Captain Spaulding, Chakras, and Ghost Hunts: A Skeptic's Weekend At A Horror Convention

If you can’t tell by my attached photo gallery, I absolutely love the horror and supernatural genres of entertainment. Alfred Hitchcock, Vincent Price, George Romero, Quentin Tarantino, Boris Karloff, and Peter Cushing? Cannot get enough. I love the macabre art inspired by all things dark and taboo. Little coffins decorated with favorite movie characters. Crafted earrings with baby squid tentacles in formaldehyde. Scary sculptures and cosplay. These kind of conventions have everything my heart pumps adrenaline for.

But like any genre, there is a certain aspect to horror I completely reject, but many make a business out of claiming it is science. I’m speaking on things like paranormal investigation, aura photography, and psychic readings. And it’s rife throughout a lot of the secular communities, as well. I find this puzzling, and can’t figure out the appeal to my crowd in particular.

And it’s especially hot this time of year with Halloween fast approaching.

It’s funny how I developed an interest in the notion of ghosts and hauntings though, and strangely an ironic source too. I was probably about nine or ten years old, it was Halloween night and a televised séance to contact Harry Houdini was on the television. I don’t remember why I got to see it that night, especially since my parents and I usually spent two hours of Halloween sitting quietly in the dark of our living room as trick or treaters came and went.

Up until I’d watched that Halloween special, I didn’t even know what a séance was. I’d read many books at that point at the library up at the corner of my block, but I’d always favored Martians, Sasquatch, and mythological legends. Ghosts, telekinesis, and dark rituals were new to me, and became a quick addiction for a number of years after. The idea of life after death, even as a wraith, didn’t fascinate me. I was perceiving supernatural phenomena from a more science fiction fantasy point of view.

It was another dimension. One we were still discovering how to manipulate and utilize, and I wanted to know more so I might get there sooner. I often wondered if I might find myself in a situation like Captain Picard in “All Good Things”, but I never did. Fortunately I’d fallen out of love with the idea of escapist fantasy by the time I reached twenty, and dove headlong into just the urban myth section of supernatural lore.

But I am astounded at how taken in many skeptics are when it comes to life after death and ghostly evidence. I realize that atheism only pertains to a god figure, but this fascination with life after death has had me scratching my head for a while. As I walked around the convention hall this past weekend, I realized it was the almost purposely ignorant attitude a number of folks took in order to immerse themselves in occult like role play that was going on all weekend. The evidence was obvious that this was a carnival side-show with not a single shred of solid science. Yet, here were thousands of people handing their money to paranormal experts, ghost hunters, and spiritual psychics. A field of industry that banks on willful ignorance and escapist desires to avoid the finality of death.

I have religious and skeptic friends alike, who cannot get enough of hunting for ghosts, spirit voices on tapes, and images of dead children in Antebellum plantation mirrors. A day before I could have a discussion about the effects of group think, the whole while being agreed with by these same friends, to then have them.... Read

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Comment by Gerald Payne on September 24, 2015 at 5:43am

I know now who to get in touch with when the tax man starts haunting me Michael!!!

Comment by Michael Penn on September 23, 2015 at 8:58pm

The funniest thing about Lucifer as the bible devil is that to this day people tell you he does his job so well. They say his job is to convince you that he doesn't exist. Now that is really funny.

Explain to me why the New Testament says that he goes about as a roaring lion seeking those whom he can devour. How is a roaring lion going to convince anybody that he doesn't exist? It's all just more Christian badthink and bullshit!

Comment by Bluegrass Skeptic on September 23, 2015 at 8:06pm

Sounds like your experience with ghosts was mine with Lucifer. Hahaha

Comment by Michael Penn on September 23, 2015 at 8:02pm

No money lost here, but I studied almost all phenomena and thought this was real stuff. At one point in my life I was the "expert" on the supernatural. The problem was, while I thought it was real I also thought it had a great amount of fakes. This would be like Houdini trying to find life after death or the theist claiming all religions but his are wrong. It took a long, long time before I went one step further and learned that there is no evidence for the supernatural. Not any at all. A valid conclusion then would be no evidence of gods also.

I did take it quite seriously. During my studies I thought that I had control over the spirits and I openly vowed that none could manifest before me. I was absolutely correct. None ever did.  LOL

Comment by Bluegrass Skeptic on September 23, 2015 at 6:06pm

You know, I'd have little problem with any of the psychics and ghost hunters if they'd admit it's entertainment. I wonder, any of you dump a lot of money into these ventures?

Comment by Michael Penn on September 21, 2015 at 4:45pm

Years ago when I was the "psychic expert" a group of us went to a cemetery ghost hunting. Suddenly everyone is yelling and running for the car. I ran for the car too and barely made it before they drove off. Once we all were in a "safe" place again they told their ghost stories. They all saw a ghost and tried to get me to say I did too. Did I see a ghost? NO. I was simply trying to get to the car before they drove off coz I didn't want to be left in a cemetery in the middle of nowhere in the middle of night.

The actual ghost could have been an owl or a raccoon or anything.

Comment by Gerald Payne on September 20, 2015 at 9:11pm

Many of my friends have seen ghosts and I have no reason to doubt them, but seeing ghosts and there actually being ghosts are two different propositions.

Whenever I go to the fun-fair I can't resist the crystal ball and the fortune teller, it's superstitious nonsense I know, but I'm attracted nonetheless. I think it's just the entertainment of curiosity.

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