This is a site for paranormal adventurers, people that are researching the paranormal and explore as well as investigate but also acknowledge being thrill-seekers and don’t try to hide the fact by pretending they are in the paranormal field just to help people. Which their not actually doing if their investigation techniques are based solely on what they see on paranormal reality T.V. The purpose of those shows is not research but to get ratings, and entertain (which most of them don’t do anyway.) And to get these ratings they just cater to the public’s unrealistic expectations rather then obtaining credible evidence or attempting to educate them.
It’s not a failure to obtain evidence of the paranormal on every single investigation, but it is a failure to lower your standards in regard to what evidence is in order to merely fulfill both your own and any client’s false expectations. These investigators that have blindly followed the examples dictated to them by reality shows are doing nothing but passing on the ill informed scare mongering presented and propagating it into the mainstream.
Para-mania came to an end several years ago. But its effects are lasting. There is a point where you can just accept its legacy and continue along the same dead end path, or you can distance yourself from it, not to rebuild but to do something new. It’s time to jettison the useless equipment and accompanying pseudo-science and just enjoy the chase. Many in the paranormal field have simply become spineless, afraid to speak out against what is now accepted as the norm in case they get less “likes” on their Facebook page or a decline in web traffic. But the act of criticism is a vital one, this is a form of peer-review and without peer-review all paranormal claims are invalid. Some may argue that simply criticizing something isn’t creating an alternate platform. But whatever remains after that criticism and still stands up to scrutiny IS your platform. This article and the Case Closed section sets out to outline the basis for what this could look like.
Calling yourself a paranormal investigator with a dozen pieces of equipment doesn’t make you any more credible then a thrill-seeker with a flashlight if the claims you are making are false. In fact if your claims are unfounded then you are less credible then someone that doesn’t make any. However being a thrill-seeker doesn’t mean that you have to discard all logic and being a paranormal investigator doesn’t mean you have to discard everything considered to be fun.
People have forgotten the basics, and how people used to investigate before the advent of paranormal T.V, when equipment was minimal and they relied more on their ability to logically interpret results rather then on electronic devices. It’s choosing the right tools for the job that makes you credible. If a carpenter brought a brick and a penknife to build a house instead of a hammer and a saw, that wouldn’t make him a very good carpenter. The same principle apply’s to the tools used by paranormal investigators.
If you just follow a few simple guidelines you can get your “cheap-thrills” while at the same time not embarrassing yourself or doing any further damage to the paranormal community.
1) The burden of proof is on the person making the claim. No one has to disprove something that has never been proven to be true to begin with.
2) You may not like skeptics but that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from them.
3) If you capture what you believe is evidence, it’s not just your opinion that counts. It’s how it holds up to peer-review.
4) If it’s electronic it does not mean it’s scientific.
5) If you can not connect A to B, A being some sort of electronic equipment or event, or B being a ghost, then you cannot claim it’s a ghost.
6) You are not going to investigate a place to try to obtain evidence that it’s haunted, you are going to find out if it’s haunted or NOT.
7) No evidence is better then false evidence.
8) Know the difference between proof and belief. Wishful thinking doesn’t mean your findings findings are valid.
9) It’s not just your responsibility to present only credible evidence supported by scientifically justified techniques and equipment, but equally it’s your responsibility to pro-actively criticize those individuals and groups that don’t.
10) If it’s true that “there are no experts when it comes to the paranormal,” it is equally true that some people are less expert then others.
11) Unexplained does not mean dead people, UFO’s or monsters it just means unexplained.
12) You may not find proof that ghosts or monsters exist but enjoy trying.
So grab yourself a flashlight and get out there. And more importantly if you do come across something then you will know how to interpret it. A huge percentage of sightings and photographs and video have been captured by random members of the public being at the right place at the right time. You may just get lucky.
Broadly speaking there are three types of people involved in the paranormal
Person A calls themselves an investigator walks into a house with a ghost box saying it talks to the dead, and K2 meter that they claim detects ghosts when the lights flash. Then the “psychic” tells the occupants to watch out for demons. Then they set up video cameras, shut all the lights out and decrease their range and clarity so they can better capture a spirit on video. They capture a orb which they claim has a face on it and tell the client its one of their deceased relatives.
