Reviewing Photos and Video
People are often better at catching one sort of evidence than another; Maggie Florio is excellent at capturing EVPs and Kym Black is great at capturing photos of anomalies, mists, and orbs. But not only are they better at capturing their specific phenomena, they are also better at detecting it during the evidence review.
What characteristics are necessary to be an effective evidence reviewer when it comes to reviewing videos and photos?
Awareness of matrixing
An instance where the client is videotaped as he reports the phenomenon is helpful for investigators to review later. Sometimes the investigator's recollection of what the client reported is wrong and she ends up erroneously thinking she has debunked something.
On episode 63 of Ghost Hunters, TAPS investigated the Ruff Stone Tavern in North Providence, Rhode Island. During the walk-through, the proprietress said that she had experienced a strange scent, like that of a woman, in the bar. Grant asked what sort of scent, and she replied, “Musky.” Later, when he was attempting to debunk this, he opened some chemicals and bottles in the vicinity, but they were obviously not the source of the odor. Then he opened a drawer and said he thought he had found the source of the odor; it smelled “musty.”
Musty and musky are two very different odors, but the words do sound alike. Musk is a scent used in perfumes; “musty” is used to describe the odor of mildew or mold. The two are very different, but no one appears to have caught the distinction. Investigators can catch this sort of error through the use of video or audiotape.
What is more important than paying very strict attention during an evidence review?
Almost nothing. Few aspects of the case require as much diligence as the evidence review phase of the investigation. It will not matter if the team has gathered tons of great evidence if the reviewers don't catch and log it.
What to Look For
What do evidence reviewers watch for in photos, videotapes, and thermal images? Anything that is out of the ordinary, but most particularly such things as doors or objects moving with no one in the area; shadows, mists, and fogs that form under strange circumstances; lights or orbs moving through a scene; apparitions; and bizarre temperature anomalies. These are all immediate red flags that something paranormal is happening.
If anything of this sort is captured, the reviewers ask for assistance in assessing what they have found. Then the investigators try to think of any possible reasons to debunk the evidence. For example, investigators might ask themselves whether it was possible for the door to open because there was a strong wind whipping through the house. They would then be obliged to check other data against that suspicion, searching the logs to see if other investigators noted that the wind had picked up at that point. They would also check to see if cameras in other parts of the house had detected something similar occurring at that exact instant. Evidence is always correlated and cross-checked. If there is a possible natural explanation, the evidence has to be thrown out.