# Scifi channel's Ghost Hunters

moejoe15
Has the show Ghost Hunters ever found anything credible? I can't bring myself to watch for more than a few seconds. Where did they get the idea that this stuff would cause measurable electromagnetic effects, Ghost Busters? Psychic investigators have been trying for at least the last hundred years to find some evidence with very little luck and these guys find something every episode. What a joke.

Lets have a little class for prospective new Ghost Hunters. Say "Did you hear that?" and "Did you see that?" No, no, more feeling. You girls act more scared.

Mentor
They're a class act compared to that utterly ridiculous Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel. I think Ghost Hunters has been pushed to be hokier to compete with that trash.

Newai
Out of curiosity, who would we call if we experienced ghost-ish things around the house?

Gold Member
Out of curiosity, who would we call if we experienced ghost-ish things around the house?

Psychiatrist?

Construction contractor?

HVAC technician?

Mentor
Psychiatrist?

Construction contractor?

HVAC technician?
rodent exterminator

Gold Member
rodent exterminator

Oooh, that's a good one.

Plumber!

Gold Member
Out of curiosity, who would we call if we experienced ghost-ish things around the house?

Respectfully,
Steve

Newai
Uh... I was only asking so I would have a note for future reference.

How about floating raindrops that cross a room horizontally. I saw that on Unsolved Mysteries once. Hey- you wouldn't call out Robert Stack, would you?

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Has the show Ghost Hunters ever found anything credible?

How would anyone know? To the best of my recollection, no one here has ever been able identify what would be acceptable evidence for transient and unpredictable events, like ghost claims.

I can't bring myself to watch for more than a few seconds. Where did they get the idea that this stuff would cause measurable electromagnetic effects, Ghost Busters? Psychic investigators have been trying for at least the last hundred years to find some evidence with very little luck and these guys find something every episode. What a joke.

You can only bring yourself to watch a few seconds of it, but you know how every episode turns out? How exactly do you manage that?

I tried watching a few seasons and still catch an episode now and then. There have been a few shows where they allegedly captured objects moving by themselves, and seeming apparitions, on video. The trouble is, even if the videos are authentic, there is no way to know that.

On a personal level, it sure seems like the show is rigged to me. It isn't that they never get anything beyond creaks and howling wind, the problem is that most of what they do capture isn't believable. The only thing that lends a bit of indirect credibility to their findings are the reports that brought them there in the first place. For example, they once investigated a remote lighthouse for the Coast Guard. Were it not for the many claims from people who have worked there, the Ghost Hunters never would have been invited in the first place. And this isn't a place that someone could normally visit, so it's hard to understand why the Guard would conjure something like this as a PR stunt. I believe that was the episode where a chair was seen moving in an allegedly empty room. Trouble is, it still looked to me like someone was pulling on a string - very unimpressive and easy to dismiss as a hoax.

Do they tamper with their videos or stage events? There were a couple of times that must have been the case; that, or the seem to have caught a ghost on video.

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Staff Emeritus
The thing I hate the most about such programs is how the group espouses statements such as "We come in here as sceptics. All we do is eliminate the impossible and whatever's left has to be the truth". Logic fail.

moejoe15
I surf a lot during ads so I have caught many of those few second intervals. They all seem to be the same. They always hear something or see something or catch some sort of EM phenomena.

Another reason I don't watch that so-called sci-fi channel is they seem to have much more advertising than other channels. I also can't stand to have that logo on the screen constantly usually with an ad for a different show. It's amazing how little sci-fi is actually on it, probably why they changed their name. That channel has very few redeeming features. It has infomercials much of the morning. They constantly churn out super lame movies with giant (blank)s. The only thing they did that was any good was the Dune adaptations, Stargate and a couple other things.

Gold Member
How would anyone know? To the best of my recollection, no one here has ever been able identify what would be acceptable evidence for transient and unpredictable events, like ghost claims.

I take issue with that, Ivan.

We may not know what constitutes acceptable evidence for "ghosts", but we certainly know that their evidence isn't acceptable.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I take issue with that, Ivan.

We may not know what constitutes acceptable evidence for "ghosts",

Isn't that what I said?

but we certainly know that their evidence isn't acceptable.

Sure, but there is a bit of a contradiction when one demands evidence but can't say what would suffice, don't you think? The fact is that there is no evidence, short of Casper in a jar, or a cooperative ghost, that would be acceptable to science. In other words, even if there is a genuine phenomena behind some claims, for now it seems to be impossible to demonstrate that sufficiently for the claim to be taken seriously. This is true of many rare and transient phenomena that occur at unpredictable times. In fact, we have no scientific evidence for ball lightning either, but we [the scientific community] accept its existence anyway; I guess because it doesn't come under the heading of extraordinary claims anymore. We can sort of imagine how it might be produced, so we are willing to accept a few stories and photographs as evidence enough.

