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 and hopes for the paranormal field in 2021 on both a personal and general level.
The paranormal field is more popular than ever before. It is now socially acceptable to spend your weekends out there ghost hunting, hell it is even cooler now. Over the last two years especially, they have probably watched lots of live streams or paranormal shows and are finally ready to try it themselves! Like many of us, someone will go on their first investigation and they will get the bug. They will want to do it more and more. Friends will get together and may even start a group. As someone who has been in the field longer, we need to reach out and offer support and guidance. We often complain about people not being educated when it comes to the paranormal, so it is time we took accountability and did something about it. Give them source material. Give them advice. Often people will reach out and want to work with another group or even contact you to say they want to join your team. While you don't have to say yes, give them a bit of help. Give them the guidance they need. If everyone ignores them, they have no choice but to try and figure things out on their own which is a shame because there are a lot of great minds out there they can learn from! It can even be as simple as recommending them a good website to get them started. **cough I have a great suggestion**
We as investigators do love a good toy. I have had almost every piece of equipment out there. Most of it does not get used anymore, and if it does, it is for people to use on tours. I will always try something new, but we have to remember that nothing is proven to actually 'detect' spirits. More so, equipment is reading the environment around us so it is up to us to work out what is going on. Things go through phases. For a while, K11s were pretty popular, until people realised how easily they could be interfered with. Spirit boxes were pretty popular and then the portal devices became a must-have as well. A few years ago it was the Ovilus. In 2017 I feel like it was static electricity detectors. 2019 saw two trends. Data logging was becoming popular again (YAY) and a lot of people were getting onto the EDI. In 2020 cat toys or more specifically bat balls that light up became the new thing.
In 2021, I noticed the rise of apps. Now I used to be pretty against apps because at the time it was fairly obvious they were for entertainment purposes (and kind of still are). Phones have evolved quite a lot now and can actually be a tool used to collect data. If you are measuring sound decibels, for example, some models of phones can actually do that now meaning they could be useful. LiDAR is something I see becoming quite big in 2022. While it was used in 2021, now that more and more people have newer phones, they will have LiDAR capabilities. The LiDAR scanners on phones measures how long it takes light to reflect back from objects. This essentially creates a depth map of your surroundings. This is how your phone can take measurements of a room or even allow you to 'decorate' your home virtually. Along with Face ID technology, people also use this feature now within apps such as Ghosttube to recreate SLS camera software. Other people are also developing similar apps and even fine-tuning them with similar capabilities. For many, it means they have a way of using SLS type technology without carrying around a large device or spending a lot of money. The principle is really the same as using a kinect sensor. It is mapping objects and people use it to see if it can map something we are not seeing with our own eyes. I personally don't like using this kind of technology but a lot of people do so I suppose I would go into it with an open yet critical mind.
Image Source: GhostTube SLS App
While the above app doesn't need LiDAR, there are apps that ghost hunters are using that does rely on LiDAR technology. I see it being used as a makeshift night vision camera. This video will explain how just one developer has created an app to do just that.
I am not an expert on LiDAR technology and I haven't made these apps so can't tell you the code behind it, which brings me to my final point. Always understand how something works. Remember no piece of equipment or app can tell you something is paranormal. It just gives you readings and it is YOU that interprets and determines the results.
I mean I guess this is a given, but we seem to act surprised when it happens. I am outraged and surprised every single time but I shouldn't be. It's life and it is going to happen! It is likely you will encounter or at least hear about someone doing dodgy things in the field. It will make you angry. You work hard to do what you do and this person seems to be making a mockery of the field and makes us all look bad. It is going to happen. It is sad, it is wrong and it makes me angry too but it is going to happen. Focus on the positives and don't give the drama attention because it doesn't deserve it. You may even lose some friends or feel you have been betrayed by people close to you in the paranormal field. Ego can be a funny thing. So can jealousy. Make sure that you are doing what is right for you. Sometimes the people you work with don't fit anymore, and that is OK. It is important that you are working towards your dreams and what you want to do, and not someone else's. In a lot of cases, we have families to look after, households to run and jobs to work in. Our spare time is precious, so make sure you use it wisely. If you don't enjoy it anymore, take a break. Don't ruin it for those around you because you are not happy anymore. Life is too short and it is an expensive hobby, so make sure you enjoy it! If that means having to go alone and change things up, now is the perfect time to do just that! Equally, if there are people you want to work with, start getting the ball rolling. There is no time like the present and the beginning of a year is a perfect new start! New beginnings!
