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What is it ? Well the SPARC Collaborative Evidence Database is a unique tool designed to aid Individual teams an investigators, as well as the paranormal community as a whole. Right now the database is in in beta testing phase an we are looking to hear from all teams who want to jump on board the ground breaking study. After reading what it is all about, you can submit your team at http://www.sparc-oregon.com, an watch a short video about the database. Feel free to contact us at email@example.com if you have any questions ! Darcy Lingg & Cameron Ellis – SPARC Team.
SPARC Collaborative Evidence Database
Who wouldn’t agree that the linking of thousands of law enforcement agency databases over the past decade has not sky-rocketed crime investigation efforts into the stratosphere? It’s amazing that up until recently we were able to solve as many crimes as we did without the sharing of facial recognition, DNA, incident, conviction and trend data between agencies, law enforcement, investigators and analysts. The coordination between the FBI, CIA, state and local law enforcement is still improving but has grown in leaps and bounds just in the past 10 years. The fact that so many crimes may go unsolved for many years (or forever!) due to the isolation of pertinent related data that stayed “protected” within individual agencies is nothing short of a tragedy and waste of law enforcement and judicial resources.
So why do the hundreds of paranormal investigation groups across the United States DO EXACTLY THAT EVERYDAY? To horde experiences and data within our individual groups is a total and complete waste of our time and valuable information. Since paranormal investigation is still informal, populated almost exclusively of enthusiasts, techie-geeks and “sensitives” and therefore truly still in its infancy, a territorial approach to our field has unfortunately segregated geographic resources, talent and most importantly information… UNTIL NOW.
I don’t think the comparative collection, analysis and evaluation of the thousands of recorded or observed paranormal events nationwide can be understated in its value to the paranormal investigative community as a whole. We literally all currently suffer a “can’t see the forest from the trees” problem unnecessarily, a problem that could VERY easily be rectified with the creation of a central online database allowing the cataloging and analysis of all of our shared data. And as the database grows, some very exciting trends may unexpectedly arise from collaboration between us all.
Imagine being able to chart trends in class A EVP recording by moon phase, time of day, or GPS coordinates. How about researching a correlation between UV apparition evidence and weather conditions? Or even the number of investigators and relative positive anomalies of any kind but sampled ACROSS THE NATION… the benefits of trend and positive condition analysis are limited only to the accuracy of the data collection and your imagination. In a field that has been fueled largely by speculation, individual trial and error and hypothetical shots in the dark, it’s astounding we have made any headway at all. The omission of this fundamental approach to what is an observable science has illegitimized our cause for too long.
The Society for Para-Analytics Research and Collaboration (SPARC) was created solely for what its name implies; to be a centrally accessible repository of paranormal data, experiences and observations made up of hundreds of investigation teams across the nation for the purpose of defining trends and conditional factors to better measure and potentially PREDICT and CAPTURE paranormal evidence.
To begin however, we need to populate a foundational database made up of a large cross section of the paranormal investigative community… that’s YOU! We will be launching a beta phase dedicated to data collection in the very near future but only to groups by special invite. The reason we will be doing this by invite is because we want a wide sample of geographical, ideological and unbiased participation. We will choose roughly 25 -30 groups across the nation to participate and will award them for their hard work with a lifetime membership and access to the SPARC database so long as community rules aren’t violated. After the beta phase is over and an official launch date has been announced, any investigative team or entity may pay for a nominal monthly membership allowing them access to add records, run queries/reports and export data through secure login.
Paranormal unity and scientific collaboration will lead the way in this field helping to bring it out of the shadows and into the light … are you going to be involved ?
So, in other words, you want people to pay to look at the evidence that they and others have collected. Couldn't groups do this without anyone having to pay anything? I guess it would be okay to pay to help cover the cost of maintaining any site associated with the database, but wouldn't a payment system leave some groups out in the cold? Isn't the whole purpose of a database to gather as much information as possible and try and make correlations between environmental factors and paranormal activity? I'm all for a database, but think that having to pay to access it is a bit much. Paying to support the site is okay to me, but anything more only works against the gathering of data. Good luck though.
Hope you don’t mind if I comment regarding the the charging for the database as I know it’s a bit of a hot-button for some… understandably. I agree with you in part, I think charging for investigations or consultations for clients that are usually scared out of their wits is no bueno! Too many thrill-seekers, self proclaimed "professionals" and sharks would muddy up ANY kind of legitimacy our field has fought hard for and would send it down the low road that psychic/mediumship has been largely traveling on for 1000's of years with little success (if ANY) of bringing a professional perspective to it. For the most part (but not all) those practitioners just see a payday out of bilking desperate souls by peddling easy answers they want to hear. I definitely would NOT want to see parapsychology go down that almost irreparable path.
