Paranormal Evidence: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
As a paranormal investigator, it’s not all glitz and glamour. Sure, we get to come in, communicate with spirits, and find answers, but the unspoken part of being a paranormal investigator that takes up most of our time is evidence review. When it comes to evidence, there are wide swaths of things that we capture, and I’m going to go through them in three categories: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
When we’re going through evidence, whether that be video, audio, pictures, or thermal imaging, the holy grail, or “The Good” evidence is usually one that is a direct response to a question, connected to the history of a location, or is just so mind-blowing and definitive that it gives credence to what the client has been experiencing.
As an example, in 2018, the team helped a family in Somers, CT connect with their daughter, who had died at the age of seven from cancer. On the property, in a barn, we did a Spirit Box session with the parents. In the barn, the mother told her daughter that she loved her, and we got an “I love you too, Mommy” back in her voice. This was definitive and it brought closure to her parents.
Or, if you go through evidence and find a full-bodied apparition on camera, or a figure in a photograph, or a full-sentence response to a question on a voice recorder, this is the top-tier of evidence that you can give to a client.
While the next tier of evidence is not necessarily “bad” evidence, it is almost nearly unusable when you’re presenting evidence to a client. The kind of evidence in this category includes subjective evidence and captured evidence that can’t be verified.
Nearly every time we step into a house to investigate, some or all our investigators experience cold spots, feelings of being watched, or disembodied voices. While these are good anecdotally, we can’t point to them as evidence. Evidence must be objective and concrete for us to present it.
Also, sometimes we go through evidence and it isn’t clear, or it wasn’t a direct response to a question we asked. As an example, when we use a Spirit Box, sometimes, interesting words or phrases come out when we’re not asking a question. While intriguing, if it doesn’t come directly after a question, it’s not true evidence. Or, as another example, in an investigation in Ridgefield, CT, we captured a strange light anomaly moving in a weird pattern next an investigator on video. Because we couldn’t agree on what it was—anomaly or thread—we had to throw the evidence out.
Finally, we’ve come to “The Ugly.” In this class of evidence, you have no business ever considering it as legitimate. Many times, we are sent videos or pictures of “hundreds” of orbs caught on a camera. In 99.9% of cases, it’s always a cloud of dust particles being pushed by air currents in a house. Many make the claim that their house is extremely clean and that it’s not possible to be capturing dust, but it’s nearly impossible to rid yourself of all dust particles.
Another common piece of evidence that falls into this category is evidence that turns out to not really be evidence. One example of this are disembodied voices that are captured on voice recorders. Sometimes, you can think you found a piece of premium evidence, but if you don’t double check with other members of your team, you could be mislabeling something as evidence, when it was actually someone on the investigation whispering.
Evidence is a fickle beast, and it can be tough to differentiate real evidence from fake evidence if you don’t have a keen eye and training. One thing to take away is that evidence must be definitive, must be reviewed by peers, and has to be debunked, if possible. Once you put out a piece of evidence to a client, or on the internet, it’s your reputation on the line.
As Clint Eastwood said in the film The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, “You see, in this world, there's two kinds of people, my friend—those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig.”
When it comes to evidence, make sure you’re always digging for the truth.