Friday, 25 January 2013

Why did I ever vigil in the dark?

VigilOK here's an admission - yes I've been on vigils where the lights were off. Why, you may well ask? Well, pretty much everyone did in those days, though I wouldn't do it now, obviously. So why did we do it then?

No one ever questioned the idea that vigils were held in the dark, at the time. Unfortunately, that's often the case in paranormal investigation. People do things because they've seen others doing it. They don't ask themselves WHY things are done like that. In many cases, like assumption-led methods, there IS no obvious good reason to do it at all. Investigators really should ask themselves WHY before they do anything. For instance, what is the purpose of a ghost vigil in the first place? Is it to verify what witnesses have said about a haunted location? Or a desire to experience something paranormal? To do scientific research? For a dare? Or something else entirely? Looking at how vigils are run there often seem to be no clear aims which is probably why most produce no clear results.

Anyway, I'm avoiding answering the 'dark vigil' question! The real answer is that I did them because everyone else did. If I ever thought about it, I think the reason would have been that dark conditions were thought to somehow 'encourage' paranormal phenomena! The 'evidence' for this would have come from physical mediumship séances, which are usually held in the dark (see one of my experiences here). But what evidence is there that physical mediumship requires the dark to work? I've never come across any.

The simple reality is this - nearly all ghosts have been seen in conditions of 'normal' illumination (whether daylight or artificial). There are only an extraordinarily tiny number of cases where ghosts were reported to glow, which is what would be required to see them in the dark. So, sitting in the dark means that you're likely to miss almost every ghost that's ever been seen! And that's before even considering the massively increased possibilities for misperception with low level lighting. The most obvious thing to do for a vigil would be to reproduce the illumination that occurred at the time when the original witnesses had their ghostly experiences.

I can't say why so many people still vigil in the dark today - you'd have to ask them. For my own part I'd say, if something doesn't make sense in paranormal research you should definitely question it. And if the answer sounds unreasonable, ask for the supporting evidence. Otherwise you could be entirely wasting years of your life.

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