How greaseproof paper will fool a ghost

Did you know that all it takes to confuse a ghost is a piece of greaseproof paper? As many of you may know, a lot of ghost groups who claim to investigate the paranormal conduct very odd, old and debunked methods to “communicate” with the ghost that is supposed to be haunting the location they’re visiting. These methods include table tipping, glass divination and ouija board sessions.

There are, of course, lots of other odd methods used, like scrying and seances but I have focussed on the first list because the methods all have two things in common.

1) They all require people to touch something, this something being the thing that will be “moved by the spirit” to communicate.

2) All of the mentioned methods will not work when you introduce greaseproof paper to the equation.

“Greaseproof paper?” I hear you ask, “what the hell is she on about?”

The greaseproof paper acts as a control and to be fair, it doesn’t just have to be greaseproof paper because a great control to use with ouija boards or glass divination (where the people involved place one finger on a glass or planchette) is a round piece of playdoh putty covering top of the glass or planchette.

The putty should be at least a centimeter deep (you can roll some out and use the glass or planchette to cut the perfect piece out by pressing it down on the putty!)

The people then place their finger on the putty and if they’re doing anything more than just resting their finger lightly, there will be a lovely finger imprint to show that they were pushing hard on the glass.

A good and fun control to put in place when people are conducting a ouija board session is to blindfold them and turn the ouija board around so the letters are in different places, or put a square board where a round board was. As you can imagine, the planchette travels to the place that a certain letter, or the yes or no answer used to be, even though it’s not there anymore.

You can watch this happen at about three minutes in to this video from Penn & Teller’s Bullshit! programme on ouija boards.

The greaseproof paper is better when used with table tipping, you simply take a large piece of greaseproof paper, or tracing paper and you cut it to size so that the top of the table you are using is covered to the edges with the paper.

The paper has to be a light, crinkly paper – not writing paper, or heavy-duty wrapping paper – which is why I suggest greaseproof paper, tracing paper, or even cooking foil which can all be bought cheaply at your local supermarket.

Once the paper is in place, the people taking part in the session place their fingers upon the paper and go about the table tipping session as normal. IF anyone pushes the table surface more than they should be then the paper will scrunch up and reveal that pressure is being added that shouldn’t be.

These simple controls rule out two things:

1) people around the glass/table/board purposely faking movement

2) people around the glass/table/board accidentally moving the table

It is very well-known that sometimes when people conduct things like glass divination, ouija sessions, dowsing or table tipping they can influence the movement of the object in use without realising it. This is called the ideomotor effect or the ideomotor response. By introducing the simple controls that I have mentioned above, if somebody accidentally moves the object being touched they’ll be aware of it, and be aware that they’re moving it which will stop them from doing so without realising it.

That is how greaseproof paper fools the hell out of a ghost.

P.s. Many people who use these methods will say that the people have to be touching the table or the glass or the planchette so that their energy fields can be transferred for the spirit to use. This is a flawed logic and shows a huge misunderstanding of how energy works.

Published by

Hayley Stevens

Hayley is a ghost geek and started to blog in 2007. She uses scientific scepticism to investigate weird stuff and writes about it here while also speaking publicly about how to hunt ghosts as a skeptic.

3 thoughts on “How greaseproof paper will fool a ghost”

  1. Faraday used a similar technique. He’d give each person a square of cardboard onto which they’d place their hands. The cards were treated in such a way that they registered pressure from the sitter. He announced that from experiments with the cardboard, he’d shown that the hand moves the table, the table does not move the hand. Spiritualists at the time countered with the argument that the cardboard moved both hand and table, meaning that they’d not really understood anything…

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