Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I Can't Believe It's Not Bowen!

Via HorsePoint EoR learns that yet another equine woo is set to make a marketing push in Australia: Equine Touch.

Horse owners and equine professionals in New South Wales will soon have the opportunity to attend or even host courses in Equine Touch, the gentle form of bodywork that is experiencing an unprecedented rise in popularity throughout the US, UK and Europe, when a new instructor starts running courses across the state later this year.

Why is there always a new therapy every few years that is experienceing "an unprecedented rise in popularity"? Could it be that the old (but just as popular) therapy didn't deliver? And note: popularity, while it starts with the letter "p", is not the same as proof.

The article includes a section "About Equine Touch" which, with its mentions of "unique... miraculous results... innate healing system... energy patterns and emotional armour... premier equine care discipline", is quite clearly JAUEW (Just Another Unproven Equine Woo). This is only scraping the surface of how deeply unscientific, unproven, and unsupportable the claims for this magic are though. Take a look at the homepage for this modality (EoR uses the term "modality" in the sense of "something to extract money from horseowners").

Equine Touch is a non-diagnostic, noninvasive, energy and connective soft tissue discipline which works at a complete holistic level; that is, it addresses the equine as a whole without paying any particular attention to any named problem as such.

It's so "holistic", it's also "complete"! Not only that, it treats the "equine as a whole" as well! Luckily, since it doesn't actually treat anything, there can be no failures either. Like all woo treatments, it does something indefinable to "energy" to "rebalance" the horse's "innate healing power":

These procedures when performed with Accuracy, Integrity and Intent (A.I.I.) have the effect of inducing deep relaxation, releasing hypertonic and traumatized muscles, encouraging muscle tone recovery from injury and atrophy, reducing the pain spiral, and assisting in detoxification and lymphatic drainage. The horse through these series of gentle moves is trained to rebalance not only physically but emotionally, energy blocks are released, unwanted structures appear to dissolve, and the flow of Ki is stimulated through the meridians, allowing the equine to attain and maintain the ideal state of homeostasis in which its own innate healing power is able to work to its maximum potential.

EoR has no idea what "Ki" is. Qi is a weird enough religious concept, but Ki?

Again, like all unproven ineffective "therapies" there's also the usual admission that it doesn't actually work:

The Equine Touch is not designed or intended in any way in whole or in part to be a substitute for orthodox allopathic veterinary practice. It is not a therapy as such but a holistic gift to the equine which is as complementary to allopathic address as it is to chiropractic, homeopathy and herbal medicine as well as the horses own healing system. [...] The Equine Touch is quite simply a discipline, a set of pre ordained procedures that the student or practitioner applies to the horse no matter what problem the equine presents at the time.

How could it possibly work? EoR's glad you asked:

Equine Touch was developed in 1997 by Europe's leading Bowen consultant and pioneer of the Vibromuscular Harmonization Technique (VHT), Jock Ruddock. Jock originally addressed the equine's body by transposing his VHT soft tissue moves from the human to the horse using his own unique aikido based muscular vibration move. Later however, after he was joined by his veterinary surgeon wife Ivana, he studied and researched the mechanics of the animal as an individual species as well its associated energy patterns and the emotional armor. Subsequently he amended and evolved his approach

EoR is shocked Mr Ruddock doesn't mention quantum vibrational massage there. He's missing out on a whole marketing opportunity!

It's supported by a whole bunch of alternative organisations. It's supported by various natural horsepersonships. It's supported by a vet in the Czech Republic who claims it's good for treating "combustion's" (whatever those are - and ignoring the fact that the originator himself says it doesn't actually "treat" specific conditions).

Now, some might think that Equine Touch was remarkably similar to Bowen Therapy for Horses wherein magic massage realigns various muscles and energies. But it's not the same at all. It's completely different. It's even spelled differently.

The Equine Touch is not "Bowen for Horses". [...] Equine Touch was originally developed in its rudiments in Scotland by Jock Ruddock who acknowledges the inspirational influence of Tom Bowen in the pioneering stages of his human discipline ‘Vibromuscular Harmonization Technique ’ from which the foundation for the Equine Touch was initially transposed. Over the years The Equine Touch has grown from a simple basic form of body balancing to a totally unique equine bodywork discipline which with dedication, research and experience has evolved onto such a higher plane of content, focus and address that no comparison between the afore named therapies can reasonably be made.

No comparison at all. Except they both work by unexplained means by some sort of magic touch on the horse. And that they're both unproven. And that you can become practitioners in both after a few days' training (a total of 14 days and $US1950 if you want to reach the Level 4 Master status though you can get your Equine Touch Practitioner Diploma four days earlier at the Level 3 course), by learning the mysteries of things such as "Body Blancing [sic]", "Advanced Area of Concern Addresses" and "Understand the choreography of Area of Concern Addresses".

Compare this description of Bowen Therapy by a practitioner to the Equine Touch description given above:

The Bowen Technique is a gentle, non-intrusive hands on therapy which stimulates the body's inner ability to heal itself to be activated. This reorganisation of the musculature of the body can bring increased energy levels and pain relief.

So Equine Touch is totally different from Bowen. Got it? Don't get them confused.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

When Is A Trial Not A Trial - 2

After writing yesterday's post on the "trial" of a magic machine which had already been "proven" to work, Eor managed to catch the purveyor of this wonder, John Charlick, in conversation on the radio, further spruiking its marvellous and world-changing effects (sadly, this was with the same radio announcer who last week had (over)promoted the quantum woo of The Secret - it looks like he's turning his show into a little weekend wonderland of woo).

While EoR missed the beginning, there was enough information to confirm that this is not a trial (unless it's a trial to see how much money can be made), that it is simply a commercial venture cloaking itself in pseudoscientific babble.

Mr Charlick seemed unclear how much the machine cost. $AU6 to $25 a week, he suggested, or something like that. He justified charging "participants" (they're not - they're customers) by saying that "by the time they come to us we basically know it's going to work". Mr Charlick: either you already have the evidence (which is not published anywhere that EoR can find) or you don't know whether it will work or not (in which case, a proper scientific trial would be appropriate).

Mr Charlick then threw out some "proven" figues of efficacy, such as a 16% improvement in Parkinson's Disease (measured how?), and a 40% improvement in asthma in only four weeks (again, 40% of what? lung capacity? endurance? number of attacks? or the classic, self assessed catchall "improvement"?). We don't know. He also happened to mention that the asthma improvements had been achieved "sometimes" in conjunction with the machine he is selling. How does he know that the machine had an efect then? Any effect? A negative effect? Was it some other therapy?

As with all real scientific studies, there were also calls from mothers who had used the machine. One mother with an ADHD child stated her child "seems more settled", and "seems a lot more happier". She said he is no longer on medication and now wears a "medallion" or "tamagotchi type machine" around his neck. An assessment by a mother who is looking for improvement is not a particularly high standard of evidence. Nor are vague statements about "seeming better" evidence.

When asked how his machine works, Mr Charlick stated that "pulses of electromagnetic energy stimulate the heart to put out more blood"!

In answer to a caller querying her husband's sleep apnoea and diabetes, Mr Charlick advised that both these conditions are linked, and that users of his machine have stopped all medication. The apnoea is caused by the throat muscles getting "insufficient energy" because of the diabetes, he advised.

The last caller was hardly a strong recommendation. She'd spent $AU600 or $AU800 (she couldn't remember), had spent longer than the recommended 12 weeks treating her ADHD child, and had to go back on it after a while since her child's condition reverted. At the moment the child was "doing pretty well".

Mr Charlick concluded by again using scare tactics: ADHD medication was causing heart attacks and strokes. His machine gave much better results, "proven over and above what a drug can achieve". And it wasn't as expensive as all those drugs.

While there is a link between diabetes 2 and sleep apnoea, diabetes itself is linked to cardiovascular problems. It doesn't need drugs to bring those conditions on. Indeed, Mr Charlick is obviously not referring to this drug that also reduces the combined risk of heart attack, stroke, and death by 16%.

