This project is a vision of research that can liberate us from ordinary reality because traditional science, though refining our limitations, raises new questions. It also reveals new boundaries in which we cannot readily frame our current perceptions and understandings. It is a search for a more comprehensive science of reality where the past is still not completed, the present is unfixed and changeable, and the future “becomes” a CURRENT phenomenon, through the interplay of past-present exchanges.
From an educational perspective, words and works become significant. Words become just as important as actions. They become “scientific instruments” themselves! It is time to end the “fluff” of current “ghost books”, which appear to be more a marketing tool for the tourism industry than anything else! Where are the scientific field reports, the ethnographies of field investigations, the substantive summaries of remains? The words and ideas in books should function as the primary instrument of a scientific approach to ghost research! Where are the theories, described and outlined in some books, put into excavation practices in the field? This project will add that “presence” (words, actions, works) at haunted locations in a field which is largely devoid of THIS manifesting presence!
This project is both a scientific AND artistic approach to the documentation of manifesting past interactive cultural presence. It will concentrate on the individual humanity of a haunting, within the structured frame of process, predictability, AND sometimes absence! It will be defined largely by a sensible non-evasive archaeological excavation strategy, a sensitive ethnographic immersion, and a scripted theatrical performance in the field at haunted locations.
Finally, we must accept that ghost research is simultaneously a pursuit of individual (sometimes buried) memories AND an attempt to make an increasingly closer contact with reality, one that is definitely NOT defined in paranormal terms!!
The layers of investigative inquiry, and mediation, of this project are multiple and varied. They include:
1. SCIENCE: This is the outline of a field process that is iterative or repeatable at any haunted location. The core concept is anthropological: P.O.P. (participate-observe-perform), and the excavation is enacted by unearthing specific layers of cultural/historical uncertainties, one at a time;
2. AUTO and BIOGRAPHICAL: It is the “story” (“behind the scenes”) of the field investigation (the ethnography of the excavation). It is also about the lives and cultural behavior of those individuals who continue to linger AND interact in specific spaces at these “archaeological ruins” (haunted sites);
3. METAPHORIC: It is the use of “cultural immersion”, through immersing oneself into various cultural/historical contextual scenarios. This is accomplished through “fictive memory” techniques of placing yourself in the minds and situations of the dead individual. It is the use of past memory practices that become enacted in the present “stage” of today (“theatrical ghosting”);
4. METAPHYSICS: This is a different mix of sciences (both physical and cultural) that is used to explore the nature of symmetrical space (multiple layers of uncertainty vertically occupying the same space) and an unfolding time (where past, present, and future are contemporaneous). It is a science that focuses on the manifestation of life after death, and the ghosts “within” ourselves; and
5. NEUROARCHAEOLOGICAL: This is the archaeological matrix that begins in the brain, extends to cultural remains embedded in the earth, and manifests in particular contemporary physical spaces at places labeled haunted.
This haunted environment consists of embedded relationships that contain past (“what was”), present (“what is”), and future (“what becomes”) cognitive system components that percolate continuously, and that can manifest in context through resonating cultural practices.
This is a project on how to situate the lives and behavior of characters who have become the “ghosts” in our lives. It extends research and field investigations beyond the “tech box” of measurements and “bleeping” devices. This archaeology of a ghost directs our attention away from the physicality of a haunted setting by engaging the investigator in the “feel” of a particular moment, an episode in the memory of a dead individual that has become their lingering fragment of a site’s “ghost culture”, as a place of “ruin”.
The representation of a haunting can be an immediate (and ongoing) phenomena, something any one of us could witness in our daily lives if only we peer hard enough to understand the importance of context and resonance. A “ghost excavation” provides that context and resonance. It is through the perspective of the cultural anthropologist who, perhaps uniquely, is the most understanding toward human behavioral patterns and manifestations, can this excavation be enacted. It is this anthropologist, working as a “ghost excavator”, who can unearth the strata(s) of social uncertainties in the normal flow of everyday reality. These encounters with “bodies in transition” (“after-death acculturation”) ARE observable in the present, the here and now. They must, however, be unearthed through participatory and performance acts of cultural resonance.
This project seeks to build a team of field investigators who “excavate” while other merely survey. The work involves a series of ongoing experiments in sociocultural interaction and culturally-resonating mutual communication strategies, while others merely measure, command, and demand (“Show us a sign”, “do something”!). In this capacity, we will unearth the still present past!
This project is a mediation of an archaeological ruin that has become a haunting site of cultural memory practices. It is not a place to “hunt” and identify so-called “anomalies”! This is a project for serious investigators, not casual “ghost hunters”, or “thrill-seekers”. It is about uncovering, not “hunting”, the material remains of dead cultural beings!
This project is a vision of a landscape that extends beyond the eyes, ears, and the recording and measuring devices of “ghost hunting technopolies”. The unconventional record of a “ghost excavation” is a new kind of geometry, one that is meant to address the often contradictory nature of the REALITY of symmetrical space and unfolding time that occurs at most sites of social occupation or former historical occupations!
A haunted location is an external memory environment that is a collective resource of multiple levels of cultural/behavioral expressions. The phenomenon that manifest here do not interpret themselves. This site must be approached by a conscious mind that understands material remains as cultural behavioral patterns, not “bleeps” on electronic devises, nor recordings of audio/visual “anomalies”.
Spaces here can be storage devises and/or transmittal zones to percolating past expressions of culture. But, at any one point of occurrence, the “signal” stored in any memory medium (cultural/historical) has to be engaged and communicated with in order to come “alive” in the form of active cognition (rather than mere residual energy).
Please join me in developing new models of cultural resonating scenarios directed at particular strata of past presence and cultural uncertainties. Together, let’s build teams of investigators that will work, participating and performing in fieldwork operations involving the unearthing of these interactive presences.
Let’s also educate the general public and the serious, but inexperienced, investigator on the importance of “ghost excavations”, not the “fluff” that is characteristic of many “ghost hunting” field operations!