Paranormal Research – Poor State of Affairs

TESA is being developed, to provide answers, and training to a create a better informed world. 

Finding a suitable location to conduct investigations and experiments is a difficult one. Gaining access is even harder. The site has to contain activity, be accessible and provide an environment that can be in the most part controllable. These are all difficult criteria to meet. Finding the right place is even more difficult when you add the thousands of paranormal groups chasing down every so called haunted location on the planet. This is a real problem, most of these groups are more thrill seekers than anything else. I know I am going to take a lot of flack for saying this but…really. Most don’t even know they are part of the problem, this is the main reason we take a beating from academia and skeptics alike. Yes, a lot of groups follow rules and have made a big investment buying all types of expensive equipment. But this is not a hobby, its certainly not something to do to impress your friends.

So simply look at what you are doing out there and ask yourself these questions.

Do I go from place to place hunting ghosts even though I found some evidence of a haunting at the last place I had investigated? If so, you are a thrill seeker simply because you found evidence of a haunting and openly chose to abandoned that location to rush off to find another place to investigate, what was the point? A lot of groups do this to build web sites to have the honour of saying hey look at me I investigated 25 cool haunted places last year. Answer honestly after all the investigations you have done what real contribution have you made to the study of parapsychology? Have you shared your findings with other groups, oh and Facebook doesn’t count!

Have you built theory from field observations and devised experiments to test your theory and have you had those results peer reviewed from other groups? 

Over the last year, I was very interested in what the true situation was in the field of paranormal research so I set out to follow, study and at times ask simple questions to a random group of 250 paranormal groups in 4 countries, Canada, US, UK and Australia.

This is what I found.

7% Breaking laws like trespassing, break and enter. and using drugs and alcohol either prior to or during an investigation.

8% Causing property damage

16% Causing property owners to close off access to investigators

94% Spending One full day 6 to 12 hours onsite

4% Spending 12 to 72 hours (Returned visits) to same location

1% Spending 73 to 120 hours (Returned visits) to same location

1% Working a haunted site for months or longer.

0% Advancements, providing new information (Theory) to other teams to test.

6% devising paranormal experiments

0% Working with other teams to replicate experiments

Notes

1, Even when I directly contacted groups offering specifically designed experiments for the work they were doing in the field (which would cost them nothing) they had no interest.

2. When offered to send paranormal photo to teams that professed to specifically study these particular phenomena for opinion, 0% excepted the offer.

Cooperation or collaboration between teams, sharing information or ideas.

Canada 0%

US less than 2%

UK 3%

Australia less than 1%

4% had a protocol on handling and keeping evidence captured on an investigation.

2% Had knowledge on how to have evidence authenticated.

30% flooded social media with data of their investigation regardless of content, meaning even if nothing happened they would post hours of video and audio online.

20% were found to break the cardinal rule of not charging money for investigations and house clearings.

60% were found to have changed the original story of an event to a more elaborate story when asked if they would be interested in appearing on TV.

22% damaged the investigation by pulling pranks on other investigators.

When communicating with investigators from the 250 it was found that 40% did not fully understand the equipment they were using or the correct operation of that equipment.

6% of investigators believed that paranormal (Ghost) apps for your cell phone were a scientific way to collect evidence.

75% had no safety protocols in place for their team, and less than 2% had a first aid kit available even when working in abandoned buildings in the middle of nowhere.

62% The collectors, these teams’ main objective was to investigate as many locations as possible simply to post on their website and other social media that they had “been there, done it”

Education, it was encouraging to find at least 2% took introductory courses in parapsychology. The majority learnt their investigative techniques from watching people like Bagans, Hawes, Zaffis and the Warrens on TV, or searching the internet.

When asked if they had read any books or papers from people like Barrett, Crookes, Myers, and the likes of Rhine and Conan Doyle. 66% said no, 26% had no idea who I was talking about and 8% said they had.

98% Took old theory as gospel, never challenged or tested those theories. 35% formed their opinions from field work around these theories. In other words, made their field work fit the theory.

88% had a poor working knowledge of the history of spiritualism, parapsychology and paranormal investigation.

85% felt education in parapsychology and paranormal investigation wasn’t worthwhile.

The other major problem is people who do nothing more than flood every possible avenue with false information and hoaxes. This does nothing more than damage the entire effort of real research by fueling skeptics and bringing everything, even the best evidence forward into doubt.

There are those what I term as investigative parties, where a team rents out a place and calls in anyone willing to pay entry fees to investigate, 40 or 50 people running around an old abandoned building, hardly productive. This would be okay if they saw it as entertainment, but a large number later talk about their experience using terms as capturing evidence and scientific methods.

Then there are those who started off as investigators who quickly sold out to turning their research into ghost tours to make some money, on the surface this sounds okay, but not until you dig deeper to find they didn’t have enough juicy fact for a ghost tour so they started adding fiction and legends to flesh out the story/tour. 

I joined TESA to assist the team in changing the above statistics.