Monthly Archives: September, 2013

Psychics Boost Believers’ Sense of Control

Benjamin Radfordby Benjamin Radford via Discovery News

A new study has found that people who believe that psychics can predict the future tend to feel more in control of their lives than those who don’t.

A group of Australian researchers from the University of Queensland led by Katharine Greenaway offered the hypothesis that belief in psychic prediction would be positively correlated with a sense of control over one’s life.

psychic 1208“If it is possible to predict what the future holds, then one can exert control,” the study reports. “Having insight into what will happen in the future would therefore allow people to control their outcomes in a way that would guarantee personal success and survival.”

Several experiments were done to examine this phenomenon. In one of them, two groups of people were asked to read passages either promoting or disputing the idea that scientists have found evidence of precognitive psychic powers.

Afterwards, each group was asked to rate how much they agreed or disagreed with statements about how much control they feel they have over their lives and circumstances.

Those who read the information confirming the existence of psychic powers agreed more strongly with statements such as “I am in control of my own life” and “My life is determined by my own actions” than those in the other group.

The Psychology of Prediction

What’s behind this psychology of prediction? Humans are a pattern-seeking species, and we constantly look for ways to make sense of the world around us. Many superstitious people, for example, find — or, more accurately, believe they find — ways of knowing and even influencing the future. Gamblers may wear a lucky shirt to a casino, for example, or an athlete might perform a small ritual before a game to assure good luck.

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Conspiracy theories are the refuse bins for logical fallacies

Via Eastfield College Times

nasa-moon-hoaxEvery time I hear someone repeat a conspiracy theory, it makes me question my stance on torture. Be honest, whom would you rather waterboard, 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or billionaire birther Donald Trump?

Conspiracy theories allow many people to feel more in control. It’s simply more comforting to imagine some grand conspiracy was behind the assassination of President John F. Kennedy than to accept the fact that one lone man, Lee Harvey Oswald, was able to assassinate the leader of the free world.

A recent study at the University of Kent in England shed new light on the minds of conspiracy theorists. It found that factual details were far less important to conspiracy theorists than their belief that secret and powerful forces are controlling everything.

The study also found people who believed Osama Bin Laden is still alive were just as likely to sign on to the theory that he was already dead at the time of the raid, a sort of SchrÖdinger’s Cat approach.

I have seriously studied the Kennedy assassination since 2003 and have read a stack of books on the subject taller than I am. I’ve also made countless trips to Dealey Plaza and to the Sixth Floor Museum’s research room to educate myself further on the assassination.

During a recent trip, I overheard a gentleman saying there must have been a second shooter positioned on the grassy knoll because after the shot the president’s head snapped back and to the left. This is a common misconception.

jfk
I explained to him that, according to Nobel prize-winning physicist Luis W. Alvarez, a bullet approaching the speed of sound transfers little resistance to the head as it enters the skull. However, upon exiting, the bullet pulls with it bits of brain matter and skull fragments creating a jet blast effect that sends the head in the direction of the shooter.

His response: “That actually makes a lot of sense, but I still think there must have been a second shooter.”

Christopher Hitchens called this the “exhaust fumes of democracy,” a result of a large population with unlimited access to large amounts of information that is often wrong or misleading.

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How a technical glitch accidentally started the Navy Yard ‘truther’ movement

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By Caitlin Dewey via The Washington Post

conspiracyfilesConspiracy theories are an unfortunate, paranoid and counterfactual outgrowth of any national tragedy. But in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Navy Yard, so-called “truthers” found some hard proof that something was off: The attack happened on Sept. 16, but both ABC.com and British Columbia’s Kelowna Daily Courier published stories dated the day before.

Thousands of people, including some of the Internet’s most popular conspiracy theorists, seized on the time stamps as evidence of a vast government conspiracy to orchestrate tragedies and clamp down on gun rights in the aftermath. They have other “proof” too, of course — conjecture about “crisis actors” and John Wilkes Booth and the two rumored shooters who didn’t end up being part of Aaron Alexis’s plot. But the time stamp issue is the foundation of many of the more popular videos circulating on YouTube, Facebook and that seedy corner of the Internet where people debate the Illuminati and UFOs.

“Now we have what might be the best smoking gun evidence yet, and it is time-stamped from September 15,” rails the popular conspiracy vlogger Dahboo77 in a YouTube video that has been viewed more than 90,000 times. “These guys must have put this into the system right before midnight, right before they left the office, on the 15th. And they knew it” — “it” being the Navy Yard rampage, hours before it happened.

The reality is, of course, a little more mundane: Both sites incorrectly ingested a feed from the Associated Press, which caused their AP stories to display the wrong time stamps.

A little background in wire services is helpful here.

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Like Sandy Hook, the Washington Navy Yard Shooting Will Soon Be Co-opted By Conspiracy Theorists

By via The Huffington Post

conspiracies02Right now a film is being cut for YouTube. Within the edit, clips from various media broadcasts of Monday’s navy yard shooting in Washington DC are being selectively stitched together. The film will start by suggesting a deception has occurred, one wrought on the American people by shadowy, unseen forces. It will distance itself from other conspiracy theory videos, purporting to show “just the facts” about the events at the naval dockyard.

The film will highlight the complicity of the media that reported on the shooting, as well as the law enforcement agencies that responded to emergency calls. “Why would they lie?” the film will ask, followed by “who would have something to gain?” The film’s creator will then place himself (or herself) at the heart of events; having personally investigated the shooting (by going through the wealth of online material available) they have uncovered “the truth” about what really happened in DC that day.

After highlighting several inconsistent facts disseminated by the news media in the hours directly after the story broke, the “official motive” of the shooter will be questioned. The film will highlight reports of three gunmen rather than one and question which firearms were used and by whom. Having exposed the “cover-up”, the naval dockyard killings will be given a grander context, linked with the 2012 shootings in Newtown and Aurora.

As the conspiracy grows, events in DC may even be given an international flavour, tied with the killings in London on 7/7 or New York on 9/11 – the film unmasking a vast conspiracy which has provided the motive force for several recent historical events. The film will conclude by pointing to the national government as the primary source of deception, followed by a clear reason as to why – gun control. The film will ask: “Isn’t the naval dockyard shooting just what the government needs to reignite the gun control debate?”

Finally, the film will call for political activism. “Share this information,” it will say, “this affects you”. The threat is tyranny – a dictatorship the government desires but requires an unarmed populace to install. This form of activism, in which conspiracy theory is used as a conduit through which to channel a targeted political message, requires that anyone who supports the “official version” of events are discredited by any means possible.

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Also See: Navy yard shooting as false flag? Alex Jones is on it (salon.com)

September 11: Who Needs Nostradamus?

Shortly after the tragic events of that day, people stormed the Internet with searches on what Nostradamus might have predicted about it. Why?

Via paranormal.about.com

T2_911_Bridge_300pxIt didn’t take long after the tragic events of September 11, 2001 for people to begin seeking meaning in the devastation. People logged on to the Internet and in record numbers sought information on what Nostradamus – the famed 16th century French prophet – might have predicted about the tragedy. Nostradamus is credited for predicting many other major events from his time to ours, including two world wars, so certainly he must have foreseen an event so cataclysmic and profoundly affecting as the destruction of the World Trade Center towers and the thousands of deaths involved.

Over the years, people have exhausted themselves attempting to bend, twist and otherwise mutilate interpretations of Nostradamus’s quatrains into something that looks like they pertain to the September 11 tragedy. Some even made up quatrains that Nostradamus never wrote and attributed them to the great seer. The truth is, however, that none of Nostradamus’s writings quite fits. As we discussed in the article “The September 11 Tragedy: Was It Prophesied?”, Nostradamus seems, by most accounts, to have missed this one.

Not everyone agrees that Nostradamus missed this prediction. David Ovason, for one, in his book Nostradamus Prophecies for America, makes the case that Quatrain 6:97 predicts the disaster, but such interpretations can often be highly creative exercises.

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Nostradamus

Why do we need Nostradamus to have said something about it? Why were people so hungry for verification from a long-dead prophet? Perhaps it’s because we need to make sense of a seemingly senseless act: If the horrific events of that day had been prophesied, then perhaps they have meaning in a grander scheme that we cannot quite comprehend. It helps us cope with the horror. If a prophecy exists regarding 9/11, this somewhat twisted thinking goes, then perhaps it was meant to be; it was the hand of fate.

I’m not saying that people consciously want to think that 9/11 was meant to be. But on some crazy level, if it was prophesied it puts a degree of order back in the universe. The insane events of that day – two airliners crashing into the twin towers, the suicide pilots who took thousands of lives along with their own, the sight of those magnificent buildings crumbling into great clouds of dust and debris, the people on the street fleeing in terror – they are all so extraordinary, so unreal and so powerfully disorienting that we had to find ways of touching reality again.

Seeking Nostradamus’s words were, for some people, a way to try to do that. A prophecy would help put meaning and order back into a world that, at that time, seemed so meaningless and chaotic.

