Benjamin Radford

Benjamin Radford (born October 2, 1970) is an American writer, investigator, and skeptic. He has authored, coauthored or contributed to over twenty books and written over a thousand articles and columns on a wide variety of topics including urban legends, unexplained mysteries, the paranormal, critical thinking, mass hysteria, and media literacy. His book, Mysterious New Mexico: Miracles, Magic, and Monsters in the Land of Enchantment, was published in the summer of 2014 and is a scientific investigation of famous legends and folklore in the state of New Mexico. In 2016 Radford published Bad Clowns, a 2017 IPPY bronze award winner,[1] and he is regarded as an expert on the bad clowns phenomenon.[2]

Radford has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, The History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, the Learning Channel, CBC, BBC, ABC News, The New York Times, and many other outlets.

Radford characterizes himself as one of the world's few science-based paranormal investigators, and has done first-hand research into psychics, ghosts,[3] exorcisms, miracles, Bigfoot, stigmata, lake monsters, UFO sightings, reincarnation, crop circles, and other topics. "I’m open-minded. I never said I don’t believe ghosts exist. But I can say I’ve looked at the research that’s been done, and I’ve done personal investigations. In each particular case there either is or isn’t good, compelling evidence, and so far I haven’t seen it."[4]

He regularly speaks at universities and conferences across the country about his research, and about science and skepticism.[5] Radford's books and investigations have been incorporated into several college and university courses on critical thinking, including at Western Washington University and the University of New Mexico.[6]

Radford is also a contributor to the Snopes.com urban legends web site, where he has researched and written articles debunking fakelore and a variety of popular myths including The Amityville Horror[7] and the claim that humans only use 10% of their brains.[8]

Benjamin Radford
Ben Radford
Ben Radford lectures at CFI West on Paranormal Investigations, June 18, 2011
BornOctober 2, 1970 (age 48)
EducationMaster's in Education
Bachelor's in Psychology
Alma materUniversity at Buffalo, New York
University of New Mexico
OccupationWriter, Investigator, Podcaster, Research Fellow
Known formedia and science literacy educator, scientific paranormal investigation, MonsterTalk podcast, Squaring the Strange podcast
Websitehttp://www.BenjaminRadford.com/
Signature
Ben Radford Signature

Early life

Radford became interested in "the mysterious and the unexplained" as a child from reading books about, "monsters and dragons, the Bermuda Triangle, psychics in Russia that could move automobiles with their mind", etc. He also became interested through television shows such as That's Incredible and Ripley's Believe It or Not. He grew disenchanted with the lack of scientific rigor in the books and television shows because there seemed to be little or no investigation or proper references.[9]

"Like many youngsters, much of my childhood was eaten up by comic books and television. My skepticism was first tweaked by Superman... I was most interested in Superman’s ability to fly. Just how did he do that? How did he actually make himself fly? Did the act of putting his fist forward make him fly? Or did he just think about it and lift off the ground? Did he have some localized mental control over gravity? I wanted to know; I wanted to understand."

His favorite comic hero, Spider-Man, inspired him to ask questions about the mechanisms of how the super-hero's powers worked. "My first question was how he stuck to walls. Okay, I could buy that he could jump onto a wall and stick to it. But how did he actually make that happen? Did he stick to everything, or just walls? Why didn’t paper, pencils, dollar bills, and everything else stick to his hands, too?"

As a teenager he was fascinated by books about the strange and mysterious. In addition to purchasing used books like those featuring Doc Savage, Tom Swift and Encyclopedia Brown with his allowance, he'd buy "True Mystery" collections with titles like "Stranger Than Science". Written by authors such as Frank Edwards, these promised "fully-documented stories taken from life that modern science is powerless to explain!". Noticing that the catchphrase "science cannot explain" was quite popular, he also noticed that these books failed to have any sources, references or documentation to support the wild claims made therein.

"I continued to gather more and more of these books, and between the library and the bookstore, for a few summers I was a voracious reader. I had books on fortune telling, astrology, and the Bermuda Triangle. I had books on demonic possession, exorcism, palmistry, and dowsing. I had books on mysterious creatures, psychic powers, ghosts, flying saucers, and monsters in dark corners of the world. I assumed that these stories were all (or mostly) true—the authors seemed authoritative. They were learned men and women who had studied mysterious and unusual events, written other similar books, and were apparently well qualified to report the facts of these amazing stories. But I did notice that there seemed to be precious little actual investigation; instead, most of the accounts seemed merely copied from other, older sources. There were plenty of theories and bald assertions, but no real scientific investigation, no one doing a reality check on the stories. And there was a disconnect between what I was reading and my experiences."

Radford's first encounter with formal skepticism came as a result of a fruitless search for beer in an "dry" county in Utah. Winning a regional essay contest while at the University of New Mexico, he was flown to present his paper at a college town in Utah. He and his colleagues came across a tiny used bookstore where he acquired an old issue of Skeptical Inquirer featuring an article on the prophesies of Nostradamus penned by none other than James Randi. He relates that this was the first article he'd read criticizing Nostradamus and offered "skeptical, logical, and reasonable explanations for the prophecies apparent accuracy".[10]

Education and career

Education

Radford holds a bachelor's degree in psychology (graduating magna cum laude) with a minor in professional writing from the University of New Mexico where he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society in 1993. He also has a master's degree in Education from the University at Buffalo, New York where his focus was on Science and the Public, and his masters thesis was titled Misinformation in Eating Disorder Communications: Implications for Science Communication Policy.[11] Radford stated that he chose this topic because it "involved several of my longstanding interests such as myths and misinformation ... eating disorders (a subject I first became involved with when helping an ex-girlfriend struggle with bulimia); and the news media".[12]

Journalism

Radford served as managing editor of the science magazine Skeptical Inquirer from 1997 until early 2011, when he was promoted to deputy editor. He is also a regular columnist at the magazine.[13] Until it suspended publication in 2009, he was editor-in-chief of the Spanish-language magazine Pensar, published in Buenos Aires, Argentina.[14] Radford is also a regular columnist for Discovery News, LiveScience.com, and the Skeptical Briefs newsletter.