And as far as the ADHD drug link with death and serious events? The jury is still out to a large extent, but the effect, if any, is being overhyped and run as a scare program by Mr Charlick (and others, like the Dore program):

The FDA review released Wednesday found fewer than one adverse event - that is, a death or serious injury - per 1 million ADHD drug prescriptions filled, with the sole exception of the 1.79 cases per million of nonfatal cardiovascular or cerebrovascular problems reported in adults treated with amphetamines. Also, in some of the cases, the children who died were later found to have had undiagnosed heart conditions. And in three of the five cases of death in adults receiving amphetamine treatment, the patients had pre-existing hypertension. That suggests hypertension "may be an important risk factor for sudden death in the adult population," the report said.

EoR wonders:
  • Where are the teachers demanding onschool ambulances for all the ADHD medicated children dropping like flies from heart attacks and strokes?

  • Under what protocols does Mr Charlick conduct his "trial"? Which Ethics Committee approved it and is overseeing it?

  • Why do "participants" have to pay to use the machine during the "trial"?

  • Where is the "proof" the machine is more effective than drugs? Which drugs? Where is the "proof" published? Hint: testimonials on a webpage are not the answer.

  • Why does Mr Charlick rely on unscientific concepts such as Yin and Yang to justify how his machine works?

  • When will the "trial" be completed? Or is it without any specific end date?

When Is A Trial Not A Trial - 1

Monday, February 19, 2007

When Is A Trial Not A Trial - 1

EoR has been hearing advertisements on commercial radio calling for volunteers for "clinical trial seven six eleven" being run by John Charlick. Listeners are warned about "heart attacks" and "breathlessness" due to diabetes 2. Someone claims he lost weight and "got his life back". Listeners are then urged to telephone "to take part" in the trial with a promise of "no drugs, no side effects and great results!". That last claim seems very strange for a trial - the purpose of a trial is to determine whether there are any side effects, and what results, if any, are achieved. On further investigation, it seems to be another magic machine that can cure a huge range of diseases. You only become part of a "trial" in the sense that you're using a device that has no proof that it works.

Now, before you go clicking on links to visit that site, be aware that most pages include this statement:

By reading this page, you agree to the terms of our Website Usage Agreement.

Of course, to know about that, you've already read the webpage and consequently agreed to this bizarre agreement:

If you choose to read the contents of this web site or to subscribe to this site, you agree that the entire contents of this web site are owned by Biological Control Systems Pty Ltd (ABN 009 297 830) and are not for copying, resale, distribution or representation to any third party. You agree the web site contents represents the opinions of individuals provided in open conversation and should not be relied upon to make scientific, medical, legal or purchase related decisions or judgments and you agree to make your own investigations as to the true facts of the matter. You agree that the information on this site does not represent the view or beliefs of MEDEC Australasia, MEDEC Systems International or its distributors. You agree to receive information by email which is also subject to these conditions. You can unsubscribe at any time but will not have full site access or emails sent to you. If you unsubscribe at any time you agree that this agreement remains in force ad infinitum.

So, you've agreed to enthrall yourself to Biological Control Systems Pty Ltd for all eternity. You've also agreed not to "represent" this site to anyone else. Eor is boldy defying that requirement by even discussing the site here or, even worse, including excerpts for your reading (which, of course, is legally allowable under fair use provisions). He seriously doubts that any court is going to approve of such a contract in perpetuity enforced by one party only. He will, however, satisfy the injunction to "make your own investigations". That should keep them happy.

Even worse, there's that "agreement" that you accept that there is nothing scientific on the site, that it is all opinion and, even worse, it doesn't even represent the "views or beliefs" of the company. Nor should it be used "to make scientific, medical, legal or purchase related decisions or judgments". Which sits rather strangely on a site purporting to provide scientific, medical, legal and purchase related information. In other words, you should ignore everything on the website, presumably.

For a site that is so relentlessly "scientific" with all its supposed studies and proof, that's a worry.

So how does the PERT machine work? Well, it's based on the Chinese view of energy (don't bother clicking on the link, even though the site doesn't appear to have been updated since 2004 that page is devoid of content and "under construction"). You might wonder How PERT works? (nothing - page under construction). It has something to do with energy and human body (nothing - page under construction). It's due to the invisible energy (invisible page under construction!). So why do we need to use PERT? (nothing - page under construction).

Luckily, one of the pages provides a bit more information (and it's full of graphs and scientificky-looking things too! Cool!):

How does it work?

Well, when I lie on the mat, it gives me about half a watt of energy increase each time I lie on the mat. This happens for the first 60 days so, and so therefore I gained approximately 30 watts of internal or biological energy. This is the energy that makes us live; it's the organs, the blood, the nervous system. It's this energy which is the fundamental difference between the energy and rejuvenation of a young child and that of myself or someone older. Aging is a decrease in the person's energy, and this causes less healing and less health, and virtually all the symptoms and illnesses of aging caused by this.

Now, in giving me more energy, PERT increased the dissolved oxygen in my blood. It also increased my hemoglobin, the blood circulation and the lymphatic fluid, also known as interstitial fluid, was also increased in circulation. That's the liquid you get when you have swollen legs and limbs, such as in old age or sometimes in cancer therapy when the lymph glands are removed. So my body is humming, it's feeling better, and it works better.

There are even graphs on the page proving that your internal batteries lose power as you age, and so you get sicker and eventually die when the lights flicker and go out. If you haven't got the right wattage to fend off various illnesses (they appear to have different levels) then you will succumb to that illness. Why, however, does the graph that shows male and female energies (male energies are higher than female, for some unexplained reason), both fall to zero (presumably, this is the "energy" equivalent of death in old age) at exactly the same point? Where were these data points obtained? By what measuring method? Females, on average, live longer than males. But not according to this graph. Or maybe they just go on for longer with zero invisible Chinese "biological energy"?

How do we know that this is real science, and not just another woo machine that measures amazingly improbable things and delivers it with a hefty dose of woo-filled spin?

The interpretation given to me was supplied by accredited PERT medical personnel. These are usually medically qualified people who understand and have practiced the PERT system. So from my readout, generally it is very good and I have the energy of a 30 year old, but I have a little bit of an issue with my stomach. This may be an infection of some sort, so I have had some tests done.

Yes: the magic mat works because the magic measuring machine says so. It doesn't just measure known physical concepts like electricity, it can also measure invisible, unknown energies as well:

Another graph that is produced by the Biograph is this one. It's a correlations graph. Looking at the first bar chart, this is Yin, which is female, and Yang, which is male. Ideally they should meet at the 50% region here. Because I have an excess of Yang, which is male, that might indicate that I am too stressed or too angry or too male about life and I need to do something to bring that back to balance.

"Half a watt of energy increase" (or any other amount) is also a meaningless statement, since Watts are not a measure of energy (real, or the "woo" energy that these devices supposedly measure) but are a measure of power. P=W/t (power is the time rate of doing work, P=power, W=work, t=time). An interesting discussion about how many watts the human body uses is available at Physics Forums. As this page makes clear, the harder you work (cycling harder, running up stairs) the more power you use. Mr Charlick could presumably extend his power reserves and his life indefinitely if he lies very very still on his magic mat and never moves.

EoR also wonders why you can't just recharge your batteries by sticking your fingers in a light socket? Wouldn't that cure all diseases? Immediately. It would certainly give you an instant energy boost.

There's also a published Bulgarian study of Therapeutic efficiency of pulsating energy resonance therapy (PERT) in patients with vertebral diseases. The study is fairly low grade in terms of rigourousness. There were only 42 patients. These were further subdivided into three groups. There were only 10 controls in total. One of the subgroups only had one control! The study was not double-blind (the operators knew whether the machine was on or not).

There are a lot of graphs of how effective PERT was, but these really don't show anything clear at all. Some seem to indicate a greater affect above placebo than others, but all show a range of values for PERT at each data point (only three data points are shown). No range is shown for the placebo response. If the range for that is also assumed to be similar, then the results for PERT and placebo are pretty much the same in all cases.

