Friday, September 14, 2007

The surprising adventures of Stanley Praimanth


The Surprising Adventures of Stanley

© Gerard Holmgren: Oct 25 2006 This
article or any part of it may not be reproduced without express permission
from the author in writing. This prohibition excludes quotation for
reasonable reference purposes, providing that the article is linked

The claim made in the title comes from a novel by Rudolp Erich Raspe
entitled The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

It is just one of the many surprising exploits narrated by the Baron.
Of course, the novel is a lot of fun but not meant to be taken seriously.
It seems however that when equally surprising assertions are made by
people claiming to have seen a plane fly into the South Tower of the
WTC on Sept 11, then the standards of plausibility are somewhat lowered
by those eager to lap up "eyewitness accounts" of the event.
This article examines the surprising adventures of one Stanley Praimnath
in the WTC on Sept 11 2001.

For those not already familiar with the reason for this article, analysis
of the videos of the alleged plane strike and the resulting forensic
scene proves conclusively that no big plane flew into the South tower (or the North
, but this article deals with an alleged witness report to the former ).

The plane which we saw on TV hitting the the Sth tower was a fake -
a cartoon, an animation, a computer generated insert. Whether the South
tower was hit by some other kind of much smaller flying object or whether
it was merely an internal explosion is still a subject for debate, but
whatever caused the explosion it was not a large passenger jet. The
Flight UA 175
to which the impact is attributed is better described
as Cartoon 175.

Due to the inability to make any coherent counter argument on the basis
of video or physics evidence, the large plane theorists obsess with
witness reports, ignoring both the fact that witness reports don't support
any such conclusion anyway, and even if they did, where witness evidence
contradicts video and physical evidence, then it is the latter which
is more reliable.

Even in cases where witness testimony must be relied upon because is
the only form of evidence available, it is normally required that a
witness report should be intrinsically plausible. Witnesses to a large
plane hitting the WTC however, seem to enjoy an exalted status, aloof
from the rigorous cross examination and detailed deconstruction normally
applied to something which purports to be important witness evidence
relating to a crime.

Stanley Praimnath is a case in point. The witness report attributed
to this individual is the equivalent of the above claim attributed to
Baron Munchausen. This has not stopped it from being triumphantly presented
to me via email debates as proof that a big plane hit the Sth tower.
Such presentations have been frequent enough that I felt it necessary
to write this article.

First, here are some sources for the Praimnath report. His story is
all over the web, so I've selected just a few here, giving priority
to those which best fulfill some combination of the following 4 requirements.

1. The earliest. 2. From recognized news outlets. 3. Contain significant
variations from other versions. 4. Praimnath directly quoted rather
than described as a narration.

Terror in America: Escapees - One week on, survivors
tell. Sept 18 2001 by Thomas Sutcliffe

Power of Prayer
Sept 18 2001

3.Community People
Undated but the copyright notice indicates 2001/2

June 1 2001

Saturday Morning News
Sept 7 2002

Improbable Escape
CNN Sept 9 2002

11 One year On
The Guardian August 18 2002

You can read these accounts yourself, and search for more if you like,
but below is the basic outline of the story that Praimnath tells, bearing
in mind that it differs somewhat from one account to another. Where
a significant point is contained only in certain accounts or contradicted
by other accounts, I have inserted the number of the relevant account
in brackets, to make it easier for you to get an overview of which account
says what.

He worked on the 81st floor of the South Tower. He was on the phone
and he looked up and saw a big plane heading towards him. He said "I've
got to go. There's a plane aiming for me." He dropped the phone
and jumped about 6 feet across the room to his desk. Just before doing
this he was "eyeball to eyeball" with the jet - "the
biggest thing I've ever seen". He was close enough that he could
see red letters on the fuselage and the wing (2), and the writing on
the underside (1) and then it banked and headed directly towards him
(4). In accounts 5 and 6, the plane is heading straight at him from
the moment he sees it, and he freezes in repose. After jumping across
the room he dived under his desk -which as it turned out, was about
130 ft from where the nose hit. In account 7 he was already at his desk.
.One account (3) says that he first placed his bible on the desk before
crawling under it, although another account (2) indicates that the bible
was already on the desk. He curled up into a fetal position under the
desk and started crying and praying. All this happened before the impact.
When the impact happened he was miraculously protected as the wing sliced
through his office. Later, in watching the video of the impact, and
seeing a slight deviation that the plane supposedly made just before
hitting the building, he came to believe that the prayer he said just
before impact induced God's hand to spare him by causing that slight
change of direction which saved his life. In other accounts he says
that cried out to Jesus just as the plane hit.(3).

