Occams Razor - “The simplest explanation is usually the best one.”
This theory was developed by William Occam, a 14th century English Franciscan friar. The principle states that if there are several possible reasons for something happening, the reason that has the fewest assumptions is likely to be the correct one. As investigators of the paranormal we often encounter very strange and unusual events during the investigation or while reviewing the evidence. Being in the paranormal field we are looking for evidence to support claims of paranormal activity. But sometimes in our desire to find a good piece of evidence we reach pretty far and wide to get to the answers. Many times the very obvious or common explanations are overlooked or even excused in place of much more elaborate justifications for deeming something paranormal in nature.
This is not to say the statements from property owners and eye witnesses are always to be suspect or discounted. But as responsible paranormal investigators it is imperative to document the statements, yet not let the claims influence our judgement in regards to the source of activity. If activity can be recreated by known artificial means, the Occam’s Razor has to conclude the recreation is probably more accurate than the assumptions of paranormal activity and the misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the client.
The key significance of Occam’s Razor for the paranormal investigator, is to teach us to stop, think, and be realistic as to what is possible as opposed to being unlikely. In the paranormal field we know that pretty much anything is possible. But if you have to connect too many dots, make too many assumptions to come to a paranormal conclusion, then more than likely it is not paranormal.
There are 2 very valid reasons for taking accurate environmental readings before and during an investigation. Both of which assist the client, the investigation, research and the dependability of the investigator. These readings can shed a whole new light on the situation and may very well unwrap the truth.
The Client's Safety Comes First -
When called into a persons private location, assisting that person and addressing their concerns and safety should be the first priority. They want accurate answers and the truth. Since making an accurate determination is so important, a preliminary location inspection is the best way to start. The preliminary investigation is used to find rational and objective reasons for the clients claims. These inspections must be done during the location's standard operations. In other words, the location needs to be as it is, during its daily routine. After all, the client is experiencing their claims while the lights are on, appliances and water are running and heating or air is flowing through the duct work.
As investigators move through the location shaking water pipes, flushing toilets, opening and shutting doors and checking the structure and foundation during the walk through ... it is a perfect time to take these environmental readings. Why is this important ?
We already know that excessive EMF exposure due to poor wiring and appliances can give off paranormal symptoms such as the sense of being watched and the creeps. But we need to take into consideration a locations air quality, as well. A high concentration of positive ions in the air can cause depression, mood change and even sickness. This can be an indicator of dirty duct work, a dirty air filter in the locations central air unit, excessive amounts of pollen, moisture and allergens from outside or dust and mold spores from inside the structure. 99.9% of the time, this is what causes "orbs" in flash photography and in video shot with night vision. Taking test photos with a flash, can give a rough idea of the amount of contaminates in the air. Before diagnosing these contaminates as paranormal, a team should use an ion counter to measure air quality.
Carbon monoxide poisoning and Radon exposure are also very common invaders. Both of these elements can be very dangerous and can cause similar paranormal symptoms or even death. Testing for these elements should be at the top of all investigators lists during their preliminaries.
The other unseen culprit is sound and frequency. As tests have shown (read below under "Why use an Oscilloscope") infrasound and frequencies can also be a likely candidate. With the amount of electronics and sound surrounding most locations, it is not inconceivable that the client may be having an adverse reaction to very low frequency. Sound travels and can make its appearance in the most unlikely places, even if the location seems to be very quiet. With these frequencies being capable of causing hallucinations and ill effects, they must not be overlooked.
Location inspection and environmental readings are the most objective way to start any investigation. If the answer lies in the inspection and these simple tests, the client will be able to address the issue. Case closed. If the tests come up inconclusive, then the investigative team can eliminate those possibilities and move on into a paranormal investigation.
Data Collection & Research -
Now that the location has been given the once over and the team is aware of its environmental surroundings, a more accurate assessment can be made of the location. If the location shows none or very little, signs of the above mentioned symptoms, then using the same detectors may be useful in taking readings of actual paranormal activity. This is where a team can collect data that may become useful in the future.
Some investigators believe actual paranormal activity must have some kind of environmental signature or leave some kind of energy trace. EMF and temperature are believed to be common contributors among most investigators. But if we want to further the research behind this phenomena, we must consider the effects this activity can have on positive and negative ions ... frequency and infrasound as well as temperature, barometric pressure and the electro-magnetic field.
We must question how EVP's are being transmitted. Are they transmitted in frequencies above or below our threshold of hearing ?
We must question how something that has no physical embodiment is capable of making itself visible. Are they transmitting an image similar to a television air wave ?
We must question their ability to move things. Are they manipulating magnetic poles to maneuver inanimate objects ?
What is the meta-physical science behind this phenomena ?
Many teams sell themselves short when collecting valuable data. We must consider as many environmental variables as possible. There is so much more to an investigation than capturing video, photos and EVP's. These readings are just as important to paranormal investigation as the collection of evidence ... if not more.
If we truly want to contribute and bring this type of study into the 21st century, then scientific research must be a priority for all teams. The answers lie some where in the data collected.
Not many investigators take into consideration ALL of the natural scientific possibilities that can cause a client to have unexplained claims. One such culprit can be frequency / infrasound.
The Ghost In The Machine
In April 1998, the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research published a paper called The Ghost in the Machine by Coventry University lecturer Vic Tandy. It described Tandy’s experiences working in his "haunted" medical lab.