What I have noticed in recent months is that now in-person conventions are slowly getting off the ground again, some are failing while others have been outed for not paying their celebrity guests or not honouring refunds. I sadly see more of this happening in 2022. It has been happening since conventions have been around and anyone who has had anything to do with one will tell you that if you can't afford to pay for it upfront without relying on ticket sales, then don't do it because it will fold. Many guests are oblivious to a lot of the backstage drama as the speakers put their grievances aside to give the attendees a great time! It is almost like the dirty little secret of paranormal events and conventions. I have been a victim of this first-hand with a paranormal convention here in Australia a few years ago and suffered embarrassment as a planned speaker and also lost hundreds of dollars I spent on flights and tickets to parts of the event that I never got back. It was a huge lesson learned especially of my own worth. There are lots of new conventions or events popping up all over the place. The pandemic has been hard on a lot of folks and some people don't have good money management skills. Some events will fold and people will be out of pocket. Do your research and if something looks like it is too good to be true, it probably is! If you are asked to have a stall or speak at a convention, make sure you lock down your contract and terms well before. If you are being asked to pay for things at the last minute that goes against your contract, it is not a good sign of what is to come - trust me! If there is no contract, you need to make one! I would also urge anyone buying tickets to any event/convention/investigation to check the terms and conditions and refund policy. If anything, we know things can be cancelled at the last minute due to covid restrictions and some people are unable to get their money back. Some also have some hidden requirements written in the fine print so read all terms before booking.
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.
With that being said, don't be too stuck in old ways and not evolve to trying something new. Try not to be a paranormal 'gatekeeper' and be open to new ways and approaches. No matter how long you have been researching the paranormal, we are always learning!
So what does 2022 have in store for LLIFS? Well, I will be back at Black Rock House which I am very excited about. I also hope to visit many more locations and even get back into photography again. Most of all, I hope to connect with many more of you next year and maybe even meet some of you in person. I am a very socially anxious person which may surprise a lot of people. If at an event I don't come up and say hello to every person it is not for any other reason than I am terrified to start a conversation with someone. I can stand in front of a room and deliver a talk or even run an investigation but afterwards, I am completely awkward. I am never one to make the first move in conversation in person nor online. So if you want to have a chat, I am always here and ready, just shoot me a message and I will happily have a chat! When I went solo over 4 years ago now to focus on my blog, it was the best thing for me and every year since then has just gotten better. I always thought I would be in a paranormal group, until it didn't work for me anymore. I never wanted to run tours, yet now I have access to a location I am in love with and I actually really enjoy what I do. The things you want to do will continuously be changing, but what is important throughout is that you are being true to yourself and that is what I plan to do. A new year is always a good opportunity to do just that, start something new! If there is something you want to do or if you have been thinking of taking a different path, now is a great time to do just that!
I am not planning on doing any books this year but I also know to never say never because that could change. I have some big plans for work with Zener Cards and I really want to launch my own deck which I have already designed. I am also looking at making an accompanying oracle deck for fun so that is my big commitment for 2022. I have stayed away from doing podcasts and interviews in 2021, but I am looking at maybe coming out of my shell a little in 2022. When above I wrote about how everyone has something they can contribute and use their voice, I also need to apply that to myself. I guess I also suffer from self-doubt and I think "why would someone want to listen to me on a podcast or watch an interview with me? What have I got to offer? My voice is so annoying people will tune out." I have to put that to the side and get my confidence back again and put myself out there so you might see a bit more of me in 2022. If anything though, I have a lot of reading and writing to do and I will continue to share what I find interesting! Running a website is not cheap and takes a lot of back end work and coding but I am proud to offer everything I do at no cost for everyone to enjoy. The blog will be remaining FREE for anyone to access and the Zener Card platform. The blog will also remain ad-free because honestly, I cannot stand ads popping up! I am forever upgrading and making things better so you will gradually see more and more improvements and features as time goes on! I will also continue to stock Haunted Magazine in 2022 and there are lots of exciting things happening with the magazine in Australia 2022 with more Aussie themed features coming your way!
So now I want to hear from you! What are your predictions for 2022 and what are your plans?
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