In the Media


Is the Arizona Cardinals’ Title Drought the Result of a Curse?” The New York Times, January 14, 2022.

download-1  “Tod durch Hypnose” (pd), Neue Zürcher Zeitung, May 2, 2021.

“‘Healing’ crystals are having a pandemic moment. But science says they’re just pretty stones.” Washington Post, April 1, 2021.

download  “Le hasard fait bien des chose” a review of “Pour Quoi Moi? Hasard Dans Tous Ses Éstats” Le Monde, January 15, 2021. [pdf]

New-York-Times-emblem.jpg “Do you believe in magic: I do. New York TimesJuly 1, 2018

icon.1500x1500.png “What Your Ability to Handle Horror Movies Says About You,” The Cut, June 14, 2018.

download.png “Immunity dog: the canine with magical powers protecting Twitter users from death,” New Statesman, August 31, 2017.

New-York-Times-emblem.jpg “Why I Wrote This Article on Malcolm Gladwell’s Keyboard,” New York Times, June 2, 2017.

associated_press_logo_2012-svg “Exorcising the Cubs’ curse and the psychology of baseball superstitions,” Associated Press, October 7, 2016.

imgres  “Why Americans are some of the world’s worst savers,”, April 14, 2016.

logo  “Want to get pregnant? Sit here.”, December 4, 2015.

yahoo-health-logo-e1422035820444 “America’s Top Superstitions — And Where They Come From” Yahoo! Health, October 21, 2015.

dribbble_vox_large  ”Charlie, Charlie, are you there?” Why teens are summoning demons, explained.” Vox, June 5, 2015.

imgres  “The Odd Superstition Behind Birthmarks” The Atlantic, April 8, 2015.

imgres-3 “Why that ‘Facebook copyright’ hoax will never, ever die” The Washington Post, January 6, 2015.

imgres “The Enduring Scariness of the Mad Scientist” The Atlantic, October 29, 2014.

imgres-1  “Why You Believe In Ghosts, Even Though You Know Better” Huffington Post, October 30, 2014.

logo_prweb  “Why are Americans Going Broke? A New Investigation Dives into U.S Consumer Spending”, June 26, 2013.


p4i-qwxu “Are You Superstitious?” Chronicle, WCBV TV, Boston, October 7, 2016.

imgres-7  “Political Superstitions On Electoral DayHuffPost Live, November 6, 2012.

imgres-4  “Origins of Friday the 13th FearsCBS Sunday Morning, January 13, 2012.

newshour-logo-hires   “Americans” Reliance on Credit Leads Many Into DebtPBS NewsHour, August 18, 2008.


imgres   Triskaidekaphobia and Superstitions, The Show About Science, April 3, 2016.

imgres-6    “Friday The 13th: Are You Superstitious?The Joy Cardin Show, Wisconsin Public Radio, December 13, 2013.

imgres-5    “Science and Pseudoscience,” NPR”s Science Friday, August 29, 2003.

Recent Posts

Train Wrecks, Pods, and Future Talks

As John Prine would say, Summer’s end is around the bend just flying / The swimming suits are on the line just drying.

My latest article for Skeptical Inquirer is a review of the status of subliminal messages and psychological priming research in general. This has been a particularly controversial and fraught area, and it was useful to see where things stand at the moment. (Spoiler alert!) I conclude that there is some hope for science to straighten things out before long.

Recently I spent a very pleasant hour on the “Why Do We Do That?” podcast talking to psychologist Ryan Moyer about my book The Uses of Delusion. Among other things, I learned that my first book, Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition, was an influence on Ryan’s dissertation research. This is a relatively new podcast, but so far it seems terrific. You can listen to the episode here.

For anyone who might be in the Philadelphia area, I will be giving what will probably be my last public presentation on The Uses of Delusion for PhACT, the Philadelphia Association for Critical Thinking, on September 17th. I have given a few talks for PhACT before, but they were all over Zoom. So it will be a great pleasure to finally meet these people in person. The talk is free and open to the public, and you can find the details here.

Finally, my second book of 2022 launches on October 17th. Stonington’s Steamboat Hotel is a history of the building I live in, now locally known as The Heartbreak Hotel. As I discovered somewhat by accident during the dark days of the pandemic, the Steamboat Hotel has a very colorful history, and almost before I knew it, I was writing a manuscript which The History Press has now agreed to publish. I am giving all my proceeds for the book to the Stonington Historical Society, without whom I could not have written the book.

The official launch of the book will be at the LaGrua Center in Stonington, CT at 6:00 pm on October 19th. On that occasion, I will give a talk entitled “Liquor & Temperance in the Borough,” which is the topic of one of the chapters. Traditionally, hotels have been a popular location for drinking, and they often came into conflict with advocates of temperance and prohibition. In this regard, the Steamboat Hotel was no exception. Copies of the book will be on sale at the event, and there is a plan for some beverages to complement the talk. I am really looking forward to this gathering and hope anyone in the area will consider attending.

That’s it for now.


  1. The Character of Science Podcast & Stonington Library Talk Video Leave a reply
  2. Stonington Library Talk, etc. Leave a reply
  3. Book Launch & Room Rater Leave a reply
  4. Friday the 13th, the Shermer Show, & #1 Leave a reply
  5. Zoom Book Talk & Friday May 13th Event Leave a reply
  6. Book Launch & the Autism Spectrum Leave a reply
  7. Steamboat Hotel Talk & Spanish Reviews Leave a reply
  8. Mass Psychogenic Illness & The Steamboat Hotel Leave a reply
  9. Jumping to Conclusions & Sports Curses Leave a reply