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Skeptical Inquirer — Notes on a Strange World

Notes on a Strange World

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The Lure of Mysterious Paintings

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Notes on a Strange World

Curse of the Evil Eye

Curse of the Evil Eye

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Notes on a Strange World

The evil eye is a lucrative business for many psychics and charlatans. However, the risks run by those who decide to rely on these frauds are often much worse than just a bloodletting to their pocketbooks.

The Mysteries of Leonardo

The Mysteries of Leonardo

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Notes on a Strange World

Leonardo da Vinci not only epitomizes genius and creativity, but he is also one of the most sought-after sources of mysteries, both real and invented.

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The Mystery of the Sicilian Avengers

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 37.4, July/August 2013

Notes on a Strange World

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The Thought Reader Craze

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 37.3, May/June 2013

Notes on a Strange World

Hitler’s South Pole Hideaway

Hitler’s South Pole Hideaway

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 37.1, January/February 2013

Notes on a Strange World

“Searching for Hitler’s DNA in Antarctica.” This is the bizarre headline that made the news a few months ago, launched by Russian news agency Ria Novosti and picked up by the world media after scientists were able to successfully drill into Antarctica’s Lake Vostok.

Curse That Painting!

Curse That Painting!

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 36.6, November/December 2012

Notes on a Strange World

Paranormal legends about paintings have always existed. Some think that a picture falling off the wall represents a bad omen for the person depicted or photographed in it. Others feel watched by some portraits whose eyes seem to follow onlookers as they move through a room. And still others claim that paintings can come alive...

Alien Mug Shots: The Ten Best (or Worst) Photos of Aliens

Alien Mug Shots: The Ten Best (or Worst) Photos of Aliens

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 36.5, September/October 2012

Notes on a Strange World

Once you take out those plainly fake and the more suspicious looking ones all you are left with are about ten photos. These are, essentially, “mug shots” of wanted extraterrestrials. Here is my personal list of the best (or worst) photos of aliens.

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Stairway to Heaven: A Firsthand Account of a UFO Sighting

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 36.4, July/August 2012

Notes on a Strange World

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Ten Myths about the Titanic

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 36.3, May/June 2012

Notes on a Strange World

The Day Houdini (Almost) Came Back from the Dead

The Day Houdini (Almost) Came Back from the Dead

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 36.2, March/April 2012

Notes on a Strange World

After magician and skeptic Harry Houdini died on October 31, 1926, scores of mediums claimed they had received a genuine message from the “soul” of the once-great skeptic and medium-basher.

The Case of a Weeping Orthodox Icon

The Case of a Weeping Orthodox Icon

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 36.1, January/February 2012

Notes on a Strange World

Last May, newspapers in Italy and abroad reported that the iconic image of a Madonna had wept tears in the Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas in Milano. It was the second time that this phenomenon had reportedly happened there.

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The Lost Girl: Investigating a Case of “Psychic Detection”

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 35.6, November/December 2011

Notes on a Strange World

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The Myth of Chastity Belts

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 35.5, September/October 2011

Notes on a Strange World

Photos of Ghosts: The Burden of Believing the Unbelievable

Photos of Ghosts: The Burden of Believing the Unbelievable

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 35.4, July/August 2011

Notes on a Strange World

Seeing photos of ghostly faces and figures floating around in the air must have been quite a shock to our ancestors.

I Was a Teenage Psychic

I Was a Teenage Psychic

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 35.3, May/June 2011

Notes on a Strange World

As a guest on a popular Italian TV show, L’Istruttoria (The Inquest), I had a chance to test a theory I was rather curious about.

Magic or Miracle?

Magic or Miracle?

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 35.2, March/April 2011

Notes on a Strange World

A Lesson Worth Remembering

How to Make a Monster!

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 34.6, November/December 2010

Notes on a Strange World

The Legend of Creating Artificial Life: From the Golem to Pinocchio

Testing for X-Ray Vision

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 34.4, July / August 2010

Notes on a Strange World

Some time ago, we received a letter from a woman, R.G., who claimed she can peer inside sealed boxes with some sort of X-ray vision and describe...

The Mystery of the Moving Tombstone

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 34.2, March / April 2010

Notes on a Strange World

Dutch police experts gather around a TV screen. They are watching footage from a hidden camera that was positioned to monitor a supposed case of vandalism at...

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The Shroud of Turin Duplicated

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 34.1, January / February 2010

Notes on a Strange World

The Italian Committee for the Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CICAP) celebrated its twentieth anniversary with a special three-day conference...

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Eusapia Palladino, Queen of the Cabinet, Part 4

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 33.6, November / December 2009

Notes on a Strange World

How is it possible that well-trained and respected scientists and investigators could be deceived by a clever...

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Eusapia Palladino, Queen of the Cabinet, Part 3

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 33.5, September / October 2009

Notes on a Strange World

There suddenly came a wild, yelling scream. It was such a scream as I have never heard before in my life, not even in...

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Eusapia Palladino, Queen of the Cabinet, Part 2

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 33.4, July / August 2009

Notes on a Strange World

Eleven extraordinary séances with medium Eusapia Palladino were held in the now-defunct Hotel Victoria in Naples.

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Eusapie Palladino, the Queen of the Cabinet, Part 1

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 33.3, May / June 2009

Notes on a Strange World

...it was essential that the investigators were knowledgeable of the methods of trickery. But were they really?

Search for the Ark

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 33.1, January / February 2009

Notes on a Strange World

Along with the Holy Grail, the Ark is the most sought after and elusive of relics.

