10/13/15

Medium Can Equal a Large problem

As investigators of the paranormal we look for answers to the causes of claims of activity. We receive calls from people with claims that range from strange noises and feelings of being watched to full blown claims of demonic spirits that mean to do harm. We’ve developed various techniques for proving or debunking claims by looking for patterns. For instance in many cases where people claim to have visitations in their sleep (also known as “The Old Hag Syndrome”) it can be a simple case of Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity. I can’t count the number of times we have found extremely high EMF in a clients bedroom, which has been know to cause people to have horrific nightmares with waking dreams that appear to be extremely real. The reason for this article is that there is a pattern that is appearing in more and more cases. As you have deduced from the title of this article this pattern has to do with mediums and the children of clients. First thing that I would like to make clear is that I do believe there are mediums with abilities and that there are people who do not, but I don’t want to stray too far into that topic right now. What we have found popping up in several of our recent cases is children who are afraid of being in their homes. In each of these cases the client has had another group into their home with someone claiming to be a medium. The mediums all made claims that there were several spirits in each home. The interesting thing is that in every home there was an evil entity that the medium claims to clear out of the home. Isn’t it strange how every home had an evil entity and they were able to clear them? But the issues of claims persist, especially with the children. The children’s ages ranged from 12-22 years old and in every case the children were present during the investigation and witnessed the mediums and their claims. I am not writing this to judge the mediums or their techniques or to judge the parents. I am writing this with the hope that people will realize that children can be horribly affected by things like hearing that there are evil spirits in their homes. Most children aren’t comfortable with the thoughts of any spirit in their home. In my opinion it is one of the worst things that can happen when a child is afraid to be in their own home. Isn’t your home supposed to be your safe haven? I think we all need to remember to be careful around kids and remember that their feelings should be of the utmost importance.

10/8/14

Paranormal Research & The Scientific Method

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In the world of paranormal research there is an ongoing debate as to the validity of this subject within the realm of true scientific study.  Many claim this to be a pseudo-science, some claim that it can’t be studied using science and others think it’s just plain outright hokum.  Well as a person who has studied this alleged “pseudo-non-scientific hokum” for nearly a decade I can tell you there is a lot more to the story than the opponents of this field (yes field) take into consideration.  I have found that anyone who makes use the above mentioned terms very often doesn’t understand what science really is. I will be the first to agree that there are a lot of pseudo-scientific approaches being taken in this field today. Far too many in fact. There are people racing to conclusions, making assumptions, failing to research principles, manipulating and just outright lying to support their claims. They do this under the guise of self-proclaimed gifts/expertise, personal experiences and photographic, video and audible evidence that has absolutely zero scientific support.

However, this doesn’t mean that real scientific research in this field is not be conducted. The people doing the poorest job tend to have the better press and so most often, the public perception of this field is represented by people who quite frankly have no idea what they are doing.  The claim that this research in general is pseudo-scientific isn’t new.  Since science started researching this field back in the 1800’s there have been accusations that the research just isn’t viable.  The battles between those for and against have carried on for more than 100 years. France has recently denounced the subject of paranormal in general as “Pseudo-scientific fraud” and will no longer broadcast paranormal related programming. I must admit, the programming is junk. But that does not speak to the real research being done around the world.

In 2003 an in depth study was conducted by Marie-Catherine Mousseau (in Dublin, Ireland)  to establish if paranormal research meets the criteria often said to characterize pseudo-science. She searched the planet to find evidence of paranormal study being conducted to the standards of the mainstream scientific community.

Her results:

I completed the analysis of written communication with an attempt to evaluate the peer-review process. I concluded that fringe journals practice peer review in the same general way as mainstream journals. Experience of the 45th convention of the PA was, again, no different from what is experienced at mainstream meetings; researchers questioned and criticized each other’s work, albeit perhaps not to the same extent as at mainstream conferences. A less competitive and more friendly atmosphere could be partly explained by the unusually large range of subjects dealt with compared to the smallness of the community (the ninety-five attending people included psychologists, philosophers, historians, neuro-scientists, and physicists). Few researchers would be competent enough to argue in all these areas. On the other hand, this interdisciplinary atmosphere was intellectually very stimulating. To conclude, the contemptuous attitude of French scholars regarding research into the paranormal does not appear to be justified. This research fulfills most of the scientific methodological criteria that characterize ‘‘real’’ science. Communication among researchers in parapsychology reflects the essence of a scientific attitude: they constantly question their work, confront theories and facts, and seek critical comments from their peers.

The first thing to understand is that science is this: “The measurement and study of the physical elements pertaining to the natural world”.  It’s essentially a system of knowledge that started out in the 17th century as more a philosophy than the strict method of research. Although many of the elements of scrutiny, analysis and evaluation founded in this philosophy are still in use today.

Let’s look at the definition of Science a little closer. “The study of the physical elements pertaining to the natural world”. First, everything is part of the natural world, no matter how bizarre it may be. Even man-made things are made from elements found naturally on this planet. We may mix things together to create derivatives but the pieces we use are from this Earth and subject to be studied and broken down by science.

If we have a paranormal experience, the elements that make up that experience are tangible to some degree. To see something it must reflect or emit light. To hear something it must move air molecules to produce sound. To move an object it must be able to produce a force etc. All of these things are measurable within the guidelines of proper science. Even if the experience were to be entirely psychological and contains none of the elements mentioned above, it is still able to be scientifically studied because our mind must perceive the event and process the experience and that is still worthy of true scientific study.

The process of this strict scientific study involves what is known as “The Scientific Method” which came into popular use in the 19th century. This method has been used for countless discoveries including cures for sickness, energy production and even the discovery and understanding of living organisms. It’s truly transformed the world we live in and there is not a day that goes by that you don’t encounter a product of the proper scientific method.

So how does one apply this to paranormal research?  Glad you asked. There are 7 steps to the scientific method (shown on the chart above).  I will explain each as best I can.

Ask a Question

Sounds pretty simple right? Well, there’s a little more to consider than simply busting out with a question. The scientific method starts when you ask a question about something that you are able to observe: How, What, When, Who, Which, Why, or Where? This establishes a purpose to your research and helps keep your work properly focused.  While it’s an exciting thought that the proper application of science may help answer your questions, it’s important to understand that in order for this method to work your question  must also be about something that you can measure, preferably with a number (such as temperature, electro-magnetic fields, ION counts, frequency, distance, weight etc.) The trick here is to be specific and try to keep the question as closed ended as possible (i.e. Yes or No). Doing this will help your results become more definitive and easier to process and a smoother process means better conclusions.

It’s important to understand that the answers to the “big questions” such “why are we here?” are usually found after many tedious years of answering countless smaller (more specific) questions. For example, the question “Do Ghosts Exist?” is a fairly “big” question and while it may seem like a great fit here since it is a relatively specific question and closed ended, it does have some inherent problems. First, it uses the label “Ghost” which is, as of yet, undefined to a degree that it can be used in scientific research. Currently, the term “Ghost” means different things to different people. Some believe ghosts are the souls of deceased human beings, some believe they are beings from other dimensions, some believe they are residual energy, some believe they are aliens, some believe they are demons etc. You get the idea.  Before we can define a label for a phenomena we must first have sufficient evidence that the phenomena exists at all and enough data to determine the smaller characteristics that represent its origin.  The other problem with this question is that it requires a conclusive result to a non-specific chain of processes and that’s just not how science works.

