Why Marc Penfield’s 2:18 AM Birth Time Claim For Hillary Is A Japanese Turd Burger


My god. This week. Required background materials needed for this post:

  1. Pour yourself a drink, stretch and get comfortable.
  2. Read this article in the Wall Street Journal.
  3. Listen to this episode of the Astrology Podcast featuring myself and Chris Brennan.
  4. Read this ISAR announcement.
  5. Read my response to it.
  6. Watch the following video:
  7. Process all that.
  8. Read this thread on Skyscript.

Have you done all that? Good. Here’s what I think of Marc Penfield’s 2:18 am claim for Hillary. It’s like if that hoax news story about Japanese turd burgers was real. It’s a burger that was made from protein recycled from human shit. It should be perfectly safe and good to eat, but somehow there’s just something…off…about it, because even if it’s meat, it’s still somehow shit. Here’s what I mean.

Claim 1: He learned of a “2:16 am” time that allegedly came from a cousin of Hillary’s who asked their mother. “Or so [he] thought at the time.”

Problem: He doesn’t sound particularly confident about this one, but he brought it up so I’ll address it. Hillary has one cousin, the son of her maternal aunt Isabelle Howell, Oscar Dowdy Jr. His public comments have been very critical of Hillary’s mother Dorothy Rodham in particular, accusing her of anti-semitism. Dorothy Rodham was also angry at him taking a larger share of an inheritance than her three children. It seems very hard to believe that he would have had much of a friendly connection to her, and certainly not close enough to ask about Hillary’s birth time at the behest of astrologers, of all people. He is also not on good terms with Hillary herself due to a family dispute. Is it impossible to believe that Oscar Dowdy asked his Aunt Dorothy for Hillary’s time? No. But is it likely? No.

Unless someone can find out if Hillary had another cousin, I’d say this is probably not to be trusted.

Claim 2: Zayin Cohen claims the 2:18 am time comes from the birth certificate.

Problem: Zayin Cohen claims a lot of things. In my conversation with Zayin starting in early August of 2016, he told me that it was actually 1:18 am. He claims that he has a fax copy of the birth certificate. When I asked for proof he acted, well, see for yourself and read the screencaps of the conversation here. He blocked me at the end of that conversation. He recently talked with astrologer Mark Cullen, and he told him that it was actually 2:08 am, which you can read on page 4 of the Skyscript forum. I don’t mean to lightly throw around accusations here, but it is obvious that Zayin Cohen is not being straightforward about a few details here and in other statements.

Why would he do this? I don’t know. When Cullen asked Cohen about why he provided me with a 1:18 am time, he said he tried to get rid of me because I had annoyed him in asking to see the certificate. If you read the conversation, you’ll note that it is the very first thing he responded with, before I ever asked to see any certificate. What’s worse is that he openly admits to deliberately handing out false birth data! Even if 2:18 am is the time on the certificate, he gave Cullen what must be his rectification, 2:08, as if it were the real thing. Any way you slice this up, it’s not good.

What I think we can fairly say, is that Cohen is responding in the way you would expect someone to act if they are not being honest. On Skyscript, Robert Nicewander confirms that this is sort of a pattern for Zayin Cohen and Hillary’s data with this anecdote:

She eventually had a falling out with [Zayin Cohen] over his failure to provide a copy of the BC for HRC he claimed to have and his repeated promise of sending it to her by email, fax or mail (excuses: scanner not working, fax not working) and eventual claim to have mailed it but when it never arrived broke off repeated attempts to contact him. Then later a comment on ADB that his lawyer advised him not to provide it.

Unfortunately, Zayin Cohen has hurt his own credibility. Unfortunately for Penfield, this is the one person who could back up his claim for the 2:18 am time and he has discredited himself quite a bit. Normally, for the kind of behavior Zayin Cohen has engaged in, I would propose skipping right past “kind of a jerk” to “kind of a dick”, perhaps even right to “kind of a douchebag”. But I think the greatest insult would be something that will be useful to all of us in the future.  I propose going forward that parallel to Rodden ratings, the iffiness of a given rating should be measured in units of Zayins.

Claim 3: An unnamed clerk at the Springfield office dis-confirmed the other birth times, thereby confirming 2:18 am by not saying anything.

Problem: Either Marc is very lucky, or Marc is completely fabricating his story, and both scenarios are unlikely but also not impossible.

It is possible that Marc is very lucky, and was able to call the office and get the one clerk who would risk committing a class 4 felony, risk being fined $25,000 or risk going to jail 1-3 years, just to give him the information he wanted. On the other hand, the idea that an employee would actually do this knowing what the consequences could be makes this unlikely. In my own attempts at getting birth data in a closed state in this way, I have been met by stern refusals. Is it unlikely to get birth data in the way he described? Yes. Is it impossible? No.

Then there is the possibility that Marc Penfield is completely fabricating this story, and there would be no way to verify that this is the case, short of getting ahold of the birth certificate with a different time. Unfortunately for Penfield, he was known to clash with Lois Rodden, (the founder of Astrodatabank) over the precise issue of presenting rectifications as properly sourced data.


Is it unlikely that he would lie about all this? Yes. Is it impossible, given his history? No. Is it more likely that someone actually gave him information he wanted, or that he made it all up? That’s the real question. Ultimately, I think it’s less likely that he just completely made it up…but why do I still feel like this meat is actually shit?

