In this, the third part of our exploration into the mysterious world of the supernatural, we will explore some of the tools and equipment used in modern paranormal research. It often, mistakenly, assumed that paranormal investigators are people wandering around in the dark, simply hoping to stumble across something interesting. This is rarely the case, as paranormal professionals are usually only called on to a site, once conventional methods have failed to identify the source of unexplained anomalies. With the use of specific tools and equipment, they record paranormal phenomena in a rigorous and scientific manner.
H is for…
Haunting – as one of the most frequently used paranormal terms, the word ‘haunting’ is often misunderstood. It refers to a situation in which a specific location exhibits either a pattern, or a personality, of paranormal activity. It is generally classified as being one of two categories, intelligent or residual. Whilst a residual haunting is defined by rote characteristics – for example, anomalies appear in the same places, exhibit the same activities, and do not seem to have any independent awareness – an intelligent haunting involves the interaction of spirit entities with living witnesses. It is the classic definition of a haunting. There is one more category of haunting, one that is still much debated – the poltergeist. A poltergeist can resemble a haunting, but many experts believe it to be the manifestation of a living mind, more associated with demonic possession.
I is for…
Inanimate Ghosts – this is a phenomenon that is hotly debated, and one which not all paranormal experts are convinced exists. Over the centuries, there have been thousands of reports of haunted ‘objects,’ – things like ships, cars, jewellery, trains, dolls, houses and antiques. The vast majority can be attributed to urban legend, but there are unexplained instances of residual anomalies that seem to be quite literally ‘frozen in time.’ The most common example is cars that have been involved in fatal wrecks, cars that are seen close to the location of a tragic accident, many years after the event.
Infrared – a lot of digital video and still shot cameras used by paranormal investigators are now equipped with infrared technology. It can be an invaluable tool, as almost all investigations are carried out under the cover of darkness. Without infrared technology, subtle anomalies like shadows and slowly moving objects, that would otherwise be undetectable to the naked eye, can be picked up and recorded in great detail.
Inhuman – again, this is a very controversial term and not all paranormal experts agree with its use. In general, the word ‘inhuman’ is used to refer to a supernatural entity that has never been human. It can be used to describe demons, elementals, nature spirits and even angels – though it is important to note that most inhuman spirits are considered to be very dangerous. It is an aspect of the paranormal that tends to be almost exclusively explored by demonologists and religious groups, with an interest in the phenomenon of possession.
K is for…
Kobold – this is a relatively uncommon term, as it derives from the German language. A ‘kobold’ is generally believed to be a less malevolent form of poltergeist. It can be either good or bad, but most agree that it is extremely mischievous. It plays tricks on humans, moves objects and tries to unsettle anybody in its vicinity. The kobold can take many forms, even that of an animal. It is extremely chameleon like and loves nothing more than causing havoc. Yet, it is not considered to be a danger.
K-II Meter – the K-II Safe Range meter is one of the most popular types of electromagnetic detectors. It was originally designed to be used by laypersons, trying to identify potentially harmful pockets of electromagnetism is homes and businesses. These days, a lot of paranormal investigators use the K-II meter as an inexpensive broad spectrum radio frequency detector. The device itself contains a panel of five LED lights, which light up as EMF measurements increase. As the K-II meter provides an almost instantaneous response to EMF spikes, paranormal investigators often use them for spirit communication. If you believe that supernatural entities can create measurable electromagnetic fields, it makes sense to think that a K-II meter can be used to interact with them – ‘one knock for yes,’ ‘two knock for no,’ for example.
Knocks & Taps – these basic sounds are a mainstay of paranormal investigation. Yet, they tend to be imbued with much more significance by the media, than by investigators themselves. Whilst they are frequently used to provoke communication with intelligent spirit entities, and even to gauge responses to direct questions, knock and taps are given quite a low level of importance. This is unless they are accompanied by one or more additional anomalies – such as cold spots, EMF spikes or EVP phenomena. This is due to the fact that buildings do naturally make creaking and knocking sounds as they cool down after dark.
L is for…
Levitation – a rare paranormal phenomenon, in which a person or an object is raised off the ground. It can sometimes be followed by throwing, or violent movement. It is considered to be a form of telekinetic activity, associated mainly with poltergeists and demonic hauntings.
Lights Out – for a variety of reasons, paranormal investigations are usually conducted in the dark. It isn’t a hard and fast rule, but ‘lights out’ is generally used to signal the official start of a formal investigation or study. In some cases, the dark is an essential part of protecting evidence from light and sound contamination.
M is for…
Materialisation – a word used to describe the process by which a spirit creates a visible representation of itself within the physical world. If a supernatural entity appears in an unexplained manner, it is said to have ‘materialised.’
Medium – a medium is an individual who claims to be able to communicate with the spirits of those who have died. It is a person who has an abnormally fine-tuned extrasensory perception, with which they can detect thoughts, feelings and voices from the spirit world. It is common for mediums to use their skill on behalf of regular people, who wish to engage with loved ones who have died. The phenomenon of mediumship is extremely controversial, and debunkers have been aggressively attempting to falsify it for many years now.
Image sourced from spiritualismlink.com