One of my favorite magazines is Fortean Times from the UK. I adore it so much I recently purchased dozens of back issues just to have as reference. When I tell some people how much I love it, they often laugh since they think it is credulous, pro-paranormal silliness. They are wrong. Skeptical scholars, experts, academics, and other professionals contribute to the journal these days. It contains not only original, referenced research but also several informational gems that astonish and please me greatly each issue.
I suspect their regular readers may cringe at being lauded on this particular website, but my praise and enjoyment of FT is genuine. Other than the outstanding coverage of weird news and excellent features I can’t find anyplace else, let me give you just one example of why this is a fine and often “skeptical” mag.
The H.A. ends the piece by concluding:
Maybe, for their own weird reasons, aliens are indeed abducting people. But the evidence as adduced by the leading proponents of that idea seems sadly weak - indeed, like them, it seems altogether sad.
I mention my love for FT to remind several Forteans that I am not an evil skeptic. I share a huge overlap in interest with you. Granted, my threshold for acceptable evidence is much higher, I still am curious and want to know more about the “damned data” and anomalous phenomena that Charles Fort so lovingly documented.
Some in the Fortean and paranormal circles will use a very inelegant term for us “Skeptics” (said with a sneer): “skeptidebunkers” (or “skeptedebunkers” with a myriad of variations including “skeptibunker,” “skeptdebunker,” “skepti-debunker,” “skeptybunker”, etc., with a ‘c’ replacing the ‘k’ for UK versions of “sceptic”).
It’s said that UFOlogist Stanton Friedman coined the original version “skeptidebunker" (though I can find no confirmation of this) to reference people who thought his ideas were ridiculous.
Today Team Skeptidebunkers include (the late) Carl Sagan, James "The Amazing" Randi, Joe Nickell, Michael Shermer, (the late) Paul Kurtz, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and everyone associated with CSI (the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, formerly known as CSICOP).
This characterization says that the skeptidebunker believes “paranormal phenomena is nothing but frauds, hoaxes, and otherwise pointless stupidity and claims of the paranormal are never (and will never be) substantiated. Their minds are made up... regardless of any evidence to the contrary.”
Quite the straw man they have created!
There are many armchair “skeptics” who are quick to dismiss and degrade the believer, call them stupid and not even bother to be informed about the topic. They give no thought to the variety of human experience and seem to have no empathy for those who have reached this place in life via a different path. Seasoned, knowledgable, practicing skeptics do know this.
There are several others like me who are called “skeptibunkers” simply because we don’t accept poorly supported claims. Yet, we find much goodness in well-produced paranormal-themed content. I strive to understand the multiple sides of the story and do not to dismiss unless I have good reasons which I will throughly explain. I resent being labeled as closed-minded. Those who say I am reveal only their own ignorance of the complexity of human experience.
Like the atheist that knows the ins and outs of the Bible to a far greater extent than the devout Christian, I have looked at both sides of the belief coin (actually, it’s more like a continuous spectrum). I know more about the history of psychic claims, monsters, and haunted houses than many of today’s paranormal investigation team members, but I also know how much MORE I must learn and how not to be easily fooled. I want to know why people believe, what positives they derive from it. This means I spend time trying to find out. In all places. And I enjoy the journey.
If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.