June 3, 2005

Be Assured They'll Find a Spook, Random House Joins the Dark Side, Education Boston-Style, Education Netherlands-Style, I.D. Redux, A Preliminary Test for the JREF Prize Is Completed, Condensed Water, Announcement, Results From Down Under, So Much Fuss With So Little Evidence, More Damn Dog Capsules, Penta Water Colleague Goes Into Reverse, and In Conclusion....

Table of Contents:


Reader Jesse Torres is the Park Manager of the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, and he has written to tell us about an interesting event, and to ask a question:

The Yuma Territorial Prison operated for 33 years, from 1876 to 1909. During that period, there were 111 deaths, the majority of which were from tuberculosis. Eight convicts were shot while trying to escape, two drowned in the river, some committed suicide and others murdered their cell mates. And one convict was executed. With this history you'd think the old pen would be full of ghosts. Not true. I have worked here over 23 years and have only seen one "ghost."

It happened one November long ago. I arrived at work at 5:15 a.m. There was a full moon that night, and may I say that the moonlight really adds an eerie look to the main cell block corridor, which is now exposed to the elements.

I unlocked the side gate that is between the museum and the cell block corridor. As I glanced to my left, I saw a large object floating down the main cell block. My first reaction was that I wanted to run to get away from this thing. But no, I needed to find out what it really was, so I started walking toward it.

When it was 20 feet way, I realized what I was seeing. The "ghost" was a hobo, a transient. He had a blanket over his head and around his shoulders, and it was dragging on the ground, so in the moonlight he appeared to be floating — something straight out of an old Boris Karloff movie. Later, I thought about how easy it is to be fooled by what we see.

That has been my one and only contact with the "paranormal."

My inquiry is in regard to "paranormal investigations." While I am a skeptic, I am allowing a ghosthunting group from Phoenix to come down on June 18th, 2005, to do an "investigation." Personally, I believe that most ghosthunters are frauds and doctor up the photos that they take.

Is paranormal investigation a science?

I answered Mr. Torres:

No, it's hardly a science, Jesse, as practiced by the typical "ghosthunter" groups. It's a process whereby overly-instrumented zealots tune their "detectors" far up the scale, and if they register anything — a change of temperature, a draft, creaking or thumps, any magnetic or electromagnetic signal, a glow or flash that's not immediately explained — they think they've registered a paranormal event. But, I really don't think that — as you suggest — they're "frauds" and that they "doctor up the photos." Those I've known are not dishonest, merely deluded, and the photos they get are usually rather fuzzy and don't need any "doctoring" to appear mysterious. See my comments at www.randi.org/jr/051702.html — do a search for "orbs."

I must inform you, however, that there is much real science in parapsychology. For example, Dr. Richard Wiseman — who will be our guest and speaker again at The Amaz!ng Meeting 4 — has carried out several splendid research projects, though these have not been greeted with cheers by most of the parapsychological community because of their negative results.

Aside from that, if you'd not followed your "ghost" that November evening and discovered its actual identity, you might have been reporting something to me for which you had no explanation, and that would have been seized upon as bona fide evidence of The Yuma Prison Phantom....!


Reader Kevin N. Haw reports a very disappointing fact:

While perusing Random House's website, I took a moment to look into their collection of mathematical titles at www.randomhouse.com/category/mathematics/. In addition to a wide array of interesting books dealing with everything from advanced mathematical topics to third grade arithmetic, I was quite surprised to find a book titled "Numerology for Baby Names" by Phyllis Vega, a professional tarot reader who has penned other books on that subject and on Celtic Astrology. The fact that the book was sandwiched between two trade paperbacks about Fermat's Last Theorem — one of the great, legitimate mathematical mysteries — was only slightly less amusing than the categorization of the work as "Mathematics — Number Theory" in Random House's catalog (see www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780440613909).

I will soon be sending a letter to Random House to suggest that the work be recategorized, but I am unsure where it best fits. I was hoping you and your readers might help. Ms. Vega's earlier "Numbers and You: A Numerology Guide for Everyday Living" is listed under "Body, Mind & Spirit," but I can't help but wonder if "Fiction — Fantasy" or "Fiction — Humor" might be more appropriate. Then again, given that the book lists for $19.00, perhaps "True Crime" might be a better choice.


