Proof Out There for Paranormal?

I get a big kick out of watching TV shows about the paranormal, and I’ve seen something weird happening in the past few weeks. I watch a couple of programs fairly regularly: The Proof is Out There hosted by Tony Harris, and Paranormal Caught on Camera.

They both have roughly similar formats. They solicit videos of the weird from viewers and provide commentary from a panel of experts. Usually the Proof Panel has physicists, anthropologists, video processing pros and other scientists assessing the evidence. The Paranormal Panel is usually made up of those with such titles as Paranormal Investigator, Paranormal Researcher, Folklorist, Dowsing Rod Salesman, and Bigfoot Personal Trainer.

I’ve seen the same 3 videos evaluated on both shows. That was puzzling. Do the people submitting the videos lose all rights to their videos? Anyway, all 3 were validated by the Paranormal Panel, and all 3 were debunked by the Proof Panel.

The first video is of an alleged Yeti running across a snow-covered road in Russia. The Paranormal Panel members all seemed in favor of calling the creature an unknown cryptid, probably a Yeti. However, the Proof Panel members thought it was a hoax, even saying that the observers who made the video started yelling “Moose, Moose, Moose!” seconds before the creature was even visible. One Proof Panel member went so far as to suggest the video makers were in cahoots with a guy in a monkey suit. She also pointed out that the “creature” tripped over the edge of the road, something a real Yeti probably wouldn’t do. The Paranormal Panel validated the video. The Proof Panel debunked it.

The 2nd video was of some animal streaking across the yard of the person who caught the image on a home security camera. It was incredibly blurred and appeared to be dragging something. It was the middle of the night. The Paranormal Panel basically agreed with the person who shot the video, saying that it was probably some kind of dinosaur. The Proof Panel said there was a lot of smearing artifact in the video and that it was probably a dog running across the lawn, dragging its leash behind it. Once again, the Paranormal Panel validated it and the Proof Panel debunked it.

The 3rd video was a shot of something big, possibly an aquatic animal, making a big wave somewhere off the Florida coast and racing toward the boat of the people who shot the video. There wasn’t a lot to see, just a large black shape. The Paranormal Panel validated it as possibly a prehistoric sea monster. The Proof Panel debunked it, saying it was a large snake wrapped around its equally huge prey, attempting to both throttle and eat it, even though the “snake” was not visible.

So, what’s going on here? I like watching these shows because I like mysteries and the unexplained. There a lot of shows like this nowadays. I tend to think of The Proof is Out There with Tony Harris as being the more scientifically based program, but even Tony got fooled by the video shot by somebody speculating it was evidence that reality is a simulation, when in fact it was a cool smartphone camera trick which people have been fooling around with for years.

I think both shows are fun to watch and they’re best thought of as entertainment. What do you think?

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