All things paranormal

I’ve watched a few Ghost Hunters episodes (on SciFi) the past couple of days, and it’s got me thinking about some things. I didn’t want to put this in Cafe Society because I imagine the discussion will quickly shift to a more general discourse about ghosts and things than about the TV show itself.

After perusing some of the other related threads on SDMB, I see that a lot of people feel the need to argue and quibble to the point that it deters others from participating. I’d like it if we could steer clear from personal attacks and vilification in this one.

Anyhoo, on a couple of these episodes they seem to find truly unexplainable things. Like the toy dragon that roared any number of times it was asked to, despite the fact that it’s not voice-controlled. Or the humanoid figure that seemed to rise up in front of the camera, then run away at the Eastern State Penitentiary (they found some other odd things there, too). So my question is - how are these things explained? Assuming (perhaps naively) that the producers and participants can be honest and not pull any pranks, what happens when something’s NOT explained? Do we see these things, throw our hands into the air and say, “Well, I guess ghosts exist!” Or do we immediately disregard it because the image wasn’t incredibly clear or because we can’t force it to happen again?

It seems like people always want very concrete, physical proof of paranormal events. But what if it’s paranormal’s nature to be elusive and hard to catch, especially with our technology and views of science? Skeptics would always have a reason to celebrate. I sort of think about it like an electron circling a nucleus in its chaotic, fragmented cloud. You only see images of where it’s been, but you can’t really predict where it will be. This could make sense in the whole extra-dimensional theory that ghosts, aliens, etc. live among us all the time in a separate plane, and only once in awhile, when wavelengths coincide, intersect, or amplify - do we see something for a split second or catch it on film. That’s the extent to which it could possibly be documented with our current understanding of technology and science.

I dunno. Maybe I have a problem with people who think they know all the answers: “There’s no such thing as ghosts. Period. If there were ghosts, why don’t we have a credible videotape of somebody talking to one?” These comments don’t help explain anything that is witnessed. What if the things people witness are slip-ups themselves, anomalies in no one’s or nothing’s control? Tiny, coincidental alignments of factors that make something visible to the eye for just a second before disappearing.

How do we account for truly unaccountable things?

That’s the problem though, the producers &/or particpants are faking at least some of the so called evidence.

I’ve only seen a few epsiodes so it’s possible in one of the episodes I haven’t seen they find something real, but in the one where they go to the Sharon Tate murder site and get the FLIR readings to go up and down on command, the FLIR readings are edited (you can see the digits wobbling back and forth from lousy editing).This site has more on that

Another episode I saw was in Tombstone (I think it was one of the old western towns), where they had an electrical cable supposedly come off from the wall on video… the problem is that

  1. the cable was hung on the wall very conveniently for no reason, it could’ve been curled neatly out of the way on the floor, and as such appears to have been placed there specifically for the footage of it falling off the wall.

  2. the footage that they say shows it falling off the wall is not very clear, which is the case with all the supposed proof they get (except when it’s out and out faked liked the FLIR).

I think that if there is going to be any proof of “ghosts*”, it’s not going to be found on a show like TAPS, especially when any “proof” they supply is going to be suspect.

As to actual paranormal occurences, I’d like to see someone like James Randi or Penn & Teller get to see the actual occurence happening, so that they can try and see if they can see it’s a trick before we try getting into trying to prove what it is scientifically.
For instance, in the Very Vaguely Creepy/Paranormal thread, there are a couple of stories where there is supposedly replicable/repeating paranormal happenings going on, either of these cases if proven would make the posters over $1million US (with the various skeptical groups prizes on offer) excluding the rights to movies etcetera.

*Ghosts in that it could be anything for all anyone knows as opposed to just life after death

You find out if they are truly unaccountable by having a trained neutral scientific body, whose very existence doesn’t depend on finding positive evidence of the paranormal, examine the evidence.