More than once I have been asked if I think that paranormal investigating or “ghost hunting” is a science. I have never had any difficulty admitting that it is not. With that said, I answer that it is an exciting time to be a paranormal investigator, because much is being learned that hopefully lays the groundwork for much to come, and it will be a part of what will be considered science. Skeptics to the claims of paranormal investigators love to report that we do not do what can be considered the scientific method with regard to our claims and reports. They love to note that nothing paranormal investigators have presented can hold up when presented with the scientific method.
While the high tech instruments we use are scientific, most were not originally intended for ghost hunting. Likewise, when we are ghost hunting, and our K2 meters go off, and we get flashlight activity, and later we go back and look at our photographs and listen to our recorders and see orbs and hear EVPs, we get excited. We know from our experience, and from that of other paranormal investigators, we have encountered something. This, however, means nothing to a scientist, because although we have experienced something, the fact that we cannot predictably and reliably repeat our findings means that it does not meet the requirements for the scientific methods. Additionally, for a scientist, there are other things which can account for what the K2 meter shows, the flashlight method is given a hand wave, and what we see in digital photographs is attributed to particles of dust.
Not only does such rigid skepticism run counter to the qualitative experience we as paranormal investigators encounter, it runs counter to science’s own history.
Several centuries ago, the precursors to modern chemists attempted to turn iron into gold and did many things that modern scientists considered foolishness. What scientists appear to forget is that while many things alchemists did run counter to proven science today, the discoveries they made laid the foundation to modern chemistry. But for alchemists, there would not be chemists. In the process of attempting feats that were impossible, alchemists discovered many important findings regarding chemical conversions, the elements, and compounds. When a chemist or chemical engineer considers the paranormal a pseudoscience, he or she forgets the roots of his or her own scientific discipline.
Paranormal investigations essentially are based on the hypothesis that spirits, ghosts, or whatever we may encounter can be detected by ghost hunters because of energy. We believe that our K2 meter shows spikes because of energy emitted by a spirit. We believe that what we hear on a recorder is the result of a spirit with enough energy to cause the electronic voice phenomenon. The same can be said of orbs and the flashlight method. While many of the beliefs of alchemists have been disproven by modern science, the basic hypothesis of paranormal investigators regarding energy has not been disproven. Our hypothesis regarding energy is at best is called “fringe science” by mainstream scientists, but the fact that it cannot be disproven, and that we experience it gives hope that it will be mainstream science in the future.
Paranormal investigators understand what people in the scientific community intellectually understand, but have not internalized. There is so much about the universe we do not understand. In many ways paranormal investigators, like alchemists, are on the frontier of what will likely be major scientific understanding which will shed light on many things currently unknown about the universe. Like alchemists, we experience what scientists cannot explain and hopefully we will live to see the day that much of what we are encountering and experiencing now, will one day be accepted science.