Often when we discuss the investigation of various locations, the focus of those investigations is to enable the investigators to capture evidence to support the existence of the supernatural. However, in closer inspection, it has become the observation of this psychical researcher that many are more focused on finding their own paranormal experiences. Once again we see the ghost hunters mis-labelling what they do and often causing confusion when we are trying to have the odd conversations about the paranormal.
Don’t get me wrong, if its a paranormal experience that you’re seeking thats perfectly fine and we have all been there. Heading off to various spooky locations on ghost hunts, carefully making our way around the buildings in the dark, hoping that we may see or hear something.
However, if we are to start advocating proper investigation and research then we should really start looking at the cases we have in better detail. This often means that a couple of concepts that are usually forgotten or at least lower on the importance scale for ghost hunters, need to be taken into consideration more.
So, whilst it is still important to capture information regarding what happened and to whom, it is equally important to understand where the event occurred and when. This may seem like something extremely simple to many, but its also something that is less considered that you may believe.
On many occasions I have seen ghost hunters focus on what happened to an individual, leaving out important details. For example, a ghost hunter may see an apparition during their investigation, which they will discuss with their team and beyond as their personal experience. This remains as this though, the ghost hunters often fail to capture the exact location of the event and the exact time it occurred. Details are extremely important to the investigation of paranormal events, but they are still left out in many cases. Whilst I have personally attempted to capture more details over the years, I equally know that its really simple to get caught in the drama of the ghost hunt and forget to make detailed notes. In fact, these days many ghost hunters rely on video cameras to capture the events of the hunt.
Last night I watched a paranormal TV show that I must admit, I have never seen previously; it was called Destination Fear (I believe). During this show the team of split and visited two locations that were relatively near each other. As may be expected the team tackled their two locations using various pieces of ghost hunting kit; such as EVP and EMF sensors. Each member of the four appeared to be carrying their own camera and it appeared they were filming the nights investigation between them all. Although there were also a few static cameras too. Obviously these investigations were for TV entertainment and as such the drama and reactions were over the top for ghost hunters, in my opinion, but the dynamic was interesting to watch. Whilst they had a few interesting points; like a few REM pod sensors go off, a light potentially switch itself on and some audio which was impossible to understand; their ‘evidence’ was completely subjective and provided very little towards the actual cases in hand. Especially as these were utilised to jump to conclusions without true justification.
The point here being that; even though the team had gadgets during their investigation, they appeared more like props in a drama that the ghost hunters reacted to at the time. This then created an nice atmosphere for the TV shows audience. At no point did the team appear to try to understand what was occurring by capturing information to analyse for patterns.
A recent episode of Paranormal Captured did exactly this too. Ghost Hunter Danny investigated a haunted pub. During which some photographs were provided with explanations, but these explanations seemed to be reaching further than they should rather than realising that it was just simple belief and interpretation at play. During his own Ghost Hunt, Danny used a EVP device with little explanation of its inner workings, but when that provided some rather spooky audio messages; Danny’s reactions were that of someone caught in the middle of a horror film! Surely such a seasoned investigator would be calmer in such scenarios and be able to manage them better. However, he’s over-reaction was likely to be one more aligned with someone fully aware of what was to come potentially. In my opinion, he appeared to be acting up to the situation to make it more dramatic. This is something I totally understand, after all these TV shows are for entertainment purposes.
In both these situations, no notes were taken and no understanding of what had occurred was provided. It seemed better to keep the audience in suspense and avoid true research or investigation.
Currently many TV shows seem to advocate that its the role of the Ghost Hunter to run away the moment they actually encounter something paranormal. I would like to state that is not what we should be doing, we need to study and research; investigate and understand. Running away simply helps to promote the concept of paranormal activity is nothing more than spooky horror film events that we may experience in our life if we are particularly unlucky.
Capturing the events of a ghost hunt on the film of a video camera is not entirely a bad thing though and that also counts if the ghost hunter is carrying that camera. As long as we understand that the camera is either static or being carried; where it is at any given moment; where the team is at that moment and ensure that the cameras are including the date and time; then they become useful tools. We equally must understand the equipment that we are using during the ghost hunt, as some anomalies we capture on film could be explained by the device itself. This is best explained by the use of video on some of the older iPhone models. As in the right light and right angle they would produce a little light on video, which in the past was the reason behind a number of social media post where people thought they were seeing anything from a simple light anomaly to fairies! So, as you can imagine, knowing the kit you use is really important.
Personally, I remember using a CCTV system to capture the whereabouts of the team throughout the investigation, rather than trying to capture ghosts. At the time this raised questions, but the explanation is simple; we do not always realise where we were and when. Capturing this information would help us to determine what may and may not be something paranormal.
This also highlights the requirement to focus our investigations better. The standard approach for a ghost hunt is to try and investigate the entire location. Whilst this is not wrong, it can often mean that we are not focussing our efforts correctly. For example; if the location has reports of activity in the library and nowhere else on the property, then we should focus our main attention on that area. Secondly to that, if the activity reported is audible only, then perhaps our main focus should be to capture audio in some way. This doesn’t mean we can’t try other approaches too, but if we have nothing to support investigating the location for say visual apparitions, then we could be wasting our time setting up something to capture just that.
Whilst it may be exciting to wander around haunted locations in the dark hoping for an experience of some kind, true investigation is about removing your desires from the event and seeking out the data and information to make informed decisions. The more data and information we obtain the more we can analyse to gain a better understanding of the paranormal. The more we understand about the paranormal, the more we can design new approaches that may have greater impact on what we truly seek.