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In Washington, DC (2016)
|Occupation||Skeptic, author, former ghost hunter|
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Kenneth "Kenny" Biddle is an American photographer, author, and researcher of paranormal claims. He is a former ghost hunter. Much of his current effort is directed towards analyzing and reporting on purported ghost photographs and videos. Biddle has been consulted by some journalists as an expert on paranormal, and his work has been praised by some skeptics.
Early paranormal investigations
Biddle was a paranormal enthusiast and ghost hunter with an interest in photography.[lower-alpha 1] Early in his career, he founded the Paranormal Investigators & Research Association, and co-founded the United States Paranormal Alliance. He also became an independent photography consultant for several chapters of the UFO enthusiast group, MUFON, and conducted photography training sessions for their field investigators.
Conversion to skepticism
Biddle began to question the authenticity of the ghost photographs he took himself, as well as of those he had found doing research. In a 2017 interview for Skeptical Inquirer, he stated that he used to think that the images he had taken of orbs, ectoplasmic mists, and 'energy' vortexes were authentic. However, he has now concluded that he was mistaken, and that he has not, in fact, taken "a single image that contained something that could be labeled 'paranormal'". Biddle also became skeptic of similar images captured by others, and his investigations supported his conclusion that his peers were incorrect in claiming they had photographed ghosts.
In addition to his discovery that ghost photographs were not authentic, Biddle said his conversion to scientific skepticism was accelerated when he discovered the work of Benjamin Radford, Joe Nickell, Sharon A. Hill, James Randi and Houdini. Biddle has stated that one of the major influences for his work has been Harry Houdini and his various works, especially Magician Among the Spirits, a book detailing Houdini’s investigations into psychics and spiritualists.
Following his skeptical conversion, Biddle met and partnered with Sharon Hill to form and organize the Anomalies Research Society, a network of professionals that focus on ethical, evidence-based investigation of paranormal and anomalous events.
Criticism of ghost hunting
Biddle has criticized present day ghost hunters and the equipment they use. He says they claim everything that they can't explain must be a ghost, and that they have a disregard for the scientific method. He claims images that can be replicated easily, are instead presented as ghosts due to the bias of the ghost hunters.
Biddle has been critical of the ghost hunting equipment that is used by investigators, and has been called "One of ghost hunting's most vocal skeptics" by Popular Mechanics. He was part of a team that examined the use of the Ghost Box, a device widely used for paranormal investigating, and determined it was useless. Biddle has also been critical of other equipment such as the K-II Safe Range, which was determined to be unreliable when he reviewed it for The Atlantic in 2016. Lisa Morton has also mentioned the gadget and its problems, as well as Biddle, in Ghosts: A Haunted History. He has also dismissed ghost hunting audio-recording equipment, and the claim that the Xbox Kinect can detect ghosts Biddle has also been critical of the various apps that are said to photograph ghosts.
Biddle says that the paranormal community is filled with hoaxes and frauds, and that you can’t take anything presented as evidence at face-value. As an example, he says that camera phone "ghost apps have become such a common source that when looking at alleged paranormal photographs, focus has shifted slightly from "IS that a ghost app picture?" to "Which ghost app was this from?... If it looks too good to be true, it probably is."
Biddle has analysed various alleged ghost photos and videos. According to Ben Radford, Biddle explained the Stanley Hotel ghost as a glitch on the phone camera caused by using the panorama feature. According to him another British viral 'Ghost photo' was just a double image of the same person, while the supposed video of a ghost on the Gettysburg Battlefield uploaded in 2013 was faked. Biddle investigated the "Screaming Ghost of Room 209" video from an Illinois hotel and deduced that it was a hoax uploaded by Turner Clay, an independent writer-director-editor with several horror films to his credit - including the zombie features Disaster L.A. and State of Emergency.
Biddle has been active in critiquing paranormal claims besides ghosts, such as psychic readings, Bigfoot and UFO encounters. He has discussed these issues as a guest on the Beyond The Edge Radio podcast, Ben Radford's Squaring the Strange podcast, and when he joined the cast of the Ghost Detectives TV show when they went searching for Bigfoot. Biddle has done monthly educational segments for the podcast Paranormal Talk Radio, participated in discussions on Paranormal Skeptic Academy, and is the co-host of the podcast Geeks & Ghosts. Since July 2012, Biddle has been releasing episodes on his YouTube video blog channel, i am Kenny Biddle, where he analyzes paranormal claims from a skeptical perspective.
