Could Artificial Intelligence Help Understand Paranormal Experiences

Could Artificial Intelligence Help Understand Paranormal Experiences

The Robots are coming..

Recently there has been a number of programs on TV on robots and artificial intelligence, which have been quite fascinating to watch. Especially as they have shown how real and advanced robotics are already, not to mention how intricately they are woven into our society currently.

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Now when many of us think of a robot, we quickly think of the movie robots that have been our understanding historically. These are cyborgs like the terminator, Number 5 from Short Circuit and part of the cast of Robocop. Some of these require artificial intelligence in order to work, regardless of them being fantasy. The thing is that artificial intelligence and something called machine learning is very much here already.

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Machine learning is everywhere..

In fact a lot of machine learning algorithms have been here a while and you probably use them almost every day of your life. Social media apps for example utilise algorithms in order to bring specific information to you as individual. Search engines like Google utilise these algorithms in order to find exactly what you’re looking for online. Don’t forget your smart phone either, many have voice recognition assistants like Siri on the iPhones. It doesn’t stop there though, even our entertainment is learning what we want too, Netflix does this too. We now have clever cars that can drive themselves too, a technology that is being developed at speed by many manufacturers. They are even building trucks that can drive themselves too. The point is that we are surrounded by this technology, which is learning our needs and giving us what we want or in some circumstances trying to sell us what we may not.

Robots and the paranormal..

Now by this point, you’re probably wondering where the heck I might be going with all this robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning stuff. Well, here’s the interesting thought I had recently; could a robot that has artificial intelligence experience something Paranormal similar to one of us whilst at a location that is supposed to be haunted?

Firstly, the initial response to this would be an overwhelming ‘no’ and ‘of course not’ after all how could a machine have a Paranormal experience. After all a paranormal experience is only something that a conscious being such as one of us may have and even some of us have failed to have over the years. Fundamentally we take the assumption that a machine couldn’t share the complex nature that we associate with the experiences we have as humans, but this is generally based on the concept of us being conscious and that we feel these experiences. However if we break it down it’s really all about data and information comprehension in my opinion. After all humans collect data on their environment from their senses and then utilise their knowledge, memory, experiences, etc in order to comprehend their environment and then when something Paranormal occurs individually understand it.

Data again..

Now what is really important here, possibly something I feel will really help us truly understand psi and indeed most paranormal activity, is that we really need to start gathering more data. The data itself is something that we really need as elements like machine learning could use that in order to help gain an understanding of psi. Big data is essential to gaining an understanding of psi and for any system to utilise machine learning to comprehend the Paranormal it will require an abundance of data. This wouldn’t simply be data related to the paranormal, but from all aspects of life too.

Part of the reason that I would really like to see the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence in Paranormal investigation and psi research; is that a machine could be designed to work in certain ways that will help us understand the required building blocks that may deliver Paranormal experience. We could even simulate telepathic interaction by means of feeding these machines pieces of information via wireless technology.

Robot paranormal investigators..

When it comes to physically investigating a haunted location using this kind of technology we could see some really interesting developments. One approach could be to use drones with artificial intelligence that when they detect anomalies in the environment would follow that information in order to gather more data. We could utilise the work that has been done around swarm robotics to use many systems as one in order to gather lots of data at the same time and see what they may learn from that experience. Perhaps we could place a robot in a haunted location and then allow it to learn gradually to see if there is a potential point when such a system acquires knowledge enough to speculate the Paranormal.

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The potential that using artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics could bring to psi research and the paranormal could be fantastic. However it does all rely on accessing that favourite element of mine; a world of data. That data will be the foundations to the understanding of that which we all seek.

So, if you’re looking to make advancements to the field perhaps it may be worth looking into robotics and artificial intelligence too, as these could truly assist in the advancements of gathering data. They may also help us to understand many philosophical concepts of psi and could even contribute to the comprehension of consciousness too.

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The Audio Visual Paranormal Paradox

The Audio Visual Paranormal Paradox

A Little Observation

For many years now much of the Paranormal field seems to have been focused on what we can see and hear. Well they do say seeing is believing I guess, but should believe what we see? After all our eyes can deceive us and often they do.

However whilst investigating over the years I soon discovered a bit of a paradox regarding what has become fashionably known as ‘evidence’ amongst us ghost hunters! This paradox presents itself in much of this ‘evidence’ these days especially with its review through social media.

