Do we know how weird normal is?
How much good is paranormal research if there’s no base line?
First off, I do not know much about paranormal research. It’s not a hobby of mine. But I find the subject entertaining. Specially in stories and TV series. And I have watched some documentaries and such.
Reading this story from Noe Olivr, I started thinking about the subject of paranormal research again. It sounds like a great hobby and I really don’t want to get too negative about it. But I have a question, and I have asked other people who say they enjoy paranormal research. So far the response has always been “Um, no.” The question is this: Have you ever researched the normal in the way you are researching the paranormal? Because if you haven’t, how could you say it’s out of the ordinary?
So the standard, almost cliche, instance of paranormal research is this: An old building or site where something -usually something violent like a horrible accident or a murder- happened. People start saying strange things are happening. People are feeling energies, or seeing things. Items get moved and what not. The place gets a reputation for being haunted. Paranormal researchers flock to it to take readings with some gadgets I don’t even know the names or purpose of, but the goal is figuring out if the stories are true or not.
I have a slight problem here and the problem is human imagination. And how easy it is to get primed to see, hear and feel things. The simple fact that the buildings are old and life has happened in or near them seems to be enough to get the imagination going. It doesn’t even have to be man made, an old, weathered tree can get the imagination going.
It seems to me, if you want to go about investigating paranormal strange, you first have to investigate normal strange. Because there are always things happening where you think for a second “Oh. That’s weird”. But without a primer of hauntings, without evidence of age, without a underlying narrative of something being off in this place, -for instance in a new building- we tend to dismiss it and not give it a second thought.
Which, when you think about it, is strange all by itself. Because in a new building it is harder to dismiss such happenings by blaming it on faulty wiring, old pipes or drafts. In short there would be less reason to dismiss something strange in a new building than in an old one. That by itself makes me think that paranormal activity is in large part dependent on our own imagination.
I am willing to accept that some places are a big twinkie. But unless you can tell me what a regular twinkie looks like, ‘big’ is a word without meaning.