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Paranormal articles done by our fellow paranormal investigators.   

Ghost Hunting 21st Century Style - by Mandy Jane - February 4, 2013

 

A decade or so ago, it seemed like ghost hunting and investigation was the preserve of the dedicated few like Peter Underwood, the late Hans Holzer and the Society of Psychical Research. If the word paranormal was mentioned, it was usually in association with UFOs and Aliens, such was the influence of the X-Files and the Alien Autopsy footage of the late 1990s. For kids such as me, fascinated by ghosts and hauntings, it was a slightly frustrating time. Sure, you could exchange spooky tales amongst your friends, as kids do, but if you wanted to reach beyond this to find out more, it was a little difficult. It wasn’t easy trying to find books on the topic, many having gone out of print or just plain obscure. Forget a decent TV show on the topic. They were about as frequent as a juice bar in the Sahara.

 

Then in 2002, a rather controversial programme arrived on Living TV, Most Haunted. Opinions vary to this day as to its veracity, but one thing that can’t be denied is that it helped kick the little green men off the Paranormal Main Stage and reignited interest in ghost investigation. It ever so slightly steam rollered from there. Most Haunted ended a few years ago, but its impact can still be felt, with the large numbers of paranormal investigation teams the length and breadth of the UK. The impact was even felt in the USA, spawning even more teams and a veritable smorgasbord of ghostly TV programming. The relationship between the TV shows and the rise of ghost hunting groups is quite a strong one, influencing how investigations are carried out and the ever-growing range of equipment utilised in obtaining evidence.

 

Michael York of British based UK-Haunted says, “Lots of the early paranormal TV shows, like Most Haunted, etc, used mediums to help with their investigations. That worked, I think, for the first few years. That is what got us into the paranormal in the first place. It brought the paranormal world into people's homes via a TV screen. It is mocked nowadays as being fake and not to be believed. Without them, these other TV shows probably wouldn't have been made.

 

“But TV shows nowadays like Ghost Hunters (TAPS) have changed the way they go about paranormal investigations. Just using equipment and themselves to try and capture and prove the existence of ghosts and spirits.

 

“That's how we at UK-Haunted investigate, no mediums, just as much equipment as possible to try and get real evidence. This method has worked for us on a couple of occasions, with audio evidence being the most responsive. We have yet to capture evidence using video, but have had a few very interesting photos from our cameras. Possibly of spirits but who knows? I don't think we will ever be able to prove the existence of ghosts or spirits.

 

“Shows like Ghost Adventures with Zak [Bagans] and Aaron [Goodwin], seem to be the current favourite TV paranormal show at the moment. They don't use mediums, like Jason [Hawes] and Grant [Wilson] from TAPS don't, they use equipment and try to entice the spirits out from the locations they are in.”

 

What equipment is available to the enterprising ghost hunter of this day and age? Things have gotten technological since Peter Underwood’s heyday of sprinkling flour or sugar to capture mysterious footsteps, though his method of using trigger objects is still very much in vogue. EMF meters, cameras and sound recorders – digital or cassette - have been a firm staple of a ghost hunter’s kit for a long time. To explain EMF, or electromagnetic field, meters measure spikes in the natural EMF that exists everywhere. Spikes that can’t be attributed to electrical wiring, for instance, might just be of paranormal origin and indicate the presence of a ghost. Cameras are used to document anomalies, something that is rather difficult. Regular cameras can be used, but since investigations primarily take place in the dark, infrared cameras help highlight what the human eye can’t see. Thermal cameras come in useful in highlighting strange drops in temperature. Full spectrum cameras have an even wider scope than infrared; the image may be grainier, but they might just pick up that spooky shadow lurking behind the door.

 

Many seasoned ghost-hunting veterans regard sound recorders to be the single most important piece of kit in their arsenal. Recorders can be used to pick up EVPS, electronic voice phenomena, which is believed to be spirits communicating. The theory is that ghosts communicate on a frequency beyond human hearing, but can be picked up by the microphone of a recorder. The availability of digital recorders makes them an easy piece of equipment to get a hold of, although it can take a while to build up the knack of catching a good EVP.

