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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.

Opportunity Knocks! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

This notice appeared on Craigslist, where stranger things have not often shown up. It purports to be a casting call... I ask you to read it, and make comments on how the beleaguered "world-renown" medium would be able to come up with any details about the subject victim...

CASTING: TALK TO THE DEAD - FREE PSYCHIC READING

WOULD YOU LIKE TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE OTHER SIDE?

IS THERE A DEBATE YOU'D LIKE TO PUT TO REST?

DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION THAT NEEDS AN ANSWER?

 
Another Chupacabra Sighting? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

chupacowbraReader Mark Hitch sends us the following:

The dreaded Chupacowbra.  I found this specimen along the South Platte River near Sterling, CO.  I think this is the male because of the crest.  The female looked identical, but without the give-away crest.  Now, with this irrefutable evidence, will the scientific community name it after me?  Chupacowbra shamicus hitchii, perhaps.

So, we should have taken a cruise to Colorado instead...

 
When Sylvia Comes to Town... PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Derek Rogers ran into the JREF crew at the recent CFI World Congress in DC. He had an interesting answer to the question "What should you do when Syvlia Browne comes to town?" Derek and his friends at the Skeptics and Secularists of Atlantic Canada decided to attend. He gives us this very interesting, if somewhat disheartening report:

Sylvia Browne is well-known to readers of Swift.  Like all professional mediums, she makes a living on the grief, pain and desperation of people who are usually blissfully ignorant of cold reading, Barnum statements and the tendency of the human mind to see what it wants to see. The best way to combat ignorance is through education and when Sylvia announced that she would be coming to Halifax, Nova Scotia as part of her latest tour – a farewell tour, apparently (let's hope she's not like Cher) – the Skeptics and Secularists of Atlantic Canada decided to give her audience some information that could save them future heartache and empty wallets.

 
So You Think You Can Blankity-Blank PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   

The Amaz!ng Meeting will be even more amazing this year when we invite you, the JREF's fantastic supporters, to take the stage and show the audience that you've got talent oozing out of your eyeballs!

On Saturday, 11 July 2009, join us for the very first talent show ever held at TAM - The Ham Party. Either apply to be part of the talent by e-mailing Alison Smith and AB Kovacs, or register for $15 as part of your TAM registration package to participate in this fun event. We'll also be selling tickets at the door, so if you can't register in advance, don't worry!

There will be a cash bar on-hand to suit your party needs or calm your nerves, and rumor has it that JREF staff may even take the stage to showcase their own talents.

The entire event will be hosted by George Hrab, so you'll be getting a concert as well!

There are only ten spaces available for talent, so apply now! The top three winners (chosen by Applause-O-Meter) will be awarded wonderful prizes. Applications will only be accepted until May 1st, so hurry!

Remember: You must e-mail both Alison (Alison@randi.org) and A (abkovacs@randi.org) for consideration.

 

 
A Champion Grubby Speaks Out PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

I hardly know where to start... First, see americanchronicle.com. This account is just so packed with mis-statements, outright lies, and scientific howlers, it would take me all day to itemize them - but it can still do a lot of harm just because the ignorant reporter - Peter Fotis Kapnistos - has published the material. I suggest he may now want to return to his former calling in fashion and advertising photography, rather than continue to pose as a "journalist."

To quote him, he says, first:

...it was alleged that Uri Geller was caught cheating in an Israeli TV documentary that has lately also circulated on YouTube.

No, it was proven that Geller was doing one of the only five tricks he knows, and second, that was not any "TV documentary," at all.  It was simply a TV entertainment show. Kapnistos continues:

The accusation was that a slow motion shot revealed him producing a small magnet from behind his ear or out of his hair to influence a compass needle.

Well, anyone who might have said that, would not have been a magician, I'll tell you that. In any case, I've never seen such a statement, except from Geller himself - because he knows that it's a ridiculous scenario, as I'll show you up ahead, one that can't be supported.

 
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