Posted by: Ticktock | September 9, 2008

Town Hall Theatre Ghost – DEBUNKED!

I work at a small community-funded children’s theatre in Centerville, Ohio called Town Hall.   Yesterday, one of my young actors brought in a printed copy of the above image of Town Hall’s ghost, which was taken by Ohio’s elite “paranormal investigators” from Paravizionz.   Of course, I was curious and rushed over to the picture.  If this was an actual photo of a spirit roaming the lobby of the theatre, it would truly be an unprecedented miracle rewarded with a Nobel prize.

And yet, I was sadly disappointed to see that the apparition in question was merely a human’s shadow cast onto the main exit of the theatre.  I quickly abused my authority and power over the children to tell them the truth – not a ghost.  My demystification of the phenomenon was met with a lukewarm response… that I was no longer cool.

I didn’t like being uncool!  So, I went to work sleuthing the truth.  Perhaps this ghost really was a dead phantom roaming toward the theatre’s pay phone.  Maybe it was I who was blind to the greatest discovery of our generation.

So, I investigated further to find out that one of the theatre’s managers had been hanging out upstairs in the office while the Ghostbusters were waving their ectoplasm scanners around and setting their traps for Slimer investigators were investigating.  According to her, the investigators left different cameras video cameras to take pictures randomly (maybe while they scored a free meal free sides at City Barbecue?).

Anyway, she went on to explain that the “ghost” is almost certainly the shadow of her 6’6″ tall husband waiting for her to get out of the bathroom.  She’s positive of this fact because the shadow’s shape is consistent with the way her husband slouches and the cargo pocket shorts he wore that day.  In addition, her husband remembers the flash going off.  When she tried to explain this to Scooby Doo and the gang the investigators, they ignored her and placed another check in their arbitrary column of proof attempted to recreate the shot, failed to do so, and took a leap of logic to declare the image a ghost.

I’m told that Paravizionz’ theory is that the ghost is wearing knickerbockers, which are coincidentally about the same length as… cargo shorts. How anyone can decipher any article of clothing from a shadowy figure is beyond me, but I would wonder how a ghost could appear with clothes in the first place.  What outfit would they choose?  Their favorite?  The one they died in?  What about modern clothes?  Surely the ghost is starting to get hip to the fashions after being dead for a century or more.   Maybe the ghost just materialized cargo shorts to match the awesome guy hanging out with his wife during a paranormal investigation.  Anything’s possible when science is not part of the equation.

Do I think that paranormal investigators are frauds trying to hoax the public?  Not really.  I think they are friendly fantasy-prone folk who tend to look for any proof of a haunting they can find, like shadows and random noises, and they will manipulate misinterpret that nonsense as “evidence” to validate their agenda.  They get sucked into this lifestyle, they become invested in their own belief, and then they start to paint themselves into a world without logic.  A cold spot is no longer a blast of air conditioning from the vent – it is now a ghost.  An electromagnetic signal is no longer emitted by the ghost hunter’s own camcorder – it is now a ghost.  The shadow of a guy waiting for his wife to get out of the bathroom – is now a ghost.

I’ve known a lot of people who have claimed to have seen ghosts, heard them banging on pipes, watched them float from room to room.  It’s no surprise that these people are all imaginative dreamers.  And before you think that I’m a cynical bastard, I was once one of those dreamers.  I thought the pipes banging were ghosts, I thought a random glowing grave was a ghost, and I thought the spirits in the ouija board really told me that Jennifer liked me in 6th grade.  Now, logic and common sense tells me that furnace pipes bang for all kinds of mechanical reasons, that a glowing grave is probably the reflection of a streetlamp, and that perhaps it was my buddy or my subconscious mind moving the planchette to spell “Jennifer” (not a matchmaking spirit).

I know it’s fun to believe in ghosts.  I’m sure the X-Files Gang investigators love plugging in their expensive gizmos, but eventually somebody must be there to keep them in check.  Somebody has got to be the one that says, “You can’t measure something that doesn’t exist.”  Ghosts aren’t cold because ghosts aren’t real.  Ghosts aren’t electromagnetic because ghosts aren’t real.  You can’t take a picture of a ghost because ghosts aren’t real.

Do you think ghosts are real?

*updated with corrections from Paravisionz

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Responses

  1. good question.

    i’d like to think that i do believe in ghosts.

    but then i don’t really believe in God.

    Shouldn’t one who believes in ghosts believe in God or vice versus?

