True Monsters show basically true to useless formula with one small exception

True Monsters debuted on History Channel on Friday night. The show was promoted to be a somewhat different take on “monsters” (cryptids, legends and myths). “True Monsters sorts the fiction from the often-muddled facts about the most terrifying monsters, awe-inspiring myths, and timeless legends in history. From monstrous creatures to wrathful gods, this series tells…

Your friendly neighborhood mon$ter

In a recent post on Skeptoid blog, I suggest that paranormal-based tourism, such as ghost tours and monster festivals, which are growing in popularity, border on fraud. “Even if there are long-standing legends of strange events occurring at some location, to suggest that a place is haunted just to freak people out is contemptible.” “Ghost…

Monster Stories from Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is the locale for oodles of strange stories, from the ghosts of Gettysburg to Thunderbirds of the northern forests, from the Jersey Devil sightings along the Delaware to UFOs in Kecksburg (and all across the state).  A 135-page book by Patty A. Wilson chronicles, specifically, Monsters in Pennsylvania: Mysterious Creatures in the Keystone State.…

Everyone panic. Or not.

A few weeks ago, I moved my desk next to an upstairs window overlooking a Bradford pear tree. For the past 3 weeks, when I sat at the desk during the day, periodically, a flock of about 50 starlings would swoop in and land on the tree,  devouring the shriveled fruits up like grapes. Then,…

Weird things road trip

Spent 10 hours driving through north central PA and upstate NY today. I saw an incredible sunrise over the Susquehanna River, the misty mountains and valleys north of Williamsport and the ridges of wind turbines in the rolling hills of New York. But, here are two puzzlers.

Solving Unexplained Mysteries: A review of “Scientific Paranormal Investigation” by B. Radford

This past March, I registered for a seminar on Scientific Paranormal Investigation at CFI – Washington, DC. Ben Radford was presenting and the event description mentioned his upcoming book of the same name. This was fortuitous since I was working on developing a thesis project about the prevalence of sham inquiry, focusing on amateur investigation…

Elbowing in

Continuing with “Sham Inquiry” Elbowing in on good science The Journal of Scientific Exploration is the published by the Society for Scientific Exploration which describes itself as “a professional organization of scientists and other scholars committed to studying phenomena that cross or are outside of the traditional boundaries of science and…are ignored or studied inadequately…”…

Ghost Hunting – Sham Inquiry

Thousands of eyewitnesses report ghostly encounters from ancient history to modern times. Contact with the dead is very much part of our modern culture. With the expansion of television content and the internet, stories about hauntings have surged in popularity. Ghost hunting is a popular hobby for thrill seekers. It’s fun to be scared. The…

Pretend science

Playing Pretend Science In order to be technical, like science, pseudoscientists engage in a method of data gathering that is not haphazard or lazy. Intricate collection and analysis is often a part of pseudoscientific activity. They may produce enormous bodies of work. Commitment to a cause can prompt “energetic intellectual effort” [1]. The motives and…

Weak evidence

Quality of evidence A frequent complaint from the fringe is that the scientific community is dismissive of the actual evidence for their extraordinary claim. Proponents of psi or UFOs will cite reams of evidence. The scientific community’s standard response is “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. That is, the evidence must be high quality, obtained through…

Animals hearing the earth whispers again

Earthquake in Illinois! Is this the end times? Hot-underground-fictional-place-for-sinners, no! And, I’ll go on record to say End Times stories are totally silly. The world has been going downhill since we humans got here in (more-or-less) present form a million years ago. Enough of that tangent. It was just to get attention anyway. It’s pretty…