‘Guidance Notes for Investigators of Spontaneous Cases’ by Steve T. Parsons (SPR)

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Looking for Patterns – Anomalous Experience Form

Investigating in a different way…

Often when we discuss the paranormal and investigating ghosts, we think about wandering around dark old buildings with various gadgets and our trusty torches.

These are concepts and approaches that have now become common place understanding, which have been backed up by mainstream media and TV.

My Top Ten Most Haunted Locations in the UK - Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker

Personally my beginnings in the field involved more of a research perspective with me reading many books and constantly seeking answers. The concept of investigating over night is actually relatively new to me, I have only really been out on over night investigations for the last twelve years really. Okay so twelve years may seem a while, but before that I spent over twenty years in libraries and looking stuff up online, once that became a thing.

However early on I knew that these opportunities to visit historic locations overnight should not be wasted and I took it as a chance to try and document as much as possible. In fact that was how my website originally began, as a place I could share the details of my investigations with other like minded individuals. So, please check out some of my investigations and cases over the years.

Documenting experiences and these investigations was something that seemed relatively common place to me at that point, especially as much of what I had read had come about in a similar fashion.

Strangely as I became more involved with over night investigations or ghost hunting, I began to realise that documenting those experiences or writing up investigations was not as popular as I had first thought. Don’t get me wrong there are many out there that do document their investigations and do share them too, but many don’t leaving a wealth of information lost.

Once I joined the Society for Psychical Research I was happy to once again discover a wealth of information related to the paranormal. Most of which has now been compiled over more than one hundred years of research since the SPR was founded back in 1882. However it also highlighted the need for good hard data to back up any research I may do moving forward.

It’s not quite as exciting as ghost hunting…

The first thing I want to make clear is that by asking to look more at the data available, I am by no means saying that people should give up ghost hunting or overnight investigations. Although there is a lot of data out there that I feel needs to be ‘crunched’ in order to find patterns that could provide answers to the many questions we regularly ask.

As a matter of fact the continuation of ghost hunting may actually be key to this in order to maintain the new experiences and add them to the ones we already have. The most important thing is that we should document these experiences in order to comprehend the possible bigger picture.

I know that keeping track of all of our paranormal experiences isn’t always practical in the moment they occur, but we should do our best to do so. Granted that focussing on tracking this is considerably less exciting than standard ghost hunting, but still its something you could do afterwards.

Gathering lots of this kind of data is actually a million miles away from exciting, unless like me you have a thing for stats! Yes, I am that guy that gets a little excited about data, as you’ve probably guessed by now.

However there is a real need nowadays to capture this data in vast quantities in order to see if there are patterns, which could help us understand more. The problem that I see more and more of is that many of us are guilty of going out ghost hunting, but fail to gather any data. The strange thing about this is that these days we have so many gadgets and access to media devices, but we fail to document simple information on the experience.

Now don’t get me wrong there are a lot of people taking photos, capturing video and audio during their investigations; but we need to think a little more outside the box. Unfortunately these on their own are not really enough and if we want to gather ‘evidence’ for science we need more than that.

You may recall a previous post that I made, asking Could Artificial Intelligence Help Understand Paranormal Experiences. The cold truth is that this is already beginning with AI and Machine Learning looking at vast quantities of data in order to look at problems and seek patterns. In fact I was only contacted today by a group that are already looking into this by analysing ‘Phantasms of the Living’ using machine learning. Please take a look at what Maryland Paranormal Research have already achieved here..

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This highlighted a fantastic opportunity to start looking at some real data or information to find those all important patterns we all seek. So, hopefully I will be giving you a little more on this in the near future after a few more emails back and forth between Maryland Paranormal Research and I.