The Curious Case of Street Lamp Interference

The Curious Case of Street Lamp Interference

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 32.6, November / December 2008

Notes on a Strange World

What would you think if street lamps kept turning off when you passed them by?

Hunting for Spooklights

Hunting for Spooklights

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 32.5, September / October 2008

Notes on a Strange World

The hot, still night was illuminated by a full moon. The two shadowy figures moving along the empty road wondered if this...

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‘I Am Houdini! And You Are a Fraud!’

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 32.2, March / April 2008

Notes on a Strange World

Though it seems that everything has already been said and written about magician Harry Houdini, every now and then something...

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The Legend of the Pied Piper

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 32.1, January / February 2008

Notes on a Strange World

It is 1284, and the little German town of Hamelin is infested by a plague of rats. In desperation, the mayor advertises for...

Spook Hills in the Lab

Spook Hills in the Lab

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 31.6, November / December 2007

Notes on a Strange World

Spook hills, also known as antigravity or magnetic hills, are natural places where cars in neutral seem to move uphill.

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The Man Who Fooled Edison ... but Not Houdini

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 31.5, September / October 2007

Notes on a Strange World

In one of the earliest letters exchanged between magician Harry Houdini and Sherlock Homes Creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle...

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The Quest for the ‘Real’ Robin Hood

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 31.4, July / August 2007

Notes on a Strange World

Once upon a time, there lived in Sherwood Forest a wronged noblemand whose lands, home, and woman had been stolen and who had...

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The Devious Art of Improvising: Third and Final Lesson

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 31.3, May / June 2007

Notes on a Strange World

"You say that Uri Geller is a psychic because he did this. Now if I were able to do it, would you say I'm a psychic?"

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The Devious Art of Improvising, Lesson Two

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 31.1, January / February 2007

Notes on a Strange World

Both Henning and Wilson were staring, quite curious to see how Randi would escape from such an impossible situation.

The Devious Art of Improvising, Lesson One

The Devious Art of Improvising, Lesson One

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 30.6, November / December 2006

Notes on a Strange World

The great fake psychics are great improvisationists.

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Behind the Mask

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 30.5, September / October 2006

Notes on a Strange World

"A masked man lived in the Bastille for years and, still wearing a mask, there he died."

Houdini’s Impossible Demonstration

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 30.4, July / August 2006

Notes on a Strange World

For years, Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were friends. One was an arch-skeptic while the other was a true believer.

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Circles of Light

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 30.3, May / June 2006

Notes on a Strange World

A new enigma is spreading on the Internet. Some call it a new kind of miracle. According to various Web sites, for the past...

In Search of Dracula

In Search of Dracula

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 30.2, March / April 2006

Notes on a Strange World

I recently had the opportunity to travel through Europe in search of the reality behind some famous ancient legends.

The Walrus Was Paul!

The Walrus Was Paul!

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 30.1, January / February 2006

Notes on a Strange World

Did you know that Paul McCartney, the ex-Beatle, never left the band because he died in 1966 and was replaced by a lookalike?

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Beware of Poltergeists

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 29.5, September / October 2005

Notes on a Strange World

Poltergeist is a German word that literally means "noisy ghost." It is, in fact, believed that poltergeists...

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The Story of a ‘Greata’ Medium

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 29.4, July / August 2005

Notes on a Strange World

There once was an Italian Spiritualistic medium who had both the pleasure of astonishing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator...

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There’s a UFO in My Painting!

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 29.3, May / June 2005

Notes on a Strange World

"UFOs are not a recent invention, they were seen by our ancestors as well!"

Was a Quack Doctor Jack the Ripper?

Was a Quack Doctor Jack the Ripper?

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 29.2, March / April 2005

Notes on a Strange World

In the search for the identity of Jack the Ripper, a recent discovery has attracted the attention of Ripperologists worldwide.

Facts and Fiction in the Kennedy Assassination

Facts and Fiction in the Kennedy Assassination

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 29.1, January / February 2005

Notes on a Strange World

Investigating historical mysteries is one of the most fascinating and rewarding aspects of the work of a skeptical researcher

The Secrets of Rennes-le-Château

The Secrets of Rennes-le-Château

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 28.6, November / December 2004

Notes on a Strange World

What if the Holy Grail was not the legendary cup that held the blood of Christ, but was itself a bloodline?

Lady Homeopathy Strikes Back. . . But Science Wins Out

Lady Homeopathy Strikes Back. . . But Science Wins Out

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 28.5, September / October 2004

Notes on a Strange World

On July 11, 2000, a popular Italian prime-time science program, presented a short segment highly critical of homeopathy.

The Case of the Holy Fraudster

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 28.2, March / April 2004

Notes on a Strange World

The next World Skeptics Congress will be held October 8-10, 2004, in Italy.

Don’t Try This at Home

Don’t Try This at Home

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 27.1, January / February 2003

Notes on a Strange World

Some of the most astonishing feats ever (supposedly) accomplished by men are the demonstrations of Indian fakirs and gurus.

Ica Stones: Yabba-Dabba-Do!

Ica Stones: Yabba-Dabba-Do!

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 26.5, September / October 2002

Notes on a Strange World

We all know that humans and dinosaurs actually coexisted, even if that only happened in The Flintstones

Return of Spring-Heeled Jack

Return of Spring-Heeled Jack

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 26.4, July / August 2002

Notes on a Strange World

Reports of the "Monkey Man" in East Dehli, India