I have been doing a lot of research lately on controlled experiments that have been conducted in the name of paranormal research. What the experiments had in common was a list of controlled guidelines, a review and ultimately the results. The results however, because we are in the paranormal field of course are not taken at face value. As in human nature for things we cannot explain, we focus more on the areas in which the experiment failed and it’s shortcomings. We give our final review with scepticism and often it is put to bed by a lot of people as rubbish or a waste of time. What we need to do however, is use this information to our advantage.
When conducting an experiment, you need to be in it for the long haul. Conducting an experiment isn’t just setting up some equipment, doing an investigation and calling it at the end of the night. It is about having a process, having an intent and following controls. Data should be collected so that the results can be reviewed. It is something that should be ran in the same way multiple times so that the results can be compared. The definition of the word experiment is: a scientific procedure undertaken to make a discovery, test a hypothesis or demonstrate a known fact. How can you show this? With data. The numbers don't lie.
Once your experiment is finished and you have collected your data and perhaps worked out it’s percentage of success, what were the shortcomings? Are there any elements that people are looking at when reviewing your results with scepticism because there is a ‘hole’ there? This is where your work really begins. It is about learning from the results of your experiment, changing the controls perhaps tightening them for less error or interference. Maybe the way the data is being measured wasn’t quite correct. Maybe your baseline figure wasn’t where it should be and needs to be adjusted, was it too short or maybe too generous? Maybe it would be interesting to see the results with a small change. For example when looking at the Ganzfield experiment which has been changed and adapted many times, people questioned and asked ‘Why are we using red light? Is there any change in results if we change the colour of the light? So they started a log of results using Blue light, green light etc to see if this made any difference.
This is where you can start addressing all these questions and adapting your experiment. Again, it is not something that can be completed in one session. Sadly with experiments, you need patience as you have to go through the process. It is easy for us to sit at our computers or even attend an investigation and make our own judgements based on how someone is performing an experiment or how the results are being interpreted. What are we really doing about it besides casting judgement? We need to get out there and start doing our own experiments in the way we think it should be done. If you think you could get better results or you would try an experiment differently …… do it! What have you got to lose? Log your results and see what you get.
Paranormal research is not going to advance any further in it’s current climate and needs more people out there doing paranormal research through experiments. Sure new devices are created all the time but there is so much opportunity for false positives people either throw them out the door and can’t rely on the results. What you can do though is experiment with them and log the results. It is much like the work I have been doing with the Ovilus. Quite a lot of people feel they randomly generate words or that if a word comes up it is simply a co incidence. So I went and got my hands on the database, studied the words and worked out the % chance of getting the response I was looking for. I have been going through the process of writing the words I get during vigils in the same location cataloguing the responses I am getting to see if there is a pattern. Eventually I will have enough data to analyse and really look at what the device is doing. It is something that has been months in the making, it is not something that can be determined in a week or two. I am in this for the long haul. If you want to read more you can click on this link: What are the odds?
The point is you are in control of what you do as investigator. Make it count. Go and try some experiments – not just a one off trying a new piece of equipment, but really think about what you want to find out, how it could work, why it might or might not work and ultimately what are the results going to tell us? Patience is key and share your information with your peers. They might have some great advice or sometimes it is helpful just having a different set of eyes going over your data. This is what investigators do. This is paranormal investigating!
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