The problem that I have observed is that audio and visual information such as photo’s, videos and EVP’s are very subjective and no matter how good they appear to be initially, there always appear to be counter arguments that discounts the validity of such ‘evidence’. I have personally witnessed this myself with what could be called a class A crystal clear EVP recording that I captured at the Explosions Museum in Gosport. The EVP was captured on a camcorder as one of my team filmed us in a group walking around the Admin Block. The EVP itself is available on my YouTube Channel to listen to if you wish, but the point here is that what was said was out of context to what was being discussed by the group and there was equally no reaction by the group to what was said. This generates the belief that this EVP was not audibly heard by the group at the time, but the camcorder still managed to record it. When presented to the rest of the team not present at the time it was recorded, it received its first stint of being questioned and many an explanation were presented which were all good. Once the EVP was made public this course of disbelief and additional explanations followed. The point here being that the EVP for the group present was very interesting and they could easily state according to their own experience that it wasn’t them, but for those that were not present the explanation was to avoid association with the Paranormal and place it with the group present. For example, we had a few suggest that one of us may have said it, but simply forgotten. It was this and many a discussion that I have had with investigators regarding audio visual ‘evidence’ that actually lead me to come to a probable understanding that what we see as ‘evidence’ may not be in reality. Which is a really odd thing to understand.

You see as a community, from our conversations on social media, to the TV shows we all watch from time to time, we have always seen audio visual information as ‘evidence’. Like many, when I first started overnight investigations I approached it from two angles really; 1) debunk what I could with logical real world explanations, and 2) capture evidence of the Paranormal in the form of pictures, video and EVP’s. That was ten plus years ago that I started doing that and from what I can see for many that hasn’t changed much today. Just to be clear I don’t think we should stop this approach in its entirety, but I am more of the thinking that perhaps audio visual information isn’t really ‘evidence’ and should be treated as anomalous information that helps us to direct our investigations. Perhaps from that we can find the evidence we are looking for.

Thus no matter how clear your EVP or how amazing that video of an apparition is or the picture of a spirit on the stairs, they will always be received with questions and often they will not be accepted, hence a paradox.

What is Evidence?

Due to this strange situation I found myself looking into what evidence is exactly. This told me that evidence is a body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid. Its establishing information like audio visuals as fact which I think is difficult. The reason its so hard to establish them as fact is down to trust and belief, plus control. Often in the Paranormal field we can be very dubious of the ‘evidence’ presented by others in the field. This isn’t a bad thing really as its a little like our version of peer review. The problem is that many review the presented ‘evidence’ and then provide comments which are neither constructive or supported in fact. I think its really good that we can comment and discuss various phenomena, but everyone’s opinion and ideas are really valid.

I often from time to time comment on various Paranormal statements on social media and have equally been lucky to have some quite interesting discussions. This kind of social media engagement is like the coffee house discussions of old, but they will never replace the excellent interaction of face to face discussions, which is why the popularity of the Paranormal conventions lately is so important.

However I digress!!

So, if we are not to accept photo’s, audio and video as evidence of the Paranormal, then what is? Firstly, if these are captured in controlled conditions, it can be shown that they haven’t been altered easily and they are cross referenced by other angles and technology; then perhaps they become more valid. Fundamentally if we can eradicate the possibility of fraud then we can potentially present them as actual evidence, but equally if they are questionable then they could potentially be seen as poor evidence. Back to our paradox.

The true evidence in my opinion will be found in the data. The problem is that the data involved will be significantly large and captured over a long period of time. In fact that information which makes up this data isn’t something we need to start from scratch as there is already an amazing amount already out there, which just needs to be reviewed and understood as a part of the bigger picture.

Data is massively important and here’s why. I often like to mention black holes at this point, as I think they are an excellent example of proof through data in order to support the existence of an anomaly. Now I’m no astrophysicist, if that’s even the right title, but I believe rather than just claiming there was a weird anomaly out in space, clever scientist types gathered lots of data to prove their theory. Revealing not just that black holes exist, but their possible mechanics too.

Understanding the mechanics is where pictures, audio and video let’s the side down, it can potentially show that something may exist, but why or how it exists isn’t explained. That is the important thing to remember. Rather than trying to capture phenomena, let’s try and understand it, figure out why it occurs and potentially explain its source.

What to do next?

So now we all understand this paradox, let’s try and collate information that can help us all better comprehend the field better. Please don’t stop gathering pictures, video and audio pieces as they all feed into the abundance of information on the subject which is as important as the cross correspondence, the Scole experiment, the Philip Experiment and the Enfield Poltergeist. In order to understand the whole thing we need to take on board all possibilities, theories and potential beliefs around the matter.

Some of my greatest paranormal discussions have been with Mediums trying to understand how they ‘see’ spirit and the answer isn’t always the same. In fact in my opinion its often a visualisation that comes from feeling, that feeling is the receipt of information, which their mind then interprets using their own beliefs, knowledge and memory. However what I have always found fascinating in many mediums is that comprehension that they know they are right in what they say, sometimes even when the person they communicating to doesn’t understand the information they are being give. Information that sometimes becomes understood at a later date.

How mediums work and the very concept of psi within this whole system of the Paranormal makes me believe that our minds play a large part in the phenomena we investigate. The question is how can our minds obtain this information or even project it into our very environments? Understanding that potentially this psi ability is far more natural than supernatural is equally interesting and also for me begins to open even more questions; like how did we miss this?

Sometimes when presented with information like this I often place the pursuit of ghosts and spirits on back burner and believe the understanding of the extent of our own minds could be far more interesting. Russell Targ called it the Limitless Mind, and wrote a book about it. Dean Radin called the Entangled Minds; and he wrote a book about it too. Both are respected scientists with a wealth of knowledge in psi, so perhaps our minds hold the evidence to that which we really seek.

