If you believe in ghosts, you’re not alone. Cultures all around the world believe in spirits that survive death to live in another realm. In fact, ghosts are among the most widely believed of paranormal phenomena: Millions of people are interested in ghosts, and a 2005 Gallup poll found that 37 percent of Americans believe in haunted houses — and nearly half believe in ghosts. You can read the story HERE.
The web site FastCompany did a recent profile of me and my work, you can read it HERE.
With Halloween rapidly approaching, reports of paranormal sightings will start toescalate as people get into the spirit of the spooky holiday. While most are obvioushoaxes, there are a few reported by people who genuinely believe they haveencountered a ghost or spirit. It is these perceptions that professional skeptic Benjamin Radford spends his time investigating and resolving, with logical explanations – so far, he has not failed!
You can read the whole story HERE.
On television and in films when paranormal investigators or ghost hunters are depicted, they often are seen using all sorts of high-tech gadgetry in the search for the unknown. HERE is a look at what’s in my investigation kit!
I recently heard a podcast where a ghost hunting group said their average “investigation” lasts 4-6 hours. I guess I’m doing it wrong, because mine often take days or weeks. Then again I actually solve the mystery instead of just settling for faint, ambiguous lights and sounds as evidence of anything. The harder you work and the more effort you put in, the more likely you are to find a plausible scientific explanation. If you only put in a few hours of work, no wonder you can’t figure it out. Maybe they’re so skilled they only need a few hours to get stumped…
I was recently guest on the Project: Archivist show, talking about some of my research and investigations… It’s a great show if you haven’t heard it. The episode will be out any time now; you can hear it HERE.
My new CFI blog examines some of the historical figures behind Woody Allen’s new film “Magic in the Moonlight.” You can read it HERE.
An interesting article in Skeptical Inquirer magazine about demonology… I’ve met several self-described demonologists, and this rings pretty true to me. You can read it HERE.
Sharon Hill’s recent “Sounds Sciencey” piece for Skeptical Inquirer magazine looks at the guys at Strange Frequencies Radio show. An interesting look at skeptics, science and the paranormal! You can read it HERE.
A group of ghost hunters has been arrested for allegedly setting fire to a historic mansion near New Orleans. Perhaps inspired by the hit SyFy television series “Ghost Hunters” and its many imitators, the men climbed through a hole in a fence and broke into the LeBeau Plantation house near the Mississippi River on Nov. 21.
You can read my article about it HERE.
It is not hard to find sacred religious sites; churches, synagogues, shrines, mosques, and other such places dot the landscape, offering a place for followers of one religious faith or another to join with others and worship.
There is another kind of secular sacred site that also involves respect for the dead, or at the very least respect for tragedy. Though not necessarily a modern invention, it is, I would argue, very much a product of the Internet age and its associated social activism…. You can read more HERE.
I wrote this for Halloween, but it’s a classic urban legend year-round: The history and mystery of Bloody Mary!
You can read my Discovery News piece on it HERE.
Olivia Newton-John recently asked a priest to perform an exorcism on her home in Jupiter, Fla., in hopes of selling it. Following the suicide of a contractor in the home last month, the actress and singer is concerned about the social and spiritual stigma now associated with the residence, and the ceremony was an attempt to assure potential buyers that the place is not cursed or haunted.
My recent Discovery News article on home exorcisms and other realty-related magic rituals… You can read it HERE.
I’m sometimes asked for insight into how my articles and columns come about, what the process is for assembling them. HERE’s one recent example….
My overview on ghosts was recently published at LiveScience.com, drawing quite a bit of reaction from skeptics and believers alike!
“The evidence for ghosts is no better today than it was a year ago, a decade ago, or a century ago. There are two possible reasons for the failure of ghost hunters to find good evidence. The first is that ghosts don’t exist, and that reports of ghosts can be explained by psychology, misperceptions, mistakes and hoaxes. The second option is that ghosts do exist, but that ghost hunters are simply incompetent…”
You can read it HERE.
Yesterday at LiveScience.com I published an overview piece on ghosts and ghost hunting. As always, people are happy to read my work and tell me what garbage it is. I thought I’d share two of my favorite comments, followed by my responses:
1) from sandybeachguynw: “Benjamin Radford must not watch many Ghost hunting shows or he would know that they have proof of Ghost, Such as Video, Photos, Sound & Voice recordings. What I’d like to know is just how many Haunted places Benjamin Radford has ever been in and conducted any research for himself?”
Yes, clearly that’s my mistake: I need to watch more ghost hunting “reality” TV shows to really understand the science and logic of ghosts. And to answer the question, I’ve done about 25 or 30 major ghost investigations!
2) Richard Schroeder from the University of California, Irvine: “Yeah, the article was rather poorly written and not well thought out. For example, it isn’t a logical contradiction that ghosts can sometimes interact with matter and sometimes don’t interact with matter. It is an interesting question to put to ghost believers, but it isn’t logically impossible. After all, sometimes bullets ricochet off of matter and sometimes they pass right through matter. Maybe the author thinks bullets are logically impossible.”
Um, Richard, Bullets do not “pass right through matter,” they make a hole and go around it, the way you “pass right through matter” when you walk through a door…
I was interviewed on NPR about ghosts and ghost hunting around Halloween. The audio of that interview is now available:
Link to the Halloween recording: https://www.azpm.org/s/11359-
Chasing ghosts: the weird science of tracking the dead
I was recently interviewed by a writer for TheVerge.com about ghost investigation, talking about the science and pseudoscience behind the claims. You can read the story HERE.
Ghost hunter Zak Bagans of “Ghost Adventures” TV show exploits a troubled actor’s tragic suicide to promote his music career. You can read the story HERE.
A new issue of The Bent Spoon— “A Skeptical Magazine for the True Believer” is now out. It’s the one-year anniversary issue, and has lots of cool and interesting articles on a wide variety of paranormal topics. And I’ve got an article about the importance of asking the right questions. It’s free, and you can read it (and other back issues) HERE.
I was interviewed last week by a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch on ghost hunting science and pseudoscience. It seems a local ghost hunting team asked him to participate in a ghost hunt, and he wanted the real deal on the science end of things. You can read it HERE.
When a reader asked E! Online’s “Answer Bitch” the following question:
“Is it true that Prince William’s house is haunted? Have they seen any ghosts?”
The Bitch knew right where to come for anwers! You can read the whole bitchin’ piece HERE!
Are ghost hunting shows real or faked? That’s what Leslie Gornstein wanted to know when she interviewed me about ghost hunting techniques.
Writer Nate Riddle’s new book, Lone Star Spooks: Searching for Ghosts in Texas, has a significant chapter on skepticism in ghost investigations, and he quotes an interview I did with him at length. I can’t vouch for the skeptical content of the rest of the book, but overall it looks pretty good. Riddle deserves a lot of credit for getting a skeptical point of view in the book; 99% of authors of ghost books completely ignore the skeptics’ information and arguments.
More information on the book is available at his Web site.