Have you heard of the Indiana woman who put her father’s ghost up for auction on eBay because supposedly her son was convinced Grandpa was haunting the house? She hoped by selling his ghost (and the cane of her father), that her son would be convinced he left the house — and he would no longer be afraid. This is a true story.
It intrigued me so I went to investigate it for myself. I found a video interview of the woman and her husband on MSNBC.com. I wanted to see what they had to say firsthand. I wanted to know if this woman was honest. The story could be plausible, in a clever effort to rid a child of fear. However, it could be a ploy for money.
After watching the video, I do not trust this woman. More than likely, this is a person who is out for financial gain. Regardless, I am going to view this with a clean slate and see what I find…
Review of the Video – Ghostly Sale:
NBC’s Ann Curry interviews Mary and her husband, Mickey Anderson. Below I recount spots in the video that make me question the people and their motives.
- Watch when Mickey Anderson is asked by Ann Curry whose idea it was to put the ghost up for auction. Listen to how Mickey responds. He stutters by saying “um, and “ah” a lot. He also says “she” when he means “he”. His answer doesn’t roll off his tongue. He clearly struggles in his reply. When a story is genuine, you don’t struggle. It flows naturally. I don’t believe he is being honest here.
- Watch his wife’s response as he talks to Ann Curry about whose idea it was to list the auction. She is sitting there carefully listening to her husband’s every word. She makes stressed faces as he talks. Why? Is she fearful he might not say the right things? Did she coach him on exactly what to say — and she fears he may not say it exactly as he is supposed to? She nods her head in confirmation at other times concurring with what he is saying. Then when he finishes, she cracks a smile and looks relieved. Why? I think the answer is obvious: perhaps the answers were practiced?
(Let Mary’s expressions guide you. They will guide you more appropriately than will her words… )
- When Ann Curry asks Mary if she is scratching-her-head (figure of speech) because the auction (at that point) was sitting at FIVE THOUSAND (odd) dollars, listen to Mary’s response. Ann Curry is in shock. Why doesn’t Mary respond that she, too, is shocked (at the price)? Wouldn’t you be if a non-material item on eBay was selling for thousands?
Wouldn’t any normal person be shocked?
I speculate a person who is lying wouldn’t be shocked. They’d suppress their feelings because they wouldn’t want to let out a hint of excitement about their true motivation — which would more than likely be monetary gain. An honest person would exude shock, like everyone else.
- Mary says,”I figured who is going to want this? I figured we could get a penny out of it.”
She says she could get a penny? Isn’t that a weird response? Who would think about a penny? Again, Mary is downplaying this – downplaying her interest in monetary gains.
I suspect people would have one or two motives in this situation: to help their son (in a weird albeit abnormal funky mystic-kind-of-way) — or to get their hands on money like the money made by the crazy woman who sold a grill cheese sandwich just a few weeks before!! Which motive is Mary thinking about?
- Watch when Ann Curry says, “What are you going to do with the money?”
Mary blows air through her teeth and lips. That’s a true, trustworthy expression of frustration. It truly indicates how she is really feeling. Her reply, “If it…It really depends on what it (the amount) goes up to now….We told him he is supposed to get all the money…but if it goes up from there… we are giving to charity, too.” Mary fears Curry is honing in on her desires to take money — and she is sick of it! She doesn’t want to talk about it anymore.
- Mary goes on to say that she has had tons of e-mail telling her what she should do with the money. Look closely, you see an expression of anger (a microexpression, I suspect)! She is mad about that. She doesn’t want anyone to tell her what to do with her money but she tries to hide it. Where are her thoughts about her son & charity? Does she not have any? Her emotions are not consistent with what she is saying.
- Ann Curry goes on to ask…”Have you thought about ‘what if’ this doesn’t work? What if you sell the ghost and Collin still thinks the ghost is in the house? What are you going to do then?”
Look at how cocky Mary is when she replies so confidently, “I don’t think that is going to be a problem (pause) because… I’ve been reading e-mails to him…” The pause between the word because and I’ve is interesting. She is thinking as she speaks.
A mother whose son is honestly afraid of ghosts knows that situations like this aren’t that easily rectified. Mary’s confidence doesn’t add up to normal behavior.
- Watch Mary’s husband as she talks about how excited her son is about giving the ghost away. Why is her husband so somber? If his son was excited, wouldn’t he be genuinely enthused as well? Would he be joyous? He’s not. Why? Does he know things are less than honest, perhaps?
Another inconsistency from Mary in other news stories is that she says her son says Grandpa was “mean” yet she swears he was the nicest man you’d ever meet in her actual auction description. This shows Mary is inconsistent. Inconsistency points to less than honest behavior.
When people don’t tell the truth, they just don’t respond normally.
In the end, what is even more odd to me is why the son, Collin, isn’t part of the interview. Why didn’t they have him on with them? People might say that is because they want to protect the identity of their child — but clearly that is not the case because they offered a photo of Collin in the video above. Were they afraid to have Collin speak? Children are usually brutally honest. Is Mary afraid of this?
In the end, I personally don’t trust what this couple is saying.