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More Ghosts PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

It's an old fort, people died there, so it must be haunted. That's the take of at least a few people about the ironically named Fort Caspar in Wyoming.

Manager Rick Young was asked if he thought the fort was haunted. From the Casper Star-Tribune:

"I don't know," he said, "but we've certainly had weird stuff happening. ... There's certainly a lot of history, and a lot of violent history on this land."

So my question is... why are the two things associated? Is there any reason to believe that people living and dying in a place is a reason to have hauntings? And if that were the case, wouldn't every operating room in the country be filled with ghosts?

The Paranormal Research Society of Casper did a study, and recorded "an unknown voice." They also reported that they had trouble keeping batteries fresh in the store at the fort.

I did a "ghost hunt" with Alison Smith at Emily's Bridge in Vermont and encountered the drained-battery syndrome. A camera that I remember charging before we left for the site indicated dead batteries when I tried to use it there.

According to the Paranormal Research Society of Casper:

"We went through three sets of brand-new batteries [for the video camera]," said Lisa Lauderdale with the Paranormal Research Society. "The theory behind it is that ghosts need the energy to manifest."

The theory behind what? Dead batteries? Well here's my theory: I screwed up. Either I didn't actually charge them, or I left the camera turned on and the battery drained in the two hours it took to actually get to the site. Despite that, I could still claim that "recently charged batteries went dead instantly at the allegedly-haunted Emily's Bridge." Why don't I say that? Because it's not the simplest explanation. To say that ghosts drained the batteries is on par with saying that aliens drained them from orbit. Actually, the alien explanation has a bit more evidence to support.

If ghosts drain batteries, and simple experiment could be set up. Buy two sets of AA batteries. Same brand, same manufacture date. Keep one set in a "haunted" location, and keep the other set safe at home.  The next day, compare their voltages or better yet... time how long they power a device, like a flash light.

If, as I suspect, the results were that the batteries had the same amount of power, my guess is that the ghost hunters would have a simple explanation for that. Clearly, ghosts have followed them home.

What prompted this news article in the Casper Star-Tribune? There was a talk on ghosts at the fort, and some reporter decided to cover it. The fort is happy because it brings more people in. The paper is happy because people like reading about ghosts. Those of us who'd like to know the truth need not apply.

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written by jasonhenle, June 02, 2009
Oh yea, ghosts LOOOOOOVE batteries. I live in an old house, and the batteries in my electric razor always are drained because of the ghosts there. There's just not other explanation.
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written by Mark P, June 02, 2009
"Ghosts need energy to manifest" smilies/cheesy.gif

I bet these people have no the foggiest idea of how batteries work. Few people do. They are not accumulators with a stored electric charge, despite what most people think. Batteries harness a chemical reaction in fact. Try cutting one open and locating the "energy" and you will find a bunch of fairly noxious chemicals! (Actually, don't cut one open, they're not nice.)

So, since you can make a battery out of a lemon with a piece of copper and a piece of zinc stuck into it, it would seem that ghosts can harness that. Or they could use a piece of wood -- which produces quite a lot of energy when made to react with the oxygen around (it's called "fire"). So why do the ghosts not just suck the energy sitting all around them in wood? Goodness knows how much energy a ghost could get from the petrol in your car.

Come to that, a rock held above the ground has "energy". (Drop it on your toe, if you don't believe me.)

All this woo because people somehow think a battery is a magical device that stores "energy". Idjits.
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written by shanek, June 02, 2009
I've got a couple of entities in my house that constantly drain batteries. They're called "children."
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written by BillyJoe, June 02, 2009
Mark,

You're jsut using the wrong definition.
Shanek's on the right track though.

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written by MadScientist, June 02, 2009
What was that awful TV show where the bad guys sucked on batteries? You might have those creatures around rather than ghosts. Always have spare batteries and try not to make a habit of charging them at the same time. There have been a few times that I've plugged in a charger but forgot to throw a switch.

