Fieldwork at haunted locations, by necessity, dwells in uncertain risky space, no matter how well-documented and traveled-to the location has become. The fact that many of these sites have become “prime real estate” for “ghost hunting” and ghost tourism, suggests that we need to return to these locations and “assess the damage”. We must question the methods, practices, and procedures used in most “ghost hunts”. Are they proper, adequate, contextual, controlled, and process that is repeated? Because most are not. We must study ourselves (as well) as we attempt, in our own way, to investigate those ghosts that continue to haunt us.
Fieldwork should not be reduced to a simple tool or an electronic devise(s) or the continuing modification of such devices to improve measuring and recording little or we must not use technology as a method that requires no theorization necessary in the field.
The proliferation of these electronic tools on paranormal reality TV, their mention on Internet websites and on Facebook and Twitter and their mediation on YouTube videos, points to the false assumption of unquestioned assumptions about science and the scientific method in a ghost research as simply a vehicle that requires using specific tech tools. If ghost research is to be seriously considered (by other than its practitioners), then rigorous thinking about the theory and its application in fieldwork must be initiated and followed through in the field.
Too much emphasis is placed on fieldwork without theory. Theory is considered too boring for paranormal reality TV. The flashing instruments, especially in the dark, are “flashy” technology and the real “stars in these shows. In the end, an investigation becomes largely a hunt for the anomaly without defining the subject matter, or how to interpret what (and “who”) is being measured and recorded at these haunted locations.
There is “value” in thinking and theorizing about interactive past presence! It’s T.I.M.E. (Theoretical Immersive Methodology for Excavations) for a change!
There is also “peril” in advocating this change, apart from those who refuse to alter their methods. After all, fieldwork is an enacted practice, though somewhat benign in “ghost hunting” (the “monitored” space” watch and wait vigil). It should be an action and activity and not an idea. The “noise” of measuring and recording haunted space (including the investigative reactions) makes good paranormal TV viewing.
Our ghost research, however is different, an alternative perspective to investigating the validity of interactive past presence. Ours is performance-based. It is never “boring”, despite the theory and the field methodology that incorporates it!
“Fieldwork is a form of inquiry in which
one is immersed personally in the ongoing social activities
…characterized by personal involvement.”
- Harry Wolcott, The Art of Fieldwork
Our personal involvements enacting these cultural scenarios make great “non-paranormal” TV viewing! In our fieldwork called “ghost excavations”, we engage not disengage. We don’t use tech devices to do our work. We are the “tools” of a “ghost excavation”. In our “ghost excavations”, we apply a particular theoretical methodology (see Theory and Methodology). We don’t wait for something to happen, nor do we command and demand. We resonate!
With such thinking and theorizing, it is possible to unearth and awaken an alternative paradigm to the current “paranormal” technopoly of “ghost hunting”. This possible alternative vision is experimental “ghost excavations”.