The Audio Visual Paranormal Paradox
A Little Observation
For many years now much of the Paranormal field seems to have been focused on what we can see and hear. Well they do say seeing is believing I guess, but should believe what we see? After all our eyes can deceive us and often they do.
However whilst investigating over the years I soon discovered a bit of a paradox regarding what has become fashionably known as ‘evidence’ amongst us ghost hunters! This paradox presents itself in much of this ‘evidence’ these days especially with its review through social media.
The problem that I have observed is that audio and visual information such as photo’s, videos and EVP’s are very subjective and no matter how good they appear to be initially, there always appear to be counter arguments that discounts the validity of such ‘evidence’. I have personally witnessed this myself with what could be called a class A crystal clear EVP recording that I captured at the Explosions Museum in Gosport. The EVP was captured on a camcorder as one of my team filmed us in a group walking around the Admin Block. The EVP itself is available on my YouTube Channel to listen to if you wish, but the point here is that what was said was out of context to what was being discussed by the group and there was equally no reaction by the group to what was said. This generates the belief that this EVP was not audibly heard by the group at the time, but the camcorder still managed to record it. When presented to the rest of the team not present at the time it was recorded, it received its first stint of being questioned and many an explanation were presented which were all good. Once the EVP was made public this course of disbelief and additional explanations followed. The point here being that the EVP for the group present was very interesting and they could easily state according to their own experience that it wasn’t them, but for those that were not present the explanation was to avoid association with the Paranormal and place it with the group present. For example, we had a few suggest that one of us may have said it, but simply forgotten. It was this and many a discussion that I have had with investigators regarding audio visual ‘evidence’ that actually lead me to come to a probable understanding that what we see as ‘evidence’ may not be in reality. Which is a really odd thing to understand.
You see as a community, from our conversations on social media, to the TV shows we all watch from time to time, we have always seen audio visual information as ‘evidence’. Like many, when I first started overnight investigations I approached it from two angles really; 1) debunk what I could with logical real world explanations, and 2) capture evidence of the Paranormal in the form of pictures, video and EVP’s. That was ten plus years ago that I started doing that and from what I can see for many that hasn’t changed much today. Just to be clear I don’t think we should stop this approach in its entirety, but I am more of the thinking that perhaps audio visual information isn’t really ‘evidence’ and should be treated as anomalous information that helps us to direct our investigations. Perhaps from that we can find the evidence we are looking for.
Thus no matter how clear your EVP or how amazing that video of an apparition is or the picture of a spirit on the stairs, they will always be received with questions and often they will not be accepted, hence a paradox.
What is Evidence?
Due to this strange situation I found myself looking into what evidence is exactly. This told me that evidence is a body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid. Its establishing information like audio visuals as fact which I think is difficult. The reason its so hard to establish them as fact is down to trust and belief, plus control. Often in the Paranormal field we can be very dubious of the ‘evidence’ presented by others in the field. This isn’t a bad thing really as its a little like our version of peer review. The problem is that many review the presented ‘evidence’ and then provide comments which are neither constructive or supported in fact. I think its really good that we can comment and discuss various phenomena, but everyone’s opinion and ideas are really valid.
I often from time to time comment on various Paranormal statements on social media and have equally been lucky to have some quite interesting discussions. This kind of social media engagement is like the coffee house discussions of old, but they will never replace the excellent interaction of face to face discussions, which is why the popularity of the Paranormal conventions lately is so important.
However I digress!!
So, if we are not to accept photo’s, audio and video as evidence of the Paranormal, then what is? Firstly, if these are captured in controlled conditions, it can be shown that they haven’t been altered easily and they are cross referenced by other angles and technology; then perhaps they become more valid. Fundamentally if we can eradicate the possibility of fraud then we can potentially present them as actual evidence, but equally if they are questionable then they could potentially be seen as poor evidence. Back to our paradox.
The true evidence in my opinion will be found in the data. The problem is that the data involved will be significantly large and captured over a long period of time. In fact that information which makes up this data isn’t something we need to start from scratch as there is already an amazing amount already out there, which just needs to be reviewed and understood as a part of the bigger picture.
Data is massively important and here’s why. I often like to mention black holes at this point, as I think they are an excellent example of proof through data in order to support the existence of an anomaly. Now I’m no astrophysicist, if that’s even the right title, but I believe rather than just claiming there was a weird anomaly out in space, clever scientist types gathered lots of data to prove their theory. Revealing not just that black holes exist, but their possible mechanics too.
Understanding the mechanics is where pictures, audio and video let’s the side down, it can potentially show that something may exist, but why or how it exists isn’t explained. That is the important thing to remember. Rather than trying to capture phenomena, let’s try and understand it, figure out why it occurs and potentially explain its source.
What to do next?
So now we all understand this paradox, let’s try and collate information that can help us all better comprehend the field better. Please don’t stop gathering pictures, video and audio pieces as they all feed into the abundance of information on the subject which is as important as the cross correspondence, the Scole experiment, the Philip Experiment and the Enfield Poltergeist. In order to understand the whole thing we need to take on board all possibilities, theories and potential beliefs around the matter.
Some of my greatest paranormal discussions have been with Mediums trying to understand how they ‘see’ spirit and the answer isn’t always the same. In fact in my opinion its often a visualisation that comes from feeling, that feeling is the receipt of information, which their mind then interprets using their own beliefs, knowledge and memory. However what I have always found fascinating in many mediums is that comprehension that they know they are right in what they say, sometimes even when the person they communicating to doesn’t understand the information they are being give. Information that sometimes becomes understood at a later date.
How mediums work and the very concept of psi within this whole system of the Paranormal makes me believe that our minds play a large part in the phenomena we investigate. The question is how can our minds obtain this information or even project it into our very environments? Understanding that potentially this psi ability is far more natural than supernatural is equally interesting and also for me begins to open even more questions; like how did we miss this?
Sometimes when presented with information like this I often place the pursuit of ghosts and spirits on back burner and believe the understanding of the extent of our own minds could be far more interesting. Russell Targ called it the Limitless Mind, and wrote a book about it. Dean Radin called the Entangled Minds; and he wrote a book about it too. Both are respected scientists with a wealth of knowledge in psi, so perhaps our minds hold the evidence to that which we really seek.
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On – 26 Nov, 2017 By Ashley Knibb