So... what exactly "paranormal" and what do we consider legitimate evidence of its existence? It's such a simple question that deserves a straight forward answer.Unfortunately, Google it on the internet and you will find yourself lost in a sea of links filled with gag videos, debates, and trolls beyond human comprehension. The truth is, there is not a shred of hard proof that the paranormal exists. Without scientific data to prove anything, the paranormal is defined by gut feelings and strange experiences. That is because at its very definition the paranormal is something outside our scope of human understanding. So, just for fun, let's break it down for a second. First off, what is the paranormal?
Of or relating to the claimed occurrence of an event or perception without scientific explanation, such as; psychokinesis, extrasensory perception, or other purportedly supernatural phenomena.
According to the definition, the “paranormal” is a catch all phrase for something that cannot be proven by scientific explanation. By its very nature, it cannot be proven with any amount of evidence. If it did it would no longer be considered paranormal, but would then be defined simply as “Normal.” The definition above suggests that the paranormal does not just refer to ghosts (or spirits) but anything outside of scientific reasoning. This could be aliens, ghosts, big foot, black holes, and global warming. That is because the paranormal is defined as an event without scientific explanation. But, it does not include scientific evidence that suggests an explanation. Thus, we can collect data and evidence for years that indicates a theory as to what could be causing it; but we have not collected enough hard data to give a definite conclusion to the theory to redefine an event from paranormal to normal.
For the sake of our group's research, we primarily focus on the supernatural as it pertains to what people commonly call spirits, ghosts, demons, angels, and elemental entities. Some of our group believe in their existence based on previously collected evidence. Some of us are still not convinced, believing that a phenomenon did happen that was proven by scientific data. However, that not enough information was supplied to conclude that it was one of the above explanations behind the phenomenon. Having said that; presented with the opportunity to observe Big Foot climbing into his UFO, I'm sure we would all happily document the event on video for the sake of curiosity.
Now let's address the second and probably the most important part of that question. What is considered legitimate evidence? This sounds like an easy question right? Except when you think about it in terms of that, in our field, we are working backward. We are trying to collect scientific data on something that by definition science cannot explain. So basically we are trying to prove what a paranormal event is not, at the time that it is happening. For example, if a door closes on its own we must prove that it was not the wind, not a shifting foundation, or someone standing behind the door. Once the possibility is ruled out by science, we are left with the answer of “unknown”. This is backward from conventional science in which you are running an experiment to which at the end the answer is made clear as day. Since we are trying to essentially find evidence of something defined as an event that cannot be proven by science; ultimately we are looking for an event that can not be brought to a conclusion by the scientific method.
Currently what is accepted as legitimate evidence by the scientific community and what is considered legitimate by the paranormal community are two different things. For the sake of keeping this straight, we are going to focus on what North Texas Paranormal considers legitimate evidence worth showing our audience.
Electronic Voice Phenomenon
Through the use of magnetic tape and digital recording, we attempt to capture the sounds of intelligent beings communicating with us. This could be noises we did or didn't hear with our own ears at the time of the recording. It is theorized that entities trying to communicate with us sometimes make noises in a different range than what human hearing can pick up. This range can be recorded and played back by modern equipment and the results are sometimes startling. We have to go to great lengths to rule out the possibility of someone (or the environment) making noises that we did not notice at the time. More often than not a very convincing EVP is really just another human being in the next room having a conversation we were unaware of at the time. There are too many variables that could be causing the EVP for it to ever be accepted as hard proof. However, for us, we do our very best to control the environment we are in and still come up with some pretty interesting results. We consider EVP to be some of the best evidence of paranormal activity, but only if after a lot of scrutinies is extremely convincing. [Click Here] for more information on EVPs.
Photographic and Video Evidence
A picture is worth a thousand words. You would think snapping the picture of a ghost would be the holy grail of evidence. But with the amount of software and people out there looking to stage a hoax, it's just not a reliable source of proof no matter how good the image is. For ourselves, we videotape and photograph everything during the investigation as a means to create our medium to present evidence to our audience. However, there is no amount of proof we can offer to prove that our videos and photographs have not been tampered with. Nor can anyone else. (Although we do promise that any evidence we present is 100% genuine and presented at face value for your interpretation.) Typically in the parapsychology field, there are three major forms of visual evidence that have been accepted as the most commonly captured and accepted.
