Danie Krugel: International Man of Mystery
Danie has finally done what he promised me back in January: broken onto the international scene with big news in major newspapers. I believe at the time he told me, he was expecting the Van Rooyen spectacle with Carte Blanche to pan out and the girls to be found, and we all know how that ended. In the end, his ticket to fame turned out to be the shameless exploitation of Madeline McCann. He claims to have discovered a forensic trail of the missing girl, leading down to the sea where it disappears. However, Danie was apparently in Portugal making his great discovery in July of this year, which leaves me wondering why, if the discovery was so critical to such a massively publicized case, we only hear about this ‘shock new twist’ in October?
So how successful is Danie’s international debut, really? The ‘exclusive’ story has been carried by Britain’s News of the World, the Sun, The People, and the Daily Mail, but it was approach with more appropriate skepticism by Sky News. Guardian columnist Ben Goldacre’s blog Bad Science pointed out the lunacy of the situation when the Observer picked up on the story, as did numerous others such as the aptly named Skeptico, Badchemist Blog and How to Spot a Psychopath. So while I’m sure Danie is getting his share of credulous publicity, I can only hope he’s also getting his share of international ire.
An apparent fansite has been created for Danie, called Danie Krugel Facts. I urge you to go over there and entertain yourself with the cherry picked ‘facts’ and remarkable displays of selective reporting, and the depressing gullibility of local law enforcement. Nothing is said of other, less favourable articles about Danie in local news, such as this, and this, and this. No surprises there.
For those who have just arrived here thanks to all the international coverage, here are some real Danie Krugel Facts:
- Danie did not discover the bodies of the Van Rooyen girls, regardless of what some international papers are saying. The girls are still missing.
- The official South African Police Service stance on Danie is that they cannot use his device in investigations until he submits it to formal scientific scrutiny, a requirement for all devices used by police. However, some police in Danie’s home town, presumably the area where he used to be a policeman himself, allow Danie to participate in their investigations.
- Danie is not a scientist, he is a retired police officer. He does not have a scientific degree or qualification of any sort. He works at a university, but he is not a faculty member, he is head of what amounts to campus security. He has never, to anyone’s knowledge, invented anything before this machine. He refuses to submit his device to scientific scrutiny, and refuses to obtain a patent for it or explain how it works to anyone.
- Danie has been known to operate with a partner who is a private investigator who specialises in finding people by means of their cellphone signals.
- Danie is himself a former police officer with sufficient knowledge and expertise to make educated guesses as to the whereabouts of victims and criminals without the need for a device, and in fact has been known to make use of techniques such as questioning friends and relatives and handing out photographs to the public with requests for any information, prior to operating his device.
- No one is allowed to view Danie or the device when it is operating, and must leave the room while he does his ‘locating’.
- Danie claims a 90% success rating but has published no studies or results to substantiate this, nor does he directly discuss or admit to the failures that must constitute the other 10%. And since we know Danie has a history of reporting failures as successes, I would say that 90% is very much in doubt.
Hope that clears a few things up for those who haven’t been following Danie’s local exploits for the last three years.
Update: Varenda Gouws has come forward to the papers and the McCanns to tell her story! We first read about the Gouws’ experience with Danie in the Herald, and now they have come forward to tell the McCanns what happened. According to sources close to the McCanns though, they are no longer convinced that Danie is on the level, and are keeping him at ‘arm’s length’. I wonder why this isn’t reported on daniekrugelfacts.com? All that site has on the Gouws case is this suitably vague statement by a private investigator (and ex cop) who calls Danie in all the time. I wonder why they didn’t ask the Gouws for a testimonial too?