A Beginner’s Guide to Paranormal Investigation by Mark Rosney, Rob Bethell, & Jebby Robinson – A Review

I picked this book up, with some knowledge of the subject, thinking it will pass the time, and, who knows, I might even learn a trick or two. I have to say, I found it very hard to put down. Considering it is written by three authors, the style is consistent throughout and very easy to read. Complex ideas and procedures are effortlessly described in a way that is easy to understand, and I’m sure that if I had never been on a paranormal investigation, after reading this, I ‘d feel like I could organise one and come back with some useful evidence.

The book is divided up into separate sections. The first one covers general equipment requirements and provides suggestions for a range of useful bits of gear suitable for every pocket. After equipment is covered, then the book is separated into sections covering the five main areas of the paranormal, ghosts, electronic voice phenomena (EVP), cryptozoology, unidentified flying objects (UFO), and that bane of the serious investigator’s life (and an especial interest of mine) – photographic anomalies.

Each section gives some fascinating historical information about the phenomena, and then talks you through how to set up a serious scientific (and that doesn’t mean expensive) investigation so that if anything strange happens then your evidence will stand up to scrutiny. There is some excellent advice on how to sensitively interview witnesses, and most importantly, this book guides you on how to formulate ‘open’ questions rather than questions that would tend to influence the witnesses memory of the event and maybe even provide answers that the investigator wanted to hear – rather than the truth of what happened.

The section on photographic anomalies covers things like ‘making your own orb’ photos, misidentifications of things like fast-moving birds, hair, breath, and even fingers & camera straps. It also looks at ways of distinguishing between fake and reality. There’s enough information for you to spend a pleasant afternoon or two playing at making ‘paranormal’ photos and in the process learn a lot about how your camera works. Invaluable if you want to be able to spot common errors and interpretations in photos presented to you for analysis.

The book makes it clear that most investigations produce no evidence and that a lot of witnesses misinterpret the ordinary for the extraordinary. Nevertheless, the authors gently lead you through all of that and leave you, the reader, in no doubt that the exploration of the 95% of everyday events perceived incorrectly as paranormal, is in itself a fascinating journey into the workings of the human mind. It is also the very necessary training ground that lets you know, on an intuitive level almost, when something really odd is taking place and well worth a thorough investigation. Paranormal investigation is not the glamorous activity that some TV shows might suggest it to be. It is something that requires a dedication that the authors clearly possess and the strongest sense that I got from the words of this book was that they wanted to make it very easy for me to do what they love doing. Their passion is clear, and I love being taught by those passionate about their subject.

If you have a hankering to explore the world of the paranormal, this book needs to be on your bookshelf. And if you take the advice on equipment, it will probably save you far more than the cover price on your first few pieces of kit.

Michael

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~ by eximiusparanormal on February 17, 2010.

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