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.