Archive for the Paranormal Category

Great Expectations

Posted in Paranormal on March 16, 2011 by paranormalteam

This blog post has nothing to do with Charles Dickens’ rather good novel, although I recommend reading it if you haven’t. This post has to do with understanding and setting peoples expectations when it comes to the paranormal.

The following is based around a conversation I had not all that long ago. A local resident had got wind of what I did in my spare time. Somewhat strange as we do not advertise or promote ourselves anywhere (for many reasons, not to be covered in this blog post). Anyway. These aren’t the exact words of the conversation as I didn’t record it but the jist of it is to the best of my memory.

For the purposes of this entry I am going to call the person in question The Enquirer (TE). I am loathe to use words such as customer or client as to me these are synonymous with money, which has no place in the paranormal community.

TE: I hear you are a ghost hunter?

ME: No, I am not a ghost hunter. I do look into claims of the paranormal however.

TE: Isn’t that the same thing?

ME: No, completely different.

From here I had to launch into an explanation of the difference between a ghost hunter and someone who goes in with an open and unbiased mind. The term ghost hunter in itself immediately says that you already know of the existence of ghosts and you are out to get evidence to back this up. In fact you should go in with no predeposed ideas and with a mind to provide explanations where possible and suggest further action if it is beyond your capabilities.

ME: What seems to be the problem?

TE: My house is haunted. I need someone to come in and prove I’m not going mad.

ME: You say haunted. What makes you think this?

What follows is an explanation of their personal experiences. Strange noises, doors closing, things moving (out of sight) etc. After a lengthy conversation we continue.

ME: So you want me to come in and prove your house is haunted?

TE: Yes!

ME: I can’t do that.

TE: But isn’t that what you do?

Again I explain about looking for explanations etc. I have to point out that no-one has proved the existence of ghosts, much as nobody has proved the non-existence of ghosts. For me to come out at the end of this and say the house was haunted would mean I would have captured the ultimate proof. I would be able to present my findings and those would be universally pulled apart, digested and the situation recreated successfully. Even then, would it be the proof of ghosts or proof of something else?

TE: So you can’t come in and tell me if my house is haunted?

ME: No but I can come in and help to find explanations, record what I find and then go from there.

TE: Oh but that’s not what I want. I know there are ghosts here, I need someone to prove it so I know I’m not going mad. Thanks for taking the time to chat but I think I may have to ask another group.

At this point my jaw firmly hit the floor.  I tried my best then to make them understand what I was waffling about but to no avail.  I couldn’t provide them with the outcome they wanted and that was that.  They did indeed have great expectations.

Obviously I have written here the general jist of the conversation, not exactly as it was word for word.  Hopefully I conveyed the points I wanted to successfully.

I don’t know whether this particular person did go to another group or not.  I didn’t hear anything on the grapevine.  Maybe they had a rethink based on what I said.  Oh for that to be true!

Finally here’s a picture of Miss Haversham to fill in some space and make the blog post a bit more visually appealling.

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Falling out of love with all things paranormal

Posted in Paranormal on March 8, 2011 by paranormalteam

It’s been absolutely ages since I wrote a blog post. The main reason for this has been a certain apathy with all things paranormal.

Over the many years I have personally been involved with the paranormal my interest hasn’t wavered. Recently, however, there have been a number of things that have “put me off” being involved.

The first of these is the uncredible, unproven and downright lies that come from the various paranormal TV shows. Yes I would be the first to agree that they have pushed the paranormal out of the closet (so to speak) and into the mainstream. This in turn has attracted a lot of attention and interest from Joe Public. Here I am talking about “ghost-hunting” shows in particular.

Now, no-one has a monopoly on the paranormal and absolutely anyone can turn their hand to studying it. It’s a free world and nothing is proven so the more researching the paranormal the better. However my quibble comes in when people base their methods exactly on what they see on TV. A lot of people will believe what is presented to them on TV, this also counts for other forms of media. People will believe a story in a newspaper because, well, it’s in the newspaper! It must be correct. Don’t be fooled into thinking journalists nowadays aren’t out for a quick buck and partial to a bit of copy and pasting just to make a story.

One of the main problems with TV shows is the editing. Well, of course, they need to edit it as who wants to sit and watch hours and hours of locked off camera footage? I would but that’s just because I’m weird. Camera angles never seem to cover events that happen leaving what we see to be not what actually happened. These people have never really given us anything much to think about with regards to evidence, new research methods etc. Why would we want to follow what they do? Just because they have made it onto TV? If you see them using a gadget do a bit of research into what that gadget is actually measuring and why it might even be in your toolbox. Let’s face it, if you bought all the gadgets they promoted you’d be a very poor person right now. It’s expensive and it’s also very exploitative.

The other reason that I have the huff with the paranormal bubble is some of the people. Here I am referring directly to those that are out to make money from what they do. The people I am talking about are fully aware that they are taking the money under false pretenses. Nothing they say can actually be proved, outside of their own head but they would like to be paid for telling you this. Now this really doesn’t sit very well with me. Full in the knowledge that this house cannot be proven to be haunted they will advertise that it is. Isn’t that like me saying I have an invisible donkey for sale? I can see it, you can’t but yup it definately exists. I know I may have some opposition here but that’s what the comments are for below.

