My most recent podcast centers around the Spirit Box, and after listening to it several times, I have decided that it sounds a bit negative. That wasn’t my intention, although I don’t wish to retract anything either. I truly do believe it is a viable piece of apparatus that many investigators seem to put to fantastic use. Unfortunately, I have been unable to do so, and while there have been specific circumstances where the device seemed like the perfect tool, it has failed miserably in my hands.
I know it’s more fun to enter an investigation with as many cool devices as possible. I suspect that if a proton pack were real, I’d want one – preferably in Ghost Busters Green. But lately, I have been more impressed with the accuracy of human observation accompanied by the barest minimum of actual equipment. We believe in the recording integrity of still and motion cameras, video, and with any number of audio recording devices. So it stands to reason that this equipment should serve us well. But they are only recording devices – documentarians of our trips in the dark in search of the elusive afterlife. These devices don’t claim to create or initiate contact, they don’t increase visibility, or augment the environment to make it more conducive to spirit manifestations of any kind.
The paranormal world is littered with all sorts of paraphernalia, most of which claim to improve conditions or add to our evidence gathering capability. But there are lingering doubts about so many of these. Perhaps it’s a matter of how they are used, as is the case with the Spirit Box, but it is inescapable that the results from such equipment is frequently questioned, and so often unconvincingly defended.
Still, what can we expect to happen simply by carrying recording equipment? It can document, surely, but does it improve our odds, or increase the opportunities to actually find something to record? Usually not, and we wind up looking at the same old type of footage and listening to the same old hiss on recorder files. And ultimately, all we’ve done is enter a building, wander around, and press some buttons. We can only hope the spirit world will decide to initiate contact and allow us to record it, as success seems completely dependent on them.
If people like me are correct, and spirits are everywhere, constantly, then improving our recording equipment becomes our best chance at documenting paranormal life. We should eventually develop recording devices ever more able to reveal the other side – with greater clarity and frequency. But if spirits are elusive, we will need more. We will need reliable, less hit and miss devices which encourage or cause them to be seen and heard. Regardless, doing that will always carry with it the stigma of human misrepresentation. The rap will always be that the evidence produced by such devices is suspect and therefore, unacceptable by current paranormal standards.
Since the standards, for unquestionable paranormal proof, are extremely high (ever see a piece of video that wasn’t questioned?), we may ultimately be stuck with no better tools than we currently have. We’ll record and capture things on devices whose integrity has passed both the paranormal litmus test, and the test of time.
Better recorders with lower frequency capabilities, and a wider use of thermal and full-spectrum imaging may be the only way we can reasonably go. As they are improved over time, we can expect to see and hear more, thereby learning more with each iteration. And if similar devices are created and can pass the scrutiny of skeptics, our results and credibility can only improve.
But there comes the eternal question… Should we actually be invading their realm? It is a question we don’t hear these days because the paranormal has become, in so many ways, a commercial entity. Is it not enough to record their presence as it presents itself? Must we draw them out against their will, or create an environment that demands their attendance, thereby removing whatever final defenses they have from us?
More and more these days, I think not. More and more, I believe we are like archaeologists, who learn from what they find; who look as deeply as they can – carefully. Methodically. We take our own trip through time in search of truth. Better we respect the artifacts and gently brush away the debris in search of a piece to the puzzle – like fragments of bone in search of the complete animal – ever vigilant, patient, and cautious.
We need to be content with what we know when we know it – regardless of how badly we want it to be now.