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Ghost Adventures: Salem Witch House

February 19, 2011
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Ghost Adventures: Salem Witch House [Travel Channel]

Caution: Spoilers Below
Spoiler => There ain’t no such fuckin thing as ghosts

[My apologies to the true believers, but to be fair, you were warned]

I’d never heard of this show until Friday night when I accidentally stumbled across it, and my initial reaction was to turn to something else, which is a normal reaction I seem to have when presented with a giant pile of magical, “New Age” bullshit pretending to be anything other than it is.  Nevertheless, for some reason, I didn’t.  Probably because I’ve been wondering what I was going to write about next, and when I saw the show I knew I’d found my next topic.

Ghost hunters, eh?  OK, so what’s this show all about?

In short, the plan was for the Ghostbusters team to travel to Salem, MA for historical reasons so obvious that if you don’t already know about the history of Salem (hint: Witch Trials), then it’s incumbent on you to educate yourself, ‘cause I don’t have the patience.

Zak*, the show’s main host, and logical analog to Peter Venkman, brought some very “scientific” looking hardware with him to aid in the whole Ghostbusting endeavor.  And since the entire premise of looking for ghosts is obviously bullshit masquerading as…um….plausible bullshit…[shrugs]…the “Ghostbusting gear” will be the focus of this post

EVP Recorder
What is an EVP?  It’s a recorder that purportedly captures Electronic Voice Phenomena (aka, “Spirit Voices”, according to Zak)  According to the description at Ghost-Hunting-Equipment.com

Electronic Voice Phenomenon are recordings of voice, or what appears to be a human voice, on an audiotape or other electronic recording device for which there isn’t any known physical explanation. The film, “White Noise,” depicted this phenomenon and raised awareness of the issue among the general public.

Many paranormal researchers believe the recordings represent legitimate, hard evidence of paranormal activity, but the validity of EVP remains controversial to most of the general public.

Skeptics often argue that the sounds heard on the recordings are in fact not voices at all, but distortions caused by magnetic interference, other electronic devices, equipment malfunctions, or inexperienced users.

Others argue that, although the sounds are voices, the voices are merely wash-over from television and radio broadcasts, CB radio transmissions, and similar broadcasts.

Skeptics often argue against the validity of EVP’s because, as I’ve already mentioned, there’s no such fucking thing as ghosts.  Seriously, there isn’t, and it’s time to grow up and face that reality boys & girls.

Anyway, here’s where you can buy an EVP on Amazon for *under* $300!

RT-EVP Digital Voice Recorder And Spirit Box Combo Device

Note, in particular, the product features:

  • Operates as a Standard EVP Voice Recorder ( Real Time OFF )
  • Operates as a Standard EVP Voice Recorder with Simultaneous Real Time Audio File Extraction (Playback is 1sec to 60sec)
  • Operates in FM Frequency Sweep Mode with Multi Step Speed Adjustment
  • Operates in FM Frequency Sweep & EVP Combination (Hybrid Mode) with Simultaneous Playback
  • Inteli-queue Real Time Data Analysis, permits Audio and Sweep Frequency Historical Data review without stopping or Interfering with your recording session.

FM as in RADIO.  FM as in you’re a FUCKING MORON if you bought this.  Have you ever paused to think how many different frequencies of radio waves are traveling through the space you inhabit at this very second?  Every radio station in town…all those frequencies are present at exactly the same time.  And cell phones?  They’re just little FM radios as well.  Care to guess how many cell phone conversations are traveling by you right now?  Have you ever really given any thought to the ENORMITY of information that’s passing right through you and by you during every second of your life?

Here’s another hypothesis, one that doesn’t include ghosts.  Allow me to float the idea out there that – possibly – the crew responsible for bringing “Ghost Adventures” to our homes is – just maybe – broadcasting certain words and phrases on certain FM frequencies and that – perhaps – the non-crew people on the show aren’t in on this?

Wait, wait…that’s just crazy talk.  Maybe it really is more likely that people are using digital voice recorders to carry on conversations with spirits of dead people.  Yeah, that seems to make just perfect sense.

