Guest Post: The Fascinating World of Ghosthunting

This is a guest post written by Niels Böge Nothdurft from Denmark. Long before I learned about critical thinking and became a skeptic I was fascinated by all kinds of what I would call woo today. That fascination hasn’t stopped, just my perspective on it. One of the things that fascinated me a lot – and still does – is […]

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Rock ‘n’ Reverse: Skeptical Lessons from the Backward Masking Scare

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“Just ‘cause you feel it, doesn’t mean it’s there.” ~ Radiohead, “There There”   In the campy 1986 horror film Trick or Treat, directed by Michael Martin Smith and written by Rhet Topham, a devil-worshiping rock star named Sammi Curr meets an untimely death in a mysterious hotel fire. His biggest fan, a high school student with no friends and […]

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Why the Devil Has the Best Tunes: Rock Music, Satanism, and Religious Fear

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They say I worship the Devil / They must be stupid or blind / I’m just a rock ‘n’ roll rebel. ~ Ozzy Osbourne [1] In the summer of 1990, heavy rock music went on trial for murder. Five years before, two young adults named James Vance and Raymond Belknap of the small town of Sparks, Nevada spent a winter evening […]

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No, Memory is Not Magic

In a recent article posted on Evolution News and Views, the misleadingly-titled blog of the Discovery Institute (an anti-evolution think tank of the Intelligent Design movement), we find a neurosurgeon actually putting forth the bizarre and demonstrably false claim that the human brain does not and cannot store memory. The author, one Michael Egnor, titles his article “Recalling Nana’s Face: […]

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On Deepak Chopra’s Absurd Challenge to Skeptics

Scientifically-informed questioners and doubters who are not easily taken in by extraordinary and unverifiable spiritual claims are clearly getting under the skin of Deepak Chopra. The man has issued a challenge to James Randi and his “so-called militant atheist friends” (whom he also refers to as Randi’s “cronies”) in a recent YouTube video. Chopra, the popular New Age guru and […]

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Astronomy and Christian Superstition: A Review of John Hagee’s “Four Blood Moons”

“. . . to attempt to interpret [the Bible] so that it becomes a plan for the entire future of humanity is a deceptive snare for the unwary. It is always presumptuous of us to read our own times into earlier documents, which express other political, religious, or social interests, or to believe that what is happening now or is […]

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Water Witching in California

A severe drought is currently ravaging California’s farms, and pseudoscience is winning the day among the most desperate of the state’s farmers, who are turning in desperation to a very old form of superstition as a means of finding water. They are seeking aid from dowsers. The U.S. Drought Monitor’s website monitors drought conditions throughout the United States using an […]

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How Religion Kills: The Fatal Exorcism in Maryland

One of the most prevailing questions directed toward scientific skeptics who criticize religion, paranormal beliefs, and pseudoscientific quackery is “What’s the harm in allowing people to believe in what they want, even if their beliefs are not evidently true?” This question is often asked rhetorically by believers or those who sympathize with the believers’ cause. But when expressed honestly, the […]

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