Contributions

Investigating New Mexico’s Bottomless Lakes
June 26, 2019 ·


I don’t know if the world is ready for this, but in 2015 I got to the bottom of New Mexico’s Bottomless Lakes. I mean I got to the bottom of the fanciful claims thereof. Here is what I found.1 Bottomless Lakes is a state park (New Mexico’s first, established in 1933) that encompasses a …

Secrets of the Fakir of Ava
May 29, 2019


Isaiah Harris Hughes (born on Christmas Day, 1813, died May 24, 1891) was a conjurer’s conjurer. Almost forgotten today, Hughes was once widely known as the Fakir of Ava. Since he is buried in Buffalo’s beautiful Forest Lawn Cemetery, not far from where my wife Diana and I live, we often pay our respects at …

New Case of Lycanthropy From an Accused Man-Beast
April 30, 2019


According to a psychiatric report released in March 2019, a South Florida man, accused of murdering a couple and chewing on the face of one, suffered from “clinical lycanthropy delusions.” This is a psychiatric syndrome in which a person believes he can transform into a non-human animal—in this instance the killer believing he was “half-dog, …

Plane Abducted by UFO?
April 2, 2019


I recently came across an old (March 1979) issue of Fate magazine, which promised “The World’s Mysteries Explored.” One featured story was headlined: “Did UFO Abduct Aircraft?” As I suspected, that case was one destined to become a classic of UFOlogy, one that I would eventually have a hand in solving—at the request of a …

Spontaneous Human Combustion? Coroner Solves London Mystery
February 15, 2019


Under the heading, “Man spontaneously combusts in streets of London,” Fate magazine in late 2018 resurrected the fiery bogeyman of spontaneous human combustion. That is a pseudoscientific term for an unexplained fire injury or death. I have since followed the case to its final resolution at a coroner’s inquest, and have here placed it in …

Ukraine Splits from Russian Church
February 5, 2019


Ukrainian Orthodox Christians have officially split from the Russian Church to which they were tied for over four centuries. The spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Christians worldwide formalized the independence of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in a ceremony in Istanbul on January 6, 2019. Ukraine’s action resulted in the granting of legitimacy, thus bestowing …

“Bigfoot” Is Endangered Species
January 10, 2019


A federal judge on August 30, 2018, temporarily blocked the hunting of grizzly bears outside Yellowstone National Park. This was in response to the Trump administration’s removal of those animals’ endangered species protection. I said “grizzly bears” but I was also thinking of Bigfoot, and therein is a story. For more than four decades grizzlies …

Shroud of Turin Author in Special Prosecutor’s Sights
December 20, 2018


Jerome Corsi, a propagandist for the notorious Shroud of Turin (supposedly Jesus’ burial cloth), and an arch spreader of outrageous conspiracy theories, is now reportedly in the sights of special prosecutor Robert Mueller concerning Corsi’s purported role in the matter of the Trump campaign’s Russia connections during the 2016 presidential election. I first learned of Jerome …

“Playboy” with Joe Nickell et al.: “Having Sex with Spirits”
December 13, 2018


What is it with people “having sex with spirits”? And what would Joe Nickell and Chris French know about it? For answers we turn to an article by Mark Hay for playboy.com (July 16, 2018). Of course tales of phantom sex hark back to “ancient Sumerian myths to the Bible to still extant beliefs in …

Seeing Clearly Now: Death of Psychic Bernice Golden
November 30, 2018


“International psychic Bernice Golden dies,” reported radio station WKBW of Buffalo on the date of her death, October 8, 2018 (Mason 2018). Although she did promote herself as an “International Psychic,” the label is overblown. Nevertheless, she certainly became, in her day, “Buffalo’s best known psychic” (Evans 2016). On a few occasions, she did get …