I was there when the SciFi channel premiered. I really enjoyed Dr. Franklin Ruehl‘s Mysterious From Beyond the Other Dominion. This show began as a local public access show and, now, here he is on a “science” network. Well, not much has changed except the ability to do some snazzier graphics and actually go out to do some field shots. Otherwise, Professor Weird IS pretty much a showcase for Dr. Ruehl’s quirky, mad scientist persona. It is hilarious.
The best part of this show is the disclaimer which states that ideas in the show do not represent the consensus of science (or something like that. I’m paraphrasing, cause I was too busy laughing out loud at it.)
He has his assistant, Laura, research news events (maybe she should pay attention to this site) and report on her findings to the good doctor who either rules it implausible/a SHAM! or perhaps it is a EUREKA! topic that captures his attention.
The sham stories he exposes constitute a skeptical moment, for sure. Kudos! Dr. Ruehl, however, is NOT know for his skepticism but his entertainment of rather fringe ideas and his particular catchphrases and mannerisms such as “extricating [this information] from its paper prison” and “better than being slapped in the belly with a wet trout”. Comical stuff!
The format of the program is that, after he discusses the potential cases with Laura, he relates some news (again… we have news!) and then goes to investigate two of the research topics Laura has picked out for him. This week, in the first episode, he picked Gravity Hill and alien implants.
For the Gravity Hill piece, a well known optical illusion, they take a car to Altadena to a famous “gravity hill” (there are many) to see for themselves. Of course, the car appears to roll uphill. While I think to myself, “just use a level on the roadway”, he proceeds to use dirt on the car’s trunk to see if they can spot the ghost children’s hand imprints pushing it uphill. Of course, you can imagine how that works out. THEN, he pulls out the level. HURRAY! And, he shows it is indeed a downhill slope and explains why it appears as if the car is rolling uphill. Case closed.
Next, he interviews a woman who claims to have seen the inside of a spaceship and alien hybrid babies. When she was 10. SHE WAS 10! Dr. Ruehl gives her a polygraph test. A POLYGRAPH TEST. (Ok, I’ll stop that emphasizing.) Even though she passes the polygraph, which Dr. Ruehl called “scientifically” verifiable results (ugh, no, not really), he clarifies that her success shows she BELIEVES that which she stated. It is not proof it is true. So, he did not mess up on this. But then…
The doctor and Laura visit a surgeon who says he removed many alien implants. He tells unverifiable stories about the implants moving upon his attempt to remove them. Then, they pull quotes from a lab report that says the pieces of the implants were odd and even attempted to reassemble upon removal. Yikes. As my friends in the U.K. would say, COMPLETE BOLLOCKS! Yet, Dr. Ruehl says this is plausible. Considering the size of the universe, there MUST be life elsewhere and it is conceivable they could be visiting and tracking us. Errr…. No. Not plausible.
So, the half hour show ends with one terrible conclusion but a fun premise. Professor Weird is Dr. Ruehl doing what he does – being the wacky pseudoscientist allowing us to have a little fringe fun with the paranormal. I thought it was a hoot. Just like I enjoyed his other show. There is no way anyone who isn’t already convinced by the weird is going to be convinced by the bespectacled, purple-tied, pinstriped, nose-haired, Dr. Ruehl. The point is, you are rather entertained by it all.