A new study finds that self-described vampires are, not surprisingly, reluctant to disclose their sanguine ways to mental health professionals. My closer look at people who claim to be (and sometimes believe themselves to be) real-life vampires can be found HERE.
My look at the glib, pop culture idea of karma, and how the religious idea of karma is actually pretty cruel & horrific. You can read it HERE.
I recently read Candice Miller’s book The River of Doubt, about Theodore Roosevelt’s 1914 exploration of an unknown river in the Brazilian Amazon. It’s a fascinating story of adventure, misadventure, murder, and more. In the book I also found an excellent real-life example of one of my favorite logical fallacies:post hoc ergo propter hoc, also called faulty causation…. You can find the article HERE.
My recent article on a horrific crime: a toddler with albinism in Africa was abducted and butchered for his body parts because of the widespread belief that they can be used for potent magic spells. Yes, belief in magic can sometimes be harmless–but it can also be deadly. Read more HERE.
My article for Discovery News on how the U.K. is using belief in black magic to stem sex trafficking in Africa is now up! I hope you find it as interesting as I do… It’s good to see this sort of bottom-up culture-specific effort to end this scourge. You can read it HERE.
From a story I wrote in 2014: Dozens of environmentalists in Iceland have staged a high-profile protest against a road scheduled to cut through an area of volcanic rock because of elves… You can read the story HERE.
I was recently interviewed by UNM Prof. V.B. Price for New Mexico Mercury magazine, in which I talked about my new book Mysterious New Mexico, skepticism, and investigations. Who got upset by my book? Find out!
The five-question interview is available online HERE.
A recent article in Forbes about cursed items mentions me… You can read it HERE.
My new CFI blog on the bizarre, misogynistic mess that is Disney’s “Into the Woods.” You can read it HERE.
I was recently interviewed on the Grand Dark Conspiracy Show about the folklore of vampires. You can listen HERE.
My recent article on why the Pope endorses evolution while at the same time reaffirming belief in demonic possession. He’s got one foot in the 21st century and one foot in the Middle Ages. Here’s why; you can read it HERE.
If you believe in ghosts, you’re not alone. Cultures all around the world believe in spirits that survive death to live in another realm. In fact, ghosts are among the most widely believed of paranormal phenomena: Millions of people are interested in ghosts, and a 2005 Gallup poll found that 37 percent of Americans believe in haunted houses — and nearly half believe in ghosts. You can read the story HERE.
The Oujia board, also known as a witch board or spirit board, is simple and elegant. The board itself is printed with letters and numbers, while a roughly heart-shaped device called a planchette slides over the board. The game was created in the 1890s and sold to Hasbro in 1966. It began as a parlor game with no association with ghosts until much later, and today many people believe it can contact spirits… You can read my article HERE.
Yes, people are still being accused, tortured, and killed because of witchcraft accusations. It happened last week in East Africa when seven people died; my article on this horrible event, with some background on witch hunts, can be seen HERE.
My recent article on water dowsing was quoted by Southern California Public Radio… You can see the story HERE.
My article on water dowsing is now up on Discovery News, discussing why dowsing seems to work, and how dowsing killed an innocent French hunchback in 1692… You can read the story HERE.
My recent article on the Vatican’s move to formally recognize a group of professional exorcists. In 2014.
The Catholic Church recently formally recognized The International Association of Exorcists, a group of 250 priests worldwide who claim to drive demons and devils out of possessed individuals. You can read the piece HERE.
A classic piece I wrote about my trip to Macchu Picchu, in Peru…
Hard-headed types like scientists and skeptical investigators are often seen as dour debunkers, devoid of magic and awe. We are seen as eggheads and naysayers who don’t believe anything wondrous that we can’t put under a microscope. Yet I passionately disagree; as Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, and others have eloquently pointed out, the skeptic’s world is not devoid of awe. Instead, we simply find wonder in the natural universe instead of a supernatural one. In 1997 I visited two of the great mystical “energy centers” of the world: the pyramids at Ghiza and the Peruvian ruins of Macchu Picchu in the South American Andes. The Peruvian ruins sit atop a steep verdant mountain, surrounded by lower hills emerging regally from cottony white clouds. The huge stone complex, which is a remnant of the Inca civilization, was rediscovered only recently (in 1911), having escaped the Spanish Conquest because of its remote location and rugged terrain.
