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Unfinished Business; And Other Paranormal
Answers That Need Questioning

By: Brandon Blackburn

Unfinished business.

Why is it that, this is the response most often heard when an inquiring mind ponders the motive behind hauntings if they do indeed take place? Admittedly, I’ve even relayed this reasoning myself to a questioning client, though, out of repetition more than actually understanding the statement. Just regurgitating information, a knee jerk response,  that I’ve picked up through out my years of paranormal research. The truth is; I don’t know if this is true or not and spewing mantras will no longer suffice. As a researcher one has to question everything and that includes oft adopted theories that have settled themselves in as fact. I imagine this particular verisimilitude was born of the plethora of ghost stories out there that end when the spirit involved is placated by some human who happens to (intentionally or not) right a wrong, bring a murderer to justice, put a skull back with the corpse or complete a 900 piece jigsaw of the Eiffel tower that was left undone. Whatever the case, I feel as a researcher that this and a few other proverbial truths need to be called out and further examined for any evidence of legitimacy while simultaneously investigating other areas of the field.

Why can’t our ethereal counterparts cross running water? Ever heard that one? Well, as silly as it may seem there can be an argument to support it even if it is rather sketchy. Moving water is going to create a pulsating (for lack of a better word) electromagnetic field which may prove difficult for a spirit (energy) to pass through without being defragmented in such a way as Scotty beaming up Captain Kirk however without the reassembly. Plausible? Just as much as any other urban legend about ghosts and hauntings. Some may limit this particular attribute to demons only but it has just as often been applied to ghosts. Perhaps it is purely nonsense adapted from the very real tendency of people to use rivers and streams as natural property boundries especially during settlement and colonization periods of which, if you didn’t know your neighbors, you were real careful about whose land you trod on. This particular “factoid” is ironically in contrast to another mentioned later to the tune of ; A ghost will follow you home. One thing is for sure, there is no concrete evidence to support this theory one way or another so, it should not be past along as fact. However, it should not be forgotten either. Up next....

Ghosts only appear at night.

Um….what. Yep, I’ve came across this one as well though not as often. None the less it should be addressed accordingly. If there is anything to this struggling science then my years of research have obviously busted this myth as I have caught EVPs and witnessed strange phenomena midday aside from reading countless numbers of cases with daytime appearances and disturbances. Certainly, I would concur that nighttime is the ideal time for manifestations but perhaps that’s because the pulse of the world has slowed down and us humans will be more aware of nocturnal goings on. Psychological agents must come to mind as well as very much of the population (more if only they’d admit it) are nyctophobic and have a justifiable distaste for the dark. It’s rather elementary thinking to ascertain that, lacking the many stimuli of daytime bustle and obviously having one of our sensory organs handicapped provides fertile ground for the imagination, most assuredly those with active ones. It doesn’t help when seasoned researchers such as myself (who’ve spent plenty of time in the dark) subtly comment about fears of the dark labeling them “justified”. Consider the quantum level also, the powerful light of daytime ripping through the atmosphere in both particle and wave forms could be essentially hindering some fragile mechanism to physical manifestations as well. Something to consider I guess.

New houses can’t be haunted. Logically, that sounds pretty cut and dried. No history means no haunting right? Not necessarily. I’ve read a few accounts of workers perishing during the construction of the home only to pay a visit afterward. Just because the home may be new, the grounds it is built on will not be and it could even be standing on the foundation of much older building long forgotten. There are also cases, depending on your course of study, of haunted individuals and even inanimate items (i.e. mirrors, dressers, beds and such) that can invite a spirit into a brand spanking new domicile. And let us not forget the least favored haunts to deal with; Demonic. I’m not an authority on demons but I’m pretty sure they lack the etiquette to respectfully bow out of a chaotic rampage if there is the chance that the home is recently constructed and carpet could be stained or doilies torn. 

Ghosts can’t hurt you.

Unfortunately I have to disagree with this one too. Have I personally been attacked? No, I’ve yet to find a spirit with balls enough to take a swing at me but if history is to be our teacher, I have something to look forward to. There are in fact so many cases involving bodily harm out there that I fail to see this myth as a legitimate candidate. Esther Cox and John and Elisabeth Bell are just a couple of examples among  these. Granted it could be argued that these are poltergeist instances based from demonic or telekinetic catalysts only but the list is much longer than one may assume and includes researchers as well as victims being pushed, shoved, smacked or scratched in otherwise normal haunting situations. Then you have psychic empaths who may become mentally altered, physically ill or suffer strange pains when there is an entity present. Now to play advocate to the entity, perhaps this is the easiest way for them to communicate in order to tell their story but it doesn’t matter, it’s still harm to a human via a spectral source.

