For the past couple of months, I've related how my busy schedule has interfered with the time I had to write and do other things for REALL. This month, it was exactly the opposite. With "psychic" (or, as she now calls herself, "parapsychologist") Greta Alexander grabbing up free air time on WICS and WCIA after her predictions supposedly led police to a missing boy's body up in Will County, I've been pretty busy trying to do what I can to get the facts out. On the night it happened, my wife thought I had gone nuts. I was pacing around the house, calling people, skimming books, and putting together good quotes. The reason? A reporter from the State Journal-Register called me for comments about Greta's claims.
As regular readers of The REALL News know, one of our main purposes is to disseminate information to our members, the public at large, and the media. Up until now, we have had to do this in a reactive mode: when a newspaper prints a story without getting all the facts straight, we write to them; when WICS airs a well-known urban legend as if it were true, I send them E-mail with the correct information (and they ignore it). This was the first time a reporter has called us while working on a controversial story, and we had to make sure we had good information to give them. The result was a nice quote from both myself and another REALL Board Member, Professor Steve Egger. In fact, the article came out so well that somebody sent a letter to the editor complaining about it being too skeptical!
The next day, REALL Patron Member Bob Smet called WMAY radio to complain about their one-sided converage of the Greta story, and WMAY took him up on his suggestion that they call me for more information. That evening's news broadcast had a story on it focusing on the skeptical aspects and again quoting me. Apparently, they continued to air portions of my interview through the weekend.
Since this is a hot topic, it will also be the focus of our September meeting this Tuesday, Sept. 5, at the Lincoln Library. Bruce Walstad appeared on a Chicago cable call-in discussion show and discussed this issue -- Greta called in and said some very surprising and interesting things; we'll feature that video as part of the overall discussion. I'll also discuss some of Greta's earlier adventures as skeptically investigated in a chapter of the book Psychic Sleuths.
Don't forget about the upcoming Illinois Science Teachers Association convention coming up at the end of this month! I need people to help man the booth, and we need to send in names so we can have badges waiting, so please let me know as soon as possible if you can make it!
/s/ David Bloomberg