The paranormal relates to any unexplained incident lacking a scientific explanation. Paranormal research is the attempt to explain these incidents with "tools" used to find evidence, or at least used to pretend to find evidence.
Paranormal research is much like trying to figure out who in the room farted - it relies mostly on the 5 senses, yet anyone who's been in this situation knows that people can lie, and the only way to really prove it is to make a fart detecting machine. Paranormal researchers have adopted this idea, so they use many tools in attempt to explain all of the things they are seeing, feeling, etc. Some look silly, some don't, but none of them have been definitive answers in explaining the paranormal, for many skeptics believe they can be tampered with, along with the evidence. Nonetheless, ghost hunters often rely on:
EVP's, or electronic voice phenomena, which is said to be the voices of ghosts talking in a frequency that we normally can't hear, except apparently when they, the ghosts, want you to. They are picked up by simple recording devices, and the sound quality of these 'EVP's' is always crappy at best, and if anything is the result of what fancy doctors call apophenia and/or pareidolia. The power of suggestion is strong my friend, so that noise on your digitial recorder there is probably just that, a noise, and no it isn't a voice saying 'I want you," its just not the case, just as it wasn't when your 'girlfriend' use to say it either.
EMF, or electromagnetic fields, are what researchers and ghost hunters alike feel ghosts give off when they are around. It is these electromagnetic fields they say explain some of the experiences people associate with ghosts, like goosebumps and hair standing on its end. The only problem with that is that electromagnetic fields are everywhere, they come from tvs, electronics, - everything, including the cameras and gear ghost hunters use, and even when the location may have no running electricity, it can still happen naturally
Heat signatures, or sudden drops in temperatures. It is believed that these cold spots are really ghosts, and with the help of Infrared Temperature guns, many try to measure sudden drops in temperature - and some even claim to have infared video of ghosts walking around doing their thing. Yet these two can be obviously faked, furthering the notion that all ghost hunters are full of shit. If ghosts do exsist, and can be seen with infrared technology, then surely the Predator would have been the best ghost hunter ever.
PvC, Predator vs. Casper
Psychics, who are to ghost hunters, what the guy who distracts you is to the purse snatcher. Conning people is much easier in teams, and psychics are good at being vague, and searching for the answer without actually saying it. They are masters at bullshiting, making them a perfect match for ghost hunters. Its in this way that they manage to fool people, using suggestion, grey areas, and their own gulibility to convince people they aren't phoneys.
Paranormal research has been around as long as man has had a belief in the afterlife and although some dorkwads like to claim there is a distinct difference between paranormal researchers and ghost hunters, the differences between the two are slight, differing only in that ghost hunters seem to be more theatrical.
Charles Fort however, is regarded as one of the first well known paranormal researchers in America, which is to say he was one of the first guys to hear voices and blame them on dead people, and not God or the Devil, excessive drinking, or just plain insanity. He lived in the late 18 hundreds, and wrote several books about his investigations, namely, The Book of The Damned. If you were to pick up this book and read its back, you would think you just picked up a hefty book of fantasy - but oh no - you would be wrong, for although it is a book about giants, fairies, aliens, poltergiests, and UFO's, Fort claims all the things in his book to be true, and has evidence for all his batshit crazy exclamations, too. . . Aside from all the lying, he also takes a poke or two at the science community, starting a long fued which still goes on today, in a sort of bitch fight in which the winner is still a bitch in the eyes of sports jocks and pretty much everyone everywhere.
Yes, Charles Fort is one of America's
first paranormal researchers many swindlers.
He's so popular in fact, that he even has a magazine named after him called the Fortean Times. It was founded in 1973, by Bob Rickard, who found all of Fort's books at a science fiction convention, and adored the man's works so much and found his words to be so inspiring that he created a magazine to follow similiar stories Fort wrote about. The magazine's website can be found here.
Harry Price however, was a different kind of swindler, with an expertise in magic. He differs from Fort in that he sought out supposed "haunted" homes and tried to document the footsteps and voices he heard - the very same thing ghost hunters today try and do. He made a name for himself by exposing other 'pyschics' and 'ghost photographers' as fakes, which as a magician he of all people should know was a big no-no. He must of had enormous balls, because after this he himself got into the game of conning people, with machines he made himself, for apparently aside from being a boastful magician and swindler, he was also an inventor. He used these machines and tools during seances and tours of haunted homes, and apparently everyone believed him. Today he is regarded as one of
the first ghost hunters many con men with fancy gadgets.
