SHARE

Psychic

Greetings, Comrades! Welcome back to the Snake Oil Bulletin, your weekly compendium of charlatans and rapscallions just waiting to sell you health, wealth, and salvation if only you’ll give them your money. We’ve got a full pan of bullshit to sift through if we’re going to find that gold nugget of hilarity, so let’s waste no time and get right down to it.

German Anti-Vaxxer’s Mouth Writes Check His Ass Can’t Cash

To start us down our Schadenfreude slip ‘n slide, we have an anti-vaxxer getting his just desserts, namely a €100,000 bill.

Stefan Lanka is a prominent German anti-vaxxer and AIDS denialist who believes that measles is all in your mind. Specifically, he believes that measles is caused by a traumatic separation, which is an awfully strange reason for a child to break out in itchy hives. The resulting blindness must just be a cry for attention.

For four years now, Mr. Lanka has had a challenge on his website that nobody could prove to him that measles is a virus, and he even bet €100,000 of his own money that no one could do it. Well pride cometh before a fall, and boy did that fall cometh. Doktor David Bardens answered the call of Lanka’s challenge, and offered a peer-reviewed, comprehensive medical study proving the existence of the measles virus. Naturally Lanka plugged his ears and sang whatever the German version of “na-na-na-boo-boo” is, so Bardens did what any sensible man would do: took that blödes Arschloch to court.

A German regional court examined the data presented by Dr. Bardens and determined that yes huh, they do prove measles is caused by a virus, so pay up, Mutterficker. Lanka still insists that he will never pay the money and will appeal the case to a higher court, which probably says something about this scientific bona fides. When a real scientist is presented with evidence that contradicts his pet theory, he will examine it and either argue his case with more experimentation and testing, or declare that he was incorrect. A con artist will stick his head in the sand and cry until the alternative press declares him a martyr. It worked for Andrew Wakefield.

Psychics Arrested for Scamming Lady, Prove the Legal System Does Work

Our next story is an unfortunate rarity in the world of woo, in that someone has finally been arrested for their chicanery. A Fort Collins couple, Gina Marks and her husband Steve, have been arrested for scamming a woman out of tens of thousands of dollars for psychic readings.

Their victim (who goes unidentified in news coverage of this case) was apparently distraught over a recent break-up, and went to Gina Marks for a palm reading. Marks told her victim that if she burned orange candles (conveniently sold by Marks!) before bed time, the woman would dream about her soulmate. When that didn’t happen, the woman concluded that with a track record of 0 for 1, this Gina woman must be pretty trustworthy. She went back to the Markses, who convinced her that she and her entire family were cursed, and that the only cure for said curse was by buying a bunch of crystals (also conveniently sold by Ms. Marks!) and by giving the couple hundreds of dollars in Target gift cards. They also explained that she would need to return to the Markses on the regular for additional psychic readings and rituals.

By the end of their scam, the couple had conned the woman out of more than $36,000. When the police finally arrested the Markses, they found in their possession dozens of stolen credit cards and fake IDs, and even a fake sheriff’s badge. Sources could not confirm if the badge was just part of a larger policeman’s costume being used for sexy psychic readings.

Apparently, this couple is part of a larger family of low-lifes. Steve’s mother was a psychic named Kay Marks who was eventually murdered by her husband, John Marks. Steve’s aunt and brother, Nancy and Adam, are also serving time for fraud, which means Gina and Steve will be in good company when they get convicted of class four felony theft and identity theft. The family that plays together stays together, behind bars.

Amusingly enough, the whole family still has a Merchant Circle page littered with bad Yelp reviews. Apparently, Adam’s wife, April, was part of this psychic cash cow too, as she tried to convince a poor unsuspecting rube of buying three candles for the modest price of $150 each. Only an idiot would believe that scam, quoth the rube! Of course said rube finishes up her review by lamenting that the Markses have real psychic abilities and are just using them to scam people. Ah well. A fool and their money soon end up on Yelp.

Healing Vaccine Injuries through Homeopathy – Two Shit Tastes that Taste Shit Together

The third story on our roster comes from the greatest conglomeration of bupkis and bullshit this side of Natural News, namely that infinitely shareable purveyor of pure bullshit: Health Impact News.