    Well, at least they caught Bigfoot…

  2. First of all we are not “Ghostbusters” and we do not manipulate anything to put out there as evidence. I would like to know how you can “debunk” the pic when you were not there to try to recreate the pic like we did. The shadow in the pic is a free standing shadow in a doorway…how does can a human shadow be freestanding without nothing to cast upon “science man”. The door that is behind the shadow is about 15 feet away and down a couple of stairs. If it was her husbands shadow that is reflected where is he at…since the pic was taken from the stage. And we spend a lot of time trying to dubunk noises, smells, and anything else we hear or see or smell. If you were there with us you would know that. One more thing how does he know that of the hunderds of pics that we took that night that the one from this pic is the one. After all the sat in a room with the door shut all night they didn’t go around with us. And when we use emf meters we get a base reading before we start investigating that way if we get any spikes we then try to find the source for the spike…”debunking”. I just feel that it is unfair for you to comment on this situation when you were not there and the people giving you the input were in a seperate room with the door shut. If we go back to the theater for a further investgation I would love for you to join us so you can see first hand how we do things. Thank you for your time…take care.

  3. The ghostbusters comment was a joke.

    You don’t find it odd that of all the possible “evidence” of a Town Hall ghost, the picture that is being used by your group as proof happens to be explainable by a first hand witness?

    This guy even told you that he was likely the shadow, and yet you didn’t mention that explanation on your page with the picture. He sat in a room with the door shut all night, except for the time when he went to the bathroom and saw the flash go off (it just so happens… right when he walked by that door).
    I don’t have to be Einstein to make a judgment based on the first-hand input I was given.

    Here’s a question for you “ghost man” 🙂 . Why would a ghost look like a shadow and how could it be captured by a flash photograph? Here’s another question… why do you think that ghosts are electromagnetic in the first place? What possible fact can you give me and my readers to explain the use of EMF readers other than the fact that they seem like a neat gadget.

    I would love to join you for an investigation, but I doubt your group would receive me kindly after my comments.

  4. Ok “science guy”if that is him where is he at in the pic. as a science guru you should know that for a shadow to be cast there as to be a solid figure…I don’t see a solid figure in the pic and if he is down the hall how did the flash go around the corner hit him and bring his shadow back in the doorway…and you didn’t answer how a shadow can be freestanding. Now…spirits are said to be forms of energy so if there is a reading from an emf meter that cannot be traced to a wire or any other electrical device then the theory is that it could possibly be paranormal. Notice the word “possibly” we are sceptics ourselves as I said we do debunk things and it is those things that cannot be explained that are left as “possibly” paranormal. And if you have seen the guy you would know that he is bigger than the shadow. The shadow appears as a tall skinny man the gentleman that was there that night was a tall muscular man. And by the way we didn’t ask for a free meal at City BBQ, they asked who we were because they seen our shirts and they offered the sides at no charge…we paid for the meat and drink…once again you were not there. And our group does not judge people by their comments after all everyone is entitled to their own opinion and freedom of speech. I understand you being a skeptic but I was offended by the way you talked about us being ghostbusters and trying to catch slimer and the scooby doo comment when you don’t know us nor were you there to see us investigate. There is only one person who can judge me and it is not you. Once again thank you for your time and take care.

  5. Hello Sir,
    My name is Beth. I am the lead photographer for ParaVizionz (what’s your name?) I was personally at the Centerville Towne Hall Theater that night investigating. Once this photo was taken, I worked for hours in an attempt to debunk this picture. I lined people up and down the aisle, across the back of the theater and in the lobby to recreate this photo. I am the skeptic in the group. I can usually debunk anything… or come very close. I am sorry Sir, I cannot debunk this. I was unable to recreate this photograph with a living person. I do challenge you to do this however. Yes, there were hundreds of flashes going off that night in the theater. We took hundreds of pictures. If you had seen the full resolution photograph instead of one copied from the low res image on the internet, you would be able to see the detail that matches the description of the apparition reported to have been seen in the theater for years.

    Also, we are grateful to City BBQ for their hospitality. We paid for the main course and they complimented the sides. That was very considerate of them and we frequent their establishment because of it. City BBQ is a very good restaurant. We typically meet for dinner prior to an investigation, not during.

    Sir, we are a reputable, non-profit organization trying to help anyone who is in need with unexplained events in their residence. We sometimes investigate theaters, museums and other public facilities in order to train and hon our skills. It’s OK if you don’t believe in “ghosts”. 90% of what we find is not paranormal. We find explainable reasons for why residence are uncomfortable in their own house. Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion but we would appreciate you not trying to destroy what we have worked so hard to build.

    • Have the lady bring the husband and put him in the same position that he says he saw the flash. Don’t tell him the position or give any information. See what happens then.

      I know the feeling. Were the group that got “Ghost Dress” and “Man Materialized” and many different apparitions at one location. A vintage collector dates the dress early 1800’s late 1700’s. None of us owns a dress like this. I appears to good to be true but it’s true. These two were caught on the same night. He dropped the temp 24 degrees.

