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An Interesting Exchange PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Friday, 23 October 2009 00:00

Updated at the bottom - MaryEllen posts a response

The JREF forum, found at forums.randi.org, has a long history of... well... everything. It's the busiest board on the Internet for skeptics, and at times things get heated. In an attempt to keep things on an approximately even keel, we have a set of rules which are listed here. Every member must read these rules before joining the forum. Some folks can't seem to do this. Most of the times these things are handled matter-of-factly, however I've decided to share this particular series of communications with you, as it illustrates a common mindset that we deal with frequently.

I was at the JREF headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale, FL when I received a call from one Eddie Benitez. He informed that he had been banned from the forum, and that he'd like an explanation. I had never heard of Mr. Benitez, and when I informed him of this fact, he seemed amazed as he apparently considered himself to be famous. He told me that his Google presence was far superior to mine, and though that's likely true, I didn't see the relevance.

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The Houdini Seance Live on the Internet PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by Jeffrey Wagg   
Saturday, 31 October 2009 15:00

quest_for_houdini_sm-thumb2This Halloween, The James Randi Educational Foundation and WeirdThings.com present a never-before-attempted experiment. In front of a live internet audience, a group of prominent skeptics and magicians will try to make contact with the spirit of Harry Houdini, the world's most famous magician and challenger of the supernatural.

What makes this attempt unique is that it's being conducted by skeptics and magicians in the hopes that if contact from beyond the grave is possible, Houdini would prefer to make it with skeptics and magicians like himself.

World famous magician and skeptic James Randi will oversee the seance and will help supervise the attempt to communicate.

The seance will be conducted by magician and publisher of WeirdThings.com Andrew Mayne, WeirdThings.com editor-in-chief Justin Robert Young and magician and Scam School star Brian Brushwood.

The seance will consist of several tests for attempted communication.  Words and images provided by prominent magicians and skeptics and held by James Randi will be attempted to be divined through various supernatural means including Ouija boards, automatic writing and  spirit photography.

Rehearsals for the event will be held on Friday October 30th at 1 PM and Saturday at 2 PM at the Isaac Asimov Memorial Library.  For press access contact Justin at 954-892-5665


Contact information

WeirdThings.com:

Andrew Mayne: Phone: (323) 743-3466 Email: andrew@andrewmayne.com

Justin Robert Young: Phone: (954) 892-5665 Email: JustinRobertYoung@gmail.com

James Randi and a spokesperson for the James Randi Educational Foundation are available for interview upon request.
Phone: 954-467-1112 Email: Brandon@Randi.org

 
Strange Animal Sighting Confirmed! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Thursday, 22 October 2009 00:00

bionicbigfootRecently, a mountain lion was sighted in a wooded area of Kansas. More importantly, it was photographed, and those photos have been authenticated. We can now say that there are mountain lions in Kansas for the first time since 1909.

The Wichita Eagle's report is very interesting, and it tells us a lot about bigfoot sightings. Like bigfoot, there are a number of sightings each year. Also like bigfoot, most of the pictures taken are blurry and inconclusive. So, given that sightings of a real animal bear so much in common with bigfoot sightings, does this lend credence to the theory that there are hairy hominids wandering the Pacific Northwest?

Well, yes, but that's only because many hunters eschew shaving rituals during deer camp.

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Delusions About Dilutions Never Cease PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 00:00

In "Challenging Challenges" (Swift, Oct 17), Jeff Wagg posted a video with weird sounds and the voice of John Benneth, who is challenging Randi's Million Dollar Challenge. I recently had an e-mail exchange with Benneth that was very illuminating.

A former unsuccessful applicant for the MDC, he is considering re-applying.  He thinks he can distinguish between water and homeopathic remedies. He believes a recent study by Montagnier et al. supports homeopathy, and he wants to perform a variant of the same experiment. He is not alone in praising the Montagnier study: homeopaths are touting it as proof that homeopathy works.

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Tweet the Dead PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Tuesday, 20 October 2009 00:00

It was only a matter of time. Yes folks, you can now tweet the dead, using Twitter, the micro-blog messaging tool that seems to be on everyone's desktop and cell phone these days. Twitter works like this: you send a message of 140 characters or less, and those people who are subscribed to your "tweets" will see it. You can subscribe to anyone who tweets, and many celebrities use the service to communicate with their fans. Now, thanks to department store psychic Jayne Wallace, you can tweet the dead. And they'll answer.

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