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I watched a story on the news this morning that got me thinking. How does this predominance of belief in the paranormal effect our lives and the daily lives of others?
Yesterday, in China, a woman was walking home on a very narrow street. Apparently, she got stuck between two walls and fell down. She could not get out. She began to yell "help!". For seven hours the poor woman yelled for help until someone finally came to her aid. They had to get a rescue crew to knock the wall down to get her out. Why did it take seven hours? Because people who heard the yelling for help assumed it was a ghost in the walls and ignored it. Yup. True story. They ignored the yelling because they believed it was a ghost.
Ok..I know. It's China. Are people that more superstitious and, well, dumb, than we are here in the west? I don't know. I just know that this story made me think about all of the ghost stories that have been told over the years and how, no matter how much proof there is that some of these stories have been faked, people still believe them. Take the Amityville Horror. Here is an excerpt from an article by Troy Taylor, a leading expert on the paranormal, regarding the Amityville Horror story.
"Kaplan, (a respected paranormal investigator at the time), had discovered that the "Amityville Horror" was pure invention. In 1979, attorney William Weber confessed to his part in the hoax during a paranormal radio show hosted by author Joel Martin. Weber admitted that he and George Lutz had concocted the story of the haunting over a few bottles of wine. Weber's motive was to get a new trial for DeFeo, using a "Devil made him do it" defense. According to Weber, Lutz merely wanted to get out from under a mortgage that he couldn't afford. His business was in trouble and he needed a scheme to bail him out. Weber later filed a $2 million lawsuit against the Lutz's, charging them with reneging on their book deal.
Kaplan found ample proof, outside of the glaring confession, that the story was a hoax. He gained access to the house on many occasions and found that the so-called "Red Room", where the book claimed occult ceremonies took place, was nothing more than a small pipe well that gave access to them if they needed to be repaired. No "demonic face" had ever appeared on the bricks inside of the fireplace. He also noted that the original front door of the house (blown off its hinges in the book) was still in place and intact. In fact, the extensive damage to doors and windows that was recounted in the book never happened at all. All of the old hardware - hinges, locks and doorknobs - was still in place and there were no disturbances to the paint or the varnish."
"All of the weak utterances of "truth" in this story continue to be arranged to look like something they are not. To this author, they are a perfect example of this entire case as a whole --- a blending of fact with fiction in an attempt to titillate and terrify the American public."
The Warrens were closely connected to the Amityville story, as well as the haunting in Connecticut, which was also found to be mostly hoaxed, and, to this day, Lorraine Warren swears in it's truth.
Lorraine Warren has been closely involved in two paranormal TV shows that have been suspected of being faked, and have been canceled: Paranormal State and Paranormal Kids.
There is a new movie out right now, titled, "The Conjuring". The story is "from the case files of the Warrens." and claims to be based upon a true story. What a reliable source.
Why does the public continue to believe things that have been proven to be hoaxed, or believe in people who have been proven to be fakes themselves? I don't know. Gullibility? A desire so strong to believe that they will suspend believeability and swallow anything? Just plain dumb? I don't know.
The thing is, there are plenty of ghost stories and stories of paranormal activity from reliable sources that are based on a great deal of authentic evidence. They are real. They may not be explained, we may yet find a natural explanation, but, for now, these stories, pictures, audio recordings, and personal experiences are believable and reliable. So why be so gullible as to believe people who have been caught faking, lying, and making their fortune and fame doing it? Always consider the source.
The next time you hear someone yelling for help or calling your name, please, please go and investigate. Do not assume it is a ghost. You may find yourself on national TV news as yet one more example of an idiot.
What The Ph...