Saturday, 31 January 2015

Proposed Tarot Card Test.

Just a quickie guys:

OK, anyone up for a tarot card test? I've got a psychic, Barry Edwards, who wants his ability to read tarot cards to be tested. Here is what I've proposed to him:

"Here's what I think: You take two photos of your tarot cards. Face down & face up. I share the face down photo only with ten volunteers, they select three cards. You produce a reading for each person, I pass all ten readings back to all ten sitters and ask them to chose the reading that best suits them."

Obviously I need some volunteers, of these all will pick three cards, I will then select ten at random to be sitters by assigning each a number and by using a random number generator to select from these. The volunteers will not know if they have been selected to be a sitter in order to prevent collusion. All volunteers will receive the readings, but obviously the responses of non-sitters will be discarded.

No personal details will be shared with Barry or anyone else.

If this all sounds appealing and you want to take part please PM me on this page. Don't post a public message.

Please feel free to share this amongst various facebook or paranormal groups you maybe members of. To make this robust I need as many volunteers as possible.

Thanks guys. I hope you'll be hearing a lot more of this one!

Here's a picture so this post isn't totally boring:

Friday, 30 January 2015

Thinking of selling a ghost story to the Daily Mirror? Its a Pushover...

The Daily Mirror today continues its quest to become a tabloid with all the prestige and stature of The Weekly World News, with this story from Chile. Cecilia Carrasco, 34, claims she was pushed by ghost in the reception of her Lawyer's office.

Cecilia gives the incident in her own words:
"I hit the ground hard and had to be taken to hospital in an ambulance. I was inside for three days and I'm still off work as a result of my injuries...

I wasn't aware of anybody in front of me as I passed the reception desk talking to a girl, and as I looked towards the receptionist I suddenly felt two pairs of hands shove me over.

"I hit the floor but when I looked up I couldn't see anybody, and I thought they probably had run off.

"When the receptionist told me that there was nobody there, I didn't believe them until they showed me the footage. Now I am convinced that it was a ghost because I felt the hands even though there was nobody around." 
Cecilia suspects it may be a ghost from a Hollywood film (sounds like The Entity perhaps?) terrorising her!
"I remember seeing a film where a ghosts kept attacking a woman and now I'm worried the ghost might be after me. I have no idea why I was shoved over."
This CCTV footage definitely shows her taking an almighty fall.... and nothing else... take a look.

So there's reason to link this to a "ghost" I any way shape or form. Why a ghost? Why not the invisible man? Why not a secret government agent with cloaking technology? All of these have equal supportive evidence. Each would be consistent with Cecilia's story.

The only thing we have to say any agent acts on Cecilia is her insistence that she "felt hands". Forgive me for saying but is a person with a severe head injury the best witness to their own accident?

Then we get a great quote from a local "parapsychologist" Rodolfo Orozco :
 "It certainly seems as if something supernatural happened here but in order to investigate it more, we would really need to look at the energy levels in the building, and so far we have not been invited to investigate by the owners."
Really? Because it doesn't look like that to me. Not at all. And tell me: What "energy" will you be measuring exactly? It never fails to amaze me that the paranormal community constantly fail to realise that "energy" is a quite well defined term in science, its not a place holder we use to make us sound credible and logical.

In my humble opinion, the fall Cecilia suffers seems more consistent with a slip than a push. There's no backward movement, one would normally recoil from a push. Also Cecilia's legs seem to move out from underneath her before her  body begins to move.

Such slips don't just occur on wet floors. On surfaces such as the floor in the reception, slips are often caused by recent polishing or over use of a floor buffing machine. This can reduce the coefficient sliding friction so the friction between the surface and the bottom of a pair of grip-less flat shoes, such as Cecilia seems to be wearing, becomes insufficient to halt sliding. Therefore Cecilia starts to walk and the force causes her to slip.

