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“EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS REQUIRE EXTRAORDINARY EVIDENCE.� Carl Sagan 88 Shades is a website dedicated to highlighting organizations and individuals who attempt to validate their claims using incorrect and unproven scientific evidence. These people are often attempting to sell a product and as well as conning money from innocent people, they leave a stain on the reputation of good science all over the world. At the time of writing there are 88 topics characterized as psuedoscience by the scientific community. Some have legitimate ongoing scientific research associated with them but it is their claims rather than their method which are psuedoscientific.

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CONTENTS Astronomy 2012 Millenarianism Apollo Landing Accusations Astrology Dogon People and Sirius B Erich Von Daniken The Face on Mars Flat Earth Society Immanuel Velikovsky Lunar Effect Nibiru Collision Earth Sciences The Bermuda Triangle 366 Geometry Earth Changes Paranormal Animal Mutilations Channeling Crop Circles Cryptozoology Dowsing Electronic Voice Phenomenon Extra-Sensory Perception Levitation Materialization Pseudoarchaeology Psychic Surgery Psychokinesis Seances Tutankhamuns Curse Tunguska Event Ufology Pyschology Attachment Therapy Biological Psychiatry Conversion Therapy Graphology Memetics Parapsychology Polygraph Phrenology Primal Therapy Psychoanalysis Subliminal Perception 2

6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 18 19 20 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52


Health & Medicine Alternative Medicine Anthroposophic Medicine Bates Method Biorhythms Brain Gym Chiropractic Medicine Colon Cleansing Cosmetics Crystal Healing Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Faith Healing Homeopathy Hyponosis Iridology Magnet Therapy Mararishi Ayuveda Radionics Theraputic Touch Traditional Chinese Medicine Urine Therapy Vitalism Religious & Spiritual Creation Science Dianetics Quantum Mysticism Shroud of Turin Energy Hongcheng Magic Liquid Perpetual Motion Other Autodynamics Bogdanov Affair Einstein-Cartan-Evans Electrogravitics Expanding Earth Hutchinson Effect Hydrinos Lawsonomy Melanin Theory Nucleonic Energy Ousiograph Penta Water Polywater Radial Momentum Scalar Field Theories Scientific Racism Time Cube Timewave Zero Welteislehre 3

56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 80 81 82 83 86 87 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108


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ASTRONOMY

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2012 MILLENARIANISM

The belief that cataclysmic and apocolypictic events will occur in the year 2012. The idea is derived from the Mesoamerican long calendar.

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APOLLO HOAX ACCUSATIONS

Claims that accuse certain parts of the Apollo program to the moon were hoaxed and covered up. This topic is usually classified under conspiracy theories however many claims use faulty science for evidence.

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ASTROLOGY

Refers to any of several systems of understanding, interpreting and organizing knowledge about reality and human existence, based on the relative positions and movement of various real and construed celestial bodies.

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DOGON PEOPLE AND SIRIUS B

A series of claims that the Dogon tribe knew about the white dwarf companion of Sirius despite it being invisible to the naked eye.

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ERICH VON DANIKEN

Proposed that Earth was visited by ancient astronauts. Such beings have been claimed to have initiated the rise of human civilization or provided significant technological assistance to various ancient civilizations.

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THE FACE ON MARS

A rock formation on Mars asserted to be evidence of intelligent, native life on the planet. High resolution images taken recently show it to appear less face-like. It features prominently in the work of Richard C. Hoagland.

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FLAT EARTH SOCIETY

A proposal that the earth is a flat, disc shaped planet that accelerates upward, producing the illusion of gravity. Proposers of the Flat Earth theory don’t accept compelling evidence, like photos of planet Earth from Space. Many also believe in Creationism and believe that the moons landings are a hoax.

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IMMANUEL VELIKOVSKY

Proposed that ancient texts refer to the collision of astronomical bodies as in Worlds in Collision.

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LUNAR EFFECT

The belief that the full moon influences human behavior.

