30 December 2013

Bullshit Hypnosis - Very Critical Review Of Wendi.com

Response to a woman called Wendi Friesen, who appeared on P&T Bullshit!

Hypnosis, and appeared on other TV shows a few times, she is one of a growing breed of pseudo-scientists. She is a Hypnotherapist who creates CDs and downloads to do that which hypnotherapy just can't seem to do, but because she is making big money she is happy to advertise breast enlargement hypnosis, if you gotta a problem she would have an audio therapy session to help you, help you to give her a big income.

In the Penn & Teller episode on hypnotherapy she said her site makes millions, and that show was made over 5 years ago, so how much money is she making now? [I dread to think!]. I chose to critique her works due to her lack of scientific standing and her radical claims, I'm sure she is a nice gal and yet I just can't let such quackery pass without serious criticism, it's not personal, it's just business. I find it interesting how her work covers everything you may need, the claim are great and yet a great deal of loose language means she is covered legally within alternative therapy, and still the great claims draw in millions of people and have made her quite rich.

Robert Lester
https://www.youtube.com/user/robertwlester

14 December 2013

Pretend Psychic Tony Stockwell criticised by Charlie Brooker on You Have Been Watching

Clip from You Have Been Watching, a great clip criticising a load of crap psychic quackery.

11 December 2013

Meet the Amazing TAMers: Michael Shermer

Joel Guttormson, Outreach and Event Coordinator for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science interviews speakers from TAM 2013 presented by the James Randi Educational Foundation.

Dr. Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, the Executive Director of the Skeptics Society, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, the host of the The Skeptics Society's Distinguished Science Lecture Series, and Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University and Chapman University. His latest book is, 'The Believing Brain'.

The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine: www.skeptic.com

JREF: http://www.randi.org


Secrets Of Psychics Revealed - documentary [low quality audio]

A great show that really shows how cheap enough tricks can create great results, and most psychics are not as good as the most basic demonstrations by the mentalists and magicians involved with this program.

Psychic Pseudoscience

I will be doing many more vids on psychics and religious thinking in the future, it is my hobby
By Robert Lester

7 December 2013

How A Psychic Fraud Can Be Created

This is on the issue of those who did have faith in spiritualism and/or new age as a psychic and/or mediums (spirit communicator), and they realise it's not real magical powers, and so they think it is best to continue to make a living off the skill even though they no longer have a mystical faith.

Just to add, I had faith in it, as many of you know, I got out it long before I made money off it, but IF I had got on stage as a psychic then i may have considered holding on to the act even if I realised the gift was just delusion and linguistic tricks, I suggest that many psychics could start out from faithful routes.

Robert Lester

25 November 2013

A Response to Sylvia Browne fans about her death and respect

We do not forgive or forget, at least not until those who commit acts make amends to those wronged
By Robert Lester

24 November 2013

The Cult Of Alan John Miller (The Second coming) And Demanding Extraordinary Evidence.

The Cult Of Alan John Miller (The Second coming) And Demanding Extraordinary Evidence.


AJ Miller Is a person who had faith in being on track with the Jehovah Witnesses, over time, according to what is known about him, he left and later had a revelation, was this a guy who woke up from religion and saw how money was to be made? Was this pseudo-Christ a believer in his crusade for a new true Christianity or just another cheap fraud?

As I see it he is just a conman who uses his gained wealth and fame to build a new religion in which he is god on earth, his followers are thought reformed(brainwashed) and he uses donations to buy an ever growing community area in Australia.

Is he building up towards isolationism? Or even worse an Australian version of Johnstown?

Is he a dangerous nutjob or a man who is even more dangerous because he has full faith in his Heavenly message?

What we can is his bank account grows large, his power grows, his own little empire that is increasingly global, and although figures suggest a small following it is a multinational organisation that has grown around his cult religion.

a great news story on AJ Miller:



this Documentary on the cult leader AJ Miller gives you a deep and true insight into what many small and new sects are like, run by a self ordained prince of peace with a need for a following, and families are separated, friends removed, and the hub of the faith sits like the spider at the centre of the web.

A quote to consider when we think of many cult religions:
"You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion." - L Ron Hubbard.

23 November 2013

Psychic Fraud News Report - Sylvia Browne Death Special

Sylvia Browne Death Special - Psychic Fraud News Report

Sylvia Browne was a fake, a con-artist, she has made many millions by playing on human weakness, getting prior knowledge for tv appearances, and doing cold reading for expensive telephone readings. Death is too good for this woman, what a shame her shame was not exposed better within her life time, what a shame she didn't have to do a real job instead tricking those who are very sad at a loss of a close loved one.

My message to Sylvia Browne's fans, move on with your life, don't make that fraud out to be a saint on earth, a holy woman, a great gifted soul who was a prophet, screw that, look past your little religious thinking into a fact based reality, where you are not encouraged to accept hearsay as evidence.

My message to haters of Sylvia Browne, time to move on, be critics, not haters, expose other charlatans by what you have learned, and do not let these sick people bring you down, one battle is over and yet the war on conmen is far from over.

A few thoughts for those who believe in tv psychics and tv mediums, every time we find trickery at work, every moment we glimpse where the mask slips, every error on the part of these people, we see evidence that they are not honest beings practising a greater truth or power, from this even you cannot assume they are as genuine as you may wish to believe.

Sylvia Browne's books will continue to gain her org more money, there are other psychics in her org, and the cult of Sylvia is surviving her death, but for how much longer I do not know.

Some reports on Sylvia Browne Suggest that something like 200 million was made by Sylvia Browne over the last three decades, most of this since she was regularly on the Montel Williams Show, she got a profile that flew her high enough to shift vast numbers of books, tickets to shows, CDs & DVDs, as well as her expensive telephone readings.

21 November 2013

Message from D.J. Grothe on Sylvia Browne's death

Written by D.J. Grothe  

The JREF sends our condolences to Sylvia's family and loved ones. No one celebrates her death, but skeptics do criticize how she lived.

Her dismal track record at predictions she confidently predicted she would die at 88, not 77, for instance would merely be laughable if they did not hurt so many people. Remember Sean Hornbeck. Or Amanda Berry.

The number of people she hurt with her pretend supernatural abilities is nearly as high as the number of her failed predictions. It is sad that it took death to stop Sylvia Browne.

D.J. Grothe is president of the James Randi Educational Foundation www.randi.org

James Randi on Sylvia Browne's death

When Sylvia Browne died, Montel Williams offered this sappy eulogy:
A beacon that shined [sic] for so many was extinguished today, but its brightness was relit and will now shine forever for many of us from above.
To explain to this apparently dense man where his judgment has reverted to the level of a 5-year-old, I’ll point out that Browne was not at all funny "ho-ho" but frightening – to anyone with any compassion. She fed eagerly on the insecurities, the grief, the need and desperation, of her victims. They turned to her for help, at great cost -- $850 for a 20-minute telephone chat as she squatted before the TV camera like a taloned Jabba the Hutt confronting Luke Skywalker – played by Montel – and graveled out anything-but-funny, unfounded, useless, and damaging pap that added to their confusion and pain – but which made Montel and his sponsors ecstatic, because they could hear those cash register sounds as their products slid off store shelves.

And she let 10+ years go by yet never tried for the JREF million-dollar prize, as she’d agreed to do when we both appeared together on Larry King Live so many years ago…

I agree with JREF President D.J. Grothe that we do not celebrate her death, even as we criticize the way she lived. But I’ll be quite frank with you, I cannot mourn at Browne’s passing — she really hurt far too many people, and always so unapologetically.