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We Are All Looking For Something..

We Are All Looking For Something..

 

Why do we search for ghosts after all?

For me the search for ghosts probably began when I was around the age of eleven, but that remained an interest that was mostly research for many years. I only really started heading out to possible haunted locations to investigate just over ten years ago.

Granted I had my head firmly in books, TV shows, various research and I most certainly was talking to various people about the paranormal. The subject fascinated me and anything related always seemed to catch my attention, so it would have been rude not to follow it up.

The reason I search for ghosts has always been something that I find difficult to answer. I guess I have always had an interest in science and perhaps a little in spirituality too. Certainly over the years psychology has crept in there too. One thing I do know is that it often boils down to one question; ‘does human consciousness survive bodily death?’

However, this question has often taken on many forms for others in my opinion. It presents itself as an individuals desire to comprehend if their loved ones are still with us to the concept of a physical location having attached entities, which equally may or may not be related to its history.

Regardless of how we look at it, there’s always a pronounced ‘paranormal cocktail’ of understanding that brings us to looking into the subject further.

Understanding what we don’t understand!

What I often have found remarkably interesting is the concept of understanding, one persons belief have equally become basis for fact in their mind. Something which I often find both interesting and at times highly annoying.

You see I know what I have discovered through research, experimentation, talking, investigation and more over the years; but I equally understand that I simply don’t know as yet and really don’t have all the answers. Those that know me and have read my blogs, know I have theory after theory, but they are simply theory. Hopefully one day one such theory will become proven.

A great couple of examples for the point I am trying to make here are as follows:-

The Stone Tape Theory

The Stone Tape Theory is one of those excellent paranormal theories, which has been around a lot longer than most in the field. However, the problem is that many seem to accept the theory as fact now. They will quote the theory in relation to a probable residual haunting as a means to prove this to be true.

For example, they will state that the encountered ghost isn’t intelligent as it doesn’t respond, but continues to follow the same path perhaps over and over again. The Stone Tape Theory is often thrown in for good measure to create a relationship between a probable event and thus also defining the ghost wandering the path as an individual.

The problem is that this is quite a lot built on assumption and theory. Don’t get me wrong its great and its a path worth investigating and researching, but lets not pin all our hopes on just these.

Electronic Voice Phenomena

Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) are undoubtably a fascinating element of the paranormal and widely used to show the probable existence of activity and communication.

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The problem I have is that we just don’t have enough information to support their source. Often these are recorded with the investigating team in the room or near by, which in itself creates some interesting perceptions of recordings. I have on numerous occasions observed a group as they have conducted an EVP session, thought they had captured something paranormal, but it was actually something as simple as a jacket or distant sound.

There is also another interesting factor to EVP’s, which I was lucky enough to witness as a success on one occasion. This was the Psychic Projection Experiment where an EVP was recorded in direct relation to a word that a group was trying to psychically project onto a digital voice recorder. This in my mind presented an interesting position; if we can psychically project a word onto a digital recorder consciously, then perhaps we could equally do it unconsciously when conducting the standard EVP sessions. The point being that maybe the voices we hear on EVP recordings are our own and not that of spirits at all.

The psychic projection experiment presents greater problems with that which we call ‘evidence’ too though. If we can project an audio recording onto a digital device, then perhaps our video and photographic ‘evidence’ is equally in jeopardy in the same way.

Electromagnetic Field

Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) is an interesting theory too, which thanks to many and TV could almost be seen as fact. Actually I have spoken to many in the field that believe (and the key word there is believe) that EMF is directly related to the presence of a ghost or spirit.

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Interestingly there is equally the understanding that increased or high levels of EMF may cause paranoia or even hallucinations.

These could be considered almost opposite concepts when you think about, one neutralising the other perhaps. However again these are theory.

Its certainly not proven fact that the manifestation of ghosts and spirits are directly related to increased levels of EMF. There has been anecdotal evidence to support that during an experience, which may have been related to manifestation and EMF may have fluctuated, but we really require further data on the matter.

However there has been much research conducted in regards to the effects of EMF Radiation on the human body. So, its probable to understand that such effects from a heavy output of EMF could cause us ill health, which could equally result in us believing we were experiencing something paranormal.

There has also been some research conducted where EMF was focussed on the mind in order to better understand its effect or if it presented paranormal results, but the results were not conclusive.

Naming Spirits

I have often found that research can equally be a thing that seems to hinder some investigations too though. The research often covers the location history, names related with the location, paranormal activity too. As soon as certain paranormal experiences are obtained and namely spirit communication, many jump to applying the name from the research to the probable spirit they have been communicating with.

Now don’t get me wrong I have probably made this very mistake myself in the past too. Many of us have. During an EVP session or perhaps using a device that gives us immediate feedback like a KII, we make the jump to understand the name of whom we are talking to. If the research has been conducted then that can mean trying the name we have learnt.

