Blog Archives for August 2016

“Captain Fantastic”: A Nickell-odeon Review

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
August 31, 2016

Captain Fantastic is a unique movie without a boring moment. It tells the story of a family of back-to-nature fanatics—not from the political right (which would only have been scary), but from the Sixties left. They have foregone Christmas but added “Noam Chomsky Day,” which apparently can be held whenever father Ben (Viggo Mortensen) deems appropriate.

The School Auditorium Ghost

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
August 24, 2016

Sometimes a ghostbusting skeptic just gets lucky. So it was, following my luncheon speech at a CFI conference, when an attendee told me she knew the true facts behind the “haunting” of Pembroke Middle School in Corfu, N.Y.

New Tests: Dawson Was Piltdown Forger

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
August 18, 2016

After an eight-year examination, a team of researchers has concluded that the infamous Piltdown Skull hoax—consisting of human skull fragments together with an ape-like jaw having two teeth—was the work of a single forger: the “discoverer” and original suspect Charles Dawson. The study clears other suspects touted over the years, including the French priest Teilhard de Chardin, English paleontologist Arthur Smith Woodward, Scottish anatomist Arthur Keith, and, among others, famed Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle.

Dr. Hartshorn’s Medicines

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
August 10, 2016

Dr. Edward Hartshorn (1817–1887) was a physician who marketed various cure-alls during the patent medicine era.