(Part 1 of a series of articles on Erlendur Haraldsson)
Some key readings so far:
Erlendur Haraldsson Breaks his Silence on Sathya Sai Baba’s Final Decade review and critical comments by Brian Steel
Around the world, many Sathya Sai Baba devotees own a copy of Professor Erlendur Haraldsson’s book ‘Miracles Are My Visiting Cards: An Investigative Report on the Psychic Phenomena Associated with Sathya Sai Baba’. Rider Book. Century paperbacks. Century, 1987. ISBN 0712615148, 9780712615143.
However, I think grave questions need asking about Haraldsson’s methodology. I will allude to these in the weeks, but they may best be treated in detail by his professional peers. One investigator associated with Haraldsson is Professor Robert Wiseman, famous for his British television and radio programs, which show many of the human mind’s tricks which lead to beliefs regarded as facts and even Truth. Haraldsson and Wiseman have collaborated in various work, easily discoverable via an internet search, such as when they investigated the claims of (the late) Swami Premananda.
Sathya Sai Baba duped Haraldsson, no less than he duped many of us. However, Haraldsson’s book has widely influenced many in their coming to Sai Baba. My main question is: Will Haraldsson publicly admit to making a huge mistake in his assessment of Sai Baba?
A probing and lively Australian blogsite, Subversive Thinking, carries work between Wiseman and Haraldsson (the original of which I have yet to find). See: Monday May 9, 2011. Erlendur Haraldsson and Richard Wiseman assesment of a videotape on Sathya Sai Baba
It is my layman’s guess that NO professional magician or other competent investigator of alleged miracles could overlook Haraldsson’s paucity of hard knowledge about professional magic. I shall write to Wiseman and see what position he may take. I have touched on related issues here: Top Magicians Derren Brown, Keith Barry and Others: Exposing How We Get Deceived. Posted by Barry Pittard on November 6, 2012
Ought Authors Write Books and Not Correct Grave Errors Subsequently?
But – more importantly to my three-part series over the next few days – there are serious ethical questions to raise about Haraldsson’s extraordinary inability to deal squarely with a great deal of information that has come to light about Sai Baba in the last two decades. It is significant that via emails (copies of which I have) his old friend Robert Priddy, a retired academic of the University of Oslo and major expert on Sathya Sai Baba and his cult, has made available to Haraldsson many salient facts about Sathya Sai Baba’s faked miracles, the cover up of killings in his Puttaparthi bedroom, the sexual abuse of boys and young men from many countries, large-scale venality, authoritarianism and lack of accountability and duty of care in the Sathya Sai Central Trust, and much else.
Over time, by Skype and email, I discerned how troubled Robert Priddy and his wife have been when, on the one hand, there was the fact of the old Priddy-Haraldsson friendship and yet, on the other, Haraldsson imperviousness to the sheer weight of evidence for Sai Baba’s fraudulence, and an unwillingness to reconsider his (Haraldsson’s) very influential writings on Sai Baba.
Haraldsson’s Writing Has Long Furthered Devotion To Sathya Sai Baba Worldwide
Many Sai Baba followers have long valued Haraldsson’s book. For the more rationally inclined it – supposedly – satisfies the intellect. Typically, it was a book which devotees handed to others whom they wished to interest in Sai Baba. Through this and other means, ‘Miracles Are My Visiting Cards’ has much advanced Sai Baba’s influence throughout the world. It is a grave responsibility. And yet – we see no response from Haraldsson which faces a terrible fact: that a great weight of evidence worldwide discredits Sai Baba.
I knew of Robert Priddy’s delay in taking up the Haraldsson matter in public. It is true that Priddy and I had many other pressing duties in bringing the Sathya Sai cult to international attention, and yet here was an issue Haraldsson needed to face. It seemed as if Robert hoped that – given many people leaving Sathya Sai centers worldwide, and revelations after 2000 across major television and radio networks and print media – Haraldsson would change his public standpoint. I wondered whether the continued delay might, consciously or unconsciously owe something to the painful anticipation of confronting an old friend in Haraldsson. When I discussed the issue, Robert told me that he wished to invite Haraldsson to stay at his home in Oslo, upon which he and his wife Reidun (also previously a long-term and dedicated Sai Baba devotee) would tell Haraldsson of much compelling evidence of Sai Baba’s fraudulence, and the profound betrayal of so many.