I will explain…

First, for demonstration purposes, let’s assume that a “Ghost” is the soul of a deceased human. To muster scientific support for the question “Do Ghosts Exist?” will require preliminary answers to a very large and pre-existing subset of questions, which in turn will present and even larger subset questions of their own and all of those questions require will require experimental support before the “big” question can be answered. It’s a very detailed, tedious process that can take literally years to complete.

Here is a VERY generic process of how it would work if we were to explore the question “Do Ghosts Exists?” (Assuming “Ghosts” are the product of deceased human souls of course):

Ghosts

 

The chart above this is just a very high overview of the complex path that would need to be taken in order determine if “Ghosts” (as a product of deceased humans) were likely to exist. Keep in mind that each of those blue areas in the chart above would also have many question subsets of their own that would need to be answered before a “Yes” or a “No” path could be determined. As you can see, answering the question “Do Ghosts Exist” is not as simple as simply taking a photo or video, recording audio or even having a personal experience (no matter how compelling it might be). For science to fully process the concept of Paranormal Activity, it needs be demonstrable and repeatable. Clearly getting a spirit to manifest on demand in order to be studied is not within the current realm of possibility. However, conducting demonstrable experimentation to help support the concept of paranormal activity is a good place to start.  Following the process in the chart above will not conclusively prove that ‘Ghosts” exist, but it will strengthen the possibility and open a door to further scientific consideration.

Now that you have a general understanding of how (and why) questions are posed in scientific research, we can move on to the second element in the scientific method.

Background Research

For many, Background Research involves scouring the internet and local archives for historic mentions of an investigation location or its inhabitants. While this is still an important process, it’s only a small part of the whole picture. Location, person and property research are valuable when conducting a field “investigation” but if your goal is to make discoveries that benefit the field (and future research) as a whole, you need to step it up.

In many cases, background research is as important (if not more important) than the current research you’re doing to answer your question and it’s a step that far too many people skip over halfheartedly. When working with unknowns background research comes in two main categories:

Physical Principle Research (i.e. technology)
&
Historic Experimental Research (i.e. what’s been researched before & the results)

 

“Physical Principle Research” involves developing a functional understanding of the physical elements that you may encounter throughout the course of the study. This could involve several environmental field elements such as electromagnetic energy, ION’s and Sound or be equipment specific for any or all of the elements mentioned and more. Which areas to research really depend upon the focus of your study.   Without this important aspect you may, for example, be examining changes in temperature which you consider to be unusual, but are in fact quite normal. You may see an increase or decrease in electromagnetic fields and assume the change is significant when in fact it isn’t. The general rule is that if you don’t understand what your equipment does, what it measures and why, your hypothesis and interpretation is fairly useless in terms of scientific evidence. Not to mention that you will be made to look like a fool when someone who does understand these concepts attempts to repeat your results.

Historic Experimental Research will help prevent you starting from scratch on a question or concept that may have already been answered or principle that has already been established. It will also insure you don’t the repeat mistakes that someone else might have made and it will give you a very clear understanding of the task at hand when seen from multiple perspectives.

Historic research can be done on-line or with books and publications (although bear in mind that the books route will be more tedious). Our website has a growing research library that may help present ideas or answers. If you are searching using Google, keep in mind that many published research papers will include an “Abstract” segment, which is essentially a summary of the research contained in the paper. A quick and easy way to apply this information would be to include the word “Abstract” in your search term. For example to search for paranormal research conducted involving magnetic fields you could search for “Abstract Paranormal EMF” or “Abstract Paranormal Electromagnetic” etc.


Construct a Hypothesis

So now you have your question/purpose, and you have done your research to the best of your ability (or should have).  Now it is time for form your hypothesis. A hypothesis is essentially an educated guess about how things work.

For example:

“If I do this, then this will happen.”

A hypothesis is a key element in your experimentation process. It challenges your current understanding of the question in play and allows you to take apart (at least mentally) the principle or element you are trying understand and explore its behavior and limitations. This is the precursor to learning, and it’s vital.

You must state your hypothesis in a way that you can easily measure, and of course, your hypothesis should be constructed in a way to help you answer your original question.

Here’s an example:

One of the many subset questions that could be explored when researching our “Do Ghosts Exist” question is:

“Does sunlight have an effect on the measured electromagnetic fields in a subject location?”

From here you form an opinion which ultimately becomes your hypothesis:

 Your potential hypothesis:

“Sunlight will have no effect on the measured Electromagnetic fields in the room”

But what do you think?  Do you think it WILL have an effect?  If so, will it increase or decrease the EMF levels? If it does have an effect what does this say about research conducted during the day? How do the readings compare to night time?  How much of the effect is due to people in the neighborhood not using their lights during the day? As you can see there are many questions that will arise from the attempt at answering that one simple question and subsequently you will form a hypothesis about each one. That’s how science is done (at least correctly). Essentially you’re looking for ways to test the boundaries and elements that make up your questions and forming an opinion about will happen when you perform those tests. To find the answers to these questions we’ll need to continue to the next step in the scientific method.

Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment

Here goes, I’m going to say it…”Significant discoveries are never made on a paranormal investigation that does not have an experimentation component”. I can hear the uproar already. Well it’s true and if you don’t believe me try to name one significant discovery that HAS been made on an investigation without experimentation?  Keep in mind photos, videos and even audio are, subjective, inconclusive and are ultimately only Data (compelling or not). They do not constitute an advancement of the cause in terms of technology or demonstrable evidence.  The only investigations that have ever yielded tangible, useful information (i.e. things that benefit future generations of research) are the ones that have had an experimentation component. Need some examples?  OK here’s a few (They are not in any specific order):

An investigation into the alleged haunting of Hampton Court Palace: Psychological variables and magnetic fields
Published in Journal of Parapsychology, 66(4), 387-408.

“Results suggested a significant overall relationship between the location of experiences and variance of local magnetic fields.”

 

Experimenter Effect In Para-psychological Research
Original publication and copyright: Journal of Parapsychology, 1976

 A review of the literature suggests that experimenter PK can influence laboratory investigations of psychokinesis and precognition.

 

Future Telling – A Meta-Analysis of Forced Choice Precognition, 1935-1987
Journal of Parapsychology, Vol. 53, December 1989

“Our meta-analysis of forced-choice precognition experiments confirms the existence of a small but highly significant precognition effect. The effect appears to be replicable; significant outcomes are reported by 40 investigators using a variety of methodological paradigms and subject populations.”

 

A Compendium of the Evidence for Psi
European Journal of Parapsychology, 2003, 18, 33-52

“While the conditions for precise replication and for producing the phenomena to hand, still elude researchers, the psi-effect is replicable to the extent that it permits meaningful and productive research.”

 

The information in these research results may not be the smoking gun in terms of paranormal evidence, but it is VERY significant in terms of inserting yet another piece into what is ultimately a very large, complex puzzle. There are no shortcuts to a definitive answer when dealing with something so incredibly unknown. An investigation is useful for confirming claims, understanding the subject environment, debunking, and as fodder for developing a research plan or even a hypothesis. But to understand (or even attempt to understand) what is truly going on requires multiple levels of focused experimentation.

This is where the real work is done and main body of discoveries are made. It’s also the area that separates the serious minded researcher from the hobby minded enthusiast. Your experiment tests whether your hypothesis is supported or not.

