AN OPEN LETTER to ghost researchers from Stacey Jones, founder of Central New York Ghost Hunters:
I have been doing some reading on the paranormal, specifically the belief in the paranormal. The three books I am reading are college text books, called How to Think About Weird Things, Paranormal Beliefs: A Sociological Introduction and Hauntings and Poltergeists: Multidisciplinary Perspectives.
1. How to Think About Weird Things is interesting and, as I am reading into chapter 4, doesn't seem to dismiss the paranormal... yet.
2. Paranormal Beliefs: A Sociological Introduction is making me angry. I read the first page and wanted to find the author and make him lap the water from my loo. I have a B.A. Degree in Sociology, and minors in Education, History, Social Justice and Physics. I'm not by any means Mensa material, but not so dumb I can't reason or keep an open mind – after all, a lot of scientific discoveries throughout the ages had no explanation for centuries. With perseverance, many dug and dug and evolved their theories into the most profound scientific discoveries.
I am reading all three of these books at the same time. Hauntings and Poltergeists: Multidisciplinary Perspectives is a tough read and I take that a little at a time. What I found with the first and second books is that the authors take all paranormal phenomena and throw them into one pot. Then they try to dismiss most points collectively because they represent only beliefs, and all beliefs are not true (according to these authors).
I disagree with this narrow-minded thinking. I truly believe that there are some paranormal phenomena that can be proved. The most promising would be electronic voice phenomena (EVP).
So, fellow investigators, what do you think? Do you think that we as investigators should follow a protocol when gathering EVP evidence (any evidence for that matter) and, if so, what should this protocol contain?
Please let me know by e-mailing me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Central New York Ghost Hunters
I am behind Stacey on this call for a deeper study of the paranormal – in particular, EVP.
One of the "problems" that mainstream science has with most aspects of what we call the paranormal is that its evidence cannot be measured or replicated in a methodical way under laboratory conditions. The evidence isn't "hard."
Of course, it may well be that by the very nature of these phenomena they simply cannot be measured or replicated in a methodical way. That's what makes them so fascinating and mysterious. But any scientist worth his or her salt, it seems to me, would not dismiss these phenomena out of hand because they cannot be dissected easily by the scientific method. To do so is not at all scientific.
It's enormously difficult to come up with "hard evidence" for ghost and haunting activity that would satisfy most scientists. Experiences, they say are subjective, and photos are subject to fraud and photographic errors and anomalies.
EVP: HARD EVIDENCE
The one exception might be electronic voice phenomena. With EVP we have hard evidence of disembodied voices inexplicably manifesting on digital and tape recorders. Researchers all over the world are capturing them. Yes, of course, some of them could be fakes and others could be ordinary sounds mistaken for voices, or even the voices of the researchers themselves in forgotten conversations.
Yet there are enough EVP that fall into the category of unexplained that warrant serious investigation – more than what weekend ghost hunters are currently doing.
In order for EVP to even begin to be taken seriously by the scientific community, utmost care must be taken by all researchers when attempting to capture them. This means that as a group we must develop a systematic protocol for capturing EVP.
YOUR PARTICIPATION IS NEEDED
We're open to ideas. Let this be the beginning of an open call and forum to develop a set of strict protocols for recording EVP, to minimize (hopefully eliminate) the chances of mistakes and maximize the validity of these unknown voices.
We may never know for certain what these voices are or where they come from exactly, but we must first attempt to prove that they are indeed of unknown origin.