Ladies and Gentleman of the Paranormal Community:
As a veteran of the psychic wars, flame wars, and anything else an axe could be lobbed at, I wanted to post my thoughts on the State of The Paranormal Community in hopes that it might get the juices flowing and the masses back to doing what we do best, and that’s chip away at this meaning of life, death, and all things ghostly. What sparked me to write this has been building for over a year, and is not meant in anger or any other negative emotion, but as one of concern for the study that I have dedicated myself to and probably a lot of you have as well. So as you read the ramblings of a mad man, may you become as crazy as I am.
I have read a lot of blogs on this concept of “going dark” and have some thoughts on this. To make sure you’re doing this for the right reason is the key here. Paranormal activity does not wear a watch and it occurs day and night. The strongest two arguments (besides the obvious of the equipment shows up better in the dark), I can see is that first of all when removing the electrical flow to the home or business its easier to control your readings so that one can detect false readings more accurately and be able to pinpoint any power grid issues that may be affecting the home or business. And secondly, it causes one to have to rely on their PSI ability or their focused investigative skills to observe and document the area. Having removed the current in the home or business, A/C flow will not affect the anemometer readings, temp readings for cold spots will be more accurate, and being more quiet and still, listening skills will be more heightened, as well as EVP sessions can be more controlled. This is a prime time to gather your group together and either work out a silent code for getting ones attention, or just to settle in with your log and equipment and wait for the activity to begin.
A misconception I have watched on TV is “Dead Time.” The theory on this is that 3 AM being the opposite time of when Christ was crucified has spiritual “powers” and is good for communication. I disagree with this 1) because the group claims to be “scientific” and this is a metaphyisical theory, 2) in 20-plus years, communication and activity has happened when its happened, day or night. There are just too many variables on this to just place it on a metaphysical theory that does not hold merit, and 3) Spiritually speaking, the crucifixion was a positive gesture, so anything on the opposite would constitute a negative, and why depend on that, metaphysically speaking? Makes no sense. It’s used as dramatic license for TV and its viewers and nothing more. Intelligent Hauntings can cause movement during a haunting event as well because your dealing with a possible remnant of a person. Not a whole person as there are usually just shards of memories there, and they are usually either of why they are dead, unfinished business, or sometimes even of a protective nature. These are usually the strongest concerns when they passed so these are usually what plays out. But to state again, they are people, there are good and bad as there are in life. So to know your subject is to know how to handle the issue. To perform an exorcism on a human spirit is overkill and usually just creates more physicality toward the client’s home, office, or self. These cases need a gifted medium that can perform an intervention, and find out the issue, get the message work to release the cording or tie to the place, individual, or individuals, and then bring in their spirit guides or the deceased’s comforting source to help them accept the crossing. This reduces the trauma of the client and their family, and creates more of a comfort to all involved. There is a time and place for an exorcism. And to not interview and evaluate your client and just assume, is just not ethical nor professional. Keep the drama down, most people do not like it and it’s harmful to your client, their family, and interests.
We ourselves can produce phenomena by psychokinetic energy manufactured and released by an agent or agents in the home that is having an issue, or circumstance that is triggering a traumatic event to create the energy release or is in a situation that stress or stressors are having the body release energy that causes ghostlike phenomena or physicality towards themselves, or items that are either tied to the event or are a metaphor for the traumatic event. So is it a spirit or the client? Phew, I know that’s a mouthful, but we as investigators also need to look at the person as well as the reported phenomena and historical data. This should only be done by trained professionals that have dealt with clinical clients as they are trained to handle varied situations and know how to react when signs of stress and trauma are present. So please, please, please! Call in someone if you’re not trained in this, there is nothing wrong with doing that, and it does not look bad on your team, it actually will look good on your team because you are showing your concern for their well being. Too many teams jump to the demonic card and go right for an exorcism when PK bursts start. Make sure with a professional that you know what you’re dealing with.
