Friday, 30 January 2015

Thinking of selling a ghost story to the Daily Mirror? Its a Pushover...

The Daily Mirror today continues its quest to become a tabloid with all the prestige and stature of The Weekly World News, with this story from Chile. Cecilia Carrasco, 34, claims she was pushed by ghost in the reception of her Lawyer's office.

Cecilia gives the incident in her own words:
"I hit the ground hard and had to be taken to hospital in an ambulance. I was inside for three days and I'm still off work as a result of my injuries...

I wasn't aware of anybody in front of me as I passed the reception desk talking to a girl, and as I looked towards the receptionist I suddenly felt two pairs of hands shove me over.

"I hit the floor but when I looked up I couldn't see anybody, and I thought they probably had run off.

"When the receptionist told me that there was nobody there, I didn't believe them until they showed me the footage. Now I am convinced that it was a ghost because I felt the hands even though there was nobody around." 
Cecilia suspects it may be a ghost from a Hollywood film (sounds like The Entity perhaps?) terrorising her!
"I remember seeing a film where a ghosts kept attacking a woman and now I'm worried the ghost might be after me. I have no idea why I was shoved over."
This CCTV footage definitely shows her taking an almighty fall.... and nothing else... take a look.

So there's reason to link this to a "ghost" I any way shape or form. Why a ghost? Why not the invisible man? Why not a secret government agent with cloaking technology? All of these have equal supportive evidence. Each would be consistent with Cecilia's story.

The only thing we have to say any agent acts on Cecilia is her insistence that she "felt hands". Forgive me for saying but is a person with a severe head injury the best witness to their own accident?

Then we get a great quote from a local "parapsychologist" Rodolfo Orozco :
 "It certainly seems as if something supernatural happened here but in order to investigate it more, we would really need to look at the energy levels in the building, and so far we have not been invited to investigate by the owners."
Really? Because it doesn't look like that to me. Not at all. And tell me: What "energy" will you be measuring exactly? It never fails to amaze me that the paranormal community constantly fail to realise that "energy" is a quite well defined term in science, its not a place holder we use to make us sound credible and logical.

In my humble opinion, the fall Cecilia suffers seems more consistent with a slip than a push. There's no backward movement, one would normally recoil from a push. Also Cecilia's legs seem to move out from underneath her before her  body begins to move.

Such slips don't just occur on wet floors. On surfaces such as the floor in the reception, slips are often caused by recent polishing or over use of a floor buffing machine. This can reduce the coefficient sliding friction so the friction between the surface and the bottom of a pair of grip-less flat shoes, such as Cecilia seems to be wearing, becomes insufficient to halt sliding. Therefore Cecilia starts to walk and the force causes her to slip.

The Mirror seems determined to churn out as any of these ridiculous ghost stories as they can. Few of them are based in anything more than pure speculation. Someone at the paper seems obsessed with paranormal stories, or do they just know that such stories pull in a lot of online hits and shares. There's been a "ghost" report almost every day this week, from the ridiculous Slenderman tale to a ghost detecting device for your home to a ridiculous pariedolia caused snap that appears to be Waldof from the Muppets in a long black coat walking past a table of diners:

Each of these stories comes with a poll at its conclusion. Refreshingly as it stands now 45% of the visitors have voted that a ghost is not responsible for pushing Cecilia. Sure this is less than half, but its a great deal higher than I thought it would be.

That's good but a whopping 79% of readers have voted the "photobombing" Waldof as not a ghost!

Maybe the the Mirror's readers aren't as credulous as some it's staff  are cynical.