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NIBIRU COLLISION

A prediction first made by contactee Nancy Lieder that a mythological planet Nibiru would collide with Earth. After adjusting her prediction many times, she now claims the year of the occurrence to be 2012.

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EARTH SCIENCES

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THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE

A region of the Atlantic Ocean that lies between Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and (in its most popular version) Florida. Frequent disappearances and ship and aircraft disasters in this area have led to the circulation of stories of unusual natural phenomena, paranormal encounters, and interactions with extraterrestrials.

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366 GEOMETRY

Posits the existence of an Earth-based geometry dating back to at least 3500 BC, and the possibility that such a system is still in use in modern Freemasonry. According to Alexander Thom and, later, Alan Butler and Christopher Knight, megalithic civilizations in Britain and Brittany had advanced knowledge of geometry, mathematics, and the size of the Earth using a circle divided into 366 degrees.

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EARTH CHANGES

The belief that the world will enter a series of cataclysmic events that cause major alterations in human life on the planet, both locally as globally, including major changes in the social and political systems. In the 16th century, these apocalyptic Earth changes were among the prophecies of Nostradamus who predicted them to occur around the year 2000 and to reduce the population of the planet by two thirds.

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“A LIE REPEATED OFTEN ENOUGH BECOMES THE TRUTH” G. Goebbles

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PARANORMAL


ANIMAL MUTILATION

Cases of animals, primarily domestic livestock, with seemingly inexplicable wounds. These wounds have been said to be caused by natural predation, extra terrestrials, cults, or covert government organizations.

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CHANNELING

The communication of information to or through a person allegedly from a spirit or other paranormal entity.

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CROP CIRCLES

Geometric designs of crushed or knocked-over crops created in a field. Aside from skilled farmers or pranksters working through the night, explanations for their formation include UFOs and anomalous, tornado-like air currents. The study of crop circles has become known as “cerealogy�.

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CRYPTOZOOLOGY

The search for creatures that are considered not to exist by most biologists. Well known examples of creatures of interest to cryptozoologists include Bigfoot, Yeti, and the Loch Ness Monster.

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DOWSING

Practices said to enable one to detect hidden water, metals, gemstones or other objects.

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ELECTRONIC VOICE PHENONENON

The purported communication by spirits through tape recorders and other electronic devices.

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EXTRA-SENSORY PERCEPTION

The paranormal ability (independent of the five main senses or deduction from previous experience) to acquire information by means such as telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychic abilities, and remote viewing.

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LEVITATION

The act of rising up from the ground without any physical aids, usually by the power of thought.

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MATERIALIZATION

The supposed creation or appearance of matter from one or many unknown sources.

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PSEUDOARCHAEOLOGY

The investigation of the ancient past using alleged paranormal or other means which have not been validated by mainstream science.

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PSYCHIC SURGERY

A type of medical fraud, popular in Brazil and the Philippines. Practitioners use sleight of hand to make it appear as though they are reaching into a patients body and extracting “tumours”. Psychic surgery is usually explicit deception; i.e., the “practitioners” are aware that they are practicing fraud or “quackery”, unlike most pseudosciences, in which the practitioners actually believe their theory.

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PYCHOKINESIS

The paranormal ability of the mind to influence matter or energy at a distance.

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SEANCES

Ritualized attempts to communicate with the dead.

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TUTANKHAMUNS CURSE

A curse was allegedly placed on the discoverers of Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb, causing widespread deaths and other disastrous events.

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TUNGUSKA EVENT

A large explosion caused by a meteoroid or comet in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia in June 1908. Unsupported theories regarding the event include the impact of a miniature black hole or large body of antimatter, ball lightning, a test by Nikola Tesla of the apparatus at Wardenclyffe Tower, and a UFO crash. Another theory is that the explosion was caused by a piece of Biela’s Comet from 1883.

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UFOLOGY

The study of unidentified flying objects (UFO) and frequently includes the belief that UFOs are evidence for extraterrestrial visitors.

