I spend a very large amount of my time researching and writing about the paranormal. I also do the hard work as well out in the field doing investigation as I have done for several years, and over this time I have learnt a thing or too and that is what I like to share here on this very blog. I think we can all agree that we end up becoming completely different people a few years after entering this strange world of the paranormal. We may become more spiritual, or our belief systems will be tested. It can even go the other way and people can become more and more skeptical. One thing we can agree on is that it is not how it is on TV. There are not screams and responses at every corner and typically an investigation is a lot of waiting.
Realistically, even the most spiritual people will tell you that sometimes they can go into a location and nothing happens. Paranormal phenomena doesn't just happen because you want it to or ask it to. Sometimes even the most reported local haunted locations fall short. This is why in a lot of cases, true investigating is something that should be done over several weeks, months and even years at the same location to get a proper gauge at what is going on. Of course that is not possible for around 97% of the paranormal field. For most people, you may get access for a max of 4 hours and the general public usually has to tag along as well. It is very difficult and very expensive to hire out a venue these days for an investigation. While venues are a lot more open these days to let people in to do investigations, I feel like you might as well say you want to have a wedding. The word wedding or paranormal investigations means $$$ and the venues know this and charge accordingly. So when you do get a chance to get into a location for however long and regardless who you are with, you really want to make the most of your time and let's face it, of course it is disappointing if nothing happens. It can often mean we try to hang on to a small singular event more so hoping it is a sign of something paranormal when by itself, it is really just a random occurrence.
I like to use the word context a lot. While through a lot of my blogs I will talk about and list off a large amount of things that are a natural and rational explanation for something people generally perceive as paranormal. I often get asked 'How can you tell if it is your brain playing tricks or something paranormal?'. Of course I cannot answer this question with any sort of certainty. What I do like to say however is that word again ...... context. I like to look at things as a whole sequence of events because when you look at things in this light, it gives you perspective. If for example there is a random cold spot or a random noise in the corner of the room but you are not recording anything on equipment, no one is feeling anything and you have this singular random event, I think the likelihood that is it something paranormal is slim to none. If however you have a cold spot followed by a noise in the same area and readings on your equipment and perhaps even people feeling something is nearby, it makes it all the more interesting. When you look at things as a whole, you have a much better understanding of what is going on and if it warrents a further look.
Context is something that can be applied to your whole night and not just events but people as well. Say for example I go into a location and I suddenly have a headache. A lot of people attribute this to something paranormal affecting a person. While it could be the case, if I were to look at the headache in full context, I am on medication to prevent headaches and migraines meaning Im prone to headaches and migraines, as well as needing glasses for being long sighted. When my eyes get tired I get headaches. When do we investigate? At night where my eyes are already tired from working all day and have to work extra hard because it is dark. Looking at the full context of the situation, is my headache likely to be something paranormal? Probably not.
When I first started investigating the paranormal, I was a lot more spiritual. This wasn't a natural fit for me of course and more a reflection of the people surrounding me and it wasn't before long that I needed to have my voice heard and more importantly asking those tough questions. It is me asking these questions that I know can rub people the wrong way and even alienate some. For some reason, because I like to look at the rational side of things first, people that it to mean that I am a skeptic. This is far from the truth. I very much believe in the paranormal and that weird things we cannot explain are happening out there. I just don't believe that every single experience is paranormal. I think that if we can eliminate some of the trivial things that could cause a suspected paranormal event, once these have all been ticked off and you still can't explain it, the experience becomes all the more compelling. Even with my skeptical and more rational approach to investigating, I still experience what I believe to be paranormal phenomena. I don't think I would still be here if I didn't.
Yes I get caught up in the moment sometimes and get excited because I feel like something is happening, but often afterwards once that adrenaline dies down, this is where the investigator side kicks in and needs to validate what just happened, or debunk it. If I am able to rule out a long list of rational possibilities, this exciting experience just became all that more special. If it is something I am able to explain, at least I know. I honestly believe that one of the main ways we learn as investigators is field experience. We can read books all day long and watch tv shows and documentaries, but until we step foot into a location and experience it for ourselves, we won't know how we react. We won't know how our bodies react to certain situations. You see people arguing or laughing at some online content that they would react differently, but the truth is you don't know unless you are actually in that same situation. If I were to use Black Rock House where I regularly do tours as an example here, I only know what the sound of a fig dropping on the tin roof sounds like by being there (and being scared the first time it happened) and working out where the sound came from. I was getting weird noises on recordings which eventually I was able to find out where bats flapping their wings as they flew overhead. I only learnt these things by actually doing them. I only really learnt how to look at things in context after I started running public tours. Observation turned out to be such a valuable tool for me and by looking at an evening in complete context gives you great perspective on what is going on.
So the next time you are out on an investigation, instead of concentrating on a singular event, look at everything in context and you may find the results to be quite interesting!
Can you think of a time when the context of a situation completely changed your perspective? Share it in the comments below!
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