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Showing posts from August, 2009

Being dead is no excuse for bad manners.

I know I promised to blog about hoaxes but I need to interrupt to talk about my Friday night. I promised Nathan I would. Hi Nathan!
On Friday night I was at Heritage Park Historical Village in Calgary. I was with a group of people who signed up to learn about and hopefully see some of the ghosts that allegedly abound in the area. We also enjoyed a fabulous salmon dinner. Mmmmm salmon. I met the organizer. A man by the name of Brad Dotten. He is the founder and lead investigator of Things That Go Bump In The Night Paranormal Investigations. Brad was a polite, well dressed, likable guy who seems level headed and intelligent. He also wholeheartedly believes that our consciousness continues on even after we are six feet under. This consciousness is capable of wandering around and scaring the bejesus out of people. Brad regaled us with a PowerPoint presentation which explained the different classifications of ghosts. All very imaginative but yet still all simply conjecture and folklore. U…

Fooling Around

Many people I've talked to who believe in certain types of woo believe it because they have experienced something that they can't otherwise explain in natural ways. They tell me that I will believe once it happens to me. They were there, they saw it with their own eyes and that is all the proof they need. Well I'm sorry to break it to them but people are unfortunately frighteningly easy to fool. For one thing, our memories are far more malleable then we would like to acknowledge. Professor Richard Wiseman describes a memory manipulation test in his book "Quirkology" which involved showing adults several pictures of themselves as children. Two of the pictures were real but a third was a doctored photo of an event (a hot air balloon ride) that never happened. The participants were asked to describe the events in the photos and after awhile half of them were able to describe the day the hot air balloon ride took place. Many in great detail. We also routinely engage …