La Veta, Colorado, is located three hours south of Denver. The heart of this tiny town of 800 people is the Francisco Fort Museum, an original adobe plaza built in 1862. The plaza contains an 1880s saloon, a school built in 1876, a blacksmith shop, adobe ovens, and a large collection of artifacts from local Native Americans, Hispanic settlers, and farmers, ranchers and miners; not to mention a resident black bear called Barnaby.
Of course, the Fort Francisco Museum is said to be very haunted. Its most famous ghost is the “floating lady” who is seen dressed in white as she glides through the west wing. There are reports of flickering lights and another ghostly woman who carries candles as she wanders the halls. When people walk by an old piano it plays music although there is no visible pianist, and an antique rocking chair has been seen swaying back and forth without anyone siting in it.
A local ghost-hunting group approached Kim, the Director of the Museum, asking if they could investigate the premises. Her committee provided permission with one condition: she must supervise their investigation. Kim was annoyed that the group did a stakeout of the premises well into the wee hours while she was forced to babysit them as they “ran around doing goofy stuff”. Their findings included high EMF readings where one of the phantom women has been seen, a video of a mysterious light, and recordings of alleged voices of the dead (Electronic Voice Phenomena or EVPs). Kim wasn’t very impressed.
Every year on April 1st, the JREF gives out the Pigasus awards; a dubious honor to people or organizations that have done their best in the past year to snuff out science and promote irrationality. Randi talks about the 2008 winners, who receive no plaques, trophies, or banners: just the knowledge that they're getting publicity... but probably not the kind they want.
[Note: We became aware after making this video that Pigasus winner Dr. Colin Ross has recently reactivated his Million Dollar Challenge claim. While the video is still technically correct, we thought it fair to add this.]
Folks, this is a serious matter. Our colleague Richard Wiseman explains:
My latest book is called Paranormality. It follows in the footsteps of one of my all-time favourite skeptical books, Randi's Flim-Flam, and examines what seemingly supernatural phenomena tell us about our brain, beliefs and behaviour. I explore lots of topics, including psychic readings, out of body experiences, mind control, ghosts and dream precognition. I made the book as interactive as possible, and Richard Dawkins was kind enough to provide an endorsement, writing “Wiseman shows us a higher joy as he skewers the paranormal charlatans, blows away the psychic fog and lets in the clear light of reason”.
The book has done well in the UK and has been bought by publishers in lots of other countries. However, the major American publishers were reluctant to support a skeptical book, with some suggesting that I re-write it to suggest that ghosts were real and psychic powers actually existed! We didn’t get any serious offers and so it looked like the American public (around 75% of whom believe in the paranormal) wouldn’t get the opportunity to read about skepticism.
In an effort to make our extensive video library available online free of charge, The James Randi Educational Foundation is posting high quality digital video lectures and sessions from previous Amaz!ng Meetings and other events on randi.org. Check back often to see the latest video content.
July 12-15, 2012 | South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa | Las Vegas, NV
24 Talks | 5 Panels | 10 Workshops | 3 Evening Shows | 3 Late Night Events 2 Live SGU Shows | 1 Million Dollar Challenge
The Amaz!ng Meeting (TAM), the world’s largest celebration of science, skepticism and critical thinking, is just two weeks away. With well over one thousand skeptics already signed up, if you haven’t reserved your spot yet, now’s the time!
Check out the the full schedule online. We have an AMAZ!NG lineup of exciting talks, panels and workshops, with brilliant speakers like Penn & Teller, Carol Tavris, Lawrence Krauss, Pamela Gay and Randi himself.
Talk topics include "The Moral Arc of Science," "The Future and Nothing," "Techno-optimism vs. Reality," "The Self Illusion," "Ignorance: How It Drives Science," and many, many more!
TAM is a full four-day skeptical immersion experience, from early morning to after midnight each night, debating, discussing and celebrating skepticism and its goals.