Religion

Divine Revelation of 9/9/09 Made Pastor Hijack Plane

On Twitter today, I mentioned that today is 9/9/09, and people should honor that by giving a shit. In response, I got a lot of jokes about how 9/9/09 is the sign of the upside down beast, or similar. I didn’t realize at the time that one of the biggest news stories of the day—a few Bolivians hijacking a commercial plane in Mexico—was spurred by just such a stupid belief.

Reader Daniela just tipped us off to this article at ElUniversal.com (here’s the English translation), which breaks the news that hijacker Josmar Aeromexico Flores Pereira is a pastor who believed he received a divine revelation from the Holy Spirit encouraging him to take the plane today because of the upside down significance of the date.

Once again, we have a case of a seemingly absurd belief that results in very serious consequences. Thanks to a bit of luck and I imagine a lot of skill of the Mexican police forces, not a single shot was fired and not a single person was injured.

(edit: possibly his middle name is not Aeromexico. Thanks jonathanhansen.)

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Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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16 Comments

  1. Human minds evolved into powerful pattern matching machines. Unfortunately, when they are guided by irrational belief systems–numerology, angels, devils, etc.–they “recognize” all sorts of patterns that are not real. Like…

    September 9, 2009 –> 9/9/9 –> 6/6/6 –> 666 –> devil –> evil –> hijack plane

    It all makes perfect sense (if you’re delusional).

  2. So Rebecca, are you admitting responsibility for this? Or is this somehow the fault of the Australians, since they live in the future? Or is newborn, 8 pound 6 oz baby Jesus (via the Holy Spirit) somehow responsible?
    Those 9 years of Catholic school did not prepare me for this type of conundrum.

  3. I certainly don’t know Spanish, but I’m pretty sure that ” identificó al secuestrador del avión de Aeromexico como Jósmar Flores Pereira” should translate as something like “identified the hijacker of the Aeromexico plane as Josmar Flores Pereira”, rather than “identified the hijacker as plane Josmar Aeromexico Flores Pereira”. Yay machine transation!

  4. (edit: possibly his middle name is not Aeromexico. Thanks jonathanhansen.)

    This is the funniest thing I’ve read all day! I wonder if that might be a great way to get some nice frequent flyer benefits.

    – Hello “United Airlines” Kitty

  5. Apparently the Rev. Aeromexico (and the voices guiding him) forgot that the date wasn’t actually “09/09/09” it was “09/09/2009.” Which — when flipped — looks more like gibberish. (Or possibly, the Number of the Beast Inclusive of the Symbol for the Artist Formerly Known as Prince.) Damn those abbreviations!

  6. I saw the perp on CNN this morning. He was smiling despite being in handcuffs. They mentioned that he was a former alcoholic and drug addict. My suspicion is that our friend “AeroMexico” is probably bipolar. The hyper-irrational belief system would fit nicely with the mental health problems (like pouring gas on a fire).

    /BCT

  7. Huh, I thought El Universal was a Venezuelan newspaper. I guess the Venezuelan branch is part of it.

    @Rebecca
    The other kids are going to ask, “What is the meaning of your name?” someday, trust me.
    And the poor kid will have to answer, “It means Airmexico.”
    Then all the kids will laugh, and he will run back crying to his mommy. And when he grows up, he will live a tragic, bitter life. Do you want that to happen to him? ;)

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