Over many years of hunting and over 100 cases, I have come to a methodology in helping people study their encounters and determine if they were genuine and, more importantly, what to make of it.
In my book, "Was That a Ghost?" (Kindle/Nook) I go into more detail about this concept, but the basis is this: There are three aspects that must be looked at when dealing with encounters of the paranormal to help the witness make sense of it, to take the heat and fear out of it, change it to either practical explanation or curious wonder. This is my own technique and something I devised on my own, but it works in every single case without fail. We must look at:
The context of the occurrence is important in every way, from the location, to those around you, to the mood you are in, to the mood those around you are in, to renovation of a space, to expectations you have had.
Your belief system influences how you interpret an event and whether it is a threat or insignificant. This includes our religious beliefs, but also your personal cognitive beliefs; if you believe in phenomena or not. Religious beliefs often set up some inherent beliefs about "the other side" and whether it is good or bad, well intentioned or evil. A total skeptic may brush aside an experience because he refuses to believe such a thing can exist. A person who has waited long to have such an encounter may believe anything he doesn't investigate is paranormal.
Explanatory style is what you tell yourself about what happened, how you explain it in your head. Do you jump to conclusions, intellectualize it or use excited and exaggerated language? We usually enter an event with a series of explanations to ourselves that changes over the course of the event. If you see a person skipping down the road and singing while twirling an umbrella you might have a conversation in your head like this as you first see until the person has skipped away; "Is someone filming a YouTube skit?" You laugh. "Maybe someone hired him for a new restaurant or nightclub to get business." You look around. "He seems kind of drunk." You stop smiling. "Maybe he's mentally ill?" You step aside and give him room. "I wonder if the cops will catch him?" You look around. "Poor guy." You walk away.
This is only one small part of my book and my methods. People often wonder when I'm doing the blog and writing funny or inspirational posts or "Mind Fuck Tuesday" and more, how it is that I handle the ghost aspect of my ghost hunting theories. I admit to being sassy and brassy, saying it like it is and having a wicked sense of humor, but when it comes to the subject of the paranormal world, I am that woman who writes the insightful and thought-provoking posts that you've been reading for some time.
I have the utmost respect for those who have experienced the unexplained as I have experienced it much of my life and I understand all the different feelings and phases, confusion and fear, worry and excitement they feel. This book is basically the entire process I go through with these people. By the time we're done, they not only have a handle on what happened, but they have a plan for their future in the world of the paranormal, as well as some skills that they can apply in their regular everyday life to cool off their fears and anxieties and amp up their curiosity and drive.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, just about anything that happens to you in life, this trinity can be applied to get a real handle and perspective on it.
(I'm doing a Q&A with Ben and Devin from Fact or Faked today, so expect to hear about that this afternoon)
Every now and then, I'm going to suggest a lesser known blog. Today, I'm going to suggest you check out this one.