Radford is a co-founder and former co-host of MonsterTalk, a podcast, which critically examines the science and folklore behind cryptozoological (and legendary) creatures such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and werewolves.[15] MonsterTalk won the 2012 Parsec podcast award for the “Best Fact Behind the Fiction” category.[16]

Radford is a Research Fellow with the non-profit educational organization Committee for Skeptical Inquiry,[17] and presented at the American Folklore Society’s 2011 annual conference on Folklore of the Chupacabra.[18]

Radford's writings also focus on topics related to women and minorities, particularly in South America and Africa. Through his books, articles, blogs, and podcasts he has raised awareness of many social problems that disproportionately affect women, including modern witchcraft in India, Nepal, and Pakistan;[19] the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping in 2014;[20] acid attack victims in Pakistan;[21] and sex trafficking.[22]

Scientific paranormal investigator

Described as a "professional skeptic", Radford works at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry investigating all manner of unusual claims and events. His work includes investigation, reporting, journalism, science literacy education, and public speaking.[23]

Radford explains his approach by saying "I am not paid to doubt things; I am paid to promote science and investigate unusual claims. Our approach is empirical, evidence- and science-based. Science has proven itself incredibly successful in explaining and finding out about the world. If we wish to know why a certain disease strikes one person and not another, we turn to medicine instead of a witch doctor. If we wish to know how to build a bridge that can span a river, we turn to physics instead of psychics. Paranormal or “unexplained” topics are testable by science: either a psychic's prediction comes true or it doesn't; either ghosts exist in the real world or they don't. My job is not to doubt, nor debunk; it is to investigate. I have no vested interest in proving or disproving any unexplained phenomena; I get paid the same either way. But the cardinal rule is that an investigator must eliminate all the natural explanations before accepting supernatural ones, and must use sound science."[10]

When asked "Have you ever been stumped by a mysterious claim?" Radford responded, "no". He responded more fully that there are times with some claims there isn't enough information or the information given to him wasn't correct. Radford compares these investigations to a crime scene investigating where there exists "a positive correlation between the quality of the available evidence and solving the mystery". Radford states he has a "high bar for what I am willing to concede is 'unexplained' or truly mysterious".[24]

Awards

In November 2018, Radford's book Investigating Ghosts: The Scientific Search for Spirits won the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards in the Science category.[25]

Squaring the Strange

In April 2017 Radford and Pascual Romero launched the Squaring the Strange podcast with evidence-based analysis and commentary on a variety of topics ranging from the paranormal to the political.[26] Celestia Ward eventually joined them as a cohost.[27]

Investigations

Radford has conducted numerous investigations into "unexplained" phenomena. These are some of his best-known cases:

Pokémon panic (1997)

In 2001, Radford investigated the mysterious 1997 incident in which thousands of Japanese children seemingly suffered seizures while watching "Dennō Senshi Porygon", an episode of the Pokémon anime. Though many doctors advanced theories including photosensitive epilepsy, Radford proffered evidence that the incident was rooted in mass hysteria. The resulting article, co-authored by Robert Bartholomew, was published in the February 2001 Southern Medical Journal.

"We studied a reported illness outbreak occurring on December 16, 1997, involving more than 12,000 Japanese children who had various signs and symptoms of illness after watching an episode of a popular animated cartoon, Pokémon. While photosensitive epilepsy was diagnosed in a minuscule fraction of those affected, this explanation cannot account for the breadth and pattern of the events. The characteristic features of the episode are consistent with the diagnosis of epidemic hysteria, triggered by sudden anxiety after dramatic mass media reports describing a relatively small number of genuine photosensitive-epilepsy seizures. The importance of the mass media in precipitating outbreaks of mass psychogenic illness is discussed."[28]

Radford BW 2
Ben Radford lectures at CFI West on Paranormal Investigations, June 18, 2011.

Santa Fe courthouse ghost (2007)

In 2007, Radford solved the mystery of the "Santa Fe Courthouse Ghost", a mysterious, glowing, white blob that was captured on videotape June 15, by a security camera at a courthouse in Santa Fe, New Mexico. While the court personnel who first saw the baffling image didn't know what to make of it, others soon offered their own explanations, and a ghost was among the most popular.

Radford did several days of on-site field investigations at the courthouse, and after several experiments duplicated the "ghost" effect by placing insects on the video camera that recorded the original event.[29][30]

The “ghost video” became a nationwide hit and has been viewed over 85,000 times on the YouTube web site.[31] What started as a local curiosity soon spread internationally, as CBS News, ABC News, and newspapers across the country from The Boston Globe to the San Francisco Chronicle carried the story of the “courthouse ghost.”

The Los Angeles UFO / mystery missile (2010)

In November 2010, a UFO was sighted and recorded in the sky over Los Angeles by a news helicopter cameraman.[32] The object created a rocket-like contrail rising like a pillar in the sunset approximately 35 miles off the Californian coast. The U.S. military claimed no knowledge of any military missiles or commercial satellite launches, fueling a mystery that made international news. Theories ranged from alien spacecraft to Chinese missiles to top-secret U.S. military experiments.

Many experts appeared in the news media suggested that the UFO was probably a missile of some sort, including retired United States Air Force Lieutenant General Thomas G. McInerney and Michio Kaku, a physics professor at City University of New York (who later reversed his opinion).

In a column for Discovery News, Radford was one of the first journalists to critically analyze the video and correctly identify the UFO or “mystery missile” as an airplane contrail.[33]

The White Witch of Rose Hall (2007)

Rose Hall is a mansion near Montego Bay in Jamaica built in the 1770s, and has a reputation as “one of the most haunted places in the Western Hemisphere.” It is the home to the alleged White Witch of Rose Hall.

Rose Hall is said to be haunted by a woman named Annie Palmer, who allegedly killed three husbands, knew black magic, and was known for her cruelty and sadism. Legend says she was killed in 1831 by a slave, and buried in a tomb not far from the mansion. Psychics and tourists at the site claim to find evidence of Annie Palmer's spirit in the form of "orbs" and "ghost photographs."

