Evidence for real-life ‘Paranormal Activity’ is lacking

Here’s a change of pace from all the paranormal hype for the new movie “Paranormal Activity 3” by real-life paranormal investigator Ben Radford.

Real-Life ‘Paranormal Activity:’ Are Ghosts Real? : Discovery News.

The new horror film “Paranormal Activity 3” features another set of amateur ghost hunters trying to document evidence of paranormal activity through the use of home video cameras.

It’s all good fun for spooky cinematic scares. But what about in the real world?

Between one-third and one-half of Americans believe in ghosts, and that belief motivates many to look for evidence of the paranormal. Researcher Sharon Hill of the Doubtful Newsblog counted about 2,000 active amateur ghost hunting groups in America. Almost all of them are patterned directly after the hit SyFy TV show Ghost Hunters, which is now in its eighth season of failing to find good evidence of ghosts.

Despite the efforts of thousands of real-life ghost hunters over the past decade, the evidence for ghosts has not improved.

Credit: Ben Radford

Yeah, the 2000 number may be low as discussed in the comments to the article. This time of year, every community seems to have their own ghost hunting team because they are simple to set up – no experience needed. That should tell you something; self-styled researchers untrained in science are attempting to collect evidence of a phenomena that has eluded scientists for over a century. It’s not going to be convincing.

And, thanks for the plug, Ben! More on amateur research groups can be found at the Doubtful website here and a future article in Skeptical Inquirer. You can read about how people fall for the sciencey-ness of paranormal researchers in two posts I did for Culture of Science blog.

  4 comments for “Evidence for real-life ‘Paranormal Activity’ is lacking

  1. Mark
    October 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    Front page of our local paper had ghost-hunters today. http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20111022/GJNEWS_01/710229942&template=DoverRegion

    So much wrong, so little critical reporting. But hey, it sells papers and is so much sexier than the truth.

  2. idoubtit
    October 22, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    It’s the silly season. All over the place.

  3. Massachusetts
    November 24, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    Frequently we read about paranormal phenomena “eluding science.” Have scientists, I mean credentialed, trained, respected scientists, actually ever seriously looked for paranormal phenomena? Maybe they have, then again, maybe they have simply assumed that such phenomena are nonsense and chosen not to look. If you know of legitimate studies, no matter what the results, please post the link.

    And some of these paranormal shows have taped objects moving, sometimes in striking ways, like chains lifting off hooks. Have these pieces of evidence been debunked thoroughly? Such clips, if they weren’t faked, may not be proof of ghosts per se(after all, how do you know it’s a ghost, and what exactly is a ghost anyway?) but they would certainly be examples of strange phenomena.

  4. idoubtit
    November 24, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    Yes. See Richardwiseman.com who does genuine research into haunted places and has a number of papers available.


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