As of this writing, I consider myself having professionally been investigating paranormal activity for two and a half years. While in the grand scheme of things, in the professional world that’s not a long time to have been doing anything. But, having said that I feel like our group has done a lot to add value to the field and that we have continually improved along the way.
As I think back to the first investigations it feels a bit silly some of the notions that I had going into it. Many times I was certain I would or wouldn’t find activity in certain places. I would be shocked that something I was sure was a paranormal event was actually something else upon evidence review. I was amazed at how easily my senses could be tricked, my memory could be flawed, and how an investigation could easily be screwed up by amateur mistakes with equipment. But, over the course of time and multiple investigations, we learned from those mistakes.
In the early days of our group (what I like to call our ghost hunting days), things were a lot less structured. There would be a good amount of hanging out, talking, and playing jokes on each other. It was fun, and I have to admit sometimes I miss it. We weren’t accomplishing anything, and nothing we found could be considered credible because of the sloppy methods we were using. But, it was never a dull moment trying so desperately to scare the hell out of ourselves.
I think the mood and the mission changed when we started to actually find some things that genuinely made us have to take a second look. I know my picture at the warehouse of the apparition was definitely my turning point; Allies hair being moved and back getting touched at Carter seemed to change things for her. After that, it seemed we were more determined to figure out if we were causing our own evidence and we had no choice but to become more sophisticated. We stopped playing jokes on each other, we took more care to set up equipment and organize. We started investing our own money into the project, and with that, we started to attract attention.
I think our main motivator is the fact that people have started to notice our work. We feel like we have a certain standard to maintain and a bar to push. What started out as a fun game, turned into a hobby, and eventually into a full blown research experiment. Our curiosity (and yours) has been peaked to the point that we actually have started looking for answers to some of the harder questions about life, death and the paranormal. With those ideas, the game has changed quite a bit, but needless to say, it all started with an attitude change. We have gone from a playful game to serious research.
Our equipment has evolved quite a bit over the course of our work. In the beginning, we had a few pieces of good equipment we used simply because I had a background in audio production. However, most of our early work is simply just us using cell phones to chase down phantom noises. It pains me to think what evidence we could have caught with our equipment set now. There are many places I would love to go back in to, but it’s simply not an option anymore. Eventually, we were able to ditch most of the cell phone apps in favor of dedicated equipment, one by one. Gauss meters, high-quality cameras, and electronic gadgets galore. With the purchase of each new piece of equipment we learned more and expanded our theories. Over that period of time, I have even managed to build pieces of custom equipment to test theories that so far have been completely original to us. Through experimentation, we have learned great amounts about how paranormal shows “force” results through the use of improper equipment use and sloppy debunking methods. We have become more keenly aware of our surroundings to the point there are many cases and stories we have heard common things enough that we can guess the source of the disturbance before ever having set foot in a lot of properties. In other cases, not so much.
These days I find I’m more excited to be called to a case rather than try to find one on my own. Early on we had to do a bit of fancy footwork to not get slapped with trespassing fines and to find places willing to let us in. At a few points, we have even paid to for the privilege to investigate. These days, with our exposure, there isn’t quite as much of that. We get invited into people’s homes to get a glimpse of people and their lives and how they are affected by the things they perceive as paranormal. Those are the cases that couldn’t make us happier.
These days I feel like we are sharper than we have ever been. We understand a great deal about the medium we are working with and we understand the audience for it better. We are striving to be entertaining and honest at the same time. Much of what we find is nothing more often than not. This is not what people usually want to see. People want to be amazed. People want to ponder over the unknown. What we are showing them is the opposite much of the time. But, we feel that we can find a way to make that entertaining as well. Just because a person’s ghost turns out to actually be a noisy air duct doesn’t make the experience any less valid. In their minds, for a while, they experienced something profound, sought an answer, and learned something about themselves.
We have learned that our study is just as much a study of sociology as it is of the paranormal. The human mind is a wondrous thing and until we truly unlock how it works to perceive the world we are still missing half the equation. We have changed since our inception because what went from a fun game has become a thriving endeavor to understand the world around us and how the human mind works.