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.

05/23/14

Is There A Demon In My Bed? or Could It Be Lupus?

We at Para-Boston have found that social, cultural and even medical issues can weigh on a persons interpretation of precieved paranormal activity. We run into cases from time to time where one of these factors come into play. A case that we were called into a few years ago had all of these factors come to light. An Armanian woman called us with concerns that her younger sister who I will call Roxy (not her real name) was being affected by something, which she was convinced was a demon. We are not Demonologists and quite frankly are not equipped and have no desire to get involved in those cases. But this one was was different and we decided to at least meet with the family and get a better idea of what they were experiencing.

We met with the family at their home in West Roxbury, MA to discussed their claims. Roxy was not feeling like herself, almost like she was being oppressed by something. There were a few other claims but most notable was that something would shake the foot of her bed at night, usually right after she would lay down. As we looked around the house we noticed that they were very religious, there were Crosses and and Cherubs everywhere. We figured that this could be the reason that they thought it was a demon that was affecting Roxy. After hearing the families claims and concerns the next part of the interview process is to fill out a questionnaire that we use. One of the sections in that questionnaire deals with medical conditions and medications. We understand that its personal information and people don’t have to disclose anything, but we ask so that we can look at all aspects of a case. They were fine with the question and openly reported that Roxy had been diagnosed with Lupus and was being treated. We knew nothing about Lupus and decided some research was in order.

What we found was that Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by Lupus can affect many different body systems. Symptoms vary from person to person, and may come and go. Almost everyone with lupus has joint pain and swelling. Some develop arthritis. Frequently affected joints are the fingers, hands, wrists, and knees. Other common symptoms include: chest pain when taking a deep breath, fatigue, fever with no other cause, general discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (malaise), and sensitivity to sunlight. Lupus is commonly treated with Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), Cortical Steroids, Antimalarials, Immunosuppressives (such as Cyclophosphamide, Methotrexate, Azathioprine), Anticoagulants and Monoclonal Antibodies to name just a few. During our research we found several articles that point out that there may be a link between certain cortico steroids and RLS. RLS is Restless Leg Syndrome, and the main symptom is an irresistible urge to move because of uncomfortable and sometimes painful sensations deep within a part of your body. The feelings usually affect the legs but can also affect the arms, and torso. Some people describe the sensations as aching, creeping, crawling, or prickling. Symptoms usually begin about 15 minutes after you lie down to sleep or to relax or when you have not moved for long periods, such as when traveling in a car or airplane. Symptoms that occur frequently can result in significant sleep loss, fatigue and problems with daily functioning.

We found this very interesting and thought that it would be easy to test, to see if it might explain the bed shaking. The fatigue we though may explain the feelings of being oppressed, but we wanted to reassure the family’s concerns about demons, so we enlisted the help of a friend and fellow invetisgator Andrew Grahm to help with the investigation. Andrew is the founder of the New Hampshire based paranormal group N.E.A.R. NH – (http://nearnh.com/ ) and has an extensive background in Demonology.

On the night of the investigation we set up our video and audio recorders throughout the house and with most of the activity happening in Roxy’s bedroom, we paid special attention to it. We always do an EMF sweep to look for anything that could cause issues and we found a strange magnetic field around the bed. We couldn’t find a cause, but becaue it wasn’t electrical in nature we didn’t think it would have a negative affect on her. But we found it very interesting. We did EVP sessions in every room of the home and Andrew did his own investigation to check for demonic signs. Around 10:30 we had Roxy lay down on her bed and act as if she was going to bed for the night. Mike Baker built an accelerometer to place on the bed to track any strange movement, so we placed that at the foot of the bed. We then left her alone in the room and watched her on camera to see what happened. After about 20 minutes Roxy told us that it was starting to shake, but the accelerometer didn’t register it. We wondered if there was an issue with the accelerometer so we had one of our team, Laura, go in and lay on the end of the bed while Roxy settled back down as if she was going to sleep again. The same thing happened, after a while she said it was starting to shake, but Laura couldn’t feel it, confirming that the accelerometer was workng properly.

