Science

Debunking Halloween

On the upcoming Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe (due in the next few days, subscribe to iTunes to have it automatically downloaded), we discuss a recent article “debunking” vampires, ghosts, and zombies. The researcher in question is Costas Efthimiou, a physicist at the University of Central Florida, who comes across as a skeptical yet good natured fellow so obviously I kind of like him. He makes it clear that he still likes scary movies and Halloween.

But! That doesn’t stop me from taking issue with some of his points. I won’t delve too deeply into some of his inaccuracies since we cover a lot of them on the podcast, but let it be known that he fails to adequately account for the extensive amount of data gathered via the “Buffyverse.”

Speaking of the podcast, we’re currently (it tends to change a bit from moment to moment) the #9 most popular science podcast on iTunes, and the #1 most popular skeptical show. Go us! The show gets better every week, so I’m sure it won’t be long until we’re all well-paid podcast celebrities living in mansions made of chocolate-covered toffee.

The coolest thing about the podcast is the number of people who contact us or comment on iTunes or in the forum to tell us that we were their first intro to skepticism, and now they’re hooked. It’s really cool to know that through the podcast and this site, we’re reaching new audiences.

Now I just have to work on achieving the toffee mansion dream. Mmm, toffee drywall.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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7 Comments

  1. Well, my family really IS from Transylvania (Nagyvarad), and I have this to say about Hallowe'en:

    What a subversive, mercenary, extorionate holiday it is! I'd much rather have fun on the eve of St. George's day, or the Mexican Day of the Dead.

    C'mon, ya little %@$#! Let's see what kind of tricks you got! You ain't gonna blackmail me!

    *Young mother stares at me in horror as her poor two-year old starts wailing in sadness at the strange, horrible man*

  2. Yes, his study points out how much vampires need their van Helsings or Scooby gangs–without those Fearless Vampire Hunters the population of vampires would grow exponentially and the stupid vampires would quickly outpace their food supply (smart vampires presumably would know to keep a low profile and avoid sucking someone completely dry).

    Saberhagen's vampires could only recruit new vampires if they fed their converts vampire blood (Dracula was documented as doing this in Stoker's unauthorized biography). That also prevents the exponential growth problem.

  3. rebecca, I don't think a chocolate covered toffee mansion is your kind of house. Before long, you'd be snacking on a supporting wall, and the whole place would collapse on you.

    Death by chocolate. At least the headline wouldn't be that surprising …

  4. Toffee mansion eh.. I wonder how one would clean it. Water and a sponge toffee? hrmm. I guess just lick it clean. What would bathroom fixtures be made of?

    Hey Rebecca. Could you pleeease change my blog addy in your bloggy friends list (canadiangrits) to the new addy, http://www.gorthos.com/blog? Trying to get rid of all the bad linkages :)

    Thanks milady!

    sean

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