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Ryan Shaffer

Ryan Shaffer is a writer and historian. He has a PhD in history and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Global Studies at Stony Brook University in New York.

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Indian Skeptic Assassinated, World’s First Anti-Superstition Law Passed

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Special Report

The Psychic Defective Revisited: Years Later, Sylvia Browne’s Accuracy Remains Dismal

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Article
The Psychic Defective Revisited: Years Later, Sylvia Browne’s Accuracy Remains Dismal

An update of our “Psychic Defective” analysis examines developments in eleven cases Sylvia Browne made predictions about, explores a new reading, and scrutinizes her other failed predictions about the papacy and American politics.

Faith Healing and Skepticism in Pakistan: Challenges and Instability

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 36.6, November/December 2012

Article
Faith Healing and Skepticism in Pakistan: Challenges and Instability

With the rise of Islamic extremism in Pakistan, the country not only has to protect people from fraudulent healers but also has the challenge of protecting these fraudsters from violence.

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The Stolen Soundtrack of Faith Healing

Skeptical Briefs Volume 22.1, Spring 2012

Psychic Mary Occhino Doesn’t Know Best

Skeptical Briefs Volume 21.3, Fall 2011

Over the years, Occhino has claimed to assist in missing persons cases, talk to the dead, and peer into the futures of celebrity lives. This article delves into Occhino’s predictions and activities, revealing that while Occhino is short on claims, her claims are short on independent proof. . .

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An Old and Familiar Face Behind a ‘Phony’ Psychic Business

Skeptical Briefs Volume 21.2, Summer 2011

The Life and Death of ‘Living God’ Sathya Sai Baba

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 35.5, September/October 2011

Special Report
The Life and Death of ‘Living God’ Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba, a living god for nearly forty million people, died in April. He had a nine-billion-dollar organization and religious centers throughout the world. Who was Baba? Why was he thought to be a god?

Medium Allison DuBois Is Tested—and Fails—in the Real World

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 35.4, July/August 2011

Special Report
Medium Allison DuBois Is Tested—and Fails—in the Real World

Allison DuBois, the best-selling author who inspired the recently cancelled television show Medium, claims to have amazing psychic abilities. But when her skills are tested in the real world—first with a missing-child case and then at a dinner party on reality-TV—they prove less than stellar.

Psychic Defective: Sylvia Browne’s History of Failure

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 34.2, March / April 2010

Article

The most extensive study of alleged psychic Sylvia Browne’s predictions about missing persons and murder cases reveals a strange discrepancy: despite her...

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Entertainment, Fakery, and Ambiguity: Examining New York’s ‘Fortune Telling Law’

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 34.2, March / April 2010

Special Report

On October 9, 2009, Tiffany Evans was arrested at the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, New York, for fraudulent accosting, attempted grand larceny, and three...

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Skeptic’s Web Site Becomes Advertising for Psychic Business

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 33.5, September / October 2009

News & Comment

In October, a Hollywood-based Web site selling psychic consultations and other products acquired a notable skeptic's Web site...

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Where’s the Responsibility? UK Broadcasting Code Prevents Re-Airing Psychic’s Failure

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.6, November / December 2008

News & Comment

In all of these television shows, not once has any psychic ability been demonstrated in a double-blind test.

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