The unexplained horizon
I call it the ‘unexplained horizon’. Others no doubt have other names and some people none. It is the point you reach concerning an apparent paranormal incident when you’ve examined and eliminated all possible natural explanations you can think. Sadly, that does not mean what you have left is necessarily paranormal. There could be natural explanations you haven’t thought of? There could even be ones that no one has thought of.
Consider this example. A group is holding a ghost vigil at night in a remote house far from any other habitation. They experience, and video, some mysterious lights on a wall. The only obvious natural explanation is a light shone through a window from the surrounding woods. They quickly explore the woods but can find nothing and nobody. It looks like a genuine paranormal incident. What they don’t know is that some locals, aware of the vigil, decided to prank the ghost researchers. The researchers do actually consider the possibility of some passing people causing the light but, given how remote they are, and that it is night time and they searched the woods immediately, the possibility is considered too unlikely. But they are wrong!
There is always a possible natural explanation, however ridiculously unlikely. And it is pretty much impossible to eliminate them all. So proving it is paranormal is like a horizon. You can see it and go towards it but you never arrive.
Is there anything we can do about this problem? Well we could at least try to get closer to the horizon. A way of doing this would be xenonormal studies – researching and understanding natural explanations so that you can recognise and test for them. A recent example is looking for logical errors in ghost reports that may point to hallucination (see here) as a source of a report.
Author :© Maurice Townsend 2022
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Imperception – when things simply vanish
The Garden Poltergeist
Strange Animal Strange Voices
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Ghost research - why so little progress?
Door ghost returns looking ominous
How do I know I’ve seen a ghost?