Employees of a forensic school study magic to find a dead body

At a Tennessee forensic academy, future police officers are learning how to find the remains of people underground through “magic”.

According to Moter Jones and the Marshall Project, Arpad Wass, a forensic anthropologist and professor at the National Academy of Forensics in Oak Ridge, taught students about the practice. “Magic,” also known as “fortune-telling” or “fortune-telling,” involves holding two pieces of metal or curved branches and stepping in a straight line until the sticks cross the ground in the direction of the object being searched. their – in this case, the dead body.

This was stated by Professor William Whittaker, an archaeologist and expert on ground-based radars at the University of Iowa. Newsweek that his research on witchcraft for human remains found no evidence to confirm the practice. Believers have used it to search for many things except the dead underground, including groundwater, buried treasures, oil, gold, and pearls.

“Since the application is used to find whatever the believer wants to find, it has to show that it doesn’t actually find anything,” Whittaker said. “The dream of believing is that he can magically find whatever the applicant is looking for.”

Believers in “magic” used it to track water, treasures, oil, and gold underground. Here, a man holds two wires in his hand to demonstrate the experience of watching water on his property in Australia in 2019.
Mark Evans / Contributor / Getty Images AsiaPac

Wass told the Marshall Project that his metal rods could detect “piezoelectricity” in some materials, such as crystals, and feel human bones, as skeletal remains could generate a charge. Wass also claimed that the sticks had “correct tension” and had to go with a specific cadence.

But Whittaker said crossing the sticks where a person is buried could most likely be related to the “ideological impact.” The magic wand is very loose and easily shaken, he said, so when a person approaches an area where they consciously or unknowingly suspect a burial, they naturally bend slowly or slightly forward and cross the wand.

The National Academy of Forensics is an intensive 10-week program for students to join law enforcement and crime scene investigations. According to the program’s website, in addition to the Wass course, they will be trained to study bloodstream samples, fingerprint processing, and control of bombs and booby traps at the crime scene.

In recent years, forensic methods, including blood sampling and hair analysis, have been called into question because the cases built on these analyzes have been dismissed by DNA evidence.

According to the group’s website, the misuse of forensic science was a factor in 52 percent of the cases that the Innocence project, an organization that worked to acquit illegal convicts through DNA testing, did. The National Penitentiary Register reported that false or misleading evidence accounted for 24 percent of all illegal convictions across the country.

Newsweek applied to the National Academy of Forensics for comment.

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