11/29/15

Visions and Voices – Paranormal or Psychotic?

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by Michael J. Baker

A belief in the existence of paranormal phenomena is quite common these days. It’s certainly not difficult to find television shows, movies or books touting some sort of paranormal theme nor is it hard to find alleged witnesses to these strange  occurrences. However some paranormal beliefs share a distinct similarity to symptoms of psychosis. For example, mediumistic communication with the dead is starkly similar to hallucinatory symptoms found in patients with acute Schizophrenia. For those experiencing this psychosis, communication with beings not seen by their peers  can be a common occurrence. These beings can appear as one personality or many. They may appear intermittently or continuous. They may manifest as a constant whispering or they may converse directly. All of these traits have not only been historically described by patients suffering from Schizophrenia, but also by mediums in their descriptions of their esoteric communications. This begs the question; Are paranormal witnesses simply suffering from some form of psychosis? or is there an element that adequately differentiates the mediumistic experience from the psychotic?

In the public eye, religious or non religious, there seems to be a greater tendency  to process fortean claims without an implied psychological label. A larger segment of the population  in general has historically been more accepting of astonishing claims when presented in a spiritual context as opposed to secular. But why?  What separates the hallucination and delusions of a psychotic experience from the visions and experiences that are described by those claiming to witness paranormal phenomena; and are the two related?

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry suggested that paranormal believers may not only have cognitive biases similar to those observed in psychotic patients but also problems related to thinking clarity (Lawrence & Peters, 2004; Yorulmaz, Inozu, & Gültepe, 2011). Reasoning abnormalities appear to play a causal role in the formation of unusual beliefs. Additionally cognitive bias, which is our tendency to deviate from rational thinking in support of our beliefs, may represent soft signs of a neurological defect known as the schizoid taxon (Meehl, 1962, 1989) and those biases may in-fact be preliminary indicators of a psychotic risk.  While these findings may outwardly suggest that a paranormal experience is an early indicator of a potential psychosis it should be noted that some authors are suggesting that the mere presence of paranormal belief should not be considered a reliable indicator. In other words, having a paranormal experience doesn’t “necessarily” imply an underlying psychosis.

Dr. J.T. Wigman from the Department of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at the University of Utrecht, believes that claims of paranormal experiences are typically associated with much lower levels of psychological distress and may be independent of psychosis. (Wigman et al., 2011)   He suggests that a possible way to improve the predictive value of unusual beliefs and experiences for psychosis risk may involve the consideration of associated cognitive features, idiosyncratic thinking styles, the role of belief appraisal, and the associated distress  (Cella, Cooper, Dymond, & Reed, 2008; Garety & Hemsley, 1994; Preti & Cella, 2010 a).

While a definitive causal link between psychosis and claims of paranormal phenomena may remain elusive it’s important to understand that the sources of anomalous phenomena may still potentially be psychological in nature.  Numerous cognitive biases can have adverse effects on how the human mind processes experiences and these “thinking errors” can prevent individuals from accurately understanding reality even when presented with sufficient data and evidence to form an accurate view. Various mood disorders and medications can also affect our interpretation of the outside world and unfortunately, just knowing about these obstacles doesn’t necessarily free us from their effects.

Sources

Lawrence, E., & Peters, E. R. (2004). Reasoning in believers in the paranormal. Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, 192, 727 e 733

Yorulmaz, O., Inozu, M., & Gültepe, B. (2011). The role of magical thinking in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder symptoms and cognitions in an analogue sample. Journal of Behavioural Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 42,198 e 203

Meehl, P. E. (1962). Schizotaxia, schizotypy, schizophrenia. American Psychologist, 17, 827 e 838.

Wigman, J. T., Vollebergh, W. A., Raaijmakers, Q. A., Iedema, J., van Dorsselaer, S., Ormel, J., et al. (2011). The structure of the extended psychosis phenotype in early adolescence d A cross-sample replication.

Schizophrenia Bullettin, 37, 850 e 860

Cella, M., Cooper, A., Dymond, S. O., & Reed, P. (2008). The relationship between dysphoria and proneness to hallucination and delusions among young adults. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 49,544 e 550

Garety, P. A., & Hemsley, D. R. (1994). Delusions: Investigations into the psychology of delusional reasoning. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Preti, A., & Cella, M. (2010b). Randomized controlled trials in people at ultra high risk of psychosis: a review of treatment effectiveness. Schizophrenia Research, 123,30 e 36

(n.d.). Symptoms of schizophrenia. Retrieved from Living with Schizophrenia website:http://www.livingwithschizophreniauk.org/symptoms-of-schizophrenia/

04/15/15

Red Flags in Paranormal Research – Beware of Bad Information

There is an overwhelming wave of dishonesty in the paranormal research community. It seems every other week there is someone new called out on fraudulent claims. Of course this isn’t anything new, but is it any surprise? For decades, the majority of proponents for paranormal research have blindly accepted whatever stories they’re told. Provided of course it aligns with their beliefs or comes from any one of the dozens of network generated heroes that fill the reality TV roster.

The lacking demand for facts and the unwillingness of many researchers to show their work has created a safe haven for frauds, liars and thieves. A world where anyone with social media skills and a little time can transform themselves into a pseudo-celebrity for fun and profit and shine in a world of people all hungry for the next big thing in paranormal research. Oh the drama! It’s a gloomy picture and of course, this doesn’t describe everyone. There are certainly reputable researchers out there, but this unsettling condition does make it difficult for those honest truth seekers to find reliable information. It is with that sentiment in mind that I have identified four red – flags which I use (and may help you) when reviewing the research and claims of others.

You should be cautious if…

 

1. Information is based on books, television or word of mouth.

 

The most reliable sources of information come from peer reviewed case studies. Independent verification of a concept from multiple independent people is your best chance at securing factual information to support your hypothesis. If a study that supports your hypothesis isn’t peer reviewed, try to replicate the results of the study yourself. Conduct experiments and document your findings for the review of others. After all this is supposed to be research right? Otherwise, be honest and divulge that your source has not yet been reviewed.

