Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Danie Krugel

Figure 1. Danie Krugel, inventor of the Krugel Theory Tester. Image from

Danie Krugel is a former policeman from South Africa. Krugel, also known as "The Locator", is known for being a professional bodyfinder. He invented an apparatus he called the Krugel Theory Tester (KTT), which through using Global Positioning Systems and DNA technology can pinpoint the location of anyone in the world; as long as Krugel has an item which contains their DNA e.g. a hair. Krugel claims to have a 90% success rate (Sunday Mirror, 2007). Krugel can locate anyone in the world dead or alive. A website promoting Krugel,, says the following: "All services Danie have provided this far have been free off charge. In the majority of cases Danie paid his own travel and accommodation expenses and sacrificed benefits provided by his employer". Even if this is the case, the science behind Krugel's KTT is shrouded in mystery (see Behind the KTT). And not everyone in the world offers these services for free (see Sally Morgan section).

Madeleine McCann

Figure 3. Madeleine McCann, who went missing while on holiday in Portugal. Image from

In 2007 it was reported across the entire media network that a young girl called Madeleine McCann had gone missing while on holiday with her family and their friends in Praia Da Luz, Portugal. What followed was a massive investigation, during which police suggested the child had been abducted. A search of the area began, but unfortunately no trace of Madeleine. On 07/10/2007, the Sunday Mirror reported that the McCann's had hired Krugel to help with the search for their missing daughter Madeleine. Upon arrival, Krugel was handed a hairbrush containing the hairs of Madeleine for him to use with his KTT machine. The Sunday Mirror said that Krugel used " cutting-edge technology" to "led Portuguese police to an area of beach 500 yards from where she vanished". The article then goes on to report that the police sealed off the area that Krugel had indicated, but the police never began digging to search for Madeleine's body. If the police believed Krugel to the point where they sealed off the area, why would they not begin digging? The answer is simple, the science doesn't add up. 

Behind The KTT

Figure 3. Krugel demonstrating how the KTT works, however the actual science behind it is unknown. Video from

The reason that the Portuguese police never searched the area that Krugel suggested is that his theory of the location of Madeleine's body had no scientific basis. Mark Harrison is a member of the National Police Improvement Agency and was brought in by Portuguese police to investigate the investigation being conducted on Madeleine's disappearance. Harrison stated in his report that a concern of Krugel's work was "the poor quality of his report which merely shows a google earth image of an area to the east of Praia Da Luz and includes open smb land, beach and sea", and that "Krugel was not prepared to allow the device to be viewed or provide any specification data of readings or equipment and the fact that no known device currently exists commercially or academically then I can only conclude that the information he has provided is likely to be of low value". It is well understood that if someone's theory has little scientific data to support it then we cannot accept the theory. If Krugel's theory could not be falsified then his theory has no scientific value.

Don't Trust The Bodyfinder

On the 8th October 2007 the Daily Mirror published an article with the title "Don't Trust The Bodyfinder". The article tells of how the McCanns were warned by a Varenda Gouws not to trust Krugel as he "led her and husband Willem on a wild goose chase after son Rayno, 20, went missing last year during a hiking holiday". Varenda goes on to say "It was an endless track. We drove through South Africa for 4,300 miles". She tells of the "mental torture" of being told your child is okay, and wondering why they haven't contacted you. Unfortunately, Rayno was found in a forest outside of Knysna; it is believed he died of a snake bite. Varenda then explains of Krugel's reaction to her telling him of her son's death. She says "he was really aggressive. He said it was not possible. He blamed me. He said "This is a lie. Nobody can tell you how long a body is dead". He didn't want to hear he had made a mistake." The article suggests that the McCann's changed their mind about Krugel's participation after this warning. The article ends by stating that Krugel insisted he does not ask the families for money for his services,  but also states that "he has a contract with a TV company and was filmed while working on the Madeleine case. He says the footage can only be released once Madeleine is found".


Falsifiability is a key feature of all sciences. It is the principle that for a theory to be considered scientific it must be able to be proven wrong via scientific testing, in this case of the KTT apparatus. The Oxford Dictionary of Psychology states that "a theory lacking this property does not belong to science". Many people see this as a hard principle to understand, because surely as humans we want knowledge which cannot be proven wrong. But this kind of knowledge would impede our understanding of the universe and everything which inhabits it. So for us to better understand the world we live in, it is important for any theory to be falsifiable. In Krugel's case, he could not show any scientific data to support his findings. Therefore Krugel's KTT cannot be considered scientific, and explains why the Portuguese police never inspected the area he said to contain Madeleine's body. Other aspects of modern life are not supported by scientific evidence, but are widely believed by the public such as horoscopes and homeopathy. But again by applying the principle of falsifiability we can see that these should not be trusted as they are classified as not belonging to science. One such area which cannot be falsified is the area of psychics, in particular mediums. Mediums are people who claim to be able to talk to those who are dead, and will often tell you what your late loved ones are saying for a small fee. One well known medium is Sally Morgan.

Sally Morgan

Figure 4. Sally Morgan. Image from

Sally Morgan is a medium, and on her website states she is "Britain's best loved psychic". Mediums claim that they have a gift, an abilty to hear the voices of those who have passed away. In the biography section of her website, Sally talks at length about her childhood and learning to control her ability.  The most interesting thing about Sally Morgan's website is the focus of money. There are links to buy tickets to a show, or to buy books and jewellery. You can even call Sally's team of psychics for your own personal reading, again for a small fee. Do mediums really possess the ability to talk to the dead, or are they just praying on the vulnerable? They seem to offer closure in times of need, and use very general questions (as shown in the article) that could apply to anyone. It is important to remember the principle of falsifiability, and apply it to things such as mediums. Through this we can understand that fields such as psychics are not scientific and so lack validity. 


Daily Mirror. (2007, Oct 8). Don't Trust The Bodyfinder. retrieved from

Coleman, A.M. (2009). Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Harrison, M. (2007, July 23). 09-Processo Vol 9. retrieved from

Owens, N. (2007, Oct 7). I Know Where Maddy Body Is. Sunday Mirror. retrieved from

Zennon, P. (2011, September 11). What a load of crystal balls! As Diana's former psychic is accused of cheating on stage, a TV illusionist exposes how trickery can fool any audience.  Daily Mail. retrieved from