As a researcher or investigator of paranormal phenomenon you may hold certain beliefs about the field. These beliefs are the foundation of the direction for how you investigate, the type of information you intend to take from this page, as well as how others perceive your involvement or knowledge of the field. For those of you seeking answers to the basic questions and are beginning to form your beliefs around this subject this is a great place to begin, for others who have already formed your beliefs you may find that this information may go against your beliefs and your gut reaction will be to navigate away from this site and search for others that support your current beliefs. I ask that you give this information a chance, especially if your reason for navigating this site is for knowledge about the paranormal.
The basics of belief are show in the graphic at below / right. There are many people who are skeptical about the paranormal or merely parts associated with it. To be skeptical is to be critical about the information and there is certainly nothing wrong with this. However, when the skeptic becomes "hardcore" or doubts any and all claims of the paranormal due to preconceived notions or arguments they become closed off to any possibility of the existence of ghosts or psi phenomenon (ESP, psychokinesis). This unwavering denial of existence is actually ignorant of science because it discounts any type of attempt at finding answers about the subject matter.
On the other half of the scale we see the "true believer" who believes in most, if not all, of the systems of belief surrounding ghosts and related phenomenon. A true believer may believe that ghosts can easily be contacted with simple voice recorders, can be photographed, are seen in "orb" photographs, are easily accessible by anyone, and any combination of beliefs. The traits of a true believer include a person who holds truth in these beliefs without much critical examination, holds on to particular theories about these topics despite no validation or sources, denies other logical claims that may explain some or most of these claims, and other aspects that prohibit them from becoming balanced in theory, opinion, and practice.
There are also many variations in-between these two extremes. Some groups or individuals claim to be "open-minded skeptics", yet their attitude toward the subject, their approach, as well as presentation of evidence typically shows them more as believers than skeptics. Many groups claim to be scientific, yet similarly, their beliefs, approach, and presentation of evidence also suggest they are driven more by their belief systems in the phenomena than the understanding of using science as a guide to present the information for them objectively.
The key here is to provide a healthy balance of belief and skepticism in order to maintain a proper balance of approach. Groups that lean toward one end of the scale or the other are denying the balance of the other side of the argument. In regards to science, which we will explore on the next page in detail, it is a process that operates without the boundaries of belief and provide information which is then interpreted. Again, many groups use the guise of "science" merely as a way to validate their beliefs instead of objective investigations into specific theories.
Here are a few examples of beliefs within the paranormal investigation field that have no merit, yet are believed casually by a majority of groups:
- Ghosts or spirits appear as balls of light known as "orbs" in photographs.
- Ectoplasm can be photographed and appears as a "fog" in photographs.
- Any unexplainable event (sensation, photograph, image in video, noise, etc.) is a ghost if it happens in a purportedly haunted location.
- Full moons produce better ghostly interaction.
- "Dead time" or around midnight produces better ghostly interaction.
- Ghosts can be detected by EMF detectors.
- Ghosts can interact using radio sweepers and white noise generators.
- Investigations must happen in dark conditions (for a variety of reasons).
- Investigating in the dark allows the other "senses" to be more in tune with the environment.
- The First Law of Thermodynamics proves (or provides validation) that ghosts exist.
- Ghosts are physical, tangible beings.
- Using EMF detectors, voice recorders, IR cameras, and other tech is using science.
- A "lockdown" provides a controlled setting and is therefore scientific.
- Avoiding psychics is being scientific (avoids guessing/speculation).
- There is no need for an education in the paranormal to become an investigator.
- A person must die a traumatic death in order to become a haunting.
- Ouija Boards are conduits to evil, release evil spirits, open portals, etc.
- An investigator must ask questions and demand answers (typically using "tech") in order to conduct an investigation.
We will look at these issues separately as we go along. This is not meant as an attack on the field it is an opportunity for people to learn the reality behind what is believed in the field. So often teams form around the thoughts and beliefs of teams that came before them or techniques and beliefs observed on television. This site is designed to provide a proper balance of skepticism and understanding of anomalous topics to help make any investigator more apt to solve ghost cases. Ultimately, no matter what type of investigation is being conducted (client-based or "hunt") the real thing we are doing is solving mysteries or individual problems. If we jump to a paranormal conclusion before really identifying what else may be the cause we are fooling ourselves and not adding anything of value to the field. These small "mistakes" or misinterpretations that have happened in the past have now become the culture of belief in our time as shown by the list above.
The formula Perception + Evidence + Time = Belief displays basically how a belief comes to be. The evidence of claims may be faulty and may include the beliefs by others around us or just what we are taught or learn from websites, television shows, or other avenues. Our perception then is to believe the evidence despite it being faulty and as time goes on this belief becomes stronger. By viewing other evidence (such as this site) we can begin to reform our perception and over time adopt new beliefs.