Person B calls themselves a thrill-seeker walks into the house with a flashlight and one video camera, doesn’t turn out the lights, and tells them that ghosts don’t actually come out just at night (if they exist) Doesn’t produce any unproven equipment and doesn’t tell them any scare stories about demons. Tells them not to expect his visit to be anything like they may have seen on reality TV thereby displaying many of the myths that the general public have become to believe and admits that part of the reason that he likes visiting haunted locations is because it’s exciting.
Person C is someone that used to be a paranormal investigator but no longer investigates because he is not willing to participate in a community which is now largely based on the misinformation it has been fed by reality T.V.
Who is more of an investigator, who is really helping someone? It’s not A.
Do you need to have years of experience, expensive equipment a website and be part of a group so you can go ghost or monster hunting? No you don’t, being a paranormal adventurer you just need to find some weird place and go there. Length of time in the paranormal is not an indicator of expertise. You can be a thrill-seeker with 5 minutes of experience and still be a better investigator then investigator that has been doing things incorrectly for 20 years. You don’t have to be a cynic that believes nothing, a believer that believes everything or even worse a fence sitter that doesn’t know what to believe.
There is a 4th option. Logically perusing the illogical, accepting that 99.9 percent of claims are not true, but still willing to chase the .1 percent possibility that some of them are. That still doesn’t mean that the .1 percent will turn out to be true but with the paranormal, ultimately you are chasing possibilities not facts. Sometimes it’s better to chase an interesting myth then a boring truth. Because if you’re chasing a myth then it will get you out in the field and at least there is a possibility that you may find out that the myth is anything but. It’s all about percentages, it’s about how much you believe or disbelieve. Many skeptics are nothing but cynics pretending to be skeptics. Many believers are simply believers because they have refused to even question why they believe.
But what if you focus on the journey not the destination? If you really appreciate the places you visit, and you will not be disappointed that you didn’t see a ghost or monster or feel the need to believe that you did. It’s better to see half a dozen places in a day and not see a ghost, then see one with the same result.
TAKE A ROAD TRIP OF DEATH
Why road trip of death? Because regardless of it’s a haunted location, graveyard, legend, monster or abandoned building you can guarantee death is somehow associated with it and invariably death is often interlinked with great historical events. If possible make sure that your road trip combines both. The point is to make your paranormal adventuring interesting enough that you don’t feel the need to fabricate evidence either intentionally or subconsciously simple by having such minimal standards when it comes to what you consider evidence to be.
Key points for a successful road trip of death are research, not stopping for sleep, only eating things that allow you to drive at the same time, calculating how long you spend at locations down to the minute, drinking lots of Redbull and always having a plan B.
Obviously the more time you have the more you will be able to see. But if you are going to do an overnight trip make sure you stay in a haunted hotel or within walking distance of some strange or haunted place so you can take advantage of any time you have while not on the road. Pick your primary locations and then carefully research what else is along the route. Never look at it in terms of A to B and make sure that you don’t take the same route back, make it just as interesting is your first one. It’s always better to cover an area as thoroughly as you can so you don’t have to go back to the same place. Also don’t forget the time zone changes particularly if you’re travelling in the U.S, and make sure you take these into accounts when visiting places with specific opening hours.
One of the most demanding road trips I ever took covered 4 states and 800 miles in only 3 days. It included Bobby McKays in Kentucky, the Moonville tunnel, Hope Furnace, the old asylum in Athens, 4 out of the 5 “Pentagram” cemetery’s around it in Ohio, Point Pleasant in search of the Mothman in West Virginia, then the Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Kentucky at night, the Bell Witch caves in Tennessee the following morning and back to Waverly Hills for a daytime tour. Then on to the airport to return to Los Angeles.
I used to do my trips “old school” just using a map. But if you do use a G.P.S which is a much more efficient way of doing things. Keep a map as backup, a G.P.S can fail, or you may find yourself in an area where the signal cuts out. I have also been finding that Google Maps on a smart phone often seems to be able to pin-point locations that the G.P.S hasn’t been able to locate so keep your phone fully charged. The pre-planning is the most important part of the trip. My suggestion is to get a map of your state, part of the country or entire country. Then start marking the places on the map that you want to visit. I am always coming across new locations, often I see them posted on the internet or in a book I have read or on a T.V show I have watched. So before I forget about them I put them on the map for future use.
