I have to make a judgement call here – I suspect the people on Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State at one point were legitimate ghost hunting groups. Previously I thought the first season of Ghost Hunters was about the only good season and statistically accurate – they had one good case and 11 more episodes of meh. However as all magical experience is subjective and rarely objective, it doesn’t make for good television. At one point Paranormal State recorded the one chick (they labeled as a “witch” whatever that means) doing the KC. Maybe she’s third degree wiccan and she knows the LBRP from the back of the Buckland Book, or maybe she’s actually a ceremonialist. People don’t just “oops” into the LBRP, it’s complicated and it requires visualizations and it tends to work poorly for people until they learn the SRP and then take the shortcut LRP back.
Why should I think that all magical experience is subjective? All of manifest reality is subjective. The entire human experience is subjective. I am limited in my perceptions of the world not only by how my brain assembles my senses, but by what senses I’m equipped with. Furthermore when we get down to observing things we cannot perceive directly, as people, we add one more layer of perceptual abstraction to the mix. All of science depends on such ideas, a person could no more know about the Higgs Boson with a Victorian microscope then they could know about the sun by staring directly into it’s blinding light. For this reason alone, I think it’s important I develop my skrying ability, but this also means that there is a sensory proxy between occult investigators and the phenomena they observe. To further the point, there’s cultural proxies as well. I would not expect to be successful in observing an EVP – in Japan. Then there’s the whole technological point as above, but EVPs after the fact don’t conduct themselves well for spiritual conversations.
The more I roll it around in my head the more I think there’s process and procedural problems in working with spirits from unknown spheres. To further advance things, I think it would be profitable to normalize proxies of senses. Internally that comes from hanging out with people. People in two very disparate groups have to interact to get on the same page of expression. Similarly if we all think spirits are one thing or another, that doesn’t particularly work well either. The magician should be able to change his or her model of the universe based on information he or she receives over the course of practice and reading. Some other people may not. Some people may have many classes of spirits, some people may not. So long as people can at least draw lines between these, this is OK. I think its a good idea to interact with people outside our immediate circles just for the sake of mixing up our perceptions and provide innovation to our philosophy and practice. One of the ghost hunters had a miligauss meter, or it was a stud finder. Apparently this thing is a K2 meter and I need to watch less children’s programming.
Out of curiosity I queried the facebook group I hang out in. Occultists are like cats, or programmers, or engineers. Ask them a question, give them limited options, and you’ll get far more responses telling you why you’re wrong than you will if you give them carte blanche to vote on whatever. I pitched the idea as “shades”, “spirits of the dead”, or “other” for “what are ghosts”. The choices are “traditional answer”, “new age answer”, “actual opinion” (I should have posted “demons” to kick the beehive – ah well). Turns out other occultists, the few who responded, do actually believe in ghosts. So far no-one has really written anything in depth on their opinion, which is a sad side effect of facebook, but this is a distinct break from the norm. Occultists (myself included) tend to think the dead returned to the godhead because the godhead’s purpose behind creation is to experience itself subjectively. This also nicely sidesteps the reincarnation discussion. A topic to explore on Saturnday perhaps. My personal experience, limited as it is, ends at the high level angels. I haven’t figured out what’s past there. (Weirdly enough there’s a grove of trees there in the distance… maybe one of the kabalah guys can chime in).
So what does all this have to do with my practical application? I was thinking about Low Magick, and in the book DuQuette is trying to find the Name of the spirit in Our Lady of Sorrows. The spirit appears to Lon as a Pie. However, first Lon has to get the Name. He grabs his pendulum, and a set of scrabble tiles, and he lays them out face down and then selects them one by one and tests them with the pendulum. It doesn’t have to be letter tiles, it could be snack crackers, fridge magnets, whatever. Or, I got thinking, it could be runes. There’s no reason why, if I had detected spiritual presence, I couldn’t use scrabble tiles as runes. Toss them, find out what names or words come out, and go from there. It would be better than one hand ouija, which is what I was reduced to in the crawlspace since my wife wouldn’t enter.
Anyway, turns out all this was for naught since there was no spiritual presence in the crawlspace. Still, I should develop this out. I wonder what the graveyard is up to these days…