Paranormal Investigations Should Be More Than Jittery Night Vision Video

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I will admit this out loud: I find many supernatural topics, especially the concept of ghosts, interesting.

However, my education and training in the education and medical fields requires me to consider such things as the scientific process, logic, and the avoidance of assumptions.   The entertainment value drops significantly when any paranormal show becomes a video collage of untrained, emotionally volatile and easily scattered people leap around in allegedly haunted places.  Television shows like T.A.P.S. and Paranormal State are more aligned with my need for some application of a systematic approach.  The T.A.P.S. members include those who were in HVAC or some such related field that allows them to understand the science of what might be causing some phenomenons in their research.  I also appreciate their approach as cynics; “Is there a logical, perhaps easy explanation for what the homeowner is experiencing?”  Paranormal State, which as far as I know is no longer on the air, also had some reasoning behind the investigations.  They would do research on the site, but not necessarily reveal anything to the owners until after the investigation.  They would also not tell their mediums (who would do readings of the alleged haunted areas) the background or history either.  I will say that Chip (the guest medium on Paranormal State) was overly dramatic, most of the time.  Oops, I think I spoke too soon. Apparently, Paranormal State was caught faking an investigation.  

I have watched The Haunting, which are like documentaries about various supernatural events.  When Ghosts Attack is another show that I have watched.  Then there is one on the Animal Planet Channel that features animals that react to alleged supernatural events.  Those tend to be less dramatic than The Haunting show.

Anyway, my point was more about Zak Bagans. I believe he is part of a show called Ghost Adventures.  He and his buddies find an alleged scary place, lock themselves in for the night, record stuff, then present their findings.  Zak Bagans, who looks more like someone who spends a great deal of time in gyms looking at his own reflection, does little to dispel that notion.  His background includes graduating from a film school, and being a Wedding DJ in the Las Vegas area.  There was no mention of formal training in any science field that I saw on his website.  I have seen the show, but really can’t get past the jittery night vision filming.  He and his cast members react to alleged supernatural interactions, such as objects moving or hearing voices.  They also experience the supernatural as alleged scratches, or goosebumps on their skin.  The Electronic Voice Phenomenons (EVPs) do not strike me as being all that clear.  I have yet to see anything on their video clips that appears to be truly supernatural.  As for assumptions, Zak makes them by the truck load.  When he is not blathering his way through an investigation, he is antagonizing ghosts by mocking them.  Essentially, locker room trash talk – a theme that I am sure he is familiar with – with his buddies during lifting sessions at the gym.  I am guessing that the ghosts he’s trying to contact are probably just ignoring him, at that point.

Personally, I think that the probability of some type of spiritual residue may be left in this realm when people die.  I do not know if we are not destined to ever interact with those forces, much like not likely being able to travel anywhere near the speed of light. However, it is interesting to speculate on the possibilities.  I have spent some evenings going through youtube videos of alleged apparitions/poltergeists/etc. Some videos seem more legitimate than others, but it does get you thinking. Either way, Zak Bagans is….well, I will let you put your own word here.

-D

 

The Ghosts at Eastern State Penitentiary Must Only Work Night Shift

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Eastern State Penitentiary was an interesting place to tour.  For those who are not familiar with it, this facility opened 1829 to house criminals.  It was designed to become the model for incarceration.  The “Pennsylvania Model” was to house criminals in solitary confinement, with no interaction among inmates allowed.  Initially, the jail was created to allow criminals to reform by giving them time to think to be able to tap into what it was like to be good again.  Sentences were generally 2 years or less.  Some were as long as 8 years. Over time, the emphasis became warehousing, rather than penitence.   Over time, it suffered from insufficient funding and overcrowding.  It was eventually closed permanently in 1971.  It did house some famous criminals, including Al Capone.

It does have the reputation of being haunted.  While interested in exploring the supernatural aspects of this building, our tour was in the day time.  We also discovered that the evening tours do not occur until the Fall.

Still, it was interesting to see the structure and learn how inmates carried on their lives.  They do offer audio-guided tours, but only one that is lead by a tour guide (at 2:00 pm during the weekday).  Along with having some areas being restored, a few cells featured interesting art and research on what life was like in jail.

I know that life behind bars is not supposed to be appealing, but I can’t imagine the level of punishment (especially solitary confinement which has data to back up how incredibly detrimental it is) being beneficial to society.  The psychic damage done to inmates is probably why it is likely haunted.  I did not hear or see anything supernatural, although what they charge for parking ANYWHERE in Philly is definitely scary.  The parking lot right next door did charge $8 dollars for up to two hours (which is plenty of time to see everything at Eastern State Penitentiary).