Tuesday, July 17, 2012

So, you want to be a paranormal investigator?

This isn't a story, but it is relevant to this site in that I am routinely contacted by people who wish to conduct investigations at the locations described on this website.

I make no claim about being a paranormal researcher, but I have been trained as a scientist, and as such have learned how to think my way through an area of research, from initial data gathering to final interpretation, and I have seen that the vast, overwhelming majority of people going by the title "paranormal researcher" are not really doing research at all.  Their methods are sloppy, their data is shoddy, and their conclusions therefore are not very well founded.  There is a tendency to rely on tools without a clear explanation of their purpose, a failure to compensate for biases or ambiguities in data, and a general unwillingness to do the necessary background research.

But, it doesn't have to be this way.  While I am unpersuaded by most of what is given as evidence for ghosts, I am open to having my mind changed if someone can generate good evidence.  To that end, I have begun thinking through the ways in which a paranormal investigation should be conducted (based on the types of claims typically made and the types of hypotheses generally tested), and am putting the entries up on my other blog (as I think that the readership there would enjoy them).

The first part, which covers problems with data collection, posted a little while back, and it is available here.

The second part covers the pros and (mostly) cons of much of the measurement equipment that is carried into the field by investigators.  It is here.

The third part will get into issues of developing a field of study and how to go about doing so.  It is posted here.

Subsequent posts may be developed, and I will update this page when they do.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I live in Modesto, CA, I've got some ghost stories and even some photos of ghosts from the Central Valley area, they're scattered on my ghost hunting page on facebook but I can probably find them on my computer and send them. My page is www.facebook.com/ModestoGhostHunting . I grew up in a very haunted house in Livermore, CA .....I could give the address but I'm sure somebody resides there, but let's just say James St. I could write a novel about it but needless to say it was Amityville-esque including bizarre random bug infestations, shadow people, spooky noises, turning doorknobs, footsteps, my mother saw a head coming out of the attic, I regularly had reoccurring nightmares with the same theme of sexual abuse/murder of which I found out long after moving away pertained to what happened at the house w/ prior residents, but nobody in my family knew. One neighbor friend told my mom several years back that the reason she wouldn't let her kids sleep over at our place was because of a murder that happened where the father was sexually abusing his kids and beating his wife and the son shot him. I've smelled all kinds of horrible things that were unexplainable in that house.....smells of gasoline, gunpowder, "death"... The entity there followed me some years later to where I live now in Modesto and several of us once heard a gunshot in the house that wasn't explainable....no murder has happened here so it must be from there.....I mainly remember spending my childhood sleeping in the livingroom because the back part of the house was always so hot and most 'active'...I'd always hear a man stomping his boots outside my bedroom window at night in the gravel and see a shadow figure in the moonlight...and I'd scramble to close the window that I had open to let in some cool air...Also, all of my pets have had terrible demises....to where it's beyond coincidence. But anyway, unfortunately I don't have photos from back then, that was the 80s and early 90s..but I do have some photos from Slough House Inn east of Elk Grove, Knights Ferry cemetery, one awesome one the owner of Daydreams & Nightmares costume store sent me when they were located on Yosemite Ave. and I have a freaky one from a lady in Manteca who had a demon in her home along with a couple of orb pics. I helped her cleanse her home before she moved hoping it wouldn't follow her (I'm a psychic-medium) I did a pseudo-exorcism as well in which I taught myself to read the Lord's prayer in Latin which I used....but the thing followed me home and bothered me for several weeks until I happened upon a marble statue of the archangel Michael at the Good Samaritan thrift store stepping on the devil and kept it by my bedside...I feel it's gone now.