A Skeptical Engineer

Technology refuses to prove superstitions

For thousands of years, folks have claimed to have seen all kinds of things few others have ever glimpsed. You can easily find “eyewitness” accounts from individuals who say they’ve seen seemingly impossible creatures like ghosts, the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, or space aliens. The rest of us have had to take the eyewitnesses word for it, think of them as liars or mentally ill, or ignore them.

But today, cell phones with cameras are ubiquitous, and people aren’t shy about whipping them out to record what’s going on around them. As a result, we’ve all seen videos of some pretty amazing and horrifying sights, and unlikely actions never really captured on camera before or witnessed by most people. We’ve seen police brutality, lots of it, car crashes, tsunamis, tornados, and vicious dog and animal attacks. We’ve also seen golf balls, baseballs, and Wiffle balls take bounces and caroms that we would swear were impossible if we weren’t watching them. I’ve seen a guy crack open a four-yolk egg. And recently more than a few Russians filmed a meteor streaking low over the sky,

Another rich source of video documentation is being collected by the thousands, probably millions of security and traffic cameras blanketing the U.S. They cover check-out counters, parking lots, and inside buildings of all kinds from coast to coast. You can watch robberies, beatings, and more slip-and-falls than the Three Stooges ever pulled. You can also see some unlikely events come to pass. For example, one popular YouTube video from a parking-lot camera shows an unlucky man getting struck by lightning – twice.

So with all this video recording going on, where are the credible shots of a regularly appearing ghost or a family of BigFeet? Where are the aliens prowling for victims to probe, and poltergeists moving furniture and levitating bedroom suites? This lack of proof makes it hard to take any claims of supernatural sightings as anything more than delusions or scams.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.