Great Moments in Pure, Unadulterated Bullshit

In the course of my research for a project I’m working on, I came across the following article at the New York Times. Below is the full story, unexcerpted and not taken out of context, from a reporter who attended a charlatan festival in New York City almost twenty years ago.

For those who missed the recent conference on “Astrology and the Stock Market” in Manhattan (about 40 people attended), here are some tips from several of the hot sessions:

The Art of Timing: Combining Astrological Indicators — Graham Bates, London financial astrologer. “I’m worried and confused about the eclipses in November. I don’t know what they’re going to do, but I know they’ll be important.”

Stocks, Planets and Solar Cycles — Richard Mogey, executive director of the Foundation for the Study of Cycles. “There’s a 23 percent gain the fifth year of every decade because of the Jupiter-Saturn cycle. I’d expect the same in 1995.”

The Cosmic ‘Inner Winner!’ — Paul Farrell, author of “Think Astrology and Grow Rich.” “When Uranus and Neptune go into Aquarius, I look toward information and technology.”

Beyond Cycles: Using Interpretive Astrology to Identify Key Turning Points in Markets — Charles Harvey, president of the Astrological Association of Great Britain. “When there is a new moon in the eighth house, Placidus system, in New York, there is always a major change in interest rates. That happens July 8.”

This is a real event that actually happened – in the 20th Century.

Bear in mind that this kind of thing is still happening as we speak- it may be dressed in more sophisticated clothes and come imbued with a fancier pedigree, but it is a medicine show nonetheless.

Also, there’s a name in here you may recognize, he is now a weekly purveyor of doom and gloom, a consistent predictor of the crash that never comes, the Depression that’s right around every corner. 

Predicting the future is hard to do, especially when it comes to economics and markets – given how mercurial and inconsistent the human participants in these systems tend to be.

But predicting the future of the stock market using astrology – with a straight face – takes a special kind of asshole.

I tip my hat, sirs. You are all truly amazing.


SUNDAY, June 5, 1994; Picking Stocks by the Stars (New York Times)

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