Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ghost Lab: It's Lame

So, in the pursuit of "puppy time" last night, I lazed on the couch and watched half of an episode of Ghost Lab. Yep, it's basically Ghost Hunters on Discovery.

They were at a restaurant called the Catfish Plantation south of Dallas, TX, that supposedly has a few ghosts in it, one of whom reportedly likes to move small objects. Consequently, they had high hopes for filming some objects "moving by themselves". As many cameras as they put in the house, they never managed to actually film anything moving itself, but naturally they had an array of "personal experiences". They also got a couple of odd visuals that couldn't actually be called evidence of supernatural activity, but which they considered pretty spooky all the same. Big surprise that people who are already believers have "experiences" in a supposedly haunted restaurant while staying up all night inside it in the dark.

Since the ghost has a reputation for moving silverware when you're not looking, they carefully set the tables in the restaurant dining room. A couple of times the flatware did move "when no one was looking" (and naturally the cameras were off at those times, too), but there was never a time when anything moved when there was actually no one in the room, let alone when being observed by a camera. Funny, that.

The "moving things" that they did catch? A butter knife that they'd balanced on top of a vase eventually fell off while they were interviewing the restaurant manager on the last day, and a door at the edge of a dark shot of the dining room appeared to be moving back and forth slightly. The door? It looked like a camera artifact to me: bad resolution combined with being at the very edge of the frame resulted in an unsteady image. The knife? The minor vibrations of people walking around the room could easily destabilize something like that over the course of hours.

In short, they got nothing (which they admitted) and called it a win (huh?). I called it quits after the first segment. As expected, their efforts at control were really, really weak, and they were steeped in confirmation bias. It rates a big "ho hum" from me.

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