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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.

Psychic to the Rescue! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Wagg   

We published many articles where so-called psychics got things wrong. In fact, there are so many of those stories that we've backed off of them, fearing that they had inundated the site. But now, we have to report... a psychic had an actual hit. And it wasn't just any psychic, it was a pet psychic.

It seems that Tinker Bell, a six pound Chihuahua was standing on his owner's trailer when a 70 MPH gust of wind picked up the diminutive canine and whisked him off to parts unknown. The distraught owners searched for two days and in desperation, contacted a pet psychic.

And guess what? The pet psychic showed them right where the dog was.

Diagnosis by Handwriting and Dreams PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harriet Hall   

In a recent press release, the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing announced that they had suspended chiropractor Judith Yager's license for one year.

Her transgressions?

  • Practicing with a lapsed license

  • Using a banned device to treat patients (device not named in press release)

  • Hiring an unlicensed chiropractor to treat patients in her clinic

  • Engaging in a sexual relationship with a patient

  • Providing false information to the board

  • Diagnosing patients based on handwriting samples and dreams

Freethought? Maybe not.. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Naomi Baker   

In 2008, I was encouraged to organize a skeptics group in Houston. Relying on the advice of friends from Denver, who had successfully started a similar group using the social website Meetup (, I launched my site and have seen slow but steady growth. As discussed by Reed Esau on a Skepticiality podcast, it is often difficult to generate interest, keep the turnover rate low, and get assistance with organizing meetings. In Houston, matters are complicated in that the metropolitan area is 60 miles across in each direction and there is almost no public transporation except for limited bus service in the central area. People are reluctant to attend evening meetings when the location is far from the office and the drive home afterwards might be up to an hour long. However, the group is slowly growing and we've been able to attract some lively, engaged people.

I was therefore interested when I received, through the Meetup site, an email invitation to join a group that was forming closer to my area of Houston, labeled as a Freethinkers group. The organizer wanted to work on eliminating the ‘imposition of religious doctrine on Free-thinkers in the area," that the group was not against organized religion itself, and specifically mentioned the offering of Bible-as-literature classes in the local school district. Apropos of recent discussions in SWIFT on religion, I must state that, while I am agnostic, my passion in skepticism is directed toward the paranormal, alternative medicine issues, and illiteracy in science, so the particular focus of this group did not interest me, but I thought I might join in order to meet skeptical people in my neighborhood and possibly recruit new members for my own skeptics organization.

Sam Harris and Bill Maher Discuss Religion PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Wagg   
On a recent "Real Time with Bill Maher," guest Sam Harris discussed – as you may have guessed – religion. It's an interesting exchange, you can watch it here through the wonders of YouTube.
Skeptics with Appeal PDF Print E-mail
Written by Phil Plait   

We've had some wins and losses in the past year for skepticism. Some of these -- on both sides -- have been pretty big. Two of our big losses, for example, were Simon Singh's denial of his appeal to overturn an absurd UK libel ruling, and the firing of Chris Comer who did the horrifying act of trying to alert people about a science talk in Texas.

It turns out, the news may yet turn around for our two allies.

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