Commonly during a paranormal event, people have captured what are believed to be orbs of energy in the air onto film and digital visual media. It is believed that paranormal entities are made up of charged energy that shows up as small balls of light not usually seen by the naked eye. Most orb pictures are debunked as dust particles or insects floating through an area when the picture was taken. However, in very high definition videos a select few of these can rule that out because of the behavior, trajectory, and proximity to a considering event. Often during an EVP session, at the exact moment of an EVP recording orbs will be recording moving in, out, and around the recording device lending some levity to the claim that these phenomena might be intelligent or responsible for the activity. For the most part, our group does not consider orbs as evidence of paranormal activity. We find that more often than not, these anomalies are nothing more than dust and insects that are too close to the lens. One way we have managed to debunk this is a type of photography and video that we have invented (and patented) called Monowavelength photography which allows us to easily discredit orbs caused by dust or bugs.
Dating all the way back to the beginning of photography, people have been capturing pictures of apparitions that hey could not explain at the time. As technology improved we found that most of these apparitions were the result of double exposures. Nowadays, many of the images you see have been digitally altered in Photoshop to create the illusion of ghosts in the shot. Typically apparitions will come in three flavors, full-bodied, partial bodied, and shadow. A full bodied or partial apparition essentially looks like you or me but either appears as a whole person, a partial image or a shadow figure. Another person in the room that shouldn't be there. Shadow figures are just as they sound; They take the shape of a person but are void of any details giving it the appearance of being a shadow which doesn't belong.
Just as it sounds people have been known to capture images of unexplained mists that seem to hover around areas where paranormal activity happens. Unless this sort of event coincides with an unusual activity that was happening at the time or spikes from EMF detectors; we do not consider fog or mist to be paranormal.
Electro Magnetic Frequencies and Radiation
Since it's theorized that ghosts are made up of energy and use energy to communicate, it's commonly felt that they can either manipulate or give off Electro Magnetic Frequency or “EMF”. This is a simple theory to test since we have EMF detectors. Sudden spikes could potentially indicate the presence of an entity. It could also indicate the presence of a faulty electrical line which is easily testable. Multiple studies have been and are still being conducted on the effects of exposure to EMF. One typical side effect on the human brain is that high levels of EMF (anything over 2.0 mG) can create feelings of paranoia, being watched, and minor hallucinations. It's proven these effects happen, but not in all individuals and not in the same exact way from person to person. Allot of times we are able to rule out the likeliness of paranormal activity when we find consistently high spikes of EMF throughout an area without any other evidence to support the paranormal. Int hose cases it's likely that the people involved are actually just being affected by the high levels of EMF in the location. In which case we suggest steps to help shield them from the EMF (or avoid altogether) and in most cases the client will notice a change in the location immediately. However, a flip side to that coin is that some suggest that places like described above create the perfect feeding ground for an entity to use energy to manifest itself. A claim that is supported by recorded data in those areas. (after all, a video camera can't hallucinate.) In either case, high EMF readings are a good way to find hard evidence that an experience may be legitimately happening to the people in an area, but may not necessarily be paranormal. [Click Here] for more information on EMF.
The United States Geological Survey website is a great source for information about natural and artificially produced magnetic waves across the United States. When doing research on an area, we always cross reference the coordinates with the survey information for that area to see if there are any correlations to our findings. The information is free and open to the public. The information can be found [HERE]
This one is pretty straightforward. If something moves or is making footsteps in your haunted house, it has to be giving off some type of vibration. If we can document vibration in correlation with an experiential it simply adds another layer of credibility to the event. We have even used it to try communication. If a spirit could say manipulate the detector to answer a question we might be able to theorize on what is doing it.
We are one of the few groups who has begun utilizing infrared cameras. These are cameras specially designed to capture images in the infrared spectrum and measure heat. With this specialized device, we are able to see anomalies taking shape that has their own heat signature (or lack of thereof) We can also detect visually if the temperature of an area has changed which can be evidence of paranormal activity.