Bad Clowns Is Topic At Authors Speak With Benjamin Radford Thursday

Benjamin Radford


The Authors Speak presentation at Mesa Public Library, 7 p.m., April 28, will feature Benjamin Radford, author most recently of Bad Clowns, published by UNM Press.

Radford is the deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine, a research fellow for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, the author of eight books and more than a thousand articles on a variety of topics including urban legends, the paranormal, critical thinking and media literacy.

Bad Clowns. Courtesy/LAC

Corrales residentRadford has built a career in “myth-busting” – finding those urban and rural legends that are pervasive, and then writing perceptive articles and books exploring how those myths might have come into being. Pick up any recent issue of Skeptical Inquirer and you can find Radford holding forth on topics as diverse as the efficacy of online brain games, the court case against seismologists who failed to warn the residents of Aquila of earthquake danger (they were acquitted), witchcraft claims and cryptozoology (which examined the effect of climate change on monster sightings).

Bad Clowns blends humor, investigation and scholarship to reveal what is behind the clown’s dark smile.

“Fear of clowns exists, of course, but it’s not a medically recognized serious issue causing significant disruption in most people’s lives,” Radford writes. “Clowns- unlike spiders, small spaces, and flatulent coworkers- are easily avoided; they are typically only found in certain habitats such as circuses and parties.”

Other works by Radford include Mysterious New Mexico: Miracles, Magic and Monsters in the Land of Enchantment, Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries, and TheMartians Have Landed! A History of Media-Driven Panics and Hoaxes. There are copies of Radford’s book Tracking the Chupacabra: the vampire beast in fact, fiction, and folklore in both Mesa Public Library and at the White Rock Branch Library.

The Authors Speak Series is a monthly event featuring local and regional authors speaking about their writing on a variety of subjects such as local and state history, travel, outdoor activities, fiction, Native American history and culture, poetry and more. The series is funded by the Friends of the Los Alamos County Library System. The talks are free and begin at 7 p.m., on the fourth Thursday of each month, followed by the opportunity to meet the authors and enjoy refreshments.

For more information about talks and programs at the Library, go to the events calendar on the Library page at or call 505.662.8253.