I’ve been thinking a lot about convincing evidence when it comes to definitive proof that ghosts exist. Sure the TAPS team of Ghost Hunters fame have captured a lot of interesting and thought-provoking evidence, but have they captured actual proof? Have any ghost hunter groups, whether on TV or otherwise?
THE TAMPERING FACTOR
The trouble with so much of what’s on TV is the trust factor. Especially when the guys of Ghost Adventures start using things like that word box of theirs. (I’m sorry, but their explanation of how it works –“spirits manipulate their energy to pick out relevant words to communicate with”– just doesn’t cut it. And then they have the gall to claim that’s scientific evidence? I don’t think so.)
But gimmicky instruments aside, can we really trust what we’re seeing? Or hearing as is more often the case? How do we know that they’re really catching EVPs? How can we trust that it’s not tampered with in some fashion or that the evidence isn’t manufactured or staged somehow?
I also know others have had similar experiences in other places. (Or even at the same locations in some instances.) The trouble is capturing the proof of what our mind’s have experienced.
I know that’s what paranormal groups are trying to do. Or debunk what happened. I get that. And while I commend Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, and all of the other paranormal investigation groups out there who have brought a more scientific element to the quest, I see room for improvement.
MY SUGGESTIONS FOR CAPTURING MORE CONVINCING EVIDENCE
More and more as I’m watching the various ghost hunting shows or evidence presented by paranormal groups, I find myself wanting to believe but instead donning a skeptic’s hat. Here’s ways I think would help legitimize evidence and make it more convincing:
- COLD SPOTS: When cold spots are felt, thermometers should be immediately wielded and the incident documented with some kind of camera, either digital still or camcorder. I get so frustrated when I hear someone say, “Ooh, I feel a cold spot!” but don’t do anything about it. That’s the perfect time to break out equipment and see if you get anything. (I’ve seen some of the investigators on Ghost Hunters do it every now and then, but even they don’t do it as consistently as they should. Or if they do it’s being edited out before airing.)
- DOUBLE SHOT APPROACH: I realize orbs, mist, and the like isn’t always visible to the naked eye and oftentimes only shows up in evidence review. However, I have a hard time buying any of it as evidence if only one camera catches it. Theoretically, if something’s really there and two cameras are taking pictures of it (be they both still cameras or video or a combo thereof), the evidence should show up on both cameras, right? But time and again I see evidence being claimed as real when only one camera caught it. Like perhaps a digital still camera caught something, even when video cameras were rolling but nothing came up on that. If it’s really there, more than one camera should be capturing it. (If you take a picture of a landscape with two different cameras, both will capture the same trees, grass, flowers, et cetera, right? So why should different standards apply for ghosts or orbs?)
- EXTENDED INVESTIGATIONS: For entertainment sake I understand many of the TV show investigations can only take place on one night. But for scientific research sake that’s not really legit. It’s kind of like an archaeological dig. You wouldn’t send a team of archaeologists out to a sight and expect them to recover artifacts in 12 hours. Sure they’ll dig up some things, but it’s doubtful they’d find the true prizes or insights into the place in that time. Ghost hunting is no different. It takes patience, repeated visits, perhaps even lengthy stays to really have a chance at digging up anything. I’d be interested in following the progress of an extended investigation at one location rather than these quickie one-night-stands where they hope and pray it’ll be an active night and they’ll catch something.
- IMPROVED DOCUMENTATION OF MANIFESTATION TIMES: I’d like to see better documentation of when things actually happen. This one falls more on the shoulders of the people who live, work or play at the haunted sights. Rather than just relating stories of experiences, they need to note times and dates of when activity occurs. If investigators knew when something was likely to manifest it would up their chances of capturing convincing evidence. (I liken it to the geysers at Yellowstone. Take Old Faithful for instance. As noted on the Geysers of Yellowstone site, it erupts every 35 to 120 minutes for one and a half to five minutes. People have a fair idea of when to stop by to see it blow. The same should apply to residual hauntings. Theoretically they should happen with more predictability than an intelligent haunting, and thus should render quantifiable “viewing” times.)