In some accounts (3) he immediately started crawling through the rubble
in an attempt to find his way out before someone arrived to help him.
In other accounts, he is trapped under a collapsed wall (1), and had
to be pulled free by his rescuer. In others, the exits are blocked so
he punches a hole in the standing wall (2,4,6) which separates him from
the staircase, to allow his rescuer to get to him. In accounts 3 and
5, the hole in the standing wall was already there.

When he made it down to the concourse, he was trapped by flames and
so after wetting himself under the building's sprinkler systems, he
ran through the flames to safety. I don't find any account where he
talks of having suffered any burns.

It's difficult to make a precise examination of a story which keeps
changing it's important details (which doesn't do it's credibility a
lot of good to begin with.) So for the purpose of the examination below,
I'm going to take one version which represents a reasonable composite
of those above and treat that as "the story".

It was originally published by CBN. We don't know the exact date, because
the original CBN link is now dead, but we know that it was prior to
March 11 2002, because a blog
with that date
refers to and links to the CBN dead link. The blogger
(who is not disputing that a plane hit the tower) makes some good points
about the implausible nature of Praimnath's story.

The blog quotes only a small part of the CBN article,so here is a later
posting which contains more of it.

Forged in the Carnage of the Twin Towers

On the anniversary of 9/11 a hero and the man he saved talk about their
bond. David Smith reports.

An interesting anomaly. The linked article attributes Stanley's story
as told below to "the anniversary of 911" - that is Sept 11
2002 - but we know from the blog reference that CBN published this much
earlier. There isn't anything particularly suspicious about this, it's
probably just the normal poor standards of verification of the media
in not giving good information about their original sources. So the
anomaly isn't important to our analysis. It's just that I'm a stickler
for keeping the highest possible standards of source verification and
taking a note of any anomalies as routine process.

So here is the plane strike part of Stanley's story as quoted from
the article linked above.

[['I was looking
towards the Statue of Liberty and telling her no, I'm fine. Something
caught my eye: a giant airplane, with U on the tail. I said, "I
have got to go. A plane is aiming for me." I dropped the phone
and jumped towards my desk, which was six or seven feet away.

'I said, "Lord,
I can't do this. You take over," and I went into the foetal position.
I just huddled under my desk and prayed and cried.

'Just before I jumped
there I saw this plane eyeball to eyeball, the biggest thing I've ever
seen coming towards me. But it was happening in slow motion, giving
me time. I could hear this ripping engine sound, and the bottom wing
just swiped right through my office. It crash-landed and the bottom
wing was stuck in my office door 20ft from where I was. Everything looked
like a demolition crew ripped the entire floor apart.

'I thought, if I
don't get electrocuted, the plane is gonna blow, I'm gonna die. If that
don't get me, the air pressure's going to suck me out. I'm trapped under
the only desk that stood firm - my Bible's on top of that. ]]

First let's look at the timing elements of this story. The mythical
plane is generally claimed to have been doing about 500mph. That's about
250 yards a second. From the time between dropping the phone and the
plane hitting, what does Stanley do? He jumps 6 or 7 feet across the
room and dives under his desk. For a person of average athleticism this
takes about two seconds if they move quickly and efficiently - which
you certainly can't do if you're still watching the plane instead of
the desk under which are aiming to dive. Then he huddles into the foetal
position and says a prayer. How do we know that he says the prayer before
the plane hit ?

