Is Evidence Contamination a Bad Thing?
By: Dr. Mark Farley
Contamination during a paranormal investigation can come in many forms. Just perform an investigation with any multitude of people, and you'll probably experience just about every type imaginable. My personal method of investigation is observation, and with this method, I do need a reasonable amount of stillness and quiet. But recently started to wonder if I was inducing a form of contamination by expecting what many ghost hunters would consider ideal conditions?
Take, for example, the Lemp Mansion. The mansion is one of those strange hauntings that seems to be more active during the day than at night. When owned by the Lemp family, the building was the focal point of most of the brewery's business dealings. Production happened in the brewery, but business occurred in the mansion.
The mansion was a hive of activity during the day and a place of relative quiet at night. This is why I think guests and staffs tend to witness more paranormal activity during the day and when the mansion is extremely busy with guests. So maybe investigating the mansion in the still and quiet of night might induce an unforeseen form of contamination.
By expecting relative calm and quiet in a mansion that is usually neither calm nor quiet, the investigator might be unknowingly inducing a set of variables that could alter the outcome of their investigation.
If you think of an investigation as an experiment or examination, you could be changing the outcome of your experiment by investigating the mansion under "ideal" conditions.
If an area is a hive of activity, then to get the same results witnessed by others, I propose that the investigation be conducted under the same conditions. This undoubtedly will bring a new set of difficulties, but you are holding to the truest conditions that paranormal activity might manifest and be observed.
Before writing this article, I discussed this idea in-depth with Dan Terry, a good friend, experienced investigator, and paranormal author; he suggested that if a haunted location is usually active, the area must be investigated under both conditions, busy and quiet. I do see his point; by investigating under both kinds of conditions, you gain the ability to compare your findings. Yes, certain types of investigative techniques may become more challenging to conduct, especially in gathering EVP's, but one could gain further insight by comparing evidence gathered under both conditions (Terry).
So maybe contamination isn't a bad thing during paranormal investigations. Any experienced investigator will tell you that it is impossible to eliminate contamination completely. But instead of scrapping your contaminated evidence, try examining it closer. Maybe something you would have determined as useless in the past might be the very evidence that proves a location as "haunted."
Terry, Daniel. Paranormal Investigator / Author Dr. Mark Farley. 30 July 2021. Telephone.