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Benjamin Radford

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Benjamin Radford, M.Ed., is a scientific paranormal investigator, a research fellow at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, deputy editor of the Skeptical Inquirer, and author, co-author, contributor, or editor of twenty books and over a thousand articles on skepticism, critical thinking, and science literacy. His newest book is Bad Clowns; his next, Investigating Ghosts: The Scientific Search for Spirits, will be out in Fall 2017.

‘Why Are You Asking?’ Reporting the Black Santa Story

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 18, 2017
‘Why Are You Asking?’ Reporting the Black Santa Story

A viral news story in 2016 about racial outrage against a black mall Santa Claus turned out, fortunately, to be false. So why was researching the truth seen as problematic? 

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Legitimizing Woo

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 41.6, November/December 2017

Skeptical Inquiree

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Critical Thinking Approaches to Confronting Racism

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 42.1, January/February 2018

A Skeptic's Guide to Racism

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Medical Misinformation in the Media: Is Anorexia on the Rise?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 42.1, January/February 2018

Feature

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Is Elvis Presley in Home Alone?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 42.1, January/February 2018

Skeptical Inquiree

The True, Heartwarming Story of the Mall of America’s Black Santa

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 1, 2017
The True, Heartwarming Story of the Mall of America’s Black Santa

One year ago today an ugly and widely-reported episode of racial hatred tainted the beginning of the 2016 holiday season. Fortunately it didn’t happen.

Bringing Levitation Down to Earth

Skeptical Briefs Volume 27.2, Summer 2017

Bringing Levitation Down to Earth

I’m not sure that human levitation exists—much less that it’s attributable to a mind-body connection (or quantum physics)—but overall I enjoyed speaking with Grosso and reviewing his book.

Gunmen or Maintenance Worker? Applause or Gunshot?  How Expectation Influences Perception

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 20, 2017
Gunmen or Maintenance Worker? Applause or Gunshot?  How Expectation Influences Perception

Countless real-life examples of false reports remind us that sincere, otherwise credible eyewitnesses can be influenced by many factors, including what they expect (or fear) to see.

‘Educate Yourself’: The Log in the Critical Eye

Special Report
November 8, 2017
‘Educate Yourself’: The Log in the Critical Eye

As a professional skeptic, I deal with all manner of believer. Some are respectful, some are not, but the one constant is that the believer and I are approaching the topic from different viewpoints.

The ‘Science Can’t Explain!’ Fallacy

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 19, 2017
The ‘Science Can’t Explain!’ Fallacy

When reading claims of baffled scientists and skeptics, remember: “Can’t” isn’t the same as “didn’t try.”

Burying the C.B.S.

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 4, 2017
Burying the C.B.S.

An innocuous press release for a new book on Darwin raises some red flags.

The West Palm Beach Killer Clown Case: A Closer Look

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 28, 2017
The West Palm Beach Killer Clown Case: A Closer Look

The mysterious 1990 killing of a Florida woman by someone dressed as a clown may finally be solved.

How a Puerto Rican Hurricane Spawned El Chupacabra

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 21, 2017
How a Puerto Rican Hurricane Spawned El Chupacabra

Hurricanes are well known in the Puerto Rico, but lesser known is how a storm twenty-eight years ago, Hurricane Hugo, helped spawn the world’s most famous cryptozoological vampire: the chupacabra.

Behind the Scary Clown Juggalo March on Washington

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 19, 2017
Behind the Scary Clown Juggalo March on Washington

Washington D.C. has more clowns in it than usual over the weekend: Juggalos protesting their FBI designation as a criminal gang. Here’s the story. 

From TV miniseries to the Silver Screen: Pennywise Returns

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 5, 2017
From TV miniseries to the Silver Screen: Pennywise Returns

Pennywise the evil clown returns later this week in the new version of Stephen King’s It. Here’s a look back at the film and character.

Ethics in Spirit Mediumship and Ghostly Communications

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 28, 2017
Ethics in Spirit Mediumship and Ghostly Communications

Usually when people think of ghostly communication it’s in a positive or light, but there are real ethical issues with the practice.

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Orbs as Plasma Life

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 41.5, September/October 2017

Skeptical Inquiree

A Good Analysis of Bad UFO Information

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 41.4, July/August 2017

Review
A Good Analysis of Bad UFO Information

Robert Sheaffer is one of the—if not the—world’s top experts on the subject of unidentified flying objects and claims of extraterrestrials, and he shares that knowledge in his new book Bad UFOs.

The Phoenix Driveway Ghost

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 41.4, July/August 2017

Skeptical Inquiree
The Phoenix Driveway Ghost

Ben Radford explains a strange mist found in a Phoenix woman’s driveway.

Favorite and Memorable Investigations

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 10, 2017
Favorite and Memorable Investigations



I was recently asked “What are your favorite investigations and what made them memorable?”

Unco Junto: The Nature of Hypocrisy

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 21, 2017
Unco Junto: The Nature of Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy seems to be a running theme on the news and in social media, especially in the political sphere. But what is the nature of hypocrisy? Michael Hartwell, Ian Harris, and Celestia Ward join me in examining the question.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Emmys: An Amelia Earhart Special (Non)Mystery Post-Mortem

Special Report
July 18, 2017
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Emmys: An Amelia Earhart Special (Non)Mystery Post-Mortem

Going beyond the evidence is routinely seen on reality television…

Chupacabra and the Nightjar: Response to Colavito

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 6, 2017
Chupacabra and the Nightjar: Response to Colavito

Following up on my book Tracking the Chupacabra, I have occasionally written about varied speculative pseudohistories of the chupacabra, including a reputed link to a nightjar bird.

Broom Balancing on the Equinox

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 22, 2017
Broom Balancing on the Equinox



We are just past the 2017 summer solstice and amid the celebrations, pagan rituals, and Stonehenge treks, there were many who performed a trick seemingly unique to that day. 

Megyn Kelly, Alex Jones, and Conspiracies

Special Report
June 22, 2017
Megyn Kelly, Alex Jones, and Conspiracies

For skeptics it’s often a no-win situation: If we ignore whatever bogus claim (UFO, Bigfoot, ghosts, conspiracies) then what happens is that believers say to themselves: “There must be something to it…

Moral Panic Du Jour: The ‘Blue Whale Game’

Special Report
June 15, 2017

“The Blue Whale ‘suicide game’ is believed to be a hidden online social media group which its main aim is to encourage our children to kill themselves…

Was the Nightjar an Early Chupacabra?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 1, 2017
Was the Nightjar an Early Chupacabra?



Is the history and lore of the European nightjar bird related to the chupacabra?

The Mirror in the Last Haunted House

Skeptical Briefs Volume 27.1, Spring 2017

The Mirror in the Last Haunted House

I sought a pure, genuinely foreign experience, something unmistakably supernatural that could not be the product of a tired mind, a mild hallucination, or a half-forgotten memory of a scary film scene…

The Lore and Lure of the Northern Lights

Special Report
May 18, 2017
The Lore and Lure of the Northern Lights

“I didn’t just want to write a science book… I wanted to celebrate the beauty and magic of the aurora and how captivating it is, and also explore the history of Arctic exploration and the cultures there…”

Can Electromagnetic Fields Create Ghosts?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 41.3, May/June 2017

Skeptical Inquiree
Can Electromagnetic Fields Create Ghosts?

If you are sure that ghosts are real (and not the product of EMF-induced hallucinations), there is no logic or point in using a device to detect those EMFs.

Case Study in Flawed TV Ghost Investigation: ‘Kindred Spirits’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 1, 2017
Case Study in Flawed TV Ghost Investigation: ‘Kindred Spirits’

The ghost hunting TV show ‘Kindred Spirits’ offers an example of how not to investigate ghosts. 

George Cherrie’s 
Dark Tales

Skeptical Briefs Volume 26.4, Winter 2016/2017

George Cherrie’s 
Dark Tales

It’s a good lesson for skeptics to question all extraordinary claims—not only from those with whom we may disagree or who may hold a different worldview, but also those whom we consider friends.

Mystery of the Paulding Light

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 41.2, March/April 2017

Skeptical Inquiree
Mystery of the Paulding Light

Of course, it’s more fun to imagine the distant glimmer is a ghostly railroad brakeman’s phantom lantern than the headlights of a 2005 Honda Civic.

What Ghosts Mean

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 41.2, March/April 2017

Review
What Ghosts Mean

“I have to admit that I’ve come to envy the people who reported having poltergeists in their home; they have a ready explanation for anything amiss in their household”

Checking the Safety Check

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 11, 2017
Checking the Safety Check

Many people use Facebook’s “Safety Check” function to alert friends and family that they are safe during attacks and disasters. But how useful is it? 

How Russian Conspiracies Taint Social Activist ‘News’

Special Report
April 5, 2017
How Russian Conspiracies Taint Social Activist ‘News’

The idea that Russians are intentionally fomenting social unrest and government distrust in the United States through news media sounds itself like a conspiracy theory, but it is not.

When Talking to the Dead Leads to Death

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 5, 2017

People claiming to speak with ghosts have at times led to serious consequences, including death.

Ghost Hunters in the Dark

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 41.1, January/February 2017

Skeptical Inquiree

Why do ghost hunters look for ghosts at night with the lights off?

QuickTake: A Skeptical Look at CIA Spying Revelations

Special Report
March 22, 2017
QuickTake: A Skeptical Look at CIA Spying Revelations

The problem that intelligence agencies face is not having too little data, but precisely the opposite: having too much.

A Skeptical Review of ‘Get Out’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 17, 2017
A Skeptical Review of ‘Get Out’

The new horror/comedy film ‘Get Out,’ which has garnered widespread critical acclaim and commercial success, touches on conspiracies, urban legends, and hypnosis.

 

 

 

 

CSI Interviews Douglas Preston on The Lost City of the Monkey God

March 7, 2017
CSI Interviews Douglas Preston on The Lost City of the Monkey God

I started off thinking I was writing a story about these long-ago crimes in Florence, these serial killings, but all of a sudden we got pulled in by the police investigation, and pretty soon I was being interrogated as a suspect… it was really crazy.

A Glimpse Backward—and Forward—at Skepticism’s Big Tent

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.6, November/December 2016

Feature
A Glimpse Backward—and Forward—at Skepticism’s Big Tent

I have yet to have a person name an occupation or hobby that doesn’t have some angle into pseudoscience or paranormal claims.

The 10% Fail: Dieting Girls Statistics (Case Study)

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 23, 2017
The 10% Fail: Dieting Girls Statistics (Case Study)

The second in a series examining regrettable errors in ideas and projects that I otherwise support. 

Yes! Yes! Ye- Oh, Damn: The 10% Fail

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 6, 2017
Yes! Yes! Ye- Oh, Damn: The 10% Fail

I often encounter blogs and articles that I fully agree with—up until the writer stumbles, making a mistake that I can’t in good conscience implicitly endorse. 

How False Reports Target Muslims and Minorities

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 2, 2017
How False Reports Target Muslims and Minorities

Skeptics and skeptical researchers routinely encounter and investigate a wide variety false reports. When false reports concern “unexplained” topics the result is usually just wasted time. However when false reports involve real-world crimes they often implicate minorities and can result in miscarriages of justice. 

Trump Revisited

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 27, 2017
Trump Revisited

Shortly after Donald Trump’s election I wrote a blog titled “On Trump” in which I briefly examined some of the myths about his election; I revisit it in light of the first week of his presidency.

The True Story of The Bye Bye Man

Special Report
January 20, 2017
The True Story of The Bye Bye Man

From a folkloric perspective there are many red flags that the story of The Bye Bye Man (as Schneck described it to me and in his book—he didn’t write the screenplay) is fiction.

Reading Romance Novels in Jamaica

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 17, 2017
Reading Romance Novels in Jamaica

A conversation with a Jamaican reader of romance novels. 

Parsing ‘Fake News’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 3, 2017
Parsing ‘Fake News’

‘Fake News’ has become a social boogeyman over the past few months. Because “fake news” is so commonly encountered (both the phrase itself and variants of the phenomena it purports to describe), it’s useful to briefly unpack that concept.

The Mysterious Oneida Clown Menace

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 20, 2016
The Mysterious Oneida Clown Menace

A woman claims her two children were chased by a scary clown in a New York park, but the story sounds funny.

Unco Junto:  The Nature and Appeal of Authenticity

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 22, 2016
Unco Junto:  The Nature and Appeal of Authenticity

Much of Donald Trump’s appeal is based upon his percieved authenticity, as it is for many actors, writers, musicians, and performers. We all play different roles for different people, so what is “authenticity,” why is it prized, and is it even possible? 

A Skeptical Look at ‘Doctor Strange’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 14, 2016
A Skeptical Look at ‘Doctor Strange’

‘Doctor Strange’ is a good superhero film, but I winced a bit when Strange, the symbolic man of medicine, rationality, and science, is beguiled by his new master.

On Trump

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 9, 2016
On Trump

A few notes and corrections about Trump’s election, in the hopes I may offer some insight, if not reassurance.

5 Halloween Scares and Legends: Facts vs. Fiction

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 28, 2016
5 Halloween Scares and Legends: Facts vs. Fiction

Halloween is just around the corner, and amid the make-believe witches, ghouls, and goblins, there are supposedly real-life villains who hope to harm on children October 31. But are they real or myth? Here are five scary myths and legends about the spookiest holiday

 

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‘M’ Is for Mysterious Marks

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.6, November/December 2016

Skeptical Inquiree

‘Batman’ Vs. Creepy Clown Panics: What Drives Copycats?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 20, 2016
‘Batman’ Vs. Creepy Clown Panics: What Drives Copycats?

Why would people dress up as clowns to scare people, and falsely report having seen a stalker clown when they didn’t?

