Updated: Aug 3
I seem to get this question a lot, but does it have merit? Why exactly do paranormal investigators seem to investigate hauntings only in the dark? Why at night? Isn’t day time a bit more ideal if you’re trying to visually see something? I’ll tackle all of these questions and more, so stay with me.
First of all, there’s a whole stream of bullshit on this subject. Many amateur ghost hunters don’t have an answer for why they investigate at night. Unfortunately, with all the TV publicity and shows such as Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, the paranormal has become sensationalized in such a way that is leading people to stumble around in the dark looking for things that go bump in the night, with no awareness of how or why they’re doing it. This brings me to…
REASON #1: Hypervigilance.
Hypervigilance is defined as: “an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviors whose purpose is to detect threats.” From an evolutionary standpoint, hypervigilance is what kept archaic humans alive. The extent of our hypervigilance is no longer at the same level as it once was, as humans generally no longer need to worry about predators roaming around in the dark, but nevertheless, it is still there.
Our brains have two autonomic systems: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic response controls fight or flight responses and the parasympathetic response controls rest, recovery, and digestion. When a person becomes hypervigilant, the sympathetic nervous system is what they’re using. Physiologically, the heart beats faster, the pupils dilate, the bronchioles of the lungs dilate, and the kidneys start producing more renin. The sympathetic response allows us to fight more efficiently, or at least get the hell out of a bad situation.
Therefore, investigators can take advantage of this evolutionary trait and use it to detect paranormal activity. Think about it. Wouldn’t you rather investigate supposed paranormal phenomenon when your senses are in their heightened states?
REASON #2: Prevention of Noise Contamination.
Noise contamination is probably the biggest reason why investigators work at night and let’s face it – the paranormal community is not exactly loved by the science community. In science, everything is based on facts and hypotheses. In the paranormal world, well… there are no solid facts because science has not yet proven its existence. Or at least, science cannot readily explain it.
When you finish an investigation and you have to spend countless hours listening to cars drive by, it doesn’t replicate the most ideal situation for a Grade A EVP. The first step along the way to understanding the paranormal is to start acting like scientists and start taking away extraneous factors such as noise. For example, if the environment is dead silent (no pun intended) and an audio recorder is lying by itself in the basement, and someone clearly whispers into it, that’s a pretty good indication that you caught some evidence. Yes, there are people out there who will claim this or that, but when you’re there – that is completely different. You KNOW that it’s legitimate. This is also why it’s sometimes more ideal to have the owners leave the property and bring pets with them for the night. If there are more people, there’s more noise, and there’s a greater chance of contamination of possible evidence.
REASON #3: Spirits Can Emit Light.
I haven’t personally experienced this for myself, but it’s worth mentioning as many others claim to have seen it. When you’re talking about spirits that emit light, you are mostly talking about orbs. Not the dust particles or smudges that appear in pictures, but actual visual orbs that you can see with your own two eyes.
Now of course, I can refute this as a simple example of the auto-kinetic effect, made famous by Muzafer Sherif. The auto-kinetic phenomenon is where a small stationary point of light appears to move in the dark. This is usually the case when people claim to have seen UFOs in the night sky.
However, you can’t see orbs in the day time, so you’re kind of forced to investigate those claims at night. But keep in mind, when you’re working on certain cases, it’s important to take scientific perspectives into account so you don’t simply chalk moving lights up to paranormal activity.
REASON #4: Lower Ambient EMF.
This particular reason is surrounded by controversy.
On one side of the spectrum, you have the investigators who claim that by turning off all the lights and electronic equipment, you can lower the ambient electromagnetic field on the property and therefore, eliminate extraneous interference. After all, if there’s no EMF present, but the K2 Meter is spiking past 20 mG, then it should be a positive sign for paranormal evidence.
On the other side, there are investigators who claim that you should replicate the same situations that promoted the paranormal activity in the first place. I’m going to take an educated guess and say that most people keep their electronics plugged in and SOME form of EMF is circulating throughout the property, even when they go to bed. So it’s definitely a logical point of view.
No matter which side of the debate you’re on, you have to be aware of the pros and cons of each.
REASON #5: UV Light Can Be Harmful to Spirits.
The EMF spectrum contains only a very small section of visible light. This is of course, what we can see with our eyes. As you move to the right of the electromagnetic spectrum, you find Ultraviolet light, X-rays, and Gamma-rays. These waves are on the high end of the spectrum, so they have smaller wavelengths than say, infrared or radio waves. Smaller wavelengths produce more energy, so they will pass a particular point at a higher frequency. They pass through matter more violently than other waves, which can cause damage. This is why ultraviolet light burns us when we’re out in the sun for too long. This is also why Gamma-rays are absolutely terrifying.
When a spirit is trying to manifest as the theory goes, it is using energy to do so. Whether it’s pulling energy from us or our surroundings, it is using energy nonetheless. So, for humans to be able to see a spirit, it must be on the visible spectrum. If a spirit were to manifest in the day time, and was hit by the sun’s ultraviolet light, it could dissipate the manifestation before it reaches that visible spectrum of light.
REASON #6: We Have Full-Time Jobs.
I’ve saved the best for last.
As paranormal investigators, we do not charge a fee for our investigations. Upon receiving a case, our team will travel to the client’s home on three separate occasions: once for the interview, once for the investigation, and once for the reveal. It takes a lot of time, energy, and sacrifice to do what we do. Keep in mind that we do this on our free time and still work 40 hours a week. That’s not including the extracurricular parts of our lives including family, friends, and other hobbies. It just so happens that weekend nights seem to be the best time to investigate because everyone is free, no one has work in the morning, and we can use the following day to catch up on sleep.
And so there you have it. Hopefully this helps to shed some light on the issue.
The purpose of this article and our team in general, is to promote education. It’s our belief that any paranormal team should be able to answer these questions and answer them in an intelligent, cohesive manner. Thanks so much for reading and thank you for allowing us to do what we love.