Skepticism

US Court to Decide Whether Ghosts Are Real

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Sorta transcript:

Ed and Lorraine Warren were a married couple of fraudsters who made up or collaborated to make up a series of ghost stories in the 1970s and ‘80s and pretended they actually happened. Ed died in 2006 but Lorraine is still kicking and she claims to be a psychic so don’t worry, I assume they’re still happily together.

Because the Warrens lived and lied in New England, my ex-podcast co-hosts Steve Novella and Perry DeAngelis talked to them personally and examined all their best evidence for the paranormal, and found it to be, and I quote, “blarney.” No great surprise.

Despite the obvious fakeness of their stories, the Warrens enjoyed quite a bit of fame, especially for getting involved with the Amityville Horror Hoax, in which a different couple of assholes made up a story of being haunted. The Warrens “investigated” it and shockingly found it to be 100% true omg!

A few years back, the Warrens got another boost to their fame with the big budget movie “The Conjuring,” supposedly based on the “true” story in which a 19th century WITCH haunts a house in Rhode Island and curses whoever lives there TO DIEEEEE. Somehow. At some point. That curse is literally known as “the life cycle.” I am also cursed and I’ve never been anywhere near that house.

The Conjuring was so successful they made a 2nd one based on another hoax the Warrens “investigated” and found to be 100% real, in which a poltergeist tortured a family in England. There were also a few other spinoffs.

But now things are getting really interesting, because Gerald Brittle is suing Warner Brothers over the films. Brittle wrote a book about the Warrens in 1980 and the Warrens signed away to him any rights to derivative works about their investigations. The studio’s response is that the movies aren’t based on the book because they’re based on real-life events.

In order for the studio’s claim to hold up, they’re going to have to convince a court of law that ghosts actually exist, because that’s what’s happening in the “real-life events” going on in the movie. This is basically like the end of Miracle on 34th Street, only instead of a sweet little girl it’s a 90-year old huckster and instead of Santa Claus it’s a 19th century witch named Bathsheba. I assume to prove their point, the defense will introduce sacks and sacks of US postal service letters addressed to “the dessicated witch hiding in the basement of a Rhode Island farmhouse.”

I love this, because believe it or not our courts decide on paranormal cases all the time– for instance, when they ruled in Kitzmiller v Dover that public schools can’t teach that a paranormal force created the universe in 6 days in science class. It’s just that this time, it’s way more fun to watch because our children’s futures don’t hang in the balance.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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1 Comment

  1. April 20, 2017 at 6:43 am —

    Although I realize it’s all bunk I actually enjoyed the two “Conjuring” movies. I haven’t seen the spinoff about the haunted doll.

    Anyhow…this is all so ridiculous…we can grow a fucking human ear on a mouse’s back but we still need the courts to weigh in on whether or not ghosts are real?

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