Gauquelin’s Mars Effect

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Michel Gauquelin (bron:,_Michel )

The Mars Effect kept skeptics quite busy for quite some time. One of the amazing things is how easily all kinds of skeptics were fooled and how quickly they launched themselves into investigations without examining properly the source of this effect. Rereading the original articles doesn’t lessen this feeling of amazement.

I have written several articles about this matter. One appeared in Skeptical Inquirer in 1997 and can be found here, and for two others I now give the references and a link.




  1. Paul Kurtz, Jan Willem Nienhuys, Ranjit Sandu (1997) Is the “Mars Effect” genuine? Journal of Scientific Exploration 11 (1), p, 19-39.
  2. Jan Willem Nienhuys (1997) Ertels “Mars Effekt”: Anatomie einer Pseudowissenschaft. Skeptiker 10 (3), p.92-98. The German version ‘Anatomie’ was a translation of an English text. This English text has been checked in 2017 and some comments are added.

My reason to come back to this in 2017 is a publication of many letters between Martin Gardner and Marcello Truzzi (Dear Martin / Dear Marcello: Gardner and Truzzi on Skepticism). Gardner considered the originator of the Mars Effect, namely the French psychologist Michel Gauquelin, a crank because he was such an ardent believer in his own nonsensical theory. Gardner compared him (on March 8) to the example of a man who believes that the center of the earth is made of jello – an example due to Freud. Gardner wrote (in a PS to his letter of March 5) what it was all about: ‘He presents nothing but one man’s analysis of one’s man [sic] accumulation of French statistics. … Claims of statistical correlations, to support wild theories, are a dime a dozen.’ Gardner thought that the wave of interest in astrology was the reason that Gauquelin’s books sold so well.

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Alternatieve artsenclubs in verval

Ik probeer bij te houden hoeveel alternatieve artsen er zijn (voor 2011 zie hier en voor 2016 hier) en het is weer tijd voor een update. Samengevat, de alto’s gaan door met krimpen en hun organisaties zien het ook niet meer zitten, althans ze doen weinig moeite om te zorgen dat de gegevens op hun websites correct zijn. Bijna de helft van hun leden is of wordt dit jaar 65 of ouder, en ook klopt bijna de helft van de gegevens op de diverse websites niet. Net of de helft van de ramen van een gebouw kapot zijn.

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Countess Cornelia Bandi’s last day

Title page of book on the death of Cornelia Bandi.

The story of the death of Countess Cornelia Bandi is simple. She went to bed at about 5 o’clock in the morning of March 15, 1731, but six hours later her remains were found next to her bed and competely burnt from the legs up. The room and adjoining rooms were covered in greasy soot and showed evidence of exposure to considerable heat. Apparently she had got up from bed and died almost instantly, and the oil lamp which she had been holding set her night dress and then her body alight.

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Phyllis Newcombe and Fantasy

foto uit krant
The late Miss Phyllis Newcombe.
Photo: Spaldings, Chelmsford

The sad story of Phyllis Newcombe (22) is quickly told. Her dress caught fire after a dance, probably by a discarded match. More than two weeks later she died after her burns had become septic. This happened in 1938, but starting from 1942 the lurid fantasy of writers has made her death into a paranormal horror story.

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