Friday, October 20, 2006

Halloweenie of the... ok, the Week, sorry.

I know I haven't been keeping up with this very well, but you'd much rather I kept up with my other work first, right? I still have hope that my wife will be writing something about one of her favorite horror flicks, but for now I want to tell you about one of my favorite television shows that explores the creepy.

Ghosthunters follows a group of paranormal investigators called The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) which operate out of Warwick, RI. This information in and of itself catches my attention, after all, I've been to Warwick many a time on shopping outings... and they're often investigating places we know, such as The Lighthouse Inn, New London and the Bradley Playhouse. (Incedentally, I know folks who have been involved with the Bradley, and they were disappointed in the episode... can't all be winners, I guess.)

Anyway, my wife and I have both seen shows that tear apart paranormal investigators as utterly pseudoscientific, and indeed, the founders of TAPS are not scientists--they're plumbers who had personal experiences which led them to wonder more deeply about the possiblity of hauntings. But they are a little more grounded than most of the "investigators" I've seen torn apart. For example, a staple of paranormal investigation is an EMF (electro-magnetic-field) detector. The theory is that unexplainable electro-magnetic fields could be evidence of a haunting. The thing is, anything with electricity has an electro-magnetic field, so when you see other investigators oo-ing and ah-ing over their beloved toy while they're standing next to an outlet... it means nothing.

But the TAPS team doesn't do that. They try to find what the base readings are in a room, and record fluctuations. And if they find fluctuations, they attempt to discover a reasonable explanation for it. For example, in one episode the team is investigating the claims of a pair of homeowners. The gentleman of the house is a refurbisher, and the house is old and in the process of being refurbished. The homeowners complain of phantom noises, unexplained shadows, and feelings of dread and depression. And the kicker? These symptoms are only experienced when in the house! During their investigation TAPS discovers that there is an unshielded electrical box in the basement under the stairs (where phantom sounds are heard) putting off an emense EMF. They also discover a serious mold problem. And the chemicals used in the gentleman's refurbishing business are stored near an intake for the air vents in the house. Any one of these, high EMF, mold, and chemical fumes, are possible explanations for the hallucinations and emotional swings the homeowners were experiencing.

Most of the cases they cover have no conclusive evidence at all. Some are even easily explained away rationally. So when they do catch something, it becomes that much more impressive. Now, I'm pretty sure that I could reproduce most of the evidence they've caught on tape. But if the show is a hoax, it's a really elaborate one, with money spent covering episode after episode where nothing really happens.

So when TAPS goes home and goes through their audio footage and hears a voice that they have no memory of, and they bring the audio clip to their host and she says, "No, that's not my daughter," then they call it an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenominon) and they put it in their "evidence file."

It's enough to give you a shiver, and get you to thinking... what if there are ghosts, and science just hasn't caught up yet?

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

1 comment:

lorinda said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog, pastorjosh and adding your two cents to the Christian v. Christ-follower discussion.

And concerning the Ghost Hunters show, we are spiritual beings in a spiritual universe. As Hamlet told his buddy, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

--From Hamlet (I, v, 166-167)