In addition to equipment, another thing paranormal investigators have an abundance of is theories. Especially theories that we have been unable to find any way to systematically test or verify. One of those theories is that activity increases with the introduction of repeated paranormal investigation. This is very much like the question of the falling tree in the woods. Is a location “haunted” if there is no one there to witness the “haunting”?
It is true that the more a location is investigated, the more activity is recorded BUT that could just be because the location has more people available to record activity. Imagine a “haunted” house that has been sitting vacant for years and the “ghosts” have happily existed bouncing off walls and throwing objects as much as they would like. No one is there to experience it but it is still “haunted”.
On the flip side, you could say that the introduction of investigators increases the activity because they encourage and “train” the “spirits” to respond. Or even that the presence of investigators triggers a response, possibly a “get out of my house” type response. In this scenario, the “spirits” didn’t know that they could communicate in any regular fashion and adapt over time to repeated visits by investigators. This theory is interesting but we honestly don’t know what we are dealing with and if whatever it may be even has any consciousness ability to “learn”, “decide”, or “react”.
Another idea is that investigators can create “spirit” activity just by collectively believing that a location is haunted. This is the thought form/egregore/tulpa theory. This idea revolves around the premise that there originally was no haunting but repeated visits by investigators and their strong belief in the “haunting” creates a “ghost”. There have been some interesting experiments into this theory particularly the 1972 Philip Experiment in Toronto, Canada.
Of course, there is always the possibility that the “haunting” exists in the mind of the investigators. This would be the skeptics standpoint. No haunting exists but the individuals looking for “spirits” misinterpret normal environmental changes as paranormal phenomena. Most investigators do not want to believe this is a possibility but we can’t completely rule this out.
Ultimately, this is more of a philosophical question than anything that we can answer completely. Whether the “haunting” exists before or after investigators visit, it is important to remember your responsibility to be honest, ethical, and empathetic to whatever you may encounter in the field. Whether you disturbed something, elicited the response of something, or even created it; you have a responsibility to use your skills to safely evaluate the situation without causing harm.
Until next time, Happy Hunting!