After we reviewed the recordings and cosulted with Andrew we had no paranoral activity to report, but we were able to reassure them that the issues weren’t demonic or paranormal. We also recomended that Roxy contact her doctor to see if the sideffects of her medications could be causing her issues.

05/7/14

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Test…..

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

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

The Result…..

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

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

04/22/14

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 !

04/8/14

Show Me The Money !

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

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

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

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

04/8/14

14 Degrees – A Paranormal Documentary

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

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.

03/28/14

Boston Fire

The members of Para-Boston would like to express our sympathy and condolences to the families of  Lt. Edward J. Walsh and Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy of the Boston Fire Dept. They are true heroes who gave their lives Wednesday March 26 2014 in a horrific 9 alarm fire in Boston. There were 13 other firefighters injured, some of which spent quite some time hospitalized. Amazingly, these heroes saved all of the people who were in the building when the fire broke out. We would also like to express our gratitude to all the dedicated and hardworking fire fighters who protect all of our  communities!

With all the press coverage of the tragedy this week I couldn’t help thinking back to a case we worked on a few years ago. A young woman and her fire fighter husband called us with concerns about their baby. It seemed that the baby was normal and happy but she would awake every night shortly after being put to bed. She would scream and cry until her mother would take her out of her bedroom and no matter how many times she put her back the baby would scream. The mother spent a lot of nights home alone with the baby. Her husband worked 4 days on duty and then 3 off. I think that she had watched the paranormal llTV shows and would get nervous with every little sound when she was alone. We set up for our investigation and had a strange experience right away.

The home was a two family house and we had access to the upstairs apartment. We had all the equipment set up and were about to begin when one of the investigators said that they wanted to put an audio recorder up in the attic. My wife and I hadn’t seen the up stairs so we went with Scott our founder up there with the recorder and to check the place out.We had to go out the back door of the home and climb the stairs to get to the upstairs apartment. When we came back the door was locked, both the regular lock and the dead bolt. We thought that either the owner locked the door or somebody was playing a joke on us. The problem was, the woman never left the area that we had set up as a base station, and no one from our group had done it either. Very interesting…We then broke up into groups and spread ourselves out around the house.

We usually sit quietly for 20 -30  minutes when we first start to let the home settle and to listen for noises. My wife and I had chosen the baby’s room and were just sitting there when we both realized that our ears were ringing. It was awful and after about 15 minutes in there we could hardly stand it and had to leave the room. We got our other members to go in and see what they said after they tried it. They had the same experience. We then brought the baby’s mother in and she was astounded. It was so bad that it was no wonder the poor baby would scream. We broke out our meters but couldn’t come up with an answer.

The parents bedroom was right next to the baby’s but the ear ringing wasn’t noticeable at all. Another thing that we found was what we called a wall of EMF. The reading was very high and was consistent in a 1 foot wide path that traveled from floor to ceiling and from the front of the house to the back. It even extended through the ceiling up into the upstairs apartment but it dropped off by the time it got to the ceiling up there. We even checked the readings outside and found that the readings stayed consistently high all the way across the street right up to a bussiness that was there. If you don’t know much about electromagnetic fields, they don’t act like this.

An emf field is usually a circular field that travels along the x y or z axis and they don’t have much of a range. It would take a tremendously strong power source to produce what we were reading. The bussiness across the street had no sign or any thing we could see to give us a clue to what they did so we were intrigued. It was an interesting night and we left the mother with our findings. We had planned on going back to do more investigation, but when we contacted the couple later in the week they had decided with all that was going on they were concerned that it wasn’t healthy to live there and decided to move. We never went back., but it’s a case  we still wonder about to this day.

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

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.

03/24/14

NO! NOT MY BABY!?

We received a call from a young couple in Rhode Island last week with claims of activity in their new apartment. The mother was distraught, feeling that her 2 year old son was seeing and talking to some sort of spirit, plus there were strange noises and things being moved around their apartment. She was convinced that something was after her baby. Also, there were claims of rancid smells in the living room and a heaviness that would come and go.  After the initial phone interview with the mother, we decided that we should make it the utmost priority to get down there and see what we could do to help. Anytime there is a child involved in a case, it becomes a top priority. We met with the couple in the living room of their apartment and tried to get a general feel for the place. We found out that they had only been there about a month and they had only recently settled in.

