In this week’s eSkeptic, Richard Morrock discusses psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich’s development of pseudoscientific psychotherapy, sensational claims and extreme theories. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine, volume 2, number 3 (1994). This is a follow-up article to Epigones of Orgonomy, which appeared two weeks ago in eSkeptic.
What really rappened in Mattoon, Illinois in September, 1944? In this week’s eSkeptic, we present an article culled from a 1994 issue of Skeptic magazine (volume 3, number 1) which marked the 50th Anniversary of the Mattoon Phantom Gassing. In one of the most poignant examples of social influence and mass hysteria in history, the story of the Phantom gasser of Mattoon Illinois reveals what happens when people come to believe something for which there is no proof.
In this week’s eSkeptic, download a free chapter of War: History, Causes & Solutions from Michael Shermer’s lectures at Glendale College in 1996; hear Dave Cullen on Skepticality delve deep into the psyches of the killers, the victims, and their families of the Columbine massacre; read Michael Shermer’s SkepticBlog post on how to talk to UFOlogists (if you must).
Why do we think aliens are out there? Is Earth really being visited? Will aliens really be short, gray, and hairless? What happens if we pick up a signal from another world? These are just a few of the questions this week’s Skepticality guest tackles regularly, in his role as the senior astronomer for the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute. Dr. Seth Shostak talks with Swoopy about the ongoing search for life in the universe, as chronicled in his new book Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.
In this week’s eSkeptic, we reveal the behind the scenes workings of that UFO hoax that captured headlines earlier this year. People in and around the Morristown, New Jersey area saw unidentified flying objects, with many of them naturally assuming that these UFOs represented extraterrestrial space craft. As you shall see, there was a rather more terrestrial explanation. In fact, they were helium balloons with flares attached to them, lofted into the sky by Chris Russo and Joe Rudy, in their social experiment on how to create your own media event surrounding UFO sightings.
In this week’s eSkeptic, Dr. David Morrison, a Senior Scientist of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, answers questions about astrobiology sent to “Ask an Astrobiologist”. Read on to find out how Dr. Morrison handles queries like “where are you hiding the alien bodies?” and other such matters.
There is no evidence that aliens have been visiting Earth and abducting humans. So how could anyone believe he or she was abducted by aliens? To answer this question, Harvard post-doc psychologist Susan Clancy interviewed and evaluated ‘abductees,’ listening closely to their stories — how they struggled to explain something strange in their remembered experience, how abduction seemed plausible, and how, having suspected abduction, they began to recollect it, aided by suggestion and hypnosis.
Carbon Comic, which appears in Skeptic magazine, is created by Kyle Sanders: a pilot and founder of Little Rock, Arkansas’ Skeptics in The Pub. He is also a cartoonist who authors Carbon Dating: a skeptical comic strip about science, pseudoscience, and relationships. It can be found at carboncomic.com.
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Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?
What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and why do they tend to proliferate? Why does belief in one conspiracy correlate to belief in others? What are the triggers of belief, and how does group identity factor into it? How can one tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?
Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience? If so, you know how compelling they can be. They are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…