BoingBoing ran this post a few days ago about Richard Wiseman’s latest book, Paranormality
“Best-selling author Richard Wiseman’s latest book, Paranormality, takes a skeptical look at the paranormal and examines what seemingly supernatural phenomena tell us about our brains, beliefs and behavior. The book is doing well in the UK and has been picked up by lots of overseas publishers. However, no major American publisher made a serious offer for it, saying that there was no market for a skeptical book about the paranormal. As an exciting experiment, Wiseman has just released the book himself on Kindle, promoting it as ‘the book that they don’t want you to read’. About 80% of Americans think that they have had a paranormal experience. Maybe it’s time they had an opportunity to hear the other side of the story.“
Writing at his blog Wiseman say that he has self published in the U.S. as a Kindle book and promises an iBook soon. I was not aware it was such a big deal since Amazon is just Amazon to me, but his British publisher has made arrangements with the U.S. Amazon site to make his quality paperback available here – Paranormality: Why We See What Isn’t There. by Richard Wiseman [Paperback].
This video is a small sample of what an illusion looks like. It is not magic. No spirits are involved.
I will not be telling you how its done. There are no strings or CGI video effects. I will give you one hint. Stop reading now if you don’t want a hint. The human eye is not a perfect receptor of reality. If you want to see the video that includes how it done see here.
I did a post on or two on the paranormal previously. One was from this article – Cinema Fiction vs. Physics Reality: Ghosts, Vampires, and Zombies. I focused on the statistics of vampirism. If vampires have been around say a few hundred years, we’d all be vampires by now. Also in the same article is how ghosts or the reports of ghosts by so-called ghost experts violates the known laws of physics. The world of physic definitely offers up quite a few conundrums that are yet to be solved – relativity versus the quantum mechanical model for instance. Still there are some physical phenomenon related to the state of existing, whether on this or some celestial plain, that must occur for something to exist at all.
Figure 4. Newton’s third law, known as the action-reaction law, is demonstrated here.
Popular myth holds that ghosts are immaterial. For instance, in the movie Ghost, the recently deceased main character tries desperately to save his former lover from a violent intruder. His attempts to intervene grant him no avail, as, at each lunge, he passes right through the perpetrator. It is interesting, however, that he was able to walk up the stairs at the same time. In fact, this is a common feature of the ghost myth. Ghosts are held to be able to walk about as they please, but they pass through walls and any attempt to pick up an object or affect their environment proves fruitless unless they are poltergeists, of course!
Walking requires an interaction with the floor, and such interactions are governed by Newton’s Laws of Motion. Newton’s first law is the law of inertia. It states that a body at rest will remain at rest until acted upon by an external force.
Therefore, a person cannot start walking unless a force, applied by some body other than herself, is acting upon her. But where is the force coming from? The only object in contact with the person while walking is the floor. So, the force moving a person while walking is coming from the floor. But how does the floor know to exert a force when the person wants to start walking and stop exerting it when the person wants to stand? Actually, there is no magic here. The person actually “tells” the floor using Newton’s third law.
Newton’s third law says that if one object exerts a force on another object, then the second object exerts a force that is equal but oppositely directed, on the first object—hence “for each action there is an equal but opposite reaction.” Thus, when the skate-boarder in figure 4 pushes on the wall, the wall pushes right back on her, causing her to accelerate off to the left.
If a wall cannot stop a ghost than the floor should not be able to support a ghost. Ghosts should simply keep falling. Or they contain enough mass to not pass through the floor they should not be able to walk through walks. For something to exist it must have some mass and exert some force. If nothing else we should be able to easily measure the force exerted. We measure the wind all the time. We can measure the force of an electron and even make predictions of its behavior. An electron is one of the smallest components of an atom and billions of atoms can fit on the head of a pin. A whole ghost – which would have to be composed of something, even ghost dust – should not be difficult to measure and quantify.
What if ghosts only “exist” part time? That is they only manifest themselves occasionally and they use the energy or mass from earthly objects to materialize. That does not make logical sense and if it did happen, that too would make ghosts amazingly easy to observe and validate their presence. Always remember that energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. Mass is energy, energy is mass.
Who Has Glenn Beck Used for Authoritative Sources – a rabid anti-Semite, a couple conspiracy nuttters and an historian who thinks slave owners were the real victims