There is no shame in being honest. Books, television and word of mouth sources are often loaded with opinions and false perspectives from people who gathered their information in the same “non-reviewed” fashion. It’s a cozy place for liars to hide. If a book references a peer reviewed study as a source, locate the source and find your information there, not from the book. Some authors (not all) have a tendency to embellish, mistake or outright lie in summarizations in order to sell the agenda of the book and will often not mention other important details that can only be found in the case study that supplied the information.  Those details just may change the direction of your original hypothesis.

2. The explanation of a claim or concept requires a leap in logic or should be taken on faith alone.

 

For many people the existence of the line drawn between the presentation of fact and the presentation of opinion is highly erratic. Be cautious of people who inject unsubstantiated conclusions or claims into what might otherwise be a factual recant of an event.

For example, several years ago, at a local lecture of a well-known researcher the lights in the aging (allegedly haunted) lecture hall started to flicker. The presenter then made a statement:

Did you just see the lights flicker? Flickering lights can be a common occurrence at a haunted location. Sometimes the spirits like to mess with us just to let us know they’re here.”

This sentence requires not only a leap in logic but a jump to the conclusion that “spirits” factually exist and that they interact with the lights for the purpose of messing with us.  When I pressed for an information source for this particular claim, I was asked to leave the lecture by the event facilitators. Apparently I was heckling.

The fact is there is no data or information (yet) that can support such a claim. Even if lights do flicker at alleged haunted locations, there is no research currently available to support the claim of a spirit existence let alone their intentions. These concepts are beliefs and a belief is simply an “acceptance” that a statement is true or that something exists. It requires no empirical evidence or data to support it. It serves no purpose in the search for demonstrable facts and any researcher that utilizes belief in their research is pseudo-scientific in their approach (no matter how much electronic technology they use). The injection of belief acts as a loose cannon in their claims and their findings are often no better than a simple opinion, so be careful.

3. Sources of information are not given freely or are not known.

 

If valid information was obtained to form a concept or a claim it should be made readily available for review with the presentation of that claim or concept.  A good, honest researcher will show their work (and not just opinions) to anyone who asks for it and allow them to attempt to come to a similar conclusion. If information is withheld then there is cause for suspicion about the validity of the claim.

By pressing for a source you can often separate the real researchers from the posers.  If the person presenting the claim becomes evasive or aggressive when asked for elaboration this could be a significant red flag they have something to hide (or nothing to tell). The purpose of lecture and publication is to educate and evaluate for the purpose of validation (all important in making any new discovery).  Answering questions and supplying sources should be expected, unless of course there are other motives.

Reputable, planned lectures should come with a list of information sources that support the subject matter being presented.  Additionally there should be a distinct declaration of fact as opposed to opinion in any presentation and if a question can’t be answered, a simple “I don’t know” is a valid, honest response. Similarly, written claims should also have sources cited. Those that don’t should be taken with healthy dose of skepticism.

4. Credentials are used to justify the validity findings

 

It’s been heard a hundred times: “I’ve been doing this for 40 years, I know what I’m talking about”. The problem is a 40 year history of doing things wrong is the negative equivalent of a 40 year history of doing things right. The duration of time in research is only valuable when progress is being made and/or contributions to the cause are verified through peer review.

Education is important, however learning from a friend or relative does NOT qualify as valid credentials, nor does an education from a television or a book series. The lack of an education (college or otherwise) will often become self-evident under scrutiny of the information presented. The more you dig the more you will know. A researcher who tries to justify their claims solely on their history of non-published/reviewed research and undocumented experiences should not be considered a reputable.

Question everything

 

I guess the moral of the story here is simply let the research speak for itself. There are no heroes in paranormal research, nor are there legends. Demonstrable evidence has yet to be found or presented by those who have claimed to find it. So if you want the truth, follow the research, not the researcher and demand the facts before buying the claim.  The overwhelming presence of liars, fakes and unsubstantiated claims in paranormal research is made possible by the failure of people to question what they are told.  Let’s make a change…. Question everything.

04/8/15

Radio Head – Can we “hear” radio transmissions?

 

Just over two years ago my sister told me that she had been hearing what sounded like a muffled radio playing at night when she was in bed. She said it sounded like a radio playing behind a wall. Sometimes playing music and sometimes just talk. The sound was muffled enough that she couldn’t quite make out the words, and the music was not recognizable. Try as she might, she never could find the source. My father who lived with her at the time also heard the mysterious radio in his apartment, but neither of them could find it. She questioned whether the source might be paranormal in nature and asked me to give it some thought.

Interested in this claim I started doing some research. I located a radio broadcast tower just 5 miles from her house. It was an AM broadcast station broadcasting at 770 MHz. Interestingly, it was christian broadcast station that had talk shows and played music. I had my sister tune a radio near her bed to 770 AM and instructed her to turn the radio on when she heard the mystery radio and see if the sounds matched. They did. She didn’t recognize the music because she’s not familiar with christian music and the talk show schedule coincided with her experience of hearing talking. It was an amazing find. I was curious to see if any other people were experiencing this strange phenomena. Doing an internet search I found many forums with people describing the same experience as my sister. It seemed to be a common phenomena.

Later that same year, I put out a call for people who were experiencing these mysterious radio broadcasts. 25 people responded and to my amazement I was able to tie the majority of the reports to radio towers near their homes. All within 15 miles or less. All AM towers, mostly lower band frequencies. This was truly a phenomena, but I simply couldn’t find anyone who was researching it. I was baffled. How could something so strange exist, affecting what I believe to be thousands of people and no body is researching a cause?

Well in the months that followed I gathered more claims of people experiencing the mysterious radio syndrome, but could only guess at how it could be concurring. My initial thought was that the human brain must be able to detect radio frequencies and transferring them to the auditory system, but that was just a guess. Then last night, in the middle of my endless scouring of published research papers, I found a paper published in 1982 by Chung-Kwang Chou, Arthur W. Guy and Robert Galambos.