Obviously as a result of mysterious synchronicity — see Mr. Torres’ account above — a letter dealing with ghosthunters also arrived from reader John Ruch of Boston, Massachusetts:

The world of nonprofit adult education organizations is another fount of nonsense "classes" in fantastical subjects. In these organizations, any self-styled expert can sign up to teach a usually expensive course in any subject. My hometown organization is the Boston Center for Adult Education (BCAE), which offers an impressive array of quality courses, but also a heap of fantastical ones including "Contacting the Other Side: An Evening with Psychic John Holland," "Past-Life Regression," "Reflexology," "You and Your Energy: Exploring Auras and Chakras," and "Ghostbusters!: The Science Behind Paranormal Investigations." The latter course is in the "Natural Sciences" category and is taught by a credulous "ghost hunter." You can read about these offerings for yourself at www.bcae.org.

The following is a letter I just sent to BCAE. If I get any response at all, I'm sure it will involve indignant protest and a dissertation on the value of pandering to people. But at least I've assuaged my guilt for signing up for one of their (real-world) courses. I'm also considering attempting to create a course in skepticism for their program as a positive contribution.

The letter:

I am highly disappointed that your organization, which offers many useful courses, also presents fraudulent classes about "past-life regression," "auras," "psychics," and similar fantasies. Particularly galling is your categorizing of the "Ghostbusters!" course as Natural Science; on its own terms, the course is supernatural, not natural, and on the terms of those of us who live in the real world, it is not science at all.

According to your mission statement, your organization exists to "foster personal and professional development, enhance a sense of community, and encourage social responsibility." These types of courses may contribute to a twisted type of "community." But there is certainly no personal development in returning to a medieval world of ghosts and bogeymen, and there is absolutely no social responsibility in offering expensive, uncritical courses about subjects that have never demonstrated any validity whatsoever. I note your course descriptions often couch the ludicrous claims of these frauds by posing them as rhetorical questions or prefacing them with "some say..." This compounds the fraud by showing that you know better, when it is clear there is no questioning involved in the courses.

Your booklet also mentions that, "The BCAE exercises great care when selecting instructors." I am curious to know what rigor you applied to selecting "psychic" John Holland, for example (besides his book sales figures) because if you determined that he actually speaks with the dead, you have made a discovery of monumental significance that should be shared with everyone and will surely secure you a Nobel Prize.

Again, I am impressed with the depth of your course offerings and plan to take one myself (in a real-world subject). But one con is one too many.

It appears that with guys like John Ruch monitoring the Boston area, we can relax a bit, knowing that the fort is being run by a call-em-as-you-see-em commandant. We need a few score more such vigilant observers, and that's one reason we make such a fuss over the situation in our places of higher learning. I anticipate that John might hear something from the Boston Center for Adult Education to the effect that these courses aren't really part of any curriculum, but just for amusement; there's no amusement in lies told to misinform.

And, strangely enough, I don't find that "psychic" John Holland has ever applied for the JREF million-dollar prize! If he did, I'd have to find someone in the area who would conduct the preliminary test. Lemme see, who could do that....?


Reader Michiel Mans also writes us about educational standards in his country:

In your commentary last week you wrote about the Smithsonian Institution and its backward-traveling path. In the Netherlands it isn't just one scientific institute or university, it's the Minister of Education herself, Maria van der Hoeve, who wants a preliminary debate among academics to bring together the various theories and ideas about the origin of life. She is talking of combining evolution, creationism and its camouflaged version "intelligent design." Her idea is that if the various theories can be connected, this can be introduced into school curricula. No prizes for guessing what her own ideas are on the matter. Of course this no-brainer will be happening at the taxpayers' expense. A letter about the matter is on the way to the ministry.

