Paranormal investigation (noncredit) classes at local colleges and community centers are fairly ubiquitous. It’s given mainly as a hobby class but what is problematic is that ghosts are assumed to be real and behind some of the phenomena. It’s also presented as a “science.” This one in Wisconsin, however, has attracted the ire of a few religious citizens who think it’s a bad idea. This isn’t my objection to such a class but another angle that just goes to show that typically opposing groups can have common goals – to stop teaching pseudoscience/bad stuff. However, there is a bit more to this story even though the media piece misses lots of it.
A viewer sent us an e-mail, worried about a “paranormal investigation” taking place at J.E. Jones Elementary School in Cudahy. We started digging and found out it was part of a class being offered through the Cudahy Rec Department. But our viewer isn’t the only one who thinks it’s a bad idea.
Noah Leigh is a ghost hunter. He’s also the lead investigator for the Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee. He’s teaching his students the basics about investigating the unknown.
He doesn’t think the school is actually haunted. But he’s does think ghosts exist. And he’s trying to show students how to prove it using science.
“We’re not going in there with Ouija boards, dowsing rods, to conjure things up. This is not the point. We’re there to document what may have been reported,” explains Leigh.
Noah Leigh and I have had interesting conversations about a year ago with regards to the science of ghost hunting. He also has a scientific background and reached out in a effort to talk about his techniques. I think that’s great but I still will not be keen on any paranormal investigation class that promotes very problematic tools and forms of evidence such as EMF detectors and EVPs. Noah and I had a good discussion about his use of EMF meters to diagnose construction and wiring problems in a house. Noah does think ghosts exist and I am of the opinion that this is not supported by evidence, but he the kind of researcher who is conscientious and willing to have these sorts of exchanges. And he seems rather conservative for a paranormal investigator, not out fighting demons or anything.
On this dispute with the religious people, it’s not at all clear what their objections are, though with the reference to the Holy Spirit, it sounds like they assume that this is dabbling with UnHoly spirits of some kind.
Here is more about amateur paranormal investigators and the public.