Secret Science Tested
||03 December 2006 12:00
|Show: ||Carte Blanche|
Ruda Landman (Carte Blanche presenter): 'Can you remember when the fax machines first became part of the office set-up? When the computer replaced the typewriter? The first time you used an auto teller, the first cell phone call you made? It wasn't all that long ago, yet at the time it was mind boggling.'
Today it is the most common thing to do. You probably don't even think twice about it.
Ruda: 'Now imagine this: A person disappears, you find a few strands of hair left on a brush, you put those hairs into a gadget and that points out on a map where in the world that person may be.'
That's exactly what a group of Bloemfontein businessmen claim they are able to do.
Steering the project is Danie Krugel, former police superintendent and current Director of Health and Safety at the Central University of Technology of the Free State.
Danie Krugel (Inventor): 'If you get a signature sample of something... let's call it organic or non-organic... a very small sample. I have developed a method to use that small sample and to create data that I use to search for its origin. So you transmit and you receive.'
Ruda: 'Is there anything metaphysical involved? Are you psychic?'
Danie: 'I'm a Christian and I put it clearly... this is science, science, science! That is what is so fantastic about it. It is tied to the science we hear but people didn't realise it... it's just science. That's it.'
Given the massive potential of the invention, Danie refuses to divulge exactly how it works. He says the energy source is his most precious secret.
Once he has done a test with a hair sample - or signature material [which] pertains to whatever he's looking for - Danie is able to geographically pinpoint an area by applying co-ordinates from more than one vantage point.
The search area is where the lines intersect.
In the past two years Danie's travelled across South Africa to test the equipment. This is a long list of his successes... [data on screen]
Most of those he tracked down were found Alive.
Danie: 'Now that's fantastic. To phone the dad and say, 'Look, I've got him' or 'I have got her. You can come and get him' or 'you can come and get her.'
Ruda: 'How many of those have you had?'
Danie: 'A lot, a lot, a lot.'
In 2004 police at the Navalsig police station in Bloemfontein were trying to track down the suspect in a murder case.
They got the name of the attacker from the victim before he died, but he was on the run. Left behind was a razor with the suspect's beard stubble. And within hours Danie was able to tell the police where to search....
Captain Danie Van Der Berg (SAPS): 'Danie took daily readings to see where he was and what was happening, but every time we just missed him by a few minutes.'
Ruda: 'So every time you went to the address he wasn't there?'
Capt. van der Berg: 'He had been there, but just left. He never stayed in the same place for long.'
Danie: 'One night at about 7 or 8 o'clock I thought: now this is now enough. I went out and I tried to get as close to him as possible. I told them and said, 'This is where he was'. The next morning they phoned me and said they had found him there.'
Bloemfontein private investigator, Leon Rossouw, has often called on Danie's services...
In one case a man was reported missing after his car was found abandoned at this filling station [on screen] on the N1.
Danie tracked him down to the Pelonomi Hospital after Leon was able to get a hair sample in the missing man's shower.
But the hospital did not have any record of him.
Ruda: 'Danie insisted that the missing man was here at the Pelonomi hospital. Desperate, the family came back to check one last time - do a physical search if necessary. They found him in the mortuary.'
Leon Rossouw (Private Investigator): 'He walked on the N1 to the oncoming traffic and jumped in front of a big truck. So unfortunately this person died.'
Ruda: 'But Danie was right?'
Leon: 'Danie was right.'
Finding missing people was the last thing Danie had in mind when a group of businessmen approached him four years ago to develop equipment that could locate minerals.
Danie: 'We started by getting stuff from overseas. A lot of people who said they could develop the stuff for us [was] just a hoax. Then we started with diamonds. The small diamonds, the sugar diamonds gave me a lot of heartache because you pick up on every small piece of diamond. Now what we do is work to get the bigger diamonds from a carat upwards.'
Danie and his partners are now reworking this old dig, but they only focus on dumps where the equipment shows they will find real big ones.