I wish I could go ghost hunting - what a great excuse to see new old places!
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I think this comic says it best
written by colin_young, June 02, 2009
http://news.yahoo.com/comics/0...Px2jkC_b4F
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written by Starthinker, June 02, 2009
You guys are looking at it all wrong. Ghosts are from people who died with unfinished business so they would desperately like to finish it and move on. When someone shows up with a camera they aren't sucking energy from the battery, they are overloading the camera. They are trying so hard to get filmed that the camera overloads, the batteries go dead very quickly, and it just appears that the batteries died. I would love to challenge anyone who believes in the "ghosts suck batteries" theory to go to a site with an 8mm film camera. I have several. They operate from a spring, no batteries required. If ghosts suck the spring, you can always crank it by hand. (There's a sentence I never thought I'd type.) So, how about it? Anyone want to contact any of these paranormal research societies and let them know I have the answer to battery sucking ghosts?
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written by bosshog, June 02, 2009
If you're expecting newspapers to tell you the truth you're barking up the wrong tree.
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written by bosshog, June 02, 2009
I have it on good authority that the Caspar Star-Tribune is haunted by the ghost of William Randolph Hearst.
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Vampires
written by Dr.Sid, June 02, 2009
Those were vampires. And no, normal batteries wouldn't work. Only videocam batteries.
As you might know, vampires don't reflect in mirrors. That makes shaving hard and what's more important, imperfect. But these days, there is solution. Videocam.
But charging batteries is complicated. You live in ancient cellar in coffin. There is no electricity there, and if you used cable, it would just tell your 'bedroom' location to everyone. And you just need to have charged camera by hand when you going out for night.
On the other hand, vampires can move really fast, so fast that people usually just wont notice .. if someone for example swaps their batteries for empty ones.
I wouldn't be surprised if those cameras were Sony, because of their night-shot feature. Panasonic batteries would be perfectly safe.
Also I suggest signing your batteries, best would be 'invisible pen' which reveals the label only under UV light (which of course, no vampire would try).
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written by LovleAnjel, June 02, 2009
I hate to say it, but I'm (kind of) okay with the 'spoonful of sugar' approach. So spooks get people in the door, but they end up learning about history/architecture while they're there AND support a local historical site. It's sort of how I feel about MonsterQuest, some of the shows are total crap but many of them, when you get past the melodrama, have a lot of neat science in them (I just watched the one on "Killer Jellyfish").

Does anyone else think the giftshop is selling cheap batteries at a huge markup? I know that when I run my camera with the digital window on the batteries die out in a snap, and the generic batteries last about two nanoseconds.
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written by Pierre8550, June 02, 2009
isnt this where casper the friendly ghost lives? there's your answer
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written by YoPopa, June 02, 2009
Trouble keeping batteries fresh?

Find someone who does NOT have trouble keeping batteries fresh.
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written by CasaRojo, June 02, 2009
"If ghosts suck the spring, you can always crank it by hand. (There's a sentence I never thought I'd type.)"

You've actually considered verbalizing that sentence?
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written by LovleAnjel, June 02, 2009
"There's certainly a lot of history, and a lot of violent history on this land."

As someone once said, "An old lady died everywhere!"
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written by Arts Myth, June 02, 2009
Ghosts apparently suffer from the same problem as Stephen King's Tommyknockers. They used tons of batteries, even having to leave the safety of their town to buy fresh ones, instead of using the electricity coming right into town.

Apart from possible extra heating costs due to cold spots, do haunted houses have mysteriously high electricity bills? Why do ghosts usually disappear when you turn on a light, instead of becoming so much stronger because of the extra energy?
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written by CasaRojo, June 02, 2009
"They used tons of batteries, even having to leave the safety of their town to buy fresh ones, instead of using the electricity coming right into town."

Ghosts can only tap into DC current apparently. What'd ghosts do before the energizer bunny was around? And they can't use any type of magnetic energy either obviously. Ghosts must follow strict rules. Like only disclosing themselves to highly imaginative people or folks that are in a heightened emotional state. It's rule #1 in your handbook o' woo.
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written by chillzero, June 02, 2009
http://comics.com/get_fuzzy/2009-05-23/

smilies/cheesy.gif
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What about EMF, IR, EVP, EIEIO, WD40, etc, etc?
written by Metatron, June 02, 2009
I got into this samme thing in my hometown newspaper when they published an article about "ghost hunters" investigating a 20 year old hotel.

Believers simply will not allow themselves to be reasoned with, I am convinced. They seem to WANT to believe in the unbelievable. I think a large portion of that is their emotional investment in their own beliefs. No one wants to admit they've been tricked or put their belief in something later shown to be dead wrong.
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written by tctheunbeliever, June 02, 2009
The answer for the well-groomed vampire? Closed-circuit TV and webcams. They just have to learn to shave backwards. Do they really have to shave? Yeah, everybody knows the dead keep growing hair! And the right brand will give you energy AND positive vibrations.
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written by Marcus, June 02, 2009
I may be suffering from confirmation bias, but I tend to find that batteries in my cameras underperform when it's cold. If this is a real phenomenon (and not me being nuts), maybe the notoriously underheated nature of the big old piles reputed to house spectres may have something to do with the battery "draining" phenomenon.
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written by Mark P, June 02, 2009
I may be suffering from confirmation bias, but I tend to find that batteries in my cameras underperform when it's cold.


