Can a ghost be a ‘wine snob’?

Posted on January 10, 2012


Image: Mick Stephenson (via Wikipedia)

Dateline: 31 October 2011 // Posted by: M.Crisman

Source: The Drinks Business

Story: “‘Wine Snob’ Ghost Haunts Pub”

Summary: Every year on Halloween, the Court Oak pub, located in Harborne, Birmingham, has reported paranormal activity within their pub. This Halloween was no different from past years. According to the staff at Court Oak, the ghost they have named “Corky”, apparently has strong opinions about what wine is served in the pub.

The Court Oak pub is part of the Sizzling chain, located on the site of a 17th century hanging ground. It is thought that “Corky” may be the ghost of someone who had been hung on those grounds centuries ago.

Locals have reported seeing the figured of an older man, around age 60 within the Court Oak. In addition, staff members have felt his presence numerous times throughout the years.

What sets this ghost apart from the rest is his particular “taste” in wine. It is said that every Halloween Corky lets the Court Oak staff know his feelings towards the wine they are serving. If the wine happens to be of distaste to Corky, all the bottles of that wine are smashed.

Pub manager Anne Tyler told The Press Association that smashed bottles of red and white house wine were discovered in the cellar until the selection of wine was upgraded. She continued to explain that every Halloween the wine bottles are smashed until they are upgraded to wines of Corky’s liking.

Why is this PseudoNews? The idea of ghosts is a highly controversial subject in the modern world. There have been many studies done in order to show the true existence of paranormal activity; however, these studies have not producted valid data. To this day, the phenomenon of ghosts has never been scientifically proven.

For example, it is a rather far-fetched theory that the spirits of the deceased have the ability to come back and haunt their former grounds. At the end of an individual’s life, it is assumed that their bodies are no longer living and that they have left this physical world. This theory has been heavily supported for centuries. When an individual dies, their bodies are laid to rest below the ground and that is where their bodies remain.  Those who choose to consider the possibility of ghosts believe that the spirits of the deceased are coming back to finish jobs they left incomplete. There is no scientific evidence to support this theory.

In addition, it is highly implausible that the local members of society have physically seen this “ghost”. How are we supposed to see someone or something that no longer exists in the world? It is impossible to physically see the notion of a spirit. If in the presence of a spirit, how is anyone to know what it looks like? There is no valid support for this phenomenon.

Lastly, if we looks past the fact that there is no evidence in support of the existence of ghosts and their sightings, how is it that we know they have opinions? This would require a personal interaction with a “ghost”, which we know is impossible. We are able to assume what certain deceased individuals may have thought, but it is strictly impossible to know for certain what their opinion may have been.

What features of pseudoscience are on show? For one, confirmation bias plays a major role in this situation. The members of staff and the local residents know the story behind this pub and have most likely heard the rumors of there being a ghost in the area. If they are told what they are supposed to see, they are obviously going to be more likely to see “Corky” due to this prior knowledge. In addition, because it is told that “Corky” always shows his opinions about the wine selection around Halloween, the staff and locals are going to be more likely to see him during this time.

Another feature of pseudoscience that is displayed in this article is a lack of parsimony. There is absolutely no scientific research or valid results about this occurrence. Every “sighting” of the ghost has been hearsay or based off of what another person has reported seeing. As of now, there are no ways to measure paranormal activity that fit the requirements of a valid scientific measurement. That in itself tells you that this occurrence lacks parsimony all together.

The moral of the story: To this day, there is still no valid evidence that paranormal phenomenons exist. While research is continually being conducted, until the research findings match the criteria of a valid scientific measurement, paranormal activity will still be a myth.