Haunted Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: ‘Oculus’  Film Review

April 14, 2014

There is a long history of folklore and legends about magical mirrors, ranging from the Bloody Mary urban legends to the sycophantic mirror in Snow White to the centuries-old practice of covering mirrors in the room of a dying person lest either Death or the Devil be seen in them. The new horror film Oculus tells the story of a cursed mirror.

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Charles Darwin, Skeptic

March 31, 2014

Charles Darwin was much more than just a scientist and author; he was also a devoted family man and an explorer. Steeped in the ways of science, he was also a skeptic who demanded good evidence for extraordinary claims.

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“Question of Astral Projection of Non-Believer”

March 14, 2014

I recently got the following email with the subject line, "Question of Astral Projection of Non-Believer." 

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Can Hair Turn White Overnight?

March 03, 2014

For centuries, it has been widely believed that fright can turn hair white. They say that the hair of condemned prisoners (such as Thomas More and Marie Antoinette) turned white the night before their executions. They say that many people who have terrifying experiences with ghosts find that their hair has turned white as... snow. Of course, "they" say a lot of things.

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The Anatomy of False Accusations: A Skeptical Case Study

February 26, 2014

False accusations are of particular interest to skeptics because skepticism has often been at the forefront of giving voice to the wrongly accused. Here's a recent case study. 

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The Ethics of Free-Market Kidneys, Part 2

February 11, 2014

In some countries selling one’s organs is perfectly legal. In the United States, it is against the law, although many people have suggested that legalizing the trade would save lives and offer real social benefits. Others find it an ethically dubious proposition. Part 2.  

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The Ethics of Free-Market Kidneys, Part 1

February 04, 2014

In some countries selling one's organs is perfectly legal. In the United States, it is against the law, although many people have suggested that legalizing the trade would save lives and offer real social benefits. Others find it an ethically dubious proposition. A look at the ethics behind organ sales. 

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Conspiracy-Minded Response to a Skeptical Crop Circle Explanation

January 21, 2014

Earlier this month I wrote a piece about a mysterious 310-foot-diameter crop circle that appeared in a farmer's barley field in California. In response I got an interesting, conspiracy-laden two-page reply from a crop circle believer....

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Lessons From The Central Park Five: The Tragedy of False Accusations

January 02, 2014

In the newest installment of my occasional series Skeptical Cinema, I examine the recent documentary about false accusations and a miscarriage of justice in an infamous Central Park assault.

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‘American Hustle’ Takes Dig at 1970s Cancer Alarmism

December 23, 2013

The new Oscar-bait film American Hustle, about two con artists (played by Christian Bale and Amy Adams) who get caught up in a corruption scandal in the 1970, contains an explicit, skeptical reference to a health scare fad.

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