In 2007, Radford went to the site and investigated the story behind the alleged White Witch. Through careful investigation and analysis, he showed that the stories about Annie Palmer's ghost could not be true, because she was a fictional character.

In Fortean Times magazine and his book Scientific Paranormal Investigation, Radford published his re-creations of the "ghost photos" taken at Rose Hall, showing that they were instead camera artifacts and reflected flashes, not ghosts.[34][35]

Ben Radford and James Randi at The Amazing Meeting 2012
Ben Radford with James Randi in a panel discussion at The Amaz!ng Meeting 2012

Kansas City gym ghost video (2008)

Radford investigated and solved the mystery of an alleged "ghost video" taken at Anytime Fitness, an all-night fitness club in Overland Park, Kansas in 2008. Surveillance cameras caught the glowing, fuzzy light in a workout area, wandering over the weight benches and fitness machines. The video was circulated on YouTube, generating more than 100,000 hits.[36]

Radford concluded the actual culprit to be merely an insect on the camera lens. His conclusions were based on the several facts: 1) the image only showed up on one of several cameras covering the area, 2) the fuzzy and out-of-focus image indicated that the object was closer rather than farther to the security camera which is designed to focus at longer distances, 3) the image appears to reflecting rather than emitting light, and 4) the image appeared to go over objects in the room rather than going around them.[37][38]

The "Champ" photo (1977)

After investigating claims of a monster in Lake Champlain that has been nicknamed "Champ", Radford, along with Joe Nickell concluded that the object in the famous photo was almost certainly a floating log or tree-trunk.

The photo, taken by Sandra Mansi in 1977, sparked investigations and national interest into the creature allegedly living in Lake Champlain. John Kirk, in his book In the Domain of the Lake Monsters, writes that "The monster of Lake Champlain... has the distinction of being the only lake monster of whom there is a reasonably clear photograph. It... is extremely good evidence of an unidentified lake-dwelling animal".[39] Joe Zarzynski, author of Champ: Beyond the Legend (1984), calls the photo "the best single piece of evidence on Champ."

After examining the original, rarely seen photograph, Radford and Nickell proved via experiment that all of the previous estimates of the object's size were dramatically overstated, concluding that the object was only about 2 m (6.6 ft) long rather than the original estimates of 4.5–20 m (15–66 ft). As well, the object "sank" rather than dove according to the account, and the position of the "head" relative to the rest of the "hump" in the photo didn't allow for enough room for a "neck". Despite having a "head" in the photo, the object didn't have any discernible sense organs or a mouth. Also according to Mansi's account, when being photographed the object did not react to the noise of children playing in the water close by or to shouts. In addition, by Mansi's own account, the surface looked, "like bark".

The results of the Champ and Mansi photo investigation were published in the book Lake Monster Mysteries, as well as in Skeptical Inquirer magazine and Fortean Times magazine. Radford and Nickell re-enacted their experiments and investigation for the Discovery Channel in 1995.[40][41]

Chupacabra (2010)

Radford spent five years investigating the mysterious monster el chupacabra, and came to the conclusion that the monster sightings were inspired by the 1995 film Species and were aided and abetted by faulty eyewitness accounts, lack of forensic knowledge, and mass hysteria. His account of the investigation is detailed in his 2011 book Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore. The investigation included eyewitness interviews, forensic and folkloric research, and "a field expedition to the jungles of Nicaragua" in search of the legendary monster.[42][43]

Similar media-inspired monster sightings have been detailed for the Loch Ness Monster (inspired by scenes depicting a Plesiosaur-like monster in the 1933 King Kong movie)[44] and of the fictional bogey-man Slender Man reported on the talk-radio show Coast to Coast.[45]

Tracking the Chupacabra was a Finalist for two books awards including Book of the Year.[46] According to Outside Magazine, Radford came to the conclusion that the chupacabra "was nothing but a cinematic fever dream."[47]

Dyatlov Pass Deaths (2014)

The 2014 Discovery Channel special Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives explored claims that the Dyatlov group was killed by an enraged Russian yeti. Radford wrote an in-depth review of the show for the Doubtful News website on June 1. He notes that “Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives begins with the premise that the injuries sustained by the skiers were so grave and extraordinary that could only have been inflicted by an inhumanly strong creature.”[48] The show makes much of Ludmila Dubinina's missing tongue and claims that something must have “ripped it out” of her. However, Radford states, “As it happens a tongue-eating Yeti—even assuming it exists—is by far the least likely explanation. The ‘missing parts’ aspect of this case is a familiar one to skeptics, and has been invoked in countless other ‘unsolved’ mysteries including the chupacabra, cattle mutilations, Satanic animal sacrifices, and aliens. Typically a mystery is mongered by those unfamiliar with—or who intentionally ignore—ordinary predation and decomposition. Lots of animals both big and small scavenge on the soft parts of dead bodies. Another possibility is that Dubinina was caught in an avalanche and the force of the snow and rocks caused her tongue to be bitten off as she yelled and tumbled down the ravine where she was eventually found.”[48]

Radford states that “Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives and [host] Mike Libecki would have us believe that the nine skiers had an encounter with a Yeti, which they not only saw and photographed but stalked them. And yet none of the skiers mentioned anything else about the Yeti, or their shock at having photographed the creature. In fact, if Libecki it to be believed, their encounter with a Yeti was such an insignificant event that they didn't mention it at all in their journals, and continued their journey uninterrupted.”[48] At the end of the show, after all the manufactured drama and running around, Libecki admits that he found no real evidence that the Yeti exists, much less that it was responsible for the deaths of nine Russian skiers in 1959.