The last thing, and I’ll make it quick as I’m waflling, is spreading disinformation. Chinese whispers are very destructive. All that is said to be fact needs to be backed up with evidence. End of story. Before believing what someone is telling you, do some research to see if the facts fit the story. 9/10 it doesn’t.

Those that follow me on twitter (and have done for a while) will notice I still post but not as much as previously. That being said, recent events have re-sparked a bit of enthusiasm which we hope to turn into something positive and something different. I know a few others that have either given up on the paranormal or taken a long break from it. Unfortunately most of these have been people with their heads firmly screwed on. It would be a shame for them to give up (you know who you are).

Beware…

Posted in Paranormal on February 5, 2010 by paranormalteam

The human being is a funny old creature and the power of the mind is something that is greatly overlooked. How much effect can sub conscious thoughts have on you during a paranormal investigation?

Suggestibility

Do you consider yourself open to suggestions? Person A suggests to Person B that a house is haunted. Will person A be that type of person that will instantly start to think that they see or hear things? Even if you believe you are not a suggestible kind of person you would be surprised the amount of information you store, without even realising. In years to come a piece of information you picked up from somewhere might pop back in there and lead you to take a certain course of action.

Expectation

You are going into a haunted house! Leading on from suggestibility we come to expectation. As above the expectations may be planted via a suggestion, or you may just be a naturally expectant person! The expectation of something happening can lead very easily to something happening. For example, you have heard that people hear disembodied voices in the building. Wind suddenly whistles past the window and you swear you hear a voice. If you weren’t expecting this, would you have heard differently?

I have noticed a very very high level of expectation from people who attend public ghost hunts. They have seen Most Haunted, Ghost Hunters etc etc and they expect that in every place something paranormal will happen. It’s only a matter of time till a random squeaky floorboard or wind whistle has them jumping out of their skins.

Imagination

Well, you can’t beat a bit of imagination! But when it comes to the paranormal it can all go wrong. You see a photo with an ‘orb’ on it, the orb has a face! OMG it’s a spirit. You see a shadow move across the corner of the room! OMG it’s a demonic entity. Or, it could quite easily be (and more likely be) you seeing faces in shapes that aren’t there and your eyes not working very well in the dark. Because our eyes don’t work in the dark, hopefully you’ve noticed that. Stand in a darkened room for long enough and you start seeing all manner of goodies. None of them proof of the paranormal.

Unfortunately this is what makes paranormal investigations woolly. The human being. As in the ways mentioned we can be flawed when it comes to open mindedness and freedom from influence.

Premonitions

Posted in Paranormal, Premonitions, Uncategorized on October 19, 2009 by paranormalteam

It seems almost everyone I speak to says they have had a premonition of one form or another. Whether this be of an event such as a car accident or simply a vision of the phone ringing and it does. A premonition is the vision of a future event. I guess we all get these but how many of them come true? How many of them are far too vague to be trusted? For example, someone says they predicted a celebrity’s death. However they do this years before it happens? Not exactly convincing is it? For me, it would need to be within a very short amount of time. Also, obviously, it would need to be a shock death and not one thats rumoured anyway through ill health.

It’s not just the average joe that has these kinds of experiences. Almost everyone will have heard of Abraham Lincolns premonition of his own death. He had a strong premonition of attending a mourning in the East Wing of the White House. On asking a soldier present who the deceased was, he answered “The President”. Ten days later he was assasinated.

abraham-lincoln-picture

After asking anyone on twitter of their experiences I noticed quite a theme, which turned out to be some kind of vehicle accident (cars, bikes, planes etc). Here are some of the stories, all anonymous of course! Excuse their grammar, they are limited to 140 chars! As usual I will throw in an alternate explanation if I can think of one. I might have to scrape the barrel with a few of them!

“I dreamed about John Lennon getting shot. It was in very vivid detail on NBC’s Today show. When I woke up, I saw the news and it was exactly as I dreamed it.”

Could it have been possible they were asleep in front of the TV? I know, clutching at straws possibly. I had something happen, not a premonition but I woke up at the exact time Princess Diana’s crash was being first reported on TV. Was the early hours of morning in UK. For some reason I got up and turned the TV on which I never do.

“I had another experience where I just knew my boyfriend and I had seen Raider’s of the Lost Ark. We went to the movie and I told him we’ve seen this. He said no way, it was just released. I kept telling him what was going to happen next and kept asking him “don’t you remember?!!” I was convinced we had watched it on TV together.”
Could it have been possible that this person saw the trailers and this is what they later recalled?

“I had one well you could call it that about a wreck and it happened the next day. It was my dad he wrecked
the car spun around hit the mountain just as i seen it the day before it was wild. Fortunately he was just shook up a little it really got him when i described the wreck to him and i was not there.”

A weird one, can’t think of an explanation if this is true.

