Tonight I wanted to share an article written by David Almeida, a fascinating person who I've had the great opportunity to chat with online recently. You can catch his bio at the end of the post. After some discussion, he directed me to this article. He has kindly given me permission to share it with you. It just happens to fit in with discussion I've had with a few of you in the comments to some recent posts. Thanks, David!
I wrote this article to address the use of objectivity in evaluating a witness’s account of a supernatural event. In a sense, almost all of our judgments are based on our experiences. They may also be grounded (in part) in what other people have told us about the world. For example, there are endless degradations of color and sound. If a person says “The apple is red.” What shade of red is it? For this reason, I believe that an objective statement can be construed as opinion.
This article is only addressing certain kinds of paranormal experiences such as hauntings and physical paranormal manifestations. It’s difficult to assess out of body experiences and other psychic or mental occurrences using this method.
Before asking the reporter (observer or witness) a slew of questions, I let the person tell his or her story with minimal interruption. Constantly breaking into the reporter’s story can lead the person losing his or her thoughts, which can result in the unintentional omission of important details. A witness will typically give the investigator all of the answers he or she requires during the interview process. In fact, I’ve found that most witnesses give more information than they need to.
If the investigator chooses to use this interview method, it’s essential to ask the reporter to start at the beginning of the story and guide him or her through it. You have to keep the reporter focused. A person will often become excited and jump all over the place while relating his or her story. This leads to confusion and pertinent details may be inadvertently skipped over.
It’s advisable that the investigator ask the reporter to use descriptive (objective) words to relate the experience. You don’t want the reporter making subjective statements like “The shadow person was big, bad and scary. That description doesn’t help anyone, although the investigator may want to get the observer’s impressions at the end of the interview.
A person may describe a flower as beautiful. Everybody has their own conception of a beautiful flower. It would be better for the person say “I saw a flower.” It is helpful if the person can identify the type of flower. “It was a rose.” If that is not possible, the person should describe the qualities of the flower.
Whether the investigator is interviewing a witness to a crime or conducting a paranormal investigation, the interviewer will find information that appears false or contradictory. These discrepancies need to be clarified before the interview is completed. An investigator might ask questions such as the ones that follow if the reporter has not provided this information in his or her statement:
How long did the incident last? “I saw it for about two seconds.
How far away were you? “I was ten feet away?”
What did it look like? “The thing was approximately six feet tall. It had a round head and a broad boxy build. It looked like a dark shadow. It made no sound, and it moved quickly” Etcetera.
“Where did you see it?” “I was in bed sleeping, and I saw it in the doorway”
“When did you see it?” “It was last Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at midnight.”
Some other questions you might ask would be:
Are you taking any medications or illegal substances?
Do you have a medical condition?
Have you been sick recently?
What is your opinion of the supernatural? The answer to this question is significant to the investigation. The reporter may say “I feel that the Exorcist was the best movie ever made!”
Have you ever had a paranormal experience? Here again, the answer is important. “I am visited by the shadow people at least twice a week.” “When the moon is full we have a party.” I’m just kidding.
I have learned through personal experience that when two or more witnesses to a crime describe a suspect, each witness will provide a different description. That’s why we have lawyers and jury trials in this country. Does anyone remember the movie, My Cousin Vinny? It’s essential to get to the bottom of things and determine what happened. It does little good to tell someone that you saw a ghost without elaborating on the event in a rational manner.
On the other hand, it’s difficult to describe something that a person has never seen. I saw something in an out of body experience once that I cannot describe at all. It’s hard enough to describe an out of body experience. It’s easy for a skeptic to say that I was just dreaming. When we listen to these stories we have to keep an open mind. I can tell a person that I observed my body from outside of myself while it lay sleeping. Once again that’s easy to refute. If five million people have had a similar experience, does that mean it is true? Maybe not. Most people also dream. Hundreds of thousands of people thought that the Earth was flat at one time (I realize this is a widely used example). Are there really shadow people, or is this phenomenon a mass hallucination? Maybe people want to believe in it, so they conveniently see it.
In my own mind, I can confidently state that the shadow people exist. I had no prior knowledge of shadow people when I observed it. Not to mention that two people saw it at the same time. Does that fact change things? I don’t know. It may make the event more credible. If I could have caught the thing in a net for scientists to examine, that would have made the encounter much more conclusive. Unfortunately, such events rarely have such an outcome.
Explaining a metaphysical theory is different from a scientific theory in that researchers are using known scientific principles. It’s difficult to positively answer a metaphysical and philosophical question such as: “What is consciousness?” We only know that consciousness exists by the fact we that we are animated beings, who have an awareness of our existence. Then again, I’m not a proponent of the big bang theory (I don’t mean the TV show). I feel that this theory has no more basis in fact than some of my own theories. I say this with the understanding that scientists claim that they have reasonable evidence to support their theory. I am more inclined to accept the unfashionable steady state theory of the universe, which states that the universe is continuously expanding.
I claim that Arthur Edward Waite contributed to my theories. Is that reasonable statement? It depends on who you ask. The six or seven mediums who evidently communicated with him might lend their support to my claim. If a person does not believe in mediumship, then what I say about A.E. Waite would be of little value to him or her. A metaphysical theory is one of those things that a person accepts because it strikes a chord in his or her inner being. Such theories typically have insufficient (if any) evidence to lean on. This does not mean that the theories are devoid of truth. It’s just that humans have not discovered the necessary tools to conduct a proper examination of these advanced theories. Metaphysical theories generally involve arcane mystical principles, unknown energies, and references to strange dimensional locales that we cannot verify using modern scientific protocol. That day will come.
David Almeida is a Spiritualist and researcher of Rosicrucian philosophy and esoteric knowledge. David is a past article contributor to the Sedona Journal of Emergence. He is also a Board Certified Hypnotist and Reiki healer. David is the author of The First Truth: A Book of Metaphysical Theories and Illusion of the Body: Introducing the Body Alive Principle. Both books can be purchased at Amazon.com. Visit http://www.findyourdivinelight.com