01/7/16

Five hard to swallow facts about Paranormal Research

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– 1 –  Audio, Video or Photos will NEVER serve as conclusive proof of “paranormal” phenomena 

Oh I know that statement is bound to launch a thousand debates (and a few more hate mails), but let’s be honest here… media is not only easily misunderstood, it’s easily manipulated. Everything that is submitted as evidence on media carries with it a silent requirement to “trust” the source (a.k.a. the person who submitted it) and therein lies the problem.  If you present me with an incredible video of a ghostly being traversing the stairs of some old home,  my acceptance of this as evidence now presents me with an obligation to believe you didn’t fake it, misinterpret it or misrepresent it. I have to believe you that the conditions were as you say they were when it was captured and that everything else you present me with in support of that video is ALSO legitimate (i.e. photos, meter readings, experiences etc.).

That’s a lot of trust… Slow down, we hardly know each other. 

It’s this unstable variable that prevents any media based evidence from being considered conclusive (or even in some cases suggestive). So what DOES constitute conclusive proof?  I’m glad you asked. There is only one factor that will ever conclusively prove the existence of any unusual phenomenon and that is “demonstrability”.  Yep, you need to be able to demonstrate or repeat it to a degree that it can be studied with some element of reliability under strict controls.

You see the scientific method suggests that a concept or idea is more credible when it can be repeated. Even if only through long and tedious means. Repetition and control are key. If it’s a phenomena (and not just an event), it will or can be repeated.

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 –  2 – No matter how “in control and grounded” you claim to be, your brain can and DOES continue to fool you… you are not immune.

Oh people say it all the time. “I’m not crazy.”, “I know what I saw”, “I wasn’t hallucinating”, “I wouldn’t lie about something like that.”, “She told me she was 18”. Well maybe not the last one, but the point is people are exceedingly hard to convince when it comes to doubting their own perceptions. We all want to believe that our senses are relatively infallible, that our brains are not easily fooled and that our rationalization skills are in great working order. But the truth is utterly disappointing.

For decades numerous scientists and researchers around the world have documented the astounding fallibility of our perceptive process. Television shows, games, carnival attractions and even art have been created that specifically take advantage of the holes in our cognitive faculties. We are ALL born suckers and there’s really nothing we can do about it other than understand that the condition exists and honestly consider these shortcomings in our analysis of unusual events.

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3 – Your shining credibility does not make your experience more believable.

Groucho Marx once said, “There’s one way to find out if a man is honest: ask him. If he says yes, then you know he is crooked.”  – That statement was  only funny because it’s true.

Everyone – you, me, your spouse, children, siblings, co-workers, best friends, teachers, employers and even your sweet old grandmother have told lies. By age four, 90% of children have grasped the concept of lying (Osmols 2011), and it just goes downhill from there. According to a 2002 study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, 60% of all adults can’t have a ten minute conversation without telling a lie at least once (UMASS 2002). and according to the study those folks who did lie actually told an average of 3 lies during their short discussion with the researchers.

I know you’re sitting there right now insisting that you would be part of the 40% that didn’t lie but that’s what the liars in the study thought, too. When they reviewed their own conversations, they were flabbergasted at how many lies they had actually told.

Unsurprisingly, we also sometimes lie about important aspects. According to one estimate, 40% of people lie on their resumes (Forbes 2006).  A shocking 90% of people looking for a date online lie in their profile. (Scientific American 2007)   So no matter how honest you believe you are, no matter how accurate your rendition of a paranormal event is (even if it truly happened to you), the majority of the world will never simply “accept” what you are claiming with complete certainty… They just won’t.

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– 4 – Any equipment that requires the “interpretation” of non-repeatable results is complete bullshit.

Yep , I went there….bullshit.  In fact pretty much all of the marketed devices used in “ghost hunting” today  require a personal interpretation of the results in order to determine the significance of their output.  (Yes I’m looking at you spirit box, Ovilus, Paranormal Puck, Vortex Dome, Para-Scope, V-Pod, Rem Pod, Ghost Ark, Dowsing Rods, Pendulums, Ouija Boards, KII Meters, Geo-Pods and yes…EMF Meters)

So what’s wrong with personal interpretation you say?  I will explain…

Scenario 1-  In a hospital, a doctor uses a heart monitor to determine if someone is having  heart trouble. He / She interprets the readings of the heart monitor to make or assist in a diagnosis.

Scenario 2 – In an old home a paranormal investigator uses a specialized device (choose any from the list above) to determine if the home is haunted. He/ She interprets the readout/response of the equipment to make a determination.

So what is the difference between Scenario 1 and 2? They seem relatively the same right? Well not really.

