Post details: Historic Sites - Bring out your dead!


Permalink 10:25:00 am, by Email , 1242 words   English (CA)
Categories: Paranormal Stuff, Day Tripping & Travel

Historic Sites - Bring out your dead!

You would think with SOME people who run historic sites that talking about or even acknowledging their ghostly legends would cause the clouds to open up around the globe and a heavy rain of India Ink to descend to the Earth below.

This is largely due to the CSICOPian (pardon me, "Crime Scene Investigations" now,) stupidity of teaching SUPPOSED "learned men" (HAHAHAHAHA!) that acknowledging their ghostly stuff will "muddy the historical waters". They toss out that NO scientist would EVER acknowledge the existence of ghosts and that people will come for the ghosts, not the history.

Pardon me but WHAT A CROCK OF CRAP!

First of all, I've covered the MYTH that science says ghosts do not exist. Science does NOT say that ghosts do not exist... science merely states that there is as of yet no empirical evidence of the existence of ghosts... and as Dr. Carl Sagan, noted "so called sceptic", used to like to say, Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence. for "muddying the historical waters" and people "only coming for the ghosts"... think hard...

The BEST ghost stories are not actually "ghost" stories... they are just stories that END with the words and since then, his/her ghosts has been seen...

This means you TELL THE STORY FIRST!

Also, when you have a story that's fanciful or truly in the realm of fiction/mythos/folklore, then tell the story ('cuz you KNOW everyone's going to hear it anyway!) and point out the historical flaws!

Remember: People like to look smart... and if you teach them the truth behind a fable, they LOVE to correct people with the facts. This is why Snopes is such a popular website.

Ergo: Sifting through and correcting the historical fact from the myth HELPS people learn the PROPER history.

As an "international example" of this, I did a page up on Torontoghosts about the somewhat recent Hampton Court "ghost video" to allow people to follow along... and in that page, I worked through several myths... Click here to read it... especially the bits about Henry being a fat man and Catherine Howard's run to the Chapel Royal.

Now, if THIS wasn't enough to convince you, try this experiment...

Bring in a classroom full of ten to twelve year olds, sit them on a bench in a historic site and talk about the lives and "comings" and "goings" of a particular site...

Within a few minutes, you'll have a whackload of bored, squirming children.

Now, sit them down and say, "Let me tell you about the GHOSTS of this site."

You will end up with a group enraptured with every word you have to say.

Use this attention to TELL the "ghost stories"... and ENSURE that there's enough historical data and fact that they actually (GASP!) learn something.

Now, you might THINK "using the ghosts" to "sell" a site is cheap... but is it? If it gets kids interested... and they drag their parents with them... and THEY become "smart" because they know the "facts"... what's cheap about that?

Face facts, historic site folks... most historic sites have a ghostly legend or two... and people know them... and re-tell them... and usually "embellish" them... and then cause MORE confusion. This is because many of you largely ignore them or won't discuss them...

Now, re-read the above and tell me what a BAD idea it is to possibly utilize them to help teach history?

Want an example? Okay...

A long while back, a woman wrote to us at Torontoghosts assured that she had NOT seen a "proper ghost"... you see, she had been at Old Fort York in Toronto and thought she saw an oddly dressed man. It was "after hours" when the fort's gates (not buildings) are sometimes left open to allow pedestrians access from Bathurst Avenue and Strachan Avenue and Garrison Road.

She was walking through the fort and saw a man in a "funny hat" and uniform resting near one of the buildings. She recognized the hat as a shako but the uniform perplexed her... it was not red (for the British Red Coats) or blue (American)... but green.

She decided to have a surreptitious closer look, but she took her eyes off the man for a second and when she looked back, he was gone. Vanished. In her own words, there's no WAT he could run or walk away fast enough.

Still, she was bothered... he was NOT dressed like a soldier and she wrote to us very confused.

I responded by telling her that although there were indeed British and American rifle regiments that wore green tunics, none of them, to the best of my knowledge, were stationed at Fort York.

...that said...

I introduced her to a regiment that was at Fort York during the battle that took place in 1813... The Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles.

The "Glens" were a Canadian group of well trained militia raised in Glengarry Township in what is now Ontario and stationed in York.

The "Glens" lost many men at The Battle of York... and they did, indeed, wear rifle-green uniforms (despite using muskets, not rifles...)