It's unfortunate that she only stopped hurting so many people by dying.

www.randi.org

20 November 2013

Sylvia Browne is Dead - Robert Lancaster will need a new hobby!

Robert S. Lancaster of www.StopSylvia.com fame has announced that he was contacted and told Fake Psychic Sylvia Browne is dead!


Sylvia Browne WAS a vile disgusting witch of a woman, who made a fortune from pretending to speak to the dead and making future predictions, including one that predicted the death of James Randi 12 years ago!
Who is still alive by the way!

She also predicted that she would die aged 88, she was only 11 years off in that prediction, so a fraud all the way to the end!

I hate to speak ill of the dead, but this is one occasion whereby I am happy to say good riddance!
And just incase any of you feel a tinge of sympathy for her, here are some of her most despicable acts



Richard Dawkins & Deepak Chopra (English) 2013 Dangerous Ideas

18 November 2013

Meet the Amazing TAMers: DJ Grothe

Joel Guttormson, Outreach and Event Coordinator for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science interviews speakers from TAM 2013 presented by the James Randi Educational Foundation.

D.J. Grothe- He is President of the James Randi Educational Foundation. He has lectured widely on topics at the intersection of education, science and belief at universities such as Stanford, Harvard, Yale, UCLA, UC Berkeley, and dozens of others. Formerly a professional magician and mentalist, he has special interests in the psychology of belief and processes of deception and self-deception.

He currently hosts the radio show and podcast For Good Reason.

 JREF: http://www.randi.org




Meet the Amazing TAMers: Karen Stollznow

Joel Guttormson, Outreach and Event Coordinator for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science interviews speakers from TAM 2013 presented by the James Randi Educational Foundation.



10 November 2013

Spirit Mediums And Spiritualism Fails, My Own Mission Is Only To Find An Objective Truth.

Psychic Fraud News Episode 11 - National Express Crazy, Dead Deception, & Scamming Criminals

Karen Stollznow - What an Excellent Day for a Talk about Exorcism! - TAM 2013

Karen Stollznow is a linguist, author of God Bless America and the Bad Language columnist for Skeptic magazine, and author of the forthcoming books Language Myths, Mysteries and Magic, and Red, White and (True) Blue. She is a long-term investigator of paranormal and pseudoscientific beliefs and practices, a co-host of Monster Talk, and is a Research Fellow for the James Randi Educational Foundation.

5 November 2013

James Randi - Fighting the Fakers

James Randi has an international reputation as a magician and escape artist, but today he is best known as the world's most tireless investigator and demystifier of paranormal and pseudoscientific claims. Randi has pursued "psychic" spoonbenders, exposed the dirty tricks of faith healers, investigated homeopathic water "with a memory," and generally been a thorn in the sides of those who try to pull the wool over the public's eyes in the name of the supernatural. He is the author of numerous books, including The Truth About Uri Geller, The Faith Healers, Flim-Flam!, and An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural.

2 November 2013

Sanal Edamaruku - Indian Gurus: From Flying Fakirs and Starving Saints - TAM 2013

Sanal Edamaruku is an Indian skeptic and founder of Rationalist International. He is the acting president of both Rationalist International and the Indian Rationalist Association, as well as editor of the internet publication Rationalist International. He has exposed numerous frauds, mystics and superstitions in India. In 2012, the Catholic Church filed a complaint against Edamaruku and he was criminally charged with hurting religious sentiments after he debunked a weeping Jesus statue in Mumbai. He has been forced into exile until the charges are dropped.

30 October 2013

Susan Blackmore - Fighting the Fakers (and Failing) - TAM 2013

Susan Blackmore is a psychologist and writer researching consciousness, memes, and anomalous experiences, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth. She is the is author of a number of books, including The Meme Machine and Zen and the Art of Consciousness.

27 October 2013

The Honest Liar's Pseudoscience Collection

The Honest Liar's Pseudoscience Collection! In this installment of The Honest Liar, Jamy Ian Swiss considers the differences between science and pseudoscience, and discusses some highlights from his vast and colorful pseudoscience collection, from Aromatherapy to Xenoglossy!

24 October 2013

Dan Ariely - The Honest Truth About Dishonesty - TAM 2013

Dan Ariely is the James B Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. He is the author of a number of books, including Predictably Irrational and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty.

22 October 2013

Meet the Amazing TAMers: James Randi

Joel Guttormson, Outreach and Event Coordinator for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science interviews speakers from TAM 2013 presented by the James Randi Educational Foundation.
JREF: http://www.randi.org

Questions provided by the Mile High Sanity Project: http://www.milehighsanityproject.com

Produced by the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science
http://www.richarddawkins.net





Editing by Stage 2 A/V Productions - http://www.stage2.com

Skepticism and Philosophy - TAM 2013

From The Amaz!ng Meeting 2013. Panelists include Russell Blackford, Peter Boghossian, Massimo Pigliucci, and Susan Haack. Moderated by D.J. Grothe

21 October 2013

Psychic Fraud News - Episode 10 - Tony Stockwell exposed? (honest review)

Unfortunately the video has been removed, however if you are looking for examples of Tony Stockwell caught cheating or exposed, then you can search for him on this site by following this link

http://www.badpsychics.com/search/label/Tony%20Stockwell

16 October 2013

Cory Cove gets vicious with Psychic Chip Coffey

Cory Cove and psychic Chip Coffey get into it on the air


12 October 2013

Dan Ariely - The Honest Truth About Dishonesty - TAM 2013

From The Amaz!ng Meeting 2013.

Dan Ariely is the James B Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. He is the author of a number of books, including Predictably Irrational and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty.

7 October 2013

The Story Behind the 'World's Most Famous Atheist' Richard Dawkins



British zoologist Richard Dawkins turned evolutionary theory on its head when he published his book, "The Selfish Gene," in 1976. His recently released autobiography, "An Appetite for Wonder," sheds light on the first 35 years of Dawkins' life, from his birth in Kenya, to his fascination with science at Oxford, to the origin of his gene-centered view about natural selection. He joins us in the studio.

Host: Michael Krasny

Guests:
Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist and emeritus fellow at the New College at Oxford University; and author of many books, including "The Selfish Gene" and "An Appetite for Wonder"

6 October 2013

Psychic Fraud News - Episode 8 - Doreen Virtue and New Age Angels - 5th Oct 2013

Doreen Virtue's business is very well organised and all too often not based on the accounts of the religious idea of angels, more her own ideas and more often ones she has picked from other new age authors, she used nice art work to add class and as a result she makes massive amounts of money by imposing a new religious view of the ever helpful angels.

Understand that she is a guru much like David Icke minus conspiracy beliefs, the use of what seems to be an always right philosophy of basic perspectives seems very attractive because it seems to be very true to people who don't think beyond the simplistic questions.

In many ways Doreen creates a cult mentality around her belief, herself as an ever righteous guru, without the narcissism, instead a very inclusive ever positive perspective that is fine-tuned to create an appealing new age religious view. As a believer you are expected to accept what is said by a teacher/guru, if you don't the cult/group thinking is maybe your not ready for this knowledge and/or you holding on to past negativity, the cure for this negativity in new age is to accept without allowing yourself to question.

Funny how religion tries to say your dark, bad, broken, misshaped, undeveloped, lesser, negative, or even evil if you don't drink the kool aid without question, sadly in group instances our free will is surrendered to some degree and the group think may well impose rulings upon people to think in line with the others. I wouldn't call it a serious cult or dangerous, as most cults, whether religious or political, are not very dangerous, BUT the effect upon quality of life is impressed upon by the great force of blind faith.

