The Physics of ESP

October 1998 by Robert Novella Of all ostensible paranormal phenomenon, extra sensory perception (e.s.p.) is probably one of the most well known and widely believed. Many people who generally have a skeptical attitude towards metaphysics still hold out hope that e.s.p. is a real phenomenon and that someday it will be conclusively demonstrated. In any [...]

Astrology

Topic Editor: Steven Novella Sections: Topic Overview Index of NESS Articles and Blog Posts Index of Relevant SGU Episodes Outside Resources Summary of Key Research Topic Overview Astrology refers to a number of ancient systems of belief that relate the positions of the planets and constellations to events on Earth. In Western culture, the Zodiac [...]

Levitating Frogs and Free Energy

June 2005 by Steven Novella, MD When I was a child some of my favorite toys were simple magnets. I was fascinated by the way they could push or pull on each other at a distance with an invisible force. It was like magic. Energy itself, all types of energy, seems like magic. Physicists, performing [...]

Cereal Killers

July 2005 by Steven Novella, MD Just last year, a “crop circle” (actually a crop square) appeared in Martha Bailey’s cornfield in New Milford, Conn. Her field is surrounded by a 7-foot-tall fence of chicken wire and wood. Overnight, in the middle of the field, a “perfect” square of flattened down corn appeared. According to [...]

NESS Participates in Randi Psychic Challenge

May 2004 by Steven Novella, MD Armchair skepticism is fine as far as it goes. It is helpful to be conversant with skeptical philosophy, the principle of Occam’s razor, and the many mechanisms of self-deception. It is important to be able to identify where the burden of proof for a claim properly lays, and to [...]

Out of Body Experiences and the Astral Hypothesis

May 2003 by Robert Novella Out-of-body experiences are interpreted by many believers as profound and telling events. These experiences are thought to provide compelling evidence or at least powerful testimony that our personalities and memories are not bound up in the matter of our brains but in an ethereal or astral substrate. Once freed, we [...]

911 – Pseudoscience in the Rubble

October 2001 by Robert Novella In the wake of the September 11th disaster, the credulous grasp at metaphysical straws looking to make meaning from chaos. It all started with an email in my inbox. Only days after the World Trade Center and Pentagon tragedies, I started receiving emails with amazing stories about how Nostradamus predicted [...]

NESS Takes On Free Energy Guru – Dennis Lee

July 2001 (Updated August 2009) by Perry DeAngelis On July 23rd, 2001 the NESS decided “To Be A Part of History!” At least that’s what we and hundreds of others were invited to be by Dennis Lee’s ever-traveling huckster show of technological magic. This is the opening line of the advertisement announcing the beginning of [...]

Speed of Light Repealed?

July 2001 by Robert Novella Ephemeral and ubiquitous, light has been mystifying to man since the first homo-sapien pondered its existence countless millennia ago. It remains so to this day but science has taught us much in the intervening time. Of all its bizarre properties, the most self-evident is probably its vast speed. Light is [...]

Smoke and Mirrors – Spontaneous Human Combustion

January 2006 by Steven Novella, MD Imagine the following scene: An elderly woman who lives alone is found dead in her apartment. She is the victim of fire; her body is mostly reduced to ash, and only the ends of her arms and legs remain. The ashen outline of her head lies upon the hearth [...]