Turn-of-the-century ghost hunting went like this; set up a parlor with a table, some candles, a psychic medium and begin a seance, perhaps photograph some double images, maybe even cough up some ectoplasm.
Turn-of-the-millennium ghost hunting went like this; debunk what you can, pull out video cameras, voice recorders, IR lights and meters and comb through a building overnight.
Truly, any evidence that a modern-day hunter can provide would have to be in the form of video and photographs that can easily be hoaxed and therefore disputed, the same for EVPs.
So, what is a hunter to do?
Well, it goes without saying that if you keep doing the same thing and expect different results, you're not being realistic. So, what do we want out of the field of ghost hunting?
Do we want to prove a haunting or understand a haunting?
First, we don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Spiritualists/psychics may have a hand in this phenomena, whether it is instigated, perceiving or communicating. There is a place for them. There is also a place for debunking and the earnest hope to capture and measure and predict phenomena.
Ultimately, however, we need to stop rushing into places, spending a night there and assuming we can answer the question of whether the place is or is not haunted.
Here's the steps I would like to see the industry take:
1. A long-term study: Choose a location where the participants live on site as if they are living in a home, allowing the place to get used to them and them used to the place. When I say long-term, I mean ideally at least a week but preferably a month or so.
2. See if equipment is efficacious: Test all the devices by having meters set in rooms and when activity occurs that participants witness, see if the meters measured them. Once and for all, figure out if they have any efficacy at all. In an ideal situation, create a kind of Medusa machine that would incorporate the EMF meters, barometer, thermometer to a computer that can actually show their changes over time and if temperature drop and EMF spike occur together.
3. Logging and witnessing: This is key. Over time in a location, one can actually take advantage of being able to take notes of activity to look for things that might correlate. Witnessing and perhaps even predicting activity over time is possible if one knows the feel of a place and its patterns. As well, this might lead to knowing what might instigate it by performing experiments such as expressing emotions or isolating participants.
4. Take into account everything: Solar flares, geomagnetic activity, tectonic activity, geology, construction of the building, moon cycles, anything at all that might correlate and be part of the equation.
The industry has to evolve. It is not good or bad that it does. Every industry must. If we're smart, we keep asking "what is working?" and "what is not working?" I look forward to the process and being a part of it. For now, I'm a bit of a genetic abnormality in the industry, but at some point, I might be the divergence that sets the evolution into a new path.
At least, I like to think so.