The problem with this is that the slightest response can often lead us to believe we have the right name and then link it with the spirit. Then if we inform others that we may have communicated with the spirit of X, then the next group to investigate may see that and try that name straight away. All of a sudden the spirit haunting the location is named, even though our ‘evidence’ is circumstantial.

Thinking out of the box!

At this point you maybe wondering where I am going with this and if I am just having a general moan about the paranormal perhaps?

The truth of the matter is that in actual fact I’m not, all of the above helps us gather information on location based hauntings and more. However we do need to reach beyond accepting some of these as fact and start remembering that they are still theory. Granted the research is building, but we need to push farther than those that have come before us.

We need to think outside of the box, in fact we need to leave the box so far behind its out of sight.

Let’s suggest more than a ghost or spiritual theory to explain paranormal activity. Perhaps the reason is based on our own ability to interact telepathically with others or even the location itself. We may be obtaining the information from the minds of others locally and possibly at a distant too. Take time and space out of the equation!

We should also do the ‘leg work’ as my parents called it, thats proper research to you and me. Find the ‘alpha case’ as Greg Lawson calls it, I like that approach. Researching the history and most definitely the paranormal activity may present more interesting facts than you may have realised. Cross reference accounts from different groups to find similarities and oddities too.

Try something different!

Experiment in ways to counter what you believe and how you’ve already approached the investigation. Write down those odd questions to share with us all too!

Observe the location, your team, everything! Then see what happens when things are not observed! Okay that last one is a tough one to do lol!

At the end of the day, question everything and gather loads of data where you can. Even if you don’t like it or you feel it meaningless, there maybe someone like me that likes the data.

After all not everything in science can be seen with the naked eye, but we know its there and how it behaves because we spent the time to gather data on it and understand it through that data. We now need to start doing the same for the paranormal field, which is actually more simpler that you think! Especially with the internet so easily accessible from almost everywhere.

So, on your next investigation try something a little different and tell me how you get on?

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Would You Investigate a Talking Mongoose?

Would You Investigate a Talking Mongoose?

A Talking Mongoose? Seriously?

Before getting into exactly where I am coming from on this post, let me just drop a little chunk of background in here.

For many in the paranormal field the fact that I have mentioned a talking mongoose will affiliate this post with the very famous paranormal investigator Harry Price.

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Harry writes about the case in ‘The Haunting of Cashen’s Gap: a Modern Miracle Investigated’ and its later documented in Price’s book ‘Confessions of a Ghost Hunter’. During these accounts he openly presents the oddity of the case, drawing comparison to the other strange cases he had investigated. However this particular request from a lady from the Isle of Man in 1932, was indeed strange even by the standards Harry was used to.

The communication that Harry received described the weird discovery of a creature by the lady’s farmer friend Mr. Irving, that with some coaxing had developed the power of speech.

The fanciful nature of this case is often seen as quite beyond belief with Gef the Mongoose having various conversations about town whilst riding around on the bus. It’s quite easy to see why such a case makes some wonder why Harry would even bother with something that sounded unbelievably fictitious.

However this case itself has managed to raise some very interesting points today I think.

The Mongoose Question Bet

During the Paraforce UK 2017 weekend I was lucky to attend with Kerry Greenaway from Parasearch Radio. As we approached the convention on the Sunday a conversation developed in the car between us around something to do investigation case validation. I believe I may have utilised the Talking Mongoose case as an example to back my own argument, which fundamentally was based on the fact that you can’t simply discount a case just because it sounds beyond belief or highly unlikely. After all as paranormal investigators we are in the business of beyond belief and highly unlikely.

I believe Kerry may have disagreed with this point, which in reflection makes perfect sense as there appears to be no logic in accepting that there is a possible talking mongoose at large.

So, more importantly how do two paranormal investigators that have reached an impasse on a particular point rectify the issue. Well, we could have commented on each others social media negatively, sorry couldn’t resist! We could have gone with not talking the rest of the day, was that even an option, damn it!! No, we decided to create a theory and test it. Otherwise known as a good old-fashioned bet!

You see I made the bold statement that if you asked many of the people at Paraforce if they would investigate a talking mongoose, I believed the majority would. I also added to that it was my assumption that both Joe Chin and Barry Fitzgerald from Ghost Hunters International would investigate a talking mongoose.

Kerry accepted the challenge gracefully and I looked forward to my free coffee.

Literally everyone Kerry asked said they would investigate the talking mongoose, and yes both Joe and Barry said they would too. In fact Joe was one of the first and answered with great excitement. Barry said he would, but referred to the Isle of Man, presenting the fact that he was very aware of the Price case. I think it was also around the time that Kerry asked Barry that she realised I may have made my point that day.

Thank you Kerry for being a great sport and accepting the challenge by the way.

A Talking Mongoose and Social Media

Of course there is more to the talking mongoose than the case Harry had investigated, the challenge I set Kerry and more.

You see I find some great smilies in the concept of the talking mongoose and the paranormal field’s social media activity.