EVP – Voices of the Dead? A – No

EMF Detector
EMF as in Electromagnetic Field, or, alternatively, Energy, Mother-Fucker!…Where’s it coming from?  If your EMF requires batteries – and it does – just to detect EMF’s, then how much MORE energy does it take to *create* the EMF’s in the first place?  And where the fuck do ghosts keep their batteries?

How does EMF work
Recently, a rash of television programming centered around paranormal investigation has made EMF a household word. Investigators believe that apparitions trying to manifest themselves omit tremendous amounts of electromagnetism which, they say, can be measured through the use of an EMF device. As of yet, there is nothing to substantiate this claim.

I’d like to reiterate that last part.  As of yet, there’s NO FUCKING EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER to substantiate this claim.  And speaking of no evidence, Zak (the host) said, rather matter-of-factly, “Spirits can disturb the geomagnetic field, and the EMF will detect this”

Really?  How?  How do spirits disturb the geomagnetic field?  Precisely?  In what manner?  Because we know an awful goddamned lot about magnetism and EMF’s and we know what sorts of things would (or could) disturb the “geomagnetic field”, or any magnetic field for that matter, but what we don’t know ANYTHING about is “spirits”.  What the fuck are they?  What are they made of?  HOW do they interract with the natural world?  Let’s just take the absurd claim that they do at face value for a second.  Assuming it’s true that ghosts exist and carry on conversations with the living, HOW IN THE FUCK DO THEY DO THIS???  What is the physical mechanism?  And yes, since you credulous ghost hunters have GEAR, YOU obviously believe that these spirits are, in fact, interracting with your hardware.  So how in the fuck do you propose that they’re doing that?

And WTF makes you think that you, with your little punk-ass, $300 digital voice recorder can detect these mysterious “spirits” while REAL scientists with billion-dollar-budgets have been unable to do so, yet they’ve been able to detect fucking NEUTRINO’s, which I assure you are far, Far, FAR more ghostly than anything else in the known universe?  My sarcasm smacks your arrogance with an open-hand slap to the face.

And finally, the “PX”, which is so far up bullshit creek that there’s simply no point in trying to debunk it.  You can’t debunk, bunk.  The PX is bunk.  Pure bunk.  If you own one, you paid for bunk, and the manufacturer is laughing all the way to the bank.  You’re a bunk punk.  It’s nothing but junky bunk.  If that puts you in a funk, just get it crunk.

I’d say I’m sorry to crash your party ghostbusters, but I’m not.  For some reason, I’m just not inclined to suffer you fools with much sympathy.

Tell ya what though, if ya’ll wanna catch up with a little ghost, I know just how to do it:


*Note* I’m fairly certain that Zak (and the other Ghostbusters as well) don’t actually believe in ghosts, they’re just getting paid to do a job.  I got the distinct sense that Zak was quietly mocking the entire thing, which is probably the only reason I could stomach watching it in the first place.

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10 Responses to “ Ghost Adventures: Salem Witch House ”

  1. MJNB on February 19, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Curious how arrogant you are in your ignorance.

    I’m from England [more ghosts than tax payers] Your logic reminds me of school.

    Consider students in a class. They are being taught about Tessla. A child doesn’t have the mental where withall to conceptuaolise the subject matter.

    There response, ‘well i shall never use the stuff in real life anyway [akin to if i don't get it, it's false] Draw parallels to your logic.
    Republican by any chance? Oh, i’m a scientist too! First law of thermodynamics – Energy is neither created nor destroyed… We, humans, are energy. Connect the dots.

  2. Tom the Tour Guide on February 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Hey, dude. I’m from Salem and write a local blog and in doing some research on last night’s episode of Hoax Adventures I found this blog entry. I’ll admit as far as “believing” you are more on the Scully and I more on the Mulder side, but I love skepticism and this entry is so fucking funny. I am going to link to it in my own entry because I like it, let me know if that bugs you.

