Anatomy of a Debunking

By Robert Lancaster:

A woman going by the name of "Dr. Kaz deMille-Jacobsen" had been a guest speaker at my mother’s church, and the congregation had been very impressed with her "inspiring" life story.

Among other things, this woman claimed that:

    * She is the illegitimate grandchild of film director Cecil B. deMille.
    * She was married to famous pop star Fabian, and later to "Roberto Andretti of the famed car-racing family."
    * Her production companies had won several Oscar and Grammy Awards.
    * She founded world-wide charitable organizations.
    * She had a net worth of over $100,000,000.
    * She had been on presidential advisory committees under three American Presidents.

(Is your "baloney detector" going off yet? Hold on, it’s about to get much louder and angrier.)

She also claimed that:

    * She had been in an elevator in the North Tower of the World Trade Center when the terrorists attacked on September 11, 2001.
    * Although horribly wounded, she courageously led others to safety, running out of the tower just as it collapsed.
      (If your baloney detector hasn’t shattered yet, it’s about to.)
    * While hospitalized from her 9/11 wounds, she was clinically dead for 28 minutes.
    * While dead, she was taken to heaven, where she met Jesus and God Himself.
    * When she came back to life, she had a rock in her hand, given to her by Jesus Himself.
    * NASA tested the rock, said it was "not of the Earth nor the moon," and refused to give it back.
    * President Bush sent for Kaz, and he and Mrs. Bush heard her wondrous story.
    * They then knelt down in front of Kaz, and asked her forgiveness for having let 9/11 happen.

As you sweep the broken shards of your baloney detector off the floor, you may be asking yourself: people believed this?

The answer is: Yes. Lots of them.

My mom firmly believed that she could tell when someone was lying to her, and "knew" that Kaz was not lying. Besides, Kaz hadn’t charged for her presentation! Not one dime! But had she accepted donations? Of course she had.

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