Why do we?

23rd July 2022. Reading Time: 6 minutes General, Paranormal Investigation. 211 page views. 0 comments.

There are many unknowns when it comes to paranormal investigating.  I don't just mean when seeking answers to the afterlife and what lies beyond.  Sometimes people wonder why people do things the way they do. So here are some of the common explanations to things you may see paranormal investigators doing! Why do we dress up? Why do we turn out the lights? Why do we investigate at night? Why as investigators do we do a lot of things we do?

There are many unknowns when it comes to paranormal investigating.  I don't just mean when seeking answers to the afterlife and what lies beyond.  Sometimes people wonder why people do things the way they do. So here are some of the common explanations to things you may see paranormal investigators doing!

Why do we dress up?

It is common to see on paranormal television or even your local paranormal groups dressing up in costumes related to the era of a building they are investigating.  Apart from it being a fun thing to do, there is also another reason.  It is called the Singapore theory.  It is a popular technique used by paranormal investigators as a way to influence communication.. It is known by several other names so it is possible you have tried it and didn’t even know it! It is called by some ‘Paranormal Stimuli’or ‘Theory of Familiarisation ‘. The Klinge Brothers refer to it as ‘Era Cues ‘. No matter what name it goes by, it all has the same intended outcome. It is recreating some sort of act or environment which may be ‘familiar’ to the spirits and therefore may induce some sort of response.  Beyond dressing up, people may also produce a re-enactment of sorts, again with the theory that it may trigger some sort of paranormal response.  

Side note: What is interesting is that I cannot seem to find the origin of this theory and even how it got it's name so if you have access to this information, I would really like to hear from you. I have heard rumblings that it was a dress-up recreation that was done on one of the reality ghost hunting shows that was either at a location in Singapore or had some sort of significance to Singapore and the name stuck but I cannot confirm this. I would love to hear if you have any actual information on where this name came from!  

Does it work, well the jury is out on that one, but either way, it sure is a bit of fun dressing up!  To read more about the Singapore Theory, check out my article The Singapore Theory

Why do we turn the lights off?

One of the biggest questions that often comes up in the paranormal field is why are people investigating with the lights off at night time?  It becomes even more puzzling when you realise that most ghost stories and reported encounters happen during the day or at home with lights on. Paranormal television has a HUGE influence in this.  But is it also practical?

So why at night?  More than anything else, the reason most people are likely investigating the paranormal at night is a logistical one. A lot of locations are not available during the day as they are open to the public. It means if you do want to do an investigation, you have to put up with people walking around and potentially contaminating any photos you are taking or any EVP sessions you are trying to record etc. Daytime is also generally a lot noisier so again there may be things like traffic noise to consider. A lot of us also have families and work full-time jobs so nighttime investigations are again convenient.

So if it is practical to investigate at night, why are people switching off the lights?  Aside from the fact, people do it this way on television, a lot of people believe it allows us to focus on our senses. As paranormal investigators, we work with sensory deprivation in a lot of ways with the thought that if we can't see with our physical eyes - can we then see with our third eyes or our other senses? If you are not focusing on the environment around you with your eyes, you tend to listen more to your surroundings. You tend to feel what is happening around you. While it is something people do as well with lights on, they will often close their eyes - again to take that element of sight away to help focus better. A lot of people are also scared of the dark or they tend to be more on edge and more uncomfortable. Does the fear fuel activity or does it make people overly scared of something that really isn't there?

To read more about light and the paranormal, check out my article Lights On VS Lights Off - Daytime VS Night time

Why do investigators use red light?

Another way to investigate with light is by using red light.  You will often see tour groups use red light.  While it adds to the atmosphere it also acts as a bit of a safety as well.  But why red light?  Every time we expose ourselves to bright light, we have to go through the process of our eyes readjusting to light again.  It is called dark adaptation.  Adaptation is what is referred to when the retina which is inside the eye adjusts to different levels of light.  We are all capable of a certain degree of natural night vision.  Think about when you are in a paranormal investigation and you are in a room and then turn out the lights.  In the beginning, it seems like you are in pitch-black darkness.  The longer you are in the room, your eyes begin to adjust and you can start seeing items in the dark a lot more clearly.  Typically it can take a person 20 - 30 minutes to properly adjust, however it is said that it really takes 2 hours for the process to happen properly.  When our eyes are not properly adapting to the light, it can cause us to maybe see things that aren't there or even mistake a cupboard in the corner for something else.

Think about being on a paranormal investigation even with just a flashlight.  Every time you turn that on, you are essentially starting the dark adaptation process, again and again, each time you switch the light on and off.  You are never really giving your eyes the chance to properly adjust.  If they are not properly adjusted, this is where you may think you are seeing shadows or that items are moving when they aren't.  The rods in our eyes are a lot less sensitive to red light meaning that if we used a proper red lantern or red flashlight during an investigation, we are helping our eyes to properly see in the dark without compromising our eyesight.  You are essentially setting a baseline of light for the night.

To read more about dark adaptation, check out my article Dark adaptation and red light

There is no official handbook or guideline on how to become a paranormal investigator.  There does seem to be a code that many investigators go by that is heavily borrowed from what is seen on paranormal television.  I know when I first started investigating, I had a lot of questions for fellow investigators.  Most of them started with WHY?  Why do you do it this way?  Alarmingly, there were a lot of people that couldn't really answer the question.  Their answer was along the lines of "this is just how people do it!".  For me, I think in order to do something, we should at least know why and the reasoning.  There are no rules per se when it comes to investigating, so don't feel you have to go with the grain.  If you have an idea or theory that goes against the typical, there is no reason why you can't try it!  Don't be afraid to ask questions.  At the very least, we should be starting with why!

So now it is over to you.  What WHY question do you want to add to the list?


Cover image: Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/question-mark-on-chalk-board-356079/

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