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    “Tao-er of Power”

    Haaa ha ha… :-)

  14. Cunningham said,

    October 12, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    Many years ago Viz did a spoof column called “The Barefaced liar”
    It was hilarious.

  15. Robert Carnegie said,

    October 13, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    It’s just sympathetic magic. Same as voodoo. Probably in Macbeth. Take some of the victim’s hair or nail clippings and you can voodoo the person. So it doesn’t really belong to Pullman. Now if Dr Detecto markets an alethiometer, they’ve got him without a leg to stand on.

  16. diudiu said,

    December 21, 2009 at 6:05 am

    links of london links of london
    links london links london
    links of london jewellery links of london jewellery
    links of london sale links of london sale
    links london sale links london sale
    links of london bracelet links of london bracelet
    links of london charms links of london charms
    links of london necklace links of london necklace
    links of london bangle links of london bangle
    links of london earrings links of london earrings
    links of london ring links of london ring