Friday, August 13, 2010

Review: "Fact or Faked"

(Okay, that's me above--not the "guest breasts")

(**Do not forget-this evening I'm doing the "Lonely on a Friday Night" live commenting. Anyone with nothing to do, hang out and comment back and forth. It's a blast and it keeps us from feeling like we're the last people on earth while everyone else is partying. Tell friends if they want to join in too. The more the merrier. Starts at 7 pm EST and runs until us west coasters get tired.**)

One comment only: In the spirit of last night's episode tackling gravity hill, I just want to say that this picture above is the best answer to gravity hills--it's called Victoria's Secret. Perhaps the team should have headed to the mall first...

Today's review is going to be a bit different than the past ones. I'm encouraging folks who saw the show to write a comment about the kinds of testing, methods, or sequence you would have used if you took on the investigation yourself. I've said it before and it's worth repeating, but the show is chopped to hell for the masses, so we will never know what the true investigation went down like, but we love arm-chair reviews, so I'm totally game for that today. I do it every time I watch "Ghost Hunters" and I know my highly intelligent readers and ya'all definitely have very strong opinions on methods. So, have at it, my cuties, and let's see how you'd do it if you got to wear Ben's pants. (Man, I would so love to wear Ben's pants--if he's occupying them). Oh, and to Ben, I'm still totally digging you and Bill--I think a team like Jason and Grant with you two would be really exciting. I'm hoping the production company sees this winning combo and plays it up.

QUIZ: What unusual vehicle did they test the ghost kids to see if they could push it up the hill and over the railroad tracks?
Pickup truck
School bus

**Following this is another episode of LAUGH: FACT OR FAKED TESTING TECHNIQUES posting at 2 pm EST and tonight's 7 pm EST Lonely Hearts Club meeting here**


  1. Can't wait for the lonely post. Hmmm I'm going to say Bulldozer. FYI...nice shirt choice. :)

  2. The school bus.

    The Paulding light was very interesting, but much of the investigation was just silly. Was it really necessary to try using an airplane? I thought it was fairly obvious that it wasn't an airplane. There's no sound and it seems to be stationary. Why bother with the airplane at all? There's a difference between thorough testing and pointless testing.

    I thought the car test was a little pointless wasn't as silly as the airplane test, but I didn't think it was going to be a car. I was surprised that they thought that was going to be it. It seems to me that if it was just a car, people would have probably figured that out a long time ago. And wouldn't they eventually see the car coming down the road? And a car probably wouldn't be that bright...and I guess their test confirmed that a car wouldn't be bright I guess that test at least debunked the car headlight theory if nothing else.

    And did they really need to bother with an EVP session?

    I would have liked to have seen them testing the visible distance of the light. Once they got their vantage point and saw it light up, I think they should have seen not only how close they could get before they couldn't see it anymore, but also how far away they could get before they couldn't see it. It wouldn't really explain what the light is, but it would be interesting to know. And if they wanted to use aircraft, they could have checked to see from how high up in the air the light was visible. Checking for the gas is was a good test. I was thinking it might be some kind of swamp gas...but I guess that isn't what it is since they didn't find much.

    The Paulding light was certainly odd though. It was so bright! I'm glad they investigated it...even if a lot of their investigation was pointless.

    On the other hand, the investigation of the ghost tracks was great. I've heard of those tracks before, and I think I've even seen that video that they watched before too. I figured that the hill was just some sort of optical illusion, but it was nice to see them to confirm that.

  3. The car push? Did we really have to pretend that the last thing to try would be a test of the actual gradient at the location? My first thought (and probably most people's) was that it probably just appeared to slope upward due to the raised tracks being at the nadir of a small downslope. Apart from that absurdity, I think the fingerprint test was kind of odd. The normal method to pick up prints, as they mentioned, has the dust adhering to finger residue (oils and the like). To assume that a ghost would leave the same telltale residue as a human body would be an odd thought. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to put the powder down first and see if it gets disturbed in some obvious way?

