ghost research is mono-vocal. Information (and instruction) comes from the mouths of the few, who dictate to a largely non-embedded
(though enthusiastic) audience. Ideally, the investigation of ghosts and hauntings should be multi-vocal, representing many
and varied voices, including more marginalized groups (so-called “ghost hunting groups”), and even the “voices”
of those we investigate. The construction of knowledge should be based on rendering “haunt realities” in terms
of alternative modes of representation, different ethnic and cultural traditions, and different practices. We should talk
about “refleshing” the historical present, as we continue to excavate the remains of still “living”
beings. This is a humanistic quest, rather than a search for still more recording and measuring devises. We record and measure
physical manifestations, but underlying these surface phenomena lie the remains of a very human drama. Our goal should be
to unearth the significance of this drama through an understanding of its historical and ethnographic context. Ghost research
is a study of cultural hauntings, not the transformations of energy from one form to another.
This is the
type of research that is being done by the C.A.S.P.E.R. Research
Center. We are working on the conceptualization of haunted space (“hauntscape”)
as an operational performative environment in which ghosts and haunting phenomena can co-exist in contemporary symmetrical
space. There are antecedents to this type of philosophy. It is found in the work of symmetrical archaeologists, pioneered
by Michael Shanks (among others) at Stanford University. That is why C.A.S.P.E.R. labels its field research an “ethnoarchaeoghostological”
approach: the concept of an unfolding of past/present material remains in contemporary physical spaces (individual “pastscapes”).
haunted space, and the activities that occur within it, should be analyzed as components (either partially or otherwise) controlled
by physical laws, functional exchange phenomena, a perceptual geography of particular spaces, an informational or culturally-
coded phenomena, an archaeological grid coordinate, or the ethnographic reality of a still continuing social universe, is
a question we are exploring in our field investigations.
The question of “bleeding” (recurring haunting phenomena) and “suppression” (non-recurring
haunting phenomena), and their frequency and causality, is also being investigated through fieldwork experimentation. The
concept of “silences” (“ghostspeak”) during field investigations is a significant avenue of exploration.
Finally, this “refleshing” of ghost research is viewed by us as an active pursuit by all investigators (and interested
parties) working “together”. Only then, can we reconstruct what was once a mere skeleton (of past material remains)
and develop it into an emerging (and relevant) scientific discipline!