Seeking The Paranormal
When it comes to anything paranormal (including fortean, psychic, spiritual, and even religious topics), there is a distinct division of opinion. There are the believers, who are convinced that the evidence they’ve captured is paranormal in nature, and the skeptics, who are quick to dismiss the evidence as something more normal and mundane. And then there are the researchers, who seek to know the whys and the wherefores of the paranormal through experimentation and technology.
The problem is that nobody knows for certain if any of it is actually fact. There’s no concrete or irrefutable evidence – maybe not yet anyway – to support its existence one way or another. Despite all of our advances in technology and the sciences, it’s still only the tip of a much larger iceberg and there’s still so much more we don’t know.
The purpose of paranormal investigations is – or should be – to objectively and scientifically scrutinise any evidence to determine if it can be paranormal in nature. Because of the way our brains work and the way we see the world, it’s very easy to conclude that something is paranormal in nature, especially with a limited knowledge of the many other factors involved. One of our intrinsic traits is to make sense of the nonsensical patterns around us, perceived by our physical senses and interpreted by our brains, which will often fit the unidentified puzzle pieces into something more identifiable.
Our perception is defined by our three-dimensional limitations; we are incapable of seeing or hearing things beyond our visual or auditory ranges. Psychics and mediums can use their abilities, essentially an extension of the physical senses, to perceive things that can’t be perceived normally. Dogs, cats and other animals can detect radio waves and frequencies within a broader range than we humans, but even these may have their limitations.
When it comes to presenting evidence, and seeking out the truth as to whether something is paranormal or not, it’s vital to keep an open mind to all possibilities. I can’t stress enough that every capture – whether photograph, video or EVP – will not always be paranormal. Not every face in interlocking branches, nor every shadow or ghostly figure, nor every sound, will be paranormal.
There will be times when your evidence will be dissected and dismissed as easily as tossing an apple core into the garbage bin. As disheartening as it is, this is part of the objective, scientific approach we need to determine if something is paranormal or not.
With the advent of graphics editors, the Internet and various phone apps, it’s also easier to fake paranormal images and sounds and pass them off as genuine evidence. Some are so good that they can fool even experts. These, just like the evidence from investigations and anomalies caught on film or sound, do have certain telltale signs that define them as known or unknown, normal or paranormal.
I’ve been approached by many people over the years, who have submitted their photos and EVPs for analysis. On many occasions, I’ve dismissed the evidence for any number of reasons, usually based on quality and surroundings. I’ve always based my conclusions on my knowledge and experiences, and sometimes my own experimentation as well. And I do have certain programs specifically to help analyse photos and sounds and make my conclusions.
As a result, I’ve been cut down and called an assortment of names, some of which have been quite offensive. This is usually because I’ve dismissed the evidence or determined a more naturally occurring source. No one wants to hear that their capture could possibly be something other than paranormal, but in many instances that’s precisely what it is.
The same goes for other things, such as soccer, rugby and the Superbowl. Just because the Seahawks won for the first time in its history, or Wales has advanced further than in a long time, doesn’t mean foul play or that one team is better than the other. It means that on the day, the winning team played better. (It’s also very sad when you lose friends because you supported the winning team all the way and defended the way they played well afterwards. It happens!)
Keeping An Open Mind
Hence, one of the things that gets my “ghost” up is where people react negatively when they’re presented with a few home truths, especially in the paranormal field. Not every photo, video or EVP will be paranormal in nature, but will have a logical, natural explanation, and that’s the crux of the matter. It’s fine to submit evidence to a paranormal group or expert in the field for analysis, but be prepared for some intense scrutiny and home truths. That’s what investigations are – or should be – all about. We need to view the evidence from an objective, analytical and scientific viewpoint, otherwise every shadow will be a ghost, every mist will be an apparition and every capture will be something paranormal. There would be no objectivity and we’d be no closer to understanding why hauntings occur or why ghosts appear, and ultimately how to effectively deal with them.
The mind will play tricks, beliefs will influence the outcome, and perceptions will affect what we see. This isn’t anyone’s fault; it’s just the way it is, the way the mind works to fit illogical images into logical patterns. We’re all subject to it, without exception.
So, in keeping an open mind, when you present your evidence, you can expect people to dismiss it. Sometimes, there will be differences of opinion, where some will believe a particular piece of evidence is real and others will believe it’s not. What other people can’t comment on is the experiences and ambience at the time of the capture. Certain conditions, emotions and the surroundings at the time can’t be felt by anyone who wasn’t present.
In paranormal investigations, it’s not the quantity that counts, it’s the quality. A well-presented piece of evidence is more likely to receive objective feedback than a poor quality one. For instance, blurry or zoomed-in images tend to be dismissed almost immediately because the quality is so poor that no conclusive evidence can ever be drawn from it. On the other hand, clear, unaltered evidence is more likely to draw conclusions if all other possibilities have been ruled out. After all, the people analysing the evidence weren’t present at the time of the capture, so won’t be aware of all the details, like ambience, emotions and feelings, or even the build-up to the final capture, when reviewing the evidence.
In the paranormal field, there will always be a division, differing opinions and sentiments. It’s part of the objectivity of reviewing the evidence. It’s important to keep an open mind to the possibility that your capture might not be paranormal in nature, but might have a more natural, mundane explanation. If you’re not prepared to accept that, then perhaps your reasoning and purpose might be flawed, and it might be time to re-evaluate your views.
Learning From One Another
The opinions that matter the most, especially in the paranormal field, are the ones that dismiss your evidence but explain WHY it’s been dismissed. Other people, who may be experts in a particular field (such as photography or videography) will have a better understanding about how light interplays on our sight and affects our brain’s overall perception. Their insights will matter significantly and will help in sifting through what’s natural or normal and what’s unnatural or paranormal.
It’s not always easy to deal with the fact that your prized paranormal evidence might not be paranormal at all, but be prepared for that. Otherwise, you’ll be caught in a loop and won’t ultimately learn anything. We’re constantly learning new things, gaining new insights into ghosts and spirits, so it’s vitally important that we learn from others’ opinions – if they’re objective and not simply subjective – because that’s what it’s all about. The more we learn from one another and others’ experiences, the closer we step to understanding what the paranormal actually is. And, essentially, whether ghosts and spirits, and the paranormal realms themselves, actually exist.