Great Tyson's ghost!

By Phil Plait | October 31, 2011 11:10 am

If you’re looking for some spooky listening for your Halloween, then aim your ectoplasmic resonator at astronomer Neil Tyson’s Star Talk radio show, because last night he hunted ghosts… or at least, talked to some folks who know about ghosts. He chats with author Mary Roach, skeptic ghost investigator Joe Nickell, and… me!

Yeah, I’m not really an expert on ghosts — still being alive and all — but I’ve seen a few ghost movies in my time, so we chat about those, and why I don’t personally think dead people are floating around, knocking on walls and hoping some "ghost hunter" will notice us and anxiously whisper, "Did you hear that?"

As always, talking with Neil is a lot of fun, and you’ll enjoy the whole show. You can also download the MP3 directly, too. [UPDATE: you can subscribe to Star Talk using iTunes, as well!]

My interview is broken up into several segments; the first starts around 11:30, the second at 24:50, the third at 36:15, and the fourth at 41:00. But of course you should listen to the whole show; it’s pretty entertaining!

I’ll note we did this interview through Skype, and my voice is a little warbly. Or was I just communicating from the other side??!!

OK, yeah, it was just warbly. But you were scared there for a second, weren’t you?

OK, yeah, no you weren’t. Damn. Being a skeptic on Halloween is hard.

Image credit: me! If you’re curious, that’s my pal Jennifer Ouellette and me from TAM 9, chatting with the disembodied head of Neil. Having him floating around like that was distracting.

Related posts:

Neil Tyson and I talk time travel
Our Future in Space – panel at TAM 9
SMBC on the brain
Paper Plait


Comments (10)

  1. About the only way I can see those “knocking sounds” that ghost hunters hear being really from ghosts would be if the ghosts are playing a practical joke on the ghost hunters.

    “Hey, watch me get this ghost hunter running in circles.”
    *knocks on walls prompting the ghost hunter to run after them from room to room*
    “Hilarious, right? Boy, those living are so much fun to mess with!”

  2. SkyGazer

    “As always, talking with Neil is a lot of fun”


    Talking with Nero (fiddler on a burning roof) is fun or Gengis Khan (the man who couldn´t stop gallopping) is fun or Queen Victoria (who gallopped a lot too with her horse keeper) is even fun too or Robert Oppenheimer (who thought he became…) who is funniest ever.

    But Tyson? He bloody well destroyed a whole planet!!!1!! Traumatising almost all kids on the planet for ever!!! Simply because HE thought it was to small.
    Hell, normal people can only come so far as some petty genocide. But he did a planetocide!!
    But no trial for him in The Hague.

    And you enjoy talking with him???

    People as always find ways to amaze me…

  3. MichaelL

    I used to have a janitorial business many years ago. One Halloween night, I went to do a job at a Showroom for a Funeral company. The showroom is where they displayed caskets and there were no bodies there. On my way, I was listening to “Ghost to Ghost”, the halloween ‘Coaast to Coast’ show with Art Bell. (Art Bell was still hosting back then.) I was cleaning and polishing the caskets, and every creak and noise I heard in the building scared the crap out of me!

  4. mike burkhart

    The best Ghost movies I’ve seen are : Ghostbusters,Ghost Story,The Fog(orignal),and The Shining I do’nt think the dead are hanging around as a Catholic I beleve the dead go to the Afterlife for an eternal reward or pushiment . I know that many may dissagree but thats what I beleve. Now there is another explation for ghosts that says they are not souls of the dead . But that events have an efect on the enviroment , and the ghost is like a recording of some past event or person . I don’t buy this ether things change with time ,A house that was down the block 20 years ago might have been torn down so the envirment would change where the house was there could be a vacant lot, another house, or a building if something did leave an impression , it would disaper with the house that was torn down.

  5. Ann

    But, how are you supposed to SEE the ghosts without the magic Ghost Goggles? Huh? And you call yourselves scientists.

  6. Zathras

    I just finished listening this weekend to your show with Dr. Neil on good and bad astronomy and time travel in the movies. My wife gave me a huge double-take when I told her I was listening to a show with Neil Tyson and Dr. Phil…….

    “No, not THAT Dr. Phil….the OTHER bald-headed Dr. Phil….The Bad Astronomer”

  7. Sili

    Iono. He doesn’t translate well to radio – or perhaps it was that guy with the voice who they were so happy to have on. Just didn’t do it for me, I fear.

    The Hayden was nice enough, though.

  8. johnthompson

    @Zathras At least the B.A. apparently has been broken of the urge to do a Ron Howard (always wear a baseball cap to cover one’s baldness).

  9. Tribeca Mike

    Being a New Yorker, I’ve become quite used to these apparitions.


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