A multipart essay on paranormal investigations
After immersing myself with paranormal literature and investigations for the past several years, I have recently changed my beliefs regarding hauntings. This essay is a brief summation of my findings. My intention is not to dismiss claims made by witnesses or to debunk psychics but to identify a more logical and even scientific process to explain the events. We can only be taken seriously if we gather evidence properly and learn the laws of physics which control our universe.
Part 1: The Escape from the Halleluiah Booth
In my opinion, the television show Paranormal State is the worst way to investigate a haunting. These guys claimed to be stalked by demons like Paris Hilton is stalked by paparazzi. Every episode the demon gets closer, the leader must even "protect" the young girls by sending them home, thus protecting them from this vicious demon. I have yet to see demons in any place I've been, I have also not seen any demons appearing on this show but I laugh out at the way they conduct themselves.
The danger in the way they conduct investigations is too many people are bringing their religion into the field and that is dangerous. I prefer to use science and scientific methodology when I conduct investigations. When you get to the point in an investigation like Ryan, their leader, where you start having nightmares and thinking the nightmares should be used as evidence in your investigations; you need a break. At his point you're very scary and dangerous, and should see a psychiatrist.
The team in Paranormal State is not alone in their demon claims. People like to blame demons on unexplainable events. These people are what I call, operating within the halleluiah booth. First let me explain the phrase "halleluiah booth."
I cannot claim credit for the phrase but it evolved from a conversation with a friend of mine on the subject of paranormal activity. It comes from these morons on religious television programs who claim to be possessed by the holy spirit. They flail their arms in the air, their eyes roll back in their heads, their body's shake violently, all the while repeatedly screaming, "halleluiah!" Then for the safety of the unpossessed, they are ushered to a quarantined area roped off from your average minion by one of the cleric's henchman. Within this religious mosh pit they writhe and scream halleluiahs with other possessed religious zealots. This booth I refer to as the halleluiah booth.
It is meant to be an antedote describing people who are complete believers, at an emotional level. When you are within the confines of the halleluiah booth, you are unaware of normality, completely "possessed" by blind faith to the point where you have become irrational. At this point all logic, all rules of physics, all common sense is forever lost. You are nothing more than a ditto head flailing uncontrollably, while screaming halleluiah. As a scientist or even as someone trying to prove a theory, the halleluiah booth is a dangerous place to dwell.
I must confess to briefly dwelling within the halleluiah booth in my past. I try to avoid it at all costs, preferring to remain conscious of logic and the rules of physics. I know there are rules within the universe which cannot be compromised regardless of what we think we see or feel. For example, light cannot pass through non physical objects; there must be a physical mass to deflect light. So ghosts, being pure energy, cannot cast shadows. There is no exception to this law.
The moment we try to dismiss known laws of physics, we are entering the halleluiah booth. We must always remain cognoscente of the basic laws of the universe if we are to prove anything. We must also be able to distinguish good evidence from bad. Good evidence can only be physical. Keep in mind, a creepy feeling or an eyewitness account is the worst evidence. If you give credibility to these two types of evidence then you are operating with the halleluiah booth; thus you are no longer an investigator.
It is very easy for the emotions of the moment to cloud your judgment. A credible paranormal investigator will not let emotions, religion or blind faith interfere with the facts. Be cognoscente of your surroundings; learn everything about your eyewitnesses and, again, don't let your emotions get the best of you. There is no evidence to support the theory that ghosts need darkness to operate. Thus, there is no reason to run around in the dark other than to create a creepy atmosphere. Light is better for your photographs and better for your psyche.
I have not found any credible experts on the subject of the paranormal. Most people are either too religious or have been investigating so long they are now completely within the halleluiah booth. This is true of seasoned investigators, who become too emotionally vested to make solid scientific judgments. They are convinced ghosts are real and they have all the answers. Their ego is now standing in the way of any authentic hauntings they might accidentally find. So they begin to create fantasy worlds where demons stalk them and only they can save the world.
I don't claim to have all the answers. I'm still building a list of all of the proper questions to ask. But I want to find the truth wherever it takes me. The truth might not be what we are hoping it to be, but it is still better than operating within the halleluiah booth.
Stay tuned for Part 2-What Causes Hauntings?