Why Trump’s Voter Fraud Conspiracy Matters

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 12, 2016
Why Trump’s Voter Fraud Conspiracy Matters

Trump has trafficked in many conspiracy theories for years, but this latest is different. Here’s why.

Alabama School Panic: Is ‘Clown Lockdown’ the New Normal?

Special Report
September 22, 2016
Alabama School Panic: Is ‘Clown Lockdown’ the New Normal?

Any other time reports of threatening clowns would likely have been ignored or dismissed, but these copycat clown incidents come at a time when very real terroristic threats and school shootings are in the news.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 20, 2016
Privacy, Surveillance, and Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’

Stone’s films convey his bluster and moral outrage, but often stop just short of really offering a sincere or nuanced discussion of his controversial topics, and ‘Snowden’ is like a civics teacher who can’t or won’t tackle alternate viewpoints or answer questions that might challenge the textbook’s conventional wisdom.

Pseudorelatos sobre el chupacabras

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.1, January/February 2016

Online Extra
Pseudorelatos sobre el chupacabras

La mayoría de la gente da por sentado que el chupacabras, como sus hermanos Piegrande y Nessie, apareció hace décadas o siglos. Sin embargo, el origen de este misterioso vampiro bestial se remonta a un testigo portorriqueño que vio la película Species en 1995, en la que aparecía un monstruo casi idéntico.

Pastor’s Anthem Enforcement Threat Goes Viral-But Is It Real?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 15, 2016
Pastor’s Anthem Enforcement Threat Goes Viral-But Is It Real?

An Alabama pastor allegedly told a high school football game crowd that people who don’t stand for the national anthem should be killed, according to news reports. But there’s more to the story.

Unco Junto: Offense by Proxy and the Moral Right to Indignation

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 8, 2016
Unco Junto: Offense by Proxy and the Moral Right to Indignation

It’s one thing to be offended as the target of an objectionable action or insult, but what about being offended on behalf of others?

Head-Desking HeadOn!

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 31, 2016
Head-Desking HeadOn!

A closer look at HeadOn, a waxy homeopathic paste claimed in commercials to relieve headaches.

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Playing to an Empty Room: Ghost Hunting and ‘Singapore Theory’

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.5, September/October 2016

Skeptical Inquiree

“Hillary’s White House Dreams Shattered?”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 12, 2016
“Hillary’s White House Dreams Shattered?”



The other day I saw an alarming headline: “Hillary’s White House Dreams Shattered?” Aghast that Clinton’s campaign was in such serious jeopardy, and I began reading the piece, by K. O’Donnell of the Health Sciences Institute. It did strike me as odd that someone from a health sciences institute would be reporting on politics, but nonetheless, the details that O’Donnell offered were alarming. 

Did Joseph Smith Predict Doomsday?

Skeptical Briefs Volume 26.1, Spring 2016

My inclusion of Joseph Smith as a failed doomsday prophet was not intended to disparage the Mormon faith but instead a historical fact based on Smith’s own writings.

The Great New Mexico Elk Murder Conspiracy

Skeptical Briefs Volume 25.4, Winter 2015/16

The Great New Mexico Elk Murder Conspiracy

Livestock deaths, by themselves, are not unusual—there are many things that can fell large animals in our desert climes, including predators, poachers, a natural or man-made toxin, disease, drought, heat, starvation, and even lightning.

Unco Junto-  Art’s Obligation to Truth: The Case of ‘Wild Thing’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 8, 2016
Unco Junto-   Art’s Obligation to Truth: The Case of ‘Wild Thing’

A controversial poem about a controversial racial attack in New York City turned out to be wrong. Does art (or poetry specifically) have an obligation to truth? 

Jason Bourne Is Back

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 29, 2016
Jason Bourne Is Back

Jason Bourne reunites Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass about a decade after their film The Bourne Supremacy. By this time they’re both old pros, which is both good and bad: good because the learning curve is behind them and bad because they seem on autopilot for Jason Bourne, and the end result isn’t so much bad as it is stale.

Three Dowsing Questions Answered

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 25, 2016
Three Dowsing Questions Answered

A brief and skeptical look at dowsing, including why an oil company wasted $7 billion in a fruitless search for oil when a dowser could presumably have located it (or not) for a few thousand dollars. 

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Egging the Equator

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.4, July/August 2016

Skeptical Inquiree
Egging the Equator

So it was that I spent several long minutes trying to balance the same egg on the same stake and nail.

Unco Junto: Should Skeptics Be Paid for TV Work?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 6, 2016

I’ve been doing investigations and appearing on TV shows for well over a decade, but an unresolved issue plagues skepticism: Should experts should ask (or demand) to be paid for appearing on TV shows beyond expenses? It’s a bit of a tricky issue. I and four contributors discuss the topic.

Levitation Claims: An Interview with Michael Grosso

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 29, 2016
Levitation Claims: An Interview with Michael Grosso

Can people levitate? Michael Grosso, author of The Man Who Could Fly: St. Joseph of Copertino and the Mystery of Levitation, thinks so. I’m… skeptical. 

A Skeptical Look at “The Conjuring 2”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 21, 2016
A Skeptical Look at “The Conjuring 2”

A skeptical look at the new horror film “The Conjuring 2,” ripped from the “real life” case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren.

Critical and Thinking: The Ian Harris Interview

Skeptical Briefs Volume 25.3, Fall 2015

Critical and Thinking: The Ian Harris Interview

A standup comic doing explicitly skeptical material on a regular basis as part of his act is unusual.

Unco Junto: Is There a Right to Anonymity, or an Obligation to Preserve It?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 2, 2016
Unco Junto: Is There a Right to Anonymity, or an Obligation to Preserve It?

This month’s question: Is There a Right to Anonymity, or an Obligation to Preserve It?

Reply to a Cell Phone Story Complaint

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 27, 2016
Reply to a Cell Phone Story Complaint

I recently got an e-mail from a Skeptical Inquirer reader who wrote to complain about a short item I’d written on cell phone dangers. 

Catching Up With Itinerant Feminist Organizer Shelby Knox

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 18, 2016
Catching Up With Itinerant Feminist Organizer Shelby Knox

A decade after I first interviewed feminist, education activist, and documentary subject Shelby Knox about her work I caught up with her for an update on her life and work.

Amy Schumer, the “Trainwreck” Shooting, and the Benefits of Skepticism

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 12, 2016
Amy Schumer, the “Trainwreck” Shooting, and the Benefits of Skepticism

Amy Schumer blames herself for inspiring a shooting at her film Trainwreck, but there’s no reason she should. 

Mistaken Memories of Vampires: Pseudohistories of the Chupacabra

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.1, January/February 2016

Feature
Mistaken Memories of Vampires: Pseudohistories of the Chupacabra

As well-known monsters go, the chupacabra is of very recent vintage, first appearing in 1995. However, some writers have created pseudohistories and claimed a false antiquity for the Hispanic vampire beast. These examples provide a fascinating look at cryptozoological folklore in the making.

Unco Junto: The Myth of the ‘National Conversation’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 3, 2016
Unco Junto: The Myth of the ‘National Conversation’
Ben Radford and three invited guests (David Koepsell, Robert Blaskiewicz, and Celestia Ward) offer their takes on the topic: Does a 'national conversation' exist, and if so, what is its nature?  First in a series.

Crop Circles and Vibrational Resonance: A Link?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 29, 2016
Crop Circles and Vibrational Resonance: A Link?
I was recently contacted by a person who had seen an online video about patterns created by salt on a vibrating metal plate and asked my opinion about whether they could explain crop circles. 

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U.K. Viral ‘Ghost Photo’ Explained

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.3, May/June 2016

Skeptical Inquiree

A Closer Look at Media Diversity: Should TV Reflect Reality?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 18, 2016
A Closer Look at Media Diversity: Should TV Reflect Reality?
Should TV characters reflect the demographics of their audiences? A closer look at two reports on minority characters offers insight. 

The Wisdom of Not Understanding

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 7, 2016
The Wisdom of Not Understanding
Too often we are embarrassed to admit that we don't understand what we are told. Asking for clarification not only helps both the speaker and listener communicate more effectively, but is also a powerful tool in skepticism and critical thinking.

Doubt and Skepticism at 10 Cloverfield Lane

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 16, 2016
Doubt and Skepticism at 10 Cloverfield Lane
One of 10 Cloverfield Lane's most effective themes is essentially a skeptical one: the uncertainty of knowledge.

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Cyptozology and Global Warming

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.2, March/April 2016

Skeptical Inquiree

Lessons from a Middle School Bermuda Triangle Q&A

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 22, 2016
Lessons from a Middle School Bermuda Triangle Q&A
A Q&A session with a middle school class about the Bermuda Triangle offers an unexpected lesson.

Feral Children in Fact and Fiction

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 10, 2016
Feral Children in Fact and Fiction
Legends from around the world tell of children raised by wild animals including wolves, bears, and apes. 

The Big Short: A Lesson in Financial Skepticism (film review)

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 15, 2016
The Big Short: A Lesson in Financial Skepticism (film review)
The Academy Award-nominated film The Big Short is, at it heart, a tale about the importance of skepticism: demanding evidence, doing original research, and not just accepting what you’re told—even by “experts.” 

Big Pharma Conspiracy Debunked

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 12, 2016
Big Pharma Conspiracy Debunked
Does Big Pharma really prevent the publication of studies unfavorable to their popular drugs? A closer look.

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Have You Seen the Toucan Man?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.1, January/February 2016

Skeptical Inquiree

The Bad Santa: A Review of “Krampus”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 23, 2015
The Bad Santa: A Review of “Krampus”
The new film Krampus is a Christmas horror-comedy about a boy who accidentally summons Krampus, a hulking, horned, cloven-hoofed demon who terrorizes his family.

Follow-up on a Ghost Investigation

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 14, 2015
Follow-up on a Ghost Investigation

I occasionally am contacted by people who have read my books and articles or seen me on TV and have follow-up questions. Here is a recent e-mail I got that touches on the practical aspects of ghost investigations. 

A Question of Dragons

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 30, 2015
A Question of Dragons
Among my myriad editorial, writing, investigative, and other duties I often get e-mails from the public asking me questions about "unexplained" subjects. Here's my response to a sixth-grader's question about dragons.

Facing Art and Skepticism: Caricaturist Celestia Ward

Skeptical Briefs Volume 25.2, Summer 2015

Interviews
Facing Art and Skepticism: Caricaturist Celestia Ward

In 2014, Skeptical Briefs Editor Benjamin Radford attended a caricature conference in Reno, Nevada. Inside a hotel ballroom full of ridiculously talented artists from around the world, he happened to meet Celestia Ward, a caricaturist who’s also a skeptic. Naturally, he had questions for her.

Available in the Print Edition. Subscribe Here.

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and Joe Schwarcz Win CSI’s Balles Prizes in Critical Thinking

Skeptical Briefs Volume 25.2, Summer 2015

A Question of Dragons

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 6, 2015
Among my myriad editorial, writing, investigative, and other duties I often get e-mails from the public asking me questions about "unexplained" subjects. Here's a question I got from a sixth grader about dragons.

The Curious Case of Baby Lisa and the Psychic

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 29, 2015
The Curious Case of Baby Lisa and the Psychic

In my over 15 years of investigations I've covered many dozens of claims of psychics and psychic detectives. Of those, about a half-dozen stand out as being particularly interesting or intriguing-not just yet another psychic making dubious claims, but some novel twist that at suggests a closer look is needed to understand what's going on. This is one of those cases.


Playing with Past Lives: The Virginia Boy and the Dead Marine

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 39.5, September/October 2015

Skeptical Inquiree
Playing with Past Lives: The Virginia Boy and the Dead Marine

Have you heard about this recent case of a young boy who says he lived a past life as a Marine? What do you make of it?

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Beware Mesmer Thieves!

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 39.6, November/December 2015

Skeptical Inquiree

‘Bridge of Spies’ on Spying and Due Process

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 21, 2015
‘Bridge of Spies’ on Spying and Due Process
'Bridge of Spies' is an engaging political thriller with a real American hero--whether audiences recognize it or not.

Alex Tsakiris, Psychic Detectives, and Bad Science

October 13, 2015
Alex Tsakiris, Psychic Detectives, and Bad Science

Good science requires good data, and to get valid results scientists must consider all of the evidence. If a researcher chooses to exclude some of the information available in an experiment, for example, he or she should offer a rationale for doing so. When researchers present to the public or their peers data that only supports their conclusions, that’s called bad science (at best) or outri

Reality Check: Is America ‘Numb’ to Mass Shootings?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 5, 2015
In the wake of a shooting that left at least ten dead, last week President Obama stated that "Somehow, this has become routine. We become numb to this." Is that true? 

“The Gospel According to Stephenson”: Seven Questions for John Schuermann

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 1, 2015
“The Gospel According to Stephenson”: Seven Questions for John Schuermann
In which I ask Writer/Director/Composer John Schuermann about his hoped-to-be upcoming vampire film "The Gospel According to Stephenson."

Do Conspiracy Theorists Drive Chevys?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 21, 2015
Do Conspiracy Theorists Drive Chevys?
You might think that conspiracy theorists would organize boycotts of General Motors, Bank of America, brands that use ADM products, and dozens of other familiar brands and companies found guilty of engaging in conspiracy.

“The Visit” (film review)

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 14, 2015
“The Visit” (film review)
Despite its flaws The Visit is successful enough in building fear and tension in a creepy atmosphere to merit a tepid recommendation. 

A Reader’s Query: 10% of the Brain and Inherent Wisdom

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 8, 2015
Now and then I like to post (anonymous) e-mails from people who contact me, as it often provides insight into the worldviews of non-skeptics. 

Using Satellites to Search for Bigfoot

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 28, 2015
Unknown animals such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster, for example, might be easily located and captured--if indeed they exist.

