Thursday, October 27, 2022

Chicago’s Most Haunted - Undead Edition

When I came across a credulous local TV affiliate news item in 2006, I immediately turned it into a blog post. But the Internet is ephemeral, and sometimes I like to solidify a lesson idea.

The original videoclip has long since disappeared from the web. And I fleshed out my lesson architecture to maximize efficacy.

The bit that aired on Chicago’s CBS affiliate, and it was … disappointing. My lesson amplifies the weaknesses credulously glossed over in the puff piece.

I found it to be a worthwhile Halloween-adjacent classroom activity. Watch the segment and see if it doesn't raise your skeptical spider senses. The classroom discussion was always great fun. Many high school students have pretty good BS detectors, and the written assignment gives them permission to tear this segment apart. 

The video is low-resolution but usable: Chicago’s Most Haunted (mp4) 
[I download any video I intend to use in class]

The student document can be found here: Word | PDF

Amusing notes:
• What is the licensure process required to claim the title of "psychic detective"? Extensive coursework? Rigorous field training? Grueling examination? No. Just calling yourself a psychic detective.
• What would it look like it you took a flash photograph at night when snow flurries were about?
• Where do stagehands smoke if they work in a non-smoking theater? What would it look like if you took a flash photo near those smokers there at night?

Actor, Ken Melvoin-Berg, operated "Weird Chicago" tours at the time of this segment's airing. Would he have any reason whatsoever to be less than honest about sensing ghosts on location?

I visited that alley years after this aired. I'd hoped to exorcise the ghost in the bricks with a wire brush and a bit of soap and water. Somebody had beaten me to it.