 

The ingenuity of paranormal investigators has cooked up some rather interesting gadgetry. For instance, the Mel Meter designed by Gary Galka, can detect changes in temperature and EMF, emitting a strange noise that indicates something interesting may be in the near vicinity.  The Mel Meter has a rather sad tale; it is named in memory of Galka’s eldest daughter, Melissa, who died from injuries sustained in a car wreck in 2004 at the age of 17. Her father was motivated to design paranormal equipment after he sensed her presence not long after her death. Amongst Gary Galka’s other inventions is the Real Time EVP recorder, which allows investigators to respond to EVPs as they occur.

 

Another interesting development in ghost communication is a curious gadget, which sweeps through several radio frequencies at high speed, in theory allowing any present spirits to communicate with investigators, in a similar manner to Galka’s Real Time EVP recorder. These are most commonly known as Ghost Boxes or Spirit Boxes. An application, called the Spiritvox, effectively turns a phone into a Ghost Box. It has gone into a number of editions since its launch, and gathered some rather interesting results. At present, this type of kit, along with the Mel Meter, appears to be the most popular amongst ghost hunters.

 

“We also love doing EVP sessions and trying to capture voices. The ghost box or franks machine is our current favourite at the moment. You need to spend time tuning yourself into the machine and learning what is just noise and what could be a message from the other side.” Explains Michael of UK-Haunted.

 

The services offered by ghost hunters can go beyond attempting to capture evidence. For many people experiencing the bizarre in their homes, paranormal groups can offer some relief and a welcome resolution to problem ghosts. As the late Archie E. Roy put it, he also acted as a ‘paranormal plumber’ when dealing with cases. This sort of service can be found throughout the history of psychical investigation. The Society of Psychical Research certainly offered it in Maurice Grosse in attempting to resolve the Enfield Poltergeist case, and Harry Price perhaps offered the same to the various residents of Borley Rectory during the 1930s and 40s.

 

This helpful nature is also extended overall between paranormal groups, but as with anything, there has also been unpleasant backbiting. It can be rather off putting to any new groups just setting out on their first investigations, who need all the encouragement and advice they can get. It’s also upsetting for more experienced investigators, who might just be needing a second opinion on something, or want to reach out to others in the field. Many have concluded that the only way forward is co-operation amongst different groups, or paranormal unity. Sometimes it’s not exactly forthcoming on mainstream social media such as Twitter or Facebook, which can turn into cesspits of bitchiness. It’s for this reason that dedicated social media come in rather handy for investigators, paranormal writers and enthusiasts alike. One very successful example is Ghost Hunters United, which provides a safe, friendly environment for networking and healthy debate and advice on ghostly matters.

 

Alex Hedge, creator of Ghost Hunters United, explains, “Ghost Hunters United was made after seeing teams on Facebook and Twitter fighting back and forth for everyone to see, even the clients. I have seen teams ask other teams questions, and their response was along the lines of making fun of them for not knowing the answer to the question.

 

“That also happened to me and my wife when we first started.  So we decided to make a site that didn’t have that type of BS, a place where investigators could come and ask any question they wanted. From people, that is, wanting to start up a team, to paranormal enthusiasts and the seasoned investigators. We are all here to help.


“We have been up and running for a little over two years and not once have we had a fight between teams. That is because we are more than another paranormal social site - we are family. Every member on GHU is a part of this huge paranormal family. So if you find yourself wanting to join a social site that is full of friendly people then come join us.”

 

Links: 

UK-Haunted http://uk-haunted.webs.com/

SpiritVox: http://spiritvox.bigbeardaudio.com/

Pro-Measure (Gary Galka): http://www.pro-measure.com/

 

Parapsychology - by David LoPresti - January 30, 2013

 

The field of parapsychology was born in 1882, with the founding of the Society for Psychical

Research. in the beginning the field known as Psychical Research had a primary focus on

psychic events that occur spontaneously in people's lives, including ghosts, and hauntings

in the early 20th century, the emphasis parapsychology as the field is known today, turned

toward controlled laboratory studies of psychic abilities and away from the investigations of

haunted cases.

while the interest in spontaneous case investigations never ended, it waned more than a little.

but well before century's end there was a resurgence of interest in psychic experiences in

daily life and in field investigations.

