We’ve all seen Mario and Luigi on TV going through one Ghost House after another trying to “disprove a haunting”. They claim to be investigating “scientifically” and that’s why they’re trying to disprove it. Because that’s what scientists do, right? They try to prove a conclusion wrong and, if they can’t, it must be right!
There are so many problems with this it’s hard to know where to begin. First, it’s what I call the “right by default” mentality and you see it all over in the worlds of religion and the paranormal. For the religious they will demand an answer, usually to something so complicated they wouldn’t understand a real answer if you were able to give it, and, if you cannot deliver one on the spot, hey, they have an answer for you! And since you don’t have one (if you do, they will reject it, so it doesn’t count) then THEIR answer must be right!
The paranormal community does almost exactly the same thing. Can YOU explain what that light in the sky was? Of course you can’t. You can give some uneducated guesses, but being simple guesses with no information to go on they are all easily dismissed by the believer. So they become convinced it was a “UFO” (read “alien space ship”, but rarely said out loud) based on what it COULD NOT have been.
So already there’s a huge problem with their approach. They are going in with the answer, but they will only accept that answer if they first rule out everything else. So what? They already went in with a default answer in their back pockets just waiting to be pulled out if they can’t explain something they saw. There is nothing whatsoever “scientific” about that.
And then there’s the data they collect and the equipment they misuse and abuse. EVPs require background noise because your brain can’t spot nonexistent patterns in nothing. But it’s hard to spot those in next to nothing too, so they have a couple of tools to help. First there are the “audio filters” which fundamentally alter the sound in a way to produce MORE background noise! That certainly helps our brains find patterns that aren’t there. But maybe even that isn’t enough. Enter the white noise generator! Now we can contaminate the hell out of the data! We’re sure to find something then!
And they just love the IR thermometers, don’t they? You can get an instant reading of the cold spots in the air! Actually, no, you can’t. IR thermometers are designed to bounce an infrared beam off a surface a given distance away. They have minimum and maximum effective ranges, usually about a foot and a half. Again, waving them around like you’re Harry Potter fighting off the Dark Lord introduces contamination into your data, allowing them to simply manufacture data literally out of thin air.
And do you know how they choose which cameras are “best” for their work? It should be obvious by now, they choose the cameras most likely to produce “results”. Not the ones with the largest wavelength detection range (all modern cameras can see infrared. Point your TV remote at your phone camera and push a button to see this). If they’re seeing something outside of the visible spectrum than the camera with the widest spectrum range would be the best one to detect it. But they don’t look up the specs. They ask each other what others have gotten the best “results” with.
If your “scientific equipment” includes an IR thermometer you don’t intent to use to take a surface temperature in a given range, a tape recorder (because the motor and spinning tape produce recorded white noise) and the same camera you take pictures of your kids with, I’m sorry, but you’re only about as “scientific” as any plumber without a PhD could be.