Radford’s theory “is that the group woke up in a panic on that fateful night and cut their way out the tent either because an avalanche had covered the entrance to their tent or because they were scared that an avalanche was imminent and that was the fastest way for all of them to get out quickly (better to have a potentially repairable slit in a tent than risk being buried alive in it under tons of snow). They were poorly clothed because they had been sleeping, and ran to the safety of the nearby woods where trees would help slow oncoming snow. In the darkness of night they got separated into two or three groups; one group made a fire (hence the burned hands) while the others tried to return to the tent to recover their clothing, since the danger had apparently passed. But it was too cold, and they all froze to death before they could locate their tent in the darkness. At some point some of the clothes may have been recovered or swapped from the dead, but at any rate the group of four whose bodies were most severely damaged were caught in an avalanche and buried under 13 feet of snow (more than enough to account for the 'compelling natural force' the medical examiner described). Dubinina’s tongue was likely removed by scavengers and ordinary predation. We will of course never know what, exactly, happened, but... the cause of the deaths of the skiers is not mysterious or ‘unknown’ as is often suggested. It is in fact clear from the medical examiner's report: hypothermia, or freezing to death. There's really no reason to question the conclusion of the investigators who had first-hand access to all the available evidence at the time. Exactly what caused them to them flee their tent can be speculated upon endlessly, but there's no reason to assume that anything unknown or mysterious caused it. In the absence of evidence one wild theory is as good as the next.”[49]

Films

Clicker Clatter poster
Clicker Clatter poster

In addition to his skeptical work, Radford has written and directed several animated short films. In Sirens (2009), "A young boy in a small-town library avoids his math homework and is instead drawn into the world of the mythological Sirens, beautiful women who lured sailors to their doom."[50]

Radford's 2007 feature, Clicker Clatter, is a satire described as "an animated short that exposes television and TV journalism for the wasteland that it is. From scare-of-the-week programming to Katie Couric's stupid interview questions, inane drug ads, randy rhinos, 'boob terrorism,' and the frustration of scrambled porn, nothing is safe in this sharp satire."[51]

Both films screened at film festivals around the world, and Clicker Clatter won the “Best Traditional Animation” award at the 2007 California International Animation Festival. Clicker Clatter has an online distributor and can be seen at SnagFilms.com.[52]

Board games

Playing Gods

In 2008 Radford released Playing Gods: The Board Game of Divine Domination, a satirical board game he created based on theme of gods warring over the control of believers. The game is described as a "theological version of Risk" and contains figures based on Jesus, Moses, Buddha and many other religions including satirical religions like the Flying Spaghetti Monster and J. R. Bob Dobbs. The game made its world premiere at the New York Toy Fair in March 2009 and debuted at Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Georgia.[53] Playing Gods is produced through Radford's company, Balls Out Entertainment.[53][54]

Australia's Synergy Magazine reported Playing Gods has "some of the nicest pawns I have ever seen in a board game... has great game play and comes with a smart, cynical and satirical tone. Playing Gods is blasphemy with style and offers a great board game with a good dose of insight and a great load of fun!”.[55] Other players have praised the game as "one of the coolest and most important things to happen to parlor games",[56] and "awesome, and damned funny.. it's Candyland for people who want the express train to hell".[57] Carl Raschke, professor of religious studies at University of Denver, criticized Radford's board game telling USA Today that the game "sounds too stupid to go far".[58]

Undead Apocalypse

In 2013, Radford released plans for a followup to the Playing Gods board game, entitled Undead Apocalypse: War of the Damned.[59][60] It would have integrated genuine lore concerning werewolves, vampires and zombies into the board game.[61] A Kickstarter campaign to fund the game was launched in June 2013, but was cancelled when it became clear it would not fully fund.[62]

Selected bibliography

  • Bartholomew, Robert; Radford, Benjamin (2003), Hoaxes, Myths, and Manias: Why We Need Critical Thinking, Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, p. 229, ISBN 978-1591020486
  • Radford, Benjamin (2003), Media Mythmakers : How Journalists, Activists, and Advertisers Mislead Us, Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, p. 324, ISBN 978-1591020721
  • Radford, Benjamin; Nickell, Joe (2006), Lake Monster Mysteries : Investigating the World's Most Elusive Creatures, Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, p. 208, ISBN 978-0813123943
  • Radford, Benjamin (2010), Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries, Rhombus Publishing Company, p. 312, ISBN 978-0936455112
  • Radford, Benjamin (2011), Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore, University of New Mexico Press, p. 288, ISBN 978-0826350152
  • Bartholomew, Robert; Radford, Benjamin (2011), The Martians Have Landed! A History of Media-Driven Panics and Hoaxes, McFarland and Co., p. 254, ISBN 978-0786464982
  • Radford, Benjamin (2014), Mysterious New Mexico: Miracles, Magic, and Monsters in the Land of Enchantment, University of New Mexico Press, p. 304, ISBN 978-0826354501
  • Radford, Benjamin (2016), Bad Clowns, University of New Mexico Press, p. 188, ISBN 978-0-8263-5666-6
  • Radford, Benjamin (2017), Investigating Ghosts: The Scientific Search for Spirits, Rhombus Publishing Company, pp. 396 (Kindle edition), ASIN B0788YCFHP