    As for the light. I would have tried to put a laser on it from the viewing point (the horizontal) and also the point where they thought it was (vertical check). Also, since it wasn't seen at the location on the hill (where they thought it should be), I would have had one person remain at the viewing spot and one person move toward it and see when they can't see it anymore. No information was given as to whether it could be seen from the opposite direction (behind it from the perspective of the viewing location) or at an angle different than the standard viewing area. They definitely needed to explore that part of the phenomenon more, rather than just shrugging and saying "weird, we don't see it over here". How about a view from above from say...a helicopter? (a spotlight from above may give further indication as to the exact location of the light) We know they love to fly helicopters. I would have also left atmospheric equipment at the presumed location of the light to test for changes over the night (can't have too much data) rather than running over there to test after it appears (I assume they had baseline data, but I wasn't sure). It was never clear to me that where they went (to the top of the hill), that we knew positively was where the light was emanating from. Distances at night and luminous lights are hard to determine distances for.

    Other people have noted the duration of the light as being fairly constant, but I don't think I heard them mention this or mention timing it.

    The show's experimentation follows the protocol of coming up with an explanation, then going about testing that explanation. I don't know how they will ever solve a solvable phenomenon if it isn't the result of one of their 2 or 3 predetermined possibilities. I don't see any pure observation and data collection.

  4. I guess I should add that I do enjoy watching and I'm sure some of my bitching would be calmed by seeing clips off the cutting room floor. I love the concept, but I wish for something more.

  5. CB; Is it really the shirt you like?

    Max; You're right--they are fact (although Victoria's Secret makes the fact come across like faked)

    I have to admit that the car one had me rolling my eyes, but I'm logic-minded. First, before any case, you check out the background story first, so I would be looking into this supposed bus-load of kids story. Then, I would get a surveyor to check out the grade of the road. Duh. Had I wanted to humor the urban legend believers about the fingerprints, I would have poured powder over the back of the car and look for prints that way--not finger oils (you're right Pangs). Pangs, you always kill me. You're as practical and logical as Virgo-me. I have to admit, though, I sit through GH repeating what the frick an EVP is at least one to two times every episode, so I will roll with the punches on FoF because I just love seeing them hit urban legends and viral videos and show people who silly all their explanations are for the source of the video. They are obligated to put all of it on the table. Still, bringing in a school bus?? You'll enjoy today's LAUGH. It sort of pokes fun at the testing process...

  6. A school bus.

    Interesting episode; although, I was very distracted by some emails.

    I think that I would have one voice (team leader) narrarating rather than multiple team members explaining whats going on. The camera zooms in on a team member and he or she says "I'll do X and you guys do Y and Z." I think that we can save a lot of time using a single team leader voice over.

    Once again, I think that we had a case of mission creep. My idea of the show is to prove a VIDEO as fact or fake.

    In both cases the video was fact. From there, I would pull in experts to explain or debate the phemonena.

    For example, a Meteorologists to examine atmosperic conditions that might reflect lights from miles away.

    Since some of the videos are conected to the paranormal (as in ghosts) wouldn't it be wise to have a team member who understood that aspect of the paranormal? I could think of no better person than our own Autumn. She would appeal to most (if not all) viewer demographics and would be a fine asset to the team.

    In short, I would change the show to focus on the videos, less face time for team member, better continuity using team leader voice overs, expert evaluations of phemonena, and adding some paranormal expertise to the team (for example Autumn).


