Paranormal investigators and Velikovsky sound similarly sciencey

In January 2013, I wrote about Immanuel Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, and pseudoscience, referencing Michael Gordin’s excellent book The Pseudoscience Wars (2012). Well, I’m writing about it again, to be included in a book about amateur investigation groups “sounding sciencey” and fooling the public. I went back to some of my old sources and found a good one. It’s…

The stupidiocy of Ancient Aliens for kids

There are few good skeptical books for kids. But there are a shit-ton of terrible books promoting mystery and pseudoscientific nonsense aimed at kids or those getting started exploring a paranormal topic. I often peruse the 001 section of Juvenile Literature in the library. Mostly, I’m sickened. Occasionally, I’m surprised. There is a need for better…

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…

Sciencey: People get it

In the course of writing, there are times when you have to either create a new word because there isn’t just the right one coined yet or you adopt a word, use it three times, and make it your own. My research and writing for the public has often been about how activities, advertisements, and…

Cryptozoology and Myth, Part 1: The Illusion of Facticity in Unknown Animal Reports

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? Cryptid researchers say that modern reports of Bigfoot-Sasquatch, lake monster, sea serpents, giant flying animals, and elusive land creatures are supported by the stories of native people, legends or…

Neutrality and the wood ape report

It’s very difficult to be truly neutral. In most situations, you can only get somewhere by taking a side and exploring it. Last week’s hubbub regarding the Wood Ape report that I posted on Doubtful News was illustrative of a number of different issues that arise when attempting to learn more about and assess an…

Spontaneous Weirdness: Murder Houses

I come across some interested bits and pieces in my daily travels. I figured I’d start sharing them. You know, learn something new everyday… In Fortean Times 319: November 2014, Jan Bondeson describes how historic murder houses (in Victorian London) were often left without tenants as they developed a reputation for being haunted. No one…