They were conducting research to explain the claims of radar workers (since World War II) that they were able to “hear” the microwaves emitted by the radar. What they found was amazing and fully supported the research I had done to date. According to the paper:

” Microwave hearing is most easily explained by the mechanism of thermoelastic expansion, i.e., absorption of microwave energy produces nonuniform heating of the exposed head; a thermoelastic wave of pressure is then launched, presumably through bone conduction, to the cochlea where it is detected. After auditory-nerve excitation in the high-frequency portion of the cochlea, transmission of the microwave-induced neural response follows the same auditory pathways as do all of the .acoustically induced responses through the brainstem and thalamus to the auditory cortex. ”

In other words, through a form of heated expansion the radio waves are absorbed through the bone in the skull and is audibly detected by the cochlea (the spiral cavity of the inner ear containing the organ of Corti, which produces nerve impulses in response to sound vibrations.) and wa la! people are hearing a radio broadcast. The idea is similar to hearing through vibration, and the result would be, as in the many claims, muffled sound not easily to discern.

I know not many people would be excited by finding a paper like this, but for me it was a validating experience and it feels good to know I was on the right track all this time. Here is the paper I discovered (for those interested)

 

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10/27/14

Paranormal Illusions – Reality Check

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The image above appears to be moving, but you know it isn’t. It’s a trick of the brain called the peripheral drift illusion. Many people have seen this and have no problem accepting that the image isn’t really moving.

The image below is caused by the same peripheral shifting of the brain and makes it appear as though the white dots are changing into black dots randomly between the corners of each of the squares. Of course you know they aren’t.

mind-trick-magic-dots

It’s not hard to identify images like these as illusions and accept that our brain isn’t perfect and has truly been fooled – even when we are consciously aware that is not real.  The sites that display images such as these openly profess they are illusions.  Yet we can’t stop our brain from seeing the wrong thing.

If we can accept the fallibility of our brain regarding these images, why then is it so hard to accept that our brain can be wrong in so many other instances such as hearing words in random background noise or faces in window reflections?  The effect of “paraedolic” anthropomorphism has been demonstrated and proven time and time again.  But yet, there are so many people who adamantly insist that what they are seeing or hearing is real…not an illusion.  They insist their mind could not be the culprit behind the anomalies that present themselves in such mundane and non-informative ways.

The reason for this adamant denial is sourced from yet another psychological effect called cognitive bias.  Our brains tendency to “assemble” information that aligns with our desires or beliefs and any idea or bit of information that doesn’t align is sharply rejected.  Often to the point of irrational anger.

As humans (living animals) we rely on our senses and brain for all of our knowledge and experiences. It was our perceptions and critical thinking process that allowed us to speak and understand. It taught us to walk and eat and fend for ourselves. We have no choice but to trust the validity of our own mind and senses… especially when it regards something near and dear to our heart or something into which we have staunchly invested our interest.  Let’s face it, our brain is our only interface to the outside world. It’s not a pleasant experience to conceive its fallible nature.

That being said, it only stands to reason that when a concept or opinion is presented that challenges not only our mind but our beliefs and wants as well (regardless of how logical it may seem), the default reaction is a sharp and swift dismissal.  Be careful. While the cause of a stubborn, non-objective opinion in response to seemingly anomalous phenomena may seem a natural condition of our psyche, it is dangerous to our growth as an intelligent race.  Every “patriotic” defense of an unsubstantiated perspective is a truth left undiscovered and a hindrance of progress.

Next time you see a face in a window reflection or hear your name being called in the heavy background noise of a poor recording, just stop and think for a moment. What seems more likely? That your easily fooled brain has done it again or some mysterious inter-dimensional being is trying to communicate with you through a bad photograph or poor recording

 

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10/12/14

Connors Farm Investigation

Video credit by: Casey Driscoll/ CDspotlight.com

I was contacted on July 24, 2014 by Alexis (a Connors farm employee) who was seeking an investigation of the property at which she works (30 Valley Rd. in Danvers Massachusetts – Connors Farm). Alexis claimed that several employees have had uneasy feelings in various areas of the property and she has experienced, on at least on occasion, the turning off of a power generator located behind the corn field on the South East end of the property. She claimed that following the event she experienced a strong feelings of scopaesthesia and a fight or flight feeling that caused her to exit the area as quickly as possible. Other mentions include children’s laughter late at night and a strange feeling of foreboding present around the mechanical irrigation pump.

The property houses nearly 140 acres of land and was an active settlement and farm for over 300 years. Allegedly a deceased human male was found at one are in the northern corner of the property. The individual apparently died from suicide, although not much is known about the death and records of the event could not be located. The property also contains a cemetery strewn with unmarked graves and a decaying wooden fence. Employees have noted a sense of fear surrounding this area and the origin or age of the cemetery is unknown. Some believe it was native American in nature, and may also have been used all the way through early half of the 20th century. An old farm house that is built on the property (which now functions as a school) is claimed to have large amounts of Paranormal activity including, but not limited to visions of apparitions, sounds and moving objects. This portion of the property is off limits during this investigation however.

After sitting with the Connors Farm team for a quick reiteration of the activity concerns and an explanation of our investigative process we gathered our equipment and began our investigation. The sheer size of the location was a concern since we only had a fixed amount of equipment, investigators and time. Not to mention that outdoor locations are traditionally difficult to investigate due to sound contamination, varying light levels and the interference of people/animals. With this in mind we decided to focus specifically on the areas that were identified as a concern during our initial interview. The corn field, the irrigation pump, the School area and cemetery.

Since non-contaminated sound samples are nearly impossible to record outdoors we decided to focus on energy measurements (EMF) and video. For energy measurement we would use several EMVP coils designed to detect a broad range of frequencies within the electromagnetic spectrum (.01 to 10,000Hz). EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) has been demonstrated to record well within the frequency limits of this equipment. For this investigation we used several coil designs including multiple solenoid coils of varying sizes and one concentric circle (disk coil) designed for lower 60 cycle hum detection.

