Do You Seek Evidence or Experience ?

Do You Seek Evidence or Experience ?

What are you looking for?

As many of us know that pass up on sleep in order to try and gain an understanding of those elusive haunted locations around the world, often we head home with more questions than we first arrived with. The paranormal field for me has always done this and each time I feel I find an answer, ten more questions come to mind off the back of the discovery of that one answer. However this may be the very thing that keeps us fuelled on energy drinks and giving up that all important nights sleep. The problem is though that there often becomes a point where you come to a conclusion that the approach may not be benefiting your progress after all. At least that’s something I came to realise over the years.

It’s at this point that generally we begin to question exactly what we may be looking for and why!

A particular term (and I’ve mentioned this before I know) that I am beginning to hear more and more recently is; that many ghost hunters out there just appear to be doing the same old that they’ve been doing for years and in fact; things in the field haven’t really moved forward since the Victorian era. As much as this may be correct it couldn’t be more from the truth and oddly is only based within the ghost hunter community itself. Perhaps within the spiritual field too.

This is really where as an individual and to an extent a team you must begin to ask what it is exactly you are looking for whilst you are giving up you hours of sleep?

Let me explain a little from my own perspective. When I first began to do overnight investigations I started from an understanding that I would aim to debunk in order to leave anything unknown as anomalous phenomena. What happened though was that whilst debunking I found more questions along the way. Part of this approach was to gather ‘evidence’ or at least what we called ‘evidence’ back then. I am of course referring to audio, video and photographic captures, which is something that has become common place representation of ‘evidence’ especially thanks to the boom in paranormal reality TV shows.

In fact it was these three types of ‘evidence’ that helped me to see that as a matter of fact they are far from categorical evidence of the paranormal at all. You see I managed to capture two things during some of my investigations; 1) crystal clear audio or EVP, and 2) video of a moving object. Both of these communicate as being fantastic proof of Paranormal activity by todays comprehension of the ghost hunting approach we have been made all so familiar of thanks to those reality TV shows. The problem was something I hadn’t been expecting at that time, but comprehend much better now. Both elements were rigorously questioned and alternatives were presented which placed the ‘evidence’ I had into question, in fact it highlighted them as being very weak evidence of the paranormal. Now I am sure there maybe individuals or teams out there reading this thinking that perhaps they may be able to provide better ‘evidence’ to support the paranormal in the form of audio, photographic or video. However let me just say, what you know about a piece of ‘evidence’ needs to be beyond doubt when it is comprehended by others that were not present when the said ‘evidence’ was captured. I guarantee that those not present will always have more questions and will be less likely to accept what you have captured, which in reality is how it should be.

This for me, this presented the question ‘what are you looking for exactly?’

A personal experience is okay too…

Over the years one thing I have realised is that although I enjoy the research and searching for solid answers, from time to time I do enjoy a good old fashioned ghost hunt. Now I often approach these in a couple of ways, which is often defined by whether its my investigation or an investigation ran by a friend where they wish to obtain good data; or its an event someone else is running.

I often like to just join a group or head out on a Paranormal event to visit a public location that has had reports of various paranormal activity over the years. It is actually these such events which may lead to me returning to a location to conduct my own more in depth investigation later on. These kind of events are excellent for allowing yourself to simply immerse yourself in the location and its potential haunting. This is usually the time where experience is the more likely result rather than something a little more solid. That said personally, and this is only a personal choice, I still like to jot down a few notes in my journal.

Anomalous experiences after all are where Paranormal research and investigation may begin, understanding what someone believes had occurred somewhere and then looking deeper into that occurrence to gain a better understanding is where my research once began.

The problem I find and this is perhaps a personal thing too being I do love a bit of data, is that often those personal experiences are not documented properly and remain events in memory alone. Alternatively only part of the experience is documented leaving out fundamental details, which when questioned often end up discounting the experience.

Remember its those experiences that if they are documented and analysed properly could help us understand a locations activity or even activity as a whole. Which is why it’s so important to gather some information, if you do experience something.

I know that if your aim is an experience and you’re not really concerned with an understanding or even documenting then that is absolutely fine. At the end of the day we spend our lives having experiences and learning new things, so if that is your approach then to be quite frank that life.

I guess for me I am always thinking about various elements of the paranormal, so even an experience is documented to help with that comprehension of how it all works. Which is why I tend to keep notes on my investigations and experiences on a regular basis.

Searching for evidence and meaning…

Of course if you’re looking for a little more than a random experience that if you’re like me leaves you with a tonne more questions than when you started out, then you are probably trying to find some evidence or meaning in the Paranormal.

Let’s return to that earlier statement about approaches not having moved on since the Victorian era. This is actually extremely far from the truth. Ghost Hunters utilise all kinds of tech these days in order to discover elements of the paranormal, where back in the day the approaches were relatively limited. However the approaches adopted by modern day ghost hunters are on the surface appearing a little stagnant these days.

One of the problems is something I am going to call; ‘the reality TV format mirror approach’! Basically this means that the team or organisation approach their ghost hunt from the perspective similar to that of a TV show. They walk the location discussing its history and activity, then they setup equipment, conduct vigils and then pack up and conclude. This isn’t a bad approach in reality, personally back in the day my investigations followed a very similar structure and it was one that many were happy with. However if change is to occur then perhaps these approaches need to be evaluated and new ones proposed.

