NOVEMBER 28, 2012
Vassula Ryden on Wikipedia – working backwards
By Sgerbic, June 11, 2011
This is one of my Guerrilla Skepticism mantras when you aren’t sure where to start editing Wikipedia. It’s nice if you have favorite topics but it can be a bear to find the citations that Wikipedia needs to be notable.
In the case of Vassula Ryden (whom I had never heard of) I found an article in Skeptical Inquirer written by Joe Nickell [see http://ephesians-511.net/docs/VASSULA_RYDEN-JOE_NICKELL.doc] about her purported written messages from God and friends. So I had a well sourced document on hand and she had a Wiki page that was mostly positive or neutral. Start with all this, carefully read the source and write a small blurb about the article, then “tag” the Wiki page while also using “ref” tags linking it back to the original article. And you’re done!
Here is the article…
“Rydén is best known for her writings entitled “True Life in God“, which is a compilation of nearly 2000 messages she claims to have received from God since the year 1985 when she was living in Bangladesh. While she was writing a grocery list, she reports to have suddenly experienced a light electrical feeling in her right hand and, at the same time, an invisible presence. She says she felt led by this presence and, permitting her hand to be guided, she wrote a line in a very different style from her own with the words: “I am your guardian Angel and my name is Daniel.“
A long list of “investigators” all listed on her page looked into her writings and here is what they determined…
“…three possibilities are open for discernment – a diabolical origin, a psychic origin or a supernatural origin.
The findings of these investigations of Rydén’s case – documented in books and articles – systematically rule out the first two possibilities and conclude that the writings are a phenomenon of supernatural origin“
How about just FRAUD. Have you thought about that? Apparently not. Wonder if someone should check these references?
Another investigator researched her writings and came up with this…
“Laurentin carefully examines and addresses the many objections made against Rydén. He states: “Vassula is one of the most balanced and transparent seers that I know. Nevertheless, she has excited more opposition than any other. As is often the case for mystics, disbelief, fear, opposition and calumny appear in like measure with the graces received.“
“The theological analysis of her writings brings into relief themes like: devotion to the Holy Spirit, the Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Christian unity, the conversion of Russia, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the spreading apostasy.“
Kinda makes you want to be sick doesn’t it? Anyone looking this woman up would find little criticism of her “talent” to someone on the fence it kinda looks like she is the real thing. Messages from God? Well Okay, why not? She is not telling people to jump off cliffs but to Love one another and spread the Word of God. This was the article before I got a hold of it.
Enter Joe Nickell. CSI investigator of the paranormal, also an expert on handwriting analysis.
“In Skeptical Inquirer Magazine investigator Joe Nickell took an objective look into these “purported messages” and found “the contrived handwriting, the linguistic lapses, and the indications of fantasizing all suggest that Vassula Ryden is not in touch with supernatural entities but is simply engaging in self-deception that in turn deceives the credulous. Her automatic writings therefore are not works of revelation but simply of pious imagination.” Furthermore Ryden’s personal misspellings and grammar are identical to those written by Jesus, God, Mary and her own invisible “guardian angel, Daniel which all seem to have the same hand writing and grammar. Nickell states, “If God deigns to use the English language, should we not expect it to be rendered accurately?” In conclusion Nickell writes, “One suspects that if Ryden were prevented from seeing what was being written, the entities supposedly guiding her hand would be unable to so faithfully follow the lines! I invite Ryden to accept my invitation to perform a scientific test to refute or confirm this suspicion.”
Insert arm pumping here! That is pretty exciting to this Guerrilla Skeptic! There was nothing critical of her on her page, and shame on us for that. We should never allow this kind of woo to go unchallenged. Do you think any hint of doubt ever entered the head of one of her followers? This isn’t so in your face that I’m calling her a fraud (which I have no idea or not if she truly believes these claims) and that isn’t important here. What is important is to state the facts with no opinion. But it was okay for me to quote Nickell’s opinion. See the difference?
Still we badly need more criticism on her page. She isn’t one of the popular woos so she doesn’t get the attention that grief vampire Sylvia Browne does. We need to get the link to the SI article “active” I’ve written to Barry Karr of SI and asked if we can’t get these articles to become something people can click on and in an instant able to read. As it stands now they have to order the magazine article or go to the library and look it up. Hardly something people are likely to do. Just waiting for a reply from Barry.
