31.1.16

TECHNOGHOSTS

Steven T. Parsons. Ghostology: The Art of the Ghost Hunter. White Crow Books, 2015.

The subtitle of this book is somewhat misleading, it is not really about “the whole art of ghost hunting” but is largely devoted to a critical analysis of the various types of equipment favoured by the techno-geek ghost hunter and it performs that service very well. All sorts of gadgets are described which are used to measure temperature, electromagnetic energy, humidity, infra-sound, along with various sorts of cameras and sound recording devises, and the basic physics behind each is explained, as are possible pitfalls in their use. This makes this an indispensable guide for anyone wanting to use such equipment, though at times I fear this book maybe too dry and technical for your average ghost hunter.

From the examples quoted in this book, it is sadly clear that many 'ghost hunters' are as far from scientific as it possible to get, especially when they resort to mediums and psychics, all too often such folk seem to take delight in frightening people with gory stories. I rather suspect that spooky entertainment and not science is the motivation behind many of these groups.

This sort of approach is all well and good when dealing with essentially deserted properties, (though some account of law and general health and safety would be more than valuable), but this kind of techno-geek approach fails to take account of the fact that “ghost” experiences, whatever their cause are essentially human experiences.

Investigators dealing with actual families must understand that they may well be dealing with very traumatised people, and, as an examination of the literature shows, sometimes families with deep seated problems that would tax the most experienced social worker. The investigators may be faced with very taxing ethical and even legal problems. Unless at least one member of your team has a background in psychiatric social work and /or family therapy, do not investigate family homes. It also stands to reason that people invited into the homes of possibly vulnerable people, particularly where there are children or young people involved, should be subject to full criminal record checks.

My conclusion on this book is that it is excellent on technology but rather lacks the human touch. -- Peter Rogerson

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