Parapsychology is the study of psychic or psi phenomena defined as exchanges of

information between living things and the enviorment, as well influences of living things

and the environment that occur without the use of the normal senses and are not apparently

explicable by the physical laws of nature currently accepted today.

Parapsychology as a science is concerned with connections and consciosness of the mind.

Parapsychology study asks does the mind have channels of information flow other then the

normal senses, can it connect with other minds of others and reach out and affect the world

directly, and can it survive the death of the body.

Parapsychology studies consciousness in terms of connection, interconnectedness and

existence aside from the body, and ask if there's more consciousness than many in

mainstream science accept.

the experiences they study are grouped into three main categories receptive psi, expressive

psi, and survival of physical death.


 

Elemental Spirits - by David LoPresti - November 27, 2012

 

Elementals these nature spirits said to embody the five elements: Earth(solid), Water(liquid),

Wind(gas), Fire(heat), Ether(space).

elementals in the english european tradition include fairies, elves, leprechauns, banshees,

goblins, spirits just to name a few. elementals are beings that are not and never were human

and are looked upon as benevolent creatures maintaining natural harmony.

 

They are said to posses supernatural powers and are usually invisible to the human eye.

living among the trees, rivers, mountains. and they attach themselves to just about every

natural thing that is earthly.

It is said that elementals are metaphysical(beyond physics) may be the cause of earthquakes, thunderstorms, wild-fires etc.

In Shakespeare's The Tempest, Prospero, marooned and exiled, frees an elemental named

Ariel from a tree. as the story goes but in order to be free from Prospero, Ariel must perform

a series of supernatural acts witch includes a storm to allow Prospero to right the injustice

of his exile.

 

The belief elementals is said to be the oldest known human spiritual practice, said to predate

all the other major religions.

Wiccans, Esoteric, Freemasons and other followers of nature based religions are all those

who study and practice rituals to invoke elementals in present day.

 

In the paranormal world there does not seem to be much information about the elemental

they are not demons, or ghosts and some say that they even live within our known dimension

and the possibility of other dimensions as well.

in the most common form elementals are seen as black shapes, independent shadows, that

dart across ceilings and floors. and stand about knee high.

 

When confronted or observed , the elemental is said to take on the shape of a person, the

observer thinks is threatening.

Example: the mind may project fear the elemental responds by reflecting fear for the soul

purpose of scaring the observer into defending them self the elemental will then feed of

this fear and anxiety.

 

Scientific Method - by David LoPresti - November 14, 2012

 

(First i would like to state i have nothing against groups that use, sensitives,mediums,dowsers etc).

 

Perhaps the science of paranormal investigations can put an end to the misguided stereotypes of

of investigators as gullible and antiscientific.

it may seem ghost hunters are gaining credibility and perhaps being taken a bit more seriously.

Oh yes there are still many skeptics who claim what we do is pseudoscience, but as the evidence

grows, more and more people's mind will open up.

 

for the field to gain the credibility and respectability we so need, as investigators we must do the

two following things.

first we must discard evidence that could have a normal explanation. second we must follow the

scientific method during investigations.

an investigator employing the scientific method must remain both open-minded and sceptical.

phenomena must be questioned, to get to the root cause, the scientific investigator must ask

questions based on the scientific method.

 

.Why is the event happening?

.Is there a natural, root cause?

.Is the incident connected to any other causative events?

.Has other research found connections between events you have observed?

.Have other researchers drawn the same conclusions?

.What is the hypothesis? does it agree with your colleagues hypothesis or is it new?

.How will you test your hypothesis?

.Can the hypothesis be tested under controlled conditions?

.What predictions can be made based on the hypothesis?

.And are the test based on the hypothesis statistically significant?

