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On this weeks episode of Skepticality, Derek sits down with Todd Stiefel, to talk about his involvement in recent, and upcoming secular public events and campaigns. His latest is working to collect one million dollars, or more, for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through the Foundation Beyond Belief. Also, he catches up with Mark Edward, a well known mentalist, about his new book, 'Psychic Blues', and the experiences which led him to write the book and his thoughts on the varied types of current psychics who are operating out there today, and through the recent past.
Show Notes

– Date – July 3, 2012
– Send your cool ‘SCIENCE!’ shout-outs to
– Theme song by Steve Seamans of the Daisy Dillman Band. Get the song HERE.
– Thank you to everyone who has been purchasing books, Skepticality stuff, or using our Amazon link to help us out!

Skepticism, Past and Future

– The James Randi Educational Foundation was incorporated in 1996. Their Forum opened to the public on July 23, 2001. Randi expressed amazement at its instant success at the end of the August 10, 2001 SWIFT.
– Randi announced the name of the event would be The Amazing Meeting and listed some of the speakers in the July 12, 2002 SWIFT.
– The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster of February 1, 2003 happened on Saturday of the first TAM.
– A detailed account of the first TAM can be read at the Electric Monk’s website.
– TAM2012 will be the 14th Amazing Meeting to be held.
– The main TAM2012 website is
– The convention hotel is South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa in Las Vegas.
– The entire schedule, guest list and so on is posted at Lanyrd, which also has a Smartphone app.
– The Amazing Meeting section of the JREF Forum is a great place to meet fellow attendees & plan.
– Many details on accessing wireless Internet (WiFi) while at TAM2012 are covered at Tim’s blog.
– Whether you are attending or not you can keep up with a live feed of events at TAM via a real time Twitter search. (You don’t need a Twitter account).
– Tim’s workshop, panel and plenary at TAM are all listed in his profile on Lanyrd.
– Skeptic History facts are posted daily on social media find out where on this page at Tim’s blog.

Unnatural Virtue

– The classic text on faith healing is James Randi’s The Faith Healers.
Shamans have been faith healing for centuries.
Franz Anton Mesmer stumbled upon a precursor of hypnosis that we call mesmerism. He thought he’d found a new force that he called “animal magnetism“.
– New Age shamanism and faith healing go by such names as therapeutic touch, aura therapy of the astral body, chakra healing, acupuncture, and reiki.
Peter Popoff pretended to get messages from a god when he was really getting messages from his wife via an earpiece and was exposed by James Randi and friends many years ago. The story is told in the 1989 Nova film “Secrets of the Psychics“. Mrs. Popoff got her information from cards that the believers fill out when they attend the faith-healing exhibition. Randi also has a few words for those who might be taken in by Benny Hinn.
There are dozens of New Age therapies. Not all of them work.
– Debra Harrison and Mary Lynch met early deaths by practicing Consegrity/Energy Mirrors, which they invented, instead of seeking proper medical attention for treatable medical problems.
– A paperback version of Unnatural Acts: Critical Thinking, Skepticism, and Science Exposed! is now available at

The Odds Must Be Crazy

– This week’s featured story is “Put your mother on the phone
– Story was submitted by friend of the blog, Bob LeDrew.
Please visit the story link for a more detailed analysis and to add your comments
– Additional thoughts and considerations provided by Barbara Drescher
– Our producer and audio engineer is Brian Hart
– Our theme music debuting this week comes to us courtesy of Brian Keith Dalton, AKA Mr. Deity
– Please visit The Independent Investigations Group Los Angeles
– The Odds Must Be Crazy can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+
– Wendy Hughes is on Twitter
– Jarrett Kaufman is on Twitter
– Barbara Drescher is on Twitter
– Brian Hart is on Twitter
– Brian Keith Dalton is on Twitter

Todd Stiefel – Foundation Beyond Belief Event

– Todd is a full time freethought activist
– Host of the podcast, ‘The Humanist Hour
– Was involved in setting up the ‘Rock Beyond Belief‘ concert at Fort Bragg
There was some ‘drama’ with getting the event organized with the military base
– Was in response to a big Billy Graham concert/rally ‘Rock the Fort‘ on the same military base
Todd spoke and his band got to play at the event as well
– Major funding source and was vital in organizing the Reason Rally
David Silverman and American Atheists helped make sure the event went off
Bad Religion was a featured band at the Reason Rally, lead singer, was a guest on Skepticality who played at Derek’s wedding venue!
– Todd is promoting ‘Light the Night’ a all-inclusive charity walk event to help the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
– The goal is to get to one million dollars in donations to support the charity
– Walk will take place in September/October
– Make sure to join up with one of your local, active, groups
– Todd’s family is matching dollar for dollar, so your donation means lots more
– Go to the walk website for all the information you need at and the information website at

Psychic Blues – Mark Edward

– Mark’s new book is ‘Psychic Blues
– Blogs at the Skeptic Blog
– His personal website is over at
– For a short time he worked as a telephone psychic at the Psychic Friends Network
– Works at ‘The Magic Castle‘ quite often
– Lots of people tend to think psychics and supernatural providers need a schtick
Eating in the dark has become a strange trend
– People tend to believe that having one sense removed enhances the others
Shut-Eye’s are died in the wool believers in magic and supernatural events
– He uses the proscenium of the stage as his disclaimer
Jim Underdown of CFI West was on the Dr. Phil show to show how psychics use cold reading to trick people into believing in the supernatural
– Mark ended up getting to ‘read’ for many high powered celebrities and important people
– The real problem is people like Chip Coffey and not the little old lady who just knows about people
Mrs. Cleo was ‘taken down’ for being almost a totally fake persona
Lynn Kelly created, Tauromancy, a whole, made up, psychic reading system and even tells people it is all fake, they still want to come back for more and believe it
– Mark created one in which he ‘read’ by peeling a banana and devining the peel and fruit
– You can come and see Mark at Dragon*Con at the Skeptic Track this September

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