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…

05/22/14

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.

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 !

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.

03/27/14

BRRRRR! It’s Cold in Here!

boiler

In December we received a call from a super nice family from Saugus, MA. The mother, father, and son all reported some sort of activity. The daughter had no claims, but was a little nervous because of her families’ claims. One of the mother’s claims was being pushed off the edge of her bed while she had the flue. The son had claimed to see an apparition out of the corner of his eye while watching TV in the living room. The father reported being pushed while climbing up the stairs from the basement.

We arrived for the investigation and toured the home. The first thing that we noticed was the ceiling in the kitchen was pulled down. It seems that they had a major leak in the upstairs bathroom and it ruined the ceiling. We noticed some black discoloration on the joists and with closer inspection it appeared to be mold. The living room, where the son saw the apparition, had by-fold doors that were mirrored and allowed you to see out into the kitchen. We noticed a slight buzzing noise that was hard to locate. With an emf detector, we found the buzzing. It was a dimmer switch in the hallway that was defective and emitting high levels of EMF. The family was used to the sound and didn’t pay any attention to it. We then went to the basement and while looking around we noticed a fairly new gas furnace. Once we looked a little closer we noticed a hole about the size of a dime in the flu pipe. Our first thought was to get the groups carbon monoxide detector and test the basement. It went off as soon as we got close to the furnace.

The mold in the ceiling could have caused or contributed to the mother’s flue symptoms. Having been really sick at one or two times in my life myself, I can see someone feeling unstable and falling as they get out of bed. Reflections in the mirrored doors could have looked like an apparition. The carbon monoxide could have made the dad dizzy as he climbed the stairs and fall. The bad dimmer switch could have burned the house down. The daughter being scarred….well if your whole family watched the Paranormal TV shows and said that things were happening in your house, wouldn’t you be nervous too? Sometimes the claims or causes of presumed paranormal activity are explainable, but it may be tough to see when you’re too close to the situation, it may take an outsider to see the obvious.

I’m not trying to tell you that we have all the answers or that there wasn’t activity going on in their home. All I’m telling you is what we found and pointed out to the family. Hopefully it helped them.

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.

03/11/14

Psychics: Helpful or Harmful?

If you are a paranormal investigator, or you are interested in the paranormal, do you think a psychic should be used or consulted with?

Many claim to be psychic and really there is no way to prove or disprove if they are or are not. Claiming to be psychic is often a fast way to gain popularity, respect and sometimes money. I’ve been on investigations before with a self-proclaimed psychic who got the details of the case confused. She said she was doing an on-going communication session with the spirit of someone she referred to by name and that she was asking specific questions of this spirits and she was “receiving specific answers”. She even claimed to cross over the spirit. The problem was that she confused the details of two cases and was supposedly communicating with spirit A but was doing so in location B.

I would very much like to know what you think of psychics and what your experience has been.