Circling the Pendulum: Conversations with a Dowser

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 27, 2015
Circling the Pendulum: Conversations with a Dowser
A conversation with a pendulum dowser who seems pretty sure he can explain the phenomenon through an unknown radiation.

Eyewitness (Un)reliability and the Filedrawer Effect

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 25, 2015
If eyewitnesses can be mistaken in life-and-death cases, they are likely no more accurate in monster sightings and descriptions.

Film review: “The Gift”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 18, 2015
Film review: “The Gift”
The Gift, like other effective thrillers such as Cape Fear and Fatal Attraction, trades on ambiguity...

Myths and Mysteries of New Mexico: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained (book review)

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 5, 2015
Myths and Mysteries of New Mexico: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained (book review)
A skeptical look at "Myths and Mysteries of New Mexico: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained"

Church Fires: Racism, Copycat Crimes, or Random?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 15, 2015
A rash of recent church fires has left many Americans wondering if we're experiencing a wave of hate crimes.

Richard Feynman’s Lessons From a NASA Rocket Explosion-And Then Another

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 29, 2015
Richard Feynman’s Lessons From a NASA Rocket Explosion-And Then Another
Yet another space-bound rocket exploded over the weekend on its way to the Space Station, causing many to wonder what the problem is; Richard Feynman has the answer. 

Fortean Frog Falls: Facts and Fallacies

Skeptical Briefs Volume 24.4, Winter 2014/2015

Fortean Frog Falls: Facts and Fallacies

The most likely explanation for how small frogs get up into the sky in the first place is meteorological: a whirlwind, tornado, or other natural phenomenon.

A “Commandery” Ghost Story

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 19, 2015
A “Commandery” Ghost Story
In which I use the principle of Occam's Razor to deduce the identity of a mysterious ghost photo taken at a war museum

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A Skeptic’s Guide to Ethical and Effective Curse Removal

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 39.4, July/August 2015

Skeptical Inquiree

Asmodeus, Stanley Fish, and the Fiction of Privacy

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 4, 2015
Asmodeus, Stanley Fish, and the Fiction of Privacy
The subject of spying is so controversial because it violates, or seems to violate, the public's basic right to privacy. But the word privacy is often used glibly, with little discussion or understanding of what it is, why it's valuable, and what the consequences are for willingly giving up privacy. I argue that privacy is largely a fiction and a distinctly modern invention whose status as a sacrosanct pillar of human rights is suspect at best.

Mad Max: Fury Road review

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 18, 2015
Mad Max: Fury Road review
There were lots of reasons to think that Mad Max: Fury Road would never be made, starting with the fact that the last film featuring the character came out 30 years ago...

Dr. Oz Accuses Critics of Trying to Silence Him

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 24, 2015
Dr. Oz Accuses Critics of Trying to Silence Him
Superstar TV personality Dr. Oz, after nearly a year of being criticized for promoting unproven "miracle" products and medical misinformation on his popular daytime TV show, has fired back at his critics.

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Texas Monsters and the Chupacabra

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 39.3, May/June 2015

Skeptical Inquiree

Filmmaker Mike Celestino on Edgy Comedy and Pop Culture Skeptics

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 13, 2015
Filmmaker Mike Celestino on Edgy Comedy and Pop Culture Skeptics
Los Angeles-based filmmaker Michael ("Mike") Celestino is a skeptic, film buff, and comedy fan. The bespectacled and slight bemused writer/director agreed to answer some questions about his recent projects, including his planned documentary "The Scully."

The Post Hoc Fallacy: Vaccine Fears and Roosevelt-Menacing Indians

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 7, 2015
I recently read Candice Miller's book The River of Doubt, about Theodore Roosevelt's 1914 exploration of an unknown river in the Brazilian Amazon. It's a fascinating story of adventure, misadventure, murder, and more. In the book I also found an excellent real-life example of one of my favorite logical fallacies: post hoc ergo propter hoc, also called faulty causation.

Playing Witch Doctor: Hidden Ethics in Skeptical Ghost Investigation

Skeptical Briefs 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.

A Skeptic’s Brief Conversation With a TV Producer

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 16, 2015
From the archives: A few years ago I posted this column about my experience with a TV producer and it turned out to be one of my more popular pieces, resonating with many skeptics and the public. It's just as relevant today...

Critical and Thinking: The Ian Harris Interview

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 4, 2015
Critical and Thinking: The Ian Harris Interview
Ian Harris is a LA-based comic who has performed at the Center For Inquiry and at CSI conferences, blending comedy and skepticism. He can also choke you unconscious. 

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The Skepticism of Clara Peller

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 39.2, March/April 2015

Skeptical Inquiree

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Skeptical Psychology between Two Covers

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 39.2, March/April 2015

Review

Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Beliefs & Experience by Christopher C. French and Anna Stone.

Anorexia Misinformation in the Media: Case Study of the PBS Show ‘Nova’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 24, 2015
Anorexia Misinformation in the Media: Case Study of the PBS Show ‘Nova’
Misinformation about eating disorders is not like misinformation about a car’s gas mileage, or the weather. Eating disorders are mental illnesses with potentially lethal consequences. Sufferers and their loved ones deserve accurate information about the diseases, but trusted sources of information, such as the PBS series "Nova," turn out to be not so trustworthy upon closer inspection. Part 2 of 2. 

Anorexia Misinformation in the Media: Case Study of the PBS Show ‘Nova’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 18, 2015
Anorexia Misinformation in the Media: Case Study of the PBS Show ‘Nova’
Misinformation about eating disorders is not like misinformation about a car’s gas mileage, or the weather. Eating disorders are mental illnesses with potentially lethal consequences. Sufferers and their loved ones deserve accurate information about the diseases, but trusted sources of information turn out to be not so trustworthy upon closer inspection. Part 1 of 2. 

Sweet Science of Seduction or Scam? Evaluating eHarmony

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.6, November/December 2014

Feature
Sweet Science of Seduction or Scam? Evaluating eHarmony

The popular online dating site eHarmony claims that its matching methods are both successful and scientific. But a closer look at the evidence suggests otherwise.

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Vegetable Oil or Snake Oil? The Pseudoscience of ‘Oil Pulling’

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.6, November/December 2014

Skeptical Inquiree

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Reading, Writing, Math, and Panic in the Schools

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.6, November/December 2014

Review

A review of Mass Hysteria in Schools: A Worldwide History Since 1566 by Robert Bartholomew with Bob Rickard

14 Smart Questions for Caricaturist Celestia Ward

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 13, 2015
14 Smart Questions for Caricaturist Celestia Ward

In 2014 I attended a caricature conference in Reno, Nevada. Among a ballroom full of ridiculously talented artists from around the world I happened to meet Celestia Ward, a caricaturist who’s also a skeptic. Naturally, I had questions for her. 

Censorship and Free Speech: Did Sony Really Cancel The Interview?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 8, 2015
Censorship and Free Speech: Did Sony Really Cancel The Interview?

With the horrific massacre at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo yesterday—apparently by Muslim fundamentalists upset by the magazine’s satires of Mohammed—the subject of censorship and freedom of speech is everywhere. This is the second time in two months that free speech has been threatened by terrorism. Or is it?  

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The Cockington Church Ghost Photo

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 39.1, January/February 2015

Skeptical Inquiree

Into the Woods: Chaos, Folklore, and Misogyny

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 26, 2014
Into the Woods: Chaos, Folklore, and Misogyny
The new Disney film Into the Woods is a misigynistic, spectacular misfire. 

Dear Madelyn

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 23, 2014
Dear Madelyn
When the public, and especially schoolkids, contact me for help and information about skeptical topics, I try to respond. Here's why. 

Discovery’s Mountain of Mystery Mongering: The Mass Murdering Yeti

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.5, September/October 2014

Special Report
Discovery’s Mountain of Mystery Mongering: The Mass Murdering Yeti

A much-hyped two-hour Discovery Channel “documentary” delved into a decades-old pseudo-mystery known as the Dyatlov Pass incident in which nine Russian skiers died under unclear circumstances in the Ural Mountains.

Little Lies and Big Truths

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 4, 2014
Little Lies and Big Truths
A widely-circulated map about Ebola in Africa was less than accurate, and that's a problem.

Crop Circles: A Not-So-Convincing Case

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.5, September/October 2014

Skeptical Inquiree
Crop Circles: A Not-So-Convincing Case

Unlike other mysterious phenomena such as psychic powers, ghosts, or Bigfoot, there is no doubt that crop circles are real. The real question is what creates them.

Frog Falls and Fallacies

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 18, 2014
Frog Falls and Fallacies
I wrote a piece about the classic Fortean phenomenon of frogs falling from the sky, and I here address two rebuttals--one old and one new.

The “I Am…” Meme: Co-Opting Identities for Social Change

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 3, 2014
The “I Am…” Meme: Co-Opting Identities for Social Change
It has become fashionable in recent years for social justice protestors to choose a person who symbolizes a tragic event and then declare to the world that they are that person. It certainly sends a clear message of solidarity, but but it raises thorny questions about the ethics of speaking on behalf of others.

Tim Farley Ignites Skepticism at Dragon*Con

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 20, 2014
Tim Farley has an idea for a new format for skeptical outreach in bite-sized bits.

Scientific Paranormal Investigation Equipment

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 26, 2014
Scientific Paranormal Investigation Equipment
I'm often asked what tools and equipment I use to investigate the world's mysteries, ranging from ghosts to miracles to crop circles. Here's a peek into my bag of tricks!

‘Miss Representation’ and The Importance of Good Statistics

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 17, 2014
‘Miss Representation’ and The Importance of Good Statistics
In my many years of fact-checking news media reports I'm continually baffled by the defensive stance that people often take when you fact-check their statistics. In fact I'm against misinformation and bad statistics--whatever the source, and especially when being offered in service of causes I support.

Review of Jesse Ventura’s “American Conspiracies”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 8, 2014
Review of Jesse Ventura’s “American Conspiracies”
One verifiable fact I learned in the first few pages of Jesse Ventura's book American Conspiracies is that Ventura believes he's a hardcore, no-bullshit truth teller. He's bravely willing to stand up and tell it like it is, to cut through the lies, myths, and misinformation surrounding some of America's most cherished myths.

The Myth of “The Media”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 15, 2014
The Myth of “The Media”
Blaming “the media” is not only vague writing and lazy thinking, but it is also ineffective. Here's why.

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Did Television Introduce Anorexia to Fiji?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.4, July/August 2014

Skeptical Inquiree

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Did Elves Delay Road Construction in Iceland?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.3, May/June 2014

Skeptical Inquiree

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Lessons from The Central Park Five

Skeptical Briefs Volume 23.4, Winter 2013–2014

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Briefs Briefs

Skeptical Briefs Volume 23.4, Winter 2013–2014

Briefs Briefs

Truth and Myth Behind “Magic in the Moonlight”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 25, 2014
Truth and Myth Behind “Magic in the Moonlight”
 A look at some of the real-life events and characters that inspired the new Woody Allen film Magic in the Moonlight.

Acupuncturists Respond to Critics With Quiver of Fallacies

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 2, 2014
I recently wrote a piece titled "Acupuncture Can Spread Tuberculosis, Researchers Warn," which prompted many angry supporters of acupuncture to respond. Here's what they said. 

Evolution of the Conspiracy Theorist

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 13, 2014
The conspiracy theorist is, of course, not a new breed of human. All the basic psychological building blocks of conspiracy thinking are inherent in the human psyche, including distrust of authority, wanting "inside information," and real or imagined persecution-and, to be fair, often a dearth of critical thinking skills such as the ability (or desire) to separate anonymous rumor from established fact.

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The Mystery of the Texas Chupacabra

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Skeptical Inquiree

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The House of Skeptics Serves Psi (and Crow)

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Review

A review of Science and Psychic Phenomena: The Fall of the House of Skeptics by Chris Carter

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Briefs Briefs

Skeptical Briefs Volume 23.2, Summer 2013

Briefs Briefs

Amazing Spider-Man 2

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 10, 2014
Amazing Spider-Man 2
Like many teenage boys I was a fan of comic books, and my favorite superhero was Spider-Man... Sadly the film version leaves much to be desired. 

The Pseudoscience of Baby Gender Prediction

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 29, 2014
It's springtime and thoughts turn to romance and babies... And along with those thoughts are various superstitions about predicting the gender of those babies.

Haunted Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: ‘Oculus’  Film Review

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 14, 2014
Haunted Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: ‘Oculus’  Film Review
There is a long history of folklore and legends about magical mirrors, ranging from the Bloody Mary urban legends to the sycophantic mirror in Snow White to the centuries-old practice of covering mirrors in the room of a dying person lest either Death or the Devil be seen in them. The new horror film Oculus tells the story of a cursed mirror.

Charles Darwin, Skeptic

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 31, 2014
Charles Darwin was much more than just a scientist and author; he was also a devoted family man and an explorer. Steeped in the ways of science, he was also a skeptic who demanded good evidence for extraordinary claims.

“Question of Astral Projection of Non-Believer”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 14, 2014
I recently got the following email with the subject line, "Question of Astral Projection of Non-Believer." 

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BMI Skeptics

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Skeptical Inquiree

Can Hair Turn White Overnight?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 3, 2014
For centuries, it has been widely believed that fright can turn hair white. They say that the hair of condemned prisoners (such as Thomas More and Marie Antoinette) turned white the night before their executions. They say that many people who have terrifying experiences with ghosts find that their hair has turned white as... snow. Of course, "they" say a lot of things.

The Anatomy of False Accusations: A Skeptical Case Study

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 26, 2014
The Anatomy of False Accusations: A Skeptical Case Study
False accusations are of particular interest to skeptics because skepticism has often been at the forefront of giving voice to the wrongly accused. Here's a recent case study. 

The Ethics of Free-Market Kidneys, Part 2

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 11, 2014

In some countries selling one’s organs is perfectly legal. In the United States, it is against the law, although many people have suggested that legalizing the trade would save lives and offer real social benefits. Others find it an ethically dubious proposition. Part 2.  

