It is the end of an era! Whether you have been investigating for 30 years or this is your first year, you are probably starting to think about what to aim for next year. So in the 'spirit' of things, these are my predictions of what I think we will see in the field and my hopes for the paranormal field in 2023 on both a personal and general level.
As I gaze into my crystal ball these are the things I think we might see more of in the paranormal field in 2023
Artificial intelligence is huge. From people using it to create avatars to using AI to help write books from scratch, it is going to become a major player in the World in general, and it won't be long before it finds its place in the paranormal field.
Be wary of content creators using AI to write content. The AI works by reading different things on the internet as its source and then compiling the information to write a piece. While it is no different to how a lot of us writers work, the human element is a key component that is missing. How do you decipher what is genuine and what is satire? How do you fact check? I would argue when it comes to anything paranormal, it is us the human element that is the key feature. Once you take that away, you have to wonder is there anything paranormal to experience if there is no one there to experience it? I am going to do a little experiment with AI writing a blog which I will publish later.
In terms of what I see people using it for in the paranormal field besides creating content, I think people will be using AI filters in a similar way Lidar or Kinect are used to map figures. It wouldn't surprise me if it is already used to some extent in some of the apps being used by investigators. Much in the way people used to rely on snapchat filters to 'find the ghost in their room', the same is already happening with AI filters on tik tok and will no doubt expand to apps being created specifically for this purpose (if it hasn't already). The concept of using AI in filters etc reminds me of pareidolia. Our brains fill in the gaps whereas in this case, it is the AI filling in the gaps and what you are left with is the AI mistaking a chair leg for a person etc. So while there is a lot to be wary of, is there a realm within the paranormal that AI could be useful?
AI could potentially be used for a more personalised investigation experience as an example. At the top of my head, I look at something like ChatGPT for example. It is an AI that coders are using to help with their coding. It learns algorithms to respond to user requests in a very tailored and personalised way. If we were to train AI on a location with as much historical information as possible, could it create more tailor-made questions that can be asked without human bias? While I talk above about the human element being important, it is the human element that can also work against us. Is there a place for AI to do some of the paranormal investigating for us to remove some of these biases? Can AI be used to review the evidence? Would it interpret it as it is without emotional attachment and bias? There are some possibilities here that I think should at least be discussed. One of these questions must also be, just because we can should we?
Coming off AI we also have VR (Virtual Reality) which has been around for a while. I know my kids are obsessed with the oculus quest devices and I must say that they are amazing. You completely immerse yourself and suddenly you are swimming with sharks or navigating through space. Games such as Phamaphobia put people into simulated paranormal investigations and are often done so again using VR. When using VR, you are almost tricked into thinking you are in a real scenario. Jump scares initiate real fear. I immediately think back to the Battersea Poltergeist podcast from 2021 where VR was used to recreate an atmosphere to prove how easily we can be scared.
VR has obviously been around for a while but I see it playing more of a role in the paranormal field in the next 12 months. I see people adapting VR for psychic projection and telepathy experiments. I have a few ideas on how this can work which I won't share just yet but this is where I see some potential. It can also be used to map locations and perhaps offer virtual paranormal experiences for those unable to attend locations in person. There is a lot that can be utilised in VR from a tourism point of view which I also see being incorporated.
The last few years changed things considerably thanks to Covid and the World being in various stages of lockdown. People had to improvise and change the way they do things. A lot of things had to be taken online. There has also been a whole new generation of people entering the field and using popular social media platforms such as tik tok to deliver information. There are people all over the World who are now also making a living from paranormal content creation. Regardless of what your view is on this, what we cannot deny is that there are a lot of people who work their ass off to get their content out there and they also do it really well. It may not be the way you do things but when they have hundreds of thousands of followers, they are obviously doing something that resonates with people. Of course, there are always going to be people that take advantage of these platforms and post sensational content. I don't think it is fair to demonise everyone for the actions of a few. In some ways, it is no different to 100 years ago when you had spiritualist mediums taking advantage of people. They didn't speak for all mediums. In short, a few bad apples don't represent everyone. People are grown-ups and if they want to spend $5 a month supporting their favourite content creators, let them. I know there are many creators I happily support and let me tell you, they are putting out content almost every single day. If they weren't people would simply unsubscribe. They are happy to pay the money and the people providing the content work hard to provide it. Honestly, in a lot of ways, I envy some of them because I know how much work it takes to put out regular content, so when you have someone paying for it, the pressure must be immense. For a lot of these people, it is their job. I see a lot more influencers coming up through the ranks and I think you will be seeing some of your favourite paranormal researchers making the jump to some of these platforms, particularly places like tik tok. It is what you have to do to stay relevant and reach people. While I have no desire to expand to some of these platforms, I am also well aware that people don't necessarily want to read anymore. They consume their information in short videos. If you want to remain relevant and get your information out there, you have to adapt. So when you see your favourite researchers try a new platform, don't accuse them of 'selling out' because that is likely not the motivation behind it at all. I think it is important that some of the researchers who have been around for some time do this. It would be sad to lose some of the expertise that is out there because they have so much that is valuable that people are not consuming. Equally, we also have to welcome these new creators to the table because they have some great ideas and opinions and everyone should have a seat at the paranormal table.
