Visit http://youtube.com/rationalists

Loading...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Guardian: When I met the 'girl who cries blood'


Tantrics, astrologers and assorted holy men were called in. But Twinkle's problems were far from supernatural
Sanal Edamaruku                                   guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 12 May 2010 17.15 BST, Article history




  • Live India screengrab

The Live India broadcast on Twinkle Dwivedi, the 'girl who cries blood'


A weird story goes around the world, in dozens of languages and hundreds of versions: a 14-year-old Indian girl cries blood. It oozes from her eyes, hairline, palms and the soles of her feet without any wound, cut or scratch whatsoever. She gets paler and weaker by the day and neither medics nor preachers from various religions can help her. Never mind that according to basic medical knowledge it's just impossible to bleed spontaneously with your skin intact. These kind of stories never die before the dramatis personae are diagnosed with psychological problems or exposed as frauds – or the miraculous phenomenon stops just as it started, out of the blue.

Sitting in front of me on a plush sofa in the Live India studio, Twinkle did not look pale at all. She appeared a healthy young girl, intelligent, confident, quite serious, some times a little stubborn and – yes – certainly with some inherent dramatic talent. During the programme, her mother Nandini mainly did the talking, but Twinkle was open to chatting with me during breaks, allowing me to gain some insight into her secrets.
To cut a six-hour programme short: Nobody had ever directly witnessed the "bleeding" – except Twinkle's mother, her accomplice. Of course, the girl must have applied the blood herself; but from where did she take it? I got a clue: the pattern seemed to match her menstrual cycle. Careful enquiry stirred up a hornets nest. It was not that this was too embarrassing a subject to broach, but that Nandini vehemently disputed the dates. Her attempts to misguide served to confirm my suspicions.
Once separated from her mother, Twinkle told us that school had been tough for her. While her three elder sisters learned with ease, she suffered from a writing disorder. When her family moved, she couldn't cope with the change of school and her parents kept her at home. Lonely, frustrated and angry, she soon started "bleeding" and suddenly got all the sympathy and attention she longed for. It's a classic case, of a type quite familiar to me. In recent years, I have investigated the claims of three girls of her age: one produced stones from her eyes, the other even ants, and the third one had needles coming out of her skin. All these children were skilfully producing these strange phenomena themselves in order to get attention.
Nandini saw through her daughter's game and promoted it, obviously hoping to reap the benefits. When Twinkle understood that her mother had exploited her story, slowly seizing control of it from her, she "called in" five guardian ghosts. Watching over her all the time, they shared the secret of her "bleeding", breaking her mother's monopoly.
Asked casually about her ghosts, Twinkle answered with pleasure. Of course they were present in the studio. No, they were not naked, but wearing Jeans and kurta! The brand? Levis! Their names? Ishan, Arshid, Imam and Altaf! Their size? A little smaller than her, up to her nose. Strikingly, her fantastic protectors (who seemed linked to former school pals with the same names) were not only all boys, but Muslims at that – a high provocation in a Hindu Brahmin house!
The ghosts eventually inspired Twinkle to write mysterious words that were doubted to be Arabic and became a matter of great speculation when shown to some Muslim scholars. Not bad for a girl with a writing disorder! (Though it turned out to be just a play on her own name written in Urdu, such as she could have picked up from any Muslim kid.)
I would have preferred to discuss these matters in the privacy of a counselling room rather than on a TV programme. Unfortunately there was no such option. Once a psychodrama gets labelled a "miracle", it gains its own momentum. The media presented her to Hindu and Muslim "holy men" and even with a bishop, contemplating about stigmata. And in the TV studio, we had an array of tantrics and astrologers sitting seriously with haematologists, paediatricians and psychiatrists and weighing in with their bizarre interpretations and "solutions" to the case.
The chances are that Twinkle understands what was tactfully revealed about her case, stops the "bleeding" now starts untying the knot – with professional help, as she has been advised, or even on her own. First sign of a new start: she has decided to go to school again. Good luck, Twinkle!


http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/may/12/twinkle-girl-cries-blood-edamaruku

James Randi writes


Sanal has done it again, revealing yet another faker to his countrymen and to the world. We need more like him in every corner of civilization to keep the heedless media in control. Thank you, Sanal. I hope to meet you some day...!



26 comments:

Shibu said...

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/episode/the-girl-who-cries-blood-4450/Overview#tab-Videos/07147_00 .. sad to see these kind of unanswered documentaries in national geography. American doctor visited twinkle but couldnt find why it's happening. Another example of media making money with out revealing the actual findings.

Sanal... appeciate your effort and this posting.

Anonymous said...

mr. sanal, congratulations to expose such fraud cases.soman,wayanad
visit:www.cheeralgreenhomestay.com

ea jabbar said...