The Ethics of Free-Market Kidneys, Part 1

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 4, 2014
In some countries selling one's organs is perfectly legal. In the United States, it is against the law, although many people have suggested that legalizing the trade would save lives and offer real social benefits. Others find it an ethically dubious proposition. A look at the ethics behind organ sales. 

Conspiracy-Minded Response to a Skeptical Crop Circle Explanation

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 21, 2014
Conspiracy-Minded Response to a Skeptical Crop Circle Explanation
Earlier this month I wrote a piece about a mysterious 310-foot-diameter crop circle that appeared in a farmer's barley field in California. In response I got an interesting, conspiracy-laden two-page reply from a crop circle believer....

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Paranormal Qualifications

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

Skeptical Inquiree

Lessons From The Central Park Five: The Tragedy of False Accusations

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 2, 2014
Lessons From The Central Park Five: The Tragedy of False Accusations
In the newest installment of my occasional series Skeptical Cinema, I examine the recent documentary about false accusations and a miscarriage of justice in an infamous Central Park assault.

‘American Hustle’ Takes Dig at 1970s Cancer Alarmism

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 23, 2013
‘American Hustle’ Takes Dig at 1970s Cancer Alarmism
The new Oscar-bait film American Hustle, about two con artists (played by Christian Bale and Amy Adams) who get caught up in a corruption scandal in the 1970, contains an explicit, skeptical reference to a health scare fad.

Colin Wilson: A Case Study in Mystery Mongering

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 13, 2013
Colin Wilson: A Case Study in Mystery Mongering
 A brief look at the late Colin Wilson's work illustrates how misinformation about paranormal topics is perpetuated, and skeptical information is systematically ignored.

Gardasil, Katie, Merck, and I

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 10, 2013
While Couric sifts through what remains of her journalistic credibility, I thought I'd share my brief HPV vaccine story. 

Skeptical Cinema: ‘Bug’ and folie a deux

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 3, 2013
Skeptical Cinema: ‘Bug’ and folie a deux
In most investigations two eyewitnesses are better than one. The 2006 horror film 'Bug' shows whay this is not always true. 

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Did Psychic Visions Locate Missing California Boy?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Skeptical Inquiree

The Mystery and Investigation of the Moving Statue

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 22, 2013
 An ancient statue caught on camera turning in its locked display case in June 2013 unnerved many people, and it has been definitively debunked. More interesting, though, are the reactions to the solution. 

Secular Sacred Sites and Ghost Hunting

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 12, 2013
There is a natural and understandable human reverence for sacred and secular-sacred sites, but it can also lead away from critical thinking and skepticism. 

Thor: The Dark World

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 8, 2013
Thor: The Dark World
Thor: The Dark World is a beautiful mess, a visually stunning film badly in need of a rewrite.

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Investigating Plagiarism in New Age Books

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 37.4, July/August 2013

Feature

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Psychic Failure and the Boston Marathon Bombing

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 37.4, July/August 2013

Skeptical Inquiree

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The Biography of America’s Lake Monster

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 37.4, July/August 2013

Review

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

Confirmation Bias and Expectations Influencing Perceptions: A Micro-Case Study

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 23, 2013
As a skeptical investigator with a degree in psychology, I often encounter (and discuss) people whose expectations have colored their perceptions. We often see what we expect to see, whether it's there or not. Of course everyone does it, including me. Here's a personal account of my recent experience.

German ‘Wild Boy’ Sentenced for Fraud

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 3, 2013
In 2011 a young man wandered into a German police station and told office workers, "I'm all alone in the world, I don't know who I am. Please help me."

“Nothing But Bad News…”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 13, 2013
Sometimes when discussing current events I will hear someone say "Oh, I hate the news... I don't follow the news anymore, it's nothing but bad news." It's just a depressing laundry list of death and war and problems, a daily documentation of the world's progress on its inexorable path toward hell.

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Briefs Briefs

Skeptical Briefs Volume 23.1, Spring 2013

Briefs Briefs

BMI and the Argument from Antiquity Fallacy

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 26, 2013
Is pointing out that a medical procedure has been used by doctors for 150 years an example of a logical fallacy? Maybe, or maybe not...

Why Parents Don’t Vaccinate Their Children—And What We Can Do

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 2, 2013

There are several reasons why some parents choose not to vaccinate their children, though most of them come down to misinformation from anti-vaccine advocates. With the recent addition of Jenny McCarthy to the popular ABC television show The View, many people are wondering what effect, if any, this will have on vaccination rates. However there are some strategies than can fight the misinformation.

Sandy Hook School Shooting: The Adam Lanza Death Certificate Conspiracy

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 37.3, May/June 2013

Skeptical Inquiree
Sandy Hook School Shooting: The Adam Lanza Death Certificate Conspiracy

"Is there any chance you could put my mind at ease and explain why the Social Security Death Index would list [Sandy Hook shooter] Adam Lanza as having died on December 13, 2012, the day before the Sandy Hook shooting?"

The New ‘Best Case’ For Psychics: Did ‘Intuitive Visions’ Locate Missing Boy?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 14, 2013
The remarkable case of a missing California boy whose body was apparently located by a psychic is making headlines across the country as the 'best case' for psychics. But is it? 

How I Covered the Bangladesh Toilet Ghost Hysteria Story

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 26, 2013
I'm sometimes asked how my articles and columns come about; here's one recent example, about a ghost-haunted toilet in a South Asian factory.

Investigating Plagiarism in New Age Books

Online Extras
June 20, 2013
Investigating Plagiarism in New Age Books

I recently uncovered rampant plagiarism in a HarperCollins title The Element Encyclopedia of Vampires: An A–Z of the Undead, “written” (more accurately “cut-and-pasted-from-the-Internet”) by Theresa Cheung.

Tracking the Chupacabra: The Wikipedia Page!

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 20, 2013
Tracking the Chupacabra: The Wikipedia Page!
My book solving the chupacabra mystery now has its own Wikipedia page!

Participating in a Brazilian Panel on Science Journalism and Skepticism

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 5, 2013
Participating in a Brazilian Panel on Science Journalism and Skepticism
Last July I was invited to São Paulo, Brazil, to speak on a panel about skepticism and the state of science journalism sponsored by Folha do Sao Paulo, the city's largest newspaper.

Infomercial King Kevin Trudeau Recycles ‘The Secret’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 30, 2013
Kevin Trudeau, convicted felon and infomercial king, has made millions claiming to reveal important medical and dietary information kept secret by a conspiracy between the medical establishment and big drug companies. His most recent venture rips off the New Age best-seller The Secret.

Love Labyrinths

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 22, 2013
Love Labyrinths
A friend of mine is getting married next weekend and she wants to have the ceremony in a labyrinth. She asked me to write a short piece about a love labyrinth...

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Lessons from a Denver Fly

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 37.2, March/April 2013

Skeptical Inquiree

My Prediction of the Cleveland Abduction Situation, and the Tragic Failure of Psychics

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 9, 2013

In 2009 I predicted the recent Cleveland abduction situation, or one very much like it. 

Skeptical Commentary Following Tragedy: Exploitation or Education?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 8, 2013
Recent tragedies such as the Boston marathon bombing and the horrific case of three women rescued in Cleveland brought skeptical commentary highlighting the failure of psychics. However some people feel that skeptics should not comment on such events because it smacks of exploitation.

The Biography of America’s Lake Monster

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 25, 2013
The Biography of America’s Lake Monster
A review of The Untold Story of Champ: A Social History of America's Loch Ness Monster, by Bob Bartholomew. 

Trance: Trainwreck from a Trainspotting Director

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 14, 2013
Trance: Trainwreck from a Trainspotting Director

Trance is not inherently a bad movie; it’s just one of those movies where the longer it went on, the less I cared who lived, who died, or whether anyone found that damned painting. 

 

 

The Scope of Skeptical Activism: A Personal Story   Part 2 of 2

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 2, 2013
What should the scope of skepticism be? There are countless causes I support, including environmentalism, feminism, animal protection, social justice, exposing hypocrisy, science communication, media literacy, and others. But I rarely tackle these issues under the banner of skepticism. Here's why.

The Scope of Skeptical Activism: A Personal Story Part 1 of 2

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 13, 2013
I'm best known for my skeptical investigations and research into paranormal subjects. It's not surprising that people tend to focus on that, since those are weird, sensational claims, but that's only a small part of my work. Here's a look at the broader scope of skeptical activism from my personal perspective.

Film review: Oz the Great and Powerful

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 9, 2013
Film review: Oz the Great and Powerful
At a reported cost of $200 million to make, Oz the Great and Powerful is a much better exercise in direction and production design than screenwriting. 

Noah Nez, The Native Skeptic

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 5, 2013
Noah Nez, The Native Skeptic
I first heard about the Native Skeptic from Desiree Schell, the host of the Skeptically Speaking podcast. She mentioned a writer named Noah Nez who blogged about skepticism within the Native American community. He's been a columnist for the Skeptical Briefs ever since. 

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The Mysterious Bee Deaths

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 37.1, January/February 2013

Skeptical Inquiree

Being ‘Over It’-And the Lack of Charity

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 20, 2013
On being "Over It," and the lack of charity in discourse. 

‘Over It’ Follow-Up: Why Would Anyone Criticize an Anti-Rape Poem?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 18, 2013
Feminist activist Eve Ensler wrote a poem saying that she was "over rape" as part of an effort to stop physical and sexual abuse of women. I agreed with much of it, and wrote my own poem based on hers. We have both recently been criticized for it. 

Over It.

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 15, 2013
On Valentine's Day, feminist activist Eve Ensler asked women around the world to dance in an effort to stop sexual and physical violence against women in an event she called One Billion Rising. How big is the problem, and will it do any good? 

The Wisdom of Not Understanding

Skeptical Briefs Volume 22.3, Fall 2012

The Wisdom of Not Understanding

When people don’t understand something they are told, there are three possibilities or root causes.

Did Joseph Smith Predict Doomsday?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 1, 2013
Did Joseph Smith Predict Doomsday?
Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church, said in 1835 that he had spoken to God recently, and during their conversation he learned that Jesus would return within the next 56 years, after which the End Times would begin promptly. Many Mormons have taken exception to this claim; who's right? 

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Briefs Briefs

Skeptical Briefs Volume 22.3, Fall 2012

Briefs Briefs

Near-Death Experience Expert Arrested in Daughter’s Torture / Conspiracy Theorists See UFO over Antarctica / NOAA Denies Existence of Mermaids

The House of Skeptics Serves Psi (And Crow)

January 18, 2013
The House of Skeptics Serves Psi (And Crow)

A review of Science & Psychic Phenomena: The Fall of the House of Skeptics, by Chris Carter.

Tripping on the Trebuchet: An Interview with George Hrab

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 15, 2013
Tripping on the Trebuchet: An Interview with George Hrab

 Not long ago, when George Hrab's latest CD Trebuchet came out, I sat down (not actually, literally, or even metaphorically) and asked him about his music and skeptical influences. And, really, things I probably shouldn't have asked, but there you go. And here you go. 

Trigger Warnings: Public Service or Fallacious Fad?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 6, 2013

Proponents and critics of "trigger warnings" (warnings placed before discussions and descriptions of potentially traumatic events in articles and blogs) have argued that the warnings are either important, useless, a cynical attempt to get readers, infantilizing, considerate, ridiculous, and everything in between. There seems to be little real research into the validity and utility of trigger warnings; for those who wish to take an analytical look at the topic, here's a place to start. 

Questioning a Local Landmark

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 3, 2013
Questioning a Local Landmark
In my hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, one of the top tourist attractions is the Sandia Peak Tramway, "the world's longest." But is it? 

Bashing the BMI: A Closer Look at the Skeptics

December 31, 2012
Bashing the BMI: A Closer Look at the Skeptics

Why such hate for an otherwise boring, uncontroversial medical formula?

A Skeptic’s Brief Conversation With a TV Producer

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 20, 2012
A Skeptic’s Brief Conversation With a TV Producer
A brief recounting of what happens when the goals and demands of skepticism collide with the goals and demands of TV production.

A Book of Stories that Happened to a Friend ...

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 36.6, November/December 2012

Review
A Book of Stories that Happened to a Friend ...

A review of Encyclopedia of Urban Legends: Updated and Expanded Edition by Jan Harold Brunvand.

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Mystery Solved—According to Whom?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 36.6, November/December 2012

Skeptical Inquiree

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Briefs Briefs

Skeptical Briefs Volume 22.2, Summer 2012

Briefs Briefs

‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’s’  Macabre Mistake

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 8, 2012
‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’s’  Macabre Mistake
A 'Ripley's Believe It or Not' factoid read, "You are more likely to die on your birthday then any other day of the year." Well, yes and no.

In Science, Whose Department is the Ethics Department?: Part 2

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 4, 2012
What is the role of ethics in science? Part 2 of 2.

Art, Mysteries, and Context

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 36.5, September/October 2012

Feature
Art, Mysteries, and Context

In my books and workshops on scientific paranormal investigation, I discuss how best to conceptualize a mystery: basically, an event out of context. A live dolphin lying on a Manhattan sidewalk is a mystery; that same dolphin in a tank at an aquarium is not.

Life of Pi: A Skeptical Review

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 26, 2012
Life of Pi: A Skeptical Review

The Life of Pi is a fable about a young Indian man who finds himself aboard a freighter headed for Canada. A storm sinks the ship and soon Pi finds himself the sole human survivor, trapped on a lifeboat with a tiger...

In Science, Whose Department is the Ethics Department?: Part 1

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 23, 2012
What is the role of ethics in science? 

Skewed Skepticism: Bizarro Piraro

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 36.5, September/October 2012

Feature
Skewed Skepticism: Bizarro Piraro

A conversation with award-winning cartoonist, fine artist, and stand-up comedian Dan Piraro.

