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When a human being has an imaginary friend, they have the belief that the companion is real, but after years go by the human can lose that sense in believing in something unreal. It is mid day and the mother walks by her child and she sees her son playing with a red fire truck acting as if he is saving the lives of innocent people, then suddenly he starts to talk to an unknown person. The child acts as if he has known the being for a long time, the mother asks her son “Who are you talking to, honey?” “Oh it’s just my friend Cecil”. His answer was sufficient but is still chilling to hear. Even though she knows no one is there, she plays along with her son’s childish imagination. Suddenly she gets this eerie feeling that a man is breathing right next to her, she is stunned to find out that someone maybe there with them. “The concept of past lives or reincarnation has played an important role throughout history” (Williams). What if this make-believe individual was real at one point in time? And the human has the sense of thinking everything is authentic because of their innocence, and a persons life story is left behind within an energy source much like the human soul, trying to tell the story of the other side. This is also known as the paranormal side. Paranormal incidents can be a way for a past entity to leave their trace on society. Should people deny that there might be the possibility of another life after death?
Throughout history people have always been fascinated in other dimensions and space. The reason is because it is unknown and humans like to have journeys of discovery. The paranormal realm is just one of those places of the unknown. Throughout recent history, man has explored the dimension of the paranormal to find out information on it; for example, Thomas Edison the great American inventor created certain audio devices to see if people can communicate from the grave. He believed that everything in this world has some kind of energy attached to it. These devices helped the dead to channel their energy to commune with the living. Recent advances in technology allow humans to discover more in depth information about the deceased.
When in an investigation there are certain names for different hauntings; these consist of: residual, free roam, confusion and purgatory (Tilson). Residual hauntings are re-occurring events within a building or area; these hauntings are set off by an anniversary or specific date in time. Free roam and confusion are similar because the spirit doesn’t want to leave; hence the free roaming. They are in a state of absolute confusion and the soul doesn’t know where to go, so they stick around until they get out of the trance of confusion. Purgatory on the other hand, is where a soul is kept for a period of time. Usually the spirit is given a final chance to do well before their final judgment.
Vicious or unsettling activity can set the perfect mood for a haunting to occur. Paranormal Investigators all around the world say when a human is killed or dies in an unnatural or brutal way, they tend to leave certain energies behind. Entities are known as a “Ghost” or spirit. Entities can be good, lost souls, angels or just pure evil, also known as demons. In theory, if a human is very bad tempered, and when he or she dies, there is no doubt that the soul will change (Tilson). Many hauntings have been reclassified from being demonic to just being unreasonable souls or the “bad tempered ones.” An investigator needs to be careful when dealing with any entity, the reason being is the canvasser or investigator (in most cases) does not know anything about an entities past life; Once again they can be good, bad, angelic, or demonic. There is another kind of entity, somewhat common, but have unique cases, they are called poltergeist. Poltergeists are entities that can be demonic or just the trouble makers (Oberding), which usually center themselves on a unique individual or place. A poltergeist can search the thoughts and actions of a human and being a mischievous spirit it uses those thoughts and actions against a center pole (Howling), a center pole is referred to the place or being in which a poltergeist centers it around. A very effective way to get rid of one of these spirits is to perform an exorcism or cleansing, however sometimes they can become more effective in there levels of hauntings.
Certain buildings and areas tend to have more history than others, for example a casino could possibly have more activity than a hotel, some casinos can be ruthless as in, when an individual couldn’t pay their debts to the casino they would simply get rid of him or her. This malevolent behavior would disturb a death to a point where the spirit would stay behind. Many persons would also commit suicide over their debts; this is another indication of an uneasy death. Hotels rank high just for the reason of random tragedies such as suicides and murders. Private residences rank the highest since people spend more time there. Events can trigger anything in a home. Triggers can range from homicides to old age, but can also have very diabolic actions. Places with paranormal phenomena are all over the globe; from military bases to churches and cemeteries each can have there own specific stories and folklore to support abnormal incidents (Williams 53). Hospitals have the highest amount of activity when it comes to clairvoyant occurrences because there is so much death and emotions that are believed to be left behind for other generations to endure upon.
