Haunted Drummond Hill Cemetery
October 15, 2018 by

The fiercest and the bloodiest battle of the so-called War of 1812 took place on July 25, 1814, and is known as the Battle of Lundy’s Lane. Part of that battlefield in Niagara Falls, Canada, is occupied by Drummond Hill Cemetery—an allegedly haunted place I investigated in 2002 for a local TV channel. According to …

Secrets of Oak Island Map
Secrets at Oak Island
September 24, 2018 by

Among great “unsolved” enigmas is that of a supposed treasure, often called the Money Pit mystery. The site is a shaft or shafts on Oak Island in Nova Scotia’s Mahone Bay, allegedly dating to before 1795. I dared to trespass there in 1999 (ironically after speaking at a forensic conference in New Brunswick), talking my …

The Curious Case of the ‘Destination Truth’ Yeti Track
September 13, 2018 by

The Yeti—formerly known as the Abominable Snowman—is the Himalayan version of the American Bigfoot. Like Bigfoot, it is large, powerful, leaves strange tracks, and has never been proven to exist outside of folklore and myth. Interest in the supposed creature is fueled by occasional sighting reports and odd footprints. In 2007, Josh Gates, host of …

When Mistaken Eyewitness Testimony Leads to Death
September 5, 2018 by

Skeptics and psychologists often point out the fallibility of eyewitness testimony, though the general public continues to put great stock in it. It seems so self-evident that personal experience is a reliable guide to the world that when something “unexplained” happens, people often assume that the event must truly be mysterious. There’s nothing wrong with …

Investigative Files Joe Nickell
Syracuse’s “Haunted” Ancestors Inn
August 16, 2018 by

It is closed now but in September 2002 I stayed at a “haunted” mansion in Syracuse known as Ancestors Inn at the Bassett House. It was Friday the Thirteenth. The mansion is located in Liverpool, NY, near Syracuse  (where—courtesy of Central New York Skeptics—I was speaking at both the Museum of Science and Technology and …

Investigative Files Joe Nickell
Mystery of the “Miracle” Stairs
August 6, 2018 by

“. . . I only saw it because I was looking for it.” —Sherlock Holmes in “Silver Blaze”   A claim circulated on the Internet holds that an antique spiral staircase in a Santa Fe chapel “miraculously” stands despite having “no discernible means of support.” True? This was a case I investigated on site in …

Sarah Ann, Fort George’s Most Famous Ghost
July 12, 2018 by

Located a short walk from the picturesque Canadian town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Fort George is an impressive hidden little gem of history. Comprising about a dozen wooden buildings scattered around a roughly coffin-shaped outer wall supported by six blocky bastions, the fort is a popular attraction for tourists and history buffs alike. Replica cannons appear …

Dangers of Rumors: Faked Walmart ‘Abduction’ Goes Viral
June 25, 2018 by

It was a scary if common social media warning, an example of what folklorists call “scarelore.” On June 9, 2018, Joshua Hatley, a Kansas man, posted a message on Facebook with information claiming a woman attempted to abduct his child at a local Walmart. The post, since deleted, read: “I’m posting this as a warning …

Crucifixion Evidence Debunks Turin “Shroud”
June 18, 2018 by

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 by

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., …