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There has been some absolute drivel coming over the wire recently, with several publications devoting far more copy space than necessary (ie some) to report this utter non-story from Gloucester.

Predictably, the Daily Mail has got in on the action (proving once again that the Mail newsdesk is a hotbed of ambition and integrity) but the Metro, MSN and Yahoo have also stooped to dangerous new levels of desperation in order to fill column inches.

To be honest, I try not to even bother writing about Ghost Photography anymore, which might explain why posts on Looking For Ghosts are less frequent than they used to be. Perhaps I’ve developed an immunity to them over the years but, as the old saying goes, there are only so many photographs of blurry, indeterminate objects you can look at before you start to feel your intelligence being insulted. Embarrassingly, my limit was 647. I’ve reached saturation point.

As I no longer have the energy to appear enthusiastic about some dubious picture you can clearly see is the result of double-exposure/photoshopping/dust on the lens/shadows/delete as applicable, this will be the last Ghost Photograph post you see on this blog. It’s beneath me to write them and it’s certainly beneath you to read them. I can’t even be bothered to be cynical about it anymore as it’s become far too easy to be rewarding. Think of it like kicking a sleeping puppy in the face; enjoyable at first, but the feeling of victory soon starts to wear off.

Anyway, here is it:

Stupid, isn’t it? This “apparition” was “captured” by John Gore, 43, whilst he was taking photographs of his pet cats (why?!) at his home in Cheltenham, Gloucester.

Despite the fact that it’s the easily the least convincing Ghost Photograph in existence, Mr Gore and his girlfriend have given the “ghost” the nickname Johnny Junior and have conducted the following intensive scientific research to find out the spirit’s identity:

“I showed it to a lady over the road who has lived here for years. She said somebody who lived in the house before us had a child who died of cot death.”

Right, so that’s settled then. It’s good to see a thorough investigation take place.

For the last time, there is absolutely no logical reason for ghosts to show up on camera. It does not happen. Please, let’s put this to bed for once and for all.

For the love of ghosts, can somebody, ANYBODY, give me something more interesting to write about?

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Searching through some online audio clips recently, which is nowhere near as much fun as it probably sounds, Looking For Ghosts discovered an interesting debate on an American radio show from a few years ago. It featured Most Haunted’s Yvette Fielding, who had agreed to take part in a phone interview with the guys from US TV programme Ghost Hunters.

Fielding was, presumably, entering into what she thought would be an amicable discussion about the paranormal, a mutual interest of both parties. However, despite the two shows having an almost identical format, what followed was an astonishing attack on Fielding and the credibility of her beloved Most Haunted. You can hear it in all its punishing glory here.

Who finds the best ghosts?

Not wishing to take sides, or start an Anglo-American slanging match (after all, both shows are ostensibly bullshit), we couldn’t help but find this exchange a little unfair. As Fielding herself was keen to point out, when she wasn’t busy trying to defend herself from a verbal mauling, both shows share the same problem: they both address a subject matter that most people don’t take seriously. Transatlantic rivals they may be, but rather than squabbling, she reasoned, they should show some solidarity and work together to bring ghost hunting to “the masses”.

Despite making some salient points, Fielding didn’t come out of the debate very well. Clearly frustrated by the hostility shown towards her, she eventually lost her cool and resorted to personal attacks, hilariously retaliating that some of the Ghost Hunters team used to be plumbers. They gave her enough rope and, by rising to the bait, she duly hung herself.

Granted, she was outnumbered by two to one and she evidently came unprepared for such an argument (perhaps highlighting her own naivety), but the result was clear.  In the end, she was a broken woman being mercilessly picked apart by her American counterparts.

But who is the real winner? And, more importantly, is there any value whatsoever in ghost hunting shows like these?

Disrepute

Most Haunted has more than its fair share of critics, with people seemingly queuing up to bring it into disrepute. This won’t have been helped by numerous tabloid reports that some aspects of the show are faked, including revelations by one of the show’s former stars, Dr Ciaran O’Keeffe, that viewers are being misled by “showmanship and dramatics.” He also makes the epoch-shattering claim that the show’s resident medium, Derek Acorah, can’t really talk to dead people. Hold the front page!

