Broken Equipment is not Paranormal Evidence (Part 1)

What do I mean by broken?

bro·ken

brōkən

adjective

having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order.

That last part is important. If something isn’t working as intended, it is broken. If you use a piece of equipment in a way it’s manufacturer did not intend, you are (in effect) breaking it.

Imagine you are going on a paranormal investigation. The claimant says that their TV keeps going off and on. “How long has it been doing that?”, you ask.

“Oh. Ever since I threw it on the ground last week.”

Hello!?! What investigator in their right mind would turn around and claim that as paranormal? Yet, this standard is used for other investigative methods.

Example 1: The ‘Flashlight Trick’

This is something that is seen on many ghost hunting shows. The investigator will take a flashlight (almost always a Maglite), and unscrew the end of the flashlight until it barely maintains contact. They will then put the flashlight down and begin asking questions. Eventually the flashlight will turn on, then off again. This is usually seen as a sign of ‘spirit communication’.

The problem is that the light will turn off and on by itself anyway, without any prompting. Experiments have shown that this is due to the expansion and contraction of metal contacts within the flashlight.

The following video explains this wonderfully.

In short, when you do the ‘Flashlight Trick’, you are breaking the flashlight. Trying to communicate with an entity through a broken flashlight has as much validity as communicating through a TV that has been thrown on the ground.

Red Top Jail House – Llano, TX

Llano, TX

Year Built: 1895

Website: http://redtopjail.com/

We were visiting my folks in Texas, northwest of Austin. I was looking over a local “Things to Do” booklet, and there was a short write-up about the Red Top Jail House in Llano. The short article mentioned that the jail house was potentially haunted, so we decided to go take a look.

The jail house is locked, but they do run tours, and in the fall they run ghost tours. Proceeds from these tours are used to fund the restoration of the Jail House. If you are in the Austin area, it’s worth checking out.