If you believe angels, or any super-beings, will do things for you then you give thought to a thing which probably is not in existence, you may offer tribune to the imagination and not deal with that which you may be should, most people use the idea of super-beings to help themselves to achieve goals, sadly idols of worship can prevent people actually reaching out. Angels as an idea are very popular and make big bucks in many faiths, new age religious methods are so obvious in their business technique as to express nothing but the most blatant deceptions.

By Robert W Lester
https://www.youtube.com/user/robertwlester

4 October 2013

Lecture 10: Independent Replicability, Meta-analysis and Pseudo-Replicability

The original ganfeld psi experiment (1974). The Hyman-Honorton debate (1985). Storm et al vs Hyman (2010). "Meta-analysis that conceals more than it reveals." Parapsychology, a field without a subject matter, without replicability, but with dogged persistence.

A companion course guide can be downloaded here: http://jref.swmirror.com/20730


3 October 2013

Lecture 9: Scientists & Psychics: The Importance of Replicability

Hasted et al on How to Test a Psychic (Uri Geller). Delanoy and the young metal bender. Attempting to do science without a disciplinary matrix and without a safety net.

A companion course guide can be downloaded here: http://jref.swmirror.com/20730


2 October 2013

Lecture 8: Personal Validation, Subjective Validation, and the Contribution of the Observer

Crider revisted. Forer. The rules of the game. Why it works.

A companion course guide can be downloaded here: http://jref.swmirror.com/20730

1 October 2013

Lecture 7: The Psychic Reading: How to Convince People that You Know All About Them

Examples of readings: Alan Alda befuddled by reaction of a lady to a reading. Randi successfully re-enacts Forer's demonstration of the fallacy of personal validation. Hyman duplicates Christian Dion's approach to psychic readings. You too can guru!

A companion course guide can be downloaded here: http://jref.swmirror.com/20730


Amazing mind reader reveals his 'gift'

Dave is an extremely gifted clairvoyant who finds out specific financial information. This video reveals the magic behind the magic, making people aware of the fact that their entire life can be found online. And by doing so urging everybody to be vigilant.



30 September 2013

Lecture 6: Applications of the Framework

Polarity Therapy. Crider: "The study of a character analyst." Additional applications.

A companion course guide can be downloaded here: http://jref.swmirror.com/20730


Psychic Fraud News - Episode 7 - conartists?

I think the psychics fit into three types, the faithfully deluded, the faithless trickster, and the tricksters who believes to some degree in their practices, back when I was into this crap I was like most followers, the first kind, deluded. I was a trainee healer & mediums, and I got to that point due to sadness over a few deaths in my family, depression, and so I was perfect for conversion, if my friend at the time, the guy who got me into spiritualism and new age, was a Catholic or Muslim instead of a spiritualist then my life would have been very different. I used to read the books for the famous psychics, I believed most of it, I often shared them in my local spiritualist church, but after my depression was less pronounced I realised the contradictions between psychics, mediums, and new age channellers, my rationality started to rise, but it took a while to get back to reality.
By Robert W Lester

29 September 2013

Lecture 5: The Framework: How, and When, to Override the Autonomous Mind.

The Conditional: if,then thinking. Popper's failed ploy to banish inductive thinking from science. Theory, Hypothesis, Initial Conditions, Auxiliary Conditions, Predicted Outcomes. Alternative reasons for the outcome. Application to the key bending demonstration.

A companion course guide can be downloaded here: http://jref.swmirror.com/20730

28 September 2013

Lecture 4: "The Reality of ESP: A Physicists Proof of Psychic Abilities": The Vividness Problem

"Other ways of knowing." Strength of belief vs. strength of proof. Prima facie evidence. Miracles. Scientific ability is domain dependent. Disciplinary Matrix as a safety net. Patrick Price. Remote Viewing. Occult chemistry. Helen Duncan. Madame Blavatsky. Subjective Validation.

A companion course guide can be downloaded here: http://jref.swmirror.com/20730

27 September 2013

Lecture 3: Perceptual and Cognitive Biases: Fast and Slow Thinking

Reflective Mind/Algorithmic Mind/Autonomous Mind. The Cognitive Miser. Mindware Gaps. Contaminated Mindware. Finished Files. Assimilation /Contrasts. Invisible Rectangle. Attneave's Cat. Shepard's Tables. 7C→7S

A companion course guide can be downloaded here: http://jref.swmirror.com/20730


Psychic Fraud News - Episode 6 - Woo Woo

Any serious psychic who makes grand claims should do the James Randi challenge, or another equally as strict scientific test to confirm it's not a question of faith.

26 September 2013

Lecture 2: How The Key Got Bent

Student descriptions of the key bending event. Impossibility of describing everything. Observation has to be selective. Problem of relevance. Informal observation is retrospective, unsystematic, and contaminated by the limitations and quirks of human memory and cognition. Scientific observation is prospective, planned, systematic, calibrated and productive of trustworthy data.

A companion course guide can be downloaded here: http://jref.swmirror.com/20730


Jury finds ‘psychic’ Rose Marks guilty on all 14 fraud charges, faces possible 20 years in prison

WEST PALM BEACH — A federal jury in West Palm Beach has found ‘psychic’ Rose Marks, guilty on all 14 charges of fraud.

Marks was immediately taken away to jail, and faces a possible 20 years in prison when she is sentenced on Dec. 9.

On Wednesday, federal prosecutors wrapped up one of the most bizarre trials in recent history, asking jurors to suspend cynical notions about people who would give millions to a fortune-teller.

Instead of judging the victims — even a woman who became convinced she was destined to marry heart-throb Brad Pitt and revered diplomat Colin Powell — the jury should instead focus on how Marks preyed on desperate people who believed she could help them deal with dead children, bad marriages, unrequited love and health problems, prosecutor Larry Bardfeld said.

In closing arguments of the $20 million fraud trial, Bardfeld addressed the skepticism that has silently permeated the month-long trial. “Who would be foolish enough, gullible enough, naive enough or stupid enough to give large amounts of money to a fortune teller?” Bardfeld asked.

But, he insisted, that isn’t the question jurors should ponder when they begin deliberations today.
“The question is what was going on in these victims’ lives that they would fall prey to this outlandish scheme?” he said.

Read More at
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/breaking-news/jury-finds-psychic-rose-marks-guilty-on-all-14-fra/nZ8CG/

25 September 2013

Lecture 1: The Keys to Critical Thinking

Uri Geller. The Geller Effect. Two students attempt to bend a key with their minds. The problem of unplanned observation. Eyewitness testimony. GIGO. "As described is not the same as "as it happened."

A companion course guide can be downloaded here: http://jref.swmirror.com/20730


Talking to the Dead: James Van Praagh Tested

James Van Praagh and other practitioners of so-called channeling & communica­ting with deceased people have consistently avoided James Randi's Million Dollar Challenge test to prove their psychic abilities. In this video, Miklos Jako, a knowledgeable layman, tests Van Praagh's ability simply by having a session with him and analyzing what went on.

The results, though not strictly scientific, are pretty conclusive, as well as entertaining.

Miklos Jako is a retired teacher, who has investigated religion and related topics all his life. He is the author of Confronting Believers (Infinity Publishing). He graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover, MA, and Colby College, ME.


Jon Stewart and Richard Dawkins Will It Be Science or Religion That Dooms Us All - The Daily Show 24/09/13

Jon Stewart and Richard Dawkins Will It Be Science or Religion That Dooms Us All JonStewartDaily


17 September 2013

Skeptic Presents: What is a Skeptic?

In this video—the fourth in our series of videos that promote science and critical thinking through the use of humor, wit, and satire—we present a fun and informative look at the principles of Skepticism.

