Ghost Hunters New Zealand Responds…

13 07 2008

There have been some interesting comments made by active paranormal investigators in the comments section of the first post that examines Paranormal Investigation in New Zealand. Dave Clipson, the founder and lead investigator of Ghost Hunters New Zealand recently e-mailed me with his thoughts on the two posts and with his permission his response has been posted along with my reply:

Hi Christiaan

Thanks for letting me know about your report. I’m happy with what you have written as everyone has a right to an opinion.

To explain regarding the ‘write-ups’ issue you have with us, we all have day jobs etc and currently there are about 5 investigations which are overdue for proper write-ups but the review of footage is the hardest thing as each camera recording for 8 hours or so during an investigation makes approx 48hrs+ of video to look at, this means looking at 1 camera for the full 8hrs stopping the playback when you need to turn away or get a drink etc. Because each camera has sound that means that there is also 48hrs of audio to listen to plus audio recorders and of course then you have the digital cameras to look through each and every photo graph with different filters and of course the background work into setting up, speaking to the clients, breaking down the equipment afterwards and gathering the history of a place we are going too etc. When your day job pays the bills that has to come first as without that money I would not be able to help other people but above all other things I have a family and they take priority in my life. If I had more time I would write more on the website but currently I am working 2 jobs to make ends meet for my family and then in the time I have left I try to answer the many emails we receive from people asking us to look at pictures or asking for advice.

Helping people and trying to understand what we don’t understand is the main goal for us and I don’t really care much for Media attention but its a double edged sword as you need to promote that there are people out there who others can turn to when they are experiencing things that are beyond traditional help and we have letters from people in all walks of life, prison inmates, doctors, solicitors and many many more. In the normal world most of the people we speak to would be credible witnesses if it were a crime report but because it is of a paranormal nature then suddenly they are all crackpots?

If you want to know who the people are who do it for the right reasons those are the people who do things with no want of recognition or payment. We only show locations on the website which we have been given the ok to do so but there are also places we have been too which we do not publish as requested by the parties involved.

In regard to what equipment we use to try to detect paranormal activity the main focus is on filming. Firstly putting locked of cameras into rooms allows you to be able to have eyes watching for the whole duration of the investigation rather than just going in, looking around and taking a few pictures. Obviously if something is appearing regularly to one or more people (which there have been documented statements all over the world of whole groups seeing ghosts / paranormal activity) the question then becomes how can you measure something you cannot see, predict or fully understand? It reminds me of the old days when people thought the world was flat, now there are people creating devices to punch holes 1 particle at a time through the 4th dimension to try to travel back in time, by bending light and forcing the particle to follow the light bend. Their theory is that they quite expect when they start the machine to suddenly pickup particles that were not there which could have been sent from the future in there lab as an experiment but showing up not long after they switch the device on. Now this was science fiction not so long ago but with the growing field of quantum mechanics and technology now these scientists who could only ‘theorise’ about how to do it are now getting a chance to actually build a device which allows them to do exactly what they have been thinking about for so long. Doesn’t this then also ring true for the paranormal? It’s only paranormal when you can’t explain what it’s causing the event or what the event is, but when you can then explain it this then becomes normal.

“Paranormal is an umbrella term used to describe unusual phenomena or experiences that lack an obvious scientific explanation, In parapsychology, it is used to describe the potentially psychic phenomena of telepathy, extra-sensory perception, psychokinesis, ghosts, and hauntings. The term is also applied to UFOs, some creatures that fall under the scope of cryptozoology, purported phenomena surrounding the Bermuda Triangle, and other non-psychical subjects.”

The body in its normal way produces electrical impulses as well as chemical signals (significantly in the brain, nerves and muscles). The body has its own Electro Magnetic Field and this is Science Fact. Now we use EMF meters as it is a ‘theory’ that you may be able to pick up on something which has an electro magnetic field (i.e. unshielded electric wire, some electrical appliances or hopefully an ex-living person), cold spots are a ‘theory’ that something is drawing heat energy (endothermic process) out of the location to try to gain strength to show its self or do something that we can see / hear (exothermic process).

Now these are all theories that we ourselves have not claimed or come up with but are the consensus of many investigators, paranormal research groups & parapsychology departments at universities around the world.

This argument reminds me of the scientists not so long ago who said that “the bumble bee cant fly” and yet there it was flying around all the time for the whole world to see, it was only because they did not understand part of the mechanics of the bee flight but when they found the missing factor they were then able to scientifically tell the world that bumble bee’s can fly and this is how, but of course we all knew that before they made a statement to the world saying that the bee’s could in fact fly.

I can understand you taking a view point on what your writing but also be aware that people are out there putting everything they have into these organisations trying to find the answers, I have my own theories on certain things and I maybe wrong but I’m trying to find out and trying to help as many people as I can.

I will never tell someone that what they believe is wrong, its there right to believe in it. I only think that it’s wrong when people start hurting others in the name of there beliefs or wanting to get paid for it.

I guess I always remember the teaching from years ago when I went to Sunday school and church when I was a young boy “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Jesus, Matthew 7:3 there was a lot of wisdom in that one comment. I personally believe in a supreme being, I just have faith that my life will have meaning and that I will die knowing that I have been the best person I could be.

After all the reports from around the world for thousands of years I would love to be able to catch something to show people, and say “look this is strange and we got it on camera”. But you’re going to be challenging all religions and even those people who don’t believe in the “mainstream” religions but they still believe that there family members past and gone are still looking over them. What harm is there for people to have that comfortable feeling that they are being looked after/over by there family members past?