Your Wonkette has examined HIN before because of its tendency to lie and then lie about the lies it lies about. HIN is the perfect distillation of everything wrong with the internet. You know those obnoxious banner ads that promise 1 Weird Tip for Instantly Melting Away That Unsightly Nose? It probably links to Health Impact News. They have sections devoted to nutrition, anti-medicine quackery, “alternative health” (aka “Everything Causes Autism”), and an entire section solely devoted to coconut oil (we have to commend the coconut oil industry on their ability to market so effectively to the credulous). Yet Health Impact News’ bullshit quotient amps up to eleven once you realize they also believe in creationism. No, Seriously. Behold “The spiritual side of health from a solid foundation of creation teaching.” Not only do they cry over the fate of poor convicted tax fraud Kent Hovind, but they openly accuse “Darwinists” of being totalitarians, eugenicists, and religious zealots all at the same time.

Yet even with that in mind, this next story takes the cake. In a report that can only be accompanied by the sounds of soft piccolo music and an autumn breeze, comes an article so wooey it may have broken us: Healing from Vaccine Injuries through Homeopathy.

Homeopathy is the belief that diluting a substance makes it stronger. In other words, this article offers a  made-up medicine for a made-up malady. Best. Scam. Ever.

It’s hard for us to summarize this article with the requisite dick jokes it deserves because it is fucking long. We’re pretty sure even the writer fell asleep halfway through. If you love the length of a dissertation but hate all of that research-y and science-y stuff, this article is for you.

Hilariously, the article plugs a book by Amy Lansky with the completely unironic title of Impossible Cure: The Promise of Homeopathy. Homeopathy can promise all it wants, but it’s a pretty impossible cure when there’s no fucking medicine in it. The book also plays up Amy’s PhD, though a quickie Google search will show that her PhD is in computer science, not generally a field with a lot of medical know-how. If Amazon reviews are anything to believe, Lansky’s book claims right at the beginning that she cured her son of autism through homeopathy. How water and sugar pills “cured” a neurological condition we’ll never know.

The HIN article continues by unironically (we’re using that word a lot for this article because irony seems to disappear in a vacuum in its presence) citing the historical anti-vaccination movement. You know, the people who believed cowpox vaccines would turn children into bovine and drive women to have sex with bulls.

We’ll let you read the rest of the hilarity on your own, dear reader, because we only have so many brain cells to kill and those remaining already have a date with a margarita pitcher later today. We will, however, end on a note that often gets left out of coverage of the scam of homeopathy. Further down the article, the author asserts the following:

Homeopathy does not wage war on disease and seek to destroy the symptoms of disease through brute force. It does not bring substances into the body as is done with allopathic drugs, for the purpose of doing hand to hand combat against disease. Instead, homeopathy and its remedies are intended to gently stimulate and strengthen the body so that it can overcome illness through its own vital force and strength.

Homeopathy is based on the long-discredited notion of vitalism, a historical medical belief on the same shelf as the four humours. Basically, vitalism asserts that all living things have a “vital force” that only living organisms possess and which was responsible for all manner of unexplained medical phenomenon, all of which have since been explained by real fucking science. Hell, even Moliere believed this stuff was bullshit, and that guy loved dick jokes even more than Yr Wonkette! Francis Crick, one of the scientists responsible for the discovery of DNA, famously fought against the lingering strain of this alchemical nonsense that is vitalism. He even had a famous quote about the topic with which we’ll end our bulletin today:

And so to those of you who may be vitalists I would make this prophecy: what everyone believed yesterday, and you believe today, only cranks will believe tomorrow.

Nailed it on the cranks part, Frankie. Now go give Rosalind Franklin her Nobel already.

Flotsam, Jetsam, and Hokum

We end our Bulletin with a re-cap of the latest tales of chicanery from this, your favorite Trotskyite tumblr account, Yr Wonkette!


[BBC / VirusMyth.com / CBS Denver / Coloradoan / Merchant Circle / Health Impact News / Amazon.com / Wikipedia]

$
Donate with CCDonate with CC
  • weejee

    measles is caused by a traumatic separation

    That’s just the wurst.

    • Vecchiojohn

      This Lanka sounds like one sour Kraut.

      • Msgr_Moment

        We have a wiener!

    • Villago Delenda Est

      This guy would have been Reichsminister für Gesundheit during the late regime that was abruptly cut short of 1000 years in 1945.

    • mailman27

      Bunch of Bologna.

  • ryp

    “When a real scientist is presented with evidence that contradicts his pet theory, he will examine it and either argue his case with more experimentation and testing, or declare that he was incorrect.”

