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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 15 August 2017 at 6:07am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

The TV series SCOOBY-DOO, in its many incarnations, showed us a world where ghosts, monsters and other things are not real (it's usually a corrupt capitalist attempting to scare people away). Whilst real ghosts did appear in the series at some point, it's pretty much about debunking that sort of thing.

What of other TV shows which did the same, i.e. individual episodes or the theme of the show as a whole?

I've been watching the fourth season of KNIGHT RIDER on DVD. In one episode - called "Deadly Knightshade" - it very much looks like a magician has mastered real magic. It certainly appears that way for a while, i.e. he escapes down a dead end at one point. Thankfully, investigations by Michael Knight and KITT lead them to capturing him eventually (and there was a very obscure/hidden door down that alley).

There was also an episode called "Fright Knight" where a supposed phantom was haunting a movie set and causing accidents. The 'phantom' was very much part of the land of the living.

I watched the final episode last night - "Voo Doo Knight". Michael Knight is overpowered by two very strong guys, acting like zombies. There's also a voodoo princess manipulating them. That's the first ten minutes or so. Knight even wonders about voodoo early on given the strength of the "zombies". But we soon learn the reality; the 'voodoo princess', Harana, is using technologically-advanced earclips which brainwashes the wearers and forces them to commit crimes. The reason the "zombies" are so strong is that the earclips give them an adrenaline rush. And the reason the "zombies" are resistant to punches and kicks is that the earclips have deadened the pain areas of their brains.

Of course, STAR TREK also showed us many 'gods' which were nothing of the sort.

So, for this topic, can you think of TV episodes where a supposed supernatural threat turned out to be nothing of the sort?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 August 2017 at 7:22am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

So, for this topic, can you think of TV episodes where a supposed supernatural threat turned out to be nothing of the sort?

THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW did just such an episode at least once. ("It's jest th' light!"), and as a child in England I had the willies scared out of me by a JUNGLE JIM episode in which a "ghost" turned out to be nothing more than a sheet tied over a basketball!

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 15 August 2017 at 7:36am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Fascinating, was unfamiliar with those.

I like to look for the logic if I can. The only "supernatural" encounter I have had, many years ago, was when a nephew, then aged 4, woke up (I was looking after him at his home) and started saying "Who's that?" whilst pointing towards the corner of the room. He did that twice.

Ghost? Who knows? Or maybe just an overactive imagination. He had been awake for about four minutes, perhaps it was "leftovers" from a dream. 

I'd like to think there was a logical reason for his actions rather than him seeing something. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 August 2017 at 7:43am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Lucid dreaming accounts for most supernatural activity observed in the world. In lucid dreaming, the subject is asleep, but feels fully awake. People often cannot be convinced that what they "experienced" was a dream. A friend of mine saw a flying saucer skimming over the rooftop early one morning, and nothing I could say to him could convince him that it was a dream.* "I was awake! I was standing! I was walking around!"

_______________________

* Not even telling him the origin of the phrase "flying saucer" and showing that any disk shaped objects seen in the sky should be automatically discounted.

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 15 August 2017 at 7:55am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Thanks for that, it's interesting. Not sure I've done it. But how would I know, eh?

I think one can find explanations. 

My sister moved into a house years ago. Lived there for six years without any problems. Then some new friend started telling her tales about burial grounds, ghosts, supposed hauntings on that street, etc. From that day on, she said she started hearing things. Yet she'd never mentioned any sort of odd noises or strange behaviour prior to that. 

I think that friend's tall tales influenced her perceptions.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 August 2017 at 8:11am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

The house I bought in Evanston, back in the early Eighties, challenged my skepticism, for a while at least. My studio was on the back on the house, what was technically a sun room (plenty of light!), and beneath a guest room on the second floor. Almost every day I would hear footsteps cross the room above, go along the short corridor to the top of the stars, down the stairs, and back thru the living room, dining room, and finally stopping just at the edge of my drawing board.

This went on for weeks, and at different times of day, so there was no way to position myself at the top of the stairs to see what was going on. I KNEW there was a perfectly rational explanation, but it was unnerving.

Then, after a few months in the house, I was having some work done in the partially finished basement, and one of the workmen point out to me that the brick work in the front left corner (facing the street) need to be replaced. The house was subsiding along its diagonal axis, the front sinking into that corner.

I had the bricks replaced, and the footsteps stopped. See, what they had been was the subsidence of the house, and as one corner sank, the floorboards creaked, following that distinctive pattern. Pop, pop, pop! Sounded just like footsteps.