In his effort to teach others what he has learned since his ghost hunting days, Biddle has written articles for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, the James Randi Educational Foundation, and several international skeptical magazines. He has also contributed to books by Ben Radford.
Biddle has been a speaker for various paranormal groups, as well as skeptic groups, including the Center for Inquiry at CSICon 2017 where he ran a workshop called "Explaining Paranormal Photography and Video".
Biddle's impact on some members of the paranormal research community was described by Sharon Hill in her 2017 book, Scientifical Americans: The Culture of Amateur Paranormal Researchers, for which Biddle provided the photography. In the book, Hill says: "Jason and Bobby [Jason Korbus and Bobby Nelson] consider Randi to have been a critical influence on their change in thinking as well as Michael Shermer, Ben Radford, and Kenny Biddle (another ghost-hunter-turned skeptical-advocate). The tone of their radio show/podcast, Strange Frequencies Radio, has changed drastically over the years as they transitioned from paranormal believers to paranormal skeptics."
Biddle lives in Pennsylvania with his wife Donna.
Select speaking engagements
- Lehigh Valley Humanists|
- Central New York Skeptics
- Philadelphia Association for Critical Thinking (PhACT)
- CSICon 2017
- Orbs or Dust? A Practical Guide to False-Positive Evidence (Self published)
- The Use of Psychics on Investigations (8/4/2004)
- Testing the K-II EMF Meter: Does it communicate with spirits? No. (9/24/2014)
- Journey Through the Paranormal (10/1/2014)
- Instant paranormal: The ubiquitous use of camera apps (10/19/2014)
- Did a psychic see my future? No, it wasn’t in the cards… (11/18/2014)
- Testing the Validity of the Ghost Box as a Tool for Paranormal Investigation (2/21/2015)
- The Xbox Kinect and Paranormal Investigation (7/7/2017)
- Barry Karr
- Regarding learning the skills of the photography profession, Biddle has said "I love to dabble in every aspect of a hobby or interest, learning little tricks here and there. I've done weddings, family portraits, headshots, product photography, nature photography, and so on. I’ve never taken a class on photography; I learned it 'old school' — by reading books/manuals, tagging along with other photographers, and simply pushing all the buttons. I follow the idea of 'What will happen if I do this?' It's a great way to learn."
- Gerbic, Susan (4 August 2017). "Kenny Biddle at CSICon: You Are Going to Love His Workshop!". CSICOP.org. CFI. Archived from the original on 30 December 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- Hill, Sharon A. (8 December 2017). Scientifical Americans: The Culture of Amateur Paranormal Researchers. McFarland. p. 204. ISBN 978-1476672472. Retrieved 1 January 2018. Search this book on
- Brocious, Jason (5 December 2017). "LVH Annual Meeting: Kenny Biddle's Investigations Of Paranormal CLAIMS". lvhumanists.org. Lehigh Valley Humanists. Archived from the original on 30 December 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- HEIGL, ALEX (19 April 2016). "Tourist Captures Photo of 'Ghost' at Spooky Hotel That Inspired The Shining: It 'Gave Me the Chills!'". People.com. People. Archived from the original on 4 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
- Radford, Benjamin (1 July 2010). Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries (First ed.). Rhombus Publishing Company. p. 82. ISBN 978-0936455112. Retrieved 1 January 2018. Search this book on
- Biddle, Kenny (4 August 2004). "The Use of Psychics on Investigations". Ghostvillage.com. Ghost Village. Archived from the original on 2 January 2018. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
- "Episode 14". Spooktator.co.uk. The Spooktator. Archived from the original on 30 December 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- Goodlin, Lisa (15 July 2017). "Talk: Orbs or Dust: Demystifying Alleged Paranormal Photography Kenny Biddle". cnyskeptics.org. Central NY Skeptics. Archived from the original on 30 December 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- Biddle, Kenny. "FB: I am Kenny Biddle, About". Facebook.com. FaceBook. Archived from the original on 30 December 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- "Paranormal goes pop: Interview with Kenny Biddle of the "Geeks and Ghosts" podcast". adventuresinpoortaste.com. AIPT. Archived from the original on 13 January 2018. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
