Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Ghostly Communications and Performances

An Invention and Two Business Models
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Every Idea requires certain assumptions. Here I'm assuming to be true various CLAIMS that have been made regarding ghosts:
1. They exist
2. They can make speech-like sounds, like groans.
3. They can hear you.

Now, as more background for the invention: For a ghost to groan REQUIRES that the ghost be able to set air molecules into motion. (Being able to hear you is a logical corollary.) Rumor has it that this takes a fair amount of ghostly effort, so they can't do it for a long time. Obviously the communications invention requires a super-sensitive microphone. This minimizes the effort that the ghost needs to make, and hopefully allows the ghost to concentrate on clear speech, even if only whisper-like, instead of straining to be heard at all.

SO, place this microphone in a haunted locale, hook the microphone to a decent amplifier / speaker system, and plug in the amplifier and leave it ON. Now set up a bed next to the speakers, and try to get a good night's sleep! Why has nobody ever done this before, I wonder?

FEEDBACK, I bet is the answer. That supersensitive microphone is going to pick up the output from the speakers, and amplify it, and moments after turning the system on, a loud and quite non-ghostly screech will be electronically generated.

FIXING that problem is what makes this an Invention. We need to add a computer and various programmed hardware to this system, so that, overall, it works like this:
1. Speakers are OFF (but amplifer can stay on; no need to waste even the fast warm-up time of transistor circuits).
2. Ghost makes noise.
3. Microphone picks up the noise.
4. The computer "notices" the changed input from the microphone (different from silence) and records it.
5. The computer turns the microphone OFF and the speakers ON.
6. The computer now plays the recording to the amplifier / speaker circuit.
7. The computer turns the speakers OFF and the microphone back ON. (more below)

OK, NOW go to bed. If ghosts exist, you might not get much sleep, of course. If you are trying to prove ghosts exist, this might work for that. Let's pretend you are awakened by appropriate howlings. You're not scared, are you? Then why are you playing with this invention???

OK, now you can dish out as good as you got. A second microphone / amplifer / speaker system is connected to the computer. It's microphone is manually switched, and when you activate it, you are simultaneously disconnecting the ghosts' microphone / speaker system (again to prevent feedback). Your microphone is ordinary and you speak in an ordinary voice, say "OKAY, you got my attention; now tell me what you are complaining about!" Your words come out at a speaker not far from the supersensitive microphone, where the ghost can hear them.

Maybe you can solve the ghost's problem (an unsolved murder?), and maybe you can become friends. NOW for the Business Models:

(A) Get your friendly ghost to seek other ghosts and invite them to communicate. Sell communication time to people who want to speak to dead relatives.

(B) Get your friendly ghost to seek other ghosts who were famous performers. I'll pick Red Skelton as an example. The poor ghost has been no doubt thinking up new comedy routines for decades, WITH NO AUDIENCE. If you know anything about addiction to the performing arts (see Neil Diamond movie, "The Jazz Singer"), then you might understand just how much brand-new material is out there waiting for you to record FOR FREE, copyright, and sell!

Vernon, Dec 08 2005

The Jazz Singer http://www.imdb.com.../tt0080948/combined
As referenced in the main text. In which a female co-worker of the Singer says to his wife, pointing at the audience: "I'm not your competition. There's your competition." [Vernon, Dec 08 2005, last modified Sep 28 2006]


       <pictures ghost blowing into mike, tapping it, "one, two, one, two..."
po, Dec 08 2005

       I think I hear ghosts -- so I'm set to dispute your first requirement that a molecule need be let move in any preternatural communication.
reensure, Dec 08 2005

       [reensure], well, if you are talking about telepathy, Yes, I agree that this invention obviously is no good for that. So, please re-read the very first paragraph, and the points that follow it. "Sounds" is not a matter of telepathy.
Vernon, Dec 08 2005

       Huh uh. I'd have said telepathy (another totally implied phenomenon) if I was talking about two distinct living people in some perturbnatural discussion.   

       I'm guessing your premise, as well as many 'ghostly' sightings are just in error. True ghosts, as I hold them, exist more in tune with what the skeptics would call 'possession' of their host. Your amplification of their communication would split eardrums -- bad ghosthunter!
reensure, Dec 08 2005

       [reensure], well, you could wear earplugs those first nights in bed. The main point of the amplification is for the GHOST to recognize that less effort on its part can still be heard --thereby giving the ghost a reason to try to talk instead of scream.
Vernon, Dec 08 2005

       I doubt this would work. If a person has a screaming ghost .... well, lemme just say don't blame the ghost .... I assure you the ghost knows all about time and will contentedly wait for absolute quiet before calling out.   

       I like the idea of inviting ghosts to conspire to produce a work of art ... very genial, very pro-spiritual. I suspect ghosts view physical entrappings of themselves much the way we view ourselves in a hall of mirrors, that is, with a degree of disorientation. The idea of having one's elf recorded or immortalized might seem icky to the poor soul.
reensure, Dec 09 2005

       [reensure], well, this IS the HalfBakery, where ideas don't have to work. They don't even have to be fun, if they can make you think.
Vernon, Dec 09 2005

       It seems like ghosts are more often seen than heard. If heard but not seen, how do you know it is not a cat in heat? This same technology could be used, but employ a photomultiplier to make it easier for ghosts to be seen.   

       Microphone for ghosts - yeh, yeh, ok. But your antifeedback idea is interesting. I know nothing about feedback control. I wonder if computerized delays are used to control feedback?
bungston, Dec 09 2005

       For those ghosts who prefer knocking, you could have a set of drums.
ldischler, Dec 09 2005

       Or braille sheets for your bed if the ghost is blind - and a translator of course.
l, Dec 09 2005


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