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Copromancy

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Copromancy is the art of prognostication based on examining feces. Copromancy has a long history, and is part of traditional Chinese medicine[1] and Ayurveda.[2]

Copromancy was also advocated by Raymond A. Moody before he created the near-death experience phenomenon[3] and before he obtained a medical degree.[4] The most famous of all copromancers however would seem to be The Awful Poo Lady, Gillian McKeith, who brought copromancy to prime-time television.[5]

Moody claimed to be scientific:[4]

Without in any way disparaging tea-leaf reading, astrology, palmistry, phrenology, or any of the other similar techniques, we can say with certainty that coprology — with its modern scientific methods of research, controlled experiments, and computer analysis — is able to obtain much more accurate predictions of future life trends than any other known method.

However, Moody then launched into a very unscientific and unsubstantiated methodology of feces analysis based on:[4]

  • Shape ("Curve or Priscilla", "Spiral of Raymondus", "Tetterton's Spheroids"…), internal structure, color, hardness, and configuration predicting one's character
  • Configuration, acidity, and moisture content predicting one's future
  • Nodes, fissures, and micro-organisms predicting one's health

Yes, stool micro-organisms can predict health, but he could not have detected the microbial diseases he claimed based on hand-drawn squiggle-like fissure variations that he described.[4] The book reads like it could be one long prankexcept — Moody went on to more quackery by promoting near-death experiences,[3] and for the other celebrity poo readers (Gillian McKeith and Deepak Chopra).[2][5] At the time of publication, Moody claimed to be the discoverer of coprology and to hold a "Bachelor of Arts, Master of the Arts, Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Racial Science, and Doctor of Coprology degrees, and [to have] been a professor of logic and metaphysics." Moody also claimed to be the president of the International Coprological Society and the "Oberleiter of the American Militant Action Party".[4]

According to former Soviet agent Igor Atamanenko, Joseph Stalin set up a special department of the secret police that sought to obtain and analyze feces samples to make psychological portraits.[6] Lavrenti BeriaWikipedia's W.svg was allegedly in charge of the department. Atamanenko claimed that the department analyzed Mao Zedong's poo.[6] High levels of tryptophan allegedly indicated that a "person was calm and approachable", whereas low levels of potassium indicated a nervous disposition and insomnia.[6]

Evidence-based copromancy is used in modern medicine when stool samples are taken. In Western medicine, stool samples are examined for parasites, to test for pancreatic functioning, and to look for malabsorption of nutrients.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Shen Nong: Examine Your Stool
  2. 2.0 2.1 What Does Your Poop Say About You? The Chopra Center
  3. 3.0 3.1 Life After Life by Raymond A. Moody, Jr. (1975) Mockingbird Books. ISBN 0553122207.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Coprology: The Art and Science of Character Analysis, Prognostication, and Healing through the Reading or Manipulation of Stools by Raymond A. Moody (1972). self-published, 56 pp.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Turd whisperer Gillian McKeith really has made Celebrity Big Brother a s*** show… by Lynn Connolly (29th January 2016) Unreality TV.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Stalin 'used secret laboratory to analyse Mao's excrement' by Steven Rosenberg (28 January 2016) BBC News.
  7. WebMD: Stool Analysis