Paranormal Stereotypes Part 1
Whether you are a paranormal investigator, a ghost hunter, or split your time between both, you are quite aware of stereotypes in the field of study or entertainment that we enjoy. Today I will discuss some of these stereotypes and what you can do when they arise and to help prevent them from being associated with you, allowing you to rise above the stereotypes. This is part one of a two part series.
There is a stereotype that is even propagated among many of those in the paranormal field that a paranormal investigator and a ghost hunter are the same thing, and that ghost hunt and paranormal investigation are the same thing. They are not the same thing. Before 2004 when the whole paranormal television craze started with the release of the television show Ghosthunters anyone who conducted any type of formal paranormal investigation would be known as a paranormal investigator. In 2004 the television show Ghosthunters was released, even though the show wasn’t about ghost hunting and the people on the show were not ghosthunters. The producers of the show decided that calling the show “Paranormal Investigators” wasn’t as attractive as calling the show “Ghosthunters.” You have to remember that their main goal is to attract as many viewers as possible and to make money for the production company and television network. After the show was released other people who were in fact paranormal investigators began wanted to associate themselves with the television show and began to call themselves ghost hunters even though they are two completely different things. So what is the difference between the two?
Ghost hunting is an act solely intended for the entertainment purposes where someone or a group of someones visit a location in the hopes of seeing a ghost or a spirit. A ghost hunter will often use any piece of equipment marketed for ghost hunting even if there is no scientific backing behind it. This activity typically uses minimal investigative and scientific techniques. Someone who partakes in this activity is known as a ghost hunter.
Paranormal investigation is the act of researching and investigating the cause of perceived paranormal activity and either confirming the existence of paranormal activity or explaining a non paranormal cause of the perceived paranormal activity. Paranormal investigators continuously educate themselves on the latest technology used in investigations and the underlying solid scientific backing behind those devices of how theyoperate. A paranormal investigator only uses equipment with solid scientific backing. They continually research common and new theories unto the the cause of paranormal activity such as electromagnetic radiation, properties of various geological objects, quantum entanglement, physics, meteorology, parapsychology, human behavior, etc, and they will research location history of where they are investigating. Investigations are typically multiple days long requiring dozens of hours of work. Someone who partakes in these activities is known as a paranormal investigator.
It is simple to help with this particular situation. Don’t call yourself a ghost hunter if you are a paranormal investigator. If you are conducting a paranormal investigation do not call it a ghost hunt. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who calls a paranormal group because they are having what they believe to be paranormal activity. If you are scared and don’t feel completely safe in your own home would you rather have a paranormal investigator conduct a paranormal investigation, or would you rather a ghost hunter conduct a ghost hunt? Which sounds more professional? I believe that is a rhetorical question. If you are a paranormal investigator and conduct paranormal investigations, but call yourself a ghost hunter and say that you are conducting ghost hunts you aren’t doing yourself any favors. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a ghost hunter. It can be a very fun hobby and you can find some cool stuff. But, a ghost hunter does something recreationally to see the spooky where a paranormal investigator conducts science based paranormal investigations. If you wish to be taken more seriously drop the ghost hunter title if you are a paranormal investigator, and don’t call your investigations a ghost hunt. Grant Wilson is one of the most respected investigators in the field and on the reboot of Ghosthunters he himself explained that a ghost hunt is strictly a recreational event and is not what his team is doing on the show.
Many people will laugh as you when you tell them you are a paranormal investigator simply because of the widely perceived stereotypes. So how do you help minimize this? You do so by not engaging in activity that causes these stereotypes to occur. Let’s discuss some of the things that you can do to help yourself.
If you wish to be taken seriously don’t waste your money on those crumby gadgets that you see on some of the sensationalized television shows. Don’t show up on an investigation with an SLS Camera, an Ovilus, or what is known as a Franks/Ghost/Spirit Box. As I have discussed in the past those devices are incapable of doing what they are marketed to do and the theories behind them are bogus. An SLS Camera can not see a ghost that looks like it a cartoon character from the 1940s that can’t sit still. The ovilus can not talk to the dead or interpret a magnetic field change as a means of communication that somehow the entire spirit realm apparently learned after death. A Franks/Ghost/Spirit Box is not a medium to talk to the dead. When someone dies they do not learn how to manipulate a device to speak through it. All of the theories behind the devices that I just mentioned are complete hogwash with no scientific backing. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who isn’t a paranormal fanatic. You call a paranormal investigation group to help you with what you believe to be perceived paranormal activity. You bring in equipment and claim that a paranormal entity gains the knowledge of how to manipulate radio waves and equipment after death and you can talk to them due to this using Frank’s/Spirit/Ghost box. You claim that all deceased individuals have learned to speak a uniform language that consists of modifying electromagnetic energy which they apparently learned how to do in death, and that someone (who admitted himself that he does’t believe in ghosts) learned this language and constructed a device known as an ovilus to interpret the changes in magnetic field into words. You come in with a device used for making video game characters such as an SLS Camera and you claim that it can see ghosts and spirits and they appear as extremely fidgety stick figures on an LCD screen. Do you realize how all of this makes you look and sound to other people? You don’t look or sound like a professional you look and sound like you are somewhere in outer space and should have an aluminum foil hat on your head to protect you from your little demons that you are looking for. Those devices aren’t science based, there isn’t any viable science theory behind them, and they are marketed to make companies money through playing on the hopes of people, and these are not devices for a serious paranormal investigator. By using them you are falling into one of those paranormal stereotypes that we wish to avoid.
Next, and most importantly I can not stress enough, ORBS ARE NOT PARANORMAL ! The Orb phenomena was fueled in the mid to late 1990’s by “Dr.” Dave Oester whose Yahoo! Groups page boasted thousands of followers. Oester claimed that he coined the term “Orb” and took credit for creating the hysteria, although both claims are completely incorrect. Photographic and video orbs have been documented since photography gained quick shutter speeds and a flash. Which means they are due to the mechanics of the camera. The hysteria was already there before he fueled it as he utilized the popular misconceptions and just added a few of his own to gain notoriety for himself. He claimed that Orbs were in fact ghosts and that they could easily be captured anywhere and anytime. He was a major advocate of ghost hunting in cemeteries since it was popular with new people and by doing so he would add followers to his Yahoo group by making these claims. After being brought to school by many skeptics and Parapsychologists he quickly jumped ship and stopped what he was doing. Unfortunately it was too late. There is something called the Availability Cascade which is where false information gets propagated around by various sources and in the end a large amount of people adopt it as fact, when in reality it isn’t the truth. That is why there are so many people who to this day still claim that orbs are paranormal, and you will see countless videos and photos online of “look at my orb, look at this ghost!” People, orbs are not paranormal.
A real electromagnetic based orb of any kind would be self illuminating and perceivable as an object free floating and projecting its own light whether or not it is in range of the electromagnetic spectrum that we are able to perceive with our eyes. One type of orb that would be visible to the naked eye that produces its own light would be one of plasma. There are four forms of matter as recognized by the scientific community. These forms of matter are liquid, solid, gas, and plasma. A plasma orb would be very visible to the naked eye and would be very brief in tenure, and only occur under very certain circumstances. So rule out orbs as being paranormal from your thought process.
So I would suggest no photos or videos of orbs on your website or social media accounts. They’re not paranormal.
On part 2 of Paranormal Stereotypes I will discuss sciences that you should be familiar with in order to overcome stereotypes, an experience I had with paranormal television shows, and how to present your team on the internet in a professional way so that your team doesn’t get balled up and thrown into the box with paranormal stereotypes.