• Cat Ward

WHY DO WE INVESTIGATE IN THE DARK?


This may sound familiar to you- we load up our cars with our cameras, audio recorders, and monitoring devices, and head off to a location to spend a night investigating..or, for those who aren't investigators there are no equipment cases to worry about, and they're just heading off to be part of a hosted public event, or a ghost-tour..either way it's generally great fun, right?

But why does it always (or at least mostly) seem to be at night? Why not a morning, or an afternoon?

For my mind, there are a few reasons for, and a few reasons against, conducting night-time investigations. Some of those reasons are to do with practicality, and some are to do with perception. I'll do my best to examine the pros and cons here.


ON THE NIGHT SIDE

We live in an electric world. Every day, all the time, we are constantly surrounded by magnetic fields, without even being aware of it.

Anyone who's spent any amount of time in this field will be aware of the theories regarding ghosts/spirits and EMF's- some believe they emit EMF's, some believe they use them as a fuel source, some believe they also use them as a means of communication. We can't say for certain that any of these beliefs are viable- nobody has ever come up with empirical evidence to support the claims.

Due to the experiments that have been conducted on the effects of EMF's on our minds (for instance by Persinger and Koren with their "god helmet" tests), what we do know however is that low-level, complex (fluctuating) magnetic fields have been shown to be responsible for people feeling that they've had a paranormal experience.

Funnily enough, human beings also emit a low-level, complex magnetic field.

At night, when many people are asleep and the "background noise" caused by fields from all of the electrical items we use from day to day is a bit lower because those items are not in use to as great a degree, does this perhaps mean that our own resonant frequency is a bit less "drowned out", making us more open to- or capable of tuning in to- any information, and thus any possible extrasensory experiences?

To elaborate on that a little..Persinger theorised in a fantastic lecture I watched recently that perhaps every mind that ever existed is still floating around out there somewhere, and is able to be tuned in to. Might that night-time reduction in man-made electromagnetic fields mean we're more capable of being able to tune in to the resonant frequency of any of those available minds, and thus more able to access their content?

Speaking of "background noise", there's also another area that term could be applied to- that of our minds. At night, with the work, worries and distractions of the day now put behind us, our minds tend to be more relaxed..there's less mental background noise, so we're more capable of focusing our attention on matters of an investigative, paranormal, or extrasensory nature.

Then there's also another aspect to consider- sensory deprivation, and its effect on our perceptions.

When deprived of one or more of our senses, the remaining ones compensate for that deprivation by becoming more acute. At night, when all around us is dark, this of course greatly diminishes our sense of sight. So to consider the counter-effects in a sensory capacity, what other senses now start to come to the forefront? Most certainly some of our regular senses would be sharpened in compensation..but what about our "extra" senses? Could they be sharpened too?

To rewind a little, returning to the subject of perception- and also looking at the matter from a more spiritual point of view- consider this: you're sitting in a darkened room, unable to discern much of your surrounds- the walls, fittings and fixtures, the furnishings, are all just a vague blur.

As you can't see much of what's around you, after a while it may start to fade from consideration, become insignificant to you. Perhaps this viewpoint brings your focus to matters less to do with the physical or material world- it's out of sight, out of mind..and therefore your thoughts may turn to matters concerning the immaterial world, thus opening your mind to possibilities around that.

To touch briefly on our "extra" senses again, perhaps by removing a great deal of our sense of sight from the equation, we are allowing those to function at a greater capacity too.

Another important thing to take into consideration when conducting night-time investigations, going back to perception, energy, and our senses, would be the "energy" of a location. Have you ever been at a location open to the public during the day, and it just "feels" busy? It can be hard to concentrate, can't it?

With the constant noise, movement, and distraction going on it's hard to focus our own energy and concentration, and to stretch our senses- including those extra senses. At night time, this all becomes easier without the energies of so many others around to take in, and react and respond to.

Then there are the other practicalities to consider- the other commonsense stuff. Some locations we visit for our investigations are in use during the day- perhaps for tours, entertainment, educational purposes, or social purposes, or they may be in use as a workplace.

This can render these types of locations unavailable, or just plain impractical, for daytime investigations- or even if we do have access during the day it can seriously interfere with our ability to conduct and document an investigation if there are lots of people around, and lots of noise being made.

There are reasons, though, as to why it's not necessarily beneficial to investigate at night if necessity isn't a factor. Let's go into a few of those..


ON THE "BRIGHT" SIDE

The foremost consideration here, I think, is to do with witness reports of experiences.

If, for instance, the reported experiences at a location have occurred during the day, would it not be beneficial to investigate as close to the time of the actual occurrences as is possible?

This is not to say that there may not ever be experiences that could occur at night, but more just to voice the idea that we should, as a starting point with a location, begin by attempting to recreate the environmental conditions present during those initial witness reports. If those reports stem from the daytime hours, what more logical point to begin an investigation than during the day?

Another plus when commencing or conducting an investigation during the day is the increased visibility. At unfamiliar locations we can locate visual clues that can aid in navigating our way around when we first visit there in daylight. After all, it's no good remembering to turn left at a particular door if one can't see that door because it's too dark!

Those visual cues have a lot to do with another positive aspect of daytime investigation- that of a lessened risk of injury to ourselves or others due to being able to easily spot any risks. During the day, we can easily identify risk areas such as rotting or missing floorboards, protruding wood or metal, staircases and their associated steepness, and the condition of their risers and balustrades..broken glass or sharp objects, slippery surfaces- all the things which could be hazardous if we encounter them unexpectedly during a night-time visit.

Another rather obvious point of consideration here would be the type of phenomena reported. If the majority of witness reports concern seeing a shadow or shadow figure for instance, then a bright space is a much easier one in which to spot that shadow than a darkened one. Admittedly, we could do this at night with a light on, but again if witness reports stem from daylight hours then that's a more logical time to investigate.

There's a sort of "perceptual comparison" to take into account here too, I think. If we are able to commence an investigation during the day, we may have "feelings" about certain parts of a location- or alternately we may not have any feelings at all..this may possibly be quite different were we to be there at night, due to those pesky perceptions again..

It would be beneficial, I think, to have a sort of larger-scale perceptional/emotional "baseline", and observe how the change in times of day, and the accompanying change in light levels, might affect that baseline.

Daytime is a perfectly logical time to start with regular environmental baseline measurements and readings too- gathering the initial data to be used as a point of comparison with further measurements. This gives us a larger picture of the observable differences that can occur within a location due to alterations in various factors, those possibly created by man or our habits, or by environmental conditions, over the course of days and nights.

There's another consideration to make here too regarding perception and its importance in our translation of our experiences. Many in this field have perhaps had their perception and mindset influenced in some way by the paranormal TV shows, and thus would think "night time is the right time"..I was guilty of that mindset myself once too, I'll admit- but my thinking has changed greatly over the last little while.

Why should night-time be better, if our main consideration around that is due to everyone else investigating at night? Why not investigate during the day if there's nothing that dictates that we must investigate at night?

Paranormal experiences can be had at any hour, day or night, that's inarguable. But whilst in an ideal world we would be able to have multiple days and nights of unrestricted access to a location, so as to conduct a truly thorough investigation, it doesn't always work like that- sometimes we can only be there for a short time!

So we then have to ask ourselves one important question- when should we be investigating in order to be most effective, if we're lucky enough to have a choice in the matter..should it be the night side, or the "bright" side?

What do you think about this? I'd love to know- do tell me your thoughts in comments!

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