I note towards the end of your post you agree that skepticism is vital and that you support it. This is good. But I will remind you that the opposite of skepticism is credulous gullibility. Don't fall into the trap of believing everything you read or hear.
I believe nothing. I’m always looking for alternative explanations. There might be an absolutely perfect ghost photo or video out there somewhere, among all those pictures of camera straps, breath and dust. I’ll look at them all but always with that ‘What else could it be?’ thought. Most times there is an answer. Once in a while there isn’t an obvious answer. That might be paranormal, or it might be something I haven’t thought of. I haven’t found a ‘Yes!’, but I’ve found quite a few ‘Maybe’.
Like the Valentown ghost footage. I couldn’t immediately see how it could have been faked, but commenters pointed out how it could be done. Looking into it, there are other ways it could have been done. That does not mean it was faked, but it does mean it could have been. It’s a ‘maybe’. It’s not proof because, even if it’s genuine, there are ways to reproduce it using technology. Proof will only be proof when there is no way to fake it. The trouble is, as video technology progresses, it’s getting easier to fake images and therefore harder to use images as proof. Levitating objects appear in movies all the time. I can’t see the strings, and I’m looking for them. Making things float around, making men appear to fly – easy. So faking a film of an outline of a man is no effort at all, which means a genuine film won’t stand up as proof.
Why not look for bosons and gravitons? At least we can see worthwhile applications.
I’m not a physicist. I’m interested in the subject but I have no training in that field. They’re not likely to let me near a cyclotron. What are the applications for bosons and gravitons, anyway? If they’re ever found, they’re already doing what they do. They’ll give particles mass and stick them together whether we find them or not. I had the impression that the search for these particles was a matter of making equations balance. Nothing wrong with that, it’s what science should be doing in my view, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to an application.
Ghosts - well no one has even managed to define one for research purposes, yet. Let alone find usefulness for them.
That’s the catch-22. We can’t define what a ghost is made of until we study one. We can’t study their nature until we have a machine that can detect them. We can’t make the machine until we know what to detect—what they’re made of. It’s not an unusual situation. Most of the things science studies start out that way. We pick at it and pick at it until we get hold of a loose thread, then we start unravelling.
Unfortunately, most of the first threads just come away in our fingers. Ectoplasm, it turns out, is a load of crap. Invented by fake mediums in the nineteenth century. A dead end (excuse pun) and not the only one. There is still no substance we can analyse to work out what we're investigating. I hope there will be, in my lifetime and hell yes - I hope I'm the one to find it. That's not going to happen if I stop, if I retrain in physics and join the boson hunt. Would that be any improvement anyway? Perhaps the boson won't be found in my lifetime either.
Usefulness? I'm not looking for a use. I'm looking because I want to know, and because I want to prove. If that leads to some sort of application, well and good, but it's not my aim.