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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 April 4, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Tragedy, A Lifetime of Superstition, Medium Not at All Well Done, We Sure Get Letters, Organized Quacks, Iowa County – A New Level of Idiocy, It’s a Neologism!, Real Stuff, Find Us On YouTube, and In Closing…

mkn

Madeline Kara Neumann, 11 years old, died a horrifying death recently. She died from ignorance.

No, not her own ignorance. She was an innocent victim of her righteous parents’ unknowing error. They were led to believe that there exists an invisible deity – somewhere in the sky – who has absolute power to subvert the laws of nature that govern our real world, and they chose to believe that strange notion because everyone they knew and trusted had similarly opted to accept this mythology that has created and supported a vast network of priests and organizations that depend upon the public’s naivety and ignorance. It’s called religion.

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SWIFT March 28, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

 Char Charred, A Good Move, The Other Way Around, Censorship in India, I Didn't Know That, Correction, That "Assignment," Wisdom From Sylvia - Book Review, The Dreaded Randi Doll, and In Closing..

Char

Reader and frequent correspondent Dr. Jan Willem Nienhuys reports that I just appeared on Dutch TV – on one of the public, not the commercial, stations – in a program named “Zembla.” This program staff visited the JREF recently to video a session in which I disassembled a Char Margolis performance of the same old "cold reading" process on her highly-popular TV program in Holland. Writes Dr. Nienhuys:

[Your input] was combined with comments by a professor of psychology, Prof. Dr. J.A.P.J. Janssen, who is in Cultural and Religious Psychology at the University of Nijmegen. He said all the kinds of things that skeptics say. He was invited to have a reading done – on camera – at the house of Robbert van den Broeke, another Dutch “psychic.” [See several references on SWIFT] He wasn’t impressed.

This program Zembla did go to great lengths to expose Char, traveling all the way to interview you. They also did some research and located a few disgruntled people who were not so positive about their readings. One of them, Marian van den Hul, had a reading that was broadcast on the Char show. Marian's husband had died and she was left with two young children. Marian was not convinced that Char contacted her dead husband:

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SWIFT March 21, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

He Has Passed Away, Compulsive Grubby, One Faker Endorses the Other, It’s a Start, Another Epiphany, Interesting, A Potential Applicant, Commendable, Jamy Speaks, Readers Digest Gets Its Lumps, In Closing…

Arthur C Clarke

I lead off this SWIFT entry with sad but rather expected news. Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, who was kind enough to write a flattering introduction to my book, “An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural,” has passed away at his adopted home in Colombo, Sri Lanka, at the age of 90. He left written instructions that his funeral be strictly secular, and had directed that "Absolutely no religious rites of any kind, relating to any religious faith, should be associated with my funeral."

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SWIFT March 14, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Purple Plates, Another Withdrawal, Don’t Miss This, A Request, Airborne News, An Assignment, Another Pet Psychic, No Wonder!, Very True, Moving Forward – Maybe, PBS Offends, Lilieci Case Solved, A Loser Is the Winner, That Pot Head Man, Unlikely Penguins, Adelaide Woo-Woo, Homeopathy Alert, and In Closing…

padre pio

Reader Dean Malandris:

Those of us trying to maintain our life raft of sanity in an ocean of stupidity have probably developed a sense of being "comfortably numb," as Pink Floyd once said. If rationality is represented by low-lying land mass, and woo-woo is represented by the ocean, then the more I look around, the more I'm convinced that we're suffering Intellectual Global Warming.

I originally thought this was a web site that might have described, in intricate detail, the contents of Nikola Tesla's kitchen cabinets, or side board, but oh no: www.tesla-energy.com

The only sensible thing I could make out was on the "About Plates" page, where it says:

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SWIFT March 7, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Breaking News, Easy Solution, Another Wrist-Slap, Just Another Cold Reader, A Happy Convert, Explanation, Prophet/Profit Manual, Musical Advice, Rebuttal, That Old Null Hypothesis Problem, Steorn’s Demise Again Denied, Who & Why?, That Health Anchor, Desiré?, and In Closing…

padre pio

The corpse of Padre Pio, the Italian monk from the Capuchin order who was said to have regularly exhibited stigmata – wounds on his hands, feet and side like those of Jesus Christ during his crucifixion – and who was made a saint by Pope John Paul II, has been exhumed on the 40th anniversary of his death. Some seven million people visit his tomb every year. Those wounds reputedly bled frequently throughout his adult life. He was exhumed in order to be put on public display at the end of April. We’re told that the remains will be “prepared by experts before being placed in a glass coffin.” I certainly hope so.

The body was in "fair" condition, a Church statement said, and “his nails looked as if they had just undergone a manicure.” The statement also said that the body “has been conserved well,'' and “we could clearly make out the beard,” except that

The top part of the skull is partly skeletal but the chin is perfect and the rest of the body is well preserved.

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