Up Your Orb: Investigating Paranormal Investigators

                                                                    Up Your Orb
                                                Investigating Paranormal Investigators
They have websites, they are on Twitter, Facebook, and all over the television. They come from the cities, suburbs and rural areas. Where I come from, near Gettysburg Pennsylvania, the number of paranormal investigators has climbed higher than Devil's Den. The battlefield is littered with paranormal enthusiasts holding digital cameras, EMF meters and flashlights; wearing short-sleeved black T-shirts.  You walk a few feet you trip over one.
First, let's define what a paranormal investigator is.
Para- a prefix widely used in various compound words (para-olympic, para-medic, para-gliding etc.) which can signify alternately: "alongside, altered, beyond, contrary," originating from the Greek preposition para that means: "beside, next to, near, from," and also, "against, contrary to," similar with Sanskrit para "beyond;" Latin pro "before, for, in favor of," per- "through;"
In the word paranormal, para is used as a prefix to mean "beyond". 

The word paranormal as a general term (coined ca. 1915–1920) that designates experiences that lie outside the range of normal experience or scientific explanation or that indicates phenomena understood to be outside of science's current ability to explain or measure...paranormal phenomena are inconsistent with the world as already understood through empirical observation coupled with scientific methodology.

To investigate: To inquire into or study in order to ascertain facts or information. To examine, look into, or scrutinize in order to discover something hidden or secret, To conduct an inquiry or examination.

Paranormal Investigating is the process of examining and scrutinizing various locations that are reported to be haunted by ghosts in order to determine whether or not anything "beyond the norm" can  be determined to be going on.  Typically, a ghost hunting team will attempt to collect evidence claimed to be supportive of paranormal activity. Paranormal Investigators often utilize a variety of electronic equipment.Traditional techniques such as conducting interviews and researching the history of a site are also employed.

While many groups utilize scientific methods in their search for ghosts, many do not, and most think they are when they are not. Unfortunately, because of the lack of standards in the paranormal community regarding scientific method(a new blog/rant is coming very soon on the issue of standards), no scientific body has been able to confirm the existence of ghosts and no scientific body has been willing to verify or authenticate what paranormal investigators claim to be "evidence" of ghosts or a haunting. That is why ghost hunting is classified as a pseudoscience.

 I know what they wish they were, I know what they want to be, and I have my own opinions about what they should be, but the reality is most paranormal investigators are not investigators at all.
They are child-like.  When given a free ticket to Disneyland,  they want to ride on the most exciting and dangerous rides. They buy cheap digital cameras, EMF (Electro-magnetic field) meters that blink little colored lights, and voice recorders, the toys of the child-like investigator. They don't know how to use them, they don't use them correctly, they don't even understand what it is they are looking for or why they're looking for it. Ghosts? orbs? electro-magnetic fields? What are they? Well, they're what ghosts make. Right? That's what they tell me on Ghost Hunters. They believe what they see on T.V. They go on ghost tours and learn how to use ghost hunting equipment. They tour the so-called haunted locations of Gettysburg, equipment in hand, and screech and yell like little kids on a play ground when a K-2 (a type of EMF meter) goes off or a digital camera captures a dust orb - one ghost tour and they are now paranormal investigators.

 The first thing they do is join a paranormal group. These groups are easy to find. They are all over the internet, Facebook and Twitter. Put a search into google and you will come up with thousands of groups from all over the country.

Without any training or testing of knowledge of the paranormal, these enthusiasts are invited to join paranormal groups and may also be allowed to go on private residence investigations immediately with little or no training.  The "investigator" in training is allowed to go along with the slightly more experienced investigators in order to determine if the client has anything of  unexplained origin going on in their home. With no experience, with little to no knowledge in the paranormal, these hunter/children are along for the ride; for the excitement and amusement of it, for the possibility of seeing or hearing something from the realm of Ghost-land. Adrenaline-seeking, excitement junkies, almost without exception, these initiates will lose patience within two or three hours of the investigation and declare it a waste of time and not haunted.

I once was on an investigation with a group who claimed to be experienced. After 90 minutes the lead investigator called us on his walkie-talkie to tell us to take a break. As we gathered in the "command central" area for our break, he began to yawn conspicuously, said he had somewhere else he had to be early in the morning, and said, "Ok everyone. Pack up. We're leaving." And to the client, "We will let you know what we find."(which they never did).  It wasn't even 11:00 pm.  We had arrived at 8:00 pm. with an hour to interview and set up, we had been at our jobs for less than two hours. Apparently, his amusement ride ticket ran out, his adrenaline rush had subsided and his patience with it. We left. The poor clients looked so surprised and confused.

