Pseudoscience The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Pseudoscience and unsinkable rubber quackery is everywhere. It is in almost every home across the globe, it’s sorta like dust. You can sweep and sweep but by tomorrow there will be more accumulating in the corners. We fight an endless battle here at Skepchick pointing out what issalt bullshit in this craptacular world. Admittedly, we have a lot of fun doing it and thankfully as I have said, we have an endless supply of nonsense to expose. I am sure a lot of skeptical minded folks even received gifts this holiday of the religious or pseudoscientific nature and we had to say things like, “Awwww, thank you grandma. NO, I really needed *aromatherapy and butt-candles. Thank you.” Lucky for us we can regift!

In honor of boxing day I thought I’d pack up a beautiful piece of crap I found and regift it to all of you.

lots o salt
I honestly think this quack product is lovely, well the photos are beautiful and they make pretty nightlights. But what you may not know is that at this very moment they are shattering the laws of physics with their ion shooting super powers! Without getting into too much detail, the basic (bullshit) idea behind these chunks of salt with a lightbulb shoved in them is that negative ions from the magic salt crystal come flying off and pretty much cure EVERYTHING. The claim is they do all of this:
Apparently, these glowing rocks clean your house, your lungs and give you a coke-high! Really, do ya mean it Mr. Salesman? Can I stop taking my asthma medicine and start wearing long haired cats as hats?

What I have found out from doing just an itty-bitty bit of research is that if ions were being removed from a salt crystal then the structure of cross saltthe salt crystal would change from a crystal to a poisonous gas. Mmmm poison. Negative ions don’t grab dust and then fall to the floor. Negative ions are not scrubbing bubbles. I also found out that if negative ions are really your thing, (and there is no scientific evidence that says they can accomplish anything on that list btw) you can just scuff your feet along the carpet and produce more than a salt lamp ever will. Oh, and Chelsea says they make really great arm weights if you can’t make it to the gym!
salt bowl

The thing that really chaffs my hide, is why not just say, hey look how pretty these night lights are. I would buy one if the sales guy wasn’t telling me that a potentially fatal disease could be cured with a magic rock. I have asthma. I had a friend who died from asthma. Asthma is no joke. A salt lick is not a substitute for modern medicine and to insinuate that it is puts children with asthma (and not so bright adults) at risk of having their unfortunately expensive preventative medications substituted for a cheap lamp and that is really potentially dangerous.

Honestly, I didn’t actually receive this gift but I found it while holiday shopping and took some pretty photos of it. The photos and the fact that the sales guy didn’t get any of my money is the real gift I give to you. Happy Boxing Day everyone!salty ball

*On a side note if this whole Surly-Ramics and skeptical art career thing doesn’t work out I am totally starting an aromatherapy-butt-candling business. It just seems like a completely logical progression in alt med practices.

Amy Roth

Amy Davis Roth (aka Surly Amy) is a multimedia, science-loving artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She makes Surly-Ramics and is currently in love with pottery. Daily maker of art and leader of Mad Art Lab. Support her on Patreon. Tip Jar is here.

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  1. “In honor of boxing day I thought I’d pack up a beautiful piece of crap I found and regift it to all of you.”

    Maybe someone should start selling magic healing lamps made out of coprolite, just to underscore the point.

  2. What an odd, odd thing to be claiming mystical healing powers with. “Increases lung capacity” is pretty outrageous and random.
    I think it’s a really rad-looking lamp. There was a vendor at the local state fair selling those and I was absolutely hypnotized. A shame that this ability to heal anything jacks up the price way high.

    Maybe a coprolite lamp could be sold with the claim that when lit, it grants the user easy poops.

  3. Ack, I’ve been in that store! Those are beautiful night-lights and if they weren’t completely over-priced I might have bought one for that purpose.

    We stopped in that store after trying dinner at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill just across the shopping center. I was polite, but mumbled something under my breath to my daughter about the supposed healing claims and you would think I slapped the Manager. She started shouting at me that everything listed had been proven and her eyes got bigger and bigger as she ranted so we left.

  4. @spellwight: I actually saw these at an art and craft festival. Yeah, I’m not sure how they are art or craft but whatever. The fact that there is a whole store devoted to them is pretty sad! You should have told the manager if they really work so well then why is she so angry? The negative ion super powers should have her in a state of continual bliss. Perhaps the “anti bitch” function was turned off on the store versions?

  5. Yeah, I’ve seen these in the store many times. They make really cool night-lights, as well as just being great for decoration. However, when they start making stupid claims like this, knowing that they are tricking people (or if they don’t know, then they are just as liable for making untested claims), and could very possibly be really hurting people.

    Just more remnants of the dark ages that people refuse to let go….

  6. I have some beautiful geode lamps that look quite similar to these. However, I bought them at a geology “rock sale” and no medical properties were claimed.

    They do give a beautiful , peaceful kind of light. Maybe they lower my BP? ;-)

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