Is one of sci-fi's greatest skeptics posthumously confirming the existence of the supernatural?
The "#1 Fan Personality," the man who invented the term sci-fi, co-created Vampirella and was responsible for the wildly popular magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland, Forrest J. Ackerman, saw his first ever "imagi-movie" at the age of 5 in 1922.
The film was One Glorious Day, a story that told the tale of a disembodied spirit who takes over the body of a professor. That fact is fitting, considering that now, in 2013, more than four years after his death, Forry, who never believed in the supernatural, just might be reaching out to his friends from the afterlife.
Friend and filmmaker Paul Davids began to suspect something was up when he discovered an ink blot on a document he'd printed out. He swears the ink was dry when he left the room, but, upon his return, he discovered what he felt was unexplainable ink covering certain words.
I had no idea why these particular words were blacked out. It made no sense to me until later, when I was researching Forry's editorial style and I found lots of examples of where he blacked out words so completely. I have found 15 examples of where Forry found a name within a name or a word within a word as being a hidden word to make a pun or a point out of it.
According to Davids, this was just the beginning of the strange occurrences. Eventually he got together with a number of university scientists to form The LIfe After Death Project, a documentary that just recently aired right here on Syfy.
Tests were performed on the document Davids had discovered with the smudged ink by chemistry professor John Allison, who said, "I don't know how to re-create this. I couldn't do it. In forensics, you try to find explanations, and we usually don't resort to interactions or intervention from someone from beyond the grave, but I can't rule that out."
So Davids reached out even further to try and understand -- could the famed Ackermonster be speaking to him from the great beyond?
Gary Schwartz, who directs the Laboratory For Advances In Consciousness and Health, has been trying to find a scientific meausure that proves the dead can correspond with the living. How? Schwartz has been experimenting with a device called the Silicon Photomultiplier System, which detects single photons of light in pitch black. Explains Schwartz, "It's used in biomedical imaging and in biochemistry devices. The system is placed within a box, within a box, within a box, so it's truly light-tight."
So how does that correspond with testing for ghosts?
...what you do is invite specific spirits -- I affectionately refer to them as departed hypothesized co-investigators -- and you look to see whether the number of photons counted, per unit period of time, is greater when a spirit is invited into the chamber versus controls, and that's what we found. At four o'clock in the afternoon, the experimenter would read a standard script which would speak to [invited spirits], letting them know that the experiment would be running in the lab and asking them to follow instructions on the large computer screen: 'Please show up at the laboratory at 11 o'clock at night. Thank you very much. I'll pick up the data in the morning.
And, according the researchers at least, it worked. Again, according to Schwartz, "Much to my amazement, sure enough, the data clearly indicated that there was increased structure -- patterns of light -- in the spirit-present trials compared to the pre-baselines or the post-baselines."
Are Ackerman's friends just struggling to cope with the loss of a great man? Or could this really be true? Is Forry, an avowed atheist, somewhere out there in the ether right now, thinking of that first sci-fi film he saw and wondering if, like the spirit from the movie, he can find his way back to the land of the living?
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(via The Huffington Post)