  6. TickTok, If you goto our website and contact us, I would like to bring you to an investigation. We can show you and explain everything we do. Then I encourage you to make an informed decision about paranormal investigating. You still may not believe in “ghost” but you will have a better understanding of what and why we do what we do.

  7. The shadow does not seem skinny, nor does it seem to be wearing knickers. Look again.

    There is an illusion of the shadow being freestanding, but your imagination is doing the rest. Beyond that, there are no such things as freestanding shadows (or ghosts), and until you can prove them, this “science guy” will default to an explanation that makes sense under the universal laws of physics, which you just so happened to decide to rewrite when you got overly excited about a shadow.

    Do all ghost hunters get free sides at City Barbecue? How nice! 🙂

    Your proof is not something that you personally experienced. It’s a photo that was randomly taken when you were not there. If you had been in the room, then you would have known that the theatre manager’s husband was not locked upstairs all night as you claim. So, seeing that neither of us were in the room when this picture was taken, I think my first hand interview with someone who was in the building the entire time trumps your imagination.

    You can’t claim to be a skeptic and ignore reality and scientific truth. The two are not compatible. You may not liked to be judged, but if you are going to publicize photos of shadows as ghosts, then you will earn judgment, just as I have earned it by my public comments here. That is the nature of the public internet.

    Again, the ghostbuster comments were silly, and really don’t merit being offended.

  8. My name is Colin

    If you guys do an investigation in Cincinnati, I would love to jump on board.

    I’m glad to hear that you attempted to recreate the shadow. That surprises me, and I think it makes the mystery that much more interesting (still not a ghost).

    The reason I wrote this blog was not to attack Paravisionz, but it was more to comment on the lack of critical thinking that occured with my young actors. In any event, I doubt that this post will attract any negative attention or destroy your group. If anything, maybe it will inspire you to be more careful to tell the entire story when you post a picture. I looked everywhere for some narrative of events that happened, but all I could find was the isolated picture.

    I hope the whole group doesn’t pile on me. There’s a lot of you guys. 🙂

  9. This picture was taken by a young lady standing on the stage not an automatic unmanned camera with no one present. Your a smart man and should know better than to swear to “hear-say”. The cameras we place on tripods and leave unmanned are video cameras not still shot. I hesitated saying this before but… please get your facts straight. And why do you keep harping on the consideration of City BBQ? I didn’t think that was worth a debate. I don’t know what else to say… Have a great day!

  10. Harping on? Hardly.

    I will update my post with your corrections.

  11. Ok

  12. There are a few of us. I am curious however. Where did you find this picture? I am thinking it was on our previous website. The site has changed quite a bit since then and should be more to your liking. We explain our research and findings. I agree that is a picture is posted, there should be an explanation of the finding and how it was taken.

    We do investigate in Cincinnati. Please send us an email and we can talk further about an upcoming investigation. We are doing quite a few private residences this month but I would enjoy having you along we when investigate a larger facility.

  13. First of all I was there…I am our groups Lead Investigator. And I believe it would be great for you to join us on an investigation. And the reason for that is because of your knowledge of science. You would be able to give alternate explinations that we cannot. I appologize for getting defensive I may have read the post the wrong way. I felt like we were being attacked and made out to be frauds. And I tend to get offensive when I feel like me or any one of my friends or family is being attacked. So once again I appologize for being a jerk. Once again thank you for your time and take care.

  14. I guess on the bright side, you added humor to your posts.

  15. […] ass posts that I knew would bite me in the butt later.  The post in question was when I “debunked” an image that was being labeled as a ghost.  It just so happened that the ghost in question […]

  16. Paranormal Visitors…what are you talking about is the image that was debunked not the same as the one our group took at the theater…the one above?

  17. This is a pingback to a brand new post where I say nice things about you guys and admit to making errors. Visit my home page.

  18. WOW That was very nice of you. You didn’t have to do that but I think I speak for all of ParaVizionz when I say “Thank You”. And we look forward to you joining us on an investigation one day. From one dad to another…You Rock…thanks again for your time and take care of those little ones and yourself.

  19. Colin, Whats your email address??? I have a picture to send you.
    Thank you so much for that article. That was very kind. You have also sparked my interest in acupressure. So, please send me an email so I can get yours. Thanks, Beth

  20. I think <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/groyse/511686217/”my ghost photo is much cooler than the one above. But I am a bit biased as I took this one. 🙂

  21. Hi Skeptic Dad-

    I’m only going to take five minutes to write this, as it is only worth five minutes of my time.

    It’s interesting you call yourself a “Science Based Skeptic.” Funny, I don’t recall belittling other people, and their beliefs as part of my curriculum in all my science courses. Understandably, your blog is tongue and cheek, and free speech is, well, free. Humor is a great tool, but so is tolerance of opinion.

