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We all know that Americans love to sue. It’s what they’re famous for. Doctors, employers, plastic surgeons, fast food outlets; no one is safe from the ceaseless deluge of lawsuits across the pond. When Americans are not suing other people, they’re being sued themselves. It’s a right old sue-a-thon over there. I’ll probably get sued just for writing that.

Crass generalisations aside, this story in USA Today takes insanity to a whole new level even by American standards.

A couple in New Jersey are suing their landlord because they believe the house they rent from him is haunted. If you’re looking for further proof that mankind is doomed, read that sentence over and over until the degree of idiocy we’re dealing with here is fully absorbed. Ready? Great.

The couple, both in their mid-thirties, claim that they have been driven out of their home after being terrified by paranormal lunacy such as “lights that switch on and off by themselves, clothes and towels mysteriously ejected from closets, unintelligible whispering, footsteps in the kitchen and a mysterious force tugging at bedsheets during the night.” As such, they want their $2,250 deposit back and are going through the courts to get it.

They even have irrefutable proof that the house is haunted to back up their claims. Well, not so much irrefutable proof as just some people saying things, but still.

Marianne Brigando, co-founder of NJ Paranormal Investigators of Old Bridge (or Garbage Peddlers Extraordinaire), has conducted an investigation (ie stood around in their house for a bit) and supports the couple’s view that their home is the “site of an active or intelligent haunting, one level above a residual haunting.” An intelligent haunting? That’s ironic, considering that the house seems to have been an intelligence-free zone of late.  

Also, isn’t it kind of in her best interests to convince people that ghosts are real? After all, if people didn’t believe in ghosts there would be technically no reason for people like her to even exist. I’m not saying she has an agenda or anything (even though she absolutely does), it just seems a little convenient that paranormal investigators will invariably find some “evidence” of ghosts in any situation where they are called upon. Shouldn’t someone be regulating this madness?

Pastor Terence Sullivan of the Element Church in North Brunswick, who, to be fair, is an expert in things that don’t exist, has counseled the family through the ordeal and even blessed the house, before reaching the conclusion that “demonic possession” is at work. Right, that settles it then. Case closed. Give them their money back, pronto.

Well, not so fast. In response to the lawsuit, USA Today reports that landlord Dr. Richard Lopez has filed a countersuit claiming that the couple is using “the specter of paranormal activity as a cover for personal financial troubles. In short, he claims they can’t afford the place and want their money back.” Seems plausible enough to me.

His attorney also says that no one else has ever claimed before that the house is haunted.

So who to believe? Some chancers who have seen too many horror films for their poor brains to process, fed a load of horseshit by crackpot “experts” of questionable merit, or an exasperated landlord who is just trying to earn an honest buck? Clue: it’s the landlord. Definitely believe the landlord.

Hilariously, some people commenting on the message board beneath the story have had the temerity to disagree with me and seem to support the couple. Some have even mumbled something about “Full Disclosure laws”  and how the landlord was obligated to disclose that the house haunted before renting it to the couple. Yes, that makes a lot of sense:

“So this is the second bedroom…”

“Okay…”

“And this is the bathroom. As you can see, it’s a good size.”

“Mmm.”

“Oh, and the whole place is swarming with malevolent demons who will mercilessly tear your life asunder.”

“Sounds perfect. Where do I sign?”

Anyway, why should he have to declare something that he doesn’t even believe in? He might as well warn them that the Tooth Fairy lives in the loft and that they share the communal garden with a family of leprechauns. It’s total fantasy.

Reading the comments was, in fact, more alarming than the premise of the story itself, full of worthy “you don’t know them so please don’t judge them” types with their silly “unexplained things do happen, ghosts could exist” views.

Look, let’s be absolutely clear on this: there is nothing wrong with judging people who have already proven beyond all doubt that they are total morons. It’s what separates us from primates. If we all just went around giving people the benefit of the doubt and accepting their deranged theories about ghosts and aliens and God knows what else, then who knows where we would be? People like this couple would probably rule the world, at which point we’d be better off praying for Armageddon so that the human race can start all over again.

The story even ends on a delightfully tenuous link to the The Amityville Horror, revealing with triumph that the film was filmed in the same town as the house in question. Coincidence?

Yes. A thousand times yes.

