Friday, 25 July 2014

Help eliminate natural causes more quickly

Dust particleEvery reported paranormal incident is different. However, most turn out, when investigated carefully, to be caused by one of a group of generic natural causes. If paranormal investigators were aware of these generic causes, it would greatly assist in eliminating natural explanations. And yet, I see obvious natural causes for apparent paranormal incidents overlooked routinely in accounts of investigations. Why is this?

I think the problem occurs like this. If a natural explanation is found, investigators lose interest in the incident concerned because it isn't paranormal. This is understandable because people don't become investigators to look into stuff that isn't paranormal. However, this results in a major loss of valuable information about the natural causes for apparently paranormal incidents. So the next person who comes across a similar incident has to start all over again from scratch.

It is, of course, the aim of xenonormal studies to explore natural explanations for apparently paranormal incidents. By collecting this information in a systematic way, and making it widely available, it becomes possible to check incidents for natural causes quickly and thoroughly. And eliminating natural causes is, of course, the central method of paranormal investigation.

Consider anomalous photographs, as an example. It is possible to categorize photographic artefacts into distinct types, by technical cause: object out of focus (eg. orbs, vortexes), long exposure (eg. light trails, transparent objects, flying rods), reflection (eg. some ghostly figures, UFOs), low lighting, low resolution, image noise and so on (see here for an account of these types). When I examine an anomalous photograph I don't concentrate on the obvious anomaly and wonder what it is. Instead, I ask myself, what is wrong with this photo? And nearly every time there will be a fault from the list above! And in a very high number of cases, that will turn out to be the most likely cause of the anomaly.

By studying the xenonormal scientifically, theories can be produced which can actually predict circumstances which will resemble the paranormal that have not even been reported yet! I have had this happen with anomalous photos. It is also possible, using such theories, to demonstrate to others how natural causes explain particular anomalous phenomena.

For instance, though most serious researchers accept that orbs are not paranormal, many do not have a clear idea how they are formed. I recently realised that it should be possible to video a bit of dust becoming an orb directly, thanks to the Orb Zone Theory. If you manipulate the depth of field of a video camera, so that you can see the edge of the Orb Zone, you can see orbs turn into the bits of dust that cause them (see video here). For more on exploring the Orb Zone, including a commentary on the video and stuff not reported 'in the wild' yet, like 'popping orbs', see here.

I don't expect investigators to give up the paranormal and go full time into xenonormal studies. But it would be helpful if they were to explore the natural explanations they find for anomalous incidents in more detail and share their results with everyone.

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