Into the Weird Part 2
Welcome to another edition of my award-winning ground breaking colon-cleansing series of educational hubs about some of the far-out pseudoscience that pollutes the interweb. Today I've got another two bizarre subjects to talk to you about each one will hopefully get you thinking about what sort of weirdness you might believe and why you might be tempted to believe it. For those who haven't read part 1 here's a link though it's certainly not essential to understanding the subjects I want to talk about in part 2.
The Starchild Skull
Much like the legendary fraudulent Shroud of Turin the Starchild Skull is impressive only because of the longevity of its popularity and the supposed mystery it still presents despite rigorous testing. This is an example of when irrational belief overcomes the facts in the minds of believers in order to prop up something we simply know is ordinary. Perhaps ordinary is the wrong word to describe the Starchild Skull. It certainly looks strange and few skulls could really be said to be similar. Indeed the reason or cause of the skulls shape is still a mystery however it is the skull's origin that truly interests purveyors and pursuers of pseudoscience.
The skull was allegedly found in Mexico beside an ordinary female human skull but eventually it wound up in the hands of Lloyd Pye, author and ancient astronaut proponent. According to Pye and many many many other fans of ancient astronauts the skull is nothing less than evidence of alien visitation. In fact many believe it to be evidence that not only were the aliens among us but they were also interested in our mating rituals, specifically in joining in with our mating rituals. The idea of alien-human sex get's nerds in a tizzy especially ancient astronaut theorists who like to remind us all of something called the Nephilim, a race of deformed humans born from the union of angels (aliens) and human women (but that's a topic for another time).
It is no doubt that the skull looks very odd and unique and that whoever it belonged to probably wasn't very healthy. Followers and skeptics waited anxiously for the skull to be subjected to various scientific tests, particularly those for finding DNA. Believers wanted, no doubt, to confirm that aliens had been inserting probes of a different kind into human women and skeptics just wanted confirmation for the obvious - it was a deformed human skull.
Why do I say that it's obvious? Well look at it... Would you expect an alien that evolved on a distant planet to resemble us that closely? Sure the skull is deformed but its clearly human-like and therefore ape-like as well. And how exactly would alien life that had evolved elsewhere be capable of procreating with us? We can't even procreate with different species that evolved on our own planet so the odds of us being so similar to an alien to be able to make babies is pretty much bunk
Aliens wouldn't really look this human
So what did the DNA test reveal? The Starchild Skull is human. Score 1 for Science and Logic. So you'd think with their hypothesis about alien-human hybridization defeated the believers in the skull would pack up and go home. Instead they just ignored the results, claimed they were faked or claimed that the results actually somehow validated their stance. Because the most conclusive results only identified a human MOTHER through mitochondrial DNA some used that to say that the Father was likely an alien. All this without a shred of evidence that the skull was anything more than human, never mind no evidence for the alien let alone evidence that aliens and humans can procreate together.
Many people still believe in the Starchild Skull and I think they always will.
Further Reading on the Starchild Skull
Ghosts on the Radio?
Hopefully those of you reading this are at least somewhat well versed in the realm of pseudoscientific research already and will know what an EVP is. Essentially an EVP is a message from the dead. It's a voice often embedded in white noise that paranormal investigators then interpret, slow down, maginify or otherwise distort in order to figure out what the dead are saying. Sound complicated and confusing? Well never fear because the Ghost Box is here and it has revolutionized bullshit "science" and gathered together a following on the internet.
Yes that's right talking to the dead no longer requires psychic abilities or listening to recordings of you talking into thin air begging the spirits to answer you - now all you need is a radio. Most Ghost Boxes are modified radios designed to flip between stations. Like any EVP session the "investigator" then asks questions and what do you know the spirits begin to answer in the form of voices over the radio.
What's that I hear you saying... something about how random sound bites picked up from radio stations being mistaken for spirits is silly and stupid. I agree. However Ghost Box practitioners swear that the answers they receive are far too specific and the hits far outweigh the misses. Though some question whether or not these are really spirits many are stunned by what they hear.
There are two factors at work here and the first is a BIG ONE in pseudoscience that plays a part in a massive amount of paranormal and other out-there style claims. It is the ability of human beings to find patterns in almost anything. Ever stair at the grain on a bit of wood and make shapes or look up at the clouds and see dragons or ships sailing across the sky? The name for this is Pareidolia, it is the mind’s tendency to find patterns even amongst the random. I could do a whole hub on the host of pseudoscientific phenomenon caused by this pattern seeking (maybe I will some day).
The second factor is the willingness to believe. This is similar to the way COLD READING works. The person trying out the Ghost Box already wants to be wowed and wants to believe and even if they go in attempting to be skeptical their desire to believe may easily overwhelm them when a seemingly specific answer to their question is heard. There would be a desire to ignore the misses and the random noise and focus in on the hits and what seems specific thus making it easier to convince oneself you’re carrying on a conversation.
So what are Ghost Boxes really putting out? Random snippets from the radio is my guess, it is up to the user to find a meaningful pattern.
Links to Further Reading
Ghost Box Recording Session
The end of our journey, for now
So I hope you liked looking into two of the world’s weirder subjects, hopefully this was educational. I’m going to stick it in the education and science section because being educated about pseudoscience is important. After all, as hard as it is to believe, people actually believe this stuff and there is a big market for it and it sells very well. Pseudoscience can be extremely seductive and I’m not just speaking as a skeptic I’m speaking as a former paranormal investigator and someone who was once very much in love with the web of weird ideas that has collected in the minds of millions. Join me next time when we explore that web and journey once again into the weird.