Changing the Parameters
When wildlife photographers travel into the wild in an attempt to document their subjects, great care is taken to insure that the impact of their presence will be minimal upon the subject at hand. This is due to some simple scientific principals. In short, no matter what precautions are taken, it cannot be guaranteed that one’s presence will not affect the outcome of either the observation or experiment. One’s simple proximity to the subject introduces a foreign variable into the equation.
For example; according to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, if particle A is on a known fixed trajectory, and particle B lies within the range of that trajectory, then B will have an effect upon A depending on its trajectory, velocity, and mass. It is now very difficult to predict where particle A will be at a given time due to the intervention of B.
A simpler way of looking at it is the following; if you were out photographing tigers, you cannot be sure that they would be acting the same way if you were not present. Your scent may have carried in an unexpected change of the wind, or the shutter of your camera may be louder then you anticipated, etc.
Now, we as a society tend to know quite a bit about tigers and particle theory (at least we think we do) and there is still that kind of room for uncertainty. Now consider an area of science that is still in its most rudimentary stages of development, the paranormal. When we as investigators enter a home that is allegedly haunted, we have no clue just how much our presence affects the haunting. We don’t know exactly just how far into our world the spirits can see. Some have personalities as well, and may respond accordingly. Even the equipment that we bring may have an effect.
If we as investigators do not capture any evidence in the short time that we are present, it does not mean that the case is not valid. We will have no idea what our effect is upon a haunting until more evidence is gathered, and gathering untainted evidence is a big problem. It is this reason, among others, why the pooling of information from credible groups over a period of time is the best way to find patterns in hauntings, alleged hauntings, and other natural phenomena. Only then can hypotheses be studied and made into sound, scientific theory.
-Michael Richie (TAPS)