Sticky Kids and Bad Reporting

The Globe and Mail has a major fail today with a rehashed story about Serbian boys who

Luka Lukic

are ‘magnetic’, and are able to have all sorts of metal stick to them. For some reason it doesn’t matter whether the metal is magnetic or not.

Two small boys from a central Serbian town are able to attract metal objects, acting much like human magnets, says the mother of one of them.

Sanja Petrovic, the mother of 4-year-old David, said it first came to her attention “about a month ago.”

“I asked him to fetch me a spoon so I cold feed his little brother, and he yelled back: ‘Mom, it sticks!”‘ Ms. Petrovic recalled. “I found him with several spoons and forks hanging from his body.”

Terrified, the 26-year-old woman – who lives in the town of Gornji Milanovac – phoned her sister, who discovered that her son, Luka, 6, has the same attraction.

People see a phenomenon and  are amazed. That’s normal, however it’s at this point that  the reporting falls apart.

The phenomenon is rare and so far medically unexplained. Several similar cases, however, have recently been reported in Serbia, and also in Croatia and Bosnia.

“As far as I know, there is no medical or scientific explanation,” said radiologist Mihajlo Dodic, who runs a practice in the Serbian capital, Belgrade. He said the cousins’ magnetism borders on the “paranormal.”

Why a radiologist would be asked to comment on the story is beyond me, other than to provide someone with ‘credentials’ to admit he isn’t at all skeptical. This is not even a new story. There was a report earlier this year as well about a Serbian boy named Bogdan.

It wasn’t new last spring either. Way back in 2004 James Randi wrote about this phenomenon, and how talcum powder magically inhibits the magnetism.

It is only unexplained or believed by people who don’t ask questions.

Shame on the Associated Press for so uncritically reporting this, and the Globe for publishing such tripe.

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