Added drama and parlor tricks at paranormal presentations: How can we take them seriously?

I don’t usually use blogs as news sources but not only is this is site I trust but this story has a couple interesting points that I was unaware of and should prove curious for both the paranormal and skeptical in the audience.

TAPS and Trickery at the Pasadena Playhouse | The Bent Spoon Magazine.

Britt Griffith, star of Syfy’s Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International took the stage Saturday night at the Pasadena Playhouse to deliver a lecture on ghost hunting and to do a Q&A with excited fans. Tickets to the event, originally $30, were lowered to $5 due to poor sales. By the time Griffith took the stage, only about 1/3rd of the available seats were taken.

After saying that he was a bit rushed and would only be able to talk for about an hour, Britt kicked off his performance by stating, unequivocally, that he never faked evidence on Ghost Hunters, nor did he ever see anyone he worked with fake anything. “I don’t know how they do things on other shows,” he said. “But we never faked anything.” And if that sounds like a weird way to kick off a show to you, I would agree. But roughly 35 minutes later, these words would blow up in his face.

A light fixture which was placed up on-stage began to flicker a bit. What was happening? Was the power going to go out? Then, quickly, it moved, right around 3 inches or so and seemingly on its own, back and slightly toward to left of stage. The audience gasped and one attendee shouted out, “Did you see that? It moved!”

Just then, mere moments after the original event, the light fixture moved again. Not quite as far this time, but certainly a noticeable distance. People began to scream once more and onlookers rose from their chairs. The room filled with the light of a dozen or more flashbulbs going off in an effort to capture real-life paranormal phenomenon on camera.

Source: The Bent Spoon Magazine

The person reporting on this story, Lou, investigated the moving light after the show and found that it was heavy but there was something unusual about the cord and setup. He determined it could easily have been pulled to make it move. No one in the audience would see that the cord was pulled. Yet, when he put this forth as a possible explanation, he was roundly criticized by the pro-paranormal people around him as one of those “skeptics” (used in the pejorative manner).

So, first, attendance at these events are down. Good news. They are terrible events glorifying TV shows as reflective of real life and promoting paranormal activity as genuine and “scientific” when the evidence is abysmal (and quite possibly manufactured). Second, did they really create drama for the presentation? This seems astoundingly lame if they did so. But worse, the audience FELL for it. Then, they displayed their lack of any critical thinking by jumping to the paranormal conclusion first (and maybe exclusively, denying any mundane interpretation). So many questions arise from this event, it’s hard to even begin. But, the event seemed to die right there anyway.

Please read the whole post at the link above. If the characterization of the event is correct, this shows little difference from parlor medium shows from the time of the spiritualism boom. Cheap tricks can impress.

Ghost hunters have a lot of explaining to do. But they NEVER do the explaining. They make stuff up regarding the causes and pooh-pooh those who question their “faith” in the paranormal cause. This is a pathetic ruse. To pay money to see such shows is only worth it if you can expose them for what they are. I don’t know the real explanation for the event but what anyone can see (if they carefully observe) is that ghost hunters do an AWFUL job of defending their ridiculous notions about hauntings.

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  7 comments for “Added drama and parlor tricks at paranormal presentations: How can we take them seriously?

  1. K. Krunch
    August 26, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    Is anyone shocked by this? After that collar pull incident on the live Halloween show a few years ago, I’m amazed that anyone takes these people seriously.

    • Heather
      August 31, 2012 at 7:27 PM

      That was the last time I watched Ghost Hunters.

  2. August 26, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Ed & Lorraine Warren were playing similar trick with lights back when I saw them about thirty years ago.

    Its about time they came up with something new.

  3. Jim V.
    August 26, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    Pathetic.

  4. Tom
    August 27, 2012 at 6:45 AM

    Even I were dead and already haunting the Pasadena Playhouse, it would take a cast member more impressive than Britt to get me to attend a show like this.

  5. Don Gwinn
    August 31, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    It’s not that surprising that the audience bought it. They couldn’t sell tickets for $30, they couldn’t sell more than a third of the house at an 83% discount . . . the people who did show up were hard-core ghost fans and probably mostly amateur ghost hunters themselves. Some of them really are that primed to accept anything as evidence.
    Some of them just think ghosts are the coolest thing ever and are happy to play along and have an “experience” during the show, even if they would admit that the trick is easily faked under other circumstances.

    None of that is to excuse the performer, of course.

  6. MadScientist
    September 5, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    Hah. The cheap tricks just have to happen on a paranormal show too – why not elsewhere?

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