I often watch the various posts, which pop up from time to time on social media within the paranormal field and some of the comments do sadden me regularly. During this time where we seem to hold a fascination in paranormal pictures, videos and audio; we are very quick to conclude the authenticity of someones ‘evidence’. I’m not saying every piece of media placed on social networks for the world to see is evidence of the paranormal, but equally I’m not condemning it as fake either!

Many draw assumptions, without looking into the stories themselves very much these days. Jumping to conclusions or not looking at all the available information leads to nothing, but assumption and unsubstantiated information.

We have all seen this before, someone will post a picture of something paranormal and various comments will follow. Often some of these comments may take the form of more negativity towards the individual or simply categorically stating that said picture is ‘obviously a fake’!

What I find slightly ironic (just a little bit) about all this is that often the very individuals that slate the proposed evidence of others, present similar evidence themselves. This is our fundamental flaw in the use of Social Media to assist us with our investigation of the paranormal. We should be using this medium to support and constructively remark on said posted ‘evidence’.

These pictures, videos and audio snippets are very similar to Harry;s talking mongoose case. You see, just like Kerry’s assumption of the talking mongoose case, many don’t take the time to assess what they see. Rather than simply claiming something to be fake or rubbish, suggest possibilities or ask questions.

Don’t get me wrong though, there are many out there that are positive and do ask questions, it’s not all bad. Just like the challenge I set Kerry, investigators of the paranormal would take up the case of a talking mongoose.

What’s truly interesting about this is; if I posted a video of a talking mongoose on social media, how many would believe it, how many would call it fake, but how many would ask questions about the video in order to understand more?

Yet so many said they would investigate a talking mongoose, when asked face to face! That tells a story in itself for me.

The Mongoose is Still Talking

We may not be investigating fanciful cases such as talking mongoose on the isle of man, but lets not discount anything without supporting our assumptions good facts.

I’ve heard some odd things communicated by mediums during many of my own investigations, but I don’t discount them simply because they sound ridiculous. In fact, often those weird and wonderful tidbits can later gain greater understanding when you look at the bigger picture.

We are dealing with an amazing field that encompasses a great deal of diverse approaches and information. Investigation of the paranormal has had me research location history in local archives, gather huge amounts of data from online sources, log data in search of patterns, learn aspects of physics and quantum physics (the basics, I am no expert lol), look at forensics, investigation techniques, and so much more.

Perception is often the one thing in every case which presents us with a different experience, especially when it comes to the paranormal. Take the Ouija Board for example; I have one in my home, used one on many occasions, know the history and have no fear of them. However talk to someone else in the paranormal and they will present a different story; they won’t have one in their home, they will never use one, believe they are dangerous. These are like polar opposites for something that has little or no evidence to support them as being evil! We have many, many more examples of these kind of things in the paranormal field too, including various perceptions of haunting.

Our perception is based on our belief and knowledge of those aspects. Which means in order to properly assess something we need to gather the data, seek the information, gain an understanding and find the alpha case (thank you Greg Lawson). We need to investigate and do the leg work.

This is why, when someone asks you if you would investigate a talking mongoose, you smile and then start to gather the data. The truth is in the leg work, its in the data and the information.

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Applying the Feynman Technique to Paranormal Investigation

Applying the Feynman Technique to Paranormal Investigation

Richard Feynman and His Technique

In the past I’ve mentioned possibly a couple of times the work of Richard Feynman as a theoretical physicist. Feynman is particularly known for his work in quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics and the Nobel Prize he received for Physics in 1965.

One thing that Feynman gave us was Feynman Diagrams, which are a visual representation of the complex mathematical equations related to behaviour of subatomic particles. These diagrams were also the inspiration for me to create my own Theory of Telepathic Interaction, which uses my own ideograms to visually represent probable telepathic interaction. I always found it quite surprising how clarity can be found in visual representation.

I could probably rattle on all day about the other things Feynman achieved, but alas time is against me. However it is important to mention something I have learnt from the ‘Great Explainer’ himself (well via the internet and books anyway) and that’s something called the Feynman Technique.

Fundamentally, the Feynman Technique tells us that we learn better by teaching someone else a topic in simple terms, which in turn will highlight any areas of the topic you lack knowledge. Feynman wrapped this technique up into a pleasant little four steps, each of which enables you to understand the topic more deeply and also better retain the information.

The Feynman Technique

  1. Write down the title of your chosen topic and then write down all you know about it.
  2. Explain the topic in simple terms and language.
  3. Identify the problem areas, then go back to the sources to review them. Find the information to explain the topic fully.
  4. Pinpoint any complicated terms and challenge yourself to simplify them. Connect facts to strengthen your understanding.

Pretty straight forward right?

The other thing that I throw into the mix whilst using this technique is one I will mention a number of times perhaps. That is, think about it from a child’s point of view, because they will always ask ‘why?’ That way you will constantly seek the explanations and information to be able to answer ‘why’ at every point.