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Art and Skepticism Introduction

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 36.5, September/October 2012

Feature

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Art and Skepticism

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 36.5, September/October 2012

From the Editor

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Tracking the Chupachameleon: Chupacabra Iconography

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 36.5, September/October 2012

Skeptical Inquiree

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln: A Man (and a Film) for the Ages

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 7, 2012
Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln: A Man (and a Film) for the Ages
It's easy to forget, when in a high school history class or reading a textbook, that the founders of our country were real people. We know them for their achievements, the highlights of history and thumbnail sketches. Benjamin Franklin flying a kite in a storm while planning to open the first post office and work on French diplomacy. George Washington crossing the Delaware river and defying the British. According to noted historian Sarah Palin, Paul Revere famously rode his horse by night to warn the British that they would not be taking away American's right to bear arms.

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Briefs Briefs

Skeptical Briefs Volume 22.1, Spring 2012

Briefs Briefs

Memories of Paul Kurtz

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 21, 2012
I heard with a heavy heart that CFI founder Paul Kurtz has died...

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Diving HeadOn into Pseudoscience

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 36.4, July/August 2012

Skeptical Inquiree

‘The Master’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 1, 2012
In the new film The Master, Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the leader of a New Agey, quasi-religious cult which draws troubled people into their fold. 

Sexism, Activism, and All-Male Clubs

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 28, 2012
What should we do about private organizations who have sexist policies? Sometimes we stand up to them; sometimes we don't. 

The Zanzibari Cat

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 24, 2012
The Zanzibari Cat
Reflections of a feline-loving traveler in East Africa.

Public Figures Who Lie About Sports Achievements

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 13, 2012
Rep. Paul Ryan recently lied about running a marathon in under 3 hours, but he's not the first to exaggerate sports achievements.

Bearing the Burden: On Being Chosen to Suffer

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 6, 2012
Many people, from those taking care of disabled children to those dealing with traumatic events, believe that they have been specially chosen to bear that burden. Is this healthy or harmful?

Another Abduction/Rape Highlights Glaring Failure of Psychic Detectives

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 27, 2012
Another young woman abducted and raped for year highlights the utter failure of psychic detectives. 

One Month After ‘Batman’ Massacre, Still No Evidence of Film Influence

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 22, 2012
One Month After ‘Batman’ Massacre, Still No Evidence of Film Influence
A month ago, shortly after a shooter in Colorado attacked a premiere of the film The Dark Knight Rises, I wrote a piece addressing the then-circulating question of whether or not the shooter's massacre was inspired by the Batman film. Many readers suggested that my blog was too quick to dismiss the link, based on little information; a month later, what does the evidence show?

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Dealing with Believers During Skeptical Investigation

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 36.3, May/June 2012

Skeptical Inquiree

MacOzymandia: Visit to a Scottish Cemetery

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 3, 2012
MacOzymandia: Visit to a Scottish Cemetery
As the Ness River slowly weaves and wends through the town of Inverness on its way to Loch Ness, it passes under a white metal bridge walkway. That walkway continues across a small road and soon narrows into a brick-paved alleyway between two churches before ending at a modest street. A sign on the wrought-iron entrance reads, "Church of Scotland-The Old High Church." That's where I heard voices across the centuries.

A Spiritualist Ghostbuster’s Crystal Skull

Skeptical Briefs Volume 21.4, Winter 2011-2012

A Spiritualist Ghostbuster’s Crystal Skull

A Canadian spiritualist ghostbusting actor walks into a bar wearing New Age crystals and a crystal skull around his neck, goes up to the bartender, and orders a vodka. . . . No, this weird mashup is not the setup to a joke (certainly not a funny one) but instead more or less describes one of the strangest intersections of Hollywood, New Age paranormal belief, ghost hunting, and alcohol.

Real-Life ‘Dark Night’: Did Batman Inspire Killings?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 20, 2012
Real-Life ‘Dark Night’: Did Batman Inspire Killings?
A mass shooting at the premiere of the new Batman film has cast a pall on the franchise and raised questions about media-inspired violence.

Science, the New Age, and the Search for Truth

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 18, 2012

Good science is universal. Properly controlled scientific experiments should yield the same results regardless of who is doing the testing. Male or female, British or Turkish, young or old, Muslim or Jew, it doesn't matter. Science's universality is one of its greatest attributes. Much pseudoscience and the paranormal, by contrast, is individual and idiosyncratic.

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Skepticism One Wikipage at a Time

Skeptical Briefs Volume 21.4, Winter 2011-2012

Interviews

Talking with Wikiskeptic Susan Gerbic-Forsyth

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Briefs Briefs

Skeptical Briefs Volume 21.4, Winter 2011-2012

Briefs Briefs

Seth MacFarland’s “Ted”: Rude Living Teddy Bear Takes Boston by Storm

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 29, 2012
Seth MacFarland’s “Ted”: Rude Living Teddy Bear Takes Boston by Storm
Seth MacFarland's new film is crass cross between "Greg the Bunny" and "Family Guy." 

Film Review: Pixar’s “Brave” Aims High But Falls Short

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 21, 2012
Film Review: Pixar’s “Brave” Aims High But Falls Short
The new film Brave, about a headstrong Scottish fire-haired archer princess, squanders one of Disney's best characters in a meandering and muddled script. 

Still Skeptical of Blogs

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 13, 2012
Why blogs suck: It's probably true that most blogs are crap-but it's a shame that we must work so hard to find the non-crap. 

How Not to Unexplain a UFO Debunking

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 4, 2012
A brief and enlightening exchange with a UFO believer over a skeptical analysis. 

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Skepticism One Wikipage at a Time

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 36.2, March/April 2012

Interview

Talking with Wikiskeptic Susan Gerbic-Forsyth

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Do Einstein’s Laws Endorse Ghosts?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 36.2, March/April 2012

Skeptical Inquiree

Is The ‘Real-Life Barbie’ a Media Myth?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 14, 2012
Is The ‘Real-Life Barbie’ a Media Myth?
News organizations around the world claimed that a young Russian model has achieved her desire to look like a Barbie doll, sparking discussion and outrage about the media's influence on women. But is it true? 

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Interviewing the Native Skeptic

Skeptical Briefs Volume 21.3, Fall 2011

Interviews

An interview with Noah Nez, who blogs about skepticism within the Native American community.

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Briefs Briefs

Skeptical Briefs Volume 21.3, Fall 2011

Briefs Briefs

People Don’t Read, and Why It Matters to Skepticism

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 30, 2012
A lot of the time people simply don’t read--and this hold implications for both skepticism and public discourse. 

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Briefs Briefs

Skeptical Briefs Volume 21.2, Summer 2011

Briefs Briefs

Psychic Claims to Have Predicted Japanese Earthquake, Psychic Claims Tip on Long Island Serial Killer, Russian Alien UFO Video Surfaces

A Skeptical Look at ‘Balance’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 16, 2012
The idea of "balance" is very popular in both society in general and especially with New Age and alternative medicine crowds. While it offers a superficially appealing way to view the world, it is actually often incorrect, misleading, and potentially unscientific. 

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The Bell Witch Mystery

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 36.1, January/February 2012

Skeptical Inquiree

Labyrinths, New Age Feminism, and Skepticism

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 21, 2012
Labyrinths, New Age Feminism, and Skepticism
Skepticism and feminism clash over the ancient (and New Agey) labyrinth symbol. 

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A Skeptical Psychic’s Predictions for 2010

Skeptical Briefs Volume 21.1, Spring 2011

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New Mexico’s Mysteries and Mythtakes

Skeptical Briefs Volume 21.1, Spring 2011

Book Review

A review of Myths and Mysteries of New Mexico: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained by Barbara Marriott

Rush Limbaugh, Being a Dick, and Skepticism

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 8, 2012
 The controversy over Rush Limbaugh's comments has implications for the skeptical movement. Why Rush is a Dick, and skeptics shouldn't be. 

Oscar-Winning Film Highlights Acid Attack Domestic Violence

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 28, 2012
Oscar-Winning Film Highlights Acid Attack Domestic Violence
Though few have heard of it, the important Oscar-winning short subject film Saving Face may be the best film of the year, highlighting horrific abuse of women in Pakistan.

A Skeptic’s Visit to Macchu Picchu

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 22, 2012
A Skeptic’s Visit to Macchu Picchu
A skeptic visits the Peruvian ruins of Macchu Picchu and finds history tainted by pseudoscience.

The Woman in Black: A Classic Ghost Story

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 6, 2012
The Woman in Black: A Classic Ghost Story
In the new horror/thriller The Woman in Black, Arthur Kipps, a lawyer whose grief over his dead wife has put his career in jeopardy, is sent to a remote English village to sort out the affairs of a recently deceased woman. Upon his arrival, he learns that everyone in the town is keeping a deadly secret: the woman's house is haunted by a ghost-the titular woman in black. Much of the film is classic ghostlore, and scenarios I have seen enacted during real-life ghost hunts by psychics and ghost hunters.

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Kinoki Drains Wallet, Not Toxins

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 35.6, November/December 2011

Skeptical Inquiree

The Mayan Calendar, 2012, and Doomsday: A Primer

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 25, 2012

It's no secret that the ancient Mayans (as opposed to the modern ones, some of whom work in offices and use cell phones) had a famous calendar that "runs out" in December of this year. Just what that means--if anything--is the question. Does it hold any particular significance for Doomday, the Apocalpyse, or Armageddon? Here's a (very) short primer on the Mayan calendar.

RileyGate: Lessons Learned

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 11, 2012

A recent blog I wrote about a viral video featuring a "pint-sized pundit" ranting about gender stereotypes was flawed in several ways, and deserved much of the criticism it got. 

‘Expert Eyewitness’ Shoots Dog Walker: Skeptical Lessons from Tragedy

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 5, 2012
A woman was shot last week when a state trooper mistook her two retriever dogs for a deer; what does this say about expert eyewitness testimony?

Rebecca and Riley: Tempest in a Doll’s Tea Party

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 2, 2012
Skepchick blogger and skeptical colleague Rebecca Watson wrote a scathing blog about a column I wrote on a viral video starring a girl named Riley, and her rant about gender-stereotyped colors and toys. How valid are her criticisms? Decide for yourself. 

Five Solved ‘Unexplained Mysteries’ of 2011

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 27, 2011
Each year brings new puzzles and mysteries to challenge skeptics and put our wits to the test. Sometimes mysteries take weeks, months, or even years or decades to solve, and while most of the public's attention naturally focuses on the still-mysterious, it's always worth reflecting on former mysteries. Here are five high-profile (temporarily) unexplained mysteries that were finally solved in 2011.

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Dowsing: Dubious, Discredited, and Dangerous

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 35.5, September/October 2011

Skeptical Inquiree

Poll Holds Surprises About Teen Self-Image, Reality TV Effects

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 8, 2011
A new survey from the Girl Scout Research Institute issued a report titled "Real to Me: Girls and Reality TV" which came to a variety of conclusions about the effects of reality TV on beliefs and attitudes of teen girls. One interesting result what was most girls reject the "beauty myth" idea that a girl's value is based on how she looks. 

Talking Lake Monsters for Canadian TV in the New Mexican Desert

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 25, 2011
New Mexico's Rio Grande river looks nothing like British Columbia's Lake Okanagan, but it was close enough for TV when I was interviewed on November 14 for a Canadian science show called Daily Planet.

U.K. Ghost Group Concerned About Fake Ghost Photos

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 15, 2011
A U.K.-based paranormal research group is worried about the rise in faked ghost photos created by smartphone apps. 

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Dave Thomas vs. Jesse Ventura: The Skeptical Smackdown

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 35.4, July/August 2011

Feature

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Is There a 100C Grain of Truth to Homeopathy?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 35.4, July/August 2011

Skeptical Inquiree

Heeding (Or Ignoring) Skeptical Investigation

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 22, 2011
One of the interesting things in skeptical research to see is how (or whether) skeptical investigations make it into the mainstream literature. After all, it's all well and good for skeptics to know that a case has been solved, but the real benefit is when the greater public realizes it. 

World To End—Again

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 18, 2011
It's almost that time again. No, I don't mean fall, or Halloween, nor (shudder) the holiday season.

No, it's time for another doomsday.

The Journal of Folklore Research Reviews ‘Tracking the Chupacabra’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 6, 2011
The Journal of Folklore Research, a peer-reviewed publication of the Folklore Institute at Indiana University, reviewed my recent book Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore. 

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Slaying the Vampire: Solving the Chupacabra Mystery

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 35.3, May/June 2011

Feature

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Anomaly Hunting

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 35.3, May/June 2011

Skeptical Inquiree

Alone on the Loch: One Man’s Search for Nessie

Skeptical Briefs Volume 20.3, September 2010

Alone on the Loch: One Man’s Search for Nessie

I found Feltham more or less by accident. I was at Scotland’s famous loch for about a week following a speaking engagement in London...

Reaction to Faster Than Light Claims Expose Anti-Skeptic Myth

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 23, 2011
 The scientists and researchers who are skeptical of the new faster than light claims are not skeptical because accepting that Einstein was wrong about something would lead to a nervous breakdown, or that their whole worldview would crumble beneath them, or that they would have to accept that science doesn't know everything. The reason scientists are skeptical is because the new study contradicts all previous experiments. 

Skeptic Daniel Loxton’s Evolution Book Wins Canadian Award

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 17, 2011
Skeptic Daniel Loxton’s Evolution Book Wins Canadian Award
 "Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be," by Junior Skeptic editor Daniel Loxton, won the 2010 Lane Anderson Award in the young reader category for a book published in the field of science and written by a Canadian.

“Contagion” Film Review—Now With 20% More Anti-Vaxx Conspiracy!

