Saturday, August 09, 2008

Alleged Ghost Sighting in North Carolina High School

A video posted on CNN.com on August 8 tells of an alleged ghost caught on camera in an Asheville, North Carolina high school. The text of the story can be found on a North Carolina CBS News affiliates website.

The camera, activated by a motion sensor, caught the shadowy figure in the rotunda of Asheville High school at 2:31 AM on August 1. Charlie Glazener, executive director of public relations for the local school district, says he does not know quite what to call it. Quoted from the story:

"'I’m a logical person, and I wanted to be able to explain to these folks, or anybody, this is what I think it is. It’s a bat flying around here, and it casts a shadow; but then why is the shadow down here from a different angle, and it’s not in the shape of a bat?'"

The shadow remains on camera for approximately 24 seconds, and in that time crosses the view of the camera, and appears to cast a shadow in the hallway directly in front of the camera. The anchorwoman reporting says this second shadow in the hallway is what is "perplexing to skeptics." Honestly, I wasn't that perplexed. It appears to me to be an insect flying extremely close to the various light sources in the rotunda, thereby producing large shadows.

The article also quotes a teacher at the high school,
Martha Geitner. What she had to say made me feel extremely sorry for any students how have to endure her classes:

"
'It’s a ghost! Of course it’s a ghost! It’s the ghost of some former student who is really angry with his teacher and has come back to get back with the teacher, and he’s just making himself known at this time.'"

Now, she may have just been playing up the story a bit for television cameras, but this kind of attitude from an educator is simply unacceptable. What ever happened to critical thinking, Martha? It's sad when the PR director for the school district is more reasonable than one of its teachers.

Of course, the reporter had to find someone from the local paranormal investigations group.
Sarah Harrison, of the Asheville Paranormal Society, provided the service for this particular story:

"
'Well, I have watched the video and I can’t debunk it. The fact that it set off the motion detectors means something physical was there. The shape morphed into something that was human shaped. I have seen many video surveillance footage of alleged ghosts and this is the only one that I can’t debunk. Many video’s of 'ghosts' are hoaxes, but I think this would be impossible to hoax.'"

A careful look at video will reveal the shadow changing shape, as shadows are wont to do, but it hardly "morphs into something that was human shaped." She is right, though, the video would be difficult to hoax. But, hoaxes only account for some alleged ghost sightings. The rest are usually misidentifications of strictly normal occurrences. It's interesting that while this story contains the prerequisite paranormal "expert," the token skeptic is nowhere to be found. Perhaps the reasonableness of the PR director was enough meet the requirement.

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4 comments:

GumbyTheCat said...

Nice blog Jeremy. We both have a healthy dose of skepticism running through our veins, which is apparently a rare commodity these days. You and I have blogged about several of the same subjects and seem to have the same take on paranormal or creationist bull. Good luck with the blog.

Anonymous said...

Dude, seriously? a bug? that wouldnt trip the sensors. And in my personal belief, it was a ghost but thats just me.

Anonymous said...

Until you experience something supernatural, of course you will be a skeptic. And please come up with something better than a bug next time...

Groin said...

I can recall some unexplained things happening to me as a kid, but now I question if they were supernatural or created by youthful ignorance.

Anyhow, here's a rather provocative and hilarious article my friend wrote about Ghost Hunting:
http://thingsthatshouldntstillexist.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/01-ghost-hunters/