by David BloombergAs most of you know, REALL has an unofficial presence on the Web at www.reall.org (run by Wally Hartshorn). At that site, you can find a lot of interesting material and links, including an archive of The REALL News.
And the great thing is that anybody with Web access can see the same material! Recently, our site has gotten a fair bit of attention from various people. In one case, a believer in paranormal phenomena used me as an example of an "extreme skeptic" in a discussion that not only was I not involved in, but I wasn't even a participant in that message conference! He pointed to an article about my appearance on Morton Downey Jr.'s now-defunct attempt at a talk show comeback in Chicago, along with Investigator Bruce Walstad and several "psychics," including Dorothy Allison. For those of you who don't recall, during this show, I made Allison so mad by questioning her claims of great success that she actually stood up and pushed me. So the believer was trying to claim that I was an "extreme skeptic" because I made her mad; he further claimed that I was not using scientific methods. Unfortunately, he misrepresented pretty much everything in the article, and I plan to jump into the discussion (now over a month old, unfortunately) and point this out. I must say, though, that it is somewhat amusing to be pointed to as an "extreme skeptic" who doesn't use the scientific method!
More often, believers who are upset with our articles post directly to us, rather than about us. The most frequent source of e-mail has been therapeutic touch (which is interesting because, until very recently, we've only had a couple of minor mentions of the subject). One woman was very mad at us, but didn't want her letter published (she had ignored a number of facts, such as accusing us of being against therapeutic touch because we were anti-nurse and anti-women; the problem was that the letter/article she was responding to was written by a female nurse!).
Perhaps the most amusing incident happened just today, and it is what prompted me to write this short article. Bob Smet received a call at work from a guy in Arizona who is teaching some magic courses, including one on cold reading. It seems that he did a search on the Web and found an old REALL article by Bob about the subject, and that article noted where Bob works. Bob had mentioned that he would be willing to lend out the books he used for research to any interested party, thinking it would be another REALL member. Well, this guy was trying to do some research and wondered if he could borrow the books! Bob, being the nice guy he is, is, in fact, sending them out.