What happens to ‘Doubtful News’?

When I read stuff about “fake news”, I get this twinge of disappointment and regret. I wish my own site, Doubtful News, which started when internet-driven fake news was obvious but before it hit mainstream “trendy”, had been able to gain traction and support to sustain itself and take off during this explosion of interest…

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.

I think my short bio really confused people

Some of the fractious commenters on Facebook responding to my latest piece on the Darwin Awards (more on that coming in another post) took notice of my short bio in the right sidebar of my page and leaped to the erroneous conclusion when they read “ghost, monsters, paranormal”, etc. They misconstrued that my research into…

Why the Darwin Awards Should Die

A recent tragic story in the news reminded me once again that people can be callous and unthinking in reaction to others’ misfortune. A 19-year old girl shot her boyfriend by his request with the goal of making a viral YouTube video showing how a book can stop a bullet. It didn’t stop it. He’s…

Un-phenomenal Phenomena (Book Review)

Phenomena: The Secret History of the U.S. Government’s Investigations into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis by Annie Jacobsen Phenomena is about the decades-long dance of the US military with the idea of anomalous mental phenomena and the psychics who say they have these skills. Much is made of the author, Jacobsen, being a Pulitzer prize nominee.…

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…

Add science then stir

A ubiquitous, overly-simplistic idea about science should be put to death. It is that of the public as an empty vessel that awaits filling with scientific facts. Then education will be achieved (level up!) and we can all make smart and informed decisions. That’s utter tosh (as the British say). Nonsense. As much as we…

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…

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…

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…