Questionable claims

Jack the Ripper mystery: Back to square one

Jack_the_Ripper

You’ll recall last month this blockbuster story “Jack the Ripper identity confirmed by DNA”. Well, as we suspected… meh. Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has ‘made serious DNA error’ – The Independent. A 23-year-old Polish immigrant barber called Aaron Kosminski was “definitely, categorically and absolutely” the man who carried…

Ebola roundup – facts, fear, fiction

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There are so many news stories out today about Ebola, we’ve grouped them! They all involve questionable claims and hyped fear. FDA cracks down on Ebola scams. At least three companies have been issued warnings by the Food and Drug Administration in the past month for selling treatments, solutions or therapies for Ebola, the deadly virus…

Media continue to promote fearful stories of condition that may not even exist

wifi

Beware of human interest stories that make you sympathetic but use a probably false diagnosis. We’ve had many stories of people feeling incapacitated by environmental sources. But the data for their self-conclusions are poor. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity means Peter Lloyd can’t leave his house… or enjoy any modern pleasures inside. He can’t use mains electricity for…

Hippo living in the Chicago River? Are you kidding me? (UPDATE: publicity stunt)

Screenshot from Youtube

As suspected, this was not real. It was a publicity stunt for a mortgage company. Originally published 23 September 2014 Will people believe anything these days? Yep. They will. Is There Really a Hippo Swimming in the Chicago River?. A video posted on YouTube three days ago claims to show a hippopotamus swimming in the…

Acupuncture or child abuse? Child in China abused by teacher

Photo credit: Tencent News

This would not be called acupuncture in the US, it would be called outright abuse, which it is. Girl gets kidney failure after kindergarten teacher forcibly performs acupuncture on her. A three year old girl was diagnosed with pulmonary infections and kidney failure after her kindergarten teacher in Zhumadian, Henan province allegedly performed acupuncture treatment…

One not too impressive study does not prove life after death

brain

Once again, we see an exaggerated headline and all the eggs metaphorically in one basket. No, this study is not evidence for life after death. First hint of ‘life after death’ in biggest ever scientific study – Telegraph. The largest ever medical study into near-death and out-of-body experiences has discovered that some awareness may continue…

Half-baked ideas about diet, autism and fluoride in Australia

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If you don’t know who “celebrity chef” Pete Evans is, you’re probably not Australian – or you missed several years of TV shows involving food judging, food eating, more food judging and eventually judging of what the audience considers nutrition by one of the judges. To be honest, you didn’t miss much; these shows all…

Fear of underground invasion from North Korea is unfounded

crazy face

Well, this is certainly full of doubtful claims! Thanks to our various tipsters who wanted this story published. Is North Korea still digging tunnels to the South? – CNN.com. Gen. Hahn Sung-Chu never believed North Korea could dig a tunnel that reached Seoul — until now. Standing inside a basement of an apartment block in…

Congregation appears to drink gasoline, pastor says he’s made it harmless

Pastor Lesego Daniel walking all over his people.

Megalomaniacal preacher encourages his followers to drink petrol under the guise of a miracle. If it burns, it AIN’T pineapple juice. This guy can’t even do a conjuring trick and may be willingly poisoning people. Pastor’s petrol performance may endanger congregation | The Citizen. During a recent Sunday service at Rabboni Center Ministries in Pretoria,…

It’s not magically harmonized water – just snake oil

magic water

From the company who brought you nonsensical “drinkable sunscreen” comes more pseudoscience: “harmonized water”. They claim it is done with newfangled technology and mystery waves that people didn’t learn about in school and that their products are able to produce beneficial effects. Firm denies quackery claims. A New Zealand company selling bottles of water it claims…

FDA issues warning letters to companies marketing Ebola “cures”

Quackery

We love to post stories about the FDA doing its job to product consumers against questionable drug claims. Yesterday, the FDA announced they sent warning letters to three business entities more or less telling them to stop advertising bogus cures for Ebola. Medical Countermeasures Initiative > 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa. FDA has issued…

Vampire sighting “study” – Where’s the data? (UPDATE: Nowhere)

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Three UK papers ran this same sloppy story which appears to have come from some press release. None of them included info about this “study”, who did it, the details, or where the data came from. So, it’s useless to gain any meaningful information – we are left with a teaser that people will only misinterpret…

Kevin Trudeau Appeals Conviction: Says the government messed up the case

trudeau

As expected, Kevin Trudeau appealed his conviction on contempt of court charges that sent him to prison for 10 years. This article also give us some insight into why we still see his dubious books for sale and his ridiculous infomercials on TV. Infomercial Scammer Kevin Trudeau Appeals Conviction – Consumerist. The appeal contends that…

‘Telepathy’ experiment suffers from overzealous news editors

telepathy

The headline sounds magical and makes people excited for the reality of psi but… take a closer look. This is not psychic, it’s technology. ‘Telepathy’ experiment sends 1st mental message – Yahoo News. For the first time, scientists have been able to send a simple mental message from one person to another without any contact…

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…