Feb 102016
 

Benjamin Radford Wins Book Award

Benjamin Radford was one of three University of New Mexico Press authors who won 2015 Southwest Book Awards from the Border Regional Library Association. Radford’s book, Mysterious New Mexico: Miracles, Magic, and Monsters in the Land of Enchantment, examines a dozen unusual and mysterious places and events around New Mexico, including investigations into the KiMo Theater ghost, reports of La Llorona, miracles, UFO crashes, and much more. Longtime Corrales carpenter Mick Harper served as a consultant for one of the mysteries, the Loretto Staircase in Santa Fe.

Last year “Mysterious New Mexico” also won the 2015 Southwest Book Design Award from the New Mexico Book Association. The cover features a photograph of La Llorona, the weeping woman of Hispanic folklore. Radford is author, co-author, contributor, or editor of over 20 books including “Bad Clowns,” which was released earlier this week on Kindle. The other two winning titles are “Advocates for the Oppressed: Hispanos, Indians, Genízaros, and Their Land in New Mexico” by Malcom Ebright, and “Laguna Pueblo: A Photographic History,” by Lee Marmon and Tom Corbett. The awards, which recognize outstanding books about the Southwest, will be presented on Saturday, Feb. 27 at the Border Regional Library Association’s awards banquet in Sunland Park, New Mexico.

Radford_MysteriousNM_CVR

Jan 272016
 

Late last year I recorded about a dozen short (1-2 minute) segments for a NPR station on various skeptical subjects. Here are five of the audio segments now available on YouTube, on the subject of the chupacabra. You can find them HERE.

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Jan 252016
 

Late last year I recorded about a dozen short (1-2 minute) segments for a NPR station on various skeptical subjects. Here are four of the audio segments now available on YouTube, on the subject of Chemtrail Conspiracies. You can find them HERE.

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Jan 222016
 

My brilliant zoologist friend Darren Naish wrote a retrospective piece for Scientific American about various interesting zoology-related news stories from last year–including a “monster mystery” I played a role in revealing. It’s a fun read, check it out, you can find it HERE.

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Jan 202016
 

The mystery of a Christmas tree in a vacant New Orleans building window has been solved–and provides lessons to skeptics on psychological priming, eyewitness expectations, and why people see things that aren’t there. You can read the story HERE.

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Jan 182016
 

A recent study published in the “American Journal of Public Health” examined the demographics of California school students who had requested and received exemptions from mandatory vaccinations for nonmedical reasons. My recent article for Discovery News examines why many anti-vaccination parents are better educated than those who endorse vaccines. You can read it HERE.

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Jan 152016
 

Haven’t got any hate mail or death threats so far this year, so here’s a nice one recently: “Hi! I am doing a semester project on the Rose Hall Plantation. I have looked at a total of eleven (11) sites to try and unmask the mystery surrounding Annie Palmer. I read your article debunking everything the legend stands for. The article was published to ‘centerforinquiry.net’. I just want to talk to someone who has such an understanding and history in the paranormal world. I am only a sophomore in high school, but I so badly want to learn. I know I have no standing or importance to you in your every day life, but I hope you take the time to educate a young woman from South Dakota in the paranormal myths and facts that surround Annie Palmer and the Rose Hall Plantation Great House. I look forward to hearing from you!”

I wrote back to her and gave her the info she was looking for, happy to help out!

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Jan 122016
 

My not-entirely-resume-building appearance on the Swedish-language show “Jimmy’s Sick World” discussing the chupacabra is now out, for those who are interested… you can find it HERE.

jimmy world

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Jan 052016
 

My new CFI blog is about a recent exchange I had with a woman who saw me on a TV show for my Rose Hall investigation and sought further information about ghosts there. It provides insight into flawed ghost hunting assumptions, and the practical difficulty of doing a thorough historical investigation into a specific question that ghost hunters often have… you can read it HERE.

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Jan 032016
 

I was quoted in an article titled “Cyberethics in the Googling Age” in “The Journal of Education” (Vol 187, no. 2), discussing the news media’s tendency to hype Stranger Danger fears among the public… I’m sure those plumber / TV ghost hunter dudes get quoted in academic journals too…12314085_10206729281964937_8243284534522725418_n

Jan 012016
 

For those who didn’t see it earlier, I wrote a recent piece for Discovery News explaining how news stories exaggerate risks of disease, and how to understand relative vs. absolute risk in journal findings… you can read it HERE. Hopefully it will help calm some people’s fears.

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Dec 282015
 

A BBC travel reporter writing a piece about Ecuador’s Sumaco biopark repeats a common myth as fact: Specifically that there is a palm tree that “walks” across the forest floor. I investigated this claim years ago, and wrote about it in both Skeptical Inquirer magazine and in a column for LiveScience.com (you can read it HERE). I politely suggested that the reporter or a BBC editor contact the “expert” quoted and ask for the source of his information (preferably a peer-reviewed botany study).12321610_10206770419833358_2213566468497522772_n

Dec 202015
 

The Italian Supreme Court finally cleared six scientists of manslaughter in a case about failing to warn residents of a 2009 earthquake. This case highlights scientists’ difficulty in communicating risk to the public; you can read it HERE.