Most chemical reactions are slowed by cold. The rule of thumb is for every 5 degrees Centigrade solder a reaction goes at half the rate. Battery reactions are no exception.

This affects current, not voltage, but yes a battery will have less power when cold.

In fact they may appear "drained" when cold, but work perfectly fine when warmed up again. Entirely non-spectral though.
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written by Mark P, June 02, 2009
five degrees colder, not solder smilies/shocked.gif
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Most?
written by BillyJoe, June 03, 2009
Most chemical reactions are slowed by cold.
Are there any that aren't?
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written by bigdoggy, June 03, 2009
Most chemical reactions are slowed by cold.
Are there any that aren't?

How about freezing?
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written by Seeker of Truth, June 03, 2009
Freezing is a physical process, not a chemical reaction.
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Cold batteries
written by gopiballava, June 05, 2009
My Nikon film camera had a chart for different types of batteries and temperatures. It told you how many rolls of film you could shoot with each type. At the colder temperatures, non-alkaline batteries supposedly wouldn't even last a single roll.
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written by Fry, June 05, 2009
Having moved out of Casper last January I feel the need to add a couple comments to this. It is the town that is ironically named/spelt since it was named after Fort Caspar but was misspelled. The Casper Star Tribune (known mostly as the trib) isn’t a very respected paper even by some of it’s writers. I don’t know if it is because of the name of the city or not but ghosts are pretty popular there and the minor league baseball team of the city is the Casper Ghosts. I am pretty sure the Paranormal Research Society of Casper is pretty busy since I have been told that many of the buildings there are haunted, including the less than a decade old Old Chicago. There might be something to that since I have violently killed several beers there and have also seen several others do the same.
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written by Fry, June 05, 2009
Also one could argue that the weathering of ultramafic rocks such as olivine is a chemical reaction sped up by cooling.
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written by BillyJoe, June 05, 2009
Also one could argue that the weathering of ultramafic rocks such as olivine is a chemical reaction sped up by cooling.
One could, but one would be wrong. smilies/wink.gif

Mechanical weathering to release the olivine particles can be sped up by cycles of heating and cooling, but the subsequent chemical weathering of the olivine particles is slowed down by cooling.

BJ
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written by Fry, June 08, 2009
If they took that approach they would indeed be wrong but weathering is a pretty broad term. It is usually just thrown out as a simple way to say rock/mineral destruction. I was thinking more about mineral stability. Bowens reaction series tells us more than just what minerals form first. It also shows us from top to bottom what minerals will chemically weather first and from bottom to top which ones will melt first. It is a great guide for mineral stability. Olivine is at the top of the discontinuous series and is stable at high temperatures and pressures. Although there is some wiggle room between pressure and temperature in mineral stability/formation I don’t think it really applies to this argument. So as temperature decreases a mole of olivine will be less and less stable and will try move to a more stable configuration. There are many ways this can happen and with olivine the most common is to form serpentine but I digress. The key here is to understand the less stable a substance is the more reactive it is. Granted in the example given the effect isn’t very noticeable within the realm of temperature we experience (if I remember correctly olivine is stable around 1200 C at 1 ATM but I could be way off) nor the time frame most people are comfortable dealing with but the effect is still there. So the decrease in temperature making them more chemically reactive would apply to all silicates on Bowens reaction series with the obvious exception of quartz. I am not sure but I would imagine it has to do with the lower energy allowing more bonds to form between the silicate tetrahedra making less room for the Fe and Mg which would then be kicked out so having a mole of it instead of a molecule would be necessary. I’ll have to get back to you on that.
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written by Fry, June 08, 2009
sorry for the long winded response
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written by BillyJoe, June 09, 2009
Fry,

Is the serpentinisation of olivine actually a chemical reaction. To me it sounds more like the olivine breaks down and is gradually replaced by a serpentine crystallising within the amorphous break down products of olivine.

BJ
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written by BillyJoe, June 09, 2009
...ie it sounds more like a phase transition.
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written by Fry, June 09, 2009
It depends on if you want to call oxidizing or hydrolysis a chemical reaction since these are the two main ways serpentinization occurs (depending upon which end member you are dealing with) - though I have to admit the whole argument is on pretty shaky grounds because I am (I mean uhh a person who wanted to try to argue this point is) using a shift in a equilibrium ratio to make the chemical reactions. So a counterargument that calls it a phase change could be made but would need some pretty fancy verbage.
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garbage or verbiage? :D
written by BillyJoe, June 10, 2009
Oh well, maybe we should take a half point each and retreat with a half pint while the going is good. smilies/smiley.gif
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written by Fry, June 10, 2009
deal! Though I think I am going to round up my half a pint
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