06/15/14

The Research Phenomenon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the coming weeks I will present the following:

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

Stay tuned…

05/31/14

Eastern State Penitentiary … Is Al Capone still serving time?

The other day I was talking with a friend about our investigation of Eastern State Penitentiary and they asked if I thought Al Capone’s ghost actually haunted his old cell. After I thought about it a minute I had to tell them I didn’t think so. Its funny there are rumors that his ghost haunts Eastern State and Alcatraz. My wife and I have investigated both prisons and have seen both of the cells where he was supposed to have been locked up and we never got any evidence or even the slightest impression his spirit was still there. This got me to thinking that I didn’t know that much about Capone.

 

Like me, most people probably don’t know how Capone ended up In Eastern State. On February 14 in 1929, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, Capone’s men carried out a hit on seven of rival gangster Bugs Moran’s men. It was dubbed the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. The plan was that Capone’s men were to lure Bugs and his lieutenants to a garage and kill them all. Bugs was running late and saw Capone’s men who were dressed as police show up, so he and another member of his gang turned around and left. After the dust settled and Capone found out that his men had not gotten Moran and fearing retaliation, he thought it would be a good time to get out of town for a while. Capone and one of his men took a road trip into Pennsylvania. The problem was they somehow got caught on a weapons charge and sentenced to eight months in Eastern State Penitentiary. While there Capone’s money and reputation got him celebrity status and  insured that his time at Eastern States was anything but hard time, or so he thought.

This is Capone’s cell today.

It was during Capone’s stay that reports started to surface of him, alone in his cell terrified, weeping and begging “Jimmy” to leave him alone. It was assumed that Jimmy was the spirit of James Clark, who was killed in the massacre. Clark was also Moran’s brother in law and his second in command. It was of course never proved or documented that it was Jimmy Clark, but guards and other inmates reported seeing Clark’s ghost standing outside of Capone’s cell while he begged for mercy. Capone is said to have even called in a medium named Alice Britt in 1931 to try to find out what Clark wanted. Apparently, Britt was unsuccessful, and Jimmy continued to follow Capone through his trial for income tax evasion, through his eleven-year sentence at the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, and then, in 1934, to the Rock–Alcatraz, where Capone did three turns in “the hole” for rules infractions. Paroled in 1939, Capone left Alcatraz a broken man. Back in Chicago the mob had moved on; new leaders had taken his place and even those loyal to him realized once they saw him, that Capone would never control the mob again. Capone died in his bed, of cardiac arrest following a stroke and a bout of pneumonia in 1947. The ghost of James Clark, it is said, was with him till the end. After Capone’s death, no one reported an encounter with James Clark’s spirit again. There is speculation that Capone was suffering from Syphilis and was loosing his mind. The thought was that Jimmy was a hallucination that was a result of Capone’s guilty conscience, but that doesn’t explain the reports from the guards and other inmates, plus I find it hard to believe Capone had a conscience at all.

So is Al Capone’s spirit haunting Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia PA? I would say probably no, but keep and eye out for Jimmy. Who knows?

This is a cool little video from the The Travel Channel that will give you a look into Capone’s cell and a little view of Eastern State as well.

05/22/14

Albania…

One thing that I enjoy as a paranormal investigator is meeting people. Most of the people we’ve meet have genuine concerns and for the most part are basing those concerns on things like pop culture, TV , books, and even the media. But once in a while we meet people who’s beliefs are based in their culture. Last summer we received a call from a family in Hyde Park that had emigrated from Albania in search of a better, more stable life. Not knowing much about Albania, we did some research.

This is a brief overview. Albania is situated on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, with Montenegro and Serbia to the north, Macedonia to the east, and Greece to the south. Slightly larger than Maryland, Albania is composed of two major regions: a mountainous highland region (north, east, and south) constituting 70% of the land area, and a western coastal lowland region that contains nearly all of the country’s agricultural land and is the most densely populated part of Albania. Largely agricultural, Albania is one of the poorest countries in Europe. The government in Albania been in turmoil for years, shifting from Communism to Socialism to Democracy, all wrought with corruption. The most common religions practiced in Albania are Islam and Christianity, but there is a mixture of various religious traditions and pagan traditions coming from the time before Christianity and Islam. It is common for people of Albania to believe in witchcraft and evil spirits and to use talismans for protection against such things. After learning a little about the family’s culture and beliefs we proceeded with the interview and walk through of their home.

