C.A.S.P.E.R Research Center

Field Investigations Section

Media/Press Announcements

"The dead have highways . . . Their thrum and throb can be heard in the broken places of the world, through cracks made by acts of cruelty, violence and depravity . . . They have sign-posts, these highways, and bridges, and lay-bys.  They have turnpikes and intersections.  It is at these intersections, where the crowds of dead mingle and cross, that is  most likely to spill through into our world. . . Here the barriers that separate one reality from the next are worn thin with the passage of innumerable feet . . . "

 

(Clive Barker, "The Book of Blood")

 

 

 

 

Eastern Region Nodal System

 

This is a methodological tool to define the spacial parameters of the C.A.S.P.E.R. research area pertaining to the identification, observation, recording, and analysis of paranormal phenomena within an anthropological paradigmatic framework.  This nodal system comprises the "anthracite region", and was once known as Towamensing, "the wild place", to the earliest native inhabitants.  It is defined as follows: on the north and to the west, it is bounded by branches of the Susquehanna River, to the east, by the Lehigh River, and to the south, by the Blue Mountains.  The area was chosen for research for the following reasons:

 

1) - The abundance of cultural and ethnic traditions found in the region, making it veritable a "melting pot", and ideal location to conduct anthropologically-oriented investigations into paranormal phenomena.

2) - The wealth of tales and legends associated with the area where native populations have long held a belief that "spirits" live there.

3) - It is an area largely unexplored for the documentation of observed paranomal phenomena.

4) - The paucity of objective scientific research in the area makes it ideal for the documentation of observed paranormal activity that can serve as a methodological framework for future investigations.

 

The definition of this paranormal nodal system involves a set of objects (foci of observed paranormal activity), together with relationships (cultural encounters) between objects and their attributes (sensory phenomena).  The components of this regional nodal system consist  of identifying five physically-delineated parameters (Hagget 1965).  These parameters are:

 

A) - Movements:  The Flow of immigrants and their cultural traditions into the area.

B) - Networks:  The thoroughfares through which these immigrants traveled and settled within the region.

C) - Nodes:  The sites where paranormal activity have been observed.

D) - Hierarchy: The type and level of cultural encounter that occurred at the above-mentioned sites.

E) - Surfaces:  The areas where documented paranormal activity have occurred, as well as "potential" areas.

 

The purpose of the research center is to develop and maintain an open system in which investigation, documentation and recording of paranormal activity, experimentation, analysis of data, and the development and testing of hypotheses is attained.  In order to do this, the paranormal nodal system needs to achieve six characteristics.  These are:

 

A) - The need for an energy supply to maintain and preserve the system.  This "energy supply" is occurrance of cultural encounters at paranormal sites.  These encounters should be fully documented and periodically updated to preserve the ongoing investigative process in the region.

 

B) - The capacity to attain a "steady state" in which the import and export of "energy" is met by form adjustments:  The degree and extent of paranormal investigations should reflect the availability, amount, and type of "evidential material" observed at particular sites and foci of paranormal activity.

 

C) - Self-regulation:  There should be a strict control of "evidential material" and its use.  There should be established investigative and recording protocols, methodological procedures, and a sequential step process of on-site activities during every investigation. 

 

D) - Maintain optimum magnitudes over periods of time:  Investigations should be conducted during day and night-time hours, in all seasons (within investigation protocols), and  any day of the week.  Follow-up investigations should be mandatory.

 

E) - Maintain its organization and form over time:  The C.A.S.P.E.R. Research Center, and its associated by-laws, methods, procedures, and protocols should be preserved, yet evolve as new investigative tools are developed, and on-going research in the field is made.

 

F) - Behave equifinally: Standardized procedures and protocols should be used for all research and field investigations, even though cultural encounters, "evidential material", and other factors may vary.

 

This organization adheres to a strict code of procedures, protocols, research methodology, and field techniques and believes in an interactive approach to the investigation and documentation of paranormal phenomena, with a special emphasis on the following concepts:

 

1) The paranormal investigator is the primary research tool and his/her actions as a participant-observer are paramount.