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Charlie Veitch, the 9/11 Conspiracy Theorist Who Realized He Was Duped

by Brucella Newman via Las Vegas Guardian Express

Former “truther”, Charlie Veitch

Former “truther”, Charlie Veitch

Once one of Britain’s principal conspiracy theorists as well as friend to David Icke and Alex Jones, Charlie Veitch, was known as a 9/11 “truther.”  As soon as he realized that he had been duped, he stopped.  But that was when his problems really began.

According to an interview Veitch gave to the Telegraph, Veitch, who had been Right-wing, joined the Territorial Army (TA).  After a drunken night out with his best friend, his friend had turned to Veitch and told him that they had been lying to him.  He told Veitch that 9/11 was not what he thought it was and that he was being given “special knowledge.”  Veitch’s friend went on to show him a video entitled Terrorism: A History of Government Sponsored Terror, a video that was produced by US radio talk presenter, Alex Jones.

Veitch was shortly after made redundant, so with some of his payout, he purchased a camcorder and megaphone, in the style of Alex Jones. He used eccentric methods to publicly express his beliefs, such as swooping on public spaces and embarking public transport to make announcements to whoever was available to listen.  In one piece of footage, Veitch was heard to say to a group of passengers: “I am a proponent of the idea that the Twin Towers were brought down in a controlled demolition manner.  Those buildings would not have collapsed in the slightest from a Boeing 767 hit.”

Veitch purchased a camcorder and megaphone, in the style of Alex Jones.

Veitch purchased a camcorder and megaphone, in the style of Alex Jones.

But one June afternoon, in New York City’s Times Square, Veitch began to film himself on his cell phone, as he made statements to camera about the devastation of the World Trade Center.  Only this time, his message was different from all the others he had posted on Youtube.  In the video, he said that he no longer believed that 9/11 was an inside job.

Because of his conspiracy theory films and the fact that he was at the forefront of what is known as “The Truth Movement” arm in the UK, Veitch had been approached by the BBC to go on an all-expenses paid 9-day trip to the United States, to examine these “conspiracies” from a scientific standpoint, with a view to furnish him with real information.

In the BBC program, entitled 9/11: Conspiracy Road Trip, 4 additional individuals, with divergent opinions from the official account of events of 9/11, had been selected to go on the road trip with Veitch.

The conspiracy theorists were given the opportunity to talk to building engineers, scientists, FBI and CIA agents, demolition experts and designers of the World Trade Center.  They were also allowed to talk to relatives of those who had tragically lost their lives, as well as pay a visit to the Pentagon, the World Trade Center in Manhattan and the Pennsylvania United Flight 93 site.

After all of the scientific evidence was put to Veitch, he did something completely out of the ordinary for a hardcore “truther.”  He did a U-turn and changed his mind.  Standing in front of the White House, on that sunny day in June, Veitch spoke to the BBC presenter and road trip leader, Andrew Maxwell. In front of the BBC camera, Veitch told him:

“I found my personal truth and you don’t have to agree with me, but I can’t push propaganda for ideas that I no longer believe in and that’s what I do, so I just need to basically… take it on the chin, admit I was wrong, be humble about it and just carry on.”

Before the end of his road trip, Charlie Veitch held up his cell phone in the middle of Times Square, pointed the phone’s camera on himself and told the world that he had changed his mind, that he had been wrong.  He said:

“This universe is truly one of smoke screens, illusions and wrong paths, but also the right path, which is [to] always be committed to the truth.  Do not hold on to religious dogma.  If you are presented with new evidence, take it on, even if it contradicts what you or your group might be believing or wanting to believe… you have to give the truth the greatest respect… and I do.”

Veitch’s turning point piece-to-camera at Times Square

Veitch’s turning point piece-to-camera at Times Square

After Veitch posted his video, the 9/11 Truth Movement’s reaction to one of its most prominent “truthers” changing his mind was one to be expected.  Veitch was labeled a flip-flop, a shill sellout who was taking cash for working for the BBC.  The Truth Movement did what any organization of its kind would do to someone who, for want of a better term, came to their senses.  They tried to discredit him.

Veitch told Myles Power in his BBC-funded interview, how he once had too much time on his hands, “Idle hands are the conspiracy theory world’s ideal way to get into your head,” he said, as he described how he started to watch Alex Jones and David Icke documentaries, as well as other scientific theory videos which he said spun a pretty convincing yarn on its conspiracies.  He became convinced that the Illuminati were behind it all, with its so-called New World Order.  After becoming absorbed by his interest in conspiracy theories, he took up his megaphone and camera and began to make films about them, which he said, elevated him to a “high priest” status of the Truth Movement.

But so with age, comes wisdom and reason.  Veitch began to . . .

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I’m Taking My Vacation!!!

vacationOkay everybody, it’s that time of year for my long awaited VACATION!

I’m taking about two weeks off to enjoy the conspiracy-filled world of chemtrails, false flags, secret societies, men in black and reptilian aliens!

I will do my best to make the occasional post, but just in case i’m a little less attentive than usual or a little slower with the posts, you’ll know why. I wouldn’t want you to think i was abducted by aliens or anything. 😉

I’ll be back in action right about September 22nd!!!!

In the mean time, check out the iLLumiNuTTi facebook page from time to time. Even though i’ll be away from my computer, we have other contributors posting over at facebook to pick up some of the slack.

🙂

Mason I. Bilderberg (MIB)

10 More Lies Truthers Tell

by via The Soap Box

top10_conspiracy_911A few months I wrote an article about ten of the most common lies that people in the 9/11 Truth Movement (whether it be intentional or not) tend to tell.

While I did touch upon ten of what I considered to be biggest lies, I still felt there were more lies that people in the 9/11 Truth Movement promoted that still needed to be addressed.

So, I have put together another list of ten more lies that Truther tells:

10. Nothing hit World Trade Center 7.

Actually something did hit World Trade Center 7… a skyscraper.

To be more precise falling debris from World Trade Center 1 hit World Trade Center 7 and caused huge amounts of damage to the lower floors of the building. The combination of that, and the fact that the building had been on fire for hours caused the building to collapse.

9. Only two buildings were hit, but three were destroyed.

911-world-trade-center-conspiracy_350This is not true. In fact more than three building were destroyed that day. World Trade Center 3, 4, 5, and 6 were heavily damaged that day and what was left of them had to be torn down because they could not be repaired.

Also, many other buildings around the World Trade Center were damaged as well.

8. A nuclear bomb brought down the towers.

If this was true then this would be the easiest one to prove, as all you would have to do is go down to the World Trade Center site with a Geiger counter and one would easily find large amounts of radiation there.

Also, lower Manhattan would be uninhabitable right now due to that radiation, plus the destruction caused would have been far greater, and a lot more people would have died, either from the initial blast from the weapon, or from the radiation and radioactive fall out.

Plus, there would have been an obvious flash some what similar to the Sun when the device went, and there would have been no way to hide that.

7. The towers were reduced to dust and gravel.

911outside-jobPrimarily promoted by followers of Judy Wood and those that believe in her theory that the towers were brought down high energy lasers, their claims are that the towers were reduced to dust and gravel by these alleged lasers.

While the collapse of the towers did create a lot of dust and gravel, it also left large chunks of concrete, long pieces of steel beams, and even places where pieces of the outer wall several stories high still stood.

6. Israel did it.

Besides the fact that there is no evidence what so ever that Israel did this, the fact is that Israel had no reason to do something like this.

The United States is Israel’s biggest supporter, and President George W. Bush was one of Israel’s strongest supporters at that.

To simply put, the people in charge of Israel would have had to have lost their minds to have done something like that. Not only would they have been risking losing support from the United States, but also risked going war with the United States in order to get more support from the United States.

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SOLVED: Spontaneous Human Combustion Case

Medical Examiner Suggests Man Fell on Cigarette

by and via 5NEWSOnline.com

spontaneous human combustion 1122An eastern Oklahoma man’s death in February has been ruled the result of a heart attack, after the county sheriff initially said he believed spontaneous human combustion was to blame, according to the medical examiner’s report released Tuesday.

Danny Vanzandt, 65, of Muldrow, likely died of a heart attack after which his body was burned, possibly by a cigarette, the report states.

“The lack of soot within the airway and a negative carboxyhemoglobin level within the procured blood sample suggests death prior to the fire,” the medical examiner’s report states. “These findings are not consistent with someone breathing in smoke in the moments preceding death.

The autopsy report goes on to state that Vanzandt suffered from moderate to severe coronary artery disease.

“The findings of the examination are most consistent with the decendent dying (likely of this heart condition) and then being involved posthumously in the fire which consumed most of his body,” the report states.

Danny Vanzandt, 65, was found dead and burned at his home in Muldrow, Oklahoma.

Danny Vanzandt, 65, was found dead and burned at his home in Muldrow, Oklahoma.

Vanzandt’s body was almost completely consumed by fire before being found. His body weight at the medical examiner’s office came in at 40 pounds, according to the autopsy report.

