March 18, 2016
In the latter nineteenth century, as temperance and prohibitionist sentiment flourished, quack cures for alcoholism began to be offered, beginning with the Keeley Double Gold Cure in 1890.
March 14, 2016
March 11, 2016
The once-respectable Newsweek has been caught in flagrante. Between the covers, so to speak, we find an editor not only shamelessly touting a notorious Brazilian “healer” but also promoting one of his arch shills, a “psychic” who had a lengthy earlier career as a pornography queen.
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February 23, 2016
I chanced upon an infomercial for the notorious Peter Popoff, televangelist and roving healer, on TLC (January 21, 2016), featuring a “Toronto Miracle Crusade.” For me it was dèjá vu once again.
February 18, 2016
Cynthia Dwyer is a name you probably will not recognize, but it caught my attention when it appeared in a Buffalo News headline, February 16, 2016, announcing her death at 84. She had been the “53rd hostage” from the Iranian crisis that began in 1979. She was also, subsequently, the editor of my first book, Inquest on the Shroud of Turin.
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February 10, 2016
For the past few years, I have been intensely studying what I call “The Bigfoot Bear”—that is, any bear, especially if standing and even walking upright, that may be mistaken for a Bigfoot. Here I offer a poem on that subject (rather than an investigative report). It is written in a style I have developed, that I call improvisational rhyming. It is perhaps best appreciated when read aloud.
February 05, 2016
Shown in the accompanying photograph, this 12-paneled aqua bottle (hand blown in a two-piece mold and measuring about 5 3⁄8’’ tall by 1 13⁄16’’ diameter) is embossed “REV. N. H. DOWNS’ / VEGETABLE / BALSAMIC / ELIXIR.”
January 26, 2016
In 1932, several mysterious fires erupted in a house on Elm Street in the small town of Bladenboro, North Carolina. Police, fire experts, and others were baffled by the outbreaks that occurred over three days in the home of elderly residents Council H. Williamson and his wife Lydia. Beginning on January 30 with a burning curtain and window shade in the dining room, and continuing the next day with a set of bedclothes, a stack of papers stored in a closet, and a hanging pair of trousers, the rash of twenty mysterious fires ended about noon on February 1. Soon, however, the fiery case went cold and, according to an article by AtlasObscura.com, remains unsolved to this day (Tomlin 2016). But that has now changed.
January 25, 2016
With Joe Gisondi’s Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot (2016), the subtitle says it all. Gisondi, an outsider, traveled with Bigfooters, those credulous folk motivated to search for the fabled creature despite zero scientific evidence for its existence. At times he sounds like a skeptic: “How could creatures presumed to be so large remain so elusive?” (77). At other times he seems a believer: “. . . I felt something watching me” (37). He is, in fact, a journalist trying to be objective and show both sides: “As always I straddle the world of what could be and what is” (42).