Paranormal Lockdown UK & The Hell House…
Not long ago an episode of Paranormal Lockdown UK hit our screens, where Nick Groff and Katrina Weidman investigated 81 Skegness Road, known apparently as the Skegness Hell House. What I found particularly interesting about this episode and other information I found online, was that the jump to understanding the source of this haunting often seemed to find its place within a darker vocabulary. That is the cause is often said to be the devil, demonic or due to some dabbling in the darker arts.
Okay, so I better come clean, this isn’t a post about just the Paranormal Lockdown investigation of the Skegness Hell House; the episode did get me thinking though about the source of hauntings once again. In regards to paranormal investigations this also ties into my recent post on the SPR’s ‘Guidance Notes for Investigators of Spontaneous Cases’ and how it mentions that if you’re not sure or don’t have the supportive evidence then we don’t need to or perhaps should present a conclusion. Especially if that conclusion could be wrong and be misleading to individuals that could in some way cause harm. We each have a duty of care to our fellow human and with that in mind we shouldn’t be confusing the situation with dramatic conclusions that have little or no proof to support them.
Now this is a fundamental flaw when it comes to paranormal TV shows as it happens. You see although as previously mentioned; reaching a conclusion after only spending a short time investigating a location may not be wise or ideal. However when it comes to a TV episode you have to really present a conclusion of some kind. This is because TV shows such as Paranormal Lockdown UK, Ghost Hunters, Most Haunted or Ghost Adventures still need to tell a story to their audiences. Which means usually a simple format of setting the scene, that’s the location history and previous activity; then the main body or investigation ; then the build up to the finale or most active part of the investigation and evidence review; concluding with the evidence reveal to the client and suggestion of their assessment. Often the ‘drama’ of the investigation is built through the show too, so it gets more intense finalising in a big experiment perhaps. This all creates natural drama and engages the audience. Now many TV shows if not all at some point have fallen into the trap of mixing their own opinion in with the conclusion, which often results in an unsubstantiated understanding of the events and experience. Although some, Ghost Hunters back in the day, didn’t over step this mark and presented what they found as just that, what they had found.
Blame the Ouija board…
In the Paranormal Lockdown UK episode investigating the Skegness Hell House, Katrina and Nick stated that the probable cause was that of the mother dabbling with a Ouija Board many years back. During this Ouija Board session the mother stated she encountered an entity, a name of which was linked to some of the shows experiences. This experience does not explain the cause of the hauntings, it’s a small possibility and could equally be part of a larger picture. Also, just because Katrina and Nick had experiences which vaguely fall in line with this doesn’t give us evidence of spiritual activity either. The reason being is that there are a number of other possibilities here; 1) fraud – as in the team fabricated this to create a good story line, but lets not use that as a reason, lets give them the benefit of the doubt as good investigators seeking the truth; 2) telepathic interaction – as Nick and Katrina had interacted with the home owners and established a connection, any information not verbalised became telepathically accessed. So, their questions were answered by their own minds interacting with the devices and/or others, but not spirits. 3) information already known – often we may read about a location or learn of it and ambiguous information about this is remembered. Clearly Katrina and Nick had knowledge of the location, perhaps this included what they thought they learnt during the investigation. As you can see its easy to draw simple conclusions, but only if we focus on specifics. Nick and Katrina aren’t alone on this one either, other TV shows do it and so do many ghost hunters.
Its this quick conclusions following little exposure or true experience that’s a fundamental issue across the board of the paranormal today. How hard would it be to say; ‘I don’t know’ or ‘this needs further investigation’? I have personally attempted to explain post investigation over many years now, vaguely concluding if I could. However I’ve equally realised that this field is massive and the possible reasons or source of activity are still very much out there to be defined. My personal belief and understanding has led to comprehend the source to lay perhaps in the mind, collective mind or perhaps something explainable by physics. Aspects relating to demonology are fascinating, but I currently find the evidence lacking. This is equally true of Ouija Boards too. Many seem to attribute negativity with the boards and TV shows are often quick to blame their use as the initial catalyst for paranormal activity. Personally and from the many I’ve spoken to the boards have never caused problems similar to the claims. They’ve simply had some bad press over the years. Hence the evidence to support them as a cause is weak, one can not attribute the activity at a location to one singular event when the board was used.
So, what’s more likely to be the cause then?
Well that is the million dollar question isn’t it? An answer for which will not be found by continuously utilising the same approaches and drawing those same conclusions. We need to be trying new things now, asking different questions too.
Granted that recent years have seen an increase of technology in the field to assist Ghost hunters in gathering more evidence. However a lot of that technology has been either incorrectly used or just not put to the best use. Equally some pieces of kit have produced a huge misconception due to their design and use. The most obvious being those little devices which have various little lights the flash or make sounds when they measure a slight change in the local environment. However it has been communicated that if those lights flash or it makes a sound then some kind of spirit is interacting with it. This is then interpreted as communication and many continue with asking questions, taking the device responses as answers to their questions. I’ve even attempted this approach in the past myself. After many years investigating though and finding logical explanations for many probable communications, in my opinion these devices are quite misleading in regards to spirit communication. These days many paranormal TV shows and ghost hunting teams use many of these kinds of devices. This is likely to be because they are very responsive; and can give very good audible and visual reactions in real time to keep the investigator or audience engaged. However that doesn’t necessarily mean those response are actually spirits communicating.