Whilst looking for good data and understating within an investigation, one approach that I adopted at smaller locations (especially free ones) was to focus the investigation in one area/room for the night or even bring in approaches such as seances to bridge the gap between the spiritual and the science. These more focused approaches would make documenting the location and events more easier too. Especially as you can cover off the variables in a small area easier and keep an eye on one room much easier.

The problem is cost in regards to most of the locations many of us seek to investigate, you simply couldn’t justify paying for a location and only focussing on one room. Which is a shame, but we understand why the places charge as they do. Well in most cases we do as its to assist with the upkeep and maintenance of a historic location, which we are lucky enough to explore in quiet of night. Granted there may be some out there that the intentions for their high changes may fall into question, but the simple answer is if you don’t like or cant afford it, don’t pay it!

Sometimes the answers aren’t in the dark…

I would like to finish this particular post by highlighting a place that has provided me with more information on the subject of the paranormal than any overnight investigation ever. I am of course referring to the library and the extensive amount of resources that are out there available to those with an interest in the field of the Paranormal.

These days, a little like the odd tech a modern day ghost hunter may have, a library isn’t just a building in the centre of your town governed over by a stern librarian that peers over her glasses at you as you head towards the Paranormal section. Our local libraries are much more interactive and modernised, there is a tonne of online information if you search beyond Wikipedia and there are many academic resources that provide access to some very interesting information.

For example; back in the late 1800 the SPR conducted a census of hallucinations in order to gain a better understanding of anomalous phenomena. Bearing in mind that their use of the term ‘hallucinations’ didn’t mean that people were seeing things due to mental illness as we often associate it today, but more along gathering information on the things people had seen which were not physically present. ‘Phantasms of the Living’ was published around this time by the SPR and discussed more than 600 cases of apparitions probably linked to telepathy. Think about that for a second, 600 cases discussed in one place. That as a resource to build on nowadays is fantastic.

The point I am trying to make here is simple; if you wish to progress the field then you need to build on what has actually already been achieved. Those achievements are not by the popular TV shows, although they have brought more to the field which is great. The advancements were made by the giants of science, the fellows of the SPR and Ghost Club alike as they built the foundations of the field and research approaches. However that has now been picked up by more and more universities pushing the boundaries of research into the field of psi. I remember the day I read my first Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, I immediately thought I had to up my game and do so much more in order to become published in such a journal.

So, as you investigate in a darkened historic location, simply ask; what do you truly seek?

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The Most Haunted Locations in the World – Waverly Hills Sanatorium

The Most Haunted Locations in the World – Waverly Hills Sanatorium

A Little History

The Sanatorium sits on land that was originally purchased by Major Thomas H. Hays back in 1883. However the Major wanted his daughters to attend school, so he started a single room school house, then located on Pages Lane. Lizzie Lee Harris was hired to teach at the school and it was her fondness of Scott’s “Waverley Novels” that may have lead her to name the school house ‘Waverley School’. It’s believed that as Major Hays liked the name he chose to name his own property Waverley Hill.

The Board of Tuberculosis Hospital kept the name after they purchased the land and opened the Sanatorium. 1908 saw the construction of the Sanatoriums original building, a two-story frame building with a hipped roof. This was completed and Sanatorium opened fully on the 26th July 1910. At this point the building had been designed to house up to 50 tuberculosis patients.

Tuberculosis was a very serious disease at the time and this unfortunate to be affected with it were isolated from any general public and placed somewhere they could rest, remain calm and have access to plenty of fresh air. This is why Sanatoriums were often placed on higher ground surrounded by woodland, all to assist with the patients recovery. As Jefferson County saw tuberculosis become an epidemic, the little Sanatorium on Waverly Hill was filled with over 140 people. It became greatly evident that a larger hospital would be required to house those suffering in order to allow them to continue to live without having contact with the general population.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium

In order to cope with the demand Waverly Hills soon grew in size and became a self-contained community. It had its own post office, water treatment facility, had its own fruit and vegetable gardens, and even raised its own meat to slaughter. The whole population of Waverly; patients, doctors, nurses and staff all became permanent residents “on the hill”. Which oddly was an approach that was totally contradicted by visiting day, where many of the patients would receive visits from their loved ones. Something which seems a little foolish in my book considering the contagious nature of tuberculosis you would have thought any contact would have been restricted.

Waverly Hills Patients

The huge facility that can be seen today, albeit a little worse for wear, dates back to October 17th 1926, when it first opened. Construction had started two years previously, in March 1924. This version of the Sanatorium was designed to house over 400 patients suffering with Tuberculosis. At the time it was built, Waverly was considered to be one of the most well equipped and modern facilities of the time. In 1961 the discovery of antibiotic that successfully treated tuberculosis meant that the Sanatorium would soon become obsolete. So, it was closed down and quarantined, before being renovated. Then in 1962, the building reopened as Wood Haven Medical Services, which was a geriatric facility. However by 1981 the state had also closed Wood Haven too.

The Haunted Sanatorium..

Given the magnitude of death, suffering and varied approaches to treatment explored at Waverly, its certainly not unexpected really that the location has established itself as one of the worlds most haunted locations.

It’s also had its fair share of visitors from TVs well known paranormal shows such as Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures. What brings ghost hunting teams back to this now famous location time and time again though?

