It just takes one story to spark a legend and claim “paranormal” evidence

Spooky sighting sparks investigation (From Western Telegraph).

Paranormal investigators are to look into spooky sightings of a ghostly child pulling a cart near Carew.

The spooktacular sight was spotted on the A477. The witness told the Western Telegraph: “Has anyone else seen a ghost of a young boy pulling a wooden cart which is too large to be a toy?

“I saw him running across the road very quickly and when I arrived at the point where he would have been, there was no sign of him.

Shaun Sables of Pembrokeshire Beyond said:

“It’s hard for us to say what the cause of this is without more specifics and further description of the sighting, though it may well be paranormal.”

Source: Western Telegraph

Here is how legends are born. Details are scant from this article (from Southwest Wales), but I posted it because it is typical of the stories I see from all over the world that appear in news results for “paranormal”.

I’m disturbed by a few things: these stories are put in the media as NEWS based on usually one eyewitness account, which can’t be confirmed; it results in people deliberately looking for local legends to account for the unconfirmed sighting (post hoc); and that it gives attention and credentials to local amateur paranormal investigation groups who JUMP at the chance to call something “paranormal”.

In a scientific investigation, I can’t conceive of an instance where one would declare something “paranormal”. You could conclude “I don’t know” or “This observation does not have a current explanation” but that is based on what facts are at hand. As we see in this case, all we have is an eyewitness report. I get discouraged when an entire tale is built around one questionable claim and then declare evidence for the paranormal. That is an egregious error in logic.