Unhaunting a house

Unhaunting a house

Unhaunting a house

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Sept. 12 2012 11:00 AM

Unhaunting a house

One of the major problems with skepticism is that many times it's used as a blunt object. Smashing someone over their head with facts rarely if ever changes their mind, and can even make them dig in even more.

Sometimes, most times, a more subtle approach is warranted. That's why I was so tickled to get an email from my sister (hi Marci!) about a page on an advice website called Manage My Life. The page in question is called Cures for a Haunted House, and starts off this way:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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Fall is here, the leaves are changing, the nights are growing long, and something is happening inside your home. Your neck prickles in certain rooms. Doors open by themselves. Strange noises come from inside the walls. Visions of plummeting property values dance through your head as you wonder: is my house haunted?

Probably not.

It then lists several tongue-in-cheek signs of a "haunting", like creaky noises, cold spots, and so on... and tells you what the usual causes are (thermal compression and expansion of wood, drafts, critters in the walls, and so on). So they not only use an interest in paranormal to give you good advice, they sneak in some pretty solid skeptical thinking in there as well!

Pretty cool. I really wish more people selling advice did this, instead of exactly the reverse.

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