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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptic > 24.1 > A DARKER MAZE

A DARKER MAZE

It took a year to sell the first thousand Dungeons & Dragons booklets. But as word got out, demand soared and better new versions were published. In 1977, TSR sold over half a million dollars of game books. Two years later, sales grew to two million dollars. Eventually their sales climbed as high as forty million dollars a year!

D&D became especially popular with college students. The new game quickly spread to schools across the nation. That’s where the trouble began.

Mysterious Disappearance

One day in 1979, a 16-year old student named James Dallas Egbert went missing from Michigan State University. It was a sad story with a tragic ending. Egbert’s disappearance soon made headlines across the country—and convinced many readers that D&D was dangerous.

Egbert’s parents were beside themselves with worry. Desperate, they hired a private detective named William Dear to find their missing son. Dear hurried to the school with an entire team of investigators. Their search equipment included an airplane. They spent weeks on the case.

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About Skeptic

BEHE’S LAST STAND COLUMNS The SkepDoc: Is Low-Dose Radiation Good for You? The Questionable Claims for Hormesis, by Harriet Hall, M.D. • The Gadfly: Define Your Terms (or, Here we Go Again), by Carol Tavris ARTICLES Making Gasoline from Water: John Andrews and the Invention of a Legend • Online Gaming: A Virtual Experiment in the Dark Side of Human Nature • Duped by Data Mining • How Science Will Explain and Fix Fake News • The Cult of Falun Gong: A Dance Troupe and Victimhood Raises Big Money • The Opioid Epidemic Misunderstood • Why the Human-Centered View Has Not Served us Well • Behe’s Last Stand: The Lion of Intelligent Design Roars Again • Straw Man on a Slippery Slope: The Case Against the Case Against Postmodernism • A Disproof of God’s Existence REVIEWS Reviews of: The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure; The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe: How to Know What’s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake; Investigating Ghosts: The Scientific Search for Spirits; Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post- Facts, and Fake News; Hoax: A History of Deception: 5000 Years of Fakes, Forgeries, and Fallacies; Truth’s Fool: Derek Freeman and the War Over Anthropology JUNIOR SKEPTIC Quest for the Truth about Dungeons and Dragons