Pascual Romero public
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After some excitement over the release of Science Friction, and Ben's discussion of Huggy Wuggy, we talk about alien implants. No, it's not just about probing jokes. We go into the multiple factors that lead people to think aliens have implanted some kind of technology into them, and what reasons aliens are thought to have for doing so, as well as …
 
After a brief diversion about who slapped who at that big pop culture event recently, we look into a much, much different vein of show business. Get it? Vein? Seriously though, what makes people bleed from their hands and other places, allegedly spontaneously, in a replication of Christ's wounds? How many people have become known for this peculiar …
 
After a few thoughts on Daylight Savings Time, we discuss a short list of purported deathbed confessions. The last words of a consequential figure can be hijacked or twisted to fit agenda -- or, sometimes, it's not just the words that are made up, it's the person too. From cautionary tales to urban legends, deathbed confessions are a peculiar branc…
 
After a brief discussion on the recent jailbreak (rock break?) of a Japanese nine-tailed demon, and some thoughts on war rumors and viral stories coming out of Ukraine, we talk about people who think they can talk to animals. Or people who think their animal can talk to them -- psychically, of course. From a lost champion purebreed to a thoroughly …
 
From superheroes to saints to trumpets, the idea of things seeming to float inexplicably in the air certainly captures our imagination. First Ben takes us through a history of levitation--as a sign of possession or piety, then as purported by Spiritualist mediums, and then as a side-effect of meditation. Celestia discusses some technological ways h…
 
First, all the way from New York City Skeptics, Russ Dobler drops in to tell us about AIPT Comic's skepticism month -- and we also chat about Joe Rogan and Ivermectin. Then our main topic is sex urban legends, a field so fertile it's a veritable cornucopia of naughty, forbidden, lurid, or merely humiliating tales that someone swears happened to a f…
 
We are joined by two guests who can share their experiences with televangelist and self-proclaimed exorcist Bob Larson. Alisa Yang has produced a short documentary, Sleeping with the Devil, about her Skype exorcism by Larson, and she shares insights into the communities that gave rise to such predatory figures. Then JD Sword discusses a Larson even…
 
As Oscar season approaches, we wanted to take some time to chat about movies we saw that either tripped our skeptical alarms or warmed our skeptical hearts. Some are major motion pictures like Don't Look Up, Nightmare Alley or even Disney's Encanto, but we discuss quite a few lesser known flicks on streaming services: Sasquatch, Seaspiracy, the The…
 
In this final installment of our moral panic series, as well as our final episode of 2021, we go into various banned books, fears about literature's effect on "weaker minds," the hearings on comic books and juvenile delinquency, and what makes a moral panic. Whether it's murders attributed to Catcher in the Rye or the big boss battle between Fredri…
 
This penultimate episode in our moral panic series starts with a discussion of the TikTok worries that interrupted schools last week as authorities braced for possible gun violence. Then we talk cinema and television from old to new, and the themes in moral panicking that jump out repeatedly -- such as worrying about what the fragile minds of child…
 
In part 2 of our 4-part series, we talk about moral panics in music history. Some will seem quaint to our modern ears, while others are a bit more recent. From jaunty tunes interfering with factory work in the 1940s to rock artists in the 1980s defending their lyrics in congressional hearings, we look at a long history of how parent's just don't un…
 
So this week we start by looking at the similarities between Q-Anon fans awaiting JFK Jr. in Dallas and doomsday cults moving their predictions. Then we start our series on moral panics with an overview of what exactly constitutes a moral panic, moving into the many games and novelty items that have caused parents and social guardians to wring thei…
 
First Tim Mendham from the Australian Skeptics pops in for a quick visit, then we sit down for a discussion with Vegas magicians Matt Donnelly, R.J. Owens, and Vinny Grosso. Each of them has a perspective on magic and skepticism, and we learn about things like gospel magic; how some of them work "woo" like tarot or ESP into their acts; accidental i…
 
We meet up with investigator and photographic ghost evidence enthusiast Kenny Biddle to discuss The Entity -- a 1982 horror movie in the tradition of the 1970s and 1980s "based on a true story" fare. Content warning, this episode discusses a real, confirmed sexual assault briefly in the opener and then a purported supernatural sexual assault as dep…
 
We all have a few skeptical nuggets to chat about this week, from zebras to the healing power of Satan worship to dangerous rumors. Then we are joined by Robert Bartholomew, mass hysteria expert and author of the book "Havana Syndrome: Mass Psychogenic Illness and the Real Story Behind the Embassy Mystery and Hysteria." He compares the current phen…
 
We begin on somber note, with the passing of friend and contributor Erik Kristopher Myers, who will be greatly missed. Then we take a close look at cards, and how they have been used to foretell, trick, amaze, deceive, and swindle. Learn how racism was "in the cards" for fortune tellers in the early 20th century, and how Tarot seems to be ancient a…
 
First, Ben and Celestia are skeptical of the media representations of vaccination "mandates," as well as chiropractors who believe spinally induced immunity can ward off diseases like covid. Then we are joined by Dave Thomas of the New Mexicans for Science and Reason (NMSR) to talk about Roswell's lesser-known cousin crash, the Aztec "Saucer Swindl…
 
Folklorist and self-described "enthusiasm enthusiast" Daisy Ahlstone shares some facts, folklore, and even furry art celebrating the thylacine, also known as the Tasmanian tiger, which was declared extinct in the 20th century. This creature exists now somewhere between relic and cryptid, as sightings continue and efforts to find "one last specimen"…
 
We go on an exploration of the somewhat recent trend of trying to heal, calm, or "raise the vibrations" of human beings by means of sound therapy. While sound does have some real medical applications, there's also a concert of woo awaiting the unwary consumer. From singing bowls to tuning forks, it's a web of conflicting benefits, sketchy profit st…
 
We run down a history of food fraud that stretches back to ancient Rome, and continues today in supermarkets and restaurants just about everywhere. From honey product to not-so-virgin olive oil to horse disguised as beef, there's been a consistent push by food purveyors to bump up profits by way of a pinch of adulteration and a tablespoon of substi…
 
After some thoughts on the resurgence of dowsing, we sit down with Professor Brian Regal once more, this time to talk about his encyclopedia of pseudoscience. Regal brings his experience teaching critical thinking and history to bear on the topic, and we look at how confirmation bias leads to weaponizing fringe theories.…
 
We tackle one of the grand old traditions in weirdness--spontaneous human combustion (SHC), the phenomenon wherein your loved one goes POOF so quickly and inexplicably that little is left of them but a pile of ash and some extremities. Ben discusses the heyday of these strange deaths, and what they all had in common. We go over some purported cases…
 
Mick West joins us again, this time to talk about the recent flap of UFO sightings and media interest. Major news outlets are giving airtime to what seem like the same old things: unexplained lights in the sky and evidence that the government takes an interest in such phenomena. Mick gives some examples of the categories that UFO videos and photos …
 
Pascual leads us on a romp through the myriad masked musicians of our time (and a few before our time), and we discuss the benefits and reasons why some performers prefer to remain incognito even during their entire careers. We start with a legendary Parisian performer from a hundred years ago who was brought to life by a writer who drew on current…
 
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