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?


14 Responses to “Danie Krugel: International Man of Mystery”

  1. GeneMachine Says:

    Radio 702 carried this item as well. Like most other media, they presented the claimed capablities of Danie Boy’s machine as a fact. I sent them the following mail:


    Please correct your news item on Danie Krugel/Madeleine McCann as read out in your news bulletins and published on your website this morning. It contains a number of misleading inaccuracies. I will highlight some of these below the original paragraphs.

    A South African scientist who is searching for missing British child Madeleine McCann, says he believes the girl is dead.

    The term “scientist” when talking about Danie Krugel demeans all proper scientists. Krugel is not a scientist. He has had no scientific training, clearly does not follow the scientific method and certainly has no peer-reviewed publications. He is an ex-policeman and now works as a security guard at a technical college.

    Danie Krugel says Maddie’s father contacted him earlier this year to help find her. Maddie went missing several months ago from a holiday resort in Portugal.

    Krugel shot to fame after developing a machine that is able to detect human remains kilometres away.

    There is absolutely no independently verified evidence that his machine is capable of detecting human remains of any sort, at any distance. His device has never been scientifically tested, and his claims lack any scientific credulity. If his claims were true, he would be the most feted scientist on earth, having overturned huge areas of established physics and biology.

    He says he’s been working around the clock on the case but feels the chances of her being found alive are very slim.

    Any statement of his regarding this case can only be regarded as a blind speculation. Krugel is a hoaxer and is preying on desperate people. I request you to amend this item accordingly.

    Regards, etc

    I have as yet not received a response.

  2. interesting, because from their archives it seems that they had a segment on August 1 in response to Carte Blanche’s “Fingerprint of Fate” episode where they interviewed a forensics expert, David Klatzow, who said that as far as science is concerned, Danie’s machine is absolute nonsense until proven!

  3. residentRsole Says:

    Another fact:

    o Danie has a really cool hairpiece.

  4. don’t forget:

    * Danie has a really big moustache

  5. Con-Tester Says:

    Danie wears that hairpiece so that people can’t find him easily. Apparently, that includes himself.

  6. i wonder if his machine can extract DNA from wig hair? It’s no more implausable than extracting it from the stubble found in a razor…

  7. Con-Tester Says:

    moonflake: if Krugel’s magic box can get DNA from wig hair and he applied it to his own hairpiece, it would locate the source as currently residing in a glue factory…

  8. Con-Tester Says:

    Con-Tester: bite your tongue, beast!

  9. GeneMachine Says:

    Hirsute Dan added another interesting dimension to his amazing claims – as uttered by the 702 newsreader: not only was he able to locate where the child was on some beach, but also when! Exactly when – like 2:30 pm on a particular day. There’s simply no end to the incredible Soup Strainer’s genius.

  10. As a UK citizen oneof the most depressing thing is that ‘serious’ papers like The Observer have reported it uncritically, while usually sensationalist outlets like Sky or the Daily Mirror have looked into his claims and interviewed critical experts.

    Anyway, I’m in SA at the moment and saw 3rd Degree the other night. The presenter said at the end that they would do a programme on the McCann case next week. Now Krugel has been reported in the UK media as having a contract with a TV company while he did the ‘tests’ on Madeline McCann. So could we have a new TV appearance next week? Anyone know anything?

  11. “No one is allowed to view Danie or the device when it is operating, and must leave the room while he does his ‘locating’.”

    …which makes it much easer to Google pertinent facts and GPS coordinates to make yourself look oh so prescient…

  12. Aaarrghhh…I am so ticked off – this was exactly my concern when Carte Blanche first aired the episode featuring Danie and that studid bloody pshycic – they were giving these second rate scam artists vindication and a level of credibility they would never have acheived on their own in their obscure little social circles.

    We only hear about Danie’s exploits, but I shudder to think about the level of exposure that someone like Marietta got out of that poor piece of journalism – and the subsequent “victims” that have since flocked to her side for asisstance… am I the only one peed off at Carte Blanche for lending their significant “integrity” to these quacks?

    Moonflake: I am so tired of posting comments on this, in a seemingly feeble attempt to counter the damage done by M-net – can we, as a concerned group, not focus our resources and lay a charge with the Broadcasting Complaints Comission or even better, seek legal action against the producers of the “fingerprint of fate” show for the resulting damage done to the van Rooyen victims (and perhaps even the McCann family…)?

    Do we have any legal recourse in this matter? Would others who feel the same about this ongoing exploitaiton of the breaved not join us in financial (or intellectual) support?

    Or am I the only one who wants to exact some kind of “punishment” on the producers who opened this can of worms?

    Pehaps most worryingly, the links to reports you have included about Danie in your original post mention that he was followed around a camera crew in Spain – is Carte Blance ACTUALLY considering doing a follow-up story?

    Surely we should not allow this to happen? Can you imagine if this nutjob is given even MORE credibility by these poorly misguided souls?

  13. Ooh…ouch…just read through my previous post and noticed a myriad of BAAAD spelling mistakes….

    Please forgive my flagrant disregard for spell-check… guess when I am in a rage I tend to ignore the little things… 🙂

  14. I know this is an old blog entry but it seems that even Danie has thrown-in the towel. Another “fact” that didn’t make it onto his personal website, I mean independent and objective website, daniekrugelfacts.com …


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