ghost

Coventry Poltergeist video

Before I comment on the video, take a look at it, and make up your own mind.

I am not a skeptic, as you all know, but I have 3 problems with this video.

1. The Video Quality is poor

Poor video covers a multitude of sins.  As the door opens, the video quality is poor enough to cover any monofiliment string that may have been used.  I can not tell if one was there or not.

2. The Chair is not Fully in Frame

I cannot see the legs of the chair.  I am not going to assume that that unseen hand is not out of frame simply because I am not told to.

3. The Edit in the Middle

The edit occurs between the first chair move and the second.  Even the director of Paranormal Activity knew they needed to move into fast forward when between spooky events to help the audience believe that nothing was changed between the first spooky and the second.  I am not going to risk insulting Uma Therman by assuming that the set up of the second chair move was not set up during the edit.

Conclusion

Whether it is a hoax or not, the necessary controls are not in place to prove it wasn't hoaxed.  Anyone wanting to document the paranormal needs to take steps to ensure validation of their evidence.

Being Human comes to the US as Becoming a Douche

Being Human - San Diego Comic Con - July 26, 2009 Image by starbright31 via Flickr

** Disclaimer:  I am a huge fan of the original British series, Being Human.  Watch it.  Buy it.  Love it! **

Ok, I am not usually the person who writes posts like this.  I try to keep a cool head, and many of you know, I don't always succeed.  I've watched the first two episodes of the Syfy travesty, Being Human, and I am ready for it to go the way of the Dodo.

The show is beyond horrible.  The writing is bad.  The direction is bad which makes the acting bad.  The camera work is annoying.

There are only two nice things I can say about the show:

  1. The FX are better than the original.
  2. The scene of Sally floating down the stairs in episode 2 is breathtaking.

That's it.

From Goth to Emo

My main beef with the remake is that the Syfy series trades in the Gothic Horror of the original for a self-pitying emo cry fest filled with weak-willed, shallow people who do not deserve my time or attention.

That might sound harsh, but I don't know how else to say it.  Syfy robbed the characters any dignity they originally had.

Josh is a werewolf.  He is an asshole who apparently thinks that the character that Shia LaBouf always plays in every movie he has ever been in, is a role model for how to live and act.  WRONG!  Two episodes and they have not given me a single reason to care about him.  He is a jerk to his family, a bastard to his friends, and terrible to Sally.  I agree with his self-hatred.  He should hate himself.  I hate to break it to him, but he was a monster before be became a werewolf.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CjjC7B6v8Y

Aiden is a weak-willed Vampire who just needs a stake through the heart.  He had no backbone, no charisma, and no conscience.  He is a character from the golden age of Soviet Cinema who has given up on life, embraced the grayness of his life, and doesn't have the courage to look himself in the mirror.  The actor was cast because he is occasionally cute and has a hot body.  I feel like he is just in the show to appear naked from time to time to distract us from the wreck of the story around him.

Sally, portrayed by Meaghan Rath (the only main actor whose name deserves to be repeated), is one of the only hopes the show has.  Rath magically brings empathy and warmth to a poorly written character.  As much as I want to savage Sally like I did Josh and Aiden, Rath's performance has earned a reprieve for the character.

Where is the tension?

I knew when I first heart this remake was coming, there would be some changes.  I never imagined the main thing they would change would be to take the tension out of the show.  From episode 1 of the original series, I was on the edge of my seat afraid, concerned, and hopeful about various things, and desperate to find out what was going to happen next.

The Syfy show feels like going to a movie with a friend who has already seen the film, and tells you what it going to happen before it does.  They spoiled their own show too often.  Even when they went off script from the original and did something new.  That let me down more than anything.

Will I continue to watch?

Well...  Yes.  I have a 5 episode rule.  Shows I want to be interested in, I always give them 5 episodes to hook me, and there are a few reasons to hope for improvement:

  • Meaghan Rath's Sally is vaguely interesting.
  • Rebecca is played well and makes me want to know what they are going to do with her.
  • Emily is a good addition to the show.  I think she is going to be the new Nina, and maybe she will accidentally kill her brother (I can only wish).

Now, I am voting for cancellation, but the rating have been good (sigh).

Get your copy of the original British series, Being Human

Peter Jackson Shares His Ghost encounter

Man with the spirit of his second wife.
Image via Wikipedia

"I woke up one morning and there was a figure in the room, she was very scary, she had a screaming face, very accusatory, she was a lady about 50 years old," Peter Jackson said.

What a fun, evocative way to describe the visage seen… the woman with the screaming face.    Though unnerving full apparitions are rare and the sharing of an experience of one is rarer.