On to demonologists. Since when did the flood gates open to all of these self-trained demonologists that do case work now and advertise that they are looking for teams? This is extremely dangerous to your team, your client, and to them. Check their credentials carefully, interview them for knowledge, background, affiliations, and health. Yes I said health! I have had the opportunity to work with an ordained priest from a historically established church a few times, and can tell you first-hand, it’s not all TV and skittles. You open yourself up to a world of hurt if you’re not spiritually, mentally, and physically prepared to deal with a discarnate entity. These are spirits of non-human origin that have nothing better to do than make you suffer and wreak havoc wherever and whenever they get the chance. Do I have your attention now? A human being made in God’s image is a natural enemy to this sort and when they are challenged it’s usually in a survivalistic mode, first to feel the demonologist and the team out. If they are not on their level, then they will take advantage of the weakness, expose it, and destroy it if possible. I lump demonologists and exorcists together because one really needs to know both or be both for the best of the client and themselves. What scares me these days and years prior, is that some folks think that going to a Web site and becoming ordained for free or buying the $34.95 package prepares them for client work, after they watched a TV show and read the latest demon encyclopedia does not even make them prepared to park cars at the local YMCA on a Saturday Pancake Dinner, so do not even fool yourself or anyone else.
Orbs. Well my good friend Troy Taylor said it best, “Enough with the orbs already!” I have to agree with him, but I also understand when I first started out, this was the first anomaly I caught, and not knowing what I know now, of course I was excited and wanted to show everyone. One has to understand that they are a case-by-case basis on any site, and being that they are so common-place you have to dissect each case. 99% of the time it’s going to be a flash reflection off of a reflective surface causing the lens to flare, operator error, development flaw, older digital cameras had pixelation issues on the CCD, so those first cameras were flawed. And don’t forget Weather! Old man weather will do it every time, water reflects light and causes the same effect, dust is good as well as flying debris. Hair and camera straps can make some of the coolest vortices on film, but take note on where you are, what’s around, your camera is clean, hair tied and strap removed. Please do not blow up orbs to look for faces! Carl Sagan hypothesized that as a survival technique, human beings are “hard-wired” from birth to identify the human face. This allows people to use only minimal details to recognize faces from a distance and in poor visibility, but can also lead them to interpret random images or patterns of light and shade as being faces. A good percentage of the time the shots that are taken are low resolution, and blowing them up just causes pixelation. The more questions you remove, the harder to debunk, and always remember, if you post your stuff, be prepared for questions. If you do not have a tough skin, do not post it. That’s for the evidence and your sake, some technicians can be hypercritical. Never be scared, though, to ask why or show me, because you might learn something, or find out they do not know what they are talking about either. It’s a two-way street.
Some investigators feel that filtering a sample to the point of it sounding like the tinman in a garbage disposal is providing evidence. Pareidolia is a type of apophenia involving the finding of images or sounds in random stimuli. For example; if you’re hearing a ringing phone whilst taking a shower. The white noise produced by the running water gives a random background from which the patterned sound of a ringing phone might be “produced.” Sometimes less is more in this case, if you can show that the frequency that the sample was in was an event that you can show that there was nothing else there to create it, then there is nothing wrong with posting it as just that. An undetermined anomaly. Not everything is a message or can be heard, but anything outside the range of human hearing, I think it’s 20Hz, but it alludes me at the moment, is worth the look. Too many times I see investigators listening to their samples, drawing their conclusion, and then giving that conclusion as an audio cue to another investigator. This is unacceptable behavior on any shared evidence. If anything, one needs to poll conclusions so it’s a genuine conclusion and after you have polled for responses, post the initial conclusion to see if it’s the same or different. I for one like using a medium in an investigation because it bridges that gap between the psychological and the scientific schools of thought. When using this valuable tool, always document their every move with video, tools that measure the atmosphere during their readings to see variance in the area around them (emf’s, temp gauge, thermal cams, IR cams, and a lapel mic). There is a trick to finding a credible medium and that is interviewing them as a person first. See how they deal with people, how they feel about media, and if they enjoy the spotlight. If it’s media that is their prime motivator then move on because this is a headache waiting to happen. Excitement on a shoot is normal, but if it becomes a transition to Stevie Nicks clothing during the gypsy phase…Run! You need someone that’s everyday people, and the more you present yourselves as everyday people, the more relaxed your clients will be. Take the medium to a site you have worked for a long time and prepare a list of 10 to 20 items that have always shown up in the same areas over time, and make sure she knows nothing of it. As she hits the list with accuracy you might just have something. Never let your medium roam unattended, its up to you to look out for their well being because some concentrate so hard they will forget where they are, sometimes will get wrapped up in the emotion in which you need to escort them off to gather themselves, or become exhausted and you need to monitor them to see if they want a break. I know they are adults, but it’s just a good practice to build the rapport and maintain a good data and energy flow for them.
