Jeepers, those wacky ghost hunters are at it again. Why do I keep watching these shows? I don’t really know. I don’t watch them as much as I used to. One can only watch people walking around in the dark for so long before a pattern emerges. If shadow people, garbled recordings, and cold spots are enough to convince you the dead are haunting the land of the living, I guess that’s your prerogative, but all I see is people who are easily fooled by their own imaginations.
The newest addition to the ghost hunting reality shows is Ghost Lab on Discovery. This is a real shame. It’s one thing when Syfy or Travel Channel puts on a ghost show, but it’s really something else when a channel devoted to science wastes its time with this nonsense. A bit disenheartening that this sort of pseudo-science is getting any legitimacy at all. Maybe that’s a bit harsh, but as a guy who appreciates the geniune wonders of science, it’s sometimes hard to realize that we are still bound by superstition.
And right now, someone who has had a “ghostly encounter” will just write me off as a closed-minded skeptic. They might even be right. I can’t disprove ghosts. I can only say that the evidence for ghosts and the paranormal has continued to become sketchier and sketchier with each passing year. As science reveals more of the natural world, we discover it is stranger and more wonderful than we imagined. But most of us would be content believing in ghosts than bothering to read about physics. Because ghosts are easy, and physics is hard.
Although I do wonder if any of these ghost hunters have ever read even a high school science book. The way they get so damned excited about electromagnetic fields, cold spots, and EVP, it’s like they barely understand human technology.
But this is more than just a question of science. It’s a question of media. Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, people lived in isolated villages. They knew almost nothing about the world outside of those villages. So if someone came to them and said there was a land where people had faces in their chests or that dragons swam the oceans or that ghosts and vampires (which were originally just another form of ghost though we tend to forget that now) were real, it wasn’t hard to believe them.
But this is the information age, gang. Almost everybody on the planet has a camera or a recording device. My cell phone is a piece of crap, but even it can take pictures. People post pictures of everything happening to them every day of their life, often in the most minute and excrutiating details. But we still don’t have a decent photo of a ghost, bigfoot, or the Loch Ness monster. Somehow, even though cameras are everywhere and ever present, even though there are at least eleventy billion ghost hunting crews equipped with all manner of recording devices, we have even less evidence of the paranormal than we ever did.
This absence of evidence is pretty convincing if you ask me. I figure if someone actually captured a good ghostly image on video, it’d be the most popular viewing on Youtube in no time. If Discovery had a banshee wailing while blood dripped from the walls, I don’t think they’d fail to present the footage.
On the latest episode of Ghost Lab, the investigators are in a haunted hotel. One investigator tries to get a key card to work on a door several times. Then he tells the ghost to let him in, tries the card, and is amazed when it works.
The last hotel I stayed in had a key card system. It was hardly reliable. In fact, Sally and I made a game out of it where every time we went back to our room, we’d take turns trying to use the card to open the door. It could take anywhere from 1 to 7 tries. There wasn’t a predictability about it. It just wasn’t a reliable system. Yet never once did it occur to me that a ghost could’ve been responsible.
Ghosts could exist. I concede this point. They could be electromagnetic fields and cold spots, EVP and spooky sensations on the back of your neck. But if this is the best they can do, then I say it’s time to move on. Maybe if we go back to ignoring the supernatural, it’ll possibly get off its lazy butt and do something. What’s its motivation now? Why go to the trouble of levitating children out of their beds and possessing people when all you have to do is mumble on a recording to get some attention.
I say we tell the paranormal it’s time to put up or shut up. I’m not asking for anything big here. Just a levitation caught on film. Maybe a spooky transparent, yet readily identifiable, figure on video. Heck, at this point I’d settle for a spirit that would reliably flick a light off and on when asked to.
As for Bigfoot, I bet if we just ignored him long enough his need for attention would cause him to come stomping out of the woods, write a tell all book, and go on Oprah. (Uh, that wasn’t an intentional Palin jab, but now that it’s there, I’ll leave it.)
Now, the chupacabra will probably be more stubborn because he’s not in it for the fame or the chicks. He is (and always has been) in it for the goat sucking. And good for him. If you do what you love then it’s hardly working at all.
Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,