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Posts tagged “Skeptic

Common Ground

I’ve always believed that science and spirit are opposite ends of one spectrum. Like love and hate, innocence and guilt, or black and white, these polarizing words signify a unified band of varying percentages and, even at their most extreme, are still connected. A few weeks ago, as I was writing my post “Spirit Meets Science,” I realized that the title claim was highly presumptive. It is something that I tend to take for granted and I am always surprised when this assumption is met with argument.

Science and religion are married. But they are constantly seeking divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. Dad thinks mom is gullible for wasting time and money on some guru who says he has all the answers. And mom believes that dad has lost his mind over the hot blond at the office who tempts him with indecent advances.

“But Jim, what about the children!”

The children, those of us who still seek to find our own balance between the two, long to strike out and blaze our own trails, even if mom and dad believe them to be misguided. While the parents bicker and all us kids are left to our own devices, we take the opportunity to sneak out of the house and look for adventures in exotic places like the abandoned house down the street. Sure, we take pieces of what mom and dad have taught us, but we test them in new and crazy ways; ways our parents may never understand.

Though our methods lack polish, our experiences teach us many new things. Unfortunately, our preoccupied parental unit fails to see our growth and, even though we mature, we are continuously dismissed as nothing more than a bunch of meddling kids.


In order for “paranormal investigators” to be taken seriously, a few things need to happen. First, the word “paranormal” needs to be relegated to the annals of archaic terms. Like “Doth” or “lucubrate.”  According to Wikipedia:

In most definitions of the word paranormal, it is described as anything that is beyond or contrary to what is deemed scientifically possible. The definition implies that the scientific explanation of the world around us is the ‘normal’ part of the word and ‘para’ makes up the above, beyond, beside, contrary, or against part of the meaning.

Therein lies the problem! The “scientific explanation of the world,” as far as I know, is still changing. The occurrences we study are no more outside the “norm” than the Higgs Boson or dark matter.

“Just because you’re old, doesn’t mean you know EVERYTHING, Dad!!!”

After all, there was a huge chunk of time where people were convinced that the Earth was flat, or that the atom was an indivisible component of matter, or that Pluto was a planet. (Some are still arguing that one. Let it go, people.)

The truth of the matter is that something is going on here. And it’s not in our heads as some would have you believe. I’m not just talking about cold chills or random EMF spikes. I am talking about unexplained voices, apparitions caught on film, and seemingly self-propelled objects. I can’t speak for other teams, nor do I need to. The evidence our team has captured is enough in and of itself to prove, at the very least, that our experiences in the field are both common and normal. Add to this the fact that numerous people have shared these experiences numerous times and what you have is a very strong argument in favor of the fact that something unexplained is going on here.

Taken on a casual trip to a local historic landmark, this picture surprised the hell out of Jamie. The figures in the mirror were not there at the time she took the shot. In fact, she was the only one in the area. There is nothing but a waist-high wall separating the display from the public. Our team went back at a later date to try and replicate the photo, and despite the fact that there were four of us crowding around Jamie in various positions, we could not even come close to replicating what she captured. To see the original, unaltered, photo go here.

This audio was captured at the very end of our first investigation. The chime you hear is the sound of our full spectrum camera shutting down. The scream after the chime had no visible source. The little girl was only heard by one investigator but it was captured on every recording device. If you need more convincing, go here.

One of the major complaints that people have about paranormal investigators or “ghost hunters” is that we do not approach our investigations scientifically. But this is quickly becoming more of an excuse than a reason for dismissal. Our methods and equipment have vastly improved. And I honestly don’t think our audio recorders are suffering from delusions or mass hysteria(two of the most common ways skeptics explain our experiences away).

So science says our methods are highly flawed and our experiences are all in our heads. What does religion have to say about the “paranormal” or, more specifically, the existence of ghosts?

For argument’s sake, let’s use Christianity as our example. With a dominating 2.4 billion of the world’s 6.8 billion people (Wikipedia, list of religious populations), Christianity holds the largest market share.  Here’s some of what The Good Book has to say on the subject of ghosts:

Hebrews 9:27 declares, “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” That is what happens to a person’s soul-spirit after death—judgment. The result of this judgment is heaven for the believer (2 Corinthians 5:6-8;Philippians 1:23) and hell for the unbeliever (Matthew 25:46Luke 16:22-24). There is no in-between. There is no possibility of remaining on earth in spirit form as a “ghost.” If there are such things as ghosts, according to the Bible, they absolutely cannot be the disembodied spirits of deceased human beings.[1]

The Bible refers to the spirits of the dead as “familiar spirits,” as in intimate association, personal, or one well acquainted (see, Leviticus 19:31, Deuteronomy 18:11; 2 Kings 21:6; Isaiah 8:19, etc.) and warns against having anything to do with them.[2]

Basically, as far as the Bible is concerned, ghosts don’t exist and, if they do, we should have nothing to do with them. We shouldn’t research this phenomena because God said so?

“Mo-THER! You’re in denial!”

     If denial and fear are the best reasons we’ve got for not pursuing this field, then science and religion are the ones with the problems. Denial usually comes from fear, and fear shouldn’t be the basis for our decisions. Nothing worth having or learning comes without risk. And when it comes to seeking answers in this area, I, for one, am willing to take whatever risk it entails.
     In order for our field to expand, science and religion need to recognize that they are, in fact, married. Both sides need to stop thinking about divorce, and start thinking about marriage counseling. After-all, the key to a good relationship is compromise. They don’t have to agree on everything, but they need to show enough respect for each other in order to find common ground.
     I’m not asking for skeptics to believe just because “I said so.” That would make me no better than the extremes against which I argue. I am simply asking for recognition of the fact that collectively we have captured enough evidence to prove that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And these phenomena deserve to be researched instead of ignored or excused.