The Psychic Defective Revisited: Years Later, Sylvia Browne’s Accuracy Remains Dismal
An update of our “Psychic Defective” analysis examines developments in eleven cases Sylvia Browne made predictions about, explores a new reading, and scrutinizes her other failed predictions about the papacy and American politics.
Psychic Defective: Sylvia Browne’s History of Failure
This article originally appeared in the March / April 2010 issue of Skeptical Inquirer. Subscribe today and read this entire issue. You will also gain access to our full archive, dating back to 1976.
I Was Wrong (and I Bet You Were Too)
For me, one of the great pleasures of skepticism is finding out I was wrong about something. Rather than feeling guilty about my error, I feel proud that I have learned something and have a better understanding of reality. When skeptics encounter a questionable claim, they do some fact-checking. But what if they don’t realize …
The Overblown Breast is Best Mantra
“As a new mom in 2011, parenting unfolded before me like an obstacle course, an uphill battle of picking the right choices from an ocean of wrong ones. In the complex quest for credible parenting information, one choice seemed clear, backed by seemingly incontrovertible data: When it comes to feeding your baby, breast is best.” …
How We Believe
Beliefs guide all our thoughts and behaviors, from brushing our teeth to voting for a particular political party.
The ‘Secret Hand Signs’ Conspiracy
Things took a turn from the political to the surreal with conspiracy rumors that a lawyer sitting behind Brett Kavanaugh was caught on camera flashing a white nationalism sign with the fingers of one hand.
The Blackwell Ghost
Kenny Biddle debunks this “work of fiction” as seen on Amazon Prime.
The War on Science, Anti-Intellectualism, and ‘Alternative Ways of Knowing’ in 21st-Century America
The decades-long academic assault on science has bewildered the American public about the role and function of science, promoted anti-intellectualism, and politically empowered purveyors of supernaturalism and paranormal beliefs.
Twenty-One Reasons Noah’s Worldwide Flood Never Happened
Here’s a geologist’s critical analysis of false perceptions held by many creationists about the origin of the Grand Canyon and the age of the Earth.
JonBenet Murder Mystery Solved? (Not by Psychics)
The death of six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey went unsolved for two decades. Psychics were worse than useless, but the author’s proposed solution resulted from evaluating the best evidence.
An Investigation of the Missing411 Conspiracy
In his “Missing411” series of books, author David Paulides claims that people are going missing from U.S. national parks under unusual circumstances and the National Park Service is obstructing attempts to investigate. What are the facts?
Theresa Caputo: The Fake Long Island Medium
Today mediums really have an easy life.
What’s Wrong with Dr. Phil
I went to visit Dr. Phil myself last week. The show is taped just a mile from my home in Los Angeles. Obtaining tickets was one website visit and a phone call away. In no time, I had two tickets to be in the audience the very next week.
Why Do People Believe in Gods?
… And Ghosts, Angels, Demons, Fairies, Goblins, and Other Imagined Conspiracies?
Crop Circles: A Not-So-Convincing Case
Unlike other mysterious phenomena such as psychic powers, ghosts, or Bigfoot, there is no doubt that crop circles are real. The real question is what creates them.
The ‘200 Demons’ House: A Skeptical Demonologist’s Report
Sparking an international media frenzy, a house in Gary, Indiana, was—according to two unnamed “clairvoyants”—besieged by over 200 demons.
The Valentich Disappearance: Another UFO Cold Case Solved
What did he see? The missing piece of the puzzle in a strange ‘UFO’ case involving the crash of a young pilot off Australia has been identified.
Hitler’s South Pole Hideaway
“Searching for Hitler’s DNA in Antarctica.” This is the bizarre headline that made the news a few months ago, launched by Russian news agency Ria Novosti and picked up by the world media after scientists were able to successfully drill into Antarctica’s Lake Vostok.
The Secret Life of J. Allen Hynek
According to legend, the astronomer J. Allen Hynek was a skeptic before becoming an outspoken UFOlogist, but is the legend true? This article takes a look at Hynek’s unusual life and career.
The 9/11 Truth Movement: The Top Conspiracy Theory, a Decade Later
After ten years, the pesky 9/11 Truth movement has refined its arguments but still hasn’t proved the attacks were an inside job. Their key claims are refuted on multiple grounds. The conspiracy theories started flying just days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC. Over the decade since, several …
This brief guide by psychology professor Ray Hyman, a member of the CSICOP Executive Council from the beginning, has for many years been used by Skeptical Inquirer’s editorial staff and widely distributed to authors and others. It was printed some years ago in the CSICOP newsletter Skeptical Briefs, and it appears in Hyman’s book The Elusive Quarry, …
The Burden of Skepticism
What is skepticism? It’s nothing very esoteric. We encounter it every day. When we buy a used car, if we are the least bit wise we will exert some residual skeptical powers—whatever our education has left to us. You could say, “Here’s an honest-looking fellow. I’ll just take whatever he offers me.” Or you might …