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Opinions: Explaining the inexplicable, one ghost at a time

This is the nerdiest column I will ever write.

Then again, I suppose I have a whole semester to prove that wrong.

I don't know if I believe in ghosts or demons. I'm not a particularly religious or superstitious person. Ghosts seem to be the stuff of children's cartoons and nightmares. Demons have been the topic of too many cheesy scary movies to ever be scary.

Yet every Wednesday night at 8 I tune into the Sci-Fi Channel's "Ghost Hunters," the endearing and delightfully pitiful show where middle-age men group together to find ghosts anywhere — and I mean anywhere.

While it may be a cheesy "reality" television show, there's something scientific about how TAPS, the ghost hunting crew, goes about investigating these supposed hauntings. They use equipment like thermal cameras and electromagnetic field detectors to find energy that is unaccounted for by electrical outlets and appliances.

And who could forget the best tool of all, Brian of TAPS, whose ghost hunting catch phrase made it onto a hat — that he wore himself.

"Dude, run!"

Refer to one of my favorite episodes, where TAPS goes to an apartment where two male college students live. They were, as a friend of mine would call them, "D's." You can decide for yourself what the "D" stands for.

The two students tell stories about their haunted apartment, and TAPS proceeds to debunk every claim they had about ghosts with their equipment and logic.

A lady dressed in white outside saying "help me." Well, she was probably a real-life woman locked outside on the common roof the students shared with their neighbors. Way to call TAPS from their humble headquarters in a strip mall, college D's.

But there are some cases that make you wonder if there is such a thing as ghosts, or what the "Ghost Hunters" call "paranormal."

Take one of the most mind-boggling cases — a secluded island lighthouse in Florida called St. Augustine. A very audible "help me" is whispered several times as TAPS make their way up and down the flights of stairs while a mysterious black shadow "peeks" over the railing at the film crew. That's trippy.

I might be easily persuaded by the dramatic music and crew commentary, and I do realize that a TV show can be easily edited. I choose, however, to take TAPS at their word and believe their evidence is authentic, especially since they have disproved so many other supposed hauntings.

Other paranormal shows like A&E's "Paranormal State" are not nearly as believable. The "paranormal specialists" of "Paranormal State" are a handful of college students who have all had questionable ghostly experiences.

The leader, Ryan, adds an ominous overtone to the show by speaking into a voice recorder and playing it back for his voiceovers. No matter where the crew goes, they manage to find a ghost. An exorcism is almost always necessary. The show proves that if you're looking for it, you're bound to find it if you can't open your mind to other explanations.

I'm not sure if I believe in ghosts. Outside of a few Ouija Board experiences in junior high — all of which mysteriously happened with one particular friend — nothing inexplicable has happened to me.

More than anything, I think paranormal activity is just that — outside of what we consider normal. Just because we can't explain something it doesn't make it something to fear.

Just because we can't explain the shadowy figure in the corner or the touch on our shoulder doesn't make it paranormal or even scary. Perhaps a thousand years from now, our idea of ghosts will be laughable and explained easily by scientific evidence.

Though, at the same time, I hope ghosts go unexplained for one reason.

Friends of mine like to talk about how when they die, they plan to terrorize people with their haunting by hitting them and saying mean things. I just plan to hug people after my buddies scare the shenanigans out of them.

Yeah, I'm going to make an awesome ghost.

Being invisible has its advantages. I'd TAPS that. Send me your theories at:

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