Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Can an explanation be too obvious?

Crows in a treeOne of the more interesting questions I'm never asked is: how did I first get involved with xenonormal studies? Well, it started on ASSAP investigations many years ago. I was on ghost vigils at places with a well-known reputation for being haunted. In particular, there were haunting hot spots within buildings where the same odd events were repeatedly reported by different witnesses on separate occasions. I knew what to expect, which goes against the principle of ghost vigils but it shouldn't have mattered as these were well investigated cases.

On several occasions I saw or heard exactly what I had been told to expect. Except that what I was experiencing clearly had an obvious (to me) natural explanation. My first reaction was that I must be mistaken. The 'real' haunting phenomenon must be something else, much less obviously explained. But what I was experiencing matched precisely what had been reported. Surely it couldn't be that simple? Except that it was. And if I hadn't known what to expect I would have reported no strange activity whatsoever.

So how come previous investigators hadn't already realised the obvious explanation for these hot spot phenomena? Maybe, like me, they thought it couldn't be that simple. But why had the original witnesses reported these things as haunting phenomena in the first place? Well, I've witnessed odd phenomena in my every day life that have, for a while at least, had me completely mystified. I've documented some of them in this blog down the years. It is entirely likely for witnesses, not used to investigating strange phenomena, to report unusual but normal stuff as paranormal.

This is why xenonormal studies are so useful. Just as the police rely on techniques like forensics to solve crimes, so we paranormal investigators need our own specialized techniques, like those that come out of xenonormal studies. I wouldn't, for instance, analyze an anomalous photo if I did not have a knowledge of photographic anomalies. Nor would I analyze an EVP recording without checking to see if might be formant noise. And I would not guess likely causes of a ghost sighting without fiirst considering the possibilities of misperception or hallucination. And I also would never dismiss a possible explanation simply because it seemed 'too obvious'.

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