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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Is it paranormal?

In this blog entry, I would like to mainly focus on some reasons that will cause you to obtain false positives or false results with some of your equipment. When you first see the K II meter going off, it is exciting. However, ghosts or spirits are not the only thing that can make the K II meter react. You have to keep in mind that most of the tools that we use for paranormal investigating were originally designed for the electrical field. So when your K II meter goes off, you have to be aware and verify it is not near anything electrical. Even two-way radios, flashlights, and cell phones will make the K II react. When using the K II, be sure to rule out all else so that you receive real results. If you do not, you’re not truly helping the paranormal field, yourself, or your team. Once again keep in mind that most of the equipment used in the paranormal field was originally created for the Electrical field. I just wanted to re-iterate that to make you aware that if your K II, Mel Meter, or any other device picks up something, it may not be paranormal.

Video – When reviewing your video, there are numerous factors that you have to be aware of. For instance, in a video that I was reviewing, we noticed an odd light in the frame. It seemed to appear, last for about two seconds, and then dissipate. We ruled it out due to it being the headlights from a vehicle outside. When talking about video debunking, I have to mention “Orbs”. When you are reviewing video, and see something out of the ordinary, do not jump to conclusions...ESPECIALLY with orbs! Orbs can be anything from dust to insects to hair to rain; you name it and in all probability it’s an orb. On another occasion, I saw a flashing light on a video review. It looked pretty similar to a strobe light, very small and only lasted for 3 frames in the video. After closer examination, it was clear that it was a piece of dust reflecting off of the Infrared diodes in the IR camera. The piece of dust would light up when directly in line with an IR diode then seem to fade away then re-light. I would also suggest purchasing a video editing program. Programs like Windows Media Player are fine, but with programs like Sony Vegas or Adobe Premiere, they allow you to go frame by frame, to cut out certain frames containing the evidence you would like to give to the client so you’re not giving them hours of nothingness, and they have the ability to enhance the video. Also, I like to add a title page at the beginning and end of the video stating the investigation group name, the date of the investigation, the group website address, the group email, and even a phone number if you would like to leave one for the client. So if the client loses your groups information, they always have it on the video, if nothing else.

Audio -- Audio review can be even more tricky than video. You really have to acquire an ear for this type of evidence, almost in the same way one acquires a taste for beer. Your first responsibility when reviewing audio is to rule out all sounds that are not paranormal. While doing an EVP session, only one person should talk at a time. During the session, if your stomach growls, you move your body, you clear your throat, you make any sound at all, simply say “That was me”. Later during the review, if you hear a growl, then you hear someone say “That was me”, you know that it was someone’s stomach. While reviewing the audio for EVPs, make sure that your “EVP” is not anyone that was present at the time. During EVP sessions, you all should be in the same room or area. No one should be walking around by themselves. If those one or two people walking around during the session say something just loud enough for the recorder to pick it up, it could be mistaken as an EVP; not to mention the footsteps and other noises they would make.

EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomena. At first, reviewing audio for EVPs may be difficult but the more you do it the better you will get at picking them out. When you find your supposed EVP, do not add that many filters to it. I have seen some people add up to 8 filters to an EVP trying to “clean” it up. All that does is it takes away from the integrity of the audio and that EVP you had is now scrap. I usually do a light hiss reduction to eliminate some of the background noise, and maybe amplify the audio if the EVP is quiet. Any more than that is a waste. If you feel that you have to apply more than two filters to understand or hear the EVP, it’s probably not worth showing to the client anyway.

Photography -- There are alot of issues that possibly could arise when verifying a photograph to be genuine. If using 35mm film, always use film speed 400 or better. If you notice something unusual in the photograph, first consider double exposure. This is why I suggest using both 35mm and digital cameras. With digital cameras, you have what is called RAW data stored within an image. With film cameras, you of course, have the negative to be verified. On a typical investigation, we take upwards of 200-400 pictures. Out of all of the investigations that I have been on, only one photo had something in it that was beyond explanation.

When on an investigation, you will be doing an EVP session, ask the spirits to make a noise, and you may hear a noise. The first thing you should do is try to find out where the noise is emanating from. Do not just assume that it is paranormal. Never assume in this field.

If you are at a location that is known for several different smells or the client mentions a certain smell then be ready for that smell. If the smell is lavender, and during the investigation you smell something that smells like lavender, don’t assume that it is paranormal. The client could have an air freshener with the scent or perfume with a similar scent. Always be aware and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

So you see how important it is to be very aware of your environment during an investigation. Be aware of everyone’s location, the sounds, unusual observations, and anything else you can think of. As paranormal investigators, we have assumed the responsibility to do this for our clients. The clients are coming to you in a time of crisis, and it is your responsibility to do the best job for them.

So this is my plea, if you don’t have the best intentions for your clients in mind, please leave now, you are not welcome in the paranormal field.