The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Posts Tagged ‘spirits’

More iPhone/Touch Fun – Fake Your Own Ghost/UFO Photos!

Posted by mattusmaximus on March 4, 2010

In keeping with the melding of modern technology with good ol’ fashioned skepticism, I’ve found out about a few neat iPhone/Touch apps that are, in my opinion, a must-have for any skeptic.  These apps allow one to take photos and manipulate them into giving the appearance of having captured images of ghosts and/or UFOs & aliens. And while such photo manipulation is not proof positive that ghosts & aliens do not exist, when such manipulation is so easy to accomplish it should give one cause to pull out their Occam’s Razor in an effort to slice away the b.s.

Using these apps, take a look at how I added a ghostly spirit and alien UFO to a couple of my photos…

So what sort of goodies are available at the iTunes store for such skeptical fun?  Read on…

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Posted in aliens & UFOs, ghosts & paranormal, humor | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

“What the Hell was That?!” – Ghosts & Other Paranormal B.S.

Posted by mattusmaximus on February 12, 2010

I recently came across a neat website which really does a good job of dissecting the various “ghost-hunting” TV shows that have been popping up like crazy over the last couple of years.  Of course, I’ve written before about how ghost-hunters are essentially deluding themselves because they have no clue what they’re doing, but this website – What the Hell was That? – does a far better & more thorough job than I ever could.  That’s mostly because if I took the time to watch that much stupidly bad TV, I think I’d have to drive a spike through my skull to put myself out of my misery.

As an example, check out the latest entry on a show called “Ghost Adventures” – ooh, sounds spooky 🙂

Ghost Adventures, a Kindly Review

Travel Channel

Fridays at 9pm

Of all the fake ghost hunting shows, Ghost Adventures probably qualifies as the most annoying.

Hosted by the ever-preening Zak Bagans, a film school graduate with a penchant for horridly overwrought prose like “When darkness falls, we chase the darkness.” He must write the stuff himself because he delivers each painful line as though he is reading from scripture.

2e4et83

Zak is also one of the world’s worst actors, which is a shame since he does a lot of acting in each show. He approaches each case with an absurd tough guy act, constantly challenging ghosts: “Bring it on.” Zak loves to gesture, pro wrestling-style, putting his hands right into our faces when he is trying to make a worthless point. It all comes across as trying just a little bit too hard.

Zak often interviews people who have claim some experience on the site. His outrageously leading questions sometimes make even the interviewees squirm. Of course, like all the other shows, the events described as occurring on the sites vastly outstrip what the ghost hunters actually find. We hear of full body apparitions, glowing eyes, spectral faces, etc., etc. But never, never is anything like that ever actually found by Zak or his team. Sometimes the best he can manage is to feel cold spots, or spectral touches. These allow him to really stretch out his acting skills, to great comedic effect. He also often presents the standard lame EVP’s, dubious door slams, and unclear images.

Like many of the shows, recreated images and sounds are mixed in with the “real” stuff, making it impossible to determine what is being presented as “evidence”. We can see the heavy ham hands of the producers as they try to wring out the maximum oooga booga for their indiscriminate audience.

Ghost Adventures also uses tons of dubious gadgets (see my Bag of Tricks article for some examples). Since none of the little electronic boxes are documented or explained, I view all of them with great suspicion. As I documented, one of their gadgets was just a cheap flashlight.

Some questionable stuff from a recent show, set at an abandoned prison:

• Batteries were drained “instantly” from the wireless mics but NEVER from the cameras (then there would be nothing for the show!). There was some priceless overacting “What? What?…I just put new batteries in 5 minutes ago!”

• The crew claimed then claimed that the audio for the on-board camera mics went out, too. It’s hard to prove that they are lying but I would be willing to bet that they simply turned down the input for the drama. It is too convenient that the video never went out. The whole incident had all the earmarks of  prearranged corny dramatic stunt.

• A supposed mist was shown behind Zak that was obviously just a reflection in the low quality night vision image.

Ghost Adventures is an example of lowest common denominator TV, cheap, dumb and patently false. The silly host makes this one particularly loathsome.

Not A Ghost.com Grade: F

Posted in ghosts & paranormal | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Must-See Video: The G Hunters

Posted by mattusmaximus on November 27, 2009

I just wanted to share in this quick post with everyone a video I saw this last summer at The Amazing Meeting 7 in Las Vegas.  During the convention, our pals at the Skeptics Guide to the Universe shared their first effort at skeptical movie-making, a spoof of “ghost-hunting” shows which have become so popular these days.  For a more detailed analysis of why ghost-hunting is a load of woo-woo, click here. I hope you enjoy the show! 😀

The G Hunters: Episode 1, Part 1

The G Hunters: Episode 1, Part 2

Posted in ghosts & paranormal, humor | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Discovery Channel Jumps on the “Ghost Hunting” Woo Bandwagon

Posted by mattusmaximus on October 7, 2009

In another *facepalm* moment, I discovered recently while being interviewed for Warning Radio that the Discovery Channel is now jumping aboard the “ghost hunting” bandwagon of woo.  Seriously, what the hell happened to the days of the Discovery Channel spotlighting actual science?…

DISCOVERY CHANNEL TACKLES UNEXPLAINED PHENOMENA WITH ALL-NEW SERIES GHOST LAB TO PREMIERE OCTOBER 6

Klinge Brothers Use High Tech Mobile Lab and Noted Historical Experts to Test Scientific Theories —

(Silver Spring, Md.) – With the help of the latest technology, two brothers have uncovered some of the most intriguing results in supernatural research to date – including a possible recording of Civil War soldiers talking.  Meet Brad and Barry Klinge, Texas natives who in 2007 founded Everyday Paranormal, an investigation team that has explored more than 70 locations and given a new twist to paranormal research.  The Klinges and their team of investigators are featured in the all-new 13-part series GHOST LAB, to premiere Tuesday, October 6 at 10PM E/P on Discovery Channel.

