The primary goal of paranormal investigations is to capture evidence of the paranormal.  Like any science, hard,
provable, factual evidence that can be tested and retested is necessary.  This is what makes the paranormal field a
difficult one.  If spirits do indeed exist how can we expect them to jump through our hoops on command? If it were that
easy we would have proved an afterlife a long time ago.  The biggest thing I hear from people is that we aren’t objective;
that we all WANT to believe so we search out the answers that help prove our theories.

I will agree that through the years I have known people who have lost their objectivity. I don’t think they mean to hamper
the field, but because of the way they view things they lessen all of our credibility.  If one person cheats then it makes
people think we’re all cheaters.  There are a lot of issues and problems in the paranormal field right now, but for the
moment I’m choosing to focus on objectivity.

I don’t want to use specific examples because I don’t want to come across as attacking anyone. No one is perfect and I’
m certain I have my moments where I lose objectivity. I know that if I hear information about a place before we go I will
manage to find evidence supporting it.  Tell me that two little girls died in a house and I’ll think I hear giggling on an audio
playback. It’s not intentional. I’m not trying to make things up. But it’s something a lot of us do, plant a seed and it
blooms.  A great way to avoid finding false evidence is to not learn all the information about a place ahead of time. I
realize that this isn’t always possible. If you’re doing interviews with home owners you’re going to learn about what’s
going on. But if you have a paranormal group you work with you don’t need to share all the information with everybody. If
this is unavoidable or your group is small then when you get a piece of potential evidence share it with everyone (and don’
t tell them what you think you hear!). Ask for individual responses to see what other people hear. It’s a great way to not
influence their responses.

I know some people hate the idea of trying to “disprove” a haunting. While I don’t think you should spend your whole night
trying to disprove every account, I do think that if a homeowner hears rattling in the ceiling you should try to figure out
what might be causing that.  Where I live now, when you turn the bathtub on upstairs the water rushes down through the
pipes that are in the living room wall. It sounds like a baseball is in there with the water, banging at every turn.  Obviously
we quickly figured out the connection, but for a new homeowner it’s possible that they haven’t and think something is
banging their walls.  Likewise, when the master bathroom uses water out of any tap all the rest of the water in the house
goes cold.  This too has the potential to be misconstrued.

It’s important, as well, to look within your own team and gauge the objectivity of those you’re working with.  Review
people every now and then. Ask yourself what kind of evidence they’re finding. If they claim to be mediums or psychics
ask yourself if they come up with the same results at every investigation. Each home is different, just as each life is
different. It is very unlikely that you’re going to have a psychic say that they sense a small child, murdered by her father,
at every house.  Don’t construe this as an attack on psychics or mediums. I believe that there are true mediums and
psychics. I also believe that some people are faking it, or are not developed enough to be fully engaging themselves in
investigations as lead psychics. Maybe there is pressure to provide direction, but people should be honest with
themselves and work within their abilities. We all need to be honest about what we bring to the table. If you don’t pick up
a single piece of evidence, that’s fine.  You don’t need prove anything to anyone else. We shouldn’t care about who gets
that 100% absolute proof first, we should just celebrate it when it comes.

I’ve only been a part of M.C.P.I. for about a year, if even that long, and I’m impressed with this group. No one pretends
to be something they aren’t. Several members are skeptics who are very good at finding natural causes for the
suspected supernatural ones.  Some members don’t have a lot of experience investigating and aren’t afraid to ask for
advice or follow the direction of someone with more experience.  We have members who have great ideas for new
experiments – not all will pan out, but some have been quite ingenious.  Everyone brings something to the group and that
is a great way to help us remain objective on investigations.  On one investigation we thought we were getting footsteps
on a stage area, after numerous attempts by various investigators, we were able to figure out that a short hallway on a
higher floor was causing the noise. Some of the team remained skeptical that it was the cause, but the rest was fairly
certain. Being able to voice your opinions and be heard is important, even if the group remains divided about it. I think
that adds credibility to you and your team. There’s nothing wrong with telling a homeowner, business owner, or the
internet world, that “here’s what we caught, but not everyone is in agreement, we’ll let you decide”.
Monroe COUNTY PARANORMAL investigations
if you believe in the hereafter you know what we're here after
Objectivity In The Field
By: Jen Edmiston
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