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The South Shields Poltergeist
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CodenameThrowOffline
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PostPosted: 02-06-2008 09:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

markbellis wrote:
rynner wrote:


When a book is new out, a paper might well produce an article and/or review about it.
What's the problem?
.....


You can also buy the book at Amazon, Waterstones and other places - no doubt they have a financial interest too... Wink


The difference is that they are book sellers, but the Daily Mail's a newspaper - presenting a book they have a interest in the sales of in a news story is a conflict of interest, particularly in a story that is very promotional of that book - in North America, only the worst sort of tabloid would do this.


This simply isn't true, I'm afraid. Any newspaper staffer will tell you that the bulk of stories in a daily come from press releases, given a spin or a news angle. Presumably the publishing xompany here gave a press release to the paper. If the story has been written to catch people's attention and is directly associated with a book, of course you put all the details. It's no different from writing a restaurant review and then putting a "book a table" phone number at the end.
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TapeloopOffline
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PostPosted: 19-08-2008 20:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone else read this yet? I finished it last week, so thought I'd share a few comments on it.

First off, it's a great read. While not quite as flat out spooky as the Enfield poltergeist (as told in This House is Haunted), there are still plenty of scary moments, and it certainly seems to have been a very active polt.

The authors come across as rational and sensible people (with a dose of Native American mysticism thrown in), and it seems a highly credible investigation. There are a large number of independent witness statements at the end from other investigators too, leaving you in no doubt that something weird was happening in this house.

Besides the photos in the book (and possibly in FT), has anyone seen any of the footage recorded in their investigations though? Throughout the book the authors seem to be recording everything so, if the polt was as active as suggested in the book, then they must be sitting on a gold mine of polt recordings. I appreciate the authors have their own media plans, but it would be nice to see at least some of the evidence, even on somewhere like youtube. Any news on the possible tv program mentioned?

<Possible Spoiler Alert!>
Throughout the book, like the authors, I was very suspicious of the boyfriend. Even though later in the book events happen that seemed to clear him of any possible involvement, I couldn't shake off that feeling. While the lady involved seemed to be justifiably terrified, the boyfriend came across as rather calm and unworried by the whole thing.

The investigators identify the boyfriend as the focus of the poltergeist, but I'd be curious if anything happened while he wasn't in the house (besides the couple of spooky incidents away from the house). At the start it mentions he has a job, yet he always seems to be in the house when the investigators are there, regardless of time of day. If someone is the focus of a polt, then do they have to be there for activity to happen? (The book suggests that this polt took on a life of its own).

Maybe he is just a really down to earth guy, putting on a brave face for his family, but he just didn't seem that freaked out by the whole experience.
<End Spoiler>

Lastly, something just didn't seem right about the weird poses the child's toys were found in. To me they seemed slightly too "evil", almost as if someone (or thing!) had set out to see what the most messed up thing they could do with a toy. Even though this seemed to be a pretty nasty polt towards the end, these seemed a little out of character maybe.

Anyway, it's a good book and well worth a read if you're into polts or just want a bit of a chiller. I'll look out with interest for the tv program or any follow ups.
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RavenstoneOffline
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PostPosted: 20-08-2008 21:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw the 'scratches' footage, and the water bottle balancing act footage at Weird Weekend last weekend. It's not easily dismissed.

The boyfriend was, I believe, a cook. And incidents did happen when he wasn't in the house. But I'm only a few chapters into the book at the moment.
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colpepper1
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PostPosted: 21-08-2008 06:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ravenstone wrote:
I saw the 'scratches' footage, and the water bottle balancing act footage at Weird Weekend last weekend. It's not easily dismissed.

I saw the WW footage too. On its own it proves nothing of course, if you believe the narrator (which on balance I do), it is very interesting imagery. Polts seem to occur around lots of unfocused energy; frustration, poverty, anger, abuse. Never having experienced one personally it's difficult to know what conclusions to draw.

I was surprised to discover the polt disappeared so quickly for the reasons given. If the thing was as devious and lucid as Mike Hallowell suggested and able to second guess people's thoughts I wondered whether it got bored or was attracting too much attention and decided to go along with the 'theory'.
Mike felt polts could harm people but it wasn't in their interests to do so which I'm not sure about. Case histories suggest most blows and scratches are of a temporary nature. The psychotic/sociopathic analysis of the polt's handwriting was interesting, on balance I'm inclined to believe there's more than an externalisation of stress going on but who knows what dark, angry recesses hide within all of us?
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Black River FallsOffline
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PostPosted: 21-08-2008 15:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

you can see the clips here, though it's footage of footage, so to speak, and the quality is rather poor.

is the bottle meant to look like someone's squeezing it? before it falls over?

i can't make out the scratches at all in this vid.

not sure about the guy banging on about how they can only show those few minutes for 'contractual reasons'. i'd rather they just laid their cards on the table...
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azuredoorOffline
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PostPosted: 21-08-2008 19:32    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a slightly better quality vid, http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/woman/real_life/article1523213.ece

from the scum newspaper.

First comment, the quality is horrific. There is a severe white balance problem. It seems to be under incandescent lighting. It's so bad that it is impossible to distinguish a difference in colour when the scene changes from the wooden table top surface to the back of the bloke being scrabbed.

Next problem. Its possible to suspend a bottle in this way by having a 'prop' on the other side of the bottle (one made of clear plastic would be best), but you can never see this side. When the bottle falls, the bottom of the bottle, where the prop would be is conveniently out of sight. When its out of sight and before it falls, the bottle shakes a little, no doubt as the magician fumbles with the prop holding it up.

