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Eyewitness Testimony and the Paranormal Investigator: A Rational Perspective

by Dave Wood & Nicky Sewell

This article places investigation of the paranormal in the context of parapsychological and psychological research into eyewitness testimony of paranormal occurrences and briefly introduces a range of psychological and physiological factors that could account for many ‘ghost sightings’ on paranormal investigations.
‘Eyewitness testimony’ recognises that most scholarly research into paranormal eyewitness testimony relates to the interview reports conducted some time after the perceived occurrence. After a review of research by paranormal investigators, fourteen possible explanations for reports ostensible psi experience are presented.
The following concepts are briefly introduced and applied to the experience of paranormal investigations in the field: arousal, demand characteristics, paranormal belief, expectation and priming, ambiguous data, retrospective bias, group norms, selective attention, electromagnetic fields, ion fields, infrasound, auditory illusions, the perception of staring, tactile sensations, hot and cold spots, seeing lights and the implications of staying up all night.


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