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My point is that most such cases seem to be from a long time ago and weren't properly investigated (by modern standards) at the time. Instead, they are essentially anecdotes repeated and exagerrated in books and newspapers. Even the Treasurer's House sighting was witnessed by one person once!
I'd argue that most modern cases are not 'properly investigated'. Trouble is, no one has stood up and set the standard; no protocols, no base lines, etc. The very least that we have are a handful of researchers who borrow from psyhcology for witness testament analyses. Problem is that most researchers have a bias of some sort and this always comes out in the investigation or reports.
I'd argue that most modern cases are not 'properly investigated'. Trouble is, no one has stood up and set the standard; no protocols, no base lines, etc.
Some associations like ASSAP do have good training courses for their investigators and do keep a high standard, but on a whole I do agree with you Agricola.
Perhaps MysteriousBritain could pull together some technical notes or something - you guys seem to be experienced in this field? Although it would be a lot of work.
Trouble is, no one has stood up and set the standard; no protocols, no base lines, etc.
This is simply not true. There are a host of researchers doing excellent work on ghosts / hauntings within the remit of science. They have applied and developed their methods and these have proved sound and reliable (including baseline measures etc). The fact that many 'most haunted' wannabe's don't know about it has nothing to do with the good researchers (many of whom publish widely) and the fact the protocols exist, and more to do with those MH idiots simply not bothering to read anything of real use.
Problem is that most researchers have a bias of some sort and this always comes out in the investigation or reports.
Researchers whose work you should consult (in my opinion) are: French, Braithwaite, Wiseman, Persinger, Brugger, Houran, Lange, Nickell, etc. Don't get me wrong - I am not saying I agree with everything these people are doing - but on the whole, the research is of a high standard, well controlled, produces interesting findings and generates new understandings and questions for further research.
I do agree however, that such efforts are not typical of the field - but i would always say don't fall into the trap of thinking everyone is using mediums, ouija boards and orb-catchers......
Try the ASSAP website - some interesting stuff there.
I suppose in theory that ghosts could be walking below us all the time on ancient floors now possibly 6 or 8 feet under the present floor level.
How, in theory, does this occur?
Regarding standards of ghost reports , you just need to use common sense.
You can start by excluding all stories that were never investigated by any paranormal investigator (eg. self reported, newspaper reports, much material from ghost books).
Then look at the investigated reports and see what methods they were using. If it is all ouija, mediums and orbs then you can safely ignore it.
Hopefully, you will be left with people who at least attempted a scientific investigation. Standards will vary, of course, but by looking at large numbers of cases and only looking at statistically significant trends (so ignoring one off cases and eccentric investigators), you should be able to correct for most of that.
I agree common sense needs to be used in judging the utility and truth of reports. That said, couldn't newspaper reports and suchlike prove fertile ground for further investigation? Alone, they shouldn't be taken as evidence but they can be good pointers to cases that need further (decent) investigation.
By this I mean archive and newspaper research, interviews, appeals and the like to see if there's anything behind the report worth looking into.
I agree common sense needs to be used in judging the utility and truth of reports. That said, couldn't newspaper reports and suchlike prove fertile ground for further investigation?
Yeh sure, I was talking about accumulating data from which to produce scientifically meaningful data. The problem is that most of the ghost reports that apparently support the popular 'ghost = spirit' idea come from just such sources and are used uncritically. Carefully investigated cases produce a noticeably different picture of hauntings.
Sorry but I don't think you can ignore secondary reports. Any investigator worth their salt will do a review of the literature. If, for the sake of argument, Ian of this board said to me, Muncaster Castle ia haunted, and I went there, looked around and saw no ghosts, I would come away none the wiser. Whereas if I examined the literature, I would know that there is hightened activity in X room so could have a look at the causes of this.
Now I agree that it is unlikely that ouija boards, mediums or orbs are going to ever say anything useful, but if there is a high instance of orbs coming from one room, the literature would tell you this and you could rule it out scientifically and possibly even find the source of the 'orbs'.
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