Back from Hiatus
I created the Mount Washington Valley SPIRIT podcast and blog in late September 2021. SPIRIT is an acronym for Scientific Paranormal Investigation, Research, and Interpretation Team. Between September 2021 and early January of this year, 2022, I produced 46 episodes of the podcast and blog. I created the podcast and blog as I believed my many years of experience in the paranormal investigative and research field would allow me to help others in the field make progress towards their full potential. Unfortunately there isn’t official schooling available for paranormal investigators. There isn’t a uniform curriculum that is available across the world. While some people seek mentors whose investigative methodology is deeply routed in science, many people want to get right to the investigating and tend to use television shows as a base for their knowledge of the paranormal, however unfortunately in general the television shows are ghost hunts with some or no scientific investigative procedures. They typically are not full fledge science based paranormal investigations that would be completed in the real world. A very small few of the tv shows use some science in their investigations, but largely science is ignored as it wouldn’t make for a spooky and entertaining show that would be profitable to the cable television networks.
How often do you turn on a paranormal television show and see an investigator walking around with a laptop connected to an Infiltec Infra20 infrasound monitor and analyzer? Infrasound, which are audio frequencies below the hearing threshold of humans below 20 Hz is well known to cause humans to perceive paranormal activity where there isn’t any occurring. Infrasound can cause hallucinations, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and other physical symptoms that could possibly lead someone to believe there is paranormal activity around them. On what television shows are you seeing the investigators using ultrasound monitors and analyzers? Ultrasound is anything above the human threshold of hearing around 20,000 Hz and above. We can hear only a small fraction of the audible spectrum, but you almost never witness on television devices being used that could explain why there is perceived paranormal activity at a location. How frequently are you seeing investigators conducting extremely in-depth interviews about the mental health history, fears, changes, stresses, family history, religious beliefs, work exposures, environmental exposures, and physical health with their clients? How often do you hear terms on the television shows such as clustering illusion, Semmelweis reflex, synchronicity, hypnogogic and hypnopompic hallucinations, Schumann resonances, Helmholtz resonances, tachypsychia, vibroacoustic phenomenon, musical ear syndrome, palinopsia, peripheral drift illusion, and the observer expectancy effect? That list is just a small sampling of the dozens and dozens of medical conditions, meteorological conditions, audible artifacts, and human behaviors that are often mistaken for paranormal activity. If the television shows explored these topics the shows would seem more like a medical documentary than a spooky paranormal show, therefore you will not see a true science based investigation on television pertaining to the paranormal. Television shows are not a good representation on how to conduct a full fledged science based investigation.
Over the years I have received many hundreds of emails from the general population, ghost hunters, and paranormal investigators asking me to confirm their findings only to find that I completely disagree with their findings because they didn’t explore all of the related scientific possibilities. I created my own personal network of people with subject specializations as well as those with masters and doctorate degrees who I confer with when I have evidence that I am not completely sure about. This includes a physicist, an electrician, a meteorologist, a geologist, a psychiatrist, a medical doctor, a builder, an engineer, and a plumber. I confer with them to ensure my case findings are sound and that I didn’t overlook any scientific possibilities. There have been more times than I can count that I saw something deemed as paranormal on television when it had a scientific explanation, but the scientific explanation wasn’t pursued as either the investigators had no knowledge of such scientific probabilities, or the network wouldn’t let them pursue such avenues as it wouldn’t make for good television show that would draw the most viewers possible.
I am not saying that the paranormal doesn’t exist. I have had some undeniable experiences including one when I was teaching a seminar for dozens of attendees alongside members of Ghosthunters and Ghosthunters International a decade ago. However, I feel that in general there is much more for those who believe themselves to be paranormal investigators to learn. I know the most serious of investigators such as myself and a few specific others whose activities I follow around the world never cease to continue to seek out new knowledge that can help us in our investigations. I can tell you that the most serious investigators are not walking around with EMF detectors as if they are paranormal detectors. They are not using devices such as the SLS camera, Ovilus, or Frank’s Box as there isn’t a shred of scientific proof that these devices can do what many believe that they can do. There is a phenomenon called the Availability Cascade which is a self-reinforcing cycle that explains the development of certain kinds of collective beliefs. A novel idea or insight, usually one that seems to explain a complex process in a simple or straightforward manner. It gains rapid currency in the popular discourse by its very simplicity and by its apparent insightfulness. Its rising popularity triggers a chain reaction within the social network. Individuals adopt the new insight because other people within the network have adopted it, and on its face it seems plausible. There is also the Observer Expectancy Effect which is a phenomenon that is also called the experimenter-expectancy effect, expectancy bias, observer effect, or experimenter effect. It is a form of reactivity in which a researcher’s cognitive bias causes them to subconsciously influence the participants of an experiment. Confirmation bias can lead to the experimenter interpreting results incorrectly because of the tendency to look for information that conforms to their hypothesis, and overlook information that argues against it. In the paranormal field that means someone who goes into an investigation biased that a location has equipment and personal experience activity and interprets any type of activity to be paranormal because they want it to be so. They may also attempt to convince others that benign occurrences have to be paranormal activity.
