More Ghost Crap
(?) August 4th, 1999

WARNING: Unlike most daily entries, there is very little skepticism today...we mostly just make fun of fact, this is such a lame entry that I would advise you to skip it completely...we're not proud of it.

Today, we'll be looking at ghost-hunters.  While we here at the Skeptic think "ghost-hunting" is as an odd statement to make about yourself (where ghost-discovering would work better in some cases), we won't pass judgment.  Yet.

Ghosts are a sensitive subject.  They deal with the spirits of the dead in the land of the living.  They call into question religious beliefs, and that's not someplace to tread when the word "garbage" or "nonsense" is on one's tongue.  That is, if you're someone other than us. 

Very simply, there is absolutely no compelling evidence that ghosts are the souls of the dead.  Of course, this doesn't stop an awful lot of people from believing it.  That is unforgivable.  What is actually kind of neat is that some people really want to prove that ghosts are the spirits of the dead.  While it's a lofty goal, and flaky ones among them use psychics to "dowse" the haunting areas, it's actually kind of important to have people studying this kind of stuff.  Sometimes. 

One such group is called The American Ghost Society.  They have a very limited 'net presence, so finding information is difficult.  The one page we could find is their own, and this is an excerpt from their mission statement:

We also have a different approach to ghost research in that we tackle it in a non-metaphysical manner. We are not looking for psychic impressions but real and solid evidence of the existence of ghosts. We are also extremely careful about our presentation of such evidence... making sure that our findings are legitimate, researched and analyzed before being presented to the general public. 

This is encouraging.  So they talk the talk of skeptics.  Can they walk the walk?

It doesn't look like it.  You see, the only thing on their page, beside what we have below, is a Plea For Chump Money.  They sell two memberships, one active and one passive.  But the're pretty reticent on what they actually do.

Well, they have a book:

Not that we've read it, but it looks about as scientifically accurate as a Goosebumps kiddie-pop novel.  Yes, for the record, we are judging a book by its cover. 

And now we move on to the slicksters.  They call themsvelves the Society for Paranormal Investigation, Research and Informational Training, or SPIRIT for short.  Here are their goals:

Our organization has three primary goals. First, to seek out, observe, and record legitimate paranormal activity. Second, to organize serious, scientifically-oriented ghosthunters around the world. Finally, to bring to the public's attention legitimate paranormal phenomena.

Again, it looks like they can talk the talk.  But then they have to go and get fruity on us:

Ghosts and poltergeists are inexplicable in terms of modern-day science.

Then what's the bloody point of investigating them?!

One of their saving graces is that they're not trying to make money, and very rarely on their site do they ask for any. 

They also have a checklist of tools that a ghost-hunter needs, like a camera, flashlight, a watch and and Electromagnetic Field detector.  The problem with those (and other recommended tools, like infrared film, a thermometer and a tape recorder), is that perfectly mundane things can effect them.  They seem to be saying that any old dork with a flashlight and a camera can be a ghost-hunter, but they should make sure their claims are "scientifically sound."  Yeah, right.  The first time I hear something scientifically sound coming out of the mouth of a "ghost hunter," I'll let you know.  Don't hold your breath. 



June 11th, 2001

A Million Damn Dollars
May 31st, 2001

Government Stooges
May 13th, 2001