Robert E. Bartholomew ✧ 


Robert Bartholomew is an American born medical sociologist, writer, journalist, and human rights advocate who is well-known for his books on social panics and outbreaks of mass hysteria throughout history. He has examined cases ranging from demonically possessed nuns during the Middle Ages to the Salem witch-hunts of 1692, to contemporary episodes involving twitching schoolgirls in LeRoy, New York to the students at a Massachusetts school who hiccupped for a year.

    He has also written extensively on topics on the margins of science including UFOs, ghosts, haunted houses, Bigfoot, and lake monsters, and describes himself as a sympathetic skeptic.  He has investigated such cases as ‘The Amityville Horror’ and ‘The Conjuring’ and observes that “people often ask me if I believe?  My response is always the same – It’s not a question of belief, it’s a question of evidence.” Robert has written on the history of tabloid journalism, strange mental disorders, and ‘Havana Syndrome.’ He coined the term “exotic deviance” in the field of Anthropology. An Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, Robert is also a certified middle and high school teacher who has taught History, Social Studies, English, and Global Studies in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. 

    His book Exotic Deviance is a ground-breaking study on the misclassification of bizarre mental disorders in non-Western cultures.  In 2000, Professor Arthur Kleinman, then chair of the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard University, called it "clear, competent and comprehensive,” noting that “Bartholomew demonstrates deep scholarship in the reviews of cross-cultural behavioral conditions… and is clear, forceful, and effective.”  In 2003, his book Hoaxes, Myths & Manias: Why We Need Critical Thinking was endorsed by Robert J. Sternberg, then President of the American Psychological Association. The author of more than sixty scholarly publications, during the 2001 anthrax scare, he co-wrote key articles in the British Medical Journal and the British Journal of Psychiatry on the psychological roots of the post-September 11 bio-terror scare.

    Robert has written four books on the history of racial intolerance against a variety of minority and ethnic groups including African Americans, Mexicans, Chinese, Japanese, Germans Jews, Muslims, Native Americans, and Māori.  Robert began his career as a journalist for several New York State radio stations and has lived with the Malay people in Malaysia and Aboriginal Australians in the Tanami Desert of Central Australia.  He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from James Cook University in Australia, a Masters in American Sociology from the State University of New York at Albany, and Masters in Australian Sociology from The Flinders University of South Australia.  He has published 17 books and dozens of articles in peer-reviewed journals. Robert has been featured in a National Geographic series on modern myths and has appeared on The History and Discovery Channels.  A Fellow with the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, New York, his books include: A Colorful History of Popular Delusions (with Peter Hassall), Outbreak! The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Social Behavior (with Hilary Evans), and Havana Syndrome (with Professor Robert Baloh).