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Ghosts: A Skeptic

Earthfiles investigative reporter Linda Moulton Howe discussed the bizarre story of the alleged human-alien hybrid found dead in Los Angeles and said to be involved with the CIA; mysterious and spectacular crop formations found in the wheat fields of Wiltshire, England on the summer solstice this past June, and the breaking story about the sun going to sleep in 2030 and ushering in a brutal mini ice age across the planet.

In the first hour, political commentator and economist John Lott reacted to the shooting of two reporters in Virginia on Wednesday and the ramifications the event may have on gun laws.

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Ghosts: A Skeptic's View

Show Archive
Date: Wednesday - July 4, 2012
Host: George Noory
Guests: Joe Nickell, Patrick Wilcken

Paranormal investigator and columnist for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, Joe Nickell, discussed his latest work on ghosts and so-called spirits of the dead. He argued that most paranormal cases are promoted with an "argument from ignorance" i.e. "we don't know what the noise in the old house was, therefore it's a ghost." Nickell was critical of modern ghost investigators who use an array of testing equipment at locations said to be haunted. It's highly unlikely that their readings are detecting ghostly activity, but rather they may be picking up microwave power in the area, or the electromagnetic signatures of their own devices, he suggested.

According to Nickell, we most look toward Occam's Razor for the simplest explanation in cases of anomalous phenomena. For instance, with EVP (electronic voice phenomena), we are not hearing the voices of ghosts, but rather something caused by acoustic variables, he said. Nickell recounted his investigation at Mackenzie House in Toronto where phantom ghost steps and other phenomena had been reported. He discovered that there was a staircase that ran parallel in the next door building, which he believes accounted for the sound of the phantom steps.

Regarding sightings and communications from the deceased, Nickell cited sleep paralysis-type episodes, in which a person is in a state between waking & sleeping as the most likely cause of such visitations (he also associated sleep paralysis with alien abduction cases). He charged that mediums and psychics who claim to communicate with the dead are using cold reading techniques for their material. Additionally, Nickell spoke about his study of Spontaneous Human Combustion cases, and found that they have a "real world" explanation. For example, in the case of Mary Reeser, she was smoking cigarettes and taking Seconal, and when the fire started, her body acted like a wick, he said.

Levi-Strauss & Anthropology

First hour guest, author Patrick Wilcken (book link) talked about Claude Levi-Strauss, and how he revolutionized the field of anthropology by showing that primitive peoples were actually quite sophisticated. "In the 19th century there was this idea that indigenous cultures were a throwback to another era," Wilcken said, but in the 20th century, Levi-Strauss was one of the early synthesizers of various anthropological accounts that showed a huge range of cultural phenomena among these groups. Levi-Strauss also studied indigenous mythologies from across the Americas, and found similar structural properties in them, Wilcken added.

News segment guests: Ryan Mauro, Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Wednesday July 04, 2012

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