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Sample the Skeptic's Dictionary

medium

Sean David MortonIn spiritualism, a medium is one with whom spirits communicate directly. In an earlier, simpler but more dramatic age, a good medium would produce voices or apports, ring bells, float or move things across a darkened room, produce automatic writing or ectoplasm, and, in short, provide good entertainment value for the money. Today, a medium is likely to write bathetic inspirational books and say he or she is channeling, such as JZ Knight and the White Book of her Ramtha from Atlantis. Today’s most successful mediums, however, simply claim the dead communicate through them. Under a thin guise of doing “spiritual healing” and “grief counseling,” they use traditional cold reading techniques and sometimes surreptitiously gather information about their subjects to give the appearance of transmitting comforting messages from the dead. Subjective validation plays a key role in this kind of mediumship: The mediums rely upon the strong motivation of their clients to validate words, initials, statements, or signs as accurate. The clients' success at finding significance and meaning in the sounds made by the medium are taken as evidence of contact with the dead.>>more

sample Mysteries and Science (for kids 9 and up)

psychic animals

In a nutshell: Psychic animals are animals that some scientists think have ESP. Most scientists think animals can do many great things, but ESP isn't one of them.

One of the more curious claims made by those who study ESP is that they've found animals they claim are psychic. Here we'll mention just four: a dog named Jaytee, a parrot named N'kisi, a cat named Oscar, and a horse named Lady Wonder.>>more

 

 

a blast from the past

Diets, Supplements, and Health: It's Complicated

19 November 2010. A recently published meta-analysis of RCTs involving vitamin E and strokes advises caution in the use of vitamin E supplements. The researchers considered two kinds of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic. In an ischemic stroke, blood supply to part of the brain is decreased, leading to dysfunction of the brain tissue in that area. In a hemorrhagic stroke, blood accumulates due to hemorrhaging. The meta-analysis revealed that vitamin E increased the risk for hemorrhagic stroke by 22% and reduced the risk of ischemic stroke by 10%. "This differential risk pattern is obscured when looking at total stroke." (The study reviewed nine trials that had a total of 118,765 participants.) >>more

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