WARNING: Unlike most daily
entries, there is very little skepticism today...we mostly just make fun
of people...in 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
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.