Different and (not) proving it.

This gallery contains 1 photo.

One more article from a self-proclaimed “expert in the field” about how paranormal investigations are “not done the way they are portrayed on television” and I’ll be spewing Para Geek chunks!  About once a month, some much-ado internet blog seeps … Continue reading

Para Geek Peeve #6

Para Geek Peeve #6:  Why does trying to communicate with a ghost involve speaking in a voice like you were talking to a child and expecting them to do cheap parlor tricks?  “Make the flashlight turn on, make these lights blink, can you give us a sign of your presence…”

Seriously, if you were a ghost and a bunch of weekend ghost hunters belittled you like this, wouldn’t you just want to kick them in the groin?  I keep expecting investigators to ask a ghost if they made a poopee when they detect phantom smells.

Hoaxes and Hits

The Para Geek finds himself in the position of having to point out the obvious: any clip of video can be hoaxed. The interwebz is chock full of them and their production values range from frisbee-tossed UFOs to masterfully constructed digitized phantoms.  Some are so artfully done that the only thing stopping people from believing them is that they’re just too good to be true for all but the numbest of minds.

More to the point though is that any video effect can be recreated. It isn’t difficult to look at a video clip and say: “I can do that.”  Within minutes you can go from viewing a “Ghost Head” video to uploading a recreation of your own.  Now all you gotta do is kick back and watch the hits roll in!

Shows like Fact or Faked will routinely launch into this mode of “can it be done?” hypothesis.  Never mind that most sham artists aren’t walking around in public with bulky fog machines, projectors or huge pieces of glass in order to create a hoax.  There are less extravagant ways to fake things.  And any self-respecting Youtube huckster probably isn’t going to spend more than a few bones to create a grainy short video on the off-chance it may go viral…

It just doesn’t prove some random footage is fake if all someone does is throw up a debunked clip to show that they can do it, too; this cat-and-mouse game of finding an unbelievable video, recreating it using different methods (or perhaps the same – who knows) and then announcing to the world it’s been proven to be a hoax with yet another video doesn’t really prove it to be a fraud.  Even if you know it is.

But we all know it isn’t about proving a video is fake…  It’s about showing geeky ways to create the fake!  I don’t know about you, but I would much rather be watching cool ways to fool people with a hologram than be told how it was (probably) done.

It’s kind of like that masked magician who explains how to do all of those tricks: we love the “magic” part because we don’t know how the trick was done, but we do know that none of these butt-rocker-mullet-slinging magicians are drawing from some unseen force to pull a rabbit out of his hat.  If all that was said was “it’s done by placing a mirror here at precisely a 90 degree angle,” we’d be thinking: “boring!” as we change the channel.  But when he shows us how the trick is done, his ratings shoot through the roof.

We all love fake paranormal videos because we all love to think we know how they’re done.  If we can figure out how to self-promote our opinions, then we’re going to do just that.  Because in the end, it doesn’t matter if we’ve proven something is a hoax but whether we can get others to go along with it.  In a round about way, we’re really just creating the same type of illusion for the same audience.

Is your browser out to get you, too?

I’m persistent when it comes to doing things that I want to do.  Even though the “new and improved” IE9 was a complete pain in the ass (only when I needed it to be seamless and easy, of course), I didn’t let that stop me from getting this blog out of the idea bin and into action.  So, it is getting on the roll here at The Para Geek.

Internet Explorer has always been something of a paranormal phenom to me.  I used it exclusively back in the day and I never had any troubles with it because I was used to the many issues that it had.  I figured it was normal to put up with slow load speeds, constant crashes, the never-ending little circle that would just spin like it was trying to hypnotize you…

In a moment of clarity, I downloaded Firefox and never looked back.  Until two days ago that is.  When – like a neglected and forgotten pet that you thought was so cute when you first got it – only it shit all over your rugs and pissed on every piece of furniture you owned – so out the door it went… that little blue “e” on my computer screen began calling to me.  Just a whimper at first…  but before you knew it this shrilling cry of “hey!  click me!  click me!” finally caused me to cave in.

I clicked on the seldom used internet explorer icon.

Like a possessed ghost in the machine, it immediately started to get me to do things that I didn’t want to do…  I stopped using it before when “it” upgraded to IE8 – I hated it then and I hate it now.  But what’s this?  IE9?  Surely, a nine is much closer to ten than eight, which we all know is perfect, right?  So what the hell – “click on upgrade!”   Somewere between 20 minutes and five hours later, it was finally uploaded and tempting me with its Bing-Bling and that MSN homepage, prompting me to check out all of these cool new features it has just packed inside it like a diaper full of doodoo…

Dammit, you tricked me again, you little demonic “e” with your promises.  Curses!  Now nothing is loading at all!  Every page I go to has that annoying little bar at the bottom that blocks my view and like a wart on the face of an otherwise gorgeous woman, I can’t stop staring at it!  What’s worse, some websites that I need to get to on a regular basis – you know, email and secure sites I use for communicating with all of the important people I know (like Z00tsOOt35 on my Xbox Live list, or the 590 friends on my Facebook page, for example).  Blank.  All of them.  WTF, IE9?  Why did you play me like an ex-girlfriend who bumps into you on the street while her new boyfriend is parking the car?  You skeezy bitch.

Maybe I’ll get used to it, I told myself.  Maybe it’ll get better.  Hah!  And maybe I’ll grow a set of wings and fly to work on Monday morning.  No, I have learned my lesson.  Forgive me, Firefox…  Please take me back!

And yes, IE9, you suck.