Vanzandt’s charred body was found in his home on South 4700 Road on Feb. 18. At the time, Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart said the signs pointed to spontaneous human combustion as the cause of death, since no nearby items or furniture around the body were burned.

There was no other fire damage to the house and no signs of a struggle, Lockhart said.

“One plausible scenario involves the decedent collapsing and dying (likely due to the coronary artery disease noted at autopsy) on the kitchen floor at which time a lit cigarette ignites the decedent’s clothing and burns long enough to split the skin and release adipose tissue onto the clothing and floor and this adipose tissue then becomes the primary fuel source for the fire,” the report states.

The man’s manner of death was ruled as natural.

The idea of the Oklahoma man dying from rare spontaneous human combustion placed Vandzant’s death in national headlines. A researcher with ParaScience International visited Muldrow to study Vandzant’s death in March.

Click here to read more about the investigation.


[END]  via 5NEWSOnline.com

5 Conspiracy Theories that would be easy to prove

by via The Soap Box

conspiracies05Through my studying of conspiracy theories I have found that many of them are easy to dis-prove. In fact some of them are so easy to dis-prove that it’s actually kind of shocking that anyone believes in them.

Now despite the fact that most conspiracy theories are quite easy to dis-prove, a few of them could actually be proven, and quite easily at that, if a conspiracy theorist was willing to spend the and money to try to prove what they believe is real.

The following is a list of five different conspiracy theories that I feel could be easy to prove:

The Moon landings were hoaxed.

nasa-moon-hoaxDespite the overwhelming evidence that the moon landings did happen and that we really did send 12 men to the surface of the moon and back between 1969 to 1972, many conspiracy theorists still insistence that the landings were all faked, and that they were all filmed on some movie set in on a military base in the middle of the desert.

Despite the multiple pieces of “evidence” that they believe prove that the moon landings were faked, they have not produce one shred of evidence that hasn’t ended up being debunked.

Now, despite the fact that all the evidence that they claim proves the moon landings were hoaxed have been debunked, there are actually a few simple (but expensive) ways for them to prove the moon landings were hoaxed:

First, they could build their own telescope that is powerful enough to see close up to the surface of the moon, and look at the moon landing sites to see if anything is there.

Second, build your own satellite and rocket that can travel to the moon and photograph the sites where the moon landings were suppose to be.

Third, build a space ship that can actually get to the moon, land at the sites, and see for yourself if anything is ther. Oh, and here is the bonus part about this one: If it turns out that you’re right, and you prove that the moon landing were faked, “you” become known as the first person to walk on the moon!

Chemtrails

chemtrail UFO culprit_250pxAmong some conspiracy theorists there is this belief that the government is using aircraft to spray the population with chemicals to either dumb us down, or make us sick, or make us infertile (assuming it’s not for geo-engineering like other chemtrail conspiracy theorists are insisting).

Of course there is no evidence what so ever to prove these claims (despite what they insist) but, there is in fact a very easy way for them to prove that chemtrails are real.

All they would have to do is get a plane, attach a scope or two to that plane (be sure they are the types that remotely open and shut in order to avoid contamination) fly through an alleged chemtrail (actually you might want to do this several times in order to collect several samples, just to be sure) take the samples you’ve gotten, and have them tested to see whats in them, and how high the concentrations are (because that plays a big factor too).

Now, if this is done, one of two things will happen: You and many other conspiracy theorists will be proven to be right, and all skeptics will have to eat their own words (during the revolution that would most likely follow) or, you will be proven to be wrong, and it will be shown that chemtrails are in fact nothing more than water vapor.

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I can’t stand ads!

Just a quick note for everybody . . .

ABP_80px To block ads here and and everywhere else on the web I suggest using Adblock Plus with Element Hiding Helper (a companion extension for Adblock Plus).

I use both for an ad-free web experience. 🙂

Mason I. Bilderberg (MIB)

The Scole Experiment

Said to be the best evidence yet for the afterlife — but how good is that evidence?

Brian DunningBy Brian Dunning via skeptoid

Read podcast transcript below or listen here

Turn out the lights and link your hands, for today we’re going to hold a seance and contact the dead, and have them perform parlor tricks for us in the dark. We’re going to look at the Scole Experiment, a large, well-organized series of seances conducted by members of the Society for Psychical Research in the late 1990’s in Scole, a small village in England. The Scole Experiment_300pxReported phenomena included ghostly lights flitting about the room, images appearing on film inside secure containers, reports of touches from unseen hands, levitation of the table, and disembodied voices. Due to the large number of investigators and sitters involved, the number and consistency of paranormal episodes observed during the seances, and the lack of any finding of fraud, many believers often point to the Scole Experiment as the best scientific evidence that spirits do survive in the afterlife, and can and do come back and interact with the living, demonstrating an impressive array of conjuring powers.

There were a total of six mediums and fifteen investigators from the SPR. The Society for Psychical Research, or SPR, is based in London and is more than a century old. Its membership consists of enthusiasts of the paranormal. The authoritative source for what happened in the Scole Experiment is a report several hundred pages long, called The Scole Report, originally published in the journal Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, and written by three of the lead investigators who were present at the sittings, all current or former senior officers of the SPR: plant scientist Montague Keen, electrical engineer Arthur Ellison, and psychologist David Fontana. I have a copy here on my desk. It goes through the history of how the experiments came together, details each of the many seances, and presents analysis and criticism from a number of the SPR investigators who observed.

Unfortunately, the Scole Experiment was tainted by profound investigative failings. In short, the investigators imposed little or no controls or restrictions upon the mediums, and at the same time, agreed to all of the restrictions imposed by the mediums. The mediums were in control of the seances, not the investigators. What the Scole Report authors describe as a scientific investigation of the phenomena, was in fact (by any reasonable interpretation of the scientific method) hampered by a set of rules which explicitly prevented any scientific investigation of the phenomena.

The primary control offered by the mediums was their use of luminous wristbands, to show the sitters that their hands were not moving about during the seances. I consulted with Mark Edward, a friend in Los Angeles who gives mentalism and seance performances professionally. He knows all the tricks, and luminous wristbands are, apparently, one of the tricks. There are any number of ways that a medium can get into and out of luminous wristbands during a seance. The wristbands used at Scole were made and provided by the mediums themselves, and were never subjected to testing, which is a gross dereliction of control by the investigators. Without having been at the Scole Experiment in person, Mark couldn’t speculate on what those mediums may have done or how they may have done it. Suffice it to say that professional seance performers are not in the least bit impressed by this so-called control. Tricks like this have been part of the game for more than a century. Since hand holding was not employed in the Scole seances, the mediums effectively had every opportunity to be completely hands free and do whatever they wanted to do.

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Countdown to a hurricane lateness record

Watts Up With That?

While Joe Bastardi forecasts a huricane within 72 hours…

…the clock is ticking on a satellite era record for the latest ever Atlantic hurricane formation.

Atlantic hurricane season – a record-breaking dud?

(Reuters) – The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which forecasters had predicted would be more active than normal, has turned out to be something of a dud so far as an unusual calm hangs over the tropics.

As the season heads into the historic peak for activity, it may even enter the record books as marking the quietest start to any Atlantic hurricane season in decades.

View original post 194 more words

Is that a FEMA Camp? – August 31, 2013

Is that a FEMA Camp? is a blog dedicated to investigating claims of FEMA camp locations.
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Below is some of their findings. Enjoy 🙂
femacamp3

August 31, 2013 Edition
Cape Cod Air Force Station is home to the 6th Space Warning Squadron

Cape Cod Air Force Station is home to the 6th Space Warning Squadron

Cape Cod AS, Massachusetts

The claim: Buzzards Bay, 22

What it really is: Cape Cod Air Force Station is an Air Force facility that’s used for tracking space debris, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

Presque Isle AFB, Maine

The claim: Presque Isle, ?

What it really is: Presque Isle Air Force Base was closed in 1961. The site now contains an airport, a college, residual areas, and an industrial park.

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Maine

The claim: Kittery, 278

What it really is: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is used by the US Navy for remodeling and repairing submarines. The shipyard is also used by the Coast Guard as a home port for several cutters.The shipyard is also registered as a National Historical Place.

loring_air_force_base_225_reunion_button_10Loring AFB, Maine

The claim: Limestone, 11,165

What it really is: Loring Air Force Base was closed in 1994.The site of the base has been converted into public use, and is now the Loring International Airport and the Loring Commerce Center.

Barksdale AFB, Louisiana

The claim: (50 B61-7 gravity bombs; 90 B83 gravity bombs; 300 W80-1/Air-Launched Cruise Missiles; 100 W80-1/Advanced Cruise Missiles) Bossier City, 22,000

What it really is: Barksdale Air Force Base is an Air Force Base located right next to Bossier City, LA. which would make it difficult to hide a prison camp from the public. Also looking at the base via Google Maps I could not find anything that would not be found on a typical Air Force base.The base itself has several bomber squadrons, so having such weapons there wouldn’t be that unusual either.

Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station, Maine

The claim: Cutler, East Machias, 2,850

What it really is: The actual name for the facility is VLF Transmitter Cutler. The facility is a very low frequency shore radio station used by the Navy to provide one-way communications with submarines.The facility itself has two identical umbrella arrays. The reason for this is because if one has to be taken offline for repairs and maintenance, the other one can remain operational.

NAS Brunswick, Maine
nas_brunswick_insig

The claim: Brunswick, 3,221

What it really is: Naval Air Station Brunswick was closed in 2010.In 2011 the airport was reopened as the Brunswick Executive Airport. The rest of the property is also under redevelopment for public use as well

Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, Kentucky

The claim: Paducah, 3,422

What it really is: Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant is the only operating uranium enrichment facility in the US, and produces low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel.The facility is operated by United States Enrichment Corporation, a subsidiary of USEC Incorporated, a publicly traded corporation.

schilling_air_force_base_tile_coasterSchilling AFB, Kansas

The claim: Salina, ?

What it really is: Schilling Air Force Base was closed 1965 with the only military presence left being the Kansas Air National Guard whom still uses the bombing range and some of the buildings.The former base is now a quiet place that houses a few private businesses, as well as Kansas State University at Salina and Salina Area Technical College

Forbes Field, Kansas

The claim: Topeka, 193

What it really is: Forbes Field is a Air Force base that was closed in 1973 and is now a public airport.

Click here for the latest findings at “Is that a FEMA Camp?”

The 10 Commandments of Rational Debate (…Know Thy Logical Fallacies)

via Relatively Interesting

argue_250pxLooking for an edge so you can win your next big argument?

Learn the 10 Commandments of Rational Debate and use them against your enemy as you obliterate their argument point by point (rationally, of course).  Knowing your logical fallacies and how the brain can deceive even the brightest of minds is the first step towards winning an argument.

These are 10 of the more popular logical fallacies, but there are many others you need to learn in order to master the art of debate…

ten 10 commandments_600px

1. Though shall not attack the person’s character, but the argument itself. (“Ad hominem”)

Example:  Dave listens to Marilyn Manson, therefore his arguments against certain parts of religion are worthless. After all, would you trust someone who listens to that devil worshiper?

2. Though shall not misrepresent or exaggerate a person’s argument in order to make them easier to attack. (“Straw Man Fallacy”)

Example:  After Jimmy said that we should put more money into health and education, Steve responded by saying that he was surprised that Jimmy hates our country so much that he wants to leave it defenceless by cutting military spending.

3. Though shall not use small numbers to represent the whole. (“Hasty Generalization”)

Example:  Climate Change Deniers take a small sample set of data to demonstrate that the Earth is cooling, not warming. They do this by zooming in on 10 years of data, ignoring the trend that is present in the entire data set which spans a century.

4. Though shall not argue thy position by assuming one of its premises is true. (“Begging the Question”)

Example:

Sheldon: “God must exist.”
Wilbert: “How do you know?”
Sheldon: “Because the Bible says so.”
Wilbert: “Why should I believe the Bible?”
Sheldon: “Because the Bible was written by God.”
Wilbert: “WTF?”

Here, Sheldon is making the assumption that the Bible is true, therefore his premise – that God exists – is also true.

5. Though shall not claim that because something occurred before, but must be the cause. (“Post Hoc/False Cause”).

This can also be read as “correlation does not imply causation”.

Example:  There were 3 murders in Dallas this week and on each day, it was raining. Therefore, murders occur on rainy days.

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You’re Getting Sleepy … and Misled: Regression Hypnosis in Ufology

by via The UFO Trail

psychiatrist_300pxRegression hypnosis has long been used during investigation of alleged alien abduction. Some have made up their minds that the activity provides reasonable evidence. For them, there is no amount of expert opinion or scientific research contradicting their belief that can motivate sincere review of the circumstances. Even the words of warning from former hypnosis subjects, lengthily explaining firsthand how its ill effects and misuses can be harmful, fail to inspire objective evaluation of the use of hypnosis as a mythical truth serum.

Much has been learned of memory functions, potential dangers of regression hypnosis and related issues since researchers first began hypnotizing self-described experiencers in hopes of uncovering hidden memories. However, many investigators continue subscribing to the now decades old concepts while the professional research community has long since updated its understandings. If you are sincerely interested in reviewing facts surrounding regression hypnosis, including taking into consideration some opinions of qualified experts and documentation of relevant circumstances, please continue reading.

British UFO Research Association

UFO2croppedThe fact of the matter is the professional research community has never established hypnosis as an effective investigative tool or a reliable memory retrieval technique. The American Psychotherapy and Medical Hypnosis Association released statements clarifying its members should not inaccurately represent the stance of the American Medical Association on such matters.

The American Medical Association (AMA) is concerned that many individuals using hypnosis may be making the inaccurate statement that hypnosis is approved by the AMA as a legitimate therapy for medical or psychological purposes,” the APMHA explained. “The AMA has a current position that this statement is inaccurate.”

The AMA clearly does not recognize or define hypnosis as approved for use for medical or psychological purposes. That would of course include subjecting traumatized individuals to the exploration of the possibility they are regularly abused by perpetrators from other planets, to say the least.

The British UFO Research Association was formed in 1962

The British UFO Research Association was formed in 1962

It should be further understood that significant portions of the UFO community itself came to accept and agree with policies as established by the AMA. The British UFO Research Association (BUFORA) enacted a moratorium in 1988 on the use of hypnosis, and the policy continues to remain in place.

Across the water in America, researchers of alleged alien abduction nonetheless continued and increased their uses of hypnosis. Purposes could reasonably be interpreted to include it was identified as the easiest way to create evidence for what were otherwise largely unsupported claims and theories. In other words, researchers could not prove their assumptions through professionally recognized credible means, so they resorted to hypnosis and what writer/researcher Sharon Hill coined sham inquiry: nonscientific activities conducted and misrepresented as scientific investigation.

The BUFORA moratorium on hypnosis is referenced and relevant issues are explored in the Heather Dixon article, Alien Abduction, Hypnosis and Memory. The piece contains an interview with Judy Jaafar, a BUFORA investigator and researcher with some 20 years experience at the time of the interview. Ms. Jaafar is also a clinical hypnotherapist and psychotherapist who clearly and competently explained reasons hypnosis should not be used during the investigation of alleged alien abduction.

“It is a very powerful tool and can be dangerous when used irresponsibly,” Jaffar stated, “and no matter what fantasy a witness might come up with during hypnosis, it has to be remembered that under a hypnotic trance state, your capacity for imagination and fantasy is probably doubled or trebled.”

Jaafar further explained potential dangers to witnesses, or hypnosis subjects, adding, “So whatever experience they describe, during hypnosis as far as the abduction scenario is concerned, and when a recording or transcript is taken, this has now become a real event for them, irrespective of whether it actually happened or not. ufo1 1114_250pxIt is now real – and that really bothered me because I felt that we were dealing with someone’s mental health – for the rest of their lives. Because they’ve been hypnotised, they really believe that they must be telling the absolute truth because they have this peculiar notion that hypnosis is like a truth drug, but it certainly isn’t!”

The psychotherapist continued, “You take someone back for example to ‘missing time’ where they have no conscious memory of any event, so therefore the analytical, logical, judgmental process cannot be brought to bear on the situation. Immediately the witness has to delve into their unconscious mind… which is a wonderful, dreamlike fantasy factory. It is so important in our lives, we need to be able to do this otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it. It sorts out all of your emotions, it is not like a filing cabinet, it is not an archive – it is an emotional repository to access every day of our lives; to keep our mental health balance. And this is what you are sending your witness into, totally unprepared, they don’t know what they are looking for except that they feel they have been abducted by aliens otherwise they wouldn’t be with a ufologist in the first place.

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Australia liberated from their long national green nightmare

Watts Up With That?

Australia_open_for_businessToday is a great day not only in Australian history, but also in world history. It marks the day when people of character and sensibility pushed back against an overwrought and pointless green agenda, and pushed back in a big way. They’ve had enough, and they’ve scraped the Krudd off their shoes and are moving forward.

Tony Abbott has won the Australian election in a landslide, and vows to abolish the carbon tax as a first order of business. Abbott has declared Australia is “once more open for business” in claiming victory in Saturday’s election.

It is a huge blow to the Rudd-Gillard labor party and their green goals, which were built on a lie foisted on the Australian people. In 2010 when Gillard said “no carbon tax” in a  videotaped speech that has been seen as the key moment Australians lost trust:

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Alien abductees gather in Portland

By DEIRDRE FULTON via The Portland Phoenix

UFO warning SIGNMillions of people on this planet claim to have been abducted by aliens. About two hundred of them (alleged abductees, that is) will converge on Portland this weekend, for the second annual Experiencers Speak conference, organized by and for people who say they’ve been kidnapped by — or had close encounters with — extraterrestrials.