Keep in mind that it is vitally important for your experiment to be a “fair” test. You conduct a fair test by making sure that you change ONLY ONE factor at a time while keeping ALL other conditions the same. You should also repeat your experiments several times to make sure that the first results weren’t just an accident.

Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion

This stage is fairly self-explanatory. Once your experimentation is complete, you collect your measurements and analyze them to see if they support your hypothesis or not. During this stage you may produce statistical information and comparisons between controlled elements and elements involved in the experimental process to verify that changes did indeed occur. You then determine if those changes support your hypothesis.

Here’s a basic example:

“We measure EMF readings near a window. To establish a “control” reading we have a second covered, data logging meter set up in the same area (covered with a 12-inch by 12-inch black box so no light can reach the readable area of the meter). We then measure EMF in the same place on all meters during the day and night. When the experiment is done we compare the readings from the covered meter (Our control) with the readings from the uncovered meter. If there is a variance we can say that “light” may have an effect on EMF readings. This will of course open the doors to further experiments where we can vary the elements of the test such as location, season, time of day etc. We can even vary the equipment and use a spectroscope to establish frequencies.”

Many scientists often find that their hypothesis was not supported. If that happens to you don’t be discouraged. Any result is an answer, and that’s progress. When a hypothesis is not supported, very often the response is to construct a new hypothesis based on the information learned during the experiment. This starts the entire process of the scientific method over again. Even if you find that your hypothesis IS supported, you may want to test it again in a new way to help gain a deeper understanding of the principles at play.  Repetition helps to confirm results and helps eliminate the possibility of errors or the element of chance.

Communicate Your Results

Communication of your results and the methods you used to achieve them for peer review is extremely important. The more other people test your findings and arrive at the same result, the more significant your findings become to the scientific world. Like I said before Science thrives on repeatable and demonstrable concepts. So don’t horde your findings and hide your evidence to prevent it from being “stolen” like so many groups do today. There is no need to worry, if you publish your results in as many places as you can find it will be date stamped and the world will know who found it first. Not sharing means no one else can benefit from what you have learned and remember if it’s not repeatable it’s not proof. I know photos, audio and video seem like compelling evidence, but they will never, ever be proof no matter how good they are because they are not repeatable for peer review.  Proof of a paranormal existence lies in the micro experimentation of the many elements that support the concept. It is only through this method that the concept of an after-life, alternate dimensions, psychic ability or paranormal energy could ever be shown viable.  I know many people feel that personal experiences are the most convincing, but if you research the fallibility of the human mind you will find that we can’t simply trust our experiences. There are too many factors that can fool or sway our perceptions.

Even though we show the scientific method as a series of steps, keep in mind that new information or thinking might cause a reason to back up and repeat steps at any point during the process (something known as the iterative process).

There is never a final answer and the best advice I can ever give anyone setting out on the path of scientific research (paranormal or otherwise) is:

“Be prepared to be wrong”

Happy hunting.

07/18/14

The McGurk Effect – You See What I’m Saying?

For many years I have been studying the perceptions of people. I do this to understand the limitations we face when witnessing or relaying our experiences to others. This activity is very common in paranormal research and knowing the pitfalls can certainly help.

One of the interesting idiosyncrasies I have come across involves the impact our eyes have on the things we hear.  This effect can prove to be damaging in certain cases where both visual and audible senses are stimulated under chaotic conditions. For example: A witness claims that in a busy room with many people talking, they witnessed the apparition of their father saying their name. Of course there are many elements to investigate here and there may be many causes of the experience, but first we must make sure we are recording the facts of the claim correctly. The idea of whether someone “saw” an apparition is only part of the claim.  What the apparition was saying is another, and it’s that element that we are addressing here today.  The audible interference in the room could have an affect on the perceptions of what words are heard.  Our eyes have an influence on our hearing.

Social interactions depend not only on quick, unconscious physical judgments, but on smooth communication through speech. Understanding what someone is saying requires the integration of many types of information: body language, facial expressions, speech sounds, and lip movements. But if these inputs give contrasting information, it can lead to some weird stuff.

Consider a 1976 study by Scottish psychologists Harry McGurk and John MacDonald. They showed volunteers movies of a woman’s mouth forming the shape of the sound “ga” paired with a dubbed sound of “ba.” The volunteers reported hearing “da”, showing for the first time that visual inputs strongly affect speech perception. This so-called McGurk effect has since been repeated in many experiments. Even when people know about it, as you do now, it doesn’t go away. See for yourself:

06/15/14

The Research Phenomenon

If history has taught us anything, it’s that being wrong is normal but also that anyone who stubbornly holds on to a particular concept without the willingness to change stands a fair chance of growing obsolete as the rest of the ‘thinking’ world moves forward. The study of anomalous phenomena is certainly no exception to that rule, but unfortunately when you’re dealing with the unknown, what’s right and what’s wrong isn’t always so clearly defined and that’s where the quality and diversity of your own research is vital to justifying your theoretical position.

When I started my research nearly a decade ago I, like most people adopted the rationale of the popular perception. I was inexperienced and uneducated to what had become a  monumental task at hand and so, initially, I followed the path I was shown. “Ghost Hunters” had just hit it big on television and the world exploded with thousands of paranormal team’s armed with gear and concepts, that for the most part, they didn’t really understand.  Still, they carried on hell bent on capturing that elusive golden flag – proof – and possibly scoring an element of popularity (maybe even a television appearance) in the process.

The caveat to that endeavor is that in the non-conventional science realm “proof” is sort of a dirty word. The truth is, unless you can get the activity to repeat on demand for all to see, the best you can ever hope for is “supporting evidence”. The preponderance of that evidence is the big vat from which so many people draw their conclusions, but proof has yet to be found.

My first exposure to the paranormal research world came a midst my research for a documentary film I was making at the time called “14 Degrees”. The dozens of investigation teams and individuals I encountered during that time painted a fairly clear picture of the current “state of the union” and as inexperienced as I was, what I saw was quite a disappointment.

Nearly everyone I encountered seemed to be mimicking what they saw on television. They used the same equipment, had the same theories, and used the same techniques. All in homage to their Sci-Fi television leaders, one group even carried around a plunger in tribute to Jason & Grant (the founders of our proverbial feast).  I couldn’t help but think “How could any discoveries be made under these conditions?”  Nobody was breaking any new ground. No one was really trying anything different or thinking outside what was clearly a very defined and restricting box.

It  was clear to me that what I was witnessing were not researchers, but thrill seekers who were simply there for the experience. Even worse was the foundation (or lack thereof) of their pseudo “research”. Hardly anyone could tell me anything about the history behind the principles and claims that they not only followed but would publicly TEACH at seminars and conventions.

I admit I was disillusioned and disappointed by the experience. I had always thought there was so much more to being a researcher than just copying what you see on television… and as it turns out…I was right.

In the world of paranormal research there is a clear divide between the serious and supercilious and the most important qualification is understanding.  Not an understanding of the legendary hokum handed down through generations, not an understanding of the popular concepts of what makes up a “haunting”, not an understanding of demons, ghosts, angels, poltergeists or which hyped up divining gadget works best, but a good thorough, unbiased understanding of the real world (not your perception of the world), the physics behind it and above all the fallible, inaccurate, emotional beast that is the human element.