From the looks of the place it had just been remodeled and looked to be in great shape. We then checked the home for high emf and carbon monoxide, of which neither was an issue. We did note that there was still a faint new paint smell. We also noticed that the apartment buildings dumpsters were located fairly close to the windows in the living room. The weather is warming up, with temperatures getting up to the mid 50’s some days so we wondered about the dumpsters. The heaviness could be from the paint smell.

The child’s actions are hard to explain without spending large amounts of time with him. What we were able to do though, was to talk with the couple and get them to start thinking about debunking the claims themselves. We explained common causes for things that might look paranormal at first, but have rational explanations. After spending 45 minutes with them I think that they were feeling better and even had some idea’s of their own. We weren’t able to disprove or explain all of their claims so we suggested that they keep a journal of any thing that they couldn’t explain. This case is still pending and we will check back with them in a week or so to make sure they care ok.

I find it interesting the amount of discussion that has arisen lately concerning children and their ability to see and talk to spirits. I wonder if there will ever be a definitive way of discovering whether they can or not. I know that any mother would be horified by the thoughts of something unseen attacking their child, so if we can only find the answer to one question I hope it would be this one.

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!

 

 

03/18/14

A Tall Case Of Fraud

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On July 24th 2010 we conducted a joint investigation of the Freetown State Forest in Massachusetts.  Our team was invited to attend per the courtesy of PRI-ME. Maine (A scientific research group from the Portland area).  They had purchased an “investigative” tour of the forest which had been the subject of many paranormal claims throughout the years. The tour was to be conducted by man named John (last name omitted intentionally) a very tall heavy set man who happens to be the founder of a New England paranormal research group located on the Massachusetts south shore.  The charge for this tour was $300 which included two guided SUV rentals and unlimited access into some of the more restricted areas of the forest.   You see John had access to these areas because of a family lumber business that happened to have associated interest in the area.

During the course that night’s investigation,  KII Meter activity was rampant and at several points these moments of activity were audibly and visually recorded.  Just what any good team might do right?

It should be noted that later on in the evening (near the end of the night) the KII meter was placed into a Faraday Cage and subsequently all of the KII activity had ceased. We were suspicious of radio interference and one particular curiosity stood out. In-spite of our splitting into several varied groups throughout the night all of the activity seemed to occur in the presence of only one person…John.

Video containing cell phone pulses:


Upon reviewing the recorded evidence, members of PRI-ME noticed a peculiar pulsing which occurred during and preceding each KII event. These files were sent to us for analysis and using spectrum analysis software we were able to determine the frequency of the pulses as 22Hz. On further investigation it was found that the iDEN cell phone network, (Nextel/Sprint) which is known for its audio electronics interference in hearing devices, just happens to produce a leader signal of 22 pulses per second (i.e. 22Hz). The only individual in attendance that night with an active Nextel Sprint phone was (you guessed it) John.

fraud1

A frequency is determined by calculating the number of occurrences within a one second period. One wave or pulse in one second = 1hz. Within the Freetown sample files we see pulses like the ones shown here occurring during each of the KII hits. To determine the frequency of these pulses, I have measured the time elapsed for each group of pulses.

fraud2

The sample I used above contains 9 pulses which have an approximate total duration of .4 seconds (that’s just over one third of a second.) If we take 1 second and divide it by .4 we get 2.5 which means that this set of 9 pulses can occur 2.5 times per second. If we then multiply that by 9 (the number of pulses) we will see that within a one second period this pulse occurs 22 times making the frequency of the pulse approximately 22hz.

The pulsing signal certainly raised serious questions about the authenticity of the KII hits, and many agreed that it did sound like cell phone interference. However, this discovery was noted and put aside and a second investigation was conducted on July 30th.