Among those who plan to attend the two-day symposium are Travis Walton, the logger whose UFO experience was portrayed in the 1993 film Fire in the Sky; Jim Weiner, one of four young men who saw a UFO and “lost time” (presumably due to abduction) during a 1976 camping trip in Allagash, Maine; and Kathleen Marden, director of abduction research for the Mutual UFO Network, a national organization dedicated to researching UFO sightings. Marden is also the niece of Betty and Barney Hill, the New Hampshire couple who claimed to have been seized by aliens in September 1961 near Franconia Notch. Many more will come to share their own stories, and be validated by others; last year’s Experiencers Speak event in Gorham attracted about 150 attendees.

“People really need to talk about it and realize that they’re not alone,” says Audrey Hewins of Mechanic Falls, the lead organizer of the conference and founder of Starborn Support, a group that exists to help those who say they’ve met ETs. “We like to get them to a point where they accept who they are and are able to function in society.”

ufo 658_250pxHewins, 40, describes herself as a “lifelong abductee,” who, along with her identical twin sister, has “been taken [repeatedly] since early childhood.” After years of trying to repress the memories (she calls it “stuffing”) she and her sister reached out to the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), and a representative from that organization put both sisters under hypnosis (separately), helping them to access often-traumatizing memories of visits from “beings” with big, motionless, almond-shaped eyes and bald heads. Over time, through hypnosis, Hewins began to recall experiences of being paralyzed, lifted, and brought onto a spacecraft — all at extraterrestrial hands.

Although Hewins likens “Post-Abduction Syndrome” (PAS) to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), her interactions with the otherworldly beings weren’t always hostile; in fact, it was one of them that suggested she launch Starborn Support in 2006. Today, there are chapters in 10 states along the east coast, along with a Starborn streaming radio program.

“This isn’t something you can tell your family members without having them question you,” says Kathleen Marden, of MUFON, who co-coordinates a peer-facilitated support group for experiencers in Florida. “Some people receive very negative feedback” from loved ones such as ridicule or ostracization (not to mention lay diagnosis of “totally insane”).

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Who needs facts when you have conspiracy theorists?

jfk

Conspiracists and the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy

By Dr. Cory Franklin via ChicagoTribune.com

Lee Harvey Oswald shot President John F. Kennedy. Anyone who disputes that must explain the incredible chain of evidence surrounding how he was enmeshed in the assassination case. (Chuck Berman, Chicago Tribune / March 18, 2012)

Lee Harvey Oswald shot President John F. Kennedy. Anyone who disputes that must explain the incredible chain of evidence surrounding how he was enmeshed in the assassination case. (Chuck Berman, Chicago Tribune / March 18, 2012)

The 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy approaches, and debate begins anew. The evidence is overwhelming that Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK, and nearly as overwhelming that Oswald acted alone. However, history is never completely settled, and the conspiracy theorists are out and about. Many, motivated by profit or fame, are more eager to engage in ad hominem tactics than discuss facts. But some are honest and intelligent, and they deserve a hearing. How to separate them? Ten rules to follow when engaging a conspiracy theorist. Avoid anyone who:

1. Cites Oliver Stone‘s “JFK” as a source

Oliver Stone is an accomplished film director, and his 1991 film “JFK” is powerful. However, it is far removed from historical accuracy. Whatever Stone’s motives, the movie is full of distortions and outright falsehoods. The result features real historical characters in a crime-fiction fantasy, essentially a propaganda piece meant to demonize a covert, evil, right-wing paramilitary group.

2. Cites Jim Garrison as a source

In 1967, Garrison, the New Orleans prosecutor, launched the only prosecution arising out of the assassination. He gained worldwide attention with his accusations. The courtroom is the actual crucible, and Garrison’s prosecution of the Louisiana businessman he suspected of involvement was quickly laughed out of court. Today, most conspiracy theorists have disowned Garrison.

3. Claims the Secret Service accidentally killed JFK

jfk 1003_300pxA documentary on cable television this fall, based on a 1992 book, revives the theory that a Secret Service agent in a trail car accidentally discharged his weapon and fired the fatal shot. Despite its implausibility — nine people, including agents and Kennedy aides, were present and no one testified that the agent’s weapon was fired — the theory has gained new currency. Supporters include popular New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell and baseball savant Bill James. Before he died, the agent vehemently denied the allegation and filed a libel suit against the book’s publishers. Rather than go to court, the publishers paid him a confidential monetary settlement.

4. Claims the limo driver killed JFK

There are actually people who believe the Secret Service agent driving the JFK limo turned around, pulled a gun and killed him. Such people should not be trusted with sharp objects. Watch the Zapruder film.

5. Ties the murders of JFK and RFK together

I once rented a copy of “JFK,” and the teenager at Blockbuster (in his mid-30s by now) assured me of the movie’s accuracy. I engaged him by referring to Robert Kennedy, the attorney general who also happened to be the president’s brother. I asked, “How could all these conspirators have escaped undetected when the top law enforcement officer in the country, with every investigative tool at his disposal, was the president’s brother? Wouldn’t he have wanted this uncovered?” Without a hint of irony, the teenager looked at me earnestly and said, “Don’t forget, they killed Robert Kennedy, too.”

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Psychics are not real

Adventures in randomness

In previous editions of “There’s no such thing as…” I covered alien abductions, Bigfoot, and ghosts. Now I would like to take on psychics.

Just like the other aforementioned topics, there is a plethora of television shows dedicated to psychics on the air right now (usually the same channels that air the ghost shows. Hmm, coincidence..?). I’ve viewed several of these shows and have to say that, just like all the other shlock, these people are full of crap.

First, I’ve already explained why there’s no such thing as ghosts, so you can forget all about that psychic talking to grandma and grandpa. These TV psychics prey on the need that people have for closure. I’m going to use an argument similar to the one that I used in the ghost post. I find it tremendously odd that every person that gets a reading on these television shows has the…

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Psychic Secrets

Jamy_Ian_SwissBy Jamy Iam Swiss via randi.org

The secret is out: professional storefront psychics are mostly comprised of fakes, frauds, cheats, and con artists. Step into a psychic storefront – especially in New York City or Southern Florida where organized criminal elements of the Romani (gypsy) culture is a significant presence – at your own extreme risk.

Second psychic in Hingham fraud probe surrenders to police - Quincy, MA - The Patriot LedgerWell, maybe that doesn’t seem like a secret to many skeptics, but the fact is that since the inception of the modern skeptic movement, skeptics have pursued and possessed specialized knowledge in the realm of paranormal claims such as psychic phenomena. Of course, skeptics are interested in a vast panoply of pseudoscience – a glance down the list of subjects at the Skeptic’s Dictionary [skepdic.com] will produce an alphabetical list of nonsense, from the doofus to the deadly, “From Abracadabra to Zombies,” as it says on the home page.

But the paranormal is a special area of interest and expertise, partly because of the so-called science of parapsychology, which for more than a century-and-a-half has attempted to establish the existence of psychic phenomena in the laboratory. Unfortunately, this science has yet to produce so much as a single replicable, paradigmatic experiment (as compared with even a “soft science” like psychology which has hundreds of such examples that can be readily replicated by new students and scientists alike).

Another reason for this interest is the role of magicians in the skeptic movement, who themselves possess specialized knowledge not only of deception and illusion in general but also in particular of the methods of psychics, which often encompass techniques that magicians and particularly “mentalists” routinely use in their own work. Thus the magician has been a key player in parapsychology investigation since the first committee on psychical research was organized by “Scientific American” magazine, with Harry Houdini as a member.

And finally – surely far from least – there is the terrible predation and damage that professional psychics do. Whether it is a television talk-to-the-dead medium who entraps people in their grief rather than helping them to return eventually, as they must, to the normal living of their own lives, despite the loss of their loved ones – or professional storefront fortunetellers-and-takers who use their traditional finely honed psychological weaponry to rob people of their dignity and self-respect, their self-control, and often their life savings.

220px-Secrets_of_the_PsychicsVideoIn 1993, the “Nova” television series devoted an entire program, entitled “Secrets of the Psychics,” to James Randi and his work as a psychic investigator and consumer protection advocate. Although this episode of the famous science documentary series has been available in various recorded forms, including in segments on YouTube, the program has just been posted in its entirety [here (illuminutti.com) and] here.

The show covers the gamut of psychic claims, and Randi’s investigations and insights. He looks at Russian psychics who claim to be able to gain special knowledge about a person just from examining a photograph. He tries to test specially psychically altered water, which seems to (rather hilariously) possess the special quality of being untestable. He looks at claims of the alleged psychic power to alter people’s blood pressure and brain waves. The program provides a synopsis of Randi’s legendary investigation of the faith healer Peter Popoff, and also provides a useful overview of Randi’s debunkings of Uri Geller during Geller’s metal-bending heydays.

Oh, and a young long-haired magician with a waxed moustache offers a brief original demonstration of psychokinesis in the first three minutes of the show. Go take a look!

The show is twenty years old but its principles and subjects are as fresh as today’s headlines, and literally so.

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Friday Funny: Fracking protestors and their petro-sourced belongings

Watts Up With That?