If you think this is bad, it can get worse: at another ministry, a special "silence hall" has been created in which civil servants can relax. I won't go into the curiousness of this fact alone. At the taxpayers' expense, it has been "energetically de-interfered" by giving it a serious Feng Shui workover. I really needed a drink — for medicinal purposes — after reading this, a stout second one after receiving confirmation of this event from the ministry: "It was the initiative of some of the staff members themselves." I sent an e-mail in which I asked if the taxpayers were picking up the bill for the next initiatives as well. I suggested, for example, free Biostabil hangers with "healthy magnetic properties" or a dowsing of "positive vibrations" by our native fruitcake Jomanda, who has reached your recent columns as well. I perhaps stressed the ludicrous idea of spending taxpayers money on personal whims a bit too far, as I received no reply.

Randi comments: I was able to find references to the "Biostabil" product mentioned above. Apparently it's a neck pendant with magnets built into it so that it puts out "yin and yang" powers, which of course increases your bio-energy... Sounds as if it might be a fake [?] but at €119 [US$147], it's an expensive bit of quackery.


If you had any doubt of the importance of the Smithsonian/creationism matter I featured last week, go to any of these: redstaterabble.blogspot.com/, http://pharyngula.org/, http://evolutionblog.blogspot.com/, or www.pandasthumb.org/ and be convinced. The volume of mail I've received on this situation has been staggering. Quite a few people commented — wisely — that by trying to have the Smithsonian reverse their decision to show the creationist film, we appeared to be interfering with freedom of speech. Since the S.I. is a public agency, it would appear that they cannot refuse to allow the "Intelligent Design" advocates the use of their facility — except that they are also dedicated to promoting science and to not supporting religious claims. I note that the rules of the Smithsonian state that they "co-sponsor" any event that uses their facilities. That, I believe, is a rule that needs re-writing.

Let me clear up an important point here: my offer of $20,000 to the Smithsonian if they would return the creationists' $16,000 was not intended as a "counter-bribe," as some have suggested. However, I admit that it possibly looked like an attempt to suppress free expression of an opinion, which would never be our intention. My stance was that if the Smithsonian could come up with, say, an alternative presentation that would demonstrate their dedication to the support of legitimate science and thus of evolution, and if they were prepared to make a very strong statement to their audiences that they do not endorse or support the creationist notions and do robustly endorse the evolutionary approach, I'd not have had such qualms about the showing of ""The Privileged Planet: The Search for Purpose in the Universe" at the Institution. And, the JREF stands willing to contribute to any counter-presentation that the Smithsonian may care to present.

I must tell you that the dedicated Director of the Smithsonian Institution, Dr. Christian Semper, was quick to contact me and express his sincere concern on this matter, and he immediately set about looking into all the facts that were available. In fact, he issued this official statement on Wednesday:

The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History recently approved a request by the Discovery Institute to hold a private, invitation-only screening and reception at the Museum on June 23 for the film "The Privileged Planet." Upon further review we have determined that the content of the film is not consistent with the mission of the Smithsonian Institution's scientific research. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the National Museum of Natural History supports or endorses the Discovery Institute or the film "The Privileged Planet." However, since Smithsonian policy states that all events held at any museum be "co-sponsored" by the director and the outside organization, and we have signed an agreement with this organization, we will honor the commitment made to provide space for the event.

Well done, Dr. Semper. Your concern for the Smithsonian and for science is well demonstrated and put into action. Though the I.D. pushers will try to put spin on their maneuver here, it will be much more difficult for them to claim support from the S.I. as a result of your statement. In addition, we are told that the Institution is waiving the $16,000 fee, and withdrawing the customary "co-sponsorship" of the event that is implied in their involvement.

This situation reflects a very critical situation in the present status of the ongoing war between reason and superstition. It has become increasingly obvious that the creationists are flailing about trying to borrow or steal validation from science for a distinctly unscientific notion, by any means they can invent. And they have been successful in that goal when their tricks have worked. They borrow scientific terms, superficially apply legitimate scientific findings to their ideas in inappropriate ways, and try to appear to be using reason while actually abusing it. English philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) observed this fact:

Every sect as far as reason will help them, gladly use it; when it fails them, they cry out it is a matter of faith, and beyond reason.

We should be fighting back by using every means at hand short of making the I.D. people into martyrs, which suppressing this film just might have done. I bow to the more sober opinions of persons in whom I place great trust and confidence, in that I agree that showing the film — which will take place June 23rd at the Baird Auditorium, by special invitation only — is a proper and wise decision by the Smithsonian Institution and will satisfy the regulations in place while disarming the creationists of any advantage they may have sought in obtaining this venue.

