Kansas City Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Prof. Verle Muhrer, Chairman, 2658 East,7th, Kansas City, MO 64124, U.S.A.

How accurate is astrology? Researchers in Kansas City recently went to five professional astrologers with the horoscope of convicted serial murderer John Wayne Gacy. Without knowing to whom it belonged they described him as having a "well rounder personality", that he could "offer a good role model" and that he would "be excellent for working around young people."

A member of Kansas City Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (KCCSI) went to the astrologers posing as a man interested in working with young people. He gave the astrologers the birth date, birth time and place of John Gacy instead of his own and asked them for their advice. The astrologers unanimously encouraged him to pursue youth work and none could see any problem with this.

The real John Gacy is currently being held on death row at Menard Correctional Center in Chicago. He received 12 death sentences and 21 life terms for the brutal torture and murder of 33 young men and boys. Gacy's astrological chart was selected for the test because it should portray a clear picture of a sadistic sexually motivated killer. If astrologers are able to spot personality traits and destinies in any chart, then this is the one they should have no trouble with.

The way in which Gacy murdered his victims was particularly repulsive. They were usually teenage boys whom he lured into his home and overpowered. He had a pair of trick hand cuffs, which he would demonstrate that he could slip out of. After immobilizing them by persuading them to put on the hand cuffs, he repeatedly raped and tortured them. Finally after begging for their own deaths he would strangle them, often by shoving their own underwear down their throats.

Each astrologer was given the birth date, birth time and place of Gacy and a computerized natal chart made by an astrologer internationally recognized for accuracy (Neil F.Michelsen). They were asked to examine the chart for as long as they wanted before giving their reading.

John Sandbach, a nationally known astrologer who has authored six books, advised him not to "become weighed down with regrets about how you could have done more in some past situation." He described a "plasticity or lack of aggression" in the chart and encouraged him to work with young people because he could "bring out their best qualities."

Local astrological talent, Randy Goodman, was reported by the Kansas City Star (April 10, 1985) to have investigated "mysterious flying hotdogs" at the Radisson Hotel Muehlebach. He told our substitute Gacy that he was "really born to serve people." He stated that "In the past you have used your energies very well so therefore in this life you have a lot to contribute, and... your life will be very, very positive."

Another local astrological celebrity, Norma Knight, was also given an opportunity to analyze the chart. She described him as "a very, very sensitive person." When asked about the youth ministry she replied, "I think that you can be very good with kids and that it might be a good medium for you to learn to be more trusting in the giving and receiving."

Beverly Farrel lays claim to being an "internationally recognized author, lecturer and teacher of religion, metaphysics, astrology and psychic awareness" with "30 years experience in the field of (the) paranormal". She also encouraged the man behind the chart to go into youth work. She stated that when you're working with young people you're not to have a lot of heavy-duty problems."

The results seemed to indicate that astrologers cannot read a persons character from the positions of the planets at the moment of birth nor can they see into anyone's past or future nor do they seem to possess any insights other than the ability to impress their clientele.

KCCSI next passed out envelopes to students in several local college philosophy classes. The students were instructed to write their names, birthdates, birth times and places on the outside of the envelopes and return them. KCCSI put in each envelope an excerpt from the Gacy readings and handed them back to the students telling them that a professional astrologer had made up a personality description specifically for them. They were asked to grade how well each "horoscope" fit them and turn them back in.

When the results were tabulated it was discovered that those students who believed in astrology showed a significant tendency to grade the readings as more accurate than did those students who did not believe. This supports the premise that the popularity of astrology is due to the predisposition of the believers to exaggerate its accuracy and thus make it appear to work. Also this would explain the persistence of many people to assert that astrology really works despite evidence to the contrary.


"I think that you can be very good with kids and that might be a good medium for you to learn to be more trusting in the giving and receiving."

"...just your presence would be of a beneficial nature to other people, a real calming kind of effect...In the past you have used your energies well: so therefore, in this life you have a lot to contribute and you will have some problems but basically your life will be very, very positive."

"...a fairly well-rounded can offer a good role model...when you're working with young people you're not gonna have a lot of heavy-duty problems."

"Helpful, understanding of the needs of others. At times a sucker for anyone who needs help...Kind, gentle, considerate of others needs."

"At your best, you are very impressionable and radiate the unconditional love of a happy infant... You have an instinctive awareness and your uninhibited response to life can refresh and gladden whomever you encounter."

John Gacy


John Gacy's birth certificate.

The University of Regensburg neither approves nor disapproves of the opinions expressed here. They are solely the responsibility of the person named below.

Last update: 8 July 1998