Here’s where I need your help…

In order to understand more about paranormal activity, something that I have been looking at is gathering data on experiences that many of you may have had at some point.  These experiences could be anything really in the realms of the paranormal, from simple feelings of temperature change to seeing a full blown apparition standing there waving at you. The experiences could be equally psychical too, that way even the interactions a medium has become relevant to this study. This is something that I know needs to be done in order to fully research some of my own ideas around psi and my theory of telepathic interaction too.

This approach of gathering data on the experiences of many people is certainly not new, in fact the SPR conducted a census back in the late 1800’s to first look into this. A census that has been repeated at least twice since. In fact there has been quite a few studies over the last hundred years of this manner.

As a little background on this, something else that I am doing is to gather data from other sources and reports to add into this piece of research to ensure I gather loads on this. Which means hitting the books and returning to the libraries too. So, that means the study will incorporate data from you guys using the link below, data that I have looked up in the SPR Journals and Proceedings, information from various books, information from various websites and of course my own investigations too.

However if you wish to help me out and tell me all about your experiences, please follow the link below and complete the form.

The Paranormal Activity Form

The form does ask for quite a bit of information, but don’t worry enter what you know for now, the more the better though. Also, if you’re not comfortable sharing your own home address and phone number then just enter NA in those fields. The location where the activity occurred is important though to enable me to tie it to other reports for the same location.

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What is cool about this link is once you’ve been on an investigation, if you’ve experienced something then you can simply follow the link above and detail it. Then there will be a record that only took five minutes to log. You can even do it on your phone too! Just bookmark it for use.

The form does relate to one experience at one point in time too, so not for a sequence of experiences or events that took place over a longer time frame. However if there are several significant experiences that occurred over a length of time please feel free to add one for each.

The link does use a mail list subscriber, which I manage, but will not be sending you random stuff from, as that’s just not cool right! As the list is related to documenting paranormal experiences the only thing I may use it for is to gather more information on your experience from you by email if you’re happy to do so..

So, please click on the link and tell me about your paranormal experiences. In advance I would just like to thank you all for helping me with this, its greatly appreciated and please keep an eye on this website for more details as the research progresses.

If you want to know more about my research and the data I am gathering, please comment, like and share below…

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.

If you’re interested in a similar CCTV System to the one mentioned by Carl, follow this link.. 

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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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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My Top Ten Most Haunted Locations in the UK – Bradwell Abbey

I would like to say that I’ve left the best until last, but in all honesty I don’t really have a favourite or believe one location is haunted more than another. I’ve actually left the oddest location until last. Bradwell Abbey itself isn’t odd, it’s more my own experience of the location. You see I haven’t actually performed a formal detailed investigation at Bradwell Abbey, but I have visited the location on many occasions and had some interesting personal experiences and that’s why this is one of My Top Ten Most Haunted Locations in the UK list.

A Little Haunted History of the Abbey

Bradwell Abbey dates back to around 1154 when the land was granted for the establishment of a Benedictine priory. The priory has a touch of a chequered history with it bouncing form crisis to crisis throughout it’s lengthy existence.

 

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The Chapel of St Mary
Around 1330 before the Black Death struck the area, the chapel of St. Mary dedicated to ‘Our Ladie of Bradwell’ was built. This was thought to be in response to the discovery of healing properties of a statue of the Virgin Mary. The Monks may have sold badges and holy charms to pilgrims that visited the area.

In the late 17th century the Manor House was remodelled quite considerably, shaping it to be more similar to that which is present today.

There is of course much more detail to the history of this wonderful site which can be found online and by visiting the site itself.

With a site which dates back to 1154 it’s not surprising that there have been a few reports of ghosts and odd goings on. These often range from strange ghostly sounds to actual sightings of ghostly monks around the grounds. However one such report comes from a trusted friend and investigator Graham Smith of RSVP UK. Graham told me how during his investigation he once heard distinctively loud footsteps in the main building which appeared to head towards him and another investigator. There have also been a few reports of mediums picking up on more negative spirits, sometimes related to a particular monk.