My position is that it is fallacious to assume that all "ghost stories" are extraordinary claims. One doesn't have to believe in Casper to accept that there could be some unexplained phenomena left in this world.

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Gold Member
In fact, we have no scientific evidence for ball lightning either, but we [the scientific community] accept its existence anyway; I guess because it doesn't come under the heading of extraordinary claims anymore. We can sort of imagine how it might be produced, so we are willing to accept a few stories and photographs as evidence enough.

I've recently acquired the book, "Ball Lightning and Bead Lightning: Extreme Forms of Atmospheric Electricity", by James Dale Barry, Plenum Press, 1980. I paid $65 used for a hardback from amazon.com This book avoids observational narratives and theoretical models, and emphasizes the physical aspects of the phenomena. It covers luminosity, motion, emission characteristics, decay and environmental effects. The deduced properties of mass density, energy density, temperature, and electromagnetic effects are examined at length. Included are detailed descriptions and analysis of numerous experimental attempts to duplicate ball lightning and bead lighting in the laboratory or controlled conditions. Over 50 photos and a bibliography of over 1800 entries. Respectfully submitted, Steve Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member I've recently acquired the book, "Ball Lightning and Bead Lightning: Extreme Forms of Atmospheric Electricity", by James Dale Barry, Plenum Press, 1980. I paid$65 used for a hardback from amazon.com

This book avoids observational narratives and theoretical models, and emphasizes the physical aspects of the phenomena. It covers luminosity, motion, emission characteristics, decay and environmental effects. The deduced properties of mass density, energy density, temperature, and electromagnetic effects are examined at length. Included are detailed descriptions and analysis of numerous experimental attempts to duplicate ball lightning and bead lighting in the laboratory or controlled conditions. Over 50 photos and a bibliography of over 1800 entries.

Respectfully submitted,
Steve

That's all find and dandy, but how many ghost stories are there? None of the data you cite is based on scientific evidence. It is based entirely on random observations. We still have no model that successfully predicts its existence, whatever it [BL] is. And no one has produced anything that meets all of the criteria, in the lab - only bits and pieces.

When we see a photo of a blob of light, how do we know it's ball lighting and not something else? Why is that any more credible than an alleged UFO or ghost photo?

The answer seems to be in the notion that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. We no longer think of ball lightning as being extraordinary like we do ghost and UFO claims.

Now I'm not saying that anyone should believe in Casper, just that we need not invoke the notion of the supernatural every time we're confronted with a potential mystery.

BTW, I've read that book. In fact, back in the early 80s, I accidentally stole it from the Cypress public library, in California, and finally returned it years later.

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Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I take issue with that, Ivan.

We may not know what constitutes acceptable evidence for "ghosts", but we certainly know that their evidence isn't acceptable.

Another point of clarification. Even if the alleged evidence is not acceptable to science, which I agree that its' not, that doesn't preclude the possibilty that the evidence is credible. "Acceptable" [meeting the standards for scientific rigor] and "credible" [factual, truthful, representitive of the actual events] are two different concepts. We can determine the former according to agreed upon definitions and standards, but not necessarily the latter.

I thought about you last night when I was channel surfing. As I buzzed by an old Happy Days episode, I noticed that it was the one where James Randi made an appearance, back when he was The Amazing Randi, so I stopped to watch. And get this, the bum had to let the Fonz do his magic trick for him! Geez!!! More like The Amazing Fonzy, I would say.

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Mentor
Can I hijack this thread to announce that SYFY's movie MegaShark Vs crocosaurus is on tonight? Now if that isn't a piece of fine original tv making, what is?

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Can I hijack this thread to announce that SYFY's movie MegaShark Vs crocosaurus is on tonight? Now if that isn't a piece of fine original tv making, what is?

Yep, it was somewhere around the time of Atomic Twister, or maybe it was DinoShark, or Sharkagator, Tyrannosaurus eelagator, or whatever, that I quit even looking.

If I want cheesy Science Fiction, I'll watch the Discovery or History Channels.

Gold Member
Can I hijack this thread to announce that SYFY's movie MegaShark Vs crocosaurus is on tonight? Now if that isn't a piece of fine original tv making, what is?

Yep, it was somewhere around the time of Atomic Twister, or maybe it was DinoShark, or Sharkagator, Tyrannosaurus eelagator, or whatever, that I quit even looking.

If I want cheesy Science Fiction, I'll watch the Discovery or History Channels.

