Skeptic: Examining Extraordinary Claims and Promoting Science Skeptic: Examining Extraordinary Claims and Promoting Science

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Back Issues 1–present

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Junior Skeptic #50
Carl Sagan

To celebrate 50 issues of Junior Skeptic, we turn to the story of one of skepticism’s most inspiring people: astronomer Carl Sagan! Sagan was a skinny kid from Brooklyn who grew up to become one of America’s most famous scientists. He dedicated his life to two astonishing projects: teaching millions of regular folks about the power and beauty of science, and searching for evidence of extraterrestrial life! But skeptics remember Sagan for something even more unusual: his passionate, lifelong pursuit of the truth about paranormal mysteries!
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Junior Skeptic #49
The Ping-Pong Planets of Dr. Velikovsky

What if everything scientists have discovered about the history of the Earth—the evolution of life, the ice ages, the movements of the continents, all of it—was completely wrong? And what if that was just the tip of the iceberg? What if the planets of our solar system had often careened out of their orbits like wrecking balls, bringing catastrophe to the cultures of the ancient world—and then humanity forgot that it happened? Could any of that be true? Let’s find out!
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Junior Skeptic #48
Mermaids

In this issue, we’ll look at the ancient legend of mermaids! For many centuries, tales have been told of fish-tailed people who live beneath the sea. Today, big-budget television specials claim that these stories are true. Could such creatures really exist? Or if these underwater beings are purely mythological, can we explain sightings of mermaids and the strange, mummified, fish-tailed bodies exhibited in museums?
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Junior Skeptic #47
Alien Invaders!

In this issue, we look at the topic of alien invasions. Where did we get our ideas about being attacked from “outside”—from other lands, or from outer space? How has this idea been expressed in stories? How do exotic species here on Earth “invade” new regions? Can life forms from one planet really invade another? And, as we look at those questions, remember: the space slugs are our friends! Obey all space slugs!
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Junior Skeptic #46
Ghostbuster Girls!

In this issue of Junior Skeptic, we look at two women who worked during the first half of the twentieth century: Mary Sullivan and Rose Mackenberg. Both did hard core skeptical investigations. Both worked in law enforcement, catching fake psychic crooks—and putting them behind bars. And yet, both women are almost completely forgotten today. Who were these skeptics—and why did they do what they did?
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Junior Skeptic #45
Dark Secrets of the Oracle-Monger

For thousands of years, unscrupulous people have tried to make easy money by pretending to have supernatural powers—and for thousands of years, skeptics have worked to expose those crooked schemes. In this issue, we travel back to the ancient Roman Empire to unravel the tangled tale of the snake god Glycon and Alexander the Oracle Monger.
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Junior Skeptic #44
Mokele Mbembe, sauropod dinosaur

According to stories, Mokele Mbembe is a type of long-necked sauropod dinosaur still living in the heart of Africa. Could dinosaurs still roam the remote regions of the Earth? This question obsessed and inspired me as a kid, just as it inspired generations before me. Could it be possible? And if it is possible—could it be true? Let’s find out!
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Junior Skeptic #43
The Mighty Moa!

In this issue, we’ll learn the story of the flightless moa birds of New Zealand who were among the largest birds ever to exist! They evolved striking similarities to other animals from other times and places, before vanishing from the Earth. But if moas are extinct, why are they (according to claims) still spotted alive in the wild?
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Junior Skeptic #42
Fossil Fakes, Part 2

In this issue, we’ll look at more famous cases, and also ask: Why are fossils that are merely out of place also considered fossil fakes? And how much long-term mischief can fakery cause for the scientists who are working to understand the history of life? Let’s find out!
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Junior Skeptic #41
Fossil Fakes, Part 1

Fossils teach scientists about life in the distant past. But there are artists and tricksters who create fake fossils. What kind of mischief can these cause? Let’s find out!
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Junior Skeptic #40
The Kraken!

We’ll look at the legend of the terrifying, tentacled monster called the Kraken. Some early scientists argued that it did — and some sailors claimed they saw it with their own eyes! Now hold onto your hats while we… “Release the Kraken!”
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Junior Skeptic #39
Skeptical Investigation

We’ll see how skepticism’s roots go back more than 2,000 years, and learn how science gave rise to specialized new scholars — experts in paranormal and pseudoscientific claims. How do investigators solve spooky mysteries? And, can kids solve mysteries on their own?
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Junior Skeptic #38
The Origin of the Griffin

Today, griffins are considered mythical, and are best known from fantasy fiction such as Harry Potter. But for a thousand years, people in Europe believed that griffins were living animals in far-off lands. Where did this idea come from — and could griffins be based on something real?
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Junior Skeptic #37
Top 10 busted Myths