Our initial sweep was on the South East end of the property just behind the corn field. It was here that Alexis (one of the Farm’s employees) experienced the power failure and symptoms of  scopaesthesia. Using three solenoid coils we began sweeping for power sources. Our hope was to confirm or eliminate the possibility of a potential power source capable of triggering electro-magnetic hypersensitivity. EMF concentrations could be a possible explanation for the mechanical failures and strange feelings that have occurred here.

We soon discovered that this area of the field contained no adverse emanations of EMF capable of causing the claims. It should be noted that this area is also the approximate location that Alexis claimed to hear children’s laughter late at night and while the area does seem remote, one of our investigators did notice children playing at a nearby home. Of course this doesn’t conclusively dismiss the voices, but it does offer a possible explanation. The energy emissions being captured at this time were fairly quiet. Distant power line noise was present, although minute and certainly not strong enough to contribute to any form of temporal reaction/mechanical failures. A crackling sound was heard and attributed to air ion discharges against the coil.

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Initially everything was quiet and non-eventful. However, during an energy sweep along the back area of the corn field, I had heard what I assumed to be a tapping sound being picked up from the largest solenoid. It seemed rhythmic and hard to identify, but I soon realized that the quality of the headphones I was using prevented me from making a valid initial judgment about what it actually was. I moved the coil in different positions to try and get a better lock on the anomaly, but the sound just seemed to dissipate, so I moved it back into the original position and the sound resumed. The occurrence lasted only about 20 seconds. Because it was such a stark anomaly from the other readings I decided to play back the audio and let the team review as well.

 

We were astonished to hear what sounded like native drums. Everyone agreed. The sound was very similar to a natural skin drum head being hit in succession. Excited by the find we tried to replicate the results but were unsuccessful.

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The “Drum” sounds pictured in spectrograph format above were truly an unusual anomaly. We have calculated that the tempo of the beat is 122 bmp (Beats per minute) and the overall audio amplitude of the original recording was just under 4Db. The average frequency analysis of the sample (shown below) showed 59.91Hz. This frequency is a standard “power hum” frequency typically picked up from power lines. Because the sample was so low in volume the power lines (shown as purple horizontal lines above) over-powered the average. It should be noted that there were no power lines in the immediate area of recording. The nearest transit lines were approximately 200 yards away, however, due to the high sensitivity of the equipment, our sample was still ultimately contaminated (although scarcely).

The spectrum analysis (shown above) confirms the recording is within the appropriate frequency range of a large native drum and shows signs of echo dissipation with each beat. Additionally, there are signs of a second set of drum hits not easily seen or heard in our recording. This indicates that either there was a second drum which didn’t quite record or the beat was truly faster than we counted (perhaps double speed)

After sending this file to several individuals familiar with native drumming it is suggested that the drum pattern (as it appears) is ceremonial in nature, however, many have pointed out that it is peculiar for the sound to be lacking a singer or singers (something that traditionally accompanies Native American Drums). It should be noted that if the sample is indeed a faster tempo than believed, the drum meaning may take on a more war like intention. There is also the possibility that these drums were intended for communications. Communication with drums over great distances was also a common practice of Native Tribes.

Some research was done to identify the possible native tribes that once inhabited this properties. While not much information was available to pin point a specific sects or individuals, we did determine that primitive inhabitants of this land were likely part of the Massachusett or Wampanoag Indians. They were the predominant tribes inhabiting

Since the direction of our Indian drum recent find was pointing in a North Western direction it was determined that the sound may have emanated from either the Cemetery/Cornfield or the marsh which was directly behind us. Since we were unable to investigate the Marsh, our next location was the cemetery.

When we arrived at the cemetery we once again took sample energy readings. The area was quiet with the exception of ION activity emanating within a higher frequency range. At this location we conducted an EVP session led by or researcher “Laura”. We recorded audio and EMF for the entire session. While Laura was asking questions, Alexis claimed to feel a sensation of being touched on her left shoulder. No sensations were noted by any of the other 8 people there but at this time I recorded an increase in ION discharges that seemed to emanate from same direction of Alexis’ encounter. The significance/source of the ION increase and touching sensation was unknown. With no other notable experiences we made marked the file for analysis and continued on.

The last areas of investigation was the irrigation pump and the Farm house (School) areas. Similar investigation methods were applied here but no notable experiences were recorded with the exception of a light headed feeling from one of our researchers.  The equipment was then packed up and the investigation concluded.

In the weeks that followed there was a significant increase in activity claims. One of the farm owners brothers (who lives on the edge of the property) claimed that he and his wife were woken at 3:00AM by the sound of native drums. Several employees of the farm claimed to have been touched or overcome by extreme feelings of nausea, light headedness  or fear.  As part of their annual Halloween festivities the Connors Farm, they opened up the cemetery to public tours and employed two people to bring groups the abandoned burial ground.

On September 26th, 2014 the first Cemetery tours were given. Both tour guides had experiences that would subsequently cause them to resign. One guide “Colleen” claimed that a music box (which she brought and opened at the cemetery) slammed shut and leaped off of the headstone. That evening when Colleen returned home allegedly the pots and pans in her kitchen would rattle by themselves throughout the night. Colleen quit her job the next day.  The second tour guide also made claims of being touched and due to excessive fear the management at Connors farm decided to replace them both.  It was then they called in Para~Boston to conduct the tours. We welcomed the opportunity.

We saw this as a research opportunity and so each night of tours we would leave equipment in the cemetery hoping to gather additional data to help explain some of the unusual feelings and experiences. We also noted the claims by the visitors to the cemetery.  Without telling them the specifics related to the experiences of others we asked them to point out the areas they felt produced unusual experiences for them. Our findings so far (investigation is still underway) are very interesting. Out of a group of nearly 110 tourists, 19 thus far have had experiences ranging from being severely lightheaded and nauseous to being grabbed, touched, poked and even scratched. Our data from these tours has yet to be analyzed and there are still many tours to complete before we can process the data completely, but please check back for future updates to this blog as more information becomes available.

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.

07/25/14

Can DNA Teleport Itself using Electro-Magnetic Fields?