 

after all these steps, if the hypothesis is proven, you should publish your  results in

a reputable scientific journal

other investigators may note the experimental protocols you used and they will try

to reproduce your results. so if your peers can repeat your experiments, then fellow

investigators, you may have come up with a brand new theory to explain the-

unexplained.


 

Psychics: Is it all in their heads? - by Wes Forsythe - November 1, 2012

 

A question that keeps coming up as I visit various forums and web sites is whether or not a medium or psychic can be used credibly in paranormal investigating.

 

When I first became active in the field, I really didn’t care one way or the other. I had seen teams on television that relied on them heavily and I had seen teams that completely excluded them. Personally, I just considered a psychic another tool: Something that could provide data that might be useful or not. But it never really occurred to me that their presence on an investigation was controversial.

 

Except for a couple of times working with people that claimed to be “sensitive” (sort of a psychic-lite if you will), my first experience with a full-blown medium on an investigation wasn’t all that great.

 

She kept answering our EVP questions. Sounds annoying doesn’t it? I knoooowwww! We would ask a question and before a ghost could get a word in edge wise she would blurt out the answer that came to her.

 

While this experience did not disqualify psychics in my view, it definitely gave me a clue as to why their presence could in fact impede a serious investigation. While many of her insights (names for example) turned out to be accurate, we had no way of knowing what her previous knowledge of the location was.

 

Later, I had an opening on a hunt that I was doing at one of my local “hot spots” and invited a psychic I had met through a team that I had been working with. She seemed reasonable and serious and I could use an extra warm body to help me set up equipment.

 

I still work with her to this day.

 

I am not a psychic, at least not right now.

 

I say that just in case all of the people that claim everyone has unlocked psychic potential are correct. Oh sure, I have my moments, but generally I am willing to concede that any “powers” that I may yield are lost in an ocean of dumb luck and wishful thinking.

 

In full disclosure, most of the psychics that have given me readings or at least have attempted to do so, say that I have more potential than most people. One in particular claims that my abilities may be locked away with good reason. She thinks that it is more important for me to be able to separate what we call the real world from the supernatural so that I might be able to tell the difference when it really matters.

 

I bring this up not to brag. Rather, I just wanted to get it out front that psychics say a lot of stuff and it is up to us to filter out the symbolic from the true from the false. Personally I like the idea of having hidden super powers. You might say that it emboldens me when I am out doing paranormal fieldwork and makes me reach out a little further with all of my senses than some may feel comfortable doing.

 

On the other hand, it hasn’t made me rich nor even kept me from doing some really stupid things over the course of my life. So take from it what you will.

 

Would you work with a medium?

 

To most people in the field, the question of whether or not to work with a psychic or medium apparently comes down to whether or not they believe in psychics (period) instead of whether or not they can contribute to an investigation.

 

I will not sit here and tell you that all psychics, or indeed any particular psychic is legitimate. You are a big kid and you can make up your own mind.

 

If you believe that some people have a “sixth sense” or a “third eye” or whatever, that’s fine. If you believe that there is no data to support such a concept then that is fine too. I just want to make sure you are thinking your belief through and not just jumping to conclusions based on imperfect logic.

 

If you prefer to rely solely on technical data from your equipment that is great! That is one way to investigate, and it is a valid and respectable approach.

 

If you do work with a psychic or medium you should treat them as just another tool in your kit (well…give them a drink of water when they ask for it). No single device that you pull out of your equipment bag is likely to prove the existence of life after death tonight. If leveraged properly they can enhance your investigation. But if you have ever told someone that his or her house was haunted because your psychic said so…don’t pretend you are investigating – you, my friend, are just telling ghost stories.

 

The most common problem that I have seen is that groups that use psychics forget what their goal is. Broadly generalized we ghost hunt to prove or disprove hauntings. We do NOT ghost hunt to prove or disprove psychics.

 

That being said, it bothers me when I see flawed logic and reasons tossed around for dismissing everyone that claims to be a psychic.