The oldest of two daughters (around 35) contacted us with a concern that there was an evil spirit in their home. I will call her Angela (not her real name). She shared the home with her mother, father and younger sister. They were some of the politest people we’ve met and warmly welcomed us into their home. The parents spoke very little English and relied on the daughters to translate. We found out that Angela was feeling like the energy was being sucked out of her while she was at home, mostly in her room. She told us that she only wanted to sleep while in there and had a hard time getting up at all, but once she was out of the house she felt better and had more energy. The mother believed that there was a spirit of a soldier in the home and he had appeared to her. She felt that he had been a previous owner of the house. The younger sister hadn’t experienced anything herself, but was petrified by the thoughts of a spirit being in their home. The father didn’t really believe but was very concerned about Angela’s issues. We set up a date to come back with our equipment.

The night of the investigation we set up video and audio and did an EMF sweep of the home. We focused on Angela’s bed room, looking for anything out of the ordinary that could cause her energy to be drained. After spending a few minutes in there we all developed a headache. The room had a strange feel to it, almost like a strange pressure. We did exstensive EMF testing in there and found no high readings, but still felt as though it was something environmental that was affecting us and Angela for that matter. We did several EVP sessions in the different parts of the house, and had one interesting thing happen. I was asking questions in the younger sisters room and our EMF detector was on. I asked the question” Did you own this house?” and the meters reading climbed several points. As I noticed this I asked more questions about the owning the home and whether or not they built it and the reading stayed high. I then asked a random question about fishing and the meter dropped back to its original reading. Later when we reviewed the audio there weren’t any answers to our questions to help validate the readings, so was this evidence or a coincidence? We’ll never know for sure, so we’ll call it interesting. We found nothing paranormal to report and nothing out of the ordinary, other than our reactions to being in Angela’s room. We made the suggestion for the family to install carbon monoxide detectors and also to do a mold test and more air quality testing too. We also recomended that Angela sleep in another room and spend as litlle time as possible in her room for a week to see if the issues subsided.

We checked back after a couple weeks and Angella reported very little change in her energy level after sleeping in a different room for a week and still felt lousey. Her mother had suggested that she see her doctor to see if it was a medical issue. Her father had installed the CO detectors and was waiting for the results of the mold test.

05/22/14

Living Next to Woodlawn Cemetery

A few Years ago around Halloween, a family in Everett, MA contacted us with concerns about their daughter. Whenever someone calls with concerns about a child we take it very serious and put top priority on the case so we rushed out to do an interview and walk through The mother was in her early 20’s and her daughter was around 4 years old. They lived with the mother’s boyfriend in the upstairs apartment of a two family home. In the down stairs apartment live the grand parents and the mother’s younger sister.The house was located in a nice, quiet neighborhood that bordered the Woodlawn Cemetery. When we arrived, we noticed they had decorated for Halloween and even had a little grave yard set up in the front yard. We were met by the family and several neighbors and invited into the grand parents apartment. The mother of the little girl told us that her daughter had been talking to someone in her bedroom and seeing shadows. At one point she had pointed out of an upstairs window at the little grave yard and said “That’s where we’re going !” The mother was extremely concerned and we couldn’t blame her. She felt that being located next to that cemetery that they were being visited by spirits, and that they were affecting her daughter. But as the interview continued, we heard story after story from all the people that were there of paranormal experiences from their pasts. The interview took on an almost party atmosphere.The grand father told stories of manifestations from when he lived in another town, the grand mother saw shadow figures in the house as she was falling asleep. One neighbor saw apartitians and glowing lights in the cemetery from her bedroom window. They had so many stories that it was almost over whelming, One of our members asked if they watched the TV shows and the whole conversation turned to what episode was just on, where they were going next, and what show they liked the best. We just sat and took it all in while the mother sat, not saying a lot and looking upset. There was a break in the conversation, so we asked to see the upstairs apartment and the daughter took us up. We got a few minutes alone with her and she began to tell us that her daughter spent a lot of time around the other family members and that they spoke freely in front of her about spirits, hauntings and the TV shows. At age 4 she knew more about the TV shows than I did. They had very little furniture, not too much as far as decorations on the walls and there wasn’t much in the kitchen for plates,utensils or even food. From looking around the place and talking to the mother, we realized that they didn’t spend much time up there. It was obvious that they spent most of their time down stairs and only slept up there. Even though we didn’t feel that anything was going on, we agreed to come back and do an investigation. We did have to make sure that the rest of the family wouldn’t be home, so one of the neighbors agreed to have them all over the night of the investigation and have a party. We set up audio and video both upstairs and down. Between all the video and all the audio, we had close to a hundred hours of recordings to review. We had a few strange noises that we couldn’t identify from the downstairs and a couple bangs upstairs, but nothing that we could label paranormal. After discussing this case among the members of the group, we came to the conclusion that the adults were affected by living next to the cemetery and the child was reacting to all the paranormal optimism of the adults. Unfortunately children emulate their environment and that in our opinion was the case here.