For someone who has conducted over 3000 "trials" with his "Space therapy" that mimics "exercise and acupuncture", there are only 36 case histories on the website, even though the site assures us that all reports are online. Some of these case histories are from people who may be considered to have a vested interest in the product (John Charlick, Ivor Charlick, Julia Charlick, and Michael Nobbs). Some of these case histories also indicate that the PERT machine does not deliver any benefit, such as the case of Lewis Lowther:

At the time of writing Lewis has declined to continue to use PERT due to the cost and lack of clinical improvement over the 12 weeks Trial.

It's an interesting trial where the participants are made to pay to take part.

Sometimes, the machine doesn't work because you're already 100% healthy (if it doesn't work, it's classed as a "side effect"!):

On few occasions PERT may not stir a response at all from the individual. This though is a very rare occurance as for nothing to happen, the person using PERT is presumably 100% healthy and functioning at its peak. Unfortunately there are not more examples of ths happening, as if there were it would mean that there was a larger percentage of the population out there that are as healthy as physically possible.

EoR finds the clumsy grammar of that statement heavy going, but it seems to be saying that if more people are healthy the percentage of healthy people is higher. Or something.

There are some wonderful stories on the site (though they are anecdotal, thirdhand or self-reported, rather than clinical trials). For example, the young man with Susac Syndrome for which the doctors sent him home to die (as doctors seem so prone to do with virtually all diseases), until his community banded together to get a PERT machine which miraculously cured him completely. Further information about Susac Syndrome points out:

The symptoms appear to remain stable (monophasic) with little or no progression. The syndrome is thought self-limiting; that is, improvement is spontaneous although in some cases there may be residual dysfunction.

The report is very unclear, but it appears that the patient was also on anti-inflammatories. Whether either of these, or neither of them, resulted in the resolution is unproven. Nonetheless, the reporter (an attendee at a PERT seminar) praised the machine as the source of the cure.

Also unclear is the reference to the community banding together to support the cost of his treatment: "one million dollars". Is that the cost of the PERT machine? One million dollars for anti-inflammatories seems unlikely. No prices for the miracle machine appear on the website.

EoR found a total of zero records at PubMed for "pulsating energy resonance therapy".

Mr Charlick also appears at Conscious Living seeking participants for his trial, which is described, twice, as "complimentary". EoR suspects that is a lie.

Mr Charlick also runs Biological Control Systems which appears to be an air conditioning cleaning company, though "We are looking to leave this lucrative part of our business to concentrate on a reduced number of core activities". EoR is always suspicious when someone wants to get rid of something "lucrative".

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Guest Blogger

Today's guest blogger is John Maynard Keynes.

When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?

Saturday, February 17, 2007


  • "I see him always in a lonely street, in lonely rooms, puzzled but never quite defeated..." Akusai at Action Skeptics packs his gat, and haunts the dives and ginholes to bring us The 54th Skeptics Circle. No one offers to sell him a Ben Hur third edition, the one with the erratum on page 116.

  • Martin Rundkvist at Aardvarchaeology hosts the 48th History Carnival.

  • The countdown to the next hosting of the Skeptics' Circle at this very location has begun. Start sending in those submissions now. Or a Chevalier Audubon 1840 - the full set, of course - if you have it.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Refurbishing the Golden Monkey - feng shui or orang poohi?

I thought zoos these days consulted zoologists to make their animals as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. But I'm misguided. Los Angeles Zoo has employed a feng shui expert (at $4,500) to help three golden monkeys on loan from China "feel right at home." The feng shui is supposed to "ensure that the three endangered monkeys will have health, happiness, fertility and, of course, a strong life-force energy, in their new digs". As it happens, these monkeys are endangered thanks to similar ancient beliefs. It is hunted in China for medicines - its fur thought to prevent rheumatism.

But what really caught my attention was Los Angeles Councilman, Tom LaBonge's statement: "We don't have any books on feng shui for monkeys. We just have to assume that Darwin is correct and that there is a connection and what is good for humans is good for monkeys." While I'm glad he invoked Darwin, this connection goes both ways. There's just as much reason to invite golden monkeys into Mr LaBonge's home and let them rearrange his house. I have had some dealings with primates and I know they wouldn't waste this opportunity.

Perhaps Los Angeles Zoo would sponsor our closer relatives, the great apes, to open interior design consultancies? I'd guess the orangutans would remove your bathroom and toilet, suspend all furniture from the rafters and expel the Man of the House. The chimps, on the other hand, would invite in the neighbours for a smashing good time and a toilet-graffiti repaint. Meanwhile, the gorillas would swap your furnishings for pots of lucky bamboo and a party fogger, and install your Man of the House in a silversuit on a pedestal.

Then again, if Los Angeles Zoo wished to use its generous budget intelligently ($US7.4 million total cage cost), it could speak to someone who actually knows something. Baoguo Li of Shaanxi province, China is studying the behaviour and ecology of the golden monkey, Rhinopithecus roxellana.

(picture courtesy of

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Levitating Horses: The Tragedy Continues

The most common search term that leads people to EoR's corner of the 100 Aker Wood lately is "levitating horses". Obviously more people are reaching a new consciousness of this issue, and awakening into a healing space where we can start to deal with this tragedy in a holistic and nurturing way.

Not wishing to disappoint these seekers of wisdom, here's further proof of this worldwide conspiracy, this time from Lisbon in 2000.

Or this Lipizzaner, clearly struggling to maintain its terrestrial connection.

Of course, the reptiloid Illuminati forces that run the world are fighting a rearguard action, claiming that such incontrovertible proof is faked or misinterpreted. It's a battle they cannot win.

David Bay, Director of Old Paths Ministries, states explicitly how the New World Order is being brought about through such insiduous means as My Little Pony:

Everyone loves horses, but these are not your everyday horses. These horses can levitate, or fly through the air. Most people do not realize when they see someone or something flying through the air that this phenomenon is pure Satanism. Further, many of these horses are Unicorns. In fact, this TV cartoon so popularized Unicorns that we see them today in jewelry, clothing, paintings, and figurines. Many Christian families even own Unicorn representations in their homes. Do you realize the Unicorn has been occultic for thousands of years, and is represented in current New Age literature as being representative of the violent way in which the New World Order will be finally brought into existence? Occultic folklore has traditionally pictured the Unicorn as the destroyer of the old system, a necessary prerequisite for the New System to be established.

Previous posts:
Levitating Horses - More Evidence
Psychic Horses

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Top ADHD Specialist Cures ADHD, Diabetes, Autism Etc Etc

Flea recently brought Mednauseum to the attention of the skeptical blogosphere. Liz Ditz has brought to EoR's attention a mention on that blog about a groundbreaking study on ADD/ADHD to be published by a top specialist from EoR's corner of the world. As the American Chronicle reports in wide-eyed wonder:

If not a cure there sure seems to be some great results coming out of Australia. One of Australia’s top ADD/ADHD specialists appears to have found a wonderful therapy that is having great results by those who have been involved in a two year study that was just completed. Michael Sichel DO, ND, PhD has just concluded this study. His findings are what most will report as a great success on improving or eliminating the cognitive and sensory symptoms that are associated with many neurological and neurodevelopment disorders that now seem to plague an ever growing number of children and adults throughout the western world. Although Michael concentrates on children, this new method can be used by adults as well. By removing the many toxins that we are coming into contact with on a daily basis, he has shown that the child’s brain begins to function as it was intended to as the neurotransmitters appear to function more correctly after treatment. Despite the denial by government, major medical and the pharmaceutical industry, heavy metals such as mercury and lead along with the many chemicals have been finding their way into our systems at ever increasing amounts. This treatment removes these toxins and seems to lift a dark cloud from the patient. A new book will shortly be available that not only explains the how and why this has happened but also includes the results of Michaels study and how you can find this non drug therapy. You may want to keep your eyes open for "How to restore children damaged by Mercury, Man & Politics". This book promises to enlighten readers about the unwillingness of government agencies to open up on the facts about what are proving to be major contributors to the cause of the mystery ailments that have grown into a silent epidemic.

