Chronicles of Lily Dale
July 17, 2018

Chronicles of Lily Dale (2017) is a compilation of material from early Spiritualist publications—mostly relating to Lily Dale (the world’s largest Spiritualist village), ca. 1861–1915. It was compiled by Spiritualists (but not mediums) Ron Nagy and the late Joyce LaJudice (both longtime friends of mine). From the Banner of Light (August 16, 1884), we learn …

Traveling Saints’ Relics
July 9, 2018

An exhibit called “Treasures of the Church” is traveling the country. It is the collection of the Rev. Carlos Martins, who accompanies it, using it to evangelize Catholicism. It consists of the supposed relics of saints—a piece of bone here, a fragment of clothing there (as reported by the Minnesota Star Tribune, June 6, 2018). …

Crucifixion Evidence Debunks Turin “Shroud”
June 18, 2018

As if there were not already enough evidence debunking the Shroud of Turin—the historical record, a forger’s confession, tempera paint, multiple carbon-dating tests—now new evidence further discredits the authenticity of the reputed burial cloth of Jesus. The new finding—the 2000-year-old skeletal remains of a crucified Roman—was reported on Live Science (Metcalfe 2018). The article (June …

Fortunetelling Automata
June 8, 2018

In my collection is an old piece of ephemera, a small card folder reading, “Princess Doraldina’s Prophecies.” I’ve had it for several years, stashed with some fortune-telling items. I finally decided to find out more about it. Here’s where my search led. Princess Doraldina was an arcade automaton fortune teller. Made by the Doraldina Corp., …

“Píso’s [Non-] Cure for Consumption”
May 23, 2018

Among the most notorious quack nostrums for consumption (tuberculosis), was “Píso’s Cure,” dating from the Civil War. It was no cure at all, and was cynically promoted by a trio of partners whom one writer terms, “a marketeer, a medic and a moneybags.”

On Demon Schooling
April 27, 2018

As a “skeptical demonologist” for nearly half a century, I would have had much to say at the course on “Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation” held in Rome April 16–21, 2018. I know there are those who would say that—because I have never found a single demon in all that time—I appear to be too skeptical. I beg to differ.

Being Needled by Acupuncturists
April 16, 2018

The Buffalo News (Feb. 16, 2018) reported on the prestigious local Roswell Park Cancer Center’s having embraced so-called “alternative” therapies. My letter to the editor (Feb. 28) stated, in part: “Calling therapies like Reiki, healing touch, and acupuncture ‘unconventional’ or ‘integrative’ or ‘complementary’ does not make them any less pseudoscientific.”

UFO over Arizona Likely IFO
April 5, 2018

In March 2018, a month after the fact, the FAA released a radio broadcast of what CBS News called an “out-of-this-world incident.” Actually, the UFO, seen by two separate civil aviation pilots flying over Arizona, has a very, very likely real-world explanation.

Following Martin Luther King in Life and Death
April 3, 2018

America’s greatest civil rights, anti-poverty, and anti-war leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated half a century ago, on April 4, 1968. His was a profound influence on countless others in that tripartite revolution which he came to lead and still inspires. I speak here as one non-violent foot soldier who followed Dr. King’s lead in all three of those movements.

“Legend Tripping” at Graves of “Witches” and “Vampires”
March 29, 2018

Increasingly, “legend tripping” (a term used by folklorists) is becoming popular. A “legend trip” is a visit to a site having a legend—typically about uncanny events there—the purpose being to test the legend or to otherwise engage it (Brunvand 1996, 437–440).