When it comes to news reporting on the allegedly supernatural, cable news tends to be hit or miss insofar as offering a skeptical, investigative view. CNN racks up a pretty solid miss in this report on a supposed ghost caught on a gas station surveillance camera. It offers classy theories like “old Indian Reservation” and “angels” that the reporter claims are turning “non-believers” into “believers.” The closest to any down-to-earth skepticism is some kids’ shouting that it looks like a blue plastic bag.
I know “investigative reporter” is just a anachronism when applied to cable news personalities, but wouldn’t this story have been more interesting if the reporter had, you know, actually tried to figure out what was going on by testing different theories or maybe at least tried to learn something more substantial about optics? I mean, it’s not like this is front page news, but if you are going to spend an hour or two driving out to Parma and wandering around a gas station with a camera, why not make the most of it?
Because whatever it is, it seems pretty obvious from the shadowing and blurriness that the blue blob is something very small and very close to the lens of the camera: not, as the breathless reporter claims, resting on car windshields and flying around the pumps, but instead moving around directly in front of the camera lens. It would be pretty darn easy to test this out with some blue fuzz, or even a shiny dead insect (which might reflect blue because of the lighting). But I guess it would also take more effort than walking down the snack aisle yammering into a microphone.