me start by asking you a question. Why the need for research to be undertaken? Emily Peach (1991) opens her book, “Things That Go Bump in the Night”
by stating, “the evidence for the existence for ghosts is vast and incontrovertible”. For someone who has apparently investigated many cases of apparitions and hauntings, that statement is
a very sweeping generalisation. If the evidence were such, we would not be bothering
to get up from the chair that we are sat upon right now. We would have no need. There would be no point or purpose. Perhaps
she should have said that the evidence is slowly mounting with increasingly challenging results, but with the emphasis firmly
placed on the word slowly.
is indeed true that there are many reports of paranormal activity each year from all over the world, but that does not mean
that the phenomena exist in reality. We must examine many aspects before considering
a paranormal cause for the phenomena that was allegedly experienced. Peach does
state that there are “so many cases, so many people, so many experiences, so many different reactions, so many conflicting
opinions”, and this cannot be emphasized enough. Each of those areas needs
to be questioned and evaluated, and as Peter Underwood concludes, as investigators we should not be daunted by this task.
are on a long and winding road that pitches questions and challenges at us on every bend.
However, our purpose is clear – we are to collect evidence for a scientific purpose and nothing else. We are here to “fact-gather”. Many scientists
will not embrace parapsychology in public for fear of ridicule or scorn. But
what is there to be perturbed about? Science is there to advance human understanding
and knowledge – in essence to “fact-gather”. We are not here
to lay the spirits of the dead to rest, to act as advisors to couples when they should see a minister of religion or counsellors,
or to sort out non-Para psychological problems. We are investigators.
is made up of theories and experiments that rely on the fact that you can do something once, and then repeat it and you will
get the same result, time after time. This allows a ‘comfort zone’
to develop around it, and to question it would be challenging the very basic security that mankind has found in science. We like to know what will happen when we do a particular action, but there is apprehension
when we do not know what will follow.
science is insecure about what we do, and in the midst of all the uncertainty in Paranormal Research there is only one certainty
– investigators have a tough, uphill task ahead of them. No matter what
the quality of scientific proof, the validity of the witnesses, or the reliability and reputation of the investigative team,
there will always remain a hard-core of determined sceptics that are steadfast in their claim that paranormal phenomena are
total rubbish. In some cases, they are probably true.
have been some doubtful and dubious mediums, psychics and researchers who have all tried their hand at making an easy profit
or pursuing fraudulent claims by preying on the gullible. These are the well-founded
reasons why sceptics like the Canadian magician, James Randi, say that the phenomena do not exist. However, we need these types of people to assist us in our investigations.
They are the ones who question our investigative procedures, and stop us becoming complacent.
many cases, however, the only reason that lets the investigators down is simple - themselves.
It is often the sheer inexperience of the investigative team and the procedures that are adopted that are the causes
of the dismissal of any evidence put forward. The absence of set procedure, appraisal
and policy are the causes of investigations meeting a rather embarrassing end. Spontaneous
case research has often been a hit and miss affair, with too many questions left unanswered, leaving the investigation open
to criticism from many angles.
In Loyd Auerbachs latest
book “Ghost Hunting: How to Investigate the Paranormal”, he draws attention to the many new groups who have become
“enamoured with technology”. These groups are causing something of
a headache for serious researchers – the emphasis in any investigation must be placed on the human experience, and this
cannot be reinforced strongly enough. Auerbach humorously remarks that a “chimpanzee
can use an EMF meter, but that does not mean that the chimpanzee is doing science”.
We need to go back to basics, as I firmly believe that technology has become a crutch for us. People who wish to be serious, professional investigators must learn their subject, learn the skills of
interviewing and the “who, what, where, when and how” of conducting an investigation. We must refrain from the desire to rush headfirst into an investigation.
is for these reasons that this document has been compiled. It details the procedure
of an investigation from start to finish in detail. You will find everything
here that will help you through an investigation. Enclosed within the Manual
are appendices with the forms and questionnaires. The whole purpose
of this Manual is to avoid us saying something along the lines of, “I wish we could have… or asked them…
or done that… or looked at this…” That feeling and expression
of regret is, without doubt, the worst feeling in the world. I desperately want
to avoid anyone having to say those words.
is now becoming closer than ever to being included in a place in science that it deserves to be. We are not occultists, witches or a bunch of weirdo’s who have nothing better to do with our spare
time. We cannot even call ourselves Parapsychologists – we do not have
a post-graduate qualification in this field, and we must ensure that we acknowledge that very important detail. We are professional people who are genuinely interested in the phenomena that many people claim to experience,
and the many questions and debates that it provokes. Why do people experience
the phenomena? Is it real or are there some other factors at play? Can it be documented and studied?
people are honestly upset and confused about their experiences, which they have chosen to believe are paranormal in origin. Some people merely wish to have someone to talk to.
They deserve an opportunity to have their experience studied and recorded. I
accept that probably about 90% of cases may well have a purely natural explanation.
But, from personal experience, I am prepared to admit that what remains will continue to challenge scientific boundaries
for a long time to come. Perhaps ASSAP can add to the weight of scientific evidence
that Auerbach, Roll, MacKenzie, Rogo, Peach and Underwood believe prove the existence of hauntings and apparitions.
The following topics are covered in detail: