Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Narratives Formed by Events that Coincide

What is so difficult about the strange experiences people have is the human mind's innate ability (or inclination) to connect events or circumstances, that aren't necessarily connected.  I'm sure this is a basic survival instinct from our earliest days.  Event A happened, and Event B happened at nearly the same time, and Event B was really really bad, so in the future avoid both Event a and Event B.  Its the mechanism behind psychological conditioning.

When unexplained events coincide, and we start to connect them, we build a narrative that pulls all of the events together into one cohesive story.  And this narrative becomes very real to us, and we are usually willing to defend that narrative.

So, taking the basic facts of this example story, lets look more closely.  A family is living in a home that the extended family tells haunted stories about.  A family mythology has developed where the location is creepy, and "something" paranormal is there.  This is a common thing that happens in many families, and is most always based on anecdotal experiences.  This is condition A.

Their video tape shows an unexplained anomaly, where a strange lighter colored shape or band crosses across the screen.  Since this anomaly on the recording is unexplained, we can attribute a more mundane explanation to it (digital artifact, car lights crossing across window, etc.) or something much less mundane.  This is condition B.

Their child had a scratch on their face.  This is utterly normal.  Children scratch themselves all the time, either with their own fingernails or in a fall.  And they are so young, unless you see the scratch happen, it remains unexplained.  This is condition C.

Any one of these conditions taken on its own is not particularly interesting or compelling.  But, if you put the child in the creepy location (condition A), and an anomaly shows up on the camera (condition B), and then you notice a scratch on the childs face (condition C), suddenly a conclusion is reached that "a ghost has hurt our baby and we caught it on tape."

This narrative is so charged with emotion and fear, but seems like such a definitive conclusion to the people who have woven the narrative, that an outsider coming into the situation and trying to examine it logically will have a very difficult time of it.

The thing to keep in mind, is that events are happening constantly.  Millions of moments and events passing by you every day.  Various conditions come and go in your life.  Just because events and conditions coincide, it does not necessarily mean they are connected.

But, as an investigator you must respect the importance of the narrative to the family, and handle matters in a delicate fashion.  And you must also keep in mind, that just because these events are not necessarily connected...there is at least the possibility that they ARE CONNECTED.

Mark Stinson
Ghost Vigil Investigations

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