Astrology, Time Twins and Serial Killers

[Excerpt from Quirkology: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things, Richard Wiseman, Ph.D., 2007]


Time twins?  Oh really?

According to the claims of astrologers, the position of the planets at a person’s moment of birth predicts his or her personality and the key events in that person’s life.  If this is true, people born at the same moment, and in the same place, should be almost identical to one another.  In fact, they should… be “time twins.”

[British researcher and former astrologer Geoffrey Dean] managed to uncover a database containing the details of just over 2,000 people born in London between March 2 and 9, 1958.  The database had been created by a group of researchers who studied people as they progressed through life, and it contained the results of intelligence tests and personality questionnaires administered at the ages of eleven, sixteen, and twenty-three.  The precise time of birth for each person had been carefully recorded, with more than 70 percent of them being born within five minutes of one another.  Geoffrey arranged the group in order of birth and moved down the line, calculating the degree of similarity between each pair of time twins…

People born at five minutes past eleven on March 4, 1958, were no more similar to their time twin born moments later than another person born days later…

Geoffrey has carried out many tests like this and the results have one thing in common–none support the claims of astrology.

You are a kind and gentle serial killer who should work with young people

Other researchers have examined the claims made by individual astrologers.  One of the most unusual, and striking, examples of this approach was reported by an American researcher in the later 1980s… The researchers first found the birth time, date, and place of the notorious serial murderer John Gacy.  Gacy was a sadistic killer who received twelve death sentences and twenty-one life terms for the torture and killing of thirty-three men and boys…

One of the researchers visited five professional astrologers and presented Gacy’s details as his own…

The astrologers got it badly wrong.  One encouraged the researcher to work with young people because he could “bring out their best qualities.”  Another… confidently predicted that the researcher’s life would be “very, very, positive.”  A third said that he was “kind, gentle, and considerate of others’ needs.”


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