Crackpots, Serial Killers and Flat Earthers
November 6, 2019 by

Things are a bit different now. Any crackpot with a 6th grader’s knowledge of computers can design and launch a website, shoot, edit and post a You Tube video that is wrong in every sense of the word, and search the world for people who share their same fetishes, dopey ideas, or sick fantasies.

My Psychic Scam Letter to CSICon: Presenting the Balles Prize for Critical Thinking
October 23, 2019 by

On Friday night at CSICon 2019 in Las Vegas, I presented the Balles Prize in Critical Thinking to reporters Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken for their book A Deal with the Devil, which was about the infamous “Maria Duval scam,” in which a fake psychic scammed people out of millions of dollars through very personal-seeming …

The Belief Barrier: Moving an Immovable Object at CSICon
October 19, 2019 by

After his presentation at CSICon 2019, the great actor John de Lancie referred to Q, the cosmic superbeing he played in the Star Trek franchise, as “a god with clay feet,” an entity of incredible power but lacking the character to use it in any meaningful way.  It’s a telling observation on de Lancie’s part, as I …

CSICon 2019 versus the Fantasy-Industrial Complex
October 18, 2019 by

In Post-Truth America, at a time when “modern secular government is in greater jeopardy than ever before,” as CFI board chair Eddie Tabash put it at the CSICon 2019 opening reception, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The kickoff of this year’s CSICon was a kind of diagnosis of …

The Substance of CSICon
October 17, 2019 by

The opening reception of CSICon takes place tonight, Thursday night, but despite it being the “official opening” of the conference, much of the substance of CSICon will have already been well underway. Naturally, most of the splashy attention surrounding CSICon focuses on the big presentations and events in huge ballrooms, but for the folks who …

Astrology and Racism
September 17, 2019 by

There are many scientific and skeptical objections to astrology, including the fact that the constellations have shifted since astrology was devised, that many real-world tests have failed to find statistically meaningful patterns in the lives of people born under certain zodiac signs, and that there are multiple—and in fact contradictory—versions of astrology that adherents fervently …

Why Chupacabra Reports Only Go Back to 1995
August 5, 2019 by

I recently came across a blog by a fellow cryptozoology writer, Nick Redfern, which began with a well-deserved rant about armchair debunkers. The shabby state of research into Fortean topics is widely acknowledged by skeptics—and some “believers” (for lack of a better word). In this particular case it was unnamed “debunkers” that he vented some …

Nazis, the KKK, and The Angriest Yoga Master: Another Day at the Office
July 24, 2019 by

Now hold on. Am I a Nazi or a Klansman? Make up your mind.

Intuition Nearly Kills Hiker
July 19, 2019 by

On May 9, 2019 yoga instructor Amanda Eller vanished while on a solo run through a forest reserve in Hawaii. She was found seventeen days after her disappearance; the temperate climate helped her to survive, and she told a harrowing tale of eating berries and drinking river water. The trouble began early, when Eller chose …

Expert in Online Hoaxes Offers to Calm Fears of “Momo” Suicide Game
March 1, 2019 by

A viral internet hoax is causing panic among parents and educators, terrified that kids are being lured into self-harm and suicide by a creature called “Momo.” Benjamin Radford, an expert in folklore and urban legends is offering to calm the fears of adults and children by talking to classes about the truth behind the Momo …