Thanks to the Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles Website for the image above...

In telling the above story, you now know there was a battle in Toronto with the Americans in 1813. You now know that rifle companies wore green uniforms, not scarlet or blue tunics. You now know that the exception to this rule in Ontario was The Glengarry Light Infantry.

...and you'll probably retain much of this.


Now, considering I held TWO big events at Fort York and had people that were "life-long Toronto residents" asking for DIRECTIONS to the fort...

...but they came for the ghosts.

I suppose they now know garbage.

...considering they probably know more about the fort, the people in it, and the battles and what happened in them/after them than 75% of the tourists who come in and simply see "funny hats", "red coats", and canons.

...but what do I know? I'm an amateur, right?

Best to continue with the tried, true, and tired regiment of running through dates, names, clothing styles, and whatever the historic flavour of the day is... why try to get people interested in the past of their city, right?


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Comment from: MQ [Visitor] Email
OOO! The ghost was wearing green! Just like the bus!

Why did his clothes travel to the other side with him? Were they alive too? With little clothing souls that cling to their master after his death? Oh, I get it. The ghostly clothes stuck to the ghostly figure because they were important to him in life. I wonder then, why wasn't he accompanied by his wife, children, dog and everything else important to him? What's that? You say he was wearing the green uniform because that's what he was wearing when he died? Oh, yes, that makes MUCH more sense. You can't get any more scientific than that.

You claim to stick within the scientific method in your "investigations," but as a firm one-sided believer like you admit, you are no different than the guys at CSICOP (exept that you begin from the wrong, but romantic, position of woo-woo pusher).

Also, it's hard to take you seriously when you promote telling ghost stories as a away to bring out the real facts, and then say how ghost stories get changed, embellished and add to the confusion IN THE VERY NEXT SENTENCE! I realize your point was to highlight that bringing the story out in the open to begin with allows for less embellishment and changes, but that doesn't matter one bit when the original story is bunko to begin with. Promoting false information first to slip in some real facts later is the wrong way to educate people. It's like teaching children to smoke to better illustrate the dangers of illegal drugs. You should be ashamed of yourself.

I won't waste my time fully explaining why you are blinded, misguided and a danger to children all over the world, but I will add that the first thing I would change about your blog would be to put your picture above the Lionel Jeffries song and change the words to "Douche with a capital D"
PermalinkPermalink 05/08/07 @ 10:27
Comment from: Admin [Member] Email ·
Hello MQ... Well, what I see making the difference between us and CSICOP (now CSI) is that I didn't assume the witness was a "woo-woo" or "douche".

Can you show me where I said the soldier in green was a "ghost"? I must have missed that... I do believe I simply pointed out that SOME soldiers in the American War of 1812 wore green... so it's not unusual.

CONSIDERING had you followed the links, you would have noticed that The Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles (re-enactors) often are at Fort York, you might have suggested what I did to the witness... contact them with the date and see if one of the re-enactors was at the fort. (Speaking of which, they did and no, there was no known re-enactor on the site... but I never said it wasn't a possibility...)

Nah, why look into things... much better to call a witness a "woo-woo" and a "douche", right?

Why are ghosts "dressed"? We don't know... but witnesses have always seen them that way... for the most part... for all of recorded history... millions of 'em... so are they all lying? All mistaken? All "woo-woos" and "douches"? Perhaps you're working off a single "hypothesis" as to what a ghost is... I don't remember EVER saying a "ghost" was the spirit of a dead person... because, quite frankly, I DON'T KNOW! No one does! Not even those who say it's all bunk as they have no evidence to back up THAT claim. Sagan stole "Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence" from Marcello Truzzi... who wished he hadn't said it... instead, he wished he'd said, "Claims Require Evidence". Can you show me the evidence to back up the claim that all people who witness/experience "weird things" are "woo-woos" and "douches"? Can you PROVE to me it's all bunk? I can't prove it isn't, which is why I don't make any claims as to "what" things are beyond saying it's a hypothesis.

Do you have an answer that you can back up with appropriate scientific evidence that I can repeat and test?

Also, you confuse a "witness report" with a "ghost story"... A "story" is just that... a story. People's perceptions ALWAYS colour events... and when "retold" and "retold", yes, you often get embellishments... in my humble opinion, it's UP TO THE HISTORIANS to document the truth with the appropriate evidence... thus busting the story.

TRUTH AND FACT is the people "see" or "experience" weird things... even the worst at our friends at Skeptics Canada agree with that... the job then becomes sorting the witness perception from the events... then looking for likely natural causation... then looking into what might be the truth or, preferably, is the truth of the situation. This cannot be done if one goes into a situation with a predetermined outcome based on a speculative hypothesis.

I also take offense to "promoting false information"... How is telling folklore than going through the real history and why (or why not) the folklore doesn't stand up to scrutiny "false"? Are you saying that all folklore is baseless?

As for being "blinded, misguided and a danger to children all over the world", that is a matter of opinion... and one you are in the minority about... I deal in science, you deal in the Church of Non-Belief of Our Lady of Non-Acceptance of Any Hypothesis Outside Our Beliefs and Philosophies as well as doing your research and investigation by proclamation... "Hypothesis" and "Evidence" (or lack thereof) do not enter into your scheme obviously... but hey, what do I know... I'm a "woo-woo", a "douche", and a "blinded, misguided danger to children all over the world", right?

Sorry, but you're typical... If you can't attack the data, attack the people.

You mentioned I should be "ashamed" of myself... I am... for wasting so many pixels on someone who obviously doesn't have a background in history, folklore, or real science.
PermalinkPermalink 05/08/07 @ 12:06
Comment from: administration [Member] Email ·
Hahaha!!! This is funny! My 11 year old just yesterday corrected her teacher on a Canadian historical fact, which the teacher was not only surprised, but delighted to learn coming from a pupil yet! And yes, she loves ghost stories too! Silly, silly MQ. Even children these days know how to debate without resorting to ugly name-calling ... while anonymously hiding behind their computer screen.
PermalinkPermalink 05/08/07 @ 12:26
Comment from: administration [Member] Email ·
I guess all those Scholastic children's books in the school library relating "true" ghost stories should be burned too eh! Again, I'm mildly amused .. :)
PermalinkPermalink 05/08/07 @ 12:34
Comment from: MQ [Visitor] Email
From your FAQs: "Yes, we're both woo-woos"

Clears that up.

Apologies for the douch thing, though. I hadn't had my coffee yet, and was admittedly trying to provoke a response. A little brash of me.

However, your story about the vanishing soldier was presented as a ghost story, not as a witness account. As such, the reader has to assume that you meant to imply the soldier was a ghost.

Listen: no one is disputing that people experience weird things. But, if you take each experience one at a time, and place them in "piles," you would have three piles. Pile one would be: we know what that is, it's explainable, and it's not paranormal.

Pile two would be: we don't know what that is, and we can't explain it.

Pile three would be: we know what that is, it's explainable, and it IS paranormal.

The problem is, that in all of history, nothing has ever been placed in pile three. Nothing. Ever. Every weird experience is either rationally explained or it isn't. The unexplained must stay in pile two until proof nudges it to pile one or three. But nothing ever gets moved to pile three on solid proof.

Now you have three piles in front of you. Pile one is heaping, pile two is heaping, and pile three is completely empty. Am I getting through to you? Do you see how unlikely it is, even with millions of believers working feverishly for proof, that anything will ever be proven to be paranormal?

The best they can do is point out that we don't have the answer. But, unfortunately, many people take the erroneous stance that if something is unexplainable, it's proof that it's paranormal. But you can't say "we don't know what caused this, so therefore it was caused by..."

We don't know what the UFO was, so therefore it's a craft from Mars (could be from Venus, or Andromeda, or the military).

We don't know why there's a cold spot in the room, therefore it's a ghost (could be explained several ways, just hasn't been).

We don't know what left these tracks in the snow, therefore it's Bigfoot (or a hoax, another animal, sinkholes, uneven melting, etc.)

The point is, physically capture the alian, ghost, or Sasquatch and bring it out in public, or don't bandy about these claims or promote them as viable explainations.

And, of course, you ask for me to prove a negative when you demand that I prove it's all bunk. If I claimed that a tiny purple elf stole cookies from my cupbord when no one was looking, and then asked you to prove the elf didn't exist, would your inability to do so lend any weight to my claim? Of course not.

