Scottish poltergeist story is highly questionable, even if the police say they saw something

A story about a family in Rutherglen, Scotland, who called in police to report paranormal phenomena, rode the media wave yesterday into today. The original source was the local Rutherglen Reformer paper that appears digitally on the Daily Record (UK) website. Here is the main story: Rutherglen family call in police after witnessing paranormal activity A desperate Rutherglen…

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…

Skeptic Rose

I first heard about Rose Mackenberg from The Witch of Lime Street and thought, “Why haven’t I heard of her before!?” I was a bit behind on my reading. Rose appeared in the Junior Skeptic issue of Winter 2013 written by Daniel Loxton, and in Massimo Polidoro’s book Final Seance (2001) that is on my…

When Everyday is Doomsday: Slip, sliding away

As a geologist, I get mightily annoyed with apocalyptic-themed sites that broadcast media reports about normal processes of the planet with the tone that End times are upon us! Every friggin’ day! The end of the world seems to be perpetually right around the corner. Every report of strange sounds (often hoaxes or explainable), lights in the sky (typically…

John Oliver f**king skewers media science

John Oliver skewered pop media “science” coverage on his recent show. It wasn’t all that funny but it was true. And depressing. What has our society become? So smart, we get stupid. As an observer of the relationship between science and the public, he’s totally right for pointing out disturbing trends of morning news shows…