Author Archives: Gavin Schofield

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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Are UFO’s visiting sunny Marple?

Get them while they’re hot! According to a September 2008 article in the Stockport Express, a trio of red lights moved slowly across the skies of Stockport, with reports coming from Romiley and Marple. I have seen this article “quoted” on the UFO casebook website as well. This whole affair is pretty unremarkable as far as UFO sightings go, but I find it interesting – a local UFO sighting is not something you read about every day.

Sceptic - UFO Photo

Picture taken by Trevor Heywood, originally appeared on the Stockport Express website

We have at least three separate eye-witness account, a blurry photograph and not much else.  Brian Vike from the HBCC UFO Research suggested that they are Chinese Lanterns, while ex-MoD UFO expert Nick Pope thinks that a more likely possibility is a massive triangular craft, presumably with a single light on each corner.

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O’Reilly news report on the “naïve idea” of safe sex in Amsterdam – it’s Anarchy!

Although this first post isn’t really related to either skepticism or Stockport, it’s a charming view of the bias present in the modern media. This video was unashamedly stolen from the blog of mentalist Derren Brown, which I suggest you read immediately.

– Gavin Schofield

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