I try and collect as many ghost\monster\strange places guide books as possible, national ones as well those that cover specific towns or states. The weird New Jersey series has always been a personal favorite. Also the internet is obviously a great resource and will often provide pictures of the locations and more details then the books. Youtube is often even better as this is where you will find that some of the places that look interesting on paper may not be as interesting in real life. Best to find out before you go if you can. If I have the space I always try to bring some paranormal guide books of the area I am visiting which allows for spontaneous visits to other locations in the highly unlikely event that I do have some extra time. There are some places that you wont realize haven’t lived up to expectations until you get there or you may not be able to gain access to them so you may find yourself with more time, so always throw in a couple of plan B’s as backup.
Another thing I do is print off locations from the internet with directions. This is particularly important if some of the places are only open at certain times or days or in particularly remote areas where maps or a G.P.S aren’t always as accurate as you would like. When everything is planned down to the minute, then getting lost for even a short space of time can seriously throw your schedule of course. One thing that does save a lot of time is to pre-program a G.P.S, don’t wait until you are already on the road to do it and sure you also have a hard copy of the addresses that you are putting into it. Next thing is to plan how long it will take to reach these places; I normally do this using the distance calculator in Google maps and I also estimate how much time I will visit them. I write down these times on the maps that I take with me so that I can keep to what is always a very strict on schedule. Sometimes it will mean not spending as long as I would like in one place, but I would rather visit more places for shorter periods of time particular if it may be a part of the country that I may not return to. Calculating time, not just mileage is also crucial in helping to book your hotel. If you really want to stay in a haunted location at night don’t just show up and hope you can get a room, you may be disappointed. If visiting a cemetery and you want to find a particular grave printed directions are essential for finding them. Don’t expect to just show up and be able to find one grave out of thousands. There is a website that I use regularly called “Find a grave” which will give you very specific directions to grave-sites.
Another thing to consider is how important is photography to you. You may find yourself at a place at night or when the light is bad and because of that you won’t be able to get the photographs you want. I try to do most of my travelling early in the morning or late at night. During my Waverly Hills trip I got into my hotel at 1 am, I was up at 5 am and then out on the road again at 6 am to try and make it to the Bell Witch Caves in Tennessee. Yes, paranormal adventuring will make you tired, but that’s what red bull and coffee is for. You can go without sleep for few days if required. It will catch up with you eventually but you can hold it off.
Equipment for me is a S.L.R camera, flashlight and if I have time I will also video using the H.D.R function of the camera or use a Go Pro. I also use the video function and a audio application on my phone for E.V.P’s. If you are staying in a haunted location at night then you may want to bring a digital tape recorder and infra red wildlife camera which will trigger if an object is moved. You can also bring a thermometer or data logger which will record environmental changes. Do not bother with ghost boxes, or K2 meters or the equivalent, it is completely illogical to think you can use these to establish contact with dead people. And if you do bring an E.M.F meter don’t try to use it as a ghost detector the only use it has, much like a digital thermometer, is as tool to measure environmental conditions.
As for food if you can try and have a large breakfast, then after that for me it’s usually Redbull, gas station sandwiches and chocolate, mostly things to keep you awake and that you can eat while driving. I rarely have time to sit down and have a proper meal. Sometimes you will be able to gain time by driving late into the night and then having more time to explore during the day. Personally I prefer to do everything alone that means there is no one to complain about the grueling pace. But you may find people with equal dedication and if so then as long as you have the same goals and are prepared to push themselves as hard then that can work as well.
I would rather visit 6 or 7 interesting places in a day and not see a ghost or monster then just one and still not see anything. But you may get lucky, and if I didn’t think I would then I wouldn’t bother. But regardless I will have gotten to see parts of the country I have never been to before and places that are rarely on the normal tourist trail. No it may not be relaxing and it may take you a week to recovery from it. But if I wanted to take it easy, I could just go to the beach. But unless the beach was haunted or there happened to be an abandoned asylum on its shores then personally I can live without a tan. Although a road trip is central to paranormal adventuring so is educating yourself to interpret anything paranormal that you may see.
