In the latest in a series highlighting past episodes and archives of Squaring the Strange, here's a look back at a show you might have missed: This week is a departure from our typical format. Ben is busy giving a talk about UFO conspiracies at Bubonicon, the annual sci-fi and weirdness festival in Albuquerque. This year’s theme is time travel, so Pascual and Celestia take the opportunity to discuss various types of time travel and how it’s used (or misused) in fiction. We poke into what physicists have said about the possibility and reminisce about the time-travel conspiracy theories surrounding the Large Hadron Collider. We also chat with a few Bubonicaon participants to see what they have to say about their favorite time traveler. You can here it HERE. You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo, and please check out my podcast Squaring the Strange!
As we approach our one-year anniversary Squaring the Strange, the podcast I co-host with Pascual Romero and Celestia Ward, I wanted to review early episodes you may have missed! Episode 6: Roswell that Ends Well First, what are we skeptical of this week? Ben discusses the rumors about a "blue whale suicide game" and how it has all the hallmarks of a classic urban legend moral panic: grooming, danger hidden under a parent's nose, specificity and localization, anxiety over new technology, and legitimization by authorities--but zero actual evidence. Pascual talks about Skin Motion, a company promoting new tattoo trend involving soundwaves (both areas of his expertise), and picks apart some misleading things about the process. Then Ben and Pascual discuss the different versions of the alleged 1947 alien saucer crash in Roswell, New Mexico, and track how this story changed from something mundane and ignored (five pounds of sticks and tinfoil) to something strange and otherworldly. Roswell is a case that calls out how important it is to seek out earliest original sources, as the space of thirty years and the rise of aliens in pop culture clearly influenced a complete turnabout in interpretation and memories--leading to a cottage industry that produced copycat stories, conspiracy theories, and even phony alien autopsy footage. This is all complicated by the fact that there really WAS a bit of a coverup at Roswell, but not of the type ufo fans want to believe. In the wrap-up, the guys discuss their fond memories of "In Search Of" and, to get really meta, read some viewer mail that discusses previous viewer mail. You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo, and please check out my podcast Squaring the Strange!
I was recently a guest on 'The Big Picture Science Show" with SETI astronomer Seth Shostak, discussing UFOs, government conspiracy, and so much more. You can listen to the show HERE! You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo, and please check out my podcast Squaring the Strange!
Maybe you've heard the news about the "secret" DoD program to find UFOs? Here's a quick take on it: Given that UFOs are literally "unidentified flying objects," the Pentagon's interest in the topic is both understandable and appropriate. After all, unknown objects over American skies could be a threat — whether their origin is Russia, North Korea or the Andromeda Galaxy. The Air Force investigated thousands of unexplained aerial reports between 1947 and 1969, eventually concluding that most of the "UFO" sightings involved clouds, stars, optical illusions, conventional aircraft or spy planes. A small percentage remained unexplained because of a lack of information. In December 2017, The New York Times reported on the existence of a secret U.S. Department of Defense program called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). It began in 2007 and ended in 2012 when, according to Pentagon spokesman Thomas Crosson, "it was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding." Much of the program and its conclusions have not been released, and it's not clear what if any useful information came from the effort. Several short videos of military jets encountering something they couldn't identify have been released by AATIP. Already some have suggested that distant jets might be the culprit, and in the past crowdsourced research has yielded answers to seemingly inexplicable phenomena in our skies; a "mystery missile" seen off the coast of California in November 2010, for example, stumped military experts at first but was later determined to be an ordinary commercial jet plane contrail seen from an odd angle. The fact that the U.S. government had a program dedicated to researching unidentified craft and objects has caused many UFO buffs to triumphantly announce that they were right all along, that this finally proof that the wall of silence is breaking and the government coverup is cracking. There is, however, significantly less here than meets the eye. The government routinely spends money to research (and sometimes promote) topics that turn out to have little or no evidence or scientific validity. There are hundreds of federal projects that have been funded despite never having been proven valid or effective, including the Star Wars missile defense program, abstinence-only sex education, and the DARE anti-drug program. The idea that there must be some validity to the project, or else it would not have been funded or renewed is laughable. From the 1970s through the mid-1990s, the U.S. government had a secret project called Stargate, designed to explore the possibility of psychic powers and whether "remote viewers" could successfully spy on Russia during the Cold War. The research went on for about two decades, with little apparent success. Eventually, scientists who were asked to review the results concluded that psychic information was neither validated nor useful. Like AATIP, Project Stargate was soon shut down. One possible clue as to why the $22 million program might have continued despite yielding no clear evidence of extraterrestrials is the financial incentive to keep it going. The New York Times noted that "The shadowy program . ..was largely funded at the request of Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who was the Senate majority leader at the time ... Most of the money went to an aerospace research company run by a billionaire entrepreneur and longtime friend of Mr. Reid's, Robert Bigelow, who is currently working with NASA to produce expandable craft for humans to use in space." You can read the rest HERE. You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo, and please check out my podcast Squaring the Strange!
