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The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


Have we got some exciting news for you! You can now download selected issues of Junior Skeptic magazine in PDF format for $1.99 each!

JUNIOR SKEPTIC FOR $1.99 EACH

Download selected issues in PDF format

For 20 years, Junior Skeptic has been organized skepticism’s premier effort to inform and inspire younger readers. Bound into every new issue of Skeptic magazine, Junior Skeptic is proudly included in every digital and print subscription.

Now, for the first time, select issues of Junior Skeptic are also available to download as standalone products in PDF format for just $1.99.

Created in 1998 by Skeptics Society co-founders Pat Linse and Michael Shermer, and helmed since 2002 by national award-winning children’s science book author Daniel Loxton, Junior Skeptic boasts lively illustrations, in-depth ideas, and deep research. Each 10-page story offers a simple but thorough primer on a fringe claim, scientific mystery, or critical thinking theme, all told in Junior Skeptic’s engaging, easygoing signature style.

Junior Skeptic’s art, research, and ideas have also been expanded into the critically acclaimed books Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be (2010, Kids Can Press) and Abominable Science! Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids (2013, Columbia University Press), translated into numerous languages worldwide.

Purchase any of the 13 issues offered below, or download a free sample PDF of Junior Skeptic 62: An Easy Guide to Baloney Detection! We will announce another batch of Junior Skeptic PDFs for sale in the coming weeks. Or, check the online store periodically for new additions!

Junior Skeptic 67: Perpetual Motion

In this issue of Junior Skeptic, we’d like you to imagine two impossible, magical machines: The first machine runs forever. You may picture a complex tangle of gears and wheels, or something as simple as a spinning top, but imagine that it never runs down—once started it just keeps going without ever needing more energy. Now imagine a second machine. This one may require fuel or energy to run, but somehow, through some fantastic process, it generates more energy than it consumes. We aren’t the first to imagine these two types of “perpetual motion” machines. Inventors have dreamed of such devices for centuries. How has their search unfolded? Let’s find out!

Junior Skeptic 66: Incredible Claims of Pet Psychics

Have you ever wished you could ask your dog what she’s really thinking? Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a genuine twoway conversation with your cat, hamster, or turtle? There are people who claim to have the ability to do just that. “Pet psychics”—sometimes called “animal communicators”—say that they can speak with all sorts of animals using telepathic powers. They charge money to read animals’ minds and tell the owners what those animals supposedly said. Many pet psychics also claim they can locate lost pets, heal their illnesses, and even communicate with pets who died long ago. Are these claims realistic? Let’s find out!

Junior Skeptic 63: Chemtrails

We’ve all heard the story of Chicken Little—a fanciful tale about panic and jumping to conclusions (“The sky is falling!”). But how would it feel to truly believe that the sky is out to get you? For believers in one strange conspiracy theory, it’s scary to see a blue sky crossed by wispy white contrail lines from passing jet planes. They claim some of those contrails are not clouds or exhaust from jet engines as they appear, but sinister “chemtrails.” Supposedly, an evil government conspiracy uses jet planes to secretly spread poison across skies worldwide. Is there any possibility this paranoid claim could be true? Let’s find out!

Junior Skeptic 58: Haunted Houses

In this issue of Junior Skeptic, we’ll summon our courage, light a candle, and venture inside the ancient horror of haunted houses. Imagine walking dark hallways, peering into abandoned rooms. We strain to recognize unfamiliar shapes in the shadows. A cold draft stirs the cobwebs; outside, wind moans through the trees. We climb creaking stairs up into the unknown. Ahead of us, we — wait, did you hear something? Were those…footsteps? Our skin prickles with fear and tension. Breathless, trembling, we call into the darkness, “Is somebody there?” Let’s find out!

Junior Skeptic 57: Flying Saucer “Space Brothers” from Venus!?

In this issue of Junior Skeptic, we’ll hear tales from a man who said he met flying saucer travellers—human beings from Venus and several other planets! Amateur astronomer George Adamski became famous in the 1950s for photographs of objects he said were alien spaceships. His stories only got wilder from there. He claimed he befriended saucer people, rode in their spaceships, and even attended a meeting on Saturn. His books about these adventures became a public sensation. But what was the truth behind Adamski’s storytelling? Let’s find out!

Junior Skeptic 49: 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!

Junior Skeptic 48: Mermaids

In this issue of Junior Skeptic, 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? Let’s find out!

Junior Skeptic 47: Alien Invaders!

In this issue of Junior Skeptic, 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? Let’s find out! And, as we look at those questions, remember: the space slugs are our friends! Obey all space slugs!

Junior Skeptic 43: Mighty Moa!

In this issue of Junior Skeptic, we’ll learn the story of some amazing animals! The flightless moa birds of New Zealand 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? Let’s find out!

Junior Skeptic 37: Top 10 Busted Myths

Welcome to a whirlwind tour of busted paranormal myths! In this issue of Junior Skeptic, we’ll review a few topics from previous issues, and take a peek at some we’ll explore in greater detail in the future. For now, I hope you’ll enjoy the ride: 10 myths in 10 pages! From Roswell to homeopathy, dowsing to ghost orb photography, this issue explores some of the worst paranormal cases of all time!

Junior Skeptic 36: Cottingley Fairies

In this issue of Junior Skeptic, guest writers Jillian Baker and Jason Loxton had a lot of fun researching one of history’s most unusual stories about 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!

Junior Skeptic 31: Crystal Skulls

In this issue of Junior Skeptic, Daniel Loxton introduces you to one of his favorite mysteries from when he was growing up: the crystal skulls! Beautiful and mysterious—even, some would say, cursed—these glittering quartz crystal objects are back in the spotlight thanks to the film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. What are they? Do they really come from the ancient Maya or Aztec cultures—or even, as legend has it, from Atlantis or outer space? Do they truly hold the power to heal, impart wisdom, or perhaps to kill? Let’s find out!

Junior Skeptic 6: Halloween

In this issue of Junior Skeptic, Pat Linse looks at what’s behind Halloween traditions, and what purpose ghosts serve. Learn some tricks psychics use when they seem to talk to the dead and how to detect ghostly fingerprints. How does Halloween fun help us learn to deal with fear? Let’s find out!

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Detecting Baloney

Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic) by Deanna and Skylar (High Tech High Media Arts, San Diego, CA)

The Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic)

For a class project, a pair of 11th grade physics students created the infographic shown below, inspired by Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit: a 16-page booklet designed to hone your critical thinking skills.

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Wisdom of Harriet Hall

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Understanding the difference could save your life! In this superb 10-part video lecture series, Harriet Hall M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods.

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Michael Shermer has compiled a list of the top 10 strangest beliefs that he has encountered in his quarter century as a professional skeptic.

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5 Cryptid Cards

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