This week we’re tackling a big issue: Why do we investigate in the dark?
Many investigators will echo TAPS in the sense that they’ll say that if phenomena is happening during the day and not at night, they’ll investigate in the day. But why do we investigate in the dark? Why not the day? Many don’t have answers.
So I’m going to do quick points on both sides of the issue, but it’s first important to differentiate between investigating in the dark and investigating at night. Think about that as we go.
Reasons to investigate in the dark number ONE: One of my first responses to this question was that if a spirit appears and is producing light, it’s easier to see in dim lighting the same way that a flashlight is easier to see in dimmer light.
This does of course apply more in the instances of “orbs” (balls of energy producing light–not the dust in your photos) and the odd instances of trick-of-the-eye-type “sparks.” Whereas the more traditional idea of “spirits” actually producing light is something I’ve never experienced and begins to seem a bit outdated. Most apparitions are either shadows or look just like you and I.
Reason number TWO! Barry Fitzgerald has shared with me a compelling reason suggesting that UV light might be harmful to spirits as they try to manifest. When you consider the EMF spectrum, the frequency of the waves increases as you move to the right on the spectrum. Because these waves are more frequent, they impact matter with much more violence and regularity, causing damage. This is why UV light gives us sunburns. This is why X-Rays will melt our brains, and why gamma radiation will forever be my greatest fear.
Barry operates under the idea that sunlight, in the same way that it harms our skin, may in fact scatter spirits as they delicately try to assemble themselves into something visible.
Consider, he suggests, how spirits in folklore seem drawn to the darkest parts of the room, perhaps not because they are the most frightening places, but because they’re the furthest from sunlight. Also consider the amount of shadow figures captured by various ghost programs and teams that–if legit–demonstrate the apparition often crouching and peeking out of the direct light.
Reason number THREE!
Many investigators will cite that they turn the lights–and all other power–off in order to lower the ambient EMF energy of an area to get more accurate readings.
This isn’t without controversy though. Many other investigators believe that lowering the ambient EMF reduces a kind of natural energy shield within a residence, allowing more stray EMF to travel through (seemingly randomly) that otherwise wouldn’t, and may contaminate an investigation.
Also, some investigators believe that you should keep the environment as close to the conditions in which the entity manifested in the first place for the most honest investigation. Which seems to make sense, doesn’t it?
Reason FOUR! Many investigators investigate at night because there’s just too many people around during the day. There’s too much noise, too much activity, and specifying what is anomalous and what is the living is challenging in many locations. I did this last summer, investigating a bed and breakfast during the day. Nightmare.
Final reason number FIVE! It’s more theatrical and entertaining. Though not necessarily good for objective investigation, if you’re going out there to have some fun and get spooked, lights off is the best way.
So, flip side? Why should we investigate in the light?
(PS, many of these reasons I’m stealing from Mr. Jeff Allen Danelek who wrote the book A Case for Ghosts and reps my home state of Colorado. Check him out here.)
Reason number ONE! Ghosts manifest during the day, don’t they? There’s a million ghost pictures from the daytime, right? So what’s the difference? And doesn’t that defeat Barry’s idea of UV harm?
They do appear in the day! The question of such appearances first becomes, are these spirits a different type of manifestation? Residual? Time slip? Interactive? If it’s residual, the spirit is only a kind of energetic echo, one that is potentially a different makeup than a manifesting interactive entity. Time slips too are a different constitution entirely, the theory being that we’re for a moment crossing over into a different time. So, perhaps what’s being seen is a manifestation not affected by UV the way others are. The way a character in a movie doesn’t get a sunburn if you watch it outside.
That said, go where the ghosts go. Absolutely investigate during the day.
Reason number TWO! It’s so much easier to freak yourself out in the dark. I do it myself every time. Mostly because of THIS CLIP.
Damn you, Slenderman.
If a lamp is knocked across the room in the light, my reaction is going to be far more mild than a lamp’s sudden motion in the middle of a mostly-dark room. It’s easier to be objective about what is happening around you when you have the lights on.
Reason number THREE! If spirits are manifesting as something with mass rather than simply an energy conglomeration, they should reflect light, which would make them easier to see in the light.
Reason number FOUR!
Additionally, if spirits draw from energy to manifest, isn’t it better to leave sources of energy on around the investigation area? We see this happening with battery drain, why not with electric circuits inside an investigation area? Some investigators have tried using small “EM pumps” to encourage activity: why not just leave the lights on?
And finally, reason number FIVE!
It’s safer. How many investigators do you see running around in the dark in a decrepit location on television and in real life? Holes in the floors. Debris everywhere. Homeless people lounging about.
If it’s all the same, why not just poke around with the lights on?
But which do you prefer? Investigating with the lights on or off? Daytime or nighttime? Leave a comment in the comment section down below.
That’s all I’ve got this week. Stay tuned in the next few weeks as we dive into provoking, ORBS and photography, and as always, new ways of looking at ghost hunting that you may not have thought of before!
Karl Pfeiffer is a writer, ghost hunter, and blogger/vlogger. He won the first season of the pilot reality series Ghost Hunters Academy, and went on to work with the Ghost Hunters International team on the same network. Since then he’s lead the weekend ghost hunts at the Stanley Hotel, studied religion and writing at Colorado State University, and published his first novel, Hallowtide, in October of 2012. More can be found at www.KarlPfeiffer.com