Between one-third and one-half of Americans believe in ghosts, and that belief motivates many to look for evidence of the paranormal. Researcher counted about 2,000 active amateur ghost hunting groups in the United States. Almost all of them are patterned directly which is now in its eighth season of failing to find good evidence of ghosts.
Despite the efforts of thousands of real-life ghost hunters over the past decade, the evidence for ghosts has not improved. Typically, the types of evidence offered for the paranormal fall into a few categories:
1) Personal Experiences
Ghost hunters often report personal feelings and experiences like, “I felt we were being watched,” or “I felt like something didn’t want us there.” They also describe, for example, getting goose bumps upon entering a room or panicking at some unseen presence. There’s nothing wrong with personal experiences, but they are not evidence of anything other than that people scare themselves in dark, spooky places.
Many ghost hunters and books on hauntings claim that ghosts can be photographed, appearing as round or oval white shapes called orbs in the images. Many things can create orbs, including insects, dust and flash reflections. Orbs may seem otherworldly because they appear only in photographs and are usually invisible to the naked eye. To those unaware of the real explanations, they can be spooky, but there is nothing paranormal about them.
3) Ghost Equipment Results
Ghost investigators often use unscientific and unproven equipment and techniques in their search for spirits. Some use psychics to try and communicate with ghosts. Others use dowsing rods, which have never been scientifically proven to find anything (including water and restless spirits). Still others, striving for some semblance of science, use high-tech devices such as electromagnetic field detectors and infrared cameras.
4) Electronic Voice Phenomena
Most ghost hunters, including the “Ghost Hunters” team, use handheld voice recorders in an attempt to capture a supposed ghost voice, or EVP. Often an investigator will hold the recorder while standing in the middle of a room and addressing the supposed spirit, or while walking around. He will later go back and review the recordings at high volume, listening for any faint murmurs, sounds or noises, which may be interpreted as ghost voices. For example, a ghost hunter may ask out-loud, “If there’s a spirit here, what’s your name?”
Often the investigator will get no answer at all; other times, if the ghost hunters wait long enough they’ll hear some random sound that could be interpreted as a faint, mumbled name: “Mary.” (Or maybe Terry, Kerry, Larry or Barry — never mind the fact that, as disembodied spirits, ghosts presumably do not have vocal cords, a tongue or a mouth that would allow them to speak.)