  3. Mr. Smarty Pants on February 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    MJNB ~ (#1) You ain’t no scientist, and (#2), you’re a shitty speller. In all your “scientific” research have you ever heard of a tool some scientists refer to as “Google”?

    where withall (incorrect) = wherewithal (correct)
    conceptuaolise (incorrect) = conceptualize (correct)
    There response (incorrect) = Their response (correct)

    Your 1st Law of Thermodynamics argument (such as it is) is wrong on so many levels it’s hard to know where to start. Granting you *extraordinary* leeway, and taking your “we, humans, are energy” assertion at face value, so what? Are you, in all your sciencizing, familiar with the 2LoT (2nd Law of Thermodynamics)? You know, the one about entropy? See, whereas the first law states that w/r/t/ energy, you can’t get something for nothing, the 2nd law states that you can’t even break even. Entropy. The inevitable “heat death” of the universe. The physical reality that even if humans were “energy”, you don’t get to keep that status without work (i.e., without more energy). If you don’t eat (food = fuel = potential energy) you die. No energy = No life. So where the fuck do you propose “ghosts” get their energy from? How – in accordance with the 1st law – is it changed from one form to another?

    Jeezus…people like you piss me off because you say stupid shit with absolutely ZERO understanding of basic fucking science.

    You’ll be given no quarter here MJ, so either get up to speed, or get used to the beatings.

  4. Zak on February 20, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    I think it’s kinda funny about the whole ghost and batteries thing. if you think that all energy comes from batteries, you probley shouldnt even have a blog. Also, trying to use science to prove paranormal to be fake was just stupid seems how it is scientific devices and studys that is proving the afterlife. I do respect the fact that you are a skeptic but dont back it up with ignorance, and attack someone else for there beliefs without doing your homework first.

  5. Mr. Smarty Pants on February 21, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Zak

    (#1) Prove ghosts don’t have batteries. I dare you. I challenge you.

    (#2) It’s “Probably”, not “probley”

    (#3) Nevermind, let’s just assume you’re right, and that ghosts don’t have batteries. What *is* their energy source? Obviously, support any claims you might make with empirical data. Not anecdote. Not opinion. Data.

    (#4) The “afterlife” has been a proven fact for years; long before science and scientific devices, in fact. However, the technical term for the “afterlife” is more aptly worded “death”, which I prefer for its brevity and clarity. There’s no misunderstanding about what it means.

    “Hey, Pants, do you believe in the afterlife?” Sure, it’s called death. It’s what’s after life.

    (#5) What the fuck is up with you Ghosthumpers and spelling?! “THEIR” beliefs jackwagon…THEIR, not “There”. For fuck’s sake, if you’re going to communicate, try and learn the rules of the game.

    (#6) W/R/T doing my homework, I’ve spent the past 20+ years reading, learning, thinking, rethinking, relearning, debating, posting, writing, reading some more, and then thinking some more, so…”check”. Been there, done that. Doing that. Doing it right now in fact. You’re welcome (for making you think)

    Ghosts aren’t real Zak. Ghosts are make-believe, like gods, goblins and Gargoyles.

  6. 14 year old gal on February 24, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Wow, you swear alot… and gohsts arn’t real or fake, alive or dead, they just there. if u don’t believe ya don’t see ‘em (im not sayin i believe) know why??, cause you’re looking to NOT see them instead of just keepin your eyes open, i mean come on dude be positive :D

  7. Mr. Smarty Pants on February 24, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Dear 14-year-old-Gal

    (#1) You are correct. I swear a lot.

    (#2) Ghosts do not exist…OTHER THAN as a figment of (some) people’s imagination. I realize I may be raining on more than a few parade’s by making this announcement, but the fact is, we live in a physical world governed by physical laws. We know an awful lot about how the world works, and given our current understanding of things, there isn’t any room left for “Ghosts”

    (#3) What do you suppose people mean by Ghosts? What *is* a ghost? How does it maintain its cohesiveness as a being? What keeps it together? What is “it” made of? What is it made of that reflects light waves so that it can be seen?

    (#4) “If you don’t believe, you don’t see ‘em”. Funny, that’s exactly what some people say to me with respect to God. I find it odd that I first have to believe, and THEN I will “magically” be able to see.

    Ever hear the story of the Emperor’s clothes?

    http://deoxy.org/emperors.htm

    Same thing. The Emperor was naked. And there are no ghosts.

