What about US?
There are all different kinds of paranormal investigators. Some rely on their intuition, others on psychic ability, there are people that like to use ITC, data logging equipment, video cameras or a mix of everything. Regardless of the type of approach you take to paranormal investigating, you are likely familiar with the term 'debunking'. Made most popular from ghost television shows that pop a big red 'DEBUNKED' across the screen when they are able to rationally explain something that happened, it is a common term used within the field. Some people including myself don't like using the term, yet I find those words coming out of my mouth all the time. If I were to search my website for the word 'debunk', I am sure it will come up in many of my own articles. It is just one of those words that seems to be a part of the paranormal dictionary, so even though I don't like it, I don't try to fight it.
One of the things I see a lot of which I think is fantastic is that more and more people are acknowledging that not everything we experience is paranormal. There is of course debate on what exactly the 'paranormal' is and each person may interpret a situation a bit differently, but the fact that people are least questioning if something really was paranormal or something else is at least a start. A lot of teams will post that they will look for the logical explanation before deeming something as paranormal. I think I used that tag line a lot in my early days and that is how I would approach my investigations. What I don't personally do however is call something paranormal when I can't explain it and that is just my own personal preference. If I can't explain something, for me it goes into that interesting pile and maybe pushes me to search further, but I won't put it out there and say 'hey this is paranormal.' That is just how I do things, because just because I couldn't explain it, still doesn't mean someone else can't. It wasn't always that way though and again in my early days I would often say things like '98% of the things that happen are rational but 2% are paranormal'. I didn't have any actual figures to back it up, it was something I just made up at the time to drill down the point that not everything was paranormal. I soon realized that I didn't want to label anything as paranormal nor make up figures as I wasn't even sure what the paranormal was anymore. I am sure you have noticed from my writing that I am very open about the fact that while I approach things with a rational mind, I am not a skeptic. I do very much believe something is happening out there. I am just not convinced it is a ghost or spirit of someone who has passed away for example. A lot of the time, I do wonder just how much of it could be us? This is why I have been thinking a lot over the last few days about debunking things and how many times we fail to include ourselves in this process.
Why should we look at ourselves when debunking?
I am going to give a little bit of scenario. Say you are at a location like Black Rock House and we are in one of the rooms and we are looking at the door asking a spirit etc to 'come in and talk to us'. I see what I think looks like the door opening. I get all excited and say 'The door moved'. I would then ask if they could 'do that again'. After time has passed, I would go into 'debunking' mode and try to work out what could have made the door move. I would have seen if there were drafts, if the door was weighted, how easily it moves etc. These are the common things that most people would do after this kind of experience. During this process though, do we look at ourselves at being a possible cause?
In this example, two things come to mind.
- In this particular case it could simply be something like the autokinetic effect which I have written about previously where light against a black backdrop can cause our brain to make us think something is moving. Shadows can play with our minds and very easily the door could look like it was moving when it wasn't. The only way to really know would be to refer to a video tape to see if it was caught on camera that it really did move. This is why when people ask me what is the one piece of equipment I need to take, I would take a camera. I don't use it as a tool as such to capture shadow figures or anomalies, I use to give me unbiased account of what was really happening. So say we review the video and the door did in fact move. We know then it wasn't my brain play tricks on me. Often however this human element is forgotten about in the excitement of trying to debunk an experience. We look at the rational causes, but not necessarily the human element. Which brings me to an interesting second scenario
- What if it was us? I have spoken in depth about telepathy, psychic projection and in particular the Philip experiment. If you are not familiar with the Philip experiment, in the 1970's, a group of parapsychologists wanted to see if it was possible to 'create a spirit' but just having a group of people think about it. They created a fake character called Philip and eventually felt they got him to manifest. If you speak to a lot of investigators in the field, they too have tried this concept and feels it very much works. If I were to look at the above scenario, we are all in a room and we are all focused on the door. We are asking a spirit to come and walk through the door. Is the action of us thinking about it collectively as a group enough to make the door move?
Now I am not saying that we all like 'Carrie' with the ability to move things with our mind, but there is research into telekinesis and a lot of people actually attribute this as being related to reported poltergeist activity. While people believe a ghost is haunting them, it could be more of a case of them haunting themselves and causing certain activity with their mind. There has been a lot of research dedicated to this over the years which is still ongoing today. Surely there has to be at least something to it or it would have been dismissed many years ago? I think that sentiment applies with a lot of things associated with the paranormal. If it were all 'rubbish' as a lot of people will say, why is it then that people have been searching for centuries for the answers we too are still looking for? I feel there has to be something to it.
Of course how does a person debunk if it was us 'moving the door'? We essentially can't ..... yet because we don't understand it enough or again even know if it truly happens. This is why I think it is important as paranormal researchers and investigators to start looking outside the box and even out of our comfort zones when it comes to paranormal phenomena. Why is one idea about the paranormal correct and another 'out there'? We very honestly don't know any of the answers for sure, so we need to expand our area of research to include these areas and not just limit them to being 'a ghost or spirit'. When I first started in the paranormal field, I didn't think I needed to know anything parapsychology. I admit I was wrong and it was a bit arrogant of me too. I think at times we can all get to a point where we think we have done it for long enough and we know enough when it comes to investigating that we feel we don't need to look into other areas of research. We are happy where we are. When I look back though, did I really know anything? A long period of growth and self reflection and very honestly learning and more importantly listening to others changed my view point. I will happily admit that I was wrong. I do think now more than ever that parapsychology is an area that people need to at least have a basic understanding of if they are going to investigate the paranormal. The reason being, we could be turning a blind eye to something that could actually be happening. We are looking for all of these causes of activity during an investigation but failing to look at one possibility .... it could be us.
Don't forget to LIKE the Facebook page for updates on new content www.facebook.com/livinglifeinfullspectrum