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JREF Swift Blog
Swift, named for Jonathan Swift, is the JREF's daily blog, featuring content from James Randi, the JREF staff, and other featured authors.

Justice Done. But Never Finished PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jamy Ian Swiss   

Professional con artist and pseudo-psychic Rose Marks was sentenced on March 3rd to more than ten years in prison following her conviction last September on charges of defrauding clients of more than $17 million.

The sentencing brought to a conclusion a lengthy process that began with the charging of Marks along with eight other family members in August of 2011. Eventually the eight others reached plea bargains, and have gradually been sentenced over the past six months. Rose Marks ended up going to trial as a sole defendant.

I have written previously about the various stages of the trial in a number of blog pieces. Here is the “Sun-Sentinel’s” story about the sentencing of Rose Marks:

 http://touch.sun-sentinel.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-79503099/

It is worth taking a close look at several elements of the finale events.  The article summarizes elements of Marks’s predations, as testified to at trial by her victims, and of “how she exploited them during vulnerable times in their lives,” including how Marks victimized famed romance author Jude Devereaux and “exploited her grief after Devereaux’s 8-year-old son, Sam, died in an ATV accident…”

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Put on the spot: This week in Doubtful News for March 18, 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Sharon Hill   

Here is a rundown of strange and intellectually bankrupt news stories that made it into the media this week courtesy of Doubtful News.

We kept adding to our post on the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 as new fringe ideas emerged. No psychic claimed to predict it, yet, but one particularly media-hungry so-called remote viewer got in on the act and, frankly, was completely unhelpful. It was embarrassing, actually. But what was he going to do, bend the spoons on board?

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Last Week In Science Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   

Here is a recap of the stories that appeared last week at Science-Based Medicine, a multi-author skeptical blog that separates the science from the woo-woo in medicine. 

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The Best Hot Reading I’ve Ever Had PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Dr. Karen Stollznow   

Almost everyday I’m contacted by someone with a paranormal claim. Sometimes they phone me. A few years ago I received a call from a stranger who blurted out gibberish as soon as I answered the phone. He was “speaking in tongues” over the phone for me in his attempt to prove that he was filled with the Holy Spirit.

My most recent call of this kind was from Pete of Tucson, Arizona. “Hi. I’m a psychic medium and one of the best in the country. People tell me I’m 99% accurate and I want to prove my abilities to you. Do you want a psychic reading?” he asked. “Sure. As long as you’re not charging me by the minute!” I said. “I don’t need the money,” he replied, missing my joke. 

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We're full of surprises: This week in Doubtful News for March 11, 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Sharon Hill   

Here is a rundown of fringe news stories of the week courtesy of Doubtful News.

As usual, there are plenty of headlines this week. We start out with the sentencing phase of the criminal case against so-called "psychic" Rose Marks. She did not receive the maximum sentence as the matriarch of the family who seem to constantly be in trouble with the law, but she gets 10 years in prison.

Bobby Drinnon, a psychic who chose to be known as an "intuitive" or "sensitive," has passed away from illness.

The craziest news story last week was the linkage between a questionable archaeological find, pyramids, with the conflict in the Ukraine. Never underestimate imagination.

Amazing what you might find just walking your dog in an NYC park. Eww.

This guy claims a monster bat was attacking his dog. He looks too gleeful now that this furry fruit eater is very dead. 

A woman is surprised that not everyone can deliberately imagine themselves outside their body.

I'm surprised that anyone thought these fake arrests were a good idea.

But it's NOT a surprise that many Americans are not literate when it comes to technical terms.

The staff of Bryan College is asked to promote scientifically illiteracy by affirming the Genesis story. 

With the desperate drought situation in California, water witching is becoming more prominent. It still doesn't work no matter how hard dowsers advocate that it does.

That pesky golf-ball finder, drug dowser, bomb-detector, Aids-Hepatitis curing thingy JUST won't DIE. There is now a patent in Romania to continue to produce it.

An infamous anti-vaccination group in Australia tries to best the skeptics by picking a new, controversial name. 

Finally, there are endless questions swirling about the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Where ever missing information occurs, mystery mongers will be sure to fill the gap with some outrageous idea. Watch as we track the fringe ideas being the plane's disappearance.

Come visit Doubtfulnews.com for more stories like this every day. Check out our twitter feed @doubtfulnews and our Facebook page. Send your story tips to  editor@doubtfulnews.com

 
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