Over the next month (June) I will be publishing a 4 part series on the tangible scientific elements of paranormal research.

In the coming weeks I will present the following:

  • A history of study – Some of the popular and productive experiments and studies of the 20th century.
  • Elements of human perception and how understanding the behavioral processes of human mind can adversely affect the outcome of your research.
  • The various aspects of the technological approach as applied to field research & why most modern equipment just isn’t good enough.
  • The application of critical thinking and identifying the potential for misconception.

Stay tuned…

05/24/14

Stargate Project…. “Men Who Stare at Goats ?”

Imagine being able to receive information psychically that was valuable to public safety, public protection, military security and with ability to spy on enemies .  All done in a remote place.  The personnel would be trainable, experiments repeatable and accurate.

The Stargate Project A code name for projects initiated by US Defense Intelligence Agency investigating psychic phenomena for the military or domestic applications.  Viewing or to “psychically see”  events, sites or sense unknown information, to detect current events for domestic or military intelligence.  the viewer would attempt to predict things to happen in the future by precognition.

Precognition is future sight or second sight, extrasensory perception.  This information cannot be deduced by present available knowledge.

Russia was already seriously researching  ways to explore psychic functioning .  A book was published Psychic Discoveries from Behind the Iron Curtain, causing great interest in this area.  1972 Stanford Research Institute (SRI) began to research ways to experiment psychic techniques that were repeatable, that could be teachable and used for intelligence purposes. Russel Targ and Harold Puthoff, the team at SRI, worked on expanding remote viewing techniques over vast distances and trained American Military in 1985.  Their early results were impressive.  Ingo Swann accurately described a uniquely designed magnetometer buried in six feet of concrete.   Hella Hammid was able to accurately describe five out of nine target sites.  Ingo Swann became bored with the repetition of these experiments and stated he could time travel psychically to any place on the planet.  He(Swann) and Pat Price, a police officer in Burbank CA, were provided with geographic longitude and latitude coordinates and was said to give a “remarkably accurate view” of the stated location.  Swann’s tests were so amazing that he convinced SRI of his abilities.  Swann believed that any one could be taught this technique and these persons did not have to be psychic.  Swann’s best Remote Viewing trip was the planet Jupiter done at SRI in 1973.  In 1977 Targ and Puthoff published his findings in a book Mind-Reach.

Unfortunately Swann and Pat Price did not get along and “psychic contests raged” out of control.  Swann’s  contract ended in early 1973 and he left SRI.  Pat Price left SRI late 1974 going to work for the CIA.  He was well know for his map photos claiming to retrieve information from behind Soviet lines.  His sketches appeared to confirm intelligence photographs at that time.  The two reunited and eventually worked together creating techniques for  Controlled Remote Viewing (CRV) that could be teachable with 5 step protocol.  Project research included  clairvoyance and out-of-body experiences.  The described Remote Viewing as a more structured approach to clairvoyance.  The “viewer” would receive a mission only after all other intelligence was exhausted.  Using over 22 active military and domestic viewers to provide data.  In 1995 three viewers remained in the program, one using tarot cards readings.

1995 this project was then transferred to CIA control the panel appointed Jessica Utts and Ray Hyman.  Mr. Hyman stated test results were “nothing striking or surprising….reported matching reports, data generated by viewers is general and vague and way off target“.   With recommendation of tighter control of projects with more critical research.  CIA terminated the $20million dollar project in 1995 secondary to lack of evidence.

 

 

 

05/7/14

The Challenge is prove it……3 Envelopes….One Million Dollars….The Envelope Please

Not too long ago, in the month of May 2009……..10 volunteers entered the room dressed in an odd array of clothing:

  •  a ski mask,
  • large dark glasses,
  • a large black graduation type gown
  • white socks

These ten volunteers took their seats facing the back wall of the room.  They were to sit and do nothing for 15-20 minutes.  Mrs. Patricia Putt enters the room, sits at a table 12′ away from the volunteers and begins the reading.  The seated volunteers were asked to read out loud pre-specified short passages.  Putt stated this “helps the spirit to enter and make contact by hearing the sitters voices“. All of the readings were written down and given to the volunteers , they exited the room, changed clothing and came back in, for their results.

This experiment is was conducted by the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) Mrs. Putt, a Psychic featured in newspapers and magazine articles and on several TV shows, accepted this challenge in hopes of collecting a $1million prize.  The only stipulation for collecting was to “prove and demonstrate paranormal powers under a controlled environment”.  All testers agree to stipulations prior to testing and sign a waiver stating that test are conducted fairly.  Preliminary tests are conducted prior to the final experiment.  Preliminary tests included were a double blind testing of dowsers featured in Enemies of Reason hosted by Richard Dawson; Derek Ogilvies reading minds of babies and animals in Extraordinary People on Five.  Both tests offered no definitive proof of paranormal evidence.  Mrs. Putt was the first person to pass this first round of preliminary testing.

Professor James Randi, a magician and debunker, offered $1000 of his own money in 1964, to anyone who could prove paranormal claims under a controlled experiment.  Many claim to have this power, very few came forward to accept this challenge.  Many cite that the experiment is fixed by Randi and cannot be won.

The Test…..

10 readings, each written specifically for one of the 10 volunteers, all volunteers dressed in the same attire, sitting with their backs to the tester, had never met or spoken to Mrs. Putt.  After the Readings were completed, each individual got a complete set of all the readings, presented in random order, volunteers were to pick out a reading most applicable to themselves.

The test would be deemed successful if, 5 of the 10 volunteers selected the reading written specifically for them.  Mrs. Patricia Putt felt completely confident that she would be issued the $1million dollar prize.

The Result…..

All 10 volunteers selected a reading that was not written for them.  Putt made no excuses, was kind and professional accepting the final outcome.  One day later, Putt decided that the protocol she had agreed to prior to the test was too difficult, laden with many barriers preventing her to exhibit her psychic abilities.  “volunteers being bound head to foot like black mummies felt tied so were not free to link to spirit, making my work a great deal more difficult“.

The prize is still there waiting for you, (IS) the proof  is out there?!

05/6/14

“Vultures Who Prey on the Bereaved.”

