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Skeptical Briefs

Skeptical Briefs is the quarterly newsletter of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. It is available by subscription. A subscription to Skeptical Briefs is independent of your subscription to the Skeptical Inquirer. It is published four times per year (in March, June, September, and December), and includes articles; news from skeptical groups across the country and around the world; and regular columnists Joe Nickell ("Investigative Files"), Lewis Jones ("Inklings"), Victor Stenger ("Reality Check"), Henry Huber ("Group News"); and Benjamin Radford ("Briefs Briefs"). It also includes a Hidden Messages puzzle in each issue by New Mexico physicist and skeptic David E. Thomas.

To Better Understand Evolution: An Interview with Jerry Coyne

To Better Understand Evolution: An Interview with Jerry Coyne

by Felipe Nogueira
Volume 24.3, Fall 2014

Skepticism and Science

Jerry Coyne is an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago and an important popularizer of evolution and science in general.

Playing Witch Doctor: Hidden Ethics in Skeptical Ghost Investigation

by Ben Radford
Volume 24.3, Fall 2014

The drive from my apartment to the haunted house was about twenty minutes, but I found myself wishing it would take longer. I wanted more time to get a handle on what I was going to say, how I was going to tell the family that their house was not haunted by a demon or angry ghost.

Poltergeist at Amityville?

by Joe Nickell
Volume 24.3, Fall 2014

Investigative Files

On December 18, 1975, George and Kathy Lutz and their three children moved into a six-bedroom Dutch colonial home in Amityville, New York. But soon they were driven out, they claimed, by horrific supernatural forces. Ghosts? A poltergeist? Demons? Let’s take a look, as new claims continue to surface.

The Kaspar Hauser Mystery

by Romeo Vitelli
Volume 24.2, Summer 2014

On May 26, 1828 (Easter Monday), two men were talking together in the Unschlittplatz near Nuremberg’s New Gate when they were approached by a teenage boy. By all accounts, he was a fresh-complexioned boy of about seventeen years of age dressed like a peasant.

Five Myths about Airport Security

by Richard E. Wackrow
Volume 24.2, Summer 2014

An estimated $57 billion has been spent on airport security since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Yet, since its inception in November 2001, the Transportation Security Administration has neither prevented nor failed to prevent a terrorist from hijacking or taking down a passenger plane.

The Yukon’s Bigfoot Bears

by Joe Nickell
Volume 24.2, Summer 2014

Investigative Files

Despite a lack of convincing evidence for Bigfoot, belief persists, and Bigfoot buffs are active almost everywhere, including the sparsely populated Yukon.

Soul Theft through Photography

by Matt Crowley
Volume 24.1, Spring 2014

Consider the notion that taking a photograph of a person “steals his or her soul.” It’s an easy concept to dismiss, as it seems so simplistic and overtly fallacious. But I claim there is value in actually considering this notion more carefully.

The Lake Monster That Predates Nessie

The Lake Monster That Predates Nessie

by Terence Hines
Volume 24.1, Spring 2014

Book Review

A review of The Untold Story of Champ: A Social History of America’s Loch Ness Monster, by Robert E. Bartholomew.

Song of a Siren:
 A Study in Fakelore

by Joe Nickell
Volume 24.1, Spring 2014

Investigative Files

Lorelei is described variously as a “sorceress,” “siren,” “water nymph,” “mermaid,” and even, in the plural, “mermaids.” In any case, at least she represents a romantic legend of the Rhine—or does she?

Skeptical Activism Online

Skeptical Activism Online

by Amanda Devaus
Volume 24.1, Spring 2014

The “woo” crowd—the psychics, the charlatans, the “healers” and others—are out there in the public; they are writing the books, setting up conferences, and getting themselves extensive media coverage. We need to match their exposure with our own and be there to give the counterpoints.

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