October 31, 2006, - 2:10 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
A couple of interesting Halloween-oriented news stories that piqued our interest:
* Proof of genetic disposition for crime?:
Six men from Pitcairn Island lost their appeals against convictions for sex offenses against women on the remote Pacific home of descendants of the HMS Bounty mutineers. They were found guilty of rape, assault, and incest with various women and children over a 40 year period on the island.
Two interesting things about this:
1) Some of the men were descended from the original HMS Bounty mutineers. From Fairfax, New Zealand’s Stuff:
Pitcairn Island was discovered in 1767 by the British and settled in 1790 by mutineers from the HMS Bounty and their Tahitian companions. It remains the last vestige of empire in the South Pacific.
Some of the convicted men are directly related to mutineer Fletcher Christian.
It’s long been posited by many scientists that criminals are predisposed to be criminals, that even separated offspring of criminals who never knew their criminal parents are more likely to also be criminals. These men descended from men who mutinied back in the 1700s. Is this proof of that theory? Perhaps. Regardless, it’s interesting.
2) Then, there’s the issue of the island itself. The defendants claimed that Britain and British law didn’t have jurisdiction over the island, and it has a small population of 50 people:
From a population peak of more than 250 in the 1930s, there are now just 50 people living on the island, which has no airport and can be reached only by local longboats.
Britain is going to have to build a prison for the four defendants who were sentenced to prison and pay for its upkeep and guarding on the island (to be performed by 7 New Zealanders), at a cost of $950,000 per year, according to AP.
* Witching Hour–Can you believe we’re entrusting these Europeans as partners in foreign policy?:
A Bavarian witch must return 1,000 euros ($1,272) to a lovelorn woman after a judge in Munich ruled that a magic ritual performed to win back a wayward lover was negotiated on a “completely impossible” basis.
The witch guaranteed that the unidentified man, who ended the relationship three years ago, would return if the plaintiff paid the fee for the nocturnal services, the Munich court said in a statement on its Web site today. The sorceress then staged a ceremony by the light of the full moon for several months.
Eventually the witch could no longer promise success and the jilted client demanded the money back. Whether the witch made the guarantee was immaterial, the court said. Nor was the plaintiff’s initial agreement to pay for the spell-casting relevant.
“A love ritual is not a suitable method of influencing a person from afar,” the court said in a statement.
The case number is 30 S 10495/06.
Does this woman really deserve her money back? We prefer to think of her loss of this money that she willingly gave to a “witch” as natural selection. A Darwin Award winner in the making.
Tags: Bloomberg, Britain, Debbie Schlussel, EUR, Halloween, judge, Munich, Munich court, New Zealand, nocturnal services, Pitcairn Island, South Pacific, USD