Investigating with the Feynman Technique

Now you have the basics of the Feynman Technique hopefully understood we need to apply them to our paranormal investigations. This is actually something which should be fairly straight forward and may even be something you’re already doing.

Let’s take each point and apply them if we can.

First up, Feynman tells us to ‘write down the title and all we know about that topic’, which would be straight forward if we were talking about say the investigation of a location. However for this example I am going to apply the technique to a paranormal event during an investigation. So, first step is to write down the paranormal event that has occurred and all we know about it.

Second step is to ‘explain it in simple terms and language’. So, for this we ensure that our explanation of the paranormal event remains simple and isn’t littered with various complex terms or theory. We simply explain it in a straight forward manner as it occurred.

The third step is to ‘identify problem areas, go back and review’. In order to apply this to our paranormal event we simply read through what we have written and look for two things; 1) explainable elements, and 2) unexplainable elements. This basically means dividing into normal and paranormal. However we shouldn’t stop there. We now need to find supportive information for that which we believe is explainable, which shouldn’t be hard as there should be science behind it. We do similar for the unexplained elements, but we are now associating possible theory and ideas, then looking for the information to back it up.

The fourth step is quite simple, we look through what we have and then look to simplify it. Reduce the complexities down to simple explanation.

Remember through the whole process to continuously ask ‘why’ just like a child would. As this should help drive down those complexities.

Why Use This Approach

The reason for using this approach is to assist us in achieving two things really in my opinion. Firstly, to ensure that we are gathering lots of information on a paranormal event or investigation. Secondly, to refine and simplify that information into form that may help us to understand the paranormal event or investigation better. Perhaps even to help identify the source of the activity.

In case you missed it, I used ‘why’ too!

If you do use the Feynman Technique in this way to help with an investigation, please comment below to let me know…

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The Current Popularity of Haunted Objects

The Current Popularity of Haunted Objects

Social Media Is Buzzing With Haunted Objects

Recently it seems like every day I scan through social media there is some mention of one haunted object or another. It could be yet another haunted doll, this time making it all the way to ITV’s This Morning or the odd Facebook Live where we can tune in and watch random objects in poorly lit conditions.

If I am sounding a little on the sceptical side of things then please understand that it’s not because I disbelieve or even think these are all charlatans trying to make a quick quid, but more because of the sudden abundance of objects.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog then you may have caught some of my previous posts on haunted objects as these are not a brand spanking new phenomenon, in fact they’ve probably been around for a very long time indeed.

Check my posts on Ghosts in the Machine and What The Heck is a Haunting Anyway!

So, why then has there been a recent boom in haunted objects recently? Perhaps the movie industry is to blame for this with recent releases of a movie that features the origins of the Warrens most famous haunted object Annabelle the doll. I first encountered Annabelle in the book ‘The Demonologist’ which documented the ‘extraordinary career of Ed and Lorraine Warren’. Annabelle had a chapter all to her self, similar to the beginning of the film ‘The Conjuring’ and what an interesting chapter that was. It wasn’t long before she received her own film and now another depicting her origins or ‘creation’.

Above is the actual Annabelle locked away in the Warren’s Haunted Object Museum in the States, but as you can see this Doll appears a lot more like something you may happily give to a young child rather than the scary evil looking thing we see in the movies. I’m sure we all know why that is, right?

Although the many objects collected by the Warren’s probably do appear to make up the majority of what many Ghost Hunters these days remember, there are much more out there and they date much further back.

Don’t Forget Ouija Boards

One particularly interesting object that has often been associated with being haunted is that of the Ouija Board. The Boards are of course seen by many as divination tools, portals to evil places by others and well a toy by sceptics that feel its more likely the boards user is moving the planchet. However you also often hear stories about the boards housing evil entities and by using the board you could release those entities to do harm. Hang on a minute that sounds a little like those scary dolls too!

Interestingly enough I’m pretty sure that Ouija Boards housing evil spirits is something that has also developed from the movie industry too. I am no expert and if I am wrong please correct me, but didn’t the Exorcist plot line include a few problems created by a naughty Ouija Board spirit? More recently we had Paranormal Activity 1 or 2 or 6, there were a few of those after all. Specifically we also had a horror film that was called ‘Ouija’, so pretty damn sure that was telling us no good would come of using one.

The psychology of the Ouija Board though is fascinating in its self and probably deserves a post all by itself. Some swear by its use saying nothing bad has ever come of it, others maintain its evil and even fear it. Jayne Harris of HD Paranormal delivered an interesting Facebook Live on it tonight (24th August 2017) to be fair, so check that out.

What are your thoughts on the Ouija Board? Perhaps I should conduct a few experiments on this?

The Crying Boy

In case you’ve never heard of it before the ‘Crying Boy’ is painting which is believed to be cursed and often causes harm to those that choose to hang it on their wall. Now I’ve not looked into this particular object in detail and only heard the stories in passing, so not going to go into detail here, but I believe it causes fires. What’s particularly odd is that the print itself seems to survive these blazes carrying the curse onto the next victim. That needs some experimentation for sure right? I wonder where I can get my hands on the picture? Actually, I’m renting and not sure my insurance covers haunted objects!