Hold onto your hats for Junior Skeptic’s whirlwind tour of the “Top 10 Busted Myths.” From Roswell to homeopathy, dowsing to ghost orb photography, this issue explores some of the worst paranormal cases of all time!
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Junior Skeptic #36
The Cottingley Fairies

Like many fairy tales, it’s a story with some lessons to teach. One is that it’s foolish to underestimate kids. Another is that you shouldn’t believe everything you see! How did two girls fool the world’s greatest writer of detective stories? Let’s find out!
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Junior Skeptic #35
The Shocking Secret of Thetis

How did one of the silliest cases in the history of cryptozoology become a lasting part of monster lore? Could there really be a humanoid fish-man in tiny Thetis Lake? And, if the creature is real — why does it look exactly like a monster from a low-budget horror movie?
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Junior Skeptic #34
40 Years of Scooby-Doo

How did one of history’s purest skeptical TV shows become one of the most beloved fictional creations of all time? And, what important lessons does this kids’ cartoon hold for skeptics today? Celebrate 40 years of Scooby-Doo!
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Junior Skeptic #33
Cold Reading

How can you convince a complete stranger that you know everything about them? “Cold reading” expert Ian Rowland shows us how people can create the illusion that they can read minds. Could you be fooled by tricks like these? Yes!
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Junior Skeptic #32
Great American Skeptics

From Ben Franklin’s debunking of a magical healing scheme to the skeptical milestones Johnny Carson made possible on The Tonight Show, find out how world-famous figures from American history also helped shed light on weird paranormal mysteries!
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Junior Skeptic #31
Crystal Skulls

The mind-reading crystal skull featured in the newest Indiana Jones movie was based on mysterious real quartz crystal skulls. What are they? Where did they come from? Could they be alien or Atlantean artifacts? And what of the strange powers they are said to possess?
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Junior Skeptic #30
Dragons

Dragon mythology stretches back to our most ancient writings. Almost every culture around the globe has told tales of huge, fearsome reptile monsters. Could the many myths of dragons be based on something real?

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Junior Skeptic #29
Ancient Astronauts (Part 2 of 2)

Could the greatest monuments of the ancient world really be artifacts left by alien visitors? Who really built the pyramids, or the vast Nazca lines? Who erected the awesome statues on remote Easter Island, or mighty Stonehenge?

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Junior Skeptic #28
Ancient Astronauts (Part 1 of 2)

Could the greatest monuments of the ancient world really be artifacts left by alien visitors? According to Erich von Däniken, everything archaeologists think they know is wrong…

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Junior Skeptic #27
Evolution (Part 2 of 2)

Learn the answers to many common questions about evolution: If apes evolved into humans, why are there still apes? Has anyone ever actually seen anything evolve? And, what about religion?

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Junior Skeptic #26
Evolution (Part 1 of 2)

For thousands of years, people have been working out the history of our planet — and trying to solve the mystery of the fossils. Learn how they discovered evolution, and how we know it happened.

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Junior Skeptic #25
Alien Abduction (Part 2 of 2)

Thousands of people claim they personally were abducted by aliens. Can they all be mistaken? Probe into the strange world of alien abduction therapy, repressed memories, and hypnosis…

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Junior Skeptic #24
Alien Abduction (Part 1 of 2)

Thanks to movies and TV, we all know what the terrifying “gray” aliens look like, and why they are here: to abduct people from their beds for bizarre medical exams aboard UFOs. But where did this legend come from — and how has it changed over time?

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Junior Skeptic #23
Pyramid Power

Many people believe pyramids can harness strange supernatural energies. Some say pyramids can magically preserve fruit, or even sharpen steel razor blades. Who are the people who make these claims — and why? (Featuring MythBuster Kari Byron.)
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Junior Skeptic #22
Madman of Magic!

In a special all-magic issue, magician and author Bob Friedhoffer shares six slick tricks — and the science behind them!

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Junior Skeptic #21
Bigfoot (part 2 of 2)

In this issue, we examine the overall case for Bigfoot. Believers offer a staggering mountain of evidence: footprints, movies, the stories of eyewitnesses — even hair samples. Can there really be so much smoke without a fire?