In scenario 1 the doctor is measuring a tangible object – the human heart. It’s proper function has been well documented and how a healthy one should appear on a heart monitor is academic as is the comparison between the live readings and the expected readings used to help  indicate a problem. The interpretation the doctor makes is based on known and “demonstrated” information.

In scenario 2 the investigator is simply looking for any unusual reaction, especially one that ties into his / her expectations or the context of the location or perhaps even one that correlates with other experiences. This is done because he/she doesn’t know with any certainty what a paranormal experience “should” read. There is no documented historical data for a paranormal occurrence. So responsible comparisons cannot be made and interpretations are based entirely on subjective opinion. Hardly factual.

“Nobody has EVER linked EMF to actual localized paranormal occurrences in any reliable or predictable fashion….EVER.”

Question: So if that’s the case how can manufacturers of paranormal gadgetry even begin to design a device that works?

Answer: They can’t.

(They are all bullshit in my opinion):

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– 5 – There has never been any credible, demonstrable research to even suggest the plausibility of life beyond death.

Sure there have been “sciency” people in history who have attempted to prove the existence of a soul, others who tried to establish communications with those who have passed and still others who have insisted they have been to the other side and back, but in spite of the numerous attempts and claims that flood the internet, we are not any closer to officially proving life after death than we were 5000 years ago.

Don’t get me wrong, who wouldn’t love the idea of a second chance?  To see your departed loved ones again, to be free of the mortal bonds that plague our existence, to have learned from a lifetime of experience, free of illness, free of strife, free of pain. It sure is a comforting thought, but unfortunately, right now, it’s only that… a thought.  The fact is that the research conducted over the past two centuries in the hopes of proving “life after death” have chalked up a big fat zilch in terms of results. If it’s there, we haven’t proven it yet…  no one has.

So for those in search of human souls, ghosts and spirits… to officially claim that you have contacted the dear departed, you must first establish with complete certainty (not just with opinion) that life does go on beyond this mortal veil. That there are dis-incarnate “beings” there to contact. Do this and the rest will go down the scientific gullet like a candy coated gumdrop. Until then… well… you know.


So here we have it five hard to swallow facts about Paranormal Research. I’ll finish by saying that this in no way proclaims that unusual, undiscovered phenomena doesn’t exists. In fact, I’m inclined to believe it does, but once again that’s just my opinion, and you know what they say about those.

No one ever said it was going to be easy.

Resources:

http://www.emaxhealth.com/6705/when-children-lie-they-are-simply-reaching-developmental-milestone

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-06/uoma-urf061002.php

http://www.forbes.com/2006/05/20/resume-lies-work_cx_kdt_06work_0523lies.html

http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/C1597486-E7F2-99DF-310BFD76D5647B1D/

11/29/15

Visions and Voices – Paranormal or Psychotic?

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by Michael J. Baker

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

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

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

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

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

Sources

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

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

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

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

Schizophrenia Bullettin, 37, 850 e 860

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

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

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

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

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.

05/22/14

Albania…

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

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

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

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

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

05/22/14

Living Next to Woodlawn Cemetery

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

05/9/14

Look a Mouse – EEEEEEEKK !!!!!!

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

05/7/14

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Test…..

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

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

The Result…..

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

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

04/17/14

Rocks Will Remember….

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

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

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

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

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

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

04/9/14

The Lady in Black

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

fort2

03/27/14

Celebrity Corner – Charlie Chaplin

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

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

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

 

Culver Studios

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

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

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

I guess you can say “that’s a wrap”.

Now you see me, now you don’t.

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

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

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

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

03/25/14

Celebrity Corner – Pop Stars

Disclaimer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

03/25/14

Trigger Objects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

03/21/14

Celebrity Corner – Dan Akroyd

Disclaimer:

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

Story:

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

His name is Daniel Edward Akroyd.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

03/21/14

Paranormal ice cream?

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

03/18/14

A Tall Case Of Fraud

IMG_3942

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

The Wayside Inn

 

www.wayside.org

Unlike many other investigations we have done, the Wayside Inn is a prime location for experimentation with new equipment and an excellent resource for authentic tangible, and fairly reliable activity. The target rooms in the facility (9 & 10) have all of the elements of a good investigation destination, privacy, history and countless experiences documented in thousands of letters hidden in the room by the numerous guests throughout the years (Thanks to the Secret Drawer Society). I have investigated this exciting location at least 6 times prior and the vast majority of my visits have produced what I feel are fairly un-explainable experiences that keep me coming back for more.

The Inn, which dates back to 1716, is believed to be the haunted stomping ground of several dis-incarnate beings. Not the least of which is the enchanting Jerusha Howe, “the Belle of Sudbury”, the eldest sibling of one of the Inn’s original owners and the prime target of our in-depth investigation. 