I enjoyed hearing about Jackson’s haunting.  It’s hard at times to share these experiences.  With the public stigmatism presuming those that share these experience to be nuts.  The difficulty in collecting empirical data.  The unreliability in human senses and memory recall and the denial of the experience after it happens all lend to making sharing them hard.  All that aside many people have these experiences.

This reminded me of when Ghost Hunters International was investigating the St James Theatre.  Unfortunately they did not get footage of the woman with the screaming face.

"I woke up one morning and there was a figure in the room, she was very scary, she had a screaming face, very accusatory, she was a lady about 50 years old," Jackson said.

"It was terrifying actually, a very scary image and she was at the end of the bed and she glided across the room and disappeared into the wall.

"I sat in bed and thought, have I really seen that?" said Jackson.

"Then Fran came in. I told her about it and the first thing she said was: 'was it the woman with the screaming face?"' he said.

"Fran had seen the same woman in the same room about two years before."

Jackson said that when the St James Theatre was being restored a few years ago, people talked about the legend of the woman who committed suicide after being booed off the stage after a bad show in vaudeville days.

"They say she manifests herself in the theatre with a screaming face. Sometimes she's seen - the same ghost. She needs to learn to smile a little."

(via Stuff)

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What is Your Visual Ghost Apparation Experience?

Ghost-hunters-i'm-not-guiltyIn Ghost Hunters episode "I Am Not Guilty" (season 5, episode 10) we get to see captured infrared footage of a ghost! Watching it reminded me of my experience with a residual haunt I like visiting in which fully visible Civil War ghosts appear.

I want to hear about your experience with a fully visual ghost.

My Ghost Experience

Battle of Gettysburg painting
Image via Wikipedia

My most memorable experience is also one outdoors.  I loved going ghost hunting around the old Civil War battlefields and even more I got a kick out of bringing friends along for, what I lovingly called the Gettysburg battle reenactment.

It is a residual haunting.  This made the haunt a predictable and a repeatable experience for others.  I would drive around the battlefields very late in the evening, 2-4 am.  On or near the night of a full moon this way there is more natural visible light.

The battlefield would get a low lying fog that would creep across the ground.

Starring out across the battlefield I would notice movement at first.  Then focusing in on the location of the movement forms would appear in the fog.

An entire scene from the battle of Gettysburg would manifest.  Union and Rebel soldiers clashing flashing of musket fire and then it would fade away as quickly as it appeared.

What is your experience with a visible ghost haunt?

Jay and Grant's Experience

In "I Am Not Guilty" the Ghost Hunters team are investigating Doctor Mudd's house. Jay and Grant go outside to look into the claims of Civil War reenactors encounters with full visual apparitions.

While walking around they catch a ghost on the infrared camera. It's an amazing moment which I particularly like that they have a split screen showing the infrared footage and a regular camera view.  The ghost is clearly visible  in one camera and nothing moves in front of them on the other one.  Watch a clip of the footage below.

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Ghost Hunting at The Gates to Hell

GHI investigates a castle reputed to have been built over the gate to hell.  In the Czech Republic Houska Castle.  This is a great episode with some really neat activity.  Watch the episode streaming online above.

I love when GHI went around Houska Castle and discussed the various tales and history of the location that could fuel the activity that the site presents.  My top two points brought up are:

  • The construction of the castle is contradictory to the typical reasons for building a castle.  It's location does not provide any strategical benefit and it does not have any natural resources within it to keep it's inhabitants alive during a long siege if one were to occur.
  • The local lore about the "pit to hell" that the castle is believed to be built over.  The tale of this large and believed to be bottomless pit:  The local leader offers a pardon to any death row prisoner who would be willing to get lowered into the pit to find out how deep it goes.  They get a volunteer and lower him into the pit.  After a while the prisoner panics and screams pleading to be pulled up.  They aren't able to discern how deep the pit goes.  The prisoner's hair all turns white and he goes insane.  He is committed to an insane asylum where he dies several days latter.  I love this spooky tale and they tell it better within the context of the show.
Houska Castle, Czech Republic
Image via Wikipedia

******spoiler alert**************

There are many points of activity that I liked from this episode here are my favorite two:

  • The investigators are in the attic getting ready to do an EVP and decide to antagonize some activity from the place.  He throws a rock and challenges anything around to do the same.  A moment latter there is a sound like something being thrown back.  I love that, since it could be a sign of an intelligent haunting.  Unfortunately that team did not have any kind of infrared on them nor did they have any of the full spectrum cameras to scan the area for any kind of animals.  Some have claimed that there could have been a cat but the sounds are of something thrown not falling and bouncing and not any kind of critter scurrying along.  Listen to it yourself and let me know what you think of it?
  • They are in the basement with the "devils chair".  The camera is on the investigator in the chair and a hanging pot next to the chair while they are checking out the area.  The pot suddenly moves while the camera is still on it.  No one was near the pot and because of the style of shooting being done any kind of wire work would literally glow in the shot.  It's really cool watching this happen.