Let us move ahead by enlisting agencies like the Smithsonian to join us in even more vigorously promoting scientific literacy and education — particularly re evolution — and defeating attempts by those who would have us depend only on the Bible and mythology rather than on Darwin and rationality.


Before we begin, I must explain that in the UK there exists a very useful series of directories for almost every imaginable subject. Government agencies, dance schools, charities, golf courses — all have their own "A to Z" book that tracks them down. One massive set is devoted to names and addresses, a separate volume for each limited area. Nick Pullar is chairman of "Skeptics in the Pub," a friendly discussion group which has monthly meetings at the Old King's Head pub, London Bridge. Tony Youens is a very active investigator of psychic claims. Both Nick and Tony herded the forces into place so that a preliminary test could be done of an applicant who had properly applied to the JREF. Here is Nick's official report:

Report on Angela Patel test held on 28 May 2005.

Angela Patel is a woman who believes that she is able to use her crystal and psychic gift to divine the location of a person in an "A to Z" having been given only that person's name, date of birth and which "A to Z" their address is located in.

Angela contacted the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) in an attempt to win their $1,000,000 prize. To become a claimant for the prize, an applicant must first pass a preliminary test that shows whether they have the capability to succeed under stringent conditions. Since Angela lives in the United Kingdom, the JREF asked Tony Youens to organize a test.

In his own words, Tony began the task thusly:

The first task was to get the applicant to state clearly what she could do and under what conditions.

The next step was to find a mutually acceptable protocol and in fairness to Angela this was relatively straightforward. In brief I needed to obtain the details of a number of people, specifically; names, dates of birth and full addresses (although the post code was deemed unnecessary) and in which "A to Z"s they could be found. Angela was to select three of these from however many were supplied.

Angela lives in London, and to make arrangements easier for her, Tony contacted me to run the test itself. I made contact with Angela, and we both agreed what was going to happen and roughly when. The test date was [finally, after several changes] set for 28 May, the best time for everybody.

(The protocol of the test that was agreed is posted on the JREF forum http://forums.randi.org/ referring to the Angela Patel application.)

Angela arrived a little late for the test, but there was no doubt she was going to show — she had rung to apologize for running behind schedule. After she appeared and we had made the introductions, the protocol was given to her to sign, which she duly did. I then opened the larger envelope containing the envelopes with the names and addresses for the test. Tony had selected them in this way:

In choosing the names I considered the most important thing to guard against was deliberate cheating and so I did not choose the names of any members of the Association for Skeptical Enquiry (ASKE), members of my family or close friends. I also wanted to avoid having everyone come from the same area.

[Condensed for convenience: Ten persons, not affiliated with the Skeptic's group, and who were not informed of the details of the test, were chosen. Six were from Nottingham, four from Liverpool.]

The details of each person's address were written on a piece of card and folded over (to make it opaque) and placed inside a small numbered envelope. This envelope was then placed inside a second, larger envelope which I again numbered, adding the person's name, date of birth and which "A to Z" they were to be found in. Having assembled a list of ten I quickly sent them to Nick....

[Condensed: The data details were checked out. One envelope was removed as invalid data, leaving Angela with a choice of nine.]

Angela made herself comfortable at a table she selected, where she made a small prayer. She arranged her Ouija board, her crystal, and her "Holy Bible" and she was ready. I arrayed the nine envelopes before her, and invited her to choose one; she chose number four. I put the others away and then opened the envelope, which revealed a person whose address is in Liverpool.

Angela offered another prayer, and then went to work. Hardly referring to the envelope, which surprised me, she started on the little pendulum, and moved on to the larger one. After a few minutes, she had opened the Liverpool "A to Z" to a specific page, and then went to work narrowing the search down.

