Is The Saskatchewan Science Center Haunted?

Collette from the Saskatchewan Science Center has been on Regina radio and has this post on the center’s website about ghosts and how the center may be haunted.  I appreciate the Science Center’s attempt to market itself, but it is disappointing that they are doing this in such a credulous and unscientific way.

For example:

So, apparently we have three ghosts. There’s a little boy who cries on Space Stadium Stage (oh, that’s sad!), a man who stands in the jaws of the entrance of the Critter Cave, and another little boy who wears a conductors hat and walks back and forth on the third floor. That boy is apparently so well known and has been seen often enough that teachers ask about him and wonder how he’s doing and if he’s still around. Neat!

and

[. . .] I was very skeptical until Daya told me that she was once going from one side of the building to the other to meet a pizza delivery driver who was bringing them a late night snack. She and another Science Explorer were working late because there was a group sleeping over here for a Camp-in. All the lights, and breakers, were off as they walked over to get the pizza. As they walked back along under a row of pot lights, the lights started turning on one by one. They’d pass a light and ting, the light would turn on. Pass another light and ting, that would go on too. It did that all the way along the hallway…tingtingting… until they got to the end, where they all then turned off at the same time! Creepy! That one sends shivers down my spine.

Ghost stories have been around forever.  They are much loved by children and adults alike.  Even those of us who see little evidence and no known mechanism for ghosts and ghouls can enjoy such stories.

It is clear that people have these experiences and it is interesting and fun to listen to their stories.  It just seems a shame that rather than credulously accepting the stories and seemingly jumping to the conclusion that ghosts exist, that any number of wonderful science topics were missed.

Why not discuss how stories change over time as someone retells them.  Or as Colleen has done-retold by someone else.  Do the stories you tell you friends get “better” over time.  Why not ask why we like scary stories.  Why are we predisposed to turn things on the edge of perception into monsters and threats.  What are the possible evolutionary advantages of this? Why are we generally afraid of the dark?  Why is that when ghosts seem to show up?

Are some people more likely to see ghosts?  Do certain people have a greater capacity to see patterns than others?  Why does Daya have a bunch of ghost stories but not the current staff?

If there really are ghost how would we detect them?  Does the center have video cameras?  Are they showing up in the videos?

Can physics explain a ghost?  What would have to be true for ghosts to exist?  What contradictions would the existence of ghosts create?

What do ghost stories tell us about psychology? Why would some ghosts be good and others evil?  Why do some people adamantly believe in them and others just as adamantly do not?

Instead of being a fluffy marketing piece this could have been an opportunity to introduce a myriad of questions and learning, which seems more inline with the mission of the science center.

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2 Responses to “Is The Saskatchewan Science Center Haunted?”

  1. Excellent! Hopefully we’ll get to deliver this sort of message to the science centre staff directly when we visit this weekend

  2. Hi there, thanks for your comment on my recent blog post, and your re-posting of it here. I thought your comment was a pretty good one, and it was taken under consideration.

    Yesterday I posted a new blog entry. Feel free to check it out and comment again. http://www.sasksciencecentre.com/blog/TheScienceofGhosts.html

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