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Gaga-ga-ga-GHOSTS!

by Brian Dunning, Oct 14 2010

Rumor has it that Lady Gaga, the favorite musical artist of many of us here at SkepticBlog, travels with her own crew of ghost hunters to protect her from spirits that may be haunting the hotels she visits while on tour.

That's right sports fans, you heard it here first (unless you spend as much time as I do on all the Hollywood celebrity gossip web sites). Word is that Gaga is so worried about ghosts that she spent $60,000 on EMF meters to equip a small team of ghost hunters, evidently modeled after those whom we know and love so well from the telly. Whenever she stays at a hotel, her team first sweeps it with the EMF meters to be sure there are no spooks waiting for an autograph.

Presumably, she's just a moron; but there may be more to it than that. Assuming she's doing her level best to interpret the information fed her by pop culture and wants to protect her own safety, one could say that her course is not an unreasonable one. It does highlight how alarming it is that almost anyone can take ghost hunting television shows seriously enough to regard them as sound, science-based documentaries. That scares me a lot more than a ghost would.

I'm not what you'd call a huge music industry insider, but my suspicion is that the careers of moneymakers like Lady Gaga are managed by people with a little more than her 24 years of experience on this planet. People who have some vague clue about the world. So maybe they're going for some kind of Michael Jackson style weird public image campaign, and if so, fine, I understand that. But I'd bet that this story is indeed exactly as reported. I have friends twice her age who uncritically accept ghost hunting TV shows as scientific fact.

So I'm not surprised that Lady Gaga's handlers have not advised her that ghost attacks are probably not something she needs to worry herself too much about. If buying EMF meters is what keeps her happy, fine, I'm sure the tour can spare sixty grand.

But I really would like to know how they established that ghosts show up on EMF meters.

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40 Responses to “Gaga-ga-ga-GHOSTS!”

  1. Casey Kirkruff says:

    As a guy in my mid-20s, I feel like I’m close enough to the targeted age to enjoy her music, while being old enough to see more of what she’s saying. A lot of her songs have really awful lyrics- Just Dance is about a girl at a club getting all kinds of wasted and potentially taken advantage of, but that’s ok- keep dancing! A lot of her songs flow with the kind of over-exaggerated pastiche by which Colbert makes his name. Through that lens this ghostly business may also be subtle criticism…

    That, or I’m trying to come up with an excuse for liking Lady Gaga. Occam is not on my side.

  2. John says:

    Lady Gaga.

    I think the clue is in the name.

  3. I would pay any amount of money to watch a video of Ben Radford investigating her case.

    • Jim Shaver says:

      Or how about Joe Nickell? Apparently, however, in this case, there is no case. She’s a grown woman who’s afraid of the dark. Nothing there to investigate.

  4. Canadian Curmudgeon says:

    I haven’t heard of any instances of ghosts interrupting her shows, so whatever they are doing, it must be working.

    Just another example of someone’s gullibility being preyed upon by unscrupulous leeches.

    • Porlob says:

      Ain’t that the truth. But the unscrupulous leech here is the UK’s Mirror tabloid, who appear to have fabricated the story wholecloth.

  5. bluharmony says:

    When this story was first reported in May, it was only $5,000 on a ghost hunting kit. It’s amazing how rumors spread, mutate, and grow — just like a game of Secret. http://www.examiner.com/pop-culture-in-cincinnati/lady-gaga-haunted-by-ghosts-who-is-she-going-to-call

  6. citizen wolf says:

    I’ve seen her interviewed a couple of times and I thought she came across as bat-shit crazy. So I guess this goes some way towards confirming that diagnosis.

    • citizen wolf says:

      oh, I meant to say that it may just be that she’s wacko, and her belief in ghosts and such-like has nothing to do with those around her nor her young age. Who knows, maybe those around her have even tried to counsel against the ghost-meter stuff.

      • Ubi Dubium says:

        Or, the “crazy” is part of what her PR machine wants to project. And whatever her PR guys are doing, they seem to be very successful. Under it all she might well be a skeptic, but that doesn’t sell records nearly as well as crazy does.