The Klinge brothers tackle what are thought to be some of America’s most haunted locations with sophisticated equipment housed in a decked-out travelling “ghost lab.”  This 24-foot car hauler is capable of providing 200,000 watts of electricity to power audio, video and photo analysis stations; flat-screen televisions and an interactive touch-screen smartboard.  The lab also houses surveillance video cameras capable of shooting 300 feet away in total darkness with a 180-degree peripheral view; temperature, humidity and dew point data loggers; various digital cameras, including thermal imaging cameras; audio recorders; and more than 8,000 feet of video cable.  This on-site high-tech lab enables investigators to analyze data on the premises in real time, helping them to more narrowly focus their investigations on suspected “hot spots.”

Wow… the stupid is just burning my brain.  I explain in another recent entry why these “ghost hunters” – who should really be called morons-who-stumble-in-the-dark-Blair-Witch-style-saying-“Did you hear THAT?!!” – are so far off base in their analysis. Of course, the big mistake here that these idiots are making is that they assume that “high tech = good science”, which isn’t true.  If you have no real understanding of the physical & scientific principles behind what your devices are actually measuring, and if you instead regard the technology as some kind of magical device, then all the technology in the world will not fix your broken & illogical thinking.  Or, as any computer expert will tell you, no matter how good your machines & gadgetry: “Garbage in = garbage out”

Discovery Channel, this one’s for you…

facepalm

Posted in ghosts & paranormal, media woo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Psychic Scumbags Are Like Buzzards

Posted by mattusmaximus on July 11, 2009

Wow, some people have no shame.  Take, for example, all of the psychic woo-meisters who are taking advantage of Michael Jackson’s death to promote their flim-flammery…

Psychics see magic in Michael Jackson’s life

When Glynis McCants looks at Michael Jackson’s life, she sees the number five.Numerologist Glynis McCants says that with his numbers, Jackson was a draw to fans.

Numerologist Glynis McCants says that with his numbers, Jackson was a draw to fans.

Jackson’s talent was discovered when he was 5 years old, he came to fame as a member of the Jackson 5 and he planned a series of 50 concert dates in London, England, as part of a comeback tour before he died on June 25 at the age of 50.

For McCants, a noted numerologist and author, those facts are very telling: “Five is the number for drama, and it was in his life his whole life.”

It just gets worse from there, with practically every huckster from Uri Geller to the local crazy old bat reading chicken entrails on the corner attempting to ride this bandwagon of stupidity.  A more appropriate title for the article would be “Psychics see dollar signs in exploiting Michael Jackson’s death”. These opportunistic scumbags don’t ever seem to miss the chance to make a quick buck – whether it is this or by claiming, like uber-douchebag John Edward, to be talking to the dead, they’re like buzzards picking over the meat of a carcass. Gah…

What’s worse, this is a big story on a major, mainstream news outlet – freakin’ CNN of all places!  My respect for CNN has just dropped by about five orders of magnitude.  If you’re as disgusted as I am about CNN giving serious attention to this lunacy, contact them and let your thoughts be known.

Posted in media woo, psychics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The “Ghost” of Michael Jackson

Posted by mattusmaximus on July 6, 2009

Oh please… apparently, the ghost of Michael Jackson is now making the rounds.  That is, according to numerous slavering fans who have apparently thrown their brains right out the window.

I mean, we all knew it was going to happen (just like it has with other famous people, like Elvis), but I was holding out hope that it might take at least a bit longer than this so the news cycle wouldn’t have another reason to go on and on and on about MJ.  Arrrgh.

Anyway, here is the news story is making the rounds on the Internet (say, he sort of does look like a ghost)…

Ghost of Michael Jackson cures fan of fatal illness?

One rather expected consequence of the passing of the ‘King of Pop’, Michael Jackson is a rash of alleged sightings of Jackson’s ghost.

From the Philippines to Mexico, From Japan to the United States fans have been claiming to have been visited by Michael’s spirit.

Good grief!  As if this isn’t bad enough, it seems that some folks are making even crazier claims – namely that the King of Pop has miraculously cured them of their ailments!

Angelina Ramos, aged 38, a beautician and Manila native has been a serious Jackson fan ‘all her life’.  Last year never-married Angelina contracted a rare blood disease. Doctors gave her a ninety percent chance of not surviving for more than a year.

Angelina was shattered when her hero died. Two days after Jackson’s passing Angelina woke up at night and felt a presence in her bedroom. She sat up and felt a hand pull her back down. She looked up and she saw her hero.

‘He looked radiant, at peace, absolutely beautiful. It was Michael for sure. He had a warm smile on his on his face’ said Angelina.

‘I was both stunned and at the same time uplifted’

I wonder how long until there are calls for the Vatican to give MJ sainthood?  But, believe me folks, it gets even better…

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Posted in ghosts & paranormal | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

What is it?

Posted by mattusmaximus on April 14, 2009

I frequent the JREF Forum quite a bit, and if you’re at all into skepticism and whatnot, I suggest you go over to check it out sometime. Anyway, recently someone posted an interesting photo there and essentially asked: “What is it?”

jref-orb1

No doubt you can see what I see – a strange light which seems to be among or beyond the branches of the tree. It appears to be a ghostly entity sometimes referred to as a “spirit orb” by some woo-proponents; others will insist that it is some kind of UFO or alien craft. I’ve seen some posters on the JREF Forum (not all are skeptics) seriously make these arguments – no kidding.

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Posted in aliens & UFOs, ghosts & paranormal | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

 
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