You guys are wasting your precious educated minds watching trailer trash! If a hundred people gathered outside my house shouting there was a UFO or a ghost on my roof, I, like Flex, would recognize it couldn't be science, and bury my nose all the deeper in a table of logarithms.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
You guys are wasting your precious educated minds watching trailer trash! If a hundred people gathered outside my house shouting there was a UFO or a ghost on my roof, I, like Flex, would recognize it couldn't be science, and bury my nose all the deeper in a table of logarithms.

Uh, I think the point was that we don't watch. :uhh:

Btw, I don't think you're in a position to lecture about what is and isn't science. You just mistakenly referenced a book based on nothing but anecdotal evidence, not realizing it - a book that I read almost thirty years ago.

Gold Member
Uh, I think the point was that we don't watch. :uhh:

Btw, I don't think you're in a position to lecture about what is and isn't science. You just mistakenly referenced a book based on nothing but anecdotal evidence, not realizing it - a book that I read almost thirty years ago.

I bought the book on the recommendation of Martin Uman. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy my joke!

Steve

Gold Member
I like the 'did you hear that?' and 'something touched me!' stuff, it's like prom night all over again.

Gold Member
I thought about you last night when I was channel surfing. As I buzzed by an old Happy Days episode, I noticed that it was the one where James Randi made an appearance, back when he was The Amazing Randi, so I stopped to watch. And get this, the bum had to let the Fonz do his magic trick for him! Geez!!! More like The Amazing Fonzy, I would say.

Oh Randi... I'm sure it was just a safety issue. If someone bested the Fonz he would burst into a fountain of molten leather and hair grease fumes...

...some creationists may believe.

Gold Member
If a hundred people gathered outside my house shouting there was a UFO or a ghost on my roof, I, like Flex, would recognize it couldn't be science, and bury my nose all the deeper in a table of logarithms.

Whoa, whoa, whoa!! Do I actually come off like that?!

If there were a hundred people outside shouting about anything, I would bring my logarithm table out with me. Oh, and I'd grab a logarithm chair, too... to sit in and watch the commotion. All the while drinking a cup of exponential tea (et).

I watch my share of informational garbage to be sure. If you can't figure out why they're wrong, then there's no reason to believe you're not wrong already..

ArcanaNoir
You guys are wasting your precious educated minds watching trailer trash! If a hundred people gathered outside my house shouting there was a UFO or a ghost on my roof, I, like Flex, would recognize it couldn't be science, and bury my nose all the deeper in a table of logarithms.
Uh, I think the point was that we don't watch. :uhh:

Btw, I don't think you're in a position to lecture about what is and isn't science. You just mistakenly referenced a book based on nothing but anecdotal evidence, not realizing it - a book that I read almost thirty years ago.

The log tables are based on anecdotal evidence?!

:tongue2:

 cool! nested quotes!

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harrylin
Another point of clarification. Even if the alleged evidence is not acceptable to science, which I agree that its' not, that doesn't preclude the possibilty that the evidence is credible. "Acceptable" [meeting the standards for scientific rigor] and "credible" [factual, truthful, representitive of the actual events] are two different concepts. We can determine the former according to agreed upon definitions and standards, but not necessarily the latter.

I thought about you last night when I was channel surfing. As I buzzed by an old Happy Days episode, I noticed that it was the one where James Randi made an appearance, back when he was The Amazing Randi, so I stopped to watch. And get this, the bum had to let the Fonz do his magic trick for him! Geez!!! More like The Amazing Fonzy, I would say.

I don't know anything about Ghost Hunters, but doesn't Randy have an interest (financial and reputational) in Ghost's not existing? If so, he can hardly claim to be scientifically objective. :uhh:

In this context I found another forum that appears to be dedicated to the scientific question about ghosts: LINK REMOVED
However, at first sight I get the impression that the people there are biased towards finding that ghosts exists. :tongue2:

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Gold Member
I don't know anything about Ghost Hunters, but doesn't Randy have an interest (financial and reputational) in Ghost's not existing? If so, he can hardly claim to be scientifically objective. :uhh:

Why would James Randi have an interest in ghosts not existing? He has an interest in promoting the truth. If ghosts did exist, and he went around touting that they didn't, he'd be in quite a pickle! However, he has said before that he is always willing to change his opinion on any subject pending proper evidence.

The problem with Randi is that he can't lose! As soon as something becomes science he accepts it, but until that time he continually reminds people of how easily they are fooled! What a jerk! Constantly obsessed with reality.

harrylin
Why would James Randi have an interest in ghosts not existing? He has an interest in promoting the truth. If ghosts did exist, and he went around touting that they didn't, he'd be in quite a pickle! However, he has said before that he is always willing to change his opinion on any subject pending proper evidence. [..]

There is a difference between what people pretend and reality. I had the impression that he is founding his reputation on the impossibility to ever find a real ghost, and even promised to give away a lot of money if someone would prove that he is wrong. If so, he has an interest in not promoting the truth if he was mistaken. Did I misunderstand something??