It seems as if the Sanatorium itself can have a paranormal effect on most of those that visit. Regardless of the individuals being sceptic or believer, medium or investigator; experiences come to most when they visit. Especially when walking the derelict hallways with little light too. Are these paranormal experiences or the psychological effects of walking through a derelict darkened building at night.

The brief research that I have done on Waverly seems to mention the fifth floor on a regular basis. It has been speculated that the fifth floor may have housed mentally insane tuberculosis patients, although I have not managed to confirm this as yet. Like I said brief internet research.

The fifth floor consists of two nurse stations, a linen room, a pantry, a medication room and two medium sized rooms. One of these rooms is room 502 and in itself has become the subject of many a Waverly story. The most prominent being that where visitors have witnesses movement in the window or heard a disembodied voice order them to ‘get out’!

The fifth floor does seem to be the subject of many an urban legend that’s associated with Waverly too. For example, one story says that back in 1928 the head nurse in room 502 was found dead in that room. She had allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from the light fixture. It was also alleged that she was 29 years old at the time and pregnant, but still unmarried. Its believed that her depression over the situation lead her to take her own life, but her body may have been hanging there for some time before it was discovered.

Its also believed that another nurse jumped from the roof patio in 1932, falling several stories to her death. The nurse in that story also worked in room 502. Although these urban legends are still to be substantiated, they still persist to play a large part in the Paranormal stories that surround Waverly Hills Sanatorium.

Over many years now there has been considerable paranormal activity reported throughout the location. These range from strange ghostly sounds, slamming doors, light anomalies, objects have been thrown at ghost hunters, apparitions have been seen in doorways and along corridors, and so much more.

Would you spend the night at Waverly Hills?

I have to admit, although I have never been to Waverly Hills or the US the Sanatorium definitely makes its way onto my paranormal bucket list of places to investigate. One day with any luck I will give the place a visit that’s for sure.

Waverly Hills is a perfect example of what I call a ‘horror story’ location. The location has an interesting history that is fundamentally related to suffering, death and most likely mental illness too. All this during darker times make for the perfect ingredients that draw ghost hunters in. Don’t get me wrong I am not discounting any of the suggested activity or experiences, as its not my place to do so, as wasn’t present at the time and haven’t interviewed these individuals either. However this colourful history along with the fact that the location stood derelict for some time and to an extent still is, helps to generate those urban legends in the first place.

Its without doubt that Waverly Hills Sanatorium does have something about it and some great stories too. The question really remains; would you spend the night to find out if those stories are true?

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20 of the Most Haunted Locations in the World

20 of the Most Haunted Locations in the World

Tell me your top 5…

Often as investigators we are asked; ‘what is your top five most haunted locations’ or ‘if you could investigate anywhere in the world, where would you pick?’ These are often questions asked on Paranormal radio shows and sometimes by bloggers like me when interviewing someone for a blog piece. The results provide an interesting insight into the individual, but also spur on the classic; ‘oh god yeah, that’s an awesome choice’ from fellow investigators. Talking about locations we have investigated or would like to investigate is common place in the field. Everyone has their bucket lists, investigators generally have theirs too, but the difference being that the places we want to visit may not be considered potential holiday locations. That’s not even mentioning the small fact that we would probably prefer to visit them overnight too.

Lizzie Borden House

I often engage in such conversations with others in the field and last night was no different. Thanks to the wonders of the internet I found myself talking to a couple of great friends and fellow paranormal enthusiasts just last night, Kerry Greenaway and Carl Hutchinson. Suffice to say at some point in our six hour (yes six hour) skype conversation, the subject switched to our Paranormal bucket lists and this got me thinking of an idea for a little blog series.

I done something a little similar a couple of years back when I wrote about My Top Ten Most Haunted Locations in UK, but the difference with them was that I had already investigated those locations.

So, whilst chatting away at my desk last night around 1am to both Kerry and Carl, I decided to start a ‘kind of’ bucket list of my own. I have started with a nice simple twenty locations, but who knows perhaps as I begin to write and receive suggestions from my readers, then I may expand the list slightly.

The top twenty most haunted locations in the world…

Here they are and in no particular order. As I write them up I will add a link below and tie them all together.


However I don’t want it to be just about these twenty locations, as the world has far more places than this and I would like to add them not only to my blog, but to a kind of database too. If I ever get the chance to travel the world investigating haunted locations then I will certainly be using this list. It’s a little like a paranormal travel guide!

Here goes then, the first twenty locations:-

Waverley Hills Sanatorium, USA

Corvin Castle, Romania

Mary Kings Close, Scotland

Alcatraz, USA

Aradale Asylum, Australia

Devils Pool, Australia

Salem, USA

Eastern State Penitentiary, USA

Poveglia, Italy

Tower of London, England

Akershus Fortress, Norway

The Queen Mary Hotel, USA

The White House, USA

The Houses Of Parliament, England

The Winchester Mystery House, USA

Lizzie Borden House, USA

The Stanley Hotel, USA

Castle of Good Hope, South Africa

The Catacombs, France

Gettysburg Battlefield, USA

Less heard of locations…

I know this particular series of posts is focussing on the most haunted locations, but I would be happy to add in many more moving forward to expand the series and also the database of locations. After all its more data and I do love a bit of data!

So, please if you have any particular locations that you know of or have investigated then I would be happy to write about them too. If you have an online write up about the location I may even add a link to that too.