Below are a couple of pictures I have pulled from the internet on this little blighter.

What I found interesting about both of these stories is that they are different pictures. Granted they are both crying boys, but they are different. This immediately highlights a simple factor to me, this isn’t an association with a specific object like the Dolls, but more like a connection with a piece of information.

Again forgive me as I have not researched this in detail and I am theorising on the data I have. However I would guess that these pictures (the two above let’s say) dont carry the title ‘The Crying Boy’, but they are both obviously pictures of a crying boy. The question I would have to ask to victims of the apparent fires would be simply; were you aware of the curse of the picture prior to purchasing it and hanging it on your wall. If they were aware and made the purchase for that very reason then this could help us to understand why the fires may have occurred in the first place. Now bear with me on this one and as ever keep an open mind.

What if let’s say the very knowledge of this information and belief in the curse or even simple interest is enough to actuate it into reality. Okay that might be an okay answer from a probable spiritual perspective as it could be said that is giving the picture energy to start the fire perhaps. We are back on that belief thing again! Let’s tackle a probable scientific route too. What if the knowledge of the pictures history and curse creates something psychological that leads to the fire stating. I’m not saying that the victims started the fire, but perhaps their being super-vigilant to the possibility of fire because of the picture actually caused a fire. Sounds strange right? Well not if you’re aware of Murphy’s Law, which basically says anything that can go wrong will go wrong. There’s also the variation of this, which we grew up with in my house Sod’s Law. Sod’s Law is similar to Murphy’s, but says the worse probable outcome will occur, in this case a fire. More simply and logically though its also likely that there are hundreds if not thousands of these prints out there, but in a select few circumstances were the same where a random fire occurred and the print survived. Firstly, as only the print survived this would be seen as an oddity and comparisons would be looked for and once found you have the curse of the crying boy. It’s also likely that because of the location in the building where the print was hung, it escaped fire damage.

Now these are just ideas, brief thoughts if you like. That’s what Psi Theory is all about. In order to properly look into this I will have to do further research, perhaps that’s another post too.

Are Objects Really Haunted?

Can we really say that singular objects are haunted? It often can seem that way cant it? Especially when they carry extremely interesting and convincing stories, some even with a little anecdotal evidence that appears to support their haunting.

I have previously mentioned on other posts that I often see haunted locations and haunted objects in a similar light. This hasn’t changed in the slightest. We often seem to happily accept that somewhere is haunted or an object could be haunted too. Perhaps its that we would all like to believe that there is something beyond death for each of us or perhaps because we would like to feel that our loved ones which have passed may still be with us in some form.

Here’s my take on haunted objects in relation to my own theories.

Not unlike haunted locations that have numerous cues that allow our unconscious minds to begin seeking information, a kind of ‘googling’ of the mind and collective unconscious if you like. Haunted objects can do similar. Their appearance for example may allow us to link into other information telepathically that’s out their in the minds of others. The very appearance of the object is a cue for example and then of course there’s whatever information we already know about it. These things could all be elements that allow us to telepathically obtain the information that is associated with the object in question. A process often referred to as psychometry or at least very similar perhaps.

In regards to those objects which appear to move by themselves or even cause harm somehow, these could be more of a trigger for Psychical behaviour. Perhaps we are moving them with our minds similar to the concept of telekinesis, but unconsciously because we believe there is an associated haunting. That’s ruling out natural cause of course and I bring up natural cause for good reason. I watched a documentary once that showed how many believed that an ancient Egyptian artefact in a museum was haunted because during the nights it would turn around to face in the opposite direction. However instead of jumping to this claim, some clever science types done two things; 1) placed a camera to capture the movement and, 2) setup a device to monitor localised vibrations. They had a theory you see that localised vibrations were just right to effect this particular artefact due to its location and mass. Sure enough the clever clogs were correct. The camera captured the artefact gradually turning around throughout the night slowly and this was supported by the measurement of localised vibrations. You see sometimes there’s a very real very logical reason.

Are haunted objects really haunted, sure they are. Problem is our understanding of what the term ‘haunted’ actually means I think. In that our understanding of the source of the paranormal activity becomes very important. After all it may not be the afterlife that is amazing us by contacting us, it may be our connection with each other which allows this transference of information. A supernormal connection that in time may help each of us understand more about ourselves and our fellow man.

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I Think I Saw a Ghost !

I Think I Saw a Ghost !

Another Internet Video Captures A Ghost!

I recently stumbled across yet another internet video claiming to have captured 'evidence' of a ghost in the area that was being investigated and like many of these videos, the ghost was even linked to a specific person. I'm not going to go into the specifics of the video on this occasion as its more about what seems to be the sensationalism of highlighting such things that are on my mind for this post.

On this particular occasions, which isn't much different from others, there were a number of gadgets going off as the group filmed and those more sensitive in the group were picking up on something too. The group moved around the area and from the video alone there appeared to be at least four in the group possibly five, including the unseen team member holding the camera. At the point that the 'ghost' was captured only two remained in shot and our ghost was clearly a shadow captured in front of the camera.