Where is the evidence that "heavy metals such as mercury and lead along with the many chemicals have been finding their way into our systems at ever increasing amounts"? What sort of "study" is published as a book rather than in respectable journal? Why does the government want so many "silent epidemics"? Why are none of these questions answered?

How do we know that Mr Sichel is an ADHD specialist? Why, because he says so himself, and he should know! Why, he even has the website domain! He's a DO, ND and an Olympian. What being one of the ancient Greek gods has to do with curing ADHD, EoR has no idea. Oh, hang on, he means he took part as an athlete in some previous Olympic Games. Ho hum, being a Greek god would have been more relevant to curing ADHD. Strangely, he fails to mention his PhD on his own website. What is this mysterious disappearing PhD? What is it in? Which university awarded it?

The website itself is an online selling tool. There's no research there (though there are, of course, testimonials). He's published some books, has no research published that he mentions on his website (though he does claim to have been featured in the woman's magazine New Idea - twice).

Here are some of his books - sorry, studies (the purpose of the website is clear when the front page advertises his books):

The Sichel Protocol: Since 1992, we have been treating what are now known as Autism Spectrum Disorders ( ASD), with non-drug biomedical methods. My first cases were two in a family of three boys - one with ODD, the other ADD. Both ‘came good’ in a very short time, both caused by environmental factors, including obvious auto-immune effects of vaccination. [...] The protocol carefully explains the rationale for natural biomedical treaments. Includes simple, efficient and safe chelation of heavy metals with bioactive footpads enhanced with liquid chelating agents + before-and-after pathology evidence (+ 20 parent testimonies on recoveries) and a useful 8-page Summary Chart.

EoR must point out to his readers that "came good" is not a standard measurement of improvement in ADD (or any other illness or condition) when conducting scientific trials. Which this is not. Even with twenty testimonials (why from the parents? why not from the "came good" children?). Nor is "a very short time" of any meaning. And chelation is not necessarily safe (though EoR does acknowledge that what Mr Sichel appears to be doing - sticking foot pads on children - doesn't really qualify as chelation).

You can only get that world shattering breakthrough if you're a "practitioner" though (the site doesn't say what you have to be a practitioner of). Learn About Real Causes & Treatments for Diabetes is, thankfully, available to the whole world so we can finally get rid of this evil disease.

While preparing a report on the herbal complex Eleotin in April 2000, Michael Sichel was captivated by its brilliant 80-person trial result. He has since met recovered diabetics and believes Eleotin should be much better known to suffering humanity.

This is based on a claim by Kevin Trudeau, known for "making false and unsubstantiated claims" regarding which the University of Calgary has stated:

Santamaria stressed it isn't possible to cure diabetes with any herbal extract. "This claim is groundless," he said. "It has no scientific foundation."

Incidentally, EoR was amused to see a comment on that story by Peter C Nicholls promoting all sorts of woo, including Mr Stichel. While researching this post he came across various comments across the internet from Mr Nicholls promoting Mr Stichel.

Eleotin is also a drug (remember, herbs are drugs as well) which is subject to an FDA drug import alert in the US.

It appears Mr Sichel is using the same level of evidentiary requirement for his "cures" and antivaccination scare stories as his proof of Jesus's personal interest in himself:

At that time I met a fine and humble couple with deep faith; he had been a champion athlete himself. She sang these beautiful hymns, while doing housework, washing dishes etc. They invited me to the study I mentioned. A farmer took the study by reading in the book of Romans (ch.5 & 6). Here it succinctly describes how death came into our world, and how victory over death came through One Man - Jesus Christ. I will never forget that evening. Suddenly, as he read, I KNEW - beyond doubt, that this was true and that because He died and rose again - I too will rise with Him one day. I was so grateful and my heart was deeply touched by God. I cried in joy & relief.

This seems similar to the conversion Mr Sichel hopes the readers of his own book will undergo. Indeed, it would be interesting to run a real study comparing the effect of Bible readings versus the Stichel "protocol" in curing all sorts of neurological disorders.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The End Is Nigh!

Back in the Golden Age of science fiction (think E E "Doc" Smith - who was a real scientist by the way, with a PhD in food chemistry, unlike most of the self-styled scientists EoR mentions on this blog) readers wanted amazing spaceships, valve-operated gizmos, heroes who could coolly operate a sliderule under enemy fire and planet-busting weapons. Plot, characterisation and subtlety were not required skills. After World War Two this all changed. The wonderful techno devices became less important. Ideas were in. Relationships were in.

Thankfully, science fiction appears to be returning to normal. We don't need logic, explanations, or coherence. Just give us the mindbending ideas. Like those rolled out at The Atlantean Power Crystal.

The Atlanteans were the original discoverers of the powers of quartz crystal. They understood the unique electrical properties of quartz and were able to harness these natural oscillations in ways that we are only beginning to understand today. These crystals were not only used for healing but were also used to store information and energy. They were used to send the human voice and images over long distances just like modern day television. Atlantis was a highly technologically developed civilization that came to a sudden cataclysmic end 12,000 years ago, due to the misuse of these powerful crystals. After spending many hours researching the ancient legends and documents pertaining to the time of Atlantis, Life Technology have rediscovered the secret of The Atlantean Power Crystal. Everything in the universe vibrates and oscillates. Therefore the connecting link between all forms of energy is vibration, sympathetic harmony and resonance. By studying and applying the principles of quantum physics and esoteric science the psychonatical engineers at Life Technology were able to see beyond material matter and into the primary creative forces of nature. Utilising the information from diverse fields such as Radionics, Psionics, Psychotronics, Quantum Physics, Sacred Geometry, Sonics ,music and metaphysics has led to an understanding of how the human mind can interact creatively with the material universe. [...] The Atlantean Power Crystal is created using The Solis Method which was patented By Life Technology. The Solis Method incorporates the toroidal power of implosion, orgone energy, phi harmonics, tensor fields, sonics and ultasonics, visible and invisible light spectrum energy and, most crucially, a unique energy template within the crystalline matrix of The Atlantean Power Crystal.

Now, some might think that $US599.95 for a quartz crystal is excessive. But it's not at all. Where else can you get a rock with a myriad of uses, including:

It emits neutrinos, enabling the correction of intracellular frequencies. It reorients the psychic channels, increasing intuition and psychic perception through the correction of molecular frequencies in the cerebral cortex.
It restores the higher nutritional frequencies of food, making it more nutritious.
It decontaminates the subtle inverted negative energies contained in water, by reconfiguring the subtle intrinsic data field.

"Psychonatical engineers"! That must be one of the world's most dangerous occupations, imploding all that toroidal orgone energy. EoR is very concerned that Life Technology is selling these to anyone who wants one.

The Atlantean Power Crystal was the center of the Atlantean culture. Only the initiated and highly spiritually evolved individuals, that understood the immense intrinsic power, were allowed to work with the crystal .

It's like a nuclear bomb in every home. If the Atlanteans couldn't control the terrible powers in these crystals, how can mere mortals prevent the Invisible Orgonic Phi Woo Vibrations from spiralling out of control and totally destroying our planet? Haven't the guys at Life Technology ever seen the documentary Forbidden Planet? What happens if terrorists get hold of only a single crystal? No one would be safe!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Another Sham Psychic Comes To Australia

As if we need another, EoR is disappointed to see yet another conning psychic is touring Australia selling their schtick. This time it's Char Margolis ("Internationally acclaimed psychic" - but aren't they all?).

Psychic intuitive Char Margolis has amazed millions with her uncanny ability to contact departed spirits. Her books have sold 400,000 copies worldwide. Char also has her own TV show in the US and Holland and has even worked with the FBI solving missing persons cases.

