Save Your Money: There Are No Lost Souls or Dark Energies in Your Home

There should be some standards regarding what gets published in a newspaper, right? Not when your newspaper’s parent company is owned by the same guy who owns Fox News Channel. But let’s make this clear:

It’s a problem to publish an article with the headline “Releasing lost souls or dark energies from your home.”

It’s a problem that the writer’s top qualification is that she was voted “Australian Psychic of The Year” in 2010. (Did she lose her powers since then? Who voted? Who ran the contest? So many questions!)

It’s a problem that this was listed in the “Experts” section:

So let’s see what Elisabeth Jensen advises us to do to save our homes from the evil invisible spirits:

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Examples of Pseudoscience You May Have Forgotten to Be Angry About

Some woo just needs to die. Esther Inglis-Arkell at io9 rounds up ten particular examples of nonsense and pseudoscientific beliefs that have overstayed their welcome.

A few of them will be some of the greatest hits you’d expect, like vaccines and autism, homeopathy, and the Chopra-esque quantum-this, quantum-that.

Others were useful reminders that elicited an “oh yeah, that is a bunch of bullshit” from me, such as “baby genius” programs that purport to spark a kids’ mushy brains at infancy into superintelligence by way of Mozart in the womb and whatnot, or the idea that we can have memories of places and events etched into our DNA. (“We’re not salmon,” she reminds us.)… [Read more...]

Even at a “Spiritual Hot Spot,” How Did a CNN Reporter Fall for a Cold Reading?

CNN’s Jessica Ravitz spent two weeks in Rishikesh, India earlier this year on a global religion reporting fellowship. The city, famously visited by the Beatles in 1968, is known as “the world capital of Yoga.”

Her long piece offers a fascinating glimpse into a city overrun by pseudoscience. What’s especially frustrating, though, is how easily Ravitz seems to fall for the cold readings of “psychics” there.



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Two Preteen Girls Stab a Friend 19 Times to Please “the Slender Man,” a Recent-Vintage Internet Monster

When myths and superstitions take hold in impressionable minds, the results are sometimes deadly. Even brand new myths have that potential.

Case in point: Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, two 12-year-olds from Wisconsin who, on Saturday, stabbed a friend multiple times “to please a mythological creature they learned about online,” according to the AP story.



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Two Years Later, the Indian Skeptic Who Debunked a “Miracle” is Still in Exile in Finland

Sanal Edamaruku — a.k.a. “the Indian James Randi” — has debunked a lot of sacred cows in his life. In 2012, after explaining how a statue of Christ could be dripping water seemingly on its own, he was charged with “hurting the religious sentiments of a particular community.” The “crime” could have resulted in a prison sentence of up to three years in addition to a fine, so Edamaruku fled from his home before he could be punished (or physically attacked).

Since then, Edamaruku has been in Finland. And according to Samanthi Dissanayake of BBC News, he still can’t go back home:

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