The concept of a haunted location…

In a few previous posts I have often discussed the concept of a haunted location and various theories that may surround it and explain it. The most well known theory being that of the Stone Tape Theory of course, but I have equally questioned the acceptance of locations as being haunted. After all without a proper comprehensive understanding of what ‘haunted’ means we are still beginning to understand what it means. Granted there could be ghosts and spirits wandering the corridors of various historical locations around the world, but equally their existence could simply be in our minds and there could be a more interesting reason for their existence.

The Catacombs in Paris

All that said, many individuals around the world do appear to have these paranormal experience more so at these specific locations. Does that mean they’re haunted with the spirits of individuals that passed away there or something else? I mean what the heck is a haunting anyway?

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Ghost Hunting with CCTV

Ghost Hunting with CCTV

Ghost captured on CCTV…

I remember when I got into the overnight Paranormal investigating part of what I do well over ten years ago now, when Ghost Hunters was dominating the paranormal TV show slot, everyone had a CCTV system of some kind or another. At that point in time it seemed very much like we were all scrambling around to set up as many night vision CCTV cameras as we could. All with the intention of capturing that holy grail of evidence ‘a ghost’.

My Top Ten Most Haunted Locations in the UK - Henrick's Hairdressers in Royston

Back then it seemed so easy with our limited gadgetry, rock up to the location with your ten flight cases and spend your first hour and half setting up kit like CCTV. Then you would investigate for around seven hours, moving around your location holding vigils all over the place, as you try to connect with probable entities supposedly haunting the place. Once you finish those vigils, you pack up your kit into your car and drive home on energy drinks. After you’ve caught up on the sleep you lost from a nights investigation, then you set about reviewing your footage. The likes of Ghost Hunters made the review part seem so very simple, but TV does have a way of doing this doesn’t it? In reality reviewing footage from your CCTV alone could take hours and hours; bearing in mind if you watch footage for each individual camera for the entire investigation then you would be looking at around seven times the number of cameras you had been running through the night. Forget the next day, you would be reviewing footage in your spare time for the following week.

After all that the likelihood that you may even catch something paranormal is pretty much slim to none. In fact in all my years investigating haunted locations I don’t think I have ever captured compelling footage on my CCTV systems.

However there did seem a time where CCTV was almost as popular as a black polo shirt with your teams logo on the front.

Don’t get me wrong I have heard of a few capturing some oddities on their systems and there were of course the various TV shows out there using them that often appeared to capture ‘evidence’ !

Rethinking the purpose of CCTV…

Over the years I’ve gradually re-evaluated how and when I utilise a CCTV system within a paranormal investigation. As odd as it sounds trying to focus its use on capturing paranormal activity is actually a complete waste of something that could really help you to understand the structure of your investigation.

I know, I know! You’re probably scratching your heads right now confused at what I’ve just said, right? Surely the CCTV system is perfect for capturing activity! Well of course it is, but there are major issues with this. One video image caught via one camera with little or no other supporting data, just won’t cut it as evidence.

Let me highlight this with a brief example. You set up your CCTV around a location at various ‘hotspots’. In one room where you have a CCTV camera you have a trigger object on a table. The camera monitors what’s on the table, but to do so you loose the whole table. The object moves in shot of the camera. You’ve captured a moving object with one camera. This is where the problem arises; as you’ve got areas out of shot here the validity of the video comes into question and rightly so too. As you can hopefully see with this simple example, the CCTV systems can be flawed when it comes to establishing captured video as ‘evidence’.

With an understanding in the utilisation of my CCTV changed over the years now, I tend to use the system in a different way perhaps these days.

Don’t get me wrong when approaching a new case I still may focus a camera or two on a possibly active location, but this is aimed to analyse that hotspot to see if there is anything to the claim. Pretty much as we always have. The difference is that more often than not I will use other triggers to check the footage at the same time for a cross reference of activity.

However these days I often utilise my CCTV systems more for clarification of things like the Investigators location during an investigation. The movement of the team during an investigation is actually quite an important element of the data we should look to capture. The amount of times I’ve spoken to team members following a particularly interesting part of the investigation and they have provided various pieces of information, which they believe to be correct, but actually their understanding of the time line is not quite right.

This isn’t about Investigators falsifying information to sensationalise them, it’s a simple fact that out memories aren’t quite as reliable as we would hope. This is what is often referred to as false memory. Hence the need for things to help us establish those events correctly.

Hence in any investigation establishing a time line is essential in order to comprehend when things occurred and who may have been present for those events. This is where CCTV can help you immensely, as most systems will run with a running clock giving you that time link.

Granted you may not be able to place a CCTV camera absolutely everywhere, but you can place what you have in key locations to cover your teams movement around that location. Doorways, stairways and hallways are all great locations that cover a teams movement.

Let the tech do the work…

These days CCTV systems are a bit more clever than the systems I first started using all those years ago. They can do all sorts of cool stuff, including recording only if they detect movement or generating a log of movement. Which means we can use them to gather data useful to the construction of our investigation timeline.

My own system does something similar where it creates a clever log of the recording time frame and any movement too. It doesn’t end there though as these systems can also be interconnected with other sensory systems too.

As my good friend Carl Hutchinson would agree get to know your technology and get the most out of it in order to capture good investigation data, which can be used to cross reference other data. It’s in multiple streams of data that support a single anomaly that we will find truly compelling evidence of the paranormal.