References

  1. ^ "2017 Independent Publisher Book Awards National Medalists". 21st annual IPPY awards. Independent Publisher. Archived from the original on 19 June 2017. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  2. ^ Shone, Colton. "Recent scary clown trend nothing new, expert said". KOB 4. Archived from the original on 2016-10-18. Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  3. ^ Radford, Benjamin (January 29, 2004), Investigating a Haunted House – Amherst, New York, GhostVillage.com, archived from the original on August 10, 2009, retrieved March 26, 2009
  4. ^ Nott, Robert (October 31, 2014). "Things that go bump in the night". Santa Fe New Mexican.
  5. ^ Gerbic, Susan (3 Feb 2017). "Local Skeptical Outreach & Activism: Monterey County Skepticamp". Archived from the original on 18 Sep 2017.
  6. ^ Radford, Benjamin (2010). Scientific Paranormal Investigation. Rhombus Publishing. p. 192.
  7. ^ Radford, Benjamin (April 15, 2005), The Amityville Horror, snopes.com, retrieved February 16, 2014
  8. ^ Radford, Benjamin (July 21, 2007), The Ten Percent Myth, snopes.com, retrieved February 16, 2014
  9. ^ "Meet the Skeptics!: Meet Ben Radford". Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  10. ^ a b Radford, Benjamin (2010). Scientific Paranormal Investigation. Rhombus Publishing. pp. 42–51.
  11. ^ "MISINFORMATION IN EATING DISORDER COMMUNICATIONS: IMPLICATIONS FOR SCIENCE COMMUNICATION POLICY" (PDF). July 2013. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  12. ^ Radford, Ben (2018). "Medical Misinformation in the Media: Is Anorexia on the Rise?". Skeptical Inquirer. 42 (1): 46–49.
  13. ^ "A Glimpse Backward". Skeptical Inquirer. Vol. 40 no. 6. November–December 2016. Archived from the original on 2017-03-06. Retrieved 2017-03-07.
  14. ^ "Pensar - Quiénes Somos". www.pensar.org. Archived from the original on 2016-10-09. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  15. ^ "Monster Talk". Skeptic Magazine. 2008-10-28. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  16. ^ "2012 Parsec Awards Winners & Finalists". Parsec Awards. Archived from the original on 2012-09-08. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  17. ^ "CSI Fellows and Staff - CSI". www.csicop.org. Archived from the original on 2017-01-31. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  18. ^ "American Folklore Society 2011 Annual Meeting" (PDF). www.afsnet.org. American Folklore Society. p. 22. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-07-05. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  19. ^ Radford, Benjamin (2014-07-31). "Indian Woman Beaten to Death for 'Witchcraft'". Live Science. Archived from the original on 2014-08-03. Retrieved 2017-09-26.
  20. ^ Radford, Ben (2014-09-17). "Bring Back Our Girls? Boko Haram and the Forgotten Captives". Seeker.com. Archived from the original on 2017-09-26. Retrieved 2017-09-26.
  21. ^ Radford, Benjamin (2012-02-28). "Oscar-Winning Film Highlights Acid Attack Domestic Violence". Center For Inquiry. Archived from the original on 2013-04-16. Retrieved 2017-09-26.
  22. ^ Radford, Ben (2015-02-25). "'Witchcraft' Used to Fight Sex Trafficking in Africa". Seeker. Archived from the original on 2016-12-17. Retrieved 2017-09-26.
  23. ^ Mayberry, Carly. "National author to keynote Monterey County Skeptics' third annual SkeptiCamp". Montereyherald.com. Monterey Herald. Archived from the original on 8 January 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  24. ^ Radford, Ben (2018). "Caught Between the Possible and the Paranormal". Skeptical Inquirer. 42 (5): 30–31.
  25. ^ "New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards 2018 Winners" (PDF). New Mexico Book Co-op. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  26. ^ "Squaring the Strange". squaringthestrange.libsyn.com. Squaring the Strange. Archived from the original on 15 October 2017. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  27. ^ Gerbic, Susan. "GSoW in the Land of Enchantment". scicop.org. Center for Inquiry. Archived from the original on May 22, 2018. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  28. ^ Radford, Benjamin; Bartholomew, Robert PhD (February 2001), "Pokémon Contagion: Photosensitive Epilepsy or Mass Psychogenic Illness?", Southern Medical Journal, 94 (2): 197–204, doi:10.1097/00007611-200194020-00005, ISSN 0038-4348, OCLC 1766196, PMID 11235034, archived from the original on 2012-09-09, retrieved March 26, 2009
  29. ^ Radford, Benjamin (Sep–Oct 2007), "Santa Fe 'Courthouse Ghost' Mystery Solved", Skeptical Inquirer, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, 31 (5), ISSN 0194-6730, archived from the original on December 3, 2010, retrieved October 23, 2010
  30. ^ Radford, Benjamin (June 21, 2007), "EXCLUSIVE: Courthouse 'Ghost' Video Mystery Solved", LiveScience, archived from the original on July 8, 2008, retrieved March 26, 2009
  31. ^ SFNM: What was it at the Santa Fe Courthouse? on YouTube
  32. ^ "Mystery Rocket Launched Off Californian Coast [UPDATE]". news.discovery.com. 9 November 2010. Archived from the original on 5 June 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  33. ^ "Examining Official Explanation of the Mystery 'Missile'". Discovery News. Archived from the original on 2012-01-18. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
  34. ^ Radford, Benjamin (September 2008), "The White Witch of Rose Hall", Fortean Times (239), ISSN 0308-5899
  35. ^ Jill Stefko, "The White Witch of Rose Hall", Suite101.com (site blocked)
  36. ^ "Is Light Caught On Camera A Ghost?". Youtube.com. September 24, 2008. Archived from the original on July 6, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  37. ^ Radford, Benjamin (October 14, 2008), "Kansas Gym Ghost Mystery Solved", LiveScience, archived from the original on November 20, 2008, retrieved March 26, 2009
  38. ^ Radford, Benjamin (January–February 2009), "Kansas Gym Ghost Video Mystery Solved", Skeptical Inquirer, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, 33 (1), ISSN 0194-6730
  39. ^ Kirk, John (1998), In the Domain of the Lake Monsters, Toronto: Key Porter Books, p. 133, ISBN 978-1-55263-010-5
  40. ^ Radford, Benjamin (April 2004), "Lake Champlain Monster", Fortean Times (182), ISSN 0308-5899, archived from the original on February 21, 2014, retrieved February 20, 2014
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External links

Aztec, New Mexico, UFO incident

The Aztec, New Mexico, UFO incident (sometimes known as the "other Roswell") was a flying saucer crash alleged to have happened in 1948 in Aztec, New Mexico. The story was first published in 1949 by author Frank Scully in his Variety magazine columns, and later in his 1950 book "Behind the Flying Saucers". In the mid 1950s, the story was exposed as a hoax fabricated by two confidence men, Silas M. Newton and Leo A. Gebauer as part of a fraudulent scheme to sell supposed alien technology. Beginning in the 1970s, some Ufologists resurrected the story in books claiming the purported crash was real. In 2013, an FBI memo claimed by some Ufologists to substantiate the crash story was dismissed by the bureau as "a second- or third-hand claim that we never investigated".

Champ (folklore)

In American folklore, Champ or Champy is the name of a lake monster said to live in Lake Champlain, a 125-mile (201 km)-long body of fresh water shared by New York and Vermont, with a portion extending into Quebec, Canada. The legend of the monster is considered a draw for tourism in the Burlington, Vermont and Plattsburgh, New York areas.

