Our Methodology

 Our team and our members take our research seriously. It's important not to loose perspective when investigating an alleged haunting. It's easy to mistake simple, logical occurances as spiritual activity. We want to promote an evidence based approach; that is we use a variety of equipment and resources to capture information and data and if it can't be explained, then we have an open mind as to what may have been the cause.

 

Our medium enhances our work throughout an investigation. When science meets spiritualism, then we know that we have a case to present. The two must work together to provide an overall impression of a location.

 

We attempt to triangulate our data into information which tells us what type of haunting may be occuring, what experiences are common and what may be happening within a location. The triangulation of data comes from: eye witness accounts and client experiences, mediumship and clinical evidence bases (captured by equipment etc).

 

We post up information to our Facebook page and website, however these are often examples of personal experiences and perspectives and not always empirical evidence.

THE ANECDOTAL APPROACH

 

To the paranormal involves the collection of anecdotal evidence consisting of informal accounts. Anecdotal evidence, lacking the rigor of empirical evidence, is not amenable to scientific investigation. The anecdotal approach is not a scientific approach to the paranormal because it leaves verification dependent on the credibility of the party presenting the evidence. It is also subject to such logical fallacies as cognitive bias, inductive reasoning, lack of falsifiability, and other fallacies that may prevent the anecdote from having meaningful information to impart. Nevertheless, it is a common approach to paranormal phenomena.

 

Charles Fort (1874 – 1932) is perhaps the best known collector of paranormal anecdotes. Fort is said to have compiled as many as 40,000 notes on unexplained phenomena, though there were no doubt many more than these. These notes came from what he called “the orthodox conventionality of Science”, which were odd events originally reported in magazines, respected newspapers such as The Times and respected mainstream scientific journals such as Scientific American, Nature and Science. From these researches Fort wrote seven books, though only four survive. These are: The Book of the Damned (1919), New Lands (1923), Lo! (1931) and Wild Talents (1932); one book was written between New Lands and Lo! But it was abandoned and absorbed into Lo!

   

Reported events that he collected include teleportation (a term Fort is generally credited with coining); poltergeist events, falls of frogs, fishes, inorganic materials of an amazing range; crop circles; unaccountable noises and explosions; spontaneous fires; levitation; ball lightning (a term explicitly used by Fort); unidentified flying objects; mysterious appearances and disappearances; giant wheels of light in the oceans; and animals found outside their normal ranges (see phantom cat). He offered many reports of OOP Arts, abbreviation for “out of place” artifacts: strange items found in unlikely locations. He also is perhaps the first person to explain strange human appearances and disappearances by the hypothesis of alien abduction, and was an early proponent of the extraterrestrial hypothesis. Fort is considered by many as the father of modern paranormalism, which is the study of paranormal phenomena.

  

The magazine Fortean Times continues Charles Forte’s approach, regularly reporting anecdotal accounts of anomalous phenomena.

 

AN EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH

 

Of the paranormal is largely conducted in the multidisciplinary field of parapsychology. Although parapsychology has its roots in earlier research, it began using the experimental approach in the 1930s under the direction of J. B. Rhine (1895 – 1980). Rhine popularized the now famous methodology of using card-guessing and dice-rolling experiments in a laboratory in the hopes of finding a statistical validation of extra-sensory perception.

   

In 1957, the Parapsychological Association was formed as the preeminent society for parapsychologists. In 1969, they became affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. That affiliation, along with a general openness to psychic and occult phenomena in the 1970s, led to a decade of increased parapsychological research. During this time, other notable organizations were also formed, including the Academy of Parapsychology and Medicine (1970), the Institute of Para science (1971), the Academy of Religion and Psychical Research, the Institute for Notec Sciences (1973), and the International Kirlian Research Association (1975). Each of these groups performed experiments on paranormal subjects to varying degrees. Parapsychological work was also conducted at the Stanford Research Institute during this time.

   

With the increase in parapsychological investigation, there came an increase in opposition to both the findings of parapsychologists and the granting of any formal recognition of the field. Criticisms of the field were focused in the founding of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (1976), now called the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and its periodical, Skeptical Inquirer.

   

As astronomer Carl Sagan put it, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”, and experimental research into the paranormal continues today, though it has waned considerably since the 1970s. One such experiment is called the Ganzfeld Experiment. The purpose of the Ganzfeld Experiment, like other parapsychological experiments, is to test for statistical anomalies that might suggest the existence of psi, a process indicating psychic phenomena. In the Ganzfeld Experiment, a subject (receiver) is asked to access through psychic means some target.

   

The target is typically a picture or video clip selected randomly from a large pool, which is then viewed in a remote location by another subject (sender). Ganzfeld experiments use audio and visual sensory deprivation to remove any kind of external stimulus that may interfere with the testing or corrupt the test by providing cues to correct targets. A ‘hit’ refers to a correctly identified target. The expected hit ratio of such a trial is 1 in 4, or 25%. Deviations from this expected ratio might be seen as evidence for psi, although such conclusions are often disputed. To date there have been no experimental results that have gained wide acceptance in the scientific community as valid evidence of paranormal phenomena.

 

DEBUNKING AND DISPROVING

 

Is a response to claims of paranormal phenomena, and consists of finding a “normal” explanation instead of a paranormal one to account for the claims. The basis for this approach is Occam’s razor, which suggests that the simplest solution is the best one. Since standard scientific models generally predict what can be expected in the natural world, the debunking approach presumes that what appears to be paranormal is necessarily a misinterpretation of natural phenomena, rather than an actual anomalous phenomenon. In contrast to the skeptical position, which requires claims to be proven, the debunking approach actively seeks to disprove the claims.

  

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, formerly the Committee for the Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), is an organization that aims to publicize the skeptical approach. It carries out investigations aimed at debunking paranormal reports, and publishes its results in its journal the Skeptical Inquirer.

  

Former stage magician, James Randi, is a well-known debunker of paranormal claims and a prominent member of CSICOP. As a skeptic with a background in illusion, Randi feels that the simplest explanation for those claiming paranormal abilities is trickery, illustrated by demonstrating that the spoon bending abilities of psychic Uri Geller can easily be duplicated by trained magicians. He is also the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation and its famous million dollar challenge offering a prize of US $1,000,000 to anyone who can demonstrate evidence of any paranormal, supernatural or occult power or event, under test conditions agreed to by both parties.

   

An alternative to debunking is found in the field of anomalistic. Anomalistic differs from debunking in that debunking works on the premise that something is either a misidentified instance of something known to science, or that it is a hoax, while anomalistic works on the premise that something may be either of the above, or something that can be rationalized using an as yet unexplored avenue of science.

 


PARTICIPANT OBSERVATION

 

Suggests that by immersing oneself in the subject being studied, a researcher is presumed to gain understanding of the subject. In paranormal research, a participant-observer study might consist of a researcher visiting a place where alleged paranormal activity is said to occur and recording observations while there.