In fact when I spoke to Carl about CCTV he told me the following:-

Being a little bit of an equipment geek, sometimes I get asked by people what type of equipment I use and the reasons behind this. Ashley came to me the other day and asked me about CCTV systems, so here goes and I hope this helps.

My CCTV set is based around the Swann 1080 16 Channel DVR system with a 16 camera setup (standard 8 indoor and 8 outdoor cameras), all the cameras have motion and heat active sensors; and night vision up to 40 meters in ambient light. The system has a 2TB hard drive and also can be remotely accessed using a smart phone or tablet, so you can view the camera’s from anywhere that has a wi-fi signal. The system has been upgrade so I can connect both wi-fi and cabled camera’s. The main reason for this was to give me the flexibility, as some location you can’t cable the cameras due to the amount of cable required. The only draw back of wifi cameras is that they have to be contacted to a power supply to be able to work. Which is great when you have a location that has power plugs all over the place, but not very helpful when your in a dungeon or tunnels.

I also have the following additional camera’s that boost my capacity to cover all possible requirements that a location might kick up.

3 x Swabb Pro – 1080 FLD 1080 Micro Dome Cameras with Audio

6 x Swann wifi 1080p security cameras

1 x Swann 1080p pan and tilf zoom dome security camera

All my cameras have a great 80 degree viewing angle, both horizontally and vertically. The cable I use is standard BNC cable and I have roles of cables at different lengths because there is nothing worse than only needing 30 meters and all you have is a 100 meter roll!

There are cheaper or more expensive systems and cameras for sale. However I would suggest to anyone thinking about buying a system; do your research first and work out what you want out of it, plus how your going to use it. Most importantly stick to your budget.

Lastly one other bit of advice is about set up. Make sure this is done first when you get to a location and have it recording as soon as possible. And if you have a reported hot spot of activity then try and cover all angles, but keep in mind the IR glare. And if your setting up an area for trigger object, try and make sure you are covering all the room. So if it’s on a table make sure the camera covers all of the legs. The more camera angles you have the more chance you have of being able to debunk things and the more chance you have of capturing activity.

Thank you Carl, my Paranormal tech guru. It’s always good to obtain other perspectives in how we investigate as we can often fall into a pattern of doing the same old thing over and over again.

So, when you next setup your CCTV or even camcorders, don’t just set them up with the hope of capturing activity; utilise them to establish good data of your investigations time line too.

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Identifying Intelligent Communication

Identifying Intelligent Communication

The Classical Two…

Over my years of investigation I have read about and heard from others what I will now class as the classical two, when it comes to communication or indeed encounters during a haunting. There are other variations, but these are probably the two most utilised forms used when describing; a) communication with an entity; and b) a haunting of some kind.

The problem is the more I think about these pair the more I consider them not to be all that correct or perhaps not utilised in the correct manner.

I’m talking of course about Residual and Intelligent hauntings/communication.

Back in the day when I first started my journey into the paranormal, one thing that came up early on was the classification of hauntings or as it was explained to me, the types of hauntings. Now there are various versions out there defining the types, but the two that seem to remain a definitive constant throughout are the following:-

  • Residual Haunting – these are very much like a video recording that are triggered by some external stimulus unknown to the observer. Often related to the Stone Tape Theory.
  • Intelligent Haunting – these identify the entity as being aware of its surroundings and able to communicate with its observers.

However the problem is that although these particular terms have been around now for an extremely long time they are quite vague in how they should relate to that which someone may experience. Yet we all find ourselves utilising them to identify a paranormal experience or indeed define a haunting we may have investigated.

Of course that’s residual…

I have to admit and I am sure many of my fellow investigators out there will agree, there have been many an occasion whereas activity within an investigation has been quickly identified as being residual energy. Sometimes this claim would be swiftly followed by ‘that’s the Stone Tape Theory right there’.

Don’t get me wrong the Stone Tape Theory is great and does appear to help us to understand a lot of possible so called residual hauntings. However its only a theory, a very good one at that, but still unproven.

That said there has been scientific research into water which is pretty much in everything and everywhere; and that research has proven that water has memory in a way. I did read this research quite a while a go now, but its very interesting to say the least. Although it does seem to help the Stone Tape Theory, the research into water memory doesn’t look into the possibility of storing information to the level where you would witness a replay of an event.

There has also been research to counter the Stone Tape Theory suggesting that the energy required to imprint the information for a ‘video playback’ would need to be of ridiculously high amounts, from a physics point of view. However those of a more spiritual comprehension may suggest that emotional energy works differently from what we understand through materialistic science.

Years ago before I even ventured out to investigate overnight I read a book about one of the great UK paranormal investigators; although today many probably haven’t heard of him, Andrew Green. If memory serves me well (sometimes it doesn’t) I believe he once stumbled upon a case of a residual haunting, but what struck him as odd was the Haunting didn’t seem to be linked to a traumatic event as the research indicated. In fact the residual playback so to speak just appeared to be of normal activity in someone’s garden. In order to discover more about this he looked further into this and later discovered that the ‘ghosts’ on this occasion were the previous occupants of the house and the event was a normal day in the garden. However what made this particularly interesting was that the previous occupants were very much alive! Hence our comprehension of what a ghost maybe is thrown into question, especially if we are utilising the residual energy concept to identify it!

