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Complaint Dismissed Against Australian Skeptics PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by Jeffrey Wagg   
Sunday, 25 October 2009 09:09

We reported this month that Australian Skeptics had come under scrutiny due to a complaint raised by a rather impatient chiropractor. We received this today:

Hello All,

As expected, the complaint lodged against Australian Skeptics by Jospeh Ierano has been dismissed. The full details are available on our website,
Thanks to all who supported us and spread the word about this complaint, which was nothing more than another attempt to silence criticism of unscientific medical practices.

Eran Segev
President - Australian Skeptics

James Arthur Ray in Denver PDF Print E-mail
Written by Reed Esau   
Sunday, 25 October 2009 00:00

Tuesday evening in Denver I attended a free seminar featuring a self-help guru who is currently the focus of a triple-homicide investigation.

That guru's name is James Arthur Ray.  I had never heard of Mr. Ray until a couple weeks ago when reading news of deaths in a sweat lodge incident at a New Age spiritual retreat in Sedona, Arizona.  That incident had resulted in 18 injuries requiring hospitalization and the deaths of two people. One of the injured lay in a coma at a hospital in Flagstaff due to multiple organ damage and would later succumb to those injuries for a total of three deaths.

James Ray is notably one of the principle teachers behind "The Secret", a 2007 film and bestselling book by Rhonda Byrne which asserts that the key to personal success is in harnessing a set of mysterious universal laws, including the infamous "Law of Attraction." Ray leads his own organization, "James Ray International", which sells books and hosts events centered around his teachings.

One of those events is the annual 5-day "Spiritual Warrior" retreat which costs many of its participants over $9,000 to attend.  That may seem like a steep price for a retreat, but because Ray preaches that one "gets what they give" the $9,000 is likely seen by its participants as a bargain towards meeting one's personal goals.

Woo in Review: Paranormal Activity PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alison Smith   
Saturday, 24 October 2009 00:00

Oren Peli, formerly a video game designer, launched his film career with the recently-premiered horror movie Paranormal Activity, which he both wrote and directed. Not that you would have any clue who Oren Peli was if you had seen the movie - not even if you sat through the credits - mostly because there are no credits. I know this because I sat in the theater waiting for the credits to come up until every other person in attendance had wandered out. I waited until the projector stopped running and the lights came up. I waited because I refused to believe that a film could be so completely dishonest.

What's The Harm? (Kenyan Edition) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brandon K. Thorp   
Thursday, 29 October 2009 13:57

(Editor's Warning: The video linked to below is extremely graphic, violent, and disturbing. Do not view if you don't want your day ruined. You need not view it to understand the accompanying article.)

Posted below is a video of a "witch" burning in the Kisii district of western Kenya, in a village called Nyamatoro. It is a two-minute excerpt from a 45-minute piece of footage, apparently shot by a Kenyan freelance journalist named Johnny. If you like, you may visit Johnny's webpage here, though it won't provide any fresh insight into the horrors captured by his camera. In his brief discussion of the video, Johnny's language is studiedly neutral. This is understandable. As you shall see, Johnny has temperamental neighbors.

On his website, Johnny writes mostly about his wish to receive journalistic commissions from news agencies abroad. That, too, is understandable. Any man who witnesses five acquaintances beaten and burned to death by sixty or so of his other acquaintances has every right to a little wanderlust, at the very least.

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

Updated at the bottom - MaryEllen posts a response

The JREF forum, found at, 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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