The Amazing Meeting 2014

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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.

The Parade of Errors PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

The state of Virginia boasts one of the most transparent – yet revered – “psychics” of recent decades. He was known as the "Sleeping Prophet," a photographer named Edgar Cayce who earned his nickname by making medical diagnoses while reclining in a “trance,” though no evidence was ever produced to establish this state, perhaps because experts on the subject are rather rare. Cayce – pronounced “Kay-see” – was the subject of an episode of one of NBC's "Unsolved Mysteries," the TV show that showcased such wonders as the Gulf Breeze UFO photos of Ed Walters, and England's phantom “crop circles,” as genuine wonders. The NBC-TV crew went both to Norfolk and Virginia Beach filming dramatic recreations of Cayce's life for a 15-minute segment which concentrated on Cayce's reputation as a "psychic diagnostician."

Five different time periods from 1890 to 1945 were “creatively” re-created for the show.

 
Janet Adams Case Update PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

As reported in this Swift, there are rare occasions where so-called psychics who bilk people out of money are brought to justice. This is an update on one of them.

In this San Francisco Chonicle article, we learn that Janet Adams pled "no contest" in court to the charges that she bilked a family out of more than $80,000 by claiming that they needed to pay her exhorbitant amounts of money for special prayers to save the husband from certain death. She is being held on $500,000 bail.

 
Homeopathic Airport Security PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeffrey Wagg   

Reader Ed sends us this tale of frustrating humor:

I attach for your interest an excerpt from a recent complaint letter I wrote to London Stansted Airport after a friend of mine had what she felt was an unnecessarily rude experience at security, where amongst other things she was told she should have checked the airline security pages before travelling. Which she had actually done, with me present (to help as she is not a native English speaker, and a first time air traveller).

I checked the site again to help prepare the complaint, which only added to my ire when I discovered what is stated (in these FAQs.)

As an aside, I noticed this interesting question on the FAQ: "I need to carry a liquid wig spray. Can I have this in my hand luggage? Yes, up to 100ml, and it has to be presented in the transparent plastic bag."

 
Where's Church & State Separation PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

There’s just been a startling announcement that G. W. Bush's “faith-based initiative” practice will continue as before – perhaps even broadened – under the new White House “Council of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.” The Obama Administration has appointed a Pentecostal minister to run this office. Is there any doubt about this official’s biases? While Bush's creation of the "faith-based initiative" was met by dismay when first announced, nothing seems to have resulted from this present alarming action. Little wonder.

It seems that the public quickly becomes indifferent to these blatant violations of such long-standing principles as separation between religion and government.

 
Don't Judge an Article By Its Title PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

I've been seeing this more and more, and it's getting downright silly. A journalist writes an article for a newssource, and then somewhere along the line a title is added to the piece that completely misrepresents the article beneath it.

Today's example: On Darwin's 200th, a theory still in controversy by Gregory Katz. I opened the article expecting to see something about so-called intelligent design, creationism, or maybe something about Ben Stein's problems in Vermont. But no, the article doesn't mention any of those things.

 
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