The scrabs, well again quality is turd, but as others have pointed out, if someone gives you a good scrape, it takes a few seconds for the scrapes to rise in a ridge and for the area to redden.
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RavenstoneOffline
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PostPosted: 21-08-2008 19:39    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, you don't need a prop to make a bottle like that stand up on its own. You just need to indent a couple of the 'bobbles' on the bottom of the bottle.

However, if what is being suggested is that the authors of the piece fraudulently produced pictures of the scratches and the bottle balancing, then I have to disagree. Just because something can be reproduced using fakery in no way means fakery was employed to create it.

What about the experiences of the victims and investigators? Sure, it's all anecdotal, but if we dismiss everything that's anecdotal about everything, then we may as well all pack up and go home.

One thing's for sure - if - if - the footage was faked, then they could have at least done a better job of it. Steadier, stiller camera work. Steady closeups.
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azuredoorOffline
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PostPosted: 21-08-2008 20:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with you regarding the personal experiences, which i value a lot, depending on the quality of the witnesses. I dont know them enough about them to form an opinion on that.

Obviously these must be their best clips and it's not good that they can be so easily criticised. For me the fact that you cant see the other side of the bottle, and the fact that when it falls, the base is out of sight and it wobbles, raises loud alarm bells in my mind. I'm not saying that they're hoaxes, but i am very suspicious about these clips. One other thing, if I saw that happening for real I would be swearing my head off and/or praying to God for protection, don't hear too much excitement in the audio portion of these clips.

Another thing to note is that during the bottle suspension, there is an obvious 'clip' i.e. there is a join in the video where something has been taken out, although this may be innocent, it makes it lose more points.
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RavenstoneOffline
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PostPosted: 21-08-2008 20:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

The footage was taken on a digital stills camera, so may have been limited to short 30 second or so bursts. Also, it's been cut by the Sun. At least, it's not exactly the same footage as was shown at Weird Weekend.

With a documentary being produced, it would seem the 'best stuff' would be used in that, and is therefore probably unable to be shown until the programme has actually aired.
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azuredoorOffline
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PostPosted: 21-08-2008 20:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The footage was taken on a digital stills camera


O dear, the 'investigators' lose a ton of points.
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RavenstoneOffline
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PostPosted: 21-08-2008 20:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which was the nearest thing to hand when the investigator was dragged out of bed at gone midnight one night to go and deal with the hysterical victims.

Dunno about anyone else, but I'm only surprised anyone remembered to grab the camera, much less use it. It's very easy to sit here in the cold light of day and say "Should have done this/that/other", but when you're in the middle of it, I bet it's bloody difficult to think, "Ooo I wonder if the polt would mind doing a retake???"
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azuredoorOffline
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PostPosted: 21-08-2008 20:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Dunno about anyone else, but I'm only surprised anyone remembered to grab the camera, much less use it


Absolutely true in the case of a random, chance situation, but inexcusable when you're there pretending to be an investigator.
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TapeloopOffline
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PostPosted: 21-08-2008 20:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the footage links. From a quick first viewing, the bottle footage is really interesting. You can't see it in much detail here (better on Sun site), but it certainly looks weird. I couldn't really tell anything from the scratches video either. If the bottle footage is a fake, then maybe it is being suspended by something around the neck? Most of the footage is focused on the bottom half of it. Hard to say at this quality.

I really wish they would release more (must be patient!), although I suppose as an investigator this is a once in a lifetime case, so if they want to make some money from it fair enough. They certainly seem to be media savvy.

I think poltergeist cases like this where there is so much activity seen by so many people, are really tough. You're almost forced to choose between thinking the whole thing is a fake, or if you accept that something can move a bottle like that say in front of a few people, then why shouldn't everything else be real too, so polts must exist. They lack the comforting ambiguity of an average ghostie tale, and the sceptic in me finds it hard to take that leap of faith.

Based on reading the book, I did't feel the authors are faking it. If they were going for the sensationalist approach and after money then I'd expect it to have been scarier, and also with a less well thought out conclusion (although I don't think I agree with them). I also wouldn't expect a faker to appear somewhere like Weird Weekend. Is it possible to believe it's not a fake but still be slightly sceptical? How wishy washy of me!
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RavenstoneOffline
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PostPosted: 21-08-2008 20:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just because you believe one story doesn't mean you have to believe them all. So - yes - it's entirely possible to believe it's not a fake but remain sceptical. In fact, being sceptical is exactly the right attitude to maintain, as long as it's the right kind of sceptical. Sceptical doesn't mean you think everyone's a liar and/or stupid; it just means you don't always believe what they're telling you. That's okay; you just have to weigh the evidence, like you would anything else.

It's the sceptics that get all rabid and just plain rude that annoy me. The ones who are just as rabid as the fluffy woo-woo True Believers.

The thing is, just because someone tells you they've seen a ghost doesn't mean you shouldn't wonder whether they were mistaken. But it's not right to assume they're flat out lying. Neither should you assume they haven't already checked whether it's the most obvious explanation. I speak from experience when I say that when something weird happens to you, you are praying for a straightforward normal explanation. You really don't want it to be some kind of weird shit.
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azuredoorOffline
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PostPosted: 21-08-2008 21:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please be aware, I am not affiliated with crack-a-cola in any way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8O--biMkVY
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