The SPARC team has had some healthy debate on this very topic and tried to look at it from as many angles as we could. We looked at the pros and cons of public opinion, investigator utilization, the scientific communities’ perspective, moral obligations and also from a realistic lens as well. The reasons we eventually decided on setting a nominal fee (and we do mean nominal, like "babysitter salary" nominal) at some point in the undetermined future were these:
1) We viewed the database as a tool for the investigator, a constantly evolving, growing and "sharpening" tool utilized by those requiring reliable research data, field work support or test theory scrutiny and data to test those theories. This is not a service that a client or victim would rely on for relief or help… that would go against our mission statement and personal values. However, there was positive discussion of the database being a proxy referral service as we ARE building a network of linked investigation teams at the same time and THAT of course would be free to any client in need as long as we have participants in their area. But for the investigator this would be like any other tool that has been developed and maintained like our equipment, software, paranormal periodicals and books for example. While I believe some of the equip we use are questionable as to their viability in the field, most of them took hundreds of man hours for development, testing, promotion and production. It’s our choice whether to believe they work and spend the money for them… the end result being whether we feel they will ultimately help the client. And that’s all that matters. Software is the same, large $ for R&D and they have been INDISPENSABLE.
2) Sure there is the small cost of administration and maintenance to an ever-growing database (I know, it’s what I've done as a career for non-profit organizations for many years now… hence where the idea came from), as well as the funds needed to promote and keep this tool available for the masses. However, we did not want to charge such an exorbitant fee as to place it out of reach for just about ANYONE who has internet access. We want to be altruistic, fair AND reasonable with a philanthropic umbrella over EVERY aspect of our projects and unfortunately any good 501(c)(3) has to have a productive fiscal model to do that and stay alive. Sure, non-profits can get greedy and veer off path… and it doesn’t take long before those fiscally based initiatives becomes their downfall through lack of community support. SPARC wants to be able to improve upon the database as we go, give it more functionality and possibly offer other types of resources as well that may be equally important or useful to the investigator.
3) While our main goal is to help those in need by finding answers to a GIGANTIC field that is largely unknown and under-researched, those efforts cannot move forward without funding. It’s how our world turns and unfortunately is how serious attention is garnered for a shared problem. Now that might seem like we're lazily jumping on a band-wagon as a good excuse to stuff our coffers but the truth is that even cancer research requires MILLIONS (perhaps billions) of dollars annually to maintain the work and attention required to find better treatments or possibly even a cure. Just good faith and volunteer work would NEVER see that come to fruition. Substantial investment brings more serious and deliberate attention to a prolonged problem, and with more serious, deliberate attention comes more TALENT from an ever growing community who wants to offer their expertise and knowledge. I might even venture to say that a completely volunteer paranormal community MAY BE one of the largest inhibiting factors to parapsychology being relegated to largely enthusiasts and hobby "ghost" hunters and left virtually untouched by the professional scientific establishment.
4) And playing off that last point a little is the seriousness of the investigators and participants themselves who wish to align themselves with this project. A completely free database open to anybody who desired access and who had no vested interest in its data integrity and intrinsic value to the community, could EASILY become polluted with care-free and erroneous data therefore destroying the entire viability of its intended purpose and diluting what could have conceivably been a very potent repository of usable data. We felt that there was too much at stake to allow the data to be subject to casual look-e-loos and vandals as well as unintentional non-ownership type practices. When someone pays into a project with time and money, they want to see it succeed. Philanthropy alone doesn’t drive innovation unfortunately. I worked for Goodwill for years and there was always a certain section of the population that criticized them by saying, "Hey… you claim to want to help people (which is what Goodwill does..we helped those with disabilities)… why don’t you GIVE AWAY all those donations in your stores to people who need them instead of charging for them!?"I think most people see the ridiculous logic in that… no money, no stores, no payroll, no employees and no 91% of revenue used to help people with disabilities. They've been around for over a century doing what they do for a reason.
There were other lesser factors as well with many of the concerns focused around the perception of what we we are trying to do and the possibility of being misunderstood. There will always be nay-sayers and critics in ANY move you make but we felt in order to be a responsible steward of a potentially profound tool for the community, we needed to provide some safeguards and approach this as you would any other successful non-profit business model including the fiduciary responsibilities that come along with it. Trust me, for the few dollars a month we are talking about here, we aren’t running off to the Bahamas any time soon.
But please, feel free to comment as we appreciate ALL feedback on this topic as well any other suggestions and critiques.
4) And playing off that last point a little is the seriousness of the investigators and participants themselves who wish to align themselves with this project. A completely free database open to anybody who desired access and who had no vested interest in its data integrity and intrinsic value to the community, could EASILY become polluted with care-free and erroneous data therefore destroying the entire viability of its intended purpose and diluting what could have conceivably been a very potent repository of usable data. We felt that there was too much at stake to allow the data to be subject to casual look-e-loos and vandals as well as unintentional non-ownership type practices. When someone pays into a project with time and money, they want to see it succeed.
But please, feel free to comment as we appreciate ALL feedback on this topic as well any other suggestions and critiques.
My question is even with this reasoning, how can you assure the validity of the data being presented to the database? As you mentioned in an earlier post, the field is awash with amny investigators who have no inkling how to gather proper, unbiased data for scientific study. It seems to me that in order for this to be a valid scientific database, all those participating would need to submit data gathered using a similar methodology for collection and understand what they are doing.
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