It has been conflicting research through the years, which has been compelling on both sides that has lead me to question the Stone Tape Theory or at least believe that we still have quite a bit of work to do on it. For example, most seem to comprehend the concept of residual energy being the answer as an actual thing repeating the same set of instructions over and over again there in front of their eyes, where they can see it. However these types of activity have been witnessed by one or more people at a time, but equally by one and not another in the same place. It’s been suggested that perhaps one person has the ability to see from their angle whilst another doesn’t or indeed has the ability to see a ghost whilst another doesn’t.

Confused? Well this is psi theory, so welcome to my head, lol!

For me, we have a few problems with seeing. Physical objects are seen by us all. So, I’m not sure that I am happy with seeing being selective. However, what if the manifestation isn’t in the physical environment, what if the manifestation occurs in our minds and overplayed the information we are receiving from the environment we are in. Then the possibilities of witnessing residual energy become more possible. However let’s drop the term residual energy and start calling it what it might be here, residual information.

Residual Information gives us a better explanation of why whilst you and I are stood in the same place, only one of us may see this recording. As individuals we consciously pick up on lots of things as we enter an environment from our standard senses, some of this information is discarded to our unconscious as not being required, whilst other parts are retained to be used for what we are currently doing. Perhaps we also obtain information beyond the standard senses, say telepathically too. Like a kind of telepathic google that obtains information from other sources like people or objects. Hence why one person may receive the information related to a past event and another may not. If we then experience that information in realtime as we observe what’s in front of us it may be overlaid the visual or audio information our senses are supplying, hence we see what is not there and hear what cannot be heard.

Like the Stone Tape Theory, its just a theory, an idea which needs further development and something I will work on in the background.

That’s intelligent for sure…

This brings me onto the intelligent hauntings or communications from spirit. Incidentally over the years these have also been utilised to define the difference between ghosts and spirits too. A ghost is residual whilst a spirit is intelligent.

Oddly I don’t necessarily disagree with this definition, but personally I think we need to see it better clarified and utilised correctly. All too often I see teams jump to an intelligent spirit with little or no real supporting evidence other than their own determination to contact a spirit. I will put my hand up too, I’ve probable done it over the years. You get caught up in that excitement of the ghost hunt and all of a sudden after hours of nothing you get a reaction on your EMF Meter. Has to be an intelligent spirit trying to chat, right?

The truth of the matter is that there’s a lot ‘Paranormal red tape’ with this one. If you spend some time trying to find a logical reason behind the fluctuations or taps, if it is a spirit they may actually get bored and give up trying to communicate. However if you fail to properly establish that there is good evidence to support your reasoning that the communication is intelligent, then you’re leaving yourself open to scrutiny. In actuality you could be having a conversation with a totally normal effect, which you’ve missed.

Over the years I have been investigating this has actually happened on a few occasions to me. On one occasion we were investigating Arundle Jail (I think) and at one particular point we received a response on a KII meter. I’m not a massive fan of the KII, but on this occasion I think the reaction was also noticed on another EMF device too. We asked questions and received answers, well we asked questions and the KII flashed. Here lies the problem, perception of communication.

The problem was that we started by asking the standard questions, waiting and then the device would flash. Hence there was a response, something to work with. We would ask another question, again a flash. So, we tried a couple of control questions to determine if this was intelligent. The results were inconclusive, as in we received a flash on the KII, but shouldn’t have. However this was discussed and determined that our communicator maybe confused by our attempt to change things. Then one of the team noticed something fundamental to this little communication piece. Our responses were actually occurring in a timed pattern. Although their occurrence wasn’t at exactly the same time intervals, they were so close that there was an obvious pattern. Initially we had missed this because we were asking a question, pausing and receiving a response. Now we looked at it more closely the pattern was obvious.

Although on this occasion our intelligent communicator had now seemed to have acquired a pattern, we still had to determine source in order to ensure that it was not spirit. During those days of investigation we would either turn mobile phones off or switch them to flight mode and leave them in our bags. This was the case at Arundle and in the end we tracked the source down to a BlackBerry (possibly mine) that was in flight mode. The phone should have been totally offline, but it seems that even in flight mode it would check cell connection every ninety odd seconds (I think). This cell check fluctuated the KII at just the right moment to coincide with our questions, creating the appearance of a response.

Effectively we had a conversation with a mobile phone and not an intelligent spirit.

The reason I use this example is because with the advent of various apps, I see individuals using their mobile phones during an investigation these days. To be fair, I even use mine now for various things. Hence we have to be knowledgeable of the effect this may have and not jump to conclusions.

Another common piece of ‘evidence’ utilised to support that an intelligent conversation is actively taking place or has taken place with an intelligent spirit is that of EVP. After all if you ask a specific question and then record an audible response that appears to fit the questioning then that has to be intelligent right? The unfortunate thing here is that this is likely to be less of the case than we realise.

I have a couple of issues with EVP’S; the first is that often they are pieces of information that can lead to determine their content. Which basically means we capture the EVP, get excited and then forget to allow others to evaluate what they believe it to be, instead we tell them what we think we hear and then in a form of audio pareidolia they hear exactly that. The second issue is that there is a possibility that we are manifesting the EVPs on the devices ourselves. If you check out The Psychic Projection Experiment, this explains how you can attempt this with a group, but like most things Paranormal its not 100% repeatable. However I have seen this in action at Fort Horsted with Sage Paranormal and Brian J Cano, and to be honest it really got me thinking into the validity of EVP’s as evidence of communication with spirits. An EVP could actually be our unconscious minds or even our conscious minds projecting information onto the device and not a spirit chatting with us. For example, when we ask a question out loud into the darkness during an investigation, we also unconsciously contemplate the probable responses. If the circumstances are right we may be simply projecting those responses in our unconscious onto the device we are recording the EVP on.