  7. Boredagain says:

    The Lady of the Gagas was recently voted as one of Tiem Magazine’s “Most Influential People”… She mentioned that the MOST influential person in her life was none other then Deepak Chopra, which might or might not explain a lot.

    http://www.time.com/time/video/player/0,32068,81660577001_1986210,00.html

    It’s also been reported that she is worried about brain cancer from cell phones and pays an assistant to hold her phone away from her head as she talks. And that she thinks too much walking is bad for you and has assistants carry her when she exceeds her daily self-prescribed limit. I’m seeing a full blown Michael Jackson mental breakdown in the “pop star’s” future, unless this is as you mentioned all just for publicity and attention.

  8. LovleAnjel says:

    The whacked-out personality is partly the character she’s playing, and partly her natural personality. Whether the ghost hunting team is a calculated ploy or a result of watching too much TV, I don’t think we can tell.

    Remind me to follow around semi-nude pop stars after I die.

  9. Lady Gaga is mostly shtick, and interestingly enough it’s Madonna’s shtick. I have no doubt that she did this, and I suppose it’s possible she actually believes it, but might I suggest it’s more likely that this is great publicity to keep her image . . . quirky?

    Don’t get me wrong, some of the songs can be catchy, but from where I stand the woman has more PR than personality.

    ~Rhaco

  10. Porlob says:

    I am calling bullshit…

    From what I can tell this story originates from the UK’s Mirror ( http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/05/30/gaga-calls-in-gh-stbusters-115875-22296252/ ), a fantastically unreliable tabloid notorious for making up celebrity gossip.

    The story quotes a “ghost hunter” named Dan Webb as the source of the story.

    The Londonist investigated to track down this Dan Webb and his supposed ghost hunting supply company, and found nothing. ( http://londonist.com/2010/07/the_ghost_and_lady_gaga.php )

    This is a non-story. And, frankly, the “presumably, she’s a moron” tone here is quite disappointing considering that this story appears to be entirely fabricated. I’m actually pretty surprised that this piece was by Brian, who normally has all of his bases covered on research. Not this time.

  11. Rose says:

    There is no source mentioned in the entire post. Either I’m going to research it out myself to figure out if this has any validity to it or just forget I read this and move on because I don’t really care. I’ll probably go with the latter.

    IMO, a post of this matter with no source has very little credibility.

  12. Disraeli Ears says:

    Ok…I have to admit that I’m skeptical of this rumor (as much as I can see it being true) because there is no source. Lady Gaga is the subject of many rumors, the most notorious being that SHE is actually a HE.

  13. steelsheen11b says:

    I’m skeptical that Lady GaGa is the favorite “musical” act of many at Skepticblog.

  14. Ranson says:

    In her defense, she’s supposedly done a lot of drugs, so she may well be seeing plenty of things that aren’t there.

  15. Kimbo Jones says:

    You might be interested in this fact-checking of your story: http://porlob.tumblr.com/post/1314735527/gaga-ga-ga-wrong

  16. Mario says:

    Well its very sad to me that most of the TV channels I used to love, are nothing but a bag of pseudoscience on the go, that includes History Channel, Discovery Network and Nat Geo, you can’t turn them on without at least three of them broadcasting UFO’s or Monsters haunting, but just like every pop artist, they just play what people want to see.

  17. Max says:

    Porlob,

    I think you got the wrong original source. The Mirror says the ghost hunting kit cost £3,000, but Brian said $60,000.
    Which brings us to ShowbizSpy.
    http://www.showbizspy.com/article/214834/lady-gaga-splashes-the-cash-on-ghostbusters.html

    They cite Britain’s Grazia magazine, but searching it for gaga and ghosts didn’t turn up anything.

    • Porlob says:

      Indeed that seems to be the source of the $60000 figure, but it appears the supposed amount of her ghost hunting armory has just been inflated over time since the Mirror article from May of this year. The ShowbizSpy article from this week is even worse, simply citing “a source” quoted from an apparently non-existent article at another magazine.

      As a fun exercise, plug in “Gaga” and “Electro Magnetic Field Meters” into Google and see how many different cash amounts come up. Shows just how reliable this story is. It’s as if every subsequent unsourced article has to inflate the amount from the unsourced article it was plagiarized from. Kind of fascinating, actually.

      • Max says:

        I think what’s going on with the prices is that people pick up the £3,000 or $60,000, then convert it to dollars or pounds either roughly by a ratio of 2 or by a more precise ratio, and then optionally round off the result. Then, others pick up that result and repeat the process. The price can go up indefinitely.

