Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Psychics, and zombies, and witches, oh my!

Well, it's shaping up to be a busy week here at Worldwide Wacko Watch.  Here are a few of the stories that your tireless team of reporters (comprised of me and my two tireless dogs, Doolin and Grendel) are currently following.

First, we have news that some psychic astral projectors have discovered that the crew of Apollo 16 discovered alien life on the Moon.

A group called "Transception, Inc.", an Austin, Texas based "psychic research and development organization," has written a letter to NASA administrator Charles Bolden, recommending that the landing crew of Apollo 16, John Young and Charles Duke, be given Congressional Medals of Honor -- but only if they are "released from their bond of secrecy" about what they really saw up there on the Moon.  What, pray, did they see, then, and how do the good folks at Transception, Inc. know about it?

What they saw, of course, was a wrecked spaceship.  And aliens.  As for how they got this information, they did it by "remote viewing."  For a video clip of their team in action, go here, if you can stand to see some folks, in all seriousness, combine astral projection and backmasking and still call it "research."

Apparently what Transception, Inc. thinks is a wrecked alien ship is actually a big rock, that the astronauts nicknamed "House Rock."  The video includes some footage of Young and Duke walking around on the Moon, and they say something on the order of, "Geez, that's a big rock."  You'd think that if they'd seen an alien spaceship, they'd have said something more along the lines of, "Holy shit, that's an alien spaceship."  But maybe they already realized that they were under "bonds of secrecy."

Just think -- if NASA had known it was that easy, they could have saved all of that money, time, and effort, and just employed Transception, Inc. to investigate the Moon's surface.  And why stop there?   You'd think that if astral projection works, it'd be just as easy to go to Mars, Titan, and so on, without having to employ actual astronomers and engineers and so on.

At least the Transception, Inc. people had the sense to make a claim that isn't easily falsified; it's not like there's anyone up there on the Moon to check to see if their descriptions of wreckage are accurate.  This is more than one can say for Lauren Rainbow, the Bedford, New Hampshire psychic who stated (here) three days ago that the New England Patriots would win the Superbowl.

"I feel a strong team connection," Rainbow said. "I feel they work well with each other. I've been feeling that they sense each other on the field.  I feel probably after half time that we're really going to see a solid movement of the Patriots taking a lead then."

When questioned further by reporters, she heatedly told them that these were "not educated guesses," that she was actually seeing what would happen.  She did, however, admit that she only watched the Superbowl for the commercials.  Which, given the accuracy of her forecast, is probably just as well.

It's a mystery to me why these people don't give up, and that goes double for the folks who keep pinpointing the end of the world.  If you're going to claim to be a psychic, at least do what the smart psychics do, which is to make vague, unverifiable claims, so you can maintain that you're right even in the face of scoffers.

Which is advice that someone should have given to the guy in our next story.  Just yesterday, we have news from South Africa (sources here and here) that a popular singer has been arrested for returning from the dead.

Khulekani "Mgqumeni" Mseleku, a Zulu traditional singer, died in December of 2009, according to family and friends, and was buried in a local cemetery.  Said family and friends were pretty shocked when, last week, a guy showed up in Mseleku's village in Kwa-Zulu Natal, claiming to be the late Mseleku himself.

He wasn't actually dead, the resurrected Mseleku said, which must have made the aforementioned family and friends feel pretty crummy about burying him.  No, he was "kidnapped and held by zombies," and only recently escaped "through the help of his ancestors."

"I have been suffering a lot at the place where I was kept with zombies," Mseleku version 2.0 told reporters.  "It was hell there and I am so grateful that I was able to free myself and return to my family and you, my supporters."  And indeed, the support has been pouring in, with fans coming from hundreds of miles away to see him.

Police, however, weren't quite so sanguine, and have taken the alleged Mseleku in for questioning and DNA testing.

Last, we have the sad news that Laurie Cabot, Salem, Massachusetts' "official witch," has closed up shop.

Cabot, who is 79 and who has been, um, witching for over forty years, has decided to shut down "Cabot's Official Witch Shoppe" at 63R Wharf Street and go into semi-retirement, citing decreasing tourism and increased costs as her reasons.

For enthusiasts, however, she hastens to state that she will still be doing business online, selling incense, potions, and books of spells.  (You can check out her website here.)  She also hopes to find a home for her coven, the "Cabot Kent Hermetic Temple."

It wasn't an easy road, Cabot told reporters, and she faced some serious harassment at first.  "Jesus freaks would walk in yelling at me; irate mothers would come in because one of their kids came in the store and was interested,’" she said. "It was pretty bad; my two daughters and I would be walking down the street and good ol' boys would drive by and say, 'They ought to hang you again,'" a statement that makes me wonder about the intelligence level of the good ol' boys, given that hanging is generally fatal, and people who are dead tend to stay dead, unless they are prominent Zulu traditional musicians.

Be that as it may, she eventually found acceptance, and in 1977 then-governor Michael Dukakis appointed her the "Official Witch of Salem," a title that got her teaching engagements at Harvard and Wellesley, and an appearance on the Tonight Show.

So, anyway, we wish her all the best in the next phase of her life and hope that her online business continues to thrive, which given the number of gullible people out there, seems fairly likely.

So, there you have it.  Psychics visiting the Moon, a missed Superbowl prediction, zombie musicians, and a retiring witch.  As always, we here at Worldwide Wacko Watch burn the midnight oil to bring stories to your doorstep.  Well, I do, anyway.  The dogs have apparently given up on their hopes that I'll play fetch with them and are snoring on the couch.  But fear not, if breaking news comes our way, they can be roused in seconds.  Particularly if the news involves chasing squirrels.


  1. Transception, Inc. should hire some telekinetics to extract the Helium 3 from the moon so we won't have to strip mine it full of holes. That would at least be useful.

    I predict... erm... I "feel" declining revenue for a woo-woo in the near future.

    I am intrigued about what Mr. Mseleku has been obfuscating for 2 years. Himself, obviously... but there's gotta be a funny reason.

    Laurie Cabot missed one of the first tenets of the woo-woo success model. Diversification. Vampires are in vogue right now. She should have cross-trained 15 or so years ago. C'est la vie.

  2. Sounds like Tranception Inc. 'projected' themselves to Hollywood, 'cause that's the plot of Transformers - Dark Side of the Moon.

    And as for Rainbow, my friend and I visualized the Giants winning during the game, so it's two against one, she had no chance.

    As for the rest, I don't tempt fate with Zombies and Witches, so I'll keep my comments to myself.