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.
sensors, magnetometers, barometers,
Geiger counters and so on can't detect the
presence of a ghost.
They are correct.
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
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
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