So THAT’S An Investigation

Hello everyone.

I’ll not be apologizing about the extended absence. We can discuss that at our next meeting.

Yes, a meeting. Time and place to be determined in true Heisenberg style.

The past week has actually had something of interest! A couple of things, actually.

First off, a couple of the JSS members were on hand at the state capitol Monday morning with a rather heavy plaque from the Freedom From Religion Foundation. It wasn’t the nicest plaque or decoration, and the media showed up two hours late, turning what might have been a media storm into little more than some comment-field rage on the local news sites.

For their credit, the spokesman for the group that placed the first decoration, a nativity scene, had this to say about the FFRF plaque:

“It’s great that we live in a country that we’re free to do that, that’s what makes our country whole is that both organizations can express their views.”

Amen Brother.

Now in more traditional skeptic news, the Mississippi Paranormal Society recently did an investigation at the Vicksburg Theatre Guild’s Parkside Playhouse.

Afterwards, they awarded the Playhouse with a little placard saying this:

Mississippi Paranormal Society

Herby recognizes
The Parkside Playhouse
Vicksburg, MS
As to Having

Paranormal Activity

This being decided after a paranormal investigation was conducted on
November 18, 2010

Whoa! Verified paranormal activity? Call the skeptics! Call the press! Call the JREF, I need a million dollars.

One must ask: What did they find?

“The investigation came up with a few personal experiences that could not be explained away as not being paranormal.

Some of the personal experiences that we had were as follows:”

1. A Couple of investigators saw a shadowy mass. (Picture 3 on bottoms of page is where it was seen.)
2. A chair in the auditorium squeaked as if someone was sitting in it.
3. One investigator felt that he was touched. He did wave it off as if it may have been something else. Still was an interesting experience that may have been paranormal.
4. An investigator caught a glimpse of something in the control booth at the back of the auditorium (could have been a trick of light from the flashlight hitting an object in the window, but then again, it could have been a figure… just not too sure.).
5. One investigator suddenly felt angry, but couldn’t understand why.”


Never mind. Call off the press. A few extremely *personal* experiences, indeed. It’s like a case file for the need for objective evidence. I like how whoever wrote this up doesn’t even really appear to believe it.

And as for number five, I think I have the same problem! My computer is haunted!

Though in a more interesting note they have a YouTube Channel with their EVPs (and the most badass ghost-hunting logo I think I’ve ever seen).

Those of you who don’t know what an EVP is – well, it’s Electronic Voice Phenomena, which is basically listening to white noise recorded by either turning up your microphone or gain. Then you hear things.

They also use the Franks Ghost Box. I’ve seen these in action before, they basically flip through AM stations randomly and quickly at a steady rate, creating – well, white noise.

Ghost hunters use these and standard white noise generators to get big swatches of static in which things are heard.

Couldn’t be auditory pareidolia could it?

To refresh you on some basic Skeptic 101, Auditory Pareidolia is when your brain creates a familiar noise out of other random noises. The wikipedia example is a classic one: You’re in the shower and you hear the phone ring. There was no phone ring (and that’s important to remember from the ghost radio example) but your brain concocted the noise out of the meaningless “static” of the sound of falling water.

The most common audio pareidolia is the old “voice in the noise,” which if you’re a person who uses headphones to listen to music in an environment where people *might* talk to you – you know this one. Your brain, keyed for voices, picks them out of the less meaningful noises – creating them whole cloth.

Backtracked satanic lyrics in rock and roll music? Same thing.

So go on and listen to the EVPs. For bonus fun, you can imagine the ghosts saying things that the ghost hunters *didn’t* record, and the magic of audio pareidolia will make it happen!


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