OVM model is based off an actual phenomenon that was observed by multiple people. Unable to identify what the phenomenon is, the witnesses believe that the phenomenon is paranormal in nature which results in the Ambiguity effect This is the tendency to avoid options for which missing information makes the probability seem "unknown" and thus "paranormal".
The myth is created when a "back story" is offered to attempt to explain what the phenomena are (how or why it is paranormal). This will often involve a piece of history or may be completely fabricated. With the witness accounts and the back story complete, the genesis is formed for the myth.
Key Identification Features:
- The genesis relies on an observable phenomenon.
- Details of the direct witness accounts will be similar in their description.
- Event(s) reported by witnesses will always be in the same area(s).
- Many of the witness accounts may be second or third-hand accounts.
- The back story to the myth may be fabricated. This can be identified through historical research.
Focus the investigation on identifying the nature and cause of the observable phenomenon.
Observational Validation Model Example (the Anson Lights)
As locals tell it, one night during the Depression a young mother ran frantically along the road searching for her missing child, slipping in icy ruts as she stumbled through the cold winter darkness. She never found her little one; the child had wandered away from the house and was presumed to have frozen to death. The mother's spirit still searches for her child, holding her lantern high to light her way in the dark night.
Yet another version of the story has the "son" much older and working for the railroad. The mother and son had a signaling system of sorts using a lantern. when he arrived back he would flash his lantern three times towards the house to let his mother know that he was on his way home.
According to the story, if you park at the crossroads and flash your car's headlights three times, the ghost light appears and moves across the road towards the cemetery. The light is believed to be the lantern. If you approach the light with your car, the ghost light vanishes.
The phenomenon was investigated by placing observers in different positions, thus enabling us to determine what the "ghost" light actually was.