by Bobby Elgee, Sights Unseen Paranormal
Ghost hunting is not a science. Out of all the individuals and/or groups of ghost hunters in existence, very, very few actually have any experience with the scientific method or have any experience actually conducting experimental research.
Still, many groups will tell you that they have photos and audio of what are spirits; evidence of ghosts. As far as I am aware, there is no scientific evidence of the existence of ghosts or an afterlife. That is a question of faith at this point in time. If somebody knows something I don’t, please let me know!
As the member of a group whose members actually have some background conducting scientific research, I realize that ghost hunting doesn’t lend itself to a well-controlled scientific experiment. The methodologies are weak, the equipment used was never originally designed to detect ghosts, and it is nearly impossible to replicate the results.
Even more perturbing is the fact that certain groups are damaging the credibility of legitimate and accomplished paranormal researchers and parapsychologists by posting photographs that are easily dismissed as well-known and easily identifiable camera malfunctions and other artifacts of the photographic process.
Capturing a photograph of an orb or strange mist is just that. A photograph of a strange orb or mist. Competent paranormal investigators will attempt to rule out the anomaly….is it a reflection? Is it a bug? Is it dust? Is it condensation on the lens of the camera? Is it a problem with the developing and/or printing process? The logical possibilities are nearly endless, and yet, certain people will make a claim that “it’s a spirit orb,” or that the mist is representative of “the paranormal energy of the ghost that haunts the” location.
We try and look at our “evidence” with a critical eye, and include the use of accomplished photo consultants in an attempt to rule out all rational explanations. What we can’t explain means simply that, we can’t explain it. If we’ve done a good job ruling out everything, we may just be left with something paranormal.
Remember that the word ‘paranormal’ simply means ‘not scientifically explainable.’
That’s it. To take the next step and call a possibly paranormal photograph a picture of a ghost is a leap of faith that I, personally, can’t swallow. A person can certainly make that statement, but at that point it becomes an opinion, a statement based on belief and faith. I mean, it just as well could be a picture of a 1957 Chevy or Fred Flintstone. At that point, I can choose what I believe. There’s simply no evidence backing it up.
Our group members have varying beliefs. There is one thing we all agree with however….we’re never going to call a picture of a camera strap a “vortex through which spirits can enter our material realm” or a photograph of an orb “a spirit orb which shows a ghost trying to manifest itself.”
This is simply too big a stretch of illogical rationalization in our minds.
I’ve been a member of a group where, to be a member, you had to believe in ghosts! We’ve also had members in this group to whom every cold draft, every sound, and every strange photograph was a ghost, regardless of whether the phenomena was debunked or not.
We like to have fun, and our belief’s evolve everyday, but we feel that we have to be careful and measured in our response to what we call ‘evidence.’ 99% of the pictures we post on our Web site don’t contain anything paranormal. Capturing actual paranormal activity in photographs is quite rare. Also, the majority of EVPs can be debunked or certainly explained away by skeptics as something other then the voices of dead people. We post things of interest and for entertainment, but you won’t catch us calling something a ghost. To be quite honest, there are only two or three pieces of “evidence” I have captured over the years that I can say with near certainty are paranormal–unexplainable by conventional science.
As far as myself, I can definitely say I’ve experienced paranormal phenomena, phenomena that is unexplainable by science. As to what caused this phenomena, well, I can’t say. It’s simply unexplainable in my mind.
This is a hobby for us, and we like to have fun with it, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously, but, at the same point, however, in the spirit of transparency, we feel we have an obligation to call a spade a spade.
Sights Unseen Paranormal
Bobby Elgee is a lead investigator for Sights Unseen Paranormal, a small ghost hunting team based in New England. With a background in cognitive psychology and the publishing industry, he brings a common-sensical, practical/person center approach to paranormal investigations.