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 9, 2011
“Contagion” Film Review—Now With 20% More Anti-Vaxx Conspiracy!
The new thriller Contagion has an ensemble cast, including Jude Law as a conspiracy theorist anti-vaccination blogger. 

JREF $1 Million Challenge Delights and Amuses Psychic Carla Baron

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 29, 2011
Carla Baron, who claims to have psychic powers, is not interested in getting James Randi's $1 million prize for proving her abilities, but she does find it "endlessly amusing."

False Rape Claim Sinks Real Rape Case

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 24, 2011
Rape charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn were dropped yesterday; the wealthy French banker had been accused of raping a housekeeper, Nafissatou Diallo, in an upscale Manhattan hotel in May. The accused didn't even have to defend himself in this case; instead the accuser's lies caused her case to implode.

Fright Night: The Vampire Genre That Won’t Die

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 13, 2011
A remake of the cult classic vampire film Fright Night comes to theaters. 

Amy Winehouse Finally in Rehab

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 29, 2011
Amy Winehouse, the London singer who died last week and famously sang that she wouldn't go to rehab, is finally in rehab. It's too late for Winehouse, of course, but her image has been in rehabilitation mode since news broke of her death. 

UFOs Videotaped Over London?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 4, 2011
I recently provided an analysis of a UFO video that was allegedly shot in London, England. The piece appeared on CBS News, Fox News, Yahoo News, The Free Republic, and elsewhere. Reactions to my UFO video analysis were interesting: Many people thought I was obviously wrong; some thought I was obviously right, and a small handful gave compliments. Such is the life of a professional science-based investigator. 

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The Mysterious Morgellons Malady

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 35.2, March/April 2011

Skeptical Inquiree

Most doctors believe that Morgellons is a type of psychiatric disorder called delusional parasitosis, in which patients come to believe ...

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Debunking the Trauma Myth

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 35.2, March/April 2011

Review

A review of The Trauma Myth: The Truth About the Sexual Abuse of Children—and Its Aftermath by Susan A. Clancy.

Carla Baron Complains About Fake Psychics

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 11, 2011
A high-profile psychic failure last week has many psychics, including Carla Baron, complaining about the damage done by 'fake' psychics. Baron is also concerned that America is in the midst of a modern Salem Witch Trial. 

Urban Legend Come Alive: Mom Cooks Baby in Oven

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 19, 2011
Baby in Oven Urban Legend Comes True- Kind Of

Weird Bogus UFO Videos—and Their Defenders

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 10, 2011
A curious exchange with a UFO believer who didn't like my skeptical analysis.

Real-time, Real-Life Abduction Tests Psychics

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 15, 2011
A Tennessee woman was abducted yesterday, and dozens of psychics are on the case. How will they do?

The Great Chupacabra Memory Experiment & Contest

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 23, 2011
The Great Chupacabra Memory Experiment & Contest
Dozens of people remember hearing about the chupacabra decades ago: truth or false memory?

Public Reactions to the Chupacabra Solution

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 22, 2011
Public Reactions to the Chupacabra Solution
I solved the mystery of el chupacabra and I was curious to see what the public's reaction would be...

New Skeptical Cryptozoology Books!

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 9, 2011
2011 and 2012 will bring more skeptical books on monsters than ever before....

Infrared Cameras and Ghost Hunting

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 34.6, November/December 2010

Skeptical Inquiree

More often than not, infrared cameras create false-positive readings that amateur ghost hunters mistake for ghostly activity.

Ghost-Hunting Mistakes: Science and Pseudoscience in Ghost Investigations

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 34.6, November/December 2010

Ghost-Hunting  Mistakes: Science  and Pseudoscience in Ghost Investigations

There are thousands of amateur ghost hunters around the world whose techniques are modeled after hit cable television shows such as Ghost Hunters, which...

‘Power Balance’ Bands Shown Worthless

Online Extras
February 4, 2011
‘Power Balance’ Bands Shown Worthless

Power Balance bracelets achieved global popularity, in part because they were embraced by a parade of celebrities.

A Closer Look at a Famous Study Linking TV Exposure to Eating Disorders

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 26, 2011
A Closer Look at a Famous Study Linking TV Exposure to Eating Disorders
A widely-cited 2002 study of girls in Fiji is said to have found good evidence that TV can lead to eating disorders. Does it?

How the Media Mystify Tragedy

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 18, 2011
The press, politicians, and pundits needlessly mystify national tragedies like the Tucson shooting.

Richard Saunders Helps Expose ‘Power Balance’ Bands

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 11, 2011
Australian skeptic Richard Saunders discusses his role in exposing the "Power Balance" bands

Mass Media, Eating Disorders, and Research

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 28, 2010
Skepchick Rebecca Watson believes some eating disorder researchers were misquoted. Were they?

Family of Missing Canadian Woman Seeks Help from Sylvia Browne

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 13, 2010
Another desperate family seeks help from a psychic; history suggests they will be disappointed.

The Mysterious Invisible ‘Rods’

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 34.4, July / August 2010

Skeptical Inquiree

Q: I’ve been told there are small creatures called rods—which are shaped like, well, rods—that fly so fast they’re invisible. Is there any truth to this?

Investigating UFO Mysteries Not Without Risk

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 9, 2010
Solving a UFO Mystery Is Not Without Risk

Film Review of Hereafter: Ghosts, Mediums, and Near-Death Experience

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 19, 2010
Film Review of Hereafter: Ghosts, Mediums, and Near-Death Experience
Clint Eastwood's new film Hereafter, about ghosts, mediums, and the afterlife, gets it mostly wrong.

Skeptical of ‘Secretariat’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 20, 2010
Skeptical of  ‘Secretariat’
A new Disney film about courage and heart features a freak racehorse...

Skeptracking at Dragon*Con 2010

September 17, 2010

Amid the bizarre costumes and assorted geekery, the skeptic’s track drew sizeable crowds...

Dragon*Con 2010 and a Call for Investigation

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 16, 2010
Investigation is only part of skepticism, but it is a vital part. Hopefully future conferences will include more investigation.

Top 5 Surreal Moments at Dragon*Con

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 10, 2010
Dragon*Con was a great time, but five experiences in particular have stuck with me as being especially surreal.

Is it Possible to Study the ‘Paranormal’?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 18, 2010
A question from the public: How does an investigator study subjects never proven to exist?

Chasing the Ghost Bird

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 34.3, May / June 2010

The ivory-bill has captured the imagination of people the world over for a very long time.

New Prayer Study: Need Glasses or Hearing Aid? Ask God!

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 4, 2010
A new, badly flawed prayer study suggests that God will heal hearing and vision problems if someone else asks Him to.

Reflections on Camp Inquiry 2010

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 26, 2010
A memorable week at CFI's summer camp for kids, Camp Inquiry

New Film “Inception” Bends Both Minds and Logic

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 18, 2010
New Film “Inception” Bends Both Minds and Logic
The new thriller Inception, starring Leo DiCaprio, has good intentions but a plot full of holes.

Ghost Photo on Front Page of New York Times

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 28, 2010
Ghost Photo on Front Page of New York Times
A New York Times front-page photograph seems to reveal a mysterious ghostly image.

Psychic Carla Baron Called Out on Claim of Solving Natalee Holloway Case

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 14, 2010
Famous psychic Carla Baron says she solved the Holloway case; that's news to the police, FBI, and Holloway's parents.

What Martin Gardner Taught Me

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 2, 2010
Martin Gardner, one of the all-time great skeptics, taught me how skeptics can help the public with real-world problems.

BP Oil Spill: Just Wondering Where the Psychics Are…

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 26, 2010
Psychics should be asked—after each and every tragedy and national disaster—to explain their failures.

Rescuing Oiled Wildlife: Expensive and Ineffective

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 30, 2010
The desire to clean oiled wildlife is admirable and noble, but the most obvious solution is not always the best one.

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The Psychic and the Serial Killer: Examining the ‘Best Case’ for Psychic Detectives

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 34.2, March / April 2010

Feature

An examination of the 'best case' of psychic detective abilities offers insight into how extraordinary claims are made, exaggerated, and clung to despite...

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Bigfoot Beliefs in Cultural Context

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 34.2, March / April 2010

Review

Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend by Joshua Blu Buhs.

Available in the Print Edition. Subscribe Here.

BodyTalk: Boon or Bogus?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 34.2, March / April 2010

Skeptical Inquiree

Q: I work for a national corporation and recently noticed pamphlets advertising "BodyTalk" therapy distributed around the workplace. Now a BodyTalk...

British Government Study Finds Homeopathy Worthless

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 22, 2010
A recent UK committee investigating homeopathy provides yet another nail in the coffin for this pseudoscience

Review of “Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be” by Daniel Loxton

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 34.3, May / June 2010

Online Extra

Two very different books about evolution crossed my desk recently. The first, by Richard Dawkins, is titled The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence...

How Global Warming Creates Monsters

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 8, 2010
Benjamin Radford reveals an interesting link between Bigfoot and global warming. From his upcoming book on the chupacabra.

Valuing Solutions Over Problems, Explanations Over Mysteries

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 30, 2010
A brief discussion about the nature of mysteries and the value in finding their solutions

Blog on psychic detectives riles the believers—especially those who don’t read carefully

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 17, 2010
A Discovery News blog results in a poster's reply that seems to prove that psychic detectives are real!

Psychics: Be a Hero, Save Lives, and Earn $2 Million!

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 8, 2010
$2 million and hero status awaits any psychics who can solve Toyota's problems

Ghost Hunters International Team Finds Evidence of Fictional Character’s Ghost!

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 25, 2010
Ghost Hunters International Team Finds Evidence of Fictional Character’s Ghost!
Ghost Hunters International team finds evidence of a ghost of a woman who never existed

Another Real-World Example of Eyewitness Unreliability

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 19, 2010
If you think eyewitness reports are accurate, you otter read this.

Texas Police Blotter: Drunk Man “Running from Chupacabra”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 15, 2010
Police near Abilene, Texas, who responded to a prowler report found a drunk man "running from a chupacabra."

New Chupacabra Documentary: More Speculation than Investigation

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 5, 2010
Radford reviews early footage of a film on the chupacabra monster, finding more speculation than investigation.

Another Cancer Hoaxer Preys on Goodwill

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 1, 2010
Another tragic story of battling a horrible disease turns out to be made up—either for profit or simply attention.

Charles Darwin and his Father Debunk Spiritualists and Psychics

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 21, 2010
In several of Darwin's letters, he described the skepticism he and his father shared over paranormal claims

Review of “Creation” New Film about Darwin

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 20, 2010
Benjamin Radford reviews Creation, the new film about Charles Darwin

A Plea for Any Real Psychics to Help Haiti

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 14, 2010
A plea for any real psychics to help save lives in earthquake-devastated Haiti

The Link Between Astrology and Prejudice

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 11, 2010
Astrology and racism are very similar in some disturbing ways

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Hyperbaric Therapy for Autism: Airy Promises

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 34.1, January / February 2010

Skeptical Inquiree

With the recent news that autism cases are on the rise, I'm sure the number of dubious "treatments" are increasing as well...

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Latest Texas ‘Chupacabra’ Exhibited in Creationist Museum

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 34.1, January / February 2010

News & Comment

In August 2009 a man in the small town of Blanco, Texas, heard something attacking chickens in his cousin's barn.

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Cryptozoology Museum Opens in Maine

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 34.1, January / February 2010

News & Comment

Fans of Bigfoot, Ogopopo, the chupacabra, and other "mystery creatures" will finally have a place to see their favorite beasts—albeit in absentia.

Creation: A Cinematic Look at Charles Darwin

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 34.1, January / February 2010

Online Extra

The new film Creation, which opens January 22, tells the true story of the circumstances surrounding Charles Darwin's crowning creation...

2012: Not a Complete Disaster

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 34.1, January / February 2010

Online Extra
2012: Not a Complete Disaster

One might be excused for wondering what, exactly, German director Roland Emmerich has against the United States...

Why aren’t America’s psychics helping keep us safe?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 28, 2009
Benjamin Radford wonders why America's psychics aren't interested in protecting innocent lives from terrorism.

The “Climategate” Conspiracy Theories

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 14, 2009
The global conspiracy to cover up the “real” scientific evidence about climate change now includes the Associated Press

African Albinos Murdered for Witchcraft

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 8, 2009
“What’s the harm in believing in magic?” How about ten year old albino boy hacked to death for his limbs?

Jesus’s Face (Or at least one version of it) Appears in Clothing Iron

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 1, 2009
A Massachusetts woman, saw an image of Jesus in burn residue on an iron. But was it really Jesus?

Ghost Hunters’  Unscientific, Win- Win Approach

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 30, 2009
Most amateur ghost hunting groups approach "investigation" so they can't be proved wrong

Hollywood Hyperbole: Michael Jackon’s death “brought entire world to stunned halt”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 10, 2009
Jackson's sudden death "brought the entire world to a stunned halt." Seriously?

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The Myth of the Walking Tree

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 33.6, November / December 2009

Skeptical Inquiree

While on a tour of the rainforest during a recent vacation, our guide showed us a tree with a very unusual root system.

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Psychic Exploits Horrific Abduction Case

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 33.6, November / December 2009

News & Comment

In 1991, a young girl named Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped on her way to school. No one knew the girl's fate for eighteen years...

Editor’s Note

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 33.6, November / December 2009

Online Extra

There are, of course, dozens more skeptics out there whose names may be slightly less familiar but whose contributions...

News coverage of Calif gang-rape victim: “Church Going Honor Student”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 29, 2009
"The victim of a brutal gang rape... was a devout Christian" I guess it's a good thing that she wasn't an atheist?

Omnipotent Deity Powerless Against Flu

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 28, 2009
Apparently even the very blood of Jesus Christ himself is not immune from contagion by the Influenza A (H1N1) virus.

