Here is this week's summary of the swindling, finagling and obfuscating occurring around the world this week courtesy of Doubtful News.
It was monstrous week at Doubtful News - the source for all Bigfoot and Loch Ness Monster news (because it's all doubtful). This was a disappointing week for monster lovers and rational thinkers alike as the media delivered uncritical coverage of really awful cryptozoological news. First, Bigfoot. Melba Ketchum grabbed the spotlight again by promoting her study from the beginning of the year repackaged with video footage promoted by Adrian Erickson that was supposed to come out with the study months ago.
Once you see that the footage is just terrible, blurry and matches too well with a mask of a certain tall hairy Star Wars character, you feel duped. Ironically, Erickson has curtailed release of the footage as part of a documentary because of all the hoaxing buzz going on right now.
Along with that story, photographs surfaced in Pennsylvania that are supposedly of Bigfoot.
This glommed onto the Ketchum-Erickson press conference coverage even though the photos were ridiculously vague. It took all of a day for Doubtful News to post that the photos were of an uprooted tree. Yet, the media coverage was international and hardly critical at all! This is why we need organized skepticism. While Doubtful News carried the full story of the problems with the discredited Ketchum study and the obvious dismay at the poor quality video we were told was Bigfoot, the sensational headlines got a hundred times more attention. Bigfoot was talked about around the water cooler again and what gets remembered from this fiasco? That they have "evidence" of Bigfoot. Nonsense proliferates.
Loch Ness was also hopping with hoaxing. Last August a photo of a hump surfaced taken by tour boat guide George Edwards. Soon after, it was established that this was a hoax involving a fiberglass prop from a TV show. Edwards caused problems with the local business group by bad-mouthing the other Nessie research establishments. This week he admitted he hoaxed the photo because he needed people to believe there was a monster in the Loch for tourism sake.
He is unrepentant. Yeah, that makes me want to visit the Loch - knowing it's all about the money they can squeeze from tourists. Keeping Nessie in the media eye is essential. That's why this story resurfaces every so often, blaming Nessie for a speed boating death.
After a win in the Marks case, we see a similar case on trial in Manhattan - a psychic "life coach" on trial for swindling.
In the U.S., there are still officials in Texas pushing the idea of alternatives to evolution to be written into textbooks. It's getting to be more of an uphill battle, a strategy that clearly will not work in the long run.
In India, officials are starting to prosecute violators of the Dabholkar anti-superstition law.
Maybe they didn't get the news in Iraq that those dowsing bomb detectors are fraudulent. They are still being used.
A new study out suggests that the pertussis/whooping cough outbreak is connected to vaccination refusal by wealthy parents.
Hawaii is experiencing a strange surge in cases of liver problems that may be associated with a diet supplement.
And finally, even with the government shutdown in D.C. this week, a big story was the reported sighting of a mountain lion in the city limits. No sign of the cat was found.
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Sharon Hill runs Doubtful News, a unique feed of news stories about the paranormal, pseudoscience, the weird and the unexplained with questioning commentary.