You can read the rest HERE.
My Discovery News piece about World Cup-predicting animals, in which I quote Ricky Jay, discuss polyglot pigeons, alectryomancy, and the possibility that Paul the Psychic Octopus was involved in organized crime… You can read it HERE.
My new article on New Agers seeking shamanic experiences with hallucinogenics, and “ayahuasca tourism”, is available HERE!
A man fainted while holding his breath as he drove through a tunnel near Portland, Oregon, causing a head-on collision that sent four people to the hospital, possibly highlighting the ill effects of even common, and seemingly silly, superstitions. You can read more about it HERE.
My new article on a creepy Slenderman-inspired attempted murder by two 12-year-old girls is now up on Discovery News, you can read it HERE.
My article on a modern-day witch hunt that killed a woman in Brazil lats month is on Yahoo News; you can read it HERE.
A woman suspected of being a witch was beaten by a mob and died last week in Guarujá, Brazil, near the country’s largest city, São Paulo. The attack was prompted by suspicions the woman was involved in a kidnapping in the area, following a Facebook post by a local news outlet, according to a report from Folha de São Paulo, the country’s largest newspaper.
An interesting article in Skeptical Inquirer magazine about demonology… I’ve met several self-described demonologists, and this rings pretty true to me. You can read it HERE.
Many religions claim that humans can be possessed by demonic spirits, and offer remedies to address this inconvenience. The Bible recounts six instances of Jesus casting out demons, while voodoo and Catholicism proscribe elaborate rituals and cleansings to remove spiritual stains.
Might you be possessed? Maybe; check out my classic article HERE.
I’m quoted in a recent piece on AmericanLiveWire discussing moon myths and superstitions:
Benjamin Radford, Bad Science columnist, elaborates: “If police and doctors are expecting that full moon nights will be more hectic, they may interpret an ordinary night’s traumas and crises as more extreme than usual. Our expectations influence our perceptions, and we look for evidence that confirms our beliefs.”
You can read more HERE.
A woman in Germany claims she was hypnotized outside of a supermarket, put into a trance, and later woke up at home having been robbed. There’s a certain creepy Gothic allure to the idea that a mesmerizing stranger can ask you to stare deeply into his eyes, or ask you to follow a pocketwatch swaying seductively to and fro and listen to him count backwards into a hypnotic trance. But is it real?
You can read my article HERE.
In some countries selling one’s organs is perfectly legal. In the United States, it is against the law, although many people have suggested that legalizing the trade would save lives and offer real social benefits. Others find it an ethically dubious proposition.
You can read my two-part essay on this question at my CFI blog HERE.
Over the past few months, dozens of environmentalists in Iceland have staged a high-profile protest against a road scheduled to cut through an area of volcanic rock on the Álftanes peninsula, not far from the capital of Reykjavik. It is only one of countless eco-protests in the world, but the campaign has made international news, because some of the protesters claim the proposed road would disturb the habitat of elves who live among the rocks…
You can read the whole curious story HERE.
People who have stigmata exhibit wounds that duplicate or represent those that Jesus is said to have endured during his crucifixion. The wounds typically appear on the stigmatic’s hands and feet (as from crucifixion spikes) and also sometimes on the side (as from a spear) and hairline (as from a crown of thorns).
I researched the topic and wrote about it for LiveScience.com; you can read it HERE.
Why would someone purposely set himself on fire? It happened earlier this week in Colorado.
My new article on the reasons for self-immolation is now out, you can read it HERE.
An article in the Arizona Star newspaper about the chupacabra gives a decent summary and credits my book “Tracking the Chupacabra” with solving the mystery! It’s also a pretty good read, check it out HERE .
For a thorough treatment of the chupacabras, its history, and its probable explanations, read Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore by Benjamin Radford (Albuquerque: The University of New Mexico Press, 2011.)
Many people believe that a grid of earth energies circles the globe, connecting important and sacred sites such as Stonehenge, the Egyptian Pyramids, and the Great Wall of China…. Are they real?
You can read my full article HERE at LiveScience.com!
I wrote this for Halloween, but it’s a classic urban legend year-round: The history and mystery of Bloody Mary!
You can read my Discovery News piece on it HERE.