For this investigation I decided to test the hypothesis that radio frequencies indeed caused the excessive KII activity. To achieve this I built a KII meter directly into a Faraday Cage and utilized a Radio Frequency Meter along with a standard KII meter. If this activity was caused by a radio frequency, it would be detected on the RF meter and would not affect the KII inside the Faraday Cage.

For the majority of the night on July 30th activity was scarce. We found out that John had purchased a new phone prior to this investigation and we were wondering if the possible charade of foolishness was over. Later on in the night however, KII Activity started once again. As suspected the RF meter peaked with every KII hit and the meter inside the cage wasn’t activated at all showing that radio frequencies were in fact causing the KII spikes. Like before, all of the activity occurred within the presence of John.

When the night ended, one of the leaders of PRI-ME was given the old Blackberry phone (previously owned by John) as a gift. He said he had no further use for it and she took it home in the hopes of using it herself.

Evidence for the investigation on the 30th came up clear of any unusual sound anomalies (i.e. pulsing) but what did pose a question were the records contained in the Blackberry phone.

When the PRI-ME member reviewed the call records in the phone for July 24th she found seven calls to a number labeled “Ghost Phone”. It was later determined that the times of these calls coincided with the KII hits from the July 24th investigation. The number called was 207-618-1454.

When the team called this number it was answered by an automated service which expressed the importance of your call and abruptly put you on hold for a one minute period until it eventually hung up on you. It was also discovered that this number belonged to a land line phone in Portland Maine. The call times were very short (2 minutes and under) and the shortest was only 13 seconds in duration. It should be noted that no one on either investigation ever saw John speaking on his phone (which was in his pants pocket), and the Bluetooth earpiece he always wears was placed in his shirt pocket.

These discrepancies (pulsing and phone records) were brought up to John during a group phone conversation. He had no real explanation for the pulses that were found surrounding the KII activity, but conceded that they could have been caused by radio waves. When asked to explain the seven calls to the mysterious “Ghost Phone” his reply was that his phone is voice activated and he must have said the word “ghost” at some point during the night and the phone auto dialed from his pocket.

This statement came across as false since the Blackberry model phone used at the time requires that you push a button on the phone to voice dial and there are audible cues to this feature (which no one heard). Also the calls were in such staggered lengths that it was clear he was aware they were being made and stopped them at various times. Yet as it was mentioned before, no one saw him with a phone that night so it is assumed he triggered the calls using his Bluetooth earpiece. Everyone on the team agreed that any honest investigator who was aware of their phone dialing accidentally during activity spikes would mention something to their team. Yet John never mentioned a word about it.

John then claimed the phone number was part of an application which could be used through Skype and worked in a similar way to the Ovilus (paranormal divining equipment). He also claimed that his group partner had the same application on his phone and assumed everyone knew about it. Of course we asked and his partner knew nothing of this application. Also upon inspection of John’s phone there weren’t any applications installed. The “Ghost Phone” was simply a phone contact entry.

I personally tried to replicate the voice dial feature and even when pushing the correct buttons, the phone did not dial the “Ghost Phone” simply by saying “Ghost”.  It was painfully clear that John was lying.

The specific details of exactly how John committed this heinous fraud is something we will never truly know, but it is our suspicion that since John kept his Bluetooth earpiece in his shirt pocket and often crossed his arms, it would have been easy for him to redial the last number called and hang up when needed simply by pushing the Bluetooth button through his shirt pocket.

Again we will never truly know.  Sadly John is still in the public eye, volleying for his 15 minutes of fame wherever he can get it. If you ever decide to take a tour of the Hockomock Swamp, the Freetown State Forest, or anywhere in the Bridgewater Triangle – do yourself a favor and steer clear of one of scariest and most infuriating elements you may have yet to encounter – a lying giant named John.

 

03/15/14

What Are The Chances?

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The turn of the twentieth century brought forth a new generation of “Spirit Communication”. Aside from the classics such as Ouija Boards, Dowsing and EVP the electronics revolution (powered by television) spawned new ITC devices.  Some were “hacked” radio scanners that randomly scan the airwaves producing choppy word segments that many pareidolic minds twisted into whatever dialogue they wanted to hear. (I know, I know, it said your name… OK).  Others are programmed devices said to sample the atmosphere for changes in electro-magnetic energy and temperature and with that special calculation spit out one of it’s thousands of  pre-programmed words.