  7. Barry;
    For a man distracted by emails during the show, you gathered a lot of focus on me being an asset. Thank you very much. Yes, I am certain nothing would be the same should I be plopped down in the middle of this ensemble cast. There would not be many survivors after I spin around a few times and stir things up--sort of like a spin ball in bowling, taking out all the pins. I totally get the idea of what they're doing. The yahoos in the cities and the countryside in America have their own explanations for the phenomenon and they have to explore all the things people assume about it, even the most ridiculous. I have an advantage in ghost hunting investigations of dealing with not other people's explanatory style but simply logical explanatory style. I get the dumbing down for everyone, but I would play with that. Instead of looking like some lost college students sent out into the field to figure out a puzzle, I'd have--like you said--a lead voice. Then, I would poke fun at the crazy explanations for it and test them out but be tongue-in-cheek about it. In other words, viral videos are insane, so we should be a bit more Joel McHale about it and a little less Jason Hawes. So, that said, I still dig the viral videos, I still dig the concept and I will stay with the show so long as it runs. It could be a classic if they interject some personalities and some humor, crack a smile, kid around a bit, and let us in on the joke of it all. It would be a dream show if it could take itself as lightly as Destination Truth. It would probably be my favorite show then.

  8. My first test for the Gravity Hill one would have been this:


    Gravity Hill's are extremely common, there's about three around me that I know of, and they are pretty much well documented already. It was just bugging me so bad that they were acting like they had a major break through that no one had discovered before.

    Oh and how fucking hilarious was it when the guy slammed on the breaks when he saw the train? They were still a pretty good distance, but they all looked like they were about to die. XD

    Final thought, did that blonde guy seriously think the "ghost" video of the black figure was legit? What does he bring to the team again? I always forget to look that up.

  9. Speaking of Destination Truth...whatever happened to that extraordinarily beautiful woman that was on Season 1? I think her name was Araceli or something like that. I mean...she's got nothing on you or your assets, but I always enjoyed watching her.

  10. HB;
    You crack me up, buddy. Yeah, "Google it, dudes." I'm taking that the point of this show is that they cover all the things people at home discuss could be the causes and so they explore all those. I still wish they'd do it tongue-in-cheek and assume we're really smarter than a 6-year-old, cause I know 10-year-olds are equally savvy to us in today's online world. I like the blonde dude cause he's gullible and cute and expressive which is kind of a fun balance since there's a lot of folks at home who see this shit online and go "wow!" and believe it. When they burst this guy's bubble of belief, it's kind of insightful for the more gullible folks at home.

  11. My concern for the show from the beginning was sloppy methods. I agree with other posters that the Paulding Light investigation wasn't handled well. I was hoping they could triangulate its location, shoot it from other angles, run a spectrographic analysis of the light to determine its composition, look at the microclimate for localize inversion layers possibly caused by nearby bodies of water, etc...

    Instead... We got EVPs.

    The Gravity Hill thing had actually long-since been debunked, so why they chose that one is beyond me. As someone I know pointed out, they didn't recreate the video taped event exactly. Now, it seems minor but their use of fingerprint powder instead of baby powder does attest to the laissez-fair way in which they go about these scientific investigations. By ignoring that fact, they made the assumption that the fingerprints were made by those oils present in human skin. But if we're talking about ghosts, that wouldn't be the case, right? Perhaps there is something about the baby powder that makes it show up. We don't know (and I know that's silly) and that's the point. There are no controls, no falsifiability, no nothing.

    Their methods are haphazard and lazy and I'm growing a little weary of that.

  12. Cullan;
    So this is a bush you're not beating around. Yeah, I get you buddy. I know they are making it simplified for the dummies (like GH when they explain what EVPs are) but, I think the format needs to change. We all adore viral videos and urban legends, but most people laugh at them. They need to laugh at them too. We need a Destination Truth POV for this show.

  13. Autumn,

    I think that you would make a great addition to this sort of programing. I would even go so far as to take down my Jael shrine. Some of my visitors have said that the shrine is a little creepy (and the candles are a fire hazard).

    Clever narraration would help the show.

  14. Barry;
    You need the Autumnforest shrine; some pine cones, pumpkin-scented candles, autumn leaves strewn about and pine needles....

  15. @Autumn

    Hey, are you tring to burn my house down?

  16. Sure, Barry. Then you can move in with me until you rebuild, that is, if you want to move out once you've moved in....

  17. Oh well, I may have to start my Autumn shrine. If you have room for my pet chupacabra Peppy.

  18. Sure, if you don't mind Dale the doll....