By Amy Bennett, Tri-City NYPS Lead Investigator
We grow up thinking that everything there is to know, is known. Everything is the way it is; it will forever remain that way. This is so limiting. In fact, it is so limiting that it is destructive, yet we're teaching this understanding to each other so subtly and almost 'undercover'. We are so accustomed to knowing and taking in what we're taught with such adamancy of fact, that we hardly ever even think to question any of it. "The known world" it's called, and even from our phraseology do we see this finality. The only way we're ever going to see around this wall of supposed fact and accepted reality, is to investigate, question, reexamine, discuss, evolve, rinse, repeat.
We can investigate literally every aspect of our waking lives. There is an endless fabric of reality to our world, woven so many times over itself in possibility, that the only thing about the world to be true is that it is limitless, not limited. We can apply the "could, would and should" to everything in our world. There are plants we don't know exist yet, and there are medicines, cures, causes and meanings of them yet to find out. There are living creatures, from the microscopic to the possibly massive that are yet to be discovered and taxonomically systemized. One might be a Yeti, a Kappa, a Sal'Awa, or a Loch Ness monster. There are aspects of energy, electromagnetism, radiation, particle physics and matter interaction that are yet to be understood. Within the particles may be the perfect interaction to manifest dark, shadowy shapes seemingly out of nowhere.
There is still an endless, limitless aspect to this planet which so many people just plain ignore. We tell ourselves and teach others to know only what we experience, and never question what sounds like fact. Just because we can rationalize, internalize, and create logic out of something, does not mean we have to accept it. Looking at this from the paranormal perspective, [which we'll say encompasses the commonly accepted current theories of "spirits", or souls of deceased humans, shadow people, folkloric entities both positive and negative in nature, and any religiously referred to spiritual being], there is much to be explored that we internalize in as logical a way as our large brains will allow.
So the pattern is as follows: We learn, we internalize, we accept, we believe. That makes perfect sense to me, it's probably even psychologically documented 6000 times over, but the issue with it still remains; we can't change our minds. We end up firmly planted on the foundations we formed and have a hard time doing something as simply as asking questions. We are ok in believing, it's human nature to comfort ourselves with logic and rational thinking, however, we can't progress in our thinking with new logic and new information, unless we become un-stuck! This occurs all the time in the paranormal - with theories and ideas and methods of investigation.
Take the theory that in the paranormal, electromagnetic energy is what spirits use to manifest themselves, and by using an EM pump monitored by a K2 meter, us living people can make it possible for a spirit to manifest and then make itself known by manipulating the lights on the K2 meter. It's a theory. It's one we've heard, and one of implied logic - it has a cause and effect and it is visible. If someone calls bullshit on this theory, maybe it's not because they're discrediting the entirety of the supernatural or life after death, or whatever you want to call it in spiritual terms - maybe they're just trying to look at it from another perspective.
That's what we have to do now. Electromagnetic energy theories don't have to be thrown out, just approached from a new angle. Every theory can be looked at from different angles. If there's just an accepted belief on the way things work, on the way activity manifests, on the way we as investigators are "supposed" to do things, then what's the point? Why would we go about doing this kind of (dangerous) work? Endeavoring into the paranormal can yield perturbing results, and anyone who's taken a serious leap into it will stand by that. Are people in it for the matching t-shirts? The YouTube videos? The ultimate spookiness factor in what they present to the public? While that's appealing to many and can be done in good fun, it doesn't discern what's behind the spookiness. It instead perpetuates false information, and it leaves people open to danger. I won't even get into the dangerous aspects of the paranormal; too broad for right now.
That's where the real search for understanding has to let the accepted and consistently banal investigative methods fall aside in order to pioneer some different perspectives. Changing the way we see things will help us change the way we do things. Upon complaining about the K2 meters specifically, I was reminded by a friend and teammate that just because there is nothing convincing me of its usefulness in the paranormal, doesn't make it a useless item. It's in the approach; in what we're doing with these self-prescribed 'tools' and how we interpret the results.
Investigators and researchers don't influence the public opinion - the TV shows and mass media do. We can't hold people accountable for amateur attempts at repeating what they see on TV, anymore than we can hold the employees of a TV network accountable for doing their jobs. What we can do, is get down to business on influencing the truly important people involved in the search for the truth - each other, the various scientific communities with aims of understanding the same things we are, the thinkers, the doers, the movers and shakers. We can't get rid of what tools and ideas we've been given to use so far, but we can try to utilize them differently and yield results that get us closer to real understanding.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be YouTube famous for whatever you do, but you'll never find what you're looking for, you'll never know more than you do now. You'll remain as lost as a spirit eternally swirling in the ether of the unknown.