Paranormal Phenomena And Paranormal Research

Paranormal research is the study of unexplained phenomena, such as telepathy, ESP, psychokinesis, ghosts, hauntings and UFOs. Approaching paranormal research from a scientific perspective can be difficult because even if paranormal events really exist, they can be difficult to prove using traditional scientific methods.

Paranormal investigators use several different approaches to document the existence of paranormal events, including experiments, observation and interviews with people who experience paranormal activity.

The Goals of Paranormal Research

While the goals of paranormal research vary, paranormal investigators continue their studies for any of the following reasons:

  • to bring paranormal study into the mainstream of modern science
  • to educate the public
  • to expose supernatural frauds and hoaxes
  • to gather and assimilate data to better understand unusual phenomena
  • to help those who have experienced paranormal phenomena cope with their experiences
  • to scientifically prove the existence of paranormal events.

The Scientific Methods of Paranormal Researchers

Researchers often explore the existence of paranormal phenomena by experimentation. The Ganzfeld telepathy experiments are an example of scientific paranormal experiments.

Two participants, a sender and a receiver, participate in a Ganzfeld test. The participants are placed in separate insulated cubicles. The receiver wears headphones and eye coverings to block out all outside noise and interference. Pictures and film images are shown to the sender, who then tries to telepathically send these images to the receiver.

Another common paranormal research method is called the participant-observer approach. With this method, a researcher immerses himself in the situation he wants to study. Popular ghost-hunting groups use this approach to explore supposedly haunted areas.

Debunking Paranormal Phenomena

Skeptics of paranormal phenomenal take a different approach to paranormal research. Instead of proving the existence of paranormal phenomena, skeptical paranormal investigators attempt to debunk supernatural encounters.

Skeptical paranormal investigators respond to claims of paranormal phenomena but research them looking for non-mystic explanations for their existence. These investigators often believe that the simplest explanation for paranormal phenomena is usually the correct one.

Anecdotes and Paranormal Research

Some paranormal investigators use anecdotal evidence from people who have witnessed paranormal events in their research. However, due to the wide range of variables (such as faulty memory, exaggeration and flat-out lying), anecdotes don’t carry much weight in scientific investigation and are better used as a jumping-off point for further research.

Another area of paranormal research is the study of surveys and polls. While this method of data collection doesn’t actually prove or disprove the existence of paranormal phenomena, it provides a better understanding of the general public’s belief in ghosts and other otherworldly activity. Similarly, surveys typically plant the seeds for further paranormal investigation.

Famous Paranormal Research Societies

Some of the most famous paranormal research societies in the United States include:

  • International Society for Paranormal Research: Founded in 1972 in Los Angeles by parapsychologist Dr. Larry Montz, the ISPR staffs researchers that have conducted many high-profile investigations of paranormal phenomena.
  • The Paranormal Research Society of North America: Located outside of Pottstown, Penn., this team of paranormal investigators explores allegedly haunted sites across the country. They use both simple and high-tech electronic equipment to document any indication of paranormal phenomena.
  • Tri-State Paranormal Research: This team, based in New Jersey, researches paranormal activity in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They use high-tech equipment and are particularly interested in phenomena surrounding EVP (electronic voice phenomena), photography and video.