05/9/14

Look a Mouse – EEEEEEEKK !!!!!!

You can probably already tell how this one ended…. We received a call from a family in Billerica, MA with claims of activity in their home. After talking with one of our members we thought we should have a look and get more details from the family. The mother greeted us at the door and invited us into their living room. She started right in telling us all her claims and it became apparent that she was the one who believed there was activity in their house. Her boyfriend, who was also present barely said a word. When he did speak, he said that he didn’t really think anything was going on, but with some of the things that had happened he was starting to wonder. One thing we did find out was, they’re big fans of the TV shows and had even bought a “Ghost Hunting Kit”on the internet. The woman was convinced that they had a ghost in their home, and wasn’t going to listen to any explanations or debunking of the activity. She told how they would find things spilled on their kitchen counter and the cupboard doors open in the morning when they woke up. She also told of how their keys and cell phones would disappear from where they left them and always be found in the same spot, which was down inside a recliner in the living room. She then told how she was fondled in the shower, which she demonstrated on one of our members, Calvin much to his chagrin.( I don’t think he’s recovered from it to this day !) We listened to the rest of her claims and then asked if we could look around the rest of the house. I went to the basement and found the back door wide open. There was no screen door so anything could have walked right in. We looked for any high EMF sources or anything else that could cause anything out of the ordinary, which we found nothing. But, when we did go back up to the living room to talk with the people, one of our members noticed a set of keys and a cell phone on the back of the recliner where all the items were found. I was standing so that I could see into the kitchen while we were talking and something drew my eye to the counter. A mouse ran from one end to the other and ducked behind some clutter that was there. I spoke up and said something about it to the lady, and she was appalled and insulted, claiming there was no mouse in her kitchen! We also pointed out the keys and phone that were on the recliner, and that could be the reason that stuff was found in the chair and she was adamant that they never leave stuff there. Later that evening we got together and discussed the interview. We couldn’t explain the fondling in the shower, but from talking with the woman and what we saw, we came to the conclusion that she needed to stop watching the TV shows and either get a cat or call an exterminator!

05/7/14

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Test…..

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

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

The Result…..

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

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

05/6/14

“Vultures Who Prey on the Bereaved.”

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

04/26/14

The Philip Experiment – Can You Create Your Own Haunting?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy haunting!

04/22/14

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.

04/17/14

Rocks Will Remember….

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

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

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

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

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

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

04/9/14

The Lady in Black

 

I know you like ghosts, but,do you like Civil War history? Do you like forts? How about a nice boat ride in Boston Harbor? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to check out Fort Warren. Its located on Georges Island at the entrance of Boston Harbor, which is operated by the Massachusetts Dept. of Conservation and Recreation.

 

Check out: http://www.bostonharborislands.org for more information and how to get there.

