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Paranormal investigation: Hobby, profession or obsession
Interest in the paranormal
The allure of a good story can be overpowering for some people. Take a ghost story as an example. A woman dies alone of a broken heart, and her spirit continues waiting for her love to return to her. Albeit this shortened version isn't as appealing, but you get the basic idea of the story. Listeners feel compassion for the poor lonely spirit and may even feel compelled to try to help her move on.
Tales of children or loyal pets who passed away can pull on the heartstrings, as can stories of people who suffered wrongful deaths. These are all common themes in good ghost stories. In fact these stories are so good that some people make it their mission to try and investigate as many of them as possible. This interest is completely understandable because the stories hit us on an emotional level.
There are some people who actually experience paranormal phenomena first hand. Through sight, sound or sense of feeling, they experience something that logic and reason simply cannot explain. Of these people, a few decide to begin researching and investigating the experience(s). This quest for answers can lead them into becoming full fledged paranormal investigators.
Researching and investigating the unexplained
Many of us have seen at least one television episode of a paranormal investigation. Some take place at well known and reportedly haunted locations like abandoned asylums and prisons. Some investigations take place at businesses still in operation and some, take place in the homes of everyday families. The last one hits us a bit harder because it seems more real and just a little bit spookier than some distant location.
Good investigators research the history of the building, surrounding property and even the town or area where the building is located. Then they typically meet with the current owner(s) to discuss the paranormal activities being experienced. Once the meeting is over, the investigators generally set up equipment designed to pick up sounds, sights, temperature fluctuations and measurements of the electrical fields in the building. Then they walk through different parts of the building in search of proof of activity. The equipment captures phenomena hidden from normal human perception.
Once the investigation is complete, the evidence is reviewed and then presented to the owner(s) of the building. The general end result? "Yep, something is in the building". That's about it, that is where the investigation and show generally end. The investigators may offer suggestions as to what the owner(s) next steps might be and offer to come back if the activity continues. Wait, what? That's it?
Why do people investigate the paranormal?
There are several possible answers to that question.
Many people who experience paranormal phenomena don't enjoy it. In fact it can terrify them. Often victims of such phenomena keep silent due to a fear of ridicule from friends and neighbors.
They suffer alone as long as they can, but everyone has a breaking point. Paranormal investigators are called in to hopefully capture hard evidence to prove that the victim(s) are truly experiencing paranormal activities. That extra validation can be a comfort to some people.
There are paranormal investigators out there whose soul mission is to disprove reports of hauntings and paranormal activities. They set out to do this with high tech equipment and their own senses. It's not that they want to prove people to be liars, they just want to prove that the activity is caused by mundane sources. Things like leaks in a natural gas line or high electromagnetic fields can cause irritability, nausea and sometimes even hallucinations and creepy feelings.
Skeptics often feel that most "unexplained" phenomena has a logical explanation. A person just has to know where to begin looking for it. Their theory seems to be that if they can find the mundane source for the odd activities, then the victim(s) can have it repaired or replaced or thrown out altogether. Thus ending the activity the victim(s) has suffered and restoring peace of mind.
These are the ones I have the most issue with. There is absolutely nothing wrong with going on a little spooky adventure (as long as it is done legally). What is wrong, is taking advantage of people who are in need of real help. These thrill seekers tend to have little knowledge and even less experience in handling any kind of paranormal activity.
All they seem to want is to experience something, anything, at the expense of innocent people. They go traipsing through people's homes and businesses with no intention of actually trying to help. When they do happen to experience something creepy, they run screaming from the property. Absolutely ridiculous, in my opinion.
There are a large number of paranormal investigators that get into the field because they have big hearts. They may have had their own experience and can identify with their clients. Some simply are compassionate and want to help in whatever way they can.
Some of these kindhearted investigators add professional mediums, spiritual people (priests, healers, demonologists, etc.) and scientists to their teams in an effort to actually offer real assistance to their clients.
No matter what the reason, there are more and more paranormal investigation groups popping up. Is it due to a basic need to try and understand, an obsession with the paranormal or raw emotion? Only the individual investigator knows the truth. We can only speculate here.
The bottom line
Human beings are constantly searching for the answers to life's mysteries. Paranormal investigators are no exception. Each team and individual has their reasons for getting into the field. Whether it is a hobby, profession or obsession, these groups are here to stay.
The question is, are there any homes that are just homes any more? It seems like no matter where you do business or where you live, it is haunted by someone or something. This old world has been around a long time and many people have lived and died here. Wars have raged all over the world at different points in time. Diseases, famine and natural disasters have claimed lives over the centuries. It is possible that more paranormal activity occurs than the average person realizes.
On the other hand, could the spike in interest be causing a slight case of paranormal paranoia? People see their neighbor on TV having his/her house investigated for paranormal activity and become nervous that their home might be haunted too. This is only an example of what sometimes can happen.
I don't pretend to have any answers to life's mysteries or whether a home is haunted or not. I do have questions about paranormal investigations though. What exactly is the point of going to a reportedly haunted location and coming out with evidence? Yes, wonderful it proved that the reports are true. So, what is going to be done about it? What is the plan to help rid the location of the activity?
My point is that anyone with a decent cell phone camera can capture some sort of photographic or video evidence of strange things (I know from personal experience). That doesn't mean much. Chances are the people who live or work in the location already knew there were strange occurrences. That evidence provides validation, but not much else.
Don't misunderstand me, I am not against paranormal investigators or investigations. In fact, I enjoy watching some of those shows on television. I do not fancy myself an expert on the paranormal nor am I an investigator of any kind.
Miscellaneous musings on paranormal investigating
One could safely assume there are risks involved in paranormal investigations. In some cases investigators are wandering around old, dilapidated structures. These scenarios can pose possible physical/health dangers from falling through the floor to getting scratched by rusty nails. Stepping on nails, broken glass and other debris can go right through the soles of shoes. Tripping and falling is a possibility when walking around in almost complete darkness. Even the air those investigators are breathing may not be the safest. They could be inhaling asbestos, mold/mildew and other toxins.
Then there are the psychological dangers involved in wandering around reportedly haunted locations. Good investigators do research into the history of the locations. This means the details of events that took place there are in the back of each investigators mind. The mind can play tricks on people in uncomfortable situations. It is possible to see, hear and feel things out of nervousness or fear, that aren't actually there.
I have respect for reputable paranormal investigators. They really do put themselves through the paces and often free of charge to the client.
© 2014 Tammy Cramblett