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Haunt-ing for real reporting

October 23, 2008
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This is the time of year that otherwise respectable news outlets begin publishing or broadcasting stories about haunted houses--not just the "guy jumps out at you with a chainsaw" haunted houses but also the allegedly real ones. 

Problem is, many of these reports don't bother with the "allegedly."

As an editor at other publications, I can't tell you the number of times freelancers have pitched me on stories about "real haunted houses." I can, however, tell you the percentage of times I rejected the stories and questioned the writers' journalistic credibility.

At least in today's Indy.com, writer Amy Bartner--doing a tag along with members of the Indy Ghost Hunters at the allegedly huanted Hannah House--says she "didn't get the evidence I needed to fully believe."

Well, of course she didn't. Despite all of the news coverage of the supernatural, nobody has ever proven that ghosts exist. If they did, James Randi's Foundation would have payed them a cool million dollars. (See his offer, here.)

By the way, Randi, a professional magician and MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant recipient who has championed the cause of rationality by debunking phony faith healers, spoon-benders, etc., will be speaking at Butler University in April. More information here.

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