Tuesday, December 04, 2007

And now, a rant…

Televised investigations are entertainment, not science. How is anyone expected to measure subtle changes in electrical fields when the whole place is strewn with wires? Turn the power off. At the mains. And no radio mikes, please.

Infrared cameras let us see in the dark. Where’s the evidence that they can see ghosts? There is none. They can see dust, for sure. These cameras are useful to ensure you don’t fall down a hole in the dark, but why does it even have to be dark? If I can’t see my hand in front of my face, can a ghost? I use infrared in daytime, mostly, because it’s a low-effort, low-cost addition to my data. It might never show anything but it’s not costing me to collect that data. Consider: none of the reported sightings of any ghosts, ever, took place in total darkness. Also, if people see them with their eyes, then they show up in visible light. There’s no need to wander about in a black hole. Light a candle, at least. My preference is for low-power LED lights but then I’m not a traditionalist.

EMF meters are not ghost detectors. They are EMF detectors. That distinction is lost on many because of these programmes. Someone makes money out of selling them, but few people even realize that an EMF field has three dimensions, not one. Readings on one axis constitute one-third of the data. Random measurements here and there don’t constitute data at all. Tri-Field meters are designed for specific applications, and none of those applications are paranormal. They are expensive and sensitive enough to detect your pocket change moving about. You need a degree in physics even to understand how to use it!

Oh, that’s enough ranting. There is a whole mass of it on ways to deceive the human senses, but I’ll save that for later. I hope that gives enough of an impression of my approach to this to let you know I’m not just poking around with this subject. I am not going to appear on TV with anecdotal evidence, I am not going to appear in newspapers, nor am I going to attempt to publish anything until I am absolutely certain I can’t have been mistaken. I never take any report at face value. Ever.

I doubt that paper would be titled ‘Hey, I found a spook’ anyway. It’s more likely to be something like: ‘Anomalous and repeatable changes in local electric fields associated with reports of alleged paranormal activity’. Followed by something along the lines of ‘Coherence in moving electric fields within the confines of enclosed premises’. It all depends on where it leads. The ‘Hey, I found a spook’ paper is a long way off yet.

Told you I was cautious.

Oh, and I don’t charge for investigations. That does mean I can’t wander the world at will, but if I charged, I’d lose all credibility in my own eyes, never mind anyone else’s.

I know many out there don’t believe me. Good. As I said, I don’t want belief. I want to prove it. It’s going to take a lot longer this way. It’s not going to be easy. I could honestly say, at the moment, I don’t want you to believe me at all. I could say I want to be called crank, laughed at, dismissed. Why would I want that?

Do you have any idea how many investigation groups those TV programmes have spawned? They’re everywhere. Some are set up well, most are just a bunch of folk who think it’ll be fun to wander around an old house at night. Old houses are dusty. They have cameras with built-in flash. Those damned orb photos just keep coming. So I don’t want you to believe me because I really don’t want to be responsible for any more of those groups. There are too many already and their output, while prodigious, contains so much crap that if any of them did catch something real you’d never find it. Some think those TV programmes are great publicity for investigators of the paranormal. They are not. They make a joke of the subject. Science is not a game show. Set up a group of your own if you like, but spend a lot of time checking what’s already been shown to be wrong before you start. Please, no more orbs.

Should I ditch all this and go for easy money? Oh, I could. With what I learned from the mediums I could do as good a job as any on TV and make a fortune by lying to vulnerable people. That would be easy. I’d be working in warm, well-lit places all the time. I’d never be scrabbling around under floorboards checking for rodent droppings. I wouldn’t be the one saying ‘You don’t need an exorcist. You need a plumber/electrician/pest control’. I’d never be sat in tumbledown buildings in the cold, hoping it wasn’t going to finish tumbling down while I was inside it. Yes, the stage psychic game would be an easier, richer and more pleasant life. There’s no shortage of gullible idiots on this planet. But it would be living a lie.

I won’t live a lie.

5 comments:

Southern Writer said...

I wish I could recall exactly how I "met" you. I only remember that you claimed to be a paranormal investigator, but I had to ask you to clarify that claim because I'd never met anyone as skeptical of the paranormal as you.

Romulus Crowe said...

Was it through scary Monster's blog? I can't recall either. He might have turned up on one of my idle-time searches, but so might you, if I seached on astrology.

Southern Writer said...

Nope. I knew you long before I knew Scary, or he knew either of us.

Romulus Crowe said...

Scary's stopped blogging too. I have this effect on people.

Sometimes I wander random blogs by clicking on the 'next blog' at the top of the page. There's some seriously weird stuff on blogger. Once in a while I come across an interesting one. That's possibly where we met.

Or maybe you found me? Perhaps we both posted on someone else's blog? I have been known to make random comments here and there. Usually they come to nothing but once in a while there's a response.

Anyway, it's cyberspace, so I'm not going to worry too much. It's nice to meet people without all the obligations that usually go with it (dinner parties - agh! We still have those in the UK and they're just as bad as the old films suggest).

Yes, I'm an unsociable swine. This line of work doesn't lend itself to the party-lover's lifestyle so it's just as well.

Southern Writer said...

I love dinner parties.

Scary stopped blogging? Why?

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