Most people who have a paranormal experience of some kind, will tell the truth. I know that probably goes against some current wisdom, because I often hear the comment, “I don’t believe them.” It might come at the end of an uneventful investigation or when the story is incredibly unusual, but I normally believe every word, even though I’m aware that people are apt to magnify their experiences. Coupled with a typical inability to provide good eye-witness testimony, there’s always an excellent chance that what actually happened is not how it was originally reported. That’s a human condition and unless we’re trained and prepared to be credible witnesses, the odds are good we’ll get lots of stuff wrong.
That doesn’t mean people are lying. Or stupid. Or looking for their fifteen minutes of fame. Sure those kinds of people exist, but they’re supposed to be weeded out by the pre-investigation interviews. By the time we walk into a location to investigate, we should feel secure in knowing that our clients are truthful to the best of their ability. Inaccurate? Probably so. Full of exaggeration? Of course! How do you make others believe you’re seeing shadows unless they’re big and black and threaten some form of malice? It’s natural to embellish such things. How do you introduce a group of nerdy strangers with proton packs and half a mile of cable into your home if all you can lay claim to is a locked door that allegedly opens on it’s own?
Besides, after awhile, every occurrence seems more pronounced, and each subsequent problem weighs heavier on the mind. The very nature of something unexplainable, and possibly other-worldly, suggests a building of emotional responses will occur, not measured and well-considered reasonability. It just makes sense to me that when real fear is involved, things get urgent. The more intrusive it becomes, the quicker you need it to stop, because fear easily becomes all consuming. Objectivity is one of the first things to go.
So, am I suggesting that most paranormal accounts are misrepresentations of much lesser events? Absolutely not, but I am suggesting that a person’s veracity should not be in question for characterizing things badly; for inadvertently heightening their own awareness in the hopes of expressing urgency to others. They may not understand anything about what’s going on, but they definitely understand their reaction to it, and how it makes them feel. It’s our job as investigators to sort it out and hopefully define the problem and effect a solution if one is called for. Accuracy is our charge – not theirs.
I believe their angst is real, and that every word of their story represents an honest attempt to communicate that condition. Our being unable to verify or not doesn’t alter the impact of a paranormal encounter – real or imagined, and it doesn’t change the truth or the perception of truth concerning what they’re going through. I believe every tremble in the voice of a frightened mother; each sleepless night spent by a protective spouse; every second lost in childhood. I believe there are voices and shadows, and a dozen odd sounds at 3:00am. And I believe that if the environment is right; if our techniques are sound, and if we’re very very lucky, we’ll be able to catch and know a fraction of their ordeal.
And at the end of the night, when the sun thankfully rises yet again, we begin the hopeful search, through miles of footage and audio, to identify some form of reality. Sometimes it is enough just to know people like us are on the case and pursuing the evidence they know to be true. Sometimes it is enough just to tell them they are safe. But I always believe them. I just don’t know how not to because, what if they’re right? Sometimes they are, you know, whether we find evidence or not.
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.