Cartoon ghost / lemmlingA man right here in Connecticut claims he’s invented a ghost detector. And at least one newspaper has published an article about him which conveys his claim and leaves it unchallenged. This is all part of the “hauntings as news” motif I’ve noticed over the last couple of years and have blogged about on numerous occasions. At any rate, here’s the venerable Hartford Courant‘s puff-piece on this “engineer” who now claims to be able to detect ghosts (WebCite cached article):

In 2004, 17-year-old Melissa Galka, a senior at Granby Memorial High School, died after the car she was driving hit a tree in town.

Within days of her death, her father said, she begin communicating with her family.

“She started doing things like ringing the doorbell, changing TV channels, turning lights on and off,” Gary Galka said Monday. “Then one time she came into my room and I felt her sit on the edge of the bed.”

Now Galka has a thriving trade in paranormal detection devices, launched as a result of those eery events.

Note the obviously-sentimental and sympathetic lede in this story. The reader is supposed to believe what this guy tells us, because as a bereaved father, he somehow “knows” more about ghosts than any of the rest of us. While I sympathize with his plight — I really, truly, honestly do; I have lost relatives myself, after all — and while it makes for a dramatic story that reporters and editors are sure will “sell,” none of this grants Galka’s invention any veracity, and it doesn’t make what he’s doing “news.” It just doesn’t.

I also honestly doubt there’s anything new here. After all, “paranormal investigators” have been using EMF detectors to chase after ghosts, for decades. I’m not sure how Galka’s device is appreciably different from any of the myriad other EMF detectors that have been used this way … except that he seems to be marketing them specifically to ghost-hunters.

I suggest Galka and/or fans of this device — if they’re so convinced it does what they claim it does — put this device to the test, and collect a huge payday, while they’re at it. They should immediately submit an application to James “the Amazing” Randi’s Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge. I’m not sure why they would not want to do so; a million dollars is, after all, a lot of money to just leave there, waiting to be claimed.

It’s inevitable that grieving people will come up with things like Mel-Meter and the SB7 Spirit Box. It’s quite natural. And as I said, I really do sympathize with Galka. What I find unacceptable here is the Courant‘s lazy and uncritical reporting on Galka’s devices. The story clearly implies they do precisely what Galka says they do — i.e. detect ghosts — however, they in fact do nothing of the sort. In truth, ghosts do not exist; they cannot be detected; they don’t haunt buildings or graveyards; psychics do not talk to them; and science has never demonstrated that they exist. The Courant doesn’t even include a brief comment from a “token skeptic” — but it does add Galka’s own childish swipe at skeptics, expecting them “to ‘take a better position'” (as if it’s up to him, personally, to decide what “positions” are “better” than others). The nation’s oldest newspaper can do better than this … and it should. What a waste.

Photo credit: lemmling, via Open Clip Art Library.

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12 Responses to “Ghost Detector Proves Ghosts Exist, Supposedly”
  1. My Bullshit detector is telling me that this guys ghost detector is pretty much bullshit. 😉

  2. James Randi says:

    …and the JREF's million-dollar prize is still unclaimed, despite this forward leap of electronics.

    Why?

    James Randi.

  3. MPer says:

    Perhaps this article and the comments could be slightly more respectful. Whether or not you believe in the Galka's story or his devices, this family still faced an unimaginable loss. Saying that your "bullshit meter" went up is just rude.

  4. EVP's man says:

    Fact is EVP's are a reality. Fact is camera's do catch phenomenon such as that. Whether you believe it or not, this type of energy exists. The same can be said to you, prove that there are not any. The same proof of non existence falls upon you. Just because you say it doesn't you have no proof it doesn't. Three sides to every story including this one.

  5. brad says:

    no point trying to convince atheists of anything . it is a total waste of breath!!!!

  6. AstralProjectee says:

    The 1 million dollar challenge by Randi is BS. Bandershot is offering $100,000 to prove Randi's offer is legit. Bandershot asked Randi to take him up on his offer, Randi refused and had his attorneys offered him $10,000 to take down his offer. When Bandershot refused, Randi decided to take down his challenge but first he is publicly challenging famous psychics. Randi does not want to super human psychics, he wants God like psychic powers.
    http://youtu.be/ZE_UzmtUH7g

    Peace!

  7.  
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