Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A jewel of a scam

As if there weren't enough ways to prey upon the gullible, in the last few years there has been a dramatic rise in offers for "energy jewelry," which includes necklaces, bracelets, anklets, earrings, and so on, all of which are somehow supposed to improve your health.  I thought this was worth investigating, so I did a Google search for "energy jewelry" -- and it resulted in over 42 million hits.  Here are a few from the first page, chosen randomly:

EnergyMuse -- leading the world in holistic crystal energy healing and jewelry.

Jewelry to harmonize the body's energy fields, auras, and chakras!

Energy Shop jewelry, designed to fit your dreams!  Each gemstone has been individually energy-charged and smudged.

Energy-ring.com specializes in energy healing gold and silver jewelry, and improves reiki, chakra, and psychic energy by using the Earth's magnetic field through induction coil rings.


And so forth.  I checked a few of these sites to see about cost, and the prices seemed mostly to start at $25 - but they went as high as $1500!

So, the basic idea is, give us large quantities of money, and we'll send you a piece of jewelry.  If you wear it, it'll harmonize your psychic energy fields (which don't exist), rearrange your chakras (which don't exist), and improve your aura (which also doesn't exist).  One has to wonder if there's a money-back guarantee.

My all-time favorite fake-energy-jewelry vendor is Takionic.com.  This company claims that their products "align the body's atoms" so that one can "tap into the limitless energy of the tachyon field."  (Isn't the "tachyon field" one of the things Geordi LaForge was always blathering on about on Star Trek: The Next Generation, in situations where he had to explain why Data was suddenly remembering the future, or something?  That and a "rip in the space-time continuum."  "Captain, if we can introduce a tachyon field into the rip in the space-time continuum, I think we might just be able to return us to our own universe and stop Data from answering questions we haven't asked yet, all before the final credits."  "Make it so, Mr. LaForge.")

Anyhow, Takionic.com has a variety of products that will allow you to access this unlimited energy source.  It doesn't stop with jewelry -- oh, my, no.  They have tachyon-capturing blankets, eyemasks, headbands, wristbands, night cream, massage oil, belts, scarves, sport suits, toothpaste, and water.

Yes, you read that right.  They're selling you (not you personally, I hope) tachyon-infused water.  For $35 for a 17-ounce bottle.

Me, I'm wondering if I missed my calling.  If there are people out there who will buy a plastic bottle of tap water for $35, I'm thinking I could be making a helluva lot more money doing that than being a public school teacher.

Anyway, I hope you haven't already been bamboozled by any of these folks and their pseudoscience.  I can categorically state that not one of the claims made by any of these folks -- not one -- has passed any kind of rigorous scientific test.  So, the bottom line is, if you want to be healthy, then eat right, exercise, don't smoke, and don't drink and drive.  Your jewelry may make you look nice, but it's not really going to help you out in any other way.

I'll just finish up by putting in a plug for the one bit of energy-jewelry that does perform as advertised.  It is the Placebo Band, sold for just $2 at SkepticBros.com.  It comes in many lovely bright colors, is labeled "PLACEBO," and has a nice holographic image of the SkepticBros logo on the front.  It comes with the following disclaimer:

"Placebo Band doesn’t come preprogrammed in any way. If you wish to have your band 'imbedded with frequencies' we suggest placing the band prominently on top of or in front of the largest speaker you have while playing your absolute favorite song ( e.g. Groove Is In The Heart by Dee Lite). Not only will you have listened to something that improves your mood straight away but you will be reminded of the song and that good feeling every time you wear Placebo Band."

SkepticBros.com also promises to replace your Placebo Band for free if it explodes for any reason.

Who could pass up a deal like that?

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