By Skarlet Rae
Lately I've been thinking about several things, and will be covering these topics in the next few segments. Things like....
What is the intent of paranormal investigators and ghost hunters? What do paranormal investigators and ghost hunters ultimately accomplish? How do paranormal investigators and ghost hunters help?
Let's start by looking at the fact that prior to the new milleneum there were very few people who were invovled with paranormal activity. It was extremely hard, if not impossible to find those who hunted or investigated these occurances. It is only in the past decade or so, that groups gathered and people started actively and openly being interested in, discussing and sharing their findings. Those who were involved, were not in the mainstream and not easily accessible. Finding people who had any experience or knowledge about entities that haunt, occupy or infest places and people was rare, if at all possible. Aside from Churches, but that is another topic. In 2003, when I, personally, and not for the first time, encountered and documented some paranormal activity, I was hard pressed to find anyone with whom I could share and discuss such activity and evidence. Numerous and lengthy internet searched yeilded nothing. Attempting to find a knowledgable source in the metphysical or parapsychological communities also failed miserably.
Yet if we look around today, there are Ghost Hunting groups or Paranormal Investigative teams in every city, in some more than one. It has reached such proportions that we can even see teenagers in high school gather their friends to go ghost hunting, which by the way can be terribly dangerous, but that's another blog for another day.
For many who are invovled in such investigations, their journey began to try to solve a mystery that existed in their own lives. They have had paranormal experiences, usually in their past, that perplexed them, confused them and at worst, frightened them. Therefore they went on a quest to explore and find answers. Answers to experiences like what goes bump in the night, what was it that touched them, what made some inanimate object disappear or move while they weren't present. One can imagine how unsettling it must be to feel or experience something one cannot see. To encounter things that we were taught do not exist and aren't real. For those individuals, therefore, hunting and investigations are not only of great interest but almost a necessity. They have a great need to find answers and the truth. Quite understandably. So they, either alone or gathered with a group of likeminded individuals, set out with some modern equipment to investigate, gather evidence and try to find some answers.
Then there are those individuals who are just plainly fascinated by and interested in the paranormal and paranormal activity. Whether they have had any personal paranormal experiences or not, they are lead by their curiosity. They join a team and proceed with investigations.
All are seeking evidence. Proof of what, most of the time is unseen. To gather that, which until now most people only rolled their eyes at or whispered behind their backs about. They seek to prove, with scientific methods, that which until now was only evidenced by eye witness accounts. Just as most law enforcement agencies and courts find individual eye witness accounts somewhat unreliable, so does society. People in our communities are accustomed to scoffing at those individuals that relate occurances they themselves have not experienced. They doubt occurances that are not part of their daily walks of life. Their first judgement is to assume the possibility of the individual's mental imbalance. That it prabably was the individual's imagination. That they must have been hallucinating. That it had to have been a dream. Yet ghost hunters and paranormal investigators are now proving that there IS something there. That those things that go bump in the night have validity. That even though houses settle and building frames creak, there is, at times, more to those sounds and noises in the night than just building construction realities.
With their evidence they are saying to us, "See.. there IS something there".
But what is it?
What are those things that we see out of the corner of our eyes? That warp speed shadow that flitted across our perifial vision. Was it just our imaginations? Is something really there? What was that noise that sounded like a child crying out? Could it just be a cat mewing outside? At a distance, and we just weren't paying enough attention to realize that's all it was? What about that knocking and scratching that seems to come from the walls? Is it a small rodent or animal stuck? Then why is the knocking rhythmic? Is it really just the house settling? Or is there more to it? These are exactly the questions that ghost hunters and paranormal investigators are trying to find answers to.
So with evidence gathered they congregate to isolate that which was compiled from the shadows. They have evp's, thermal images, video footage, photographs. They have spent hours, days and even weeks at times, yet do they know what it really is? Can they really tell us what that sound was? Whose voice they caught on that evp? What was that human looking dark shadow figure standing at the end of the corridor? Or what that black mass was that seemingly crawled across the floor? How do they really know what it is? Where does their knowledge come from? Do they have an encycopedia or a database that gives them reference? So how do they know?
No matter how much information is readily available to us in today's day and age through the internet, how do we actually know what is exactly what, when it comes to such an obscure field as the paranormal? I would equate it to something along the lines of trying to look up the flavor of something in a reference manual or the internet. One tastes the flavor and searches to find the name for it. How?
So with even the best of intents, of desiring to prove, scientifically that the paranormal exists. Even after dedicating ones self, one's time, effort, energy, finances for equipment, having the best intent and integrity of documentation. How do they know exactly what they're dealing with or finding? And isn't that the 'intent'... to prove what it is?
With all that said, and thinking about all the ghost hunters and paranormal investigators, some of whom, at this precise moment as I'm writing this, are out there doing a hunt or investigation, one must turn to another aspect of their reality. Their spirit and their eagerness.
Therefore, there is much good one can say for those brave ones who either fearlessly or overcoming their own trepidation, enter and try to document what hasn't been scientifically documented before. I think likening them to firemen would be an appropriate analogy. When firefighters first came on the scene many decades ago, they were volunteers. They were lacking any formality, equipment and modern technology. They rolled up their sleeves and rushed forward with water in hand. Many paid heavy prices for their heroism. With each passing year and decade they increased their knowledge and experience, where by today, a fireman can give you some amazingly specific details about any fire.
In the same way, I believe that the intent of paranormal investigators and ghost hunters, at least many of them, is positive if not even altruistic. Yet as it being in it's early developmental stages, one who is involved in hunting or investigating should arm themselves as much as possible. When a fireman of old headed into a fire, he didn't shed his clothing, but tried to guard himself, using a wet blanket if necessary. In the same way I believe that today's hunter and investigator should try to protect themselves, even if with old fashioned methods. If and when other methods become available, then the open mind would explore those options. But until then, I highly recommend using the 'wet blankets' we already have available.
In the next segment I will be talking about, 'What do paranormal investigators and ghost hunters ultimately accomplish?' and 'How do paranormal investigators and ghost hunters help?'.
Please see Part II.