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Back Issues 61–70

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Junior Skeptic #70
Quest for the Truth About Dungeons & Dragons

In this issue of Junior Skeptic we’ll sharpen our pencils, pick up our magical swords, and dare to delve into mazes of mystery. We’ll roll the dice and imagine couragous heroes doing battle with evil monsters. Millions of people have enjoyed fantasy role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). Fans discover the joy of storytelling and take epic journeys into the imagination. But critics have claimed that D&D is dangerous. According to them, the game can drive players insane. Criminals have sometimes blamed D&D for their crimes. Other writers claim that the game lures innocent children to become Devil worshippers. Could any of this be true? Let’s find out!

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Junior Skeptic #69
Secrets of the Ouija Board

Today we will dim the lights and gather around an object of mystery: the ouija (pronounced “wee-ja” or “wee-gee”). With a little pointer, these simple but spooky devices spell out answers that appear to come from some invisible source. Some people believe ouija boards release secrets from our subconscious minds. Others claim ouija boards harness supernatural forces to predict the future or contact spirits of the dead. Ouija boards have been used to write entire books, and praised as a source of cosmic wisdom. They have also been blamed for madness, mayhem, and murder. Some even fear that ouija boards are gateways for evil demons. Are any of these claims true? Let’s find out!

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Junior Skeptic #68
Astral Projection

In the pages of Junior Skeptic, we often discover that incredible-sounding paranormal claims are, in truth, fake mysteries—misleading stories told by tricksters to fool people. Today we’ll try to solve a genuine mystery! It’s a fact that millions of people all over the world have had the bizarre experience of feeling that they temporaily left their bodies behind. During these out-of-body experiences (OBEs), people feel that the thinking, feeling part of themselves has somehow floated free as a spirit. Some people even report that they have looked down from the ceiling to see their own bodies! How can this be? What is really happening? Let’s find out!

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Junior Skeptic #67
Perpetual Motion

Today I’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!

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Junior Skeptic #66
The 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.

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Junior Skeptic #65
Ghost Ships

Today we’re leaving safe shores far behind, and sailing out over the waves in search of the sea’s eeriest mysteries. Imagine the ocean at night, a thousand miles from the nearest city light. Imagine cold salt wind on your face, sails overhead, a creaking deck beneath your feet. Suddenly a shadow looms out of the darkness, masts and tattered sails silhouetted against the sky. Your crew shouts in alarm, spinning the wheel to avoid a collision. A strange ship slides by. It is silent and empty, without a living soul on board. Passing like a phantom, it vanishes into the night. What just happened? Can tales of ghost ships be explained?ke fictional movie zombies actually exist in the real world? Let’s find out!

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Junior Skeptic #64
Zombies! The Gruesome True Story

Our world has been conquered by hordes of zombies! They menace us in video games, comics, television, and movies. They lurch gruesomely down city streets in “zombie walk” events. After decades of zombie fiction, the walking dead are more popular than ever. Mindless, moaning, hungry for human flesh, zombies may be the ultimate modern monsters. They’ve spread like a virus through tales of terror and horrified imaginings. But where did the idea come from? Were zombies invented for fiction, or do they have a basis in legend—or perhaps even in reality? Could anything like fictional movie zombies actually exist in the real world? Let’s find out!

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Junior Skeptic #63
Terrible! Improbable! 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!

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Junior Skeptic #62
An Easy Guide to Baloney Detection

In this special issue of Junior Skeptic we’ll learn many valuable tricks for sorting truth from nonsense. We need them! We’re bombarded by claims every day of our lives. Friends tell us stuff. Labels and advertisements make claims about products. Books and websites make claims about the world. TV and YouTube channels show us amazing sights and tell us astonishing stories. But some of the things we hear sound too good to be true. How do we tell the difference between fact and baloney? Let’s find out!

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Junior Skeptic #61
Mammoth Mysteries! Part Two

Mammoths and mastodons were the first fossil creatures ever to be reconstructed and understood for what they were: animals that lived during a previous prehistoric age and then vanished into extinction. What did this mean for the history of life? What scientific puzzles remained to be solved? And, which mammoth myths and mysteries continue to this day? Let’s find out!

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