Stockport Skeptics become Greater Manchester Skeptics


Our new logo.

Our new logo.

 

We’re moving, the new blog can be found over at http://gmskeptics.blogspot.com/. We’ll be keeping this online for the time being, but all new content will be on the new blog.

Our first meeting is planned for Wednesday 27th January 2010, and information can be found on our meet-up.com page at http://www.meetup.com/GMSkeptics/. Hopefully we’ll see you there!

– Gavin Schofield

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Selling tools to Ghost Hunters – a Question

Imagine this scenario. You’re working in an unnamed electronics store, and you get into a conversation with a potential customer. He asks you about Infared Thermometers, so you begin to demonstrate one you just happen to be holding. At this point he asks you if you sell EMF meters, and the alarm bells go off.

You’ve got yourself a ghost hunter! What would you do? I have absolutely no idea, and each time it happens I’m almost at a loss for words.

This happened to me yesterday, and it got me thinking. On this particular occasion, whilst rooting through the warehouse looking for the offending items, I desperately tried to remember the name of any Joe Nickell books, but my sieve-like memory failed me.

In the end I just had to sell the chap what he wanted, smiling and nodding at him. He wasn’t unpleasant, just deluded, so I decided to leave him be. Was this the right thing to do? Would you have done anything different – leave us a comment if you’ve got any sort of opinion on the matter!

In related news, there’s a great article over at Cracked about Ghost Hunting shows, I’d definitely recommend reading it, for me the highlight was this:


  1. Every loosely science based channel airs multiple shows where people search for ghosts.
  2. They all share one flaw.
  3. Ghosts are not f**king real.

Utter genius.

– Gavin Schofield

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Winchester is the UFO capital of Europe?

Fancy Pants Alien.

Artists impression of the alien visitor allegedly seen in Winchester.

I saw this entertaining piece of nonsense last month in the Metro (October 5th), but it’s slipped my mind until tonight. Better late than never I suppose. According to Councillor Adrian Hicks, a humanoid alien was wandering around Winchester high street (this sighting was apparently linked to US and British military operations.)

I’m not quite sure what he’s basing that on as the close proximity of an a Air Force base doesn’t necessary mean they are connected – even assuming it is an alien. The alien was closer still to a branch of the Works bookshop, perhaps the alien could be linked to them?

“UFOs are flying in and out of the military base – Winchester is the UFO capital of Europe.” – Adrian Hicks

Here’s a link to the original Metro story. I’ve absolutely no idea what to say about this, so for more information on this penguin gaited alien you’d better listen to Mr. Hicks explain it in his own words.

I’m going to be taking this with a pinch of salt until there’s a piece of actual evidence, but if you want to hear even more about this, he’s got a 27 minute speech online here.

– Gavin Schofield

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Skeptics with a K, Piss Drinking

The rubbish end of the Mersey...

The rubbish end of the Mersey...

Those chaps down at the wide end of the river Mersey in the Merseyside Skeptics Society have started up a great podcast, Skeptics with a K, which is pretty awesome. High five! I’d definitely recommend subscribing to it on iTunes, the best way to describe it is a funnier version of the Skeptics Guide, with a good dose of Scouse. They have a talk in the pub planned for the 15th October with Ariane Sherine, which we’ll almost certainly be attending, even though it means a trip to Liverpool.

In other news, Crispian Jago has an amusing video posted that explains Homeopathy perfectly, and Carl Sagan has a brilliant new music video out.

– Gavin Schofield

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Jack Chick – Super Evangelist

Recently I’ve become morbidly fascinated with the work of Jack Chick, an evangelical christian who writes bible tracts designed to convert non-believers. To people that aren’t acquainted with these little gems, here are three charming example of his work, straight from his archives;

Only Psychopaths are allowed to teach Evolution in schools.

Man, that teacher is ANGRY!

Man, that teacher is ANGRY!

Rock Music is the devils work.

Jack Chick really knows how to get down with da' kidz.

Jack Chick really knows how to get down with da' kidz.

A brief conversation will convert a Muslim.

Yeah, like that'd ever happen.

Yeah, like that'd ever happen.

I can assure you that I picked 3 tracts at random, I’ve not been cherry-picking to make Chick look daft. If I had, I almost certainly would have linked to this, a cautionary tale warning youngsters of the danger inherent in Dungeons & Dragons.

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You don’t know how it works? Ah well – this is how much you should charge your customers…

Hypnosis for Beginners by William W. Hewitt. Not recomended.

Hypnosis for Beginners by William W. Hewitt. Not recommended.

Welcome to my very first tender toe-dip into the vast ocean of blogging. As a starting point I thought that a nice easy book review would be best, as most of the work is done for me. “Spot The Dog?” cry the non-readers while the more literate and infinitely more patient reader cannot help but suggest “The Fellowship Of The Ring“. Alas, I must disappoint you and bring your attention to the wonderful world of hypnotism.

Unusually for an avid reader of books, I spend a great deal of time reading. This not only educates me on many interesting subjects but many non-fiction books will also entice me with the further reading sections (just before the index if you need directions), allowing me to learn more on a subject or to explain what I have  not (yet) understood. Being of this mind-set I find that often I rashly buy books without looking at prior reviews, or checking the authors take on the subject. There have been many times when I have rushed to amazon.co.uk on payday just before I leave the house and find myself buying in haste, a book that is complete tripe. My latest, frivolous and bird-brained purchase was the book ‘Hypnosis For Beginners’, an entertaining but ultimately chilling glimpse into the mentality of a master hypnotist which I will now dissect for your pleasure.

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One Girl, one ghost and a handfull of speculation.

Who, you gonna call? Pacman! Why not?

Who, you gonna call? Pacman! Why not?

Bored, tired and close to leaving for the sceptical beer with my main man Gavin (the Bigfoot) Schofield, I find myself in front of the computer just having a look around the Internet, and “what” I hear you ask “do you find?”  This question on Yahoo answers.

The question itself is not of any concern to me but the answer does. Why, if I may ask(and  will regardless), is the best response to pray? Why not just wake up early and have a look? A good, nice clean way to find out if a ghost is there and not just the dreams of a girl, who I am left to believe is fairly young and not as critical a thinker as her elders and ill prepared to find the solution for herself. A much better resolution to this would have been to get a mature sensible adult to explain what a waking dream is. Even if the parent lacks the knowledge to investigate it them self they could at least have been told to sit down and think, really think about what is more probable, a host that sits at the end of a bed or the possibility that it is her half awake brain inventing this eerie form. Continue reading

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