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Benjamin Radford

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Benjamin Radford, M.Ed., is a scientific paranormal investigator, a research fellow at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, deputy editor of the Skeptical Inquirer, and author, co-author, contributor, or editor of twenty books and over a thousand articles on skepticism, critical thinking, and science literacy. His newest book is Mysterious New Mexico: Miracles, Magic, and Monsters in the Land of Enchantment. Radford is also a columnist for Discovery News and LiveScience.com.

Broom Balancing on the Equinox

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 22, 2017
Broom Balancing on the Equinox



We are just past the 2017 summer solstice and amid the celebrations, pagan rituals, and Stonehenge treks, there were many who performed a trick seemingly unique to that day. 

Megyn Kelly, Alex Jones, and Conspiracies

Special Report
June 22, 2017
Megyn Kelly, Alex Jones, and Conspiracies

For skeptics it’s often a no-win situation: If we ignore whatever bogus claim (UFO, Bigfoot, ghosts, conspiracies) then what happens is that believers say to themselves: “There must be something to it…

Moral Panic Du Jour: The ‘Blue Whale Game’

Special Report
June 15, 2017

“The Blue Whale ‘suicide game’ is believed to be a hidden online social media group which its main aim is to encourage our children to kill themselves…

Was the Nightjar an Early Chupacabra?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 1, 2017
Was the Nightjar an Early Chupacabra?



Is the history and lore of the European nightjar bird related to the chupacabra?

The Mirror in the Last Haunted House

Skeptical Briefs Volume 27.1, Spring 2017

The Mirror in the Last Haunted House

I sought a pure, genuinely foreign experience, something unmistakably supernatural that could not be the product of a tired mind, a mild hallucination, or a half-forgotten memory of a scary film scene…

The Lore and Lure of the Northern Lights

Special Report
May 18, 2017
The Lore and Lure of the Northern Lights

“I didn’t just want to write a science book… I wanted to celebrate the beauty and magic of the aurora and how captivating it is, and also explore the history of Arctic exploration and the cultures there…”

Can Electromagnetic Fields Create Ghosts?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 41.3, May/June 2017

Skeptical Inquiree
Can Electromagnetic Fields Create Ghosts?

If you are sure that ghosts are real (and not the product of EMF-induced hallucinations), there is no logic or point in using a device to detect those EMFs.

Case Study in Flawed TV Ghost Investigation: ‘Kindred Spirits’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 1, 2017
Case Study in Flawed TV Ghost Investigation: ‘Kindred Spirits’

The ghost hunting TV show ‘Kindred Spirits’ offers an example of how not to investigate ghosts. 

George Cherrie’s 
Dark Tales

Skeptical Briefs Volume 26.4, Winter 2016/2017

George Cherrie’s 
Dark Tales

It’s a good lesson for skeptics to question all extraordinary claims—not only from those with whom we may disagree or who may hold a different worldview, but also those whom we consider friends.

Mystery of the Paulding Light

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 41.2, March/April 2017

Skeptical Inquiree
Mystery of the Paulding Light

Of course, it’s more fun to imagine the distant glimmer is a ghostly railroad brakeman’s phantom lantern than the headlights of a 2005 Honda Civic.

What Ghosts Mean

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 41.2, March/April 2017

Review
What Ghosts Mean

“I have to admit that I’ve come to envy the people who reported having poltergeists in their home; they have a ready explanation for anything amiss in their household”

Checking the Safety Check

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 11, 2017
Checking the Safety Check

Many people use Facebook’s “Safety Check” function to alert friends and family that they are safe during attacks and disasters. But how useful is it? 

How Russian Conspiracies Taint Social Activist ‘News’

Special Report
April 5, 2017
How Russian Conspiracies Taint Social Activist ‘News’

The idea that Russians are intentionally fomenting social unrest and government distrust in the United States through news media sounds itself like a conspiracy theory, but it is not.

When Talking to the Dead Leads to Death

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 5, 2017

People claiming to speak with ghosts have at times led to serious consequences, including death.

