The next step - helping disgruntled dealers pick up the pieces

created 12/4/96, last updated 1/15/97 -this page accessible as

--- note: if it turns out that Dennis really does have revolutionary technology, then please disregard this page ---

note: I draw on the following sources of information: my personal experience with similar investment scams (both being hurt myself and seeing others be destroyed), my prodigious personal study of pphacthology and personal counselling. Studies investigating the experiences of people involved in pyramid schemes, gypsy crimes, corrupt faith healers, false memories and end of the world predictions.

The information against investing in the free energy machine is good enough. To the best of my knowledge, every single open minded potential investor looking at information from both me and Dennis has decided not to invest. (unfortunately, the pages were up late and most dealers don't have access) So,

what's the next step for those providing the skeptical viewpoint

of Dennis's claims? In spite of Dennis's warnings not to listen to me, a number of dealers are now have deep second thoughts. The next step is giving support to people going through the painful process of admitting having made a big mistake. Many are facing up to their worst nightmare: . . breaking the news to friends and family members who long ago told them, ' idiot, you are going to lose all your money!'. Many dealers have borrowed from friends, family, retirement accounts, kids college money and will feel completely crushed. For many, it will be far easier to desperately cling to a ray of hope that somehow, they will eventually get their money back. The main steps of such a recovery process are
  • Denial
  • Withdrawal
  • Anger
  • Obsessing
  • Acceptance
  • It's important to realize that your well intended desire to help a fraud victim with recovery will fail unless the victim himself is willing to come out of the denial process and start the healing process. But also remember that a true friend is willing to risk the friendship help the friend. One of the first steps is to reassure the victim. Let them know some of the following points
  • that they didn't have all the information when they made a decision;
  • they were one of many countless people who got taken in;
  • Dennis has around 20 years of experience getting people to believe things;
  • they were letting their faith in God turn into faith in an individual;
  • they should at least be commended for being willing to help humanity make a great stride (after all no great human accomplishment would ever have been made if people hadn't taken risks);
  • they can't fully hold themselves accountable for not being able to evaluate scientific and engineering claims with out having had significant education in those areas.
    -don't allow anyone to indefinitely take up a self image of victim

    The dangers that I see for a dealer is 1) investing a lot more money (or quitting a real job) to open up a store or buy unproven free energy machines - that's where wisdom about cutting loses comes in. 2) the worst long term danger is a common syndrome among victims: they get mentally stuck on what happened with out being able to lay it to rest and they have a hard time trusting people again. Of course there's also the issue of digging one's self out of debt and rebuilding ones credibility and self esteem.

    If your friend is still in denial, you want to admit there is some chance that there could be a free energy machine - but ask your friend to admit that there is some chance they may not exist. Don't push too hard, or you may cut off contact. Most cults try to convince people to shut off most outside contacts. Make sure to be clear that you do not condemn him as a person but are merely among the majority of Americans that don't see enough proof. If you do have an open dialogue, the following areas of argument appear to be most effective: 1) the long history of free energy scams and failures, 2) Dennis's lack of willingness to allow scrutiny, 3) numerous technical flaws in BWT literature.

    For friends in the withdrawal stage, you don't want to offer arguments - it's best to offer only encouragement that your friendship is independent of BWT success -they are still the same person if they go broke or get rich off the idea. The depth of most of these stages is proportional to cost of investment. Many people need time and space to emotionally recover from a loss.

    for people in the anger stage: be aware that you want to give people time and space to work out emotions dealing with loss. Try to make sure that not too much of the anger is turned inward - otherwise your friend could turn inward and lead a stifling life dedicated solely to avoiding hurt (this is not good for personal growth) At all costs, keep your friend from shooting Dennis and Alison. This would not only be immoral and illegal, it would end up keeping other dealers from being able to see things clearly exposed. (a martyr can never die - more people would come out of the wood work asking for money to finish Dennis's work. -if Dennis is not given sufficient chance to prove his idea's, another energy messiah could lay claim to his cause. What I fear is someone admitting that they have lost big, yet believing that the evil government is responsible for it - I worry this could lead to some kind of reprisal of the Oklahoma variety in a rare instance.