The Mirror seems determined to churn out as any of these ridiculous ghost stories as they can. Few of them are based in anything more than pure speculation. Someone at the paper seems obsessed with paranormal stories, or do they just know that such stories pull in a lot of online hits and shares. There's been a "ghost" report almost every day this week, from the ridiculous Slenderman tale to a ghost detecting device for your home to a ridiculous pariedolia caused snap that appears to be Waldof from the Muppets in a long black coat walking past a table of diners:

Each of these stories comes with a poll at its conclusion. Refreshingly as it stands now 45% of the visitors have voted that a ghost is not responsible for pushing Cecilia. Sure this is less than half, but its a great deal higher than I thought it would be.

That's good but a whopping 79% of readers have voted the "photobombing" Waldof as not a ghost!

Maybe the the Mirror's readers aren't as credulous as some it's staff  are cynical.

Monday, 26 January 2015

A Doctorate in Flushology!

A big bug bear of mine with the paranormal community has always been the attempted claims at expertise in subjects though the adoption of titles such as Demonologist and Empath or Psychic. This amounts to little more than a pathetic game of one ups manship among believers attempting to convince the gallery that their particular brand of bullshit is somehow more valid because of an often self-awarded title. Its also an attempt to lend some form of academic credibility to a subject lacking the same.

And where there is a desire for credibility there is money to be made by so-called diploma mills where a qualification can be garnered for relatively little cash and work. This is a pretty common tactic amongst creationists, a famous example being convicted fraudster Kent Hovind who gained his doctorate through Patriot Bible College (Hovind's dissertation is an absolute hoot, and may be viewed here, its probably the only doctoral thesis that starts with the words "Hello my name is..."). Its win win for everyone, the college gets money, and the bullshitter gets a qualification to wave in the face of objectors and to fool their followers with a false air of legitimacy.

Its no great surprise that there also a multitude of organisations offering "qualifications" to those interested in the paranormal. One such organisation recently brought to my attention was The American Institute of Metaphysics.

So what's on offer:

Bacholor of the Arts Theology.... hmmm... that sounds ALMOST legitimate, Folklore and Mythology degree, yep I've heard of those areas of study in legitimate institutions. Vampire studies, Demonology and occult sciences, not so much. Demonology even comes in a doctorate here!

And the prices are very reasonable, only $129 for one course (plus a delivery charge for my course materials)! I'll take the full course or "Scholar's program" (*snort*), a snap at $1450!

I'll start with online Demonology first I think. I don't to rush straight into the doctorate unprepared do I. Thankfully there's a handy youtube video narrated by the director of the institute, "Dr" William Lester himself!

Hmmm... not a great deal of information there. I'm informed that enrolling in the course will leave me changed forever.... well my wallet is certainly lighter that's a change. One thing I love about the images in the video, and almost all the images on the site itself, they are all lifted from alternative sites and therefore Google searchable. Almost as if someone has been going along Googling "demon" and "vampire" as they are writing the various course material. Hmmmm....

"Dr" Lester. Oxford alumni... possibly.
But what of "Dr Lester" what exactly is he a doctor of and what lofty institution did he study with? Well that depends on who you ask. On Lester's Linkedin page, he claims that he graduated from Morris Brown University, which he attended between 1990-1993, with a Bachelor of Science degree. He also claims that he gained a doctorate in philosophy at Oxford university, although he gives no details of the period he actually attended Oxford. Nor can I find any record of a doctoral dissertation.

Lester also makes these claims on a site where he seeks work as a voice over actor under the heading "training". It does seem a little odd that a doctor of philosophy, who runs an educational institute should be looking for voice over work.

In an interview with Lester in June 2014, he mentions he has a further undergraduate degree in English and education. A quote taken from that interview gives some indication as to why Lester maybe tempted to exaggerate his academic achievement, he believes they lend him credibility:

"Do you think that your academic background gives you cred in the mainstream world? 
Yes, it does. I have an undergraduate degree in education and English, and my masters in history and philosophy. People from the outside, when they find out about my background, say, “clearly he is not a crack pot.” They assume I couldn’t be involved in education for so many years and be one of those guys with tinfoil on their heads...."
I'd disagree. There are plenty of crackpots with PhD s. This is a blatant appeal to authority that Lester makes on his own behalf.

Let's forget Lester's doctorate for a second, how good is your doctorate going to look?

Sounds good. And it requires a dissertation so its got to be serious.
"A dissertation is required for all doctoral candidates. This research and writing project must reflect a level of commitment to one's chosen discipline. Moreover, the work must contribute to the wider body of existing knowledge."
Well that's certainly, at least basically, what a dissertation is.

"The dissertation must be a minimum of 30 pages. It must be typewritten, with a font size of 10-12. The Times New Roman font style is recommended. Other traditional, easily-read font styles are also acceptable."

That all seems.... wait. 30 pages! That's an extremely short doctoral dissertation!

In 2013 Marcus Beck used the database at the University of Minnesota to measure the average length of dissertations in fifty subjects with the highest amount of the same. His results show most of the topics upper and lower percentiles ranged from between around 100 and 250 pages. With numerical studies such as economics and maths lower quartile sitting around 80 pages. So you are really getting off light here. Certainly Marcus' data shows some low outliers, but even these are around 50 pages.

So all the better for me! It seems like only a matter of time before I myself will be bursting in through vulnerable family's doors, waving my certificates,  declaring "There's a demon in the house! I'm a certified demonologist! I should know!". And when I'm not doing that... I'll be using my qualification to win arguments on paranormal pages on Facebook!

Unfortunately it doesn't seem like I can direct people to my dissertation, I can't find a trace of the "AIM library" online.

But just as I'm about to enroll and begin my studies of the paranormal, I read this disheartening message:
"NOTE: Education at the American Institute of Metaphysics is not intended to serve as a substitute for education at a traditional college or university. Because AIM does not seek to indoctrinate students into the mainstream, Western paradigm, traditional mathematics, literature, and science are not taught...."
No its not because of "indoctrination" is it? Its not a "substitute" for education because its fundamentally NOT education. Its like a restaurant serving you a brick as your main course and declaring "this isn't intended as a substitute for food..." So what's the purpose then? Why bother?

Does "Dr" Lester consider his questionable education as "indoctrination"?  If western education is so flawed why boast about it by referring to yourself as "Dr" and "Ph.D"? Surely such titles are symbols of indoctrination that should be discarded?

No, because you need them Lester. To inspire confidence in the rubes that you seek to dupe, who, guess what? ARE GOING TO USE THE BULLSHIT YOU SELL THEM TO INSPIRE CONFIDENCE IN OTHERS AND DUPE THEM!

The irony would be delectable, if the whole process wasn't so depressing.

So why is this post titled "A Doctorate in Flushology"?

Because you might as well flush the equivalent cash down the toilet as spend on it this drivel.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Slim Pickings: Why I don't buy the latest UK "Slenderman" sightings.

The Mirror reports today that there has been a spate of sightings of internet sensation Slenderman in houses across Carnock Chase (recognize this place... you will), Staffordshire.  This has been brought to their attention by "X Files investigator" Lee Brickley (I don't remember him from the show).

The first thing that catches my interest about the piece is this:
"Slender men have been a part of global folklore for centuries..."
Have they? First I've heard. And I thought it was just "Slender MAN" I never realized there was a team operating. That said I don't really know much about this alleged phenomena, the reason for that being its origins are actually pretty cut and dried.

Created for an online forum Something Awful by Eric Knudsen (a.k.a. "Victor Surge") in 2009, the character went on to be subject of several Creepy Pasta short stories. The origins are so clear that the character is copyrighted by a third party operator despite Knudsen being the undoubted creator, who have blocked several projects involving the ghoul. Knudsen has also given interviews documenting his creation of Slenderman and its journey to a pop-culture mainstay.

The Mirror goes on to link Slenderman to several supposed creatures of folklore:
"In Scotland the fiendish figure is known as Fear Dubh (The Dark Man), the Dutch dubbed him Takkenmann (Branch Man) and in Germany he is referred to as Der Grosse Man (Tall Man)." 
This seems like a blatant attempt to obscure the origins of Slenderman. To make the sightings more credible. Even if the Slenderman does bare a resemblance to these creatures its a stretch to make any connection beyond that. That's if they existed in folklore at all!

In fact I can't find any reference to these creatures that isn't directly connected to the manufactured legend of Slenderman! So the fokelore referenced is a facade. Did the Mirror genuinely fall for this? 

The Slenderman certainly does have precursors but many of them are anchored in pop-culture themselves. A sighting of Slenderman could easily also be attributed to a Gentleman from classic Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode "Hush"or perhaps Preacher Kane from Poltergeist 2:

And the place, Carnock Chase, where have I heard that before? 

That Black eyed children fuss of last year that's where. And when I visit the story, also from the Mirror, I spot another blatant connection. Who's there in both stories clutching his book, its Lee Brickley again! 

There's Lee just casually  holding his book. Nothing awkward 'bout that! No sir! 

Here he is again! Same photo, same book, different bullshit

Skeptical paranormal investigator Hayley Stevens wrote this about Lee during her look into the Black-Eyed children of Carnock Chase affair. 

"The image at the top of the report on Brickley’s website reads ‘I Want Your Soul’ accompanied by an eerie picture of a little girl with black eyes and there is no critical evaluation of what he has been told. For me, this is an indication of just how seriously we should take Brickley as an investigator.... The acceptance of one eye-witness testimony as evidence of something paranormal is another indicator of just how seriously we should take Brickley as an investigator. Eye-witness testimony counts for nothing when it comes to alleged paranormal activity. As a paranormal researcher myself I turn down case after case because there isn’t enough to go on – just word of mouth."
As with that case, there is little more to go on here than eye-witness reports that seem to have been brought directly to Brickley himself who has then brought this to the press.  One may question why these people haven't gone to the press themselves. Recent evidence suggests that the British press will accept virtually any paranormal story no matter how weak. Remember the "ghost in the cemetery"hoax that was debunked in less than an hour of research. I do. That case is one of many very weak stories. Should have been an easy sell for them. Why the middle man?

My personal opinion is that Brickley knows how to sell a story with little or nothing to it. He had success with the Black eyed children tale and now he's back. He keenly exploits stories like Slenderman and Black eyed children, which occupy that such a space in the public's consciousness that they haven't yet been assigned to legend. I doubt he does it for money, so for what attention?Credibility?

As for the Slenderman himself, many purveyors of the paranormal will cite the case of two Wisconsin children who murdered a class mate in tribute to Slenderman in May 2014, as evidence that he should be considered something more than modern urban legend, The case has certainly given a macabre weight to something so fundamentally light-weight.

Its worth noting in this terrible case, that not only was one of these children allegedly communicating with Slenderman, their delusion extended to believing that she was also in communication with Voldermort of Harry Potter fame and one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Let's Play 20 (utterly inane) Questions.

Questions, questions questions. One thing that really gets me down about being a member of several paranormal groups is the multitude of inane questions asked in memes shared from site to site. I've never even been tempted to attempt to answer so much as one of them. Today I'll answer the first twenty from one particular page. Share my pain.

1. Ignoring your terrible grammar. No I would immediately request the concierge exchanged my room as this one is clearly double booked. I would then collect my belongings and wish her well with her beauty pageant. I may also suggest she moisturize.

2. Astro projection? Is that when you launch a futuristic dog in some way? No I do not believe in that, not at all, it sounds cruel. I think its impossible though, like the similarly named ASTRAL projection which is a load of bollocks frankly.

3. Yes. Or I would find the prefix "imaginary" to be quite dismissive. Play acting and the creation of an imaginary friend can be important to social development in a child. You should remind yourself of this the next time you consult a priest (or Rhys "teenage demon slayer/exorcist/actor" Bryne via skype) because Sally is having a tea party alone with cups for two. Don't punish your child for having more imagination than you do.

4. Dunno. Does it have Wi-Fi?

5. See my answer to 4.

6. Em no I'm not. For the same reason I'm not prepared to give birth to a yeti the next time I get a stomach cramp. Because A) I have no reason to believe either Yetis or demons exist. B) If even I did, I would still have no reason to believe that they are the causes of said complaints.

That said, thanks for spreading dangerous nonsense. Severe dizziness when standing can be a result of a variety of medical complaints, some serious. By inciting people to seek demonologists instead of doctors, you're encouraging them to gamble with their health based upon....nothing.

So I guess my final answer is: Fuck You!

7. No, I had a mouse once. It died when a bookcase fell on it. True story.

8. A KEY. Do you get it? An item you can enter with. I wish they were all like this.

Seriously though, there were 72 responses to this on the site I pulled it from. 72!

Not even halfway though yet. Going to try and speed this up.

9. No. See mouse.

10.Yes. Can I take a book? Not a deal breaker....

                      11. Frankly, shit my pants.

   12. No. Even if by "other side" you mean the           wall behind the mirror. That would be a door that does that.

13. I didn't know that! I'd love to meet these "experts" though... or read their peer reviewed papers... or even see some of their research... but they don't actually exist do they.

14. *sigh* see 11. Frankly I feel like that after 14 of these questions. I would not be surprised to see that in the mirror right now.

15. In all honesty, the first word I saw was "NORMAL". The irony that I saw "NORMAL" where others were seeing "PARANORMAL" was not lost on me.

16. See 11 & 14.

17. I'd be the non-existent kind. Also I don't see bum or nose ghosts on that list. Outrageous!

18. Then it doesn't matter does it. We are all on a level footing. Plus I just ate a scotch egg, now I'm not an "expert" but I'm pretty sure ghosts don't eat scotch eggs or any other form of egg-based savory snacks.

19. I literally have no idea. I've never turned around to see one duck behind a tree, or attempt to act casually, so I'm going to say no.

And finally....

20. No.No I can't.

A quick note to everyone who has shown support over the past few days.

As you can probably guess, the last post was not my final one. I'm sure that a few people are going to be a little disappointed that I wrote that post and didn't actually quit. In fact I've done a complete u-turn in a relatively short space of time. I now fully intend to carry on under my real name.

The reason for this u-turn is pretty simple, in science and skepticism we are always told, you adjust your position on the basis of new evidence. I was completely taken a back by how many people seemed to care whether this blog continued or not. Put into perspective, the internet didn't come to a complete shut down, there wasn't panic on the streets, but a few people, many who I respect greatly mentioned this. Seemed saddened even.

One thing I could say is that I did state that post was the last time I would write as "skeptic's boot",technically that's true.

And I had to question.... Is this really worth walking away? I'm not an overly sensitive person, And I'm not prone to making spur of the moment decisions, but I can't admit when I've made a mistake.

Apologies. And most of all thanks.

And if anyone slags me off for flip-flopping in the comments, I quit again.

Just kidding.


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Before it was news... it was still bullshit.

On the last post I covered a viral monster story/that just, won't die. No matter how frequently its debunked and refuted the "creature on the deer cam" tale just keeps resurfacing on social media. I've got experience of this.

In April last year I wrote a piece about an alleged demon/alien/whatever crouching over the bed of a supposedly dying patient in a hospital. The debunking was pretty complete, and I can't take credit for this, user Mick West on metabunk designed the picture that should have put pay to this. In fact its so good I'm going to show again here And he wasn't alone. There have been multiple debunking of this. Yet it keeps coming back.

Its not alone: the "fairy/gnome running through the kitchen as the child plays", the"possessed" woman attacks a train passenger, something I also tackled in a previous blog, the "ghost/angel at the scene of a car wreck supposedly photographed by a paramedic at the site. The list goes on.

These stories, and many more like them are the repeat offenders. They just keep coming back.  What keeps these stories in the public eye?

The common thread is these are all featured stories on hub of all bullshit Before its News. My normal practice here would be to link you to the site, maybe even the individual stories themselves. I am to providing sources what Meghan Trainor is to bass, I'm all about it.

But in this case, I'm not going to link you to Before its News. I don't want you to go there. I don't want you to give them hits, I don't want to help you help them improve their Google ranking and I certainly don't want you to help them generate ad revenue.

Founded in 2008 as an open news source that virtually anyone could write for, it soon became over run with conspiracy theorists, doomsday prophets and bloggers linking back to their own sites (bloody bloggers, scum of the Earth!) and of course paranormal bullshit.

The principle Before it News seems to operate on is an attention grabbing headline, by-line or picture enticing the reader to follow a link to its site. What you actually read when you get there matters very little. Being generous, its a level above click-bait. Unfortunately many in the paranormal community really don't care about content. If something is easy to share and seemingly confirms their belief, they'll share away.

Fortunately many pages and groups on facebook are getting the idea about Before its News, carrying warnings that those who link to its site will have the link removed and even face being blocked. Facebook too seem to be coming around to the idea that sites like this should be dealt with. Progress is slow though.

In August 2014 Facebook pledged to introduce measures to reduce the amount of links to sites such as this in users news feeds. Unfortunately Before its news seems to be escaping this measure at the moment. Facebook announced today further action to reduce the spreading of hoax stories and click bait. Could this be the change that spells disaster for Before its news on social media? From early indications this will all be down to users actively reporting such posts, are "believers" the main users of paranormal sites actually going to report a site that panders to their beliefs?

Even if Before its news does fall prey to these measures, there's already a heir to the bullshit crown. And there's more to this site than just advertising revenue, there's ego and the desire to become a paranormal personality....

More next time.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Sometimes They Come Back: Viral hoaxes never die!

I sure that most of you who frequent social media, and in particular  paranormal sites, have seen this image by now. Its been circulating since at least 2010 and like a horror creation of old, it just won't die.

Now clearly this is a hoax. But its a great example of how difficult it can be to get to the bottom of what should be a by the numbers debunking. The image has been shared so often with so many different iterations that a simply Google search won't lead you to the original source. Many major news outlets picked up on the image, its been linked to the online horror site Creepypasta as the rake and even linked to an online viral marketing campaign of a computer game. 

So what is the truth about this image? What is its origin? And is there anyway of conclusively showing it to be fake?

The ever reliable Daily Fail *ahem* Mail... that should read Mail.... reported on our woodland creature giving the back story. Its difficult to pinpoint exactly when the story was published. It states updated 13/10/10 but it must of been publish prior to this as the article referenced beneath this makes reference to the piece and that was published on 10/12/10. 
"The hunter said he was lying in wait in the pitch black when a ghoulish spectre filled his sights.Its eyes glowing in the light of his torch, it leapt from the undergrowth and flashed a look at the camera before vanishing back into the bushes.
The hunter, who has chosen to remain anonymous, was so frightened he said he broke the camera but retrieved the image from its undamaged memory chip.
The picture was taken on a reserve in Berwick near Morgan City, Louisiana."

They go on to claim that the image and story could be promotional material for the Amazing Spider Man released just under two years later! 
"....Conspiracy theorists will no doubt note the similarity between the figure's crouching pose and that used by Spider-Man, whose latest big-screen adventure has just begun shooting..."
Clearly journalists at the Mail aren't as familiar with the Spider Man comics as I am, few are, I'm a geek. I don't remember any iteration that liked to hang around in the woods scaring hunters!

Further searching found an earlier piece (10/12/10) reporting on a video games show and the promotional material for upcoming release Resistance 3, which featured our image and the same story given by the Mail.

Hearing that a computer game company claimed responsibility for the image was pretty conclusive to me:
"Announced during this year’s gamescom conference, Resistance 3 stole the show, with a stunning live action trailer hinting at the game’s content.... in in true Insomniac Games style, the developer has ramped up their viral marketing machine by releasing a scary image of a Grim in the wild, baffling media outlets. 
An apparent deer hunter in Berwick near Morgan City, Louisiana posted the creepy picture on the Wildgame Innovations website , claiming he was lying in wait in the pitch black when the strange creature appeared. He was so frightened that his camera broke, ( does that happen?- SB) but he managed to retreive the image from its undamaged memory chip..."
Grim from Resistance 3
Insomniac Games made this statement via Twitter:
"Whoops… looks like one got out. If you see a Grim on the loose… please return to Insomniac Games, Burbank, CA:"
The image certainly bares more than a passing resemblance to the enemy in the game, although it lacks the extra eyes. Could Insomniac be behind the image, or were they just exploiting media attention?

On December 3rd the image was posted to an Archery forum, by a user named "Hillbilly Willi" who had joined the forum over a year earlier and made 18 posts up to that point.

            It reads: 
"Don't know what to think about this one fellers.... Went and checked my camera today and this is what it had on it.... The ground directly in front of my tree was completely tore up, the trail cam had been torn off the tree, straps were popped and everything. Camera was laying face down about 10 ft. from the tree it was attached too. Bark was knocked off the tree where the camera had been, like something had knocked it off while trying to twist camera off the tree. This was the only picture I got of "it" as I had it set on a 2 minute timer. The first picture is of "it", and the second is a picture from a lil while ago of the same spot, just for reference. Checking this right at dusk with a 3/4 mile walk out ahead of you will scare a feller..... When I saw it, my blood ran cold. Still gives me shivers.... What do you guys think?? "
Notice here the story is somewhat different. Billi claims he found the camera damaged in the morning and the creature was never sighted by him directly. Also he doesn't break his camera in fear.

Now if Billi is the original hoaxer, he makes a mistake on this thread which may be his undoing. He posts another picture from the camera.  This time of a dear taken by the same camera and in the same location only 9 days earlier.

Take look at both.

 If this is nine days earlier, wouldn't one expect there to be some changes to the landscape nine days later? Also being at different times of day (creature 1:44 am *clearer on picture with thread quote* compared to 05:27 deer) shouldn't the lighting conditions by somewhat different? In both cases the conditions seem exactly the same. Almost as if this is the same photo or part of the same sequence of photos with the time and date stamp altered. In fact the only difference seem to be the pixel difference in  the "creature" photograph, which is clearly less than the deer photograph judging by their relative clarity.

Another interesting thing to note: On the deer picture there is considerable motion blur around the deer, implying that the camera taking has a slow shutter speed. If this is the case why is there no corresponding blur around the creature? If it isn't moving shouldn't Billi have more photos of it, as it moves into frame and towards the camera?

So that's speculation, the vague black halo around the creature's head opposite is a telltale sign of manipulation in an image suite such as photoshop.

Notice there is no such halo around the image of the deer.

 Running the image of the creature through an examination with Jpegsnoop shows direct evidence of tampering. 

So it maybe lost to the annals of time exactly who perpetrated this hoax but the fact that it is a hoax is pretty undeniable. It may seem pretty fruitless to debunk an image that has been around so long, but experience should tell us that these images, like the monsters they claim to represent, never quite die.  

Friday, 16 January 2015

The Dos and Dolts... Ghost hunting rules. by morons, for morons.

A lot of people are asking where Matador productions got the inspiration for their ill-judged naked ghost hunting show. The answer boggles the mind.

In my last blog I asked Chrissy Glickman of Matador productions for some sources to back up the hypothesis that spirits are more eager to communicate with the naked. Chrissy e-mailed back stating that naked spirit communication goes all the way back to the Romans, her source: The Untold Rules Of Real Ghost Hunting by Haunted America Tours. The basis for this seems to be a brief mention of the Romans unsupported by any credible source from rule 3 which actually states one SHOULD NOT ghost hunt naked (or you should at least inform your fellow investigators that you intend to do so! I should think so too!), the logic behind this whole nonsense being "ghosts are naked, you should be naked too"! Matador are basing the premise of a TV show on this utter rubbish! (since writing this a representative from Matador has pointed out this was not their only source just an example. It is the only source they have provided me. I apologise if there has been any misunderstanding.):

I've got to thank Chrissy actually, because the site she has linked me too is possibly the most moronic and borderline misogynistic tripe I've ever had the displeasure to read. Many sites have rules by which their representatives should follow. As I've covered before these rules range from the sensible to the blatantly obvious to the painfully silly, but even these rules pale in comparison to this set. The author seems obsessed with sex, genitals and reproductive processes.  I reproduce an abridged version here, I'm calling it:

Ghost hunting rules for morons... By morons.

General Rules.

Don't bring fireworks or pit bulls? You have to wonder who exactly this group are getting along to their "investigations" if they have to be told that weapon dogs and explosives are contraband! Also no drugs is good policy, but who is taking crack then going ghost-hunting? The author also thinks that medications should come with a warning "not to operate ghost hunting equipment". I think they should check the back of their medication for a statement saying "Do not write ghost hunting do's and don't s".

The "no-boner" rule is going to be pretty hard to enforce though.

Up next there are individual rules for women and men... didn't you know? Lisa does. Ladies first.

Rules for women.

Here are some gems that stand out these are women we are talking about so what's up first?:

Shoes of course! You ladies and your shoes! Tut! But seriously, what makes this extra insulting is this piece was actually wrote by a woman! I also presume that as this is only under the ladies rules, men can turn up in what ever ridiculous footwear they like.

Again, not quite sure why this just applies to women. Upon reading warnings that ghosts can haunt underwear, and that farting investigators are prone to "anal possession" I did have to double check that this isn't a parody site. Unfortunately it seems like they are deadly serious. What an insult though, to die and find you've been designated an "anal ghost".

Apparently "there is nothing worse than a real ghost digging around in your drawers when you are hunting for ghosts" surely that would actually be a plus. You've found your ghost at least, and it may well be confined.

I find this section particularly offensive. It strikes me as little more than declaring women at certain stages of their menstrual cycle as "unclean". I assume the author (Lisa: a woman) means actually menstruating, as the menstrual cycle is defined as running from the start of one period to the day before the next, aren't most woman pre-menopause always on their menstrual cycle? I find worrying that a, presumably, grown woman doesn't know what the menstrual cycle is.

Now we have vaginal ghosts. Is there any area of the body that doesn't have its own unique spook?

Also: "Vaginal or womb ghosts are said to prey on woman with these pre existing conditions."

Really? Who says this? You? The morons that make up your group? Perhaps the pit bulls they bring to investigations? As the article goes on the use of phrases such as "people say" or "it is said", this is just another way of saying "We have absolutely no evidence of this, just some people say it... not experts or qualified people, there's obviously no research... just some people said."

Whaaaaaaaat? "If you must..." there will never, ever be a reason some one MUST take a new-born ghost hunting. If you take an infant, especially a new-born, on a ghost-hunt.... YOU ARE CRIMINALLY INSANE! I'm genuinely surprised there's no warning to keep infants away from fireworks and pit bulls here.

Deeply misogynistic. I, like most reasonable people, have a real problem with women being told how to dress. Its one thing to advise sensible garments, but to imply that certain clothing make one a "haunted ho'" or a "Grandma diesel dyke".... Sorry "Lisa" but you strike me as deeply ignorant... I'm not sure you are the right person to be the public face of any organisation or write their guidelines.

  Again, is this also just for women? Also... Fucking HELL! And no have haven't been known to do that... ever. They haven't been "known" to do anything, including exist! You should of stuck to "people say..." here. Someone may actually ask you for a source.

Who thinks that Lisa? Do you think it? Often? Yes? Then what you wrote is true then. Only problem is, this could be tested. Maybe it has. Never been a positive result though. What exactly does a "wild" ghost do? Could you just be scare-mongering here? Trying to make your events seem a little more exciting? Also what the hell is a "phernome"?

Rules for men.

Don't masturbate on an investigation, again file this under "goes without saying".

Again anyone tested this claim. Apparently bi-sexual folks have "tenseness". Also conflating "gay" (sorry "real gay") and "bi-sexual" there hardly dispels the earlier accusation of ignorance. Also why is that under men, does Lisa not know there are bi-sexual women too?

Eat up! You don't want ghosts infesting your stomachs chaps! Not with all the arse ghosts knocking about. I imagine they can cram right up there. Or should I say : "It is often thought that..."

We covered rule 3 for men right at the top. Don't investigate in your underwear. Again "goes without saying". Let's not forget this is a section so stupid it inspired a reality TV show!

The last rule I actually have the strength of will of cover:

What can I say... ear ghosts are hell.... I do agree with this if you think that you've been possessed, you probably shouldn't be ghost hunting. You should probably try to stay as far away from all this utter nonsense as possible.

I hope that while you were reading all this, you had it at the forefront of your mind that this site is the inspiration for the show that Chrissy is casting for. It was the sole source she was prepared to offer me.

That's far more scary than any ear, nose, throat or bum ghost in my opinion.