The Woman in Black: A Classic Ghost Story

February 06, 2012

In the new horror/thriller The Woman in Black, Arthur Kipps, a lawyer whose grief over his dead wife has put his career in jeopardy, is sent to a remote English village to sort out the affairs of a recently deceased woman. Upon his arrival, he learns that everyone in the town is keeping a deadly secret: the woman's house is haunted by a ghost-the titular woman in black. Much of the film is classic ghostlore, and scenarios I have seen enacted during real-life ghost hunts by psychics and ghost hunters.

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The Mayan Calendar, 2012, and Doomsday: A Primer

January 25, 2012

It's no secret that the ancient Mayans (as opposed to the modern ones, some of whom work in offices and use cell phones) had a famous calendar that "runs out" in December of this year. Just what that means--if anything--is the question. Does it hold any particular significance for Doomday, the Apocalpyse, or Armageddon? Here's a (very) short primer on the Mayan calendar.

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RileyGate: Lessons Learned

January 11, 2012

A recent blog I wrote about a viral video featuring a "pint-sized pundit" ranting about gender stereotypes was flawed in several ways, and deserved much of the criticism it got. 

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‘Expert Eyewitness’ Shoots Dog Walker: Skeptical Lessons from Tragedy

January 05, 2012

A woman was shot last week when a state trooper mistook her two retriever dogs for a deer; what does this say about expert eyewitness testimony?

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Rebecca and Riley: Tempest in a Doll’s Tea Party

January 02, 2012

Skepchick blogger and skeptical colleague Rebecca Watson wrote a scathing blog about a column I wrote on a viral video starring a girl named Riley, and her rant about gender-stereotyped colors and toys. How valid are her criticisms? Decide for yourself. 

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Five Solved ‘Unexplained Mysteries’ of 2011

December 27, 2011

Each year brings new puzzles and mysteries to challenge skeptics and put our wits to the test. Sometimes mysteries take weeks, months, or even years or decades to solve, and while most of the public's attention naturally focuses on the still-mysterious, it's always worth reflecting on former mysteries. Here are five high-profile (temporarily) unexplained mysteries that were finally solved in 2011.

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Poll Holds Surprises About Teen Self-Image, Reality TV Effects

December 08, 2011

A new survey from the Girl Scout Research Institute issued a report titled "Real to Me: Girls and Reality TV" which came to a variety of conclusions about the effects of reality TV on beliefs and attitudes of teen girls. One interesting result what was most girls reject the "beauty myth" idea that a girl's value is based on how she looks. 

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Talking Lake Monsters for Canadian TV in the New Mexican Desert

November 25, 2011

New Mexico's Rio Grande river looks nothing like British Columbia's Lake Okanagan, but it was close enough for TV when I was interviewed on November 14 for a Canadian science show called Daily Planet.

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U.K. Ghost Group Concerned About Fake Ghost Photos

November 15, 2011

A U.K.-based paranormal research group is worried about the rise in faked ghost photos created by smartphone apps. 

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Heeding (Or Ignoring) Skeptical Investigation

October 22, 2011

One of the interesting things in skeptical research to see is how (or whether) skeptical investigations make it into the mainstream literature. After all, it's all well and good for skeptics to know that a case has been solved, but the real benefit is when the greater public realizes it. 

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