A Nobel prizewinner is reporting that DNA can be generated from its teleported “quantum imprint” A STORM of skepticism has greeted experimental results emerging from the lab of a Nobel laureate which, if confirmed, would shake the foundations of several fields of science. “If the results are correct,” says theoretical chemist Jeff Reimers of the University of Sydney, Australia, “these would be the most significant experiments performed in the past 90 years, demanding re-evaluation of the whole conceptual framework of modern chemistry.”

Luc Montagnier, who shared the Nobel prize for medicine in 2008 for his part in establishing that HIV causes AIDS, says he has evidence that DNA can send spooky electromagnetic imprints of itself into distant cells and fluids. If that wasn’t heretical enough, he also suggests that enzymes can mistake the ghostly imprints for real DNA, and faithfully copy them to produce the real thing. In effect this would amount to a kind of quantum teleportation (“Teleportation, But not as We Know it“) of the DNA.
Many researchers contacted for comment by New Scientist reacted with disbelief. Gary Schuster, who studies DNA conductance effects at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, compared it to “pathological science”. Jacqueline Barton, who does similar work at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, was equally skeptical.”There aren’t a lot of data given, and I don’t buy the explanation,” she says.

One blogger has suggested Montagnier should be awarded an IgNobel prize. Yet the results can’t be dismissed out of hand. “The experimental methods used appear comprehensive,” says Reimers.

So what have Montagnier and his team actually found?

Full details of the experiments are not yet available, but the basic set-up is as follows. Two adjacent but physically separate test tubes were placed within a copper coil and subjected to a very weak extremely low frequency electromagnetic field of 7 hertz. The apparatus was isolated from Earth’s natural magnetic field to stop it interfering with the experiment.

One tube contained a fragment of DNA around 100 bases long; the second tube contained pure water. After 16 to 18 hours, both samples were independently subjected to the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a method routinely used to amplify traces of DNA by using enzymes to make many copies of the original material. The gene fragment was apparently recovered from both tubes, even though one should have contained just water (see below diagram).

DNA was only recovered if the original solution of DNA – whose concentration has not been revealed – had been subjected to several dilution cycles before being placed in the magnetic field. In each cycle it was diluted 10-fold, and “ghost” DNA was only recovered after between seven and 12 dilutions of the original. It was not found at the ultra-high dilutions used in homeopathy.

Physicists in Montagnier’s team suggest that DNA emits low-frequency electromagnetic waves which imprint the structure of the molecule onto the water. This structure, they claim, is preserved and amplified through quantum coherence effects, and because it mimics the shape of the original DNA, the enzymes in the PCR process mistake it for DNA itself, and somehow use it as a template to make DNA matching that which “sent” the signal (DNA Waves and Water). “The biological experiments do seem intriguing, and I wouldn’t dismiss them,” says Greg Scholes of the University of Toronto in Canada, who last year demonstrated that quantum effects occur in plants.

Yet according to Klaus Gerwert, who studies interactions between water and biomolecules at the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, “It is hard to understand how the information can be stored within water over a timescale longer than picoseconds.”

“The structure would be destroyed instantly,” agrees Felix Franks, a retired academic chemist in London who has studied water for many years.

Franks was involved as a peer reviewer in the debunking of a controversial study in 1988 which claimed that water had a memory (see far below “How ‘ghost molecules’ were exorcised”).”Water has no ‘memory’,” he says now. “You can’t make an imprint in it and recover it later.”

Despite the skepticism over Montagnier’s explanation, the consensus was that the results deserve to be investigated further. Montagnier’s colleague, theoretical physicist Giuseppe Vitiello of the University of Salerno in Italy, is confident that the result is reliable. “I would exclude that it’s contamination,” he says. “It’s very important that other groups repeat it.”

In a paper last year (Interdisciplinary Sciences: Computational Life Sciences, DOI: 10.1007/s12539-009-0036-7), Montagnier described how he discovered the apparent ability of DNA fragments and entire bacteria both to produce weak electromagnetic fields and to “regenerate” themselves in previously uninfected cells.

Montagnier strained a solution of the bacterium Mycoplasma pirum through a filter with pores small enough to prevent the bacteria penetrating. The filtered water emitted the same frequency of electromagnetic signal as the bacteria themselves.

He says he has evidence that many species of bacteria and many viruses give out the electromagnetic signals, as do some diseased human cells. Montagnier says that the full details of his latest experiments will not be disclosed until the paper is accepted for publication. “Surely you are aware that investigators do not reveal the detailed content of their experimental work before its first appearance in peer-reviewed journals,” he says.

The latest findings by Luc Montagnier evoke long-discredited work by the French researcher Jacques Benveniste.

In a paper in Nature (vol 333, p 816) in 1988 he claimed to show that water had a “memory“, and that the activity of human antibodies was retained in solutions so dilute that they couldn’t possibly contain any antibody molecules (New Scientist, 14 July 1988, p 39).

Faced with widespread skepticism over the paper, including from the chemist Felix Franks who had advised against publication, Nature recruited magician James Randiand chemist and “fraudbuster” Walter Stewart of the US National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, to investigate Benveniste’s methods.

They found his result to be “a delusion”, based on a flawed design.

In 1991, Benveniste repeated his experiment under double-blind conditions, but not to the satisfaction of referees at Nature and Science. Two years later came the final indignity when he was suspended for damaging the image of his institute. He died in October 2004.

That’s not to say that quantum effects must be absent from biological systems. Quantum effects have been proposed in both plants and birds.

Montagnier and his colleagues are hoping that their paper won’t suffer the same fate as Benveniste’s.

 

Special thanks to http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net for this amazing information.

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:

06/28/14

Why People Believe Weird Things

Why do people see the Virgin Mary on a cheese sandwich or hear demonic lyrics in “Stairway to Heaven”? Using video and music, skeptic Michael Shermer shows how we convince ourselves to believe — and overlook the facts. Michael Shermer debunks myths, superstitions and urban legends — and explains why we believe them. Along with publishing Skeptic Magazine, he’s author of Why People Believe Weird Things and The Mind of the Market.

