Archive for March, 2011

Great Expectations

Posted in Paranormal on March 16, 2011 by paranormalteam

This blog post has nothing to do with Charles Dickens’ rather good novel, although I recommend reading it if you haven’t. This post has to do with understanding and setting peoples expectations when it comes to the paranormal.

The following is based around a conversation I had not all that long ago. A local resident had got wind of what I did in my spare time. Somewhat strange as we do not advertise or promote ourselves anywhere (for many reasons, not to be covered in this blog post). Anyway. These aren’t the exact words of the conversation as I didn’t record it but the jist of it is to the best of my memory.

For the purposes of this entry I am going to call the person in question The Enquirer (TE). I am loathe to use words such as customer or client as to me these are synonymous with money, which has no place in the paranormal community.

TE: I hear you are a ghost hunter?

ME: No, I am not a ghost hunter. I do look into claims of the paranormal however.

TE: Isn’t that the same thing?

ME: No, completely different.

From here I had to launch into an explanation of the difference between a ghost hunter and someone who goes in with an open and unbiased mind. The term ghost hunter in itself immediately says that you already know of the existence of ghosts and you are out to get evidence to back this up. In fact you should go in with no predeposed ideas and with a mind to provide explanations where possible and suggest further action if it is beyond your capabilities.

ME: What seems to be the problem?

TE: My house is haunted. I need someone to come in and prove I’m not going mad.

ME: You say haunted. What makes you think this?

What follows is an explanation of their personal experiences. Strange noises, doors closing, things moving (out of sight) etc. After a lengthy conversation we continue.

ME: So you want me to come in and prove your house is haunted?

TE: Yes!

ME: I can’t do that.

TE: But isn’t that what you do?

Again I explain about looking for explanations etc. I have to point out that no-one has proved the existence of ghosts, much as nobody has proved the non-existence of ghosts. For me to come out at the end of this and say the house was haunted would mean I would have captured the ultimate proof. I would be able to present my findings and those would be universally pulled apart, digested and the situation recreated successfully. Even then, would it be the proof of ghosts or proof of something else?

TE: So you can’t come in and tell me if my house is haunted?

ME: No but I can come in and help to find explanations, record what I find and then go from there.

TE: Oh but that’s not what I want. I know there are ghosts here, I need someone to prove it so I know I’m not going mad. Thanks for taking the time to chat but I think I may have to ask another group.

At this point my jaw firmly hit the floor.  I tried my best then to make them understand what I was waffling about but to no avail.  I couldn’t provide them with the outcome they wanted and that was that.  They did indeed have great expectations.

Obviously I have written here the general jist of the conversation, not exactly as it was word for word.  Hopefully I conveyed the points I wanted to successfully.

I don’t know whether this particular person did go to another group or not.  I didn’t hear anything on the grapevine.  Maybe they had a rethink based on what I said.  Oh for that to be true!

Finally here’s a picture of Miss Haversham to fill in some space and make the blog post a bit more visually appealling.

Falling out of love with all things paranormal

Posted in Paranormal on March 8, 2011 by paranormalteam

It’s been absolutely ages since I wrote a blog post. The main reason for this has been a certain apathy with all things paranormal.

Over the many years I have personally been involved with the paranormal my interest hasn’t wavered. Recently, however, there have been a number of things that have “put me off” being involved.

The first of these is the uncredible, unproven and downright lies that come from the various paranormal TV shows. Yes I would be the first to agree that they have pushed the paranormal out of the closet (so to speak) and into the mainstream. This in turn has attracted a lot of attention and interest from Joe Public. Here I am talking about “ghost-hunting” shows in particular.

Now, no-one has a monopoly on the paranormal and absolutely anyone can turn their hand to studying it. It’s a free world and nothing is proven so the more researching the paranormal the better. However my quibble comes in when people base their methods exactly on what they see on TV. A lot of people will believe what is presented to them on TV, this also counts for other forms of media. People will believe a story in a newspaper because, well, it’s in the newspaper! It must be correct. Don’t be fooled into thinking journalists nowadays aren’t out for a quick buck and partial to a bit of copy and pasting just to make a story.

One of the main problems with TV shows is the editing. Well, of course, they need to edit it as who wants to sit and watch hours and hours of locked off camera footage? I would but that’s just because I’m weird. Camera angles never seem to cover events that happen leaving what we see to be not what actually happened. These people have never really given us anything much to think about with regards to evidence, new research methods etc. Why would we want to follow what they do? Just because they have made it onto TV? If you see them using a gadget do a bit of research into what that gadget is actually measuring and why it might even be in your toolbox. Let’s face it, if you bought all the gadgets they promoted you’d be a very poor person right now. It’s expensive and it’s also very exploitative.

The other reason that I have the huff with the paranormal bubble is some of the people. Here I am referring directly to those that are out to make money from what they do. The people I am talking about are fully aware that they are taking the money under false pretenses. Nothing they say can actually be proved, outside of their own head but they would like to be paid for telling you this. Now this really doesn’t sit very well with me. Full in the knowledge that this house cannot be proven to be haunted they will advertise that it is. Isn’t that like me saying I have an invisible donkey for sale? I can see it, you can’t but yup it definately exists. I know I may have some opposition here but that’s what the comments are for below.

The last thing, and I’ll make it quick as I’m waflling, is spreading disinformation. Chinese whispers are very destructive. All that is said to be fact needs to be backed up with evidence. End of story. Before believing what someone is telling you, do some research to see if the facts fit the story. 9/10 it doesn’t.

Those that follow me on twitter (and have done for a while) will notice I still post but not as much as previously. That being said, recent events have re-sparked a bit of enthusiasm which we hope to turn into something positive and something different. I know a few others that have either given up on the paranormal or taken a long break from it. Unfortunately most of these have been people with their heads firmly screwed on. It would be a shame for them to give up (you know who you are).