It did not appear that she was using any "search" method; once she made a choice either of a page, or a particular area, she stuck to it. She never changed her mind once she'd made a decision — which is different from how one conducts a search, where you expect to go down blind alleys or make mistakes. The method consisted of first selecting the page, then moving to an area on that page and finally — although this is only a surmise — finding the house number once the street had been chosen. She wrote the address she "received" on a piece of paper and when she was happy with the result, she told me she had finished. I wrote her choice of address onto the envelope, invited her to check that it was correctly written, and she initialed the envelope, as did Tessa, the observer from "Skeptics in the Pub" and myself. Although she was allocated thirty minutes for each of the three tests, she didn't take longer than sixteen minutes, and the other two tests were much shorter — around twelve minutes.

The same procedure was repeated for envelope ten and envelope five — Liverpool and Nottingham addresses respectively.

[Condensed: A small error in marking the envelopes was corrected.]

On the second trial, she had indicated that the gentleman lived in a block of flats [apartments], but she did not give the flat number. I advised her that she needed to give a flat number if one was present. She said she didn't think she had needed to, but I referred her to her own claim at the beginning of the protocol where she said she was able to "provide you with the house/flat number/letter, name of the block of flats or house, if there is one, name of the road, and town/city." I explained that we were testing her claim, and she'd said she'd be able to do just that.

When the time then came to reveal the results there will be no surprises when I say that Angela scored zero correct out of three. She was keen to see if the real addresses were close to what she had discovered, but she remarked with disappointment, "They weren't even on the same page!"

Randi comments: This is something that should be established in advance, that no data-searching — and there always is this desperate attempt to find meaning after the failure is announced — should be allowed, and if unavoidable certainly should not be included in the report. Nick continues:

I asked her if she had any idea why she failed. Her response was to claim that she might have been being blocked with psychic powers from elsewhere, although she stated several times that Tessa and I were not the people blocking her abilities. She did not entertain the thought that her powers did not exist. She "knew" she was psychic because of "things I have experienced and done." In an email to me after the test, thanking me for my efforts on her behalf, she wrote:

...it certainly hasn't changed my views on psychic phenomena, but it was a shame I couldn't change yours. Good luck in the future, by the way did I tell you I can see the future!

I asked her how she had discovered that she thought she had the ability to find lost people on maps. She told me a story where she'd felt she needed to find someone very much indeed, and had successfully used this technique — although it wasn't clear to me from the story how she had validated that the technique had found the person or if other factors might have come into play.

Prior to taking the test she seemed very confident and she said she was amazed that no-one had previously won the prize — she seemed to believe that there is a large group of genuine psychics in the world who can win the prize at any time of their choosing. After the test, I suggested that no-one had won the test because paranormal powers aren't real. She did not believe that suggestion and reiterated her idea that James Randi is a very powerful psychic.

Randi comments: This amazement is common to so many persons who just cannot understand why no person has been able to win the prize. Their assumption is that the powers are real, and that thousands of people have them. The notion that I have powers that defeat those who try for the prize, is also prevalent. I'll point out that I was purposely not informed of the time, date, nor place that the ASKE tests would be conducted, so that my prodigious powers could not be blamed for any failure. That was also a rule in effect before the BBC did their extensive tests of homeopathy, the results of which were broadcast back in November of 2003; I was unaware of the time, date or location of those tests. Nick concludes:

All in all, Angela Patel was an ideal applicant. She was fair and honest in her dealings with me. She was open about what was possible, and what was difficult. If she made an agreement, then she stuck to it... She attempted the test in good faith and using her best efforts and agreed, several times, that everything was done as fairly as possible. It was very disappointing, however, that after her dismal efforts in the test that she will continue to see her clients and presumably want to make a living as a psychic.

I very much enjoyed the test, and I'm looking forward to working with the next applicant (which may be Angela, who said she'd reapply after the year's wait).

Nick and Tony — and all those at ASKE who arranged and conducted the Patel test — we at the JREF thank you for your earnest efforts at assuring that the preliminary test of this claim was appropriately achieved. And yes, I think we'll hear again from Ms. Patel at the end of May, 2006....


