I have not thought of this Kindertraumatizing event in many years, but I recently caught a few minutes of one of those cheesy “haunting reenactment” programs that somehow jarred it loose from the depths of memory. This Trauma involved an airing of the early ’80s ABC show THAT’S INCREDIBLE! For those not in the know, this was a very popular but oddball variety show that featured people performing crazy stunts and demonstrating “paranormal” feats. It also occasionally, for whatever reason, featured a ghost story.
One ghost story concerned a haunted Toy “R” Us store. Legend had it that some old-timey farmer was killed when he accidentally chopped off his leg with an axe and when a Toys “R” Us was built on the site of his farm many years later, his ghost took up residence. It was alleged that after hours, the ghost would knock toys from shelves and generally play around with them. As ghost stories go this was not exactly the stuff of nightmares.
However, THAT’S INCREDIBLE! decided to perform a sort of prototype ghost investigation, using a psychic to call forth the ghost and a couple of cameras, including one that shot in infrared, to capture the action. The freakout came when the psychic, who was very sincere and creepy, sat in one of the store aisles with several other people and allegedly talked to the ghost, describing his deep and terrible sadness. The camera operator was snapping pics throughout. At the end of the presentation, the audience was shown side-by-side photos – one standard film and the other infrared – of the aisle where the psychic conversation had taken place. Alarmingly, in at least one of these sets, the very clear figure of a man appeared in the infrared photo where the standard film showed nothing!
Here it was. Indisputable proof of the existence of ghosts! I was thunderstruck. It had to be real if they were showing it on television, right? How could this not be front page news the world over? Someone call the President! Those readers with a good memory for the obscure might recall my prior Traumafession in which I explained my dismay with the children’s book “All About Ghosts” which featured a spread of “Real Life Ghost Photos!” I was cursed with the terrible combination of a scientifically inquiring mind and hopeless naivety.
My shock from the fact that ghosts had been scientifically verified to exist was compounded by my confusion about the location of the featured Toy “R” Us. It was in Sunnyvale, California but for some reason I thought that it was the Toy “R” Us store in Merrillville, Indiana, which my parents sometimes shopped at! How far could ghosts travel? I did not know but this was important information that someone needed to figure out!
The whole thing can be seen here:
Skip to the end for the ghost photos and what may be the least skeptical analysis in the history of TV by John Davidson, Fran Tarkenton and Cathy Lee Crosby: “Keep in mind kids, these photos are real and could not possibly have been faked!”