The claim: The FBI ranked the most dangerous Zodiac signs
In an unprecedented age of uncertainty, the pandemic has many people flocking to the stars. Terms like "astrology," "birth chart," and "Zodiac" have surged in popularity, according to Google Trends. And services related to the mystic arts have seen a massive growth in clientele.
The lure of astrology is its claim to yield insight into what the future holds. One widespread Facebook post claims the FBI is even looking to astrology for insight on who might be a criminal.
"Most Dangerous Zodiac Signs Ranked by FBI," reads a graphic shared in an Aug. 19 Facebook post.
The graphic appears to be a screenshot of a June 30 article published by PsychReel, a UK-based website that advertises itself as a "trusted online resource... on how your personality type shapes you" and prefaces its articles as "medically reviewed by our scientific review board."
The text asserts the FBI has found "individuals convicted for crimes are most likely to have been born under the zodiac sign of Cancer." Sagittarians, Scorpios and Arieses follow closely after, it says.
The June 30 article does not provide an external link to an FBI source. USA TODAY has reached out to PsychReel and the Facebook and Instagram users for comment.
Good news though for Cancers ready to resign themselves to a life of crime: None of this is true.
No FBI studies look at criminality and astrology
An FBI spokesperson confirmed in an email to USA TODAY that the agency "has not conducted a study of the most dangerous zodiac signs."
Aside from a brief mention of the Zodiac Killer in one report, no mention of the "Most Dangerous Zodiac Signs" could be found in a search of the FBI website.
The connection between Zodiac signs and the FBI seems to have first appeared in an August 2010 blog post from a psychic website called Insightful Psychics. The post claimed that "according (to the) FBI website fbi.gov," Cancers were "the most booked criminals" followed by Tauruses and Sagittarians.
But, like the PsychReel article, the post offers no evidence that information originated with the FBI.
The attempt to link astrology and criminality is hardly unique to this claim, though prior iterations were also lacking in scientific bona fides. Astrology has long been used in an attempt to explain personality type and criminal predilections.
In 1999, Gunther Sachs, a German-born billionaire and ex-husband of French actress Brigitte Bardot, claimed he found a statistically proven relationship between Zodiac signs and criminal offenses based on Swiss crime registry data. But Sachs' math, and conclusion, were found to be wholly invalid, according to a 2003 study published in Psychology Science.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that the FBI ranked the most dangerous Zodiac signs. We found no evidence of such a study, and an FBI spokesperson confirmed no studies linking criminal behavior to Zodiac signs have ever been conducted.
Our fact-check sources:
Google Trends, accessed Aug. 29, Google trend search of astrology, zodiac, birth chart and horoscope
BBC, Feb. 8, The anxieties and apps fuelling the astrology boom
PsychReel, June 30, Most Dangerous Zodiac Signs According to FBI (A Complete Guide) (archived)
PsychReel, accessed Aug. 28, About Us (archived)
FBI, accessed Aug. 28, Serial Murder Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives for Investigators
Insightful Psychics via the Wayback Machine, Aug. 21, 2010, Zodiac Signs - The Relationships Between Serial Killer's Criminal Behavior and Their Signs
FBI, Aug. 27, Email exchange with USA TODAY
ABC News, May 10, 2011, Gunther Sachs Commits Suicide, Alludes to Alzheimer's Struggle in Note
Psychology Science, accessed Aug. 28, Is it all written in the stars? A methodological commentary on Sachs' astrology monograph and re-analyses of his data on crime statistics
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: No, the FBI did not rank the most 'dangerous' Zodiac signs