EVENT: How to Be a Psychic!

A “Celebration” of the Techniques of Sylvia Browne and other psychic entertainers

Busboys and Poets, Shirlington, VA (4251 South Campbell Avenue, Arlington, Virginia)
May 30, 2013
6:30pm – 8:30pm

Presented by the Independent Investigations Group of D.C., the National Capital Area Skeptics and Center for Inquiry D.C.

On Thursday, May 30, “psychic” Sylvia Browne will be appearing at The Birchmere to present “An Evening of Insights and Live Readings.” The IIG, NCAS and CFI will also be presenting an evening of insights and live readings that same night at Busboys and Poets in Shirlington, VA from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm (4251 South Campbell Avenue, Arlington, Virginia). Sylvia’s show costs $55 to observe and $99 if you want to ask her a question. Our event is even easier to get to than Sylvia’s, within walking distance of the Shirlington Village Bus Station (http://www.arlingtontransit.com/pages/about/shirlington-bus-station/), and best of all it’s FREE! Sound intriguing? Read on!

“How to Be a Psychic” will be two hours of fun and amazing (to some) social interactions where you might discover that you have hitherto unknown psychic powers – or that you’re just reasonably OK at cold reading. Learn from a completely non-professional psychic instructor some of the same techniques that have given certain high profile entertainers lengthy careers and SERIOUS incomes. After a brief period of instruction, you’ll have a chance to try out our new-found talents on others at the event. Then they’ll have a chance to read you! And all for $99 less than what Sylvia Browne would charge you!

We also plan to show some video clips “honoring” Sylvia Browne and others like her, plus give every attendee their own “Psychic Bingo Card.” And of course, you may enjoy whatever libations Busboys and Poets has available (not included in the cost of the event – which, did I mention, is FREE?).


IMPORTANT!: We don’t want this event just to be “preaching to the choir.” If you have a friend who is genuinely curious about those who claim to have psychic or clairvoyant powers, PLEASE bring them with you! (We promise we won’t preach at them.)

Giant Foods Inc. Will Continue to Sell Oscillococcinum as long as there’s a market regardless of safety or efficacy

Gary G. Posted the following to IIG-DC’s message board:

I wrote Giant’s customer relations people citing the California court case where Oscillococcinum’s manufacturer, Boiron, admitted that its labelling was false and asking that Giant take this homeopathic product off its shelves. I also included links explaining why Oscillococcinum was ineffective. My response to their reply.

I invite discussion on how we can proceed:

So Giant has no ethical standard higher than “We’ll sell our customers any product they’ll buy as long as it’s available unless we’re forced to discontinue it due to unavailability or government action”?

Unlike the many placebos to be found in OTC supermaket sections Oscillococcinum purports to treat a serious, potentiall fatal, disease – influenza. Your legal and public relations people may want to conside the effect on Giant (which may NOT be of placebo strength) if someone is hospitalized or even dies after using Oscillococcinum instead of one of the new antivirals available by prescription. I’ve looked in Safeway and Shoppers aisles and they don’t carry this product.


On Jun 14, 2012, at 5:00 PM, Consumer Affairs wrote:

Hello Gary,

Thank you for contacting us concerning Giant carrying the product Oscillococcinum.

Ahold USA does not market these products, nor do we have direct or indirect control of the marketing of these products. We are a retailer that sells these products. They are legal to sell and customers continue to purchase them. If the demand falls and customers stop buying it, we would re-examine the continued presence on our shelves. If a recall is announced, we will of course, execute a rapid withdrawal of the product.

Please know that I have shared your feelings with our management.

Catherine Garrett
Customer Care Representative

Ref: 920386

A Brief Mention in the Washington Post (The 1952 UFO Invasion of Washington DC)

Bruce F Press of IIG – DC was contacted, through National Capital Area Skeptics, by John Kelly of the Washington Post for background information on an upcoming column on the “Saucers over Washington D.C.” incident from the Summer of 1952. The interest was forwarded to Mr. Press as he had just completed research for a presentation on that subject for the Skeptic Track at Balticon (presented Memorial Day weekened 2012).