Is she coming here to enlighten us? To bring spiritual peace and understanding? To heal the hurts of the world? No. She's on a tour selling her latest book. Her book spruiking shows are not free either.

Discover: why we don't have to fear death; nineteen questions that test your intuitive ability; how to tell if a spirit is trying to contact you; expert guidance on evaluating an intuitive or psychic message; methods to help you communicate with loved ones, guardian angels, and spirit guides; important facts about guarding against negative energies . . . and much more!

If you want to see her in action ("Is there a G or J person?") you can download a brief video of her reducing a grown man to tears simply through the art of coldreading. Or read a transcript of one of her shows:

MARGOLIS: All I need for people to say is hello. I want to hear their voice. And when I ask -- usually I work with initials or names, so if they could just say yes or no if it's someone close to them. But they need to be open-minded. I can't just answer what you want. So please be open-minded whoever calls in. And also, I don't always know if the person I'm picking up on is living or deceased because I communicate through thought.

KING: So you might say...

MARGOLIS: So I don't always know if the person I'm picking up is living or deceased. But sometimes I know. Sometimes I know.

It's always good to set the marks up right at the beginning so they don't think you're guessing and let them know you're so psychic that you even know you'll get things wrong before you do. And that you can't answer specific questions (because specific questions need specific answers - which she can't do). She then goes into the most appallingly bad coldreading act imaginable.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, Char.



MARGOLIS: Hi. Do you have somebody who is a J.?


MARGOLIS: A male J. Or female a J.?

CALLER: Actually, both.

MARGOLIS: Is there one that's spelled J.O?


MARGOLIS: Is that a male? A John or a Joe?

CALLER: It's a Joe.

MARGOLIS: Is he deceased?


MARGOLIS: Is this your father?


MARGOLIS: Who is he?

CALLER: He's my uncle.

Apart from "Hi" every single response from Ms Margolis so far has been a question. Apart from "Hi" every single response from the caller has been proffered information. EoR is not amazed that the caller is the far better psychic here.

MARGOLIS: I think his spirit's around you. And also is there a J. Female?


EoR is also not amazed that Ms Margolis's psychic "powers" enabled her to paranormally determine that her caller had said (six questions ago, so it's a good bet everyone's forgotten it) there was a female "J".

MARGOLIS: And in her name is there an N. in it?


MARGOLIS: Is it like J.E. or J.O. as well?

CALLER: Close.

MARGOLIS: Janice or Jane or Janet, or something?

CALLER: Well, it's Juanita.

This is no fun! Stop giving her the answers. She's in touch with your thoughts, or the departed, or fairies, or something! She knows the answers. At least, that's what she claims. And "Juanita" is only "close" to JO or JE in the sense that they both have second letters (the caller had earlier confirmed that the J guess was correct).

MARGOLIS: Juanita. Is this family to you, as well?


MARGOLIS: And who is that?

CALLER: That's my grandmother.

MARGOLIS: OK, I think her spirit's around you, as well. Were you thinking about changing where you live?


At least caller one is a heap more successful than her feeble attempts with caller two:

CALLER: Hello!

KING: Yes, speak up. Go ahead.

MARGOLIS: Could you please bet Red 5 for me? Just joking.

CALLER: Hello.

MARGOLIS: OK, Hello. OK, hi. Do you have somebody who is an A or M initial connected with you?


MARGOLIS: Anyone deceased or living? Think.

Sorry, Ms Margolis, you're the one who is supposed to be doing the thinking, and offering the amazing insights. Or don't you remember?


MARGOLIS: Okay, who is that that's [like] a M.A. Like a Margaret or Mary or Ann?


MARGOLIS: OK. It's a common name or a middle name like this?


MARGOLIS: OK. You know what? I'm sorry I'm not picking up on you.


MARGOLIS: I'm not picking up on you, I'm really sorry.

KING: That happens, right? MARGOLIS: Yes, I guess it is. Or maybe she's not thinking.

Oh! How cutting! It's the caller's fault for "not thinking"! Ms Margolis has already made the pompous claim that she only needs the caller to say "Hello" (which this caller did) to get the paranormal connection through. What a liar. The random guesses, myriad questions from the psychic, and the information from the callers continues at length. One caller even offers Ms Margolis a hit for guessing "B" with the most desperate of connections:

MARGOLIS: Hi. OK, is there somebody who's an R. or B. with you?

CALLER: B. as in boy.

Or could it actually be "B" as in "baloney"? She also makes the "M" or "A" guess with her last caller. And with this reading that James Randi deconstructs.

Despite her extremely poor skills at carnival tricks, Ms Margolis considers it a privilege to provide 45 minute telephone readings for you for only $US600. When she's not busy doing paid-for-attendence promotions or numerous television shows.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Secret Of Delusion

Sadly, EoR missed "The Secret" when it was shown on late night television recently. Never mind, it's available for download (for money) at The Secret. He also had to put up with a radio talkback host raving about it for hours the next day, fielding calls from amazed supporters (who all seemed to be middle-aged women) as well as the owner of a newage shop who was happy to promote both it and herself.

According to the official website:

This is The Secret to everything - the secret to unlimited joy, health, money, relationships, love, youth: everything you have ever wanted.

According to Wikipedia:

The Secret uses a documentary format to present its "transforming" message - the "Law of Attraction". This law is the secret that, according to the tagline, "has travelled through centuries to reach you". The film features interviews of professionals in the business of promoting, teaching, or writing about the concept of the "Law of Attraction". Interspersed among the interviews are testimonials, real-life stories, and quotes from historical figures. As put forth in the film, the "Law of Attraction" principle posits that our feelings and thoughts affect real events in the world, from the workings of the entire cosmos to interactions among individuals in their physical, emotional, and professional affairs. The film also suggests that there has been a conspiracy to keep this central principle hidden from the public. [...] The film interviews "Secret teachers" (professionals and authors) in the fields of quantum physics, psychology , metaphysics, theology, philosophy, finance, feng shui, medicine, and personal development, with some of these individuals, at their websites, promoting the film and their connection to it.

This seems like "The Twilight Zone" meets "What the Bleep Do We Know" meets "Wall Street" ("Greed is good!"). From Wikipedia again:

Journalist Jeffrey Ressner, reporting in Time Magazine, writes that some critics are concerned with the films attitude towards "using ancient wisdom to acquire material goods". In one example in the film, "a kid who wants a red BMX bicycle cuts out a picture in a catalog, concentrates real hard, and is rewarded with the spiffy two-wheeler."

And also one devoted follower and promoter:

"I've seen kidneys regenerated. I've seen cancer dissolved,"

So, this is newage quantum woo for Baby Boomers. Yes! You can be in touch with your feelings and the energies of the earth! Yes! You can have every material possession you want!

EoR wonders, though, if everyone has unlimited wealth, where does it all come from?

Well, there's a hint of the answer at the official website. For example, not only can you download the movie (for money), you can buy The Secret Lamp ("your real-life Aladdins Lamp" - $49.95), The Secret Scroll Document Holder ($49.95), the Wealth Beyond Reason Starter Pack ($17.00 - and what exactly is Wealth Beyond Reason anyway?), the Wealth Beyond Reason Power Pack ($37.00), the Secret Book ($23.95), the Secret Audio Book ($29.95), The Secret Soundtrack ($21.95), join the free forum (though, of course, the fee based "Abundant" membership is highly encouraged), and so much more. For money.

Now, a quick question: can any of EoR's readers see where the Wealth Beyond Reason is coming from? Can anyone see where it's going?

Before you think this couldn't possibly work, there are numerous individual stories (sadly, only available to members) with titles such as "Depression Banished For Good", "$30,000 From The Secret!", "Unlimited Magnetism", "Materialized Solid Object", "A million dollars isn't so far away!", "Lotto Winner", "Tooth decay disappeared", "Free Laptop from the universe" and "No More Red Lights". Apart from the eerie similarity to the Subject lines of spam emails and scamming chain letters, there's a huge dose of incredibly woo-filled magic thinking there.