For this we have to add something from the original CBN article which
was omitted from the linked article above. Unfortunately, I have not
been able to find a copy of the CBN article , otherwise we would be
able to see all of this text in one place. But the CBN article contained
the identical text quoted above, plus this.

[[Later on, when
I watched TV, I saw the plane swerve, that little turn that it made,
whatever reason it did that for. I was able to rationalize that I said
what I did when I prayed that prayer. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt
that my Lord's giant hand pushed this plane a fraction of an inch.]]

You can find this part of the text referred to in this
(scroll almost to the bottom to the Post entitled "God
Saves One Man, Leaves Others to Die".

I received this text from a Praimnath supporter in an email dated July
2004, linking to the CBN article, but the link had gone dead by the
time of writing this up on my website.

So in the story as published by CBN, Stanley took two seconds to jump
across the room and dive under the desk and then took more time to huddle
up in the fetal position and say a prayer before the plane hit. That's
because he thinks that his prayer changed the direction of the plane,
so he's obviously claiming to have prayed before the plane hit. So let's
give that another two seconds. This means that the last he saw of the
plane - when he dropped the phone - was at least 4 seconds before impact.
That doesn't sound like a lot, but when we are dealing with something
coming towards us at 500 mph, that means that it was at least 1000 yards
away, when he got his last glimpse of it. More than 1/2 a mile.

This would be an alarming sight, but not consistent with

[[Just before I
jumped there I saw this plane eyeball to eyeball, the biggest thing
I've ever seen

If this were true, he wouldn't have had time to do anything. And it
makes this observation an impossibility

[[Something caught
my eye: a giant airplane, with U on the tail

Particularly when this observation was alleged to have been made before

[[I said, "I
have got to go. A plane is aiming for me." I dropped the phone


This takes at least another 2 1/2 seconds. So it was something like
2125 yards away - at least - that's about 1.2 miles away - nose straight
at him, "aiming at him" but he could see the U on the tail.

Setting aside the distance factor for a moment, here is a photo of
a United Airlines
,with the U on the tail displayed prominently. As you can see,
to view the U, you need to be at least somewhat side on to the plane.
So even if Stanley could make out the U from more than a mile away,
in order for him to be able to see the U on the tail and have the plane

[[aiming for me

it would have be flying at least somewhat sideways.

Not as ridiculous as the above, but still worth noting as not particularly
plausible is that when dealing which such unfamiliar sizes and speeds,
there is no way that Stanley could have known with such certainty that
the plane was "aiming" for him from such a distance. Certainly,
there may have been alarm that the plane should have not have been there,
and the thought that there was a danger of it hitting the building,
but those kind of speeds and distances are well outside the range of
what human perceptions can actually gauge in any coherent way.

I was once involved in a near collision of two jets as we flew into
Melbourne. I saw the other plane through the window. But I have absolutely
no idea of how close we actually came, whether it was really close or
just an "incident", even though I saw the other plane pass
over the top of ours. There simply isn't anything on which to base any
sort of reference point at those speeds and sizes and distances.

As we were well into our descent, I saw another plane well off in the
distance, it's path roughly at right angles to ours. It didn't even
look close at first, but I vaguely realized that we shouldn't really
be seeing another plane at all. As it drew closer, I felt our plane
descend quite suddenly, and saw (I think) the other plane lift upwards.
As I got my final view of it as it passed overhead, I really had no
idea whether it passed directly overhead or whether it was some distance
in front of us and I really had no idea at all of how far above us it
was. It all happened in a few seconds, and there was simply no comprehending
anything accurate at those speeds and distances. All I knew was that
we weren't meant to have been that close. At the time, it was a surreal
and detached feeling with no fear. I suppose that somewhere there was
an awareness for a moment that a collision seemed possible, but the
situation was too fast and dynamic and dealing with such incomprehensible
speeds and distances, that any such awareness couldn't be translated
into any kind of identifiable reaction. It was more like detached curiosity
than anything else.

I guess it must have been reasonably close, because when I mentioned
it to a friend a few days later, she said that she had heard something
on the news that there might have been a collision if "someone
hadn't noticed something". But that still gives me no real idea
of what kind of distances were involved.