I will be speaking at Bubonicon, New Mexico’s premiere fantasy/sci fi convention; on Friday night August 25 I will be giving a presentation on “New Mexico’s UFO Conspiracies” and handing out sample issues of Skeptical Inquirer. We will also be recording an episode of Squaring the Strange, so look for my co-hosts Pascual Romero and Celestia Ward! This year's Bubonicon 49 runs August 25-27, and the theme is time travel. There's plenty of authors, experts, and costumed fun. Come check it out! You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo, and please check out my podcast Squaring the Strange!
Several of my Skeptical Inquirer articles are referenced in the new Indiana University Press book UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens: What Science Says, by Don Prothero and Tim Callahan, with a foreword by Michael Shermer (you can see the book HERE). I can't want to read it! You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo, and please check out my podcast Squaring the Strange!
For those who missed it, I was recently a guest on "StarTalk Radio" with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, and the irrepressible Seth Shostak! Topics included UFOs, conspiracy theories, and whether a shortage of cow anuses on other planets is the cause of mysterious cattle mutilations. You can listen HERE. You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo, and please check out my podcast Squaring the Strange!
My overview article on crop circles is now up at LiveScience.com, check it out!Crop circles — strange patterns that appear mysteriously overnight in farmers' fields—provoke puzzlement, delight and intrigue among the press and public alike. The circles are mostly found in the United Kingdom, but have spread to dozens of countries around the world in past decades. The mystery has inspired countless books, blogs, fan groups, researchers (dubbed "cereologists") and even Hollywood films. Despite having been studied for decades, the question remains: Who — or what — is making them? Find out HERE! You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo, and please check out my podcast Squaring the Strange!
Hey folks! I'm a guest, along with my buddies Seth Shostak, Bill Nye, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, on the recent episode of "StarTalk Radio," talking about UFOs and alien life. Check it out HERE! You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo, and please check out my podcast Squaring the Strange!
My recent interview on NPR about UFOs and aliens, opposite Leslie Kean, George Noory, and others, is now out. It's not a bad show, but if you want to hear some skepticism, start about 40 minutes in... you can listen HERE. From the Colin McEnroe show: UFOs have been reported in America since the 1600s. And in all that time our government has largely dismissed the objects as being of Earthly origin. But this culture of dismissal in the U.S. is not indicative of how sightings are handled around the world. Some foreign governments readily discuss the possibility of extraterrestrials having visited Earth, and others go so far as to openly support the possibility. As reports of UFO sightings in America have skyrocketed since the 1940's, we ask why the phenomenon isn't given a more serious look. We'll examine some of the most compelling cases of all time and ask what it is about these unidentified objects that captivates the imaginations of so many. This hour we speak with believers and skeptics about UFO's. You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo.
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.
With the news last month about the discovery of a “super-Stonehenge” circling one of the world’s most famous monuments, attention has once again focused on the Wiltshire marvel. There are thousands of ancient stone circles across Europe, of which Stonehenge is by far the best known and most impressive. While there are many genuine historical mysteries about Stonehenge — such as who built it and for what purpose — there are just as many fabricated ones trading in myth and conspiracy. You can read my Discovery News piece HERE. You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo.
I'll be giving a presentation on my chupacabra investigation to the Albuquerque SciFi Society on October 9 at 7:30 PM; the origin of the chupacabra has interesting origins with H.R. Giger and the film "Species." You can find out more HERE. You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo.
Had a great time speaking at this year's Bubonicon as this years guest Science Speaker discussing my chupacabra research (which, if you're familar with it, you know has an interesting link to H.R. Giger and a certain science fiction/horror film). A good turnout, interested and intelligent crowd, and good questions. Always fun!
I was recently a guest on the Edge of the Unknown radio show, talking about skepticism, investigation, and my new book Mysterious New Mexico! It will be rebroadcast at various times this week, and be archived, you can find it HERE.