Simple guidelines that a Ghost hunter follows are somewhat common sense. These guidelines will consist of the following: be aware of your surroundings and also never taunt or dare an entity. This way an investigator doesn’t get hurt. One should show no emotions like fear, because spirits and demons can use it against the hunter. Investigators should always have a good attitude and trust their instincts. Most importantly they should all stay away from Ouija boards, satanic worshiping and séances (Sommers). While doing the investigation, the ghost hunter should ask questions relevant to their information and to local accounts, say names of the dead and talk about their past lives. All of these examples could trigger the activity in the area or building.
Acquiring the facts for a certain region or building can come in handy later in an investigation; for example knowing the history of an old home is vital to an owner so they know if any tragedies have taken place. This can be achieved easily though books, news articles, magazines, online sources, and local state archives. This helps an investigative team to do a background check on the place or building, knowing certain details will determine what the team would do and how to act at the location. For example, if there were countless deaths at a hotel an investigator could address those names found through research to test if any activity would come up to the surface and present itself. Personal claims are claims of local persons that know certain details that have occurred to them personally. This helps the investigative team determine if the claims are efficient to the acquired facts. Sometimes the claims can be exaggerated and could throw off the team in their investigations which is why the facts can back up the claims, sometimes it’s vice versa.
Some common terms used by investigators during investigations consist of the following: Afterimage, this expression is when something dies off and leaves behind certain traits of its existence. In theory when a human dies it is possible for it to leave precise behaviors of its life behind, most commonly is emotions and places where they spent a great deal of time. The word Transference has similar meaning to afterimage but it is the action of the “image,” this means the behaviors of the human reoccurring to another human in life, feeling the energy left behind by a spirit in most cases. The perfect example of a transference afterimage would be olfactory; this is a smell of a deceased person left behind, much like cigar smoke and perfumes. Another paranormal word would be the concept of Concretism this is the practice of proving one another that an idea is authentic; for instance, a paranormal investigator has the sense of concretism at hand but always lives the life of a skeptic, always proving or disproving an idea. The word “Orb” is used in common life, orb is simply a ball of light such as the sun, moon, star, etc. it self illuminates much like a free floating light bulb. From a paranormal stand point it is a self illuminating source of light, moving in odd and uncommon paths from a room of a building to another room (Howling).
Certain ways to capture paranormal activity can be accomplished through simple steps and procedures, these will consist of: research and knowledge, photography, audio recordings and video footage. The research and knowledge prior to an investigation will give the team tools that they would need during the investigation itself, from knowing a dead persons name all the way to just a visitor of the area or structure. Ever since the creation of photography, many people have looked at it as an art and others thought it was an opportunity to record certain events. Paranormal investigators think of it as a tool to record the unexplained (Bord 6). Digital cameras have become popular and tend to have more options, so a paranormal investigator will tend to like digital cameras with six to eight mega pixel capability. “The most commonly used name brand cameras used by Northern Nevada investigative outfits is the Nikon tm eight mega pixel digital camera with the usual shutter speed of 400” says Bert Tilson of Full Moon Paranormal Investigations.
Opposed to the visual images of photography, video is the next step up. Recording a set of images, putting them in order over a period of time, gives a person a video. In an investigation, teams prefer to do it at night this heightens the abnormal activity. Since there is very little light exposure, a video camera with the capability of night vision is needed. Infrared scanning also makes better-quality recordings. Some video cameras with infrared qualifications will be connected through cables to a digital video recorder. A few of these cameras do not have audio recording technologies, so they are called the “stand alone cameras” (S.A.C. for short) but can still record the basic night time video. The digital video recorder, accounts for all of the footage, it saves, dates and reviews all actions taking place.
