There are many, many things that can be debated in the paranormal. The existence of activity, the use of equipment, the methods used, and even the words/labels people use are constantly being argued over. One thing, however, should not be up for debate: The history of a location. Yet, I have found myself at the center of several arguments over this very topic.
You would think that the history of a place would be very cut and dry. It’s not subjective to what one’s opinion is; at least, it shouldn’t be. It should be based on facts. It should be based on documentation. It should be based on records. It should be based on research. Not research as in “let me put this recorder here and see what I come up with,” but rather it should be research conducted pulling up records, interviewing prior occupants/owners, doing title searches, going to the library, etc.
More often than not, when I see a paranormal page put up the “history” of a location, I hold my breath as I read through it. Then I start my own google search.
I google search to see how much word vomit I’ve allowed to permeate through my brain. Yes, I used to the term word vomit. Let me explain.
If you take a known location that has been widely promoted as being a paranormal location and you look at the history provided by the numerous teams and/or individuals that investigated it and posted their finding about it, eight and a half times out of ten you will find that the history was regurgitated – sometimes word for word. In other words, it’s a simple take-what-you-fin-on-the-internet-from-someone-else-who-posted-about-it-and-recycle-it without fully analyzing what you posted.
Word vomit. That’s exactly what it is.
When you’re conducting a paranormal investigation and you plan on providing the history of the location, it is important that you eschew (avoid) this technique. For one thing, you may be providing false information. From my own research into many of the locations that people post up, I’ve found more false histories on locations than actual truthful ones posted on numerous paranormal sites. This is disrespectful to the location itself. It robs the house, the land, and its people of their footprint in time. It’s unfair.
Secondly, you are setting yourself and others up for failure before they even start their investigation. Many paranormal claims are tied the history of the location. If you’re circulating false information, then you could be possibly feeding into false claims. This sets yourself and those who rely on that information you provided at a disadvantage. For example, if a location claims to be demonic because of an alleged heinous murder that occurred there, and yet factually there was never a murder on the premises, then that claim can be negated from the start. The claim may be tied to something else or be created out of a paranoia based on a rumor. On the flip side, say you find records of a cowboy that lived on the land that loved goats and sleigh bells (it could happen, don’t judge me) and someone (unbeknownst of the records your found) claims that out of nowhere he heard sleigh bells and then saw a man with a cowboy hat feeding goats, you may have something to look further into. Therefore, it’s imperative that the history is correct.
Lastly, think about the trickle-down effect of what you are circulating as it has a direct impact on the community surrounding the location. For example, there is a show on TV that is propagating an alleged curse of seemingly demonic activity. The community was portrayed as being closed minded, exclusive, poor country folk who hated outsiders and were almost threatening. Then they circulated that the activity spawned not just from the conjuring of evil, but also because of Native American history. Well, I happen to live 7 minutes from that location. I work with someone who was raised in the area. The people of that community are not just frustrated, but offended at the portrayal. Not only that, but it’s not even a small community, considering it borders a military post. Furthermore, Natives hunted on the grounds but there was never, ever, ever, any Native Burial Grounds in that area….ever. I was able to confirm this with two universities, state historical societies, as well as other agencies.
On a side note, I hate to break this bit of shocking information to you, but Native Americans were all over the continental United States at some point. Not everything can nor should be blamed on Native Americans. Not every location was an “Indian Burial Ground,” yet that seems to be the go-to explanation of a lot of paranormal locations. With a little bit of research, one would discover that to little bit of factual information. Just dropping that bit of knowledge down for you. Stop blaming Native Americans for everything.
But alas, I digress….
Many times I have been surprised by the legitimate history behind a location. Not too long ago I did research on a popular location that was widely promoted as being (again) demonic, with some fairly grandiose historical claims. However, after doing extensive research I discovered that the history put out was not just erroneous but completely fabricated. The history couldn’t have been further from the truth. Sadly, the true history of the location was completely overlooked although it turned out to be far more interesting and intriguing.
To me, it seems a bit lazy to take as truth history of a location from what’s been circulating on the internet or a ghost hunting show. If you’re going to say you’re a paranormal investigator or into paranormal research, then you need to do actual investigating and research from start to finish. Don’t half ass it. Take the time to go to a library and pull records. Take the time to go through newspaper archives and/or phone books from the past. Take the time to conduct interviews of past residents. Take the time to pull deeds and do title searches. Don’t just regurgitate the same crap that’s out there and try and pass it off as research. It’s not.
Remember, it is word vomit…. And last I checked, vomit is gross.