Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Common Ghost Theories and Misconceptions

At haunted voices there is an article by James Pinkston on many of the common theories and possible misconceptions that abound in the ghost hunting world. Read it at Haunted Voices - Theories

I like this guy, I really do. We think a lot alike about the paranormal and what can be proven or not. He admits having weird readings at times and experiencing possible paranormal activity, but like myself, he can not say for sure what their cause is and therefore can not say what is proven or even if he believes them to be ghosts.

His article starts out:
"To date, there is absolutely no, and I repeat No 100% scientific proof that ghosts exist. Yes, we have all had our brush with the unexplained. We all have our personal opinions and feelings on the issue, but the skeptics and those opposed to the paranormal will argue that these are opinions and personal beliefs alone, and there is nothing substantial to support their actual existence. "
And they would be right. Until ghost hunters can gather more detailed and scientific data, there can be no logical or valid argument to the skeptics or the general public that anything paranormal actually exists. I'll be the first to attack skeptics who don't know what they are talking about or try to use their own unproven theories against believers. But as I've said to both sides many times, show me your data, show me your studies and you have to present me with more than "I just know". Mr. Pinkston goes on to say:

"What troubles me in the first place is how many of the theories that have existed for many years are now held by many to be considered as truths with no consideration or effort made to try to authenticate these theories."
Thanks James, I was starting to think I was the only one. I've written many times how amazed I am that no one seems to be really out to prove any theory. It seems many are comfortable believing one way or the other and just leave it at that. The skeptics say "it's radio" without any proof and the believers say "it's ghosts", also without any proof.

His discussion revolves mostly around orbs and EMF readings. He questions whether there is any shred of proof that EMF readings might indicate the paranormal and points out how many just assume elevated EMF indicates paranormal activity without really understanding what they are measuring, if anything.

He talks a lot about orbs, and what he says about them is interesting. He discusses the fact that many believe orb photos to be the spirits of the dead without any proof that it is not some other unknown force. Dust, pollen and many other pollutants have been found to be the cause of most orb photos but even those that remain unexplained are just that, unexplained. Orbs might be ghosts, or they might be something else all together.

I've always wondered why more EVP researchers do not use photography in their studies. You would have a good chance convincing me you had something substantial if you had three photos of the same orb from different cameras as well as a recording and some measurements showing drastic temperature or other environmental changes such as elevated EMF readings.

But many, including the Haunted Voices staff in their EVP questions and answers page advise against using other measuring equipment.
"When recording I personally do not take photos, use the Emf meter, or run video. I feel that this takes a lot of energy away from the spirit and they cannot perform with all of these different capture devices going. It takes a tremendous amount of energy for a spirit to show themselfs[sic] on film or video as well as recorders."

So, until someone figures out how to have full conversations with these voices or start actually trying to prove their theories with equipment other than the recorder, EVP will always remain a mystery that can not be proven.

As Pinkston so eloquently put it:
"Theories are great, as they lead to further research in an attempt to prove or disprove them, and everyone is entitled to their theories. What each person has to keep in mind is that even though these theories may be well founded, until they are proven, they are only that, theories, and should never be submitted or taken as factual."

That's good advice for anyone who studies or believes in anything, particularly the paranormal.


Queen Mary Lady said...

I agree on almost all of that post. My only acception would be when the person said they do not use meters or recording devices. Hello? How do you intend to prove or disprove anything without some sort of record, meter reading, photo..something? Are we just to take your word? Hardly.
And I have found, as have many of my colleagues, that turning on a digital camera,camcorder or flashlight, in an active setting, somehow helps the spirits. Many times the device in question becomes abruptly drained of energy.
Ah but there is still so much to learn..and I continue to research it every day. This is my passion, to communicate and hold a conversation on video with a ghost one day. :) Great site you have!

ToddBates said...

Well I see you have found some interest in the Haunted Voices website. It seems the story is a bit mismatched here LOL. Yes, I choose not to take photos or readings DURING Evp recordings but this does not mean that I do not take readings at all. I choose to concentrate on certain areas at one time as I feel I get better results this way. I have witnessed to many groups that have tried to do to much at once and what you end up with is a confused mess and no acurate data at all. If the situation warrants it then by all means take a photo but I just feel that with all of the excess equipment noise it is difficult to distinguish Evp from from various man made noise and from what I have heard on quite a few websites is that they have sucessfully recored their OWN VOICES and didnt realize it because they were to occupied with other tasks and not just one that is why I choose this approach. I am not preaching that my way it the right or only way but it is just A way. I really like what you have going here and hope to see more feedback because that is what this community is all about to teach and learn from others.