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Dec 122015
 

In my column in the new issue of Skeptical Inquirer I investigate a report of a mysterious Costa Rican “Toucan Man” said to abduct children. Lots of interesting folklore in this one, check it out on newsstands now!

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Dec 102015
 

I was recently quoted on the PBS Newshour about bringing science and investigation to claims about aliens and UFOs. You can read it HERE.

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Dec 032015
 

I was interviewed for a HuffPo piece on ghost hunter Joshua Warren’s claim that he discovered an amazing photo of Abraham Lincoln in the White House: “Radford is surprised that anyone would consider what Warren calls “the world’s most credible and amazing ghost photo” to be serious evidence of the supernatural. “If this really is the best photographic evidence for ghosts — if a published expert on ghosts can’t tell the difference between an ordinary long exposure and a ghost — then the quality of ghost evidence is in far worse shape than I imagined,” Radford said.” You can read the piece HERE.

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Dec 012015
 

I was interviewed live on The Jon McComb Show on CKNW radio in Vancouver BC, talking about superstitions…. you can see the piece HERE!

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Nov 272015
 

Donald Trump and Ben Carson have both said they remember seeing video of American Muslims in New Jersey celebrating after the 9/11 attacks. They’re both wrong; they might be lying, but there’s another plausible psychological explanation… My Discovery News article on false memories is HERE!

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Nov 222015
 

Last month a blogger for NJ.com shared a photo of a bizarre, somewhat goatlike silhouetted winged form in the sky. Despite several obvious signs that the anonymously submitted photo is faked, it went viral and has been widely shared on social media as long-sought evidence of the mysterious Jersey Devil. My Discovery News article on the Jersey Devil is HERE.

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Nov 182015
 

Last month reports have surfaced in England of people dressed as clowns stalking and trying to abduct — or at the very least scaring — children. I gave a presentation on this topic earlier this year for the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research. My Discovery News article on it is HERE.

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Nov 152015
 

I was recently asked by the Huffington Post to look into the case of a big-breasted ghost apparently caught on film, and perhaps even moving artifacts in a museum. The article, with my commentary and analysis, is HERE.

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Nov 082015
 

My new CFI blog on James Donovan, the hero in the new Spielberg film “Bridge of Spies,” is HERE. The film is largely about his integrity in demanding due process, yet Americans often are happy to ignore due process in favor of social justice outrage…

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Nov 082015
 

Last month a bizarre photo circulated apparently depicting a flying city in the clouds. Explanations ranged from mirage to hoax to conspiracy operations; my take on it for Discovery News is HERE.

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.

Nov 022015
 

In my over 15 years of investigations I’ve covered many dozens of claims of psychics and psychic detectives. Of those, about a half-dozen stand out as being particularly interesting or intriguing–not just yet another psychic making dubious claims, but some novel twist that at least suggests a closer look is needed to understand what’s going on. You can read about one of those cases HERE in my blog.

Oct 302015
 

From the Radford Files archives:

Each year at Halloween, parents have concerns about trick-or-treating, and many believe that a danger far graver than chocolate overdose awaits their children in quiet neighborhoods: sex offenders. This scare is fueled by alarmist news reports and police warnings. In many states, convicted sex offenders are required not to answer the door if trick-or-treaters come by, or to report to jail overnight. In many states including Texas and Arkansas offenders will be required to report to courthouses on Halloween evening for a mandatory counseling session.

 

The theory behind such laws is that Halloween provides an opportunity for sex offenders to make contact with children, or to use costumes to conceal their identities. This has been the assumption among many local politicians and police for years. New research also shows that it is simply wrong.

 

A new study shows that the public has little to fear from sex offenders on Halloween. The research, published in the September 2009 issue of Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, examined 67,307 non-family sex offenses reported to law enforcement in 30 states over nine years.

 

The researchers wanted to determine whether or not children are in fact at any greater risk for sexual assault around Halloween. The answer was a conclusive no: “There does not appear to be a need for alarm concerning sexual abuse on these particular days,” the researchers state. “Halloween appears to be just another autumn day where rates of sex crimes against children are concerned.” Not only is the hype and fear unwarranted, but the study also suggests extra taxpayer dollars spent monitoring sex offenders on Halloween are wasted. All the mandatory counseling sessions, increased police presence, and so on had no effect at all on the incidence of sexual abuse on Halloween.

 

That taxpayer dollars are being spent on ineffective and misguided policies regarding sex offenders is not surprising to experts in the field, since the laws target a group that is actually among the least likely to offend against children. Despite popular belief, research has consistently shown that sex offenders are no more likely than other criminals to re-offend. The idea that sex offenders are incurable or require increased vigilance upon release simply has no basis in fact. Children are in far greater danger from their parents than any stranger on a sex offender registry. These measures provide a false sense of security, since there is no evidence that the policies actually make children any safer. As the study’s authors note, traffic accidents are a far greater threat to children than sex offenders.

 

 

This piece originally appeared in the Briefs Briefs column in the September 2009 Skeptical Briefs newsletter.

 

You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo.