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The new crop of tools I've seen misused on TV


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#1    Kahn

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 04:15 PM

Hi Folks,

As you can probably tell, I'm a skeptic.  But as all good investigators should be, I am open to the possibility of things that cannot be easily explained (even if I have not witnessed one to date).

My wife loves to watch all those "Ghost hunting" programs on cable, which makes me a somewhat captive audience.  The one thing that really sticks in my craw is watching them fumble around with their "professional" equipment, mis-calibrate it, then misuse it and claim they have "proof" of something paranormal.  Geez, guys, I've used much of the same equipment in real experiments and there is a procedure for setting it up to get correct results; anything else is complete garbage.  This is an abuse of science at its worst.

The latest crop of garbage science I witnessed:
  • Orbs in videos and photos - Dear God, can't anyone take a simple course in how to take a picture.  Out of focus = orb.  Nothing supernatural here.
  • Heat sensors - I have yet to see anyone calibrate a heat sensing camera right on one of these programs.  These blasted things are touchy to begin with, and any mishandling can throw them out of calibration.  These fools whip the camera around like they were trying to catch the jump shot at a basketball game, and shine IR lights right up the lens.  That CCD has to be kept at a specific temperature to get anything useful.  Any variation as little as 0.2 degrees and you have to recalibrate.
  • White noise generators and EVP - Remember that old adage about a thousand chimpanzee's typing eventually producing Shakespeare's Hamlet?  Same holds true here.  Worst yet, the "white noise generators" some of these clowns use aren't even producing white noise.  I observed one person using what amounted to a straw on a motor banging around in a cup!  That is NOT white noise!  If you really have a voice in the room, you don't need outside noise.
  • "3-D" cameras and software - I recently watched some fool stating they "proved" there was a ghost with a camera that was meant to track motion for creating avatars in games, not really 3-D, but that's what they billed it as.  This had to be one of the stupidest things I've ever witnessed.  The fool running it had no comprehension what-so-ever in how it worked.  The software is designed to be used with actors wearing suits with reflective balls or dots so the computer can generate a wire frame model of the motion.  Without this, the software will attempt to find whatever contrasting spots it can and connect them with lines.  The setup involved getting in a fairly dimly lit room, then cranking up the contrast until the software tried of find dots of contrasting light and dark and connect them (such that the software was having a difficult time connecting the dots with the lines already randomly jumping from point to point).  The primary light source was located behind the observer, who with a wave of his hand made the shadows in the room and lo and behold the lines between the dots moved, proving they had captured a ghost.
Why can't anyone use sound scientific principals in investigating the paranormal?  It may not make for exciting entertainment, but it would not be as ridiculous as running around in the dark and making up stories in a feeble attempt to scare the viewers at home.  I for one would love to actually witness something that could not be easily explained away with the slightest hint of common sense.


#2    Spunned

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 08:57 AM

the worst part about these kinds of shows is that they're trying to seem all scientific in their approach.

i saw a video on youtube with michael s. from skeptic magazine, and he said that the only real program (in his opinion) that does paranormal investigations the correct way, is "is it real?" from national geographic channel.

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#3    Godofcats

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 05:11 PM

Well put kahn, well put indeed. Don't forget EMF meters though. Oh my God its beeping there must be an energy here! What do they mean by an energy anyway? Kenetic? Potential? Thermo? Elecromagnetic? Come on.


#4    Sakari

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 06:14 PM

View PostKahn, on 04 May 2013 - 04:15 PM, said:

Hi Folks,

As you can probably tell, I'm a skeptic.  But as all good investigators should be, I am open to the possibility of things that cannot be easily explained (even if I have not witnessed one to date).

My wife loves to watch all those "Ghost hunting" programs on cable, which makes me a somewhat captive audience.  The one thing that really sticks in my craw is watching them fumble around with their "professional" equipment, mis-calibrate it, then misuse it and claim they have "proof" of something paranormal.  Geez, guys, I've used much of the same equipment in real experiments and there is a procedure for setting it up to get correct results; anything else is complete garbage.  This is an abuse of science at its worst.

