by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
Paranormal Underground Magazine
I’ve heard it said that opinions are like (fill in the blank) – everyone’s got one. Elbows. Yeah – that’s what should go into that blank. Do you suppose that makes me one of those people who doesn’t know my elbow from my elbow???
I may only have three elbows – but by golly, I’ve got lots of opinions. In my house, however, my opinions are pretty much always wrong. Why? Because I live with two teen-aged boys and I’m married to a grown up boy genius. I’ve discovered that they are always right (just ask ‘em)- which makes me always wrong. Perhaps this is truly the origin of the phrase “the fairer sex.” Maybe women are the fairer sex because we don’t always have to be right. Although maybe not – because it’s probably not fair that when I am being told once again that I am wrong and why, I find myself thinking, Geez – what an elbow.
I think I’ve taken my elbow schtick as far as I think I can take it without beating a dead horse. Wait – maybe not:
(It’s funny because I have a career in marketing)
But I digress. What was I talking about? Opinions!! More specifically opinions in the paranormal. We’ve all got them. Sometimes they are pretty difficult to sway – especially when it comes to a passionately held opinion about a piece of evidence we’ve gathered.
You see this all of the time. Someone posts a piece of evidence and asks for opinions. For most of us who are critically thinking oriented, when we hear a request for an opinion what we hear is, “Please provide me with alternative explanations about what this could be.”
Boy do we provide alternative explanations. They just pour out of us, really. Because let’s be frank. I’ve never seen a piece of evidence that someone else has collected where I’ve thought, Oh boy – this is it. It is the holy grail of the paranormal. Finally, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that ghosts are real!!
For every photograph, EVP, weird video glitch or personal experience collected, there is never not an alternative explanation. Especially if it is someone else’s evidence, because we weren’t there. There are so many intangibles about the situation that we can’t assess. For me, the biggest intangible is how it felt to the person in the situation.
Yep – I know. It’s not scientific to look at how it felt. How it feels is entirely subjective and therefore has to be discarded as part of scientific inquiry (unless we’re looking into side effects of drugs). Still, personal feelings do play a pretty big role in paranormal investigation. Parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach told us in a podcast last year that the human body is one of the best instruments to use in paranormal investigation.
In my experience with paranormal investigation (which I must admit is quite limited compared to many investigation superstars out there), what I’ve discovered is that my body is a barometer. There are feelings that arise in the presence of anomalous activity, and ultimately I wind up with an interesting piece of evidence captured at the same time that I felt something odd. For me, that feeling is really hard to describe but very definite. I call it my “spidey sense.” Some of it I can describe. The hair stands up on the back of my neck and on my arms. Sometimes there is dizziness or nausea. The rest is sort of like an internal radar that goes off.
I’ve been in a number of situations where my spidey sense has gone off at the exact same time as one or two people with me. And then something interesting happens or we get a piece of evidence. Once, my spidey sense went off just and about two seconds later, Jim’s camera and three IR lights (all which had separate power sources and separate on/off switches) all turned off at the same time. Anomalous ? Yes. Paranormal? Who knows.
Another time, my spidey sense went off and I asked Tanner (who had just taken a picture of me) to shoot another picture. The result was an interesting light anomaly in the shape of a person (or Patrick Starfish from Sponge Bob, depending on who you ask) in the photo behind me. You can see the picture and analysis here.
It is that intangible that we can’t be aware of when we are presented with a piece of evidence. This allows us to come up with all kinds of alternative explanations for the evidence. All well and good, and a necessary part of the discussion surrounding paranormal investigation. When I’ve asked for opinions and received them, it has always given me more to think about. Many times those opinions have also helped me to set up better controls when I return to the area to attempt to recapture or find similar evidence.
Here’s the deal with asking for opinions, though. If you ask, you have to be ready to hear them – no matter what they are. One of the things that happens when you find what you believe to be a terrific piece of evidence is that you become emotionally attached to it. Well maybe YOU don’t – but I do. In that case, each opinion can feel like a personal attack. Or like a tiny piece of your soul is being torn away. In those cases, one must be objective enough to take a step back and evaluate each opinion in a manner that is removed from any emotional attachment to the evidence collected.
While receiving feedback from others can feel like a curse, the truth is that it is really a blessing. Remove right and wrong from the equation. Remove the need to be right for a moment. Remove your personal feelings. Look at each opinion objectively. Each opinion contains a valuable piece of information therein. Each bit of feedback received is a learning experience that can make you a better investigator.
Enjoy reading Karen’s blog? Her new book, Avalanche of Spirits: The Ghosts of Wellington> is now available. Click here to buy.