By Gary Robusto, Tri-City NYPS Founder & Group Leader
As human beings, we always need to have some sort of understanding in everything that we do, see, hear and witness. We try to always put a name with a face, recognize someones voice and always try to wrap our brains around things that happen to us. That's how we function in everyday life. It's like seeing someone you know you've seen before and then rattling your brain to remember how you know that person, even though you have never even met them or have had any interaction with them, but you know you've seen that person somewhere. Humans are always looking for some answer to individually validate themselves to make sense of things.
As paranormal researchers it's really no different. We want to understand why things happen, what we are seeing and sensing, what we are hearing in the environment and on our recording devices. Understanding is key to our research and development of equipment and furthering the paranormal community. With that being said, it is also the job of the paranormal researcher (noticed that I didn't use the term Ghost Hunter because that doesn't apply to what we do) to have a open mind, but a professional one, to examine ALL possibilities of what these paranormal events could be. One of the researchers' number one tools is the digital recorder or analog tape recorder. By the use of these devices we are able to record the environment and use another set of "ears" per say to try to capture anomalous sounds that we either can't hear or that we miss with in the surrounding environment that we are working in. We try to gain information of what could be around us and just listen and observe the environment in full detail to better give our clients the full details of what may be happening.
So with all that said it brings me to the conversation at hand. As people, we need to have that full understanding of what is going on, what we are hearing; that's just human nature. So when a place is said to be "haunted" we want to know the why and who it could be. This is where it gets very dicey for me. As humans we have a habit of assuming things. All of us more then likely want to believe that our loved ones who have passed are somehow still with us and looking over us. That's called the power of belief. There isn't anything wrong with that either! Each one of us believes different things and that's what makes us individuals and human. When a team of paranormal people come in to investigate your home or property and collect all the data to be reviewed, our minds start to wander to what it is that could be going on and happening. The big question that normally comes up for us as paranormal researchers is the "WHO" is here. And that is where it becomes very tough for us researchers because it's so hard and even next to impossible to 100% give you that answer. Here is why....
As paranormal researchers we are NOT allowed to assume things. If we do then we are not doing our job properly at all. We have to stay on task to the case and investigation and open minded to ALL possibilities. When people say that this location is haunted by the ghost of "whatever name they use" that is a direct red flag right off the bat to a professional paranormal researcher. How do you 100% know that the ghost of that person is there? What is your proof of it? In the modern day of paranormal research the entertainment industry has taken over. We see all the shows on TV and such and want to hear these voices from the beyond. We want to put a face or name with that voice, but my question to you is how do you know that is who we are hearing/recording? What is your proof of this? Just because you hear a womans voice doesn't make it that certain person. Now if the Electronic Voice Phenomenon straight up says, "Hi my name is Anna," (just using this name as a example and has no bearing on anything), then starts telling us about her life and we can VALIDATE that it is that person, then alright I would tend to agree and go in that direction with that case. Seriously, that really doesn't happen that much and is so rare that you never really hear about it. I've slowly watched some people in the paranormal community straight up say that "We have captured the EVP of so & so". Okay great that you have a capture, but now PROVE to me that it is exactly that person!! As researchers, we can't, let's just be honest. Now we go to a client and tell them we found an EVP of this person, but how is that right at all? We are lying to the people, client and public by making these ASSUMPTIONS without the proper documentation or data to back it up.
As paranormal researchers we have a huge impact on peoples lives when we come in to investigate a location. What we say can either make or break a client. We indulge into their lives which is already a very personal ordeal in itself. So for us to come in and say we captured a specific person on a EVP without any solid proof is unethical in every way, shape and form!! If you can't prove it with in your team with out any doubts then how can you show the client or even the general public? It makes no sense from the point of ethics. Not just for our clients, but to the paranormal community as a whole. I've seen businesses bank on these sorts of things by saying this ghost was captured here and that ghost of the child was captured here and that's great if that's the real thing, but now prove to me and the paranormal/scientific community that without a doubt it is that person!! If you can do that then hells yea we are now onto something that we can further study and learn about to maybe figure out why this person is still here and learn what it's made up of to still be here & have us capture recordings or video of them. Awesome, and that would make me stoked, but first before I get all jazzed on that thought you need to show me the proof and with out a doubt know it's that person before you come out to the public with this information. It's false advertising and unethical without the data, documented stories and the EVP itself saying multiple times "My name is...". And not just saying a name, because still, if the EVP says a name it could be anything like maybe it's saying another spirits name, a person who stayed there or used to live there; the possibilities are endless.
As paranormal researchers we need to be very careful how we present things. We are the professionals in this field and need to act that way. We can't show things that we ourselves can't 100% back up with our data. And most importantly can't assume things just because the clients say so. By doing that we are doing an injustice to each and every member of the paranormal community, cause then all our work is just based on lies and entertainment and not the research of the old skool way when paranormal was straight research and finding out the WHY. Just my thoughts, stay spooky my friends.