Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files

Season 1 Episode 7

Haunted Mansion Mist/Starlight Intruder

Aired Thursday 10:00 PM Oct 28, 2010 on Syfy
out of 10
User Rating
6 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Ben, Chi-Lan and Austin travel to Alton, Illinois to investigate the McPike Mansion, a well known haunted house where some local ghost hunters caught what appears to be an apparition on their cameras. Meanwhile, Jael, Bill and Larry go to Fremont, California to attempt to debunk an alleged UFO.moreless

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  • More of the same

    After the first six episodes of the season, the pattern for this show was firmly established, and I doubt that anything is going to change it appreciably moving forward. The investigation style is as questionable as ever, and the critical thinking is just as lacking. Sadly, many people are taking this as an example of good science, and it boggles the mind.

    The haunted mansion mist has a number of simple explanations right from the start. While it looks like there wouldn't be much opportunity for air movement, the structure is in a state of disrepair, and just on camera, there are clear openings to the outside. The first thing I would look at would be the weather on the night the footage was captured. Was there a high degree of humidity, or even fog outside? And the point regarding the masonry and dirt was very well made. (But maybe it would have been smarter to test the air current in the room, or closer to the holes in the "window", instead of right next to the wall?)

    Once again, instead of following up on their original dust-borne theory, by perhaps seeing what would happen if there was wind shooting through the holes in the "window" or what might happen if the door at the top of the stairs was partially open, they go to the ridiculous extreme of seeing if it might be a swarm of bugs. Wouldn't the team taking the original video notice a swarm of insects?

    And of course, despite having a reasonable start to a solution, about 90% there from the beginning, they conduct a paranormal investigation overnight instead of pursuing a simple scientific answer. Most of their equipment use is as questionable and flawed as with every other "ghost hunting" show. For example, the MelMeter might tell you that there is a spike in EMF, but it doesn't tell you the frequency of the source. Also, from the reports I've heard, the temperature sensor is notoriously touchy. And that EVP was hardly conclusive.

    What's worst, however, is that they still conclude paranormal activity, even though they have a solid natural explanation and just some strange feelings and sounds in a seriously dilapidated house. The problem is that Ben doesn't draw his conclusion on his own data from his own experiments. Having failed to produce a paranormal result, he simply points to all the "evidence" captured by other groups to support his desired conclusion. And that's not even close to science!

    The UFO cases always interest me. The kite test seemed to be the right direction to take for me; the scale was right, and it seemed like it was just a matter of light intensity and/or kite design. But I have to admit that the jet fighter model was pretty damn close as well. But those are fairly minor variables, especially since the precise atmospheric conditions were not discussed, but would alter the conditions between the original video and the tests. I thought the hang glider test did a great job of matching the conditions of the video, addressed the issues of scale, and matched the video best.

    So "Fact or Faked" comes back with a case where the obvious scientific and pragmatic explanation is completely ignored in favor of a seemingly pre-determined conclusion, and a case where the team went through a clear-cut series of realistic experiments to come to a fairly simple conclusion. Which leaves me wondering: why can't they be consistent with their approach and just use the scientific method every time?moreless

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