I have always been fascinated by Ehrich Weisz. Who you ask? The Great Harry Houdini that’s who! We all know the name and it instantly conjures visions of straight jackets, hand cuffs, or of the Milk Can Escape also known as the “Chinese Water Torture” trick. There are numerous articles, books and even movies that taut his magic acts and abilities, but what I think of when I hear the name Harry Houdini is Spiritualism.
The 1920’s in America is often thought of as “The Roaring 20’s” and of us think of jazz music, prohibition, speak easys, and gangsters, but what about the Spiritualist Movement? People from around the world were reeling from losing an estimated 15 million people in the World War One and 21 million more to the Spanish-flu pandemic and they were searching for ways to connect with the dead. It was in this era that so called “Spirit Guides” emerged to help the bereaved contact their loved ones who had passed. The media of the time wrote glowing reviews and highly dramatized accounts of communication with people’s departed loved ones, and the people believed! If it was written in news papers it had to be real! It seemed as though the more famous they were, the more they charged. (Sound Familiar?)
In 1913 Houdini’s mother Cecilia, passed on and Harry was so distraught that he hadn’t been there at the end, that he consulted spiritualists in an attempt to communicate with her spirit. Harry soon realized that these so-called spiritualists were con-artists. While traveling the country and the world for that matter, Houdini met scores of mediums and witnessed 100’s of seances only to come away upset at what he knew was fraud. Houdini at one point even proclaimed that these people were “Vultures Who Prey on the Bereaved!”
With Harry’s back ground in illusions, he set out to figure out how the Mediums and Psychics tricked the public, which he did. Houdini then aligned himself with O.D. Munn, editor of Scientific American. Scientific American offered $2,500 to anyone who could prove that they had psychic powers. In the summer of 1924, Houdini targeted Mina Crandon of Boston. Followers called her “Margery”, non believers knew her as the ” Blonde Witch of Lime Street”. She was renowned for conjuring the voice of her dead brother, Walter, whose spirit rapped out messages, tipped tables, and even sounded trumpets. Walter was unfriendly, answering questions and quoting scripture in a gruff disembodied voice. Margery, by contrast, was charming and attractive—at least when she wasn’t showing off her most convincing psychic talent: extruding a slithery, viscous substance called “ectoplasm” from her orifices. Photos show this otherworldly substance flowing from her nose and ears, but mostly it emerged from beneath a sheer kimono like a string of entrails—an “ectomorphic hand” that Walter used to carry out his commands.
A panel from Scientific America visited Margery and was all but convinced that she was the real deal . When Houdini learned the committee was prepared to endorse Margery, he was outraged. Having already exposed the tricks of other celebrity mediums, Houdini was sure the committee was about to be fooled, so he canceled his shows and headed for Boston.
Margery met with Houdini and the panel from Scientific American for a séance and she took her seat infront of a three-sided Chinese screen. Soon the lights dimmed and an eerie whistling filled the room. Then the spirit of Walter whispered his arrival, even touching Houdini on the inside of his right leg. After a break, Houdini ordered an electric bell enclosed in a wooden box brought to his feet. Then Walter levitated a megaphone and boomed: “Have Houdini tell me where to throw it”.“Toward me,” Houdini said, and the megaphone flew through the air and landed in front of him. That was just the beginning. Throughout the evening, Walter produced a sequence of spectacles, ringing the bell box on command and tipping over the wooden screen. Houdini had done his homework. He knew that Dr. Le Roi Crandon, Margery’s husband, always sat on her right. He was a Harvard-educated surgeon and her promoter. Houdini also guessed correctly that he would be seated on her left in the circle, with hands joined, feet and legs touching. In anticipation to the séance, Houdini wore a tight bandage under his right knee the entire day leading up to the show. It had been so tight and was so painful that it made his skin tender to even the slightest touch. The sensitivity paid off. He could feel Margery twist and flex in the dark as she moved her left ankle slightly to get to the bell box under the table. Later, he felt her shift again to tip the Chinese screen with her foot. The flying megaphone stumped Houdini for a few hours, but he eventually figured out that Margery had placed it on her head, dunce-cap-style, with a momentarily free hand. She then jerked her head in his direction to send it crashing to the floor.“I’ve got her,” he said when the evening was over. “All fraud. Every bit of it. One more sitting and I will be ready to expose everything.”
A second séance at a Boston hotel featured a levitating table. Houdini reached out in the dark and found Margery’s head lifting the table from beneath. He again felt her legs move as she reached to ring the bell box. “The slickest ruse I ever detected,” Houdini said later, in something close to admiration. But when he announced his findings to the committee, he was asked to hold off on a public denunciation. The committee was conflicted. When it refused to award the prize after several additional séances, the Spiritualists became enraged—as did the spirit. “Houdini, you goddamned son of a bitch,” Walter roared. “I put a curse on you now that will follow you every day for the rest of your short life.” No Matter what Houdini said 1/2 of the panel was still firmly under Margery’s seductive spell and continued to report that she had supernatural powers. In October, Scientific American published an article that described the committee as hopelessly divided.
The dithering angered Houdini. In November, he published a pamphlet called Houdini Exposes the Tricks Used by the Boston Medium “Margery,” complete with drawings of how she produced her manifestations. “She certainly was clever in her maneuvering to pull the wool over the eyes of the committeemen,” he said, admitting the ingenuity of her techniques as he debunked her show. Houdini’s pamphlet humiliated Margery, but he wasn’t done yet: The “scourge of Spiritualism” wanted to make the religion disappear. But the spiritualist caught on and eventually banned Houdini from their shows. Imagine that?

04/26/14

The Philip Experiment – Can You Create Your Own Haunting?

Disclaimer:  The article shown here is for information purposes only. Para-Boston does not specifically recommend or condone the use of séances as a tool for investigative research.

Some paranormal researchers theorize that some ghostly manifestations and poltergeist activity (footsteps, door slams, moving objects) are products of the human mind.  In the early 1970s, a Canadian-based group set out to test the theory by conducting a fascinating experiment. The Toronto Society for Psychical Research (TSPR) wanted to see if they could create a ghost.  They wanted to get a core group together to concoct a fictional character and then conduct séances to see if they could contact him and receive messages from him. They theorized if they were really lucky maybe they’d see an apparition.

They “invented” a spirit named Philip.  Would you believe Philip actually made contact with them through a series of possible psychokinetic phenomena? Read on…

Dr. A.R.G. Owen, the leader of this study group in the TSPR, gathered eight people from their membership. All claimed to not be pychics. This group, often called the Owen Group, were comprised of the good doctor’s wife, an accountant, a designer, a housewife, a bookkeeper and a sociology student. Also there was a psychologist, Dr. Joel Whitton, in attendance as an observer.

To create the fictional “Philip Aylesford”, as a group they began Phase One: Creating Philip’s Life. They wrote a short biography about him. He was an English aristocrat who lived in the mid-1600s. He was a supporter of the King, and was a Catholic. He married the Dorothea, daughter of a neighboring nobleman. She was a beautiful, but cold and frigid wife.

One day Philip was riding on the boundaries of his estates and he came across a gypsy encampment and saw Margo. She was a beautiful dark-eyed gypsy girl who he fell instantly in love with. He brought her back to his land, secretly, to live in the gatehouse near the stables of his family home -Diddington Manor.

He managed to keep this a secret from Dorothea for awhile, but eventually she figured out he was keeping someone in there, she found Margo and Dorothea accused her of Witchcraft. She also accused her of stealing her husband. Philip was afraid of losing his reputation, his wealth and possessions if he protested, so Margo went to trial and she was convicted of witchcraft and burned at the stake.

Talk about guilt. Philip was overwhelmed with remorse that he never spoke up to defend Margo. He used to pace the battlements of Diddington in utter despair. Then one morning his body was found at the bottom of the battlements. It was assumed that he threw himself in after a fit of agony and remorse. He died at 30 years old.

The Owen group called upon one of their members with artistic talents to sketch a portrait of Philip. Now the Owen Group was ready. They had an image and a detailed background which was firmly set in their minds to focus on and they were ready for Phase Two of their experiment – Making Contact With Philip.

In September 1972, the group began their “sittings”. These were informal meetings in which they would discuss Philip and his life, they would meditate on him and focus to try to visualize their “collective hallucination” in greater detail. These sittings were conducted in a fully lit room and went on for about a year. Nothing happened. Some group members would occasionally claim they felt a presence in the room, but it was just a personal experience and there was no result they could consider any kind of communication from Philip.