My Ghostly Experiences at Bradwell Abbey

My own experiences at the Abbey began a few years back when I visited the location along with a few teams for what was a kind of paranormal open evening if you like. Incidentally it was also the same night I first encountered Graham’s RSVP UK team and was instantly impressed with their professionalism and organisation on the night. Once the teams had all interacted a little, discussed their own experiences and generally got to know each other; we all headed out to look around the location. I first headed out into the grounds to have a look around and see if any ghostly monks could be found, but unfortunately I was a little unlucky on that occasion.

However things changed slightly when I decided to check out the little chapel. When I first walked into the little chapel that first time I found it occupied by five other people. As I sat with them in the dark with only a slither of light from the moon allowing me to identify their silhouettes, it soon became apparent that I was sharing this space with five sensitives. I decided to sit quietly as they all began to mention what they were picking up on. The information varied slightly and I seem to recall at point the description of a tall man standing over me too. However it wasn’t what they picked up which caught my attention, it was what I personally experienced as they picked things up. As sat listening I noticed that a corner of the room was changing, it was growing darker and I could feel a slight drop in temperature too. If only I had a MEL Meter on me! It was a strange affect to witness, but what made it slightly more interesting was when another member of the group mentioned it too. We’re the sensitives picking up on something that was trying to manifest itself and if it was, perhaps that was drawing energy out of the area reducing light and temperature?

After my first visit I didn’t really return to Bradwell Abbey for quite a while. However last year I worked with a group, which included members of RSVP UK on the Cosmopathic Project and we used Bradwell Abbey as our experiment location.

Over the course of 2015 we done our best to conduct fortnightly experiment sessions at Bradwell Abbey with the aim to understand more about communication with spirits. In order to do this we based our approach primarily on the Scole Experiment, which took place in 90’s and provided some very interesting results in physical mediumship. Results which were documented by the Society for Psychical Research and in my opinion have also split the community slightly. There have been many which believe the results of the Scoles Experiment to be genuine whilst others have classed them as fraud.

The experiments that we conducted meant that we had regular exposure to Bradwell Abbey and over the course of the year many of the group had various experiences. Many of those more sensitive picked up on a tall Monk like figure that appeared to be interested in our experiment, perhaps a little too much sometimes. They also associated this Monk with being quite a dark or negative character.

During our experiments a number of other characters were picked up on, but as far as we know they were not directly linked to the Abbey itself and possibly linked to our experiments.

The Abbey itself remains an interesting historical place with some interesting activity. In fact on visit to the attic room we once felt the presence of something in the room with us, but couldn’t nail it down to something or someone specific.

Bradwell Abbey certainly is a location that deserves further investigation and research. I know Graham Smith has some interesting theories about the activity at the Abbey that are worth looking in to.

A Most Haunted Abbey

Bradwell Abbey is full of history and a very interesting place, which has certainly left me thinking about the location. It’s a location I will have to return to one day soon for another more detailed and in-depth investigation. It’s because the strange reoccurrence of the ghostly monk and Graham’s experience that makes Bradwell Abbey one of My Top Ten Most Haunted Locations in the UK.

Find out more about the experiments we conducted at Bradwell Abbey here..

Also, if you’ve ever visited or investigated Bradwell Abbey, then I would like to hear about it too? Have you ever experienced similar activity as I did with my team?

Have You Ever Been To One Of My Top Ten Most Haunted Locations In The UK? Would love to hear your comments below.

I will be posting the ghost stories, and how our investigations went in future articles on this site. So, make sure you follow me on Twitter, or like my Facebook Page to hear the latest. Better still, so you don’t miss out on any spooky haunting stories, you can sign up for me free newsletter here:

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I’m always on the lookout for new locations, if you have one that you feel may make it on to next year’s list of my favourite most haunted locations in the UK, please let me know.

Also, if you run paranormal events I am interested in checking out the experience and event that you deliver to your customers. Invite me along and perhaps your event will make my top five paranormal events for 2016