16 September 2013

Psychic Fraud News - Episode 4 - Pure Abuse

A dark episode, three truly horrid stories, proof of how this can be far worse than a few dollars for a simple reading. [all story links below] and excuse editing, I was rushed and didn't have time to start filming again, sorry for any derpy-ness that may effect you viewing pleasure.


...and any serious psychic who makes grand claims should do the James Randi challenge, or another equally as strict scientific test to confirm it's not a question of faith.

12 September 2013

Psychic Fraud News - Episode 3 - Psychic Crime? - 12th September 2013

This episode was delayed due to some technical problems, it must have been the ghosties, and I know I said I would do 5 minute episodes, but with so much going on I chose to make this one longer. should do shorter mid-week episodes in the future, saving the longer shows for the Saturday/Sunday main upload. 

http://www.youtube.com/user/robertwlester?feature=watch
--

The first story is why I am so against cult leaders and the like, whether they call themselves psychic, or not, it is largely the same, the difference is the term used and the faith held.

http://houston.culturemap.com/news/ci...
http://www.khou.com/news/Tipster-in-m...


The second story about ghost hunting psychics, it is common for quackery to be used, and if they get exposure, and as a result more money, they think it is fine to use simple trickery on the believers. I personally find it to be a scam, not unlike the Victorian spiritualist tricks that we of the same ilk, such as the Fox sisters and their bumps and bangs in the 1840s.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newst...

The final story, another scam, a con on the weak for cash, very common, selling nonsense for extreme prices, far beyond the average and fairly low prices of most alternative therapies and new age practices, but the desperate will spend their cash out of their desperation. 

http://www.postcrescent.com/article/2...


10 September 2013

James Randi - Secrets of the Psychics Documentary (Full)

James "The Amazing" Randi is the perfect mix of Science and Magic, a true conjurer of visual machinations that can fool our senses while, at the same time, explaining to us how our senses are fooled.

In my opinion this is the best example of a "human mind debugger", he gets right into the machinations of analog tricks and sees how our brains mistakenly manifests them as a possible reality. Randi also teaches us that illusion and trickery may be comforting to the human mind, but truth is far much more wonderful as it shows us the machinations from the chaos, the sense as well as the awe in both the tricks and the real world.

For several decades, Randi has gone on to expose hundreds of psychics and teach millions across the globe about how they could be fooled into believing in a system which could potentially make them vulnerable to trickery and perhaps psychical harm.

Randi is not afraid to go against popular opinion, as shown in his battle against so-called psychic Uri Geller in the late 1970's and early 1980's.
Randi has also gone against the bizarre practise of faith "healing" and contacting the deceased, and has exposed the cruel, callous and cynical nature of the people who claim to be performing "God's will", such as Peter Popoff.
Randi has also warned us time and time again about the fraudulent practise that is homoeopathic medicine and how it is essentially water solution, dished out as hocus-pocus medicine.

James Randi is the founder of The James Randi Educational Foundation, an organisation that attempts to bring reason to world by luring potential psychics into a trap, baited by a million dollar prize to prove their psychic "powers". "powers" here is a kind of vague term,as Randi knows, so the tests are usually on the so-called psychic's terms. No self-acclaimed psychic has ever won the prize.

Whether or not some form of psychic power exists is still an open question, however many psychics often do not properly gauge their so-called skills and instead brag about them, hence scepticism about such claims should not be so strange to their ears.

Unfortunately the vast amount of psychic powers they have seem to remove all self-esteem as many psychics are often uneasy about Randi's reasonable request and attractive million dollar reward.


7 September 2013

Psychic Fraud News - Episode 2 - Predictions - 7th September 2013

Not all news, but due to the nature of psychic predictions and the constant effort to make it fit, it's old but news too.

Origin of Stupidity

I know this video is a few years old, but this woman is amazing!

3 September 2013

Psychic Fraud News - Episode 1 - 3rd September 2013

I uploaded this earlier than expected due to positive feed back from my friends on youtube, and I may well upload another by the end of the week.
http://www.youtube.com/user/robertwlester

15 August 2013

2005 Skeptics Society Conference: Brain, Mind and Consciousness:

The Brain, Mind & Consciousness conference, on what Nobel Laureate Francis Crick called "the greatest unsolved problem in biology," was held over the weekend of May 13--15, 2005 at Caltech.

Research on the brain, mind, and consciousness was given a significant boost by Nobel laureate Dr. Francis Crick in 1994, when he wrote in his book, The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul, "that 'you,' your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules."

This is what is called "the hard problem"—explaining how billions of neurons swapping chemicals give rise to such subjective experiences as consciousness, self-awareness, and awareness that others are conscious and self-aware; that is, not only the ability to wonder, but the ability to wonder why we wonder, and even wonder why others wonder why....

Explaining each of the functional parts of the brain is the easy problem, such as the differences between waking and sleep, discrimination of stimuli, or the control of behavior. By contrast, what has come to be known as the hard problem in consciousness studies is experience: what it is like to be in a given mental state? Adding up all of the solved easy problems does not equal a solution to the hard problem. Something else is going on in private subjective experiences—called qualia—and there is no consensus on what it is.

Dualists hold that qualia are separate from physical objects in the world and that mind is more than brain. Materialists contend that qualia are ultimately explicable through the activities of neu- rons and that mind and brain are one. Our speakers, some of the top neuroscientists in the world, will address these and other problems, such as the evolution of the brain, and how and why it got to be so large. Skeptics will get a chance to interact with these world-class scientists on the breaks, during meals, and in a formal discussion period. We will also consider the implications of this new brain research to better understand apparent paranormal phenomena, as well as how and why people believe weird things.




Lectures included: The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach with Dr. Christof Koch, Children as Scientists: How the Brain Learns to Think with Dr. Alison Gopnik, In Search of Memory — True, False, Repressed, Recovered with Dr. Richard McNally, Sleep, Dreams, and the Subconscious with Dr. Terry Sejnowski, Exploring Altered States of Consciousness with Dr. Susan Blackmore, The Search for the Neurological Basis of the Social Emotions with Dr. John Allman, From Whence Trust Comes: Oxytocin and Behavioral Economics with Dr. Paul Zak, Consciousness is Nothing But a Word with Dr. Hank Schlinger, and From Biology to Consciousness to Morality with Dr. Ursula Goodenough.

Order the DVDs from
HERE

11 August 2013

Interview with Darren R. Scothern

INTERVIEW WITH DARREN SCOTHERN
By David Kempf

Darren R. Scothern is an English author and poet. He was born in Sheffield in 1965, and had an average working class education before graduating from The Open University with a first-class honours degree in literature.

He describes himself variously as an author, poet, atheist, rationalist, sceptic and armchair revolutionary.

After finding some success in the small presses, Darren made a breakthrough into the American paperback market, when his award-winning science fiction story 'The Key to Heaven's Gate' was included in The Best Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction of 2009, published by the Absent Willow Review.

---

Tell us how you became interested in writing

Oh, this is a sad story of regret and wasted opportunities! As a child, I was very 'forward' with reading and writing.  I was doing both fluently long before starting school, long before other kids my age.  The first story I ever wrote, I was probably five or six years old.  It was my retelling of 'Androcles and the Lion', and finished with the lion giving a big happy roar!  Stories just fascinated me.  I think it was the fact that I could escape into fantasy from what was a very unhappy childhood.