I have worked in the electronics field for years. My background is in bio-medical electronics and I worked for years in a research and development firm designing electronic creations.  The aforementioned device known as the Ovilus simply does not do what so many proclaim. Even the label says “for entertainment only.”   So how do so many people get what seems to be intelligent responses?  The answer is simple. It’s pure chance…. yes really.

In the world of statistics the chance that a random word will match your environment or question is really pretty good. In fact for it to be statistically significant it would need to exceed an 85%  hit rate on a sample higher than 50. For you statistic minded folks the calculation can be made using what is known as the frequentest inference.  For the sake of those gritting their teeth  at the idea of doing complex math I will forego the heavy details and skip to the demonstration.

I have created a tool that contains a word bank of 4067 words. The same amount as the Ovilus X (same exact words too). When you click on the link below the numbers you will see flashing across the screen are randomly generated numbers. When the numbers are within a certain range a random word from the word bank is displayed.

If you leave the tool running for a few minutes you will soon see that random chance can easily have the appearance of intelligence. The generate words will eventually match elements in your environment, life and maybe even your mind. This is, in essence, how devices such as the Ovilus, Spirit Box and many other ITC products appear to be “communicating” with an unknown world, and how they create such a stir.

Keep in mind  that no matter how intelligent the responses from this device may seem to be, the words you are seeing are 100% random and there are absolutely no sensing elements or intelligence programming involved.  What are the chances ?

I would love to hear about your experiences.

CLICK HERE TO TRY IT YOURSELF

03/12/14

Nothing To Fear But The Living – Munchhausen By Proxy

On December 16, 2010 I was contacted about activity that was purported to be occurring at the home of a family in Whitman, Massachusetts. The woman who called me (a friend of the family) mentioned that the activity in the home had increased in recent days and was mainly focused around The mom who and her two daughters. Although the father and other occupants in the home have also had various experiences.

The caller mentioned that she is a medium with psychic ability and has been in contact with the entities that she says inhabit the family’s home. According to her she has identified three entities named Benjamin Jackson (or Smith), Tyler (no last name) and Beverly (no last name). One or more of these beings are alleged to be “attacking” the mom through the evocation of serious effects on her health.  The caller has also mentioned that the attacks and activity continue in spite of her multiple attempts at clearing the home. At the time of the reporting phone call she mentioned the spirits would simply “push her aside” following any attempt to keep them in order or remove them.

She has contacted us out of concern for the families well being and safety.  In response to the initial report we phoned the family to follow up and arrange for a preliminary meeting/interview as well as schedule a subsequent investigation of the home and activity.

According to the family, the activity truly started to manifest following the additional “awareness” brought by the family friends psychic communication with the spirits alleged to occupy the home. The eldest daughter is believed to have been channeling the spirits through various automatic writing sessions. As of Dec 16th 2010 she has channeled the spirits three times.  (See sample of writing below). In addition to the psychic communication, the family also claims to have experienced the gamut of paranormal activity ranging from moving objects, footsteps and voices to shadow figures and full bodied apparitions.

All of the  family along with their visitors claim to feel a very heavy presence in the home and many claims of headaches and chest pains.

Prior to the full investigation of the family’s claims, we conducted preliminary research in the hopes of qualifying some of the factual data presented during the initial interview.  We researched the names “Benjamin”, “Smith”, “Tyler” and “Beverly”and other details given by the family in the hopes validating some of their claims. We were not successful.

The following images represent visual input from the family’s children.

1 This image shows a drawing made by the youngest daughter.  It shows a general representation of how she sees these entities.
2    This image shows a drawing made by the eldest daughter.  It shows her interpretation of Beverly. Note the apron on the figure suggesting that she was a cleaning woman or servant of some kind.
3 This image is a sample of an automatic writing session conducted by The eldest daughter.  (See notes below)
 4 This image is a restatement of the automatic writing session in  eldest daughter’s own hand for comparison. (See notes below)

 The automatic writing sample provided by  eldest daughter contains various statements and information segments acquired by her during her session.  Our first step in this analysis was to verify the integrity of the writing. To do this we had her write a sample of the same statement in her own hand, while not in a meditative state.

