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Skeptical Briefs

The Skeptical Briefs newsletter is only available to Associate Members of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. 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.

Maria Monk: A Nun’s ‘Secrets’ Revealed

Maria Monk: A Nun’s ‘Secrets’ Revealed

by Joe Nickell
Volume 23.4, Winter 2013–2014

Investigative Files

It turns out that the fantastic assertions she made were investigated thoroughly at the time by Protestant clergymen who were permitted to inspect the actual convent, discovering that its interior was incompatible with Monk’s descriptions.

He Is Kenny Biddle

He Is Kenny Biddle

by Gurmukh Mongia
Volume 23.4, Winter 2013–2014

Skeptical Podcasts

Since July of 2012, Kenny Biddle has been releasing episodes of a video blog titled I Am Kenny Biddle. His videos, which range between six and fifty minutes, feature Mr. Biddle's rants about such topics as paranormal fraud, ghost investigations, orbs, and the ways that people can be fooled.

Fifty Popular Mistaken Beliefs

Fifty Popular Mistaken Beliefs

by Leo Igwe
Volume 23.4, Winter 2013–2014

Book Review

“Harrison doesn’t use a condescending approach, something skeptics are often accused of using in addressing irrational believers and in challenging and debunking paranormal claims. Instead Harrison humbly acknowledges the cultural universality of unreason. . . .”

Carl Sagan, Cosmos,
 and Everything

Carl Sagan, Cosmos,
 and Everything

by Kitty Mervine
Volume 23.4, Winter 2013–2014

I consider an archive like a dark, still pool. I like to give it a stir and see what pops up to the surface.

Ghost Hunting: Conditioning Phobias

by Kenneth Biddle
Volume 23.3, Fall 2013

In August of 2009, I was asked to tag along with a ghost-hunting group that was going to do a paranormal investigation of a private residence. Despite the fact that there were simple and very plausible explanations for everything he experienced, the owner was completely convinced he had purchased a haunted house.

Investigating the Rhode Island UFO

Investigating the Rhode Island UFO

by Chip Taylor
Volume 23.3, Fall 2013

With a half a century plus of interest in UFOs, astronomy, and science, I’ve despaired that in all that time I’ve never seen a real UFO. (With emphasis on what the “U” stands for of course.)

Tracking Florida’s Skunk Ape

Tracking Florida’s Skunk Ape

by Joe Nickell
Volume 23.3, Fall 2013

Investigative Files

Combining myths of the American Sasquatch—better known since 1958 as “Bigfoot”—and various swamp monsters, Florida’s “Skunk Ape” is reportedly a large, shaggy, man-beast that haunts, especially, Florida’s wilderness areas.

The Monster That Never Sleeps—An Investigation into the Latest Loch Ness Monster Photo

The Monster That Never Sleeps—An Investigation into the Latest Loch Ness Monster Photo

by Hayley Stevens
Volume 23.2, Summer 2013

I turned my attention to those on the ground at Loch Ness that I had met during my trip there in March thinking that they might know something that the rest of the world didn’t. They didn’t disappoint.

A Book Not for the Faint of Heart

by John Rael
Volume 23.2, Summer 2013

Book Review

A review of Psychic Blues: Confessions of a Conflicted Medium, by Mark Edward.

‘Miracle’ Statue of Fatima

‘Miracle’ Statue of Fatima

by Joe Nickell
Volume 23.2, Summer 2013

Investigative Files

After years of crossing paths with it, I finally met up with the Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima, which has been traveling the world to relate the “message” of the Lady of Fatima—that of world peace.

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