അന്ധവിശ്വാസങ്ങള്‍ക്കെതിരായ താങ്കളുടെ പോരാട്ടത്തിന് എല്ലാ വിധ ഭാവുകങ്ങളും നേരുന്നു !!

Satish K. Pagare said...

Good job Sanal. Its very unfortunate that instead of doing a proper psycho analysis many a times we promote such phenomenons as miracles. One particular Baba is gaining a huge momentum through the media these days but he is careful enough not to go overboard. But you can always see the hints, rather unfortunate.

bharavi said...

Mr.Sanal.
Faith is something dogmatically people believe in when common sense tells them not to.
Thank you for the info.Pl keep the good work going. -Bharavi

☮ Kaippally കൈപ്പള്ളി ☢ said...

What amazes me is that not once was the bleeding incident observed by a physician under clinical conditions. But the Indian media did not want proof. They wanted a story.

TV ratings is the only god.

പി. ശിവപ്രസാദ്‌ / മൈനാഗന്‍ said...

Strong support to your fight against this type of rubbish activities.

DhruvaN said...

you too believe in Luck?

HARIS said...

Media is spending more time effort to circulate this kind of superstitions. Good wishes for your great effort.

Sajith S S said...

Great Going Sanal. Keep it up.

Sajith S S said...

Great Going Sanal..Keep it up..

Ricky said...

Congrats on the work you do and demystifying this mystery.

Keep it up.

I loved the melodrama on TV for hours during the eclipse, where you and another 1-2 rationalists were against 10 or so educated jokers.

girish nikam said...

great job, Sanal. More power to you and your iconoclastic ways. Wonder whether this hasappeared in any indian newspaper/magazine?

NAQVIS said...

Weldone! Mr. Sanal,You are alone to bring reality out and defeat the blind faith and miracles.

Media and educational establishments can play very positive role in accomplishing this goal! However, unfortunately, we cannot hope much from the popular media today, but we should think of ways how this could be changed. The media has always followed a policy of 'we give what you want' and this has always benefited the purposes of fantasy and faith. Therefore, we have to change our views to encourage media for right enlightenment.

Sagher Naqvi

James Randi said...

Sanal has done it again, revealing yet another faker to his countrymen and to the world. We need more like him in every corner of civilization to keep the heedless media in control. Thank you, Sanal. I hope to meet you some day...!

Dharmapala Senaratne said...

This kind of 'miracles' appear on the Indian scene from time to time. How about that Buddha-incarnate youngster,appearing in a jungle, who remained alive without any food for long periods, that cobra image drinking milk endlessly, for example?

We need a Sanal to expose these!

Dharmapala Senaratne

Sudheer Chattanath said...

I am really appreciating your work against the all stupidity and superstitions in our great nation.

prasanna said...

Hello Mr Sanal,
u have done a good job.Keep going.
Unbeleivable things when observed people won't apply common sense to rule it out,including Doctors!!!!!!!!
really wonderful!!!!
why our Doctors study science and graduating themselves?
We r there with u , keep going.
Prasanna Venu
Kannur

shareef said...

അന്ധവിശ്വാസങ്ങള്‍ക്കെതിരായ താങ്കളുടെ പോരാട്ടത്തിന് എല്ലാ വിധ ഭാവുകങ്ങളും നേരുന്നു !!
-Shareef

samson said...

i appriciete ur investigation.weldone!usully media mislead people.a sri lankan newspaper(sri lankadeepa-16.05.2010)says that a yogi called prahlad jani lives for 70ys without food & drink in ahmadbad,india & doctors in indian army are examing him. dear sanal,we want ur valuble social service more & more.-samson

Haryjith said...

Dear Sanal Sir,

All The Best Wishes for your Sincere and ceasless effort to eliminate mysteries and superstitions.

Thanks a lot

Abdu Raheem

ബാബുരാജ് said...

I too had seen the program in NG. They actually concluded the program incomplete, hoping the foreign doctor may get a chance to rule out Munchausen proxy, from her mother. Too bad that channels like NG having so much of reputation, behaving this irresponsible!

Anil said...

LIKED THE SHOW ON STAR TV ABT SOLAR ECLIPSE. WOULD LIKE TO HAVE UR E MAIL ID.

THANKS
ANIL

Dipangkar Baruah said...

Great move once again Mr.Edamaruku.
Looking forward towards the day when "bad-luck" will strike that 70 years hungry old Food-Free Yogi.

santhosh said...

Great effort, go ahead.. we can hope a world without superstitions.

ACB said...

all the best.....
താങ്കള്‍ക്ക് എല്ലാവിത ആശംസകളും ........

സത്യം ജയിക്കട്ടെ....

മനുഷ്യന്‍ ജയിക്കട്ടെ...