Look Mommy! Ghosts!

Umm, boo?
Umm, boo?
Back in 1961, Clifford D. Simak wrote a cautionary tale about the future entitled Time is the Simplest Thing. In it he notes that you can tell a civilization is dying, or dead, by the way it deals with the unknown. Those who seek out answers will prosper and those who put up hex signs and devolve into superstitions will eventually become extinct. His logic is as simple as it is irrefutable; if you’re afraid of the dark you’ll never venture into it and discover the joys it holds. If you discount the unknown as unknowable, you’re the same as a wild animal. Whatever claims to sentience you may cling to are merely a facade. Like a dog doing tricks, you’re just altering eons of evolutionary training to no specific end.

And yet, despite knowing better, large swaths of humanity cleave themselves to portents and signs and when it is inevitably pointed out that there is no rational behind their behavior they point to some shrouded truth or proof that others can not see. Blurry photographs, arcane knowledge and random events all get lumped together as “evidence.”

And I use that term facetiously.

Television shows like Ghost Hunters are funny as heck until you realize these morons are serious. Then a chill runs down your spine as you become aware of the fact that there are not only devotees of the show, but adherents who believe every bump and howl is proof that the dead walk among us.

Ghost stories are a lot of fun around a camp fire. Lord knows I’ve told my share. Growing up in Melrose Park introduced me the the myth of Resurrection Mary. Every “sighting” was merely a retelling of the details already known. Yet, for some reason, the idea that everyone may as well have been reading from a script was touted as proof of her existence and not the gullibility of fools who stumbled out of a ball room after having a few adult libations.

I guess if you want to believe in silly things no amount of logic is going to convince you otherwise.

But, today, we take nonsense to a whole new level. Lee Spiegal of AOL News reports that a construction site was shut down, and the project moved, because some people think that a whistling wind on an open prairie has never happened before.

Who you gonna call? Well, if you’re the owners of Thorpe Park outside of London, ghostbusters are the order of the day.

And after an initial investigation of unexplained phenomena occurring there, a new attraction at this big theme park has been relocated.

Workers building a new water ride, called Storm Surge, at the popular theme park located in Surrey began to notice recent paranormal activity, including a reported headless monk, objects mysteriously moving and sudden cold feelings, according to the London Evening Standard.

After a local paranormal detection agency was called to the scene and performed various tests, it suggested that an ancient burial ground or settlement may have been disturbed by all the construction work.

Not wanting to disrupt the peaceful sleep of the dearly departed, park managers relocated the ride to a different area in the park and brought in a forensic team to further investigate the situation.

“It became apparent that something strange was going on when teams started clearing Storm Surge’s initial site,” said Thorpe Park divisional director Mike Vallis. “Staff reports of eerie goings-on shot up, and the only physical change in the park, at that time, was the beginning of ground preparation work for the new ride.”

The 64-foot-tall Storm Surge ride was originally going to be built in an area of the park known as Monk’s Walk, not far from Chertsey Abbey, where, in the ninth century, several priests were killed in Viking raids. Stone coffins had been previously unearthed from this location.

Cranfield University forensic geophysicist Peter Masters used deep ground radar to analyze the Storm Surge site.

“From the preliminary investigations, we have picked up signatures similar to that of a burial ground, possibly ancient,” Masters said. “Although this could simply be an old building, with Thorpe Park’s history, the investigation is definitely worth continuing.”

Or, maybe, it’s open land with weather around it. You know, like there is on 90% of the planet. Keep in mind that this little romp through the land of misconception is going to cost the construction company and its clients many thousands of dollars. It’s also going to delay the opening of the ride.

But they have to do it, you rightly note, because there are enough poltroons who believe this stuff that accidents and horrors will become a self fulfilling prophecy. Just like the geniuses who wake up and read their horoscope, discover they’re going to have a bad day and then, worrying incessantly about it, go out and have a bad day.

Simple test, just so you get the idea, try not to think of apples.

As of right now your brain just came up with, at least, 10 things that involve apples. The same applies to things we don’t understand. The brain tries to fill in the blanks and embellish as needed.

Humans evolved, and survived, learning that the sounds just out of the range of their vision could be predators. That trait was great for keeping us alive in harsh jungle or open savannas. It’s not so helpful these days.

Simply put, there aren’t that many saber toothed anythings in Oshkosh.

A nice guy named Joey G., at Squidoo, took some time out of his busy life to calmly, and rationally, debunk every aspect of “paranormal detection experts” a/k/a Ghost Hunters. From their electronic doo-dads to their temperature variances to their – and I use this term very loosely – photographic proof, he shows how each is not only deceptive, but blatantly false. And how each can easily be recreated at home.

Not that long ago I wrote about how James Randi had offered a million dollars for proof of the paranormal. It’s been almost 50 years since he made that offer and the money’s still in the bank.

If you want to see something truly paranormal, watch Little Stevie Wonder pull deep grooved funk out of a clavichord.

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