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Why We Use Equipment on Paranormal Investigations


There are no ghost detectors!

That's a bold statement coming from a paranormal investigation group. But it's true and truth has to be recognized regardless. There are no instruments, tools, devices etc. that will detect a ghost.

At least not yet.

Critics and skeptics of the paranormal field are quick to point this out too. They sight the tools and instruments often used by paranormal investigators as not being ghost detectors. Thermometers, EMF sensors, magnetometers, barometers, Geiger counters and so on can't detect the presence of a ghost.

They are correct.

Some of the paranormal investigation equipment LIPI uses.It's hard to design a detector for something that can't be quantified nor can be even sure exists. Even if someone did create a prototype for such a device the unsure nature of the paranormal (is a ghost really there or not at a given time at a given location) makes it even harder to determine if the negative reading is accurate or a fault of the new device.

So why do we use the above mentioned devices?

What is the purpose of using them if they can't detect a ghost?

Very simply, we are probing the often mentioned proverbial black box. These devices measure various conditions of the ambient environment we are investigating. By measuring, documenting and collating readings over time reasonable conclusions can be drawn.

First, by measuring the environment around paranormal activity a "picture" or standard of the kind of environment that is conducive to the formation of paranormal can be ascertained. If the approach holds sound then over time as more and more measurements are cataloged in a database certain patterns and consistencies will begin to emerge. We already see this in some of the more common theories of the paranormal. For example: The cold spot phenomena. It has often been observed that in locations of paranormal activity a confined area of intense cold (10 or more degrees less than the ambient temperature) has been experienced without any other cause noticeable. In this case it is theorized that a ghost maybe be drawing the very heat energy out of the air as a source of power for its manifestation. This phenomenon has been experienced repeatedly, enough so the pattern seems to hold true. While this of itself doesn't prove paranormal activity (there are many reasons for sudden and dramatic temperature changes in a confined area), the frequency of these events and the consistent manifestation of the event get great strength to the theory.

Secondly, capitalizing on the first point, by compiling all these measurements into a standard of a good environment for paranormal activity to occur we now have a profile (a "yardstick") by which to compare other investigations and situations. For example, if an event is experienced that appears to possibly be paranormal, by measuring and comparing the current ambient environment to the profile it can further be determined whether or not the experience is more or less likely paranormal in nature. It's important to note that matching the profile isn't evidence of paranormal activity per se. But it does further support a conclusion of being paranormal (if it matches) or debunked experience (if it doesn't match).

Thirdly, - and the most exciting prospect! through careful inquiry and analysis of the data collected it might be possible to even predict the occurrence of paranormal activity! Techniques of statistical analysis (aka "data mining") can be employed against these databases of measurements to try to predict the kind of environment most likely to produce paranormal activity. If such an environment can be found and paranormal activity can be verified at the location that would be a significant step forward for the field as well as a boost to credibility.

So while critics and skeptics of the paranormal are correct in that no device is as yet a ghost detector, they do not take into account the benefits of measuring and cataloging environmental factors. Much of theoretical science is based on measuring that which we can measure and using the data to make theoretical conclusions about the unknown.

And who knows in our day it may yet lead to the elusive "ghost detector"!


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