Here he gives (what I think) is a great presentation on why people believe strange things.  Our minds are truly the center of our experiences. Understanding our own behavior and fallibility will help us understand what’s real. We can also learn how not to contaminate our own memories and experience.  The real search begins inside. Understand yourself and your world before trying to understand an experience that is so far out of the ordinary. You may be surprised.

 

06/26/14

The Science of EVP

Picture1t

Much of the research work I do involves the study and analysis of electronic voice phenomena (EVP). Mainly because I feel that this evidence presents the strongest case for the existence of paranormal activity. During my years of research, there has been a recurring discussion among the members of my field and that discussion deals with the process in which an “EVP” is created. In other words, what is actually happening in the environment to get that mysterious voice into the recorder, unheard?

During my filming of “14 Degrees” I interviewed many people on the subject and it seemed everyone had a different theory. Some believe the sound is imprinted directly on the media, some believe they are subconscious telepathic communications either created by the people in the room or the “spirits” themselves. Others believe it’s simply stray commercial or private radio waves affecting the recorder, or even hallucinations caused by Pareidolia or apophenia. Being a man of reason and science I couldn’t freely accept any of those responses for use in my research. There were too many flaws in each claim and it seemed each needed to be accepted with a certain amount of faith …and that’s not how I work.

I needed something repeatable that affected just about any recorder used, something that created a recording with perfect fidelity, but couldn’t be heard by anyone in the room. So I went through the process of elimination. EVP’s have been recorded for decades. They have been captured on multiple recording formats, reel to reel, cassette, and now digital. Having worked with electronics (and sound) for years, I knew that the process of recording sound on a digital recorder was much different than the oxide coated magnetic tape. So therefore it was very unlikely the phenomena would be affecting both types of media.

Then it occurred to me that the only part of a recorder that has changed little over the years (at least in principle) is the microphone. That is where I needed to look. There are three types of microphones used in recorders, dynamic microphones which use magnets and induction, Condenser microphones which use electrical charges and electret condenser microphones which use power, but react to changes in electric fields in the element.

I then needed to find some form of natural energy that would affect all three microphone types and still travel in complex waves like audio. The answer was simple… electro-magnetic energy. Electro-magnetic waves can travel in the exact same frequency ranges as our voice, but yet remain unheard by the human ear. It sounded perfect. All I needed to do now was see if they could affect the microphones in the way I wanted.

Having built guitars for many years I had a bunch of magnetic guitar pickups in my basement. I figured I would pump a sound source through it and see if I could pick up the sound on the microphones. It worked slightly, but only on the dynamic microphone. I noticed the sound wasn’t very loud so I figured I needed more power. I hooked up the pick up to a louder amplifier and tried again. This time I heard a louder sound on the dynamic microphone and a very slight sound on the electret microphone. I knew I was on the right track.

So now I examined the problem from an electronic engineer’s point of view. I knew that maximum power transfer occurs when input and output impedance match. The guitar pickup I was using was 7500 ohms and the output of the amp was only 8 ohms…quite a discrepancy. Therefore, I needed a wire coil that was 8ohms. Immediately the word “speaker” popped in my head, but I couldn’t use a full speaker since those were designed for “audio” and an audio response wasn’t what I needed. I needed just an electro-magnetic response. So I built two speaker voice coils. (Those are essentially the speaker without the paper cone and magnet.) It’s a specific amount of windings of coated copper wire around a cardboard tube. These windings will give the coil an 8 ohm impedance and a perfect power match for my amplifier.

When the coils were done I built a housing chassis and PVC tubing to hold the coils and run the wire to the amplifier. When all that was done it was time see if it would work. I plugged everything in and presto! Perfect fidelity of sound transfer though the air, unheard by the people in the room….just like an EVP. The device affected all three types of microphones. It was loudest on the dynamic mic, lower on the electret mic and lowest on the condenser. A scenario which matches the claims of EVP investigators in the field.

I now knew how these phenomena reached the recorder and could repeat it on demand. However, I also realized how much power was needed to accomplish this. I could only move the sound 5 or 6 inches with a 150 Watt amplifier. A 400 Watt Amp gave me a distance of about a foot to the mic.

Although I knew the physical method of these mysterious recordings, I still didn’t know the natural source of them in the field. It seems impossible for any man made source to be responsible for the thousands of recordings each year. The power consumption would be far too great. It is my hypothesis that the source of these voices are local and in the room with the recorder at the time of capture. This hypothesis agrees with my observations in the field, where one recorder would capture a fairly loud EVP and another recorder just several feet away, at the same time would not. This behavior to me is indeed paranormal and requires further research to better understand it.

I’m also inclined to think that this discovery may in some way tie into the many unexplained electromagnetic field spikes that occur during an investigation. Since the waves produced by the coils trigger an EMF spike as high at 20 mg and last only the length of the word or sound, my hypothesis is that perhaps unusual EMF spikes are simply uncaptured EVP communications. Of course further research is needed to better understand or verify this possibility.

The device I’ve created now plays a part in my field work where I conduct experiments using it as a communication device rather than a demonstration of principle. The idea here is simple. If alleged beings speak using complex waves of electro-magnetic frequencies, perhaps they can hear that way as well. Therefore I bring this device to the subject locations and attempt to communicate by speaking through it. Research is ongoing.

 

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?!

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!

04/22/14

The Old Hag Strikes !