Of course my situation involved two moving objects, which makes it
more dynamic than Stanley's situation, and different people react in
different ways, but the idea that someone in a 70 yard wide building,
situated about 115 yards from the top of the building could catch a
glimpse of a plane from more than 2000 yards away and instantly know
that it was

[[aiming for me

is of very dubious plausibility.

When all of these factors are added up, it makes it clear that Stanley
would be a serious rival for Baron Munchausen in the story telling stakes.
This alone does not prove that Stanley is making everything up. Perhaps
he's just wildly embellishing, but the basic substance of the story
- catching a glimpse of a plane - is true. Viewing the report in isolation
so far, there is no way to disprove such speculation. However even a
plausible and consistent witness has an uphill battle to claim to trump
physical and video evidence. When it is proven that the witness is -
at the very best - wildly embellishing, then the report loses any claim
to be taken seriously.

But the fun is only just beginning.

[[It crash-landed
and the bottom wing was stuck in my office door 20ft from where I was.

Hmm. What is one of the most memorable images of the Sth tower strike

The huge fireball which erupts after impact. In case you don't remember,
should refresh your memory.

Supposedly, this was the plane's full load of fuel exploding. Stanley
would have been right in the middle of this fireball.

The Baron must be getting very nervous about his tall tale crown now.
Not only did Stanley survive this conflagration, I don't find any mention
of him suffering any burns at all, even though he then ran through another
fire shortly after being softened up by being right in the middle of
an enormous explosion.

In fact, article 2 as linked above notes that after the crash

Stanley was unhurt.]]

And it's not that Stanley is too stoic to mention minor injuries and
discomforts. From the same article, the following discomforts were apparently
worthy of note.

[["We hobbled
our way down...Cut and bloodied, with clothes tattered and wearing a
borrowed shirt, Stanley finally made it home hours later..."I'm
so sore, but every waking moment, I say 'Lord, had you not been in control...]]

Article 3 above notes

[[I was bruised
and gashed.]]

Article 4 above relates

[["You must
jump," Clark told Praimnath, whose hand and left leg were now bleeding.]]

According to article 6

[[Both men now had
open wounds on their hands. ]]

So it's not as if the minor injuries were stoically ignored in these
stories. But being right in the middle of a huge explosion,and then
running through another fire after that didn't leave Stanley with even
any temporary burns worthy of mention.

It's worth clicking on the link to article 6 above, because there's
a few photos of Stanley. He shows no evidence of any permanent skin
damage despite having been in the middle of a massive explosion involving
about 20,000 gallons of kerosene. An explosion which allegedly blew
a giant aircraft to smithereens.

By contrast this photo from Newsday
is entitled

[[A young woman
sits in a bed at Gardez Civil Hospital after suffering severe burns
to her arm caused by an explosion of kerosene fuel as she was trying
to light an oil lamp.]]

So Stanley, who was right in the middle of a huge fully fueled plane
exploding in spectacular fashion into a massive fireball, blowing out
several stories of a building and blowing the plane out of existence,
came off better than someone who had an accident with a kerosene lamp.

The dethroned Baron is slinking out the door...

Not only should a witness be plausible, they should be consistent.
Uncertainty about minor details and minor changes over time as memory
becomes clouded are of course acceptable. But there should be a basic
thread of fundamental consistency each time the story is told. Let's
look at some contrasting passages from various versions of the Praimnath

(2) [[ "I looked
up and it was like eyeball to eyeball with the plane. It was coming
right at me. "I took out my Bible and put it on the top of his
desk. I crawled under the desk just as the plane came through the window.]]

Taking out the bible and putting it on the desk adds at least 3 seconds
to the time, which adds 750 yards to the distances deduced above. So
it was "eyeball to eyeball", with a U on the tail when it
was 2800 yards away? Unless of course in this version, he didn't take
the time to say "I have to go, there's a plane aiming at me."

