Old habits are hard to break in the paranormal realm

By Rick Hinton

Paranormal investigators have changed little since the 1960s when veteran ghost hunter Hans Holzer publicly emerged into an area of study encompassing dark and mysterious forces lying just beneath the veil of everyday life. From his observations, his results all seemed legitimate and plausible; and a bit on the creepy side. It was his research and documentation of his numerous cases, followed by his books that inspired my initial interest in ghosts. My junior and senior years of high school eased into a casual study of the paranormal, and how it all fit into the general scheme of life.

Parapsychologist Hans Holzer. (Submitted photo)

It hasn’t been an easy journey and certainly one, even to this day, resulting in many more questions than receiving any type of answers. And, I suppose it will continue to remain that way for the foreseeable future. There are countless theories about ghosts and spirits; however, a theory is a result of not having concrete answers. One theory is as good as another at the end of the day. To put it all in perspective – not a lot has changed since the days of Hans Holzer.

Holzer worked with antiquated equipment compared to what is available today. At the time he had no conception of what lay ahead in the future for ghost hunting: digital cameras; digital audio recorders; temperature sensors; EMF meters; video cameras with thermal capabilities; vibration sensors; ghost-boxes; and trigger objects catered specifically to certain types of spirits. He had none of these or needed them. Holzer was old school. His time period dictated that. He would venture into a purported paranormal situation with a Polaroid camera, a reel-to-reel tape recorder, flashlight and occasionally accompanied by a psychic medium; and what was most important – a keen and highly tuned sense of intuition. That is what I feel paranormal investigators have lost over the years. The equipment has taken precedence over our senses. Kick back, put your feet up and let the equipment do the work! Your body will let you know when something is amiss. It always does if we pay attention. We tend to tune this out as we grow older. We need to get back to this intuition.

A few of Holzer’s books in the author’s library. (Photo by Rick Hinton)

Holzer catered to those in need of assistance. He was not preoccupied with paying paranormal amusement parks where you open up your wallet for a few hours of an adrenaline rush. (I picture Holzer looking down from heaven upon current thrill seekers with sad, perplexed eyes.) During his tenure, pay and plays weren’t even on the horizon. However – these days – it’s a major focus that engulfs many paranormal groups. For Holzer – back in the day – it became  a quest of helping those with nowhere else to turn. There were no paranormal “celebrities” to claim some sort of legitimacy (even though, he ultimately became one). When he started, he was on his own … and often all alone. Yet, he did his best to help. Unfortunately in our travels, we have gotten away from that, also.

Old habits are hard to break? Guilty as charged! I love the techno bells, whistles, sirens and lights, but at the end of the day what has it proven? Have we drawn any closer to a definitive reasoning behind what makes a spirit tick, and why the heck they’re still hanging around? Not so much – but we still cling to our theories, nonetheless. Maybe it’s time to put away the equipment, rely upon our five senses and see where that takes us?

Shrimp, the ghostly guardian of the bookshelves. (Photo by Rick Hinton)