Zoom out, see a bigger picture…

Often as individuals and within social groups we can easily get caught up in the moment and this can lead us to make assumptions based on that involvement. If we are out searching for ghosts then we can often believe that a response in its form is that which we seek. However as investigators we must remain objective and gather the information at the time in order to draw conclusions later.

I am not saying we should never engage in what we believe to be spirit communication, as it could be exactly that for all I know. However if you’re investigating in a team, why not have a part of the team continue with the communication gathering information on that, whilst another part of the team look into other possible causes for this communication. Balance your approach and gather all the available data you can, this will allow you to make a better judgement later on.

It’s also imperative to include your own team and yourself in that assessment too, as your presence at the location has influenced change there in various forms, but equally the teams will feel different things because they are there too. If activity does occur, try taking statements individually from those present without others in ear shot, that way you can cross reference to determine what actually occurred. Often our memories don’t recall the exact events that occur and our perceptions can provide very different conclusions.

Over the years there have been very few examples of true intelligent communication within the paranormal field that could withstand the test of scrutiny. Examples such as the Cross Correspondence and The Scole Experiment are both fantastic, but still remain examples that are questioned. Regardless of the huge amount of supporting data for both. Which is why I am not a fan of the term ‘evidence’ being associated with many EVP’s, Photo’s and Video’s out there.

Remember above all we are all looking for that intelligent communication, the communication that will answer the hard question the Survival Hypothesis asks. In order to answer it we need more than belief, more than faith; we need lots and lots of data. Which is why I am interested in all of your investigations, your experiences and more. Which is why we need to document those investigations and experiences better and more so. We live in the Information Age, so lets put it to good use within the field and start to gather some fantastic data.

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Sporadic Eruption of Mental Images

Sporadic Eruption of Mental Images

Say what now…

Sometimes the inspiration for my blogs can come from the strangest of places, which could either be my own random thoughts on pretty much anything or simply something that someone says to me.

As much as I love the ideas I have myself, those sudden out of place nuggets of information that present themselves to me from others seem to evolve very differently. They seem to just appear in the middle of a conversation sometimes and often those conversations don’t even have to be remotely close to anything paranormal.

I have a friend that although we don’t speak or see each other often any more, when we do it’s like no time has past in between. Work, family and well life happens, which often means those friendships we make during our school years don’t stand the test of time. I’m lucky enough to have a few friends where that’s not the case. Regardless of what happens and how long the gap, our friendships continue as if they had been paused and nothing had changed.

The other night I received a random WhatsApp message from one such friend, which perhaps I should have reacted differently, but knowing him it didn’t really surprise me too much.

The message started like this…

And then continued with this…

I wasn’t expecting that…

I have to admit of all the messages I’ve received in the past from my friends, this might have been one of the oddest ones.

To begin with I had to rack my brains to remember who the annoyingly rude character was, but it didn’t take long. In fact the process picked up pace once my friend sent the second picture. Strange how that works.

As I’m always curious to where’s things like this come from and like to understand how these strange images came to be the first thing sent to me in a little while, I asked my friend.

His reply was one that triggered some inspirational thought processes of my own.

Sporadic eruption of mental images I thought I’d share !!

The very answer itself is something that weirdly just makes a lot of sense to me. Equally it’s something I could easily associate to the paranormal quite easily. You see not everything is spiritual communication or telepathic communication, it’s simply your own memories paying a little visit. The problem is it’s easy to forget what’s memory and what’s not. What’s truly relevant and that which actually has no relevance at all.

Sometimes it’s just a forgotten memory…

Memories are funny little things, well perhaps not so little, but certainly behaviour wise they appear to have a mind of their own. Yes, that was a pun and a particularly bad one at that.

I guess what I’m getting at is that we have so many memories that we don’t have a full understanding of each and everyone of those memories in any given moment. Oddly we often believe that given a certain scenario we would be able to recall all memories that could relate to that scenario in order to best deal with it, but even this appears to not to be the case on many occasions.

In fact our memories sometimes provide us with totally incorrect information or we simply recall them incorrectly. Helpful right?

Understanding our own memories and experiences in order to utilise them in any given situation is something that takes a little training or perhaps a little faith in what we believe.

There’s often a lot of confusion around memory; what’s a real memory and what’s information that’s come from somewhere beyond ourselves? When we are talking about the paranormal, especially when such information presents itself during an investigation, then it can be all to easy to constitute the source as being paranormal. However as we’ve discussed before fully understanding the true source is half the challenge in this. It’s equally a conclusion that is often made without complete thought on the manner by many in my opinion.

Perhaps some of the ‘spiritual communication’ that presents itself through mediums or that is interpreted through other means during an investigation is simply forgotten memories. Something worth exploring don’t you think?

So what’s sporadic eruption of mental images then?

That little phrase that my friend messaged me following some questionable images sparked and understanding, an explanation and a distinct possibility. I’m not saying in any shape or form that this is a sudden breakthrough in the field, but more of a food for thought scenario.