Chupacabra

The chupacabra or chupacabras (Spanish pronunciation: [tʃupaˈkaβɾas], literally "goat-sucker"; from chupar, "to suck", and cabra, "goat") is a legendary creature in the folklore of parts of the Americas, with its first purported sightings reported in Puerto Rico. The name comes from the animal's reported habit of attacking and drinking the blood of livestock, including goats.

Physical descriptions of the creature vary. It is purportedly a heavy creature, the size of a small bear, with a row of spines reaching from the neck to the base of the tail.

Eyewitness sightings have been claimed in Puerto Rico, and have since been reported as far north as Maine, and as far south as Chile, and even being spotted outside the Americas in countries like Russia and the Philippines, but many of the reports have been disregarded as uncorroborated or lacking evidence. Sightings in northern Mexico and the southern United States have been verified as canids afflicted by mange. According to biologists and wildlife management officials, the chupacabra is an urban legend.

Creationist museum

A creationist museum is a facility that hosts exhibits which use the established natural history museum format to present a young Earth creationist view that the Earth and life on Earth were created some 6,000 to 10,000 years ago in six days. These facilities generally promote pseudoscientific Biblical literalist creationism and contest evolutionary science, which has led to heavy criticism from the scientific community.

Energy Catalyzer

The Energy Catalyzer (also called E-Cat) is a claimed cold fusion reactor devised by inventor Andrea Rossi with support from the late physicist Sergio Focardi. An Italian patent, which received a formal but not a technical examination, describes the apparatus as a "process and equipment to obtain exothermal reactions, in particular from nickel and hydrogen". Rossi and Focardi said the device worked by infusing heated hydrogen into nickel powder, transmuting it into copper and producing excess heat. An international patent application received an unfavorable international preliminary report on patentability in 2011 because it was adjudged to "offend against the generally accepted laws of physics and established theories".The device has been the subject of demonstrations and tests several times, and commented on by various academics and others, but no independent tests have been made, and no peer-reviewed tests have been published. Steve Featherstone wrote in Popular Science that by the summer of 2012 Rossi's "outlandish claims" for the E-Cat seemed "thoroughly debunked".

Ghost Hunters (TV series)

Ghost Hunters is an American paranormal reality television series that premiered on October 6, 2004, on Syfy (previously the Sci-Fi Channel) and ran until October 26, 2016. The program features paranormal investigators Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, who investigate places that are reported to be haunted. The two originally worked as plumbers for Roto-Rooter as a day job while investigating locations at night. In June 2016, Jason Hawes announced that Ghost Hunters would be ending their relationship with the SyFy channel at the conclusion of its eleventh season, which aired later that year.The series is unrelated to the original 1996 Inca Productions' Ghosthunters produced for the Discovery Channel. The format was sold to Pilgrim Films & Television in the United States to become Ghost Hunters. The only link between the two series is presenter Ian Cashmore who anchored the European series. Cashmore piloted the U.S. show, but chose not to remain part of the U.S. venture after he filmed the promos.

Giant penguin hoax

The giant penguin is a creature allegedly seen in Florida during the 1940s. The legend has no scientific merit and is at least partly documented to have been a hoax.

KiMo Theater

The KiMo Theatre is a theatre and historic landmark located in Albuquerque, New Mexico on the northeast corner of Central Avenue and Fifth Street. It was built in 1927 in the extravagant Art Deco-Pueblo Revival Style architecture, which is a blend of adobe building styles (rounded corners and edges), decorative motifs from indigenous cultures, and the soaring lines and linear repetition found in American Art Deco architecture.

List of scientific skeptics

This is a list of notable people that promote or practice scientific skepticism. In general, they favor science and are opposed to pseudoscience and quackery. They are generally skeptical of parapsychology, the paranormal, and alternative medicine.

James Alcock, psychologist. Author of several skeptical books and articles.

Isaac Asimov, biochemist, author. Wrote or edited over 500 popular science, other nonfiction, and science fiction books, including the Foundation series. Founding member of CSICOP (now CSI).

Robert A. Baker, psychologist, author. Wrote books on ghosts, alien abductions and false memory syndrome.

Banachek, mentalist. participant in Project Alpha. Real name Steve Shaw

Stephen Barrett, psychiatrist. Cofounder of the National Council Against Health Fraud, critic of alternative medicine. Founder of the Quackwatch website.

Barry Beyerstein, psychologist. Founding member of CSICOP (now CSI).

Susan Blackmore, parapsychologist. Author, lecturer, and broadcaster.

Maarten Boudry, philosopher and author.

Derren Brown, mentalist, critic of alleged psychics and spiritual mediums.

Robert Todd Carroll, philosopher. Author of The Skeptic's Dictionary book and website.

Milbourne Christopher, magician. Founding member of CSICOP (now CSI).

Derek Colanduno and Robynn McCarthy, co-hosts of the podcast Skepticality: The Official Podcast of Skeptic Magazine.

David Colquhoun, pharmacologist and author of the website Improbable Science.

Brian Cox, physicist

Narendra Dabholkar, author and the founder-president of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti.

Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist and author known for promoting the gene-centric view of evolution (in his book The Selfish Gene), coining of the term meme, and atheist activism.

Perry DeAngelis, co-founder and former executive director of the New England Skeptical Society, co-founder and former co-host of the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast.

Daniel Dennett, philosopher. Author of Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life and Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon.

Jared Diamond, scientist, author and member of the editorial board of Skeptic.

Ann Druyan, popular science author and current head of the Planetary Society. Widow of the astronomer Carl Sagan.

Brian Dunning, writer and producer with focus on science and skepticism, host of Skeptoid podcast, as well as a Skeptoid spin-off video series, inFact, and producer of educational films on the subject of critical thinking.

Mark Edward, formerly worked as a psychic, currently exposes psychics and is the author of a tell-all book on that subject, member of editorial board of The Skeptics Society, invented the term Guerrilla Skepticism.

Richard Feynman, theoretical physicist known for his work in quantum mechanics.

Kendrick Frazier, Editor of the Skeptical Inquirer.

