Sunday, November 24, 2019

December 14 - Will DNA Testing Help My Family History Research?

Presented by John M. Butler, Ph.D.

National Institute of Standards and Technology 

NIST Fellow & Special Assistant to the Director for Forensic Science

Genetic ancestry testing is a growing market with over 26 million people examining their DNA in recent years. DNA testing will not solve all your family history questions but can provide helpful associations in some cases. Tests provided by FamilyTree DNA, Ancestry, and 23andMe will be discussed. Using a case study, we will examine the capabilities and limitations of advancing your family history research with DNA testing. We will also discuss the recent use of investigative genealogical testing by law enforcement to capture the Golden State Killer.

John M. Butler has a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Virginia. He did his graduate work in the FBI Laboratory’s Forensic Science Research Unit at Quantico, Virginia, where he pioneered the techniques now used worldwide for forensic DNA testing. Dr. Butler has written over 175 scientific research articles and five textbooks on Forensic DNA Typing and has given hundreds of presentations on the subject across the U.S. and in 26 other countries. He and his wife are parents of six children, all of whom have been proven to be theirs through the power of DNA testing.

Saturday, December 14, 2019
1:30 pm 
B-CC Regional Services Center 
4805 Edgemoor Lane 
2nd Floor (West Room) 
Bethesda, MD 


Shadow of a Doubt - November 2019

November 2019 
  • Bizarre Psychological Disorders presented by Brian A. Sharpless
  • December lecture-  John M. Butler, Special Assistant to the Director for Forensic Science at NIST, presents "Will DNA Testing Help My Family History Research?"
  • FDA Call for Public Comments on Revised Draft Guidance for FDA Staff and Industry Entitled "Drug Products Labeled as Homeopathic"
  • Torn From Today's Headlines By Scott Snell - The Transit of Mercury
  •  AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who are supporting NCAS!
  • Shadow Light
  • Time to Renew?

Click to see Shadow.

Monday, October 21, 2019

November 9 - Bizarre Psychological Disorders

Presented by Brian A. Sharpless

Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London and
Adjunct Professor at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Have you ever believed that you were abducted by aliens? Do you ever wake up to the sound of explosions, only to discover that everything is fine? Are you convinced that you can transform yourself into a different species of animal? What about having sex while you’re sound asleep?

People are nothing if not confusingly complex, and some end up thinking, acting, and behaving in unusual, odd, and extreme ways. Some of the strangest psychological disorders that they can acquire are not well-known to the public or even many mental health professionals, despite some – such as isolated sleep paralysis – actually being fairly common in the general population.

Dr. Sharpless will focus on five interesting conditions. He'll place them in historical or cultural context and will summarize their scientific literatures. You'll learn, for example, how sexsomnia has complicated criminal proceedings.  You will learn how those afflicted with clinical zoanthropy might have been involved in Medieval werewolf panics. You will also learn how “exploding head syndrome” is associated with a popular conspiracy theory.

Brian Sharpless is currently a visiting research fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London and adjunct professor at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology's Washington DC Campus.  He was formerly on faculty at Pennsylvania State University, Washington State University, and the American School of Professional Psychology.  He received his PhD in clinical psychology and MA in philosophy from Pennsylvania State University and completed post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Dr. Sharpless has broad interests in abnormal psychology and psychotherapy.  He has over 45 publications on common and lesser-known disorders, psychodynamic therapy, professional issues, and the history/philosophy of clinical psychology.  His three books, Sleep Paralysis: Historical, Psychological, and Medical Perspectives (co-authored with Dr. Karl Doghramji), Unusual and Rare Psychological Disorders: A Handbook for Clinical Practice and Research, and Psychodynamic Therapy Techniques:  A Guide to Expressive and Supportive Interventions are all available through Oxford University Press.  This research been featured on TV, radio, and in other media outlets, and he is a frequent speaker at conferences and public events in the United States and abroad.  Along with his scholarly interests, Dr. Sharpless also maintains a small private practice in the DC area.

Saturday, November 9, 2019
1:30 pm

B-CC Regional Services Center
4805 Edgemoor Lane
2nd Floor (West Room)
Bethesda, MD

FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members

Thursday, September 26, 2019

October 19 - Burned with His Books: The Life and Times of Michael Servetus

Presented by Neil Inglis

Skeptics are drawn to stories of those who faced the threat of persecution to stand up against the forces of religious dogma. Michael Servetus lost that battle--and although the passage of time has brought vindication, he remains an unsung and elusive figure.

A physician and researcher by day, theologian and polemicist by night, the Spanish-born Servetus wrote on a variety of medical and other topics and announced an anatomical discovery shortly before his death. Intrigued by printing technology, Servetus worked closely (albeit discreetly) with publishers to produce some of the finest books of his age. These texts represent a moving and beautiful milestone on our faltering journey into the modern era.  Ironically, it was atop a pyre of his own books that Servetus was burned to death.

Recent developments in Spanish-language scholarship have addressed some of the gaps in the historical record, such as Servetus' suicidal decision to visit Geneva and confront his mortal foe, Jean Calvin.

Translator, author and long-term NCAS member Neil Langdon Inglis is editor of the "Tyndale Society Journal" (TSJ), a magazine honoring the life and work of the first published translator of the Bible in English, William Tyndale (1494-1536). Neil is also U.S. General Editor (and Parapsychology Editor) for, an on-line journal of opinion.  Neil Inglis last gave a presentation on Michael Servetus (1511-1553) at the Bethesda Public Library in January 2005.  Neil's most recent presentation for NCAS was on "Brian Inglis: Mortal Enemy of CSICOP" in the Fall of 2017. Neil is pictured with the Servet memorial in the Spanish Room at the IMSS Museum in Chicago in 2014.

Saturday, October 19, 2019
1:30 pm

Connie Morella Library
7400 Arlington Road
Bethesda, MD