by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
Paranormal Underground e-Magazine
Today is the end of my much needed time off that I gave myself. My last day.
“Time off,” you say. “You took time off?”
Sort of. But things never go exactly as planned, so it was mostly time off with some time in for blogging and taking care of things that arose. Tomorrow, though, I’m back to work.
One of the things I did during my time off was to gather up all of my paranormal equipment and put it in one place. Here’s what I’ve discovered. I’ve amassed quite a bit. I buy paranormal equipment so that I have something to play with and test. That way when we hit haunted places (which we do), I’ve got something to pull out and tinker with. Now its all in a big suitcase-sized locking laptop case along with my two laptops (Mac and PC Netbook), assorted (three) cameras, video cameras (two), digital voice recorders (five- but two aren’t USB so they are only for emergencies), flashlights and batteries. And of course, the occasional piece of newfangled equipment – so far a ghost box, a Tennessee Spirit Mike and a SpeakJet box. A cheapo EMF detector. Not to mention assorted styles of head phones. Yeah – I’ve got the stuff. I have a few more on my wish list, too. It would so rock if I lived in a haunted house right now.
Here’s the deal though. We don’t know that ANY of these things really detect ghosts. We’re just sort of taking shots in the dark and seeing what happens. Sometimes I think the human element may actually be better at detecting ghosts (if ghosts do, indeed, exist) than all of the high tech equipment in the world.
Here’s an example. I was at the Tokeland Hotel a few months ago as part of a joint paranormal investigation by several teams in Washington. I don’t particularly consider myself a paranormal investigator. We go places haunted, sure, but for the most part I tag along as daring girl reporter and watch the real investigators work. I also ask a lot of questions. Most likely annoying ones.
At Tokeland, Jim and I were staying in a room in which another team had experienced something before – a bag of tapes was picked up off of the floor by an unseen hand, shaken around and then dropped. There was nothing particularly detectable in the room as far as EMF meters, photographs, etc. go; and, one self-proclaimed psychic told me – nope, nothing here. Nada. I told this to big Joe, a paranormal investigator I have watched coming up with all sorts of dead-on information about people and things. He is modest about it and doesn’t call himself a psychic ~ I’m not even sure that he completely buys into the fact that he seems to have far better than average intuition. A few minutes later, Joe followed me down the hall and said, “I disagree – there’s something in your room.” He then attempted to explain why he felt that way (something about a slight pressure change and popping in one ear). We moved on, and I didn’t think much of it.
Then, several days after we left Tokeland, I listened to the audio recorded in my room. Lo and behold, I heard whispering. At the time, Jim was either reading or browsing the Internet, and I was across the room packing up equipment.
My point – and I do have one – is that a person picked up that there was some kind of an energy in the room much more adeptly than any equipment I had with me. If I hadn’t been paying strict attention when listening to the recording, I most likely would have missed the whispers. Fortunately, there were no kids yakking in my ear at the time. To not have a kid yakking at me or a dog yapping at me in my house is paranormal. Trust me on this.
I know that many dismiss psychics on an investigation as having no scientific validity – but I wonder. We don’t know a lot about the paranormal. We don’t know, for instance, what an EVP really is – not scientifically we don’t. We don’t know what ghosts are or what they are made of. We don’t know what causes intuition and perception. Because we don’t know, we haven’t come up with testable hypotheses or repeatable findings. Findings are categorized as pseudoscience because they haven’t been subjected to the rigors of the scientific method and peer review. Intuitive hits are explained as coincidence and confirmatory bias. Personal experiences are considered anecdotal evidence at best and often tossed in the slush pile of apocryphal evidence. Should we dismiss this all out of hand? Or is it telling us that there is something going on out there? If there is something going on, then surely there is a way to test it. We just may not have found it yet.
I’ve talked with a ton of people who have stories to tell of things that have happened to them. These aren’t crazy people. They aren’t liars. For the most part, they are average, normal people like you and me. They have had an experience (or several) that they can’t explain. Some have had many. And they know absolutely, with no need for scientific validation, that something paranormal in nature happened to them. I’ve had more than one paranormal investigator tell me that, based on their experiences, that ghosts ARE real. They need no further evidence than what they have experienced.
Would they like to be able to quantify it? Probably, if only so that people stop giving them funny looks. But they know what they know. Experience speaks for itself.
Me? I’ve had no such experiences yet, but I am chasing them. That’s not to say I haven’t had experiences – I have. But for me, they haven’t been absolute. I’ve been able to find logical possibilities that, while they don’t rule out the paranormal don’t exactly make it cut and dried, either. So far, for me, the preponderance of the evidence hasn’t tipped the scale in one direction or another. I’m a hung jury.
I don’t disbelieve that other people have had powerful experiences. I don’t discount their belief. I envy it. I’d like to know something absolutely down to the very core of my being. At the same time, I think that science can catch up. We just haven’t figured out how. When we do, I’m betting I buy the equipment.