Derek Acorah is easily the least convincing medium on the planet. His thick Liverpudlian accent makes any spirits he’s supposed to be “channelling” sound like a deranged Ringo Starr, so he was never fooling anyone anyway. His only real purpose was to act as a comic interlude to break up the monotony of the rest of the show, which consists of some people standing in dark rooms listening very hard. He might as well have dressed up as a hotdog for all of the integrity he added to proceedings.

Derek Acorah, seen here talking to the ghost of his career.

But all of this is irrelevant. No one watches Most Haunted because they believe what they are being shown is real, unless they are criminally stupid. You would have to have had several lobotomies to give any credence at all to the notion that any of the knocks or bangs captured on tape are caused by anything more than shuffling cameramen or warping floorboards.

What Most Haunted is, primarily, is entertainment. The “showmanship and dramatics” that O’Keefe is so eager to lament is actually what draws viewers in. And it obviously works: you don’t get to series number 14 without doing something right.

No Clean Hands

The tabloid negativity that Most Haunted has faced is evidently what fuelled the Ghost Hunters team when launching their assault on Fielding, but they too have been accused of exactly the same thing. Search for “Ghost Hunters fake” on YouTube and you will be shown hours of footage highlighting details of their own embellishments. There are no clean hands here.

They claim to approach the paranormal from a “scientific” angle, even though a ghost hunt is about as far away from a scientific experiment as it’s possible to get without actually living in a different galaxy from one altogether. Watching their team pratting about with scarcely-believable electrical gizmos is almost painfully embarrassing at times and only serves to make them look far too worthy and righteous for their own good. At least Most Haunted doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Ghost Hunters apply one of their many "scientific" techniques to push a wall on a ghost.

But Ghost Hunters also pulls in a big audience, so who cares? The common ground Fielding was alluding to is that both shows are in the business of making good television; whether you choose to use pseudo-science or theatrics in order to achieve this is surely immaterial.

By laying into Most Haunted, Ghost Hunters look like they’ve missed the point entirely. The point being that they are both peddlers of absolute garbage and they should just sit back and enjoy the spoils.

What do you think? Whether you agree or disagree, or even want to leave us some abuse we can masturbate to, we encourage you to leave your comments.

In fact we insist.

Whilst our previous Ghost Photography features may have been unconvincing, this one isn’t quite so easy to dismiss. However, we will still give it our best shot.

This photograph of Wem Town Hall in Shropshire was taken by a local in 1995 as the building was burning to the ground. For those of you who are short of sight, there is a clear image of a little girl standing against a backdrop of flames.

The generally accepted story by slathering paranormal maniacs is that this is the ghost of Jane Churm, a girl who inadvertently destroyed many of Wem’s wooden houses in a similar fire in 1677. After being clumsy with a candle, much of Wem, including poor Jane, perished in the flames.  Could it be that her spirit returned to watch the latest fire to ravage her town? Our instincts say yes. There is literally no other explanation.

Well, other than these:

  • Double exposure. Accounting for roughly 90% of all “ghost photographs”, this is a common technical glitch which simply results in a previous image being superimposed over the last. It can be either intentional or unintentional , which leads us to…
  • Lying. The Photographer could have simply tampered with the image and added the little girl in, as is the case with hundreds of other hoaxes. This may seem cynical, but it seems to us that if you’re the kind of person who stands there taking pictures of a burning building rather than rolling your sleeves up and getting busy with the hose, then you could very easily be the type of person who would make up a little girl ghost. Admittedly, an expert analysing the photo at the time claimed that: “the negative is a straightforward piece of black-and-white work and shows no sign of having been tampered with.” But he could be lying too. People lie all the time. This whole planet is a fetid sphere of stinking dung occupied solely by repulsive, hateful liars. Get used to it.
  • Tragedy. This is a long shot, but the girl in question could just be a real girl trapped in the flames. Hopeful that someone will call the emergency services, all she got instead was some loon with a camera snapping away.

Anyway, that’s enough of our inconsequential opinions, get in touch and let us know what your inconsequential opinions are.

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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