 

My wife and I go every year and end up finding something new every time. We haven’t seen the lady in black yet, but we have heard an eerie harmonica playing from a chimney located on top of the wall, way in the back of the fort. The Lady in Black is supposedly an apparition on George’s Island, a young woman in black robes that wanders about the grounds. She is believed to be Mrs. Andrew Lanier, wife of a Confederate soldier that was imprisoned there in 1861. Edward Rowe Snow, a 20th century local historian, had popularized the myth, and the following is his version of the story:

“Mrs. Lanier received a letter from her husband that he had been imprisoned at Fort Warren. She was compelled to free him, making an epic journey from Georgia to Hull, Massachusetts and the home of a Confederate sympathizer. Hull is only about a mile away from George’s Island. Mrs. Lanier systematically observed the fort with a spy-glass, and on a stormy night in January 1862, had rowed across to George’s Island and went ashore. She cut her hair short and dressed as a man, and brought with her an old pistol and small pick-axe. She made her way to the dungeon cells, and from outside the fort signaled to her husband by whistling an obscure southern tune, to which he signaled back. Mrs. Lanier was able to squeeze through the slit-window of his cell, and was then hidden by the Confederate soldiers. With the use of the pick-axe, the soldiers contrived to tunnel to the center of the fort, and then overtake the guards and obtain weapons. The tunnel took several weeks to dig, and on the eve of finishing the tunnel, a sharp blow of the pick had alerted a guard. The alarm was sounded, and the tunnel quickly discovered. As each of the Confederate soldiers was removed from the tunnel, a tally was taken. When all the prisoners were accounted for, Mrs. Lanier was to spring from the tunnel and capture a Union officer with the old pistol. Mrs. Lanier succeeded in surprising the officer, but he slapped the pistol from her hand. The pistol went off and the bullet struck and killed her husband. As punishment for her deeds, Mrs. Lanier was condemned to death by hanging. Her final request was to be given female clothing, and a search of the fort produced nothing but some old black robes. She was executed in these robes and buried on George’s Island.”

So if you dare to explore the Fort Warren keep your eyes and ears open you never know what may be waiting for you…

fort2

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!

03/30/14

No…Really we’ve got Ghosts !

A nice lady contacted us a while back who was having some experiences. Three of us went to her home for a walk through and interview. She was very nice, but so hyper that we had a hard time following her descriptions of the activity in her home. She spoke very fast and would jump from subject to another  in one breath. She didn’t sit still either, she would get up and walk around  and  then sit down again. From what we could follow she was seeing things, hearing noises, and lights were turning on and off in the attic. While interviewing her, we found out that she was recovering from brain cancer. She spoke freely and told us that some of the meds that she was taking would make her hyper to the point that she would need to take double the prescribed amount of sleeping pills every night so she could sleep.  Her husband wasn’t there to interview, but we were told that he wasn’t having experiences and didn’t believe there was anything going on either.

Her 3 children on the other hand were. They told us how a tennis ball flew from a bedroom across the living room at one of the boys and the girl woke up with scratches and bruises. While we were there the children were playing really rough. They were wrestling and punching each other and at times would throw stuff at each other. Needless to say it was a three ring circus in their house. We were able to get the kids to sit down for a bit and talk to us. We found out that they watched all the paranormal tv shows and could name all the characters and episodes. They were obsessed with it.

We went back to do a formal investigation and weren’t able to capture any evidence for them. From what we saw when we interviewed them, and experienced at the investigation, we were pretty sure there wasn’t anything going on. We felt that with the mothers issues she was jumping to conclusions, and with the kids’ fascination with the tv show’s we felt that there was some wishful thinking going on. We explained our findings but, no matter what we reported they still believed.

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.

03/25/14

Trigger Objects

Sometimes in paranormal investigating, the use of trigger objects are thought to be useful. A trigger object is an object either owned by the deceased person in question or something of their time period. The theory is that it may illicit activity, communication or perhaps the trigger object may move. It is also referred to as the Singapore Theory. The theory is based on familiarization and if the spirits occupying the location are familiar with the object or music, etc – they will be more drawn to it and possibly become more “active”. The ultimate goal is that this process is so effective and stimulating – that the end result is an apparition.