RegManabq said...

Thanks for the comment Todd! It's great to hear from you.

But I hope you can understand why I feel it is necessary to properly document any paranormal investigation. Since you seem to be out just for the "fun" of it (not to mean you are still not serious, just that you are not out to actually prove scientifically that ghosts exist. Nothing wrong with that!) your methods sound fine for you.

However, for any paranormal studies or findings to be taken seriously by the general public or the science community, there needs to be multiple readings that may corrolate into some kind of proof that something out of the ordinary happened!

One tape recorder or picture is not going to cut it, and leaves the door open to skeptics to point out the many possible alternate answers(and they are right to be that way). Only when multiple recordings can be taken from multiple devices simultaneously will there be enough to prompt any serious look at the paranormal by anyone but the hobby ghost hunter.

Thanks again for stopping by and I'd always love to hear your comments or have a report of your latest recordings! Good luck with your hunting!

ToddBates said...

LOL Hobby huh? Well as a matter of fact I do this for a living. I am not in this for the FUN of it sir and really do not appreciate that comment. I take this very seriously and feel it is not my job to prove this to anyone. I really dont understand just how you got started here. Is this YOUR living prying into other peoples ways and ideas and then cutting them off? I understand you are trying to get some site hits here but I feel you are going about it in the wrong way. I think you need to learn a bit more yourself before you can judge someone else on their ways. What is this, the tabloids for EVP LOL. I really do like the feedback and am open to any suggestions but from EXPERIENCED individuals. I am sorry that you find my format so odd but who is to say that you are correct in yours. Are you an expert? You opened this website due to the movie white noise and you seem like the type of guy that would follow this to the letter but please sir DO NOT involve us in your affairs as we do not feel the same as you do. Cute little site you have here though and I will be sure to mention it on our radio program which is broadcast on the IBC Radio network. I am sure that others will feel the same as I do on this and I wish you the best of luck with your website.

RegManabq said...

Mr. Bates, I'm so sorry to have upset you so. I did not mean to be offensive in anyway and was surprised to awaken to such an angry email. Your original comments were so positive and encouraging. I am saddened to have angered you and send my deepest regrets.

I used the words "fun and hobby", which may have been a bad choice under the circumstances, I'll admit that, because you yourself said you are not studying the paranormal as a scientist and have no interest to prove anything professionally. You simply do this because you enjoy it and have found a way to make your passion your living. That is a very rare thing to accomplish in life and you should be proud. I applaud you for it.

However, I don't take kindly to you attacking me so bitterly over my innocent comments in which I explained in great detail, or so I thought, that I understood your work and your motives and was looking forward to further discussion with you.

Is this how you treat all the people you encounter who are trying to learn what they can about EVP whom you feel may not fully understand some aspect of it? I hope not.

I would really enjoy hearing your views and advice and am disturbed by the aggresive nature of your remarks about my intentions after such an innocent misunderstanding. I know most in general society attack your profession as a matter of course, but I assure you sir, that is not my intention.

I started this site because I find EVP to be facinating and found little objective opinion in the resources that are currently available. You already know what kind of negative, hateful and useless material is available from skeptics and the general public about EVP.

When looking at most EVP websites or publications the newcomer is overwhelmed by the information available and downloading large audio files and browsing free host sites is still very time consuming for most.

I wished to supply a place where people, especially the newly curious like me, could come to learn both sides of the issue and to be pointed towards the best resources without wasting the hours I have downloading and listening to all the BS or unintellibible noise recordings available on the net.

I hoped to encourage thought and discussion between all groups and give them easy access to the latest developments on both sides.

Besides, it really bugs me when people simply dismiss EVP as radio waves or cell phone conversations or say it is not possible without any sort of research or proof. All these "scientists" running around proclaiming it all impossible when much of what they deal with everyday was thought "impossible" by everyone just a few years ago and all the religious folks screaming it's all demons and we should run just don't impress me.

But it equally bugs me when people claim to prove that these are ghosts, also without any shred of real evidence to back them. Perhaps it's a personal thing, but the blog is, after all, my own personal thoughts.

As was stated by Mr. Pinkston in the article: "Theories are great, as they lead to further research in an attempt to prove or disprove them, and everyone is entitled to their theories. What each person has to keep in mind is that even though these theories may be well founded, until they are proven, they are only that, theories, and should never be submitted or taken as factual."

I wished to share my thoughts in the hopes that others, such as yourself, might stop by and share their wisedom and instruct me and others on their own views and experiences. I hoped to encourage discussion and see what could be proved factual and what steps could be taken to prove this so seemingly easy thing to prove.

