Undercover Sceptic

Hi and a very warm welcome to The Undercover Sceptic Forum, I created this forum for like minded people to come and share their thoughts on sceptical subjects so please donate your wisdom freely for the furtherance of rational thought, Thankyou.
 
HomeCalendarFAQSearchUsergroupsRegisterLog in

Share | 
 

 Th real ghost busters... you decide!

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
Rob
Snr Member
avatar

Male Number of posts : 346
Age : 46
Location : Ireland.
Job/hobbies : Combatives, Skepticism, Design.
Registration date : 2008-06-20

PostSubject: Th real ghost busters... you decide!   Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:15 pm

Is it about making money, or just a bit of a power trip? Some of these TV loons have become quite the media darlings recently.

Personally, I'd need more proof than a few screaming humans in a dark cold room, or a chair "mysteriously" moving across the room by itself. When you see this type of video always watch out for the tell tale signs of "fakery". How much of the room can you see? Are there certain ares that are obscured, in order to hide some sort of mechanical device, or person perhaps? Or maybe you just can't see the floor? Why would that be? Probably because there is some kind of wire dragging the "magic" chair across the room. "If it can be faked, then it probably is."

Not to forget some of the very obvious, and poor fakes I've seen recently. Including, mist and dark clouds forming in rooms seemingly out of nowhere. Hoaxes like this can easily be attributed to computer generated imagery, as I work in that industry I can generally spot them a mile away. But what else do we have? Well, there is always the problem of "human contamination". I've seen this on numerous occasions - a peculiar shadow that moves across the room. Well, it's quite possible that it's a member of the investigating team getting themselves in a position to cast a shadow (by accident, or even on purpose). This can often look relatively genuine because the shadow diffuses more in a dark room, and therefore casts a very non descriptive shadow where any detail is virtually impossible to make out. Not to mention the various natural aberrations, that can be caught on cameras and other recording devices (yes that includes sounds too). All these factors can inevitably lead people to leaping to the conclusion that ghosts are real. Wheres Occam's razer when you need it? Smile

What about these eccentric mediums, can they really see auras, and pick up the psychic vibes? or are they just gifted in the art of cold reading? Also remember many of these stories when investigated are hugely exaggerated, or just plain untrue - just look at the Amityville horror (and I'm not just talking about the film here).

Well, heres one expiation from James Randi regarding mediums and psychics - I'll let you be the judge:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwy4yB8cSwE

From watching the current trend in pop TV culture you'd be thinking that there are ghosts are just about everywhere now days. Can't say I've ever seen one though. Is that the fact that that I'm just not "receptive" or have a closed mind. Or is it that they don't exist?

One of my friends "Big Jim" (I'll change his name), who has his feet firmly on the ground, or so I thought, asked me to watch Ghost hunters one day. He said "Rob, you've got to see some of this stuff... it will change you mind". Well, I checked out a few episodes... Was it real psychics in action, or just barmy old cack? again you decide. However, my mind has remained unchanged. When I see anything of that nature one statement goes through my head. "If it can be faked, then it probably is." I know, I've said it earlier - but it keeps me on the straight and narrow. So I'll always repeat it! Smile

But now, back to Jim.....Jim also went for a long weekend away in Scotland not so long ago. While there he went to see a "genuine" haunted dungeon. Now, going into a location like that, a "supposedly haunted dungeon" will automatically get you "in the mood" and set you imagination on fire. Thus making you much more receptive to the ideas, of ghost and ghoulies. If the same person was in a much more mundane surrounding - they would be in a far less receptive. After all... people see what they want to see. I forgot to as Big Jim how much he paid for the tour. Damn...

At this stage poor old Jim is really convinced... as he saw, and photographed the "dreaded orbs". I pointed out that theres were very likely just specks of detritus floating in the air, that simply reflect light form a camera flash. Nope, he wasn't having any of it. Jim, just like so many other people "want" and "need" to believe in this stuff. The tour guide had already primed the audience by saying things like, "you'll probably capture the ghostly orbs on camera" etc. Well, those old dungeons are pretty dusty... so I'd expect to see multiple orbs. Interestingly enough, I too photographed a "ghostly orb" recently in my kitchen while I was taking a shot of my dog larking about. Can't say that I thought it was a ghost though. To add further fuel to this ghostly fire Jim also photographed a face in the dungeon wall. Well, it did look like a face in fairness, but so did half the wall. I pointed out to him this was merely a Paradolia - where the brain tries to make sense, or recognize patterns, out of random chaos. Nope, according to him it was some kind of unearthly face...