Martin Gardner, author, recreational mathematician. Writer of the long-running 'Mathematical Games' column in Scientific American, and a longstanding columnist for the Skeptical Inquirer. Founding member of CSICOP (now CSI).

Pamela L. Gay, astronomer, co-host of Astronomy Cast, assistant research professor in the STEM center at SIUE and project director for CosmoQuest.

Susan Gerbic, the founder of Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia which has the mission of improving the skeptical content of Wikipedia.

Ben Goldacre, physician, journalist. Author of the "Bad Science" column in The Guardian (UK newspaper).

David Gorski, surgical oncologist. A.k.a. Orac of Respectful Insolence. Critic of complimentary and alternative medicine.

Stephen Jay Gould, paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, historian of science, Harvard University.

Natalie Grams, German physician, writer, scientific skeptic, former homeopath, author of Homeopathy Reconsidered — What Really Helps Patients (in German)

Harriet A. Hall, physician, former US Air Force flight surgeon. Critic of alternative medicine and quackery.

Sven Ove Hansson, philosopher. Founding Chairperson of the Swedish Skeptics (Vetenskap och Folkbildning) and Editor of the organisation's journal Folkvett.

Sam Harris, neuroscientist and author.

Sharon A. Hill, founder of Doubtful News, a news site that links synopses and commentary to original news sources, and provides information to critically assess claims made in the media. She is also producer and host of the 15 Credibility Street podcast.

Christopher Hitchens, journalist and author.

Douglas Hofstadter, physicist, artificial intelligence researcher. Author of Pulitzer Prize-winning book Gödel, Escher, Bach: The Eternal Golden Braid and Scientific American column "Metamagical Themas".

Harry Houdini, magician. Critic of Modern Spiritualism who exposed fraudulent psychics and mediums and publicized their methods.

George Hrab American skeptical musician, podcaster, speaker and emcee at The Amaz!ng Meeting

Ray Hyman, psychologist, critic of parapsychology. Longstanding contributor to the Skeptical Inquirer. Founding member of CSICOP (now CSI).

Jamie Hyneman, co-creator of the TV show MythBusters.

Leo Igwe, Nigerian human rights advocate.

Edward Jenner, English physician and scientist who pioneered smallpox vaccine.

Penn Jillette magician, half of Penn & Teller duo. Co-creator and co-host of the television series Bullshit!

Teller, magician, other half of Penn & Teller duo. Co-creator and co-host of the television series Bullshit!

Barry Karr, Executive Director for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry

Philip J. Klass, aerospace journalist. Known for his investigations of UFOs. Longstanding contributor to the Skeptical Inquirer. Founding member of CSICOP (now CSI).

Paul Kurtz, philosopher, author. Founder of CSICOP (now CSI), Publisher of the Skeptical Inquirer.

Michael Leunig, cartoonist.

Ash Lieb, artist, comedian and writer.

Scott Lilienfeld, professor of psychology, author, Consulting Editor for Skeptical Inquirer and Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Fellow

Pat Linse, illustrator. Cofounder of the Skeptics Society, Copublisher and Art Director of Skeptic magazine. Creator of Junior Skeptic magazine.

Daniel Loxton, illustrator, writer. Editor of Junior Skeptic magazine (bound into Skeptic magazine).

Tim Minchin, comedian, musician, actor. Has many songs illustrating his skepticism, most notably, Storm.

Rob Nanninga, writer and editor of Skepter.

Joe Nickell, investigator of the paranormal, author. Columnist for the Skeptical Inquirer.

Steven Novella, neurologist. Founder of the New England Skeptical Society and host of The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast.

James Oberg, aerospace journalist. Critic of UFOs and claims of a moon landing hoax.

Robert L. Park, physicist, and author of Voodoo Science.

Massimo Pigliucci, professor of philosophy at City University of New York and co-host of the skeptical podcast, Rationally Speaking.

Steven Pinker, Canadian experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, linguist, popular science author, Harvard College Professor and advocate of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind.

Philip Plait, astronomer, author. Founder of the Bad Astronomy website.

Massimo Polidoro, writer, journalist. Student of James Randi, Co-Founder and Executive Director of CICAP, Research Fellow of CSICOP (now CSI).

Basava Premanand publisher of the Indian Skeptic magazine and chairman of the Indian CSICOP.

Benjamin Radford, Managing Editor of the Skeptical Inquirer, co-host of Squaring the Strange podcast.

James Randi, magician. Founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation. Notable for offering a million dollar cash reward for verifiable demonstration under laboratory conditions of any paranormal ability or event. Conceived and directed Project Alpha. Founding member of CSICOP (now CSI).

Pascual Romero, co-host of the Squaring the Strange podcast, providing evidence-based analysis and commentary on a variety of paranormal topics.

Emily Rosa, Guinness World Record youngest medical researcher; at age 11, published her study in the Journal of the American Medical Association on therapeutic touch, showing practitioners couldn't feel the "human energy field" when not looking.

Carl Sagan, astronomer, popular science author, and media personality. Advocate for SETI, founder of the Planetary Society, host of the TV series Cosmos and author of The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. Founding member of CSICOP (now CSI).

Cara Santa Maria, a science communicator, journalist, producer, television host, and podcaster. She currently is a co-host on The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast, and hosts her own podcast Talk Nerdy.

Adam Savage, co-creator of the TV series MythBusters.

Eugenie Scott, anthropologist. Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), critic of creationism and intelligent design.

Robert Sheaffer, author. UFO investigator, columnist for the Skeptical Inquirer.

Michael Shermer, historian, popular science author, founder of the Skeptics Society. Copublisher and Editor of Skeptic magazine. Also current writer for the Scientific American column "Skeptic".

Simon Singh, popular British science author.

Julia Sweeney, actress, comedian, author and performer of Letting Go of God.

Jamy Ian Swiss, magician, co-founder of the National Capital Area Skeptics; co-founder of the New York City Skeptics; contributor to Skeptic magazine; co-producer and on-stage host of Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism. on board of San Diego Association for Rational Inquiry (aka San Diego Skeptics).

Marcello Truzzi, sociologist. First editor of the Skeptical Inquirer. Critic of organized skepticism. Founding member of CSICOP (now CSI).

