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Vroom, Vroooom! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   
Friday, 09 January 2009 00:00

punkReader Matthew Kleckner sends us to this site to see a frightening item about superstition in Nigeria. He writes:

Motorcyclists sometimes get upset by laws requiring them to wear helmets, but in Nigeria people have gone off the deep end. According to an article on the BBC website, passengers fear:

...that the helmets could be used by motorcyclists to cast spells on their clients, making it easy for them to be robbed.  "Some people can put juju inside the helmets and when they are worn the victim can either lose consciousness or be struck dumb," passenger Kolawole Aremu told the Daily Trust newspaper.

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R.I.P. Senator Pell PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   
Thursday, 08 January 2009 00:00

claibornepellThe media has not been very kind to the memory of former U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell, who died last week in his 91st year. They recalled his odd obsession with UFOs, "remote viewing," ESP, "backward masking," and the spoonbender Uri Geller - who he firmly believed had psychic powers. 

I trust that they will remember the student grant program that bears his name, and which helped so many students to obtain educations that might otherwise have been lost to them.

Pell's interest in ESP was so important to him that he assigned a Senate staffer to keep him posted on the subject. In 1987, Pell invited Uri Geller to Washington to put out "good vibrations" to Premier Mikhail Gorbachev. The New York Times obituary noted:

Mr. Pell's eccentricities and his ability to laugh at himself endeared him to colleagues and constituents.

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Your Insurance Rates Just Went Up PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   
Wednesday, 07 January 2009 00:00

This article about insurance payments for Reiki appeared on a Reiki website.

A major concern among Reiki practitioners has been the inability to bill client's insurance companies for treatments. However, today there are avenues available to the practitioner. A nurse who practices Reiki and wishes to bill an insurance company for a treatment may use the diagnostic code 1.8 - Energy Field Disturbance. The diagnostic code may only be used by nurses and is recognized by the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association. The bill should be accompanied with a separate sheet setting forth the assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation. This information may be found in the Official Newsletter of the American Holistic Nurse's Association (Vol. 15-No. 4, April 1995)

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In The News PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   
Tuesday, 06 January 2009 12:00

Critics of John Travolta's church, the Church of Scientology, are claiming that his 16-year-old son Jett was autistic and was not given the proper diagnosis and/or treatments because Scientology disapproves of psychiatric and drug treatment of autism, also rejecting psychiatry as a pseudoscience. Jett died last week while on holiday with his parents, apparently from a fall in the hotel bathroom. In 2007, Ocala, Florida, restaurant manager Tim Kenny, the father of an autistic child himself, and who committed suicide in March of last year at age 41, said he'd asked Travolta what special treatment Jett was getting:

As one autistic child's father to another, I asked him if he was doing anything special in terms of therapy for Jett. Travolta responded, "Well, we involve him in the arts"... Scientology is keeping him from acknowledging his son's autism. They see it as a weakness.

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Dowsing for Everything PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Tuesday, 06 January 2009 00:00

We've encountered an endless line of dowsers eager to show their "abilities" to dowse for water, people, gold, explosives, graves.. and in one case, the ability to dowse for a circle drawn in chalk. There are number of different techniques, but so far, all of these claims have had one thing in common: they haven't stood up to the Million Dollar Challenge. That is to say, when exposed to the light of a controlled experiment, they fail. 

Despite this, many people and the media continue to think of dowsing as a real phenomenon. A search of Google News shows dozens of hits in the news for dowsing. Most are the same old thing, but this Evansville (Indiana) Courier and Press report about Duane Walker caught my attention.

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