Sunday, October 14, 2018

Shadow of a Doubt - October 2018

The Monthly Calendar of the National Capital Area Skeptics

  • October 13 lecture - Investigating Mysteries: Out-of-the-Box Thinking that Solved Strange Cases Presented by Kenny Biddle
  • Special NCAS Meetup - Lecture and Exhibit about Harry Houdini on October 21
  • October 13 lecture: Photographer (and former ghost hunter) Kenny Biddle will demystify paranormal videos
  • November NCAS Lecture The Disappearance of U.S.S. Cyclops: Lost Without a Trace
  • The Latest Addition to the NCAS YouTube Channel
  • CSICon 2018
  • In Memoriam
  • Follow-up on YouTube "Information Panels"
  • AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who are supporting NCAS!
  • Shadow Light
  • Member renewals

October 2018

NCAS Public Lecture Series

Investigating Mysteries: Out-of-the-Box Thinking that Solved Strange Cases

Presented by Kenny Biddle

This presentation will cover some of the methods Kenny Biddle has used to solve cases, from a singing child ghost to whether Elvis Presley secretly starred in the film "Home Alone." He will take a closer look at the documentaries "The Demon House" and "The Blackwell Ghost," as well as a viral video of a screaming ghost at a Wingate hotel in Illinois. He will expose hoaxes from a Gettysburg battlefield and from a compilation video of ghost car crashes. Along the way, he will talk about the details and methods that eventually lead to these mysteries being solved. 

Kenny Biddle is a science enthusiast who investigates claims of paranormal experiences, photos, videos, and gadgetry. He promotes science, critical thinking, and skepticism through his YouTube video blog, "I Am Kenny Biddle." He has been a photography consultant for Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) for almost a decade. He often hosts workshops and lectures on alleged paranormal photography, providing a better understanding of how anomalies have natural explanations. Kenny is a columnist for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, with his work appearing in publications around the world. Kenny is open to the idea of paranormal claims and works to test them for validity. He currently offers an Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) Challenge at the White Hill Mansion that comes with a cash prize should anyone pass the challenge.  

Saturday, October 13, 2018
1:30 pm 
Connie Morella Library
7400 Arlington Road
Bethesda, MD

Refreshments and socializing after the talk.
FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members

Special NCAS Meetup - Lecture and Exhibit about Harry Houdini on October 21
Do you want to learn more about the life of Harry Houdini, including his efforts to expose fraudulent spiritualists (which turned out to be the only kind he encountered)?   Then you’ll want to be part of an NCAS meetup at the Jewish Museum of Maryland on Sunday, October 21.  First, at 1:00 pm, Ken Trombly will give a talk titled “Capturing Houdini.”  Ken Trombly is a passionate collector of memorabilia about the life of the most famous magician of all time, Harry Houdini. He will share some of his unique collection with us and tell fascinating stories about the “handcuff king and jailbreaker.”  Then, after the lecture, we will take time to visit the extensive museum exhibit “Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini.”  Details about the exhibit can be found at

Because the event occurs during Free Fall Baltimore, entry to the lecture and exhibit will be free (regularly $10).  However, registration is required to be sure of having a seat for the lecture.  Registration is at  Once you’ve registered, please let us know you plan on attending by sending an e-mail to

The Jewish Museum of Maryland is located at 15 Lloyd Street in Baltimore.  Parking around the museum is very limited.  Street parking, when available, is free on Sundays.  For those who want to drive, we highly recommend carpooling.  Be advised that traffic is likely to be heavy in the hours preceding the Ravens’ 4 PM kickoff at M&T Bank Stadium.  Those interested in carpooling (offering or needing) can post a message to the NCAS-Share list, and then respondents can work out the logistics off list.

Alternatively, Baltimore has a free bus service called the Charm City Circulator.  Its Orange Route has a stop not far from the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  There are a number of places to park along the Orange Route (

We look forward to seeing you at this fun and educational event!

November NCAS Lecture
Author Marvin W. Barrash will present "The Disappearance of U.S.S. Cyclops: Lost Without a Trace."  Saturday, November 3 at 1:30 PM at Connie Morella (formerly Bethesda Regional) Library.

The Latest Addition to the NCAS YouTube Channel
Retired US Air Force Colonel David Shea's September lecture, "UFOs, the Air Force, and the Colorado Study" is now available on the NCAS YouTube Channel:

It joins more than 200 other lecture videos, including the ever-popular "1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed" by Eric Cline and Jim Lippard's lecture on Scientology.

CSICon 2018
CSICon 2018, sponsored by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry / Center for Inquiry / Skeptical Inquirer magazine will be held October 18-21 at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.  Speakers include Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, James Randi, and many others.  Register at

In Memoriam
Physicist Leon Lederman died on October 3 at age 96:

One detail not included in the New York Times obituary for him was his role as a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.  See, for example,

Follow-up on YouTube "Information Panels"
By Scott Snell
Following up on last month's Shadow of a Doubt article about YouTube "Information Cues" (now called "Information Panels") attached to "Conspiracy Videos"...

Google has provided a description:
"Users may see information from third parties, including Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia, alongside videos on a small number of well-established historical and scientific topics that have often been subject to misinformation online, like the moon landing."

A similar technique is used for providing context of a news publisher that is funded by a government, or publicly funded:

AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who are supporting NCAS!
When shopping at, you'll find the same low prices, vast selection, and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that a portion of the purchase price (0.5%) goes to NCAS! It's simple and automatic, and it doesn't cost you anything!

AmazonSmile's disbursements to NCAS in the second quarter of 2018 came to $24.22, meaning that over $4800 of purchases were designated in support of NCAS. (As an example of how NCAS can put that money to good use, it's more than enough to cover an hour of a Montgomery County lecture room rental.)

Thanks again to our members who have chosen to support NCAS!

For more information:

Shadow Light
Some members and contacts of NCAS receive a postal notification of this and every new monthly Shadow of a Doubt. The Shadow Light postcard announces the monthly lecture and highlights of the electronic Shadow of a Doubt, which is available online at NCAS thereby reduces Shadow production and postage costs. To further reduce costs, members and contacts can opt out of postal notification altogether, while continuing to receive Shadow of a Doubt via e-mail. To opt out, send us an e-mail at

Time to Renew?
Be sure to check your renewal date above your postal address on the Shadow Light postcard. Send any queries to Use the online membership form to renew.