Spooky Science

Post Date: 30 October 2011

Listen now:

Season 2, Episode 36

In our live show about dead people, Joe Nickell, paranormal investigator, talks to us from beyond our corporeal plane of existence—calling in from New Orleans, one of America’s supposedly most-haunted cities. Mary Roach, author of “Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife”, provides a post-mortem on the history of spiritualism and modern-day ghost hunting techniques, while Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer, devilishly dissects our favorite ghost movies.

Eugene Mirman Comedian

Brian Malow Science Comedian

Joe Nickell Paranormal investigator
Mary Roach Author of “Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife”
Phil Plait The Bad Astronomer

Thriller” – Michael Jackson
Halloween” – Aqua
This Is Halloween” – Marilyn Manson
The Reaper (Don’t Fear)” – Blue Oyster Cult
Halloween” – Argh Ost
Ghost Town” – Shiny Toy Guns
Black No.1 (Little Miss Scare All)” – Type O Negative

  • Steve

    I don’t agree with the assessment of EVP’s that NDTyson and Mirman make. After countless shows of hearing EVP answers to audible questions.. you cannot just dismiss it to “having your cell phone on.. or whatever vague reason they talked about. This is kind of the problem with having a comedian on the show. His jokes allow the discussion to move off of a topic because he makes a joke about it. I’m not angry, but I feel like EVP’s are being too easily dismissed in this segment.

  • Steve

    When a person goes into an abandoned 18th century structure somewhere in Europe that contains no electricity and isn’t near any cell phone or microwave towers, starts to record hours of EVP, and gets direct if not somewhat cryptic or angry answers to their questions, it’s not some hoax. The few investigators I actually believe are not there to pull anyone’s leg. They are genuinely looking for answers. This dismissal should be more directed at the people who are not in it for the science.

  • seth

    Anything you see on tv is immediately suspect. if you wernt in that castle witnessing the evp and then never takeing your eyes off the tape upto the listening then all yor doing is believing some one who is financaly motivated in “finding” spirit activity. lets be honest there would be no ghost hunter shows if they if they never found one.

  • http://Google Morris Rhoades

    What about real paranormal activity? How does that happen? it can’t all be faked ..or can it?

    • Jeff

      If there’s ever real, scientific proof, Morris, that will change everything. In the absence of that, it is, by definition, all faked, or misinterpreted.

  • Korrey Jacobs

    haha I lost it when Eugene said Devoe while describing ROYGBIV.

  • Debi Large

    I am always amazed at the incredible lack of evidence on shows like Ghost Adventures…that’s why this conversation is fantastic! If they can’t hear it, it must be a ghost. Brilliant work once again sir NDT!

  • Stacie

    I don’t get this professional ghost investigator guy. So does he like go to a client, tell them “You probably just misplaced your keys yourself. Alright, $50 please”.
    How can you not believe in what you do for a living just to make money to call people out for their ignorance?

  • Mark H

    Maybe ghosts are 4 Dimensional beings messing with us? They move through our universe and we see the constantly changing 3 Dimensional cross-section of their bodies. They could hover in the air, move through walls, and be generally blobby. Of course, it’s hard to imagine them looking 4-down on our universe and even finding us amongst the vastness, let alone deciding to mess with us that way, but ask yourself, if you came across a 2 Dimensional universe, a la Flatland, wouldn’t you do the same? Maybe we are their kids’ pets?

  • Jaimes Robertson

    When I was 16, I had a few experiences in which I was sure I saw a ghost. Since then, I’ve also had a few episodes in which I was sure I saw what are commonly referred to as “shadow people”.

    The most clear ghost episode was when I woke up in the middle of the night, my kitten–who then loved to sleep in my hair–was freaked out and clinging to my scalp. I saw a ghostly apparition at the foot of my bed. I couldn’t move. I thought then, it was fear that kept me from moving. The “ghost” was there for several seconds. I closed my eyes and opened them, and she was gone, and suddenly I could move.

    This bothered me on so many levels. It offended my very logical sensibilities, but I couldn’t just explain it away.

    Years later, discussing chronic insomnia and other sleep problems with family members, I realized that my ghostly encounters were actually episodes of sleep paralysis, a malady that has apparently “haunted” my family for generations. I was so relieved, I can’t express it to you.

    Now we come to the “shadow people”. I’ve had the experience of seeing them out of the corner of my eye like just about everyone, but I’ve also had two episodes of seeing them straight on. And both encounters happened when I was awake and minding my own business, but these episodes happened when I had been having bad insomnia, and they happened exactly like a sleep paralysis episode. I was terrified beyond anything I have ever felt (even in actual life and death situations), I could not move, my paranoia shot up, and they lasted only about a minute. Once they were over, I regained my ability to move and my fear and paranoia dropped dramatically.

    I have yet to find any research on possible sleep paralysis-like episodes during wakefulness, but in reading other peoples’ accounts of seeing “shadow people”, I have found the hallmarks of sleep paralysis episodes in all of the most credible accounts.

    If you look for reasonable explanations for weird experiences, you’re probably going to find them eventually. It’s so easy to give in and attribute every odd occurrence, real or imagined, to aliens, ghosts, or gods. It’s much more difficult, but far more satisfying, to find the truth.

  • Aaron

    To those mentioning TV Shows as evidence, I must ask a question. Do you truly believe that those shows are real? I’m not talking about whether paranormal stuff is real, that’s another discussion, but whether the “investigators” on TV, who have everything to gain by finding something and nothing to lose by lying, are being completely frank.

    I must admit, I don’t trust the people on TV. I’ll wait for scientists, like Neil, to find evidence.

    PS – Jumping straight to ghosts is a terrible theory because it isn’t supported by evidence and is hundreds of times more complicated than any other theory I’ve heard before.

  • Addam Miller

    Rather surprised (pleasantly) to hear Manson on StarTalk….I wonder if he’s ever been considered as a guest. Could be rather interesting..