Paranormal Investigation Integrity
For the sake of easily differentiating between two different scenarios I am going to refer to “ghost hunting” as a recreational activity where the only purpose of the event is to try and find paranormal activity. I will refer to a “paranormal investigation” as something where seasoned investigators work on a case for a client using science and investigative procedure in order to explain perceived activity before turning to paranormal science and parapsychology for answers. I realize that many people use the terms interchangeably while others do not. For the sake of this blog post let’s assume they are two different activities.
Until the paranormal television craze began after the television show Ghosthunters (ironically named since they were engaging in paranormal investigations and not ghost hunting) hit the scene in 2004 there were fewer paranormal investigation groups around the country than there were in the years following the release of the show. Most of these groups consisted of members who were dedicated paranormal investigators who were well educated in the field of study and who continued to study related theories in order to continuously improve their skills. Ghost hunting groups were less prevalent, but grew by leaps and bounds after the paranormal television shows grew in numbers. The Ghosthunters tv show focused on the investigation aspect of each case and the members on the team had a strong knowledge of subjects associated with science and paranormal science. A few years after the Ghosthunters show grew in popularity there were many paranormal related tv shows making their way to peoples homes. Over the years the skill set of the investigators from the Ghosthunters series and their understanding of paranormal science increased in addition to their investigative techniques evolving over time. With so many television shows in competition for ratings the producers of other television shows focused more on the wow factor and the various shows shied away from science. These shows were attempting to one up each other with the spookiest of stories, the best special effects, and may not have employed the most experienced investigators in their programming. Often the programs were not investigations, but were documentaries on ghost stories or they may have been recorded ghost hunts. The producers of these shows did what they had to in order to get better ratings. An example of this would be that you would hear spooky music edited into the background quite loudly throughout the entire program. In some of the investigations a cast member would ask their colleagues if they could hear something that they heard during an EVP session and as a viewer at home you were not able to hear what the cast member believe that they heard due to the fact that post production team had edited in spooky music over the EVP session.
The television shows lead some viewers to believe that what they saw on television was all that they needed to know in order to be a paranormal investigator. People who wanted to get into paranormal investigations, because of what they saw on the televisions shows, were not exposed to science of paranormal activity and mechanics of the technology being used as the technology was being misrepresented on television and science was often not focused on as the show runners biggest concern was ratings instead of accuracy. This lead to hundreds of very well meaning paranormal investigation or ghost hunting groups forming around the country. As the television show’s first priority were ratings the members of these groups were often not exposed to the sciences one might wish to be familiar with and may not have been aware of the general investigative procedures that seasoned investigators use. Some of these groups would take on cases with the desire to prove any shred of evidence would be interpreted as paranormal as that was more entertaining than following the science. They didn’t realize the amount of hours you have to put in on an investigation. They meant well and believed that they were prepared due to what they saw on tv, however in some cases that was not true. Many of these groups didn’t last more than a year or two as the members learned that what you see on television is not reality and due to different factors the groups fizzled out.
By 2020 most of the paranormal investigation and ghost hunting groups that formed after 2010 had long fizzled out. Primarily what is left now after the television craze peaked are paranormal investigation groups. Ghost walks hosted by paranormal investigators or ghost hunters can be found in almost every major city as well. A paranormal investigator may wish to be well versed in certain aspects of the science of electromagnetic radiation, meteorology, geology, quantum entanglement, and parapsychology just to name a few. It is beneficial be familiar with the basic mechanics of the equipment that you use. One of the purposes of the equipment used in a paranormal investigation is to first find any feasible scientific reasoning for perceived paranormal activity. Science should be the first step of investigating before you lean towards the paranormal as to avoid false positives. If you find evidence that isn’t indisputable a paranormal investigator needs corroborating evidence from multiple sources in order to be able to say that paranormal activity may be involved. When it comes to evidence that isn’t indisputable one piece of evidence is happenstance, two is a coincidence, three pieces is the beginning of a pattern that can be possible indication of paranormal activity.
I recently saw a video on YouTube where a few ghost hunters were using a few KII meters which were lighting up like a Christmas tree. They believed that the KII devices were detecting ghosts and showed video of the devices lighting up together while proclaiming that they found spirits. They were elated. In reality the KII device is an unshielded sensor that can be set off by almost anything from a cell phone connecting to a tower, a WiFi signal, a radio transmission within a reasonable distance, a human hand, or the energy off of another meter near by just to name a few of the possibilities. In the video, due to their close proximity to each other, the KII meters were setting each other off and the ghost hunters interpreted it as there were spirits in the room as they didn’t understand the basic electronics they were using and believed the devices were ghost and spirit detectors because that’s what they saw on some of the less science based television programs. I am sure that they had the best intentions in mind, however the tv shows had mislead them on the reliability of the devices that they were using.
Don’t get me wrong I am quite entertained by some of these scripted paranormal television shows, but they are not a reliable source of education on how to be a paranormal investigator. Lately, I have been watching Ghost Nation which is a good representation of how an investigation is handled. What you you need to keep in mind is that their 45 minute show consists of highlights of an investigation that lasted many days with many hours of labor involved. It is imperative for investigators to become well versed in the various sciences that we use during investigations and to follow the general investigative procedures maintained by seasoned investigators. A ghost hunt is a recreational event that doesn’t include the research and investigative aspect of a paranormal investigation. A paranormal investigation, while very enjoyable, is not an event orchestrated for entertainment purposes. If you are a recreational ghost hunter and are approached by someone looking for help with a possible paranormal situation I would suggest that you refer them to a local paranormal investigation group. Some of these cases are life alerting to our clients. Most paranormal investigation groups would be happy to bring you along on the case. It is the consistent expansion of your skill set through research and education pertaining to the sciences used in paranormal investigations as well as helping others in the field of study do the same that is one major component that allows you to remain invested in the field of study over a long period of time.
In closing I will remind you that what you see on most of the paranormal television shows is not reality. If you are interested in paranormal investigations please reach out to a reputable group. In general television shows are not a paranormal investigation school, however the exception would be Ghost Nation and Ghosthunters which is a great start. It takes a lot of effort to learn enough about the sciences, technologies, and investigative procedures in order to be a reputable investigator. The more knowledge you have will allow you to better enjoy the field of study and to permit you to provide the best service to your clients. If you want to be a recreational ghost hunter by all means have the time of your life doing it, but I would suggest that you please refer the paranormal investigation cases to seasoned investigators trained and prepared to help clients. Offering the best option for the client is paramount and the integrity of the paranormal investigation field is important to uphold.