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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.

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.

Messages from ‘Star Families’—in the ET Language

by Joe Nickell
Volume 23.1, Spring 2013

Investigative Files

Cassandra Vanzant’s claims are legion. At one time or another she has acted as a tarot-card reader and instructor, ghost hunter, spiritualist medium, angel communicant, ordained minister, professional psychic, and of course, telepathic “Master Alien Communicator.”

The Ketchum Project: What to Believe about Bigfoot DNA ‘Science’

by Sharon Hill
Volume 23.1, Spring 2013

Science by press release is an unprofessional form and often is a bust upon peer review. Melba Ketchum asked the public directly to buy into an extraordinary claim: that she has categorized Bigfoot DNA and understands its origin, proposing not one but two unknowns—Sasquatch and an unknown ancestor of Sasquatch.

The Myth of the Rain Dance

by Noah Nez
Volume 23.1, Spring 2013

Native Skeptic

There are many myths and misconceptions found in every culture around the world. Some are more fanciful and colorful than others.

Uncovering Secret Messages

Uncovering Secret Messages

by Joe Nickell
Volume 22.4, Winter 2012/2013

Investigative Files

Among my many interests as a boy was cryptography—the study of codes, ciphers, and other secret writings. I sent and received nighttime Morse code messages by flashlight between neighbors’ houses and mine, made and solved cryptograms, used my forensic chemistry lab to make various invisible inks and developers, and even compiled a treatise on the subject.

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