We have brought an orange to an old Colonial house in Coventry CT both because the homeowners thought an orange they had in the house kept showing up in odd places and because an orange was a rarity, like a gift, back in the Colonial times.

We have used a family Bible, a toy ball, stuffed animals, an old Sanitarium bedsheet, we have played various period music, and tried many experiments using many trigger objects.

There are many ghost hunting techniques out there and we use a multitude of approaches custom-fit to each and every investigation.

Objects already found on the location of the paranormal investigation which the homeowner’s state have already moved on their own are  ideal trigger objects. Of course there is no guarantee, but it is one of the best situations to test the theory. Also ideal is if the object belonged to, or held some significance to the spirit when alive.

It is often thought that getting the personal item of the spirit that has been known to move in the past is the goal. Don’t limit yourself to just that. There may be other personal items on-site that belonged to the spirit when alive: jewelry, coins, clothes, books, furniture, toys (avoid battery, activated or computer chip toys that can react on their own and be incorrectly thought to react because of a spirit), photos, religious items, war memorabilia, etc.  Some theorize that metal objects (coins, jewelry etc) may store and conduct energy. I have never run across this – but there are many stories of movement of human vices like tobacco, drinks, cigars, pipes.

No one knows if the spirits are a residual haunting (they don’t know you are there, but they or their energy are caught in time) or if they are intelligent (they know you are there and can communicate).

When using trigger objects keep in mind the environment. Is it somewhere sturdy? Will it get bumped? Is the floor slanted so the ball will roll? Is there an open window, an air vent or draft? Put the trigger object on a piece of paper and draw an outline around it and videotape the entire process. You may think something moved but it hasn’t or maybe the homeowner’s unsocial pet bumped it while you were out of the room. We’ve used devices that detect a floor’s vibration to rule out various situations (nearby trains, construction, etc) that may cause slight movement.

There are many theories and they are largely operating on hypothetical principles about what “ghosts” are and how they can operate in our physical realm.  Whatever the case, all we can do is try to illicit activity in as controlled environment as possible and as scientifically as possible. Happy hunting and let me know what types of trigger objects you have used and what happened! I’d love to hear about it.

03/21/14

Celebrity Corner – Dan Akroyd

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.

Story:

Our first story for this week is about a person who has influenced me personally. Not only in his passion for Blues music, but in the paranormal as well. He has been in many movies, television shows, and has been an accomplished musician since 1974. He was also inducted into Canada’s walk of fame and received an honorary degree from Carleton University.

His name is Daniel Edward Akroyd.

Born in 1952; son of an engineer for the prime minister of Canada, he considers himself as a spiritualist and proudly wears his spiritualist badge. Dan states that many people have seen spirits, heard voices, and felt cold spots. His theory is they exist between a fourth and fifth dimension. This spiritual nature is not new for the Akroyd family. His great-grandfather, a dentist by trade, also considers himself a mystic and a member of the Lily Dale society. His father also got involved in the paranormal by publishing a book in 2009 entitled “A History of Ghosts”.

*Did you know?: Dan Akroyd has webbed toes which he revealed in the movie “Mr. Mike’s Mondo” video and a skit on Saturday Night Live.

In a 2007 interview, Dan stated he believed his current home, formally owned by the Mamas and Papas, was haunted. Although the grew up in a family obsessed with the supernatural — he claims this home was the location for his first paranormal experience mentioning the ghost turns on his stairmaster, moves jewelry, and even crawls in bed with him. Dan truly believes it’s the spirit of Mama Cass.

* Did you know?: Dan also has Heterochromia (meaning his right eye is green and his left brown).

The movie “Ghost Busters” is a direct result from his passion for the paranormal. His interest in the spiritual is not his only interest as he is also into UFOlogy.

As long as people like Mr. Akroyd can produce successful movies with a paranormal slant, interest in the paranormal will continue to be popular to people of all walks of life and maybe even…in death.

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.

03/21/14

Paranormal ice cream?

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

03/21/14

The Farnsworth House Inn

“The Farnsworth house, located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is named in honor of Brigadier General Elon John Farnsworth. General Farnsworth led an ill-fated charge after the failure of Pickett’s charge, claiming the lives of Farnsworth and 65 of his men during the battle of Gettysburg which took place July 1-3, 1863.