There’s been a lot of hullabaloo in the UK over the Balcombe fracking protests. WUWT reader Eric Worrall writes in with this comparison photo.

Original picture source: http://www.itv.com/news/update/2013-08-16/anti-fracking-activists-camp-without-permission/

Here is a tagged version of the same picture of all the plastic high tech synthetics used by anti fracking protestors in England, captured in a single photograph.

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The Truth about Aspartame

The artificial sweetener aspartame is falsely accused of being the cause of nearly every disease

Brian DunningBy Brian Dunning (2008) via skeptoid

Read podcast transcript below or Listen here

Aspartame_2As a kid I remember hearing that the artificial sweetener aspartame would neutralize your digestive enzymes, and anything else you ate that day would turn to fat. Although this makes no sense biochemically at any level, it sounded scientific enough to me and I was satisfied with it — at least enough to justify my dislike for its awful flavor. It turns out that my fat-producing claim was about the mildest of many arguments made by a growing anti-aspartame movement, and biochemically-nonsensical as it was, it was among the sanest of the arguments. Take a look at websites such as AspartameKills.com, SweetPoison.com, and Dark-Truth.org, and you’ll see that a whole new breed of aspartame opponents has taken activism to a whole new level. Here are a few quotes from those web sites:

Thank you Montel Williams for having the fortitude to say: “Multiple Sclerosis is often misdiagnosed, and that it could be aspartame poisoning”

NutraSweet® killed my mother and has killed and/or wounded millions of innocent people in the US and abroad.

Aspartame converts to formaldehyde in vivo in the bodies of laboratory rats.

ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER, ASPARTAME, (EQUAL, NUTRASWEET) LINKED TO BREAST CANCER AND GULF WAR SYNDROME.

Did O J Simpson Have a Reaction to Aspartame that led to the deaths of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman?

THE FDA, THE INTERNATIONAL FOOD INFORMATION COUNCIL (IFIC), PUBLIC VOICE AND OTHERS ARE SCAM NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS AND PAWNS OF THE NUTRA-SWEET COMPANY.

After more than twenty years of aspartame use, the number of its victims is rapidly piling up, and people are figuring out for themselves that aspartame is at the root of their health problems. Patients are teaching their doctors about this nutritional peril, and they are healing themselves with little to no support from traditional medicine.

Donald Rumsfeld disregarded safety issues and used his political muscle to get Aspartame approved.

The Nazi Scientist’s Poison Projects: Poison adults with Aspartame

Because of your and/or your forbearers [sic] exposure to toxics like Aspartame, a summation of immune, mitochondrial, DNA, and MtDNA (genetic) damage has occurred in your body that has made your body unable to deal with chemical insults.

The doctor that was in charge of the lab to study Aspartame, reported that the substance was too toxic and he mysteriously dissappeared [sic] and all the paper work somehow was destroyed.

The Nazis actually won the war. They just pretended to lose so that we wouldn’t notice them take over our government.

Why don't you remember this headline?

Why don’t you remember this headline?

Well, that’s enough for now. And if you haven’t heard those, you’ve almost certainly received one of several hoax emails that people have been forwarding around since 1995, according to Snopes.com, giving an equally long list of untrue claims about aspartame being the cause of nearly every illness. One is even falsely attributed to Dr. Dean Edell. Suffice it to say that every possible kind of attack is made against aspartame: Pseudoscientific attacks where they throw out whole dictionaries of scientific sounding nonsense; guilt by association attacks where they mention aspartame alongside Adolf Hitler and Donald Rumsfeld; non-sequiturs like pointing out the evils of the corporate structure of pharmaceutical companies as if that is support for how and why an “aspartame detoxification” program will “heal” you of all disease; and even Bible quotations attacking aspartame. The anti-aspartame lobby appears to include everyone from alternative treatment vendors trying to sell their products, to fully delusional conspiracy theorists. Dr. Russell Blaylock, a retired surgeon turned anti-pharmaceutical author and activist, believes aspartame is part of a massive government mind-control plot . . .

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James Randi – Secrets of the Psychics (Full)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Secrets of the Psychics was a PBS NOVA episode following James Randi‘s work.[1] Also appearing in stock footage are Peter Popoff, Uri Geller, and many others.

In the program, “Randi argues that successful psychics depend on the willingness of their audiences to believe that what they see is the result of psychic powers.”[2]

This program is not to be confused with a later UK documentary Secrets of the Psychics, which was transmitted under this title as well as Secrets of the Super Psychics.


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Psychic accused of planting man in attic during ghost tour

A psychic has been accused of hiding a man in an attic to make knocking noises on the ceiling during a hotel “ghost tour”.

By Victoria Ward and agencies via Telegraph – UK

 Paranormal medium Chris Date Photo: Wales News Service


Paranormal medium Chris Date
Photo: Wales News Service

Chris Date, a paranormal medium, is alleged to have rapidly driven away from the scene after suspicious staff who hung around after his tour spotted a man climbing down from the roof.

The 38-year-old, who calls himself Knight Guider, tells guests who pay £12-a-head for the ghost hunt that he can contact the spirit world.

During a recent tour of the “haunted” Halfway Hotel in Llanelli, South Wales, 14 people paid to join him in trying to contact the spirit world.

The ghost hunters were led into the hotel stables where Mr Date asked a spirit to knock twice in answer to a question.

The guests were hushed as two ghostly knocks were heard coming from the ceiling above.

Hotel owner Paul Francis, 33, said: “A member of staff and a member of the public wanted to see if someone came down from the attic where the knocking was coming from.

attic clean out pic 4_200px“Twenty minutes went by and then this guy jumped down.

“Our staff grabbed the guy and threw him out.”

Guest Mike Grimble, 43, said the man claimed he was homeless and had nothing to do with the spooky sounds but was wearing “designer jeans”.

Mr Date denied having any link to the mystery man in the attic and said: “I’m disgusted by it.”

“It was nothing to do with me, that is one of the reasons that I left,” he said.

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All About Fracking

via inFact: All About Fracking – YouTube.

Fracking has been a standard practice in natural gas mining for a long time, but documentary films have caused some laypeople to question its safety. How justified are these fears? http://infactvideo.com

Anti-Vaccine Body Count

Visit: The ANTI-VACCINE body count

For more information visit The ANTI-VACCINE body count

The United States Anti-Vaccination Movement is composed of a variety of individuals ranging from former doctors who should know better, to semi-celebrities who have no medical training, to anti-government conspiracy theorists who distrust anything that the government says. They all hold onto the mistaken belief that autism is caused by receiving childhood vaccines.

Also see: MMR and Autism Rises from the Dead « Science-Based Medicine

Salt Therapies

A new trend in spas is to let people relax in salt caves. Is there any benefit to this?

Brian DunningBy Brian Dunning via skeptoid

Read transcript below or listen here

You lay comfortably in a lounge chair, perhaps snuggled into a robe of natural fibers, in a quiet, peaceful room. Soothing music plays softly. The cool air is dry and still, and has a slightly salty tinge. For you’re relaxing in a salt cave, perhaps in an exclusive modern spa, perhaps deep underground in a real salt mine, undergoing halotherapy or speleotherapy or salt therapy.

A salt room

A salt room

The room is entirely made of salt, but most spas use machines that grind up salt into fine particles and waft it into the air. The claim is that restful breathing in this environment brings health benefits unavailable in any other conditions. Now, don’t ask too quickly exactly what the benefits are supposed to be, or exactly what the specific environmental conditions need to be, because those aren’t really too clear. Instead, let’s just ask why people all over the world are turning to salt therapy.

So just for grins, I did a Google search for “salt cave therapy“. Here are a few specific claims for what conditions salt caves treat, from the first page of Google results. They come from boutique spas selling the service:

  • Inflammation
  • Migraines
  • Poor concentration
  • Post-operative recovery
  • Psoriasis
  • Rashes
  • Rhinitis
  • Sinusitis
  • Sleep disorders
  • Snoring
  • Stress/anxiety
  • Smokers cough
  • Tonsillitis
  • Viral infections

A small minority of spa sites I reviewed stated that salt caves do not treat any medical conditions, and merely provide relaxation. However, the majority are very clear that their service is a miracle treatment, even a cure, for most or all of these conditions. Clearly the salt cave industry has not yet reached any consensus on exactly what it’s selling.

Himalayan pink crystal salt, while touted for its purity, is contaminated with iron oxide (thus the pink color).

Himalayan pink crystal salt, while touted for its purity, is contaminated with iron oxide (thus the pink color).

Some of the sites I reviewed emphasized purity of the salt, while others credited all the many minerals in it. One site said that the unique combination of 94 (!) elements in natural salt is what makes it work. A number of sites say all 84 are needed. Another says that they only use Himalayan pink crystal salt, because that’s the only way to insure purity (pink salts are pink because they are contaminated with iron oxide). Analyses of Himalayan pink salt have found that it contains between 95-98% salt, with most of the rest being gypsum. Trace elements of about 10 minerals are usually found. Although gypsum is recommended in some alternative medicine schemes, no sound medical research has ever found any benefit from consuming it; so it’s not clear why salt therapy practitioners recommend it. Either way, the practice seems to present no clear consensus on whether pure salt or contaminated salt is best; it seems to be a pretty even split. But both sides sound pretty adamant that their way is best.

