Keeping up with the ghosts

5th June 2023. Reading Time: 15 minutes General, Paranormal Investigation. 1405 page views. 0 comments.

Technology is evolving at such a rate that we cannot keep up. How does this impact paranormal research? The paranormal field itself is changing immensely. It certainly is not the field I joined a decade ago, yet it also doesn't look the same as it did even a year ago.   To make things even more confusing, it also seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. With all these advancements, are we any closer to answers than we were 100 years ago?

I was recently revisiting some of the older articles I have written as a part of this blog.  It has been 8 years now and while I have removed some older blog posts as the years have gone on, most have stayed up as I felt it was important to show my own personal growth and I guess highlight the journey I have had in paranormal research.  8 years' worth of content and photos has become quite expensive to host.  I am soon moving to a new website and I will need to trim down what I bring across because realistically, I cannot afford to host the website at the size it is at the moment.  (This is where my aversion to ads on my website and not having a paywall comes to bite me but a decision I proudly stand by nonetheless.). My husband told me I would have to start going through my articles and galleries to decide what I would be migrating across.  It has been quite the trip reading what I wrote (rather terribly) in the early days through to now.  What I found particularly interesting was how out of date some of the articles seemed, even though they were only a couple of years old.  It then made me think about technology in general and its relationship with the paranormal field.

Technology has and will continue to evolve.  When I first started high school, we had rows of typewriters to learn touch typing.  It was a huge thing for the school to get their first computer lab.  I certainly would never have thought that over the next few decades, I would be able to hold a powerful computer that fits in my handbag and also acts as a portable telephone.  Technology itself is evolving at such a rate that we can't keep up.  The advancements in recent months with AI have people calling to slow it down until it can be better understood.  As someone who works in IT, I know first-hand that things are out of date the moment we use them.  There is always a patch or update on its way the next day.  We just can't keep up.  In some ways, it feels like that in the paranormal field.  It certainly is not the field I joined a decade ago, yet it also doesn't look the same as it did even a year ago.   To make things even more confusing, it also seems the more things change, the more they stay the same.  We have to ask the question ...

Even with advancements in Science and technology, are we any closer to answers when it comes to the paranormal than we were 100 years ago?

Before I tell you my thoughts, I have asked this very question on some of my social media channels and wanted to share some of the different viewpoints, because I think it is important to note that there isn't really a right or wrong answer to what is indeed a loaded question (and intended to be).  It really comes down to personal viewpoint and perception which in some ways is kind of what our belief in the paranormal is all based on.  So here is what you had to say on the matter (I have tried to include a range of viewpoints.  These are posted exactly as written by the poster):

Many are starting to think more critically and learning what to look for and the understanding of a few reality-based things is starting to sink in. However, belief and wishful thinking is still a big set back. People are becoming more lazy, thanks to TV and social media. Thinking, actual research and working things out has become a chore and many just don't do it. Investigations have become "lives" for followers and documentation has become "filming for the channel". Those things have created hoaxers. Basically too impatient to wait for the real evidence to happen, so they create it themselves. It gets attention, fans, money ...without much effort. Fad chasers. They use popular fad gadgets for quick "evidence". Everyone else is using them, so they must be good, right? In my opinion the field hasn't progressed forward at all in the past few decades. I'd say it's gone sideways, on a tangent. Theres a different focus and different goals now. Having said that im seeing quite a few debunking channels starting up which is a great development, in my opinion. Only a small few are still in there, chipping away in search of the reality and answers. I have faith it'll get better though. Patience is the key!

Mark Wallbank

Let me go against the grain here my friends & I may piss some people off with this response, but I truly believe that totally treating the afterlife like a science experiment is useless if you expect or want some kind of interesting phenomena to occur & I also believe that we aren't supposed to know curtain things until it's our "time".
I get that science is very important & continually gaining knowledge to debunk or explain activity is critical but imo most people are neglecting the most vital step.....connection.
I truly don't give a fuck about the how & whys & the flashing toys of the paranormal but instead treat communication with spirits/ghosts/energies like any other normal human interaction, respecting history & names....there is a purity in that focus that seems to really work.
I, my team & event attendees have witnessed some remarkable things....& please be aware that I don't just jump to "unexplained" with out first using critical/sceptic thinking when something interesting occurs, something that anyone who has sat in the dark with me would attest to.
I get that most people love the research side of things & that's cool if that's what your interested in, but science isn't what drives this weirdo, I simply want to be friends with these souls & they do seem to appreciate it.....Different Strokes ????