” The Old Hag Syndrome” is something we’re hearing a lot about lately. I’m not saying that its not paranormal, but from our experience it seems to be sleep paralysis. The following is an excerpt from an article I read on WEB MD’s website:

“What is Sleep Paralysis:

Sleep researchers conclude that, in most cases, sleep paralysis is simply a sign that your body is not moving smoothly through the stages of sleep. Rarely is sleep paralysis linked to deep underlying psychiatric problems. Over the centuries, symptoms of sleep paralysis have been described in many ways and often attributed to an “evil” presence: unseen night demons in ancient times, the old hag in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and alien abductors. Almost every culture throughout history has had stories of shadowy evil creatures that terrify helpless humans at night. People have long sought explanations for this mysterious sleep-time paralysis and the accompanying feelings of terror.”
“Sleep paralysis is a feeling of being conscious but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. During these transitions, you may be unable to move or speak for a few seconds up to a few minutes. Some people may also feel pressure or a sense of choking. Sleep paralysis may accompany other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is an overpowering need to sleep caused by a problem with the brain’s ability to regulate sleep. Sleep paralysis usually occurs at one of two times. If it occurs while you are falling asleep, it’s called hypnagogic or predormital sleep paralysis. If it happens as you are waking up, it’s called hypnopompic or postdormital sleep paralysis.As you fall asleep, your body slowly relaxes. Usually you become less aware, so you do not notice the change. However, if you remain or become aware while falling asleep, you may notice that you cannot move or speak.During sleep, your body alternates between REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep. One cycle of REM and NREM sleep lasts about 90 minutes. NREM sleep occurs first and takes up to 75% of your overall sleep time. During NREM sleep, your body relaxes and restores itself. At the end of NREM, your sleep shifts to REM. Your eyes move quickly and dreams occur, but the rest of your body remains very relaxed. Your muscles are “turned off” during REM sleep. If you become aware before the REM cycle has finished, you may notice that you cannot move or speak.”

In our research we have noted that some people who have had issues with the “Old Hag” have also had extreme high EMF readings near the head of their bed. We had a family in Haverhill, MA report that their daughter was waking up and telling of being visited by something every night just as she went to bed. We placed an emf detector on her pillow and it spiked. We looked at the out side of the house and found that the power lines from the street connected to the side of the house right next to her room and right by where the head board of her bed was. We had them move her bed and the claims stopped. Another family had similar claims and we traced a high EMF source to their alarm clocks. If you have an older alarm clock and have similar issues, either replace it or move it away from the head of your bed, It might help. Also see the”Refrigerator Proximation” post for another instance.

04/8/14

Show Me The Money !

I’ve thought a lot about the paranormal world lately. It makes me sad and sometimes angry to see all the scams that are going on.  Are we our own worst enemy? Have we allowed ourselves to be sucked in to the hype? TV shows tell us that there is activity everywhere and that you too could be experiencing phenomena. Gee, isn’t it funny how a certain paranormal TV show used to air episodes where they would debunk the claims and rarely find anything worth mentioning in their first season, but now they find multiple pieces of evidence every episode. Would it have anything to do with ratings (which equates to money), Hmm???  Or how about psychic’s? They are telling anyone who is willing to buy what they are selling, that they can communicate with late Aunt Pearl, all for the measly sum of $200.00 an hour. Its no wonder that a certain psychic who has a popular TV show, lives on Long Island and drives a Land Rover, Hmm? Or how about the  guy and his wife who bought a money pit of an old Victorian mansion in central MA and  charge admission to investigate their home. People line up with money in hand, waiting to get in and snap their very own picture of a full body apparition. Well at least that’s what the last TV show they were on said. Funny how that TV show was shot in Canada and not MA, Hmm??? Or how about the Hotel on the Cape that claims to have activity in a certain guest room. The story has it that the original owner was a sea captain. One day he sailed off only to never return and his wife’s ghost waits for him in that room to this day. Funny how that room number changes every time you call for a reservation.

I find it amazing that the haunted room is always available! It’s really nice that they quote you a special discounted rate too, funny how its $10.00 more than the sign in the lobby says, Hmm???  My favorite of all is the multi-million dollar Ghost Hunting Equipment Industry. There’s a multitude of boxes sold today that use electronics to allow a ghost or spirit to communicate with you. Funny how a spirit that passed away 50 years ago can manipulate today’s electronics. I’d be surprised if they could even turn on a TV.

Technology and science are advancing at a tremendous rate.  We are living in a society that is highly educated, but we are ALL susceptible to being scammed. I suppose if we want to believe bad enough, the wool can be pulled over our eyes. I must admit, I have been scammed! I believed! I spent my hard earned money! But hopefully I have learned something along the way. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I’ve got a box full of old ghost hunting equipment for sale, if you know anybody?

My real reason for writing this is to challenge everyone to be skeptical, and have fun with your paranormal research. That’s what Ghost Hunting really should be,  FUN! I do believe there is something to all of this, and hopefully someday, someone will figure it out!

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

03/29/14

Celebrity Corner – Jeff Ayers and Tim Duncan

image

Disclaimer:

Many people over time have showed interest in, or have had, paranormal experiences. Some of these people are persons of notability such as actors, musicians, athletes, writers, and even politicians.  Although Para-Boston can not confirm nor deny their stories, they make for interesting, enjoyable reading. I hope you become as entertained by these stories as I was during my research.

Claremont Resort in Berkeley, California

The Claremont Hotel is a five star resort regularly visited by sports figures during the season tour. Two NBA stars recently found they have a fan base both living and dead.

The Claremont Hotel was built in the late 1800’s by Bill Thornburg for his wife and later sold to the Ballard family after her death.

In 1901, a fire broke out completely destroying the building while they were away.

In 1905, Fran Havens won the property during a checker game and began construction to build a hotel. Although an earthquake had slowed the process, the hotel was completed in 1915.

Almost immediately after it’s opening, visitors complained about the smell of smoke even though the original building that burned was completely demolished and a newly constructed building was erected on the same site. Other complaints included a flickering light and television on the fourth floor.  Some claim to have witnessed an apparition of a 6 year old girl, who died on the property, and feel she was to blame.

San Antonio Spurs players Jeff Ayers and Tim Duncan recently learned about her spirit by experience.  Ayers tried using his key card to enter his room but it would not work. While he continued trying his card, he heard the voice of a little girl coming from his room. Certain he had the right room, he went to the front desk to complain about the card and that someone has entered his hotel room. Escorted with security, they returned to his room. Now the card worked fine, the room was empty, and nothing was taken. He would have thought it may have been his imagination if not for Tim Duncan who claims to have heard the child’s voice as well.

