It's official: Post-Gazette has lost it

It’s official: Ghosts Haunt Slippery Rock auditorium” reads the Post-Gazette’s headline from Friday, March 20th. There’s even a video. Here’s just a bit of this questionable article:

It’s official, folks. Miller Auditorium is haunted. But the good news is, they’re friendly ghosts.

“Almost everyone on our team had personal experience,” Mr. Lewis, owner of Titusville-based Baelfire Paranormal Investigation, said yesterday at a news conference in the theater lobby. “I pretty much feel this place is haunted.”

On Feb. 28, he and his 11-member crew spent the night in the auditorium looking for evidence of paranormal activity. Free of charge, they set up infrared video cameras and had digital and 35mm still cameras and digital, analog and micro-cassette audio recorders.

Eleven hours of audio and video and 758 photographs later, they believe to be true what professors and students have suspected for years.

In addition to personal experiences, investigators captured inexplicable digital images of a thick, neon green mist in that same backstage area — the scene shop — and heard voices.

You got that folks? Inexplicable digital images. Not only does that mean it must be ghosts, it is clearly the truth because it says so in the Post-Gazette.

An "inexplicable digital image" taken from Baelfire Paranormal Investigation site. Figured out what causes this, yet? Take a stab in the comments. Bonus points if you recreate the effect yourself and send it in.

Forget science, friends! We’ve been wasting our lives. It only takes some people who know how to take bad photos and a lazy reporter to prove it.

Inexplicable digital images“, writes L.A. Johnson. Did you ask anyone other than the folks who took them?

Oh, and my previous post about this nonsense has conjured head honcho of the spooky squad himself, Mr. John Lewis, right here to Steel City Skeptics. His comments offer up some new insight into the story, where I am no longer comfortable making light of the potentially mentally ill.

My original post was more about shoddy journalism reporting on unscientific poppycock and adding credibility to professional swindlers, like psychics and ghost hunters, anyway. These folks are free to believe that they’re doing something meaningful, but society at large does not have to humor them. It is irresponsible and dishonest of the local news outlets to do so.

So, I’m going to stick with knocking bad journalism. L.A. Johnson, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette? I’m looking at you.

A few believers in a theater reinforcing each other’s beliefs does not equal “investigation” — it’s a sleepover party. It sounds like these folks had a fun time and that’s great, but it’s not news.

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3 Responses to It's official: Post-Gazette has lost it

  1. larry says:

    i read this useless bit of infomation…. makes me laugh that stupidity is still in this world…..

  2. Geis says:

    Taken in low light conditions, the “shutter” on the digital camera can remain open for a long time so that any movement in the frame streaks and trails. The background is fairly crisp so I suspect that the camera is on a tripod. The lack of reflection suggests that there was no flash used, only ambient light. The moving “whatever” clearly has five elements. A green light. A red light. A white light. A fuzzy blur. And a faint purple track. The tracks off all of these objects all leave similar tracks indicating that they are all connected. (the purple track isn’t quite so obviously part of the same object as some of it’s motion is off the frame) The white light fades away. The tracks have a certain amount of shake or jerkyness in their motion.

    So my suspicion: The sweat shirted arm at the right is in the right position for that person to have held some sort of electronic device in the frame, wave it about and then move it out of the way. The jerkiness of the track suggests that the device is on a handle rather than in the palm. The blury area may actually the light reflecting off of the moving hand itself but there are some very straight elements in the blur that may be something other than a hand. Perhaps the device handle or some other part of whatever it is.

    So, to someone who has access to the tools that were on site, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find the device, perhaps with a long handle and a number of LEDs, that was used in this picture. The image in the digital probably also has a time stamp on it. It should be also simple to ask what the person with a grey sweatshirt what they were doing at that time. One couild also look at other pictures and video taken at that time to determine what else was going on.

    And these are just my thoughts typed up while I’m sitting here. There’s a lot of other things I’m sure that could be done to determine what exactly is going on in this photograph.

    Maybe when I get home tonight I’ll see if I can recreate this.

  3. mikhailovich says:

    How does Johnson justify using the phrases “it’s official: ghosts” and “inexplicable digital images” in the same article? He’s just explained the inexplicable — but that doesn’t mean the explanation is right. Don’t be afraid of UFOs…be afraid of FIFOs…the Falsely Identified Flying Objects.

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