The mechanism for how salt caves treat these conditions is also in hot dispute. While about half emphasize the salt itself being beneficial once it gets into your lungs, the other half are all about ions. Ions, they say, promote good health. An ion is a molecule with an electric charge, either positive or negative, made so because it has more electrons than protons, or more protons than electrons. Negative ion generators have been a staple of alternative therapies for a long time, based largely on the sciencey-soundingness of the term and a misunderstanding of what they actually do. Negative ion generators use high voltage to add an electron to particles in the air. Electrostatic attraction then causes those particles to move toward, and bind to, a grounded surface such as a wall. Thus, an ionizer can help to reduce the amount of dust particles, allergens, and other particles from the air in a room.

Many of the salt therapy spas claim that the ionizers in their caves produce negative ions that destroy bacteria. This is also wrong. An ionizer can help draw bacteria out of the air, as just described, but . . .

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Cooks ‘97% consensus’ disproven by a new peer reviewed paper showing major math errors

Watts Up With That?

UPDATE: While this paper (a rebuttal) has been accepted, another paper by Cook and Nuccitelli has been flat out rejected by the journal Earth System Dynamics. See update below. – Anthony

“0.3% climate consensus, not 97.1%”

PRESS RELEASE – September 3rd, 2013

A major peer-reviewed paper by four senior researchers has exposed grave errors in an earlier paper in a new and unknown journal that had claimed a 97.1% scientific consensus that Man had caused at least half the 0.7 Cº global warming since 1950.

A tweet in President Obama’s name had assumed that the earlier, flawed paper, by John Cook and others, showed 97% endorsement of the notion that climate change is dangerous:

“Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” [Emphasis added]

The new paper by the leading climatologist Dr David Legates and his colleagues, published in the respected Science and Education

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Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know: Why aren’t there more electric cars?

Via Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know – YouTube

If electric cars have been around since the 19th century, then why haven’t they become more widespread? Skeptics say the technology isn’t viable yet, but conspiracy theorists think there’s more to the story.

Fregoli Delusion: A possible reason why some believe in Crisis Actors?

by via The Soap Box

Recently I read this VICE article about a person by the name of Ed Chiarini (whether that is his real name or not is unknown, but it doesn’t really matter) whom is a conspiracy theorist whom believes that everyone you see in the media is actually an actor (even famous actors).

His latest target: Senator John McCain, whom he believes is actually Henry Winkler (and no, I’m not kidding, he really does believe that the Maverick is actually the Fonz).

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 7.22.48 PM
And apparently he also believes that Eugene Levy is the acting president of Egypt.

When I first read this article I honestly believed that this person was a poe due to the sheer fact that the conspiracy theories he was creating and promoting were so ridicules that it bordered on satire…

star trek B&W_250pxSadly, it wasn’t satire. He really does believe what he is saying. I figured that out when I saw his posts about the Sandy Hook massacre and that everyone seen in photos and videos being “crisis actors”. Even a well constructed poe would not cross that line.

After seeing that this person clearly believed what he was saying it became very clear that this person most likely has major mental health issues.

Many people who were commenting on the article were saying that he probably has schizophrenia, which is very probable he does have, but I was told by a fellow skeptic that he may have a rare mental disorder called Fregoli delusion.

Fregoli delusion, also known as the “delusion of doubles”, is a mental disorder that is sometimes the result of a brain injury and can leave a person to believe that two or more people are actually one person.

Besides believing that two different people are in fact the same person, other behaviors that can go along with Fregoli delusion includes the following: . . .

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Mike Adams puts Chicken McNuggets “under the microscope.” Hilarity ensues.

by Orac via scienceblogs.com – Respectful Insolence

Little Mikey Adams in his “forensic food lab.”

Little Mikey Adams exploring Chicken McNuggets in his “forensic food lab.”

I don’t know how I missed this one, given that it’s over two weeks old, but I did. Since yesterday was a holiday in the US and I had done a long post the day before because something that happened on Friday had really irritated me, I figured I might as well take a stab at this because it represents one of my “favorite” quack apologists at his most over-the-top quackiest. More importantly, it won’t take too much brain power to deconstruct, but could be entertaining nonetheless. I’m referring, of course, to Mike Adams, the “Health Ranger,” of NaturalNews.com. Of course, nothing by Mike Adams is usually that difficult to deconstruct. Normally his screeds usually only come to my attention when he delves into pure despicable rhetoric, as when he tried to blame the Sandy Hook shootings on psychiatric medications last year, or when they are just so downright hilarious.

This is one of those hilarious times.

What I’m referring to is Mike Adam’s breathless announcement that he had found fibers—yes, fibers!—when he examined McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets under a microscope. If you want to get a whiff of the true hilarity of his article, just look at the title of the two articles he wrote about it, McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets found to contain mysterious fibers, hair-like structures; Natural News Forensic Food Lab posts research photos, video and More Chicken McNugget ‘strange fiber’ photos released by Natural News Forensic Food Labs. facepalm 827Besides the sheer facepalm-level silliness of Adams referring to anything he does at NaturalNew.com as being a “forensic food lab,” the articles are a treasure trove of unintentional humor for anyone who is the least bit knowledgeable about science or microscopy, although unfortunately the science-challenged think it’s slam-dunk evidence of how evil McDonalds is. In the interests of full disclosure, I’ve been known to eat at McDonalds every so often, although probably less than once every month or two. When I do go there, Chicken McNuggets just aren’t my thing. I tried them once and didn’t particularly like them. So I don’t really have a dog in this hunt, as they say, other than the amusement I derive sometimes from watching Mike Adams make a fool of himself. If someone somewhere had done credible science showing horrific things in Chicken McNuggets, I’d probably be inclined to accept it.

Mike Adams does no such thing.

What drew my attention back to these articles, though, was a hilariously inept attempt at “humor” from Mike Adams (pretty much all his attempts at humor are spectacularly inept) entitled Actual female zombie attacks McDonald’s drive-thru window, unleashes living dead rampage for Chicken McNuggets. What is Adams’ damning evidence? Well, just take a look at this video:


Adams is alarmed, saying that “microscopic photos reveal an alien-like landscape with weird shapes and fibers.” He sounds like someone who’s never looked at common every day objects under a microscope before. Pretty much every object, if you magnify it enough, will reveal an “alien-like landscape with weird shapes” and, possibly, depending on what you’re looking at, fibers. Yet, to Adams, this is horrific and alarming.

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My 50 to 1 project interview is now online, along with the main video

Watts Up With That?

This will be a top sticky post for a day or two, new articles will appear below this one.
UPDATE: podcasts are now available, see links below.

50_to_1_logoReaders may recall that back in May, I helped with obtaining funding for the 50 to 1 project out of Australia. During the summer, the project organizers made good on their promises to interview a number of people on the skeptical side of climate science, yours truly included. There’s also the main video which sums up the state of climate science and politics in just under 10 minutes.

My video interview is presented mostly as it happened, with only some very light editing done to the one on one interview in my office, and it runs almost an hour and covers several topics. The main theme video, hosted by Topher Field, who is the producer, is also available below:

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Measles outbreaks, religion, and the reality of the antivaccine movement

by Orac via scienceblogs.com – Respectful Insolence

Guess which child was vaccinated.

Guess which child was vaccinated.

If there’s one thing antivaccinationists hate having pointed out to them, it’s that they are antivaccine. If you really want to drive an antivaccinationist up the wall, point out that they are antivaccine. Sure, there are a few antivaccinationists who openly self-identify as antivaccine and are even proud of it, but most of them realize that society frowns upon them—as well it should given how antivaccinationists are responsible for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease. Moreover, most antivaccine activists really believe that vaccines are harmful. They’re wrong, of course, but that doesn’t make them any less true believers. They really believe they are doing good as they do evil. Part of the reason that they believe that they’re doing good is because they manage to convince themselves that they are not actually “antivaccine,” but rather “pro-safe vaccine” or “pro-vaccine safety.” Of course, it’s fairly easy to put the lie to that claim. All you have to do is to ask them which vaccines they recommend, or if there are any vaccines that they would give to their children; alternatively, you can ask them what, specifically, it would take for them to start vaccinating their children. In the first case, the usual answer will be that no vaccine is recommended. In the second case, the response will usually be so convoluted and with so many conditions as to be virtually impossible for any vaccine to meet. For example, absolute 100% complete safety will be demanded before vaccination would even be considered.

Another thing that belies the claim by antivaccinationists that they are not “antivaccine” is how so many of them seem to be proud of discouraging other parents from vaccinating. For instance, I once pointed out that J.B. Handley, the founder of the antivaccine organization Generation Rescue, gloated over how his band “held together with duct tape and bailing wire, is in the early to middle stages of bringing the U.S. vaccine program to its knees.”

