A skeptic’s story

by Jim Foreman

1996 ­ The Daily Skeptic is founded by a literature student at West Virginia University.

1997-2001 ­ The college student graduates, works a few uninteresting jobs, and continues to operate his skeptical website, but changes the name to The Skeptic Report when he stops updating it on a daily basis, which is quite soon after the founding of the website since he is, at heart, a lazy moron. He keeps writing articles, but he finds himself spending most of his time redesigning the website. This is an unfulfilling and tiresome task, so he plans on doing it rarely, even though he finds himself dissatisfied with the design about every two months and then spends an inordinate amount of his valuable time learning a skill he doesn’t particularly want. This goes on at the expense of his writing, which is a task he loves.

2002 ­ The Skeptic Report closes its doors in March. The University literature graduate and underemployed writer decides that his mental marriage between skepticism and the web is completely irreconcilable. His impression is that the meager amount of time he spends on The Skeptic Report is better spent elsewhere.

This impression lasted about a month.

That former student and current writer is me, and I thought I had put the whole thing to bed. I made the mistake of checking the Skeptic’s email backlog, and that was the end of my hiatus.

I had a few hate mails, a few fan mails, and more than one email requesting my opinion on certain skeptical or paranormal topics. I sent them my responses and shook my head, thinking to myself “Why would these poor souls want the opinions of a loud, foul-mouthed, obnoxious jerk like me?”

I still don’t know the answer to that.

But the marriage was back on, and the second honeymoon was long and torrid. I redesigned the site again, hammered out a couple more entries and told everyone I knew about how I resurrected my old website. I even kept using the royal “we” in the official correspondence, maintaining a false appearance of more than one person to blame.

On a whim, I surfed around the web for people to tell, an email titled “The Skeptic Report is Back!” ready to fire away at every webmaster@askepticsite.com I saw. Until I came to editor@skepticreport.com.

And there it was. The domain name I could never afford to register had been stolen out from under me! And the guy who stole it had made a better website! The pain!

I alerted my counsel to the problem; she and I were terribly nervous. We imagined long, protracted legal battles, agonizing copyright disputes, terrible loss of life and limb as the reports Skeptic battled with fire and fury.

But it didn’t happen that way. At all.

After a pleasant and brief discussion with Skeptic Report’s wonderful proprietor, Claus Larsen, I decided to do without all of that tedious web design, promotion, organization, planning and directing altogether and simply do what I always wanted to do in the first place: write entertaining copy about the paranormal.

I like to think that I was successful. Judging by the size of my peak audience, I must have made a few people laugh once in a while. You can decide for yourself, as you’ll soon be seeing some of the old articles right here on Skeptic Report.

Oh, there will be new articles as well. I’m just as surly and irreverent as before, and perhaps even a bit more so. Like so many great satirists before me, I’m growing more and more cynical and as the years pile on. My idiot threshold is dreadfully low these days, and I think I’ve finally had enough of the paranormalites, UFOnuts, psychic fiends, conspiratorial fools and flim-flammers. The only thing left for me to do is to get that much more offensive.

So, strap yourselves in and come back often. It’s going to be real fun.