I soon got hooked on Marvel and DC comics.  Marvel in particular fired my imagination.  I was fortunate that a friend of our family had been collecting Marvel comics for years, and he had all the collectors items, the first appearances of Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and so on.  I was blown away, and all I ever wanted as a career from that point was to write and draw Marvel comics. Somehow, I got it into my head that the way in would be as an artist, and that I could progress to writing later.  I had zero natural talent for drawing, but I worked and worked at it, and by the time I was eighteen, I could draw superheroes really well.  I couldn't draw anything else, mind.  And somehow, by that time, writing had been completely forgotten about.  Then at age eighteen, I became a father.  For the next eighteen years of my life, my sole focus was on being the best dad I could be.  That meant getting a 'sensible' job, and being able to pay the bills.  Any ambitions of writing or drawing for a career were put on hold.  As I got older, my interest in superheroes gradually waned, but the desire to write re-emerged, and was always bubbling away in the background.  Unfortunately, I was surround by a lot of naysayers at that time in my life, and I fell for their negative image of me, completely lost confidence in myself, and gave up on my ambitions.

It was when I hit my mid-thirties, with my son grown into a fine young man, that I started to think, 'Hey, if I don't have a go at this writing thing, I'll never be happy.'  So I started work on some short stories...


Why horror fiction?

I always loved horror movies.  As a kid, I used to stay up late and watch the old Hammer movies on 'Appointment With Fear'.  Back in those days, any attempts to portray superheroes on TV, whether live action or animated, were pretty awful.  But horror movies could more often hit the mark.  I used to read some ghost stories as well, but mainly, horror for me was on the screen.  Until someone lent me a copy of Stephen King's 'Firestarter'.  That changed everything for me.  It was probably the first time I understood horror as a metaphor, and the first time I came across a horror in which the characters were more important than the central 'evil'.  From that point, I read a lot of horror, but perhaps not that widely.  I had no time for James Herbert or Shaun Hutson, and so on.  But Stephen King, Peter Straub, Brian Lumley, etc, they just thrilled me.

I also read other stuff - some SF, fantasy, general fiction and so on.  But I just seemed to have an affinity for horror.


Has writing for mastersofhorror.co.uk helped you improve your craft?

I think that what most writers crave, at heart, is validation.  You write for your readers, and you want a reaction.  You want your readers to love what you write, but if not, then you'll settle for them hating it.  What you don't want is a lukewarm reaction.  You don't want to be ignored; you want to know that you have pushed someone's buttons.  When you're starting out as a writer, this can be difficult.  As an unknown, how do you reach people?   Masters of Horror was a huge help.  It was an outlet for my writing, it allowed me to gauge the reaction of readers, and gave me an actual web presence at which I could point new readers.

Suddenly, I had a new element on my CV.  I have only warm and positive feelings for MOH.


After achieving a certain amount of mainstream success, why would you choose the Amazon self publishing route?

Let me tell you about some of the submissions I made to various publishers.  I once wrote a short SF story called 'The Key to Heaven's Gate.'  I thought I had a pretty good story.  Now, when you submit a piece to publishers, you always steel yourself for rejection; that's just the way of life for a writer.  Usually, when you get a rejection, it's just a standard slip, and I had many of those for this particular story.  Then one day, I got a very personalised rejection.  The editor in question sent me a two page email, absolutely trashing my story.  He hated it.  After so many rejections topped by this outburst, I decided I obviously wasn't being objective about this particular story, so I filed it away and forgot about it.  Until a couple of years later, when I spotted a publisher that I thought might accept it.  I submitted it, and got a letter from the editor who said he loved it!  He positively gushed over it.  They published, and 'The Key to Heaven's Gate' won the editor's choice award, and went on to be included in a 'best of' paperback anthology.  That was just the first time I realised what a lottery the submissions game is.

Then there was the thing with my novel 'Blood Brothers'.  This novel got past various junior editors and got to the final committee to decide which novels were going to be published that year by one particular publisher.  I was copied in on an email that explained why the novel was rejected.  The senior editor had said, 'this guy can really write,' and 'this is a brilliant story that will sell' ...but... They couldn't get on with all the bad language.  The central characters in Blood Brothers are of a similar background to myself; lower working class from the North of England.  I know I have got the dialogue bang on the money, so I just had to laugh this rejection off.

I think what really tipped me over the edge into self-publishing, though, was some publishers' submission guidelines.  I had become used to publishers demanding certain word counts, and certain content.  I was mildly frustrated with guidelines that demanded certain paragraph lengths.  But then one set of guidelines I read demanded that there should only be one space after a full stop, not two, and any submissions that used the two space format would be deleted without being read.  The next publisher I looked at demanded the two space format.  What is wrong with these people?  We are talking about STORIES here.  It was at that point I decided to self-publish.

The point is that, as a writer, as well as being strongly self-critical, you have to have a certain amount of confidence in what you do, and not be bullied into watering it down.  You cannot write by committee.  Digital self-publishing has opened up a cost-free avenue for writers who want to stand on their own two feet.  It has given creative power back to the authors, who now have to live and die purely on their own personal standard of creativity and professionalism.


Do you see self-published e books as the future of published mass market fiction?

I think it's a no brainer.  Kindle has done for books what iTunes has done for music.  The future is here.


How many books have you written (novels or novellas)?

I've got eleven e books available on Amazon at present - a mix of novellas, short story collections, a poetry collection, and one humongous novel, Blood Brothers.


How many short stories have you written?

Oh, blimey.  Countless.  I still have a sizeable back catalogue of unpublished works.  I love the short story format, and I kind of look to people like Raymond Carver as true masters of the craft, an ideal of quality to aspire to.  I like to write short stories between the first and second drafts of longer projects.  It helps me get some distance and objectivity on a long project that might have been years in the making.


Tell us about The Darkness at Fishersbridge. How much did H.P. Lovecraft’s work inspire you with this story?

I kind of have a love-hate relationship with H. P. Lovecraft.  I think the Cthulhu Mythos is one of the greatest and most enduring concepts in the horror genre.  Despite August Derleth's well intended but plain wrong attempts to sweeten the Mythos, it remains an utterly chilling concept - one that speaks straight to the fears about who and what we are.  It seems like a lot of writers want to add their bit to it, and even the ones that deny certain stories are part of the Mythos... Well you read the stories, and you just know, don't you?  However, as much as I am awed by the power and scope of Lovecraft's vision, I sometimes find his prose verges on the unreadable.  That's such a shame, because it will put some people off.  But, yes, The Darkness at Fishersbridge was my way of saying thank you to H. P. Lovecraft for his wonderful ideas.  This story was also one of my first attempts at taking the idea of an 'unreliable narrator' to the ultimate degree.  I think that, by the end of the story, that method actually increases the horror factor exponentially, which is kind of counter intuitive, but there you are.


Do you see any significant differences between British horror fiction and American horror fiction?

I think the two are converging, to an extent.  Mass media and globalisation is making most new Western literature kind of transatlantic in style.  We've seen this trend in TV and movies for a while now, and it was inevitable that literature would start to go that way.  What will remain different is the unique cultural signposts that still differentiate the two nations.  I remember someone telling my that my Chapelbank trilogy was quintessentially English, which I thought was nice.  The kids in those stories say things like 'terrar' and they sneak around the back of the working men's club, and so on.  They wouldn't even know what Baseball was.  These kinds of things are the touchpoints of national identity for characters.  But in terms of structure and so on, I think there is less difference than ever between the two in literature.  The difference in structure is also narrowing on the screen, but not quickly enough for my liking.  I'm not a fan of old school British theatricality.


Have your political or philosophical views shaped your writing in some way?

I actually think the greater effect has been the other way around! Back in the nineties, when I started to have a go at writing, I was a lapsed Christian, and full of guilt and hang ups.  These days, as I'm sure many people are aware, I am a highly vocal atheist, anti-theist and rationalist.  That has been one heck of a journey, and would never have happened were it not for my writing.

