Maddie and Joana: Esotericism, plot, psychotic disturbance or a mere case of fooling the public?

by Paulo Sargento*

Today, the 4th of December, I read something that I never expected to read about the already intimately and publicly connected cases of Maddie and Joana. I fail to find the appropriate adjectives, beyond STUPEFIED, in order to qualify the state that I was left in after reading, in weekly newspaper “O Crime”, the interview that was given by Dr Marcos Aragão Correia, a most illustrious lawyer, who assists Leonor Cipriano in the media-exposed process that concerns alleged torture carried out by Polícia Judiciária agents.

I will try to be brief and to point out five reasons for said stupefaction.

Reason 1 – Dr Aragão Correia states, according to the aforementioned weekly: “the Spanish detectives asked me to arrange for evidence against Gonçalo Amaral”.

Allow me to underline the expression ARRANGE FOR. Apart from hardly being a juridical term, the expression contains a strange connotation that directs us towards a depreciative conception of what evidence actually is. Evidence is not ARRANGED FOR. Evidence is something that emerges within an investigation. If there are no ARRANGEMENTS here, then Dr Aragão Correia should, firstly, confirm whether or not he used this expression, and secondly, explain its meaning within the process that he is a patron of at the moment. We did, however, learn that the purpose of said ARRANGEMENT, so to speak, would be that of denigrating the image of Gonçalo Amaral, allegedly due to the fact that Método 3 considered him to be an inspector who “systematically incriminated the mothers of missing little girls without any evidence whatsoever”.

Reason 2 – Dr Aragão Correia assumes esoteric explanations in order to justify criminal investigation and juridical arguments.

In effect, it seems that esoteric dimensions have taken over a certain protagonism in both cases. While I hold absolutely nothing against any type of knowledge, I must however stress that scientific knowledge presents some advantages in relation to other forms and methodologies of knowledge. From my point of view, the most important of those advantages is the possibility of reducing potential biases or errors in our convictions, ideologies, impressions, sensations, illusions or even deliriums towards a given event. This happens because in science there are no illuminates. In science, there are men and women who submit their judgment concerning certain facts to empirical tests, sharing the used analysis paradigms and methodologies, thus rendering them accessible to everyone, and therefore acquiring the value of DEMONSTRATIONS.

Now, when any man or woman holds a piece of information through a route that nobody else can share or understand, three possibilities should be considered:

a) either the person obtained that information through a non conscious channel, and therefore is unable to understand how he or she reached that information;
b) or the person is delirious and therefore presents psychotic symptoms;
c) or the person is lying, and there is a purpose to it.

While respecting medium abilities as a particular form of knowledge, I must still assume my reservations concerning the effectiveness of Dr Aragão Correia’s capacities.

Why is that?

Because he stated that the Maddie case constituted his first “vision” and COINCIDENTALLY took place immediately after a spiritist session which he attended, as he was fully entitled to. Beginner’s luck, one might think. Although he considered that his “vision” was a relevant element for the investigation into the disappearance of little Madeleine McCann, the Polícia Judiciária apparently didn’t value that information. But Método 3, probably better fit to evaluate his abilities as a medium, submitted him “to a test in order to prove if (his) medium capacities and (his) stance were credible or not”. Despite not divulging what type of test was carried out, Dr Aragão Correia divulges the outcome: “positive”, obviously, we might add.

Reason 3 – Dr Marcos Aragão Correia assumes himself as a magnanimous individual who stripped himself of any material intentions.

The noble reasons that illuminate the action of so many people who practice esotericism are recognized in only very few cases, and in my view, they are only to be praised, like any other action of selfless solidarity.

Dr Aragão Correia wants to add to the short list of promethean philanthropists who live their lives to help others, due to no other motive than human solidarity and the contempt of material goods.

Now before anything else, Dr Aragão Correia, do allow me the following question: should we only help others if they are under the media spotlight, or should that quality be no motivation for such action? Why did you rush to help these parents in distress, and not any other equally “distressed” ones?

If, as you state yourself, you lead a financially sound life in Madeira and even started out by paying for the diving in the Arade Dam, why do you stress the fact that you received financial support from spiritist organizations?

To which organization do you intend to offer the profits from the sales of your book “The Little Girls that Came from the Stars”, which will be launched during the opportune and commercial Christmas season? You certainly don’t wish to add to the list of those that stand accused of making money from other people’s misery.

Reason 4 – Dr Marcos Aragão Correia believes, in association with other characters, that there is an intervention from the English secret services and from secret societies (not of a spiritist nature, I’m sure), namely “Skull and Bones”, which he says President George W. Bush belongs to, whose purpose it is to create a climate of insecurity in order to promote the implanting of chips in children.

Dr Marcos Aragão Correia,

What you state needs to be proved, or we may be confronting a phenomenon close to the Truman syndrome, a psychopathological condition that was masterly divulged by the film “The Truman Show”, with the notable interpretation by actor Jim Carrey.

The conspiracy theories that are based on secret societies constitute a very ancient argument and occur in two situations: in order to dissimulate important or compromising aspects in some situations, or in situations of mental disturbance (namely delirious and hallucinatory psychotic disturbances, and paranoid schizophrenia).

You should remember that you only identified one association that you belong to: the respectable Lawyers’ Order. Are the other associations that you belong to of a secret nature, and therefore you only mentioned the title “spiritist”?

Reason 5 – Dr Marcos Aragão Correia divides to conquer, publicly, in the Joana case.

Dr Aragão Correia,

You have absolutely no right whatsoever to induce people to the innocence of Leonor Cipriano by insinuating the culpability of her brother, João Cipriano, through the usage of judgments of value, by extrapolating forensic documents that are anterior to the case over which he was condemned, and even less, through esoteric justifications like the one that you refer to when you say you had a(nother) “vision” where “streams of blood” ran down the face of said individual.

You have responsibilities in the case, responsibilities that exceed those of the common citizen! There are boundaries that must not be overstepped!

These are the five reasons for my stupefaction.

Now I ask:

What does the Layers’ Order have to say about this?
What does the Public Ministry have to say about this?
What does the Silence of the McCanns mean?
Are we now closer to the day when the forensic tests that are mentioned under article 159 of the Penal Process Code will be applied to other actors within the administration of Justice?

This is all for today, but I promise to continue with this reflection, in memory of and as a token of respect towards two (unfortunate) stars that once were little girls.

source: Câmara de Comuns, 05.12.2008

* Prof. Paulo Sargento is a forensic psychiatrist, university professor and author

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