As I stated at the top I don’t really care much what you say about Ghost Hunters NZ, I know in my heart and mind that I do everything I can as best as I can in order to help people and not pocket money for the privilege and for me that’s all that counts.

I would be interested to know your background in parapsychology and the study of paranormal phenomenon, or are you just commenting on a personal level in your blog report? It may be an idea to point that out so that people know that this is your own opinion and is not based on any scientific fact. That way you are being completely impartial.

Good luck in your career and kind regards from Ghost Hunters NZ.

Dave

Founder
Lead Investigator
Ghost Hunters New Zealand
http://www,ghosthunters.co.nz

My reply to Dave’s e-mail was:

Hi Dave,

Thank you for your prompt, thorough and open reply. You are to be commended on your commitment to the investigations in light of your busy life and appreciate that it a very time consuming endeavour.

As you are aware I have one more post to publish which addresses issues around the use of different equipment, and once it has been posted feel free to leave any comments on the blog as I appreciate feedback from all perspectives.

You use particular experiments within quantum physics as an analogy for the paranormal by effectively arguing that due to the counter intuitive nature of these experiments it somehow validates the paranormal due its unknown or unexplainable qualities. The principle difference is that quantum mechanics is well grounded branch of physics that has been supported by numerous observations and it has well developed models that can make accurate predictions. There has been a steady scaffolding of hypothesises, experiments, and models since its inception at the turn of the 20th century.

While there have been a range of scientific experiments conducted to detect the paranormal since the 1880’s, the results have been dubious, occasionally burdened with fraud, and positive results have very close to the point of statistical insignificance. Furthermore, not one single well established model or theory has survived any form of peer review process.

You go further and mention a couple of theories that underpin your approach namely:

1. An EMF meter will detect the electrical impulses and chemical signals.

2. That there are cold spots where something is drawing heat energy out of a location to gain strength.

I can appreciate that there is probably a lot of anecdotal evidence to support these propositions, but I have yet to encounter any rigorous and repeatable scientific experiments that have shown that spirits exist, what the qualities of a spirit are, and that the many instruments employed would be able to detect those qualities. This is why I have taken the position that I have, but my mind remains open to the possibility of spirits – in fact it would be fantastic if our consciousness continued to exist once our bodies have died. But I guess that through the application of scientific rationalism it sets a high standard of proof, and therefore I currently am not convinced of most paranormal claims.

I agree with you that as long as you are not harming anyone else that you are free to believe in what ever you want and I know that there are many people in the community who are peddling paranormal abilities at the expense of others both emotionally and financially. But I am also interested in why people believe what they believe, as people can be irrational and allow a variety of emotional and/or psychological factors influence what they believe. From what I have observed in the area of paranormal investigation there does appear to be a number of unstated assumptions or premises that currently do not hold up to scientific scrutiny such as the existence of spirits and the ability of certain instruments to detect spirits.

If you are interested in my background you can click on the about the authors button on the website. The contents of the blog are my opinion, but it is an opinion that I try and have informed by a scientific and rational approach.

Regards,

Christiaan.

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2 responses

22 07 2008
John L. Ateo

A couple of comments on Dave Clipson’s posting. Believers in the paranormal often seem to have this major conflict, one minute they’re supporting science, describing quantum mechanics experiments and saying that their detection methods are based on a “science fact”. The next minute they are claiming that scientists are incompetent, repeating the myth that silly scientists used to insist that “the bumble bee cant fly”. Science has NEVER said “the bumble bee cant fly”. Some idiot with a science degree may have, but no intelligent scientist would have, and the scientific community certainly didn’t. Anyone with half a brain that thought they had proved that the bumble bee couldn’t fly would immediately realise that one of their assumptions, premises or calculations must be false since the bee obviously does fly. I’m amazed that some people can’t grasp this and yet they say they understand quantum mechanics. They repeat misconceptions about science when it appears to support their beliefs, but condemn it as close-minded when it doesn’t.
Dave states that “The body has its own Electro Magnetic Field and this is Science Fact. Now we use EMF meters as it is a ‘theory’ that you may be able to pick up on something which has an electro magnetic field (i.e. unshielded electric wire, some electrical appliances or hopefully an ex-living person).” Human bodies do NOT have EM fields that can be detected by EMF meters. Mr Spock on Star Trek has an instrument that can detect life forms but we don’t. The military, police, search and rescue etc would be using them if we did. Yes, very small fields can be detected in the body with sophisticated devices like EEGs but this is a world away from EMF meters. And what would it matter if EMF meters could detect bodies, ghosts AREN’T living human bodies. Why are they using a device that supposedly detects living human bodies to detect something completely different? There is no accepted scientific theory that states that ghosts emit EMF.
Dave also asks why “In the normal world most of the people we speak to would be credible witnesses if it were a crime report but because it is of a paranormal nature then suddenly they are all crackpots?” Regarding crime reports we accept some people as credible witnesses because we accept that crime is a reality, that it exists. Until the paranormal is shown to be on an equal standing with the reality of crime, witnesses to the paranormal will be viewed, not as crackpots necessarily, but as deluded.

13 08 2008
Christiaan

John, your last comment rings true. Crime is a measurable observable social reality that has a prior plausibility. So when a person reports a crime one does not have to jump that initial psychological hurdle of ‘does this crime exist?’. Crime is something that can be scientifically studied and there is evidence abound of its existence as a social fact. Therefore the only things that need to be then considered is the witnesses credibility and reliability. In the case of many paranormal incidences, such as ghosts, aliens, etc the initial step of prior plausibility needs to be considered, before the credibility and reliability of the witness is assessed.

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