In earlier work, we [the Paranormal Research and Development Society] posited that spiritualism and spirituality have long been present during the ongoing evolution of humankind.
An article from the Smithsonian (a magazine from the museum itself) suggests that the earliest ghost recorded may come from a three-thousand-five-hundred year old Babylonian tablet, depicting a male ghost being led back into the afterlife.
Some in contemporary paranormal investigation would look on this as further evidence of afterlife entities (what we call AEs in the PRDS). We, however look on this same artifact and see evidence that the belief in ghosts, spirits, demons, phantoms and phantasms - AEs - begins at its earliest known recording, on this tablet from ancient Babylon.
Beliefdoes not beget fact, and in some cases, belief can beleaguer evidence if that evidence does not line up with the belief. Humankind has done stupid, irreversible things to destroy history and knowledge, such as sacking the Library of Alexandria; in its final days, when Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab of Mecca determined that the library either contained documents disputing Islam, which made them heresy... or documents confirming Islam, which made them superfluous.
In the roughly one-thousand-three-hundred-eighty years since the fall of the library of Alexandria, the average person in humankind appears to have learned nothing. Is the only course of action that either something is not, or it is, and in either case must be disregarded or destroyed?
What if instead, all of the things we erroneously considered as fact to this point, were folly; fiction. What if everything we thought we knew was wrong, not because it applies to AEs, but because from the very beginning of the concept of a soul, an afterlife and a destination (or lack of one), we were looking in the wrong direction?
If the spirit of our duties (pun not intended) in paranormal investigation were an island, and we as paranormal investigators were castaways, stranded ever long on this island, does it behoove us to only and exclusively look for a ship off this island from a single side?
Our view is fixed on a single location, our goal, a single destination.
The result is that we will ever only see whatever it is in our immediate line of sight. Fewer, and further between, as we utilize the same methods we've used for hundreds of years now, and never a conclusive and undeniable piece of evidence. Nothing ever so compelling that paranormal investigation has further advanced. To put it simply, and often in perpetuity, no modern gauge or device currently in use is designed to detect AEs.
Our contemporary paranormal research and developers in general are fixated on building the same equipment over-and-over, as all-in-one units, packaged in aesthetically pleasing, or "cute" packaging. Given the nature of cognitive bias, and cognitive inoculation, it would take a considerably more effort than simply presenting facts to a believership of people, as logic, reason and rationale appear to have very little place in the paranormal community.
For the Paranormal Research and Development Society, investigation simply is not enough. The results ever at best, inconclusive. At worst, it is one-hundred percent speculative, investigators wandering blindly through every inch of an investigation site, which may or may not hold the unattainable answers investigators seek, for the lack of technology, advancement, and capability currently well outside our grasp. In spite of this, or perhaps to spite it, the community simply continues to double down, and no amount of rational conversation appears to mend that.
To suggest that the current direction of paranormal investigation, research and development is aimed in the wrong direction is considered heretical, and it is often met with outright hostility.
Recently it was remarked to us [the PRDS] that if everything in the study and practice of the paranormal requires hard evidence and fact, it leaves no room for belief. This is a reflection of the current majority - the rule - rather than the exception. This is an example of the complacency of the field, to embrace feelings and beliefs over evidence and fact because the prior offers comfort, while the latter presents only the unknown... but the paranormal is the unknown, by its own definition, and it should be until the appropriate research has accomplished a means of accurately quantifying, measuring and classifying whatever it is we believe we experience, when we experience suspected AEs, or hauntings.
There is a nagging suspicion that the answers are much simpler than what we see out there in reality television, on popular social media, and in articles. No one has the answers, no one knows what to do, including the PRDS. The difference between what is popular and what is true is going to make all the difference. It will take resources, it will take experimentation, and it will take actual research and actual development to create a legitimate foundation. Einstein's statements on energy are not enough to create a convincing argument on AEs and the afterlife, especially since Einstein himself did not believe in an afterlife. Modern hypothesis in quantum physics, much like its pseudoscience cousins in paranormal investigation, uses fragments of what Einstein said, without attributing that the man was clearly an agnostic religious non-believer.
Pride is the going currency in paranormal investigation. Damned are those who argue with logic and reason, applying rational and critical thought. In a recent debate between the PRDS and a strong believer, a response read as follows:
"...all you do is apply facts. Well, facts do not leave any room for belief."
The fear in the paranormal community is palpable, eyes ever fixed on the horizon they hold as truth. Incomplete uttered truths, fragments spoken by scientists, both past and contemporary are all they have. Eyes ever on their horizon, but not the horizon is why this field of study has for so long been a stale and stagnant thing.
To let go of all we know, and all we think we know, is the ultimate act of faith in this field, of belief. Facts are the foundations for belief, for faith, for the function of this field of study itself; for the facts demonstrate that in the most poetic and Socratic (or is it a Platonic) fashion, we can say that all we know of this, is that we know nothing.
If after millennia of spirits, phantasms, poltergeists and ghosts, all we have are campfire stories, personal accounts and a handful of decent horror films, and shows, then it demonstrates we are no further advanced now, than we were back then.
It is time to take our eyes off the horizon, theirs, ours or any, and put our focus on where we are now, and to what we are doing in the now. To admit our folly, and smile on the fact that facts here do invite belief, and from that clean slate we work toward researching and developing newer, better and more concrete methods in the discovery of a measurable, quantifiable and classifiable way to investigate the inexplicable phenomena that is AEs and alleged hauntings.
The PRDS will put in its effort, but setting pride aside, it will take bigger resources, brighter minds, and what could be far more simple technology than the tools we use today to find an answer. It will begin with a hypothesis, and through trial and error, finding a medium (for lack of a better word) that actually works.