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  • Writer's pictureCat Ward

CITIZEN SCIENCE- WE CAN HELP!

Updated: Aug 3, 2023




It has long been maintained, by parapsychologists and paranormal enthusiasts alike, that the haunting type classed as "residual" can cause effects upon experients in a few different ways; tactile, olfactory, auditory, and visual being amongst those. I can attest to this from my own range of personal experiences, and witness accounts can be found in the annals of psychical research worldwide.

Speaking along the same lines, I've read several articles recently from those within the paranormal field, in which the author has reiterated the importance of the contributions of the ordinary, untrained but scientifically fascinated members of the general public.

When one stops to think about it, this idea does make a great deal of sense- in the locations we visit as part of our day to day lives exist different conditions to those within the walls of a scientific laboratory or institute, so presumably our experiences would be different, too.

This is not a bad thing, I feel, as any individual contribution made by those in the field, no matter the size of it, counts as an addition to cumulative data and hypotheses, which could perhaps see viable results produced one day. Whether those experiments are successful or not doesn't really matter to an extreme degree, as even an unsuccessful result can yield lessons to be learned, perhaps in the way of refinement or alteration of hypotheses or methods used.

Correct recording and tabulating of aims, methods, and results are vital though, as just a stack of random notes and impressions jotted down on paper does not conclusively prove a residual haunting, no matter how many impressions noted. More data is required to establish things further.

Perhaps I'm preaching to the choir when I say that there may never be universally-accepted proof of the existence of paranormal phenomena, but I'm a strong advocate of the value some contributions to citizen science, made by curious minds, could add to the paranormal field, if everything possible is done to document pertinent data!

I've only recently (very recently, in fact- this is my first attempt in around 3 years at writing a piece!) started this journey again, now that I am at a very happy and secure place in life after years of upheaval.

And it's this act of re-exploring what I have learned over my couple of decades spent in this weird, wonderful world of the unexplained, and reading an article on the "Estes Method" (which of course is just an earlier Ganzfeld Experiment re-branded, just as there have been other similar types of experiments re-named over the years), that got me thinking about my own citizen science experiments, conducted over my years spent as a paranormal investigator and tour giude.

The particular experiment I wish to tell you about today was one which I found fascinating to conduct, often with tour attendees as (willing) guinea pigs. I recorded as much data as I could pertaining to these experiments (which is sadly in storage some 200-plus kilometres south of my little country home!), and was rather intrigued by the results I discovered. The correlations between the witness experiences , often made by different tour groups at different times, was even more so.

I dubbed this the "silent and blindfold" experiment, and I loved running it, as it was easy to conduct either solo or with other team members assisting me. The guests seemed to enjoy it too, so it was a win-win situation!

The silent and blindfold experiment was a sensory-deprivation type thing ( and one which I doubt was my own original concept!), involving deprivation of both sight and speech. To conduct it, I would take those comfortable with participating, and blindfold them soundly. The entire group was then instructed to remain silent, whether they were taking part or not. Aside from the occasional tummy rumbles or stifled giggles if somebody broke wind, this silence was mostly maintained.

I would explain to the guests that the aim of this experiment was for them to remain silent so as to avoid influencing the other guests' thinking, and was to deprive them of their sense of sight, therefore making them use their remaining senses to gain impressions.

I would then choose a guest, and explain before the process began that I would select them by tapping them on the shoulder. I would then guide each guest to the starting point by having them grip my upper arm. The choice of starting point was important too, as it would ideally be in a long or wide area such as a corridor or a large room, and be free of stairs or trip hazards. I would then tell the guest to keep hold of my arm, and would walk them slowly about, instructing them to squeeze my upper arm if they felt anything. This impression could then be further narrowed down to which side of the passage, or the general area, it was percieved to be coming from.

The locations of these results were then noted down, along with the guests name, the date and time, the ambient temperature, and the guest was then returned to their seat and could remove their blindfolds but were to remain silent. When the tour was over, guests were asked to record their impressions on a pre-written survey, but were to return their surveys to the tour guides without showing fellow guests. These surveys would include the guest's name, date of the tour they attended, location of the tour, and impressions from both the tour in general and the experiment in particular, such as sensory effects, and the general location or room number of the experience, when they could see it of course. Sometimes the correlations were quite interesting, certainly enough so to prompt me to run the experiment several times at a few different locations! Sadly, I'm a little too busy to retrieve my data from storage currently, but when I am able to I would certainly like to re-examine the results!

This train of thought triggered another, and quite valid thought, one which I'm sure is shared by quite a few in the paranormal field, in many different aspects of research both academic and amateur.

If each researcher interested in doing so could conduct similar experiments- and this has been done many times before in the past- perhaps collaborating and sharing results from the same locations but collected by different teams could yield further basis for hypotheses or experiments too. This process seems riddled with difficulty, though, as often teams or researchers are very reluctant to share their findings with others. But if successful collaboration was possible, who knows what may be achieved...perhaps nothing, but speculation means nothing also if there is no action taken to follow through on the thought.

I'd share a recommendation if I could, however- try to keep the experiments fairly short. I've learned this from experience too, when I've gotten a little overly enthusiastic! People's attention does tend to wander sometimes, and for my mind focus and intent are vital. There are many such experiments one could conduct, we're only limited by our imaginations and the viability of the hypothesis on which the experiment is based.

If your interests happen to tend towards the parapsychological or psychical research side of the field, there are further avenues of exploration to be considered around telepathic infection too, as the deprivation of sight and speech could perhaps trigger this process. Once again, who can say for sure, but I'm sure I'm not the first to ponder this possibility!

In fact, I've got an idea for another experiment I'll be conducting shortly. My last experiment, an updated modern-day reworking of a Walter Whately-Carington experiment from the 1930's, earned me approving contact from the great man's grand-daughter, which I will admit absolutely floored me! I hope she will approve of my next experiment too, as it will be of a similar type, this time involving deprivation of sight and use of only sense of smell. I'll greatly enjoy this, and when i have the time to proceed I hope you may consider joining me too!

In the meantime however, if you happen to consider conducting a citizen science experiment of your own, please do feel free to share the details and results with me, and with any othe curious minds, too! I wish you luck, and do watch this space for further updates on my latest idea.

My best 'til next we speak,

Cat

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