(My father for all his adult life told the story of walking back to camp along a dark road in Burma, and hearing a friend call his name. The friend had died earlier that day, in an ambulance, on just about that spot. My father knew those details in advance, so there was an easy enough explanation -- it's called "imagination"! -- but it still spooked his 22 year old self!)

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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 15 August 2017 at 9:34am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

As someone who has sleep paralysis on a semi-regular basis, I totally get why people who don't understand the phenomenon would come away from that thinking demons or aliens were involved. You can see and hear some really weird shit in that state. 

As for TV, I remember reading at the time that THE X-FILES premiered that the plan was to have some cases that ended up not being supernatural or alien at all, justifying Scully's continued scepticism. Obviously they abandoned that early on. 
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David Miller
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Posted: 15 August 2017 at 10:06am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

It's not exactly the same thing, but THE MINDY PROJECT, at least when I watched, frequently took opportunities to skeptically shade holistic medicine, which I thought was a responsible use of its cultural voice. 

My grandmother was really into the paranormal, and had a room full of paperbacks about hauntings, reincarnation and black magic, which helped set the atmosphere to convince me my grandfather's ghost was walking in the ducts; it was just an old house, a noisy radiator, and an active imagination. And those fucking books.   

The closest I've personally come to "supernatural" experiences have been premonitions, either in the form of dreams which came true down to specific details, or frequently knowing exactly what people are about to say before they say it. It could be I'm psychically accessing nonlinear temporal perception, or more likely every single instance has been confirmation biased. 

I've experienced sleep paralysis, which is often mistaken for supernatural encounters. One time I was immobilized while Mozart played on repeat, watching the universe's massive gears grind inches in front of my face. Man that was trippy.  
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 15 August 2017 at 10:29am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I've experienced sleep paralysis, which is often mistaken for supernatural encounters. One time I was immobilized while Mozart played on repeat, watching the universe's massive gears grind inches in front of my face. Man that was trippy.

-----

Dude, your sleep paralysis hallucinations were way cooler than mine. I just get the regular old shadow people, disembodied voices, and hands grabbing and probing you.
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David Miller
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Posted: 15 August 2017 at 10:57am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I've also had the shadow people. 
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 16 August 2017 at 11:15pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I've never experienced sleep paralysis, at least to my knowledge.  From what you guys describe though I think I'll know it if/when it does happen.

I have on the other hand experienced lucid dreaming but I found the experience wasn't as controllable as others describe.   I'd say it was like suddenly switching from being a passenger in a car to being the driver, and then switching back to being a passenger without warning.

On one occasion I've experienced what would be classed as Fortean phenomena,  In this case it was a localized shower of round ice pellets, all the same size and the pattern was a near perfect square on the street.   I heard it before I saw it, and the event didn't last long (roughly 10-20 seconds). it was a summer day in the 1980's with a nearly cloudless sky so not enough time to fetch a camera before it melted into a puddle.  I still think to this day that it was water from a high-flying plane rather than anything supernatural/interdimensional.   

I've heard and read of anecdotal accounts of more exotic objects than ice falling from cloudless skies -- small fish, frogs, walnuts in the shell.  Those are a little harder to apply Occam's Razor to, but the best they can come up with are small whirlwinds that pick these up from ponds.  Sometimes the fish are all the same species/size and there's nothing else from a pond with them.   I suspect most of these accounts are apocryphal though.
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Robert Shepherd
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Posted: 22 August 2017 at 6:01am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

[Thread drift]

Four family members have all heard clear footsteps in my house when no one else was home. I've not been able to come up with a plausible explanation yet.

I ASSUME noises from outside must have carried in a strange way.

My house does change shape depending on the heat (you can see how the doors either close better or worse) so maybe that has something to do with it. 

My step-daughter claims she has felt a presence. And my Son swears he heard steps coming down the hall so clearly he locked his door.

Maybe its all mass hysteria.

Hey....what was that noise......

[Thread is now back on course.]


Edited by Robert Shepherd on 22 August 2017 at 6:02am
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 22 August 2017 at 8:16pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I have at least 4 relatives (3 blood, one by marriage) who have all had paranormal experiences, and in 2 of the incidents it involved ghosts. 

Except for one occasion, which happened to both my mother and my grandmother, none of them shared the same incident. And both of them also had incidents happen to them when no one else was around.

(My grandmother once saw a ghost, and my mother heard objects moving around in a bathroom while no one else was around. The shared incident *may* have been a shadow person, and happened in the same house the moving objects happened in. My mother also claims to have seen her grandmother's ghost once, but she was sick at the time and may have been hallucinating.)

(Strangely, all of the relatives this happened to are on my mother's side of the family.)




