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Questioning Convincing Evidence


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 WANT TO BELIEVE

I want to believe in ghosts. After a couple of the experiences I had at both the Shilo Inn in Utah and then down in St. Augustine, I believe something paranormal happened.

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.)
Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her on a tennis court somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
http://www.courtneymroch.com

One thought on “Questioning Convincing Evidence

  1. I'm totally with you on all those points. This has been the bane of my existence and the reason I seek to find commonalities and ways to perhaps hit a place on the ideal night instead of wasting time. I've often said that I like TAPS because J&G are both very sensitive and seem to be beacons for activity and have a whole lot of class and skepticism which is greatly needed in an industry filled with people who think everything is a ghost. They haven't, however, figured out how to get their people with skill sets so they aren't wandering aimlessly holding recorders in their hands (which causes lots of noises) and asking vague questions and waiting for sounds in response to questions (which can be totally coincidental). Cameras pick up different things than human eyes so it's possible to aim a camera at something and see it, but the camera isn't picking it up, and vice-versa. Ideally, you spend enough nights in a place to know its sounds, it's groans and creaks and, if you believe in spirits, time for the spirits to get used to you and your intentions. TAPS would be better believed if they didn't just partially go scientific, but totally. They should have one grunt whose job it is to measure temperatures, another for EMF, another for EVPs, etc. These things should be read out with times and amounts so another person who is purely a secretary accounts for it. I learned this on my first ghost hunting jaunt as a kid in 1972. I recorded the sounds of booted footsteps on my stairway and kids proceeded to tell me I faked it. I had no way to prove I didn't. I still have no way to prove I don't nowadays. What I can do is debunk extensively and use the evidence to turn the case for myself and not try to use it to make anyone else believe. This is purely my venture for my answers and I have nothing at all invested in their being an afterlife or not. If these things happen in the physical world, they're under the realm of science and I want to find out what principles they run by so we can recreate it and possibly anticipate it or cause it. I'm so glad you wrote this post. That viewpoint is way overdue. I still roll my eyes when I hunt with people who believe in evil and possession and use seances still. Yikes!

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