Then they changed their strategy and began conducting classic spiritualistic séances. They lowered the room’s lights, sat around a table, sang songs and surrounded themselves with objects from Philip’s time period, pictures of the type of castle they imagined he would have lived in, etc.

That worked! One evening, during a séance, the group received its first communication from Philip in the form of a distinct knock on the table. Soon Philip was answering questions asked by the group – one knock for yes, two for no. They assumed the communication came from Philip because, they were attempting to communicate with only him.

The sessions escalated and produced a range of phenomena that couldn’t be explained scientifically. The group was able to learn more details about Philip’s life through the table-knocking communication. It appeared as if he had a personality and he conveyed his likes and dislikes and his point-of-view on various topics. This was deduced by how quick and enthusiastic, or plain, his knocking responses were. They joked with Philip, teased him, even flirted with him.  When Philip was asked if Dorothea, his wife, didn’t want children, the group heard scratching sounds coming from the walls. One member asked if the question was too personal and one loud rap was heard (a strong Yes!) His “spirit” was eventually able to move the table and slide it from side (even though it was on a carpeted floor). Sometimes the table would “dance” on one leg.

Philip was a creation of the group’s collective imagination and had his limitations. He accurately answered questions about events and people of his time period, but it did not appear to be information that the group was unaware of: meaning Philip’s responses were coming from the group’s subconscious – their own minds. At some point some members thought they heard whispers in response to certain questions, but no whisper was ever caught on their audio recordings. Dr. Owen later stated that if the entire team were in agreement to the answer to a question, the responses would come very quickly but if one or more people were uncertain in the answer then Philip’s responses would be hesitant, taking some time to reply.

There was no explanation for Philip’s amazing psychokinetic powers. If the group asked Philip to dim the lights, they would instantly dim. When asked to brighten back the lights they would brighten instantly as well. The table that the group sat around was quite often the focal point of odd phenomena. They felt a cool breeze blow across the table and asked Philip if he could make it to start and stop. Yes he could and he did so. The group observed that the feel of the table was different to the touch whenever Philip was in their presence — it felt electric or “alive”. There were a few times when a fine mist formed over the center of the table. Quite unbelievably the group claimed that the table would sometimes be so animated that it would quickly slide over to meet latecomers to the session, and sometimes even “trap” members in the corner of the room!

The climax of the Philip Experiment was a séance conducted before a live audience of 50 people. This session was also filmed as part of a television documentary. Philip performed above expectations. There were table knockings, odd noises in the room, lights blinking off and on, and the table became fully levitated. It only rose a half inch above the floor, but this incredible feat was witnessed by the group and the film crew. Because the lighting was dim at this point – the levitation was not caught on film.

In a later session during an especially active night, one of the members jokingly told Philip that he could be sent away and replaced. After that, Philip’s activity began to decrease until it stopped altogether and the experiment was stopped.

The Philip Experiment was a success in all ways but one – the spirit of Philip never materialized into an apparition.

Because the Philip Experiment was such a success, the Toronto organization decided to try it again with a completely different group of people and a new fictional character. After just five weeks, this new group established “contact” with their new “spirit,” Lilith, a French-Canadian spy. Other similar experiments conjured up such entities as a medieval alchemist named Sebastian, and a man from the future named Axel. All were completely fictional, yet all produced unexplained communication through their unique knockings.

A group in Sydney Australia attempted a similar test with “the Skippy Experiment.” Six members created the story of Skippy Cartman, a 14-year-old Australian girl. The group reports that Skippy communicated with them through knockings and scratching sounds.

Conclusion

What the heck does one conclude about these experiments? A hoax? Real communication with a made up character? Real communication with another spirit posing as the character?  There is no such thing as hauntings – just a psychokinetic manifestations of our minds? One thing is for certain – the experiment did not and can not prove that there are no ghosts.

In any case, the what the experiments did prove is that paranormal phenomena are quite real. These experiments leave us with more questions than answers about the world in we live in.

Want to try and create your own experimental ghost? British psychologist Kenneth Batcheldor and engineer Colin Brookes-Smith, back in the late 1960s and early ’70s, developed a methodology for educating psychokinesis as a group-skill, to provide phenomena for their research on the physical operating-mechanisms of psychokinesis. The key parts of their methodology was published in the Journal of the (British) Society for Psychical Research, Vol.47, No.756

Below from the June 1973 pages 69-89 are notes adapted from Batcheldor’s “List of Rules for Sitters”.

1. At least three but not more than six sitters 
2. Only those capable of friendly co-operation 
3. No extreme sceptics seeking convincing evidence 
4. No inflexible Spiritualists or scientists 
5. Both sexes, no age limit 
6. Agree to meet once a week at the same place and time 
7. Use a comfortable living room with familiar surroundings 
8. Sit in any preferred order 
9. Use the dimmest possible light tolerable without discomfort (unless extremely confident of success in stronger light) 
10. Use total darkness for advanced phenomena (unless unusually confident of success in dim light) 
11. Hands on table – not necessarily touching each other 
12. Never change conditions even slightly, unless this is essential to relieve tension or increase expectancy 
13. Avoid arguments – sense and resolve even covert disagreements about procedure 
14. Avoid immobility of posture – move freely, behave naturally 
15. Don’t worry about accidentally imparting movement to the table 
16. Be relaxed – engage in light-hearted talk, jokes and laughter 
17. Smoke initially or during breaks if you wish 
18. Avoid long silences and boredom 
19. Be patient, just wait calmly and cheerfully without irritation 
20. Don’t comment on the time, weather or topical news 
21. Don’t become too interested in any particular conversation 
22. Don’t say or think anything that implies doubt 
23. Don’t do anything that implies or arouses doubt 
24. Don’t perform tests or impose controls in half-hearted belief 
25. Don’t try to ‘will’ the phenomena 
26. Cultivate an attitude of serene confidence 
27. Avoid all thoughts of any particular experiment ‘failing’ 
28. Avoid both long-term skepticism and ‘instant’ doubt 
29. Don’t explain away every little happening 
30. Don’t express (surprise or) astonishment at any PK display 
31. Don’t concentrate your gaze – even in the dark – where PK is imminent 
32. Don’t focus your thoughts analytically on specific phenomena 
33. Encourage a generalized idea or image of the experimental task 
34. Don’t apply critical analysis during or after a PK display 
35. Keep your mind in ‘neutral’ – be an uncritical observer 
36. ‘Pigeon-hole’ your observations for future consideration 
37. Let the spokesman give all the commands 
38. Use wording unambiguous in its intention 
39. Use a tone of voice implying unquestioned obedience 
40. Don’t comment on or distract attention from specific commands 
41. Start with what seems easy and plausible 
42. Grade the tasks commanded 
43. Maintain plausibility throughout the experiments 
44. Practice each step sufficiently – but don’t let it become tedious 
45. Don’t hurry the steps – wait for each response 
46. Go back one step if no response is forthcoming 
47. Don’t repeatedly call for something not forthcoming 
48. Revive interest and excitement by some free uncommanded action 
49. Call ‘STOP’ if free activity ignores commands, then regain obedience 
50. Briefly express approval for successfully performed tasks 
51. Don’t consult ‘the table’ on procedure or theories 
52. Don’t ask for spiritistic messages 
53.A void being led astray by the offer of prizes 

[The above table is copyright ©1970 Kenneth Batcheldor.] 

Happy haunting!

