Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Evidence Credibility

For most paranormal investigators, the ultimate goal in conducting investigations is to find some kind of evidence that can not be explained. However, what may be even more important is the ability to identify sources that can lead to false claims of paranormal activity. The last thing a paranormal investigation group wants to do is to offer false or misleading information to the person or persons we are trying to find honest answers for.

There is nothing more exciting than discovering a mysterious voice on an audio recording or a dark shadow lurking on your video recordings. Catching good evidence is great, but how often do we put our own findings under the microscope?

Case in point: We recently completed an investigation at a location in which many groups have investigated, and most have walked away with some sort of unexplainable audio or video. We have investigated this location in the past in addition to our recent visit and much like other groups who have investigated; we ended up with multiple findings. Pending our return visit, we did some searching to see what other groups out there have captured since we were there last. We found a number of things and a few caught our attention so we decided try some experiments during our investigation. Unfortunately, one experiment which was publicized as a paranormal by another team, we were able to re-create exactly within minutes.

This article is not written to discredit or ridicule other teams, because in all reality none of us are perfect and what one person feels is paranormal, someone else may not feel the same way about. However, cases such as this should really speak to everyone in the paranormal community; always double check your findings and analyze everything possible to avoid misleading claims. Some people are very impressionable, and it would be an unfortunate thing to offer someone misleading information which could induce unnecessary fear. The quantity of evidence is not as important as the quality.

Our team does not always find evidence of paranormal activity when we investigate a place, but when we do find something we can’t explain, we closely examine it before releasing what we have found. We also attempt to check our facts with what paranormal evidence we find, and several cases have just left us speechless. Take for example the Buffington House investigation we did back in 2010: We captured a very clear and chilling EVP of a child calling out for mommy. After some deeper research into the history of the home than what was initially done, we discovered that a four year old little boy died in the home over one hundred years ago. When the facts line up with investigation findings, it really gives more credibility to the evidence.

Each investigation we have done has been a great experience and we truly appreciate those who have allowed us to come into their home or business to check into their claims of paranormal activity. We feel that those who give us these amazing opportunities deserve the best and most honest answers we can give them.  

Monday, November 14, 2011


In order to progress in the work of paranormal investigation and research, our team has disregarded one particular little nuisance: The Orb.

Now, before I start this let me make it clear that I am talking about the most common photographic anomalies captured on ghost hunts. I do realize that there is natural "energy orbs, a phenomena that exists and has scientific explanations. True energy orbs would be a whole other article in itself. But I am going to discuss the most common “orb” seen in most photos.

  • Orb - a sphere or spherical object.

Orbs appear to have taken the paranormal community by storm over the past few decades and these little photographic irregularities have caused much debate. First, in order to secure our argument on these anomalies, I have done a little research on some orb related topics that provides some very interesting facts:
  • Orbs were basically non-existent or (very rare at best) before the 1990’s, however the first photographs were taken in the early 1800’s, so why the lack of orb photography for nearly 200 years?
  • Digital cameras became available in the mid 1990’s.
  • In the 1990’s, the Gallup Poll News Service statistics state that there was a significant increase in the belief of ghosts and other paranormal related ideas. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost)
My point here is that digital imagery, combined with an upsurge of interest in paranormal phenomena has led to this little photographic fault to become glorified as something that it is not. Now let’s talk about the key difference in film cameras and digital cameras that has resulted in such a plethora of these orbs:
  • Depth of field. (Photography featurethe total focused area in front of and behind an object held in the focus of a camera or lens - Encarta® World English Dictionary) The digital camera has a larger depth of field than a standard 35mm as well as a sharper lens. At this point you are a few ingredients short of an orb photograph.
Next and perhaps the key elememt in all of this is the camera flash. If you are using the flash on your digital camera, any particles in the air that are not in focal distance from your lens can refract the light from that flash causing these little round white balls to appear in your photo. Of course orbs can show up on film cameras too, but for reasons mentioned above, the film camera is less likely to produce an orb photograph.

The orb is nothing more than a combination of natural factors and technology. When a person is hunting for ghosts and taking lots of photographs (many at night) you are actively seeking something anomalous to show up in your pictures. When something does show up that you can’t immediately explain away (most likely because you didn’t see it with your own eyes) one may jump to the assumption that because you didn’t see it when you took the photo, it must be paranormal.
Orbs can be photographed anywhere; haunted, not haunted, indoors, outdoors, daylight, or night. Orbs can appear in many different forms; shapes and sizes can vary, they can differ in transparency, some can appear to be glowing, some even seem to have faces. All these factors depend on the environment and type of particles you are photographing. If you see a face in an orb, this is called Pareidolia (the
imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human feature. Collins English Dictionary)

I think this quote really sums up the current orb obsession: “The tragic aspect of orbs - otherwise harmless photo defects - is that they lead normal people to believe they are plagued by ghosts” (Quote from the orbzone.com, which appears to no longer be an active website as of 9/2012). There are many people who find orbs in their photos, and due to wide-spread misinformation, believe that something paranormal is happening around them when in fact orbs are about as harmless as a newborn kitten.

All of those who are trying to pass off “orbs” as something paranormal clearly have not done their homework on this subject. The advancement of paranormal investigation and research can not happen unless those involved begin to seek the truth instead of filling the information and knowledge pool with a bunch of garbage.

There will be those who disagree with the facts about orbs. As stated on our website, there are no true experts in the paranormal field, and I am not claiming we are experts. We have however have taken the time to research many aspects of what we do, and hope to offer those who have an interest in paranormal phenomena as much quality, truthful information as possible.

If you happen to find an “orb” in a photograph on our website, let me assure you that we are not trying to claim it as a paranormal anomaly. For an example, when we investigated the Keith Albee, I took a photo on the roof in the rain. The photo was great, but it was speckled with rain drop orbs, not paranormal of course, just a photo worth sharing with all of you.  

Below are some articles and websites worth checking out, if you want to learn more about orbs and/or photography please check them out!
Here is a great article on orbs from Troy Taylor, a respected paranormal investigator. http://www.prairieghosts.com/trouble.html

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Looking Ahead

The madness of the month of October is finally over, and it’s time to relax a bit and look toward the coming months and even into next year. I can finally sit down to work on writing some new blogs which I hope to post here in the coming weeks. I have been considering touching on some hot topics in some of my upcoming articles such as orbs, equipment and investigation case comparisons. But before I get into those more comprehensive topics, I will give a short re-cap of the past few weeks and a look at what’s coming up for us in the next few months.

The highlight of fall for our team is our ghost tours we offer in Guyandotte. Once again we had an awesome turnout for the tours, and much fun was had by all. This season seemed to be the most “active” tours we have done to date, with many reports of personal experiences and encounters from our tour guests. In fact the tour guests were not the only ones who were experiencing unusual activity; several guides even heard some prowling spirits inside one of the homes on the tour.

We set up some equipment inside one of the homes both before and after the tours on Halloween weekend, and ended up with several EVP’s. We of course will be posting these and any thing else we may find in the coming weeks when all of the audio and video has been reviewed.

Coming up next for us is an investigation of a local haunt (we will announce the location after the investigation is complete and be sure to check back, this one has taken several interesting twists!), followed by a couple residential cases. We hope you will keep following us, and don’t forget to add us on Facebook too!

Melissa - HPIR Founder