Questionable claims

Universal Medicine group gets more bad press and parliamentary hearing

Quackery

Woman files a complaint after overspending for questionable treatments in Australia. Doctor sent woman for two years of new age healing in a galaxy far, far away for a cough — costing her $35,000 | dailytelegraph.com.au. When a doctor referred Ira McClure for further treatment she had no idea the health facility was supportive of…

Shipton’s iconic 1951 Yeti footprint photos up for auction

Questionable "yeti" print. Shipton.

Christie’s auction house is running their “Out of the Ordinary” online auction, featuring “an eclectic selection of art and ephemera celebrating the joy of the unconventional” through September 3. One of the items up for bids are Eric Shipton’s original photos of “Yeti” footprints. Strange Traces of Mythic Beasts  In the years before Sir Edmund Hillary…

Colombia town reports mystery illness in 200 girls but psychogenic illness suspected

fainting

This is what looks to be a textbook case of mass psychogenic illness (crudely known as “mass hysteria”). It is extremely common in schools, the symptoms are vague and non-life threatening and can be psychogenic. The cause is always suspected to be an environmental or medical factor. In this case, the fear of the moment is…

O Canada… true sorcery practice in all thy sons command

shesawitch

Did you know Canada has a law against “pretending to practice witchcraft”? What if you AREN’T pretending. And how can they tell? Fake medium faces sorcery charge… in Canada. An occultist known as Professor Alfoseny, accused of falsely claiming to be a medium, has been charged under an obscure anti-sorcery provision in the Criminal Code…

Will the church argue that this is REALLY the body of Christ?

holy bread

We don’t typically get into religious arguments here but this lawsuit has a physically questionable claim they are attempting to make. Lawsuit pits Catholic archbishop against satanist group over sacred item purported to be used for ‘black Mass’ | News OK. Oklahoma City’s Catholic archbishop filed a lawsuit against a satanist group Wednesday, alleging it…

Mind control victims advocacy group is denied tax exemption

mind control

A group claiming that the government is secretly conducting mind control experiments and damaging citizens has been denied a tax-exempt status by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service IRS Denies Tax Exemption to Mind Control Group. The Internal Revenue Service has denied tax-exempt status to a group that claimed it was dedicated to protecting the human…

It’s probably not the evil gluten

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More evidence that self-diagnosed gluten sensitivity is bogus. Researchers Who Provided Key Evidence For Gluten Sensitivity Have Now Thoroughly Shown That It Doesn’t Exist. In one of the best examples of science working, a researcher who provided key evidence of (non-celiac disease) gluten sensitivity recently published follow-up papers that show the opposite. The study was…

NASA Propellant-less Propulsion Story Gains More Momentum than it Should

Virtual pairs near electron by RJ Hall (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Several news stories have made the rounds this week regarding an apparent microwave space propulsion system with no on-board propellant. NASA validates “impossible” space drive (Wired): Nasa is a major player in space science, so when a team from the agency this week presents evidence that “impossible” microwave thrusters seem to work, something strange is…

Ebola outbreak out of control and misinformation helps it spread

ebola_micrograph_0

The Ebola outbreak is putting plenty of people on edge and creating problems. Now we have faith healers saying they are treating it. GREAT! THIS IS ALL WE NEED! Nigerian official warns pastors and healers to stop making false Ebola-cure claims. African governments are doubling down on efforts to contain the widening Ebola outbreak in…

Absurd idea for video enhancement to “capture proof of ghosts”

HIT tech

$50K for a video service to see ghosts, or should I say more rightly, anomalies that people will say are ghosts. TVTechnology: New Video Enhancing Service Looks to Find Ghosts. The creator of a new Hidden Intelligence Tracking (HIT) technology is seeking crowdfunding under the auspices of helping users capture video proof that they are…

Science-based medicine writer sued by threatened doctor

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It is not rare for purveyors of woo to resort to legal threats against skeptical advocates. They don’t have the facts in their favor so they use baseless threats. Well, not so baseless. Several cases have resulted in financial worries for those who are attempting to inform the public about dubious products, people or nonsense.…

A rare case of Munchausen By Proxy does not mean the syndrome is increasing

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Last month, we posted the shocking story of a mother who apparently poisoned her own child in order to gain sympathy and attention. She now faces court. The case will likely be studied by psychologists to gain more insight into Munchausen By Proxy syndrome. Experts: Lacey Spears Case May Shed Light On Munchausen By Proxy…