NON-PROFIT GHOST HUNTS
Don’t think you always have to attend some overpriced paranormal celebrity event or commercial ghost hunt to gain access to some of these private haunted locations. If it is only financially viable as a group event then gather up a bunch of like-minded people that are willing to split the cost. But just charge enough to cover expenses, not to make a profit. I have been doing some research on how much some of these venues charge and on average the cost of doing it yourself can be around 40 to 50 percent less as opposed to going through a commercial 3rd party company. The added benefit is that you will not get unwanted extras such as mediums or useless equipment provided only to give the public a sense of “value for money”. Most venues will require public liability insurance but this can be split among those participating and will be minimal compared to the money you will save. To reduce the costs even further you can also pool your transportation. If you have a website, or a Facebook page then the effort to publicize and setup these events should be minimal. Another advantage of doing these yourself is that you can ensure that the people that you go with have a similar outlook as to what investigative techniques they employee. Commercial ghost hunts are primarily concerned with making a profit not about paranormal research.
One thing with people into the paranormal is that if they are part of a group they rarely mingle with each other socially except at conventions. Part of this I believe is due to the inter-group rivalries. But why does it have to be like that? How about “paranormal and a pint”, at a bar or pub. It would encourage people to interact and exchange ideas in a far less formal environment and in neutral territory. No lectures, no stalls trying to off-load merchandise, no us-and-them paranormal celebrity’s. It doesn’t have to be in a bar, how about a paranormal picnic, paranormal bowling or a paranormal day at the beach ? There are many people and groups I would not pay a penny to see at a traditional convention. However although I probably wouldn’t buy them a drink, I would be happy to discuss my opposing views over one.
PARANORMAL REALITY T.V – AN ALTERNATIVE
To begin with, stop excusing the lack of credibility in a show by saying its for entertainment purposes only while at the same time claiming that its about serious paranormal research. You need to make it one thing or another, it can’t be both. If you want to create a ground-breaking reality T.V program about the paranormal it should not just be about seeking evidence, it should be simultaneously exposing dubious paranormal investigative techniques and theories. It should apply critical thinking and not try to validate a haunting but to see if a location is haunted or NOT. In regards to terminology it should not refer to unexplained events, sounds or images as spirits or ghosts unless it has proof that they are. If not then they should just be classed as unexplained. The show should be going back to the pre-reality T.V basics. There is nothing ground-breaking about rolling out piece after piece of useless electronic equipment or making claims that can’t be backed up with evidence. That isn’t science and it isn’t furthering the field of paranormal research.
The program should never use a psychic as proof of paranormal claims, unless they have been scientifically tested under controlled conditions, (good luck finding one of those), otherwise this is just using an unproven entity to try and prove an unproven entity. Their evidence is equally invalid as the results from K2 Meters, Ghost Boxes, Mel Meters and similar devices. However testing the credibility of a psychic in controlled scientific test conditions in a public forum can only benefit the legitimate paranormal community. A show should also carry out their investigations in the daytime as well as at night to dispel the myth that ghosts only come out when its dark and it should acknowledge that night time investigations are often merely for dramatic purposes.
As far as length of time spent at a location that should depend on the reported frequency of the haunting’s. If a ghost has only been sighted a couple of times a year it wont make much difference if you stay one night or one week. However if activity occurs on a regular basis it is far better to spend a week or longer at a location then a day. But if you want proof of the paranormal as opposed to possible evidence of it you have to look at a completely different scenario. One that would involve spending several months at one location in laboratory like conditions so that any phenomena could be observed by actual scientists as opposed to paranormal investigators.
In regard to equipment there is no need to keep introducing equipment that doesn’t work or is being used incorrectly. It’s better to have a smaller variety of equipment which does work, but have more of it. E.M.F Meters, both A.C and D.C and thermometers are justified to measure the environment but NOT to detect ghosts. Two or more video cameras focused on the same area from different angles instead of one would make footage more credible. The same principle apply’s to digital recorders, multiple devices covering the same area in order to validate each other. The recorders should also be insulated in a Faraday cage. In addition motion detectors should be utilized to detect human intervention as well as possible paranormal activity, wildlife cameras, a thermal imager and a professional quality S.L.R Camera are all valid for research purposes. Providing you know how to use them properly and you can correctly assess the results. When using a trigger object it should be covered in order to eliminate any possible movement caused by wind or accidental non-paranormal means.
