Paranormal research and parapsychology
The unexplained is every bit as fascinating to people today as it has always been. Paranormal research is the investigation of the unexplained. Parapsychology is the scientific study of the unexplained and the unusual events experienced in a variety of ways and settings by a wide range of people.
These events are very real to the people who experience them and the objective of a scientific approach to paranormal research is to first of all attempt to separate what can be explained by normal, albeit sometimes obscure, physical conditions from the anomalous or paranormal which fall outwith our understanding of normal events.
What is the paranormal?
There are three recognised and well established categories in the study of the unusual and unexplained as follows:
- Psychokinesis (also referred to as telekinesis): This is often described as mind over matter and is the ability to control objects with the mind.
- Extrasensory perception: this includes methods of receiving information not attained through the usual physical senses and is 'sensed' with the mind such as clairvoyance and telepathy.
- Psychic phenomena: this includes the concept of spiritual survival of bodily death, reincarnation, apparitions, hauntings and poltergeist.
These subjects and the various experiences that people have cannot be fully explained through current scientific models and therefore further ongoing research is required to enhance our understanding and knowledge in this fascinating arena.
Current paranormal research
It is important to distinguish the professional and ethical paranormal research organisations from the raft of enterprises that have emerged to service a topical and substantial commercial market as well as the amateur enthusiast who may not always follow accepted investigative guidelines.
It is has been argued that the current setup for paranormal research is somewhat fragmented and a more structured framework is required to integrate the various bodies and assist the serious and knowledgeable paranormal researchers and investigators to carry out their work in a more effective and professional way. This would include key areas such as ethical guidelines, a code of conduct, research methodology, knowledge transfer, official referral networks and the important subject of working with the Media, all with the objective of improving the effectiveness and professionalism of this important area of scientific research.
Methods of investigation
The key to proper investigation is to first of all have a thoroughly documented and scientific investigative process. In relation to hauntings, ghosts and psychic phenomena the fundamental requirement is to try to record the happening whether that be through audio, video, thermal or electromagnetic measurement.
Images and audio recordings are what most investigators are looking for so the most important equipment is made up of cameras, video cameras and digital voice recorders.
Modern technology has equipped the paranormal researcher with a range of armoury that includes powerful digital cameras and video equipment, sensitive audio recorders and electromagnetic field detectors.
The latest digital recording devices and in particular video and camera devices have helped significantly with their increased functionality in terms of ease of use, improved capture facilities, poor light options and storage capabilities. Taking photographs for example is easier, faster and better in the environments most paranormal researchers find themselves in. Taking on the role of photographers, which is something the researchers have had to do over the years is now a much simpler task.
The team at Mesa Research take the scientific approach to research of the paranormal. We fully endorse the move to a more structured and ethical framework for the professional investigators and researchers. We see this as crucial to the credibility and future growth of our work and profession. We are happy to associate and collaborate with a wide range of like-minded individuals and organisations.
Excluding the normal from paranormal
Much of experienced and reported paranormal phenomena can be explained by natural reasons but certainly not all of it.
So unnaturally cold places can simply be due to thermal patterns, unusual infrasound really can be the sound of traffic or just the wind blowing across an open window and dark spaces and places do play ticks on our eyes with the light.
An objective approach
An open mind must be maintained at all times, no preconceived ideas and you must always investigate the facts. I can recall an experience on a cold dark night in December whilst staying at a friend's house which was in a rural location and it was on this one night after some previous heavy snow that I found myself wide awake in the early hours of the morning.
I went downstairs into the kitchen and through the window saw an unusual looking mist at the far end of the garden and decided to take a look. As I approached there was a strange low pitch rustling noise and then I saw the unusual shaped areas where the snow and ice had totally melted. I felt a shudder run up my back and my mind was racing as to what kind of paranormal activity was occurring.
I stood watching, alert, receptive, looking for further clues but nothing. I immersed myself in the moment but it dissipated and was gone.
Later on that morning I spoke to my friend about the strange shapes in the snow and he told me about how he was testing the effectiveness of his usual rock salt product against a new environmentally friendly one that had come on the market and had scattered a few shovel-fulls of the products at the bottom of the garden. As is perfectly normal and expected they had melted the snow.
I had to laugh, the combination of factors, a bit of natural mist or fog, the rustling of the trees and shrubbery and the effects of some de-icer had drawn me to conclude there was more going on than there actually was. My paranormal training means I should have known better, but even so it will not deter me from continuing to seek out that which cannot be so easily explained.