(Investigator 51, 1996 November)

If you think Skeptics’ meetings consist of bearded, introverted, frosty, old, fuddy duddies falling asleep at boring lectures about things irrelevant think again!

There was good food served by efficient waitresses, a spoon bending demonstration, slides by a forensic archaeologist involved in the Beaumont search, and lots of chatty extroverts eager to be quoted.

The venue was the Saracen’s Head hotel/restaurant in Adelaide and about 70 attended.

Sam Nowak arrived early. While his teenage daughters Krystine and Jennifer and their friend Kylie Bald lined up for the camera Sam said: “I’m a practicing Catholic. I go to church on Sundays. I’m also a member of the St Vincent De Paul Society.”

Krystine; Kylie; Jennifer

Sam is skeptical about the whole range of the paranormal: “I’m skeptical about God too; I don’t tell them that at church.”

Allan Lang edits The Southern Skeptic. Commenting on predictions by Nostradamus for the seventh month of 1999 Mr Lang said, “I wouldn’t worry about it. He’s never got anything right yet.”

John Foley, Secretary of the Skeptics Association, said regarding paranormal phenomena in general, “They fit the dreams and fantasies of people who want to believe in them.”

John Pattison, physicist and philosopher at the University of South Australia, commented on levitation, “It’s crap.”  And, “The human mind is so flexible it accepts any fanciful story that makes it content.”

Laurie Eddie, psychologist, explained why some people experience the Loch Ness Monster: “It’s a subconscious wish that there is something there. They want to see it and so they see it. Once a story starts going it takes on a life of it’s own. Most large bodies of water have some sort of creature associated with them.”

Sarah Dunn, a happy and charming 11 year old wasn’t fully into the spirit of the occasion.  “I believe in aliens,” she said.

Her mother, Sue, disagreed, “I’m skeptical about aliens especially when they help people who cross the Nullarbor make money.”

Brian Miller, a wine marketer, stated, “The patron saint of skepticism is Thomas Henry Huxley. I can back this up with evidence. Huxley exposed seances, invented the word ‘agnostic’ and fought for evolution when Darwin didn’t want to.”

University student Steven Hill, 27, said, “I’m skeptical about winning lottery systems. I don’t buy lottery tickets. As for Martians they’re not even a topic for debate.”

Megan Brimage, a slim figured, dark haired waitress who cheered and applauded loudest at the yet to come spoon bending demo said, “In my previous life I was Cleopatra.”  She added, “Before that I was a vampire.”

Waiting till Megan was out of earshot and sounding more serious than her, Laurie Eddie said, “All the waitresses here believe in crystals.”

Mr Burgess said, “A lot of people believe a lot of things which are non rational. It concerns me when the misinformation is dangerous or damaging. People who visited faith healers in the Philippines could have had better treatment at less cost.”

Ronald Evans is known for investigating a psychic who claimed to have found the Colossus of Rhodes through psychic powers.  Said Mr Evans, “After more than ten years with the skeptics and much reading I am disappointed not to be challenged even once.”

The spoon bending performer was Mike Garrett  a committee member of the Skeptics. When John Foley’s glasses fell Mike exclaimed, “These things happen around me all the time! When you get home tonight some of you will find your keys bent!”

Yes, the spoon really did seem to bend — and then break into two.

Laurie Eddie explained, “The spoon was already bent before Mike started. The bend was hidden by his hand. Spoons have a curved handle and so are designed to be bent. Psychics weaken the spoons they use by repeated bending before their performance. After that, bending and breaking them takes very little effort. Knives are not designed to be bent and psychics don’t bend them. If psychic energy is involved why spoons and not knives?"

Geraldine Hodgson has been in forensic work since 1988. She showed slides of her involvement in the excavation for the remains of the Beaumont children.

In 1966 Dutch clairvoyant Gerard Croiset indicated the three children were buried in a Glenelg warehouse. The recent excavation, financed by Con Polites, lasted ten weeks, went down two metres, and included use of cadaver dogs.

Geraldine ended her discussion,  “Mr Polites is satisfied the Beaumonts are not there.”

The evening ended with Mr Foley announcing a night time visit to the West Terrace Cemetery available to 39 people next Friday the 13th.

Committee Members of the Skeptics Association SA
Back: James Lakes; Allan Lang; Laurie Eddie; Ronald Evans; John Pattison
Front: John Foley;  Mike Garrett; Michelle Foster