Irreverent Skeptics Podcast Episode 17 – I Ain’t Afraid o’ No Ghosts

On April 12, 2014, we talked about SPOOKY GHOSTS! McElroy related his experiences on a ghost hunt and in a seance, Bohler talked about the tools of the trade, Jon described some of the “world’s most haunted places,” and more. Take a listen! Also check out the outtake for this episode… we had a bit of a false start.

No, seriously. Ghosts.

No, seriously. Ghosts.

Show notes:

What the effen hades IS a ghost?: Essentially a disembodied spirit of a deceased person or animal. Manifesting themselves as orbs, vortexes, invisible presences, transparent forms, physical forms and … other stuff, I guess. Ghosts are often “noticed” by someone who has had an association with the spirit in its living state. Ghosts in more popular stories seem to retain some characteristics of their past life. Replaying scenes or performing tasks that were associated with them.

Evidence of Ghosts:

“This portrait of “The Brown Lady” ghost is arguably the most famous and well-regarded ghost photograph ever taken. The ghost is thought to be that of Lady Dorothy Townshend, wife of Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount of Raynham, residents of Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England in the early 1700s. It was rumored that Dorothy, before her marriage to Charles, had been the mistress of Lord Wharton. Charles suspected Dorothy of infidelity. Although according to legal records she died and was buried in 1726, it was suspected that the funeral was a sham and that Charles had locked his wife away in a remote corner of the house until her death many years later.

Dorothy’s ghost is said to haunt the oak staircase and other areas of Raynham Hall. In the early 1800s, King George IV, while staying at Raynham, saw the figure of a woman in a brown dress standing beside his bed. She was seen again standing in the hall in 1835 by Colonel Loftus, who was visiting for the Christmas holidays. He saw her again a week later and described her as wearing a brown satin dress, her skin glowing with a pale luminescence. It also seemed to him that her eyes had been gouged out. A few years later, Captain Frederick Marryat and two friends saw “the Brown Lady” gliding along an upstairs hallway, carrying a lantern. As she passed, Marryat said, she grinned at the men in a “diabolical manner.” Marryat fired a pistol at the apparition, but the bullet simply passed through.This famous photo was taken in September, 1936 by Captain Provand and Indre Shira, two photographers who were assigned to photograph Raynham Hall for Country Life magazine. This is what happened, according to Shira:

 “Captain Provand took one photograph while I flashed the light. He was focusing for another exposure; I was standing by his side just behind the camera with the flashlight pistol in my hand, looking directly up the staircase. All at once I detected an ethereal veiled form coming slowly down the stairs. Rather excitedly, I called out sharply: ‘Quick, quick, there’s something.’ I pressed the trigger of the flashlight pistol. After the flash and on closing the shutter, Captain Provand removed the focusing cloth from his head and turning to me said: ‘What’s all the excitement about?'”

Upon developing the film, the image of The Brown Lady ghost was seen for the first time. It was published in the December 16, 1936 issue of Country Life. The ghost has been seen occasionally since.”


“Family Activity Attracts Ghost” (according to

  • “”Not sure if this is a ghost by the cage but it sure gave us a fright when we saw the photo! The picture was taken last summer on August 2nd, 2013.  The little girl standing on the trampoline is my daughter and the little boy running near the ghostly figure is my son.  Could our yard be haunted? Any help you can offer would be much appreciated.”


Ghost Hunting, you say?: (it bears noting that the show is called Ghosthunters, not Ghostfinders)

Recommended watching – Penn & Teller: Bullshit! Season 3 Episode 10 “Ghost Busters”. With appearances by Nobel prize winning physicist, Dr. Frank Wilczek and Dr. Steven Novella, who is a clinical neurologist, assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine, co-founder of the New England Skeptical Society, columnist for the New Haven Advocate, a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, author of the Neurologica blog, and the host/organizer of the ever famous Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast. Holy fuck is that guy busy!!


Some spooooky haunted places:

  • Traverse City State Hospital. Traverse City, MI.
  • Eastern State Penitentiary – Philadelphia, PA.
  • Waverly Hills Sanitorium – Louisville, KY
  • Tower of London (obviously)
  • Island of the Dolls – Xochimilco, Mexico
  • Old Changi Hospital – Changi, Singapore



Polish Priest Warns of the Satanic Influence of Legos

A Polish priest has warned parents to be on their guard against Lego, warning the plastic blocks are a tool of Satan and can “destroy” children’s souls.

In a presentation aimed at parents, Father Slawomir Kostrzewa said the popular Danish toy company had taken a lurch to the dark side with its series of Monster Fighters and Zombie mini-figures, and that they “were about darkness and the world of death”.

The slideshow also speaks of the evil of Disney’s “Gay Days,” the “satanic band KISS”, and new plans for expanded and improved sex education in Polish schools.

“Friendly fellows have been replaced by dark monsters,” he explained. “These toys can have a negative effect on children. They can destroy their souls and lead them to the dark side.”

The priest also cited research by New Zealand’s University of Canterbury that found the facial expressions of Lego figures have also become angrier over the years, and that this compounded their evil potential.

“Facial expressions may be lead to confusion between good and evil,” said Father Kostrzewa. “It appears the good suffer in battle and the ‘villains’ have a face showing satisfaction with their evil deeds.”

But the claims that Lego blocks are becoming the work of the devil was dismissed by at least one expert.

Father Kostrzewa’s attack on Lego is not the first time he has accused toys of harbouring evil. Hello Kitty and My Little Pony have also come under his scrutiny, with the latter being described as a “carrier of death”.

First English source – Telegraph article, dated April 1 (so I thought it was a joke)

Polish tabloid source, dated March 25

Original source: the priest’s crazy presentation on a Polish Catholic blog, dated June 20, 2013


rPope asks forgiveness for ‘evil’ of child abuse by priests: From Reuters


Pakistani 9 month-old baby charged with attempted murder: During protests of gas cuts and price hikes, people stoned police and gas company employees while attempting to collect on bills due. Baby Musa Khan appeared in court in the city of Lahore, along with his father and grandfather who were also charged. The baby apparently was charged because an assistant sub-inspector complained in a crime report that Musa’s whole family beat him up and injured his head.

It bears noting that the case against the child was very quickly thrown out of court. The relatives have expressed concern of facing reprisals from the police and “land mafia” who originally brought the charges against them.


Links and Attributions

Understanding The Different Types of Ghosts

Ghost – Wikipedia


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