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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.

SWIFT June 27, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   

Digging Up the Evidence, The Unsinkable Weil, Correction, No Comment, In Closing, The Amaz!ng Meeting Haunted?, How to Make a Difference, The TAM Community.

Padre Pio

At the end of April, the corpse of the the most charismatic holy man in the modern history of the Catholic Church, the popular saint Padre Pio, was exhibited to his devotees for the first time since his death forty years ago. You might ask, why?

An uneducated Capuchin friar from the town of San Giovanni Rotondo in southern Italy, this man became the most charismatic holy man in the modern history of the Catholic Church, being widely celebrated as a saint even during his lifetime and credited with at least 1,000 “miracle” cures. The most evident signs of his holy distinction were the "odour of sanctity" that followed him around – believed to have been obtained from eau de cologne – and the Christ-like wounds that he exhibited in the palms of his hands and in his side – at the traditionally-established body sites, though we now recognize that crucifixion was administered in a different fashion than medieval artists had presumed. Apparently sainthood does not confer expertise, only sanctity.

SWIFT June 20, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   

Telepathic Pets, Well Said, That Video Analysis, Follow-Up, Improving the Law, More Waldorf, and In Closing…


The English, in particular, are slavishly devoted to their pets. In fact, in the UK there are few laws against quacks operating on humans, but probe a dog without a veterinary license, and the full wrath of British justice is brought against you before you have time to ask Fido if he has parental conflicts. Thus, there is a widespread belief in pet/human communication by woo-woo channels, as you’ll see by this inquiry, asked on a woo-woo site:

Does your dog seem to know when you’re coming home? Do other people in your house tell you they knew you were on the way home based on how your dog was acting? If so, your dog might be a good candidate for our experiment, and may earn a $1,000 prize offered to successfully participants. For more click here...

We're looking for dogs and owners willing to participate in a research project looking at the special bond that we share with our animals.

SWIFT June 13, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   

Silly Neck-Stuff, Incredible, Yet Another “Search” Show, Discovery Channel Discovers More Woo-Woo, Dow Jones Offers the Latest in Science, What Winners Do, Pretty But Useless, Waldorf Schools Examined, and In Closing…

Junk Jewelry

Reader Richard O. Brown writes us about that silly “Q-Link” that we’ve handled at Just another fraudulent – but highly profitable – bit of junk jewelry. Richard says:

Q-Link couldn't have gotten a less critical puff piece if they wrote it themselves:

Embarrassing. At least, based on the online comments, the readers aren't buying it. The Chronicle has good reporters who can write critically about science, health and technology, but as usual they assign an "arts and features" writer with no science background to this.

All sorts of sports and music-world heroes are said to wear this phony “charm,” as if IQ is well represented by pop stars. “More than 300 golfers in the PGA wear theirs” so we can be further reassured by that inclusion. There's more. Said Richard Gray, president and CEO of Clarus Transphase Scientific Inc., maker of Q-Link:

SWIFT June 6, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   

Facilitated Fraud, The Perfect Solution, Getcher Latest Vibes, Van Praagh in People Mag, A Quandary, A Sad Comment on Our Time, Wait – There’s More, We Renew Our Offer, An Alien Sighting, Another “Police Psychic”, Don Your Deerstalker Caps!, Legislation Sought, Arm-Pushing Again, A Boots Specialty, Ask Questions, FYI, In Closing…


In mid-May, I spoke at Syracuse University, where Douglas Biklen, Dean of their School of Education, is still preaching the ridiculous notion of “Facilitated Communication” – only because the University can’t resist the huge amounts of cash that go into their coffers because some naïve and generous persons and agencies simply can’t recognize academic flummery when it’s immediately in front of their noses.

SWIFT May 30, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   

Academic Madness in Maryland, Coroner Cornered, New York Magazine Adds to It All, Another Non-UFO, A Lame Reply, When Will We Grow up?, An Astronomer Comments, Do Take a Look, A Comments Comment, Geller in Turkey, and In Conclusion…


My most excellent friend Bob Park, who grinds out a simply wonderful “What’s New” website from Up North, must have been crushed to discover that Stupidity and Superstition are offered as major subjects on the campus he serves. This is – literally – like discovering that students there are being taught Christopher Columbus was a woman, had two noses, and never left the shores of Europe, while Madame Marie Curie was a Russian ballet star who died at age 22. How could it get any stranger, less logical, or more bizarre than what Bob has as the current lead item in What’s New? I run it here exactly as featured on his page:

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