So here goes…

Sporadic eruption of mental images could be a probable explanation for anomalous interpretation of random information associated with spiritual communication.

I am not saying that this fully explains something like Mediumship, I’m simply presenting it as an additional possibility to explain the source of the information.

The question is; does memory randomly present itself into our consciousness or does it require a trigger to make its way there? Personally I would like to think there are probable triggers, at least there would be some causality then.

I’ve seen many investigation locations where there are many triggers within the environment that could spark an individual memory or at least be linked to something that most people would too. So, that possibility is certainly there I believe.

No matter what the cause may be, in order to continue to explore the paranormal to discover explanations for probable communication and activity, we should look to consider more possibilities just like this. It may even be a combination of elements, elements which could be equally spiritual and scientific.

Also, if you know the character in the photo that used to misbehave on a regular basis, please feel free to let me know?

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The Metetherial Encyclopaedia – Intuitions

The Metetherial Encyclopaedia – Intuitions

What is it?

It’s been called ‘the private voice’, ‘the inner voice’, a gut feeling, a hunch, it has even been related to our potential spiritual guides or protectors, but these days it’s often recognised as our intuition and it could be a fundamental building block in our paranormal experiences.

Oddly this is one thing that we have probably all experienced at some point in our lives, its just often overlooked as being a part of everyday life. However there are the odd occasions we experience something a little bit more than normality and then raises our interest slightly. These have been the kind of things like the inner voice telling you not to get on a plane or into a car, then after making that decision something happening that quantifies your fear makes the intuition all that more real.

So, basically its realising that feeling and allowing it to influence your current decision. I’m not an expert, but from what I do understand intuitions do appear to be there constantly as a part of our daily life decisions. Sometimes we take notice of them and other times, if not most of the time we dont and carry on with our normal day to day.

A Little History

This is a particular part of the Paranormal that is a little like Swiss cheese as it is often something which utilised for life changing decisions or completely passed over as irrelevant.

Sir Lauren’s van der Post (1907) recorded an anecdote about the death of his admired friend, the psychologist C.G. Jung (1875-1961). Van der Post was returning by sea from Africa. He had a kind of waking dream one afternoon of Jung lifting a hand in farewell; the following morning he looked out through the porthole of his cabin:

I saw a great, white, lone albatross gliding by it; the sun on fire on its wings. As it glided by it turned its head and looked straight at me. I had done that voyage countless times before and such a thing had never happened to me, and I had a feeling as if some tremendous ritual had been performed.

A moment later, he heard on the radio the news that Jung had died the previous day – at the precise moment, as far as he could determine, of his “vision.”

Van der Post believed that Jung had communicated with him at the moment of his death, but then taken the form of the albatross in order to reassure him. At least in order to comfort him into the belief of Jung’s continued existence.

You see although this anecdote appears to have been timely in its occurrence and many others would have discounted as simple coincidence it does have relative relation to Jung even as an anecdote. Van der Posts experiences could have been seen as a synchronicity or meaningful coincidence, something which Jung himself had theorised on.

Over the years I have read an abundance of these kind of anecdotes and heard similar stories from people I’ve met. These meaningful coincidences that occur around the time of an individuals death, but the information of said death seems to be unconsciously communicated to close friends or family, sometimes even those that were simple acquaintances too.

I believe that FWH Myers of the SPR even touched on this in his epic piece Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death. Myers even submitted a few examples similar to the one above regarding individuals receiving certain odd information only to discover that someone close had passed away at a similar time.

Whether it’s as simple as a small sense that we should take one option rather than another, a definite feeling that stops you in your tracks saving you from making the wrong decision or even what seems like information transmitted from someone close at the moment of their death; these intuitions have existed for all of time and appear to be part of each of us similar to our fight or flight instinct.

Intuition Today

Although many spiritual approaches have had good knowledge of intuition for what must be centuries if not longer, an understanding of them seems to be making its way into mainstream popularity these days.

Comprehending our own intuitions on a daily basis and consulting them for a part of decision making process is something many out there will offer to teach you these days. Some are obviously after your hard earned cash to line their own pockets, but a few are genuine and there to help.

Becoming mindful, meditation in order to calm the mind and enable more connection with our inner-self is now becoming more accessible to us all. It’s no longer just available in books, you can find it in an app on your phone if you look. Although I do wonder if attempting this through a phone app is really taking it in the right direction.

Personally for me intuition has become a valuable tool I use during investigations. I of course gather data and log occurrences, but it might be my own intuition that leads me to try a certain approach or venture into a particular part of a location.

In the work that I have done with mediums and during the seances; intuition could play a big part and be part of the mechanics that helps sensitives possibly communicate with spirits. It could certainly be an individuals intuition that allow them to accept certain pieces of information as communication. As we are still in the dark to whether or not this information is from spirits, telepathy with others or simply random information we may already know, we must go with what our intuition assesses it as. There are of course ways to determine information source, but even that’s not conclusive in all cases.

If indeed intuitions are instinctive then we perhaps shouldn’t simply rule them out just because on occasion they appear a little, well emotionally driven or perhaps a little crazy.

So, next time you have a decision to make, don’t forget to consult your intuition too. You never know it might just provide a better option for you to take that works out a heck of a lot better.

Click here for more on the Metetherial Encyclopaedia

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