I absolutely love the TV show Most Haunted. I’ve watched it from the first series, when Derek Acorah was the man who could sense paranormal activity and talk to the dead through his spirit guide, Sam. I’ve watched every live episode, whether it was a one nighter, a three nighter or the recent week long “Faces of Evil” live series.
I am also an avid fan of Ghost Hunters, with Grant and Jason, the Roto Router plumbers, who do their best to either prove or debunk paranormal claims made by home and business owners. They film around 6 hours of footage on four different cameras, record hours of conversation using digital recorders, and spend days analysing every detail of the footage before presenting the evidence, or lack of it, to the client.
But I know it’s not real. I believe there are no such things as ghosts or paranormal activity, and that everything dubbed as “paranormal” will have a logical, real world explanation.
I don’t watch these things because I believe in them, I watch them because it’s great TV played out by great actors. I assume this is one of the reasons why you watch the programmes that you like too?
Recently, my appreciation of Most Haunted came up in conversation. I was talking with a friend who also watches it. They too had seen pretty much every episode.
I mentioned that I thought it was great TV, to which they obviously wholeheartedly agreed, but when I mentioned that it isn’t actually real, they became quite defiant. Actually, I’d go so far as to say they became quite threatening.
“Of course it’s real! They listen to the spirits, and they can tell you things that happened years ago that people wouldn’t just know nowadays. They’re passing on messages to living relatives. Do NOT say it’s not real when the messages they’re sending back are giving peace to the living relatives.”
With the reaction I received, I might as well have said “Oh, by the way, I’ve just gutted a dog and smeared its entrails over the kids faces!”
It has always amazed me how adamant people are that paranormal activity exists. My take on it is: If the same things can also be accomplished by a more logical means, then it seems foolish to instantly attribute it as paranormal.
Lets say a ball rolls off a table in an empty room. Did a spirit move it, or is it more likely that a draft lightly blowing the ball off the table? Or a vibration caused by people outside the room walking past, or vibrations from a vehicle outside, made it start to roll? Or was it set up to roll off by being tied to fishing line? Or…. there are so many other possible causes.
Why jump in and commit to the paranormal theory, when there are many other plausible explanations for EVERYTHING.
This lead me to compile a list of alternative options that people should consider before deciding that an event is paranormal. They are sort of in order, with the most likely cause first, but is by no means a definitive list of alternative explanations.
- Other Humans – Unintentionally or otherwise, other humans are the most probably cause of “paranormal” events. Whether it’s creaky noises that they cause underfoot from walking in old houses, or reflections of themselves (or apparitions as the “paranormal” sights are called). Humans can also throw things into the air, giving the impression of poltergeist activity, and make grunting and sighing noises to sound spooky.
- Weather (wind, rain) – Noises caused by wind can sound very spooky. Wind can also blow outside objects into the side of houses, causing bangs. Rain, including the long term effects of it, is very damaging. It can cause old beams to warp, floorboards to become uneven and electrics to become faulty.
- Changes of Temperature Affecting Surroundings – Old houses let in a draft. A cold draft can cause usually silent houses to become comparatively loud and bangy. Warped wood creaks as it’s temperature changes, and pipes can clunk.
- Open air vents or windows causing convection currents – When a door slams, there has probably been an unnoticed, undetectable convection current involved. It’s just the wind trying to escape as quick as it can, but pulling movable objects with it.
- Badly sealed fixtures, allowing initially unnoticed convection currents – In my house the central heating boiler is behind the fire downstairs. The boiler is on a timer. At 7am, the boiler kicks in with a whoomp. At the same time, through the closed downstairs door, up the stairs, around a corner and through another closed door, my bedroom curtain twitches. This is a convection current.
- Creaking floorboards – Caused by being walked on, or weather, or changes of temperature…
- Animals (rodents) – Scratching noises, rustling noises, high pitched distant screams? It’s probably an animal.
- Passing vehicles – These cause noise, vibrations, light AND shadows.
- Imagination – When people are exploring a “haunted” place, the seed that it is “haunted” has already been planted in their conscious mind. Imagination runs riot, attributing every event as a haunted occurance.
- Mass hysteria – When you have a group of people all exploring a “haunted” place, everyone is of the same mindset and expecting something paranormal to happen. As soon as one person screams, everyone screams. If you stand in a library and scream, everyone looks at you, but do the same think on an aeroplane and everyone joins in.
All the above are logical, plausible and scientifically provable explanations. If you experience anything that you believe to be “paranormal”, please review this list in order to help work out what actually caused whatever you think you saw or heard. I’ve you’re a staunch believer no doubt even after reading this you’ll dismiss my list completely and still opt for the paranormal option, which is absolutely fine.
Wrong, but fine.