February 26, 2008
In this investigation the PRS team visits the Willard Rehab facility in New York, which used to be a Mental Institution. The reports from the staff were fairly impressive, involving a number of different employees and some harrowing experiences including one case where the witness said they not only saw a woman appear in an otherwise empty hallway near them, but she apparently screamed at him before vanishing.
I was doubly excited to see Chip Coffey called in again to consult, but quickly realized that the setting was just all wrong for a psychic experiment. Not that Chip reported any impressions that were inaccurate, everything he said seemed to make sense but then again from the size and layout of the place it wouldn't have been hard to guess it used to be an asylum and many of the other inferences just follow naturally.
There was some reported contact with a spirit named Lucy, as well as some difficulty matching this "Lucy" up with a former employee — if Chip had managed to glean a last name that was verifiable that would have been impressive, but alas it was not to be. And on the off-chance Chip stops by to tell me it doesn't work that way, I'm sure it doesn't — just saying it would have been impressive. I'm also sure it won't be too long before he does have another chance to seriously impress us as he has in the past.
But there was a standout star in this investigation and it was a newcomer (to the show). Chris Moon brought a "Frank's Box", which runs on a random voltage generator and supposedly allows spirits to speak in a way that allows us to actually hear them speaking. During the investigation we see the Paranormal State team ask for a name and the name "Lucy" is clearly audible coming out of the box without delay. In fact there were a number of incidents where we see a question asked and an answer to the question seems to come from the box.
Now, this box isn't new and Chris Moon didn't invent it — although some might say it's "his thing". Ryan acknowleges that it is controversial when he explains they are bringing it into the investigation. I'm not well versed on the controversy (and anyone who is, by all means please fill us in — I'm sure we're all very curious. Also, if someone has a link to some Frank's Box footage that will blow us away, feel free to share) but from what I've seen in uncut footage there is one obvious problem: The box simply doesn't produce clear spoken answers regularly — although some operators like Chris will interpret very minute fluctuations and repeat what they heard, so the hit rate (as in, hit or miss) seems to be pretty high but I think most people wouldn't hear answers in most of those supposed hits.
That's not to necessarily say in a definitive way that there aren't actually any responses there to interpret, but if we're going to try approaching this scientifically there can't be a whole lot of doubt as to whether or not we actually heard a voice and what it said. I should also note that the machine does seem to produce voices fairly regularly, but most of them are impossible to nail down exactly what was said which means it could have been a stray radio signal or something else.
Ultimately though, it is hard to dismiss some of the more solid hits (like asking "What is your name?" and hearing, "Lucy") but there is also the old saying that if you put a dozen monkeys in a room full of typewriters long enough eventually you will get a Shakespeare play. Similarly, the impressiveness of some of the clear "responses" from a Frank's box is diluted by the sheer number of unimpressive responses — although I would agree some of them still seem impressive even knowing how rare they are.
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