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Category Archive: Skepticism

Jan 05 2014

Beware the Detox Fraud

There are a few handy buzzwords that almost always indicate that you’re dealing with pseudo-scientific bullshit (“all-natural,” “balance,” “energy,” “vibration,” etc). And whenever you see a product promising to “detoxify” your body, that should send up a red flag big enough to block out the sun, as Scott Gavura points out.

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Jan 02 2014

‘Psychic’ Scammed $2 Million From Credulous Victim

A woman in Connecticut, coincidentally named Stacy Caputo (presumably no relation to the “Long Island Medium,” Teresa Caputo), says she gave $2 million to the “psychic” who falsely claimed that Lindsay Lohan had assaulted her in a nightclub.

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Jan 01 2014

More 2013 Predictions From ‘Psychics’

It’s always fun at the end of the year to look back at all the predictions made by “psychics” at the beginning of the year. Invariably, you find that almost none of them came true and the ones that did were either so obvious that anyone could have predicted it or so vague that something …

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Dec 31 2013

WXYZ Does Infomercial for ‘Pet Psychics’

WXYZ, an ABC affiliate in the Detroit area, did a story the day after Christmas that was nothing more than an informercial for a couple of con artists presenting themselves as “pet psychics.” The “reporter” who did the story brought her dog in for a reading and this was the result.

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Dec 30 2013

Dr. Oz: Brain Scans Prove ‘Psychic’ is Genuine

Dr. Oz continues his descent into being a colossal fraud with a recent episode in which he brought on another quack doctor to do a brain scan on “psychic” con woman Teresa Caputo (the “Long Island Medium”) and “prove” that her “psychic” powers are real and true while she performs incredibly bad cold readings. Steven …

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Dec 27 2013

Psychic Sued in Texas

We’ve seen a significant ramping up of criminal prosecutions of “psychics” for defrauding their clients, but now an attorney in Houston is suing a local “psychic” for fraud after spending $3200 to have the “psychic” align his chakras so he could find love. The “treatment” didn’t work.

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Dec 16 2013

Guess What? Touchless Karate is Useless

You may recall a few years ago when a Japanese “master” of “touchless karate” who claimed he could knock people down and prevent them from hurting him with the power of his mind got the crap kicked out of him by someone who didn’t buy his bullshit. Now there’s a Finnish guy pushing the same …

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Dec 11 2013

Another ‘Psychic’ Arrested in Florida

On the heels of the convictions of the Marks family for defrauding people under the guise of being “psychic,” another con man has been arrested in Florida for much the same thing. This one calls himself a “faith healer” and promises to align your chakras and all sorts of other wonderful things for an exorbitant …

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Dec 09 2013

Eyewitness Testimony and the Failings of Memory

Sharon Hill has an article in the Huffington Post about the many failings and misunderstandings of how our memory operates and the implications for the use of eyewitness testimony in criminal trials. She starts with a fact that is now very well-established in science:

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Nov 30 2013

Post-Mortem Debunking of Sylvia Browne’s Fraud

The Skeptical Inquirer has a pair of articles looking at the overwhelming evidence that the recently deceased Sylvia Browne was a con artist getting rich by fleecing the credulous. Bryan Farha tells the tale of how he exposed both her lies and her fraud:

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Nov 29 2013

Chopra’s Argument From Authority

chopra

Deepak Chopra has been in a bit of a row with Jerry Coyne and, predictably, has been making highly illogical arguments. Coyne has rightly bashed him for pseudo-scientific blathering and Chopra has fallen back on a blatant argument from authority.

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Nov 24 2013

I Am the New Sylvia Browne

Famed “psychic” Sylvia Browne is dead, which she did not include in her 2013 predictions for the year. She was supposed to be in Michigan a few weeks ago at, of all places, a casino, but she canceled due to health problems. Claiming to be in poor health turns out to be the only true …

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Nov 20 2013

California Psychics Love Freethought Blogs

On Sunday evening I received the following incredibly sincere email from Jennifer Davis of California Psychics. She clearly spent a lot of time exploring Freethought Blogs to determine that our audience would be very interested in being solicited as customers for their fraudulent services.

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Nov 19 2013

‘Proof’ That Humans are Extra-Terrestrial

There’s a new book out by an ecologist that claims that humans were placed here on earth by aliens, perhaps using earth as a penal colony. But he has proof! Hard evidence! What evidence? Oh, you’re gonna love this. We get sunburned. And bad backs. And alien origin is the only explanation.

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Nov 19 2013

New York ‘Psychic’ Gets Long Prison Sentence

This is the latest in a series of high profile criminal cases being brought against “psychics” for fraud. A con woman from Manhattan has been sentenced to five to fifteen years in prison, which was actually longer than the prosecutors had requested.

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