Weird news and mystery booms for the end of 2022

Here we are in a new year! Let’s hope it’s a good one. Coming soon is a new post about what I did on vacation. I was looking for interesting natural phenomena and off-beat spooky things on an island in the middle of the sea. But during my extended holiday time off, I managed to…… Continue reading Weird news and mystery booms for the end of 2022

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

Stone-throwing wall-thumpers: Review of Australian Poltergeists

Paul Cropper sent me a copy of his new book with co-author Tony Healy, Australian Poltergeist: The Stone-throwing Spook of Humpty Doo and Many Other Cases. He must have known how much I love this topic and was eager to learn about various cases around the world. I learned about the concept of poltergeists before…… Continue reading Stone-throwing wall-thumpers: Review of Australian Poltergeists

Unexplained terminology Explained: ‘Paranormal’ versus ‘Supernatural’

Paranormal investigators say they look for evidence of paranormal activity. That phrase always confounded me. I don’t quite get it. What does it mean when someone says they have evidence of “paranormal activity”? And, how do you know it’s not normal activity that you just couldn’t ferret out? There is a problem with how the…… Continue reading Unexplained terminology Explained: ‘Paranormal’ versus ‘Supernatural’

Scientist states he has explanation(s) for sky noise but it only sounds sciencey

I’ve been closely following the story of strange noises from the sky that flared up in January. I wrote about them on Doubtful News. The noises are widespread, varied in type, sometimes able to be explained and sometimes known to be hoaxed. But, because this spate of anomalies (a Fortean Flap, if you will) is in…… Continue reading Scientist states he has explanation(s) for sky noise but it only sounds sciencey

Your friendly neighborhood mon$ter

In a recent post on Skeptoid blog, I suggest that paranormal-based tourism, such as ghost tours and monster festivals, which are growing in popularity, border on fraud. “Even if there are long-standing legends of strange events occurring at some location, to suggest that a place is haunted just to freak people out is contemptible.” “Ghost…… Continue reading Your friendly neighborhood mon$ter

Research groups’ useful social function is not “being scientific”

The LA Times reports on the MUFON conference with the headline “convention emphasizes scientific methods”. The reporter then skewers this idea by showing how at least some of the attendees have thoroughly embraced the idea of alien visitation and human-alien hybridization. Oh my. (Read about a scientist’s experience in attending a MUFON conference here. The…… Continue reading Research groups’ useful social function is not “being scientific”

Paranormal-themed nonfiction TV: A list

I was writing an article when I realized I needed a clear idea about when this whole amateur investigation reality-television thing became popular. So, I started a list. (I’m a good Googler.) Here is a list of TV shows (series) that portray the paranormal as real or examine it as possibly real. Some are reality-type…… Continue reading Paranormal-themed nonfiction TV: A list

Monster Stories from Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is the locale for oodles of strange stories, from the ghosts of Gettysburg to Thunderbirds of the northern forests, from the Jersey Devil sightings along the Delaware to UFOs in Kecksburg (and all across the state).  A 135-page book by Patty A. Wilson chronicles, specifically, Monsters in Pennsylvania: Mysterious Creatures in the Keystone State.…… Continue reading Monster Stories from Pennsylvania

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.

Studying modern day amateur scientists and researchers or “What the hell was that?”

I’m off inside my own head these days… My main project is my Masters’ thesis in Science and the Public. I started gathering data this summer; fall will be consumed with crunching data, making sense of it and writing it up. I’ll graduate in February, barring any unforeseen disasters. The hardest part about a thesis…… Continue reading Studying modern day amateur scientists and researchers or “What the hell was that?”

Solving Unexplained Mysteries: A review of “Scientific Paranormal Investigation” by B. Radford

This past March, I registered for a seminar on Scientific Paranormal Investigation at CFI – Washington, DC. Ben Radford was presenting and the event description mentioned his upcoming book of the same name. This was fortuitous since I was working on developing a thesis project about the prevalence of sham inquiry, focusing on amateur investigation…… Continue reading Solving Unexplained Mysteries: A review of “Scientific Paranormal Investigation” by B. Radford

From Ontario: another furless mystery animal

Why does furless = mystery? First, the Montauk Monster… it was a raccoon. Then, that poor Golum-like creature in Panama … sloth. Now the Big Trout Lake Monster from Ontario, Canada.. I call muskrat. Doesn’t that seem more logical than an “omajinaakoos”? How about we consider comparison to local animals first? Mmmkay? Why does everything…… Continue reading From Ontario: another furless mystery animal

Pennsylvania bigfoot sighting – just a story?

Cryptomundo is reporting a bigfoot (or dogman-type creature) sighting the occurred in western Pennsylvania on July 10. The report should say “Jumonville” not Jammonville. This area east of Uniontown is rugged and heavily wooded. I won’t bother commenting on Cryptomundo anymore because my words get edited or might not even appear. But, I noticed, as…… Continue reading Pennsylvania bigfoot sighting – just a story?

Elbowing in

Continuing with “Sham Inquiry” Elbowing in on good science The Journal of Scientific Exploration is the published by the Society for Scientific Exploration which describes itself as “a professional organization of scientists and other scholars committed to studying phenomena that cross or are outside of the traditional boundaries of science and…are ignored or studied inadequately…”…… Continue reading Elbowing in

Ghost Hunting – Sham Inquiry

Thousands of eyewitnesses report ghostly encounters from ancient history to modern times. Contact with the dead is very much part of our modern culture. With the expansion of television content and the internet, stories about hauntings have surged in popularity. Ghost hunting is a popular hobby for thrill seekers. It’s fun to be scared. The…… Continue reading Ghost Hunting – Sham Inquiry

Pretend science

Playing Pretend Science In order to be technical, like science, pseudoscientists engage in a method of data gathering that is not haphazard or lazy. Intricate collection and analysis is often a part of pseudoscientific activity. They may produce enormous bodies of work. Commitment to a cause can prompt “energetic intellectual effort” [1]. The motives and…… Continue reading Pretend science

Weak evidence

Quality of evidence A frequent complaint from the fringe is that the scientific community is dismissive of the actual evidence for their extraordinary claim. Proponents of psi or UFOs will cite reams of evidence. The scientific community’s standard response is “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. That is, the evidence must be high quality, obtained through…… Continue reading Weak evidence

Animals hearing the earth whispers again

Earthquake in Illinois! Is this the end times? Hot-underground-fictional-place-for-sinners, no! And, I’ll go on record to say End Times stories are totally silly. The world has been going downhill since we humans got here in (more-or-less) present form a million years ago. Enough of that tangent. It was just to get attention anyway. It’s pretty…… Continue reading Animals hearing the earth whispers again