The February 2008 edition of Mother Jones magazine has an interesting article about the belief "among evangelical Christians (and some Orthodox Jews) that Scripture foretells a massive oil find in the Holy Land" and how gullible people forked over their money to liars and frauds who claimed that they could tap that oil and help bring about Armageddon.
The opening paragraph of the article, titled "Let There Be Light Crude" describes a James Cojanis, "a 70-year old retiree" who was "sitting in his San Jose home with the radio tuned to a popular Christian show called The Prophecy Club." The featured guest was Harold "Hayseed" Stephens, who told listeners that "the greatest oil field on Earth is under the southwest corner of the Dead Sea" and his company, "Ness Energy International, was about to tap into it. In doing so, he said, it would drain the oil fields of the Persian Gulf, prompt Arab countries to attack Israel, and at last touch off the great battle that would usher in the end of days."
We learn from the article that Cojanis purchased $120,000 in Ness stock, which has since plummeted to $3,000. Ness had never even acquired exploration rights in Israel. But according to the article, Cojanis remains undeterred. "When they hit oil and the stock goes skyhigh, that means Armageddon is around the corner."
Stories about people who are suckered by con artists are a dime a dozen, especially among the elderly who are trying to make ends meet or are not in full possession of their faculties. Almost everybody would like to strike it big and become rich. But what is frightening about James Cojanis is that he enthusiastically invested in a shady scheme that he hoped would bring about World War Three. He is not someone looking to get rich. He actively wants to participate in a plot that would results in countless numbers of people getting killed if it actualy had a chance to succeed. Cojanis and others like him are not just gullible, they are dangerously gullible.
The online version of the article is available here.