Gold Member
There is a difference between what people pretend and reality. I had the impression that he is founding his reputation on the impossibility to ever find a real ghost, and even promised to give away a lot of money if someone would prove that he is wrong.

Yes, he will pay someone $1,000,000 for proof of the supernatural or paranormal. I think that's a really small price to pay for such an amazing discovery, don't you? By your logic, the Nobel Prize is on shaky ground. Don't you think that proof of telekinesis or live after death would warrant a Nobel Prize? And that's$1.4million! I consider Randi's challenge a great use of money.

If so, he has an interest in not promoting the truth if he was mistaken. Did I misunderstand something??

Your argument presupposes that the paranormal or supernatural ARE the truth. So far there's no reasonable evidence that this is the case. Randi (and the JREF) is vigorously arguing in favor of the best known state of knowledge. No one can know what isn't known yet, so any attempt to disseminate the idea that ghosts (for example) are real is unscientific at this point. Randi is being 100% honest and truthful in promoting that view.

If you can change his mind with scientific data, then he will pay you $1million for that knowledge. A small price to pay for such an amazing piece of information. EDIT: Also, to be clear, the million dollars is not his money personally. He doesn't use it or spend it, or get to keep it. It was provided by donors for this specific purpose and has been sitting in an account which is publicly verifiable. He does not use the money for any other uses. He does not even keep the interest. harrylin Yes, he will pay someone$1,000,000 for proof of the supernatural or paranormal. I think that's a really small price to pay for such an amazing discovery, don't you?

By your logic, the Nobel Prize is on shaky ground. Don't you think that proof of telekinesis or live after death would warrant a Nobel Prize? And that's \$1.4million! I consider Randi's challenge a great use of money.
No, that's not at all my logic: the prize money of the Nobel comittee cannot fall in their hands. However, what I had forgotten is that it also cannot fall in Randy's hands, nor did it come from him, if your source is correct. The issue that is left is his ego. Surely you know of cranks in other forums who ask to debunk their new theory, but never agree with the debunking (why would they disagree? Surely their theories must be right then.)
Your argument presupposes that the paranormal or supernatural ARE the truth. [...]
Certainly not (what was unclear about my writing??): My argument presupposes nothing (indeed, that would be highly unscientific); however I'm extremely skeptical about it. Currently my bet is that paranormal or supernatural are NOT the truth. But I'm open to change my mind about it. :tongue2:

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Gold Member
Certainly not (what was unclear about my writing??): My argument presupposes nothing (indeed, that would be highly unscientific); however I'm extremely skeptical about it. Currently my bet is that paranormal or supernatural are NOT the truth. But I'm open to change my mind about it. :tongue2:

Just the same as good ole' Randi! The only difference between you and Randi id that he went out and raised a million bucks for the sole purpose of enticing someone to prove him wrong. Randi isn't a scientist himself, he has very good scientific training, and a relatively strong background, but he still relies on universities and laboratories to test the claimants of his prize. The JREF only does preliminary screening to same time and money. They have a few YouTube videos of some of the preliminary tests.

A lot of the claimants are scared off by a simple document they must sign. All of the tests are to be video taped and must be made available for public scrutiny regardless of the outcome. No matter how poorly they perform, the results are available for everyone to see. This caused quite a stink in the "woo-woo" community. A team of dowsers were the ones who first complained about this: they only wanted results released if they were successful. As a result Randi didn't allow them to be tested. I happen to think this is fair, but a lot of people don't. It is the largest sticking point for many psychics, crystal healers, etc...

pantaz
... A lot of the claimants are scared off by a simple document they must sign. ...
I think that's part of it. Even more so, in my opinion, is the mutually agreed upon test protocol. Typically, a person makes some claim of "supernatural" ability, says they want to take the "Million Dollar Challenge", and they submit the http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge/challenge-application.html" [Broken]. That's when negotiations begin on the test protocol, and shortly thereafter, when they discover that all the tricks they planned to use are already known and excluded, most applicants fade away.

This is sometimes followed by the applicant complaining that the test is unfair, that the JREF is cheating (?), that the million dollars doesn't really exist, and so on. The http://forums.randi.org/forumdisplay.php?f=43" has quite a few examples.

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Gold Member
This is sometimes followed by the applicant complaining that the test is unfair, that the JREF is cheating (?), that the million dollars doesn't really exist, and so on. The http://forums.randi.org/forumdisplay.php?f=43" has quite a few examples.

I love the claim that the money doesn't exist. As though that would somehow redeem them in the process.

"Why aren't you proving to the world that psychic powers exist? You could win a million dollars from the JREF."

"The money doesn't exist."

"Okay... the Nobel f**king prize?"

"Uh... money doesn't exist?"

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