The thing about writing is that it's all about the characters, and that forces you to examine yourself, the people around you, and human nature itself.  When I first started writing, I realised very quickly that I wasn't good enough at it.  This was going to take work.  I hadn't made the best of my education as a youth, and I was painfully aware of my shortcomings intellectually.  I went back to college, and took an A level in English language, and from there I really got the taste for learning.  It was all about getting that thinking muscle working again.  I remember feeling quite intimidated by the intellectual punch some of my friends carried, and I was very self-conscious.  I took a few writing courses, but found them to be too lightweight.  They didn't give me the depth of  understanding I required.  Reading Robert Mckee's Story helped, but that just fired me up to learn more.  All the while, my critical thinking skills were developing, and that led me to put writing on the back burner a little for three years, while I took a degree in Literature with The Open University.  As part of the degree, I took a module in philosophy, and that opened my eyes to rational atheism.  All the doubts I'd had about religion crystallised through that learning process, and I was finally able to shrug off years of guilt-tripping.  I'd already been gradually moving toward atheism, but now I had the tools to intellectually justify my thought process.  It was an incredibly liberating time.  And it was no surprise of course to find themes of religious conflict informing my writing.

I came out of university with a 'distinction' first class honours degree in Literature.  Studying lit gives a very different perspective to studying creative writing.  Both have informed my writing, and I now feel more in control of what I'm doing than ever before.  Studying lit also ignited my interest in poetry, which was a totally unexpected, but welcome, bonus.


Which writers have inspired you the most?

Well, I've already mentioned King and Lovecraft.  But for the most part, I tend to like certain books rather than follow certain writers, and it's not always horror.  I've enjoyed most (not all) of Ian McEwan's work.  I think 'On Chesil Beach' is a masterpiece of slow-burning suspense, and I would have to say his writing has probably been a more recent influence on me.  I would have to point to two other novels that have left a very lasting impression on me: Heinlein's 'Stranger in a Strange Land' and Irwin Shaw's 'Rich Man, Poor Man'.  But I've also been influenced by the early lyric writing of David Bowie, and I am a great admirer of the work of David Lynch, who has definitely been a big influence.


Name some of your favorite horror books.

Okay, here goes.  'Firestarter', 'Christine', 'The Dead Zone' and 'Hearts in Atlantis' from King.  'The Call of Cthulhu' and 'At the Mountains of Madness' from Lovecraft.  Brian Lumley's 'Necroscope' series is sensational, despite some of Lumley's quirky dialogue.  This is how vampires should be written.  I also enjoyed his 'Psychomech' series.


Name some of your favorite horror movies.

Well, this might be controversial, but I love the American remake of 'The Ring'.  Absolutely love it, way better than the original.  'The Mothman Prophecies' is another with a similar vibe that I really enjoyed.  Hitchcock's 'Psycho' will always be there, and I would class 'Silence of the Lambs' as a horror, which I also love.  And at the risk of contradicting what I've said about theatricality, I can't help it, I just love Branagh's 'Frankenstein'! Stuff like David Lynch's movies, and maybe 'Donnie Darko' veer into the type of psychological horror I enjoy.


What are your current projects?

I'm currently working a a major novel, titled 'Abominations'.  This is a pretty ambitious project, and will end up a similar length to 'Blood Brothers' - about 160k words.  'Abominations' starts off as a mystery with supernatural connotations, before suddenly screaming off down the route of pure horror. It's been a real challenge so far, because it's such a huge, complex story that will just have people gripped right from the off.  I'm enjoying writing this immensely.  I expect if to be published late 2014 or early 2015.  I will have some more short works released before then, though.


Please in your own words write a paragraph about yourself & your work.

Writing is just absolutely central to my life.  I put my readers at the heart of everything I do, I want to wow them.  I've given myself this mission statement:  I want to write stories that people will want to read at least three times.  The first reading, hopefully, they will enjoy a good story.  Afterwards, I want that story to linger at the back of their minds.  I want them to be thinking, after a while, 'Hang on a minute, I thought I understood that bit in chapter three, but now I've finished the book, I think it might mean something else...'  I want my readers to be drawn back for a second reading, where they pick up the hidden story; the submerged part.  If they crack that, I would expect they would want to read it a third time, with all the pieces laid out, as it were.

Check out some of Darren's books at Amazon

6 August 2013

Skeptic Presents: You Can't Handle The Truther

In this video—the third in our series of videos that promote science and critical thinking through the use of humor, wit, and satire—CIA Agents plot the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon.


19 July 2013

Pyschic Char Margolis fail on WGN Morning News

Psychic Char Margolis claims she has special gifts to see spirits, read thoughts and predict the future. We think that about covers what goes wrong with this segment on WGN Morning News. Larry Potash and Robin Baumgarten really are "on" this particular day.

26 June 2013

Skeptics Presents: B.Y.T.H. Busters (The Secret Law of Attraction)

In B.Y.T.H. Busters: The Secret Law of Attraction, Adam Average and Jamie Imtheman put the "Law of Attraction" to the test. This is the second in a series of videos that promote science and critical thinking through the use of humor, wit, and satire.


6 June 2013

Scientology - The Truth

Turns out this Scientology thing isn't just a load of harebrained bullshit after all.

Written, directed and with voiceover by Gareth Tunley.

Featuring Mike Wozniak, Susy Kane and Cassandra Harwood

Gareth Tunley is a writer and performer who directs things and then blogs about it here:

http://lordtunley.blogspot.com

3 June 2013

The Randi Show - ADE 651

Randi gives us an update on the trial of James McCormick, the now-convicted con man who scammed governments all over the world into buying his "ADE 651", a supposed bomb detection device that is nothing more than a dowsing rod.

18 May 2013

The Randi Show - Sylvia Browne: Wrong Again

Randi dives into the most recent of "psychic" Sylvia Browne's failed predictions, hoping that this one may be spectacular enough to put her out of business for good.

1 May 2013

Why They Don't Believe - Atheists Professor Richard Dawkins and physicist Lawrence Krauss

As the documentary "The Unbelievers" premieres at Toronto's Hot Docs Festival, two of the men featured in the film: professor Richard Dawkins and physicist Lawrence Krauss sit down with Steve Paikin to tell us why indeed, they don't believe.

26 April 2013

Trey Parker & Matt Stone - TAM 5

From The Amazing Meeting 5, the creators of "South Park", Trey and Matt, take questions from the audience and thank James Randi as the inspiration for their John Edward episode.

Penn Jillette gives the introduction.

23 April 2013

Richard Dawkins Bitch-Slaps anti-scientific theist

Richard Dawkins responds to a christian who is critical of the scientific method: "it (science) works... bitches!". Filmed at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, on Friday 15th February 2013.

20 April 2013

The Honest Liar - Homeopathy: Money for Nothing

In the first installment of "The Honest Liar", Jamy Ian Swiss punctures the pretense of homeopathy. How much is too much to pay for a remedy with nothing in it?

18 April 2013

Richard Dawkins BHA Award Acceptance Speech 2012

Richard Dawkins quotes a passages from Bertrand Russell and Julian Huxley, along with creating his own rhyme about Andrew Copson during his acceptance speech for the BHA award of Services to Humanism.

Richard speaks of his idea for a new degree course with evolution at the centre, branching out into philosophy, economics, engineering, medicine, agriculture, social science, linguistics, physics, cosmology, computer science, and more...

Charles Darwin is discussed with references to how all Doctors should be Darwinian's and how past mistakes could have been avoided if that were so.

