Robert S. Lancaster

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Robert S. Lancaster
Robert Lancaster at TAM6
Robert S. Lancaster at The Amazing Meeting 6, July 9, 2008
Born (1958-02-11) February 11, 1958 (age 56)
Monterey Park, California
Occupation Computer programmer
Known for Stop Kaz, Stop Sylvia Browne
Spouse(s) Susan Lancaster
Website
http://stopsylvia.com

Robert Starrett Lancaster (born February 11, 1958) is an American computer programmer[1] and skeptic who created the websites Stop Kaz and Stop Sylvia Browne.

Biography[edit]

Lancaster's first web presence was The Bob Lancaster Gallery of Unusual Playing Cards, a site devoted to displaying some of his large collection of decks of playing cards. The site existed from 1996 until 2008 when AOL shut down member websites. Lancaster also created several shareware DOS computer games known collectively as The MicroLink Games.[2][3]

His first skeptical web site, Stop Kaz went online in September 2004. It is devoted to critical examination of the public statements of Kaz Demille-Jacobsen. She claimed to be a survivor of the September 11 attacks and gave speeches on that topic. "Everything that she claimed seemed to be a lie", Lancaster found.[4] He documented his efforts to create the site in a paper presented at The Amazing Meeting 4 in 2006.[5]

Lancaster with James Randi receiving the Citizen Skeptic Award, July 11, 2009.

Lancaster opened Stop Sylvia Browne, a web site devoted to critically examining the claims of self-proclaimed psychic Sylvia Browne, in November 2006.[4] He says he did so because, "I found her work with missing children to be incredibly offensive."[1] Lancaster has subsequently been interviewed as an expert on Browne's missteps in the Shawn Hornbeck case on CNN[6] and elsewhere.[4][7][8] The site has also documented other failings of Browne, including the Holly Krewson missing person case. In a 2002 episode of The Montel Williams Show, Browne said Krewson was at that time working as a stripper in Los Angeles; however, in 2006, her dental records were matched to a body that had been found in 1996.[9] In 2013, Browne again came under criticism for her false prediction about Amanda Berry.[10]

Lancaster has spoken at skeptic conferences including The Amazing Meeting in 2006,[11] 2007, 2008[12] and 2009. He has been interviewed on The Paul Harris Show,[7] Penn Radio,[4] The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe,[13] Beyond Reality Radio[14] and The Paracast.[8]

On August 4, 2008, Lancaster suffered a stroke, and was hospitalized for some time after.[15] He spent much of the next year in recovery, which his wife (Susan Lancaster) documented via online posts.[16]

In October 2008, during Lancaster's recovery, the domain registration for StopSylviaBrowne.com lapsed and was purchased by Boris Kreiman, who replaced the site with one advertising psychic services. When challenged by supporters of Lancaster, Kreiman offered to sell the domain back for $20,000 and put it up for auction. Lancaster's wife decided not to negotiate with Kreiman, and instead moved the site to an existing alternate domain, StopSylvia.com.[9]

On July 11, 2009, Lancaster received the Citizen Skeptic Award from the James Randi Educational Foundation at The Amazing Meeting 7 in Las Vegas, Nevada for his work as a skeptic.[17] He had recovered sufficiently from his stroke to receive the award in person (see photo).

In September 2010 Robert was interviewed in STOCKYARD Magazine. "People want answers", Lancaster says. "Answers to questions which, often, nobody else has been able to answer for them. Answers which law enforcement officials, medical providers, and loved ones cannot provide."[18]

In March 2011 Robert began hosting the Internet radio show Resident Skeptic on the Para-X Paranormal radio network, in which he gives the skeptical point of view on various paranormal topics.[19] Three months later Lancaster stepped down from hosting Resident Skeptic to spend more time on his stroke recovery.

On June 5, 2011 Lancaster suffered a minor heart attack in his home in Salem, Oregon. The attack, and his subsequent three-day hospitalization, were documented by Lancaster and his wife Susan in a thread titled "RSLancastr in hospital...again" on the JREF forum.[citation needed]


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ronson, Jon (October 27, 2007). "Is she for real? Jon Ronson on America's most controversial psychic Sylvia Browne". The Guardian. Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  2. ^ Callahan, Mike; Anis, Nick (1990). Dr. File Finder's Guide to Shareware. Berkeley, California: Osborne McGraw-Hill. p. 749. ISBN 0078816467. 
  3. ^ Lancaster, Bob (2001). "One Author's Experience: The MicroLink Games". Tribute to Text-Mode Games. Retrieved July 21, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d Jillette, Penn; Goudeau, Michael (February 12, 2007). "Penn Radio: Robert Lancaster of Stop Sylvia Browne". CBS Radio. Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  5. ^ Lancaster, Robert S. (January 26, 2006). "Stopping Kaz: One Skeptic's Experience Using the Internet to Debunk a Religious Con-artist". Proceedings of The Amazing Meeting 4. James Randi Educational Foundation. Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  6. ^ Cooper, Anderson (January 19, 2007). "Jordan Declares Intention to Develop Nuclear Program; Psychic Powers Debunked in Shawn Hornbeck Case?". Anderson Cooper 360. transcript. CNN.
  7. ^ a b "Stop Sylvia Browne". The Paul Harris Show. 2007-01-24. CBS Radio. KMOX. http://paulharrisonline.blogspot.com/2007/01/stop-sylvia-browne.htm.
  8. ^ a b Steinberg, Gene; Biedny, David (January 20, 2008), "Robert S. Lancaster", The Paracast, retrieved December 1, 2009 
  9. ^ a b Shaffer, Ryan (September–October 2009). "Skeptic’s Web Site Becomes Advertising for Psychic Business". Skeptical Inquirer 33 (5): 6–7. 
  10. ^ Curry, Colleen (May 8, 2013). "Psychic Who Said Amanda Berry Was Dead Silent After Berry Is Found Alive". Good Morning America. Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  11. ^ Lancaster, Robert (March 10, 2006). "Stopping Kaz". SWIFT (James Randi Educational Foundation). Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  12. ^ Wagg, Jeff (July 4, 2007). "TAM 5.5 Skepticism and Activism". James Randi Educational Foundation. Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  13. ^ Novella, Steven (March 21, 2007), "Podcast #87: Interview with Robert Lancaster", The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe (New England Skeptical Society), retrieved November 23, 2009 
  14. ^ Hawes, Jason; Wilson, Grant (August 25, 2007), Beyond Reality with Jason & Grant, WXLM 
  15. ^ Lancaster, Robert S. (March 27, 2010). "This Site: What Happened?". StopSylvia.com. Retrieved April 13, 2010. 
  16. ^ Lancaster, Susan (as "RSL's Better Half") (August 5, 2008). "RSLancastr - Progress and news". JREF Forum. James Randi Educational Foundation. Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  17. ^ Swoopy; Colanduno, Derek (July 13, 2009), "Ep. #106 - TAM 7 Wrap-Up", Skepticality (Skeptic Magazine), retrieved November 27, 2011 
  18. ^ Hughes, Amanda (September 7, 2010), "Out of Sight, Out of Mind", STOCKYARD Magazine, retrieved September 8, 2010 
  19. ^ Resident Skeptic, Para-X Radio Network, March 2, 2011, retrieved March 2, 2011 

External links[edit]