Last week I saw this photo on a Facebook paranormal group. Just an ordinary photo of a cabinet full of dolls in an old prison, right?
Wrong. People noticed that the reflection of the boy doll on the right appeared to be more like an image of a girl, with long hair covering one side of the face, and the black jacket seemed to be missing, maybe replaced by a lace dress?
People in the group immediately figured this must be the ghost of a small girl, and conjured up a variety of backstories. But I wasn't convinced, so I tried to figure it out.
Looking at the full image, we can see the reflection from a flash. "Aha!" I thought, that's just the back of the doll's head, and it's in shadow, so it looks dark. This seemed obviously correct to me, so I posted this explanation, with a helpful diagram. I found a doll and set up a similar scene to...
Yesterday Mike Hughes died when the parachute on his home-made rocket failed, and he crashed into the desert at an unsurvivable speed.
I met Mike in May of last year at the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas. We were at his "Exit The Matrix Expo," a badly organized and poorly attended flat earth convention that I had, for some bizarre reason, been invited to speak at.
I saw him standing in line at the Panda Express in the Hotel's food court. He looked over at me and said: "hey, are you Mick West?" We proceeded to have a very nice chat. He was a small wiry man, almost jockey small, a size which was a great help to him in following his dreams of becoming a famous daredevil.
Flat Earth didn't kill Mike. His death is not a cautionary tale of the dangers of weird conspiracy theories. He died following his passion and being blinded by optimism. Flat Earth was just something tacked on that gave him loads of publicity. Perhaps he came to...
The one that caught my eye was the second from the right
Which instantly reminded me of a couple of pieces I have on my bookcase:
These are the result of burning some thermite in a flowerpot.
Even the shape is reminiscent of the bottom of a flower-pot, which is a common vessel for burning thermite (relatively heat resistant, at least not melting). After chipping away the cracked piot you get something like this:
[ATTACH type="full" alt="Metabunk 2020-02-21...
I looked up earlier today, and I noticed these really unusual contrails. There were curves, and circles, with trails going horizon to horizon. It was very impressive, and I'm sure the chemtrail folk were thinking the worst.
So, I immediately hopped on FlightRadar24 to try to figure out what was going on. I quickly narrowed it down to Alaskan flight 2862 from Everett in Washington to Los Angeles. For some reason it flew a couple of 360s over Sacramento.
But that wasn't all. I zoomed out a bit to make an animation of this happened, and I was rather surprised to see there were SCORES of planes in holding patterns, all of them heading for LAX, and a lot of them at high altitude.
I contacted an ATC friend, and he told me that LAX had a...
Gary Voorhis was a computer technician on the USS Princeton during the 2004 “Tic-Tac” UFO incident (commonly referred to as the “Nimitz Incident” after the aircraft carrier heading the strike group.) Gary first saw “UFOs” as slow-moving radar targets on the ship’s SPY-1B radar, which he helped maintain. He also saw lights in the direction of those targets. Initially, the radar targets were thought to be radar clutter (false targets) but after a couple of days, planes were sent out to take a look. Gary saw some video from that “interrogation” and remembers a longer and more impressive video than the one that was later leaked to the public. He thinks what he saw was some kind of advanced technology, possibly alien technology.
I think a more likely explanation is some kind of series of radar glitch and unrelated visual observations of some sort – all possibly confused in...
Taal is a volcano just 40 miles south of Manilla and is currently spewing large amounts of ash into the air.
The local Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) rapidly raised the alert level to 4, meaning ""a hazardous eruption may happen within hours or days." (Level 5 is reserved for when a hazardous eruption is underway.) There are also warning of a possible Tsunami. Source: https://twitter.com/phivolcs_dost/status/1216329536536637440
Besides the obvious science and disaster aspect of the eruption, there's the inevitable disinformation. Interestingly, both the PHIVOLCS Twitter account and their web page...
Anthony Magnabosco is the most well-known practitioner of the craft of "Street Epistemology", which he defines as: "a dialog where you use questions to explore somebody's claim to see how they concluded that it's true." While commonly associated with atheism (the term comes from the book "A Manual for Creating Atheists" by Peter Boghossian) Street Epistemology can be used to explore any kind of belief. There's actually quite a bit of crossover with how to talk to conspiracy theorists.
Anthony and I discuss our mutual experiences with talking to people, how our approaches are similar, and how they differ. It's a fascinating conversation, and while we go for the full hour, we were actually cut short by a minor emergency, and I hope to continue in the future.
At 43:24 in the above live stream of the SpaceX CRS-19 Launch, something slides around the engine. Someone remarked that this looked a bit like a mouse, and some of the more imaginative conspiracy theorists took this to be evidence that the footage was faked.
The video is shot from two sides, alternating between viewpoints, which makes it difficult to follow exactly what is going on. But it's much clearer if we take just the shots from the "mouse" side, zoom in, and speed them up 10x.
I think there's a degree of mass hysteria going on here. Yes, there's probably some drones been spotted, but the video evidence is rather sketchy. The image above looks like nothing more than some building lights in the distance. There are a few other shots in the NBC video:
This one (above) shows what looks like the moon and six lights. But several of them are on a low...
Elizabeth Loftus is an expert on memory. A Distinguished Professor in several fields*, her work focusses on false memories, how they can be accidentally created and how they can be deliberately manipulated. We discuss many aspects of memory and how it sometimes relates to the world of conspiracy theories. We touch on UFOs, Chemtrails, 9/11, Jeffery Epstein, and the moral panics of the 1980s.
*In my introduction, I mangled together the various departments where Professor Loftus is a professor. The correct list is:
Tom has dabbled in a few conspiracy theories over the years, and still thinks there are some significant questions that have never been answered about why the World Trade Center buildings fell down the way they did on 9/11. We talk about how he came to believe what he does, how it has changed over the years, and what evidence it make take for him to feel the question is resolved.
Brian Dunning is a prolific skeptical podcaster with his award-winning show “Skeptoid” coming up on its 700th episode. He’s also a writer, with his most recent book Conspiracies Declassified: The Skeptoid Guide to the Truth Behind the Theories, explaining the facts behind 50 different conspiracy theories. He’s also a documentary producer, currently working on Science Friction, a documentary about scientists who get misrepresented by the media. We discuss all these topics and more.
Dr Michael Shermer is founder of The Skeptics Society, and editor-in-chief of its magazine Skeptic. He's written several books on science and skepticism and his latest work is an audio-only 12-part course, for Audible and The Great Courses, called Conspiracies & Conspiracy Theories: What We Should and Shouldn't Believe—and Why. We cover the full spectrum of conspiracies, their history and context, their social and psychological causes and their very real effects. We discuss real and false conspiracies, and how to tell the difference. We then finish up with UFOs, the Intellectual Dark Web, and the Skeptical Movement.
UFO Jesus is a popular advocate of UFO “disclosure”, the belief that the US Government is close to revealing that it knows that some UFOs actually are the result of alien visitors. We talk about this and our different interpretation of the evidence used to support this case. In particular, we focus on the 2004 case of the USS Nimitz, where, over several days, unexplained sightings and radar returns culminated in two fighter planes observing what one pilot, Commander David Fravor, described as a “white Tic-Tac shaped craft” performing impossible maneuvers. A later video was also taken, which I think shows a distant plane, and UFO fans think is this Tic-Tac. There are rumors of a higher-resolution longer video that shows more.
UFO Jesus closes with six prophecies, and I’m a bit skeptical. But he gives a nice short timeframe of six years, so...
Luis Elizondo is a former senior intelligence official, a disclosure advocate, a national security expert, and the former director of the Pentagon’s UFO/UAP Program (AATIP). We talk about his work in those capacities and also...
Alex was raised by conspiracy theorists. This makes him different from most people who end up down the rabbit hole in that assuming nefarious plots were going on was never a surprise to him. Indeed,...
My guest this week thought all was well when she started dating a handsome intelligent man. But then a few things he said, particularly about “the Jews” started to seem like something more than just...