    Some people go through an obsessing stage where they seem stuck on events leading up to the loss and wishing they can turn back time. This is a positive step to placing things in order. I recommend to any victim working through the myriad of conflicting feelings to journal their thoughts - the process of expressing feelings on paper would allow 'closure'.

    Under the right circumstances, people will bounce back from loss to the point where they can accept what happened, maybe learn from it and get on with life. To paraphrase an over idealized point from Mark Twain, ' when you can lose all you own on one eventful roll of the dice and bounce back the next morning, the world is yours'

    It's important to work towards the goal of dropping the label 'victim' -being a victim too long can become an excuse for lack of personal responsibility. -by the way, I am willing to anonymously publish anyones journal of feelings. In fact I predict by 1998, a good personal story from a dealers perspective will finally get some major press coverage - there's great room to express character development, group think, hopes, pain, etc. I'll bet the talk shows will eventually host former and current dealers. Once one media source breaks this story, the rest will jump on it. -underneath the 'technology' there's a great element of humanity in this saga.

    Eric's speculation how things could unfold:

    Believers and skeptics alike agree that Dennis offers hope and excitement. Most of our lives are rather mundane and repetitive, it is invigorating to hear a promise of big news about to be released. I frequently am asked "how will this pan out". Well as a dutiful skeptic, I certainly don't claim to predict the future. I wish it would turn out successful, but history is full of good intentions that don't pan out. Based on the history of people like Newman, Burke, Hohenau, Enricht, I offer the following scenarios that unfold for exotic claims:

    "lets shift focus to this" In this strategy, the inventor simply focuses attention on another claim leaving others or some spin off company to flounder with the original claim which fades away. This is a neat tactic, because the inventor is never debunked and can line up fresh investors on the newer claim. As long as some promise of making money is held out, the investors won't sue. I must admit recent BWT pronouncements almost seem to backpedal the free energy machine.

    "God is telling me we must all . . ." Playing the religious card is a ticket out of a tight spot. Claiming that God has commanded some new focus or building a Waco-like compound or whatever can both purge the more skeptical investors from the ranks as well as place the claimant beyond scrutiny: "Don't ask me for proof, I'm just following orders from almighty God"

    "The conspiracy is at it again" I laughed out loud when I read the claim that 100 million dollars are available. It's a great exciting promise to distract dealers from the broken promise of "free energy machines installed before end of 96". It's an answer to the question, of who pays for manufacture cost of free energy machines. I predict that by June of 1997, we will see Dennis claim that the conspiracy undermined the huge investment. I see no evidence that there is an infusion of money beyond the dealers $10 ,000 investment (much of it could have been squandered on advertising ). What scares me is that when BWT realizes they can't raise the huge sums of money needed to manufacture thousands of units, they may resort to the next scenario:

    "time to pass the hat, again" In this scenario, (again, just a fun prediction of mine - not a promise) Dennis would tell the dealers that since the conspiracy made the big money back out, that they will have to mortgage homes, max out credit cards, raid retirement funds, etc to raise money to pay for machines to be built. In con man circles (and in some investment circles) this is known as "redlining" - you tell your investor that there were problems, yet still hope: to avoid losing the entire investment, they must come up with more money. Pphacthologically, it's easier for most people to dig in deeper than cut loses. The possible damage if this scenario plays out is immense. I can't bear to think of hoards of people who likely extended too far already trying to dig a lot deeper.

    "sorry, got to do time again". I assume that by end of 98, the government will have a fairly good case built again. If Dennis tries to run the operation from jail, excuses could always be raised like, "my trusted followers back stabbed me", "my loyal followers disappeared because of fear" , "those people making the machines aren't doing it right", etc.

    Of course there is always the chance that followers will just slowly start fading out or that the free energy machine is for real and the dealers get rich (per an older mailing of mine). Again, I understand that I have no more power to predict than 900 number pphacthics: But we all (believers and skeptics) can't help but wondering how this is going to unfold. stay tuned eric personal note: most skeptics take pride in knocking down one false god after another (I do too) - but I think I'm different because I have a sincere heart felt compassion for these particular victims (as compared with new age people - who I openly ridicule) - I think I see a lot of myself in them: I've loved farming (only as a hobby), I love fantastic exciting claims, I and many of my friends are born again Christians, and I'm sympathetic to the militia cause and have good decent friends in that movement

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