Incidentally, EoR wonders what happens when two drivers approach traffic lights on different roads, and both of them "attract" green lights (at least, that's what he assumes that last testimonial was about - but maybe the writer just eliminated all the brothels in his town instead) at the same time? Do the traffic lights explode in a quantum induced existential crisis? Do they seek intensive counselling from Deepak Chopra?

Luckily, the forum is free, and you can read posts such as this one:

How does a typically skeptical person, like me, start to change a lifetime of skeptical thoughts? People like me tend to try and debunk this sort of stuff, fobbing it off as airy fairy tree hugger rubbish..... sorry, but we do. But this seems like it could really work.

How exactly does it seem like it could work? Because it plays on your baser greed (just like all those Nigerian 419ers, and all those psychics willing to sell you lucky charms that will make you win lotto)? Could it be true because science says so? Yes, of course:

Try reading a bit more into it....some books I'd highly recommend are "Quantum Healing" by Deepak Chopra (only because of the Scientific aspect), "The Book of Secrets" by Deepak Chopra, and "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle.

Wow. They forgot to mention "Dr" Emoto. And Sylvia Browne. Who are also scientists of the exact same credibility.

Of course, like all great proven 100% effective ways to wealth, health and happiness, if it doesn't work that doesn't mean it's not working. As this forum poster found out:

But I'm starting to work something out....... Maybe we just THINK these jobs are perfect for us, when in actual fact, they're not. Maybe we are pinning too much on these jobs, thinking "If I can just get this particular job, my life will be perfect". Maybe we should be open to the possibility that we didn't get these jobs because something better is on the cards for us......

Maybe. Maybe it just doesn't work. One is more likely than the other. So you see, even though you used The Secret to try and get your Dream Job, you didn't get it for a secret reason that means something Even More Powerful is coming your way. Sometime. You'll know when you see it. But The Secret works. It does, it does, it does!

It's all like psychic clues: I see something good in the future. Next exam question: how many readers think a prediction like that will come true?

Alternatively, it could be because "For instance, you may really want that job consciously, but subconsciously if you view yourself as unworthy in any way or have any self criticism or doubt, guess what gets messed up?" Yes, Virginia, the psychic was real! The Secret does work! And there is a tooth fairy! You just weren't worthy enough to enjoy its overwhelming benefits, you loathsome spoty failure. More faith! Less questioning! Another poster suggests making "your wishes more generalized". Um, I'd like something sort of nice, sometime. If it's not too much bother, oh great quantum woo spirit of the universe (these people believe some sort of "genie" gives them the gifts), thank you very much.

You can download some wallpapers and other fluff for free at the official website, including the following Universal Cheque, which EoR has filled in in the firm expectation that visualisation will work. It will, it will, it will.

More on The Secret:
'The Secret' to Success? at ABC News.
The Secret of Success at Time.

Update: This is scary! After filling in that magic cheque, EoR received an email telling him he'd won one million UK pounds in a Microsoft lottery (apparently Bill Gates isn't just giving his money to medical research). All EoR has to do to collect it is to send off his bank account details to a Yahoo email address. Well, The Secret can't fail...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Psychic Investigators - The Aftermath

The complete links to EoR's comments on this propaganda series and the soi disant psychics featured:

Psychic Investigators 1: Sue Evans. Result: the psychic did not solve the crime or assist the police. The crime was solved through normal police procedures.
Psychic Investigators 2: Dr Lauren Thibodeau. Result: the psychic did not solve the crime or assist the police. The crime was solved through normal police procedures.
Psychic Investigators 3: Nancy Weber. Result: the psychic did not solve the crime or assist the police. The crime was solved through normal police procedures.
Psychic Investigators 4: Laurie McQuary. Result: the psychic did not solve the crime or assist the police. The crime was solved through normal police procedures.
Psychic Investigators 5: Mary Pascarella Downey. Result: the psychic did not solve the crime or assist the police. The crime was solved through normal police procedures.
Psychic Investigators 6: Angela McGee. Result: the psychic did not solve the crime or assist the police. The crime was solved through normal police procedures.
Psychic Investigators 7: Mary Ellen Rodrigues. Result: the psychic did not solve the crime or assist the police. The crime was solved through normal police procedures.
Psychic Investigators 8: Bob Cracknell. Result: the psychic did not solve the crime or assist the police. The crime was solved through normal police procedures.
Psychic Investigators 9: Diane Lazarus. Result: the psychic did not solve the crime or assist the police. The crime was solved through normal police procedures.
Psychic Investigators 10: "Dr" Sally Headding. Result: the psychic did not solve the crime or assist the police. The crime was solved through normal police procedures.
Psychic Investigators 11: Christine Holohan. Result: the psychic did not solve the crime or assist the police. The crime was solved through normal police procedures.

Rather than a self-serving promotion of supposedly brilliantly accurate and spookily prescient psychics, EoR would have been more interested in seeing the whole psychic process of solving a crime. Could they really perform when they weren't simply recalling events and claiming their own hits?

Why doesn't the series cover the initial "consultation" with the spirit? Perhaps they could actually give a crime to a psychic to solve. Better yet, a series of psychics. The range of contradictory and vague statements would be very interesting. Or would they all come up with exactly the same clues. More importantly, would the "clues" they come up with be of more use than those revealed in Psychic Investigators?

Perhaps we could actually see all the guesses and statements the psychic makes, and judge for ourselves how many are correct, how many are wrong, how many are so vague or obvious to be worthless, and just how much information is provided to the psychic by the police and family members rather than the other way around? How often does the following scenario, for example, occur:

Psychic: I see a uniform of some sort. Does that mean something to you?
Police Officer: I'm a policeman! How could you have known that? There's no way you could have guessed that!

In this (only slightly fictional) example, the psychic didn't know anything. Many people wear uniforms of various descriptions. Many crimes, strangely, have people in uniforms congregating around them. In this example, a vague guess could easily, thirty years later, be presented as "The psychic knew I was a police officer!" even though that piece of information was given to the psychic by the police officer. If, instead, it meant nothing, the psychic would simply move on, and the wrong guess would be forgotten.

How often did this sort of retrofitting, coldreading, and misremembered conversations occur in Psychic Investigators? We don't know. Simply because, not only was there no investigating by the psychics, there appears to have been no investigating by the producers of this fatuous feature.

Mystery Investigators also provide comments on the individual episodes of this series which are worth reading.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Psychic Investigators 11

For a series that was vaguely amusing for the first episode or so, until it became clear that it would be a piece of formula fiction thereafter ("the police were baffled", "all the psychic's predictions came completely true", interspersed with a lot of shaky handheld camera work), the ABC has managed to drag this out to a mindnumbing eleven episodes. Thankfully, this is the final. Tragically, this appears to be only Series One. That's ominous and depressing news for next Summer's television viewing.

When 25 year-old Jacqueline Poole is assaulted and strangled in her home, Christine Holohan believes Jacquie's spirit is contacting her with crucial clues.

The supposed psychic solving of the crime has been investigated at length by Tony Youens who went back to the original reports, police officers and investigating notes. Something that this program consistently fails to do. Rather than a one-sided psychic promotion told decades after the event without any reference to facts or research, which is all that Psychic Investigators amounts to, he provides a more balanced overview of what might have occurred.

One of the opening lines of the program was:

Would a psychic's paranormal powers or hard forensic evidence nail Jacquie's killer?

The murder was, in fact, solved by an amazing "match". A DNA match. Not by a psychic. Not even helped by a psychic. No psychic assistance whatsoever. The psychic did not investigate, solve or further the investigation and prosecution in any way. Can it be any clearer that psychics do not solve crimes?

Ms Holohan makes much of the many visits she has has from Ms Poole. She apparently visited her after her murder but before the body was discovered. So she says. There is no independent verification of this claim. Ms Holohan also assures us that, when the murder case was closed but unsolved, she knew that it would eventually be solved. So she says. There is no independent verification of this claim. Ms Holohan was again visited in 1999 before she knew that the crime investigation had been reopened. So she says. There is no independent verification of this claim.

