Imagine that you are a ghost researcher. Somebody has contacted you because employees have had some weird experiences in their offices and they’d like you to see if you can get to the bottom of it. Hopefully, you’re not the kind of ghost researcher who just looks for ghosts because the result of your “investigation” will probably be “it’s a ghost” and that’s unimaginative. If in your imagined scenario you are the kind of ghost researcher who actually likes to get to the bottom of what’s occurring then you have a fun task ahead of you: mystery solving.
Mystery solving is fun. You take a case, you look at what is apparently happening to people and then you try to find the most logical cause. Maybe there’s a pattern? People hear weird things when they’re locking up a business at night, for example. Perhaps people keep seeing something in a certain part of the building? Perhaps it’s just certain people experiencing weird things when they’re working a shift together? These are clues and to solve a mystery you follow the clues and ask questions about what they could mean. More often than not this will lead you to the answer. Woohoo! You solved a mystery! That’s the cool thing about mysteries – they’re usually solvable. And if they’re not solvable now, then at some point in the future they probably will be. Take the mystery of the Wem Ghost for example.
For so many years, people couldn’t reach an agreement on what it was that caused a ghost-like apparition to appear in the now-famous 1995 photo of the burning Wem Town Hall. The photo- which was taken on a film camera by an amateur photographer -certainly seems to show a young girl peering out of the burning building, which would surely be impossible on account of the raging fire. Some suggested it was a ghost while others thought it could be an illusion caused by things inside the building. The photographer promised he hadn’t doctored the photo and was just as perplexed as others were.
The Wem ghost photo mystery was solved 15 years later when somebody spotted the same young girl in a photo postcard. It became clear that despite the reassurance that the photo hadn’t been doctored, that was actually the cause. It took a long time for the mystery to be solved and that’s why some people still think that the Wem town hall photo shows a ghost. Due to a lack of curiosity, many people see something that is currently unexplained and decide it must be unexplainable, case closed. Yet, there is a rather large difference between something which cannot currently be explained and something for which there is no explanation. This is something that any good mystery solver should consider when reaching a conclusion, as well as the fact that rushing to be the first to reach a conclusion for a mystery probably means that you’ll miss clues and information as it emerges which is just plain sloppy.
This is actually something which sets someone who wants to solve a mystery apart from people who claim they want to solve a mystery but actually don’t. Mysteries can be exciting to become involved with and for some people, the prospect of something supernatural or paranormal being the cause of the mystery is just too tempting to not be at the top of their list of possibilities, and so they explore the mystery only by really looking for paranormal causes. These sorts of investigators aren’t investigators at all really when you think about it. They’re paranormal hunters – you could call them Bigfoot hunters, alien hunters, ghost hunters, monster hunters and so on. Their aim is to find something which could be evidence of that which they’re searching for. It’s a subjective, biased approach which only provides further mystery and very few answers.
Bigfoot hunters, Ghost hunters and similar paranormal enthusiasts muddy the water when it comes to mystery solving because they don’t really want the mystery to be solved. They want it to be real. Anyone who really wants to solve a mystery will know that you have to eliminate potential causes and limit the number of potential variables that influence your investigation. This means (but is not limited to) only using equipment that is needed, limiting the number of people involved in investigating the mystery, keeping the lights switched on, and not using unscientific methods to investigate the mystery. This is because if you use unproven and unscientific methods to investigate a mystery, you are actually just making the mystery even bigger.
So, in summary, the key to solving mysteries is to stay curious, not to be led by your heart, follow the clues and question everything – including yourself.