The Citizen’s Voice, a newspaper in Northeastern Pennsylvania, published an article titled “Paranormal investigators take on Swetland Homestead.” Members of the local group NEPA Paranormal are investigating the Swetland Homestead — a historical site in Pennsylvania — for ‘paranormal activity,’ preparing for a television show to discuss the results of a ‘paranormal investigation’ and will use found information for an upcoming tour with the Luzerne County Historical Society. Although NEPA Paranormal claims that their work is scientific, their work is anything but scientific and there are no good reasons to believe any paranormal claims.
NEPA Paranormal, according to the home page of their website, takes “a scientific approach to the paranormal,” but their ‘about us’ page notes that their members “do believe the paranormal exists, and want some answers.” Right from the start, NEPA Paranormal members are not acting scientific; they are starting with a unsubstantiated belief that the paranormal exists when those who are properly scientific should start from a neutral position of non-belief. Science, also, operates under methodological naturalism, thus limiting their research to the natural world. Scientists should search for naturalistic explanations for phenomena instead of endorsing paranormal conclusions.
Their website further notes that NEPA Paranormal offers “house cleansings” and “energy clearings” – two terms someone who is acting in a scientific manner should never invoke. The Citizen’s Voice article also notes that members use prayers in their investigations. NEPA Paranormal case manager, Katie Christopher, offered a prayer to St. Michael the Archangel in order to “cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits.” Pointing to a tattoo of a friendly ghost, Christopher also notes that she wants to “approach the spirit world with the right attitude.”
NEPA Paranormal’s website notes the use of “professional equipment” such as “geophones” (“to pick up vibrations such as phantom footsteps”), EMF meters (the group has “theories that spirits may givr [sic] off EMF when trying to manifest itself [sic]”) and EVP Field Processors (to capture “human-sounding voices from an unknown source”). Such devices are not endorsed by scientific studies, but rather are rejected.
Paranormal investigation similar to that of NEPA Paranormal is not scientific, but rather is pseudo-scientific. Operating under the guise of science, paranormal investigators lack sufficient evidence to establish their claims, endorse unprovable claims, continue to use ‘theories’ about the paranormal that have been debunked, present information that runs contrary to scientific findings and hold pre-established beliefs that paranormal entities exist and attribute the unexplained and ambiguous to paranormal activity instead of saying ‘I don’t know’ or looking for naturalistic explanations.