What’s The Connection? Belief, Assumption and Evidence

“The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.” – Bertrand Russell

Within the paranormal community, there are ample opportunities for opinions, as widely held as any religious dogma, to be taken for granted, and all with no more critical examination than that of a toddler accepting the erroneous advice of his older siblings.  The very purpose of this paranormal community is to seek the truth; at least it is on the surface.  Unfortunately, there is a preponderance of unqualified and wholly incorrect assumption being spread around as pseudo-fact with regard to some of the more common paranormal ideas.

What is a ghost?  How does EVP and orb phenomenon relate to ghosts? And how does demonology fit into the mix?

These are the common questions that most paranormal researchers endeavour to answer, though in contrast to their ‘ghost hunting’ colleagues, whose goal seems to be rooted in the same ideology as the California gold rush of 1848, the researcher tends to be more interested in what the phenomenon means, rather than what it looks or sounds like.

To dispel some of the unfortunate myths about ghosts and their paranormal companions the following is offered; no one on the planet, now or in the past, has any concrete idea of exactly what a ghost is.  The evidence is, at its very best, entirely inconclusive.  I’m sure many will read that and question with conviction the idea that no one knows what a ghost is, but I assure you, if there were verifiable information that demonstrated exactly what these mysterious and fleeting entities are, the world would have heard about it, and loudly I might add.

As the venerable Bertrand Russell so eloquently pointed out, the fact that a great many people believe a thing, by no means makes it the truth; and this applies perfectly to the idea that ghosts are the ethereal manifestation of human souls in some sort of intersecting afterlife.  While a comfortable idea, and one that has become perhaps the widest held incorrect assumption in the paranormal community at large, there is no evidence to make that claim a fact.

But, as I’m sure a great many readers are now preparing to rebut, very few people are claiming that idea to be fact.  They tend to be quite careful, when pressed, to admit that there is no certainty, while at the same time many use that idea, almost exclusively, as the basis of their methodology and focus in seeking out evidence of ghosts.

Case number one in that point, is the orb photo.  Only in the amateur paranormal enthusiast arena could such an easily explained and common photographic issue become so closely tied to the existence of ghosts.  Though most in the community already dismiss such notions as the fancy of those who know little about either phenomenon, but even in the case of the occasional orb photo that defies explanation, what do we really have?  When reduced to its common denominators, the idea of an anomalous artefact showing up in a photograph, while interesting, is not indicative of any other phenomenon; meaning, an orb is just an orb.

This same logic can and should be applied to the mystery of Electronic Voice Phenomenon.  EVP is an especially interesting subject of study and in recent years has actually become its own discipline within the realm of paranormal research.  It holds many secrets and is equally worthy of study along side any other paranormal subject, however…as with orbs, there is no cause to connect EVP with ghosts.

It seems though, that an uncomfortable majority of paranormal enthusiast accept these ideas as, well, gospel.  What is a ghost?  We don’t have an everlovin’ clue!  What are orbs?  The world be damned if we know!  What causes the eerie voices on EVP results? Your guess is as good as mine!

And that’s the point of it all.  We, meaning the collective knowledge of the entire world, don’t know what these things are.  There are those of us who hold pet theories as to what they might be, and some of those theories are more easily reconciled than others, but the sad fact that so many otherwise learned and credible people fall prey to these erroneous assumptions, is growing more and more troubling.

The issue of mediums bolstering the idea that ghosts are human souls, in some form of purgatory or otherwise trapped state, aside from being entirely anecdotal and dependent on the credibility of the medium in question, is not evidence for or against that theory or any like it; especially since ESP, clairvoyance and telepathy are, in and of themselves, entirely mysterious as well.  I’ve often said, you can’t solve one mystery, by placing another mystery on top of it.

In the end, where do we stand?  No further ahead and no further behind, but we have clarified a few things, though I suspect this one paper will do little to dispel the various assumptions and accepted myths that litter the paranormal community.  Hopefully though, it will cause a few people to ask ‘why’ a little louder.

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