    The paranormal is a developing science. Yes, science (remember, people doubted the existence of atoms). I respect your skeptical opinion. I, for one, am a skeptical believer. Why? Because I have seen and experienced some incredible things that I could not scientifically explain. I hope to someday find proof and validation for these.

    I assume by your page, that someone close to you has autism. So do I. I hope you keep your mind open so that we may someday treat, and find prevention. Remember, Madame Curie, was doubted and made fun of too.

    P.S.- Don’t bother trying my fake email. Responding would waste your time and mine.

  22. The nature of the internet is such that teasing and “belittling” occurs occasionally. You are sorely mistaken if you think that science is not scathingly critical of claims that aren’t backed by a good use of the scientific method. It’s a process called peer review.

    “Opinions” aren’t science, and neither are “beliefs”. Your personal anecdotes are not proof of ghosts. When you have actual proof, you can publish it in a scientific journal and come back to say, “I told you so.” Until that time, I will not be lectured by you.

    The paranormal is as much a science as wizardry is, which is to say, not at all.

    I will keep my mind open, but not so open that it falls out…

    The Curie’s were awarded the Nobel prize only a few short years after publishing their paper on the radioactive phenomena. If they underwent any criticism, it was part of the natural process of peer review just like any new claim. The question is whether the claim is good enough to withstand criticism. You should ask yourself whether your belief can withstand one blog, let alone the scientific community.

    P.S. Stand behind your statements if you truly believe them to be true.

  23. I was once affiliated with ParaVizionz but left when I found out their “fearless leader” Lee was nothing more than an ego filled loser. While investigating a location he would throw rocks in one direction when he thought no one was looking and claim it was “movement from something over there”. I would stay away from this group at all costs. Not everyone is bad in the group but stay away from anything Lee does. He thinks he will one day be a member of TAPS but having spoke with someone I know from the show there is a better chance of you know where freezing over. All you have to do is go to youtube.com and type in paravizionz to see the kind of “evidence” they provide. It is disgraceful and give the real groups out there a bad name. I would rather go to a location and tell them the cause is natural instead of “finding” something “paranormal” at 95% of the places I go.

    Thanks,
    Archie Debunker

  24. I agree with Archie. Paravizionz is a joke. They only investigate locations that they can make exclusivly only to them so other Paranoramal Groups can’t go in after them and debunk their so called “evidence”. Check out the youtube video on the elementary school they investigated and look at the “door slam” they fail to mention the fact that the door operates on a hydraulic hinge that delays for approximatly 2 seconds before it finally “slams” shut. And ask them to present the footage of minutes before the “slamming door” and you will see that the investigator that was walking in the hall had just exited out of that same door. But they won’t show you that. I have been investigating the Paranormal for nearly 30 years and I can truthfully say that you will not find paranormal activity at every single location you set up a video camera, but it seems as tho Paravizionz has managed to corner the market on where all the ghosts are hiding. Paravizionz is trying to be the next TAPS. And we all know that TAPS now has a staging crew for all of the sounds and shadow people they are catching. Even trusty old do gooder Grant has gotten in on the act with his “jacket pull” fiasco that was debunked (which that is on youtube as well); So I say shame on Paravizionz for putting “evidence” out there that does’nt amount to a hill of beans in this old ghost hunters eyes!

  25. I would also like to add that in reference to the above photo….. Well not only have I been investigating the paranormal for nearly 30 years as I mentioned in my last post, but I have been a professional photographer for going on 40 years and I can plainly see that is not a shadow but an actual living human being. I can even see the top of his ankle sock on his right foot. I can see skin tone on both legs and his left arm (which is down by his side), as well as the olive drab color of his shorts and the gray striped shirt with a solid colored collar. I can also tell you he has a clean cut hair line that comes just to the nape of his neck just above the collar. No sir that is not a shadow man but a living, breathing human man. And for those who tell themselves it is a ghost or shadow man you are sadly mistaken. I have looked at thousands upon thousands of photos of people in my career an I can say with out a doubt that that is a man (a live man).

  26. I’m quite sure your smug response that ghost aren’t real is due to you ignorance in the Paranormal Field.
    I can’t say for sure what Paravisionz found but I can tell you that if you had experienced some of the things that I have as a paranormal investigator, you wouldn’t look down your nose at any para group.
    It may be that you fear what is really out there so that you will never allow youself to see or feel the truth. There are many a skeptic in the paranormal investigation world but I believe you are what we call a pessimist. Good luck enjoying life with that kind of attitude.

  27. It’s cool. Some people actually need to go out ghost hunting before they’ll believe. Nothing I can show will convince a skeptic unless they were out investigating themselves and secondly they reviewed the audio and video as well. They would be very surprised.


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