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PSYCHOLOGY

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ATTATCHMENT THERAPY

The common name for a set of potentially fatal clinical interventions and parenting techniques aimed at controlling aggressive, disobedient, or unaffectionate children using “restraint and physical and psychological abuse to seek their desired results.� Probably the most common form is holding therapy in which the child is restrained by adults for the purpose of supposed cathartic release of suppressed rage and regression.

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BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY

An approach to psychiatry that aims to understand mental disorder in terms of the biological function of the nervous system.

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CONVERSION THERAPY

Sometimes called Reparative therapy, seeks to change a non-heterosexual person’s sexual orientation so they will no longer be homosexual or bisexual.

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GRAPHOLOGY

Psychological test based on a belief that personality traits unconsciously and consistently influence handwriting morphology that certain types of people exhibit certain quirks of the pen.

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MEMETICS

An approach to evolutionary models of cultural information transfer based on the concept that units of information, or “memes�, have an independent existence, are self-replicating, and are subject to selective evolution through environmental forces.

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PARAPSYCHOLOGY

A controversial discipline that seeks to investigate the existence and causes of psychic abilities and life after death using the scientific method.

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POLYGRAPH (LIE DETECTOR)

An instrument that measures and records several physiological responses such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, breathing rhythms, body temperature and skin conductivity while the subject is asked and answers a series of questions, on the theory that false answers will produce distinctive measurements.

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PHRENOLOGY

A now defunct theory for determining personality traits by feeling bumps on the skull proposed by 18th century physiologist Franz Joseph Gall.

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PRIMAL THERAPY

A trauma-based psychotherapy created by Arthur Janov, who argues that neurosis is caused by the repressed pain of childhood trauma. Janov believes the repressed pain can be brought to conscious awareness and resolved through re-experiencing the incident and fully expressing the resulting pain during therapy.

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PSYCHOANALYSIS

A body of ideas developed by Austrian physician Sigmund Freud and his followers, which is devoted to the study of human psychological functioning and behavior.

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SUBLIMINAL PERCEPTION

Visual or auditory information that is discerned below the threshold of conscious awareness and has an effect on human behavior. It went into disrepute in the late 1970s but there has been renewed research interest recently.

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“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie - deliberate, contrived, and dishonest but the myth - persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.� John F. Kennedy

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HEALTH/ MEDICINE 55


ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE

In Western culture, alternative medicine is any healing practice “that does not fall within the realm of conventional medicine”, or “that which has not been shown consistently to be effective.” It is often opposed to evidence based medicine and encompasses therapies with a historical or cultural, rather than a scientific, basis.

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ANTHROPOSOPHIC MEDICINE

A school of complementary medicine founded in the 1920s by Rudolf Steiner in conjunction with Ita Wegman based on the spiritual philosophy of anthroposophy. Medications are formulated to stimulate healing by matching “key dynamic forces� with symptoms and has claimed that mistletoe can sure cancer.

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BATES METHOD FOR EYESIGHT

An educational method developed by ophthalmologist William Bates intended to improve vision “naturally� to the point at which it can allegedly eliminate the need for glasses by undoing a habitual strain to see.

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BIORHYTHMS

A hypothesis holding that human physiology and behavior are governed by physical, emotional, and intellectual cycles lasting 23, 28, and 33 days, respectively.

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BRAIN GYM

A commercial training program that claims that any learning challenges can be overcome by finding the right movements, to subsequently create new pathways in the brain. They claim that the repetition of the 26 Brain Gym movements “activates the brain for optimal storage and retrieval of information�.

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CHIROPRACTIC

An alternative medicine practice focusing on spinal manipulation. Many modern chiropractors target solely mechanical dysfunction, and offer health and lifestyle counseling. Many others, however, base their practice on the vitalism of D.D. Palmer and B. J. Palmer.

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COLON CLEANSING

A number of alternative medical therapies intended to remove fecal waste and unidentified toxins from the colon and intestinal tract. Practitioners believe that accumulations of putrefied feces line the walls of the large intestine and that they harbor parasites or pathogenic gut flora, causing nonspecific symptoms and general ill-health.

