Friday, August 23, 2019

September 21 - Workshop: Asking Good Questions

An Interactive Workshop Led by Chip & Grace Denman 


We like answers. We like to know them and to give them. Sometimes we want others to think we are smart or knowledgeable, so we jump to give answers rather than ask questions. And the questions we do ask are sometimes based more on our personal assumptions and biases than they are about getting to the real answer.

Skeptical thinking is more about asking good questions than knowing good answers. In this interactive workshop, we will practice methods for posing questions that lead to better understanding and new ideas, while avoiding bias and hasty assumptions.

Chip Denman has been a director of the James Randi Educational Foundation since 2008 and has served as the statistician behind the Million Dollar Challenge since its start. He is a co-founder of the National Capital Area Skeptics in the DC/Maryland/Virginia region. He recently retired from the University of Maryland where he created and taught the course Science & Pseudoscience for the University Honors Program.

Grace Denman has been a leader in the arena of skeptical activism since co-founding the National Capital Area Skeptics in 1987. She has had the privilege of serving on the NCAS Board of Directors since its inception and has served as Treasurer and President. She is a Program Manager at AccelerEd, an affiliate of the University of Maryland Global Campus, previously the University of Maryland University College (it's complicated) where she questions assumptions daily.

Saturday, September 21, 2019
1:30 pm

Connie Morella Library

7400 Arlington Road
Bethesda, MD

FREE admission. Everyone welcome, members and non-members  

Monday, April 08, 2019

May 18 Skeptour

NCAS Skeptour: Visit to National Museum of Health and Medicine

Saturday, May 18, 2019
NCAS has arranged for a group tour of the National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) in Silver Spring, Maryland on Saturday morning, May 18. NMHM promotes the science and history of medicine, with an emphasis on tri-service American military medicine. The Museum offers visitors a unique perspective on health and medicine because it is one of the few places where the public can actually see the effects of disease on the human body. Additionally, it is one of the few places that disease can be seen with the instruments and equipment used to diagnose and/or treat the disease, with case histories of patients afflicted with the disease.
We will meet at the museum entrance at 10:00 am. A museum docent will take us on a 90 minute in-depth overview of the museum’s permanent exhibits, including “Military Medicine: Challenges and Innovations,” “Civil War Collections,” “The Human Body: Anatomy and Pathology,” and others.
Optional: Following the anatomy lessons, those wishing to feed a healthy stomach will meet for lunch at nearby Pacci’s Trattoria (
Admission to the museum is free. You may be asked to show a government-issued photo ID at the front desk.
Location: 2500 Linden Lane, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Free parking is available.
The museum is about 1 mile from the Forest Glen Metro Station on the Red line.
RSVP: If planning to attend, please send a message to with your name and how many are attending with you.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Shadow of a Doubt - April 2019

April 2019
  • April 6 - "Houdini and the Spiritualists" presented by Ken Trombly
  • May 18 - NCAS SkepTour of the Nation al Museum of Health and Medicine
  • NCAS Elections
  • Donate skeptical books to a prison library
  • Science talks at Balticon
  • AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who are supporting NCAS!
  • Shadow Light
  • Member renewals
Click to see Shadow.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

April 6 - Houdini and the Spiritualists

Presented by Ken Trombly

Much of the life of Harry Houdini was intertwined with episodes and personalities involving spiritualism and its practitioners. In his early days, he sometimes blurred the line between conjuring and the spirit world.  During his meteoric career, many of his conjuring feats were ascribed by some to be aided by unseen forces.  But he was very much the face of skepticism in the USA regarding the spiritualism movement.  His friendship with Arthur Conan Doyle came to an end over the latter’s belief in spiritualism.  He testified before a congressional committee in support of a bill to prohibit fortune telling in Washington, DC.  His work against fake mediums continued up until his death.

In this talk, Ken will share his thoughts concerning Houdini’s relationship with spiritualism and its adherents, and will illustrate this fascinating story with original items from his collection of Houdini ephemera.

Ken Trombly, a lifelong magic enthusiast, has given presentations about the life of Houdini for a variety of groups. In the 1980’s Ken began collecting original letters, photos and other ephemera dealing with Houdini’s amazing career.  Pieces from Ken's collection have been displayed at the Jewish Museum in New York City, the Skirball Center in Los Angeles, and, most recently, as part of an exhibit on the life of Houdini at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, in Baltimore. Recently Ken was interviewed on a mini-series aired on the Science Channel entitled “Houdini’s Last Secrets.”

A Boston native, Ken is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Magic Circle of London and the Magic Collectors Association. When he is not hunting down original Houdini artifacts and magic posters, he is a full time trial lawyer - another role that requires a heightened sense of skepticism.

Saturday, April 6, 2019
1:30 pm

Connie Morella Library
7400 Arlington Road
Bethesda, MD