Much is also made of the name "Pokie" that Ms Holohan wrote during automatic writing while in a spiritualist trance. "Pokie" was the nickname of the man eventually convicted of Ms Poole's murder. Initially, we are shown a piece of paper with POKIE clearly written on it, and underlined. Later, we are shown what we are led to believe is the original piece of paper (we are never explicitly told anything about either) on which there are various scrawls, some of which look a little more like letters than others but none of which could be considered good handwriting. We are not shown the whole piece of paper clearly. There is something that, isolated from the rest of the writing around it, might be "Pokie" if we are told that is what it is. To EoR, the first letter looks a lot more like an L. The "o" and "k" are very unclear. The "i" and "e" are little better.

Ms Holohan has written a book describing how she solved the crime for the police. EoR can't be bothered giving a link to it. If you want to purchase it, go into a trance, focus on "fictional resources on the psychic plane", and type in the first URL that comes to you via your spirit guide.

As further evidence of her psychic powers, when she was accused of illegally dumping rubbish (she apparently hadn't seen this prosecution coming) Ms Holohan stated:

"I don’t know how it got there. I wouldn’t do anything like that. It’s a mystery to me."

You'd think she could at least have had a guess at who dumped the rubbish. An "S"? An "R"? She could have gone into a trance and written down the culprit's nickname.

EoR also psychically "sees" that she's the same Ms Holohan who stood for the County Council and lost her deposit. EoR wonders why she did that, when she must have known beforehand that she'd lose? Or was the spirit of Jacqueline Poole making fun of her pretentious and pretending claims to paranormal powers?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Blogger Upgrade

Hmmm. It seems the blogger "upgrade" doesn't include a facility to log in easily. Eor so loves going in circles. Things may get back to normal around here if EoR can locate a bigger hammer...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Spirals Of Meaninglessness

It's always exciting when woo is confirmed scientifically, though you need the right scientific instruments. Like this paper describing Energy Fields of a complex Geometrical Structure.

In recent years research has been done by various groups on the energy fields of geometrical structures and spaces, in particular pyramids and their influence on life forms in or near them. The aim of this research project was to investigate the nature of the energy of a complex geometrical structure containing three- and four-sided pyramids, named "Earthgate", which has been in use as an "acupuncture needle" for the Earth.

EoR never knew the Earth needed acupuncture but, no "The Earthgate is in use as an "acupuncture" instrument for harmonizing subtle energy of the Earth." Imagine how many more earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis there would be without this rebalancing!

Before, during and after activating the Earthgate by intention and sound, measurements have been performed with various scientific instruments, alongside radiesthetic (Lecher antenna, dowsing rods and pendulum) and clairvoyant/-sentient observations. The control consisted of "activation" of a spot by people without Earthgate. Magnetometry in the space around this structure showed the appearance after its activation of frequencies at or close to the harmonic frequencies of the Schumann Resonance. Infrared and visible light photography showed the appearance of airborne, translucent-cloudy, spheroid and occasionally formless, cloud-like light phenomena (both invisible to the eye) as soon as the Earthgate was present. Prof. Dr. David Schweitzer in London, who developed a special photographic technique for qualitatively recording memory content of water, examined water samples from our experiment. He found a development of wave-like and organic energy shapes

Yes, they've confirmed their findings by dowsing (with three different dowsing methods), kirlian photography and psychics. Visible light photography showed "spheroids" though these apparently weren't visible to the human eye. And, given their conclusion, by possibly also channelling the spirit of Deepak Chopra:

The possibility is discussed of the Earthgate (and other geometrical structures as well) being an intention-controlled device generating or attracting a torsion field in the quantum vacuum, facilitating, at least, the registration of the magnetic, light and water phenomena mentioned above.


Kirlian photography, measurements with the "Electric Field Meter" and with the compass gave no consistent results.

Also, sadly, there seems to be an awful lot of data selection going on in the magic results quoted, though the psychic observations clearly show this paranormal structure works as claimed:

Participants of the research group felt love and expansion (a warm energy touching the heart) during and immediately after activation of the Earthgate. The psychic observers always found that the Earthgate connected itself with the local Earth energy lines of the Hartmann and Curry grids as soon as it was placed and directed North- South according to the compass. Activation of the Earthgate with intention, according to the psychic observers, caused energy to move up from the Earth and down from the cosmos through the Earthgate. Voice work after the guided visualization activated the Earthgate to an even higher or finer level, changing the subtle energy field into sometimes toroidal or spherical shapes. Sometimes small "light spheres" were reported.

EoR wonders which international units were used to measure the "warm energy" recordings. Perhaps the "love and expansion" where measured on a love-o-meter? Strangely, the paper does not appear to have been published in a reputable peer-reviewed journal.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Worshipping At The Temple Of Mammon

Over at Bridlepath is this survey of psychic horses. EoR's favourite is Beautiful Jim Key, a horse that "even gives Bible quotations".

Hans, Lady Wonder and Jim Key exhibited, to an exquisite degree, the innate equine ability to observe and respond to nonverbal behaviour. "Horse whisperers" have built their fortunes on exploiting this ability as if it were a new discovery, ignoring centuries of horse training tradition which say the same thing.

Natural Horsemanship salesmen also exploit every other opportunity to sell their products. EoR recently came across this advertisement for the UK Parelli Conference (click for larger image):

Parelli ad

Two hearts. Two minds. Two days. One vision. Linda and Pat Parelli. Live. Love, Language and Leadership and a revolution in the heart and mind of every Horse Lover.

Apart from an idiosyncratic approach to capitalisation, it's interesting that it's all about a "Vision". The tagline at the bottom conveys a religious fervour in its earnest imprecation:

Where will YOU be?

It's like Pat making his proclamation of his evangelical revivalist World Crusade in the grand tradition of Billy Graham:

Choruses! Dynamic Preaching! Instrumental Numbers! Solos!

Or the harrowing question from fundamentalist true believers who live in constant expectation of the rapture (and if Parelli's showmanship is about anything, it appears to be about engendering "rapture" in his customers while emptying their wallets). Such as ("The most soul searching question that can be asked of a person is: 'Where will you be for all eternity?'"), Sword of the Lord ("Where will you be after the rapture?"), bad poets ("Where will you be, / Will you fall on your knees"), witnesses ("Where Will You Be--When the Lights Go Down?"), and many more.

The conference sounds heavy going:

You will laugh, you will cry, and you will learn

EoR is also amused to see that

International Conferences are unique opportunities to see Linda & Pat Parelli in action

EoR could understand one International Conference being unique, but not a whole series of them.

As further evidence of Parelli's cult-like status, the Parelli homepage offers, amongst other things, the "Master's Secrets Revealed" (only $450 - save $300!). It's like morsels of wisdom being dispensed (for a hefty fee, of course) from the head of millenial cult. The true acolyte, the committed devotee, must own all of the merchandise (the "special" whips (that aren't whips), the "special" halters (that aren't halters), the books, the DVDs, the manuals etc etc), attend all of the events, worship constantly at the feet of the master, or face the fear of not being considered a true follower or maybe even a heretic.

As if that's not enough to make you a super-loving-enlightened-friend-of-all-horses, then you obviously haven't also bought your paving stone in the Parelli World Center Walk of Honor. You can get one of these simply by giving Pat a "gift" of $250, $500 or $1000. Isn't Pat helpful, in even specifying exactly how much your "gift" should be? Unfortunately, that "gift" isn't actually a gift:

Not tax deductable. Please realize you will not get a donation deduction as a result of your gift. This is a true gift - out of the kindness of your heart! Please consult with your tax adviser regarding the need to file a gift tax return.