Reader Vern Rieck of Merrimack, New Hampshire, has found yet another variety of super-water:

While surfing the great Crank Dot Net site www.crank.net, I found an entry for Life TechnologyTM. One of the products on this site is something called H2X Scalar Wave Activated Water www.lifetechnology.org/h2x.htm. Now I think we've all had our fill, so to speak, of very special waters like this, although this site won't disappoint if you haven't had your fill of pseudo-scientific babble. Scattered among paragraph after paragraph of new-age boilerplate there are a couple of sentences to catch the eyes of the discerning, such as "Due to FDA regulations we are unable to make any health claims for H2XTM Scalar Wave Activated Water" and "Remember we do not add anything material of any sort to H2XTM Scalar Wave Activated Water."

Now here's the punch line: they are not selling mere serving-sized bottles of specially treated water but instead a sort of "concentrate"! You add just 1 milliliter from a vial of H2X Scalar Wave Activated Water to one liter of tap or spring water — take your pick — and voila! you have an entire liter of very special water! They'll be happy to sell you a 30 ml vial of concentrate for just $29.95 U.S. By my figuring, this means that they have found a way to sell good old H2O for the equivalent of $998.33 per liter!

And I found the secret of this wondrous product on their web site. They use:

...state of the art Quantum Star Scalar Wave Generators, Tesla Coils, proprietary Orgone Technology, Radionics Equipment, proprietary Hypersonic Frequency Generator Equipment and Hyperdimensional Sacred Geometry and unique imprinting frequencies to create H2XTM Scalar Wave Activated Water.

So there! Now we know that true science is at work here....


Reader Allen Morris tells us that if you're going to be in Los Alamos next Friday, you have a rare opportunity. There'll be a formal dedication of the Richard Feynman stamp at the Los Alamos post office on June 10th at 1 PM. Scientist John von Neumann will also be honored since he too worked at Los Alamos and is on that same block of stamps.


While we're discussing proper experimental techniques and results of tests, we can go to www.skeptics.com.au/journal/divining.htm and see a report from 1980. In fact, just change the date and location, and the protocol, and this will apply to all such tests. Extracts from the article, which deals with testing dowsers:

When the results were tabulated, 111 tries had been made, with an expected 10% success rate by chance alone, There were 15 successes, 13.5%, a figure well within expectation. But what had the dowsers declared as their expected success rate? It averaged out to better than 92% ... the water tests showed 50 tests total with 11 correct or 22%. The dowsers claimed they would have 86% success....

One thing must be made clear — dowsers on the whole are very honest folk. They believe in what they do. Unfortunately their belief is poorly placed. They cannot perform as they think they can ... But the test, as always, is whether or not they can then discover water, oil, gold or other substance solely by means of this twitching of a forked stick. Tests done in Australia and many other countries of the world indicate that belief in water dowsing, and in all forms of divining, are false and fanciful ... Divining is a delusion, and must be recognized as such...


A perfect example of conspiracy nuttery and of reading significance where there is none, can be found at www.marsanomalyresearch.com/evidence-reports/2005/084/hale-civ-evidence.htm. The site shows clearly how pattern-recognition can deceive the viewer. The author of this material has examined official NASA images at very high magnification — far beyond what the digital data was designed to display — and has "discovered" what he believes is proof of artifacts on the planet Mars. In any digital photo, if you magnify it enough, you'll find patterns. What else you choose to "find" there, is limited only by your imagination and emotional needs....


Go to www.lifetechnology.org/teslashield.htm to see how the opportunists have jumped on the failing Kabbalah craze that we featured at www.randi.org/jr/030405a.html#10. The identical same silly capsule — originated to identify lost pets! — is now available in purple mode as The Tesla Purple Energy ShieldTM. Compare the two in these illustrations, each taken from the respective web-sites. The ONLY difference is the color. Ah, but this marvelous invention is even more powerful than the red model! Consider a small part of what they claim:

The atomic structure of the outer shell of The Tesla Purple Energy ShieldTM has been altered, allowing the atoms and electrons of the aluminum to resonate in tune with the basic energy that causes the particles of every atom and molecule to be in constant vibration. Once the structure of the atoms of the aluminum have [sic] been altered, they will remain in that condition — possibly indefinitely. The plates create a positive energy field around themselves that will penetrate any material substance by osmosis.

Well, I'm starting to laugh at this already, and will continue to do so — possibly indefinitely.