This adventure isn’t truly over. I had a problem with the wording in the first paragraph of the article. They had written…
“She receives no personal royalties, fees or benefit for her efforts.“
Yeah sure. So I added the line “Other than personal recognition from devoted fans, she receives no personal royalties, fees or benefit for her effort“.
That was taken out. So on the discussion page I state that the editor is not NPOV (in other words not neutral point of view, which is against Wikipedia’s policies) the editor is showing bias towards Vassula Ryden. I say either remove the line completely or allow mine to stay. This all happened in March 2011. I waited and waited and no one said anything (the page is on my Wikipedia Watch List) so in June I wrote rather aggressively…
“Been more than 2 months. I’m removing the non-NPOV statement about her “doing this for free” line. Does she SELL her books or not? Amazon has quite a few books listed of hers for sale, wonder if they know they are supposed to be for free? I’m willing to go through arbitration with Wikipedia senior editors if you try to put it back into her page. Sgerbic”
So far so good. Sometimes you have to get a bit aggressive and use Wiki phrases to make them think you know what you are doing. Just be confident.
Just for the fun of it check out a few of the comments from other editors on the discussion page which just reek of bias and craziness.
If you read the documents from the Vatican, there can be no doubt that the writings ARE NOT private revelation (from Heaven) but personal considerations of Mrs. Ryder. It is implied that, like Fatima and Lourdes, the writings are on the same level. This is blatantly misleading, because Fatima and Lourdes ARE private revelations, recognised by the church, without warnings from the Vatican, and Mrs. Ryder’s writings are only personal consideration, with warnings from the Vatican.”
“Since it appears that the real theologians at the Vatican have nixed the possibility that Jesus “this time” is really communicating through this woman, it seems that demons would most likely be responsible. They like to lie about who they are. They love to pretend to be good beings suggesting that they are Jesus or angels of Heaven. Look at the stupid demon who began talking to Joseph Smith. Smith was arrested for divining which is an occultic activity. Then when the supposed angel Moroni began talking to him he believed that it was a Heavenly angel. What he didn’t seem to understand is that someone who messes around with the occult is not going to get Heavenly visitors but demonic ones! I mean Moroni? Please!”
To the person who “trusts” the messages of Mrs. Ryden why not just read the real Bibles and get your messages from them instead of another Christian who seems to be losing her way by one of Satan’s monkeys?”
“If anyone tries to re-modify this article, putting author-opinionated comments such as stating Vassula’s writings not being of divine origin etc, this WILL be taken on to the next level and we will get an independent 3rd party to intervene based on the abovementioned guidelines. I don’t feel like getting an account to make the needed changes…”
There is a bit of hope though. This is from August 2010.
“Does making “prophetic” predictions automatically give someone notability? How many predictions did she make that didn’t come true? This article has problems. Like this blatantly biased statement, “Vassula has recorded many prophetic messages, some already fulfilled and others yet to unfold.” This is ridiculous and implies that she has some kind of mystical power, a theme found throughout the article. And regarding notability, almost all the references to her writings are from religious organizations, her own website, or clergy with very few sources in the non-religious media. I think that this article needs to be heavily edited and unsubstantiated, biased claims of prophecy and especially the section on “supernatural phenomena” removed. The sections on her work with other churches and the United Nations, and the controversy with the Catholic Church is fine and well sourced, but the rest is questionable. I may be out of bounds, I don’t edit a lot here. ch473“
I wrote to ch473 thanking him/her for their skepticism and advising them to please make the changes they think will improve the article.
I’m telling you there is A LOT of work out there to do. I have Vassula Ryden on a Google Alert hoping for more articles about her (hopefully critical ones) that I can add to the page. So far I’ve only gotten a couple hits, mostly in some other language and a link to her fan page on Facebook. (Which only has 39 fans BTW).
VASSULA RYDEN-PROBLEMS WITH ROME BUT WELCOME IN INDIA
VASSULA RYDEN-THE REASONS FOR THE CHURCH’S NEGATIVE REACTION
VASSULA RYDEN-FR FRANCOIS MARIE DERMINE
VASSULA RYDEN-FR MITCH PACWA
VASSULA RYDEN-MARK WATERINCKX
VASSULA RYDEN-A CRITIQUE-DIALOGUE CENTRE INTERNATIONAL
VASSULA RYDEN-RICHARD SALBATO
VASSULA RYDEN-JOE NICKELL
VASSULA RYDEN-CONSTANCE CUMBEY
VASSULA RYDEN-RONALD L CONTE
Categories: False Mystics