This center was conceived in a ‘spirit’ of “deparanormalizing’ ghost research and return it to the ‘human’ aspect where it belongs within a social science discipline. Our research is meant to be an ethnographic of investigative practices, a method in the archaeological study of “past(s)” and “presence(s)” at locations perceived to contain interactive entities.
Our goal is to bring ethnographically-resonating materials, embodying anthropological knowledge, into the “presence” of those who may still be embedded in particular spaces at “haunted” locations. Our objective is to create a shared (resonating) history identity between those of the past who simultaneously were/become part of the present and those of the present who are/become part of the past. It is an ethnography of communication (EOC) between contemporary society and multiple past “ghost cultures”. Our ‘ghost excavations’, the major methodological field approach of this research center, is a “living” field museum” for these “ghost cultures”. The past can be unearthed (as a contextual manifested presence) because a shared past can be created and circulated in the present through cultural resonance. This is similar to archaeological work which constructs the past by unearthing material remains of past presence in the present remains that were mere mute material uncertainties prior to excavation.
The goal is to participate in contextual cultural scenarios that serve as ethnographic ‘triggers’ which can elicit an interactive contextual past cultural presence. We do not “hunt” ghosts. Our A.I.M. (Ambient Intelligent Manifestation) is unearthed in a “ghost excavation”!
At the same time, the execution of fieldwork practices is used to develop a methodological framework or cultural “tool kit” for the ethnography or a “ghost excavation”. This is based on our continued experimental fieldwork. We learn from our field practices: what we could have done and how; what we “missed”;’ what “worked”; and what didn’t; and why.
In summary, our goal is to use an ethnographic sensitivity as a methodology to investigate sites that are reported to contain interactive past cultural presences. Our procedures include an archaeological sensibility (as a layered baseline for individual and different “ghost” cultures).