The Skeptic's Toolbox Scavenger Hunt explores the tools and thinking skills that are useful to paranormal investigations. There are 25 items to find for this scavenger hunt.

When you have found all of the items, fill out the Entry Form for this hunt and win a prize!

1. A Cat

Find a picture of a cat.

The cat symbolizes curiosity. A curious mind is the starting point for any skeptical investigation. Taking an interest in the world has fueled many a great discovery about our universe. It is a characteristic shared by the great explorers, scientists, inventors, children and truth seekers that have come and gone throughout human history.

2. The Universe

Find an image of a particular aspect of the universe, such as a galaxy, planet, or star.

The universe represents the boundaries of the natural world - the playground of science. It is here where our investigations unfold and where many an extraordinary claim is made. The phenomena we encounter within the universe serves as the information and evidence that we gather to reach understanding and discover explanations for the mysteries we are attempting to solve.

3. An Exclamation Mark

Find an image of an exclamation mark.

The exclamation mark represents the WOW! reaction we often have when encountering ideas and phenomena that we are interested in. We also use it to symbolize an extraordinary claim that is in need of skeptical inquiry, hence the next "item" in the Skeptic's Toolbox scavenger hunt.

4. A Question Mark

Find an image of a question mark.

The question mark represents the inquiring mind. As we encounter ideas, claims and mysterious phenomena within the universe, our most effective tool is to ask questions first. Our skeptical inquiry can then lead to further investigation and discovery. The information we gather helps to answer our questions and lead to an explanation and understanding of the particular phenomenon we are exploring.

5. The Bohr Atom

Find an image of the atom.

Although an inaccurate representation of the atom, the Bohr atom is often used as a symbol for science. Science provides us with a method and process that can guide our investigations, thereby leading to explanations and answers for the many mysteries we are attempting to solve. Science is an essential ingredient to any skeptical investigation.

6. The Brain

Find an image of the brain.

Our brains provide a very powerful set of tools to use in our investigations. Not only are we able to develop our natural capacity for learning and reason, but our minds also contain the tools we often use in our explorations - the ability to question, observe and gather information and evaluate that information to reach answers, explanations and understanding.

7-11. The Five Senses

Find one image that represents each of the five senses.

We perceive the world through our five senses - sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. Although there are many ways for our senses to be fooled, they are still able to provide us with a set of tools with which to gather preliminary information. The observations we make through our perception can then be improved upon with further evaluation and research.

  • Eyes
  • Ears
  • Nose
  • Skin
  • Mouth

12-15. Extensions of the Senses

Find an image of each piece of equipment listed below.

Several technologies have been invented that serve to expand our perception and increase the amount of information that we can gather - especially for our sense of sight. Many investigations can be improved by employing several of these devices as we explore extraordinary claims and phenomena.

  • Magnifying Glass
  • Microscope
  • Telescope
  • Hearing Aid

16. Measuring Device

Find an image of a device that is used for measuring.

Measurements often need to be made to gather factual information about a particular phenomena or case we are investigating. They are one of several tools that allow us to be more accurate in our findings and therefore much more likely to hit upon an answer or explanation that fits the facts of our case.

17-19. Recording Equipment

Find an image for each of the pieces of recording equipment listed below.

Because our memory can be unreliable, recording equipment is essential to any investigation. Whether we are exploring locations where an unusual event occurred or we are interviewing witnesses, recording equipment will provide a means to accurately remember the information we gather. This information can then be used and evaluated further throughout the investigative process.

  • Camera / Video Recorder
  • Tape Recorder
  • Notebook

20. A Photograph or Video Clip

Find a real photograph or video clip.

Photographs are one of many pieces of hard, physical evidence that can be very useful in an investigation. They help to back up a person's claim or experience. Often, however, photographs can be faked. When photographs are provided as evidence for a particular phenomenon or occurrence, there are several ways that we can check to find out if the photographs are real. Photographs also help document the steps we take in our investigation, especially if we are exploring a location and/or event that is part of the claim or phenomenon under investigation.

21. A Time Piece

Find an image for a device that keeps time.

Watches and clocks may be useful to an investigation. If you are exploring a particular experience or occurrence, there may be several aspects of the case that are dependent upon time. If you need to recreate an occurrence, timing may be a crucial factor in understanding what has taken place. A timepiece, of course, also helps you manage your time effectively and avoid being late for any appointments!

22. A Computer

Find an image of a computer.

Computers can help our investigations in several ways. They can act as a recording device and also provide a stage with which to test our hypotheses. Computers are also the medium we use to access the Internet and so can provide a good research tool as well.

23. A Carl Sagan Quote

Find a quote that you like and think is useful to the subject of this hunt - by Carl Sagan.

Carl Sagan is one of the many Great Skeptics. He wrote on several subjects that are of interest to the skeptical investigator and has provided a wealth of information that can be useful in our own explorations. Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World is a leading text in teaching about science, skepticism and critical inquiry.

24. A Light Bulb

Find an image of a light bulb

The light bulb is often used as the symbol for an idea or the "EUREKA!" reaction of great inventions and discovery. As you sift through the information you have gathered during your investigation and come up with answers to explain the phenomena you have been exploring, you will likely come up with several new ideas and possibly one that provides the truth or moment of EUREKA!

25. CSICOP Acronym

Find out what the acronym CSICOP stands for.

CSICOP is the leading organization that investigates unusual claims and phenomena. Through it's magazine Skeptical Inquirer and the variety of programs it offers, CSICOP has managed to promote skepticism and critical inquiry throughout the world and enhance existing outlets for science education and awareness.


When you have found all of the items, fill out the Entry Form for this hunt and win a prize!