Ghost hunters as populist “experts”

My magnum opus (the initial one, at least), Scientifical Americans, is in the printer’s queue right now. All the heavy lifting is done with the exception of the delivery box that shall soon appear at my door. I hope all of you reading this will do me the honor of purchasing it, if only to support…

Cryptozoology and Myth collection

It is extremely common for cryptozoology proponents to call upon indigenous stories of creatures to lend a sense of authority and antiquity to their current claims. What can we make of folklore tales that cryptozoologists use to support claims that an unknown animal has been historically reported and remains to be identified? I wrote a…

It’s all very fuzzy: Dogman, Bigfoot, and the scent of paranormalia at CryptidCon

Werewolves have staked out new territory within the field of cryptozoology. What does this mean for cryptid-credibility? I explore the ideas and patterns spotted at a recent cryptozoology convention and discover that the paranormal is alive and well in monster research. September 9-10, 2017 was CryptidCon in Frankfort, Kentucky. I drove 8.5 hours for two…

Stone Tape video lecture

I did a video lecture on the Stone Tape theory. It’s based on research documented in these two posts: The “Stone Tape Theory” of hauntings: A geological perspective Haunted rocks: The Stone Tape theory If you ever see paranormal investigators touting this as a “scientific” theory, whack them with this link.

Coming soon: A directory of “Professional Paranormal Services” and a paranormal TV network

A new site has launched offering listings for “professional paranormal services”: ParanormalPages. I did a double-take at the use of “professional” as I always do when this is mentioned with respect to amateurs who use blinky gadgets and get their “training” from TV shows. They have marched steadily into American consciousness and convinced many people…

Sidgwick’s 1885 seed of an idea

I’m currently working on a piece for Spooky Geology. Such topics typically involve diversions, tangents, sidebars and rabbit holes. What I think is going to be a direct list of references and ideas to answer a question about where some concept came from never turns out to be that. Instead, I find incomplete leads from…

Visiting the Fringe

“Hello, Ms. Hill,” said the man at the registration desk before I had a chance to give my name. “We’re glad to have you here.” So much for flying under the radar. I’m the skeptical one at the Fringe New Jersey one-day conference. I’m used to this, though, having gone to several paranormal-themed events. Why…

Psychical Research President states scientific disbelief in psi is “pathological”

What a very strange “President’s Letter” is in Issue 77 of the Paranormal Review published by the Society of Psychical Research (Winter 2016). I read and re-read it trying to make heads or tales out of Dr. Poynton’s meaning and assertions. He seems to despise the application of reason and questioning, wishing the stodgy “pathological” scientists and…