5X5 Episode 10

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5X5 Episode 10
Spielberg to Create Online Paranormal Community
9th March 2008

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5X5 9 5X5 11
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
R: Rebecca Watson
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein
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Spielberg to Create Online Paranormal Community[edit]

You're listening to the Skeptics' Guide 5x5, five minutes with five skeptics, with Steve, Jay, Rebecca, Bob and Evan.

S: This is the SGU 5x5 and tonight’s topic is Steven Spielberg back in the paranormal news. According to techcrunch.com Stephen Spielberg is planning a new online social network dedicated to ghosts and UFOs.

R: It’s gonna be called Myspace between Myears.

B: (laughter)

E: I heard it was gonna be Myghost.

R: Thank you, I’ll be here all week!

S: Myghost.com...?

E: Yeah.

J: So the point to this is that, people can just post up videos, and stories, and blogs about paranormal experience?

R: Yeah, I mean, but the crazy thing is though, you know, we already have Myspace, and Friendster, and Facebook, and they're all overrun with paranormal groups. Go to Myspace search in the groups for paranormal, you’ll get, like 900 different groups on the paranormal. This is doomed to be completely useless.

E: But there’s a the-, there is a prevailing unofficial theory out there, that he’s perhaps using this as some sort of launch for a future project, something to go viral, some place to collect a lot of people for an upcoming project or movie, television series, whatever it might be.

J: Well, I thought about that too Ev. But, you know, so what? The end result is, that it's still more propagation of this crap. You know?

E: Oh yeah.

S: It’s just another location to spread anecdotes, you know, about personal alleged paranormal experiences. And the only reason why this might have any legs is because the name Steven Spielberg is attached to it.

B: Right.

S: If this, I know, I think if this were just another network it would probably, probably wouldn’t do anything. And Steven Spielberg does have a long history of fascination with ghosts and… aliens.

B: That’s true. I didn’t really think of that, until I saw the list of all his movies together. A lot of his movies. And then it really hit me. You got Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Poltergeist, E.T., Casper, Men in Black, The Haunting, War of the Worlds. I guess he had various levels of involvement in, in these, all these different movies besides just being a director for the earlier ones. But, it really hit home that yeah, he really does have a real fascination with this stuff. And then he’s got Interstellar, a movie coming out in 2009. Does anyone know what that's about?

J: Yes. About… these interstellar people.

B: Ah-ha!

R: It’s good!

E: It's something about, something happening between the stars, I don’t know.

J: (laughter)

R: Interstellar is about a physicist and his theories of gravity fields, wormholes, and several hypotheses that Albert Einstein was never able to prove.

S: And in addition to his movies, I mean this is where Spielberg mixes, you know, fact and fiction, he also produced Taken for the Science Fiction Channel.

B: Yeah

S: Remember that?

(everyone agreeing)

S: Which was an overview of the… claims of UFO believers, including alien abductions, and crashed saucers, and big time on the UFO, big government conspiracy cover-up. And this was, I guess, pseudo-documentary. And it was interesting that it was aired on the Science Fiction Channel. You might argue that that’s where it belongs. But it definitely was presented not as pure fiction, but as based upon something that's really happening.

E: You know, there’s also a widely reported story that Spielberg in Jefferson, Texas, some 20 years ago roughly, stayed in a haunted hotel, and witnessed a ghost and was so frighted by it that he took him, and his whole staff, and his crew, and they left the hotel that night, as they were so afraid of what happened.

B: Isn’t that funny. Because that's what we would always say when we watch those movies and how the people react unrealistically, you say to yourself: well, just move out of that hole and, and get away. And that’s exactly what he did.

R: (chuckle)

S: Yeah, if the walls really were bleeding then… most people I think probably wouldn’t stick around to see what else happened.

J: So let me ask you guys, does this knock down Spielberg a peg? In your opinion overall?

R: A peg or two.

E: I think it reinforces what I’ve, what I’ve kind of always thought of Steven Spielberg, like Steve said about the Taken, and really ever since that came out, I think it just reinforces the fact that, you know, this part of him is … you know, not all there.

R: Yeah, I mean well, he’s a creative-

S: I love his movies!

R: he’s a creative person who has used that to good extent thus far but… trying to make the leap online, I mean, if he even... if he does actually follow through on it I’m pretty sure that it’s doomed to failure. Because what you’re gonnna get is a bunch of, well, you know, people that you might found on Myspace only worse. Talking about: oh I saw a ghost the other day; no seriously dude, I totally did. You know, nobody is gonna tune into that, sorry. Go back to making movies.

S: Yeah, I mean, Spielberg appears to be just another true believer who is insufficiently skeptical. Unfortunately this true believer happens to have millions of dollars and he knows how to use a camera.

E: You know, he’s done some pretty good jobs with other, like world war two movies, Saving Private Ryan, Shindler’s List, and of course 1941.

B: (laughter)

J: You know, once again, I… I hate to know details like this about people that I like or admire in the movies or whatever, because-

E: He’s friends with Tom Cruise, Jay.

J: Is he really?

S: Is that right?

E: Oh yeah, they’ve… he’s acted in few of his movies: Minority Report, War of the Worlds.

S: Sometimes it’s just better to separate the art from the artist.

E: Hmm.

R: Agreed!

S: SGU 5x5 is a companion podcast to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, a weekly science podcast brought to you by the New England Skeptical Society in association with skepchick.org. For more information on this and other episodes, visit our website at www.theskepticsguide.org. Music is provided by Jake Wilson.

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