Please reach out to us if you cannot find an answer to your question.
What is the scientific method?
The scientific method is the process of objectively establishing facts through testing and experimentation. The basic process involves making an observation, forming a hypothesis, making a prediction, conducting an experiment and finally analyzing the results.
The scientific method uses a series of steps to establish facts or create knowledge. The overall process is well established, but the specifics of each step may change depending on what is being examined and who is performing it. The scientific method can only answer questions that can be proven or disproven through testing.
1. Make an observation or ask a question
2. Gather background information
3. Create a hypothesis
4. Create a prediction and perform a test
5. Analyze the results and draw a conclusion
6. Share the conclusion or decide what question to ask next
When beginning an investigation, it is important to make any possible observations. What does the area look, smell, and sound like? Take photographs of the inside and outside of the area taking care to note anything that could impact an investigation such as power boxes or lines, vents or drafts, and possible noise contamination, marking these on the photos or video.
When investigating the paranormal, you may come into contact with people who may be harmed, influenced, or vulnerable.As a researcher (whether professional or amateur) the welfare of those affected by your research is paramount. Using your common sense or morality is often not enough to ensure you have considered all possible implications your presence at a location as a researcher may have. This is why it is so important that paranormal research organizations draw up a code of ethics to which members are to abide by while on location.
Who can be harmed by paranormal researchers?
The recently bereaved - Paranormal Researchers should not work with those who have experienced the loss of a loved one within at least a six month period. Grief can make a person extremely emotionally vulnerable and only those professionals with specialist training in coping with grief and depression should work with those who have experienced such a recent loss.
Children - Cases involving those under the age of eighteen must be dealt with very carefully. In cases of trauma or recent bereavement, only those Social Welfare Professionals with specialist training should work directly with children.
Vulnerable adults - Vulnerable adults may be those with mental health issues, learning difficulties, or who are very elderly or frail. Paranormal investigators should carefully consider whether it is appropriate to work with such people.
How can people be harmed by paranormal researchers?
Sharing of information - When researchers conduct an investigation, they often conclude by writing and sharing a report about the investigation. If no code of ethics is in place, the way in which information is shared by researchers can have a harmful effect on the people involved in the case being researched. Sometimes it isn’t appropriate to name the people involved, or even the location involved as this can bring unwanted attention upon those being named. Confidentiality is something that all paranormal researchers should respect above all else.
Acting as a professional in a non-professional capacity - Many paranormal research organizations have members who are qualified in roles that might aid those who are listed above as potentially vulnerable. Some researchers may be psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, grief counselors, GP’s etc. but acting in their professional capacity when on an investigation is unprofessional and may have negative outcomes for the people they advise. Most vulnerable adults and children have a care network in place with such professionals already working for them and so anyone in a research team who happens to have those credentials should not consider it their place to act in such a manner.
Breaking the law - As a paranormal researcher, it can be dangerous and harmful to the field to attempt or gain access to locations without permission from landowners. Researchers may be seriously injured or killed because they trespassed on private property. Even some graveyards have limited opening hours and accessing the graveyard outside of these hours could mean you are breaking the law.
Documenting findings is a no brainer. What many paranormal research organizations miss is the documentation of scientific methods such as experimentation. In order to progress the paranormal research field, any hypothesis testing must be documented in detail including location, environment, persons, and methods of testing.
Unfortunately, there are no reporting standards for the paranormal field. In fact, there are no investigation standards across groups. Some groups measure EMF in milligauss, some in microTesla. Some groups record baseline readings and some don’t. Standards and uniformity are the keys to legitimizing our research in this field.
To that end, we have begun compiling research standards, documents, and forms that we feel encompass the hypothesis and trials we perform in an effort to bring the paranormal community together as a force to bring our research validity in the scientific world.
All of our team documents are available to any paranormal research team. Any and all feedback is welcome as we strive to create documents with the necessary requirements, information, and data documentation for our community to use together.
So, what does a paranormal investigator do? Well, some of what you see on T.V. is kind of what we do, but much of it is dramatization. They are reality shows after all. In a nutshell we help clarify whether or not there is, in fact, a paranormal explanation for unexplained activity. Some of the activity that people experience can often be explained by natural activity. If there is in fact paranormal activity, we will try to identify what is happening, why, and what, if anything, can be done to help ease the situation.
Tools include infrared cameras, audio recorders, Electromagnetic Field detectors, SB7 spirit box, and various trigger objects that differ from location to location.
Here are some of the technical tools we use and why we use them:
These cameras are specialized for night vision capture. They use a panel of infrared lights to illuminate the area and the camera captures this lighting that we can't see with our own eyes. Though it's not necessary to investigate at night, the theory is that any spirit activity may be seen better in a darker setting where a mist or manifestation will show up more clearly. Also, the ambient noise outside of the location is much lower outside of business hours.
Digital Audio Recorders
These are used to capture any sounds that are not naturally occurring in the environment. Digital microphones may capture sounds above or below the range of human hearing. Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) is recognized as one of the most profound methods of evidence of the paranormal for decades. However, a team must be diligent and credible while using this type of equipment to maintain the integrity of the recording.
Full Spectrum Cameras
These cameras work by removing the light filter and allowing a fuller spectrum of light to be captured onto the recording media. The theory behind using full spectrum is that it may catch images we are unable to see with the naked eye or conventional cameras.
Thermal cameras such as the FLIR capture the temperature of objects from cold to hot. They are used to track significant temperature changes as well as any animals or humans that may be contaminating the investigation area. FLIR is also used on expeditions for evidence of Sasquatch or other cryptids.
Analog Audio Recorders
Here, we are using "old school" cassette tape recorders. We use these because magnetic tape is a different media than digital and may capture other audio Phenomenon. One criticism of these recorders is the noise from the machine being captured amd those noises creating sound that we may interpret as whispers. We try to be dilogent in this by attaching an external microphone and placing it at least 2 feet from the recorder and checking the audio for noise before an investigation.
Digital Cameras/DVR/Body Cams/Handheld Video Cameras
In order to capture and credible evidence of the paranormal, it needs to be as irrefutable as possi ble. This is why we blanket the area with video, carry video cameras with us, and always record. This is not only to capture any paranormal anomalies but to also catalog the team's whereabouts at all times. This help to rule put noise or video contamination as much as possible.
Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) are associated with electromagnetic radiation, which is energy in the form of photons. radiation energy spreads as it travels and has many natural and human-made sources. the electromagnetic spectrum includes light, radio waves, and x-rays, among other energy forms.
AMFs have electrical and magnetic firld componenets. Electric fields result from the strength of the electric charge (voltage) with DC generating stronger EMFs than AC at any given voltage. Magnetic fields result from the motion of the charge (current). Electic field strength is measure in units of volts per meter (V/m) and is greater the higher the voltage. Field strength deteriorates wrapidly with distance from the source. Magnetic field strength has several units of measure - milligaus (mG), gauss (G), microTesla (uT), and Tesla (T).
1 mG = 0.001 G
10 mG = 1 uT
1 uT = 0.000001 T
What are "cryptids"? Cryptids are animals (such as Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster) that have been claimed to exist but never proven to exist.
For us here in the Northwest, Sasquatch sightings are almost an everyday occurrence. At WWIPS, we are interested in finding hard evidence of the existence of these and other cryptids. Sasquatch expeditions are not for the faint of heart. They require you to venture into untamed wilderness often in the dark. To begin an expedition, there must be current sightings in the area, reports of knocking or sounds not attributed to other classified animals, and/or the presence of unknown structures.
Tools include infrasound speakers, flir thermal cameras, audio recorders, and various instruments for recreating purported Sasquatch sounds.