Graphology analysis was done to compare slant, size and pressure in both the upper, middle and lower zones of the sample. We have found definite similarities between the two samples and have concluded there is very little difference between the two writings.  To further analyze this sample we have checked the structure and patterns between other automatic writing samples presented over the years and found several concerning discrepancies with this sample:

1.)    Misspelled names:  In a traditional automatic writing session, the spirit is said to channel their energy through the subject’s body and write the dialogue themselves.  The person doing the channeling becomes only a tool for the encompassing entity. In many historical recorded sessions the channeling individuals have been known to write in foreign languages typically the style and handwriting of the spirit they are channeling. While the channeling entity may misspell various words in the channeling session, it is unlikely they would misspell their own name, in the sample provided here, the name Benjamin is misspelled as “Benjamine”.

2.)    Modern Terms: This sample contains many modern terms such as “Awesome” and “On-line” (referring to internet usage). Since channeling spirits are typically known to communicate in the “language of their era” this presentation does not fit the traditional criteria.

3.)    Writing Fluidity:  In traditional writing samples the pen or pencil movement is fluid and swift and typically done with the hand least used by the medium. This sample shows slow, choppy pen movements and “normal hand” penmanship.

These issues present problems with the validity of the sample and therefore cannot be considered with any other evidence of paranormal activity that may be found in this case.

Our Investigation: 

The team arrived at the home at approximately 7:00PM on January 15, 2011. Upon our arrival we were greeted by the father.  The team proceeded to load in our equipment, introduced each investigator to the clients and began our camera setup.

One notable and concerning aspect of this investigation was discovered during the preliminary walkthrough conducted on December 29, 2010 and involves highly excessive levels of electric and electro-magnetic fields. These fields are strong and present throughout various areas of the home reaching levels in excess of 325mg in multiple locations.

Many of these affected “high energy” locations are in common areas of the home or places where the family members and guests might spend extended periods of time (i.e. near beds, chairs, etc.)  Upon further investigation our team discovered that these high energy fields are caused by a large assortment of devices within the home including but not limited to the following:  Fans, Heaters, Air Purifiers, Alarm Clocks, Lamps and Decorative String Lighting.

Although these devices are used for functional and decorative purposes we feel the side effects of their high EMF output can (in some cases) be dangerous and damaging to the occupant’s physical and mental health.

The World Health Organization warns that electro-magnetic fields in excess of 20 milligauss can have adverse health effects with prolonged exposure. The levels measured in this home are twelve times higher than the world health organization’s recommended limit.  This coupled with the families constant occupancy of the home for extended periods of time raises concerns about their overall health.  Even members of our team became sick during the investigation.  Sick to the point of vomiting.

None of the 13 team members personally experienced or recorded anything beyond the excessive and heavy man-made energy levels within the home, but based on our four independent preliminary interviews with members of the family we have found that due to the family’s firm belief and interest in the activity and causes presented by the family friend and parents, there is some evidence of possible coequal testimonial influence as well as Munchhausen by proxy.

Several of our investigators have noticed key changes to the younger daughters testimony in the light of evidence or testimony presented by other family members. For example on one occasion when asked if she had heard Benjamin speak, she firmly replied “no”, however after hearing her older sister  talk about hearing Benjamin’s voice, her testimony changed and she began telling of her experiences hearing his voice. This form of testimony change occurred several times within the interview process. She and her older sister were also inclined to change their claims in accordance with their mothers testimony.

We have also found that this family has been encouraged to identify their experiences with sources of a paranormal nature all with little or no research to support the assumption.  The eldest daughter has been told by the family friend she is a crystal child and possesses the ability to channel the spirits which allegedly reside in the home. However, there is no empirical evidence to support the claims of this child’s abilities and the child herself was unaware of these abilities before being told she had them.