So, the question here isn't so much the obvious one, which may be proposing that our investigators had faked the whole scenario, but why is it that we often see so much attributed to paranormal activity when there is a clear explanation?

The Problem With The Moment!

In my opinion it all comes down to perception. Which as a matter of fact is a weird and wonderful thing that has our entire reality on an odd kind of understanding. Perception can be driven by many elements within our own psychology and often we are unaware that they are there in the first place. For example, our adult understanding of the world around us is built by our education, our belief and of course our own personal experiences. There's probably a load of other contributing factors, but I'm no psychologist and let's try and keep it simple for now.

The moment you're in can equally define your understanding of that which is around you, that is probably a primary instinct in reality. Now I will be the first to admit that often whilst walking around a darkened building in search of ghosts I have had to contain my own excitement. Analyse the situation in a little more detail in order to ascertain whether the experience is actually paranormal or indeed a sequence of events that have transpired to present themselves in a fashion which could be interpreted as paranormal. It's this 'in the moment' perception that can often lead us to incorrect conclusions of an event, which is later reported as paranormal.

Don't get me wrong, we all make mistakes and I am pretty sure its happened to me at some point too. However let's look at things a little better and try to help each other see these possibilities without ridicule. That way we can progress the field by searching for more significant paranormal events to document and gain an understanding of.

It's this 'in the moment' perception during an investigation that I believe has many ghost hunters today jumping to the fear factor and failing to present reasonable explanations. Let's look at the scenario mentioned earlier again.

The four people were in a probable haunted location, so already they are looking for something and as all of us do, hope to capture that 'evidence' of the actual paranormal. They like many are after the Holy Grail of the Paranormal and are trying a few approaches. However by visiting a probable haunted location and effectively searching for ghosts, they have already created a possible psychological bubble around what they are doing. I'm not saying that this is always the case, but as I have fell subject to it myself I'm sure, then its a likelihood we should all realise. In essence the expectation has been created.

In our scenario above, the group have a few different gadgets which effectively start to react in the same area. This is, in the video, interpreted as paranormal activity. There's no reasonable explanation presented and no one makes the attempt to test why these gadgets are reacting. The assumption is made that there must be something paranormal going on. Perhaps this is because the group are in a darkened room, at a possible haunted location and seeking ghosts; that they assume these devices are indeed detecting some kind of paranormal activity. Again, they are in the moment and going with it.

What happens next fascinates me. Following the reaction of the first device, the group seem to randomly move about the room and as they do so, a couple of gadgets sound off. The group react to this as if there is paranormal activity is following them or as if they are following it, but the devices go off as they move close to them. This is the usual behaviour that generates the belief that our group is likely faking the activity. However it could equally be that our group believe their gadgets are designed specifically for detecting ghosts, but in reality they react when their static field is interrupted or something close by is generating some kind of EMF. A core understanding of how the tools of the trade (so to speak) work is a common reason why many misinterpret certain scenarios as paranormal when they have a reasonable explanation.

Finally, we move onto our captured ghost on film. The group have clearly been through a sequence of events now within the location that they believe is haunted, which has meant they are already concluding that there is paranormal activity in progress. The moving about the room with the various gadgets going off has also disorientated them slightly making them less aware and more focused on the paranormal. As a shadow moves across the room they attribute it to being a ghost rather than seeking reasonable explanation such as it being the camera mans shadow or that of the third person now currently out of shot.

Once in the moment and focused on that paranormal activity, with the adrenaline running thanks to the excitement of the hunt progressing its relatively easy for many to misinterpret simple things as being paranormal. It's important to be mindful of your surroundings and always ask questions of those interesting situations. Then we can begin to gain a much better understanding of paranormal events.

Something's Are Just Strange!

Of course this isn't always the case, not everything can be explained away by looking at logical explanations. During my time investigating the paranormal and also working with mediums I have often been left flummoxed. I've even thrown many an explanation at these odd scenarios only to conclude that they just don't fit and further understanding is required. Hence why I often deliver theories on the paranormal or even questions old more established ones.

Two such scenarios which come to mind are the time I witnessed a light ascend the staircase at Peterborough Museum, which was equally witnessed by another investigator at the time. A light which was exactly like a candle like, flickering away. The other was one based on perception itself. I am of course talking of the time I sat in the attic space of the Royal Oak in Swanage, asking for spirits to move my Grandfathers pocket watch, which was placed on the floor between me and a local Peter. The watch itself did not move, but shortly after asking the watch began to run. Although it had not been wound at all. The watch ticked away for about 20 minutes. I then spent nearly three months attempting to find an explanation, an explanation which never presented itself. Which then raises the question; did spirits wind the watch or did this occur through telekinesis as Peter and I intended the watch to move in some way?

You see when strange unexplainable things do occur without logical explanation, generally for me they present more questions to follow up on.

Perhaps the paranormal isn't evidence of the afterlife, but more what our minds are truly capable of!

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