Ghost hunting gone crazy
Since mankind learned to beat each other in the head with clubs, we have feared and questioned that which we do not know about. I am speaking, of course, about the supernatural. Ghosts, spirits, women with hidden motives living inside old broken down oak trees- we have always imagined these things to exist at the edge of our existence, never actually coming into the creamy center, but staying close enough so that we can feel their presence. Are ghosts real? Nobody can tell for sure. But Ghost Hunting is as real as ever, and it's big business. So much so that we have the 'reality' show Ghost Hunters being shown on primetime television.
Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson(the team leaders) and a few other members from The Atlantic Paranormal Society(TAPS) investigate different spooky settings for 'paranormal activity' using a range of gadgets which are believed to detect such activities.
The team moves from one location to another, setting up their equipment and surveying their environment for anomalies that they believe are caused by a ghostly presence, and this is the principle that Ghost hunters use throughout the world. They detect subtle changes in the natural machinations of the environment, and attribute this to ghostly activities. Here is a lo-down of the arsenal used by the ghost hunters:
1) Cameras: No, they don't use the 2 megapixel on their sony ericssons. They use film, instant, 3D, digital, infrared, nightvision, and polaroids.
2) EMF scanners: These high tech hawks scan the surrounding area for unusual variations in the magnetic field.
3) Audio Scanners: The creaking in the walls, the rustling tree branches, the rats in the pipes..nothing slips by the audio scanners. Some of these are also said to detect 'infrasound', which is sound below 20Hz and outside the capabilities of the human ear. Infrasound is another popular ghostly attribute. People even go as far as saying that the dead are trying to communicate to the living.
4) Geiger counter: an experimental device in the field of ghost hunting, the counter measures the levels of radiation in the area.
5) Ion generator: though not usually shown on screen, this gadget charges up the surrounding air, and this is said to help in the manifestation of spirits.
The show progresses exactly how one would expect it to: The TAPS team gets a call from a distressed individual, claiming that his/her house/yard/area is haunted. The team would dress up like Bill Murray From Ghostbusters 2, load up the van with enough surveillance gadgets to give Pamela Anderson stage fright, and rush over the area or region that is afflicted by such haunting.
The team then proceeds to set up the surveillance gear and goes to work. They take their time to explain clearly what each gear does, although the explanations have become less helpful as more episodes are released. While some of the claims of the 'victims' might be worth laughing at, others can be equally scary. 'I think I saw a shadow get off the couch….' Was the complain given by one of the victims. The insightful response that this sentence brought out was 'Did the shadow seem…hostile?'(a blonde moment if ever there was one)
What makes 'Ghost Hunters' a trap for the non-believers is the fact at the end of each episode, they actually sit down and have a meeting where they try to justify the weird noises and the strange lights. They do rule out some of the possibilities, saying that 'it's the rats in the walls' or 'it's a passing traffic light'. But they never rule out everything.
Ghost hunting has been aptly dubbed as a 'pseudo'science. Claiming all the exactness of a scientific field, while having very little hard evidence to prove it. There is a valid argument against every one of the ghost hunter's weapons. The lights that we see in the image can easily be recreated at home using a flashlight.
By Naveed C
The woman was jumping around and trying to brush invisible (albeit huge) specks of dirt (or so it would seem to the oblivious spectator) from her kameez. One would think she was trying a waltz if only her moves were a little more graceful; but apparently it was just a cockroach.
'Just a cockroach?' Some might say. The terrorizing insect is not just a cockroach, you might hear some indignant replies. Well, not everybody would say the same, because fear is one strange thing.
What one person fears might be invariably silly to the other person and vice versa. For some it is the trivial airborne cockroach while for others it is something slightly more serious such as speaking at the podium in front of an audience. At the end of the day, the stranger truth is that we all know there's no point being afraid, but there you go. It's irrational and paralyzing.
Some fears, scientists say, are just ingrained in our genes. There are reports about the discovery of a fear gene- a gene which controls a particular protein's production in that region of the brain which generates fear. One of the most prominent fears that people have is the fear of failure, aka the fear of not succeeding. Says Samiha, "Yes, I'm scared of failing- though exactly what, I'm not sure. . Besides, I'm scared of failing the expectations of this invisiable crowd- my friends, acquaintances, and myself. I know it's unhealthy, but I haven't figured out a way to fight this yet'.
Fear of rejection is closely related with fear of failure. The thought that one might not belong to a particular group haunts a lot of people. This is one fear that very few admit to, yet most have. Ayaz says,'When I shifted to a new school last year, I feared people wouldn't accept me because they would think I was invading their territory. My large square glasses were not fashionable at all and I was on the chubbier side, so I worried people would mock me for my physical appearance as well. Once I made a few friends, though, all my worries proved to be futile'.
Some people are scared of other people, such as those who aren't mentally stable. Minhaz opines, "With sane people you can predict what they are going to do, but with people who aren't mentally stable you don't know what the next course of action will be, so that tends to scare me.' Others are apprehensive about those who are in a position of higher authority and hold the power to make or break their lives in some way. Quite a few are afraid of getting entangled in the mess created by other people. They're afraid of fights taking place in streets, getting drawn into other people's quarrels, and having to settle conflicts. Aaliyah says, 'I am most afraid of the irrational abusive fights that people get into, because once they do, they kind of lose control and it is very difficult to restrain them. In fights like these, people tend to get severely injured for the silliest of reasons'.
Fears aren't countable. They're numerous and many, different people conforming to a different set of fears.Self-help books and internet websites are all for conquering your fears by facing them. If only it were always that easy for all of us.
By Anika Tabassum
Sunnydale Basketball Tournament
The second annual Sunnydale tournament kicked off on Thursday, with 12 schools participating in the under-14 tournament. There was a group stage, followed by the semi-finals and then the finals. Everyone in the stands was hoping to see a game as intense as last years final, which saw Greenherald edging Sunnydale to the cup by one point. There were also participating girl's teams with the Sunnydale girl's team as hot favorites to win. The atmosphere was amazing with students from each school cheering their team on with full vocal support. And now, let the games begin.
Sunnydale ended up having their cake and eating it too as their girls team overcame Sunbeams. The best female player was Umama of Sunbeams. Thus Sunnydale, who organized the tournament, came out on top in each of the two divisions.
By Samama Rahman
| Issues | The Daily Star Home|
© 2008 The Daily Star