    You forgot option 3: or leverage his standing and influence to discredit those who have brought forth the evidence.

    • weejee

      Sadly, option 3 gets more play that the peer-reviewers like to admit.

      / discards rebuttal claiming previous rebutter is especially fond of goats with plump bums.

  • MrBlobfish

    Homopathy? Oh, no you don’t!

    • weejee

      It’s all the rage here in the Swish Alps.

      • memzilla

        And the Rococo Mountains.

        • cousin itt

          Now somewhere in the black mountain hills of Germany
          There lived a young boy named Rocky Rococo

          • Msgr_Moment

            At your cervix.

          • Biel_ze_Bubba

            I hear he’s still at old Same place.

          • mailman27

            “You sleazy weasel!”

  • MrBlobfish

    Why the infatuation with autism? Can’t they use their special powers to cure other maladies like crotch rot, monkey ass or the heartbreak of psoriasis?

    • Speaking of psoriasis, I once tried a homeopathic remedy. I was (to some extent, still am) desperate: it’s an awful condition, and the only real treatments are all at or near the “caution: use of this medicine may kill you” end of the spectrum. You know what homeopathic remedies did for me? Not a goddamned thing. Oddly, I was advised to take three of the little pills. Doesn’t that defeat the whole point of homeopathic “treatment”? Why not make each little pill three times stronger – it’s not like we’re really talking about significantly more hogwort, or whatever’s in them. What has worked are actual medicines actually invented by actual scientists. (It occurred to me later that if the theory of homeopathic treatment were really true then one probably wants no part of any compound that is actually so powerful that a few molecules can trigger a whole cascading effect in the body.)

      • glasspusher

        “Three is the number of the pills, and the number of the pills shall be three”

      • MrBlobfish

        Add a tablespoon or three of safflower oil to your diet.

      • MrBlobfish

        Then you haven’t tried Mr. Blobfish’s Blobfish Liver Oil. Guaranteed to straighten your hair, your posture and any, ahem, sexual proclivities you may have. Just take these three little pills.

        • BeatnikBob

          Cures insomnia!

          Curly: Hey, Moe, buy me some of that stuff.
          Moe: You sleep twelve hours every night.
          Curly, Yeah, but I’m wide awake all day!

          Lumbago, too.

  • ShriekinViolet

    Maybe Mr. Lanka is just slightly dyslexic with his :

    “Hey, p>0.05 again! I guess this stuff does work.”

    • weejee

      We’re going to get our IntenseDebase p-ness points again? Or is my R² something like 0.02?

      • ShriekinViolet

        There’s a joke to be made about a p-ness with a poor fit somewhere in there.

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        These are smaller-is-better p-ness points, so if you do rack them up, you won’t want to brag about them.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      There was some French professor of homeopathic woo, several years back, who did a very scientific study and got a very scientific result with p<.05 … it created quite a stir, until somebody plotted his raw data. Very nice distribution curve, centered on zero … except that the left half of the curve was mostly missing. Seems the nutty professor had discarded the "bad" data, because, well, obviously it was bad.
      I think he's doing climate research for the Koch brothers nowadays.

  • BeliTsari

    Inoculation can take many forms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUA-35vcoOw

  • House0fTheBlueLights

    I love that you know the word blöd

    • Msgr_Moment

      Probably reads the Blödzeitung

  • memzilla

    A credible urban legend from the NYPD Bunco Squad: “In my twenty years arresting fake psychics, not once has any one of them seen it coming.”

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      Drat.

      • SnarkOff

        You should have known someone would say it first.

        • Biel_ze_Bubba

          What do you think I am, psychic?

          Not sure who said this – Woody Allen, maybe: “If a telephone psychic knows something important, she can call me.”

          • glasspusher

            Headlines you never see:

            “Psychic wins lottery!”

    • Mehmeisterjr

      This is bad news for fakes. James O’Keefe, please note.

  • ManchuCandidate

    Betchya that Lanka’s face was red… and blotchy.

    Who was the founder of the scummy clan of Marks? Easy Marks!

  • Mehmeisterjr

    Just for laughs, could somebody combine two different streams of bullshit and claim that you can cure the geh with prayer and homeopathic doses of Santorum?

  • Left Coast Tom

    Homeopathy is the belief that diluting a substance makes it stronger.

    So if one part per million is more effective than ten parts per million, then wouldn’t it be better yet to go with zero parts per million?