They have reason to smile. Their register shows they've found almost 300 carats in just three months.
Ruda: 'How did you get involved in this area looking for people?'
Danie: 'I was following the Leigh Mathews case and that night on the news they said they had found her body. I was so upset. What bothered me was what went through her mind. We heard the shocking news that her naked body was found in the veld. She was shot. The whole of South Africa was looking for her and nobody could help. That night I couldn't sleep.'
Watching his son asleep, Danie made a decision.
Danie: 'I took a pair of scissors and cut off a piece of his hair. I thought: if I can get diamonds, I am going to try this. I worked until 5 o'clock the next morning. The first test... no result. Nothing worked. Then, from two metres, I could pick him up. The first positive test was two metres from where he was lying there on the bed. Then we started... 25metres, 50 metres, 100metres, then 50 kilometres and 150 kilometres. I believe that night - with Leigh Mathews - if I may say so, the Lord saw my heart. '
Carte Blanche put Danie to the test. We cut off a sample of our cameraman's hair and sent him to hide in a Bloemfontein cemetery with his camera rolling.
Danie took two readings and within minutes he was able to point out where our cameraman was hiding. The exact spot was pointed out on an aerial photograph.
Danie: 'The point where I would start searching for this person would immediately be in this vicinity.'
And that's exactly where we found him.
Ruda: 'If one can locate diamonds and humans with the same equipment, what else could one find? And what else can this seemingly amazing invention do? Well the simple answer at this point is that nobody really knows.'
For our second experiment we hid a can filled with crude oil on a farm outside Bloemfontein after Danie had taken a sample for his test. We took the GPS reading and contacted him once we had left the area.
The previous test Danie conducted with crude oil was over a distance of a few metres, but this time he was doing it from 6 kilometres away and from the other side of this dolomite hill!
It only took 15 minutes before he phoned back with the co-ordinates.
He wasn't spot on, but he effectively reduced the search area to a few hundred metres. He was overwhelmed by the outcome
Microbiologist, Prof Ryk Lues, was sceptical when he first heard about Danie's invention, but then he realised its potential.
Prof Ryk Lues (Microbiologist): 'My first reaction was: Wow! this sounds a little bit far fetched. But I know Danie well enough to know that he could be onto something.'
That something could mean applications in science, health, pharmacology or microbiology.
Ryk: 'Food safety is a big thing nowadays. If you could find a technique that could very quickly pick up certain pathogens in food substances. Let's say you could get something - you could put something in a factory that scans the substances as they pass in the processing line and picks up certain toxins, chemicals or hazardous substances.'
Ruda: With this in mind, we gave Danie a sample of harmless bacteria and I hid the source in a hair salon in a retirement village in Bloemfontein.
He was a kilometre away, but identified the area within minutes.
Ruda: 'The bacteria used in this experiment were harmless, but the same would apply to dangerous bacteria, or chemicals or viruses. This could have been anthrax, or XDR-TB or HIV.'
Ryk: 'The current methods are very lengthy. You need to cultivate the organism first, which takes two or three days, then identify the organism and then prescribe treatment. If you had a technique that can immediately or very quickly identify something there and then, it would really be a breakthrough. The technique would be revolutionary if it could be applied in different environments.'
Danie: 'If the right scientists take this I believe it can help us medically, in minerals, and of course crime.'
Ruda: 'Hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people go missing around the world every day - often without a trace. But maybe not without leaving a few hairs on a jacket or on a pillow.'
Think of Osama Bin Laden, Lord Lucan or even Ananias Mathe - the man who'd escaped from C-Max.
Ruda: 'Imagine if their hair was available.'
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:While every attempt has been made to ensure this transcript or summary is accurate, Carte Blanche or its agents cannot be held liable for any claims arising out of inaccuracies caused by human error or electronic fault. This transcript was typed from a transcription recording unit and not from an original script, so due to the possibility of mishearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, errors cannot be ruled out.