It should be noted that both my team and I do not yet hold a firm belief that the experiences had at the Inn over the years are the result of “intelligent” interaction. Such a concept in this field of research has yet to be proven to our satisfaction and until such a time that gathered evidence supports the claim of “intelligence” by repeated and demonstrable  experiences, our research will focus on the elements that can be tangibly analyzed in the hopes of uncovering the statistical, environmental and / or physical makeup of the activity at hand.

Evidence History

THE KNOCK – 

My first experience at the Inn was shared with 10 other individuals (many of whom are current members of our team). During an investigation of Room 9  a very clear and apparent knock was heard on the room door. 11 individuals turned to look at the door and within seconds of the knock the door was opened and no one was there.  The stairway outside the door is very steep and very creaky.  It was very unlikely that anyone could have knocked on that door and escaped down the stairs while going unnoticed.  Everyone in the room that day concurred.

 

THE PIANO – 

7486149_orig

On July 26th 2011, I recorded nearly 20 minutes of random piano playing at 4:10 AM. The piano, while faint, was heard audibly. Knowing that Jerusha’s piano still existed in the Inn, I went downstairs to the museum to have a look. The 19th century piano was not only unoccupied, but sealed up and behind glass.  It should be noted that the piano music did not emanate from the museum room.  In fact, the piano music faded the further away from Rm 9 I got. The next morning I confirmed with the front desk that the piano I saw in the museum was the only piano in the Inn, and other guests claimed to have heard the piano as well.  Our sample below is noisy due to a faulty audio recorder.  But the piano is clearly heard.

 

THE SHADOW – 

These videos represent some of the finest visual evidence we’ve seen. Para~Boston Investigator Jonathan Smith reserved room 9 at the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, MA. Claims from other Inn residents stated that the spirit of Jerusha tends to bother male occupants while they sleep, and many times people have seen shadows moving in the corner of the room. This video captures just that. To the right of the bed you will see a faint shadow leave the floor and fly upward. This was not caused by any external means and we deem this video to be 100% authentic.

Equipment Developed For This Investigation

IMG_5829

For this investigation, we have decided to try a new piece of equipment that I have created for capturing both EVP’s and Electro-Magnetic fields simultaneously.  The scientific principles employed  in this “microphone” have been used in this field before, both intentionally and accidentally.  This device functions on the principle of magnetic induction, the same way a traditional dynamic microphone works, however there are slight alterations in this particular device that make it unique. In addition to two large copper plates creating a tune-able condenser element, combinations of multiple coils tuned for specific frequency ranges using different winding amounts and wire gauges are select-able via a switching system that is used in conjunction with a 153 lb neodymium magnet for increased sensitivity. It should be noted that this microphone has NO diaphragm and is incapable of recording standard audio.

Two of these devices (each tuned differently and on separate axis) will be used on site and record to two 24bit recording devices.   Because of their design they will not only capture EVP without the intrusive background audio, but they will serve as a very sensitive EMF meter that will display full spectrum analysis of any stray EMF field in the area allowing us to discern between different EMF fields and rule out any “man-made” sources.


IMG_5833Another experiment to be performed here involves the reactions and sensitivity of plant life during paranormal activity. The principles behind this experiment were first made popular by Cleve Baxter during the 1970’s. Baxter claimed that all living things are linked and therefore even plants can show fear and anticipation of other living beings in the room. To my knowledge, however, these ideas were never applied to paranormal research until now. To conduct this experiment I needed to create a skin galvanization meter that could record data for the entire night. A picture of the device I created is to the left. This meters probes will be clipped to a plant’s leaf and 240 samples per second of the leafs conductivity will be recorded. If the plant reacts to the environment (as Baxter claims) the plant’s conductivity (or Galvanization) will increase and show a reading on the meter. Will it work? Time will tell.

The Investigation…

Because numerous claims from previous occupants of the room seem to mention that the activity often centers around male guests, we have elected a volunteer to stay in the room overnight while our equipment records any potential activity.

Our team arrived at the Inn in the early afternoon hours of May 26th and proceeded to set up our equipment. Video cameras were strategically placed to cover all angles of the room, and in addition to our DVR night vision camera set, we employed one professional Panasonic AG100X which would be focused primarily on the bed and wall where the shadows previously appeared. Ultimately our goal was to mimic the camera angle of the “shadow figure” video shown above. Also, in hopes of having similar results, we decided to leave the lights on just as they were in the original evidence video.

A high powered shotgun microphone was employed to capture even the smallest audible sounds in the room.  This was done to create a suitable reference track should we need to correlate any of the camera footage. The microphone may also prove useful should the piano music manifest again.

