Ghost Hunters

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REGARDING recent stories about ghosts in the Herald – is there not enough wonder and intrigue in the natural universe without having to entertain the delusions of gullible people who don’t understand the subtle effects of confirmation bias and wishful thinking?

The question is posed, ‘‘Do you believe in ghosts?’’   Why not ask for some evidence first? Any evidence.

Orbs/mists can be explained by any competent photographer as can strange sounds and ‘‘cold spots’’ in a room.

The spirits also seem to be somewhat impotent in the face of ‘‘negative vibes’’ from any sceptics in the group.  It seems to help your chances if everyone on the ghost tour is a believer.

Anecdotes and hearsay are the very weakest forms of evidence. And rightly so. Any judge will tell you that eye-witness testimony is notoriously unreliable and often contradictory.

If Suzie Price (‘‘Keeping the spirits up’’  Herald 26/1), the self-professed psychic in the story, can do half of what she claims then famous international sceptic James Randi, whose  James Randi Educational Foundation offers $1million to anyone who can provide evidence of paranormal activity, has a fortune waiting for her to collect, not counting the $100,000 on offer from the Australian Skeptics.

And if Mrs Price doesn’t need the money, as many in her profession often claim, then she could possibly donate it to a worthy charity?

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