Here is the article from the Washington Post:

“The Month E.T. came to D.C. – Washington Post July 20, 2012

The month that E.T. came to D.C (PDF)

and for background, here is the talk presented at Balticon:

Thank you to National Capital Area Skeptics (NCAS) and J.D. Mack for the video.

Open Wide!…or Should You? Frauds, Fallacies, and Misinformation in the Dental World

Presented at Balticon 2012 Skeptics Track by Michael Cornett in association with National Capital Area Skeptics

Why does dentistry still seem so medieval? What about all those claims on the products at the drugstore? Are all those procedures advertised worth the money? Will my teeth really fall out because I forgot to brush once when I was twelve? There’s lots of questions about dentistry that people have, and this talk will address some of them, ranging from claims made by over-the-counter products to practices of quack dentists to whether your teeth really impact your overall health.

Hospital Survey (ongoing)

Have you seen Reiki performed in an ER? Is acupuncture offered at your local hospital for cancer patients?

In 2011, we decided that we would have a long term project with sizable scope. We chose a survey of alternative medicine offerings in area hospitals.

This survey is ongoing and we could always use more help.

Contact: iig-dc-hosp-survey@googlegroups.com

UPDATE: Nancy Knisely found this article (originally through the Baltimore Sun)
Hospitals offering alternative medicne

Shows a marked increase in altmed hospital offerings.

Ghost Hunt outing Oct 14th, Laurel Maryland

There was a great deal of interest in participating in this ghost hunt sponsored by the Greater Maryland Paranormal Society and Prince George’s Parks and Rec.

The intent is to attend as participants and observers.  It could be both fun and educational!

Ghost Hunt outing on our Meetup Group

We will collaborate on a write-up of our experiences and observations.

Brian Dunning’s “InFact” episode on Ghost Hunting


Ghost Hunt

Date & Time: Friday, October 14, 7:30 pm
Description: Join us as we go on a ghost hunt. Get hands-on training using tools from real ghost hunters, participate in a paranormal investigation and take part in an EVP session with experts from The Greater Maryland Paranormal Society. Preregistration required.
Cost: Resident $10; Non-Resident $12
Ages: 18 & up
Location: Snow Hill Manor
13301 Laurel-Bowie Road, Laurel 20708
Contact: 301-725-6037; 301-249-2004, TTY 301-699-2544

The Haunted Cottage, an overdue report

Report on the Haunted Cottage

By Michael Cornett

Last November, a group of us descended on the Haunted Cottage in Harpers Ferry, WV, to hear a presentation given by the head of a group of local ghost hunters.

The building was perhaps a bit ramshackle and full of oddities, but we were greeted by the friendly proprietor and soon settled in the basement room where the presentations were given.

Although the details are a bit murky by now, I was impressed not only by his sincerity but also by how rational his beliefs were, within a certain framework. He had his theory of what caused hauntings (strong emotions leaving impressions on the environment is one thing I remember), and once you accepted that everything else fell into place.

However, he inadvertently demonstrated the traps of this limited-framework thinking when he launched into an anti-eugenics tirade, because he defined eugenics as an attempt to eliminate blacks as a race, and began to insist that Planned Parenthood was part of a eugenics conspiracy to eliminate blacks and should be taken down. I personally was agog and wanted to argue, but held my piece; it would do no good and just make things uncomfortable for everyone.

But it was a valuable experience for getting a glimpse into the mindset of at least one segment of the ghost-hunting crowd. It certainly wasn’t that of the stereotyped woo-believer who scrambles around believing in everything, but of someone who accepts a certain idea, and who operates with quite a degree of logic and rationality in the framework defined by that idea. However, the validity that idea is always up to question. It demonstrated the need for always questioning and re-evaluating one’s ideas and outlooks, and not relying too much on one idea…because what happens if that idea is disproven?

Welcome to IIG DC

The Independent Investigations Group DC affiliate has been in operation since early 2010.

The IIG investigates fringe science, paranormal and extraordinary claims from a rational, scientific viewpoint, and disseminates factual information about such inquiries to the public.