Paranormal

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Paranormal

Alien or puppet? You be the judge!

Even here at the ASCO meeting, I couldn’t help but be made aware (thanks to Steve Novella and others) about a brand-spanking new video of a supposed encounter with an alien that–unlike all the other dubious videos of alleged alien encounters–according to its maker will really and truly convince you that, really and truly, Aliens…

How on earth did I miss this article, which describes a paper to be published in the journal Neuroquantology showing how teens can actually have telekinetic powers? Oh, wait. Look at the date it was published. Never mind. Not bad, though.

A “magician” trying and failing to kill a skeptic with black magic. It must have been hilarious to watch, especially if one speaks the language. Maybe they’ll find a way to show it on American TV. Maybe I’ll search YouTube when I feel better.

Readers who have followed my little Friday bit of fun every week have probably, like me, at times sat in front of their computer screens, jaw drooping, a little bit of spittle starting to drip out of the corners of their mouths, and eyes agape with wonder at just how anyone on earth could believe…

Sometimes woo jumps out and hits you from sources from which you least expect it. Such was the case earlier this week, when I found my self in Detroit lazily watching a local newscast. Now, I realize that local news is not the place to look for skepticism. Heck, just the other day, I mentioned…

It’s almost here. No, not Christmas, although that’s almost here too. what I’m talking about is the fast-approaching 76th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle, which is due to land at Aardvarchaelogy on Thursday, December 20, right in time for the holidays. (And what better time to indulge in a serious dose of skepticism than in…

…I am as appalled as my fellow ScienceBlogger Mark over this horrifically credulous article on ghosts on This Old House at CNN.com. Here’s a small taste, which comes after a long discussion of how to choose a “good” ghost inspector: If natural explanations cannot be found, and it’s determined that there is indeed a presence…

When Sylvia Browne met James Randi

Ever wonder what would happen if mendacious fake “psychic” Sylvia Browne ever met The Amazing Randi? Now you know. Sylvia just has to watch out for science.

Woo-meisters will not be pleased. While perusing this week’s Skeptics’ Circle, I was reminded of something that I had meant to post about a couple of days ago. I don’t know how he did it or where he got it, but somehow he has found the Holy of Holies for woos everywhere. He found The…

Over the last 15 months that this regular Friday feature has been in existence, I’ve come across some real doozies in the world of woo. Who could forget, for example, quantum gyroscopic theories of homeopathy? Or the DNA activation guy? Or the “no plane” conspiracy theory of 9/11? Or a certain disgusting “feedback loop” for…

As I usually do on Thursday nights, I was perusing my legendary Folder of Woo looking for just the thing to be interesting and entertaining to both me as the blogger and you as the reader. As happens occasionally, nothing was really doing it for me. Nothing was getting me fired up to launch into…

Earlier this week, I deconstructed a truly inane article on Mike Adams NewsTarget website espousing dangerous cancer quackery, with claims that herbal concoctions alone could “naturally heal” cancer. Such a claim wouldn’t have attracted bringing the hammer of Respectful Insolenceā„¢ down if there had been some actual evidence presented that this healer could do what…

Howdy, thar, pardners! The Skeptics’ Circle Saloon is open for business, and, after bein’ away for more than two ears, Brent’s done gone and set up a hum-dinger of a meeting: We rode up to the front of the Skeptic’s Circle Saloon and dismounted. Where once there were only two hitching posts, seven stood in…

The dog of doom

I knew it. I knew it wouldn’t be long before this happened. About three weeks ago, we had the Oscar the Death Cat, a.k.a. the kitty of doom. Given the discussions of animals and death and speculation that other animals might be able to “predict” impending death, you knew it was coming. Behold the Doggy…

It’s here, and it’s on Google Video. I watched it last night, and it was a blistering attack on the irrationality that is so common in our society: Part I begins with Richard Dawkins sitting in on some sort of New Age chanting ceremony (the discomfited look on his face is priceless to watch), after…

The Kitty of Doom

This sort of thing makes one wonder if the personification of Death should in fact be a cat, although, oddly enough, not a black cat: Oscar the rescue cat is not simply a welcome feline companion at the Steere nursing home in Providence, Rhode Island. According to a new report in a medical journal he…

Your Friday Dose of Woo: Five years

Time is important. Our life is measured in it, and there’s no way to reverse it. How we use our allotted time on this planet is, of course, the most important question that anyone ever faces. But how to measure time? It all seems so obvious, doesn’t it? You have years, which are divided into…

In blogging, there are some topics that I know that I really shouldn’t bother with; yet, somehow they suck me in. A number of things can cause that. Perhaps it’s a topic that just gets under my skin to the point where I can’t hold back a commentary, even when I know that it might…

More antiscience from an old “friend”

Yesterday, I discussed how pseudoscience–nay, antiscience–may well triumph over science in the Autism Omnibus trial presently going on. One reason that this might happen is because of the primacy of feelings over evidence among the plaintiffs, to whose power even the Special Masters running the trial are not entirely immune. As a fellow human being,…

Everybody wants to get in on the act

I tell ya, ever since I first posted my infamous You Might Be an Altie If…, it seems that everyone wants in on the action. Not that I mind much. I can’t honestly take credit for the idea; so it would be silly of me to get upset if someone else uses it. This time…

I realize that this blog has become “all dichloroacetate (DCA) all the time.” I think I’ve said what needs to be said in my usual long-winded fashion, and now it’s time to move on to less heavy topics for a while. Tomorrow, we will have another installment of Your Friday Dose of Woo. For a…

Like most people, I like making money. True, it’s not the main goal of my life (otherwise I definitely wouldn’t be in academics), but, all in all, it’s better to be comfortably off than to be poor. And, as I’ve said before, although I could make more in private practice, I don’t do too badly…

Congratulations to Robert Lancaster, purveyor of the fine website Stop Sylvia Browne, a site dedicated to documenting the misadventures and misdeeds of the phony “psychic” known as Sylvia Browne. Apparently she has noticed him. In fact, between Robert, The Amazing Randi, and Anderson Cooper piling on to document her errors and downright callousness towards the…

We see far too little of this in the mainstream media: (Via The Bronze Blog and Memoirs of a Skepchick.) Anderson Cooper is da man!

Adolf, can you hear me?

Since I started this blog, I’ve become aware of all sorts of weirdness and woo. One special category of woo that irritates me is psychics, particularly the ones who claim that they can contact the dead, like Sylvia Browne or John Edward. They are arguably the worst kind of “psychic,” usually using cold reading or…