For Erlandur Haraldsson, Anguished Concerns About Sexual Molestation of Minors Are But “Squibbles”
I think that Haraldsson shows a callous disregard about the issue of decades of Sathya Sai Baba’s serial sexual molestation of boys and young men. In his reply to Reidun Priddy’s email to him, this tragedy Haraldsson can dismiss as “squibbles about SB, who is dead anyway”.
Haraldsson is, however, alive anyway, but not, clearly, alive to how he has a moral responsibility to repudiate serious shortcomings in his work, and the way alive – but mistaken and unrepudiated – ideas and information continue to exercise a grip on minds very widely.
Erlendur Haraldsson’s Extraordinary Remark – in an email to Reidun Priddy
Unlike Haraldsson, Robert Priddy and I have worked daily, and year after year, on the Sathya Sai Baba exposé. As our internet writings show, an intensive research has meant following up thousands of on-line references to the Sai Baba issue. The work has involved hundreds of phone calls, a vast number of emails, and much contact with leading investigative media. Particularly heartrending has been our contact with people (some now even in their sixties, such as the psychotherapist Mark Roche – see: Health Professional Comes Out On BBC: Sai Baba sexually abused him when young. Posted by Barry Pittard on April 26, 2011), who have submitted details of Sathya Sai Baba abusing them when they were boys or young men, and with families and friends of molestation survivors from around the world. This is but one part of the gut-sickening Sai cult corruption and betrayal – an extaordinary phenomenon that shows profound paucity of spirituality among those who proclaim their guru to be the God of gods, and the Avatar that ushers in the ‘Golden Age’. A phenomenon which has, most prominently, been articulated and exposed by the work of those such as David and Fay Bailey (UK), Conny Larsson, Britt Marie Andén (Sweden), Glen Meloy (USA) Alexandra Nagel (Holland), Hari Sampath (India), Robert Priddy (Norway), Sergei Badaev (Russia), Sanjay Dadlani (UK), Brian Steel, and myself (Australia). And most recently, after years of public silence, by Eileen Weed who, as Divya, lived for many years at Sai Baba’s Puttaparthi ashram, and who was very close to Sai Baba’s sister, Venkamma (USA). See:
Posted by robertpriddy on October 10, 2011
Posted by Barry Pittard on July 3, 2010
(Britt Marie Andén’s account as former national leader in Sweden, and mother of a young son whom she found Sai Baba had sexually abused)
Posted by robertpriddy on March 19, 2010
Posted by Barry Pittard on November 18, 2009
Posted by robertpriddy on July 25, 2011
Posted by Barry Pittard on November 2, 2009
Posted by Barry Pittard on October 25, 2009
Posted by Barry Pittard on October 18, 2009
Posted by Barry Pittard on July 23, 2009
Coming in the next few days:
To Psychic Researcher Professor Erlandur Haraldsson, Sai Baba Sexual Abuses Are Only “Squibbles” Part 2
From Robert Priddy’s website: Sathya Sai Baba In Word and Action
Discussions on the Sai Baba issue and Erlendur Haraldsson, Professor of Psychology, University of Rekjavik, Iceland
Haraldsson investigates Sai Baba and his movement in the 1970s and later, publishing his results in a book which originally helped his wider reputation and recognition in parapsychology established facts and documented words.
ERLENDUR HARALDSSON’S VIEWS EXAMINED on EH and Priddy, their divergence and agreement on Sai Baba’s character.
HIGHLY REVEALING E-MAILS FROM HARALDSSON ON SAI BABA sent to R. Priddy but not previously released – retained for 10 years
E-MAIL EXCHANGE ON MORALITY Reidun Priddy with E. Haraldsson
- ARTICLE SUMMARISES HARALDSSON’S BOOK ON SB MIRACLES etc.
RAISING THE DEAD? Scans of pages defeating SB’s claim of resurrection of US follower Walter Cowan
THE DOUBLE-RUDRAKSHA HARALDSSON RECEIVED from Sai Baba, who seemed to ‘materialize’ it. Yet it is not at all as unique as Haraldsson’s researches suggested to him.
- DEBATE ON EH’S INVESTIGATION OF WALTER COWAN RESURRECTION CASE
- E-MAIL EXCHANGES BETWEEN BEYERSTEIN & HARALDSSON
- DECEPTION BY SUBJECTS IN PSI RESEARCH — RE OSIS/HARALDSSON