The trend setter, Mr. Harry Price and one of his many ghost detecting machines, which were so secret and bullshit that no one knew how they worked, except for Mr. Price of course. . . What followed was many years of other ghost hunters making their own inventions to help find ghosts, you know, like glasses that help you see ghosts:
Then of course there's the Fox Sisters, who we here at CRACKED.com already covered extensively in an article titled "The 5 Ballsiest Con Artists of All Time" by Kristi Harrison. The article can be found here. As its title suggests, they were a couple of swindlers, who put on seances that were all totally bullshit.
Today ghost hunters, are more advanced and some are even popular enough to bring in enough audience for a show, like these guys, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson:
The stoic faces say it all, these guys are real ghost hunters - oooh definite cold spots on this wall - yeah definitely.
TAPS - or The Atlantic Paranormal Society, is so big that they actually have groups in many of the 50 United States, and even an international team, which follows ghosts abroad. Its goal is to unite paranormal researchers within the 'family,' so that they may share and provide further insight on any 'evidence' gathered by team members. The faces of this group are two plumbers - that's right, the same guys who snaked all the shit out of your main line and were rude and started charging you the second they got in the car, just so happen to be ghost hunters on the side. In 1990 they founded the group, and what followed was years of hawking ghost crap to unsuspecting fools, and even releasing a couple of books: Ghost Hunting, and Seeking Spirits. They also have their own bullshit magazine.
Plumbers can fight giant reptilian fire breathing monsters, save princesses, and hunt ghosts. . . what you didn't know that?
Like any good show the TAPS team sought out ratings, and aside from their usual shows, they too have done a series of live specials, which are done perhaps in attempt to disprove any notions that the film could be tampered with in post production, but it is more than likely that this is done in an attempt to prove that they are not phoneys - and in doing so they proved that they are in fact, totally full of shit. Some fans of the show feel like they have been lied to, that they've been swindled... And in this case, they're right.
All other ghost hunters compared to these guys are total pussies. . . The Ghost Adventures squad, made up of Zak Bagans, Nick Groff, and Aaron Goodwin - they like most ghost hunters go into haunted locations, but unlike others, they have the balls to actually taunt the ghosts. Zak Bagans actually believes he can put these ghosts in their place, and part of him believes he can scare the ghosts, and if he can't do it with his muscles or stern voice, then surely his Affliction shirts will do the job.
As hinted in the intro to their show, these guys will do anything to get a reaction from ghosts, to see a ghost, to prove of their exsistence. They'll taunt ghosts, call them murderers, insult them, even go so far as to advise them to feed off of their own energy so that they may show themselves. Needless to say these guys from Las Vegas are pretty bad ass, but we can only assume that's because they are indeed from Vegas, which means they've seen their fair share of some scary horrible shit. No doubt the daily living in Vegas is scary enough - lives crushed in the search of the almighty dollar - of the next big spin - the living dead sucking carlelessly on ciagrettes. . . Have you ever seen what time does to an old woman's skin in Las Vegas? There is something about all the dry heat from that rotten desert - or perhaps all that ime under the Las Vegas lights. . . it can melt your skin like so much wax.
The Ghost Adventures team have also done their own live show, which appeared on Halloween just this last year (2009). They, like the TAPS team resorted to gimmicks, as they brought in guest ghost hunters, including one who came with a machine of his own invention (as always) through which ghosts could talk to them, in real time. They of course of proceeded to have a 'chat' with all the 'ghosts' around them. They also brought in another man who claimed to have a ghost catching box - which was really just a tesla coil inside of a plexi glass box. It pulsated and made noise like a giant bugzapper, and every second a giant bug seemed to be flying into it. Then came the incident, when the guest ghost hunter was walking around the box, and his EMF meter shot straight out of his hand, as if done by a ghost. Many viewers called this bullshit, as it does appear that he throws it, and called him a phoney - as if they some how being the owner and creator of an actual "ghost catching box," wasn't ludicrous enough for them:
That guy does have a great throwing arm.
It aint looking good kid, it aint looking good. History has showned that 99% of all paranormal researchers and ghost hunters have been proven to be totally full of shit.
If you google search paranormal research, you'll find whole lists of paranormal research societies, so there's no way that many people could be wrong, right? Wrong. History has shown that people are stupid, and when asembled in groups, are down right retarded. And if you happen to venture on these websites, you'll find that many of these societies sell ghost hunter gear - at really high prices. Which may show the true purpose of these ghost hunting groups - to make money off of your stupidity.
Its a genius idea I suppose, stupid is real popular these days.