As I was headed to bed the other night my attention was caught by a news item on Channel 4 News (the local NBC affiliate) about some woman who believes she’s seeing the spirit of her dead daughter in the form of orbs in photographs she’s taken. “Spirit orbs” are pretty much rejected by most ghost hunters these days as nothing other than dust reflecting the camera flash and for good reason, because that’s what they are for the most part. So I was surprised to see Channel 4 doing a news item about that sort of nonsense.
I was going to blog about it when I got the chance, but Orac of Respectful Insolence beat me to it so I’ll just point you to his article instead:
Sometimes woo jumps out and hits you from sources from which you least expect it.
Such was the case earlier this week, when I found my self in Detroit lazily watching a local newscast. Now, I realize that local news is not the place to look for skepticism. Heck, just the other day, I mentioned a really egregious example of a newscast from Oklahoma City that credulously regurgitated Generation Rescue talking points as fact. But it’s rare in my experience to see such a sterling example of woo appearing in a major market newscast. So there I was, sitting in front of the TV, when I saw a story come on entitled Orbs: Myth or Real? The leadup to the story made it clear that it was a story in which it was being claimed that “orbs” appearing in photographs represent the spirits of the dead being captured on film (or on digital media), with one of the newscasters even asking the question at the beginning of the newscast, “Could they really be a spirit from the afterlife captured in your photo?”
I think I annoyed my mother-in-law because at one point I yelled at the TV: It’s friggin’ dust you morons! DUST!!!
Sometimes my skepticism isn’t appreciated.