I figured since I was going to visit these places anyway and spend the time listening to all the recordings, I could act as a lighthouse for others to stear them towards the most thought provoking and interesting websites and books instead of crashing into the rocks of all the flashy and useless crap available on most websites on the paranormal internet.

Am I an expert? I make no pretention anywhere in this blog that I am anything but an interested observer and dabbler in EVP and make no claims to know anything more than I actually do. What you see here pretty much journals the sum of my knowledge on EVP and everyone who subscribes knows that. These are basically my personal research notes that I make available for reading and discussion by others, not any expert testimony.

Sir, this is what I do for a living. I write and I research things; and as a second job I design and run websites and online magazines encouraging discussion about the strange and controversial topics facing our society. I rather enjoy it. It's my hobby and my living and I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to say that.

I can tell you that in the last two months this site has had over 10,000 visitors and I have made exactly $10.56 for the hundreds of hours I have put in researching, reading and writing about EVP. I write this site because I enjoy it, not to make money. There is not enough interest in EVP to make it worth anyone's while to even create such a site with the intentions of turning a profit. After all, I send people off to other sites as a matter of course.

It looks like we do have one thing in common, we have both found a way to make our hobbies our careers, but neither of us will become millionaires and we only continue for the fun and love of it.

Yes, I may have heard about EVP through a TV commercial for a movie, but I'm sure my blog will be about as popular and get as many viewers as that crappy studio bungled waste of film did.

How did you hear about this phenomenon sir? What makes your interest in or even study of EVP anymore valid than mine? We definately have different views on the subject and the proper ways to study it, and that is fine. But wouldn't it be better to learn from one another in civil discussion?

I see no need to be insulting and again, I apologize for offending you so.

I wanted to hear from the ghost hunters and the experienced as well. Fortunately I've found most the the ghost hunting community to be very welcoming and helpful and have learned a lot from them. Never have I been called any names or told I've been out of line with my questions or opinions in any email, comment or discussion post until yours just now.

Many of the most famous people in the industry keep me updated with suggested topics and the latest news and have been kind enough to point me towards the most interesting reading. I don't seem to be offending them and if I am I wish to apologize.

You say I judge your ways. I do not. I simply point out that they are not scientific and will provide no proof other than your own belief and those of others. While belief is a powerful thing,

I have said many times in my blog that I am looking to prove this phenomenon and encourage serious discussion and research towards that aim. I'm sorry we disagree that this is an important goal to strive for in the quest for knowledge of the unknown.

I hope to continue discussion with you and hear your views. I think it would be beneficial to me and the thousands who visit to further our understanding of EVP and those who hunt it for a living.

I would appreciate a mention on your show and applaud you for creating such a time intensive thing as a radio program. I would also appreciate being put on any mailing list you have so I can keep viewers updated on your latest developments or to plug the next show.

Again, I encourage everyone to seek out all the best available information and your demonstrated passion means your show is worth listening to and being featured here.

Good luck with it and again, I apologize for offending you and understand that we may disagree. I hope we can still agree to be friends and exchange views and information in the hopes of learning more.

Good day to you sir and I wish you luck and prosperity in all that you do.

RegManabq said...

Mr. Bate's response posted by his permission:

Yes I agree I got a bit out of line myself there LOL I do apologize for that. I guess im just a bit sensitive about my work. Sure we can remain friends and I am glad that we got this worked out and hope that we can continue to talk and share ideas. I was having and extremely bad day that day and do apologize for my rude comments and please do not take them personally as I was just blowing off steam.

Keep in touch,

RegManabq said...

It's all good Todd. I understand and did kind of sense that you may have had a bad morning. I myself am very passionate and sometimes make rash posts in the heat of the moment.

I also undersand about the sensitivity to your profession. As I said, I'm always amazed how the general public treats ghosthunters and I don't blame you for having a short fuse!

But never be afraid to knock me back in line! If you ever feel that I may have misrepresented the profession or have other comments, I hope you will feel free to be honest and even yell at me if I deserve it.

I'm glad we worked this out and hope to learn and debate much with you in the future.

Have a great day!

jpinkston said...

I firmly agree with the article as a whole. (probably because I wrote it....lol)
Thank you for the positive comments in regards to it.
Seriously, I do appreciate seeing this posted openly as I hope others will learn from it and act upon its suggestions. Too often I find individuals and groups alike acting in direct opposition to what we should all stand for within the scientific realm of paranormal study, hence why I wrote the article in the first place.
(Here, and I thought I was the only one that felt that way...lol)
Once again, thank you for the comments and the reprint. If you wish to print the article as a whole, you have my permission to do so.