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Are Vigils A Waste Of Time?


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Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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Joined: 22 Jul 2008

I have done a lot of vigils over the years and most have been inactive. Are vigils the best way to investigate a haunting or are they a waste of time?

Mysteryshopper
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Are Vigils A Waste Of Time?

Vigils are certainly not as important as witness interviews and site investigation. However, they have their uses. As they are usually held at night, they can be useful for experiments in a controlled environment. For instance, you can test any theories you may have about what may be causing specific reported phenomena.

The 'popular' form of vigil, where investigators introduce their own 'phenomena' by bringing along mediums, holding seances, and so on, are not just useless but counter productive. They usually reveal little or nothing about the causes of the original haunting reports while introducing lots of new spurious 'evidence'. This new 'evidence' is then followed up by subsequent groups who vigil there, so further confusing the picture. This sort of vigil could take place anywhere, haunted or not, and would produce 'evidence'. I know of at least one popular venue where the only substantive evidence that it is haunted rests on 'popular' vigils. I suspect that it, and many other venues on the 'vigil circuit', is not haunted at all!

Ideally, people on vigils should know nothing about what the haunting phenomena have been reported at the site. This is becoming increasingly difficult to arrange so that psychological suggestion is becoming a serious problem in all but a few vigils. Sadly, this means that the evidence obtained from many current vigils is almost entirely useless.

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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Are Vigils A Waste Of Time?

I certainly agree with you. Being in the property allows you to carry out experiments designed to uncover what is being experienced and familiarise yourself with the location where the witness accounts are based. The 'popular' vigil format, though entertaining can only produce anecdotal evidence at best.

I know doing the website we have been careful not to put up locations we have been actively involved in investigating, so as not to influence visitors who go there etc.

Quote:
"They usually reveal little or nothing about the causes of the original haunting reports while introducing lots of new spurious 'evidence'. This new 'evidence' is then followed up by subsequent groups who vigil there, so further confusing the picture. This sort of vigil could take place anywhere, haunted or not, and would produce 'evidence'. I know of at least one popular venue where the only substantive evidence that it is haunted rests on 'popular' vigils. I suspect that it, and many other venues on the 'vigil circuit', is not haunted at all!"


I know of a Hall in Lancashire that may fit this description and probably half a dozen other locations Wink

Red Don's picture
Red Don
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Joined: 19 Oct 2008
Are Vigils A Waste Of Time?

If the popular form of vigil is of little use, what should investigators do on evenings in haunted locations? Carry out extensive site examinations? What sort of experiments can be carried out? I suppose they would depend upon the phenomena that has been reported at the location in question. I was going to ask what you consider to be equipment worth investing in, but I suppose it would depend upon what experiments you intended to do or how indepth a site examination your carrying out.

Mysteryshopper
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Joined: 15 Oct 2008
Are Vigils A Waste Of Time?

There is some room for people just sitting around trying to experience things, as well as experiments. However, the odds are heavily stacked against any results because paranormal phenomena may only occur every few weeks (or months or years!). Also, such people must know nothing of what has been reported at the site (something which is increasingly difficult to organise) so that suggestion cannot play a part.

On the whole, your time is probably best employed on exploring different options that might explain reported experiences.

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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Are Vigils A Waste Of Time?

Quote:
"However, the odds are heavily stacked against any results because paranormal phenomena may only occur every few weeks (or months or years!)."

The above mention of time scales got me thinking. There are so called anniversary ghosts which I am not convinced about. Does anybody know of paranormal activity that actually sticks to an established timetable or is it all totally random?

In a recent edition of ASSAP News (shameless plug there) there is an article that likens the popular vigil format to 'fishing' for an experience rather than investigating a case. I think refering to it as fishing is great and describes it very well Smile

Dave
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Joined: 14 Nov 2008
Are Vigils A Waste Of Time?

It really does depend on what your vigil consists of and what is known about the site. If a certain act is reported to occur how best are you going to capture it other than by sitting and waiting. I appreciate the problems with already being knowledgable about the venue but then why would you chose to investigate it and how would the account of witnesses be of any use.

A tale of High Street House (example) being haunted is of no use when an investigation is done in a 3 storey 30 room mansion. You have to know what is reported and where it is reported to occur in order to investigate properly and rely on the trust of the team to preclude all preconceived ideas and hopefully rely on what they actually experience or record. This is relying on the subconcious not kicking in but I feel you really do have to know what you are investigating and aim your investigation accordingly to maximise the chance of obtaining anything remotely like evidence.

Mysteryshopper
User offline. Last seen 3 years 25 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 15 Oct 2008
It would be better if only

It would be better if only one or two organisers of the vigil knew what was supposed to happen but no one else. Unfortunately, with many venues you can find reports on the internet making this approach very difficult nowadays.
Certainly, if people believe strongly in the paranormal and know what to expect at a particular venue, it becomes almost inevitable that they will 'experience' something, if only  misperception.



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