So why am I telling you about Jim? Well, like so many other people out there Jim has a "fantasy prone personality" (like myself I should add), and is drawn to this type of phenomenon without any critical analysis. He simply takes everything at face value. Instead of looking for a simpler and more probable answer. He takes the route of it being "mystical", because he cannot immediately explain it. Also, most people like Jim don't have (or want) the skills in order to interpret this ghostly stimulus correctly. Is Dave unintelligent? Not at all, he's a very clever guy. As I mentioned we both have a fantasy prone personality. However the difference is that I look at things skeptically.

Ghost Hunters themselves are a peculiar lot - Virtually all the equipment they use, could not scientifically function in the way they say it can. Rather than me try to explain this to you. I urge you to listen to the most excellent skeptoid podcast, "Ghost Hunting Tools of the Trade (Skeptoid #81)" by Brian Donning. He does a much better job then I ever could. It's only 11 minutes, and it's well worth a listen, and a real eye opener. Smile

Heres the link:
http://cdn4.libsyn.com/skeptoid/skeptoid-4081.mp3?nvb=20080630124946&nva=20080701124946&t=0a916cf2f414b391b5c58

One other thought I'll leave you with. Is the program, ghost buster, or medium trying to sell you something? Do they have a book coming out? How do they make their living? Would people watch the show if nothing ever happened, or the medium couldn't perform? I fear not.... What do they have to gain? It's cynical I know, but there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there. Some are genuinely self-deluded while others are out to make a quick buck. Personally, I prefer when a group of skeptical scientists examine a so called "haunting" - isn't it ironic that they never seem to find anything (that I heard of anyway).

I don't believe I'm in a position to tell anyone that ghosts do, or don't exist. So far, from my own personal view point, I've not seen any evidence to indicate that they do indeed exist. However, what I would urge people to do is investigate any such claims with an objective analysis, and beware of the red flags.

If I ever see proof positive that ghosts exist I'll be the first one to say, however until then I'll keep watching...
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://www.ucireland.com
undercover sceptic
Admin
avatar

Male Number of posts : 520
Age : 44
Location : N.E. England
Job/hobbies : reading popular science, research.
Humor : Dry
Registration date : 2008-06-18

PostSubject: Re: Th real ghost busters... you decide!   Tue Jul 01, 2008 12:22 am

Excellent work Rob,

fantastic summation without being overly cynical, put across evidence superbly, great links from great sceptics to support your viewpoint.

Critical thought at work obviously but I fear some people will read this and simply classify you as a non believing cynic and that science doesnt have al the answers, blah de blah.

For me though and I admit I do not have in depth knowledge in this area, it was a real eye opener.

Thanks for the contribution Rob,

regards,

Den.

_________________
Skepticism is the agent of reason against organized irrationalism - and is therefore one of the keys to human social and civic decency.
Stephen J Gould

MY BLOG PAGE
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Rob
Snr Member
avatar

Male Number of posts : 346
Age : 46
Location : Ireland.
Job/hobbies : Combatives, Skepticism, Design.
Registration date : 2008-06-20

PostSubject: Re: Th real ghost busters... you decide!   Tue Jul 01, 2008 12:43 am

Thanks for the compliment Den. It's thanks to master skeptics like Donning, Novella and Randi that have really empowered me to analyze, and see things from an objective position.

I know I can be a little hard on these TV shows, but I just see them as "chewing gum for the eyes", except that they make claims that are not properly substantiated.

As for me being portrayed as a "cynical non-believer", I know some people will see it that way Sad . But in all honesty, I believe myself to have an open mind, and hand on heart, if I ever see the proof I'll be the first one to speak out.


Cheers,

R.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://www.ucireland.com
Rob
Snr Member
avatar

Male Number of posts : 346
Age : 46
Location : Ireland.
Job/hobbies : Combatives, Skepticism, Design.
Registration date : 2008-06-20

PostSubject: Re: Th real ghost busters... you decide!   Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:35 pm

Hi,

Some interesting points there.