 

Don’t Dismiss the Concept

 

I don’t care if you believe in psychics or don’t or if you are even open to the concept. Your beliefs are your own. I am just amazed at the reasons I have heard for dismissing psychics in general.

 

Let’s take con artists out of the equation. There are always people in every field that are going to take advantage of the weakness of others. If your reason for dismissing all psychics is that some of them have been proven fakes, then you should also believe that no one could put on a roof because some roofing contractors have been proven to be frauds. “One bad apple” as they say.

 

Taking that a step further, even if some of the proclaimed abilities of some psychics prove to be false or impossible, does that mean that ALL psychic abilities are false or impossible?

 

Let’s say “Psychic A” predicts the future and is completely wrong. How does that reflect on “Psychic B” being able to talk to the dead?

 

It’s the same as saying that if Athlete A cannot run a mile in under 4 minutes then there is no way that Athlete B could be a gymnast.

 

My Own Weird Story

 

My own belief in the general concept of psychic ability is based on my own life. I have had what could be called psychic dreams that would probably fall under the category known as “remote viewing”.

 

The first one that I remember happened when I was about 18 years old. I had an extremely vivid and for some reason memorable dream about an acquaintance’s house and farm during harvest season.

 

I ran into him later that year and remembered the dream. I described to him his yard, his house, a small part of the interior of the house, where his crop fields where in relation to his house and a shortcut from the house that took you there. I was also able to describe some of his hired help. The only detail that I missed was that in the dream I met his “sister” who told me where they were working. My description of his sister was not even close.

 

I had never been to his house. It is not visible from the country road that he lived on. He was a bit freaked out. He did seem a little relieved that I was wrong about what his sister looked like.

 

The next time I remember this happening was several years later. I had a dream of a house that was in the late stages of construction. Basically the dry wall was up throughout and the kitchen cabinets were installed. It had a rather unique step-up to a bar in the kitchen area. But the upstairs was fully finished, carpeted, furnished, and a little bit messy.

 

A year or so after I had that dream, I was employed as a salesman. One of my appointments took me into that exact home. I realized where I was almost as soon as I walked in the door. Of course I did not mention the dream until after they had told me “no” the required number of times to my offer.

 

At that point I had nothing to lose so I told them the story of the dream. Come to find out, they had moved into the house early so that they could do much of the finishing work themselves. Guess where they lived? Upstairs (and the crowd goes wild)!

 

The point of these stories is to show you that I have to accept that weird things are possible with the human mind. Since I know that these experiences happened (whether you believe the stories or not), I have no choice. And if I have that small, albeit infrequent ability then I cannot rule out that some people would have a lot more ability.

 

Some Convoluted Logic

 

Here are some popular reasons people give for not believing in psychics.

 

Psychics never seem to predict their own accidents, medical emergencies, or death. If they could see the future they should be able to avoid these things.

 

Interestingly enough, I have yet to meet a psychic that claimed to be able to read their self in any meaningful way. Most even tell me that it is rare for their own deceased family members to come through to them. If they admit that they can’t do it, why would you think that it is a prerequisite?

 

It’s a blind spot. Maybe it is a self-defense mechanism. Can you imagine anything more depressing than knowing that you are going to die next week?

 

Psychics don’t worry about other psychics reading their minds and learning their secrets.

 

Guess what? I don’t worry about psychics reading my mind either. Stop watching so much television. I am told that isn’t how it works. I have yet to meet a psychic that says they can read anyone, anytime they want, willy-nilly without that person “opening up” to them. However, I have been told that some people do walk around in what could be called a mentally open state, but even then that is “tuned out” the same way you or I might turn off a radio while we are talking on the phone.

 

Why don’t psychics win the lottery?

 

Few psychics deal in chance. Most concentrate on fate and destiny. Fate and destiny can be altered. If a psychic tells you that you are going to be in a car crash Tuesday, you can alter that that. If you don’t go near a car on Tuesday, was the psychic now wrong just because you changed your itinerary?