New Shroud of Turin Claims

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 13, 2009
An Italian scientist and his team claim to have replicated the Shroud of Turin, believed by many to be the burial cloth of Jesus

New Canadian Lake Monster on Vancouver Island?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 27, 2009
A Canadian researcher, in cooperation with the local tourism board, looks for a lake monster

Psychic Detectives’ Failure Lets Killer Escape Death Penalty

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 21, 2009
Over 500 self-proclaimed psychics gave information about a missing woman; if any had been right, a killer would get justice.

Patrick Swayze and the Fallacy of Dying Celebrity Wisdom

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 17, 2009
Why do the public and news media think that dying celebrities have special wisdom about life and death?

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The Last Laugh

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 33.5, September / October 2009

Humor

Eight Weird Psychic Comments Overheard at a Singles Bar

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Modern-Day DaVinci’s ROM: Range of Motion or Rip Off Machine?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 33.5, September / October 2009

Feature

A supposedly revolutionary (and remarkably expensive) exercise machine called the ROM makes amazing claims in advertisements.

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Exercising the Brain Gym

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 33.5, September / October 2009

Skeptical Inquiree

What can you tell me about the Brain Gym? It seems to make all sorts of amazing claims and is apparently very popular...

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New Champ Lake Monster Video Surfaces

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 33.5, September / October 2009

News & Comment

In May, new video footage of Champ, the monster said to inhabit Vermont's Lake Champlain, was release on YouTube...

A Skeptic’s Visit to Mythical Macchu Picchu

Skeptical Briefs Volume 19.3, September 2009

A Skeptic’s Visit to Mythical Macchu Picchu

Hard-headed types like scientists and skeptical investigators are often seen as dour debunkers, devoid of magic and awe...

The Last Days of Heath Ledger—So What?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 11, 2009
Why would anyone think that an accounting of the last few days of Heath Ledger’s life would be important?

The Transience of Hip

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 29, 2009
A look at the "Must" list of a popular pop culture magazine from 2005 sheds perspective on fleeting fame

Skeptical MonsterScience.org Web site & Podcast Launched!

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 14, 2009
A new educational Web site about the science of monsters is now available: MonsterScience.org.

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The Deadwood Ghost Photo

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 33.4, July / August 2009

Skeptical Inquiree

"My brother and I stayed at the historic Franklin Hotel in Deadwood, South Dakota. I'm not a big believer in the paranormal..."

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Borneo’s River Monster Photo: Living Legend or Hoax?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 33.4, July / August 2009

News & Comment

In February, two photographs of a huge snake-like creature allegedly taken in Borneo made international news.

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CSI Solves New Jersey UFO Mystery

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 33.4, July / August 2009

News & Comment

Strange, bright red lights appeared over Morris County, New Jersey, on January 5, 2009. They were first noticed in the night...

CFI World Congress: More Highlights

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 33.4, July / August 2009

Special Report
CFI World Congress: More Highlights

Longtime CSI Fellow and Skeptical Inquirer contributor Elizabeth Loftus presented a talk about...

2005 Uri Geller:  Michael Jackson’s career comeback to be “most dramatic ever seen in showbiz”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 30, 2009
Washed-up spoon bending psychic uses his amazing powers to embarrass himself.

Interesting Reply to a Column on Critical Thinking by a Bush Supporter

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 22, 2009
In a recent column wrote about how claims made by politicians are often unproved or unprovable. I used Cheney as an example.

A response to a cranky creationist

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 5, 2009
I wrote a column about dinosaurs having been extinct for 65 million years, and got a curious creationist challenge.

New video of Champ lake monster: A skeptical analysis

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 5, 2009
New footage of Champ, the monster said to inhabit Lake Champlain, is out! Monster, hoax, or deer?

Available in the Print Edition. Subscribe Here.

The Pseudoscience of Personalysis

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 33.3, May / June 2009

Skeptical Inquiree

"Look, that green rectangle represents my motivation to control things!"

Ghosts, Doughnuts, and A Christmas Carol: Investigating New Mexico’s ‘Haunted’ KiMo Theater

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 33.3, May / June 2009

Feature
Ghosts, Doughnuts, and A Christmas Carol: Investigating New Mexico’s ‘Haunted’ KiMo Theater

A careful investigation into one of the most famous haunted theaters in the Southwest.

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Briefs Briefs

Skeptical Briefs Volume 19.2, June 2009

Briefs Briefs

Short articles compiled by the editor.

Return of the Montauk Monster!

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 28, 2009
The "Montauk Monster" was a strange creature found on a New York beach. It's dead, but it's back!

Ghost Hunter Patrick Burns Pens Ghost Hunting for Teens Book

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 18, 2009
Ghost hunter Patrick Burns has a new book-- by a well-known children's textbook publisher--on ghosts for kids.

Faked Abduction Claims: Why Would You Fake A Kidnapping?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 13, 2009
In the past few weeks, a series of faked abductions and false rape/abduction claims have surfaced.

Blowback? SF Chronicle: CIA Introduced Swine Flu in Cuba to Weaken Castro

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 29, 2009
San Francisco Chronicle reported that anti-Castro forces, with the help of the CIA, introduced swine flu to Cuba

New film “The Soloist” Features (and slightly mocks) Atheists

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 22, 2009
The new Robert Downey / Jamie Foxx film "The Soloist" depicts atheists

Unsolved Serial Killings Haunt NM; Where are the Psychics?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 22, 2009
New Mexico has been stalked by a serial killer, dumping bodies in the desert. Why aren't psychics helping solve the crime?

Taking Skeptical Activism to a New Level

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 7, 2009
A new guide for skeptical activism includes over 100 ideas for spreading critical thinking

NJ UFO Hoax by Skeptics Proves Point But Raises Questions

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 2, 2009
Should skeptics hoax the public to prove a point, or is that a breach of ethics?

Skeptical of the Skeptics: Questioning Conventional Wisdom

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 1, 2009
A comment about self-esteem research raises questions about challenging popular beliefs

New “Knowing” Film Based on Numerology and Bible Code Pseudoscience

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 19, 2009
The new Nicolas Cage film "Knowing" has roots in numerology and the discredited Bible Code.

Who’s “We,” White Man?  Or, The Media’s Mythical Majority

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 10, 2009
Lazy writers use phrases like "We are obsessed with celebrity" in news and media reports, making incorrect overgeneralizations

Strange Responses to a Skeptical Article

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 3, 2009
Three readers commented on a recent skeptical article about the paranormal; none were very happy.

Curious Contrails: Death from the Sky?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 33.2, March / April 2009

Skeptical Inquiree

Is someone or something criss-crossing our skies with poisonous vapor trails that fall to Earth?

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Briefs Briefs

Skeptical Briefs Volume 19.1, March 2009

Briefs Briefs

Recent news of interest to skeptics

Available in the Print Edition. Subscribe Here.

Benjamin Radford’s 2008 ‘Psychic Predictions’

Skeptical Briefs Volume 19.1, March 2009

I have been a scientific paranormal investigator for over a decade, searching in vain for solid evidence of...

Does Viewing Evidence of a Crime Injure the Victim?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 24, 2009
The president of the NCMEC claims that viewing evidence of a crime re-injures the victim. Truth or hype?

Borneo’s Lake Monster Photos: Legend Come to Life? Or Hoax?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 19, 2009
I examine two new photos of a huge snake-like creature allegedly taken in Borneo.

Kashi Food Developer Karen Moyer Discovers Vanilla!  (Stupid TV Commercial Spotlight)

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 13, 2009
In TV ads, Kashi food developer Karen Moyer travels the world searching for common spices! (Stupid TV Commercial Spotlight)

When Study Results Have Morally Uncomfortable Implications

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 6, 2009
Scientific research is very important and valuable, but can sometimes have uncomfortable moral implications

Catty Comments About Celebrities with a Few Extra Pounds: A Closer Look at the Outrage

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 2, 2009
Recently female celebs with a few extra pounds have been criticized in the media. But is it a tempest in a teapot?

New Age Book Offers “Raw Logic” to Dismiss Skeptics

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 23, 2009
A new New Age book called "Amazing Grace" offers something called "Raw Logic" to refute skeptics. Does it? You decide!

Are the world’s peanuts becoming less flavorful because of me? A guilty pleasure revealed.

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 19, 2009
Benjamin Radford muses on whether his love of peanuts is in some small way destroying the world.

Ben Radford’s Psychic Ability Revealed! 2008 Predictions

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 13, 2009
Benjamin Radford reveals the predictions he made for 2008 in 2007, revealing a stunning 90% success rate.

New Jersey UFO Case Likely a Copycat Hoax

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 7, 2009
A set of mysterious lights seen recently over New Jersey bears a striking resemblance to the 2008 Phoenix Lights UFO Hoax

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XanGo Juice: Miracle or Myth?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 33.1, January / February 2009

Skeptical Inquiree

"It costs $40 a bottle, and according to several anecdotes I've heard, cures just about any disease."

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Kansas Gym Ghost Video Mystery Solved

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 33.1, January / February 2009

News & Comment

On September 12, 2008, a surveillance video captured what many believed to be a ghost. The video was taken at Anytime Fitness...

Skeptic Benjamin Radford’s Psychic Predictions for 2008

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 30, 2008
In December 2007, Skeptical Inquirer managing editor Ben Radford made 22 predictions for 2008...

NM Senator’s Miracle Cure Merely Mistake, Misdiagnosis

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 29, 2008

Another Plane Crash, Another Ordinary Miracle: Science Saves but God Gets Credit

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 23, 2008
A recent plane crash in Denver was called a miracle because all survived. But did God or science save lives?

Dear Abby: Skeptical Ghost Buster!

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 21, 2008
Dear Abby shows a bit of refreshing skepticism in her response to a reader's comment about being visited by a ghost

Bush Illogic 101: Bush Claims Success in Keeping America Safe

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 19, 2008
President Bush claimed on Dec. 17 that "there can be no debate" about his record of keeping America safe. "No debate"? Really?

This Just In: Blogging Skeptic Skeptical of Blogs

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 17, 2008

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Georgia Bigfoot Hoax Draws Global Attention

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.6, November / December 2008

News & Comment

In early August, Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer claimed to have found in the woods of Georgia something never known to exist.

Secrets of Spectacularly Skewered Skin

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.6, November / December 2008

Skeptical Inquiree
Secrets of Spectacularly Skewered Skin

What explains the ability of some people to insert sharp spikes into their skin without bleeding or pain?

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The Amazing Randi Strikes Again

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.5, September / October 2008

News & Comment

The Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas was the site of the sixth Amaz!ng Meeting, James Randi's more-or-less annual...

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The Sweet Spirit Sounds of Rosemary Brown

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.5, September / October 2008

Skeptical Inquiree

Whatever happened to Rosemary Brown, who claimed to take down dictation from Liszt, Schubert, and other dead composers?

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Psychic’s False Sex Abuse Claim Threatens Family

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.5, September / October 2008

News & Comment

Psychics are wrong about things all the time; that's no news to our regular readers...

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Hoax Led to Polygamist Sect Raid

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.5, September / October 2008

News & Comment

False reports can have serious consequences. Time and resources spent on hoaxers and liars are diverted from real crime victims.

The Mysterious Phoenix Lights

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.4, July / August 2008

Skeptical Inquiree

In April 2008, residents of Phoenix called police and local news media to report four bright, red lights hovering over the city.

Reality Check: Ghost Hunters and ‘Ghost Detectors’

June 2, 2008
Reality Check: Ghost Hunters and ‘Ghost Detectors’

Ghosts are big business. For entities that may or may not exist, they seem to be everywhere, especially during Halloween.

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NASA’s Mysterious ‘Man on Mars’ Photo

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.3, May / June 2008

News & Comment

The idea that there may be life on Mars has been around for centuries, but the theory got a boost from photos taken by...

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Bark at the Moon

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.2, March / April 2008

Skeptical Inquiree

"My local newspaper runs a weekly column about planting flower and vegetable gardens by the phases of the moon and the signs..."

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Bad Journalism Misleads Public about Psychics

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.2, March / April 2008

News & Comment

Ada Wason and Mary Ellen Walters vanished, seemingly into thin air. The pair left their Warren County, Ohio, retirement home...

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Natalee Holloway Disappearance Unsolved; Case Closed

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.2, March / April 2008

News & Comment

Despite the efforts of searchers and psychics, police on Aruba closed the case on missing teenager Natalee Holloway.

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The Science of Chemistry

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.1, January / February 2008

Skeptical Inquiree

I have an inquiry about Internet dating and relationship Web sites. At least one claims in its advertising to use science to...

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Haunting Evidence Follow-Up: TV Psychic Detectives Fail Again

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.1, January / February 2008

News & Comment

How many of the ... cases featured in the first season of Haunting Evidence did the team solve? Not a single one.

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How to ‘Haunt’ A House

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.1, January / February 2008

Feature

When a terrified family sought information about the ghosts they believed haunted their home, they found only...

The Other Side of the Story: Ghost Hunting

Skeptical Briefs Volume 17.4, December 2007

Interviews

Interview with filmmakers Andy and Tonya Keyser

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A Time to Die

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.6, November / December 2007

Skeptical Inquiree

On the Montel Williams show, Sylvia Browne recently stated that most people die within three months of...

Interview with Roy Richard Grinker

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.6, November / December 2007

Interview
Interview with Roy Richard Grinker

Author of Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism

Investigating a Haunted House – Buffalo, New York

September 18, 2007
Investigating a Haunted House – Buffalo, New York

Note: Respecting a request for anonymity, names have been changed. Except for the cat.

The (Non)Mysterious Orbs

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.5, September / October 2007

Skeptical Inquiree
The (Non)Mysterious Orbs

People keep showing me pictures that have "orbs" in them. They usually look like round spots of light.

