by Edward Shanahan.
Paranormal research poor state of affairs. The article I am posting today is a first for the fact it is by a guest writer.
The article is an authentic look by one with a long history in the paranormal field and meant for the general public to read as well as investigators.
This article is one I suggest is re-read by those starting out in the paranormal field or an interest in it as there is a realistic view of the paranormal field in the message below.
Those starting out in their 20s have a whole world of paranormal discoveries ahead of them. The article will explain the types of teams out there, and it might actually help some realize what type of them they are part of.
The reality of the times we are in with trespassing is in the article. It's unbelievable when 'Paranormal Investigators' in this day of Ring and other brands of security recording cameras with sound recordings, trespass on private historical sites / properties to do EVPs and question spirits inside while standing outside of the historic buildings.
This article is what I would call a research study and investigation of the field the writer has a long history in.
The article is by Mr. Richard Palmisano. Richard has been investigating the paranormal since 1979 and formed two companies that are dedicated to the study and advancement of paranormal research. The Searcher Group being the first and is the backbone of his research. The second company The Canadian Institute of Parapsychology, is community-based and provides education and public assistance.
He has written several books on the subject, and his work has been featured in television shows such as Northern Mysteries and Discovery Channel’s A Haunting. Richard has worked in law enforcement, security and surveillance for over 30 years and is a trained investigator.
The The Searcher Group website can be found at: The Searcher Group Website.
Paranormal research poor state of affairs.
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 honor of saying hey look at me I investigated 25 cool haunted places last year.
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.
I am not about to name names that is not the point here, but 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.
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:
US less than 2%
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 learned 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.
8% said they had.
98% Took old theory as gospel, never challenged or tested those theories.
35% formed their opinions from fieldwork around these theories. In other words, they made their fieldwork 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.
Now I have to admit that 250 is only a small sample of the thousands of research groups out there, maybe I chose poorly, or maybe what I found is a true reflection of the state of paranormal research today.
I have a feeling that collectively we have little chance of ever coming close to answering the questions that we as a civilization have asked ourselves about life after death for millennia, there just isn’t enough investigators doing the hard work needed with way too many muddying up the waters. Not to mention the entire situation is in such a mess that setting up a professional network for collaboration would be next to impossible.
It was encouraging to see some groups were doing well in a lot of the categories, but without a professional network, peer review, the overflow of too many poor groups, and hoaxes I feel the work being done will amount to nothing significant.
Take into account new theory being made available, which is rare; they are not gaining any real attention as groups are afraid to step from the old path, most are unsure of how to even test theory, so they embrace a lot of the old theory which a lot of them have been proven to be wrong.
Even in a field that demands having an open mind, we find many minds are shut tight. At best, the situation as it stands is reduced to nothing more than gaining some insights on a personal level; significant advancements are highly unlikely.
Richard Palmisano author.
Mr. Palmisano website: The Searcher Group Website.
Visit Edward Shanahan's website at: Edward Shanahan's website.
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