***Update***: Edmund Scientifics has responded to this post here. They say they’re transitioning the products to a different part of their website, but 1) They’re still in Psychology as I type this and 2) They’re still being sold without a disclaimer (or anything similar) that it’s fake science.
If you were looking to pick up awesome science-based gifts for friends or family members, Edmund Scientifics seems like a great site to visit. They have all the gifts you would expect to see in a science store — telescopes, crystal growing kits, a plethora of magnets, etc.
But they also sell a lot of pseudoscience.
Paranormal investigator Joe Nickell explored and debunked that whole idea over a decade ago:
Although the Kirlian aura was claimed to present information about the “bioplasma” or “life-energy” of the object, actually it is only “a visual or photographic image of a corona discharge in a gas, in most cases the ambient air.” Moreover, experiments have failed to yield any evidence that the coronal pattern is related “to the physiological, psychological, or psychic condition of the sample,” but instead only to finger pressure, moisture, and other mechanical, environmental, and photographic factors (some twenty-two in all). Skeptics observed that even mechanical objects, such as coins or paper clips, could yield a Kirlian “aura” (Watkins and Bickel 1986).
There’s also a CD of Astral Sounds:
Imagine a safe, natural high inducing pleasurable feelings and emotions that in turn eliminates depression and pain. Astral Sounds professes to do just that.
You would hope that a store that wants to support “science hobbyists and engineering enthusiasts” would do a better job of making sure the products they sell are legitimate examples of science at work.
They need to remove their pseudoscientific products from the site.
(Thanks to Danni for the link!)