Rob Wilson

Agree with Mark except I do believe it has progressed. Awareness was the biggest if not the #1 advancement in paranormal research/investigation. The more people were exposed the more acceptable it was. Given that 25 years ago, the field was pretty much a taboo subject only discussed among the mentally challenged. And just like any new field or theory it needs to go through its growing pains; baby steps to start, excited and all gung ho, and as toddlers, grabbing everything to test it. Then like a teenager, testing the limits and experimenting with all the gadgets wanting fame and a TV show. By middle age, those seeking the thrills and chills have fallen by the wayside for lack of stamina and knowledge. And now what we have left are the veterans/old timers who are still researching and investigating and are serious to find the answers after 20+ years. But even we had to be awakened with the awareness that something was out there and take those baby steps.

Jackie Meador

I feel people are becoming more reliant on equipment and less on their own senses.
People think because they have all this equipment they are better equipped, but in reality, in most cases equipment these days is a distraction and more so when people don’t know how to use the gear correctly, therefore leading to false positives being classed as evidence.
So, overall I believe we are more open and free to the explore the paranormal than 100 years ago, but I believe we are becoming to dependent on technology that many don’t use correctly.
Just my thoughts.

William M Tabone

I agree with tid bits of most comments. This Is very much a controversial topic because of the diversity of people "Paranormal Investigators" in an ungoverned field. Which leaves the range WIDE open from sensible and logical right through to the outright absurd.
To answer the question - No i don't beleive we are closer scientifically to finding an answer even with a better awareness or with today's technology, well not in our lifetime anyway.
Some things are beyond what we are scientifically meant to know.

Miha Sam

Honestly, technology has helped shed light on (and confirm) the fact that “something paranormal” is definitely going on out there, beyond our ability to sense said activity…
The two most tangible revelations that I can personally point to:
Working in a solo capacity, my audio recording research indicates that the beings coming through HAVE AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT VIEW OF “TIME” from the way we experience it — TIME doesn’t appear to be linear for them - Precognition is common place > > They’ve demonstrated this over and over again
Mirror transfiguration sessions indicate that “Spirit beings” literally blink in and out of our atmosphere in a matter of a fraction of a second (calls to mind the way electrons “disappear” from an atom, only to reappear in an entirely different orbital position) - Some phantom energies appear for a longer span of time, but the majority of appearances are very brief
One more: On recording they’ve also confirmed that Spirit Orbs are “The Light Inside Us” — On occasion, I’ll see them enter the room I’m in - During one recording session I mention seeing an orb - that’s what prompts Spirit to both confirm and elaborate on my “sighting” > > Yes, not ALL circular light anomalies are actual Spirit energies - Nevertheless, they DO exist

Kenda Elise

I would like to see the scientific community being open to the possibility of paranormal /psi phenomena.
Scientists that attempt
to study this field are generally ridiculed, then shunned by the community - therefore it is career suicide to even look into the possibility of phenomena being possible.
Anne Rzecowicz

My first response is we are more educated and less likely to jump to the paranormal conclusion, like they did back in the spiritualism days. Well... most of us.... I hope. Actually who even knows ????

Peet Banks

Equipment is interesting to use (I dont personally, but have many close friends who do) and we find that sometimes it is quite interesting, but it does not completely guarantee what the piece of equipment is reacting to is paranormal. Certainly it suggests a fluctuation of the atmosphere, energy etc around that specific piece of equipment. I think also it can take away from the experience when we rely too much on equipment. We are the best paranormal tools you can use, but as you write in your books Sarah, there are also other possible explinations as well. Having an open mind, and looking at all possibilites is something I find lacking, so it would be nice to see people exploring those avenues and jumping on the "Its Paranormal" train.

Mystic Jewelz

No. E.J. Dingwall once wrote "Hardly any progress at all has been made since Myers laid down the guide rules in 1903. Indeed, things seem to be more mysterious now than they were then"

Nemo C. Mörck

Advancements in Sci. & Tech. allow us to more often answer the question What isn’t paranormal?

Steve Parsons

Interesting question. Yes. It’s forcing a reevaluation of fundamental reality. We are moving towards idealism. That’s the progress, but the leap is too large for many minds.

Craig Weiler

There were so many more responses, I wish I could include them all, however, please feel free to put your comments at the end of this thread.  There is a wide range of answers and it is something I find really fascinating.  I have also had people from different areas reach out and what to have a proper chat about this in a more interview style, so I am looking at maybe doing some live or pre-recorded chats if my confidence allows so we can really have a chat about this issue.  I don't think there is a right or wrong answer as such.

