Copromancy is the art of prognostication based on examining feces. Copromancy has a long history, and is part of traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. These practices should not be confused with the Bristol Stool Scale (used in mainstream healthcare to evaluate constipation, normal stool or diarrhea) nor with evidence-based testing of stool samples (such as checking for parasites, analyzing pancreatic functioning, or to look for malabsorption of nutrients.).
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. Lavrenti Beria was allegedly in charge of the department. Atamanenko claimed that the department analyzed Mao Zedong's poo. High levels of tryptophan allegedly indicated that a "person was calm and approachable", whereas low levels of potassium indicated a nervous disposition and insomnia.
Raymond Moody doody
Moody claimed to be scientific:
“”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:
- 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 Moody could not have detected the microbial diseases he claimed based on hand-drawn squiggle-like fissure variations that he described. The book reads like it could be one long prank — except — Moody went on to more quackery by promoting near-death experiences, and for the other celebrity poo readers (Gillian McKeith and Deepak Chopra). 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".
Awful poo lady
As you can see, the concept is a load of crap. There, we said it.
- Shen Nong: Examine Your Stool
- What Does Your Poop Say About You? The Chopra Center
- WebMD: Stool Analysis
- Stalin 'used secret laboratory to analyse Mao's excrement' by Steven Rosenberg (28 January 2016) BBC News.
- 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.
- Life After Life by Raymond A. Moody, Jr. (1975) Mockingbird Books. ISBN 0553122207.
- Turd whisperer Gillian McKeith really has made Celebrity Big Brother a s*** show… by Lynn Connolly (29th January 2016) Unreality TV.