I’m Karen Stollznow, and I’m a new Skepchick too!

I’m an Aussie linguist (the kind who studies the structure of languages, not a polyglot) living in the San Francisco Bay Area where I teach and research. I also research anomalous phenomena, and have a particular interest in linguistic themes, such as graphology, alien languages, cold reading, electronic voice phenomena, reverse speech, and glossolalia (speaking in tongues).

I began my skeptical career as a sort of Mata Hari (without the exotic dancer part, mostly), going undercover to test an iridologist, a naturopath, a homeopath and an aura reader. Since then, I’ve become a paranormal investigator (of the skeptical kind), and I investigate and road test all kinds of beliefs and practices: ghosts, psychics, cults and alternative medicine. I’ve investigated many alleged hauntings in the States, including those at Alcatraz, New Orleans,  Savannah, Waverly Hills Sanatorium,  the Winchester Mystery House and The Lemp Mansion.

In a former life (who says skeptics don’t believe in reincarnation?) I wrote for Australasian Science, and edited and wrote for The Skeptic (Australia).

Nowadays, I write for Skeptical Inquirer, Swift, The Bay Area Skeptics blog and my Bad Language website  and Skepbitch blog. Okay, so I’m a skeptical strumpet…but I’m delighted to join the skepchick team!

You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter, and probably in my local pub…I mean, library…


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  1. @doctoratlantis: It takes a little while for Rebecca’s magical incantation to fully permeate and transform one into a complete Skepchick, as evidenced by cartoon form.

    Welcome, Karen! I’ve read your blog for a while, so looking forward to read what you have for Skepchick. :)

  2. Hey Karen! I feel so cool that I have actually met you… although not sure if you would remember it :)

    Can’t wait to read your stuff! (Your Skepbitch blog is blocked at work for some reason….)

  3. Glad to see the Skepchick universe expanding. It’ll be that much more cool, fun, and entertaining stuff to absorb. I’m looking forward to reading both new posters stuff and send a warm congrats to both of you.
    Now then, about this strumpet thing. I’m a 53 year old white guy and I wanna be a strumpet too! Only problem is, I don’t know what a strumpet is. But I really like the word…strumpet, strumpet, strumpet!. I LIKE it!
    Did I just embarass myself again?

  4. Welcome, Karen. It seems that Rebecca is working on scoring 12 Skepostles, just like that carpenter guy.

    So, most important question: when are you in the calendar?

  5. What does one tell another who’s heard they’re proud of them countless times,
    What does one write another who’s read all the sweet things for them in rhymes,
    What does one do for another who’s been given many a gift and treat,
    So I thought for my first comment I’d do something both special and unique,
    You’re a perfect fit for Skepchick in every possible way,
    So below are two blank lines as you already know what I was going to say,



  6. Welcome! I’ve been reading ‘Bad Language’ for a while and I am an epic wordnerd (majored in Ling) so I’m excited that you’re on Skepchick now!

  7. Oh Cunning Linguist
    we’re so glad you’re between us
    and all the shite and woo
    There’s just one request, (well actually behest)
    that you’ll share a pint or sixteen

    Congratulations Dr Stollznow!

  8. A skepchick, gifted with words
    Brought joy to the skepchicky nerds
    But a word to the wise
    We’re nerds in disguise
    We mostly talk bees and the birds

    I’ve been a fan of the bad language blog for awhile now, I’m excited to see you join the ranks of the skepchicks.

  9. Egad, gents! It seems that we’re being outnumbered by the fair womenfolk! They’re bolstering their numbers by leaps and bounds! I say we adjourn to the parlor for cigars and a good round of “Harumphs!”

    ¿sund ɹoɟ pǝxıɟ noʎ ǝɹɐ ʍoɥ ˙ǝɹǝɥds ǝɥʇ ɟo ǝpıs sıɥʇ ɯoɹɟ `uǝɹɐʞ ǝɯɐp `sƃuıʇǝǝɹƃ

  10. Wow, how many more surprises do we get? So were you raised in a bi-lingual house or did you learn English in school? My sister has been living in Brisbane for about 6 years now and her Australian is coming along nicely.

  11. @Merkuto: Ok you inspired me.

    Introducing our cunning linguist
    Whose origins are the colony penal
    She seems inspired and Muse kissed
    Hopefully absent afflictions venal

  12. Tim3PO thought he’d inspired
    the verse writ down by this choir
    of bawdy young men
    who because of Ka-ren
    do oft go flush and perspire

  13. You can never have too much strumpet as my dad used to say. Well, I’m sure he would have said that if he’d thought about it.

  14. @JoeAnderson: Joe flies a plane and is medically insane,
    but that skeptic just keeps his head in the clouds,
    though this blog post is about Karen and there is just no comparin’,
    as your fightin’ words are as real as Jesus’s face in shrouds.

    hehehe, just having fun. Good one JoeAnderson :)

  15. Welcome, Karen!

    Your article on the Waverly Hills Sanatorium was great. I grew up about 4 miles from that place, and still pass it occasionally when I visit my parents. I’m pretty certain the only “ghosts” up there are local youth seeking cover for non-parent approved activities and the occasional hobo.

  16. I’ve often thought this place needed an expatriated Aussie to spice it up.

    Karen, if you make it back to DragonCon, we are going to have so many Skepchicks that we’ll need police tape.

  17. I wonder if he hails from Nantucket
    this man named after a bucket
    of Anakin’s spare parts
    and pompous remarks
    to him I say “Sir, please do suck it”


  18. There’s really no reason to act full
    of these limericks told by the hat full
    Karen’s come her to focus
    and dispel hocus pocus
    Besides, she prefers double dactyls

  19. @JoeAnderson:
    I have nothing more to say,
    other than that your limerick was cute,
    when you’re ready for the big leagues then we can play,
    you are wise young padawan but not that astute.

    Karen is more fluent in languages than me, topping six million and one,
    she is perfect for skepchick which we both agree, as we battle-limerick for the sake of fun. :)

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