Edited by Brian Floyd on 22 August 2017 at 8:20pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 22 August 2017 at 8:54pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Imagination is an amazing thing. Especially when we don't realize that's what it is.
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David Miller
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Posted: 22 August 2017 at 9:30pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Reminds me of what Carl Sagan liked to say about Percival Lowell and his Martian canals: there was undoubtedly intelligence behind those canals, but it was on Lowell's end of the telescope. 
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 23 August 2017 at 5:32am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Imagination is an amazing thing. Especially when we don't realize that's what it is.

+++++++++++++++++++
Agreed. I believe there are some situations that can't be explained, but the vast majority (99%) is imagination or trick of the light.

I confess I watch some paranormal investigation shows (Was a huge fan of GHOST HUNTERS for most of its run), but I like the ones that have no problem debunking when they can. There's one show that I watch whenever I need a good laugh, but I won't mention it by name here. Lets just say they've called several places haunted that other investigators have debunked or declared not haunted, and some of their investigators are terrified of one place that claims it's haunted but all its supposed hauntings have been discounted if not outright debunked. (Hint: the place is in Kentucky.)


Edited by Brian Floyd on 23 August 2017 at 5:33am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 23 August 2017 at 12:49pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I believe there are some situations that can't be explained, but the vast majority (99%) is imagination or trick of the light.

What "can't be explained" is a shrinking category. Most of Nature used to be "unexplainable". But we kept at it, and the "secrets" one by one came tumbling out into the light.

Sad thing is, real science is often so much more fascinating than the craziest made-up stories.

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 23 August 2017 at 1:41pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply


 QUOTE:
I believe there are some situations that can't be explained...

Jerry Lewis died the other day, and many reports noted that nobody is completely certain what his real name was. He always said it was Joseph Levitch, but in recent years his birth certificate was unearthed and it says he was Jerome Levitch. No one can explain the truth behind this. 

Sounds trivial, but then think of, for example, the "life" of Jesus -- how much could not be explained, and how many blanks were filled by (to borrow from JB) "the craziest made-up stories"!
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 23 August 2017 at 1:54pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Not long after my dog Sal,who was really attached to me
died at nearly 17 i was in bed and woke in the early
hours feeling a `weight` from on top of the duvet.I
looked up to see her curled up between my legs fast
asleep,as she had spent many a night when
alive.Rationally i know it was a dream,but that initial
feeling of `weight` made it seem so real,that i think
some people would have thought it was her ghost/spirit
visiting me.All i know is,it made me happy to `see` her
again.
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Jack Bohn
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Posted: 24 August 2017 at 1:31pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Going the other way, I wonder if good fiction treating the fantastic as real help with debunking half-baked "true stories." After years of nitpicking comics tales, you look at an abductee story and ask, "Why would aliens show you their planet, tell you the world is not ready to know, then erase your memories, but not reliably? It makes no sense, it's just to advance the plot!"

There was an old cartoon -- I think MGM -- where a black cat helped a kitten by giving a dog bad luck, until he got painted white. This may have affected my observational bias. When a black cat crossed my path, any later mishap less than a piano falling out of the sky didn't register!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 24 August 2017 at 3:29pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

When I was a child in England, a black cat crossing one's path was considered to be good luck.
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Jack Bohn
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Posted: 24 August 2017 at 11:43pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Huh. Must have something to do with us driving on different sides of the road.
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Robert Shepherd
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Posted: 25 August 2017 at 4:04pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Bill wrote: Rationally i know it was a dream,but that initial 
feeling of `weight` made it seem so real,that i think 
some people would have thought it was her ghost/spirit 
visiting me.All i know is,it made me happy to `see` her 
again.

***

I had a similar experience when my dog from childhood died. I didn't feel the visit but I had a dream that she came to visit me to let me know she was ok. She didn't speak or anything. I just knew. Of course when I woke up I knew it was my own mental desire that affected my dream, but it was nice to imagine she visited to say goodbye.


Edited by Robert Shepherd on 25 August 2017 at 4:05pm
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 26 August 2017 at 12:28am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Yes Robert,i have often wondered if it`s some fail-safe
of the brain to help us cope with grief,similar to those
who have near death experiences and seem to float above
their bodies,might be some way of the brain helping us
accept the inevitable?

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John Byrne
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Posted: 26 August 2017 at 10:34am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Yes Robert,i have often wondered if it`s some fail-safe of the brain to help us cope with grief,similar to those who have near death experiences and seem to float above their bodies,might be some way of the brain helping us accept the inevitable?

At this point I will once again highly recommend Susan Blackmore's book DYING TO LIVE. She is one of the world's leading thanatologists (gotta love that term!) and in this fairly slender volume she discusses the mechanisms that have evolved in the brain that make it easier for us to cope.

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