  18. Max says:

    Go to Google, type in “is ” with the space and check out the auto-complete.

  19. Chris Howard says:

    I just had the chance to talk to a true believer, and amature ghost hunter (Funny, I thought they all were?) about EMF readers, with regard to the Bell Witch, and other hauntings in Tennessee. The amount of misunderstanding about how those devices actually work, and what they measure was mind numbing. I hope she didn’t spend 60 large on the thing!

  20. tmac57 says:

    Still waiting for Gaga-ga-doh! Brian?

  21. sailor says:

    Skeptics who buy into any old drivel published in the celebrity press are not real skeptics. Unless of course they wrote the story just to test the credulity of their readers.

  22. It’s a shamed it doesn’t invest a little of it’s funds for it’s wardrobe.

  23. Tommy says:

    Rumors from gossip sites… I’m sceptic.

    • Citizen Wolf says:

      You’re a sceptic? Or you’re sceptical?
      Or maybe it’s like the line from Spartacus.

      No….I’m Sceptic. :)

  24. dqmorris says:

    A lot of people are flipping out over this post. For one thing it starts with “rumor has it”. Don’t expect tons of cold hard facts and citations. It’s a funny post, but also points out how scary it is that a lot of people take the ghost hunters seriously.

    • porlob says:

      It “points out” how scary it how scary it is that people take ghost hunters seriously by repeating a false story aboiut a real person?

      What it points out is how scary it is that people who should know better either treat celebrity stories with credulity or don’t care about the truth when it comes to propagating a narrative that’s to their liking.

      If this post were about ghost hunting in general, fine. But it’s not. It makes some specific claims about a specific person. It does not cite any sources because any sources it would have cited are garbage. It uses the terms “rumor has it…” and “Word is…” early on, but then proceeds to make some pretty nasty conclusions about Lady Gaga by assuming these rumors to be true.

      Is not the most pressing issue in the world. No. No one is going to die over this. But it’s sad and disappointing to see a purported “skeptical” article based on nonsense and hearsay. The truth is important. We should have a higher standard for truth and evidence than just throwing in a few weasel words into a bullshit story based on unsubstantiated rumors.

  25. Vin_Fiend says:

    I think it more likely that she uses the EMF meters to sweep for Bugs and mini-cameras (so she can play up a bit and have a life away from the paparazzi), though that may seem a little harsh to her fans, so …… “HEY!, THEY’RE GHOST METRES!!”…. It fits with the “GaGa” Brand Behemoth, and IS the most SENSIBLE explanation for behaviour like this (hey, it’s what ANYONE with a security risk would do, and besides, the ‘GaGa’ brand is a highly managed machine, playing for VERY high stakes ie. mega-$$$$, and this seems like a pretty usual anti-espionage measure). I’m SURPRISED that it could even have made the Skeptoid Blog (thus giving the GaGa Thing even MORE free publicity)………
    GASP…. could it be, that the Skeptoids THEMSELVES have been affected by the hyper saturation of the GaGa brand (they have self-confessed GaGa fans/slaves in their ranks),….. could it be?…….. NOOOOOO …. all is LOOOSSSTTTT!!!

    • erinisms says:

      pshaaaw, everybody goes gaga for gaga, I mean, how strangely catchy was pokerface? Its impossible to resist even for the critically minded…

  26. Timmeh says:

    Looks like a dodgy rumor. Could be true I suppose, but it seems equally plausible that this is just fabricated grist for the tabloid mill.

    I’m a bit of a Lady GaGa fan myself, so I’m hoping it’s the latter.
    She seems like a fairly smart person to me, although I don’t know her personally.

  27. erinisms says:

    I don’t know, maybe I give Lady Gaga too much credit but I think she does all these things for publicity. She’s pretty successful so she can’t be a total “Bat-shit crazy” (lol @ citizen wolf btw) nut bag and since we’re talking about her here… on a sceptical blog (not an entertainment one) it appears to be working…

    The fact is, as Brian stated, ghosts are chic at the moment and Gaga likes to be at the forefront of public consciousness, so to her having people check her room for ghosts is as fashionable as fingerless gloves and big hats.

    Gaga likes to be noticed and likes to be kooky and I think ghosts fit that niche nicely… It’s a shame though that she uses her fame to act like a ‘moron’.