The fish that fell in a December thunderstorm likely came from the nervous stomachs of birds that ejected their recent meal, investigators conclude.
The coelacanth as a red herring
This post is updated from its original publication in 2009.- SH In researching three areas of what I concluded were mostly “scientifical” fields of inquiry for my book – cryptozoology, ghost hunting, and creationism – I was amused to find one example used to the same end for all three – the discovery of the…… Continue reading The coelacanth as a red herring
Fake tiger tales and other plush hoaxes
Police in the Steyning area of West Sussex, England, were called to a public park on the evening of July 23, 2020 to respond to a report of a big cat on the loose. The Horsham police were likely familiar with the popular idea that large, non-native, “alien big cats” are roaming the UK. Hundreds…… Continue reading Fake tiger tales and other plush hoaxes
Dead bulls generate media BS
News outlets have picked up and run with the story of five bulls (Hereford bovines) that have died under mysterious circumstances near Salem, Oregon last July. I’m not sure why this is getting attention again now except for the obvious – that ideas about aliens are back in the public consciousness thanks to a whole…… Continue reading Dead bulls generate media BS
Doubt and About: Revisiting Fort and more short book opinions
It’s been a long while since I did a “doubt and about” post detailing what’s going on. I’m in a weird space right now. I don’t really feel like talking about anything but I also want to share some things. Going by that last sentence, I am admitting that I am inconsistent. I have internal…… Continue reading Doubt and About: Revisiting Fort and more short book opinions
The Doubtful Witness: You don’t really know what you saw
How often have you heard someone say “I know what I saw”. Observations and remembrances of events are deeply flawed but we still rely on our memory to give us a true account and we believe reports of eyewitnesses. These accounts are the primary evidence put forward in support of paranormal reality. Those who believe…… Continue reading The Doubtful Witness: You don’t really know what you saw
The Doubtful Witness: Masefield’s Montrose ghost story
The primary evidence put forward in support of paranormal reality are accounts of witnesses. Those who believe in the reality of UFOs, Bigfoot, or ghosts are heavily influenced by seemingly legitimate and truthful tellings of strange events people say happened to them. They also contend that there are so many accounts that “there must be…… Continue reading The Doubtful Witness: Masefield’s Montrose ghost story
UFO reports declining: Several social factors involved
An article in Gizmodo today focused on the question of why UFO sightings (reported to NUFORC and MUFON – the major U.S. organizations who record these claims) are in decline since 2012 – a 30 to 40 percent drop from 2012 to 2017. When Jennings Brown, the journalist, contacted me Friday to talk about it,…… Continue reading UFO reports declining: Several social factors involved
Sometimes, an alien artifact is just a rock
Paranormal investigators often lament the lack of scientific interest in anomalous or paranormal claims. Many have stated they want to contribute to a shift in thinking about these anomalies, to “prove to science” (or scientists) that “the paranormal” exists. Some want to “change the science”. None of this makes any sense, though, since science is…… Continue reading Sometimes, an alien artifact is just a rock
Cryptozoology “expert” called in to look for Maine serpent (UPDATED: Snakeskin found)
Back in June, locals of Westbrook, Maine said they saw a large snake slithering around. After no sign of the beast a week later, a Westbrook police officer witnessed it eating something near Riverbank Park on the Presumpscot River. A second officer called in also saw it. From their Facebook page: On 6-29-16 at about 0330…… Continue reading Cryptozoology “expert” called in to look for Maine serpent (UPDATED: Snakeskin found)
The 1988 US Army commissioned report on Enhancing Human Performance
It was news to me that back in 1985, the US Army commissioned an analysis of certain techniques that were proposed to enhance human performance. The Army Research Institute asked the National Academies to form a committee to examine these questionable strategies. The report is available here where you can read it for free. Enhancing…… Continue reading The 1988 US Army commissioned report on Enhancing Human Performance
Sykes paper is a clarion call for higher standards for cryptozoology
The highly anticipated paper from B. Skyes regarding DNA testing of anomalous primates has been published and is, thankfully, freely accessible. In 2012, the team from University of Oxford and the Museum of Zoology, Lausanne, put out a call for samples of suspected anomalous primates – Yeti, Bigfoot/Sasquatch, Almasty, orang pendek. The samples, if accepted,…… Continue reading Sykes paper is a clarion call for higher standards for cryptozoology
The Mystery of the Sky Noises
The world is a noisy place these days. Strange sounds abound. The paranormal/Fortean media outlets were abuzz about the strange sounds from the sky starting in the summer of 2011. These “sky noises” are anomalous sounds that appear to be emanating from above, and do not sound like your everyday planes, trains or automobiles (so people say).…… Continue reading The Mystery of the Sky Noises
New Sounds Sciencey post: Apocalyptic January and the Portents of Doom
I posted a new piece that was inspired by two Januarys in a row where weird things were in the news. Then, I found some common themes between the two. Here’s a preview: In January 2012, the Internet was buzzing over a string of reports about strange sounds coming from the sky. It’s what Forteans…… Continue reading New Sounds Sciencey post: Apocalyptic January and the Portents of Doom
Did zoo animals predict the Virginia earthquake? Look closer.
A day after the east coast earthquake (now forever to be remembered by me as “the best birthday present ever!”), the Smithsonian issued a press release about the behavior of animals at the National Zoo, more than 80 miles from the epicenter of the quake. Some media outlets reported on the news as “animals go…… Continue reading Did zoo animals predict the Virginia earthquake? Look closer.
Stunning findings about origin of mountain lion killed in Connecticut
This post originally appeared on the Keystone Society for Rational Inquiry blog. In a followup to this story Connecticut officials have reported some “amazing” news. …they said that the Connecticut Cougar had made its way east from the Black Hills of South Dakota and that genetic testing matched samples of an animal confirmed as having been…… Continue reading Stunning findings about origin of mountain lion killed in Connecticut
Ghost hunters as “really good researchers, I guess”
Story from The Onion: ‘Ghost Hunters’ Enjoys Surprising 100% Success Rate “What can I say? We’re just really good researchers, I guess.” At press time, despite having repeatedly resolved the most central question of human existence, the program is somehow not on the cover of every major newspaper, magazine, and scientific journal in the world. Sure,…… Continue reading Ghost hunters as “really good researchers, I guess”
It “appears as if” the world is ending
Remember that the year began with mass animal deaths? It continued with revolution in the Middle East. And, poor Australia was hit with the wrath of the gods. (What did you guys do? Just kidding.) Now, we have catastrophic earthquakes – one after another – and a wicked tsunami. With all the political turmoil and…… Continue reading It “appears as if” the world is ending
Dead Birds. They did it.
As a followup to my post Everyone Panic. Or Not., I have an update. The story of mass animal deaths has quelled but not died off completely because people keep finding dead animals. News outlets are reporting that the USDA is responsible for poisoning the birds because they were being a nuisance. The best article,…… Continue reading Dead Birds. They did it.
Everyone panic. Or not.
A few weeks ago, I moved my desk next to an upstairs window overlooking a Bradford pear tree. For the past 3 weeks, when I sat at the desk during the day, periodically, a flock of about 50 starlings would swoop in and land on the tree, devouring the shriveled fruits up like grapes. Then,…… Continue reading Everyone panic. Or not.