An ominous beginning

There was a creeper caught in Chicago.

A 70-year-old Tinley Park man accused of using dandelions to try to lure four Grissom Middle School children into his car last month…

Why? What horrible thing was he trying to do with these kids?

…told police he was actually trying to teach them about creationism.

Gaaaah! Well, it could have been worse, much worse. But it’s still rather awful that he was trying to poison those kids’ minds.

Police caught up with the man on Nov. 5, based on descriptions the children provided of him and his vehicle.

Asked about the incident, the man said he’d recently returned from a seminar debunking Darwinism. He said he wanted to share the information he’d learned that proved the theory of evolution "is false" with neighbors and children.

Now I’m curious, though. What creation seminar was this that drove a good Christian to drive about, trying to lure children into his car?

And why did the police just let him go?


  1. george gonzalez says

    Dandelions? In November? What?

    Just found out a certain relative of mine has made it his life’s work to write a book along those lines.

    He’s an accountant.

    That’s gonna make me have to bite my lip all through Thanksgiving.

  2. moarscienceplz says

    I’m surprised he didn’t try to show them his banana. I’m also surprised he’s not a Catholic priest.

  3. Wylann says

    George, IMO, you shouldn’t bite your lip. If they want to ‘share’, then you should feel that the topic is open. :)

  4. says

    This sounds to me like a smart predator coming up with an excuse off the top of his head. Or pulled out an excuse he rehearsed prior to his latest child luring attempt.

  5. PDX_Greg says

    Dandelions? I guess we should all be glad that he didn’t have a more effective lure for the students.

  6. Pierce R. Butler says

    When I first lived on Cape Cod, a friend pointed out to me how the dandelions formed and released seeds at a lower height than seen in most other places.

    His explanation: people have been mowing yards & fields in New England for a few centuries, and thus selected for the dandelions which completed their life cycle more quickly and without so much altitude.

    I’ve never done any homework to confirm or deny that, but it does make me think that this creeper picked a poor example to support his cover story.

  7. Sastra says

    Did he call them over to his car or actually try to lure them into his car? The article isn’t clear.

    Frankly, if this 70 year old guy was a child molester then choosing a random group of 4 middle school kids who are standing on a street corner in a populated area during rush hour looks like he’s got an additional mental impairment. And offering them dandelions?

  8. cuervodecuero says

    He probably just wanted the flowers for his puppy when they helped him find it.

    Yeah, paying kids to collect dandelions and bring them to him in his car doesn’t sound suspicious at all.

    But I second the “dandelions in autumn?” comment. Talk about evolution in action. Mind, I’m biased by the -15c and present whiteout past the window glass.

  9. Tony! The Immorally Inferior Queer Shoop! says

    Attempting to lure children into your car should have legal consequences, especially given the predatory tactics this guy used.

  10. says

    @6, way to hate on the apparently emotionally disturbed! Couldn’t be that he saw a danger to children and was doing his very best to save them from it. Still creepy, though. Hopefully his family can help him if he needs it.

  11. Ray, rude-ass yankee says

    He couldn’t find a better way to share his misinformation than behaving like a predator? Lies go better with dandelions?
    By the way, it’s 43 F here in Virginia and I have dandelions growing outside my front door, just sayin.

  12. Ray, rude-ass yankee says

    davidgentile@12, Reality is dangerous, we must protect middle school children from it at all costs!

  13. raven says

    Parents watch out!!! The xians and creationists really are coming for your kids!!!

    Events like the above occur and quite often. There was a group of death cultists in Colorado Springs who were luring kids into a van to try to brainwash them. It took a while to shut them down.

    Just warn your kids to stay away as soon as they can talk and report all suspicious activity to the police.

  14. raven says

    In the case of Mr. 70 years old Instant Scientist, his cover story doesn’t seem to plausible.

    The police should have at least tried to corroborate it. Where was the creationist drool fest, when, who talked, which cult, which church, and what did he learn. If it didn’t happen, it would be readily apparent.

  15. raven says

    Springs church, school clash over proselytizing – The Denver Post
    www. denverpost .com/ci_12286425‎

    May 4, 2009 – Representatives of a local Christian church tried to lure a seventh-grader at Russell Middle School into a church van last week (to baptise him) , school … As a result, the principal sent students home with a letter to parents asking that they instruct their children not to talk to … Get more Colorado Springs news at

    Think something like that can’t happen in your community?