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      Mathematically, much of the water they sell does in fact contain zero molecules of whatever woo they claim was once in it.

      How this is even legal still puzzles me.

    • Careful there, LCT…humans were not meant to have access to such power.

    • NeOphelia

      That’s the WalMart theory of homeopathy.

  • schmannity

    I get all of my medical advice from Prof. Harold Hill.

  • Me not sure

    If you have plenty of money in your account and your psychic won’t take a check, back away slowly.

  • “Homeopathy does not wage war on disease and seek to destroy the symptoms of disease through brute force.”

    No, brute force is bad. In fact, it has been shown through history that small, diluted groups of soldiers can accomplish more than full strength divisions. Just look at the documentary Inglorious Basterds.

    • Anarchy Pony

      Or the documentary 300.

      • glasspusher

        That was a good example of a force multiplier, but, in the end, they were not victorious.

        • Steverino247

          Ephialtes of Trachis libel!!!

      • Not to mention thousands of auxiliaries, mercenaries, and other “ies” that fight in wars. But, I guess rocking abs are a force multiplier all on their own. That being said, that movie was so historically wrong I wouldn’t be surprised if the Basterds and Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos showed up.

        • BeatnikBob

          Um…Inglorious Basterds was a fable. A fairy tale. And one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t meant to be historically accurate, it was meant to make you laugh, cringe and stare in awe.

          • What? Basterds wasn’t a documentary? It’s not even meant to be historically accurate? Oh my stars and garters…where will I hang my head? I’m so embarrassed.

    • Mehmeisterjr

      Also, too, the guys who claim to be raising private armies to attack Isis. They are the homeopathic military force this country needs! (Or they are delusional or they are con artists, take your pick.)

  • Biel_ze_Bubba

    Psychics arrested and convicted for fraud?
    I guess they didn’t see that coming.

    • Villago Delenda Est

      Clairvoyant Society meeting cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. Film at 11.

      • mtn_philosoph

        Grifting $36k as a fortune teller from a single customer requires a big set of crystal balls.

  • cousin itt

    I oil my snake at least once a day. But I have to say it’s more fun if I ask my wife to do it with me.

    • eggsacklywright

      Not having a wife device, I am left to shark rotation on my own.

      • zerosumgame0005

        I myself like pneumatic snarks!

      • BeatnikBob

        Whatevah woiks!

      • mtn_philosoph

        I have been told that the service is available for hire as well also too.

    • Me not sure

      You are a lucky man with a double plus lucky snake.

  • RoyalUglyDude

    #PayupMutterficker

  • Msgr_Moment

    Homeopathy is the belief that diluting a substance makes it stronger.

    And you may need a large pitcher of homeopathic margaritas after this week’s post.

    • But… then all the alcohol (and taste) would be gone…

      • nmmagyar

        You dilute the ice in the Margaritas with more tequila, triple sec and lime juice, obviously

      • Me not sure

        Screw the taste, moar booze please!

        • Toomush_Infer

          Ah, the homeopathy of Mount Gay!…

          • Me not sure

            Mount Gay it’s a rum and a sex act! Moar booze, again please!

    • Me not sure

      Thanx, I thought it meant when you were feelin’ a little gay (no, not Tom Cruise).

  • SnarkOff

    Makes you wonder if Amy Lansky and Jenny McCarthy’s kids were ever really autistic, or if they were actually just faking it so they wouldn’t have to interact with their batshit parents.

    • Villago Delenda Est

      This is a good point!

  • Villago Delenda Est

    FEMA has this really bad habit of behaving like a professional emergency management organization under Democratic Presidents, and being a haven for worthless political hacks who see it as an opportunity to plunder the treasury under Rethuglican Presidents. I’m sure that’s purely random coincidence.

  • Me not sure

    As regards the headline : I’ve lived through Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and two Bushes. I think that I can handle any bullshit in my golden years just fine. Moar booze, again please.

    • Toomush_Infer

      …floating along on this Ship of Fools….

  • Billy Rubin

    There’s something so *comforting* about stories of gullibility and superstition from other industrially advanced countries. It’s validating to know that we don’t hold a monopoly on nonsense, and yes, the average IQ really still is 100 anywhere you go. Relax: the grass is full of dogshit on the other side, too.

    • Paperless Tiger

      A lot of American Hoodoo tradition comes from Germany.