Ethics. Ethics. Ethics. I have seen more backbiting, backstabbing, false promotion, antagonizing, and even lawsuits in the last few years then I have ever seen in the previous 20 or so. There has always been the jealousy factor and territoriality issues in the field, but let’s be honest, unless you own the property or have a signed agreement with your client, there is absolutely nothing you can do, but compare notes and learn the tendencies of the place to better serve the client and the team. In turn, better serving the community as a whole so we can push through this stalemate of mud we are caught in and make some new breakthroughs. The problem is that since TV shows have brought the study to light, it’s become an adventure for anyone that has cable, they read a book, and watch their shows, and they think they are trained to go into homes and emulate what was on Wednesday night. This is just wrong. I am not saying there are not talented people out there, but not everyone is trained to investigate or deal with traumatic issues. The folks that are have police backgrounds, medical backgrounds, psychologists, psychiatrists, parapsychologists, and folks like that. So have at least someone like this on your team so they know what to do, the legal ramifications, and procedures to best help the client out. I think when looking at getting into this field one needs to see why you’re doing it. It’s a big responsibility because most people do not understand the mental and educational aspects of this; so they will take you at your recommendations. This is where ownership and responsibility are key. Can you handle the pressure of it? It’s not all fun and games, it’s long hours of thankless work, sweaty nights, 3 AM phone calls, long library time, and miles of audio and video tape to go through every night. It’s knowing when you do not know the answer, having the courage to say, “Beats the hell outta me! Let me make a few calls and see what I can do or who I can bring out to help,” and also having the sense to walk away when the issue is unsolvable and refer it off.
Now being tolerant of theories is one thing, but when teams or people are scamming folks out of money, then its also the teams in the field’s responsibility to police the ones that are fraudulent and make it known. The issue with these bozo’s is that since the community has grown with the number enthusiasts it has now become a marketing area. So now you have companies targeting this new cash cow and throwing out anything it can to rake in what they can, this means inferior products, crappy shows, and conventions to beat the band. It’s this section of the field that has watered down its growth and frustrated the seasoned investigators to the point of “retiring” until a later date, and we as a group lose that knowledge base. Its sad, really, and angering at the same time because the overpopulation in the field has caused teams to horde data, not share techniques, and some just hold info for their show in which nine times out of ten ends up under a producer’s coffee mug anyway. I think this is the time that we in the field need to make a unifying effort for the study, not “just to get along” in a communal way, but to refocus on goals and experimentation so we may get some more answers before we shuffle of this mortal coil and join the worms in a game of Texas Hold ’em. Controversy can be good if it’s to get people to think, grow, and correct some of these issues. Now I have seen teamwork and joint investigations that are breaking ground as well as others trying to invent technologies needed in the field, so it’s not all doom and gloom, and for that I commend my fellow researchers that are being positive and reaching out and say keep it going. As we all know a lot of the technology used today is not geared toward this study, so the more specialized we can get, maybe the better the evidence.
Professionalism is a key to success in this field, and even though pride in your team is crucial, wearing matching team shirts on a residential client is not helping matters at all. Look at it this way, unless the homeowner gets into the attention and drama of the show, most homeowners want this to be quiet and confidential, contrary to popular belief, no one wants to live in the spooky house on the corner when you have young school age kids and a 30-year mortgage, that if you try to sell the home it might hamper a deal. And for God’s sake, please, please, please remove the shrapnel from your face when dealing with the public. Remember you not only represent your team and your self, but the perception of what people think they are going to deal with, if they have an issue. When talking to your client and they ask you how long have you been in the field, please don’t tell them 15 years and your 21. Time in the field starts from the first case, and I seriously doubt anyone has been doing this since they have been 6. Years are important and it will come, but always be honest and deliver what you promise. This will give you the credibility you are seeking to get the larger cases.
So as we move forward on this path of learning and growing, and investigators and researchers learn by what goes on around you, ask questions to further your knowledge, experiment to push the boundaries, and always remember you do not have to agree with a theory or idea, but instead of arguing the point, challenge it, look at the data, try your own experiment with their specs and try to replicate it or debunk it. This is how we move forward in this community, positive energy flow and a positive exchange of ideas. It’s the only way to push past the slump we are in at the moment, and if there is other ideas then let’s get them out there too!
Be Safe and Be Positive.