This isn't paranormal in itself, but it relates to thought processes for considering paranormal events.
Last weekend Wellington experienced a storm, with gale-force, cold southerly wind and a lot of driving rain. Venturing downstairs on Sunday morning, we found quite a bit of water on the floor of the laundry and downstairs room (my Man Cave). We mopped it up, put old towels around the doors, etc, to stop too much more water being driven in by the strong wind. The storm continued Sunday night, and Monday morning it was the same deal with the mopping and the towels. The storm slowly fizzled out and by Monday night it had become calm and dry outside.
Then on Tuesday morning, there was a whole lot more water downstairs. It was worse than the previous couple of days' inundation. So, wait a minute; the storm's over, but...
Investigation ensued. Not a paranormal investigation, but the same sort of detective work was needed. We looked under the house, on the roof, and up in the roof. Eventually the cause of the flooding was found to be a pressure tank in the ceiling (the cold water tank that provides pressure for the hot water cylinder), which was overflowing. The stopcock had failed and the tank was continuing to fill. Water from it was running along the ceiling and down the internal walls.
Up till that discovery, we'd been working under a false assumption: the driving rain from the storm (which was ferocious and hard to ignore) was the cause of the flooding. Although a little water had driven in under the back door and through the cat flap, we'd largely been fooled. The measures we'd taken over the last two days were ultimately ineffective. So once we'd discovered the true source of the water, we were able to do something effective about it: call a plumber!
The point of this is that for a long time we were labouring under a misconception. The storm had masked the true cause of the problem, leading us to a false assumption. Any action we took by following this assumption was ineffective. That the storm and the pressure tank fault happened at the same time was merely a coincidence. The result of our misconception was three days of water damage to the house that could've been much reduced. (We're still drying things out, a week later, and the damage inside the walls is probably permanent.) If the storm had not occurred, we would've traced the leak to its true source before it could do so much damage.
So, what has all this got to do with paranormal investigation? Well, the type of thinking that resulted in extra water damage is exactly the same as a lot of thinking (or lack of thinking) that goes on around paranormal investigations; before, during and afterwards. It was my own thinking that was wrong, and I've been in a few similar situations during paranormal investigations, where one apparent, major event masks a less obvious one. Or a false assumption about paranormal activity masks the true, natural reason for a set of events, maybe leading to someone's personal distress.
So, we shouldn't always settle on the most obvious conclusion without thinking around and beyond it. What if we're wrong because we're being misled?
This is one of the main reasons for working as a team. And, as in business, sports and elsewhere in life, a team formed of people who don't all think alike, a team where people are comfortable about questioning the assumptions of other team members, including the leader, is a stronger and more effective team. A team made up of paranormal believers will be more easily misled and thus less effective than one containing a people with a range of beliefs and views; from believer through agnostic through to skeptic. (It's fair to say, then, that a team comprising only skeptics and scientific thinkers would be equally ineffective in investigating the paranormal; they're more likely to miss stuff that people more open to the paranormal might more readily perceive.)
So, from this mundane plumbing issue, I have learned two lessons:
is a blog by James Gilberd - leader and co-founder of Strange Occurrences. Views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the Strange Occurrences team.
James Gilberd is an amateur paranormalist, writer and musician, and a professional photographer, living in Wellington, New Zealand.