A illustration depicts the Hopkinsville Goblins incident from 1955, when a group claims they were assaulted by aliens of some sort.

The Long, Surprising Legacy of the Hopkinsville Goblins

Or, why families under siege make for great movies.
Sparkles in light coming through windows of an empty room.

Signs of Ghosts

What do we do when there are whole cities full of ghosts, each one with their own unique story to tell, each one with something left undone?
AR-15 with the American flag attatched.

The Curse of the AR-15

How the gun became a cultural icon—and unmade America.
Betty and Barney Hill holding "The Interrupted Journey" by John G. Fuller.

The UFO Story of Betty and Barney Hill: Why Their Fight To Be Believed Was An American Tragedy

Betty and Barney Hill lost three hours on a New Hampshire highway in 1961. They spent years trying to understand it.
An illustration of William Morgan's abduction.

The Masonic Murder That Inspired the First Third Party in American Politics

Public outcry over whistleblower William Morgan's disappearance gave rise to the Anti-Masonic Party, which nominated a candidate for president in 1832.
The John Rankin House, an original stop on the Underground Railroad.

The Underground Railroad Was the Ultimate Conspiracy to Southern Enslavers

And justified the most extreme responses.
Illustration, The Burning of the Convent in 1834.

The Banality of Conspiracy Theories

Moral panics repeat, again and again.
A skeleton woman in a black dress floating in a cemetery.

The Elusive, Maddening Mystery of the Bell Witch

A classic ghost story has something to say about America—200 years ago, 100 years ago, and today.
A lithograph depicting the burning of copies of William Pynchon’s 'The Meritous Price of Our Redemption' by early colonists of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, who saw his book as heresy.

He Wasn’t Like the Other New England “Witches.” His Story Explains a Lot.

The little-told tale of the 1651 trial of Hugh and Mary Parsons.
"We are the Spirit Rappers," 2016, By Amy Friend.

The Weight of Family History

It’s never been easier to piece together a family tree. But what if it brings uncomfortable facts to light?
Abstract photo of Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe, Crank Scientist

The great discoveries of the age captivated Poe’s imagination. He almost always misunderstood them.

The Edge of the Map

Monsters have always patrolled the margins of the map. By their very strangeness, they determined the boundaries of the regular world.
An illustration of a Good Humor ice cream truck with an ice cream man standing next to it, waving. They are surrounded by ice cream products.

The History of the Ice Cream Truck

As innovations go, the Good Humor vehicle is as sweet as it gets.
An artist's rendition of a ghost.

The Indebted Dead

Tracing the history of the Grateful Dead folktale and the evolving obligations of being alive.

Did an Illuminati Conspiracy Theory Help Elect Thomas Jefferson?

The 1800 election shows there is nothing new about conspiracy theories, and that they really take hold when we don’t trust each other.
Newspaper clipping of article titled the rise and fall of facts.

The Rise and Fall of Facts

Tracing the evolution and challenges of fact-checking in journalism.
Storefront destruction from the the 1967 Detroit Riots.

A Pioneer of Paranoia

How William Cooper envisioned a web entangling global capitalism, the government, and UFOs, and incubated the politics of conspiracy.
Title page and verso of the first edition of "A Christmas Carol."

A Plea to Resurrect the Christmas Tradition of Telling Ghost Stories

Though the practice is now more associated with Halloween, spooking out your family is well within the Christmas spirit.

American Sphinx

Civil War monuments erased an emancipated Black population, but the Sphinx looked to an integrated Africa and America.
Picture of a suburban neighborhood.

The Suburban Horror of the Indian Burial Ground

In the 1970s and 1980s, homeowners were terrified by the idea that they didn't own the land they'd just bought.
Cover of "Ghostland: An American History," made to look like a cemetery headstone.

The Family That Would Not Live

Writer Colin Dickey sets out across America to investigate America's haunted spaces in order to uncover what their ghost stories say about who we were, are, and will be.