Friday, October 1, 2010

The Pseudoscience of Ghost Hunting part 3: "Going Dark"

I almost overlooked this, but it's a staple of every ghost hunting show on TV. Why paranormal investigators turn off the lights during investigations.

The answer might seem pretty obvious once you give it
a second of thought, but I didn't want to be too hasty, so I did a little searching. Although I did find more insight into this method than with the EMF meters, I didn't come across anything that I would call a theory.

First, there is the thought that if you deprive one of your senses, you will enhance the
rest. This is a pretty common idea, most likely stemming from the belief that blind people have hightened senses. Turns out, that's something of a myth.
A blind person's senses are no better developed than the average person's. Blind people do, however, tend to use their othe
r senses more effectively and with more awareness, out of necessity. This greater awareness is one of the
factors that has perpetuated the myth that becoming blind heightens the other senses.

Another source claimed that in the dark your eyes are more dialated, therefore ghosts will require less energy (photons) to manifest. If you don't think about it too hard, maybe that makes sense. However, you dont want to make it so easy for a ghost to manifest that they can do it without even existing.

So, is there a benifit to filming in nightvision?

Since this was going nowhere, I thought i'd look to the source. I found Ghost Hunters International's own Barry Fitzgerald and Dustin Pari's book, "The Complete Approach: A Scientific and Metaphysical Guide To The Paranormal". Given that they are stars of a ghost hunting TV show and they used the word "scientific" in the title of the book, I'd find some answers.

Instead, I found this quote:
"Infrared light feels like acid to ghosts in certain stages of manifestation. Ultraviolet light is similarly ghost-toxic."

I've humored this subject for far too long. Why do they turn off the lights? Because it's spooky. Consumer-grade video equipment doesn't work well in dim light, so the resultant grainy, digitally-distorted image will essentially be a Rorschach test. It's supposed to be scary.

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