As for lamenting your promotion of misinformation, I stand by my conviction. If children don't want to learn about historical sites, then yes, ghost stories will get them there. But they won't retain the factual information because THEY DON'T WANT TO LEARN ABOUT HISTORICAL SITES TO BEGIN WITH. What they will retain is the ghost story. And when Old Fort Niagara comes up in the classroom, the first thing a child will do is nudge the classmates nearest to him and say, "that place is haunted. I know, I was there." Now the other children will deflect the teacher's lessons about history, and sit poised waiting to hear about the ghosts. When they should be concentrating on dates, historical figures and battles, they will instead be running over ghostly questions to ask the teacher. The lesson is lost, nothing is learned, and the minds of a half dozen children have been poisoned by one student who was tricked into hearing facts sprinkled throughout copious amounts of folklore.

The paranormal is fun when you know it's fiction. I'm a huge fan of the X Files, Heroes, and Harry Potter (ok, not so huge on Potter), but when children take a guided tour of a historic site, they expect to be told the truth by the trusted tour guide--the one in the position of authority. This is not the venue to offer questionable stories as historical fact.

And as for the terms "hypothesis" and "evidence," you should really consult a dictionary. I don't need to have a background in folklore, history, or science (although my college transcript would show varying amounts of instruction in all three) to see you unabashedly promoting the paranormal while hiding behind the disguise of "I'm not making any claims."

Here is an example of someone who is not making any claims either: "Goin' swimming, huh? People say there are sharks in that water. Myself, I don't know. But people say that there's a big grey one that eats people. Never seen it myself. Yup. Big grey one, with lots of teeth. Many people said they saw it eat their friends right up. The screaming was said to be awful. Never saw it myself, not making any claims. Goin' swimmig, huh? You just do what you think is best..."

Of course, one glance into the backyard pool will dispel that myth, but just repeating the unproven claim is enough to make the gullible hesitate.

That's what you do in a nutshell: Throw it out there for the gullible to swallow. But then, it's not your fault when teenagers desecrate cemetaries on ghost hunts. After all, you made no claims...
PermalinkPermalink 05/08/07 @ 14:31
Comment from: administration [Member] Email ·
"But then, it's not your fault when teenagers desecrate cemetaries on ghost hunts. After all, you made no claims..."

So blame us, and not the perpetrators of the crime??? Sorry I refuse to accept responsibility for others bad behaviour. My father's cemetery was desecrated two years ago, it was the worst in this city's history with over 200 markers destroyed. It ripped out my family's hearts all over again. And no these people were not doing this because of a ghost story they may have heard, I can only assume they got some sick pleasure from it. Please place blame where it belongs -> criminals.

As for provoking a response you can do so without the name calling - you'll still get your reply at least here. We can, and do respect many people that we do not always agree with. The current and former chairs of Sceptics Canada are personal friends of ours, and are always welcome in my home, yet on many things in regards to the "paranormal" we agree to just disagree.

PermalinkPermalink 05/08/07 @ 15:21
Comment from: MQ [Visitor] Email
Of course the criminals should be blamed. But no one breaks into old houses or tresspasses into cemetaries to hunt for unicorns. Why? Because no one gives any serious blog space to the idea that unicorns might live in those places. It's the perpetuation of the unprovable claims that gives rise to the disrespectful actions.

Look at these "psychics" detectives. None have ever demonstrated their power to anyone's satisfaction, but they continue to rake in millions of dollars from the gullible because of the press they're given. Simply writing about the possibility of their claims as truth lends them an air of credibility.

I hope you get your bus. I got a kick out of riding on the top level in both Ireland and England.
PermalinkPermalink 05/08/07 @ 15:37
Comment from: administration [Member] Email ·
MQ -> Yes, those shows are dreadful, and I agree with you to a point. One reason we have gone out of our way to say over and over again cemeteries are not haunted ....but being neutral or attempting to stay agnostic puts us in a position of not being too popular with the die-hard sceptics, nor the ultra believers. From my own experience as a parent I can say this my kids were raised with the possibility that there may be something to this, one is pretty neutral, the middle an absolute sceptic that enjoys debunking said shows, and the last leaning towards woo woo. None of them have ever desecrated a cemetery or destroyed property, I'd like to think because I raised them better then that. Ahhhh but that is a separate issue...

Thank you for your well wishes with the bus, and your last few comments were you made sense to me ....
PermalinkPermalink 05/08/07 @ 16:32

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