Tragedy, A Lifetime of Superstition, Medium Not at All Well Done, We Sure Get Letters, Organized Quacks, Iowa County – A New Level of Idiocy, It’s a Neologism!, Real Stuff, Find Us On YouTube, and In Closing…
Madeline Kara Neumann, 11 years old, died a horrifying death recently. She died from ignorance.
No, not her own ignorance. She was an innocent victim of her righteous parents’ unknowing error. They were led to believe that there exists an invisible deity – somewhere in the sky – who has absolute power to subvert the laws of nature that govern our real world, and they chose to believe that strange notion because everyone they knew and trusted had similarly opted to accept this mythology that has created and supported a vast network of priests and organizations that depend upon the public’s naivety and ignorance. It’s called religion.
Char Charred, A Good Move, The Other Way Around, Censorship in India, I Didn't Know That, Correction, That "Assignment," Wisdom From Sylvia - Book Review, The Dreaded Randi Doll, and In Closing..
Reader and frequent correspondent Dr. Jan Willem Nienhuys reports that I just appeared on Dutch TV – on one of the public, not the commercial, stations – in a program named “Zembla.” This program staff visited the JREF recently to video a session in which I disassembled a Char Margolis performance of the same old "cold reading" process on her highly-popular TV program in Holland. Writes Dr. Nienhuys:
[Your input] was combined with comments by a professor of psychology, Prof. Dr. J.A.P.J. Janssen, who is in Cultural and Religious Psychology at the University of Nijmegen. He said all the kinds of things that skeptics say. He was invited to have a reading done – on camera – at the house of Robbert van den Broeke, another Dutch “psychic.” [See several references on SWIFT] He wasn’t impressed.
This program Zembla did go to great lengths to expose Char, traveling all the way to interview you. They also did some research and located a few disgruntled people who were not so positive about their readings. One of them, Marian van den Hul, had a reading that was broadcast on the Char show. Marian's husband had died and she was left with two young children. Marian was not convinced that Char contacted her dead husband:
He Has Passed Away, Compulsive Grubby, One Faker Endorses the Other, It’s a Start, Another Epiphany, Interesting, A Potential Applicant, Commendable, Jamy Speaks, Readers Digest Gets Its Lumps, In Closing…
I lead off this SWIFT entry with sad but rather expected news. Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, who was kind enough to write a flattering introduction to my book, “An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural,” has passed away at his adopted home in Colombo, Sri Lanka, at the age of 90. He left written instructions that his funeral be strictly secular, and had directed that "Absolutely no religious rites of any kind, relating to any religious faith, should be associated with my funeral."
One of the most successful series of the 1970s was Happy Days, which is set in the late 1950s, early 1960s in Milwaukee, the heart of middle-class America. Happy Days tells the story of the Cunninghams, one of America's most beloved TV families.
In 1978 or 79 James Randi appeared as himself "The Amaz!ng Randi." During a benefit show that the lead character had arranged for a local orphanage. The magician that was hired to perform suddenly fell ill before the show even started. The Fonz recommended The Amaz!ng Randi as a replacement for the show.