Professor Dawkins also discusses Balliol College and talks of how classics and scientific disciplines can be tied in together, emphasising the importance of the study of classics in terms of evolution.

http://www.youtube.com/user/BritishHumanists

17 April 2013

Skeptic Presents: The Con Academy (Vol.1)

This is volume 1 of The Con Academy videos—another resource in the Skeptics Society's arsenal of Skepticism 101 for teaching critical thinking and promoting science through the use of humor, wit, and satire. In this faux commercial for The Con Academy you'll see how psychics count on the confirmation bias to convince people that their powers are real when, in fact, they are just remembering the hits and forgetting the misses. We also demonstrate how psychic "organizations" con people by taking their money for services that are not real.


5 April 2013

"Skepticism about the Future: Techno-Optimism vs. Reality" - TAM 2012

In this panel discussion from TAM 2012, moderator Julia Galef leads Steven Novella, Michael Vassar, Michael Shermer, and Stephen Macknik in an exploration of how skeptical we should be about the idea that technology will continue to trend our society in a positive direction.

2 April 2013

2013 Pigasus Awards Announcement

Since 1997, the JREF's annual Pigasus Awards have been bestowed on the most deserving charlatans, swindlers, psychics, pseudo-scientists, and faith healers—and on their credulous enablers, too. The awards are named for both the mythical flying horse Pegasus of Greek mythology and the highly improbable flying pig of popular cliche. These are the awards for 2012. Find out more about this year's winners here: http://ow.ly/jDZwg


29 March 2013

Ben Goldacre - "Squabbles About Homeopathy" - TAM 6

Dr. Ben Goldacre of BadScience.com chronicles his experiences arguing against the pseudoscience of homeopathy both in and out of the media.

25 March 2013

Competition: Win Derren Brown: Svengali on DVD

To celebrate the release of Derren Brown: Svengali on DVD on April 1st, we have a great competition for you, and 2 copies on DVD to give away!

Synopsis:

Derren Brown presents the truly magical, award-winning theatre show that won him the 2012 Olivier Award for Best Entertainment.

The master persuader and entertainer extracts secret confessions from the audience, paints an extraordinary portrait, and has an audience member possessed by a two-hundred year automaton.


Win This:


For your chance to win just answer the following question... 

Which award did Derren receive for this show?

 

To enter Email us with your answer, along with your name and address. 

When the competition ends as indictated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.


Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.

23 March 2013

The Randi Show - Coincidence

Randi tells the tale of a very coincidental elephant sighting and why it's so easy for laypeople to assign paranormal cause to random events that seem suspiciously contrived.

20 March 2013

Tim Farley - "Building Internet Tools for Skeptics" - TAM 6

Tim Farley, JREF research fellow and founder of WhatsTheHarm.net, talks at TAM 6 about using web 2.0 tools to promote and advance skeptical outreach.

7 March 2013

Nadia Sawalha Homeopath advocate!


I have always liked Nadia Sawalha, there is a couple of main reasons why, but I have always liked her.

And then out of nowhere she goes and makes a really really dumb admission on Twitter.

Now I have to add her to that list of dumb celebrities who have no clue what the real world is all about!

For anyone who still doubts the dangers of Homeopathy please check out the site of my good friends whatstheharm.net


28 February 2013

Neil DeGrasse Tyson - TAM 6

From The Amaz!ng Meeting 6 in Las Vegas, NV. Keynote address by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.




Neil deGrasse Tyson (born October 5, 1958) is an American astrophysicist and science communicator. He is currently the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space and a research associate in the department of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History.

From 2006 to 2011 he hosted the educational science television show NOVA ScienceNow on PBS and has been a frequent guest on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Real Time with Bill Maher, and Jeopardy!. It was announced on August 5, 2011, that Tyson will be hosting a new sequel to Carl Sagan's Cosmos: A Personal Voyage television series.


13 February 2013

D.J. Grothe - How to be a "Perfect" Skeptic - QED 2012

Filmed at the skepticism conference QED 2012 in Manchester, UK, D.J. Grothe presents his advice on how to be a "perfect" skeptic. Grothe is a public speaker and writer on issues at the intersection of belief and scientific skepticism, and is president of The James Randi Educational Foundation. He hosts the radio show and podcast "For Good Reason".


8 February 2013

George Anderson - Psychic Medium and one unhappy customer

Forum member Forests mentioned on the forum that he had been told by a Spiritualist that Medium George Anderson had never been exposed as a fake.

Personally I have never even heard of this medium, despite claims on his website that he was the worlds most scientifically tested medium.


"In his career, George has done more than 35,000 sessions for the bereaved, and is the most scientifically tested medium of this century. He has earned the respect and acclaim of those who work in scientific, medical and religious fields not only due to his ability, but his dedication to those who suffer the loss of a loved one. Researchers in the field of science, afterlife studies and spirituality have called George "Astonishing," "The Gold Standard by which all mediums are measured," and "A Stradivarius among mediums." He continues to work with people from all over the world, from everyday people to politicians, heads of state, celebrities and royalty, who have been astounded by his simple manner and extraordinary ability to communicate messages from the souls."

The fact I have not heard of him, is probably all you need to know, and as for his claims of being tested by scientists, again I ask where are the peer reviewed papers on this? Who are the credible and qualified scientists? A bit like asking a car mechanic to fix your girlfriends hair straighteners, just because someone is a scientist does not make them instantly qualified to test a psychic!

Anyway upon asking about George Anderson on the forum, member Forests actually found a review of George Anderson on Amazon, as a review of one of his books.

I will publish it here, I do not know who wrote it, so I will let you read it and make your own mind up, is this really a medium you want to go to? I know I personally would avoid him at all costs.
Anyway here is the review, also do click through to Amazon and read some of the replies to this review too. Some eye opening stuff.


By tamrakatThis review is from: We Don't Die (Paperback) 
I first read the earlier edition of "We Don't Die" around 1996. It was my favorite book and I recommended it to everyone. I swore that if anything happened to someone I loved I would find a way to get a reading with George. I was so convinced he was the real thing. Then tragedy struck in the summer of 1998 when both my husband and son died just a few weeks apart. I contacted George's office right away, but because he was so booked up the first available $1,000 phone appointment was in 3 months. I made the appointment and waited with great expectations. I felt so hopeful that when the reading took place I would hear from my beloved son and husband and feel some relief from the horrible pain I was in. I had no other children so I had really lost my whole family in just a few short weeks. 
George called me at our scheduled appointment time. I can't explain what a horrible sinking feeling it was while listening to George and slowly realizing he was only telling me things that anyone could find through public records, like my husband's name, cause of death, how long we'd been married and that it was the first marriage for both of us, where we got married, etc. There were a lot of mentions in between the vital information of how much my husband loved me, wanted me to go on and be happy.... Generally, words of comfort, just what a person in my situation would desperately want and need to hear. It all seemed so fake that I began to feel disgusted, but I held my tongue and kept hoping, but he really didn't tell me anything convincing even though I sat there during the reading surrounded by knick-knacks and photos from various trips we'd taken, match books from our favorite restaurants, etc.
But here was the clincher: George said that my husband and I had NO CHILDREN. I didn't correct him because I didn't want to help in any way if he was fishing for clues, but my heart really hit bottom when he said that. Toward the end of the reading I asked if there wasn't someone, anyone else, that might want to come through, but he just started guessing and asking me questions, like "would this person's name begin with a letter that's in the first half of the alphabet?". You see, the problem for George was that my son was born, and later died, in another country, so both his birth and death certificates would be difficult to find, especially if one assumed there was no reason to look for them. 
It pains me to say this, but talking to George 3 months after my losses actually sent me into a deeper and literally more hopeless depression because by the time the reading was over I had gone from a true believer to a person who knew right down to the bone that this guy was a fake. I believed so strongly in George's abilities before the reading, and expected to feel relieved afterward, but no, I don't believe in George anymore. I felt ripped off and hopeless. I don't know if there are real mediums, I surely hope so, and I truly hope some day I can meet one who can connect me with the ones I've lost.
It took many years before I could write this review because I didn't want to hurt anyone who's grieving by saying these things. George may justify what he's doing by telling himself he's helping people, and he probably is as long as they believe in his ability. But he's still lying, and I don't think it's moral or decent for a liar to profit off of people who are fragile, hurting and devastated. If there are other mediums who are genuine, then they deserve to make a living from their books and readings. I'm still open-minded, just not a fan of this particular medium (or Sylvia Brown, whose predictions have been wrong on way too many occasions) with whom I had a very shallow, meaningless and expensive reading.
Sorry if I've offended anyone, but this is the truth about my reading with George.