Ghost Hunters in the Dark

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 41.1, January/February 2017

Skeptical Inquiree

Why do ghost hunters look for ghosts at night with the lights off?

QuickTake: A Skeptical Look at CIA Spying Revelations

Special Report
March 22, 2017
QuickTake: A Skeptical Look at CIA Spying Revelations

The problem that intelligence agencies face is not having too little data, but precisely the opposite: having too much.

A Skeptical Review of ‘Get Out’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 17, 2017
A Skeptical Review of ‘Get Out’

The new horror/comedy film ‘Get Out,’ which has garnered widespread critical acclaim and commercial success, touches on conspiracies, urban legends, and hypnosis.

 

 

 

 

CSI Interviews Douglas Preston on The Lost City of the Monkey God

March 7, 2017
CSI Interviews Douglas Preston on The Lost City of the Monkey God

I started off thinking I was writing a story about these long-ago crimes in Florence, these serial killings, but all of a sudden we got pulled in by the police investigation, and pretty soon I was being interrogated as a suspect… it was really crazy.

A Glimpse Backward—and Forward—at Skepticism’s Big Tent

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.6, November/December 2016

Feature
A Glimpse Backward—and Forward—at Skepticism’s Big Tent

I have yet to have a person name an occupation or hobby that doesn’t have some angle into pseudoscience or paranormal claims.

The 10% Fail: Dieting Girls Statistics (Case Study)

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 23, 2017
The 10% Fail: Dieting Girls Statistics (Case Study)

The second in a series examining regrettable errors in ideas and projects that I otherwise support. 

Yes! Yes! Ye- Oh, Damn: The 10% Fail

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 6, 2017
Yes! Yes! Ye- Oh, Damn: The 10% Fail

I often encounter blogs and articles that I fully agree with—up until the writer stumbles, making a mistake that I can’t in good conscience implicitly endorse. 

How False Reports Target Muslims and Minorities

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 2, 2017
How False Reports Target Muslims and Minorities

Skeptics and skeptical researchers routinely encounter and investigate a wide variety false reports. When false reports concern “unexplained” topics the result is usually just wasted time. However when false reports involve real-world crimes they often implicate minorities and can result in miscarriages of justice. 

Trump Revisited

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 27, 2017
Trump Revisited

Shortly after Donald Trump’s election I wrote a blog titled “On Trump” in which I briefly examined some of the myths about his election; I revisit it in light of the first week of his presidency.

The True Story of The Bye Bye Man

Special Report
January 20, 2017
The True Story of The Bye Bye Man

From a folkloric perspective there are many red flags that the story of The Bye Bye Man (as Schneck described it to me and in his book—he didn’t write the screenplay) is fiction.

Reading Romance Novels in Jamaica

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 17, 2017
Reading Romance Novels in Jamaica

A conversation with a Jamaican reader of romance novels. 

Parsing ‘Fake News’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 3, 2017
Parsing ‘Fake News’

‘Fake News’ has become a social boogeyman over the past few months. Because “fake news” is so commonly encountered (both the phrase itself and variants of the phenomena it purports to describe), it’s useful to briefly unpack that concept.

The Mysterious Oneida Clown Menace

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 20, 2016
The Mysterious Oneida Clown Menace

A woman claims her two children were chased by a scary clown in a New York park, but the story sounds funny.

Unco Junto:  The Nature and Appeal of Authenticity

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 22, 2016
Unco Junto:  The Nature and Appeal of Authenticity

Much of Donald Trump’s appeal is based upon his percieved authenticity, as it is for many actors, writers, musicians, and performers. We all play different roles for different people, so what is “authenticity,” why is it prized, and is it even possible? 

A Skeptical Look at ‘Doctor Strange’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 14, 2016
A Skeptical Look at ‘Doctor Strange’

‘Doctor Strange’ is a good superhero film, but I winced a bit when Strange, the symbolic man of medicine, rationality, and science, is beguiled by his new master.

On Trump

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 9, 2016
On Trump

A few notes and corrections about Trump’s election, in the hopes I may offer some insight, if not reassurance.

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