I think Jeff Ayers should have left an autographed picture for the little fan.  She could start a fan club for the deceased.

03/27/14

Celebrity Corner – Charlie Chaplin

Many interesting people over time have shown interest or have claims of having a paranormal experience. Some of these people are persons of notability such as actors, writers, sports personalities, and even politicians. Although ParaBoston cannot confirm nor deny their stories, they nevertheless make it interesting reading. I hope you become as entertained as I was researching them.

Mystery, murder, and hauntings surround one of the most famous actors of the early 1900s, Sir Charles Spencer also known as Charlie Chaplin. An English actor during the days of silent films Chaplin was abandoned by his alcoholic father and neglected by a mother fighting insanity, he rose from the slums of London to the elite of Beverly hills.

His legacy aside from being a ladies man, includes unsolved murders that forced him out of the country and made him world famous.

 

Culver Studios

Culver Studios was owned and operated by Hollywood filmmaker Thomas Ince. Mr. Ince died tragically in 1924 while celebrating his birthday aboard a yacht owned by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst.

Hearst was romantically involved with a Wanabee actress named Marion Davies. He created the Cosmopolitan magazine specifically for her. Among the partygoers aboard the yacht included Charlie Chaplin and his secretary. Hearst known to be a jealous man, saw Mr. Chaplin and Miss Davies slip off together during the party and discovered them on the lower deck. Arguing and confusion soon abrupted leaving Tom Ince and not Chaplin with a bullet to the head. This death shows that money does buy alibis and coverups. Mr. Ince death certificate read he died from a acute indigestion from eating and drinking too much.

Rumors say Mr. Ince haunts the Culver studios not long after his death and people have made claims of his presence even to date. Employees reported seeing ghostly figures roaming the lot at night. Others claim to be frightened by a womanly apparition that appears on the third floor.  The most famous sighting is of Mr. Ince himself. The reports claim seeing him climbing the stairs of the main administration building heading to his personal executive screening room. Many renovations to the studio have been made through the years and workers have claimed to see him during the construction.

I guess you can say “that’s a wrap”.

Now you see me, now you don’t.

In 1915 while filming  “by the sea”, Charlie Chaplin’s stunt double mysteriously disappeared from the set. The production was halted for three days awaiting his return. After the third day and still no word from Mr. Chaplin’s stunt double and long time friend, they assume he quit and was forced to find a replacement to continue production. Seven days later, Mr. Chaplin and his entourage were returning to his room. They entered to find a shocking discovery. His missing stunt double was lying dead on the floor. The corpse was soaking wet, covered with seaweed, and bound by the hands and feet. The decomposition indicates he had been dead for several days. No one could ever explain where he had been and how he could have ended up on Mr. Chaplin’s floor.

Today, people who live in the building claim to hear strange sounds coming from Mr. Chaplin’s room. Sometimes they are cries of help and other times splashes of water as if someone was trying to stay afloat. There have also been sightings of a man standing in the Corridor bound by the hands and feet. The most amazing detail is the ghostly figure is dressed in a black coat, bowler hat, and a small mustache.

My research found no claims of haunting by Mr. Chaplin himself. However, it seems people who have been associated with him has plenty to say.

 Hope you enjoyed this segment of Celebrity Corner and learned a little more about a well-known someone who shares the same paranormal interests as you. Stay tuned for another entertaining read in next week’s Celebrity Corner.

03/25/14

Celebrity Corner – Pop Stars

Disclaimer:

Many people over time have showed interest in, or have had, paranormal experiences. Some of these people are persons of notability such as actors, musicians, athletes, writers, and even politicians.  Although Para-Boston can not confirm nor deny their stories, they make for interesting, enjoyable reading. I hope you become as entertained by these stories as I was during my research.

Musicians are some of the most interesting people, especially when it comes to the paranormal world.

I have listed some musical stars and their experiences.  As you read on, you will find each one is a little stranger than the last.  Move over paparazzi, you have company.

Demi Lovato, an American recording artist with two hits in 2013: “Heart Attack” and “Neon Lights”, states her house in Texas is occupied by a ghost of a little girl.  She believes her name is Emily.  She hired a medium and a paranormal investigation group to try to find concrete evidence of Emily.  When she was three years old,  her mother used to find her talking to Emily.  Demi is now 22 years of age and seems to have a friend for life.

Ace Frehley a former guitarist for the rock band “KISS”, states while in a library he was assaulted by a ghost.  It seems the ghost grabbed a book from on top of a water cooler and threw it at his head.  Maybe Ace was a nonbeliever and someone, or something, tried to knock some sense into him.

Katy Perry was taking time out of her musical career to film a commercial for her fragrance line in a haunted house.  She turned to look into the mirror only to find a very upset man with a mustache staring back at her.  Scared out of her wits, she ran around the house screaming at the top of her lungs.  Unfortunately for Katy, no one else saw him.  Was he interested in buying her fragrance?

Now let’s get a little scientific, shall we?

Lady Gaga is one of the most featured pop stars of today.  Even she isn’t immune to paranormal activity.  Insiders claim Lady Gaga is convinced she has an annoying ghost that goes by the name of Ryan.  Ryan follows her on tour everywhere she goes.  She has spent thousands of dollars on so-called real-life Ghostbusters as well as electromagnetic field (EMF) detectors.  She uses these EMF detectors before every show to detect Ryan’s presence.  Maybe Ryan is slipping into her costumes while she is on stage.

Last but not least, our most bizarre pop singer’s confession, or is it just fantasy?

Ke$ha recently interviewed with Ryan Seacrest. She told him that she was having an affair with a ghost, and a steamy encounter at that. Ke$ha claims to have had multiple sexual experiences with a ghost claiming she went to “the bone zone”.   In fact, her song “supernatural” was inspired by the affair.

I hope you enjoyed this segment of Celebrity Corner and learned a little more about a well-known someone who shares the same paranormal interests as you. Stay tuned for another entertaining read in next week’s Celebrity Corner.