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High Spirits

Just a short entry today.  If you have not seen them yet, have a look at these news reports that strongly, and credulously, suggest that a ghost can be seen in a surveillance tape at a North Carolina high school. CNN ran this version prominently from reporter Connie Legrand of WSPA, and another version of the same story was reported by Kassandra Pride of local ABC affiliate Channel 13.  Two reporters from two different stations and they both report it in the exact same way.  There is a sad kind of irony that this story centers on “ghostly” activity in a high school, a place of education, teaching, and learning, and yet everyone in these reports, from the school staff to the reporters, have their total lack of critical thinking skills on display for the world to see.  My guess is that the “phenomena” is a bird.  But thank goodness Kassandra Pride contacted a “paranormal expert” to lend her personal belief in nonsense to help move the “news” report right along.  Imagine if the “expert” she consulted was a skeptic?  Now that in itself would be news worthy.

14 comments to High Spirits

  • Drum Billet

    I cringed everytime she said its ‘definitely’ a ghost.

    Could it be a moth or other insect close to the lens? That would explain why the subject is out of focus (just like that gas station ghost from a few months ago).

  • Jim Shaver

    Talk about irony, Evan, teacher Martha Geitner, who is certain the image is of the disgruntled ghost of some hypothetical dead student, is a literacy coach at the high school! Gahhh!

    Also, the WSPA reporter, Connie Legrand, said that the images are “perplexing for skeptics”. Perplexing?! Really? Here’s a perplexing question: Where are those skeptics in your report? Not a word.

    Here’s my analysis, brief as it must be from the evidence available in the CNN report: It’s a bug on the camera’s dome. The out-of-focus blob is not a shadow cast by anything in the brightly-lit areas, because it can be seen in some frames to simultaneously overlap some background areas that are bright and some that are dark. It overlaps parts of the image that are at different distances from the camera and are in different planes, and it does not bend at those intersections as a shadow would do. This is a very out-of-focus object very close to the camera.

  • Jim Shaver

    Yes, Drum, I agree with you completely. Our posts crossed in cyberspace.

  • I just don’t know that a bug would set off a motion detection camera.

  • Drum Billet


    Why wouldn’t an insect close to the lens set it off?

    If it was a bird, why would it be out of focus?

  • ahe777

    @Jim Shaver
    I believe the teacher was being a bit sarcastic. Just my opinion.

  • gkdada

    Unrelated comment:

    Could you please take out the picture of montauk monster from the front page of the SGU. I normally visit the site once a day (or more) and I am close to losing my lunch everytime I did that. Please don’t let it stay there for the remainder of the week! I am sure there are a lot of other visitors with similarly weak stomach.

    And thanks for an excellent skeptic’s corner.

  • Insects are everywhere. Wouldn’t an insect have triggered the sensors long ago? With more of a reoccurence rate?

    The reports treated this as an isolated incident. If I was reporting on the story, I’d have asked how frequently have the cameras activated since thier installation? (along with many more questions)

    But all that pesky “questioning” just gets in the way of the media’s “ghost” template story.

  • Good grief. I love how the one woman not only knows it’s a ghost, she even knows the story behind who the ghost is and why it’s there. That’s more perplexing to me than the “ghostly” phenomenon itself.

    From the limited video in the piece, it looks like it is probably something relatively small and close to a light source. The shadows move quickly across the room, and in the final shot, it looks like the shadow covers about half of the doors and back wall. The shadow is frickin’ huge! If it’s the ghost of a student, maybe he had a few too many Twinkies in life, and is mad because other kids made fun of him and then he died of heart failure? Yes, that’s definitely it, I’m sure of it.

  • ThomDG

    Whats terrible is that that in the CNN report, she immediately says it looks like a child before the viewer even has a chance to decide for themselves what it looks like.

  • Evan, the first link to the CNN report seems to have been taken down.

  • sillymaggs

    Being from NC, I am not surprised that teachers in Asheville would be caught up in the “woo” factor. But CNN? Come on.

  • I totally agree with Jim…I mean “perplexing for skeptics” it is a shadow…

    Maybe CNN should do a story on the clouds I see that are in the shape of a cat! It perplexes all skeptics 😀

  • DLC

    convenient that they had the apparent ghost-believer on hand to coach people into believing what they saw was a human shape.

    Evan: motion detectors are usually based on Infrared signature, and have varying degrees of sensitivity. It is possible that this one camera was installed with too sensitive a motion sensor system. An object close up would be more likely to trip the camera in any event. A good-size fly could be the culprit here.

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