Standard Deviation

While I believe myself to have been careful in the process of creating and writing the Bent Spoon, with the intent of offering objective and open- minded views of the paranormal, I have come across a number of obstacles, which face every skeptic, that I

by Nick Callis

thought I should address and I wish both fellow skeptics and believers to consider before making any judgements on any particular paranormal topic. First of which is presupposition and bias, which I believe stems directly from the arrogance of the individual, whichever side of the fence they may inhabit.  This behaviour may, in fact, be unavoidable, for I struggle with it every time look at a new UFO photo or the latest viral poltergeist video. My immediate, gut reaction is that it is fake. While I have trained myself not to act on this instinct, I feel that it can’t ever be suppressed. Without speaking for everyone else, I will simply say that it is MY nature. By simply looking at a photo or online video, I cannot truly make a valuable judgment without supportive evidence and unfortunately, that is hard to come by. While this, by no means, equates as anything close to acceptable proof of the paranormal, I cannot rightly dismiss its nature. I can only state that I don’t know. This is a phrase that paranormal investigators should become comfortable with. “I don’t  know.”
This brings me to my second point, which is jumping to a final conclusion prematurely. In other words, referring to a case as solved. Unfledged debunking is becoming a common sight in my circles and unfortunately, other people are running with the conclusions, copy/ pasting more and more, until it’s become the official solution.


To illustrate, we have what appears to be a photograph of a ghost. (If you are familiar with this photo, bear with me) Some may say that it’s clearly photoshoped, others might claim that it’s a case of pariedolia caused by a spider/ tent caterpillar’s web or a plume of smoke, and others may very well believe that this is a genuine full- bodied apparition.

Now without the remaining photos from this set, any of the above explanations are as good as the next, though some are more likely than others, yet none of the above are correct, as seen below:

ImageThese types of knee- jerk assumptions have become all too routine and they often result in vain dismissal, but does the end justify the means? Is a half -assed solution justified so long as you can cry “debunked” at the end of the day?

The fact of the matter is, with most cases, after- the- fact analysis is insufficient. Incidents of alleged paranormal activity occur in uncontrolled environments with innumerable variables to account for. The idea of ruling out the ordinary, thereby  leaving the extraordinary doesn’t logically work. To make a claim from either perspective is simply speculation without proper evidence to support that claim. Most cases will eventually have to boil down to what is “most likely” and mundane explanations will always trump supernatural ones. If you favor the supernatural solution, then the burden of proof lies on you to prove it and if we skeptics ask for conclusive proof then we owe it to the rest of the crowd to give the same.

Standard Deviation

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