Scientific Models to Investigate Paranormal Claims

"Performing a paranormal investigation is allot like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle that you bought at a thrift store. The pieces are there if you look hard enough and you have to figure out where they go in order to complete the puzzle. Sometimes pieces may be missing but if you can fit enough of the pieces together, you can obtain a good idea of what the picture on the puzzle is."

Out of the thousands of supposed ghost cases, a large number have turned out to have very reasonable explanations. Many reports from past psychical researchers and parapsychologists indicate that 9 out of 10 ghost related cases are solvable when someone has actually looked deeper than the surface for explanations.

Most hauntings and cases of ghostly phenomena are simply nothing more than ghost stories, myths that have been circulated that may or may not have been believed by their tellers to be true.

I became interested in this not only as a ghost hunter but as an author who writes about ghost stories. How do ghost stories start? How do they develop? Why do they continue to be told?

Almost a decade ago, I started working on creating scientific models of how ghost stories are created and how they morph into "haunted locations". Utilizing the information from my group's investigations, I was able to create several models that have assisted the critical review of haunted locations and the stories that surround them.

The ways in which these stories develop and how they are propagated vary greatly. Generally speaking, they can be broken down into four basic models. The identification of a particular model can dramatically improve the odds of successfully solving the mystery presented by the myth. These four models are listed below with their identifying characteristics and tips on how to investigate them.

Correlation Cascade Model

Subjective Validation Model

Observational Validation Model

Hypothetical Model

At first glance, it may seem very complicated, but it actually isn't that bad. All you have to do is to collect the puzzle pieces (data) and ask 7 questions (listed in the table below). If you have been able to obtain enough puzzle pieces, the table should point you in the right direction.

reference_table

Hitman

About Hitman

Cody Polston is an author, historian and ghost investigator. He is the author of multiple books on history and paranormal topics. He was the host and producer of the popular podcast Ecto Radio and a writer for Ghosthunter X magazine. He is one of the founders of the Southwest Ghost Hunter's Association and has been investigating paranormal claims since 1985. In the 1990's several other ghost hunting groups gave him the moniker the "Hitman" due to his involvement in "debunking" several well known haunted locations in Texas. Although the nickname was intended to be a negative insult, Cody adopted the nickname and began using in on his podcasts and other media venues.

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