The Data Age…
We live in a time where data has never been so important to us, it’s literally a time where everything in our lives has link to some kind of data or algorithms to comprehend what we want.
Think about that for second. I am sure there are examples you could provide that seem like they have no influence from some form of data, but do they?
Its certainly a strange concept to get your head around that a lot of what we do is likely to be because the choices we are most likely to engage with have been presented to us. Conspiracy theorist have a field day with this kind of area and the concept of being constantly watched isn’t a new. The book 1984 suggested a world monitored by CCTV for example many decades ago now. Oddly the UK is dubbed one of the most monitored countries in the world when it comes to CCTV. The recent TV series Hunted shows how hard it is to avoid the CCTV once dropped in the centre of a city. Head out into the country and even though camera coverage is more sparse, ‘big brother’ will still find you!
This disturbing fact is one aspect of information and data that is captured in huge quantities on a daily basis, where you are and what you’re doing. Now if you think it would take thousands of hours for a person to sift through any footage to track your movements individually, then you would be right. However this isn’t the case and also where the data aspect falls into this. There is now excellent software that runs facial recognition and number plate recognition, the authorities can track you through a number of systems using this. In fact the systems do all the work and simply alert when you pop up so to speak.
Wait, what, now…
Lost? Wondering why I am rambling on about CCTV instead of the paranormal? Well it’s simple really, many of us utilise audio and video as a primary tool for attempting to capture probable ‘evidence’ of the paranormal. However these are equally tools which can help us document our environments of investigation more fully. At some point, I couldn’t tell you when I stopped reviewing every piece of footage on my CCTV system post investigation. This wasn’t because I got a tag lazy, but because I soon realised whatever I found would have no meaning without additional sources to support it. So, I allowed those other source to present themselves and to utilise the CCTV to a) back those sources up and b) identify the locations of the team. The latter wasn’t because I didn’t trust my team, but actually because our memories are not quite the best at actually recalling information about an event.We needed to back our own timeline up if we were to become able to present to the academics. More information and data.
The other thing I discovered was that in order to prove what we thought we were experiencing we needed a lot of data to support that. A couple of our favourite cases with a vague comprehension of what happened with no hard evidence would never be enough. This lead me to come to the conclusion that we would need at least a couple of hundred main cases to study and they would need to be geographically and chronologically spread, but what I really wanted to include was an abundance of up to date recent cases too. Especially as these recent cases from investigators out there today doing the work may constitute current activity we could investigate further.
Which is how I came to want to seek so much data or information within the paranormal field.
Hello ‘Big Data’…
The easiest way to comprehend this and to explain how these day in our everyday life we encounter this ‘big data’ and the collection and use of it, is to bring in one thing that often seems to cause issue within the ghost hunter community. I am of course referring to the internet based social media platforms we now use day in day out. These particular system constantly gather information on what we search for, like and become interested in. Then that information is fed through algorithms that likes of Facebook and Google use in order to determine which advertisement would be best suited for us.
I have spoken about this previously, when I mentioned AI and machine learning, but now I am saying let’s take that approach of gather information and using it together to understand more about the field we all love. I totally understand that gather numbers and pieces of information isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and will never be more exciting than navigating a haunted location in the quiet of night, but whilst we do that on occasion we could grab a little information to get us going.
ParaSearch Radio interview on research…
Around this time last night (as I’m writing this post) I was talking to Kerry Greenaway on The Spirit Dimension radio show, one of Paraseach Radio’s many interesting shows about this very subject. In fact we put a call out to the Paranormal Investigators out there for assistance in gathering some of this data/information in order to add into our research and understand the Paranormal better perhaps. Links below:-
The Spirit Dimension – Research Project
ParaSearch Radio’s YouTube Channel – Subscribe for their latest
You can also gather the kind of information I am after using my Paranormal Investigators Journal. I have even created a simple form for capturing Paranormal Activity here too.
Please have a listen to my interview with Kerry as it explains what we are trying to achieve a little better, the link to YouTube is above.
If we are truly going to crack this field or at least made significant steps forward we need to start gathering huge amounts of data and information in one place so we can analyse its contents, search for significant patterns and cross match it for similarities. I hate to say it, but video, photographs and audio are always to a degree come under harsh evaluation. IT shouldn’t be a case of whether someone believes what they see in a picture or hear in an EVP, the evidence should speak for itself.
So, please join me in gathering all this data and information together from your investigations over the upcoming year to begin with and hopefully beyond. It doesn’t matter if you UK, US, German or Australian based, the more we can gather from all over the world the better. It equally doesn’t matter if it was the investigation you did last weekend, last year or a decade ago, if you have it documented I can use it.
The first sweep (as I call it) is simply to gather location details, when the event occurred, what happened and whom. I also need the source if possible, as that can help me return to that case for more details later. Any event passed onto will be logged in the sheet with that person beside it. It also doesn’t matter if four different teams send me the same piece of activity for the same location at different or even the same times. It’s all important data we can use.
So please get in contact, send me some information, use the form on my website, contact Kerry at ParaSearch; it really doesn’t matter how as long as we share this information.