    Ever hear of the Witch Trials? Same thing. Once people believed in witches…sure enough, they started to see them everywhere.

    (#5) This is from Carl Sagan

    “A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage.”

    Suppose … I seriously make such an assertion to you. Surely you’d want to check it out, see for yourself….

    “Show me,” you say. I lead you to my garage. You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle—but no dragon.

    “Where’s the dragon?” you ask.

    “Oh, she’s right here,” I reply, waving vaguely. “I neglected to mention that she’s an invisible dragon.”

    You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon’s footprints.

    “Good idea,” I say, “but this dragon floats in the air.”

    Then you’ll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire.

    “Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless.”

    You’ll spray-paint the dragon and make her visible.

    “Good idea, except she’s an incorporeal dragon and the paint won’t stick.”

    And so on. I counter every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won’t work.

    Now, what’s the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there’s no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it is true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. What I’m asking you do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so.

    The only thing you’ve really learned from my insistence that there’s a dragon in my garage is that something funny is going on inside my head. You’d wonder, if no physical tests apply, what convinced me. The possibility that it was a dream or a hallucination would certainly enter your mind. But then why am I taking it so seriously? Maybe I need help. At the least, maybe I’ve seriously underestimated human fallibility….

    Now another scenario: Suppose it’s not just me. Suppose that several people of your acquaintance, including people who you’re pretty sure don’t know each other, all tell you they have dragons in their garages—but in every case the evidence is maddeningly elusive. All of us admit we’re disturbed at being gripped by so odd a conviction so ill-supported by the physical evidence. None of us is a lunatic. We speculate about what it would mean if invisible dragons were really hiding out in garages all over the world, with us humans just catching on. I’d rather it not be true, I tell you. But maybe all those ancient European and Chinese myths about dragons weren’t myths after all…

    Gratifyingly, some dragon-size footprints in the flour are now reported. But they’re never made when a skeptic is looking. An alternative explanation presents itself: On close examination it seems clear that the footprints could have been faked. Another dragon enthusiast shows up with a burnt finger and attributes it to a rare physical manifestation of the dragon’s fiery breath. But again, other possibilities exist. We understand that there are other ways to burn fingers besides the breath of invisible dragons. Such “evidence”—no matter how important the dragon advocates consider it—is far from compelling. Once again, the only sensible approach is tentatively to reject the dragon hypothesis, to be open to future data, and to wonder what the cause might be that so many apparently sane and sober people share the same strange delusion.

    —Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World, pp. 171-173.

  8. The Seeker on February 25, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    I would like to ask you, Mr. Smarty Pants – do you love anything at all? I guess not. Love is not something you can measure, and therefore, does not exist, as you have made clear in all of your notes. Do you fear anything? I guess not either, as fear cannot be measured, just like you state in your notes. I can only wonder what would be the description of driving on the freeway, and seeing a semi invading your lane, coming head-on? I guess must people would call it panic, but wait, it is not measurable, and therefore, does not exist. Just because you cannot measure something, it does not mean it does not exist. I guess anti-matter would be completely out of the question here… hmmm scientists must be crazy thinking anti-matter exists! Thank you for opening everybody’s eyes, so there is no fear, love, compassion, etc., as they cannot be measured. If you hit your elbow, don’t worry! pain will be just a figment of your imagination, and if not, please introduce us all to the device that measures pain.

  9. Mr Smarty Pants on February 27, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Seeker ~

    Love, fear, panic, compassion, etc are human emotions, making your comparison a Non Sequitur, i.e., a variant of “apples & organges” (And incidentally, anti-matter does exist. There’s evidence)

    However, unlike anti-matter, there is ZERO evidence that ghosts (the topic at hand) exist. Some of the claims directly and indirectly made by the “Ghost Adventures” team include:

    1) That the unique and personal attributes (personality, memories, intelligence, ability to communicate via the english language) associated with various individuals have ~ somehow ~ maintained a level of cohesiveness & integrity, despite the fact that these individuals are known to be deceased. These incorporeal beings (?) are generally referred to as “ghosts”, so a major assumption made by the show supposedly trying to investigate their existence is, in fact, that ghosts exist.