Rebecca Watson, founder of Skepchick blog.

Richard Wiseman, psychologist.

Paul Zenon, magician and comedian.

Menk

In Mansi folklore, the menk is a forest spirit of Khanty mythology. The Mansi are an indigenous people living in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Russia.

Ogopogo

In Canadian folklore, Ogopogo or Naitaka (Salish: n'ha-a-itk, "spirit of the lake") is a lake monster reported to live in Okanagan Lake, in British Columbia, Canada. Ogopogo has been allegedly seen by First Nations people since the 19th century. The most common description of Ogopogo is a 40 to 50-foot-long (12 to 15 m) sea serpent resembling an extinct Basilosaurus or Mosasaurus. Skeptic Benjamin Radford notes that “these First Nations stories were not referring to a literal lake monster like Ogopogo, but instead to a legendary water spirit.”

Orang Minyak

In Malay ghost beliefs, The Orang Minyak is a supernatural creature coated with shiny black grease who abducts young women by night. Orang Minyak literally means oily man in Malay.

Popobawa

Popobawa, also Popo Bawa, is the name of an evil spirit or shetani, which is believed by residents of Zanzibar to have first appeared on the Tanzanian island of Pemba. In 1995, it was the focus of a major outbreak of mass hysteria or panic which spread from Pemba to Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar archipelago, and across to Dar es Salaam and other urban centres on the East African coast.

Radford (surname)

Radford is an English toponymic surname deriving from one of several places in England named "Radford", chief among these being Radford, Coventry and Radford, Nottingham. The most closely related surname to Radford is "Radforth", while a common variant is "Redford".Notable people sharing this surname include:

Born in 19th CenturyArthur W. Radford (1896–1973), Admiral in United States Navy

Basil Radford (1897–1952), English actor

Dollie Radford (1858–1920), English poet and author

Edmund Ashworth Radford (1881–1944), English Conservative political figure

Ernest Radford (1857–1919), English poet

George Heynes Radford (1845–1917), British Liberal political figure

Henry Radford (1896–1972), English athlete in cricket

Lewis Radford (1869–1937), English Anglican bishop and author

Paul Radford (1861–1945), United States athlete in baseball

Wally Radford (1886–1943), English athlete in football

William Radford (1808–1890), Admiral in United States Navy

William Radford (politician) (1814–1870), United States political figureBorn in 20th CenturyAlbert Ernest Radford (1918–2006), United States academic and botanist

Andy Radford (1944–2006), British Anglican bishop, Bishop of Taunton

Barbara Radford, British figure skater

Benjamin Radford (born 1970), United States science writer and journalist

Bob Radford (1943–2004), Australian cricket administrator

Brendan Radford (fl. 1990s-present), Australian musician

Brian Radford (fl. 1950s), Welsh athlete in rugby

Charlie Radford (1900–1924), British athlete in football

Elaine Radford (born 1958), United States author

Eric Radford (born 1985), Canadian athlete in figure skating

Glen Radford (born 1962), Zambian-born South African athlete in cricket

Howard Radford (born 1930), Welsh athlete in football

Jim Radford (born 1928), British D-Day veteran, peace campaigner and folk-singer

John Radford (footballer) (born 1947), English athlete in football

John Radford (broadcaster) (fl. 1980s), Canadian director of radio and television stations

Kristine Kunce (born 1970), Australian athlete in tennis, also known as Kristine Radford

Lee Radford (born 1979), English athlete in rugby

Luis Radford (fl. 2000s), Canadian educator

Mark Radford (basketball) (born 1959), American former National Basketball Association player

Mark Radford (footballer) (born 1968), English former footballer

Michael Radford (born 1946), English film director and screenwriter

Natalie Radford (born 1966), Canadian actress

Neal Radford (born 1957), North Rhodesia (now Zambia)-n born English athlete in cricket

Peter Radford (born 1939), English athlete in track

Phil Radford (b. 1970s), United States environmental activist, director of Greenpeace

Ralegh Radford (1900–1999), English archaeologist

Richard A. Radford (1939-2006), British-born American economist, notable for his article on POW camp economics

Robert Radford (1874–1933), English-born United States musician

Robert Radford (footballer) (1900-?), English athlete in football

Ron Radford (born 1949), Australian art museum curator

Ronald Radford (fl. 1990s-present), United States musician (flamenco guitar)

Ronnie Radford (born 1943), English athlete in football

Rosemary Radford Ruether (born 1936), United States academic and theologian

Sheri Radford (fl. 1990s-present), Canadian author

Steve Radford (born 1957), British Liberal political figure

Toby Radford (born 1971), Welsh athlete in cricket

Wayne Radford (born 1956), United States athlete in basketball

Wayne Radford (cricketer) (born 1958), Zambian-born South African athlete in cricket

Santa Fe courthouse ghost

The Santa Fe courthouse ghost event was a purported ghost sighted on a video captured by a security camera at a courthouse in Santa Fe, New Mexico on June 15, 2007. Once the "ghost video" was uploaded onto YouTube it quickly attracted widespread attention and many improbable suggestions as to its origin. Benjamin Radford, a managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer investigated the sighting and concluded that the origin of the ghost was nothing more than a bug crawling across the camera lens.

The Skeptic (UK magazine)

The Skeptic is a British magazine and is billed as "the UK’s longest running and foremost sceptical magazine, which examines science, skepticism, secularism, critical thinking and claims of the paranormal."

Thetis Lake Monster

The Thetis Lake Monster is a legendary creature and admitted hoax of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. In 1972, two teenage boys claimed to see a monster emerge from Thetis Lake beach. The description of the creature that the teenagers gave matched the description of the Gill-man from the 1954 movie Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Tracking the Chupacabra

Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction and Folklore is a non-fiction book by Benjamin Radford, an American writer and investigator. The book documents Radford's five-year investigation into accounts of the chupacabra. The chupacabra is said to be a vampiric predatory animal that drains the blood of animal victims while avoiding human detection.

White Witch of Rose Hall

The White Witch is a legendary story of a haunting in Jamaica.

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