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          The Ghost “Watch” and “Vigil”:

                                                  Who are we Observing?



To conduct a ghost watch/vigil, as part of a field investigative strategy, the first consideration would be to ask ourselves if the baseline positional readings are “typical” enough to warrant this procedure. Have the natural (and “normal”) daily, hourly, or irregular variations of environmental cycles been noted and measured? Is there a sufficient sample of readings to justify this? This requires long-term monitoring. Has this been done? Has an anomalous reading been connected to a simultaneous “paranormal” event at the location of the proposed “watch”? Has an “interactive” entity been eliminated as a possibility? This would include an explanation of the “silences” (ghostspeak) that have been encountered on the investigation thus far. These are important questions to consider before a decision is made to begin a “watch”.


Haunting dramas do not occur all over a place. The hauntscape is composed of a series of interconnecting nodes called s.i.m.s. zones. These s.i.m.s. zones are the most important “frames” of investigative space in haunt research today. Have they been accurately identified and mapped (both horizontally (network residual elements) and vertically (contextual excavations))? The “vigil” is a series of “watches” conducted at night because it is  more “practical”. This is largely due to more (full) environmental control, and there is less “noise”. Yet, most haunting phenomena is originally experienced in “normal” lighting. Thus a “watch/vigil” is an artificial (etic) research frame, usually conducted in “total darkness”. By not duplicating the original environmental conditions, there is less chance of recording (and measuring) the original phenomena in its context. Thus, the phenomena are not “repeatable” for scientific purposes.


Most “watches/vigils” are used to detect residual elements. If it were an interactive entity, why would you just “sit and watch”. There is no interaction, and therefore, no communication. Besides, is total darkness really the appropriate social context by which one can communicate with an interactive entity? This would only add to the possibility of “silences” (“ghostspeak”).


Detecting a visual residual “in the dark” is remote, at best. The interplay of shadow (from “artificial” light) and darkness not only heightens “suggestibility”, it prevents a precise recording to be made. And to verify a residual, an exact( not similar, partial, or fragmented) recording is essential. If the residual is an audio recording, how can you determine its origin in the dark, taking into account all of the associated acoustical properties?


These are just a small sample of some of the questions and problems that could be issues in conducting a ghost watch/vigil at a reported haunted location.

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