Prove me wrong, please…
Of course as ever I am hopeful there is someone that can prove me wrong on this point. That would of course require good solid evidence that would prove; a) the information communicated could be clearly associated with a specific individual without question; b)said information stands on its own merits, without interpretation; c) the transference of information and its frequency relates directly to questions asked, thus constituting a probable conversation. Without meeting these factors the probable communication through these devices surely can not be concluded as being intelligent, which likely means it’s a misinterpretation of other measured factors.
Sometimes our desire to communicate can result in our belief ruling the logic of investigation. If we use devices that measure something, be it EMF, temperature, etc. We should keep track of those measurements in order to search out possible patterns that may tell us more about the paranormal.
The point is here that in short spaces of time investigating, these devices can provide what seems like good ‘evidence’ t support probable communication. However that information often doesn’t quantify intelligent communication. This information is often presented as objective, but actually the device measurement is more like subjective information. This is because its treated as a response and interpreted rather than being recorded as a measurement, which is analysed as a greater pool of data. This creates a huge grey area in the paranormal field though.
A little confirmation bias…
This confirmation bias presents information as fact when its never been established as such. Which often means many believe that the voices heard over varying devices are actually the voices of a localised spirit trying to communicate.
Although these devices can make ghost hunting fun, we should probably equally ask ourselves what we are trying to achieve. If it is good solid evidence the we should take on some more structured approaches to gather…. You guessed it….. DATA!
True conclusions are based on lots of information and data. Long studies over great lengths of time, where ideas are attempted to create theory, which is in turn tested to prove its validity.
We often speak about moving the field forwards, but that’s already happening the world over. There are many universities that research and also teach parapsychology now. These are doing great work in furthering the field already. Furthermore their work is being documented in books, magazines and structured journals for all to read.
Perhaps we should look to how the academics approach their research and investigation in order to apply those methods to our own investigations more.
Leaders in the field…
Now there are some out there that are already doing this and pushing those boundaries more and more. They create different experiments and build new devices in order to measure changes. They understand the need to constantly evaluate and change their approach accordingly. The likes of Cal Cooper, Dean Radin, Russell Targ, and more spring to mind from the academic field. My good friend Graham Smith is also taking this approach too by creating a device to hopefully measure effects that Thomas Fusco theorised on in his book; ‘Beyond the Cosmic Veil’.
Utilising this approach would mean that we should be following the information we encounter during the investigation. We need to see where that information takes us, if it takes us anywhere that is! We certainly shouldn’t be making generalised assumptions early on based on slight activity or little information. Such an early assumption may end up influencing our overall comprehension of an investigation.
In my opinion Nick and Katrina appeared to do this early on during the Paranormal Lockdown UK investigation of 81 Skegness Road. Even more so, it appeared the conclusion was tied in early to the location being identified as the Skegness Hell House. Also, it seemed that demonic entities were added into the mix without good evidence to support it, which was slightly disappointing too. At least alternatives were not presented at the time either. It would certainly be good to witness and evaluate the actual 72 hour investigation that Nick and Katrina conduct as this would provide more insight and information into their approach and process. Rather than the highlights within the TV rating orientated show. After all the TV shows primary concern will be to maintain ratings and remain on air.
Could there be evidence on the cutting room floor…
Perhaps this is something equally overlooked, TV shows like Paranormal Lockdown, Ghost Adventures, Most Haunted, Ghost Hunters, etc may also have good usable information in their footage that wasn’t used that could help us understand the afterlife in greater detail. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not specifically having a moan about paranormal TV shows here, as I have mentioned in the past they drum up great interest in the paranormal field and as a result more people are getting interested and involved. I just think it would be really good to equally showcase the more structured investigation approach and the large amount of research out there. Not to mention the simple fact that the field is moving forwards at a really good pace actually.
We currently work and live in a world that has the technology to collaborate more than ever. Personally I would still like to see more collaboration in the paranormal field especially as we deal with a subject that is remarkably vast, but has interested people the world over. Gathering lots of data on many locations the world over could allow us to discover simpler patterns that answer some of the questions we all seek answers for. This equally means that we really need to find ways to silence some of the ‘noise’ that creates misleading interpretations of paranormal events. Paranormal TV shows are great entertainment, I quite like to chill out and watch them myself. I am working my way through the current Paranormal Lockdown UK series at the moment. However I don’t feel that we should be attributing their discoveries as ‘fact’ like so many seem to think they are. This could be simply avoided by the TV show by changing the language they utilise during the show, to embrace an approach that suggests possibilities rather than facts. That said though, that might not fit the format of the show or the drama that keeps audiences engaged. Perhaps I am looking for a documentary show!
What do you think about paranormal TV?
What do you think about paranormal TV shows? Do you like them or hate them? How do you think they could be done better? Do you think they jump a little far for their conclusions?
Please feel free to comment below to let me know, but also like and share too.