04/20/14

Spatial Awareness


When investigating unusual claims or even experiencing paranormal activity our spatial awareness plays a key role.  Understanding the abilities and disadvantages of the human brain will help to understand the accuracy of not only claims, but our personal experiences as well. The human mind is fallible and should not be trusted implicitly. This Brain Games episode demonstrates this principle quite clearly. Check it out!

04/17/14

Rocks Will Remember….

A term heard often in paranormal field is The Stone Tape Theory.  Term was first coined in a BBC film of the same name. What is this theory, is there anything to it? I am Researching this because the inquiring mind wants to know.  This theory was first proposed in the 1970’s.  Hypothesis was, that in times of high stress or high emotions could somehow help transfer memory to an inanimate object, and actual recording of the event.  This energy would playback in a non-interactive way (a residual haunting).

Researcher Eleanor Mildred Sidgwick claimed objects could retain, record or absorb the “psychic energy” of a tragic event.

William G Roll, Parapsychologist and Professor at State University of West Georgia, agreed with this stone tape theory.  Believing the mind can create apparitions from “psychic traces of the past”   by their “psi field”.  psi field is defined as subtle energy that unites the mind and body, a universal life force running between all things.  Energy in Chinese medicine– Qi;  in Indian Yoga–Prana or Kundalini  energy is also described as an aura, rays, field, audible or tactile vibrations.

Barrett stated that certain cases were imprints or “echoes”somehow become “perceptible to those living”.  He became interested in the paranormal in the 1860’s after an experience with Mesmerism (hypnosis).  He hypothesized these echoes were thought transferences or“place memories”.  Suggesting that hauntings are memories “lost” from an individuals mind, attaching itself to the environment, showing up and replaying back as hallucinations in sensitive people.

Barrett was a member of the Spiritualist movement and was said to be duped by a medium.  later founding The Society of Psychical Research in 1882.

I have not found a reasonable explanation for this theory of stone taping.  Some claim it is geological,  iron oxide, or rust particles, with electromagnetic fields acting as a recording device changing a persons perception of what is seen.  Others refer to the water memory theory (see Water, a Ghost Essential Element) and plate tectonics, an electromagnetic charge caused by quartz in earth that carries  an electric charge from movement of a fault lines.  Fascinating tales of phantoms, echoes and spirits all on the rocks. Cheers !

04/16/14

The Near Death Experience of Dr. Eben Alexander

Dr. Eben Alexander III is a neurosurgeon and author of the best selling book, “Proof of Heaven”.

Dr. Eben Alexander graduated from Duke University in 1980 and was a resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. He is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and American College of surgeons. He has been employed at some of the top hospitals in the world. These hospitals include Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Boston, Dana-Farber Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Alexander comes from a scientific background and has followed in his fathers footsteps in neurosurgery. Once a true believer that there is nothing after death, which his upbringing and education taught him, Dr. Alexander now questions everything he has learned since suffering from a meningitis induced coma in 2008.

His book claims that our consciousness is independent from the brain and that death is simply an illusion. He also says there is a perfect life after death that includes butterflies, Angels, clouds, and our departed loved ones.

Dr. Alexander slipped into a coma as a result of severe bacterial meningitis. Having no brain activity he was considered “brain dead”. His journey began in a dark formless place without memory, language, or time. He was saved by a spinning melody of light that came closer and closer until it opened up to a world full of vivid colors and millions of butterflies. Flowers blooming and blossoming as he floated by. By his side was a beautiful girl with blue eyes. She would look at him without saying a word and the thought would mystically enter his mind that she was telling him he was loved and cherished but he must go back, it was not his time. After seven days in a coma, he miraculously opened his eyes. Due to his amazing experience Dr. Alexander had a different view of life and life after death.

After going public with his story prior to the publication of his book, he has been terminated or suspended from multiple hospital positions and subject to several malpractice lawsuits. Other medical professionals claimed that Dr. Alexander was in a medically induced coma and was conscious and hallucinating.

Although Dr. Alexander states his near death experience occurred while his cerebral cortex was shut down and inactive, neuro-scientist Sam Harris disagrees. He states Dr. Alexander’s claims are not only inadequate but insults him by saying he doesn’t know anything about the relevant brain science. Neurologist Oliver Sacks states that it was impossible to establish a near death experience while the brain was shut down. The most plausible explanation is that it occurred not during the coma but as he was resurfacing from it and his cortex was returning to full function.

What is your opinion? Do you believe in life after death or is it just a hallucination?

04/8/14

To Be A Witch

Merry meet again, it me Patricia

Here’s something I really love, I hope u enjoy it…

To Be A Witch To be a witch, is to love and be loved.
To be a witch, is to know everything and nothing at all.
To be a witch, is to move among the stars while staying on Earth.
To be a witch, is to change the world around you, and yourself.
To be a witch, is to share and give, while receiving all the while.
To be a witch, is to dance and sing, and hold hands with the universe.
To be a witch, is to honor the Gods and yourself.
To be a witch, is to be magick, not just perform it.
To be a witch, is to be honorable or nothing at all.
To be a witch, is to accept others who are not.
To be a witch, is to know what you feel is right and good.
To be a witch, is to harm none.
To be a witch, is to know the ways of old.
To be a witch, is to follow the moon.
To be a witch, is to be one with the Gods.
To be a witch, is to study and learn.
To be a witch, is to be the teacher and the student.
To be a witch, is to acknowledge the truth.
To be a witch, is to live with the earth, not just on it.
To be a witch, is to be truly free !

Author unknown.

Hope you enjoyed it as much as I. So until next time Merry part til we Merry meet again.

04/8/14

14 Degrees – A Paranormal Documentary

In 2007 myself and two great friends (then known as New Gravity Media) released our first full length documentary “14 Degrees”. The film which took two years to complete involved nearly 6000 miles of travel and investigations with dozens of teams across the northeastern U.S. This film, which now tops out at a whopping 2 hours and 16 minutes was intended to be a short film no longer than 15 minutes. However, after receiving interest from so many teams, we just couldn’t stop. Because of the overwhelming response the project was produced “backwards”. Instead of having a plan for a beginning, middle and end, we instead simply filmed everything and put the pieces together into a documentary format. The raw footage features over 275 hours of film footage and took 6 months in post production. Some popular names appear in the film such as John Zaffis, Steve Gonsalves and Keith Johnson. It was a first attempt that won us the 2008 Aegis film award. That film in it’s entirety is now available to the public for the low price of FREE. I hope you enjoy!

04/2/14

Water: A Ghost Essential Element ?

The human body is made up of 70 % water and the earth is made from 70% water….ghost or apparitions are often associated with places close to water. Can water be imprinted upon and hold a memory? Several theories are out there, here are two.
Japanese researcher Masaro Emoto states that if positive words are spoken to water, and then a water sample is frozen, the water crystals will form in a symmetric pattern. If negative words are spoken to a water sample, then the water sample is frozen the water crystals form will form in a chaotic manner. Remembering words that are spoken.

Water memory was first proposed in 1988 by French Immunologist Jacques Benveniste. Benveniste proposed that a serial dilution, used in homeopathic treatment would “remember” what substances/molecules were added in. During treatment a Sample would be diluted until not a single molecule remained. His test used Human antibodies. Those tested had an allergic response to the dilution.