Santa Fe ‘Courthouse Ghost’ Mystery Solved

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.5, September / October 2007

Special Report
Santa Fe ‘Courthouse Ghost’ Mystery Solved

A mysterious white blob was captured on videotape June 15, 2007, by a security camera at a courthouse in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Might Fright Cause White?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.4, July / August 2007

Skeptical Inquiree

Can hair turn white overnight, from stress or from fright?

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Philadelphia Psychics Shut Down, Then Allowed to Reopen

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.4, July / August 2007

News & Comment

In April 2007, citing a state law banning fortune-telling for profit, Philadelphia's Department of Licences and Inspections...

Superhero Science

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.4, July / August 2007

Feature
Superhero Science

Spasibo. It means thank you. I know only a few words Russian, but what little I do know I learned about twenty years ago.

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Randi’s Amazing Meeting Returns

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.3, May / June 2007

News & Comment

James "The Amazing" Randi's fifth annual conference, dubbed "The Amazing Meeting", was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, January...

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The Nonsense and Non-science of Sasquatch

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.3, May / June 2007

Review

Review of Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science by Jeff Meldrum.

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Measuring Near-Death Experience

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.3, May / June 2007

Skeptical Inquiree

While researching near-death experience, I came across a so-called Greyson Scale, which is claimed to be...

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Secrets and Lies

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.3, May / June 2007

Special Report

Last year, Rhonda Byrne discovered the secret of the universe. It is based on a principle of quantum mechanics and lies in a...

Sylvia Browne’s Biggest Blunder

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.3, May / June 2007

News & Comment

The tragic consequences of listening to psychic advice were brought into sharp focus in January 2007.

Secrets and Lies

Special Report
March 29, 2007
Secrets and Lies

Last year, Rhonda Byrne discovered the secret of the universe.

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Male Pregnancy

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.2, March / April 2007

Skeptical Inquiree

"I came across a news story and Web site about a pregnant man. Can this be true?"

Sci Fi Investigates, Finds Only Pseudoscience

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.2, March / April 2007

Special Report

Despite its breathless claims, the series provides little science and few answers but a lot of unintended skeptical laughs.

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Soul Scales

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.1, January / February 2007

Skeptical Inquiree

"Have you heard about the claim that a person's sol can be weighed?"

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New Report Casts Doubt on Gulf War Syndrome

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.1, January / February 2007

Special Report

A study recently published by the National Academy of Sciences casts doubt on the reality of Gulf War Syndrome...

Ghost Photos: Scams, Slipups, and Spirits

November 3, 2006
Ghost Photos: Scams, Slipups, and Spirits

One thing that ghosts, Bigfoot, and UFOs have in common is a lack of hard evidence for their existence.

Searching to Noah Vale

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.6, November / December 2006

Skeptical Inquiree

In this world there are things that seem on the verge of being discovered every so often, yet never quite materialize.

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Go, Go, Ghost Gadgets

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.5, September / October 2006

Skeptical Inquiree

"On the Sci-Fi Channel show Ghost Hunters, these guys run around with thermal imaging cameras, EMF detectors...

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New Psychic Detective (Un)Reality Series: Haunting Evidence

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.5, September / October 2006

News & Comment

Following the success of Court TV's "documentary" series Psychic Detectives, the network has launched a new program.

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Alleged Psychic Convicted of Murder

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.5, September / October 2006

News & Comment

Susan Polk, a self-proclaimed psychic, was convicted on June 16, 2006, of second-degree murder.

Predator Panic: A Closer Look

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.5, September / October 2006

Special Report

“Protect the children.” Over the years that mantra has been applied to countless real and perceived threats.

CSI: Turning from Science to Psychics

July 29, 2006

What happens when psychic powers are used for much more important and practical purposes, such as solving crimes?

Among The Bigfooters

July 29, 2006

“Some are doubters, some believe, the rest of us just know.”

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Body of Evidence

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.4, July / August 2006

Review

Reviews of books by Gillian Bennett and Jacqueline Simpson.

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Please Pass the Globster

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.4, July / August 2006

Skeptical Inquiree

"What is a globster and where can I find one?"

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The Wrong Stuff: Men’s Magazine’s Psychic Columnist

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.4, July / August 2006

News & Comment

While popular women's magazines have for decades featured regular astrology columns, magazines aimed at the men's market have...

Beastly Numbers

June 6, 2006

June 6 isn't just any date, it is (or could be) a day of evil and bad luck, a date containing the reputed "Number of the Beast."

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Mysteries of the Coral Castle

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.3, May / June 2006

Skeptical Inquiree

"Edward Leedskalnin cut, quarried, and raised a castle consisting of over 1,000 tons of coral rock."

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James Randi’s Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.3, May / June 2006

News & Comment

James Randi's fourth annual "Amazing Meeting" was held in Las Vegas Nevada, January 27-29, 2005.

Stranger Danger: How Real Is It?

April 7, 2006

If you saw an innocent child being kidnapped by a stranger, would you help?

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‘Natural’ Childbirth

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.2, March / April 2006

Skeptical Inquiree

What's behind the current anti-science move toward the "natural" birth process?

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Art Bell’s Show Broadcasts Sylvia Browne Failure about Mine Tragedy

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.2, March / April 2006

News & Comment

Self-proclaimed psychic Sylvia Browne, the best selling author and a regular on Larry King Live...

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Rare Woodpecker, presumed Extinct, Found in Arkansas

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.2, March / April 2006

News & Comment

A chance sighting in Arkansas's Cache River National Wildlife Refuge of a presumed extinct woodpecker led to a 2005...

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Geller Revisited

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.1, January / February 2006

Skeptical Inquiree

What's that fellow Uri Geller up to these days? I've heard nothing about him for years.

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The First Ibero-American Conference on Critical Thinking

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.1, January / February 2006

Special Report

The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal took an important step in establishing a skeptical...

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Science Looks for Bigfoot but Finds Bison

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.1, January / February 2006

News & Comment

Bigfoot's been a busy beastie recently, especially in Canada. In April 2005, a Manitoba ferry operator videotaped a large...

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Science Sheds Light on Giant Squid

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.1, January / February 2006

News & Comment

Since men took to sea, stories of fearsome leviathans have haunted those brave enough to venture beyond dry land.

Ogopogo the Chameleon

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.1, January / February 2006

Feature
Ogopogo the Chameleon

Lake Okanagan's lake monster has undergone many transformations over the centuries. Will the real Ogopogo please rise up?

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Bigfoot in Life and Legend

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 29.6, November / December 2005

Review

Review of Bigfoot Exposed: An Anthropologist Examines America's Enduring Legend. By David J. Daegling.

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New-Agey Feldenkrais

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 29.6, November / December 2005

Skeptical Inquiree

My sister-in-law is a Feldenkrais practitioner. She always wants to give us treatments. What is this?

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Teen in Aruba, Others Still Missing Despite Psychics

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 29.6, November / December 2005

News & Comment

Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway disappeared in the early hours of May 30, 2005, while on vacation in the Dutch Caribbean...

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Center for Inquiry Granted Representation at the United Nations

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 29.6, November / December 2005

News & Comment

CFI, which is the parent organization of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal,,,

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Plane Crash Survival: Miracle or Skill and Science?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 29.6, November / December 2005

News & Comment

On August 2, 2005, amid heavy rain and lightning, Air France Flight 358 from Paris, France, to Toronto, Canada, crashed.

Halloween Scare Feeds False Fears

October 25, 2005
Halloween Scare Feeds False Fears

While children dress up as scary creatures and trick-or-treat, parents, police, and medical centers follow another ritual.

Science Looks for Bigfoot

September 3, 2005
Science Looks for Bigfoot

In April (2005) a Manitoba ferry operator videotaped a large, dark, indistinct creature moving along a riverbank.

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Questioning the Obesity Myth

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 29.5, September / October 2005

Review

Review of The Obesity Myth: Why America's Obsession with Weight Is Hazardous to Your Health. By Paul Campos.

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Isaac Newton, Astrologer?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 29.5, September / October 2005

Skeptical Inquiree

Are astrologers correct in saying that Isaac Newton believed in, and practiced, astrology?

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Deadly Rituals: Nun Dies During Convent Exorcism

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 29.5, September / October 2005

News & Comment

An exorcism at a convent in me small Romanian town of Tanacu resulted in the death of Maricica Irina Cornici...

New Exorcism Film Highlights Deadly Rituals

September 1, 2005
New Exorcism Film Highlights Deadly Rituals

The Exorcism of Emily Rose is about a priest accused of negligence resulting in the death of a nineteen-year-old woman.

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Seeking a Sixth Sense

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 29.4, July / August 2005

Skeptical Inquiree

Following the December 26, 2004, Asian tsunami, many media reports said that animals and aboriginal tribesmen somehow sensed...

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‘World’s Most Documented Psychic’ Fails to Find Abducted Granddaughter

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 29.4, July / August 2005

News & Comment

On the afternoon of April 12, 2005, six-week-old Graciana Heughan was abducted from a Children's Aid Society office in Toronto.

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Our Lady of the Underpass

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 29.4, July / August 2005

News & Comment

Thousands of Roman Catholics have made an impromptu shrine of another unlikely spot, this time a Chicago underpass...

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Police, Psychics Search for ‘Abducted’ Runaway Bride

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 29.4, July / August 2005

News & Comment

Jennifer Wilbanks, 32, vanished from her Duluth, Georgia, home on April 26, 2005. The long-distance runner, who was to be...

Psychic Predictions (and Rationalizations) Fail Again

Skeptical Briefs Volume 15.2, June 2005

One frustrating things about dealing with alleged psychics is the lack of opportunity to pin them down to explain their failures

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Ringing False Alarms: Skepticism and Media Scares

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 29.2, March / April 2005

Feature

The American public gets from its news media a steady stream of "wake up calls" to panic over— daily or weekly alerts of...

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Psychic Detectives Fail in the Real World but Succeed on TV

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 29.2, March / April 2005

News & Comment

Charles Capel was last seen alive May 20, 2004, the night before he wandered away from his home in Oxford Township in Ohio.

Reel or Real? The Truth Behind Two Hollywood Ghost Stories

Skeptical Briefs Volume 15.1, March 2005

Reel or Real? The Truth Behind Two Hollywood Ghost Stories

Radford and Gaeddert examine the truth behind two Hollywood ghost stories, The Amityville Horror and White Noise.

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Psychics (Don’t) Explain Missing September 11

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 29.1, January / February 2005

News & Comment

While going though files on psychics a few months ago, I came across a newspaper article listing annual psychic predictions...

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Critics Ravage ‘Hoax’ New Age

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 29.1, January / February 2005

News & Comment

An independent film directed and produced by followers of the New Age channeller/guru J.Z. Knight...

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Senate Intelligence Committee Highlights Need for Skeptical Inquiry

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 28.6, November / December 2004

News & Comment

On July 9, 2004, a bipartisan Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released the findings of its inquiry into America's...

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Fortuneteller Allowed at Fair Despite Law

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 28.6, November / December 2004

News & Comment

Loretta Adams, a self-described "psychic consultant," requested a permit to open a booth at the 2004 Kane County Fair...

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Prayers, Psychics Fail to Find Missing Women

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 28.6, November / December 2004

News & Comment

Prayers and psychics have failed to recover a Brigham Young University student who has been missing since May 24, 2004.

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New Details Emerge About Psychic’s Airline Bomb Threat Tip

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 28.6, November / December 2004

News & Comment

As reported in the July/August issue of Skeptical Inquirer, a self-described psychic suggested that...

The Real Story Behind The Exorcist

September 2, 2004

The new Exorcist film scared up some $18.2 million on its opening last weekend but has garnered universally horrific reviews.

The Measure of a Monster: Investigating the Champ Photo

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 27.4, July / August 2003

Feature
The Measure of a Monster: Investigating the Champ Photo

The most famous photograph of a monster in Lake Champlain was taken in 1977.

Bigfoot at 50 Evaluating a Half-Century of Bigfoot Evidence

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 26.2, March / April 2002

Feature
Bigfoot at 50 Evaluating a Half-Century of Bigfoot Evidence

The question of Bigfoot's existence comes down to the claim that "Where there's smoke there's fire."

U-Haul Moves into the Paranormal

Skeptical Briefs Volume 11.4, December 2001

We've all seen U-Haul trucks on our road and highways. Up until about ten years ago, the trucks were pretty boring...

Living Skepticism

Skeptical Briefs Volume 11.3, September 2001

In this issue Paul Kurtz asks how far critical thinking can be extended, what areas logical inquiry applies to...

CSICOP Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Skeptical Briefs Volume 11.2, June 2001

CSICOP was founded in 1976 by SUNY philosophy professor Paul Kurtz, and grew over the years with the support of luminaries...

The Pokémon Panic of 1997

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 25.3, May / June 2001

The Pokémon Panic of 1997

In 1997, an episode of the cartoon Pokémon allegedly induced seizures in thousands of Japanese children

100% True! This Is Not a Joke!

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 24.5, September / October 2000

Review
100% True! This Is Not a Joke!

Ben Radford's review of The Truth Never Stands in the Way of a Good Story! By Jan Harold Brunvand

The Flawed Guide to Bigfoot

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 24.1, January / February 2000

Review
The Flawed Guide to Bigfoot

Review of 'The FIeld Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mysterious Primates Worldwide'

FBI Enlisted Psychic in TWA 800 Investigation

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 23.4, July / August 1999

News & Comment

According to the Washington Post, the FBI used a psychic in an attempt to determine the cause of the TWA Flight 800 crash.

Scam Fortune Teller Arrested, Sentenced to Prison for Fraud

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 23.4, July / August 1999

News & Comment

In September 1996 a woman approached Tene, who was offering tarot readings for $15 in the back of a restaurant.

The Ten-Percent Myth

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 23.2, March / April 1999

Special Report
The Ten-Percent Myth

Someone has taken most of your brain away and you probably didn't even know it.

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