Over the many years that I have been involved in the paranormal, one thing that has always played on my mind is, where do we each fit in regards to the paranormal community? For many, this is something far from their minds and a worry they certainly do not share with me. They are who they are, doing their own thing and enjoying it too. This is perfectly admirable and I take my hat off to them, but surely a lack of connection with others seeking similar to them means that their finds lose their importance to the community itself. I say this not to disregard what they do, but because what they do often falls into that Paranormal Tourist bracket, rather than investigation.
There are probably thousands of paranormal enthusiasts out there these days and many groups too. Each heading off into the dark to investigate purported haunted locations using techniques that many have picked up from television shows.
Now its at this point you may be expecting me to state how all these many weekend ghost hunters are ruining the paranormal field. I have heard others say it, I have even heard people say how some TV personalities have claimed themselves experts, but few have talked about whats needed. Few have made the community understand the differences between various areas of this fascinating field that really does provide us with unlimited possibilities to explore.
When I started at this it was with my head in a book, reading everything I could on all that was strange or fringe from normality. I knew many things that we are all taught, but my parents also told me to question all things. They advised me to research, to understand and from that to draw conclusions. It was pretty much, as I would find out, the scientific method. So, when my interest found the paranormal, I applied what I knew.
This helped me to research various hauntings, including an abandoned derelict church, said to be haunted by a monk and the site of occult rituals in the dead of night, performed on the bodies from the grave yard. The church was said to have been built the wrong way round and hence linked to some very dark practices. There was even a story of bones being left on an alter within the ruins.
When I first started to look into this church it was all but a ruin, its roof completely gone and the grave stones had all been moved to the edge of the grave yard. All very spooky right!
However, there was a reasonable explanation to this particular story. The church was the right way round, nothing spooky there. It was abandoned simply because the town was further down the hill and a new church was built there for the town. The old church was used as a morgue for a while until it fell into disrepair. Then once the lead was stolen from the roof, it was down hill from there for the old church. There was an occult ritual performed at the ruin church, but it turns out it was a drunken joke by a group of near-by university students.
That said, things escalated in this particular case. There were reports of at least two or three graves being desecrated on the site. It was this that led to local authorities to protect the grave locations by moving the grave stones to the edge of the site.
These facts certainly allow us to reduce the spooky story down to something more realistic and understandable. It does not explain away the various witness accounts of people seeing a hooded monk. Sometimes we have to wonder why these things happen. Of course, the location itself and its spooky appearance may drive the belief that what is seen is a hooded monk.
The point here being, that often this evaluation of the facts does not happen, which is why the spooky ghost stories are maintained. This means that we may begin to find that many places suspected to be haunted are investigated by some that have already drawn conclusions before they have started. Hence, belief begins to drive how the investigation evolves, rather than it following facts.
However, much of what occurs during a ghost hunt is not truly fact and more related to experience. Unless of course you accept a personal experience as fact. The problem with them and our memories is that they are often fallible.
Perhaps there is more to ghost hunting than the facts, maybe seeking an experience or even finding one is enough for some. For others collecting information is important to them and in doing so they can provide the community with a wealth of knowledge to work from. In turn more serious investigators and even academics can take that a step further.
For whatever reason we each decide to enter into the paranormal community and to search out the oddities that interest us all, the important thing is we recognise our differences and our different approaches to the way we investigate. The paranormal is a growing community with so much more for us all to learn and to share too.
Why do you investigate the paranormal ?