An auxiliary Pigasus Award....?

James Randi --- Wizard (
29 Oct 1997 16:25:10 -0000

My correspondent Russell Sipes (, and has made a suggestion....

He suggests (with tongue in cheek) that

"the 1996 Pigasus awards should be increased by one honorary award:
The Comet Hale-Bopp Companion Affair. This one incident could have won
the Pigasus in three of your four catagories:

#1 Scientist who said the silliest thing:

There are two possible Hale-Bopp Companion winners here. FIRST: the
so-called "amateur astronomer" who took the photograph of the image,
mistook a star for a Saturn Like Object 3-4 times the size of the
Earth traveling with Comet Hale-Bopp (see, then rushed to the Art Bell Show to
bring his discovery to the world. SECOND: you could just as easily
give the award to the mysterious "Astrophysicist from a Top Ten
Observatory" who had photographic proof that the Companion Object was
a spacecraft (see for the

#3 Media Outlet that reported the most outrageous "fact":

The Art Bell Show of course. He promoted this whole fiasco which
ultimately ended with the death of 39 Heaven's Gate
cultists. According to their web site, the Heaven's Gate cultists were
close followers of the Art Bell Show. You could also give an Pigasus
dishonorable mention to the dozens of web sites promoting the
Hale-Bopp Companion that cropped up after the initial November

#4 Psychic who fooled the greatest number:

Courtney Brown whose minions remotely viewed with space ship following
the comet and had full blown reports on the Farsight Institute Web
site (subsequently removed). He also was the contact with the the
so-called Top Ten Astrophysicist. When the astrophysicist did not
materialize Brown produced a photo from the astrophysicist that turned
out to be a fake. Actually I guess he didn't really fool all that
many people in the long run. But I think he should get a Pigasus just
the same."

Russell adds that A&E's "The Unexplained" will be airing a documentary
on the Heaven's Gate Cult in December or January. They did a few hours
filming with him. Apparently they plan to cast him, he writes, (and
the web site) "as a sort of John the Baptist character who was crying
in the wilderness for reason."


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