Witnesses say man catching on fire was “supernatural”

fire

This headline is slightly deceiving. For hits, I suspect. Man wakes up on fire in Edmonton home; witnesses call it spontaneous combustion. The truth is there seems to be nothing to connect this to spontaneous HUMAN combustion. That is, people just bursting into flames for no obvious reason does not really happen. A man suffered second…

Did officials cover up an anaconda on the loose in NJ? (UPDATE: No evidence of snake)

Green anaconda - suspected to be the type on the loose in New Jersey

It looks like they did. Not helpful. But see update below. Reptile Expert: Snake On Loose In NJ Actually An Anaconda « CBS New York. A reptile specialist leading the search for a snake on the loose in Lake Hopatcong now says it is a green anaconda, not a boa constrictor, as officials had maintained.…

Discovery Channel: Jumped the shark long ago, now just despicable (Update: More despicableness)

Fake shark used in Discovery media hoax in Lake Ontario

Once again, Discovery Channel shows they are not science-based and will even pull unethical stunts to get ratings. Epic. Fail. We posted the link in the leftovers of 16-July to the story in Canada’s National Post about a video that purportedly showed a bull shark spotted in Lake Ontario. The best answer at the time…

Human-like depictions in Indian cave art? Nope, aliens.

India alien paintings

I need a shortcut name for these ridiculous evidence-devoid stories that make you scratch your head as to WHY it would be printed in any media outlet except as a joke. In this story, the depictions must be aliens because… because… it makes for a snappy headline. Who needs evidence? 10,000-year-old rock paintings depicting aliens…

Michigan: Another Pacu Panic?

Pacu from Wikimedia Commons (CC0)

Another specimen of the South American piranha relative has been caught, this time in Michigan. Doubtful News has previously covered pacu stories from Denmark, Paris and New Jersey, as well as the panic associated with unsourced “testical eating” claims about the species. Fortunately, some of the coverage has been less credulous this time around, though…

Skeptics in Vegas: The Amazing Meeting 2014 brought cheers, smiles and a call for education

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The premier gathering for advocates of evidence-based skepticism and critical thinking, THE AMAZING MEETING (TAM), the annual conference run by the James Randi Education Foundation, took place from July 10-13 in Las Vegas. James (The Amazing) Randi, aged 85, one of the world’s greatest living magicians and conjurers, was very accessible throughout the several days, taking photos…

Ketchum wants you to help fund her study on human origins

elongated-skull-paracas

Melba Ketchum, veterinarian, is asking for $9000 to study elongated “human” skulls. It must be because she did so well with the Sasquatch genome study. She is spearheading a GoFundMe campaign to raise money. Ancient Human Origins, N American Giants by Melba Ketchum – GoFundMe. We have been doing genetic studies on the origin of…

Nature pulls two papers on stem cells after investigation shows serious problems

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Nature publishes retractions of two high-profile papers that claimed a major advance in the field of stem cells. Science journal retracts paper on stem cell discovery. The scientific journal Nature Wednesday retracted two stem cell papers that received national attention when they were published in January. The paper by researchers from Harvard University and Japan’s…

Skeptics give FDA a smack upside the head about Burzynski

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The Center for Inquiry has requested in a letter to the head of the Food and Drug Administration requesting a reversal on its decision to green-light clinical trials of Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski. Stop Burzynski’s Dangerous Cancer Treatments, Science Advocates tell FDA | Center for Inquiry. The letter can be read here [PDF]. It states: It is our understanding…

Kamal-Ji, devotee of Sai Baba, charged with fraud

Yet another “spiritual healer” accused of fraud. I sort of like this trend, other than the obvious conclusion that people are still falling for this garbage. This person advertised via flyers and ads but many clients may have come via word of mouth. Since people are apt to trust “advice” from their friends, this is…

The truth will come out about Egypt’s nonsense hepatitis device

From WIPO Patent WO/2011/116782A1

This is extremely annoying. Why are they doing this? The truth will out. (An update from earlier pieces.) It’s a ploy to say “needs more testing”. We noted back in February the dubious claim that a dowsing-rod gadget was claimed to diagnose and cure AIDS and hepatitis. It is a divining device (which DO NOT…