Paranormal investigators use social media in many different ways. Some of use it to gain opinions or ideas in which to explain something that we may have recorded. Some also connect with other investigators as well who may also have possibly recorded something that could have been interesting.
You are able to connect with other people who are also interested whether just starting out or having had years of experience, but of course there is a downfall.
The written word can be taken six different ways due to so many factors like peoples different backgrounds, life experiences and ways in which they would read a message and take something and not see it for what its true intention was.
And photos posted of people claiming there are ghosts in them can bring about some very robust conversations.
Most if not all can be explained away as:
- Lens flair
- Paradolia/Aphophena/Matrixing (where we are more than likely to see faces in objects)
- Low light conditons causing bluring with the smallest of movement due to shutter speed
A tip I recommend is keep the audio or visual of something that can be explainable as something to compare when you may possibly record something unexplainable.
So if so much of this can be explained, why do people insist on posting such images on social media?
Glad you asked.
I personally think it falls into 2 categories.
1) People legitimately looking for advice on an image
2) People looking for validation that it could be a ghost/paranormal
Sometimes it can be a little bit of both but we’ll explore the first category
People legitimately looking for advice on an image
This will always be difficult because the first problem is that you weren’t there at the time the photo was taken. You're really relying on their witness testimony on how it all happened and it's often just the one person.
Sometimes if they've posted it somewhere and other people that were there at the time like other team members or the public they can help by giving their own accounts. This can help but it's really difficult to try and find out what actually happened when you weren't there and to me being in the moment and seeing something happen and then seeing what was recorded afterwards is so much easier when analysing than trying to diagnose why without being there to at least even understand the environmental conditions.
Advice: “Usually” and not always people who are wanting legitimate advice will be willing to hear rational explanations but yet its still good to tread carefully. Say for instance they may not know how to use their camera or understand how it works completely and this can be revealed often in the way they have worded their question. Ask clarifying questions first, like if the photo was taken in IR light or what the weather was like at the time the photo was taken instead if going in guns blazing accusing them of not knowing how a camera works.
People looking for validation that it could be a ghost/paranormal
This is the more difficult category as the people who post images and are wanting validation are not generally going to list to reason. They post with absolution that the image is a ghost/paranormal swearing that they were the only person there.
Again, asking clarifying questions can help to understand what happened before the photo was taken during and afterwards but be careful since they often don’t want you to deconstruct the how’s and when’s. They want you to agree and that is where a lot of the big arguments come from. They want you to join the “yes its paranormal” bandwagon and not really looking for advice – even if they have asked for it. It can start of fairly innocently but again a lot can be learned from the way the question has been asked. It will be either a “What do you think? Ghost or not?” to “Guys I can’t explain this anomaly. I was the only person there. I think its real!”.
I have in the past tried helping out but have found myself way in over my head.And that has been due to what has been termed as Sealioning (it’s different to Trolling).
Sealions are generally friendly and they're very gentle and they'll gently approach you but as soon as they think that your food they'll attack you. It's this kind of mentality where someone has tried to gauge you and where you stand but as soon as you let them know that it’s not in their favour, they become angry. Say for instance someone wants validation they come to me and they're like “I've taken his photo I've would love your opinion” and I would and have often replied “well actually I think it could explained by something in the environment”. This is then met with “well you have no idea what you're talking about, I don't know why you know you even bother you know doing what you”. That is Sealioning.
Advice: If someone approaches you and you know 100% that is isn’t paranormal in any nature, back away. You can’t argue with a person’s belief. They want an answer you’re not willing to give and any amount of gentle clarification won’t work.
What do you reply with then if approached? “That’s interesting”. And leave it at that. Don’t take anything personal either. On social media nobody knows you from when you were knee-high to a grasshopper to where you are now your life, or your history, how you work, how you write everything you know. It's hard because sometimes when people do post information that they a hundred percent believe it could actually be something paranormal they may have also had a personal experience at the time of the photo and you can’t argue with personal experiences either.
As far as being on social media? Stick to groups that are level headed and logical. There will be less chance of you coming across situations like this.
So - The biggest difference in both categories is intention. One is to find more info, the other is to have misinformed gratification.
Pick and choose your battle wisely.