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.
by Noah Nez
Some attempt to correlate the various stories from different tribes of indigenous people into modern Thunderbird sightings. However, when one looks a little more critically at these legends, it is clear they serve a much different purpose.
by Sharon Hill
When I was a kid, cryptozoology books repeatedly advocated the existence of creatures such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster using the same dramatic stories. At first, I was swayed by these stories, but eventually I got bored with them. Something was missing. Stories only got me so far. . .
by Ryan Shaffer
Over the years, Occhino has claimed to assist in missing persons cases, talk to the dead, and peer into the futures of celebrity lives. This article delves into Occhino’s predictions and activities, revealing that while Occhino is short on claims, her claims are short on independent proof. . .
by Joe Nickell
Are these experiences really supernatural? Or are they only natural, the result of misperceptions and even misreporting? A look into the phenomenon of claimed guardian-angel encounters is illuminating.
Although most of us haven’t had the exhilarating and life-affirming experience of nearly dying, a lucky few have returned from being “living challenged” to report their near-death experiences (NDE).
by Joe Nickell
Although skeptics insist ghosts are unreal, there are many ghostly encounters that seem to present startling evidence to the contrary. One such incident is presented in the book The Telltale Lilac Bush and Other West Virginia Ghost Tales by Ruth Ann Musick.
by Julia Galef
A review of The End of Discovery by Russell Stannard.
by Joe Nickell
While television often offers pseudoscience and fantasy instead of lessons in critical thinking (consider shows like The Ghost Whisperer), there are noteworthy exceptions. One is Soledad O’Brien’s CNN special Atlanta Child Murders (2010).
by Skeptical Briefs
Musician and skeptic George Hrab recently sat down with Skeptical Briefs to discuss his latest album, Trebuchet, his Geologic Show at Dragon*Con, and why bald guys are just plain smarter than everyone else.
Einstein had inserted into his gravitational equation a factor called the cosmological constant that provided a repulsive force to counteract the gravitational attraction that otherwise would make the universe collapse. Although the cosmological constant is often referred to as a “fudge factor,” that is a misnomer.