These serial dilutions are made with distilled water or alcohol, vigorously shaken in a process called succussion. Succussion was believed to activate the “vital energy” of the diluted substance, thus increasing potency of the homeopathic treatment.
Homeopathy is a system of medicine which involves treating the individual with highly diluted substances, given mainly in tablet form, with the aim of triggering the body’s natural system of healing.

The findings were published in Nature journal in 1988. Colleagues of Benveniste challenged the findings calling it pseudoscience. He stated that tests defied established laws of chemistry. The publisher, John Maddox, demanded replication of this experiment. Under direct supervision of a hand picked team they called “ghost busters”. These “ghost busters” included Maddox himself, James Randi, a paranormal researcher and physicist, Walter W. Stewart. Multiple complaints of distractions, magic tricks and witch hunting plagued all future tests.
A $1 million dollar prize was offered for any party that could replicate positive results to the same test.
A chemist from the University of Belfast, Madeline Ennis almost claimed $1million dollar prize in 1999. In 2010, years later, Ennis’ point of view is still that: (…) there appears to be some evidence for an effect – albeit small in some cases(….)

Their theory is that water is in all substances, bricks, wood, human etc. and much like residual hauntings water somehow can help retain a memory from any surrounding.
I really enjoyed reading the article. It makes some sense to me. Could it be that simple??? Probably not.

waterdrop

03/25/14

Beltane – The Festival of Fire & Fertility

Merry meet! I’m Patricia Gardner, High Priestess of the Dragon Warriors of Isis and I would like to share some information about pagan/wiccan beliefs.

Let me tell you about Beltane:

Beltane / May day is the 1st and 2nd of May. Known as a Greater Sabbat/holiday. It is a fire and fertility festival. Back in the day, ( though some covens still do ) they would dance around the Maypole. Its a fertility rite for life and crops. To us it is also known as The Great Rite, or the marriage of the Goddess and God. So, from vernal/spring equinox till the end of April, some of us talk to the plants and trees to wake them up so they will be dressed in all their glory for the marriage.

From midnight the night before until after ritual we fast to purify ourselves before entering circle.unless you have a medical reason or are to young to fast.This Sabbat is to celebrate new life, and to bless the land for the crops that year. We try to have it outside so we can have a bonfire. It is also to celebrate the marriage and new life to come from that union. During ritual we also have whats called libation. This is usually bread dipped in herbs and oil and sparkling cider.though some covens use wine or mead.

The ritual consists of thanking the Goddess and God for our bounty and blessing received, and those to come. Our rituals are to celebrate life and the turning of the wheel, also called the wheel of the year.which means the changing of the seasons.

Next month I will tell you about Summer Solstice. So..until then …Merry part til we Merry meet again.

03/21/14

Paranormal ice cream?

Depending upon your beliefs, some people think that relatives who have passed on to the next world, come to assist loved ones pass on during their last moments here on earth. I am one of them. I work in a skilled nursing/ rehabilitation facility were people spend their last moment some times. I was told a story by a nurse on the dementia floor that gave me goosebumps! This is the story…. Elvira was actively passing. She was a strong lady, not well, in and out of the hospital, didn’t go home, often crying.  Grace is a long term resident living up the hall. Grace said to the sons when they left their mother’s room for a coffee. ” I just had ice cream with your father”!  Their father has been deceased for a number of years.  The funny part of this is, his favorite thing of all was ice cream!  Grace didn’t know them, did not know their father either. True story!! I will have a hot fudge sundae please!!

03/13/14

Studying Human Energy Transference: A Paranormal Analysis

qi gongSince 2004, the New England Center for the Advancement of Paranormal Studies (NECAPS) has been  involved with a multitude of studies including: Phonetic Pattern Calculations in Electronic Voice Phenomena, Electro-magnetic Transference, Electromagnetic Effects on Human Perceptions, Exploring Claims of Psychic Abilities, Understanding Human Misperceptions as well as claims of paranormal activity and human abilities.

As investigators with the New England Center for the Advancement of Paranormal Science (NECAPS), we are often contacted by individuals who would like a location investigated for paranormal activity. We approach self-proclaimed “psychics” and request their participation with our testing of their “abilities, but not surprisingly, none have elected to to be tested – to date. Imagine our excitement when we were contacted in late 2013 by an individual who claimed to have the power to transfer his energy to another human being.

“Fei” a 31 year old student from China studying in Boston, Massachusetts was eager to have his “power” tested and was willing to undergo any amount of examination and scrutiny. He wanted testing performed to both validate his claims of “Qi” energy transference and to determine if he possesses the ability to “heal”, or reduce pain symptoms in another person.

Qi, or biomagnetism, is thought to be a bioelectric current, or life energy field, measured in biophotons running through our nerves which send signals back and forth to our brains.

After researching similar claims of “energy healing”, we determined that Qigong, purportedly an energy flow one uses through non-contact to guide their body’s energy force into the body of another person, is the closest “energy transference” practice as that of Fei.

On November 16, 2013, we had our second meeting with Fei and we interviewed him further.  we also performed a series of energy flow experiments with him on that day. In an effort to prevent a placebo effect, several systems were put into place to lower the possibility of bias in the results.

We used a variety of equipment to measure EEG (electroencephalogram), respiratory rate, heart rate, galvanic skin response and blood pressure on three test volunteers. Additionally, we used blindfolds, ear plugs, thermal photography, a video camera and a control subject . Each of the three blindfolded and soundproofed volunteers had baseline readings performed before, during and after each test. There was a noticeable change concerning the galvanic skin response and thermal photos in two of the three test subjects. Skin conductivity decreased from 320KOhms to 440KOhms and the series of thermal photos appear to show a different heat response between Fei, Michael (the Control Subject), as well as two of the three volunteers.

Reports of feeling “tingling”, “static” and “heaviness” in the hand and fingertips were the most common descriptive terms used to describe the sensation during this non-skin contact testing from the two test volunteers..

There were periods of not feeling anything, including when Michael, our Control Subject, mimicked what Fei was doing. Also reported was a slight residual tingling sensation that continued for approximately 30 minutes after the testing was completed.

Upon the conclusion of the testing, thermal imaging photographic evidence was reviewed and a preliminary analysis seems to corroborate the instances that a sensation was felt during the instances that Fei was conducting his “energy transference”. The thermal images of his hands and the test subject’s hands before, during and after the sessions showed this correlation. These pictures appear to show that two of the test subject’s hands were cool, then got hotter when Fei conducted his energy transference, then got cooler after he was done, and stayed cooler when Michael did his placebo energy transference. Also interesting to note is that the third test subject felt nothing and her hands thermal images did not change during or after both Fei’s testing and Michael our Control Subject’s testing.

Though this November trial showed changes in skin conductivity and heat response, no definitive conclusions could yet be reached.

Meta-analysis shows that evidence for the effectiveness of external qigong is encouraging, though further studies are warranted due to the small number of studies and participants involved which precluded any firm conclusions about the specific effects of qigong on pain.

In addition, vast amounts of quantitative data, as well as qualitative data collected on studies demonstrate impressive effects of this life energy in: accelerating bone repair, controlling seizures, stimulating nerve regeneration, suppressing inflammation and promoting healing of wounds, and elimination of infections, warts, tumors, lesions, and other diseased tissue.

Another session is being scheduled to carry out a stricter experiment where we intend on testing Fei’s ability to detect pain areas on test subjects as well as testing Fei’s claims of his healing abilities.