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Proving once again that the internet is an ocean of stupidity, never short of willing participants eager to dive in and drown, Looking For Ghosts stumbled across this photo which has apparently gone “viral”.

For those of you who might have actually lived a worthwhile existence during the last couple of years and don’t understand the language of smug, media bores, the term “going viral” is used to describe something gaining inexplicable popularity on the internet. The opposite of this blog, essentially.  

According to the Daily Mail, who took time out from their usual routine of castigating immigrants and casual homophobia to cover this extremely important story, the picture has “divided the internet between the people who can see it, and those who cannot.”

Really? Not meaning to question the infinite wisdom of the Daily Mail, but what about the conveniently-ignored third group of people who can clearly see the face but have concluded that it’s an obvious hoax? Without presuming to know every reader of this blog personally (although we suspect it wouldn’t take too long), we’d like to think that most of us fall into this category.

If you don’t fall into this category, ask yourself why a “demon” would be squashed under a sofa cushion. Then ask yourself why anyone would be taking a photo of a sofa in the first place.

In fact, it doesn’t even look like a demon: it’s just a normal face. There’s nothing remotely sinister about it. It’s not even making a scary expression or anything. The whole thing is absurd.

In order to try and disguise an obvious lack of material (something we would NEVER do), the article is padded out with some reactionary fluff from the world of Twitter, which is what Journalists do nowadays in lieu of actually having to do any work themselves. “It genuinely made me Jump when I saw it, be warned!” wrote Ryan Evans, sounding like a genuine moron.

Clearly struggling for content, the article lumps another unrelated “scary face” picture at the bottom of the article in a hilarious attempt to tie it all together. But this one’s even more farcical; it’s just one of the girl’s friends standing behind them.

If this is the kind of nonsense the internet is being used for, it should be taken away and replaced with a book.

In addition to walking around London in search of ghouls, the Looking For Ghosts team also spend an unhealthy amount of time trawling cyberspace in order to sustain our thirst for paranormal phenomena.

Most of what we find is forgettable; normally well-intentioned but highly improbable. However, every so often we come across something that is so stupefying that it defies logic.

One such example is the brilliantly irresponsible ZOZO The Ouija Spirit, which claims that an evil entity called ZOZO seemingly has nothing better to do than appear in Ouija boards across the world (although mainly America, naturally) scaring the bejesus out of impressionable simpletons. All highly plausible, you’ll agree.

Ouija users have a chat with ZOZO

Its Creator is Darren Evans, a self-appointed “Zozologist”. Zozology is, presumably, something you study at the University of Make Believe, alongside other credible courses such as Fairy Psychology and Goblin Hunting.

Whilst we don’t set out to dismiss something we have no desire to understand, or to discredit other paranormal enthusiasts, this guy really is a lunatic of epic proportions.

Tedious and Baffling

The exact details of Darren’s story are too tedious and baffling to bore you with here, so you’ll have to visit the blog yourself (via the link above) to read his paranoid ramblings in full.

Please don’t read all of it; it’s so long and convoluted that you’ll probably emerge three days later, blinking wearily and scratching your head, confused and angry at a world which you simply no longer understand.

The jist of it is that ZOZO has been following Darren around for several years as he’s continued to use Ouija boards, wreaking havoc upon not just his life but that of his friends and family. The idea of simply not using Ouija boards had, apparently, not occurred to him until recently despite the fact that his sole purpose for setting up this blog is to warn other people to stay well away from them. This point we do agree on; Ouija boards are a bad idea, mainly because they are boring and a waste of everyone’s time.

Jennifer Lopez. ZOZO not pictured.

Idiocy

Alarmingly, other Ouija users (or “Morons” to give them their correct name) have written in their droves to report that they too have experienced a malevolent spirit bearing the same name. Such is the level of idiocy on display, if you’re not rooting for ZOZO within 30 seconds of clicking on the link then you’ve already shown a level of tolerance far greater than this blog deserves.

If nothing else, it is worth a look just for the bit where it is (hilariously) eluded that J-Lo is somehow involved as his twisted conspiracy spirals further and further away from reality.

Mr Evans has announced that he is planning on writing a book about his dealings with the demon, although one suspects that a far better use of paper would be to stuff it into his own mouth to prevent any more of this utter fiction spreading much further.

Looking For Ghosts

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