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COSMETICS

Cosmetics and cleaning products frequently make pseudoscientific claims about their products. Claims are made about both the benefits or toxicity of certain products or ingredients. Practices include Angel dusting where a minuscule amount of an active ingredientis used in a product insufficient to cause any measurable benefit.

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CRYSTAL HEALING

The belief that crystals have healing properties. Once common among pre-scientific and indigenous peoples, it has recently enjoyed a resurgence in popularity with the new age movement.

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ELECTROMAGNETIC HYPERSENSITIVITY A reported sensitivity to electric and magnetic fields or electromagnetic radiation of various frequencies at exposure levels well below established safety standards. Symptoms are inconsistent, but can include headache, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and similar non-specific indications.

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FAITH HEALING

Curing disease by such means as prayer and laying on of hands. No material benefit in excess of that expected by placebo is observed.

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HOMEOPATHY

The belief in giving a patient with symptoms of an illness extremely dilute remedies that are thought to produce those same symptoms in healthy people. These preparations are often diluted beyond the point where any treatment molecule is likely to remain.

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HYPNOSIS

A state of extreme relaxation and inner focus in which a person is unusually responsive to suggestions made by the hypnotist. The modern practice has its roots in the idea of animal magnetism, or mesmerism, originated by Franz Mesmer.

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IRIDOLOGY

A means of medical diagnosis which proponents believe can identify and diagnose health problems through close examination of the markings and patterns of the iris. Practitioners divide the iris into 80-90 zones, each of which is connected to a particular body region or organ.

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MAGNET THERAPY

The practice of using magnetic fields to positively influence health. While there are legitimate medical uses for magnets and magnetic fields, the field strength used in magnetic therapy is too low to effect any biological change, and the methods used have no scientific validity.

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MAHARISHI AYURVEDA

A 5,000 year old alternative medical practice with roots in ancient India based on a mind-body set of beliefs. Imbalance or stress in an individual’s consciousness is believed to be the reason of diseases.

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RADIONICS

A means of medical diagnosis and therapy which proponents believe can diagnose and remedy health problems using various frequencies in a putative energy field coupled to the practitioner’s electronic device. The first such “black box” devices were designed and promoted by Albert Abrams, and were definitively proven useless by an independent investigation commissioned by Scientific American in 1924.

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THERAPUTIC TOUCH

A form of vitalism where a practitioner, who may be also a nurse, passes his or her hands over and around a patient to “realign” or “rebalance” a putative energy field.

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TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE

Is the traditional medical system originating in China and practiced as an alternative medicine throughout much of the world. It contains elements based in Taoism, Buddhism, and Neo-Confucianism, and considers the human body more in functional and vitalistic than anatomical terms.

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URINE THERAPY

Drinking either one’s own undiluted urine or homeopathic potions of urine for treatment of a wide variety of diseases.

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VITALISM

A doctrine that the processes of life are not explicable by the laws of physics and chemistry alone and that life is in some part selfdetermining. Vitalism is the foundation for many pseudoscientific health systems that claim illness is caused by an imbalance of the bodies ‘vital force’.

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“When even the brightest mind in our world has been trained up from childhood in a superstition of any kind, it will never be possible for that mind, in its maturity, to examine sincerely� Mark Twain

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RELIGIOUS/ SPIRITUAL 79


CREATION SCIENCE

The belief that the origin of everything in the universe is the result of a first cause, brought about by a creator deity, and that this thesis is supported by geological, biological, and other scientific evidence.

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DIANETICS

L. Ron Hubbard’s pseudoscience that purports to treat a hypothetical reactive mind by means of an E-meter, a device which Hubbard was later legally forced to admit “does nothing”.

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QUANTUM MYSTICISM

Builds on a superficial similarity between certain New Age concepts and such seemingly counter-intuitive quantum mechanical concepts as the uncertainty principle, entanglement, and wave–particle duality, while generally ignoring the limitations imposed by quantum decoherence.