So what do I think I hear you ask? 

Here is my own personal take.  Methods have changed, and whether a person is using a phone app or an old compass, I am not sure either method really gets us much closer to any of the definitive answers.  We know that phenomena exist, but what we don't really know beyond theorising, is what actually causes it.  What I think has changed is that we have a better understanding of the human mind and how it works which we can apply to paranormal research.  As many have commented and something I agree with, people are a lot more educated and informed and not necessarily as willing to accept something as paranormal. A lot of this has come from a lot of fieldwork and is a testament to why it is important to get boots on the ground to get out there and really understand something which is what a lot of paranormal investigators are doing.  In short, we don't know about some of the very normal things that can scare us until we see them and work them out and debunk them.  Social media in a lot of ways has helped us to spread the word and get this information out there so this is one of the positives when it comes to technology aiding us.  Some of the ideas that were quite fringe and taboo back in the early days of parapsychology are now also embraced and people are challenging the typical viewpoint of what a ghost could be, something that is also quite important in my mind. We are also not as deeply enriched in religion as we may have been 100 years ago which also plays into it as well.  One of the intriguing things about writing my Ghosts of the Past series was seeing how easily a simple noise was mistaken as something paranormal, simply because at the time it was something to be feared on top of a basic lack of understanding. It doesn't discount the fact however that hundreds of years later, people are still experiencing things that they believe to be paranormal. 

The spiritualist era taught us a lot about human nature and deception.  I would argue that the current modern-day paranormal investigation is really an evolution of spiritualism.  As I mentioned, people are no longer deeply enriched in religion, but they still need something to believe and perhaps the paranormal fills that void or that gap, and giving them that something they are seeking. It is the very base concepts and perhaps the human nature side of things that keep it grounded and very much the same in some ways.  People are driven to investigate or research the paranormal usually stemming from an experience they couldn't explain.  There will always be fraudulent activity.  Whether it is a spiritualist medium rapping on a table 100 years ago or a person making a fake poltergeist video for Youtube in the hopes it goes viral today, the motivation for attention through deception is still there.  The methods are certainly different and technology plays a big part in that, but the core act of fraud and deception itself is very much the same.  It is these human elements that in a lot of ways do not change.  I personally believe that we need to understand a lot more about the human mind, human emotions and human nature itself to be able to understand paranormal phenomena.  If we are not there to experience, witness or even cause it, would it even happen at all?  A response I have been given to this statement before is something along the lines of CCTV cameras capturing such activity thus proving it is happening.  From my point of view, however, we have to witness and interpret that video for it to be seen so therefore we are back in that experiencer driver's seat.  Some may argue that technology has allowed us to explore the paranormal in different ways through spirit boxes, devices, cameras and all sorts of gadgets.  In my point of view, it has really just given us a different way to experience it.  Regardless of how we are experiencing, it means we are still no closer to the answer of what is causing it.  

So maybe it is not about finding the answers.  Maybe it is about finding ourselves.  During the spiritualist era for example, people sought out mediums because they were experiencing grief and wanted to know their loved ones were ok.  Others were curious if the things they were seeing on stage really were possible.  That has now evolved into modern-day paranormal investigation.  Whether a person in the paranormal field says they want to help people or if they want to prove the existence of phenomena by posting videos, their intentions are good and solid, but they are still getting something from it on some sort of emotional and even creative level.  Some want to learn about history, while others are seeking connection be it with their fellow humans or with what they believe is the spirit world.  Ultimately, it is more about us than some of us care to admit.  Put simply, we wouldn't be doing it if we didn't enjoy it or get something from it.  The curiosity of the unknown is something that has been around for centuries and will likely never leave us. Technology can evolve all it likes, however human nature at its core remains and that is where we are somewhat stuck in a cycle which is again maybe the way it is supposed to be.  Even if there was undeniable proof technology allows us to produce, people still would have to believe and accept it.  While we may take small steps, I don't see us ever getting definitive answers, but maybe we also aren't supposed to and for now, that is OK for me too.  In the end, you do what works for you.

Now of course these are just my own thoughts and you may think differently and that is great!  One of the things we need to move the field forward, in any case, is respectful discussion.  So now I want to know from you, in 100 years time, will we be any closer than what we are now?

Write your thoughts in the comments below and please be respectful of one another :)

Cover Image Photo by Lisa Fotios Pexels

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