Paranormal Investigative Groups have little or no standards when it comes to taking on new investigators, or anything else, for that matter.  All you need to do is ask to join and you are in. Why? Because most are desperate for good investigators. The half-life of a paranormal investigator is about three months. After the curiosity wears thin, and the realization dawns that the next TV show is not going to feature their group, and no apparition has appeared on command before them, they get restless. When called upon to attend a meeting or go on an investigation, they are busy, sick, or just can't make it for one lame reason or another. Before long, they quit or disappear. The very best excuse I have ever heard for not going on an investigation was that a ghost had hit on a guys girlfriend over his cell phone by texting from the afterlife. He wanted no more to do with ghost hunting as a result.

I will tell you a few of my favorite stories about paranormal investigators. After over 60 private residence investigations with four different groups, I have a few gems.

I was once on an investigation of a historical residence that had never before allowed any paranormal group to enter. We had a good reputation, so we were allowed to investigate. Of course, it didn't hurt that the local tv network news team was along for the ride to film for a three part series during Halloween. I was paired with a novice investigator and we entered the third floor of the establishment, where we found an uncomfortable place to sit (all paranormal investigations are intensely uncomfortable) on a dusty floor. After a short time of silence and trying to get a sense of the place, I heard a quiet sound come from a corner of the attic room. I asked the novice investigator  if she had heard it. She said no. Another few minutes passed, and, again, I heard a soft noise from the corner. I, again, asked the investigator if she heard it. "No," she said. Ok..am I hearing things? My hearing is quite sharp but you never know. Investigators always stay in pairs, so that we can verify each other's experiences and check each other's senses, as well as have each other's back. So, I settled down to listen again, and there it was again! Another soft noise coming from the corner, but this time a bit louder, more like a knock on the wooden wall. I asked, "Did you hear that?" She replied, "No. And I will never hear it because I am partially deaf. My hearing is terrible. Often I will not hear anything. Frequently, I will hear things that aren't there and no one else hears. So, I am pretty useless with noise." Then she laughed, as if this was really funny.  How useless are you as a paranormal investigator if you cannot hear?  So much experience of the paranormal is through hearing. My estimate is 75%.  Very little is through sight. Sometimes you may smell something, or feel temperature changes, or even be touched. I have never seen a ghost. I have heard plenty. Did the Co-founder of the paranormal group know of this person's hearing loss? Nope. The novice investigator hadn't bothered to tell him.  Something could have yelled "BOO!" in the investigator's ear and it would never have been noticed.
Where IS your stupid sign?

To be continued.....


Anonymous said…
I Totally Agree! ;-) One Has To Be "Dedicated,& Educated"! As For Me When I First Began My Adventures,I Jumped The Gun! Wasted a Lot Of Money, & Brought Something Very Nasty Ugly,in My Home.,You Really Need To "Learn Everything"About Spirits! Because Demons Are Real!
They Will Give You The Truth With Lies!
Make You Think Your Talking To Your Very Loving Grandma Louise,Or Your Favorite Good Ole Uncle Frank.,The Next Day Your Committing Suicide!(True Stories) My Friends! A Lot Of You Out There Know What I'm Talking About! Anyways, Spirits Are All Around Us,And "Very Real"There Are No Signs!It's Either Or!(Here Or Not) I Promise You "They Will" Let You Know "With Or Without" The Expensive Gadgets We So Rely On, If They Want To Be Acknowledged! & You Have Got To Give "Respect & Caution" To Know Who Or What Your Dealing With,As The Old Saying, Be Careful What You Wish For! This "Is Not" A Game! You Most Definitely Need To Know What Your Doing! Dedicated & Educated My Friends ;-)
Pam Wellington said…
Thank you for your comments. I agree with you. This is definitely not a game. And things can get dangerous, both physically and spiritually if you are not careful and knowledgeable. I also agree that expensive gadgets do not guarantee that you will catch activity. And you may get all the activity you wish for with no gadgets at all. There are no methods or systems that guarantee anything. Nothing happens the same way twice. My hope is that you visit here often. Your comments are welcome and insightful.

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