The original part of the house was built in 1810, followed by the brick structure in 1833. The house sheltered Confederate sharpshooters during the three-day conflict, one of whom it is believed to have accidentally shot 20 year-old Mary Virginia “Jennie”  Wade, the only civilian who died during the battle. More than 100 bullet holes pock the walls. Following the battle, the house served as a hospital.

The Lincoln procession also passed the Farnsworth House on November 19, 1863, on the way to the National Cemetery where he delivered the famous Gettysburg Address.”

The Farnsworth House stands as an Inn today, with further additions having been built in later years.  One of the rooms is named the McFarlane room, after John McFarlane, who built the brick structure of the house in 1833. The room itself is located in the original part of the house, which was built in 1810.

Rumors of Gettysburg’s haunted history have been floating around for decades, calling to many a paranormal group to make the journey to Pennsylvania to check things out for themselves.

Six investigators from Para-Boston decided to take a road trip in June 2011 to tour the Battlefield, and investigate some of the local haunts. Before the trip began, Bree asked one of her fellow investigators, Michael Baker, which Inn he felt may have more ‘genuine’ activity in his opinion, as he had been to Gettysburg in the past. The two choices were the Cashtown Inn, and the Farnsworth House. Mike immediately suggested that the Farnsworth House would be a great place to stay. He did not mention at this time what he may or may not have experienced there during his previous trip the year before. Bree went ahead, and made reservations for two nights at the Farnsworth House, in the McFarlane room, as that was the only room in the original part of the house that had both Thursday and Friday nights available.

Bree and fellow investigator, Paula, arrived on a Thursday evening to check in. The room was decorated to suit the time period, right down to the claw-footed bathtub, and the toilet tank with the pull chain. As the evening wore on, Paula and Bree both noted the room had a “strange feeling” about it, making you feel as if you could not relax in the room. We were both tired after an 8 hour drive to Pennsylvania all the way from Massachusetts, but sleep would not come easy that first night.

There was an older couple staying in the Eisenhower room across the hall, who also seemed to settle in for an early night around 9pm, as we didn’t hear any sound coming from their room the rest of the night. Beneath these two rooms, was the dining room and kitchen. At check-in, the receptionist told us that the staff only remained on site until around 9pm, but would return around 6am to start setting up for breakfast.

Footsteps heard at the Inn:

Around 12:32am, Bree and Paula both woke to what sounded like a squeaky wheel sound in the hall outside the room – almost as if someone were pushing a cart with a squeaky wheel past the room, except no footsteps were heard, just the squeaking. This only lasted a few minutes. At this time, Bree got up and turned on her recorder at about 12:40am to let it record while the two attempted to sleep. The decision was also made to turn off the air conditioner, so that any subtle sounds could be picked up by the recorder, even though it was probably around 80 degrees in the room! After attempting to fall back asleep again, around 1:22am, we were once again awakened to the sound of footsteps, and the floorboards creaking under someone’s weight. It was heard to discern where they were coming from, either the hallway outside our room, or from within our room! We did notice though, that they just seemed to start and then fade off, without hearing any doors open or close. Thankfully, these footsteps were captured on our audio recorder so we could share this experience with our group.  The next morning at breakfast, the couple who had been staying in the Eisenhower room came into the dining room, so just be sure, Bree asked them about their night in the Eisenhower room across the hall, and if they heard anything strange the night before. They said they hadn’t, but that they also fell asleep early, around 9pm-ish. Bree then asked them, if by chance they had gotten up in the night at all, around 1:20am or so. With this question, Bree got a strange look, so she went on to explain that she and Paula heard footsteps in and around the vicinity of the room or hallway, and just wanted to be sure it wasn’t them who had been doing the walking. The older man let out a surprised laugh, and assured us he had not gotten out of bed that night.

After returning back to Massachusetts, Bree told Mike of her and Paula’s experience at the Farnsworth House, and played the audio for him. What was really interesting, was that Mike had also previously stayed in the same room in his past trip to the Farnsworth House, and had the same experience hearing the footsteps!