The most important part of a program should be how you interpret any evidence that has been gathered. For it to be valid it has to be peer-reviewed. It may not be practical to do this immediately after an investigation. But the results could be presented to the client at a later date and the findings could be added on to the show in post-production rather then go the traditional route of a same day “reveal”. If it’s true that “there are no experts” when it comes to paranormal investigation, there are also people that are a lot more expert then others. In addition there are experts in photography, video and audio analysis. If you are not one of those then you should pass your evidence to them. When it comes to audio in particular the results need to be interpreted not by your team but by an anonymous consensus by individuals that will not have been “primed” to hear what you say they should hearing.
The show would need to address the response ratios on all audio recording. If you ask a question 30 times and then on the 31st time you get a response that is not a direct response. You don’t have to show the other 30 times when you didn’t get anything but you should be able to present statistics of both hits and misses. This should also apply to how often an E.M.F meter triggers so that it can be judged in context. And while research of a locations history is important, it is equally important that you don’t make conclusions based merely on association.
On a program about paranormal investigation you should have an actual skeptic as part of the team, not a token one, but someone that has a proven history of being critical of paranormal claims. In addition part of the format should be a focus on equipment commonly used in paranormal research and testing it in order to explain why it works, and far more importantly why it doesn’t. If you really want to help your clients, then producing a program that has the backbone to question the norm will ensure that this information eventually seeps into the mainstream and begins to re-educate the general public and rectify some of the damage down by the current format of paranormal T.V.
One of the most important factors in a paranormal reality show should be transparency. While there may be some justifiable exceptions for placing a gag order on the participants such as to prevent spoilers, it shouldn’t be done to hide deceptive practices. The participants should be able to freely discuss if the show has been edited in a certain way for entertainment purposes and they should be able to say specifically how and why. And this should go far beyond the standard “this show may have been edited for entertainment purposes” disclaimer put in the credits at the end of the show. If you want your show to be taken seriously and not dismissed merely as entertainment you have to be pro active about it. You shouldn’t be waiting until someone notices an editing discrepancy or continuity error and only discussing it when you have been forced to. This has been a major downfall of many paranormal shows in the past. Your show should be peer-reviewed just like you should be peer-reviewing other peoples.
Does actually following basic scientific protocol instead of just claiming that you do have to be boring, of course not? Just remember one of the primary rules of paranormal investigation, “its better to have no evidence then false evidence”. You need to start re-educating your audience to adapt to a different way of thinking. You can still visit interesting locations, it can still be entertaining, but it can also be enlightening. In regard to general style and production, shows like Ghost Adventures and Destination Truth are far more engaging and frenetic then the likes of Ghost Hunters, but it’s the content and unsupported claims they make that are the issue. Ultimately a Ghost Adventures version of Mythbusters should be something to aspire to more then the likes of Most Haunted or Ghost Hunters. Above all you shouldn’t pretend you’re scientists (unless you are one) . Remember you are running around in the dark with a flashlight chasing ghosts, not doing sub-atomic particle research.
FORM AN ALLIANCE
Actively seek out other paranormal adventuring groups and individuals that have a similar approach to the suggestions and guidelines previously listed. The intention is not to form a single group with a hierarchy but an affiliation with others in order to promote a specific approach to paranormal investigation. An affiliation is in no way an attempt to further the cause of “paranormal unity” but to promote the collective beliefs of individuals. Don’t forget that you will be going against the norm, not blindly going along with it.
Above all paranormal adventuring is about enjoying yourself, but that doesn’t mean that you have to disregard all logic and it doesn’t mean you have to contribute to the problem. The problem being the abysmal state of reality TV based paranormal investigation. It’s not a question of if you’re a thrill-seeker can you eventually become a paranormal investigator. It’s whether as a paranormal investigator can you jettison your false logic and start investigating with your mind instead of just equipment.
Ghost Hunting – Wikipedia
Paranormal Equipment – Best Ghost Hunting
Weird Locations To Visit – Weird NJ
A Database Of Haunted Locations – Paranormal Database
Real Ghost Stories – The Shadowlands
The Paranormal And Unexplainable – Pinterest