Friday, December 17, 2010

Our Path of Paranormal Investigation

I can't tell you how many books, articles, magazines, encyclopedias, and online websites that I have studied over the years regarding the after-life, paranormal investigations, and theology.  Nor can I easily list the number of courses I have completed that have direct and indirect impact on my knowledge and approach to this field.  They are numerous.  Sometimes, especially in the realm of occult books and sites, the information is just plain wrong, dangerous, or the author is naive and/or deceived.  However, in the course of looking back at some of the more helpful, I was recently drawn back to something that Richard Southall said in his book, How to be a Ghost Hunter.  I include it here: 

No two organizations are alike when it comes to investigating a haunting.  One ghost-hunting or paranormal group may stay very close to the scientific method, only taking into consideration tangible, measurable evidence.  Another group may be more metaphysical in nature, relying on intuition, psychic gifts, and forms of divination to learn about a house or haunting.  I have found it beneficial to be involved in a group that is a combination of the scientific and metaphysical.  An investigative group that is entirely scientific in nature may miss many subtle but important clues, such as impressions and feelings.  A sense of sorrow or dread, or other psychic impressions left in a particular room, cannot be measured on scientific instruments, but can be picked up by ESP.  However, if the group solely relies on the metaphysical, it risks the possibility of transforming intuition into imagination.  Natural phenomena such as creaks and drafts can be (mis)interpreted as information picked up "psychically" from a spirit or ghost.  With a combination of the two types of investigative styles - scientific and metaphysical -readings and intuition tend to validate each other, and can make a difference in determining whether a real haunting is taking place.

I agree with this "combination" approach completely, and it is exactly the approach that the Natchez Area Paranormal Society uses.  I also want to emphasize that it is NOT

1/2 science + 1/2 metaphysical = A full approach to paranormal investigation. 

Rather, we say it is a full 1 + 1 equals a fuller and more complete understanding of a case. A robust and aggressive scientific approach with full research method, healthy skepticism, great training on the equipment, and equipment that is as state of the art as we can make it; PLUS, a metaphysical approach that is full, with sophisticated, learned, deep theological concepts in place, as well as psychic understanding from a Christian perspective (utilizing the spiritual gift of discernment of spirits as well as development as a paranormal sensitive) and trusting/growing our intuitive and sensory gifts as humans. Also, and certainly not to be underestimated, is a relationship with Christ that sources all of those gifts and energies and supplies us and empowers us to be able to contact, discern, and protect. Truth and clarity are powerful tools in this field, and they aren't all EMF Meters and audio recorders!

Both of those areas - the science and the metaphysical - are something that we break down into compartments and study each part passionately and try our best to develop skills in. We think an over-emphasis, or worse yet, a sole interest in either one at the expense of the other leads to a paralyzing blindness that frankly, we see too often. That's frankly, our opinion.  Being balanced in this "Combination" attitude (as Southall puts it) is the only way that we see that can lead to a full understanding of a case, and answer not only the "what" of a case" but the "why" as well. What is the true value of capturing some phenomenon on a camera or an audio recorder? It's like a dog chasing a car, what are you going to do now that you caught it? Only a balanced, combination approach to paranormal investigating can answer that. The value lies in now that you know what it is, you can deal with the why to help your client.  An investigator who limits himself  to only using "science" in his approach and who runs from the "religious, metaphysical, or psychic" aspects, is cutting himself and his client short - way short.  (I did not say use occultic practices!)  We can only say of such paranormal investigation efforts what Demonologist Ed Warren used to say of them:    they are fishing without a hook!

It is truly amazing what combining, for example, thorough Historical Research & well conducted Interviews, and solid Scientific Field Investigations with what concious and confident Intuition and Discernment Gifts can provide. We've seen some truly amazing things emerge in several of our cases, that would not have otherwise if we had not used both domains. This is an example of how Science and Sensory (feeling/belief) can work together to give an investigator a lot of information and a much clearer path of discovery. 

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