The Survey Says…

Having some time on my hands of late, I’ve been able to catch a few episodes of SyFy’s Destination Truth.  I enjoy the show, even though each episode is pitifully reminiscent of the one before it.  It remains entertaining.  I do have a complaint though, as you probably thought I might.

At the conclusion of every episode, Josh and the crew recap their evidentiary haul for the benefit of the viewer, often calling on the so-called expertise of various Paranormal TV celebrities (such as Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson from SyFy’s Ghost Hunters).  I appreciate the cross cameo relationship between the shows, but I’m aggravated by the invariably predictable conclusions the visiting experts offer in answer to the team’s “evidence�?.

First, I loath the use of the word evidence in that context, as I’ve said before.  While in the strictest sense of the word, it does apply to the product of paranormal research, it can’t be said that this product is definitively of a ghostly origin.  So it is evidence of something, but that’s as far as anyone can take it.  This isn’t unique to Destination Truth or even to Ghost Hunters, but rather it’s a failing of pretty much all paranormal research.

But after all is said and done, we are talking about TV shows, and we must recognize that their aim is to entertain, with scientific prudence coming as a distant second to that goal.  It seems on the face of it, that few people are actually employing the scientific method to investigate claims of a paranormal nature, but if you dig a little deeper you can stumble upon a select few who are taking the whole idea a little more seriously.

One of those people would be Rosemary Breen, the founder of Psychic Revolution and author of a scientifically significant paranormal survey.  Originally conceived of for her Master of Education degree from Monash University in Australia, Ms Breen has released two special reports as a product of her Paranormal Activity Survey.

Considering the number of people who purport to be investigating the paranormal, it’s encouraging to see that some are taking to the questions raised with an analytical approach.  Ms. Breen’s reports bring some focus to the bedrock data that is needed for further study.

The following is an excerpt from a press release regarding her survey results.

The Survey Report reveals intriguing findings, including:

  • Paranormal experiences are reported more often by women than men
  • Paranormal encounters can, and do, start very early in life. At least, one in ten of every first paranormal encounter occurs before the age of six years
  • On average, paranormal experients experience five different types of phenomena in their lifetime
  • All types of paranormal experience are not encountered uniformly between nations: indications are that differences exist, depending on the country and the type of encounter being reported
  • The trend is for paranormal experients to have multiple experiences of the same type of phenomena
  • While most types of paranormal phenomena are encountered throughout life, certain experiences seem to occur more frequently in later life, and
  • Overall, the paranormal is seen as life affirming.

The paranormal survey investigates ten types of phenomenon: telepathy, reincarnation, mediumship, auras, premonitions, psychokinesis, out of body experiences, near death episodes, apparitions and déjà vu.

This second round of the survey Spontaneous Paranormal Experiences is open to the public.

The newly released Paranormal Activity Analysis Report outlines the findings of the first online survey created by the author, Rosemary Breen as part of her Master of Education degree at Monash University, Australia. Unlike many academics, Ms. Breen is reluctant to leave her research on the library shelf. She feels a responsibility to make the research findings public and so, the Report is now available free from the Psychic Revolution website.

Contrasted against the background noise of paranormal television, Ms Breen’s efforts are commendable, and her results should be viewed as important data going forward into the unknown.  I encourage everyone to participate in the second round of this survey (which can be found here), and to take the time to read the full results of the Paranormal Activity Analysis Report.

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