Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Win a date with Sylvia Browne

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on January 22, 2009

Get a load of this. You can win a free psychic reading with Sylvia Browne. Remember her? No? Well here’s how this website describes her amazing powers:

For 17 years, millions of people witnessed the power of Sylvia Browne’s psychic readings on The Montel Williams Show. In fact, psychic Sylvia Browne’s predictions are so amazing, there is a 7 year waiting list to get a psychic reading with her.

In fact her predictions are so amazing, they promted this segmet on Anderson Cooper:

Oh yes amazing indeed. By the way she claims she can’t be correct 100% of the time. I have an idea, why not do good on her promise to take Randi’s Million Dollar Challenge. I can pretty much guarantee he will not require 100% accuracy. Here’s proof of her accepting to take the challenge (which she’s has yet to take).

That was 8 years ago folks. 8 years! And her excuse is that she couldn’t get in touch with Randi. I sent Randi an e-mail a while ago and he answered to me personally within the hour. And he didn’t even know who I was. By the way great job Larry King who couldn’t even follow up on his promise of being the intermediary. 

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Stop Sylvia Browne website up at new address

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on November 1, 2008

As you know the Stop Sylvia Browne domain name was taken over by the credulous, due to a renewal technicality. The origianl Robert Lancaster website is now up at a new address. Stop Sylvia Browne now. Please link to this new address in your blogs.

Stop Sylvia Browne site Hijacked?

Posted in Thinking Is Real by Skepdude on October 30, 2008

It appears the domain/URL for Robert Lancaster’s Stop Sylvia Browne website has been taken over during his recovery from a stroke suffered earlier this year. While it’s unclear how the domain was transferred to the new site owner, there’s no suggestion of hacking or other illegality at this stage.

The alarm was raised in a stopsylviabrowne discussion thread on JREF. It appears the site is now in the hands of someone with a less than skeptical view of the self-professed psychic and the paranormal industry. Here’s one quote from the contact page on the “revised” website:

“Have a psychic story? Whether you experienced a great psychic reading that came true or were sucked into a scam, write to us and we will post your story. If you would like to show your support to the cause of revealing the fake psychics and standing up for those with true gift, please write to us your story and we will post it on our site!”

READ THE REST OF THIS STORY AT “THINKING IS REAL”

Hat tip to Podblack Cat for pointing us to Thinking is Real.

The beast with one back

Posted in Skepbitch by Skepdude on October 24, 2008

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL ENTRY AT “THE SKEPBITCH”

Ghosts have needs too…

Folklorically, a ghost is a manifestation of a deceased person. Ghosts are somehow caught in limbo between the physical world and whatever afterlife in which the believer believes. (Contrast this with a spirit that has achieved the afterlife, but has no physical form.)

There seem to be two main kinds of ghosts, those that follow a routine or pattern conducted during their lifetime, such as repeating a traumatic event. The other kind of ghost has limited interactive abilities, they can materialize if they require the intercession of the living to right a wrong, or lay their bones to rest so they too can access the afterlife.

Or maybe they just appear with their hollow eyes and transparent glow to scare your tits off.

Some of you might recall fictional ghosts that endeavor to interact with the living via a medium, like Patrick Swayze’s insipid character in Ghost. Others ghosts can interact directly with people, such as the sailor in The Ghost and Mrs Muir. Since I’m lately on a roll of unrequited (and unrequitable) love, this movie and tv series focused on the barely restrained sexual tension between a sexy widow and a ghostly, rugged, salty seaman.

But can ghosts do things that the living can do? Do ghosts, like poltergeists, have tactile abilties? Can they touch us, harm us, and even engage in intercourse with us?

My mate Mark Dallas of Toronto sent me a link to an article about actress Jessica Alba who was once reputedly “attacked by a ghost”. Mark further says, “I mention it because I was watching that highly informative and intellectual program Entertainment Weekly, which mentioned another actress (whose name escapes me) who has recently (allegedly) been scratched all over by the ghost of the son of a brothel-keeper.”

Mark’s quote reminds me of a Wuthering Heights quote: “He’s exactly like the son of the fortune-teller that stole my tame pheasant.”

Right…moving on…

According to the article, Alba claims vaguely that on a single occasion she felt “something”, a “presence”, take the covers from her bed before she then felt a “pressure” placed on her body. The crappy tabloid translates this to the explicit: ”Jessica Alba has claimed that she was attacked in bed by a ghost when she was a teenager.” Whatever the cause, the event scared the shit out of her, she ran to the safety of her parent’s room, and implied that she soon left the house, while her parents tried to treat the perceived problem really rationally, “They got it blessed and they burned sage and stuff since then.”

These are non-specific symptoms of a haunting, but what could have caused this incident, and these sensations?

Clearly, this event occurred at least a decade ago, and even the experiencer can’t be a reliable informant for such a dated incident. Especially given the variables of the incident…it was presumably night time, presumably dark, she was presumably nearing sleep, or actually asleep at the time. We are relying on anecdotal evidence, which is kind of like joining a line without knowing what it’s for.

Without being there at the time, or being able to replicate that exact occurrence, we should first consider natural explanations.

A few plausible explanations include parasomnia (nightmare, sleep paralysis or night terror) or even sleep apnea. This is very real stuff.

All of these conditions could engender feelings of pressure, immobility, suffocation, and panic.

Recently, one Doctor Atlantis told me that as a lad he was once awoken similarly by a “pressure” on his bed. His parents answered his screams and the culprit turned out to be a dodgy light fitting that fell from the ceiling, nearly sliced him up a treat. (Until he has children we can’t be sure that he escaped unscathed).

I once watched a particularly disturbing episode of the Montel Williams Show, disturbing not only because Sylvia Browne was a guest, but also because the moll claimed that a teenage boy in the audience was ‘being visited by the ghosts of victims of the American Civil War’. These ghostly soldiers supposedly attacked him as they recreated their battles. What was the evidence for this claim? The kid was covered in tiny cuts. Could he have been into self-mutilation? For some kids, a cockandbull story about ghosts would be less embarrassing than the truth. (

It’s also a possibility that some similar cases of ‘abusive ghosts’ mask abuse by people.

This reminds me of a claim by Anna Nicole Smith (god rest her soul) that she often enjoyed sex with a well-equipped and lusty ghost.

However, now Smith has crossed over, there are claims that she is now a ghost. Perhaps you’ll get lucky guys (and girls, from what I’ve heard…)

(Also, see Sex with a ghost can be quite spirited for a cute overview of this topic, including some patently ridiculous nonsense from paranormal researcher Joshua Warren.)

Then there are the slutty demonic, gobliny and ghostly incubi and succubi, and satan with his ‘ice cold member’.

What do we believe?

The principle of Occam’s Razor teaches us that the more simple explanation is often the correct explanation. The natural, mundane, common answer is the more likely explanation for violent ghosts and ghostly lovers.

Were you attacked by a ghost, or simply having a fucking awful nightmare? Did you have sex with a ghost, or simply have sex with your partner? (…or was it a bloody wet dream you pervert?).

At any rate, I think these raunchy ghosts warrant a deeper investigation…so, to all you ghosts out there reading this…I’m, err… headed off to bed right now if you, um… want to, well, join me…for science…

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL ENTRY AT “THE SKEPBITCH”