Paranormal Investigations at Oddities Observed?
When it comes to investigating the paranormal, there is a romanticism to the imagery of both the wizened library researcher as well as the onsite field agent. One sits in a dark hall, surrounded by piles of ancient books, digging deep into archaic knowledge. The other explores the dark and dangerous places, surveying for evidence with unusual technologies, putting themselves in harms way. Both halves are important in conducting proper paranormal research, being able to help separate fact from fiction, but it is the intrepid on-the-ground investigator who gets to have more of the fun and taking away more of the glory.
Oddities Observed was actually founded through on-location paranormal investigation as much as anything else. The group would go explore places such as an abandoned hospital (allegedly) and a couple of old haunts along the Blue Ridge Parkway. There was a graveyard in the middle of campus, so a few members would go there as well. Eventually, as people faded out of Oddities Observed and only a couple of us remained, we shelved the hunting and stuck to researching from the confines of books and the internet.
While on location at a couple of haunted places in order to get b-roll footage for upcoming videos, I was reminded of the fun we had investigating. We took it seriously and although we did not walk away with any solid evidence in our findings, we still felt as if we had learned something through the process. It has even been suggested by a few viewers that Oddities Observed as it stands today should return to paranormal investigations of local phenomena, an idea that certainly has merit.
While considering the possibilities, I began to reflect on the exploits of another local paranormal investigation group here around Asheville, North Carolina. They are known as L.E.M.U.R. - the League of Energy Materialization and Unexplained phenomena Research. From what I can see online, I believe that they are now mostly defunct due to the departure of their charismatic leader, who no longer takes an active role as he peddles his wares and services in Las Vegas, Nevada. While no longer in his President’s seat in-person, “Certified Paranormal Investigator” Joshua P Warren has created an online training course for LEMUR that you can join to gain your very own certification. The course is presented in five separate, two-hour, prerecorded classes such as:
Reality & How to Measure It
Ghosts & Hauntings
UFOs & Cryptids
ESP & Magick
Earning Money As An Investigator.
The LEMUR website claims claim that, “Once you become Certified, you will earn the title ‘Investigator,’ be eligible to enjoy advanced opportunities, and perhaps even go in the field to conduct investigations, around the world, with Warren and his team in-person.” The cost for enrollment is $499.00, but the special price for today and today only is $199.00 per person.
From what I know about Warren, his investigations, his methods, and the local reputation of LEMUR, I do not feel it is worth the investment nor your consideration. However, LEMUR has gotten some television work over the years, mostly reliant on the credibility of Warren within the paranormal community. If you are local to the Asheville area, LEMUR’s website also claims to still be available for hire, where they will come and spend an entire night at your haunted location, employing the following services:
Electromagnetic Field Metering
Electrostatic Field Detection
Infrared and Ultraviolet Photography
Ultra and Sub Sonic Audio Recording
Night Vision Surveillance
Tesla & Electrostatic Atmosphere Enhancement
Beta/Gamma Radiation Detection
A barrage of other innovative techniques
To their credit, I believe that they treat their methodology very seriously, hoping to find something spooky in equal measure with producing honest results. With Warren’s funding, they have amassed a nice array of investigation equipment, although some of their tech is quite questionable.
Over time, it is conceivable that Oddities Observed may grow to a point where we do create an investigatory team of our own. The processes and measures by which we would conduct these investigations would be a work in progress, established by the group that builds it. Of course we would rely on objectivity and credibility, but that's not the fun part! One of the most enjoyable aspects about making an organization like this is deciding on the name!
I am already in the process of creating such a name, although I’m not 100% locked in as of yet. The two most standout ideas that I have so far are that of S.P.A.R.R.O.W. or that of A.P.H.I.D. Subject to change in the future, these would be the Southern Paranormal Activity Research & Review Organization Works and the Appalachian Paranormal & Haunted Investigation Division. I like SPARROW better as a name, but I like what APHID stands for the most. Then for fun, I have already thrown together a few mock ideas for logos, to get a feel of what I like better, and I am still torn! I already want the SPARROW logo on a t-shirt!
In the end, it is all a matter of fun. Unless truly earthshattering discoveries occur within the current paranormal investigation sciences where fundamental understandings of the supernatural and the universe itself become exposed, all you can really expect out of investigating is that you have fun scaring yourself in the dark. This is why we like ghost-hunting reality shows even to this day. They combine the documentarian truth and horror genre thrill, allowing us room to argue validity and providing us loads of entertainment.