Life before vaccination

Life before Vaccines

Now, Anne Dachel, “Media Editor” for the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism is doing the same thing in a post entitled Google News Search on Vaccines, Exemptions Turns Up? All of Us:

Forget the autism issue. Just go to Google News and look up “Vaccines, Exemptions.” It’s a really big topic. Parents aren’t buying all the claims that vaccines are safe.

Despite a massive effort by health officials and doctors, parents continue to fear that vaccines can do more harm than good. Stories about more parents exempting their children are everywhere. I can’t help but notice that there’s special concern about the vaccination rates for kindergarten kids. If the youngest students are more likely to be exempted, that can’t be good for the vaccine promoters.

And I’m sure the pro-vaccine people don’t like to see these stories out there. If more parents are opting out, they may have good reasons. It causes other parents to be concerned too. If they start to really look into the issue, there’s plenty of info out there to scare them out of vaccinating.

Did you get that? Let me repeat it: Scare them out of vaccinating. That is the goal of people like Anne Dachel and her ilk. It is not to improve vaccine safety. It is, rather, the classic denialist desire to foment fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) about vaccines. The end result of this FUD is . . .

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Austin Darragh’s Magic Water Machine

Passive Impressions

Last week, the Sunday Independent published a curious article about a new water technology that purported to be the “greatest breakthrough in agriculture since the plough”. This alone set my baloney detector into overdrive, and I quickly tweeted about it on our Cork Skeptics account. The story quickly went viral, catching the attention of the sceptical community in the UK and Ireland, appearing on various blogs, forums and news aggregators and getting some media attention too.

The article outlines a “groundbreaking technology” that, when applied to plants, increases their size and output, making them largely disease resistant too. What is this technology, you might ask? Water. Or more specifically, water energised by radio waves. Like, who’d have thought of that?

The article fails to convince on a number of levels. First of all, there are the exaggerated claims. Not only does the writer refer to the technology as the…

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Slate Writing

Via The Skeptic’s Dictionary

Henry Slade (1840-1905)

Henry Slade (1840-1905)

Slate writing was a trick used by mediums that involved school slates and the claim that spirits were writing messages on them. Usually, a pair of slates would be used. They would be shown to the viewer clean, hidden in some way, and then shown to the viewer again but now with a written message. Henry Slade (1840-1905) is credited with inventing slate writing and incorporating it in his act as a psychic medium. Slade called himself a spiritual doctor and is often referred to as Dr. Henry Slade. Whether he invented slate writing or not, I can’t say, but he popularized the trick and was found guilty of fraud several times for his efforts.

The trick was done in several ways, but could be done either by surreptitious replacement of a blank slate with a slate that had a prewritten message on it or by surreptitious writing on the blank slate by the medium with a hidden piece of chalk. I imagine the trick could be done with or without the help of an accomplice. Clearly, it’s a good trick when done properly.

At one time Slade was reputed to be worth $1 million. When he was at the height of his fame it was impossible to gain an audience with him without making arrangements weeks in advance. He lived with great prodigality, but as he grew older, his wonderful powers weakened and gave way under the strain of his dissipation. His fortune was soon squandered and he eked out a miserable existence by slate writings at 50 cents a sitting.*

His luck ran out, though, and Slade died a poor man in a sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Slate with a message purportedly from the spirit of Abraham Lincoln.

Slate with a message purportedly from the spirit of Abraham Lincoln. (SOURCE)

Transcript:
transcript

The idea of a spirit writing silly messages on a slate kept out of view may strike us as absurd as the idea of pulling cheesecloth out of a sleeve and calling it ectoplasm from the spirit world, but at one time such ideas were taken seriously by many looking for some evidence of the reality of life after death. Perhaps the fact that science was discovering more and more about the universe that supported materialism was disconcerting and opened up a crack in the critical thinking abilities of laymen and scientists alike. Whatever the reason, ideas that seem transparently deceptive to us (séances in dark rooms, table rapping, apports and deports, spirit photography, etc.) were once willingly accepted as proof of the spirit world by educated people, many of them eminent scientists.

[ . . . ]

The deception is easy because of the overwhelming desire to survive death and be reunited with loved ones, and to believe, despite the incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, that the universe is not indifferent to our existence. For some, even survival of consciousness and purposiveness to the universe would not satisfy their cosmic cravings. They want, like Hodgson, a universe of “ineffable Love and Wisdom.” The contemplation of the fact of their existence as percipient beings against all odds and the magical discoveries of science about how things work and came to be cannot satisfy their unquenchable thirst for mysticism. Join that unquenchable thirst to a belief that one is too intelligent to be fooled by a trickster and you have a perfect formula for gullibility among the learned.

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See also magical thinking, mentalist, spiritualism, and “A Short History of Psi Research” by Robert Todd Carroll.

Have oil companies suppressed technology?

Via Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know – YouTube.

As oil supplies dwindle, it seems everyone is searching for the next big energy breakthrough. Oil companies are doing the same thing — at least, that’s the mainstream view. So why don’t conspiracy theorists believe them?

Amazing new illusion

Richard Wiseman

Gilad D sent me this great new illusion – amazingly the dots are always moving in a straight line!

tumblr_mrsjwox3jJ1r2geqjo1_500

Like it?

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Essay: Conspiracy Theories

jfk
Political Paranoia Is Everywhere, but Even False Notions Tell Us About the Anxieties of People Who Believe

By JESSE WALKER via The Wall Street Journal – WSJ.com

This November will mark the 50th anniversary of two events that are of special interest to conspiracy buffs. One is the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a killing that has spawned dozens of theories about the hidden forces that allegedly carried out the crime. The other is a lecture the historian Richard Hofstadter delivered at Oxford, which Harper’s later published under the title “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” Half a century of scholarship has either built on or pushed back against Hofstadter’s conclusions, some of which don’t hold up very well. But it remains the most widely cited essay on American political paranoia.

Some conspiracies are real, of course, but even a conspiracy theory that is entirely false has truths to tell us about the anxieties and experiences of the people who believe it. More, it tells us something about the ways people perceive the world.

xxx

Some people saw the face of satan in the World Trade Center smoke.

On 9/11, a Brooklyn, N.Y., photographer named Mark Phillips climbed to his roof and snapped photos of the burning World Trade Center, which were then distributed by the Associated Press. Later he learned that people were seeing an unexpected image in one of the photographs. When he examined the picture he saw it, too. “The image I saw was distinct,” he later wrote. “Eyes, nose, mouth, horns.” There, in the contours of the smoke, he found the face of Satan.

Search online and you’ll see still more 9/11 pictures in which people have perceived the shapes of demons. There is no shortage of theories about what the faces mean, from the Christian conspiracist who said they were a glimpse of the devil boasting to the Muslim writer who declared they were a warning from God “that the use of terrorism is never permitted in Islam.”

Then there is the explanation I prefer. The faces are the result of apophenia, the process of projecting patterns onto data. More specifically, they are pareidolia, in which those patterns are perceived as meaningful shapes or sounds. It is pareidolia that allows us to . . .

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UFO research is up in the air: Can it be scientific?

Sharon_hill_80pxBy Sharon Hill via The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry – CSI

A few months back, a British anomaly investigation organization announced the possible death of UFOlogy. They admitted that failure to provide proof that UFOs were extraterrestrial craft and a decline in the number of UFO reports suggests that aliens do not exist after all. Was this the end of “UFOlogy”—the study of UFOs? “No way! It’s alive and well here,” said the U.S. UFOlogists. So it is. But what is the real status of the study of UFOs?

Seth Shostak: The UFO BestiaryThe UFO research field is having a bit of a crisis these days. Reports come in by the hundreds. There are not enough people to investigate them. Yet, decades of UFO research by private and military organizations have resulted in disappointment for those who surely thought there was something out there to reveal. Many of the historic figures of UFOlogy are aging or have passed away. Who is doing the work now? And what exactly are they doing?

The major organization remaining in the U.S. for investigating UFO sightings is MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network. MUFON is not in good shape. Their stated mission is to conduct scientific investigation of UFO reports for the benefit of mankind. But there is dispute about their ability to actually do that. The current version of MUFON, according to those observing the situation, is focused on everything except proper UFO investigation and is nowhere near scientific. Membership in the organization has fallen off and some local MUFON groups are disgruntled. Leadership upheavals over the past few years may have been distracting and overall, they are experiencing a serious case of mission creep.

MUFON consists of chapters covering each state across the country who operate somewhat independently with members paying dues to the main headquarters. They promote a scientific method. But do they actually accomplish that goal? Recent commentators say no, they do not. The focus in local MUFON chapters meetings these days is decidedly unscientific with talks on alien abduction, conspiracy theories, human-ET hybrids, hypnotic regression, and repressed memories. That’s a wide range of pseudoscience in one place. It’s dragging down the credibility of the entire subject as well as missing the point of improving actual UFO investigations.

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