A couple of things I wished they had done better with this episode... some lost opportunities.

  • I wished the GHI team could have got their hands on some of the cool sonar equipment.  Like the stuff being used in Egypt to search for hidden chambers through rock.  What I would like to see is someone use that equipment on the floor of the room that is supposed to be over the pit to hell.  This way they could verify if there is a giant pit under the castle and maybe even determine how deep it actually is... though if it is a deep as it is rumored to be then that equipment would not have the power to detect it's full depth.
  • There is a part when the GHI team brings in a dog.  The theory is that animals can perceive things that are out side of human perception.  I thought this was a great idea but the execution and processing of the data was sad.  First I wished they would have rigged the full spectrum camera onto the dogs head this way we could see full spectrum what the dog was focusing on.  Secondly the GHI team does not read the dogs body language and misses some odd things in the dogs behavior.  When watching that scene focus on the dog's behavior.  Repeatedly the dog stops focuses on something quickly while the dogs tail and ears drop into a more submissive position.  The dog lets it's attention linger on whatever it is that caught it's attention then the dog makes a kind of growl/bark sound and goes about it's business like normal raising up it's tail and ears.  This behavior repeats a couple of times and in some interesting places / directions.  I wished the GHI team would have picked up on that behavior since it is suspicious and the dog was trying to alert the team to something.  After watching that scene with the dog what do you think of the dogs behavior?

This was a fun show with many paranormal events that are there for us to watch and speculate on.

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Eureka: A Different Perspective On Paranormal

Eureka episode 311 Insane in the P-Brane takes on the paranormal... Eureka does ghosts, I love it.  It is refreshing to get another look at the subjects of ghosts and paranormal activity.

I found it very fun to watch Jack and the citizens of Eureka wrestle with paranormal activity.  Insane in the P-Brane really played in one of my Eureka what ifs: would the scientists heads explode if confronted with a paranormal experience like the ones Warehouse 13 faces?

They took the high road and did not poke fun at or denigrate those who are interested in the paranormal yet they did not ignore the prejudices within the scientific community.  I was really pleased that the one scientist was afraid to admit who his mother was for fear of it ruining his career.  Then when he was "outed" he was not treated as an abnormal but merely the info was handled as a peice of evidence to explain why that character presumed the activity to be ghosts.  In fact they recognized that his research has merit for detecting things in another dimension.

The biggest problem when a person is confronted with a paranormal experience is they tend to jump to a conclusion based on their narrow experience of reality and personal belief system.  This tends to leave two main sides to the situation.  The scientifically minded person who's belief system tends to dismiss the phenomenon with some rational explanation claiming the experience to be fraud.  Like magnetic fields caused by some hidden tech.  The other main side to the situation are the spiritualists who's belief system claims otherworldly influence like the scientists claiming that his mother  is causing the disturbance from the other side.  Not easily provable, repeatable and only allows the experience to always exist and be personal.  This is a false dichotomy, why not look into the possibility of explaining the activity and holding it in an unproven theory category until all of the facts can be sorted like what Jack did in this episode.

The best solution is an open minded one.  Some things can not be explained until our knowledge and language develops to a point to allows for understanding and communication.

What are your thoughts on the paranormal?

Do you tend to fall into one of the two main camps?

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DVD Releases: April 28th, 2009

Out this week we have 5 DVDs to feature: X-Men, Volume 1, X-Men Volume 2, Jetsons: The Movie, Castle Ghosts of the British Isles, and J. R. R. Tolkien.

  • X-Men, Volume 1:  I waited years for this to finally come out on DVD.  This is by far the best representation of X-Men beyond the comics.  I loved the animation style and the story lines were amazing.  I burnt through so many tapes of this series and now that it is on DVD it is a must own!
  • Jetsons: The Movie: This is one of those movies that was not that great but loved by fans of the Jetsons.  This feature-length animated film came out in the 90’s and is based on the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon.
  • Castle Ghosts of the British Isles: This program investigates the myths of ghosts associated with various castles throughout the British Isles.  I’m a sucker for these types of shows I love hearing the ghost stories from various places around the world.  Having not seen this production I will have to rent it to see if it is good.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien:  This film tells the story of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.  This 1998 BBC production is finally out on DVD.  I really enjoyed other BBC productions like this one and have high hopes for the contents.  A high recommendation for any fan of Lord of the Rings and J.R.R. Tolkien.

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