  • Callyson

    Homeopathy does not wage war on disease and seek to destroy the symptoms of disease through brute force. It does not bring substances into the body as is done with allopathic drugs, for the purpose of doing hand to hand combat against disease. Instead, homeopathy and its remedies are intended to gently stimulate and strengthen the body so that it can overcome illness through its own vital force and strength.

    So they come right out and admit that homeopathy doesn’t actually do anything then. “Gently stimulate and strengthen”? Yeah, that sounds more like a spank session than a medical treatment…

    http://media.tumblr.com/bf18ae37a2fdca3e703c56f8caf246b3/tumblr_inline_mfs3lqq9tR1qhj707.gif

  • ganmerlad

    So homeopathy works because of the astounding ‘memory of water’ for the one herb that homeopaths put in it. Following that totally believable scientific reasoning, most water on the planet has the memory of insect/animal/human poo (and pee); dead bugs/fish/animals and missing persons; poisons both natural and man made; urban, industrial and agricultural pollution; massive amounts of hormones and anti-depressants; matter from *hundreds of thousands of plants*. Drinking a glass of water should either make us immortal or kill us outright.

    • zerosumgame0005

      now you see why I never drink water not purified by alcohol…

      • Mehmeisterjr

        “I never drink water. Fish fuck in it.” – W. C. Fields

        • Celtic_Gnome

          Oops. Didn’t scroll down far enough. Sorry.

          • Toomush_Infer

            But thanks for the warning – try the Mount Gay….

      • Toomush_Infer

        Will it do anything for the strings in my legs?….

      • Celtic_Gnome

        Not to forget that fish fuck in it.

        • zerosumgame0005

          they do it in the most disgusting way, dump the eggs then “daddy” spurts all over it! no wonder it drove me to drink!

          • BeatnikBob

            Really? That’s how they do it? Man, that sounds HOT…;-)

          • david green

            I think I saw that on Pornhub. It looked messy.

          • zerosumgame0005

            i do have to say that people are really weird…is it strange of me to consider that good?

  • SheriffRoscoe

    I went to a psychic once – ONCE!. She was actually sort of famous and had an office in downtown Chicago and everything. Kindly, old, grandmotherly type lady. She offered to record our session. She told me that the girl of my dreams would soon come into my life. When I very awkwardly told her I wasn’t much into girls on account of being a homo, she said “Oh I know that, I just didn’t think you would want me to say it on your tape.”

    • ahughes798

      You saw the Cardinal?

    • Vecchiojohn

      And you never went back because . . . . ?

    • MrCanoehead

      “Oh I know that, I just didn’t think you would want me to say it on your tape.”

      Was she actually Pee Wee Herman?

  • glasspusher

    Homeopathic studies continually show how far the placebo effect can go on a bunch of rubes. Not zero, but it sure approaches it.

    • darnyoudarnyoutoheck

      The placebo effect is real, and can be therapeutic, and frankly I wish it worked better on me, ’cause then I could spend less on acetaminophen and just use compressed cornstarch pills.

      • BeatnikBob

        The placebo effect works almost 50% of the time, in some experiments even higher. That’s practically a cure, and you don’t need a laundry list of POSSIBLE side effects. The brain is in charge, it really does cure the body a lot of the time, and it does it even when you don’t ‘believe’ in it.

  • glasspusher

    Hmm. I did get measles in college the same semester The Love of my Life™ broke up with me, so, maybe something to that traumatic separation.

    Nahh.

    • Celtic_Gnome

      I got measles as a kid before there was a vaccine. I was so delirious that I’ve completely forgotten the traumatic separation that caused it.

  • Virginia Dreaming

    12 steps to de-gayify you? What we really need is 12 steps to de-Robertsonify everyone!

    • Villago Delenda Est

      Well, you really only need one step to de-Robertsonify: use your brain.

  • Toomush_Infer

    I don’t think it’s just coincidencde that I watched “Monkey Business” last night, was it?…..Well?….

  • FukuiSanYesOta

    You’re doing a great job with these, Fare! Always enjoyable.

  • Perhaps someone should inject Herr Nicht-Ein-Doktor with the measles not-a-virus and see what happens. I’m sure he’ll agree to it, having not been traumatically separated and all.

Previous articleThe Fartknocker Report: Help, Help, Sarah Palin Is Being Repressed!
Next articleThe Weekend Stock Photo Report Resigned From Congress Before It Was Cool