What do you think of my idea? (Mythbuster's debunking ghosts)

I was watching Ghost Hunters today and shocked at how easily they claimed a place haunted, especially after spending alot of time saying that they’re skeptical and go in trying to disprove hauntings. Granted, they did notice a few odd occurances (a lamp moving about 3 or 4 inches within 4 minutes, some anamolies on thermal cam, and a human-like shadow caught on video tape), and even said that it they could all possibly be chalked up to normal occurances, but they never decided to persue that alley (or at least didn’t show that part on tape). I got rather frustrated when they just decided to say the place was haunted rather than find other reasons. After that was over, I changed over to the Discovery channel to watch the Mythbusters. Then an idea sprang in my head. Jamie and Adam seem to be very objective about whatever things they persue (they even took the pyramid healing power myth seriously). Surely the team could try to take on the myths of haunted houses? So tell me, is my idea good or would they just eventually resort to trying to blow up ectoplasm?

Oh, and when I pitched the idea to my girlfriend I even had the brilliant idea of combining the names of the two shows. “Hey! They could even call it Ghost Bu-- oh, damn.”

I would say that you should go and send them an email forthwith.
[sub]Even if they do just end up blowing up ectoplasm.[/sub]

LOL, I love the idea.

What I would love to do is get a group of psychics together, and take them away from their normal area, say take a bunch of east coasters to arizona or texas. Pick 4 buildings all enxt to one another that one is purportedly haunted. Don’t tell the psychics which of the 4 is haunted and let them figure it out without talking to ANYBODY. No info on what the haunting is suppsoed to be, what anybody has reported, and dont tell the psychics where they are actually going so they cant look anything up…take them from the small private plane blindfolded into a blacked out vehicle, then blindfolded into the building [at night so they cant see out the windows easily] and make sure that there arent any place names [like a hotel name or business name]

It’s a great idea, but I want to stay at the ‘haunted’ house, instead. I’ve always been convinced nothing unexplainable would occur if I stayed somewhere supposedly haunted.

While the skeptic in me agrees with your sentiment, the “fraidy-cat” in me says that I’ll probably get mauled by a vicious poltergeist the minute I fall asleep. And the fraidy-cat part of me likes to show itself whenever I hear strange noises.

I would jump at the chance to stay somewhere allegedly haunted. I don’t buy a bit of it.

Penn & Teller’s “Bullshit” show featured a bunch of ghost-hunting folks a few weeks ago. These poor dweebs were running around with little EMF-detection meters, getting all excited if they picked up readings while they were standing right next to electric lamps. They seemed like nice, sincere people, but their grasp of science was tenuous, and their capacity for creating elaborate explanations for simple things was considerable.

From what I’ve seen, the Mythbusters guys are really after debunking long-standing beliefs. The problem with them investigating a haunted house is that they can only prove that the specific house that they investigated is not haunted. What about all the other alleged haunted houses out there? They won’t be able to really debunk ghosts in general, but maybe just do it for the ghosts in a specific house.

'S okay, if you come with me, since I don’t believe in them, they won’t be there. See?

nivlac has a point. Perhaps they could choose a place that is just major haunted, lots of different kinds of apparitions, very reliable and definite activity, that sort of thing. If *that * place isn’t found to be haunted, how could any other place be?

Let Penn & Teller play with the ghosts, Mythbusters tend to stay away from “oogey boogey stuff” as Adam mentioned repeatedly during the “Pyramidiot” episode.

Besides, Jamie and Adam are too laid back to really give con artists the scorn they so richly deserve. Penn on the other hand…

I would like that type of show, but frankly I think it’d be kind of a “killjoy”. People want the supernatural to be real; it’s exciting and interesting. It’d be like having a show devoted to telling kids there’s no Santa Claus.

I wouldn’t mind being proved wrong on this, but the show would never be popular.

I’ve had this exactly same idea for years.

Someone posted a while ago on the SDMB about a theatre somewhere where one of the seats is “haunted”. That would be TRIVIAL to test. Get 20 volunteers who’ve never been there. Give them a random-ordered list of 20 different seats. Ask them to sit in each one and see if they notice anything funny. If a statistically significant proportion report something funny going on in the haunted seat, then hey, paydirt.
Actually, though, to really be fair, there’s another step, which is to balance out all external factors. Maybe they WILL think the seat is haunted, because it is placed between the air conditioning and heating ducts in a way which results in quick temperature changes, or maybe it’s right over a leaky power line and full of static electricity, or whatever. So some way to balance out external factors would be necessary.
Similarly, for “haunted houses”, you’d probably want to cover the walls of the room with dropcloths and ensure a constant temperature, etc.

I remember reading a passage from Carl Sagan’s last book, where he lamented the popularity of the X-Files and the way it lent credence to the notion of a supernatural. Sagan’s idea for the show would be to have Scully and Mulder debunking “paranormal” phenomena every week; the “drama” would supposedly lie in how they did it. I imagine we can breathe a collective sigh of relief that Sagan never produced anything for TV after “Cosmos.”

Yes, I thought the exact same thing when I read that in The Demon-Haunted World. I’m a complete skeptic, but the standard X-Files was much more entertaining when stuff turned out to be really alien and supernatural. Sagan’s hypothetical show would have sucked.

This intrigues me…how does a haunted theatre seat manifest itself?

…an inexplicably sticky floor–no matter how many times it’s cleaned, there is always the chillingly terrible scrrrrrraaaaakkkk as your sneakers peel off.

…a mysterious “shush!” that no one can locate?

…an apparition with a huge afro and big hat that blocks the screen of the person in the row behind? “Excuse me sir, can you remove your—what? He just disappeared!”

No! I think it would’ve been great. Imagine Carl Sagan’s Scooby Doo, coming to your local PBS affiliate. It could work. :wink:

Well scooby doo was entertaining… There were never ghosts for me it was the first skeptical show I watched.

A dramatic show is possible so long as you pepper it with a few episodes where, like in real, life no ready explaination is possible leaving it up to the viewer.

Sort of a Law and Order Bunko Squad!

As I recall, it was an old theatre, and one of the seats was reserved for the ghost. Supposedly, if you sat in that seat, you would get the chills, feel uncomfortable, etc.

Electronic Chaos, was this the first Ghost Hunters you have watched? If you’ve watched other episodes, you would know that the TAPS team rarely tells the person they’re doing the investigation for that the place is haunted. In fact, I think this episode was the first time I’ve ever seen them say so. Most of the time they show the person what they found and say, “Yes, these things that happened were weird, but we can’t say conclusively that the place is haunted.” In the case of the Myrtles, they felt there was too much that couldn’t be explained. And I think they did try to disprove it, as well as they could. Is it really so difficult for some people to accept that maybe not everything in this world can be explained by science? I hope not, because that would certainly be a boring world. Science is boring (to some of us at least). Unless it comes from the Myth Busters, that is. :wink:

Of course, it may have had to do with the fact that the livelihood of the Myrtles depends on its legendary ghosts. People are drawn there by these supposed apparitions, and without them, its future as a popular tourist site is in jeopardy. The Ghost Hunters team may have been under some pressure by the owners to say that it was haunted. I’m not willing to say that’s not a possible reason for their conclusions.