 

A lottery is a game of chance. Its outcome is not determined until the moment the numbers are drawn. A psychic might tell you that you should buy a ticket, or even throw you a lucky number or two, but events would have to follow a singular, specific, straight line for you to win.

 

Nicolas Cage was in a movie where he played a psychic that could see some 40 seconds or so into the future. Technically most of his predictions were wrong because he would always alter his destiny as time allowed for the best outcome. Granted, it is a bit of a stretch to imagine someone with that accurate of an ability, but it illustrates my point.

 

He won at cards a lot so it isn’t a perfect illustration. That’s Hollywood for you.

 

If psychics exist, why do we have unsolved crimes?

 

This time I will start with the Hollywood metaphor: Tom Cruise’s movie Minority Report.

 

Psychics claim to see bits and pieces of things. Often the bits and pieces are meaningless out of context. And even if they see a larger part of the story, human interpretation and bias can distort the still incomplete message. We ain’t talking science here people. Even eyewitness accounts are often way off the mark. Now you expect someone miles away looking through a prism of psychic ether to reliably tell you that the butler did it?

 

Psychics don’t rely on other psychics for advice.

 

Who the heck told you that? It is actually quite common. Ask them.

 

My point is that you should at least base your belief or lack thereof on the way things are claimed to work  – not the way you think they should work.

 

Now…back to ghost hunting.

 

In a nutshell, a medium is a psychic that claims to be able to hear and/or talk to ghosts. Even if you decide that there is no way a person could see the future, read minds, or do any of those other cool things, we have already established that the lack of one ability does not preclude the existence of another.

 

At this point it would also be fair to point out that we are looking for something that is notoriously hard to find, at least as far as it comes to capturing their existence on verifiable media (i.e. film). Since the common person rarely if ever sees ghosts at all, let’s not assume that all mediums get a clear view every time they leave the house. Just because I cannot find my keys does not mean that I do not have the ability to find my keys (or that my keys do not exist).

 

Working with mediums is not always easy. Trying to operate an objective, reasonably “scientific” paranormal investigation is hard enough without someone walking around trying to prove how talented they are.

 

As a side note, I do like working with a medium more than someone who just claims to be “sensitive”. My experience is that sensitives tend to blurt out every little thing that pops into their head. A really gifted medium rarely wants to say much unless they are pretty sure they are right.

 

When I work with a medium their first job is to help me point the cameras. If they feel like a spirit may be lurking in a certain corner of the room then that is where I am pointing the camera.

 

Worst case scenario: They were wrong. Their guess was no better than mine. If I knew where to point my cameras each and every time I would probably be famous by now. Sounds like a “wash” to me.

 

Next, I will use them to steer an EVP session in a particular direction. While I don’t want them answering my questions, it is reasonable for them to present their own questions based on whatever pops into their head.

 

Worst case scenario: They were wrong. Their guess was no better than mine. So I didn’t spend as much time asking them what year it is or why they are here, as I would have. I am happy taking the chance that grandma’s ghost did in fact like baking cookies enough to give me an answer that I can record, measure, and document.

 

On this point…that is a medium’s number one job on my team. I want little tidbits of information that I can throw around in an effort to trigger an emotional response. That emotional response might be just enough to make them try really hard to throw something at me or leave me a message on my recorder versus my usual fair of  “What’s your name?” and “Why are you here?”

 

I think even a skeptic would have to admit that if ghosts do in fact exist, that they aren’t likely to be wandering about waiting for their next opportunity to talk to us on our voice recorders (although leaving threatening messages to Zak Bagans seems to be quite the popular sport amongst the dead, I am told.). A medium might be able to get them involved in my conversation.

 

So if you have a person who might be able to enhance your investigation with insights that may trigger that emotional response that may lead to measurable activity, wouldn’t that be a good thing?

 

Worst case scenario: One more warm body to pick up the extension cords.

 

Join Wes Forsythe for his weekly webcast, Paranormal Filler, at 8PM Eastern on Sunday Evenings on LiveParanormal.com. You can also keep up with his current activities, research, findings, thoughts, and musings at his web siteiHuntGhosts.com.