- Hill, Sharon (26 February 2017). "15 Credibility St #11: It's One Louder". Doubtfulnews.com. Doubtful News. Archived from the original on 30 December 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- Hinton, Rick (28 May 2015). "Haunts & Jaunts 5/28/15: The politics of ghost hunting". ss-times.com. The Southside Times. Archived from the original on 30 December 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- Mongia, Gurmukh. "He Is Kenny Biddle". CSIOP.org. Skeptical Briefs Volume 23.4, Winter 2013–2014: CFI. Archived from the original on 30 December 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- Brown, Jennings (26 October 2016). "Proton Packs and Teddy Bears: The Pseudoscientific History of Ghost Hunting Gadgets". Popularmechanics.com. Popular Mechanics. Archived from the original on 1 January 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- Taff, Barry (21 February 2015). "Testing the Validity of the Ghost Box as a Tool for Paranormal Investigation". barrytaff.net. Barry Taff. Archived from the original on 3 January 2018. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- Biddle, Kenny (14 September 2014). "Testing the K-II EMF Meter: Does it communicate with spirits? No". randi.org. JREF. Archived from the original on 1 January 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- Dickey, Colin (14 November 2016). "The Broken Technology of Ghost Hunting". Theatlantic.com. The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 1 January 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- Morton, Lisa (15 October 2015). Ghosts: A Haunted History. Reaktion Books. ISBN 978-1780235172. Retrieved 1 January 2018. Search this book on
- Schechter, David (29 October 2017). "Is there science behind ghost hunting?". wtsp.com. 10 News Tampa Bay. Archived from the original on 1 January 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- Biddle, Kenny (7 July 2017). "The Xbox Kinect and Paranormal Investigation". csicop.org. CFI. Archived from the original on 1 January 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- Biddle, Kenny. "Instant paranormal: The ubiquitous use of camera apps". randi.org. JREF. Archived from the original on 1 January 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- Radford, Benjamin (19 April 2016). "Is Mysterious Figure at Stanley Hotel a Ghost?". Livescience.com. Live Science. Archived from the original on 4 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
- Biddle, Kenny (2 September 2016). "IAKB Gettysburg Ghost Sighting". Youtube.com. Kenny Biddle. Archived from the original on 4 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
- Stevens, Hayley. "That Viral Gettysburg Ghost Video". hayleyisaghost.co.uk. Hayley is a ghost. Archived from the original on 4 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
- Burkart, Gregory (16 December 2015). "Expert Claims to Solve the Mystery of the "Screaming Hotel Ghost"". The13thfloor.tv. 13th Floor. Archived from the original on 4 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
- "Analysis of the "Screaming Hotel Ghost" video". anomaliesresearchsociety.wordpress.com. Anomalies Research Society. 2 August 2017. Archived from the original on 4 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
- Biddle, Kenny (18 November 2014). "Did a psychic see my future? No, it wasn't in the cards…". randi.org. JREF. Archived from the original on 1 January 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- "Beyond The Edge Radio 6/26/2016 Kenny Biddle and Luis Castillo". Stitcher.com. Beyond The Edge Radio. Archived from the original on 4 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
- "Episode 39 - A Diet High in Skepticism". libsyn.com. Squaring the Strange. 5 January 2018. Archived from the original on 6 January 2018. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
- "S7 Ep5 Bigfoot Weekend". Youtube.com. Ghost Detectives TV. 5 January 2017. Archived from the original on 4 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
- Biddle, Kenny (1 October 2014). "Journey Through the Paranormal". randi.org. JREF. Archived from the original on 1 January 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- "CSICON 2017: Schedule". centerforinquiry.net. CFI. Archived from the original on 3 January 2018. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- "Kenny Biddle Speaking Announcement: Orbs or Dust? A Practical Guide to False-Positives" (PDF). phact.org/. Philadelphia Assoc for Critical Thinking. January 2010. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 January 2018. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
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