So, it's a "gift" in the sense that spending your money to buy something useless is a "gift" to the person raking in all the money. $1000 for a paving stone? So, once the bit of stone's paid for, where does the rest of that money go? What for? Who cares, it's a gift!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Touch Of Frost

EoR enters an alternative reality every week, when nutritionist Helen Frost appears on local radio. To go through all the magic thinking she espouses in her half hour segment would just be too tedious. Instead, here is an overview of her most recent appearance, and the wisdom she dispensed:

Tomatoes are good for prostate cancer. Unfortunately she didn't specify which end you need to insert them in.

A man phoned up who had called the previous day to speak to the radio doctor. Obviously he wasn't happy with the medical advice. He was told by Ms Frost that he wasn't eating the right foods at the right time. Foods need to be eaten at certain times for them to work properly. This is very important. He needs some "fine tuning". He should attend her seminar.

Ms Frost is very much against any foods she considers to be "processed". Processed foods are "pseudo foods" she informed us. They're "dead foods". No good for the body at all. They destroy the taste buds. Avoid them to "bring your tongue back to life".

"The lower the energy the faster we're dying".

If you haven't already noticed, Ms Frost runs regular nutrition seminars. This week's seminar mentions: 21 in half an hour! And even then EoR is sure he missed a couple of mentions. In fact, the "answer" to every query was "attend the seminar". "It will change your life". "A lot of people think they're on a healthy diet until they come to the seminar", she also warned us.

Another caller asked about growing more hair on the head: he needs to avoid dead food. Good food will bring the sleeping hair back to life. Incidentally, there's no such thing as wholemeal bread in Ms Frost's world. It's always "beautiful wholemeal breads". Life comes out of the ground or the tree or it runs around the paddock, she told us. The further from this the less life. Presumably we should slaughter our own animals and rip our own vegetables screaming from the soil, and consume them immediately.

For gout and puffy elbows: come to the seminar. No packaged junky foods. Don't listen to medical practitioners. Gout is not just a condition of the feet: gout is caused by every cell, organ and the brain being full of "acid"! Acid destroys bodies! That's why we have a health crisis. Drugs are just a bandaid. Luckily, this caller refused to go to the doctor: a good thing since he'd just be put on another drug, according to Ms Frost.

A mother rang regarding a ravenous 14 year old (but he was on a healthy diet - "we don't have anything white" mother explained - white food being dead food being evil food). The solution? Bring him to the seminar.

It should come as no surprise that Ms Frost is a Conscious Living Expo speaker and a contributor to the West Australian's Mind&Body supplement. It may be of more concern that she also presents her ideas to primary school students, parents and teachers.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

How To Make Gold

Time to start planning holidays. It's the International Alchemy Conference (held, of course, in Las Vegas where they turn gullibility to gold every day)!

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to meet and work with practicing alchemists from around the world! Practitioners will share both practical and spiritual techniques in this intensive, multimedia event. The emphasis is on real alchemy, and the goal is to inform and empower individuals with the ancient wisdom. Practical methods of transformation in both laboratory and inner work will be featured throughout the event.

"Real alchemy"! "Practical methods of transformation"! EoR can hardly wait. He wants to:

Learn to make tinctures and elixirs that capture spiritual energy.
Learn how to transmute emotions and thoughts into purified consciousness.
Discover ways to harness the life force for alternative healthcare and continuing rejuvenation.
Learn to make alchemical tinctures, oils, elixirs, and other products in the privacy of your own kitchen.

Oh, and so much more.

Skeptics' Circle

The 53rd Skeptics' Circle is now available at Slicing With Occam's Razor. Pull up a chair. Make yourself comfortable. Browse the outer edges of credulity.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Psychic Investigators 10

Certain professions have their own subculture of jokes. Doctors, for example: "Doctor, doctor, I've swallowed a spoon!", "Just sit down and don't stir". EoR is sure his readers know that old psychic joke: "Q: What's better than a psychic who can't find a body? A: Two psychics who can't find a body". It's that old chestnut that the ABC features in this week's dreary, "the police were baffled" psychodrama Psychic Investigators.

The father of a missing man hires a local psychic but when she fails to lead police to the body her [sic] hires another one who sees the same visions as the previous psychic.

This week's really truly in-touch-with-the-dead and never-heard-of-cold-reading wonder is "Dr" Sally Headding. She's obviously very proud of that "Dr" appellation, even including it in her website address, but her claims are incomplete and unverifiable:

Dr. Sally Headding has more than 30 years of experience as a forensic psychic. She also holds a combined doctorate in parapsychology and psychology, magna cum laude. Considering herself to be a conservative in the world of psychics, Dr. Headding has assisted law enforcement agencies throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and has recently assisted European authorities in solving crime cases. She has also worked with prosecutors such as the Florida State Attorney General's Office who contacted her through her work with the American Association of Professional Psychics, to enable prosecution of a fake television psychic.

What is a "forensic psychic"? Does she obtain fingerprints from ectoplasmic emanations? DNA-type ghosts? Are there any others in the world? Is there a "Forensic Psychics Registration Board"? Or, could it just be a pretend occupation? Which universities offer doctorates in "paraspychology and psychology"? EoR couldn't find any. Are they only on the psychic plane? Why isn't the relevant university named?

And why do all "real" psychics (ie the person making the claim to be a psychic) so love exposing "fake" psychics (ie every other psychic pretender on the planet)? It's like a parody of Life of Brian, with every psychic chorusing in unison "I'm the only real psychic". There's that other old psychic joke, of course, "it takes one to know one".

Before EoR is tempted to actually make fun of her claims though, he'd better be wary of her "two first degree black belts in karate with sensi [sic] status". Which is relevant to her psychic claims in some mysterious, beyond-the-grave way that EoR fails to fathom. Perhaps she wrestles the truth from her visiting spirits?

According to the fulsome (but patently false) effusions of the narrator, the two psychics involved ("Dr" Headding and Nita Lee) were so percipient that:

Every single clue was right on target!

EoR wonders if that also includes "Dr" Headding's rather strange prediction that her visit to Oklahoma wouldn't produce a body (it didn't! amazing! she's psychic because she didn't know where the body was!)?

Some of the accurate clues were, according to Ms Lee: he was dead, three men were involved in the murder (one of whom was smaller than the others - really!), the body was in a barn.

According to "Dr" Headding: he was dead, four men were involved in the murder, the body was in the open, the body would be found by two deerhunters, there was duct tape or rope around his neck (hedging her bets), he was placed in a boot or a trunk (hedging her bets again).

Clearly, they both can't be completely right. Certainly, things like guessing the man was dead were hits for both psychics, though of no value whatsoever. This was when even the detective assumed at the outset that he'd been murdered due to the circumstances of his disappearance. The body was found by two quail hunters (not deer hunters). EoR suspects (non-psychically) that hunters are fairly common in the area.

Were the psychics of any use? No. They did not locate a body, provide any useful information, or solve the crime. Again. The crime was solved by standard police methods. Again.

Were the psychics a hindrance? Quite possibly, yes. Not only did they waste police time indirectly, "Dr" Headding spent some time being driven around the area (when she'd said she wouldn't find the body) after a detective took her to a local crack house and explained that rumour had it the man had been murdered there (why was he telling her that? she's the psychic! she should have taken him there directly). After clearly psychically spotting exactly where the body was buried (or as exactly as a psychic ever gets, which is usually pretty vague), the detective organised a search of the area. All 450 acres of it. And found nothing.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Natural Remedies As Safe As Always

Lavender oil and tea tree oil are natural, gentle, popular substances in the herbal world, thus avoiding those nasty pharmaceutical products with their terrible side effects.

Sadly, it appears that these products have untoward effects as well:

Repeated use of products containing lavender oil or tea tree oil may spur breast growth in prepubertal boys, experts report in The New England Journal of Medicine. The effects fade when boys stop using the products, note the researchers. "This report raises an issue of concern, since lavender and tea tree oil are sold over the counter in their 'pure' form and are present in an increasing number of commercial products, including shampoos, hair gels, soaps, and body lotions," write researchers Derek Henley, Ph.D., and others. Henley works at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Natural products with nasty side effects? EoR suspects the NEJM is a Big Pharma plant...