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SHROUD OF TURIN

A length of linen cloth believed by some members of the Christian community to have been Jesus’ death shroud. Radiocarbon dating of the original material has shown that it dates from the 13th or 14th century,

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ENERGY

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HONGCHENG MAGIC LIQUID

A pseudoscience incident in China where an inventor claimed that could turn water into a usable fuel by just adding a few drops of his “secret formula” liquid.

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PERPETUAL MOTION

A class of proposed machines that violate one of the Laws of Thermodynamics. Perpetual motion has been recognized as extrascientific since the late 18th century, but proposals and patents for such devices continue to be made to the present day.

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OTHER

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AUTODYNAMICS

An alternative to Einsteins special relativity theory proposed by Ricardo Carezani based on revised Lorentz transformations. In addition to failing to make accurate predictions at relativistic velocities, the proposed transformations do not correspond to classical velocity addition.

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BOGDANOV AFFAIR

An academic dispute regarding the legitimacy of a series of theoretical physics papers written by French twin brothers Igor and Grichka Bogdanov.

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EINSTEIN-CARTAN-EVANS THEORY

A proposed unified theory of physics put forward to Myron Evans, a Welsh chemist.

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ELECTROGRAVITICS

A theory based upon the original work of Nikola Tesla and advanced by Thomas Townsend Brown that attempts to connect gravity and electromagnetism.

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EXPANDING EARTH

A historical proposal that was made alongside continental drift theory and has been all but abandoned by geologists, yet still has some lay advocates, the most famous of which is Neal Adams.

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HUTCHINSON EFFECT

A proposed explanation for purported levitation and merging of metals caused by devices made by John Hutchison.

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HYDRINOS

A state of the hydrogen atom that, according to proponent Randell Mills, are of lower energy than ground state and thus a source of free energy.

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LAWSONOMY

A proposed philosophy and system of claims about physics made by baseball player Alfred William Lawson.

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NUCLEONIC ENERGY

A technological concept developed by Canadian autodidact and inventor Mel Winfield.

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MELANIN THEORY

A belief founded in the distortion of known physical properties of melanin, a natural polymer, that posits the inherent superiority of Black people and the essential inhumanity and an inferiority of Whites.

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OUSIOGRAPH

A device created by schizophrenic Steven Green to detect the messages that are sent to one’s brain.

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PENTA WATER

A claimed acoustically-induced structural reorganization of liquid water into long-lived small clusters of five molecules each. Neither these clusters nor their asserted benefits to humans have been shown to exist.

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POLYWATER

A hypothetical polymerized form of water proposed in the 1960s with a higher boiling point, lower freezing point, and much higher viscosity than ordinary water. It was later found not to exist, with the measurements being explained by biological contamination.

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SCALAR FIELD THEORIES

A set of proposals that modify electromagnetic theory in various non-standard ways.

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RADIAL MOMENTUM

A proposal by Ed Seykota, a commodities trader, which claims to clarify “problems” with the application of the Bernoulli principle.

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SCIENTIFIC RACISM

The claim that scientific evidence shows the inferiority or superiority of certain races.

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TIME CUBE

A proposed theory of everything which holds that time is cubic. Its creator, Gene Ray, finds those who are ignorant of or in disagreement with his theory to be “stupid and evil.� According to his own web site, he is a diagnosed schizophrenic. People have likened his theory to that of the native American circle of life.

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TIMEWAVE ZERO

A numerological formula that was invented by the late psychonaut Terence McKenna with the help of the hallucinogenic drug dimethyltryptamine. After discovering 2012 doomsday predictions, he redesigned his formula to have a “zero-point� at the same date as the Mayan longcount calendar.

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WELTEISLEHRE

A notion by the Austrian Hans Hรถrbiger that ice was the basic substance of all cosmic processes.

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“I know a lot of people without brains who do an awful lot of talking.” The Scarecrow - The Wizard of Oz

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WWW.88SHADES.COM When you find websites and other sources that you believe show evidence of false theories and dangerous pseudoscience, submit them to the 88 Shades website to warn other people from being conned and potentially robbed. Thankyou.

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88 Shades  

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