Ghosts can follow you home. Interesting, in the least. But is it true? I’ve read many an account that gives credence to this. Mostly demonic accounts but a few apparition type as well. This particular myth contradicts the above mentioned “ghosts and running water scenario” but is that reason to discount it? Well yes and no, they can’t both be absolutely true and a paradox isn’t an answer. Must we bring out the “hitcher” legends so rife within our culture? Okay so those don’t necessarily follow you home but or at least in most accounts I’ve read but what I’m delving into here first is do they follow you at all. It should also be noted that I’m focusing on entities impersonal to the followee. Not recently deceased uncle Ned but more the “hitcher” scenario or more precisely graveyard spooks. Personally this is where I believe this questionable statement originated because it is so often identified with graveyards. Because of a lack of supporting evidence in my research and the cultural, geographical and superstious nature of my surroundings I am inclined to chalk this one up to “wives tale” to instill better behavior in unruly children. I even heard it a few times growing up; “Don’t be playin’ up around that graveyard....the ghosts in there will follow you home.” Alas, this is only my opinion though and has no scientific relevance. So, where does that leave us? All I can say with any certainty is that through years of investigations I’ve yet to bring any disturbances back with me. 

Residual, intelligent and demonic, oh my! It may seem uncouth to some to question this labeling system used by nearly all paranormal research institutions today but I didn’t start my studies years ago to make friends. Being one of the most solidified mantras doesn’t eliminate it from my probing mind and to be fair it deserves no more elite status than any other mentioned above. A good researcher questions everything thing, remember. That stated, the above tags have (in the past three decades) became the standard of categorizing types of paranormal disturbances otherwise known as a haunting. True, these classifications seem nearly spot on in some instances but they are by no means absolute nor are we able to replicate them thus, they are not scientifically accurate. Let’s not forget that this is far from a new area of research and as much as the media would like the public to believe it, none of us are pioneers forging into areas (both literally and figuratively) of study and investigation that have been avoided up until now. The Society of Psychical Research celebrated it’s Centennial anniversary, a staggering 100 years of research, 1982! Yet they have no mention of residual or intelligent haunting. Demonic haunts on the other hand have stood in literature for millennia so this type I am not disputing and honestly I’m not disputing the other two types, just wondering who gave them auto answer status and if they even deserve it. There is no proof that I’m aware of that demons are not masquerading around as “intelligent” haunts. Granite and quartz are said to absorb energy and emotive spikes throughout time and then project these episodes onto the environment creating the “residual” specters. Okay prove it. You see, as good as these monikers fit the typical phenomena in such a way  that it appears to classify them, they are no less speculation and theorem than any listed before. Will they continue to be used? You bet. Will I continue to list them as such? Absolutely. However, only because they are common jargon and do (if only in a vague sense) help zero in on the type of disturbances that happen to be present. Will I continue to scrutinize these terms for accuracy and consistency? You better believe it. Along with many other less popular and in many cases much older classes i.e. Doppelganger, crisis apparitions, poltergeists, curses, omens, banshees etc. 

EMF meters detect ghosts.

Nearly every team out there has one of some sort or style. Nearly every team out there will tell you this. I will not. Why not? Well, because it’s not true that’s why. I will tell you that EMF meters detect EMF’s, which is a good thing too because well, that’s what they’re for. Now on occasion (let’s make this hypothetical) you may have a base reading of let’s say 0.3 milligauss and suddenly there is a spike up to 5 milligauss and lo and behold somewhere close there comes a great clatter. Well don’t throw back the sash just yet, more times than not, I’ve been present where there was significant phenomena has taken place and the reading never budged. Is it possible that there indeed was a flucuation and it was just out of range. Sure. Is it also possible that the few times I’ve experienced synchronicity between spikes and actual activity are mere fluke instances or coincidence. That’s affirmative. So the best I can give this is “EMF meters may be able to pick up on paranormal phenomena.” Word of warning to those just starting out, don’t jump on every band wagon that comes rolling by....the wheels tend to fall off from the weight of accumulating passengers. I once was in the presence of a gentleman from an organization that obviously had more money than intelligence. I witnessed this fellow using a STUD FINDER in order to measure any electromagnetic disturbances after I pointed out that the alleged phenomena could’ve been attributed to the fact that we were directly underneath a transformer and cross point of several high tension electrical wires. “I’m not picking anything up.” He commented. Yes...he was serious. I was so baffled by the absurdity of the scene taking place that I took the device out of his hand and replied; “Um,...maybe it’s because this is a stud finder.” “Yeah,..” He rebutted. “...but it has an AC detector on it.” I didn’t have the heart (or the patience) to tell him that the device is calibrated to pick up a concentrated EMF with a range of just a few inches, like for instance, oh I don’t detect a live wire behind a ¾ inch sheet rock wall in case you’re LOOKING FOR A STUD and don’t want to drill into 110 volts by accident. Anyway, I do encourage the use of a bona-fide EMF or TriField meter for continued analysis of their possible utilization.

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