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On Friday 13th! A Token Skeptic FAQ

Xena my beloved black cat

Welcome to the former Token Skeptic podcast site (at least, former as in ‘not updated since 2019… remember back to those pre-COVID-19 days?’). Here’s where I keep a repository of many of my previous episodes of the Token Skeptic podcast, and a few other audio pieces.

If you’re reading this, most likely you’ve come across the article I did for The Conversation website, called On Friday the 13th, leave the superstitions at home, or a recent Overnights radio interview I did for the ABC about my work. Much of what I wrote was on spec for The Conversation, as we have very little firm information on ‘how and why Friday 13th superstitions started’.

But in saying that, I do think (confirmation bias!) there’s a pattern as to why people in general don’t feel particularly comfortable about this day… and it’s probably mostly due to Hollywood having a lot of fun with franchise horror series that also make a lot of money from the concept. Seriously, check out Wikipedia on how it’s become immensely successful, it’s fascinating.

So, here’s a quick FAQ:

  • Am I interested in promoting your products on my podcast? No.
  • Am I interested in you using my site to promote your products? No.

That’s pretty much the sum total of the questions I get!

However, if you’re interested in other things that have nothing to do with sending me unwanted spam:

  • What are you doing now? I’m doing a PhD in creative narrative educational podcasting, and you can see more about that on kyliesturgess.com.
  • What links can you suggest to find out more on superstitions? I often direct people to Google Scholar as being a great place to start finding research papers, and also the Skeptical Inquirer.
  • Do you really have an M.Ed on this subject? Yes! The statistical measurement of belief in paranormal, pseudoscientific and conspiracy theories by a population of Australians, it was completed at UWA in 2011. You can read about some of that research here.
  • Do you have a science background? I studied educational psychology as a part of my Dip.Ed, and my first M.Ed degree in special learning needs. I did some post-grad studies in Psychology for a number of years (it was very helpful for my second M.Ed thesis) until I had to stop in order to focus on my teaching in Philosophy (high school and undergrad) and finish my studies in radio (which turned into a PhD in podcasting!). I’m currently doing a Grad Cert in Science Communication at ANU, and an Undergrad Cert in Creative Arts and Health at UTas (I aim to finish both of those mid-2022). So, I’m mostly one of those ‘many interests kind of person’ who’d love to have more time to get back to writing more and podcasting more… but I have to get my studies and teaching finished first.
  • Do you often get called on about Friday 13th superstitions? There’s a likelihood of one of these Fridays about 1.7 times a year, so I do about one of these radio interviews/podcast interviews/TV interviews every year. I’m fine with doing them, as I am talking about other related paranormal / pseudoscience/ conspiracy theory beliefs, but I’ve become really overwhelmed recently with work and writing, so I have a short ‘sorry, I’m really busy’ auto-response on my email. I hope that’s not too much of a nuisance for anyone… also, people mostly just send spam inquiries to this site anyway, so eh.
  • What else do you do? Head to kyliesturgess.com for more info, and there’s always my social media like Twitter and you can subscribe to the Token Skeptic on Facebook. Thanks!
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