Statistically, most abducted children are taken by someone they know (family or friends). According to a new piece in America's Finest News Source, the same is true of alien abductees... You can read the story HERE.
My Discovery News article on the late H.R. Giger's little-known contribution to cryptozoology: designing the chupacabra! You can read my piece HERE.
My new article on two conspiracy theorists who vandalized an Egyptian pyramid, with a closer look at their nonsensical claims: "Suggesting that people from Plato's Atlantis built the pyramids is like saying people from Tolkien's Middle Earth built the pyramids, or inhabitants of Superman's home planet of Krypton built the pyramids — it makes no sense, because they're fictional characters." You can read the story HERE.
Officials with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish are puzzling over the mysterious deaths of more than 100 elk, apparently all within a 24-hour period, in rural New Mexico.... You can read the story HERE.
My column on conspiracy theories by different political parties went up at LiveScience.com last week.
A new national poll reveals that Americans differ along political party lines even in their endorsement of conspiracy theories, including the belief that President Obama is the Anti-Christ and the idea that global warming is a hoax.... You can read it HERE.
Here's my new Discovery News piece about an upcoming "documentary" UFO film including a dubious autopsy of a tiny alien/leprechaun body. You can read it HERE. Real alien or real hoax? You decide!
In case you didn't see it a few days ago, my article "Fashion Mogul's Vanishing Fuels Marine Mystery" appeared on Discovery News; you can read it HERE.
Today I'll be a guest on a CBC Radio One program called Day 6, hosted by Brent Bambury. It can also be heard on Sirius XM Radio. I'll be talking about a supposed mysterious new version of the Bermuda Triangle. It airs at different times, but you can check your local stations HERE.
Archaeologists digging near Mexico's Sonora desert have discovered what appears to be the burial ground of an early Mesoamerican society, including signs of deformed skulls. Some suspect aliens are at work; you can read the story HERE.
I was recently quoted by Yahoo News - Quebec, on a certain Denver UFO video I commented on... You can read it HERE, if you parlee the francais....
The Men in Black are said to be mysterious, dark-suited figures who contact UFO eyewitnesses and warn them not to tell anyone else about what they know. These figures typically appear in groups of three and are usually assumed to be either government agents or shape-shifting space aliens in disguise.... Read my article on the LiveScience.com site HERE!
Albuquerque author and investigator Benjamin Radford (me) will be presenting a free talk on The Mysterious Crystal Skulls. Crystal skulls are among the strangest and most mysterious artifacts in the world. They have been seen in the world’s finest museums, inspired Indiana Jones, and, according to legend, have even been used to see the future—or kill with terrible supernatural power. What do we make of these objects, whose origins are shrouded in the mists of mystery? Come hear the bizarre true story of this strange modern mystery! The talk begins at 7 PM. The event is sponsored by New Mexicans for Science and Reason and is FREE and open to the public. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science 1801 Mountain Road NW, 87104. For more information click HERE.
I have recently been asked to write a series of reference articles for LiveScience.com about some of the world's great mysteries. You can find a recent one on the Bermuda Triangle...HERE.
When a four-part crop circle pattern roughly resembling a Mickey Mouse head appeared last week in a wheat field outside of Seattle, Wash., farmers Greg and Cindy Geib were surprised — but not shocked... You can read the full story HERE.
With the rover Curiosity now safely on Mars, the world will be seeing lots of video in the coming months and years from the planet's surface. Many will also be looking for evidence of life on Mars, and Curiosity may provide it -- even if it's not there. My article on this appeared on CBS News, you can read it HERE.
Ranchers in Colorado are on edge following the latest of a series of bizarre attacks on horses and livestock... Aliens, Satanists, or something else? My skeptical investigation appeared on Discovery News; you can read it HERE.
Huffington Post's Lee Speigel did a nice piece about the so-called sunken UFO in the Baltic Sea, a story I wrote about and did follow-ups on. I'm quoted in his piece, which you can read HERE.
My investigation of a mysterious video allegedly of an angel seen in an Indonesian shopping mall was carried by several news outlets last week; you can read one story HERE.
I analyzed a recent UFO video allegedly taken from a plane over South Korea. It will not surprise you that I found some flaws in it. You can read it HERE.
A recent news piece about an Air Canada's near-miss with a UFO teaches some lessons about expert eyewitnessess... You can read my Discovery News piece HERE.
For those who didn't see this earlier, my analysis of a rapper's UFO video made the Huffington Post... you can see it HERE.