http://www.livescience.com, Marc Lallanilla
Sending and receiving messages from beyond the grave used to require a caftan-wearing medium hosting a séance in a dark, candlelit room.
How 20th century. Today’s medium can ditch the caftan in favor of an iPhone, now that a pair of developers in Greenwood, Ind., have developed Spirit Story Box, an app that claims to let the dead communicate with the living.
Developers Roger Pingleton and Jill Beitz of StreamSide Software created Spirit Story Box in an effort to improve on other paranormal apps, the Indianapolis Star reports.
The iPhone app, upon detecting the presence of otherworldly spirits, displays the words that the dead would like communicate (not unlike a modern-day Ouija board).
“The program looks at certain variables within the computer itself and it keeps track of certain selectors, and when it gets to a point where it’s going to spit out a word it uses those selectors to select the words,” Pingleton told the Star.
Skeptics, however, have translated Pingleton’s comment as one way of saying that the app is really just a random word generator, cleverly packaged to appeal to would-be ghostbusters.
And apparently, there are a lot of them: A Harris Poll from 2003 revealed that more than half of Americans believe in ghosts, including 65 percent of those ages 25 to 29.
Other apps have been designed to appeal to those with an interest in the paranormal. Some mobile apps, like GhostCam, let users add semi-transparent ghostly images of children, Confederate soldiers, monks or other historical figures in the background of otherwise ordinary photos.
Another app, Ghost Radar, claims to detect so-called “energy readings” that are supernatural in origin. But “since results from this application cannot be verified scientifically, the app should be used for entertainment purposes,” according to the product’s description.
Pingleton seems to understand the entertainment value in his Spirit Story Box app. “Bottom line is, we wanted people to have fun with it,” he told the Star.