"Debunking" Haunted Places

by Dave Juliano (davejuliano@theshadowlands.net)


More and more we are getting emails from ghost hunters telling us that they have debunked a location that we have listed on the Haunted Place Index.    The average email states that these researchers have gone out, sometimes a few times, to a location and they did not get any kind of evidence or signs of activity so therefore the location is not haunted.    Zero evidence and zero manifestations of any kind doesn't mean the location is not haunted or doesn't have any spirits present.    All it means is that you were unable to find anything to substantiate the reports of ghost activity.   You also didn't get evidence to disprove or "debunk" it either. 

As newer investigators hit the field ready with their equipment and five or six senses, some seem to miss one of the obvious catch 22's of ghost hunting.   You are not going to get enough evidence to prove once and for all ghosts exist and if you get no evidence, many people will think that they don't exist. 

"Debunking" is a spreading catch phrase for many paranormal investigators and I really think that most are not using the word correctly.    In order to debunk a haunting you would have to get evidence showing that there are natural causes for the activity that has been reported.    You can't go to a place that has multiple witnesses over a period of time and conclude there is no spirit activity because the spirits did perform on cue when you were there.    You need to show reasonable explanations for all the activity that has been reported in order to really debunk the haunting.   What is more disheartening to me is that some of these researchers are doing this in private home after people have called them out for help.   Not only is their reasoning askew thinking a lack of evidence means no ghosts but calling the case "debunked" is also calling the people in the house experiencing the activity liars or crazy.   This can have severe consequences on the mental health of any residents who were already wondering if there were imaging the activity.

I have an unrelated theory I wanted to share here so please bear with me.   I have concluded that there are no fish in the ocean along the coast of New Jersey.   I have surf fished a few times, spent many summers down the Jersey Shore and even worked as a police officer at the shore and I have never caught or seen anyone catch any fish or seen any in the water.    Since my theory is based on hours upon hours of watching, swimming and fishing in the ocean, I think it's safe to say that after 40+ years I should have seen someone catch a fish or have seen a dead fish washed up on the beach, or something.   So I feel I can safely conclude that the stories of fish in the ocean along the coast of New Jersey have been debunked.     Yeah, it sounds just as silly if you do this with a haunted location too.


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