George Cherrie and the Venezuelan Dancing Devil
September 17, 2020 by

One of the most celebrated American naturalist/explorers was George K. Cherrie (1865–1948), who in his 1930 book Dark Trails: Adventures of a Naturalist (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) wrote about his adventures, primarily in Central and South America. Cherrie engaged in many expeditions, perhaps most famously accompanying Theodore Roosevelt on his nearly-disastrous 1913–1914 jungle descent of Brazil’s …

Zip Tie Abduction Rumors Spread, Lead to Panic and Arrests
August 31, 2020 by

False rumors of roving bands of abductors using plastic zip ties to identify their victims have been circulating on social media since around 2018 and recently surged in popularity. The warnings, often appearing on Facebook, Twitter, NextDoor, and WhatsApp, warn people about plastic zip ties being found on their vehicles, doorknobs, fences, mailboxes, and elsewhere.  …

Texas Hospital Finds ‘Covid Party’ – Or Legend
July 11, 2020 by

As if on cue! Following my recent CFI article “The Truth About Covid Parties” and Squaring the Strange podcast episode on ‘covid parties,’ titled “Tonight We’re Gonna Party Like It’s Covid 1999” there’s a news article suggesting they’ve been confirmed! A July 10 WOAI/KABB news story from San Antonio, Texas headlined “‘I thought this was …

Christopher Dorner, Eyewitness Testimony, and Mental Illness
June 18, 2020 by

Spree killer and ex-police officer Christopher Dorner was recently mentioned in a standup comedy piece by Dave Chapelle. If the name sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because Dorner killed four people and wounded three others in mid-February 2013, his victims including police and civilians in the Los Angeles area. The manhunt for Dorner over the course …

El Cine Chupacabra! The Hispanic Vampire in Film
May 6, 2020 by

Of all the world’s cryptozoological curiosities I like the chupacabra the most. I’ve researched Bigfoot, Champ (the lake monster in Lake Champlain), along with Mothman, Lizard Man, the Kraken, and myriad monsters over my career. But the chupacabra is my favorite; I spent five years investigating and writing a book on the beast (Tracking the …

Browne 2004 covid excerpt
Sylvia Browne’s Bogus Coronavirus Prophecies
March 24, 2020 by

In recent weeks there’s been many rumors, myths, and misinformation about the current coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19. One of the most curious is the recent resurrection of a posthumous prediction by psychic Sylvia Browne. In her 2008 book End of Days, Browne predicted that “In around 2020 a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, …

Sylvia Browne’s Non-Psychic, Non-Coronavirus Prediction
March 12, 2020 by

In recent weeks there’s been plenty of rumors, myths, and misinformation about the newest coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19. I’ve written several pieces on the topic, tackling both intentional and accidental bogus information. Some of the most pernicious, of course, involves misinformation about healthcare decisions (such as fake cures), but there are others. One of the most …

A Quick Example of Quick Debunking
January 28, 2020 by

I’ve investigated hundreds—probably thousands—of things in my career as a skeptic and researcher, from misleading polls to chupacabra vampire legends. Some investigations take hours or days; others take weeks or months, and a rare few take years. It all depends on the scope of the investigation and how much information you have to analyze. In …

Halloween Scary Phantoms and Phantom Scares
October 31, 2019 by

Today is Halloween, and amid the make-believe witches, ghouls, and goblins, there are supposedly real-life villains who hope to harm children every October 31. News reports and scary stories on social media leave many parents concerned about protecting children from Halloween threats. But are they real or myth? Here are five scary myths and legends …

Something to Cry About: Investigating a “Miraculous” Eye-Con
October 9, 2019 by

At the request of the Toronto Sun, on September 3, 1996, I drove to Canada to investigate a “weeping icon.” It would prove not to be really weeping and was not a true icon, only a print, but I am getting ahead of an interesting series of adventures in my career as a “miracle detective.” …