[UPDATE 10/4/16: Waybread alerted me in the comments to a post by Pisceen on an astro.com discussion about this issue. Essentially, a user named Pisceen has recorded a conversation between her/himself and an employee named Fatima at the Cook county vital records office, as well as the director, Brenski Coleman. Fatima said that a request like the one Penfield is claiming he made “would be completely shut down”. Coleman stated unequivocally – “no one can do a search without a formal request.” Granted, Penfield said he called the state office, not the county office, but I have no reason to suspect records laws in Illinois would be applied any differently between state and county offices. This seems to make it less likely that Penfield can be telling the truth.]

So…What now?

Ultimately, I think there is better evidence to suggest 8 pm over the other times. Something that the Wall Street Journal reporter Yogita Patel did really well in her research for her article was debunking a lot of the claims for Hillary’s birth time on Astrodatabank. She discovered that Clinton has appeared to give out 8 pm most consistently for the past two decades, with few exceptions where she has stated 8 am. In conjunction with the 1993 Chicago Sun-Times article which corroborates the notion of an evening birth, 8 pm so far has more support. If it was the only time floating around, it would likely have an A rating.

From a purely astrological point of view, I still think 8:02 am is the more (appropriately) eminent and descriptive natal chart for Hillary. Part of the problem is that between these 3 times, Mercury is involved with the Ascendant. At 2:18 am and 8 pm, it’s the ruler of the Ascendant. At 8 am, it’s conjunct the Ascendant. It’s going to be hard to tease these qualitative differences out. Many of my transit examples for Hillary’s Virgo MC at 8 am could plausibly describe crossing a Virgo Ascendant at 2:18 am.

The 2:18 am time comes at the bottom for me out of these 3 times, because it is just too fishy. If it were any fishier, it would be Fishy o’clock. I’ll take more of a look at it than I have before, let’s put it that way. The only way we will be able to sort this out for sure is if Hillary releases her birth certificate herself, which she likely has no desire, reason or time to do so. Until that time, the most honest assessment of her data is a DD rating.

There is some good news. And by good, we’re definitely talking air quotation marks around the word “good” kind of good.


According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, uncertified copies of birth certificates can be obtained if the person they belong to is over 75 years old. This is important, because uncertified copies can be obtained by anyone. This means that even if Hillary never releases her birth certificate, it will be available to the public starting on October 26th 2022 at the very earliest. I’ll be in line October 25th.. And the birth time will be obscured by a grease stain. The grease of a Japanese turd burger.

I was interviewed yesterday on this issue by Eric Francis of Planet Waves FM and it will be available sometime today, so keep your eyes peeled on his page, and I’ll post it on mine once it’s up!

Liked it? Take a second to support Patrick Watson on Patreon!


  1. Patrick, I take all of your points. I also think the 8:02 am TOB is radical. Just a thought that you might tone down your salty language a bit, because there are serious issues with the Penfield caper that go beyond this particular instance or annoyance with a particular astrologer.

    (Incidentally, I posted on that Skyscript thread you mention, and linked the Illinois Vital Records Act, an Amendment to it, plus the state’s website for anyone seeking copies of Illinois vital records.For the Act, see especially secs. 24, 25, and 27. )

    Whether or not one thinks Illinois has a good or bad law, or that vital records should be open on demand, etc., I think Penfield did break the law in getting the vital records office clerk to reveal birth data, as did she.

    Penfield can take his chances, but we know nothing about the clerk: whether she was a seasoned senior employee or a newbie on the job who might not have thought through her actions. But now that her “indiscretion” is on YouTube, it wouldn’t take much for some imp to notify her department supervisor, who could identify her, and possibly jeopardize her job. This is speculative, but a plausible risk Penfield was willing to take.

    Further, in states where birth certificates are confidential, an astrologer trying out the Penfield Maneuver on an unsuspecting and possibly unseasoned clerk to obtain someone else’s birth time is a real violation of people’s privacy. Some people simply do not want their charts read, and I think we have to respect that.

    Astrologers’ ethics are too often the subject of criticism, given the few bad actors in the field, and it just bothers me that someone would boast about having circumvented the law.

  2. Yes, I remember that Japanese sh*t burger when it first came out and was thinking it would be a short crazy successful fad that dies out quickly after people realized that they couldn’t be sued if real sh*t found it’s way into burgers as happens with all the other fast food chains…

    Unfortunately in regard to Hillary’s birth chart, by Oct 26, 2022 we might have bigger problems to worry about (USA Pluto return).

    • Thanks a lot Waybread! Although Pisceen’s effort is to be commended, Penfield says he got it from the state office in Springfield.

  3. Right– a comment that I made at Astrodienst.

    So Patrick, had you thought of phoning the Springfield, IL office and getting their read? You might even reach the same clerk who “spoke” to Marc Penfied.

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. A Cursory Look at the 2:18 am Birth Time for Hillary Clinton | Emersion: An Alternative Study of Elective Astrology in Political History
  2. Hilary Clinton Birth Times and Ethics | Cliff Wilson's Astrological Tower
  3. Hillary Clinton birth time controversy - Astrology readings and writings by Lynn Hayes

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