To complete a full paranormal investigation, capturing audio gives another perspective for all. An audio recorder can record the sounds happening during an investigation. The voice activated feature on most audio recorders help teams around the world with their research, with the voice activated feature turned on, the recorder will only verify what it determines as a human voice. This limits the white noise during the recordings. White noise is the blending of sounds in levels of audible frequencies (Howling). Televisions are most common to have white noise on static or an off air channels. Electronic Voice Phenomena regularly obtained during an investigation, it is a voice recorded but can only be heard on play back and not in real time (Oberding). Electronic voice phenomena help the dead communicate with the living. A spirit channels its energy through certain audio frequencies using white noise it can say a word or even a phrase allowing it to can talk to the living. Some can channel so much energy that when played in real time, the human ear can pick it up. During the investigation, a recorder is placed next to an infrared camera to catch sounds next to the camera; this provides cross reference for the analysis. A specific recording acquired from electronic voice phenomena is a disembodied voice; this is an unnatural voice coming from free floating body and non living creatures.
Aside from the recording equipment mentioned earlier, other well known equipment used are electromagnetic field detectors (EMF) that become aware of changes in the electromagnetic fields, microwaves and other electronic appliances could give a false reading. By theory between two to seven millagauss (what e.m.f.s are weighted in) can be associated with a spirit (Tilson). A more sophisticated electromagnetic field detector is called a Cell Detector it is sensitive and can range from ten to fifteen feet. In the color spectrum, Infrared is a invisible ray that can have heat signatures, sometimes ghosts and spirits are said to give off these rays and an infrared temperature meter can record the fluctuations in that specific infrared heat. Regular thermometers help when the temperature rises and falls drastically. Ghost are said to have a very cold temperature.
When finished with an investigation, an analysis is to be done. A recorded audio, video, temperatures, and photos need to be reviewed. An average overnight investigation can last from five to twelve hours long. The process of review is done in real time and can take the same time to complete as the investigation. Equipment used for this specific part of the investigation is more technical and is easiest on a computer. Most teams have a central headquarters where computers have software to analyze the evidence. For photos there are a number of programs to serve as a viewer or editor, such as Microsoft Office Picture Manager Tm or QuickTime Picture Viewer Tm. A team of investigators in Northern Nevada called Full Moon Paranormal Investigations uses a program called Picasa Tm it is efficient and affordable (Tilson). For video, the digital video recorder can connect to most televisions and could be viewed there or can be converted to a video file on a flash drive or storage device that can be viewed on a computer. For the audio portion of the evidence the team could use countless audio viewers, for Full Moon and many others the popular software is Adobe Tm Audition or Sound Booth; here a person or investigator can intensify, amplify and utilize other innumerable options as well. An average computer can run all of these programs and would not slow down the process of an analysis.
In the end of a very successful investigation with evidence, ghost hunting teams are presented with numerous information and proof. A successful photo could have tons of examples like orbs, apparitions and protoplasm. Protoplasm is a gas high in temperatures and is another known way of a spirit trying to present itself. For videos, the result could be the same but video can illustrate the movement of objects such as free roaming apparitions and orbs. Audio completes the puzzle giving a total visual on the prior investigation. In a successful study audio examples are filled with electronic voice phenomena, disembodied voices, unknown crashes, thuds and noises. Much of the audio can be a counter reference for the video and in some cases the photos. It also supports the other findings when presenting it to the public. The final recorded evidence is usually the temperatures that are recorded by the equipment or the investigator him or her self. This can be much like the audio backing up the other records. Unpredictable changes in temperature can be counter references to the other evidence as well.
In conclusion paranormal incidents can be a way for a past entity to leave their trace on society. Should people deny that there is the possibility of another life after death? There are things that cannot be explained and to debunk or prove these exist all people can do is research, investigate and analyze the information in hopes of finding the answer. It is easier on investigative teams due to recent advances in technologies which can support the idea of an afterlife that exists on earth; however, sometimes sciences can’t explain it, which is why it’s called the paranormal.
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