College Student Attacks “MonsterQuest”
We generally like to keep a lighthearted point of view here at The Occult Section, but sometimes we come across people who are just begging to have their ass handed to them.
Case in point: Trent Carson, a senior from Oklahoma University who pitifully complains about a show that hasn’t even aired a new episode for about 2 years now. I love poking holes in skeptical arguments (my comments in bold), especially when said skeptics are pompous and don’t do a bit of research. To wit:
History. This is the name of a television channel, and such a name carries with it an air of authenticity.
In the past, the programming on this channel generally has lived up to the expectations set by being named the History Channel. I used to watch it constantly.
Want to know about the Cloaca Maxima, the main sewer system of Rome? I learned all about it on the History Channel. How about the building of the Hoover Dam? Or the journey of Voyager 1 and 2? All excellent History Channel shows from not so long ago. My favorite were always the Civil War shows that broke down entire battles and campaigns, explaining who was who and what they did.
Imagine my disdain when, after a long hiatus from television due to several overseas deployments in uniform, I returned to find the History Channel’s programming changed for the worse.
It’s MonsterQuest. One word. I guess “research” is not a word they learn in college anymore. And what about other long-running History Channel shows like History’s Mysteries or Haunted History, running since 1994 and 1998 respectively? The History Channel has always had programming exploring the paranormal, supernatural and unexplained, pretty much since the day the network went on the air.
I was brokenhearted to see a 30-something-year-old man on my former favorite channel looking down at a thermal camera, speculating that a cold pocket of air in the trees around the Civil War battlefield of Gettysburg is a ghost. No tongue-in-cheek, no “gotcha” — this guy is deadly serious. And he has a team of people with him, also utterly convinced the data they are seeing — cold air and the like — is proof of the presence of supernatural beings, the ghosts of dead soldiers.
I don’t believe in ghosts, Bigfoot or alien conspiracies. I’m open to the existence of extraterrestrial species, and I love science-fiction, but I don’t for a second believe aliens built the pyramids or the monoliths on Easter Island or influenced the signing of the Magna Carta.
I think that if Bigfoot existed, some fossil evidence would point to that existence. There are no ape fossils in North America except those of humans. Finally, I don’t believe in ghosts because I don’t believe that a person can survive brain death in any fashion. A ghost’s existence implies that a non-physical entity, made out of electricity or some other vapor-like substance without a brain, can think and act.
Again, a little research would show that finding Bigfoot fossils would be extremely difficult at best. They are theorized to live in cool, damp climates with lots of rain and lots of scavengers, regions which would accelerate the decaying process and pretty much destroy any bones long before they could fossilize. Also, the evolutionary theory is still not complete because simply finding human fossils is hard. Maybe humans don’t exist either, Trent?
This is, strictly speaking, impossible. I tell my 6-year-old daughter with absolute confidence that there are no such things as ghosts.
Belief does not equal fact. Simply saying that something is impossible does not make it so. One of the prevailing theories as to what ghosts are is that they may simply recorded energy being played back. Not life after death, just a recording. Again, taking a bit of time to learn about the topic you are writing about can do wonders, Trent.
But isn’t it just harmless fun and entertainment? I’d be open to that hypothesis, except it has proven not to be so. Meet Finders Creepers, an Oklahoma-based “paranormal research team.” Its website claims that the team is dedicated to ruling out explainable phenomena and is only interested in truly verifiable paranormal activity.
But further reading reveals that these “professional paranormal researchers” are no different from the guy on the History Channel. One article on the website insists that dinosaurs were once our natural predators and even “vegetarian dinosaurs” sought to eliminate us from the food chain. Another discusses the spooky effects of using a static-filled AM/FM radio to search for spirits floating around.
Recently, during an investigation in East Norman, the team was unable to determine if the residence was in fact haunted, but they were able to cleanse the residence with “sage and holy water.” Call me cold, call me no fun, but this is just painfully stupid.
Well, Trent does have a point here. A lot of this stuff sounds pretty irresponsible and unscientific. This group’s site is down, so there’s no way for anyone to check them out right now. But it sounds as if he went searching for a paranormal team that was kind of on the fringe, instead of choosing one of the hundreds of teams out there that actually does take things seriously and works in a scientific manner. Way to skew things in your favor, Trent. Journalism at it’s best. Oh wait, I mean worst.
Finders Creepers was founded in 2009, about a year after the pilot episode of “Monster Quest” aired on the History Channel. In the show, a team often searches for ghosts in a house or building with working lights that are turned off. Using nighttime filters on their cameras and thermal- and electromagnetic-field-reading handheld devices, they search for ghosts.
Ok, two things here. MonsterQuest premiered in 2007. So 2009 would be about 2 years after the premier, Trent. Also, MonsterQuest does not “often” search for ghosts. There were a total 68 episodes of MonsterQuest that were aired. One of them focused on ghosts. One. Again, I found this by quickly going to Wikipedia. Is Google.com blocked by Oklahoma University’s computers?
In any other context, the footage they air on the show would be considered nighttime security camera footage. Nothing happens. The researchers jump and squeal at every creak and bump, then describe it to the camera as if it didn’t have a microphone mounted on it. They make it all seem so very exciting!
But, though many people featured on the show insist the evidence they have collected is conclusive, it predictably isn’t. No ghosts, just “unexplainable cold spots” behind the armoire. Unexplainable, that is, unless you ask someone who installs insulation or a plumber. “Yep, there’s the water-in line to your washing machine.” How the mystery melts away.
The bottom line is that shows like this convince people that believing in superstition is a sign of being “open-minded,” when in reality, it’s a sign of gullibility.
Like it or not, Trent, Bigfoot, UFOs, ghosts, and the like are all a part of our history. Bigfoot sightings have been recorded in the Americas for hundreds of years, and Native American legends go back thousands of years. Ghosts have been with us since recorded history and even into prehistory. UFOs have a long history in our culture and many others, going back to Biblical times. Do you see how they might be related to HISTORY, Trent?
Being open to advancements in our understanding of things we label phenomena is one thing, but that isn’t what “Monster Quest” does. Rather than search for a rational or science-based explanation, scientific instruments are used to try to prove the existence of supernatural beings with no scientific explanation.
The History Channel really needs to do a show on the human visual cortex and how unreliable it can be. When you see a ghost, don’t call Finders Creepers — call a psychology professor.
I don’t see how a show about science fits on the History Channel. Perhaps that would be a better show for the Science Channel. Huh Trent?
I get what Trent is trying to say, I really do. I mean South Park did an episode last season criticizing the History Channel for this exact thing, and in a much more entertaining way. Believing in such phenomena or not, they are all part of our history. And I have my own criticisms of the show, but for the most part, MosnterQuest did a much better job of presenting an accurate look at the field than most of the paranormal “reality” shows that are out there right now. Next time you want to attack ghost hunting shows, Trent, maybe pick on a show that actually focuses on, you know, ghost hunting. There’s plenty of them out there, and I’d be much more likely to agree with you.