    You are fooling yourself. Chances are there are xians/creationists lurking in the shadows of your community, waiting and hoping some kid gets careless and they can grab them.

    You need to have the “talk” with your kids early and warn them to be careful. And if you see any xians/creationists behaving suspiciously, call the police. Without Eternal Vigilance, a new Dark Age can and will happen.

  16. draconius says

    “Please, step into the windowless van…. I’ll let you read my Bible if you do!”

    “I’ll get in, first you have to read the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles out loud. If you hesitate for fail to correctly pronounce a word or name then the deal is off. Also you have about two minutes before the cops show up. Hope you’re fast reader.”

  17. RFW says

    This is probably nothing more than an example of the stupidity of fundagelicals. This guy, in my estimation, is just an old geezer who’s out of touch with modern life. He was oblivious to how his approach to the kids looked and to contemporary sensitivity about anything that smacks of pedophilia.

    Pedophiles in prison, deprived of porn, will make collages of girls and boys cut out of clothing ads to use as a focusing mechanism. Moreover, pedophiles often carefully groom their intended victims before closing in for the kill (so to speak).

    Nothing along either of these lines is present here, as far as I can tell. Stupidity is the best explanation in the absence of further information.

  18. Menyambal --- inesteemable says

    In possible defense of the old guy, when doing door-to-door, I once had a sweet and sincere old man present me with a Jesus calendar. It was something about the importance of knowing the day Jesus would return. It was two years out of date. It was hilariously wrong, I thought, but I thanked him politely and wished him well.

    I’m saying there are a lot of gullible and goofy old folks out there, suckered into religion, with the best intentions in the world, and not a clue as to how reality currently works. Not all are evil, but with religion they might as well be.

    Religion poisons everything. The nicest of old folks think you deserve to burn in Hell.

  19. yubal says

    And why did the police just let him go?

    Although this is on the creepy end of the weird spectrum, I assume neither spreading creationism nor luring children into your vehicle is an actual crime in that area?

  20. latsot says

    It’s worse than you think. Surely everyone knows that touching dandelions makes you piss yourself?

    Fortunately, burdock is the antidote.

    Wait, is this another thing that only people in my village believed?

  21. jefrir says


    It’s worse than you think. Surely everyone knows that touching dandelions makes you piss yourself?

    Fortunately, burdock is the antidote.

    Wait, is this another thing that only people in my village believed?

    Okay, the touching part is weird, but dandelions are a diuretic. Their name in French is even “pissenlit”, which means “piss the bed”.

  22. says

    @30 latsot,

    Both names are commonly used. Similarly, in dutch, dandelion is called paardebloem (“horse flower”), but the name pisbloem (“piss flower”) is also used a lot, particularly in Flanders.

  23. latsot says

    I don’t care what you say, you’re a fool if you touch a dandelion because you will immediately either piss yourself or have the lurgy.

    It’s been a good 30 years since the last lurgy epidemic, so the last thing we need is people going around touching dandelions.

  24. rustiguzzi says

    There is also an English dialect name “pissabed”. You need to do more than just touch them, though, for the diuretic effect (just as well, given the amount of dandelions that gardeners handle). It’s eating the roots that allegedly does the trick.

  25. rustiguzzi says

    Oops, richardelguru beat me to it regarding the name while I was at the keyboard (I type slowly).

  26. mothra says

    In the northern Great Plains (ND), dandelions have a third ‘bloom’ in late autumn, late September into October if the snow has not begun. Dandelion height is the response of individual plants not (recent) evolution of the species. If one mowes their lawn repeatedly and does not allow a given plant to bloom, it will bloom at ground level later that season. In an adjacent unmowed area, the same dandelion species may grow three decimeters tall to get above the quackgrass. This is long term plant adaptation to grazing not recent response to lawn mowers. The same thing can be observed with Circium thistles such that after mowing, one can have thinstles in suburbia that, to the casual eye, resemble Drummonds thistle in growth form.

  27. mothra says

    Long discussions with my botany teacher (a plant taxonomist) for this entomological taxonomist to begin to understand within species variability in plants.

  28. stevem says

    Re #7:
    from that link you posted from Chicago Tribune:

    The children said the man called them over to his car, asking, “Did you know you can count the seeds in a dandelion?” They said he wanted seven cents a plant.

    So he also was trying to bilk them out of their “lunch money” too? Why 7 cents? To symbolize the days of the week?

    re “diuretic effects”:

    Is that from drinking “dandelion wine”?