I like to be optimistic, and I am full of hope when it comes to the paranormal field.
Nostalgia is huge right now. Everything that is old is new again and in some ways, I hope this will also apply to the paranormal field. Hopefully, we will go back to our roots and start looking at tried and tested investigation techniques used by researchers long before reality television came around. I hope people start writing about their findings and putting their thoughts out there again much like investigators of the past did. While there has been a big focus on people wanting to in some ways prove the existence of the paranormal with viral videos or live streams, I would love this to shift to theories and ideas. By now, most people interested in the paranormal don't need any proof because they know within themselves. While I enjoy watching the tv shows, youtube videos and live streams, I would like to hear more from people about where their research has led them. What are their thoughts on how things work and their theories on the possibilities? How did they arrive at that conclusion? So many people feel that they don't have anything to offer but anyone with thoughts and ideas has so much more to contribute than they realise and I hope to see more people getting the confidence to do so.
With that being said, I hope people don't be too stuck in old ways. I hope not to see the typical paranormal 'gatekeepers' and have people be open to new ways and approaches. No matter how long you have been researching the paranormal, we are always learning and there are new people joining the field every day! Remember you were that newbie once too. The World is a different place and technology, technique and people, in general, have changed. Change is never easy for anyone but something we must embrace in order to move forward. I hope not to see some of the bullying that I have seen and been subjected to myself. I don't understand the competitiveness of some teams and when someone says something about it, their fan base pounces on you and claims you are 'jealous' of their success. I hope people understand and realise the power and responsibility that comes with having a following and the impact that some of their online campaigns can have on the mental health of individuals. We must remember that behind each name on the screen is a real person with thoughts and feelings. It is easy to get caught up in the drama but anyone with any sort of following should be leading by example. A lot of locations have slowly been distancing themselves from the paranormal due to the unwanted attention that the paranormal attracts and that includes some of the bickering between teams trying to get people kicked out of locations etc. It is up to us as paranormal researchers/investigators/ghost hunters whatever we call ourselves to take some personal responsibility here. We have to represent history accurately. We have to treat locations and their spirit inhabitants with respect. We have to hold each other accountable and be open to criticism. What we as a paranormal field do over the next 12 months can shape the direction of the field over the next few years. We want more places to open their doors, not close them. My hope is that we move the field forward, not backwards.
I personally feel very much out of place in the current paranormal field. I don't know if that is a good or bad thing. I am not so much interested in going out every weekend and investigating. I still do it of course, but just not every week like I used to. I am more interested in talking to people, collecting their stories and their experiences and just listening. I like reading books from researchers 100 years ago that basically did the same thing. They would collate all of these experiences and then write about their findings and theorise about the possibilities. In some ways, I feel like we need to get back to something like that and take the focus away from us and put it back on the paranormal phenomena itself. I struggle every day with people accusing me of being too skeptical or thinking I am invalidating their experiences because I talk about alternative possibilities, but I personally think that we don't see enough of this in the current paranormal landscape. Perhaps that is why I receive so much pushback, however as I mentioned in a previous article, I am remaining true to myself. So with that my personal goal is to become published in some more prominent paranormal journals/magazines/literature in 2023 and try to establish my name as a paranormal author/writer. I tried a few submissions this year and was knocked back but I am going to keep trying. I have been writing for 8 years now about the paranormal and if you have read some of my older blogs or even some of my earlier books, you will notice how much my writing has changed. I am constantly trying to grow and learn and improve and I plan to continue doing that for years to come.
Thank you for reading LLIFS in 2022 and I can't wait to see what 2023 has to offer. Stay Spooky friends x
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