 

2) We follow a strict code of ethics. where responsibility in all actions (during the initial contact and survey in the field excavation during the data review) is paramount:

 

A) - Researchers must do everything in their power to protect the physical, social, and psychological welfare of property owners, witnesses, and consultants, and to honor the dignity of those now deceased whose earthly environment is now being investigated.

 

B) - To follow an established set of protocols for all field techniques, readings and adhering to them throughout the investigation.

C) - Document! Document! Document!

 

D) - Fully complete field notes, observatons, and reports during the investigation.

 

E) - Take extensive notes, including impressions and "feelings".

 

F) - Do not tolerate unprofessional behavior of any manner from any team member.

 

G) - Do not record inaccurate, incomplete, or undocumented information on reports.

 

H) - Always acting in a professional manner, and dressing appropriately for field conditions, as well as representatives of the organization.

 

I) - The aims of the investigation should be communicated to the appropriate parties and all activities should be fully explained.

 

J) - The possible consequences of the investigation should be communicated, as fully as possible, to the individuals, to the individual and groups that may be affected by the release of data.

 

K) - Property owners, witnesses, and consultants have the right to have their identities remain confidential.  This confidentiality applies to the collection of data through audio, video, photographic, and other data collecting devises including interviews.

 

L) - No exploitation of individual informants, witnesses, or consultants, as well as the location or data retrieved, for personal gain.

 

M) - Any data obtained, if and when cleared with proper written permission should be accessible to any interested party.

 

 

3) - The "team" concept is vital, and fundamental to the operation of all investigative activities.  This has three aspects which A.I.D the investigation:

A) - Approach: This refers to the mental, physical, and background preparation done by all members prior to a field investigation.  It also means a commitment to the organization and its field methodology and to the study of the paranormal.

 

B) - Involvement: All investigative members have to commit themselves to perform in a thorough and accurate, and professional manner throughout all phases of the identification, documentation, and analysis of the "evidence". 

 

C) - Dynamics: This involves the interaction of the participants on site.  Each member should thoroughly know his/her role in the process, and their relationship to the other team members.  There is no time for socializing.

 

 

 

Code of Ethics of a C.A.S.P.E.R Investigator

 

1) - To practice and promote a "stewardship" of the investigative record for the benefit of all living and deceased occupants of the site under study.

2) - Consult frequently and openly with all participants and observers that may be affected whether directly (or indirectly) by the investigation and the continuing ongoing analysis. Research at a particular location, is not "completed" until a definitive conclusion, backed by substantive, and independent "evidence", is reached.

3) - Avoid activities that enhance the commercial value of the site or its associated evidential (and non-evidential) material which would be detrimental to same. Never "exploit" evidence or misrepresent (misquote, exaggerate, or unsubstantiated) eyewitness accounts.

4) - Educate the general public, as well as the "amateur" ghost hunter, on the importance of research, field protocols, and the significance of past lives, activities, and events, by recalling (and documenting) the drama and emotion that occurred at haunted locations.

5) - Provide evidential material in a widely -accessible and scientifically-based format.

6) - Never undertake research or investigation without adequate prior preparation, training, experience, and having recording/measuring facilities available to accurately and extensively complete the task. Control the socio-cultural and environmental parameters surrounding the investigative area and the acquisition of data.

7) - Never conduct field investigations without setting research goals, assigning tasks, and delegating responsibility. All of these activities should be encoded within the specific contextual parameters of the location.

Remember: The investigation of a site is the disturbance of the past material remains and field influences found there. We should be fully conscious of, accountable for, and accurately record all of our sensory activities, be they oral, non-verbal, or written, for we maybe creating new field influences at the location. Future interpretations of these accumulated fields will be based on documentation we provide today.

8) - Treat all "perceived" haunted locations, and associated data as "finite" resources". The sensory manifestations we observe today may no exist, in whole or partially, in the future. New, more contemporary, field influences might "suppress" the existing "past" fields.

9) - Never criticize or critique the research of other field investigators by name in print, be they amateur or professional.

10) - Remember - There is still no paranormal paradigm, i.e., a "blueprint for ghost research and field investigations." There is, however, proper protocols and procedures for evidence gathering common to disciplines using a scientific approach. Use them and document the particular methodological field procedures that were used at particular locations. Finally, document the reasons for using these particular procedures. Document! Document! Document!

 

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