First: playing Mozart in City Mall downtown (an open air spot, not a shopping mall) reduces antisocial incidents and petty crime there. Evidence? The year on year falls to October 2010. Except, there was a big earthquake back in September, right? And lots of cops hanging out everywhere since then waiting for Gerry Brownlee's go-ahead to shoot looters or anybody who looks suspicious? So what we'd need then is August to August comparisons or, better, comparisons with parts of town that didn't start getting the Mozart treatment. Year on year declines looking only at the single spot are so completely confounded with earthquake effects as to be useless.
Second: A paranormal investigator says there's been a big increase in paranormal events since the earthquake. I can see this running on a "news of the weird" page, but front page? Did the paranormal investigators send out a press release? This is on the front page of our local paper.
Most cases related to strange noises, although one man said he had been attacked by a ghost.At least the comments section on the online piece is good fun. I especially like the worries about attacks by ghost sharks....
Heyrick said the "sheer strength and power" of the earthquake may have been responsible for the increase in paranormal activity.
The number of old buildings damaged in the earthquake may also have been a factor, he said.
It was well known among investigators that when renovations on old buildings took place, "it tends to wake up dormant spirits, and activity tends to come out of nowhere", he said.
"With the earthquake, it literally smashed walls apart, and knocked down floors and ceilings, so you can imagine the effect that would have had."
The team, which did not charge for its services, had conducted two full investigations, and was planning to do several more.