I am very much an advocate for reading. I think there is so much that can be learnt from reading books and in particular the works, ideas and experiences of others who have walked a similar path before us. It helps us to learn from their mistakes, form our own views and spark new ideas of theories. I have been reading about the paranormal a lot of my life, however, I have only been out investigating the paranormal in locations for around 8 years now. Books, reading and research still make up a very large portion of the work that I do, but there are some things I never would have learnt if it had not been for paranormal investigating.
Equipment is a very controversial area when it comes to the paranormal. The equipment itself is not necessarily indicating that there is a ghost or spirit in the room. There is no way to prove that it is picking up a ghost or spirit. You are relying on a person's interpretation. While a K-II may go off, for example, one person may be able to determine it is coming from a pulse being sent out from an alarm system, while the person next to them will establish they feel it is paranormal. A lot of people like to use ghostboxes and believe a voice coming through is a spirit, others think they are broken radios that. are just picking up on radio chatter. What is important to say here though is that these people have all gained their opinion by actually using the equipment and having these experiences out in the field. People can sometimes get quite aggressive in a passionate way about how they feel others should be investigating the paranormal. It is based on their own experiences and opinions. They only gained these experiences and opinions by actually being out in the field. It is not fair to say to someone 'don't use this equipment it is useless' without giving them the opportunity to discover this for themselves. It reminds me of when you travel abroad. When I travelled to the UK, so many people told me to avoid Stonehenge. "It's a waste of money! You can view it from the street! It was a waste of my day to travel and look at rocks!" I however had Stonehenge on my bucket list since I was young so I was going regardless of what they had told me. It remains an experience I treasure to this day. While they may have felt it was a waste of time, it was an experience I needed to have.
I am not a person that is huge on paranormal equipment. I didn't just decide this one day. It came from a lot of money spent on equipment I found I didn't need. It came from the weekend after weekend of investigating and testing the equipment. It came from sessions where at home I was using the equipment to see what kinds of things in my house set it off. I learnt from my own experiences. While I share these with others as a list of things to be mindful of, I am not telling them not to use this equipment, but simply to mindful of the fact that these are all of the things that I have found that can make it give a false positive. Just this weekend after investigating Black Rock House for 6 years, I had never placed a Rem Pod on the bed with a metal frame before. After the Rem Pod was going nuts, while some people initially got excited, I said "ok let's try and figure out what is happening here before we get excited." As a group, we spent about 10 minutes with our different ideas and we discovered that the metal frame was acting as a conduit. By touching the bed frame, even though the Rem Pod was far away enough, just lightly touching the bed frame caused it to go off. I don't even know if I would have discovered this without us brainstorming. Here I was learning or being inspired with theories from some people who had never been on an investigation before.
I was a person that was very serious about investigating the paranormal. I am still am, but I know how to have fun of course. I was more interested in my own paranormal research rather than running public tours. I was very anti-tour many years ago because in order to do any real research, you had to pay a lot of money to places that often had a bit of a monopoly on the locations to bring in money for the locations. I later learnt that this is what keeps the locations open. They need that money. I had it in my head that the tour companies or groups that ran the tours were making millions. How very wrong I was and I will admit here that I was wrong. When I started working with Black Rock House, for example, it was purely for research. After talking to them, they were unknown and unsure of their future. They had no money coming in and it would be a matter of time before the council decided the land is more valuable as something else - something that typically happens. I wanted to help them. Long story short, I now run tours out of there. I don't make a cent doing it as I work as a volunteer. I was doing everything I said I would never do. It did however have a very unexpected benefit, besides being able to investigate whenever I wanted and having constant access to the same location. I got to observe people.
I got to remove myself from the excitement and adrenaline of a paranormal investigation. I was able to watch as people would become excited and feel something paranormal was happening, but I could see the cause because I was standing back watching. I saw as people influenced each other. I saw as people convinced each other that something paranormal was happening. It made me a much better investigator because I could see what was happening. I could stop it in its tracks or tell people this is what is happening right now. I thought I knew a lot, but after starting tours, I learnt a whole new perspective I may not have otherwise seen. I also learnt about myself and how I too could overreact to things. I learnt how my own body reacts to my surroundings. You don't know how you will react to a situation until you are in it. By stepping back and not necessarily investigating but just watching, there is so much more you can learn. So while you are out at an investigation, you don't necessarily have to be investigating. While many people like to have a full kit of equipment, a notepad and pen can be your most powerful tool.
This brings me to the next point.
It doesn't matter if you have been in the field for 50 years or 5 minutes, there is always something you can bring to the table. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes can give us a perspective we haven't yet thought of. I have spoken before that I was once inspired to study ultrasound after a person casually asked me if a bat flying overhead could affect the equipment we were using. At that time, I didn't have an answer for that and it was honestly something I had never even considered. This person had never been on an investigation before, in fact, they just came along with a friend because they were curious. They sparked in me a whole area of research I may never have been led to had it not have been for their comment. If I had not been out at a location where bats fly overhead every night (as they do at many locations), the question would not have been asked.
I have been investigating Black Rock House for example for 6 years on a very consistent basis. While I may think I know all there is to know about the house, I am still always learning little 'quirks' of the house that people would often think are paranormal. When it gets very windy for example, the wallpaper crackles as there is not plaster on the walls, but wooden planks so it can also draft. This was something I only learnt recently when I saw photos of the house before the wallpaper went up. In the past, the noise from the crackling wallpaper and a cold draft would easily have a person they were not alone. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I am always learning something new about that place.
We have become a society where we are literally telling others to "do as I say not as I do." While someone may have had decades of experiences out in the field investigating the paranormal, it means they have learnt things along the way. Whether they care to admit it or not, they have made mistakes. They have wrongly thought something was one thing when it was another. They have been caught up in the hype. They have even used a piece of equipment they will tell you not to use. They have gained their knowledge from these experiences. You are entitled to have these moments as well. We can read about the mistakes our peers have made, if anything it aids us going forward because we know it is something to be mindful of. It could even help us to understand a piece of equipment better. So while we should be sharing our experiences and our knowledge, we should not be discouraging people from going out and having their own
What is equally important is to share your experience with people. So many people think that they don't have something to offer or that because they don't have a blog or a youtube channel that no one cares about what they have to say. This is not correct at all! It is important you share your experiences and thoughts with others. It doesn't have to mean creating a social platform to share your thoughts, but just contributing to discussions, adding your opinions and thoughts can help so many people. Even if it helps one person, you have made a difference. As much as we want things to be paranormal, most of the time, they are everything but. While you may not have the explanation for something, someone else just may. Most of the time you only get this kind of knowledge from actually being out in the paranormal field.
Make mistakes but own them. Get excited and then debunk it. Ask questions. Listen to people who are offering their opinions or explanations. This is how you learn and it adds to your experience. Revisit old experiences and ask yourself if you can now explain them. You would be surprised how even 1 year of investigating can make a difference to how you view a situation. All each person knows about the paranormal, no matter how confidently they talk about it is based on their own opinions, experiences, and research. While there are a lot of people worth listening to who can help you, make sure you are also gathering your own. One day it could be you writing the book about everything you have learned that people will be looking back on 50 years from now helping them to forge the path on their own paranormal research.
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