Thursday, July 5, 2012

Old vs. New

Remember the days when toys were as simple as Lincoln logs, little wooden pieces you could stack up to build little cabins with fences for your matchbox cars. Or how about your basic LEGO blocks, made up of just squares and rectangles, and let’s not forget the lighted box known as Lite-Brite. With this fun item, you poked colored pegs into in order to create pixilated glowing pictures of wonderment. How amazing those things were! These were some of my basic toys growing up in the late 70’s, but the funny thing is, many of you reading this probably didn’t even know what Lincoln Logs were. Back then, toys were simple, basic and didn’t have a lot of moving parts. But they worked; these toys got us through the day by using our imaginations with the fundamentals of basic things. 

Today, my toy box is a whole lot more complex, detailed and even a great deal more expensive. With various EMF detectors, Ion counters, sonic motion sensors and even thermo imaging, you can find yourself lost in the confusion of fancy devices and compound readings. And with the constant growing knowledge in the world of Science, technology continues to surpass last year’s model, paving the road for the next generation of ghost hunters to a better understanding of how our environment works.  However, having the latest and greatest gadgets doesn’t always give us a complete understanding of what’s happening in the spirit world.  

The simple tricks of the trade in recording ghostly voices and producing their spooky likeness are really taken for granted with the works of ghost hunting tools today. With digital technology, we can take thousands of pictures and record hours upon hours of audio throughout the night. It’s so easy. Hell - you don’t even need to be there when it’s all happening. 

But, to better ourselves as ghost hunters, we need to be aware of where of the history ghost hunting and its tools and techniques. How was it we were first able to capture evidence of unseen forces lurking in the dark? Do you know where EVP’s came from? Or even how we were able to seize the idea of what ghosts really looked like, let alone prove it. 

For years I have been working on reminding the paranormal community that even though we are heading to a new world of technical science in ghost hunting, we may be overlooking some of the older tools that worked for us but sadly are becoming obsolete.  I’m talking about those tried and true cassette recorders and 35mm film cameras. (The sounds of crickets fill the room)

COME ON! Think about it! These historic, dust-covered devices have opened the doors to possible and questionable proof that the dead are indeed out there trying to reach us. For decades, paranormal investigators have depended on their basic tools to supports their findings in the not so distant past.
#1 Digital vs. Film Photography: This has been an ongoing debate in the paranormal field ever since digital cameras hit the market in the 1990’s. Starting at less than 1.0 mega pixels, digital photography could not compare to what film could do. Nevertheless, through the years technology improved digital cameras to the point that most professional photographers feel digital cameras outshine 35mm film by reaching up to 200 mega pixels (that’s if you’re looking to spend a major chunk of currency).  Today,  the average digital camera will range between 10-16MP and if you talk to the majority of ghost hunters out there, they will clearly point you in the direction of digital over film, due to cost, plus quick and easy processing. Still, there is a difference in what film can offer that digital cannot and will never be able to. This is how it could affect us in the field of paranormal research.

Digital and Film are completely different media; their goal is the same (capture subject) but how they achieve this is completely unrelated to each other. Where film processing imitates a truer form to the human eye, basically, what you see is what you get. The digital processing method is to recreate the image in the best way it knows how.  Also consider this; film is a chemical process whereas digital is just that, digital.
In the early 1900’s, there was a phenomena called Psychography, where psychics where known to produce images on unexposed film, without the use of a camera. Now I’ve never seen this done myself (keeping an open mind here), but could it be possible that spirit energy can manipulate film to produce the same effect? Just something to think about.

Now in no way am I expecting you to run out and buy the top of the line 35mm camera. Your digital camera is just fine doing the majority of the work.  However, pick up a disposable film camera and keep it handy on your next investigation. Use it when there seems to be increased activity in the air. You just might be surprised with the results.

#2 Digital vs. Analog Recordings: the basic concept applies here as well. These devices capture audio in a totally different way.  Analog is the process of taking a sound and translating it into electronic pulses. Digital on the other hand is breaking the signal into a binary format where the audio is represented by a series of "1"s and "0"s. Remember when digital recorders first came out? The recordings and quality were so bad that you sounded mechanical yourself. Again, through the years digital recordings have been improved and have replaced our old ways of doing things. Nonetheless, analog which has been around for centuries was clearly able to capture more of the natural environment around us. So is it possible for these simpler gadgets of our past to reach out and make contact with the spirit world? Can the ghosts we seek manipulate these devices more often than the new toys coming out tomorrow?

Now there’s no question that digital media has been able to apprehend ghostly encounters. All I’m saying is please consider the fact that you may be limiting yourself from another way of collecting more odd pieces of evidence if you so choose to focus on what tomorrow’s technology has to offer. Progress isn’t always about moving forward, it’s also about remembering those Tried and True ways of the past that are just as good as or possibly better than those that the future may bring.