Rumor Doctor blog archive

Is West Point's Room 4714 haunted?

It’s late October. The weather is cold and crisp, and that means it’s time for The Rumor Doctor to make his yearly metamorphosis into The Ghost Doctor, expert on all things paranormal or otherwise just plain weird.

This year’s tale of unexplained phenomena comes from West Point, nestled in New York’s Hudson Valley, not too far from Sleepy Hollow. In 1972, cadets sleeping in Room 4714 of the 47th Division Barracks reported seeing an apparition that looked like a 19th century soldier.

Can running the Marine Corps Marathon make you shorter?

Running is definitely not The Rumor Doctor's favorite pastime. In fact, The Doctor believes that running became obsolete with the invention of the internal combustion engine.

But since some readers may be participating in the upcoming Marine Corps Marathon this month in Washington, D.C., The Doctor felt it was a good time to investigate a running rumor: Marathon runners are measurably shorter at the end of the race than at the beginning.

How destructive was Sherman's march?

To some, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman was one of the few Union generals who understood modern war. To others, most notably the Southerners whom he defeated, he is a war criminal.

From August 1864 through April 1865, Sherman --  then a major general -- blazed a path through Georgia and the Carolinas, destroying anything of military value including railroads, grain bins and livestock.