The latest crop of garbage science I witnessed:
  • Orbs in videos and photos - Dear God, can't anyone take a simple course in how to take a picture.  Out of focus = orb.  Nothing supernatural here.
  • Heat sensors - I have yet to see anyone calibrate a heat sensing camera right on one of these programs.  These blasted things are touchy to begin with, and any mishandling can throw them out of calibration.  These fools whip the camera around like they were trying to catch the jump shot at a basketball game, and shine IR lights right up the lens.  That CCD has to be kept at a specific temperature to get anything useful.  Any variation as little as 0.2 degrees and you have to recalibrate.
  • White noise generators and EVP - Remember that old adage about a thousand chimpanzee's typing eventually producing Shakespeare's Hamlet?  Same holds true here.  Worst yet, the "white noise generators" some of these clowns use aren't even producing white noise.  I observed one person using what amounted to a straw on a motor banging around in a cup!  That is NOT white noise!  If you really have a voice in the room, you don't need outside noise.
  • "3-D" cameras and software - I recently watched some fool stating they "proved" there was a ghost with a camera that was meant to track motion for creating avatars in games, not really 3-D, but that's what they billed it as.  This had to be one of the stupidest things I've ever witnessed.  The fool running it had no comprehension what-so-ever in how it worked.  The software is designed to be used with actors wearing suits with reflective balls or dots so the computer can generate a wire frame model of the motion.  Without this, the software will attempt to find whatever contrasting spots it can and connect them with lines.  The setup involved getting in a fairly dimly lit room, then cranking up the contrast until the software tried of find dots of contrasting light and dark and connect them (such that the software was having a difficult time connecting the dots with the lines already randomly jumping from point to point).  The primary light source was located behind the observer, who with a wave of his hand made the shadows in the room and lo and behold the lines between the dots moved, proving they had captured a ghost.
Why can't anyone use sound scientific principals in investigating the paranormal?  It may not make for exciting entertainment, but it would not be as ridiculous as running around in the dark and making up stories in a feeble attempt to scare the viewers at home.  I for one would love to actually witness something that could not be easily explained away with the slightest hint of common sense.


:nw:

View PostGodofcats, on 29 May 2013 - 05:11 PM, said:

Well put kahn, well put indeed. Don't forget EMF meters though. Oh my God its beeping there must be an energy here! What do they mean by an energy anyway? Kenetic? Potential? Thermo? Elecromagnetic? Come on.



I love the ignorance of EMF's.......Cracks me up.....Nice post :)

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#5    stevemagegod

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 02:25 AM

I understand what your trying to get at but come on now at least they are out in the field trying to provide evidence. Some of those guys i think truly do believe in what they are doing more than others on those shows. And if your a skeptic why don't you go out and disprove some of these so called "Haunting's" using the equipment the right way if you think you can do it better.


#6    rashore

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 03:32 PM

I used to watch the shows a lot more- it was fun seeing places I will probably otherwise never see. But the way the equipment is used and how the hunters behave... Got tired of it, so I really haven't watched any of them in a year or two.

I didn't know someone was using 3D filming, who's doing that? And geez, wouldn't low light green screen kind of get the same result, but way cheaper?

And yeah, investigating using equipment properly is boring, not entertaining. I'd love to see it too. But the general masses don't. I think there are investigation groups out there that do approach it more scientifically, but those are usually small local groups and you don't hear much about it.

Another gripe I see TV hunters not use right.. Research. I mean man, they like to give you the spooky research, but are often rather lacking on any other details.


#7    Inn Spectre

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 02:41 AM

View PostKahn, on 04 May 2013 - 04:15 PM, said:

The one thing that really sticks in my craw is watching them fumble around with their "professional" equipment, mis-calibrate it, then misuse it and claim they have "proof" of something paranormal.
The misuse of the equipment you mention is as nothing compared to the interpretation of sounds from the dreaded 'Ghost Box'. A VHF receiver set to scan rapidly through receivable stations, thereby emitting a fraction of a second's worth of audio from each.
Of course if you listen long enough you'll hear a combination of sounds that sound like a word, but to claim they have a paranormal source is an insult to the intelligence, although to the average viewer of those shows, perhaps not.


#8    Autolycus

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 03:49 PM

View Poststevemagegod, on 04 June 2013 - 02:25 AM, said:

I understand what your trying to get at but come on now at least they are out in the field trying to provide evidence. Some of those guys i think truly do believe in what they are doing more than others on those shows. And if your a skeptic why don't you go out and disprove some of these so called "Haunting's" using the equipment the right way if you think you can do it better.

They are out in the field, turning the field into a joke. So that the people with the REAL expertise won't touch the subject. It's not research to just assume any old piece of equipment with a proven histry of producing random unexpected data is detecting ghosts. EMF meters are so badly made, they can detect THEMSELVES. And their use of cheap infra-red thermometers shows they aren't even qualified to understand heat as energy. Much less discover and quantify new forms unknown to physics. You decide what you are trying to measure, then design the equipment to measure it under the cirmstances under which it is to be measured, having aquired a full understanding of all the things that can cause false readings. Not one single item in the ghost hobbyists kit-bag was designed that way, and none of these people know what they are doing, or what they are measuring. Rather than learn the science, then learn to apply it, they waste their time "learning" about the paranormal from sketchy, conflicting and often made-up accounts in books. THEN, they can't even be bothered to spend a few decades becoming competent enough to go out and apply that science in the field. Don't worry, though! Help is at hand! There are TV shows that say you can buy cheap crap from the DIY store and wave it around, and you'll be hunting ghosts. Well, it's sure more attractive to believe THAT. Of course it is. Because it's easy.


#9    Autolycus

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 03:52 PM

View PostKahn, on 04 May 2013 - 04:15 PM, said:

Hi Folks,

As you can probably tell, I'm a skeptic.  But as all good investigators should be, I am open to the possibility of things that cannot be easily explained (even if I have not witnessed one to date).

My wife loves to watch all those "Ghost hunting" programs on cable, which makes me a somewhat captive audience.  The one thing that really sticks in my craw is watching them fumble around with their "professional" equipment, mis-calibrate it, then misuse it and claim they have "proof" of something paranormal.  Geez, guys, I've used much of the same equipment in real experiments and there is a procedure for setting it up to get correct results; anything else is complete garbage.  This is an abuse of science at its worst.

The latest crop of garbage science I witnessed:
  • Orbs in videos and photos - Dear God, can't anyone take a simple course in how to take a picture.  Out of focus = orb.  Nothing supernatural here.
  • Heat sensors - I have yet to see anyone calibrate a heat sensing camera right on one of these programs.  These blasted things are touchy to begin with, and any mishandling can throw them out of calibration.  These fools whip the camera around like they were trying to catch the jump shot at a basketball game, and shine IR lights right up the lens.  That CCD has to be kept at a specific temperature to get anything useful.  Any variation as little as 0.2 degrees and you have to recalibrate.
  • White noise generators and EVP - Remember that old adage about a thousand chimpanzee's typing eventually producing Shakespeare's Hamlet?  Same holds true here.  Worst yet, the "white noise generators" some of these clowns use aren't even producing white noise.  I observed one person using what amounted to a straw on a motor banging around in a cup!  That is NOT white noise!  If you really have a voice in the room, you don't need outside noise.
  • "3-D" cameras and software - I recently watched some fool stating they "proved" there was a ghost with a camera that was meant to track motion for creating avatars in games, not really 3-D, but that's what they billed it as.  This had to be one of the stupidest things I've ever witnessed.  The fool running it had no comprehension what-so-ever in how it worked.  The software is designed to be used with actors wearing suits with reflective balls or dots so the computer can generate a wire frame model of the motion.  Without this, the software will attempt to find whatever contrasting spots it can and connect them with lines.  The setup involved getting in a fairly dimly lit room, then cranking up the contrast until the software tried of find dots of contrasting light and dark and connect them (such that the software was having a difficult time connecting the dots with the lines already randomly jumping from point to point).  The primary light source was located behind the observer, who with a wave of his hand made the shadows in the room and lo and behold the lines between the dots moved, proving they had captured a ghost.
Why can't anyone use sound scientific principals in investigating the paranormal?  It may not make for exciting entertainment, but it would not be as ridiculous as running around in the dark and making up stories in a feeble attempt to scare the viewers at home.  I for one would love to actually witness something that could not be easily explained away with the slightest hint of common sense.


Interestingly, though...3D cameras...by which I mean cameras designed to shoot 3d video. IE, a stereoscopic camera, are probably going to replace normal cameras before too long. I think that may just spell the end of "orbs"forever.


#10    Cynical Sounds

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Posted 10 June 2013 - 05:11 PM

I haven't watched shows like that in years, do they still do that thing with infra-red thermometers where they say "OMG there's a cold spot in the air right in the middle of the room" while pointing the thermometer at a window.

for anyone who doesn't know why thats wrong, infra red thermometers (sometimes referred to as laser thermometers) only measure surface temperatures not random bits of air.

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#11    BiffSplitkins

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Posted 10 June 2013 - 05:28 PM

I hate it when they cross streams with the proton packs or wear their ecto-meters backwards. :whistle:

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#12    Sakari

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Posted 10 June 2013 - 08:52 PM

Funny, the one tool that does not work well at all for this.....


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#13    sam_comm

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Posted 10 June 2013 - 09:06 PM

View PostAutolycus, on 09 June 2013 - 03:49 PM, said:

They are out in the field, turning the field into a joke. So that the people with the REAL expertise won't touch the subject.


That seems a bit easy to say. The Scientific community has never bothered with the Paranormal as it is hard to prove and cannot be recreated at will. It defy logic and rational thinking. All these Ghost Huntings shows have no influence on that. Paranormal Investigators are random people from all walks of life and not trained scientists. So, yeah they might not all be able to handle properly the various tech equipments they used. Also, they investigate according to Paranormal theories in their field, there is no scientific base about Ghosts to work on. It seems more easy to throw dirt at them than actually doing out there ourselves and make it work.


In my opinion it is encouraging to see paranormal investigators using some kind of scientific approaches and try new ways of finding proofs and promote an understanding of the Paranormal.
From religious groups to medium groups now most Paranormal investigations are aimed towards a modern and technological era. It can only improved in my opinion.

Edited by sam_comm, 10 June 2013 - 09:27 PM.


#14    Sakari

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Posted 10 June 2013 - 09:32 PM

View Postsam_comm, on 10 June 2013 - 09:06 PM, said:

That seems a bit easy to say. The Scientific community has never bothered with the Paranormal as it is hard to prove and cannot be recreated at will. All these Ghost Huntings shows have no influence on that. Paranormal Investigators are random people from all walks of life and not trained scientists. So, yeah they might not all be able to handle properly the various tech equipments they used. Also, they investigate according to Paranormal theories in their field, there is no scientific base about Ghosts to work on. It seems more easy to throw dirt at them than actually doing out there ourselves and make it work.


In my opinion it is encouraging to see paranormal investigators using some kind of scientific approaches and try new ways of finding proofs and promote an understanding of the Paranormal.
From religious groups to medium groups now most Paranormal investigations are aimed towards a modern and technological era. It can only improved in my opinion.





University of Arizona



  • The paranormal psychology research department at University of Arizona is called the Center for Consciousness Studies. The campus is located in Tucson, Arizona. According to the Center's website, its aim is to bring together the perspectives of philosophy, the cognitive sciences, neuroscience, the social sciences, medicine, the physical sciences and the arts and humanities, as well as to move toward an integrated understanding of human consciousness. The center has plans to offer a graduate-level program in Consciousness Studies at the Tucson campus as well as online. The department is directed by Professor Emeritus Stuart Hameroff, M.D.
    The University of Arizona-Tucson
    Center for Consciousness Studies
    P.O. Box 210068
    Tucson, AZ 85721
    520-621-9317
    consciousness.arizona.edu‎


Read more: What Universities Offer Paranormal Psychology? | eHow http://www.ehow.com/...l#ixzz2VqpaXjbs








Duke University




  • Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina, boasts the first department built specifically for experimental parapsychology research in the world. Opening in 2002, the Rhine Research Center claims to be a hub for research and education on the basic nature of human consciousness. The Center also has its own library, the Alex Tanous Research Library. Events regularly sponsored by this group include classes, conferences, lectures, workshops and study groups. The Center's primary focus, however, is research on topics such as the nature of human consciousness, its reach and power, the healing potential of consciousness, the extent of the autonomy of consciousness and the independence of physical constraints.
    Rhine Research Center
    2741 Campus Walk Ave.
    Building 500
    Durham, NC 27705
    Phone (919) 309-4600
    rhine.org


Read more: What Universities Offer Paranormal Psychology? | eHow http://www.ehow.com/...l#ixzz2VqpiKwEw








Dukes is no more.....



UCLA had one, it is no more.....



I believe Stanford has something going on also.






Thing is, saying Science has not " bothered " with this is false.



Science has, and is, and has not , and is not having any finds at all.



I would say they have a lot more expertise then any of those fraudulent Ghost Hunter teams. Or anyone out trying for that matter.



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#15    sam_comm

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 01:12 AM

Interesting, thanks for sharing this. I was not aware that two Universities did some researches on Parapsychology. But I see only studies on the ''consciousness'' and it is thus far from covering various Paranormal topics. I can see nothing about Ghost hunting.
I was responding to the comment of Autolycus which stated that:

They are out in the field, turning the field into a joke. So that the people with the REAL expertise won't touch the subject.

Edited by sam_comm, 11 June 2013 - 01:18 AM.





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