On the dresser we placed a house plant and tablet that were both hooked to the galvanization meter. Tests were performed and the meter was properly calibrated for the evening ahead. Additionally the two EMVP coils were placed on a single microphone stand approximately 4 feet high. The coils were positioned to cover two primary axis (Z and X) and the output was connected to a high quality audio recorder set to record .wav files at a 48K sample rate (the highest quality setting available).  The recorders had enough memory and battery life to record continuously for 36 hours (although we wouldn’t need that much space).

All of the cameras in the room (8 in total) were wired back to room 10 and plugged into the DVR system. Recording began immediately. The majority of team left the Inn around 8:30 PM, with the exception of myself and our test subject Jason.  I would occupy room 10 and monitor the equipment and Jason would occupy the target room (9). It should be noted that Jason has not had any previous paranormal investigation experience.

During the night I noticed no strange activity first hand, but Jason, in room 9, had an unusual experience as soon as the evening began.  When returning to his room and preparing to settle in for the night, he noticed the sound of water coming from the bathroom. Upon opening the door, he noticed the water had been running — the faucet was fully open.  Assuming that one of the members of the team left it on before leaving the Inn, he simply shut it off and went to bed.

The next morning, Jason informed me of the water experience and demonstrated what he saw. During our evidence review, we carefully examined the video to see who the last person was to enter the bathroom.  It was Jason. Of course it would seem that Jason simply left the water on himself, but the audio from the high-powered microphone tells another story. As you will see below, Jason first used the bathroom at 7:51 PM and exited the bathroom at 7:52 PM. During the moments he had the door open (average 10 seconds each) running water was not heard on the microphone. However, when he re-entered the bathroom at 8:42 — the running water is clearly heard.  See this and additional evidence below:

THE WATER – 
First time entering the bathroom - Water Off

First time entering the bathroom – Water Off

First time exiting the bathroom - Water Off

First time exiting the bathroom – Water Off

Second time entering the batheroom - Water On

Second time entering the bathroom – Water On

Second time exiting the bathroom - Water Off

Second time exiting the bathroom – Water Off

The following is an analysis of the audio captured of the bathroom that evening.  The first time Jason enters the bathroom running water is not shown.  However in the second graph the running water can clearly be seen at 2Khz.
Audio Spectrograph showing the sound of running water is NOT present.

Audio Spectrograph showing the sound of running water is NOT present.

Audio Spectrograph showing the sound of running water IS present.

Audio Spectrograph showing the sound of running water IS present.

THE CRY – 

At 3:45 AM the EMVP Wand captured an evidence sample. The image (below) shows a spectro-graph of the EMVP output during that time. The dark purple area represents the hiss noise from the audio recorder and the light pink areas represent complex waves of EMF that can be audibly heard in the recording (i.e. an EVP).  The recording is what appears to be a woman crying – and quite aggressively. The sound is faint mainly due to the EMVP wand design and the source distance from the wand. But the definition is clear. (You will need headphones to hear this sample.) Because of the extremely low noise of this design, and the absence of recorded audio, this sample was identified. Traditional audio samples such as the ones above contain far too much background noise to identify recordings of this nature.  From this experiment we now have sufficient data to effectively redesign the EMVP device and specifically target the frequencies and components needed to capture this vocal phenomena  in a greater, more defined volume.

Woman Crying:

Woman Crying (Volume Enhanced):

The light pink areas represent the frequencies of the crying sound.

The light pink areas represent the frequencies of the crying sound.

THE LETTERS –

Anyone who has ever stayed at the Wayside Inn knows about “The Secret Drawer Society”.  Over the past four decades, visitors to the Inn have left notes describing their experience at the Inn.  Out of the 3000+ letters we found (and yes we went through them all) most seem to be about personal events such as weddings and anniversaries spent at the Inn.  But there were nearly 200 of them that mentioned paranormal experiences at the Inn. That was evidence we just had to have, so over the course of a couple nights spent at the Inn, we read and scanned every paranormal letter we could find and put them in a database (Link Below).  What surprised us about these letters is that we read testimony from people all the way back to the 80’s describing paranormal experiences which support the evidence we captured nearly 30 years later! For example, in spite of our extensive research before going into the Inn, we were unaware about the claims of the water faucets in the bathroom turning on.  The letters were an excellent confirmation of our evidence because we captured it and then learned about the claims.  That is a very difficult thing to do in this day and age.

The letters that you will find here are in the process of being transcribed for easy reading and searching. It is our hope gather very important statistics from the letters to aid in our research.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE LETTERS

03/15/14

What Are The Chances?

prob

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

03/13/14

Studying Human Energy Transference: A Paranormal Analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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