Some of the fakes or anomalies that I'm referring to are pretty well documented. I'd point you int he direction of "Skeptoid" and the "skeptics guide to the universe". They go into the subject much better than I ever could. Just have a look to their archives. They discuss quite frequently EVP, orbs etc. I don't really have the time to trawl through the archives to be honest.

Just on the video fakes, I pretty much already said that the ones I saw were done with CG (computer graphics). I work in the industry, and I know how these look. Another one I saw was claimed that it was done by a wire. I can't remember where saw it. My thinking was the same as the other skeptics on the program - that it could and very probably was a wire. Can't be 100% sure, as I wasn't there. A lot of this stuff you can never really prove, or disprove unless you were actually there (that's the beauty for some of these guys who are faking).

I tend to be more on the skeptical side to be honest, so the "middle ground" as you put it doesn't exist in my world (yet). Now, if I see something that would change my mind so be it. But until I do I'm remaining skeptical.

Final thing I'll leave you with... Don't believe what I say to be true, I'm after all only using anecdotal evidence. You must find the proof, or not, for yourself.

R.


Last edited by Rob Pepper on Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://www.ucireland.com
Rob
Snr Member
avatar

Male Number of posts : 346
Age : 46
Location : Ireland.
Job/hobbies : Combatives, Skepticism, Design.
Registration date : 2008-06-20

PostSubject: Re: Th real ghost busters... you decide!   Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:39 pm

Another comment I should make at this point - even if you see something that LOOKS very convincing, or authentic that doesn't necessarily mean it's real.

It's only real, if it's real.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://www.ucireland.com
undercover sceptic
Admin
avatar

Male Number of posts : 520
Age : 44
Location : N.E. England
Job/hobbies : reading popular science, research.
Humor : Dry
Registration date : 2008-06-18

PostSubject: Re: Th real ghost busters... you decide!   Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:39 am

One final word on the subject of Ghosts,

They have neither mass nor energy, therefore scientifically do not exist other than in the mind of the beholder.

They also cannot be reproduced under laboratory conditions as well as the fact that even though technology has advanced to the point of Highly advanced video recording/sound recording equipment, not one ghost has been caught yet.

Also dear Ghostbusters,

waving an EMF Around does not constitute a scientific investigation.

Ofcourse we are wasting our breath and you will believe what you will, I will also believe in ghosts when yo can provide scientific evidence other than a smudge on a photograph Twisted Evil

Until then carry on busting those ghosts guys, see you in the next world Twisted Evil

Regards,

Den.

_________________
Skepticism is the agent of reason against organized irrationalism - and is therefore one of the keys to human social and civic decency.
Stephen J Gould

MY BLOG PAGE
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Rob
Snr Member
avatar

Male Number of posts : 346
Age : 46
Location : Ireland.
Job/hobbies : Combatives, Skepticism, Design.
Registration date : 2008-06-20

PostSubject: Re: Th real ghost busters... you decide!   Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:30 am

Good post Den!

"Who ya' going to call?... GHOSTBUSTERS!!"


Last edited by Rob on Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:53 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://www.ucireland.com
Rob
Snr Member
avatar

Male Number of posts : 346
Age : 46
Location : Ireland.
Job/hobbies : Combatives, Skepticism, Design.
Registration date : 2008-06-20

PostSubject: Re: Th real ghost busters... you decide!   Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:52 am

Seriously though Smile

I think Donning's podcast is a real eyeopener, and cuts right through that Ghosbusting jargon.

http://cdn4.libsyn.com/skeptoid/skeptoid-4081.mp3?nvb=20080722225055&nva=20080723225055&t=05a532366ca507ce96fb0
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://www.ucireland.com
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Th real ghost busters... you decide!   

Back to top Go down
 
Th real ghost busters... you decide!
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
-
» Lease of privately-owned real estate (GPPB 019-2007)
» Real Conversations In Dreams
» Have you seen a ghost?
» ummmmm a real ladies only question??? ** blushing time***
» Beautiful blue dress with real gold splashes

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Undercover Sceptic :: Scepticism :: Scepticality-
Jump to: