Monthly Archives: October 2009

Science of scams: Ouija board

I thought it was worth sharing this interesting video from the Science of scams team regarding the science behind why the glass moves during an ouija board session.

The same can be said for the glass used during a glass divination session, and the ideomotor response is the cause behind such tools of divination as dowsing rods and crystals too.

A typical response that I often come across from people who believe that ouija boards, or even glass divination or the other methods I mentioned work is that some times the movement or the glass/rods/crystals can be explained through the ideomotor response – but other times it cannot.

However, we have to look at this claim logically.

Anybody who is taking their research seriously and anyone thinking rationally will be using occams razor as a way to sum up the information they are presented with.

The idea that some cases of a glass moving can be explained by the ideomotor response but some cannot is a flawed way of thinking and could be classed as confirmation bias of that persons beliefs about the ouija board.

What we know for a fact is that involutary muscular movement causes the glass used in an ouija board session to move. Therefore, when trying to explain why the glass moved in a ouija board session we cannot rule this possibility out and, as it a more likely explination that say – a ghost moved the glass for which there is no proof, it is the one we have to go with. Simples.

Make sure you check out other videos from the Science of Scams team via their Youtube Channel. They rock.


danger! danger! misinformation!

erYou would think that anyone claiming to be rational and skeptical in their approach to investigation would be unlikely to spread misinformation and, if anything, they would fight misinformation being spread by the less rational people out there.

However the sad reality is that some people who do claim to be rational and skeptical in their approach to their research do promote misinformation and sometimes don’t even realise it. This is a scary truth.

If somebody claims to be credible – or pretends to be if they believe it will made them seem more professional – and they start talking about ideas that seem scientific and factual then people will assume that they know exactly what they are talking about, and that the ideas these people are promoting are true.

It’s bad enough in the paranormal research field when people who don’t have an ounce of common sense or rationalism in them spread misinformation – yet, these people who typically hold some sort of bias due to belief promote such pseudo-theories that are easy to spot. “Orbs are paranormal”, “ouija boards are evil”, “ghosts use our energy” – all of which can be read about on our ‘Fact vs. fiction’ page.

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Ghost stereotypes?

ghouulIt’s quite evident when one reads some books aimed at those with an interest in the paranormal – or even if you visit websites about the paranormal/ghost phenomena that there appears to be a trend to stereotype the kinds of ghosts that haunt our homes and buildings.

If you ever read a paranormal book/website you’ll probably be provided with a lot of information about the different types of ghosts, their characteristics and behavours.

‘Doppleganger’, ‘Poltergeist’, ‘Shadow ghost’, ‘grey lady’ – These are just some of the ‘types’ of ghosts, apparently

These classification seem to be just more information that is copied down in a parrot fashion by ghost hunting teams who cannot be bothered to conduct any proper research for themselves – it almost appears as though people who display such information about ghost stereotypes just read it, take it as a fact without even looking into the information for validity, and then copy and paste it into their website.

The truth is that no ghost/spirit – call it what you will, has ever been documented in a controlled condition. There is no documented evidence that suggests that ghosts exist. So ask yourself, if there is no documented evidence that ghosts do exist – how can these ghost hunters class ghosts into different types?

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Corn exchange ghost?

articleorbsOctober 19th ’07 saw The Wiltshire Times report on a photograph taken by Devizes based historian John Girvan at ‘The Corn Exchange’ in which Mr Girvain claims the photograph showed the biggest spirit orb he had ever captured in his history of leading ghost walks and ghost tours.

The article and photo can be found online >>here<<

W.P.R always find it interesting when such stories reach the papers and we felt compelled to look into this story further.

The interesting thing about this story is that Kevin Murray, the services manager at the town council which owns and operates the Corn Exchange, said employees had not reported any ghostly goings on at the Corn Exchange and from what we can find there is nothing that suggests the Corn Exchange has had any history of a haunting.

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