According to Dutch-language newspaper, Trouw, Heinrich J.A. van Geene, who claims to be the biblical prophet Elijah, believes that he is slowly being poisoned with arsenicum.
In the last quarter of 2001, Van Geene, who heads the Efraim Society, a cult of Christianity based in the Netherlands, predicted that those whom he indentified as the “Bride of Christ” would be raptured by the end of 2001. When his predictions did not pan out, those followers who remained faithful to his organization cult off all ties to family members outside the small group.
Ex-members claim Van Geene has believed for years that he is slowly being poisoned. The Dutch Justice Deparment has looked into the rumors, and has concluded that Van Geene has an obsession for rat poison. Ex-members say this obsession started long before Van Geene declared himself to be the prophet Elijah.
When Van Geene had some small head wounds, now ex-member Erik Schuring at first blamed poor nutrition. Van Geene, however, told him that someone had put poison on his car, and that he was being poisoned by people unknown to him. According to Van Geene, this caused skin problems as well as the gradual crimping of his skull. However, Van Geene rejected an offer to have a security camera installed in his garage.
Forensic toxologist, D. Uges, says that skin problems can indeed by caused by arsinicum, but that the poison does not cause one’s skull to crimp.
Ex-members say Van Geene eventually blamed the son of his ex-wife for poisoning him. Van Geene publicly confronted the man who, he claimed, had temporarily left his body in order to approach him without being seen. Police detective Peter van Dis confirms the story, and says the Justice Department looked into the poison issue at start of last year, when Van Geene’s prophecies had turned out to be false. The combination of ‘poison’ and ‘sect’ had been cause for some alarm. Van Dis: “It was feared that scare things could happen. Mass suicide, yes, but we found no indication of this, after which the Attorney General’s office would not extend the investigation.”
Van Dis also says there is no proof that Van Geene is being poisoned, and thus police has virtually no interest in the case.
Ex-members worry that Van Geene’s obsession with rat poison might mean he is trying to build up resistance for it by ingesting small amounts. However, toxologist Uges says it is not possible for humans to build up resistance against the poison.