Accepted paper:

Seeing what is 'unseen': Using video to enrich our social understanding of paranormal experiences


Rachael Hayward (University of York)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation explores the use of video recording equipment in Modern Paranormal Groups and the challenges and opportunities this presents to researchers studying extraordinary events. Discussion will focus on data collected over five years involvement participating in paranormal investigations.

Paper long abstract:

The last 10-15 years has seen an astonishing increase in the number of social groups that form with the purpose of capturing evidence of paranormal phenomena on camera. Popularly known as ghost hunting or paranormal research groups these individuals come together to explore, invoke and communicate with the otherworldly. At the heart of their activities is the intention to document proof of their own and others paranormal experiences through the aid of video recording equipment. This presentation will explore the use of video to record paranormal phenomenon within these groups, and address how these recordings can provide a rich set of data for researchers that is captured truly in situ. To lead this discussion I will present my own data, captured during five years involvement running and participating in Modern Paranormal Group's prior to my current research-led interests. Through discussion of this data I will introduce the challenges that I have faced as a reflective and indeed retrospective researcher, and the ways in which I have attempted to overcome difficulties in analysing and presenting the 'paranormal experience' within my work.

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