One of the more extreme skeptics, Michael Hutchinson is U.K. representative of CSICOP and co-author (with journalist Simon Hoggart) of Bizarre Beliefs (1996), in which something of a combine harvester approach is taken towards everything from astrology, ghosts and spoon-benders to crop circles, Nostradamus, the curse of Tutankhamun, dowsing and claims that Elvis still lives.
An example of their critical method is their statement that “there are no ghosts, no poltergeists and no hauntings. They are all mistaken, imaginary, or false”.
Even skeptic Richard Wiseman found parts of the book “somewhat superficial” and noted that specific sources were not given for much of the material. while “some of the chapters lack necessary detail”. Even so, he concluded in Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (April 1996) that the book “deserves a place on both our bookshelves and our coffee tables”.
At least one reader disagreed, describing the book as “fundamentalist revisionism, of which radical members of the Sceptical Tendency are as guilty as those who maintain that the Holocaust never took place” and suggesting the appropriate place for it was “the recycling bin”.
Hutchinson is also U.K. representative of Prometheus Books, whose list includes, in addition to some fifty debunking volumes, such ‘libertarian’ titles as Children’s Sexual Encounters with Adults, Cannibalism: from Sacrifice to Survival, and the memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz.
Photo credit: Archives for the Unexplained