    2) That these ghosts somehow emit electromagnetic fields and

    3) That these EMF’s can be detected by devices such as the EVP, EMP, and PX, among others

    Do you see how many unstated and unsubstantiated assumptions have to be made before the Ghost Adventure charade even TRIES to appeal to some semblance of what real science actually looks like?

    The show is an embarrassment to the scientific method. It panders to the credulous.

    And Zak, dare I say, is subtly mocking you for buying the bullshit.

    Tell ya what Seeker ~ Take a FRACTION of the $300 you’d spend on ghost-hunting gear, and buy Carl Sagan’s, “Demon Haunted World”. It’ll help you “seek”, if that’s really what you’re trying to do.

  10. The Seeker on March 1, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Mr. Smarty Pants,
    I have to apologize. I tried to compare human emotions to ghosts, and you are correct. They are like apples and oranges. I was probably thinking that if one can understand that some things are real, even if we cannot see them, then it would be easy to port that concept towards the subject of discussion here (ghosts). I was wrong by comparing Ghosts to Emotions, so wrong, and dumb, as comparing a tree to a rock, or dragons to ghosts.
    Just because a tree is hard, it does not make it a rock, and just because a rock is hard, it does not make it a tree. Same concept with Ghosts and Dragons. The non-existence of one, does not infer that the other one does not exist. I need proof of both concepts – if they exist, I need proof, and if they do not, I need proof (or an absolute absence of it). If I can categorically affirm that Ghosts do not exist, is because I have proof (or an absolute absence of it) that they do not exist. If I can affirm that they do in fact exist, is because I have found proof of that. I will not take anybody’s word for it. Reading books will take me nowhere in this field, same as reading the Physicians Desk Reference book will not make me a Doctor.
    Reading Carl Sagan does not prove anything to me, nor disprove it – he only points to that dragons do not exist. The lack of documentation on a specific subject is not proof that something does not exist. The same “Dragon In My Garage” states, at the end of the reading, to keep an open mind for evidence that might appear in the future. Things that might be unknown today, might be well documented tomorrow. I feel that if I will be talking about ghosts, I will concentrate about them, and try not to think about dogs – or dragons. Ghosts are supposed to be the remaining part of a once-living entity. Dragons are not.
    There are many suppositions that we can place on any investigation where we are not present – what if somebody from the production made the noise? What if not, and it was real? I have seen so many fakes, that those investigations do not impress me. As a matter of fact, I have been witness to paranormal events, and this is why I investigate them. I have a friend, who does not believe at all in the paranormal, and he also investigates, to prove everybody else wrong. But you know what? He actually goes out there, and gets data from himself. He does not sit behind a TV, denying everything, and not being proactive.
    Confusing a dragon with a ghost, and using that example to infer that ghosts do not exist, is like mixing biology and mineralogy. Ghost investigation is completely different than cryptozoology, just as biology and mineralogy. You are using an example of a book that talks about cryptozoology, to explain ghosts. That cannot be done. You cannot use minerals to explain biological entities.
    However, to be able to affirm that something exists, I perform my experimentation, research and investigation, and I do not try to “wake up” people to think that ghosts exist, or they do not. As well as I do not go door to door, telling people which God to believe in. I do respect all thoughts, and welcome new ideas about the subject, but I will not be told that ghosts do not exist, and sit and wait, just to find out someday, that they really do exist.
    Interestingly enough, Dr. Melvin Morse, Dr. Raymond Moody, and Dr. Kenneth Ring, to mention three scientists (pediatrics, psychology, and medicine), have done research about near death experiences. Why lose time if there is no life after death? Why scientists will devote time to this? Seems dumb? Not to them.
    To conclude: Skeptics will be skeptics, until something changes their minds – but they will have to experience that by themselves. Believers, will be believers, until something changes their minds – but they will have to experience that by themselves. Yelling to the four winds that something is the truth, just because that person does not know better, will get that person nowhere, but to oblivion.
    Discussing about the paranormal, is the same as discussing about religion – each one will keep his/her beliefs at the end. Keep it up on trying to convince people that ghosts do not exist. Others, will just be convinced about the opposite. Take care.

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