Here is a rundown of the hoaxes, anomalies and faith-based news of the week courtesy of Doubtful News.
There were a couple of big science discovery stories this week that impact the realm of the mysterious and paranormal. First, a study on rats may shed more light on the phenomena of near death experiences as the dying rats' brains exhibited a sudden burst of activity.
A discovery of a new mammal species was all over the place, mainly because he was cute as a button. But oliguito is no Bigfoot - why this discovery is BAD news for the field of cryptozoology.
I like when really weirdo stories turn out to be true. Like this one: Knee snail.
I also like when we can reveal the truth about scary or mysterious stories in the news. This story about fish nipping at men's private parts was ALL over the major media. It was more or less a hoax. Many have not corrected the story and it was the most clicked for NPR last week.
A priest suddenly appeared as if to answer the prayers of a car crash victim. Sound like a case of Touched by an Angel? No, just people doing their jobs.
Declassified information sheds some light on the mysterious Groom Lake/Area 51. The testing of military aircraft here sparked UFO reports in the 1950s.
Another UFO report solved. Google, testing wi-fi in the sky was responsible for this bizarre transparent object that was troublesome to identify.
Now for the bad news of the week:
Exorcisms are becoming more popular. I lost my cool a bit as I ranted about this very disturbing trend.
Pentecostals preachers in the U.K. have apparently been pushing followers towards faith healing in lieu of taking medication, even for HIV infections.
This was the worst alternative treatment story I've heard in a very long while. A mother is in jail for neglecting to obtain proper care for her daughter who is now in the hospital. She still thinks her methods of homeopathic and naturopathic treatment for serious seizures was the right choice.
One homeopathy manufacturer must "dial down" the health claims for its treatments. They ought to dial down to zero.
Did you know that ghost-hunting groups are a major asset to historical societies that need funds? Sometimes, they are not such a great partner.
Check out this teaser for an upcoming journal article and book on the true origins of the notorious Jersey Devil.
We have two major updates to past stories.
In the case of suspected spontaneous human combustion of an Indian baby, test results were normal (as expected) but there is a small connection to spontaneous fires in the mother's village connected to use of phosphorus, which we KNOW can combust and burn people.
A spooky, Ghostbuster-y video that went all over the world is a hoax. Note how it can be reproduced and also note the curious people mulling about the store at the time of the incident.
Sharon Hill runs Doubtful News, a unique feed of news stories about the paranormal, pseudoscience, the weird and the unexplained with questioning commentary.