“Not so much a premonition but saw a guy on motorcycle drive past me and I thought I shouldn’t change lanes just in case he wrecks. So I stayed in my lane and a few min later his lane stopped and as I was driving by I passed him as he was picking up his bike. Don’t know if he actually crashed or someone hit him but it
freaked me out to see him crashed”

Maybe this guy was riding a little bit unsafe and natural instincts kicked in? Move out of the way?

“I’ve had a few, one that stands out was a dream about a plane crash that happened the next day. That was about 20 years ago, would you call knowledge of someones appearence right before they show up a premonition? I’m talking someone I’ve had no contact with in 10 plus years that sort of thing seems to happen a lot.”
The phone call thing happens to loads of people. Usually its just someone that normally rings. In this case, being 10 years apart, makes it slightly more interesting.

“Strangest one I had was of small plane crash – no one hurt at Local airport. Small airport. I called my dad told him about it. Described plane etc. Sure enough he calls me next day it it had happened. Turns out my ex had been called in as standby to cover at firehouse. Have been lots of silly little things over the years. Only with loved ones. Know when bad thing coming buy now more a feeling than premonitions.”
Another one I can’t really explain if true.

All in all very fascinating. There does seem to be a real trend towards vehicle accidents. Whether it’s the case that these just stand out a load more vivid in the memory, I cannot say. Maybe we have premonitions all the time but they are so unremarkable that we just don’t remember them. As of yet, we still don’t have any definative proof that premonitions are real or just big coiincidences. It’s something we are very much interested in. Whenever I hear of someone who has a premonition I get them to write it down in as much detail as possible (trying to avoid vagueness). This can then be correlated against the actual facts should it come “true”.

Paranormal Wibble

Posted in Ouija Boards, Paranormal on October 12, 2009 by paranormalteam

You’ll have to excuse the title. The blog posts covers a number of things so I thought wibble was the best description.

There are a few things I’d like to cover in this post. They are……. Public paranormal investigations, posting investigation reports and evidence.

So lets start with public paranormal investigations. For those that don’t know what these are I will provide a quick summary. There are a number of companies over here in the UK that act as event organisers for paranormal investigations. They will hire a venue out and then sell a number of places at the event. Usually its around 20 people but that all depends on the size of the venue. Obviously huge locations can cater for more people. Members of the general public then attend and depending on the event, mediums etc will spend the evening doing a number of types of vigils (glass moving, table tipping, ouija boards etc).

432px-A_seance_2781039056

So that’s you public paranormal investigation in a very small nutshell. A lot of people shun these as they are not controlled, however they can be very interesting for a number of reasons.

a) Access to a location that, more than likely, is out of a investigation groups budget. These places can run into 4 figure sums. Bear in mind you can take any equipment you wish, if you are that way inclined.
b) People watching. This is great for those researching the effects on people at these investigations. Which I believe is a very important part of the whole subject. This is my primary reason for going, because it’s the average human being that reports these experiences in the first place.
c) Something to do on a Saturday night…… I jest but in a way its true!

However, now let’s look at the negatives. Because you have no control over the people with you on these events any serious vigils are really out of the question. You usually get the gigglers who laugh most of the way through. You get the talkers, these also yap all the way through the vigils. And for the record, you also get the farters. Yes, those people that disrupt vigils by letting one rip at the right moment. On one of these events we had someone severly under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. We asked them to be removed and they were. (So fair play to the organisers for that).

This is not to say that nothing ever happens on these investigations because they do. It just means you have to take it with a pinch of salt. For instance, the one we attended this Saturday as we were doing the walk around everyone heard clear footsteps in the room above. We were told no-one else was in the building but who can say. Personally myself I experienced some very clear phenomena on one of these events and one that I can’t really explain without going into the realms of clutching at straws.

The second thing I am going to wibble about is the posting of investigation reports. If you are going to a location, you can do a quick search on google and you can bet that one group has been there and posted a report. So you read the report which contains all the names of the people that were “picked up” during the investigation. You then go on the investigation and sure enough your group picks up the same names via a Ouija board. However if you hadn’t read the report would you have come up with the same information?

During experiments/vigils with the use of an object that can be influenced by a human being you have to take care. In the paragraph above it would be very easy for you to sub consciously push the glass to spell out the name of the person you had read about. You might think Woo but then it could be the ideomotor effect in its full flow.

English_ouija_board

It would be best to avoid any kind of contact with information about previous investigations wherever possible. This would help to stop you absorbing information and influencing the evening. Also bear in mind you could have read a report months back and still be retaining the information even though you don’t realise.

Finally, I am going to wibble about evidence. Just how paranormal does the evidence need to be to be truly paranormal. What if you find what you think is undeniable proof of the paranormal. You are unable to come up with an explanation?

Well, just because you aren’t able to come up with an explanation doesn’t mean it is paranormal. There may still be an explanation, possibly something scientific which you have no idea about or even isn’t known about by anyone yet!

So where does that leave us with our evidence? I’d say up shit creek without a paddle. Frustrating isn’t it.