Another interesting anomaly. Notice how the quote switches from first
person [[I took out
my Bible]]
to third person
[[and put it on the top of his desk.]]
within the same sentence.
It is possible that this is just a speech mistake from Stanley or a
transcription error, but it is equally possible that some writer is
just making this up and got mixed up about where they were attributing
quotes to Stanley and where they were writing narrative.

(4, 7) [[The body
of the United Airlines jet grew larger until he could see a red stripe
on the fuselage. Then it banked and headed directly toward him.]]

CBN.[['I was looking
towards the Statue of Liberty and telling her no, I'm fine. Something
caught my eye: a giant airplane, with U on the tail. I said, "I
have got to go. A plane is aiming for me."]]

(5,6) [[ I just
happened to raise my head, watching toward the Statue of Liberty and
as I watched I saw this giant aircraft -- big, great plane -- is coming
in slow motion towards me. Eye level, eye contact. And I just froze.]]

So it was aiming right for him the whole time from the moment he saw
it ? Or it was initially flying somewhat side on, enabling him to see
the red stripe from more than a mile away, and it only started aiming
for him later after taking a a sharp change of direction? Who cares
? It appears that witnesses to a large plane at the WTC enjoy special
immunity from the standards of consistency normally demanded of important

(1) [[He had time
to read the writing on its underside]]

From over 1000 yards away ? At the same time as noticing the U on the
tail? Which probably would have been obscured anyway with a view that
showed the underside. And he also saw the red stripe on the fuselage
from the same angle ? In relation to the distance factor, he saw all
of this from at least 1000 yards away ? Unless he was reading the wings
at the same time as jumping across the room, taking out his bible, and
placing it on the desk, and sizing up his dive under the desk, the lack
of focus on his movements not adding any extra time and therefore distance
traveled by the plane during this action.

(5,6) [[And I just

Perhaps he just forgot to mention the freeze in the CBN report. Fair
enough, but that adds maybe another half second to the time, adding
another 125 yards to the distance. So now he's reading the underside
of the wing (and perhaps the tail and the fuselage at the same time)
from about 3000 yards away or maybe more (depending on whether he did
or didn't stop to take out the bible and put it on his desk, and whether
he did or didn't take the time to say "I have to go, there's a
plane aiming at me" and depending on whether he was looking at
it somewhat side on or whether it was already "aiming" at
him - a perception which would have impossible to discern with such
certainty when it was nearly two miles away.

(2) [[Stanley then
dove under his desk. "My Testament [Bible] was on top of my desk,"
explained Stanley. "I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the
Lord was going to take care of me once I got there." ..."I
don't know where I got this power from, but the good Lord, He gave me
so much power and strength in my body that I was able to shake everything
off. I felt like I was the strongest man alive."..."I felt
goose bumps all over my body and I'm trembling, and I said to the wall,
'You're going to be no match for me and my Lord.' " Moments later,
he punched his way through the wall...]]

CBN [['I thought,
if I don't get electrocuted, the plane is gonna blow, I'm gonna die.
If that don't get me, the air pressure's going to suck me out]]

(6) [[And, I'm shuddering.
And I'm trembling. And I'm crying. Lord, don't leave me to die...And
I'm screaming, (to his rescuer Brian Clarke ) "I'm right here,
this is Stanley Praimnath from the Loans Department, don't leave me
to die."...And Brian said, jump. And I said I can't jump. He said
if you jump over this wall, I'm going to grab you. And as I jumped I
grabbed and I held on to this wall.]]

Stanley seems to have conflicting memories about whether the power
of the Lord caused him to laugh in the face of danger and perform feats
which make James Bond look like a whimpering weakling or whether he
was feeling helpless and doomed and crying out desperately in his despair
and frailty.

In closing, I'd like to digress ever so slightly and make an observation
about Stanley which relates not to the implausibility of his report
but to the subconscious ethical message.

[[Later on, when
I watched TV, I saw the plane swerve, that little turn that it made,
whatever reason it did that for. I was able to rationalize that I said
what I did when I prayed that prayer. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt
that my Lord's giant hand pushed this plane a fraction of an inch...