However, she is still encouraged to develop her abilities, and assured by her mother that her results are valid. Again, this assurance is from unsubstantiated sources. We do feel as though outside influences and sympathetic behaviors are influencing the families overall viewpoint and experiences with regards to the environment in their home.

The sad ending to this story is that during this investigation and our individual, private interviews with the family member we had discovered several signs of child abuse which manifested in several recorded claims made by the children in the home.  The oldest daughter had made a list of the hurtful things her mother had done and said to her and her sister on a repeated basis. She had even written it down. The specific details of this aspect of the case must remain private but following our research we felt it necessary to report these issues to the Department of Social Services to ensure the children’s safety.

Call it Munchhausen by proxy, call it misinterpretation of natural influences or call it demonic possession.  At the end of the day it was still the case of a family so desperately in need of help and one we couldn’t ignore.  Maybe we cleansed the home of one kind of demon after all.

 

03/12/14

Alcatraz

ALCATRAZ

We haven’t done a formal investigation of Alcatraz, but I did have an experience there. We were in San Francisco on our Honeymoon and staring at us every time we looked out into the bay was “The Rock “. It’s always been an intriguing place, with history that spans a period from before California was a state with the Native Americans to the Civil War to the infamous prison that housed the likes of Al Capone, Robert Stroud(The Bird Man), Frank Morris, John Anglin, his brother Clarence Anglin (the three that escaped)and George Celio Barnes (Machine Gun Kelly).

So we booked a trip over and spent the day traipsing around the grounds. My experience happened while we were taking the walking tour of the cell block. It was one of those self guided tours that you listened to through head phones and it would guide you to different spots and tell interesting information and history. We had just left the barber shop and were headed to the next stop on the tour. Just as the recording was about to start up I heard a raspy, loud, and distinct voice say “Hey” in my left ear. I looked around thinking it was my husband but he was still in the barber shop and I was alone.

If you get chance to go, I highly recommend a trip to Alcatraz, but make your reservations well in advance, its on a lot of people’s bucket list.

03/11/14

Evil Does Exist

I believe that we witnessed evil in an investigation in Boston a few years ago. A man named Tony lived in a low income housing project and called us with claims of hearing voices and noises from the other rooms in his apartment. Sometimes it would say things like “Get Out!” or just whisper things that he couldn’t understand. He also told about hearing things being moved in the kitchen, but by the time he got there, everything was quiet. Also there were claims of weird shadows on a wall in the living room and noises coming from the upstairs apartment when nobody was there. He was upset and afraid and was looking for help.

Tony was a nice enough guy, but he had some severe psychological issues. We weren’t sure what they were, but paranoia definitely was one of them. We talked with him on several occasions leading up to the investigation and he always spoke about his friend, Adam and that he could corroborate all of his claims. We scheduled the investigation and asked Tony if Adam could also be there. We arrived and set up audio and video to record all the rooms in his apartment.

While the set up was taking place we spoke with Adam to get his opinion on the claims. He was a smooth talker and was very slick, but not that slick. There were holes in his stories and he would scramble to come up with a lame reason or excuses to explain things. As the night went on it became apparent the claims were Adam’s not Tony’s. When we would ask a question about clarifying something, Tony would ask Adam to elaborate because he either didn’t know or wasn’t sure what had happened. As we interviewed Adam throughout the night, we started to see that he had an agenda. He never came out and said it, but it became apparent that he wanted Tony’s apartment and by scaring him out of his wits with all the paranormal claims, he figured he could get him to leave and he would slide himself right in there.

Part of Adam’s story was that he had recently moved into a nearby apartment. The apartment belonged to an 80 year old lady and he was sleeping on her couch. Adam even bragged that he had convinced her that she shouldn’t be alone and even convinced her to make him her medical Proxy. We all came to the same conclusion that Adam was preying on Tony and the old lady too. Needless to say that we found nothing to report for evidence. We tried to explain away the paranormal claims for Tony, but he was convinced that Adam was his friend and all these things were real. We haven’t yet witnessed “EVIL” in the form of Paranormal Activity, but I truly believe that evil does exist even if its only in the living.

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.