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Junior Skeptic #20
Bigfoot (part 1 of 2)

Deep in the forests and mountains of the West Coast of North America, giants are said to walk. Bigfoot is an enduring cryptozoological mystery — but it wasn’t always so. Learn how the legend began — and how the “sasquatch” myth evolved over time…

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Junior Skeptic #19
The Loch Ness Monster

In Scotland, at a lake called Loch Ness, dragons are said to stir. Modern legends speak of huge, elusive, fearsome beasts lurking in the murky depths. Could the stories be true? Find out what seven decades of investigators have learned…

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Junior Skeptic #18
The Curse of King Tut

For over 3000 years, the tomb of a teenage god-king lay preserved beneath the sands of Egypt. When explorers uncovered his fabulous treasures, did they also unleash a terrifying supernatural killer?

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Junior Skeptic #17
The Bermuda Triangle

According to legend, there is a place where boats, ships, and even powerful military aircraft sometimes sail out into calm, clear weather… and then just vanish, without a trace. And here’s the thing: people do vanish in the Bermuda Triangle…

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Junior Skeptic #16
The Yeti

For 150 years, scientists and adventurers have asked: do the dizzying, frozen heights of the highest mountains on Earth conceal a shaggy, unknown beast? What is the yeti — and is it possible that we’ve had the answer all along?

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Junior Skeptic #15
Alien Life

Are we alone in the universe? It is perhaps the greatest unsolved mystery of all time. Are the imaginings of science fiction writers the only answer we’ll ever have — or can humans search out the truth?

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Junior Skeptic #14
Cadborosaurus & Sea Serpents

According to legend, a vast and awesome monster slides through the frigid waters of the Pacific Northwest, sliding undetected between green islands and through the drizzling rain. It is said to be an 80-foot predator, called Cadborosaurus. Could it really exist?

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Junior Skeptic #13
Bad Medicine

Without scalpel or anesthetic, a “psychic surgeon” reaches inside another person's body and removes cancerous tumors with his bare hands. He then shows that the incision has healed instantly, without stitches or even a scar. Is it a miracle — or a deadly scam?

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Junior Skeptic #12
Pick a Card…

This is an abbreviated, two-page issue of Junior Skeptic, comprising a card trick by “Madman of Magic” Bob Friedhoffer.

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Junior Skeptic #11
The Moon Landing “Hoax”

Neil Armstrong’s first step onto the Moon represented one of humanity’s all-time greatest achievements. Yet, there are those who say it never happened — and they claim they can prove it. Was the moon-landing a hoax created with Hollywood special effects?

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Junior Skeptic #10
Atlantis

Have you heard the story of Atlantis? According to legend, it was the greatest civilization of the ancient world. Its power, wealth and glory were unequaled — until a terrifying cataclysm obliterated Atlantis in a single day…

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Junior Skeptic #9
Pyramids

For thousands of years, people have stood in awe of the pyramids of Egypt. Even the Emperors of Rome were staggered by the scale of these already-ancient monuments. What do they mean? Why were they built — and how? What ancient secrets do the pyramids contain?

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Junior Skeptic #8
How Darwin Discovered
the History of Life

Charles Darwin wasn’t always the honored, elderly scientist we picture today. Learn of his life as a young man, adventuring in exotic lands aboard a sailing ship called the HMS Beagle — and learn how those years abroad led him to solve the ultimate mystery…

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Junior Skeptic #7
James Randi Fakes Psychic Powers on TV

Magician James “The Amazing” Randi is often asked to reproduce apparently “psychic” miracles using the tricks of stage magic. Here he reveals how he fooled famous TV interviewer Barbara Walters.

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Junior Skeptic #6
Halloween Special

Learn the centuries-old history of the spookiest holiday — and how Halloween may help us to be less afraid. Packed with four pages of do-it-yourself activities: how to haunt a house, and bake your own alien autopsy cake!

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Junior Skeptic #5
Urban Legends

From alligators in the sewers to spiders nesting in our hair, urban legends have a life of their own. Learn how they work, how they spread, and why people believe them. And, learn the truth about the what may be the most “urban” legend of them all — cow-tipping.

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Junior Skeptic #4
Fortunetelling

For thousand of years people have tried to predict the future by studying patterns in almost anything you can imagine — from tea leaves to chicken scratches. Why do these fortunetelling systems seem to work? And, when is fake fortunetelling a criminal scam?

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Junior Skeptic #3
Aliens

Are aliens among us? Find out how Junior Skeptic Publisher Michael Shermer experienced a “real” alien abduction. And, learn how easy it is to fake your own UFO photographs!

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Junior Skeptic #2
Bigfoot

Explore the mystery of Bigfoot, and the magic of crystals. Also, a magic golfball finding device is put to the test!

Junior Skeptic cover

Junior Skeptic #1
Emily Rosa v. Therapeutic Touch

Cover girl Emily Rosa tells how her 4th Grade science fair project made her the youngest person ever published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, landed her on Good Morning America — and humiliated an entire industry of fake medicine!

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