Source: http://www.amazon.com/review/R1JLR88FHOWVXQ?cdPage=5

3 February 2013

Colin Fry Trumpet Incident News Report

The following is a video reporting on the incident by Meridian Focus.


Quote from clip:

“Those events lead some to accuse Colin Fry of fraud. But his explanation was later accepted by leading figures in spiritualism. He had agreed to talk to Focus about his career at his home in Hayward’s Health but when he found out one of our questions was about that controversial séance he changed his mind. He shouted at us, told us to leave and called us dishonest. He also threatened us with legal action if we mentioned the fraud allegation in this programme.”

Colin Fry was exposed by The Psychic News originally.
Here is a scan of their own report. Click image to enlarge



Originally going under the name of Lincoln, after being exposed by The Psychic News, he started going by the name Colin Fry.

The "Trumpet Incident" happened back in 1992, over 20 years ago, yet still Colin Frys TV show is repeated regularly on cable TV channels, and he still performs in front of thousands of fans each year.

I will leave it up to you the reader to dissect all of this information and make your own mind up, but I will ask you this question, if Colin Fry's career started with fraud, did it ever stop?

And why does Colin no longer do public demonstrations of his physical mediumship?

Before I go, here is a rare photo of Colin Fry supposedly in a trance during a seance, that stuff coming oiut of his nose and ears is apparently Ectoplasm, any resemblance to rolled up toilet tissue is purely coincidental!


22 January 2013

I Miss Most Haunted, and by Most Haunted I mean Stuart Torevell

Its been a long time since Most Haunted left our screens, and I hate to say it, but I kinda miss the show! I don't mean the bastardised version of the show that aired after series 6, I mean everything before that!

When Derek Acorah was King, and Stuart Torevell amused us all with his faking.

And since I was just nosing about on Youtube, I found a couple of BadPsychics exclusive videos dedicated to Stuart Torevell that I created, the second video was even sang by a BadPsychics forum member!!

Anyway enjoy!




Derek Acorah The Song!



Lyrics:

Derek Acorah
Derek Acorah
Derek Acorah
Derek Acorah

Derek Acorah's coming to town
Speaking to all the dead people underground

Sam is his spirit guide
He's known him two thousand years
They get on like a house on fire
They go out for a few beers

When Derek Acorah comes to town
Speaking to all the dead people underground

Live psychic readings
For entertainment purposes
Call from a BT landline
As mobile costs may be higher

When Derek Acorah comes to town
Speaking to all the dead people underground

He used to played for Liverpool
Under the guidance of Shankly
But couldn't make the first team
Probably due to his dodgy knee

When Derek Acorah comes to town
Speaking to all the dead people underground

He's best friends with Colin Fry
Television's most popular medium
They do a lot of work for charity
Channel two three three on sky

When Derek Acorah comes to town
Speaking to all the dead people underground

Derek Acorah
Derek Acorah
Derek Acorah
Derek Acorah

16 January 2013

BBC South West on the evils of homeopathic "vaccines"

Sam Smith presents an investigation of homeopathic "vaccines" (14th January 2013, BBC South West, Inside Out). The pills contain nothing whatsoever, but are promoted for serious infections like whooping cough and even meningitis. Of course they don't work, and if a child dies because if their use, that should constitute manslaughter.

As far back as 2006, homeopaths were caught out recommending their sugar pills for prevention of malaria. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/5178122.stm
Even Peter Fisher, the Queen's homeopathic physician (that isn't a joke) said that the practice made him "very angry"

The MHRA (Medicines and Health regulatory Authority) has been warned about this for many years by bloggers, and even by a BBC Newsnight programme, but it has done nothing. Neither has the General Pharmaceutical Council. These expensive bodies have failed shamefully in their duties.

The Department of Health has done nothing either. On the contrary, they have hindered efforts to ensure honesty.

14 January 2013

"The Future of Skepticism Online: Crowd-Sourced Activism" - TAM 2012


Skeptic blogs and podcasts are plentiful and excellent, but often end up "preaching to the choir" of the already skeptical. Are there ways to use other online tools to reach out to the general public? Tim Farley of WhatsTheHarm.net and Derek Colanduno of "Skepticality" give you the answer in this workshop from TAM 2012.


11 January 2013

Book Review: Good Gladys - Embrace the Dead by Martin Renaud

Good Gladys Embrace the Dead.
by Martin Renaud.

It was an easy to read book, ideal for a read on holiday for instance.

I liked the main character "Sauce", he had his problems but curiosity got to him and he took on the investigation with a lot of encouragement from Dara.

The plot is unusual and there are quite a few twists and turns which are unexpected.

The main characters were all good and fitted in well with "Sauce". I did not like the inclusion of the two young boys in the abduction though, it left a bad taste to the story, although that is just my own personal preference, each person will take something different from this part of the story.

I think there could be further stories to be written involving  "Sauce" and "BT" working together. I would recommend this book to anyone that likes a light murder/mystery, without all the blood and guts of some books that are out there.

Review by @SusieD


Official Description

A murder mystery with a psychic twist.

News reports that the famous psychic Good Gladys is missing coincide with the brutal stabbing of her business manager. Gladys's daughter Dara asks an old friend, private investigator Byrne Aase, to help find the murderer. She claims that the man the police have in custody is innocent. In fact, she believes that the accused is her mother, having been transformed into a man during a seance gone awry.

Excerpt:
“Remember that day we left for St. Martin?” asked Dara, sitting down on the edge of the sofa. “I took you home, just before we left, so I could pack a few clothes for the trip. You met Mummy and talked with her while you waited for me.” Sauce turned and raised his eyebrows. “Good,” she continued. “Do you remember the first thing you said to her?”
“No, but I hope she took offense.” 
“It was perfect. Mummy asked you some self-aggrandizing question like, ‘How do you like the place?’ You looked her in the eye and—oh, I loved your answer so much it was etched in my memory. You said, ‘Bankruptcies and broken families from your thievery is all I see.’” Dara paused, and Sauce smiled. “You despised what she was doing as much as I did. But like me, you didn’t hate her.” 
“I didn’t? You don’t know that,” challenged Sauce. “I certainly knew enough about her, from the talk shows and celebrity gossip in the news, to hate her. ‘Good Gladys, psychic to the stars’ they call her. I can predict the future better than her. Believe in Gladys’s ability to talk with the dead and she will stay in your life until you are out of money. Gladys is the kind of person people either love for the wrong reasons, or hate for the right ones.”
“I never said you loved her. No, I agreed with Mummy that you are much more useful to us than a fawning admirer or a starched-shirt, lawyer-for-hire, yes man. You understand her.” Dara smiled. 
Sauce tried to resist the manipulation. “Here’s the best I can do. Leave, and I’ll mull it over. I promise I won’t say no until I call you tomorrow.”



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