The Tesla Purple Energy ShieldTM energy is said to be beneficial to all life...plant, animal or human. Science has proven that by projecting love or positive energy to a plant, the plant will flourish. The plate energy will also do the same thing to plants. Burns, cuts, aches and pains involve a sudden change to the normal vibration rate of tissue. The theory is that the energy around the plates helps to accelerate the healing and thus return the injured area to its normal rate of vibration.

We have a selection of the favorite buzz-words here: atoms, electrons, energy, osmosis, love, and vibration, to name only a few. This is the language adored by credophiles, bits of reality adorning absolute trash. Moving on, we see that not much has been missed by this scam:

Violet is also the color of the flame of Saint Germain, and corresponds with the 7th energy center in our bodies, also known as the crown chakra.

Now we have religion, both Christian and Vedic! Way to go! Can a cheap mortgage and a car that runs on thought-waves be very far ahead? Read on:

The "Lost Cubit" was discovered in April of 2000 by German astrophysicist Hans Becker. The "Lost" cubit is a previously unknown cubit length which fills a harmonic gap between the "Sacred" and "Royal" cubits of Ancient Egypt. Research and calculations made by Becker indicate that the "Lost" cubit may well have been deliberately omitted from ancient records due to its powerful significance. The "Lost Cubit" is derived from the sum of the polar and equatorial circumferences of the Earth, in inches, divided into the speed of light. It therefore relates to Earth natural harmonics in a special way.

Shame! Shame! Readers will see that this newer nonsense is literally stealing from earlier nonsense. See www.randi.org/jr/031105yet.html#3 for the startling proof!


Reader Christian Burnham has provided us with this interesting news: checking with Proctor & Gamble about our item at www.randi.org/jr/052705a.html#7 and an apparently unwise move by that famous and reputable firm, he received this official answer from a spokesperson:

We are unaware of any advisory board Dr. Nikolai Tankovich is on with P&G, however, we are looking into this. We appreciate you bringing this to our attention and will follow-up with you should we find information that supports this.

As soon as this was received by Mr. Burnham, he checked the "Aquaphotonics" webpage at www.aquaphotonics.com/cnews.htm#b and discovered that the Penta sister company had quickly withdrawn that item from their "news" page! Could it possibly be that this was a blatant lie? Inquiring minds want to know.

Penta recently got another heavy comeuppance. On March 2, justifiably startled by advertising that Penta had published in the UK saying that "Penta is proven to hydrate more efficiently due to its unique structure," and quoting "scientific research" done at the University of California at San Diego and at Moscow University that "Penta improves the environment within your cells," the UK Advertising Standards Authority looked into all the hyperbole and concluded that the information submitted was not sufficient to prove Penta water had health benefits over and above those of ordinary water or was structured any differently from ordinary water. The Authority told Penta to amend their advertisements and to not repeat claims that implied their product was chemically unique, had been restructured or molecularly redesigned, or that it "hydrated cells" and "improved physical performance" better than ordinary tap water.

If the UK can see this situation that clearly, can a similar decision here in the United States be that far away?



If any of you happened to be following the drama that unfolded on eBay this last week concerning a letter written to me back in 1983 by the late Doug Henning, I'll tell you that this letter — which I believed to be safely in my files — turned up on eBay for auction! The whole matter has now been resolved, and the letter is back in my possession, having gone through several adventures that need not be gone into here. I must thank a number of readers who volunteered their assistance, and helped discover the history of this valued artifact. In fact, I'll publish the letter here on our web page next week....

Finally, last week I received a phone call from Dr. Murray Gell-Mann, Nobel Laureate for his discovery of the "quark." He announced that he was calling "from the back of a camel in Egypt," and that he accepted with pleasure my invitation to be the keynote speaker next January at The Amaz!ng Meeting 4 in Las Vegas. This call rather "made my day," and it's my delightful duty to inform you that we will shortly be opening registration for this event. Murray will be competing with the "Mythbusters" team from TV, and so many other stars that we've inserted into our constellation for TAM4. Be there or be square!

Next week, more broadsides from the formidable Brenda Dunne, and we toss a grenade into the lap of CNN's Nancy Grace....