Monday, January 18, 2010

The Haunted on Animal Planet

I think it's great that just about every cable station has one or more paranormal reality show on it. When I saw that Animal Planet had a show about hauntings (The Haunted) I laughed. What could the rationale possibly be for Animal Planet to be showing a ghost show? Duh! Animals are more aware and sensitive to paranormal activity. Of course!

Which begs the question then why, if animals can sense things that we cannot, are they not brought in for these threats more? They are used to find bombs, bed bugs and bodies and other things that have specific smells. Even with the terrorist threat, they bring in expensive technical equipment to look at us naked. Instead, have a team of dogs each with its own special scent tracking capability and have them walking around the security lines at airports. Then pick the people off the line and forget about questions of racial and ethnic profiling, the dog would give reason for checking them out.

By the same token, we have a whole show about how sensitive animals are to the paranormal and ghosts and demons and spirits, etc. Why then do we have a gazillion paranormal investigation shows -- plumbers, cops, Texans, college students, mediums, private eyes, etc.-- and not ONE of those groups uses dogs or other animals to detect the presence of spirits. (the canary in the coal mine, so to speak). They have EMF detectors that MAY or may not reveal paranormal activity. They have digital cameras, digital voice recorders, infrared, full spectrum cameras, thermal imaging cameras. All kinds of man-made devices -- they even have psychic mediums who, I guess, could be called the "dogs" of the human race -- who are more in tune with these non-physical presences than the rest of us. But you have to PAY psychic mediums for their time. You can just FEED a dog and throw them a biscuit. Give them a place to sleep at night.
Last night's The Haunted on Animal Planet featuring Carrie, her sister and mother moving into a haunted house prompted me to wonder why, if people realize something is wrong, do they choose to ignore it? Obviously the dogs were barking for a reason. They were acting strange as if there were an intruder. They were acting afraid. Why do people ignore that? (on a side note, I read an article by a man who said that the behavior of the dog during the Nicole Brown Simpson murder should have been part of the evidence because that specific breed behaves in a different way around its master than it does around a stranger, and that dog behaved in a way that indicated the master was present at the murder scene--in other words a stranger did not commit the murder, OJ did). But I digress.
The other thought I had was that people do not believe what is happening because society tells them that these things are not possible or people who believe in spirits, ghosts, demons, psychic phenomena are kookie. We have no place to get legitimate information (other than these paranormal shows--which is another risk of being considered kookie, if we believe what's shown on these programs), so there is no place to really get such information on demons, spirits, and what is known and what is normally done. This family knew something was not right but thought by ignoring what they saw going on that life would be normal for them. When their dogs are barking and trying to protect them in the middle of the night from things they did not see, they go under the covers. They have no knowledge of how to get psychic and spiritual protection. Even religious institutions do not give much credence (publicly) to these encounters or make known what they would recommend in the face of a demonic haunting or a negative entity attacking someone. Paranormal media actually is the only place where one finds out about burning sage, the St. Michael prayer, excorcism or house blessings, demonologists (like Lorraine Warren), rescue mediums, Native American beliefs about the dead. What we don't know can hurt us, and it is what these people don't know that leaves them vulnerable.
Another question I had was about real estate -- trying to sell a home that is known to be haunted or have demonic activity. I wonder if there is a haunted real estate site that let's people who are interested in being in such a place know where they can buy one. If you are afraid people won't buy it because it is haunted, then figure out a way to market to people who WANT to live in a haunted location. Perhaps paranormal investigative teams could buy such a place and use it to train new people -- like Ghost Hunters Academy did in specific haunted locations. Once on Ghost Hunters a southern paranormal investigative team brought in TAPS to allow them to train a new investigator in a house they knew to be haunted. Why not buy up these places as training grounds for teams. An offsite training weekend for the paranormal.
On another note, I am seeking people who watch paranormal television to tell me their stories about why they watch and whether the programs have changed their views on the paranormal, and if not paranormal, death and afterlife beliefs.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

High EMFS on Ghost Lab vs. Ghost Hunters

Has anyone else noticed that when Jason and Grant's team members on Ghost Hunters are getting high EMFs around electrical wiring or pipes, etc., they do not attribute any of those readings to paranormal activity? They say that the high EMFs make people feel as if they are being watched or can give them hallucinations or make their hair stand on end. But they discount claims by people based on those traceable EMF readings.

On the other hand, Barry and Brad Klinge on Ghost Lab attribute those areas of traceable high EMF readings to being a cause of paranormal experiences.

So basically Ghost Hunters says areas that create high EMFs due to a high number of electrical connections cause a PERCEPTION of paranormal activity that is not valid, while Brad and Barry claim those areas that generate high EMFs are like a "nest" that draws out actual paranormal events.

ASSAP web site does talk about this on their website under "Ghosts, Baselines and EMF meters."
Here is an excerpt from their article about EMFs and hauntings:

Can EMF meters detect paranormal activity? Given the problems outlined above, it seems unlikely. In summary:

•EMF meters cannot show frequency data so that different readings cannot be compared
•there are many natural sources of variability and spikes in low field areas (including non electrical sources) which cannot be easily distinguished with EMF meters
•EMF meters cannot identify 3 phase interference
•EMF meters cannot identify fields capable of causing hallucinations (EIFs)
In addition, EMF meters are often not used in the best way they could be. Problems include:

•baselines at the start of vigils which are little better than random
•what constitutes 'paranormal activity' is often poorly defined making comparisons between different vigils and different sites problematic
•mediumistic information is sometimes included as 'activity' even when nothing is witnessed by non-mediums
•paranormal activity is not always investigated exhaustively to eliminate natural causes

Brad and Barry do an EMF "sweep" prior to the investigation -- getting an overall baseline reading of the entire area. Jason and Grant don't show that they do that (they might, but we don't know). ASSAP says that a proper baseline EMF reading should be taken over a 24-hour period prior to an investigation, and that there are other types of readings, called EIFs (varying magnetic fields), which may explain possible hallucinations that seem like a haunting.

ASSAP says the best way to do EMF readings is:

A single baseline measurement is therefore not very helpful. A much better solution is a 'positional baseline'. With this sort of setup you position a pair of EMF meters so that one is in a 'hot spot' (where lots of paranormal activity has been reported) and the other in a control area (somewhere nearby and as similar as possible but with no reports of activity). In this setup, instead of comparing readings to a more or less random baseline, you compare contemporary readings in different places. The 'control' instrument effectively provides a continuous baseline for the 'hot spot' one. It is then easy to spot if there are higher readings at the hot spot compared to the control.

I have not seen any of the paranormal investigation teams doing this or reporting this methodology being used in an investigation.

A new show called Paranormal Cops debuts this week on A&E, Tuesday night.

Keep up to date on paranormal reality shows being aired each week by following @dhdobry on Twitter.

SNL Parody of Celebrity Ghost Stories

I thought this would be interesting--a popular culture version of an officially produced popular culture program. SNL parodies Celebrity Ghost Stories.