Man Bets €100,000 That Measles Isn’t Real, Court Orders Him To Pay Up

Four years ago, German biologist Stefan Lanka made a pledge on his website stating that he would pay €100,000 (which is about $106,300) to anyone who could prove to him that measles was a virus and not–as he believed it was a “psychosomatic illness” and that people became ill after traumatic separations.

I’m just gonna leave this here, in case you wanted to know what a “psychosomatic illness caused by traumatic separation” looks like :


Lanka never intended to actually pay the money. In fact, in his original post on his website, he stated “Because we know that the ‘measles virus’ doesn’t exist, and according to biology and medical science can’t exist … we want the reward to get people to enlighten themselves.”

Another German doctor came upon his post and decided to take him up on the offer. Dr. David Barden gathered up piles of studies and collected scientific information and presented them to Lanka, who summarily dismissed them and refused to pay up.

However, a judge in the town of Ravensburg said that the evidence was in fact sufficient, and ordered Lanka to cough up the money. I have yet to learn this judge’s name, but as soon as I do, I am sending a bouquet of flowers or something straight to Germany to express my appreciation for such badassery. I find all of this extremely delightful.

The lesson here? If you’re going to believe ridiculous things, go right ahead–but maybe don’t put money on them.

As in the United States, Germany is currently dealing with a series of measles outbreaks, and debating whether or not to make vaccinations mandatory–particularly after an 18-month old died of the disease as recently as last month.