It is important to not go into a paranormal investigation with a bias to find something paranormal as it can cause you to misinterpret something explainable by mainstream science as something paranormal because with a bias your opinion is going to lead you in a particular direction versus one of neutrality. There are very serious investigators out there who truly do use a wide variety of science, and there are others who claim to, but use little if any factual science in their investigations, most likely being unaware of such scientific investigative procedures because it isn’t something that you will see on the television shows and there isn’t any standard curriculum to learn how to be a successful paranormal investigator. If you are investigating simply for your own entertainment any you aren’t hurting anyone or anything else by not going to deep in the science, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing investigations for clients, posting investigations on the internet, or putting on talks at your local library it is imperative to incorporate as much science as possible in your investigations and not to spread around half truths and false information (that you personally may believe to be true) because you enjoy the “thrill of the hunt”.
I recently was speaking with someone who told me they use a lot of science in their investigations, but when I started speaking about various sciences used by your more serious and dedicated investigators they had no idea what I was talking about. I checked out their website and youtube channel. All I saw was video after video of SLS camera usage, unshielded EMF meters, and investigative methodology that wasn’t remotely scientific. They ware talking about a “hunt” they had coming up when it was suppose to be a paranormal investigation. How could it be a paranormal investigation if there isn’t any real science being investigated? They were simply mimicking what they saw on some of the paranormal television shows. They truly aren’t aware that there is so much more science involved with a paranormal investigation, and I am going to do what I can to help them learn. I can’t emphasize enough that the television shows are not truly paranormal investigations with a scientific base to them. I am not saying that the shows can’t be entertaining. I personally like watching Ghost Hunters and Ghost Nation. However, I implore you to seek out serious paranormal investigators and use them as a mentor to ensure you become familiar with as much science as possible to help ensure that you don’t believe something to be paranormal when it has a scientific explanation to it. I am not remotely saying paranormal is out of question, I am just saying that should be the last option after all attempts to explain something with science have failed, and that includes consulting those with subject specialization or masters degrees and PhDs. We want to be as factual as possible for the sake of the field of research and the integrity of the investigations that we conduct for our clients.
When I first got into the paranormal research field I started with a group who basically copied what they saw on the early episodes of Ghosthunters. There wasn’t any real science being used. I quickly grew unhappy with their methodology as it wasn’t scientific and started searching far and wide and connected online with some very serious paranormal investigators who could write school textbooks on the subject. I have been involved with the paranormal field for 14 years and I am still learning about various sciences that could help explain some of the things that I have come across over the years that others would believe to be paranormal. I have much more fun engaged in the appreciation for paranormal investigations now that I have quite the knowledge about a wide variety of subjects that could be misperceived as paranormal activity. I am not saying there isn’t paranormal occurrences in some situations. I have seen my fair share. I am saying that we must educate ourselves on as much science pertaining to physics, geology, meteorology, medical science, psychiatrical, electrical and plumbing to ensure our findings are accurate. If you aren’t able to do so then I suggest that you build a small network of people that do so you can confer with them about things.
A paranormal investigation is not simply walking around with an EMF meter, a REM pod, a voice recorder, and a laser grid and then engaging in interpreting things that you might experience, and then posting it on the internet dubbed over in spooky music. There has to be long interviews with clients, property history research, conferring with those with subject specializations, masters degrees and PhDs, and trying to rule out any feasible scientific explanation before considering something to be possibly paranormal. That is what a paranormal investigation is.
I have created a long list of other topics that I can cover in order to help others who wish to be serious paranormal investigators increase their skillset to use in bonafide scientific paranormal investigation. There are others out there like me with blogs or podcasts who are doing the same thing. We all have a small niche audience of those who wish to become well versed paranormal investigators. It is one heck of a time commitment, but the more you know the more you can enjoy what you do, and help your clients, and help grow the field. At one point I was releasing two or three episodes a week. That will probably be somewhere around several a month going forward as I have other obligations and want to ensure when I discuss a topic that I have spent ample amount time putting together the material to ensure that I am providing the best information possible.
If you are reading this you probably have the desire to increase your knowledge as is pertains to the skill set used in paranormal investigations. I will do my best to help educate you. A much deeper science based investigation can be more enjoyable than a ghost hunt where little or no science is used. I am happy that people are taking interest in the paranormal investigation field. Those television shows are often the gateway to get people interested in the paranormal investigation and research field. I am just trying to convey that there is much more to learn in this field of research than you will ever learn by watching television and that you can be a part of its growing future by endeavoring to educate yourself on a variety of sciences to ensure thorough investigations are completed and false positives aren’t registered. If you ever have any questions feel free to reach out to me via email at [email protected] or through one of our social media platforms. If you visit MWVSpirit.com you can find my blog and podcast episodes where I discuss in depth many subjects that are often overlooked in paranormal investigations. Remember everyone… Science fact first, science theory second, and spooky comes last.