"I held my
wife and my two children and we cried," said Stanley. After thanking
God for sparing his life, Stanley told God whatever he did, it will
always be for His glory...
so sore, but every waking moment, I say 'Lord, had you not been in control,
I would not have made it.'

"For some divine
reason, I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the good Lord's mighty
hand turned the plane a fraction from where I was standing," said
Stanley. "Because when it crash-landed, it was just 20 feet from
me. I don't care who would rationalize -- what people would say now
or years from now, but I know it was the handiwork of the Lord that
turned that plane. My Lord Jesus is bigger than the Trade Center and
His finger can push a plane aside!"]]

Divine intervention to divert the plane in such a manner that Stanley
was saved - quite possibly at the expense of someone else who might
not have been killed if not for the Lord's little diversion - is truly
the measure of an all powerful and universally loving God.

Well... that's how Stanley sees it.

As one of the
previously mentioned bloggers

[[I'm disturbed
that Stanley seems to think that the Lord is just there for his life
and nobody else's. A greater miracle would've been if the Lord's hand
had pushed that plane away from the building averting profound death
and catastrophe]]


Just because Stanley is telling self centred
whoppers and cynically exploiting the events of that day, doesn't in
itself prove that he wasn't there and that he didn't see a plane. Perhaps
he just decided to add a little fizz to his story. Well... a lot of
fizz actually.

Nevertheless, if a witness is identified
as a proven liar, then we lose any reason to believe anything they say
unless there is something else which actually proves that they are not
lying about some particular aspect. ( In which case we don' t need them
anyway to prove the point) The video and physics evidence only provides
more evidence that Stanley is also lying about the fundamental idea
of having seen a plane.

Just because Stanley is lying doesn't prove
in itself that anyone else who claims to have seen a plane hit the building
is lying. Whenever a notable event occurs there will always be those
who see an opportunity to exploit it whether in little ways or big.
If someone makes up a little lie about having seen Hendrix at Woodstock
that doesn't mean that Hendrix wasn't there. On the other hand, we are
not using this person's testimony as important evidence in determining
whether or not Hendrix was there.

The fact that this modern day Munchausen
is taken seriously as a witness at all tells us something about the
mindset of those eager to believe that a plane hit the tower. The fact
that the media presents his tale as a real event indicates the eagerness
to push such a view with no semblance of any critical thought whatsoever.
If someone says they saw a plane under whatever circumstances, that's
good enough to be news.

Why ? After all, the media loves to catch
a cynical fraud, and exposing Stanley doesn't in itself necessitate
disputation of a plane hitting the tower. He could just be presented
as having told self centred whoppers about his particular experiences
on Sept 11. The media doesn't mind exposing people who have falsely
claimed victims money.

Neither of the Bloggers linked earlier
expressed any doubts about the basics of planes hitting the buildings.
But they at least both had the good sense to be highly critical of Praimnath
- one of the grounds of plausibility, and the other on the grounds of
religious ethics.

But such insight appears to be all too

Stanley is even on the speaking circuit
with this garbage.
The reverential treatment of Stanley Munchausen
as a serious witness is an indicator that for many people, any form
of critical thinking whatsoever in relation to Sept 11 and it's supposed
planes is a form of treason.

In the case of the two bloggers who were critical of Praimnath,
regardless of what else I might not agree with them on, they at least
showed enough independence of thought on that occasion to realize when
their intelligence was being grossly insulted, even if they bought the
bigger lie behind it.

But many in the so called "truth movement" haven't
got as far as those two bloggers in their basic thinking processes.
Many of them continue to promote Praimnath as evidence.

When Praimnath has been presented to me
in email debates, it is even forgivable that a person might not have
properly thought it through before presenting it, and needs someone
to point out the problems with the report to help them come to their

But on some occasions when I and others
have provided deconstructions of this report, it has often simply provoked
anger and fierce support of Praimnath's credibility.

I can only describe such reactions as a
form of mental illness. Whatever the merits of any other arguments which
might be presented in support of a large plane hitting the South Tower,
the staunch support of Stanley Munchausen as a supposedly serious witness
report indicates that some people are desperate to believe in planes
and damn what the evidence says.