One of the first things that struck me as interesting about Brandon Massullo was his career background. Often the subject of the Paranormal draws in many individuals from quite a few different walks of life that have an interest in the subject matter and often apply to it things they have learnt in their day-to-day careers.
Brandon is a clinical therapist from Northeast Ohio and has worked within the Neurological Institute for the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. Whilst he was there he conducted behavioural health consultations. He has since moved on to become the director of behavioural health at a local hospital.
With an undergraduate degree in psychology and a graduate degree in clinical counselling from the university of Toledo, Brandon has some good knowledge and experience that can be applied to the Paranormal field. This is also topped off with an MSc in psychological research methods, which he picked up from the university of Edinburgh. Whilst at the university of Edinburgh he studied under the supervision of Dr Caroline Watt within the Koestler Parapsychology Unit. His research centred on neurobiological correlates of ghostly encounters, which is something else I must ask him about I feel.
Brandon’s fascination for Paranormal phenomena has lead him to participate and speak at many a paranormal forum and event. This has included the Parapsychological Associations 60th Anniversary Celebration too. With his research also cited in many Parapsychological journals, news articles and books, Brandon Massullo is certainly adding to our understanding of how this phenomena may occur.
However if you’ve not heard of Brandon, don’t panic I hadn’t, its likely because the true research side of the paranormal doesn’t get quite the recognition it should in my opinion. Which is a massive shame as there is so much we could learn, understand and use to progress our understanding here and that is where ‘The Ghost Studies’ fits in too.
On to Ghost Studies…
I will be totally honest I don’t recall how Brandon and I began to chat, but I am glad we did. It certainly wasn’t long before ‘The Ghost Studies’ arrived at my home and I set about reading it. In fact its arrival was well-timed as I was just finishing another book at the time.
What’s good to know straight of the mark is that the book is not huge in length and not written in such a fashion that you would need to have attended university to read it. As a matter of fact I found it very easy to read and it flowed from one chapter to the next with ease.
Something else that really appealed to me about Brandon’s approach was the structure of the book. Not only did each chapter tackle a particular point in order to help build us towards the Massullo’s hypothesis, but each of those chapters were broken into smaller sections in order to look at smaller parts that make up the bigger picture. He also added a ‘summary’ at the end of each chapter to remind us what we had just read about, but also how it was beginning to tie in to the other points the book had raised in previous chapters too.
Throughout most of the chapters Brandon engaged our understanding of various points with a few anecdotal stories he had gathered from various sources. Each of which were ideal for the chapter they were placed in amongst valid points that continued to lead us towards the final understanding. In fact he even brought a couple of these stories back later on to reapply what had been learnt since and how his theories were beginning to tie into them.
All in all the book is well structured and like any good book, it builds the picture gradually before delivering in the conclusion.
What’s it all about then…
This is always the hardest part to write, as I want to tell you a great deal about the book, but equally I don’t wish to ruin it for you. Firstly, if you have an interest in the paranormal and theories surrounding what ghosts may be, then this is certainly a book you should read.
Massullo jumps straight in at the deep end and tackles some of the hard questions within the paranormal without even flinching. He looks at the cause of ghostly experiences, why some report encounters and others do not. He also takes a look at crisis apparitions and how they fit into the mix too. In fact we barely make it to the end of chapter one before he offers up his; ‘ingredients of a ghostly experience’ with an interesting little equation, so to speak.
Massullo writes; “By combining previous research in psychology, bioenergetics, and universal consciousness, this book identifies a simple equation that sheds light on ghostly experiences.”
As a matter of fact it’s a neat little equation that does make actual sense to me and is in my opinion certainly a large step in the right direction for the field. Rather than presenting a singular reason for ghosts and potentially spirits, such as that of a deceased person attempting to communicate. Massullo presents a combination of factors that are required to enable an experience. An approach I totally agree with, its not a simple singular answer that will explain these strange occurrences after all.
Throughout the book Massullo adds to his hypothesis by discussing many an interesting area of the paranormal. Looking at aspects which are favourites of the modern ghost hunter, such as energy or electricity. Which brings the latest favourite into view, EMF. He then moves onto looking for ghosts in and out of the laboratory, discussing Persinger, Koren, Braithwaite and more. Certainly a lot of detail in regards to EMF, MF and even GMF’s.
Massullo continued his journey by looking at the psychological elements of this equation and discussing Jung, Freud, Rhine, Jawer and Sidgwick, covering off a variety of considerations including repressed emotions and emotional crisis too. This lead to internal energy and bioenergetics, looking at Pert’s theory on the ‘molecules of emotion’ and beyond.
We move on from the bioenergetics to external information acquisition and once again return to the work of Jung (personal favourite), but this then took us onto the work of Sheldrake and his morphogenetic fields. Which for me was very interesting as I had too made this connection previously. It’s always good when someone else makes a similar connection as yourself in the paranormal.
Brandon even throws a little entanglement and interconnected minds in there too just at the right moment. Which is something that’s been received with a positive and negative response over the last few years. Personally I do think it plays a part and we are still a little way off figuring out exactly how.
Finally, Massullo presents his theory and its important processes to enable it to work before bringing back those all important stories to show how it fits and explains the scenarios at hand. I am not going to explain the theory here or even the hypothesis, as I feel its something you should read and gain an understanding from. Brandon applies it to haunted locations too and I have to admit the theory is quite compelling.
It is a well structured comprehension of hauntings and how they could occur, giving the reader a fascinating possible hypothesis to why they happen. One that doesn’t simple re-write old approaches, but builds on what we already know.
In my opinion…
‘The Ghost Studies’ is one of those books that if you’re into trying to understand the true questions of the paranormal like I am, you should really own. If you’re anything like me you will probably read it through in a short space of time, but then keep referring back to it, just because its full of information cover to cover.
Brandon has constructed the book really well and has been careful to make it very accessible to most in the field I would say. Its well written and engaging throughout, which keeps you turning the pages at a good pace. Although he covers a wide range of topics and disciplines within the covers, they never seem to be presented in too much of a heavy format that has you losing interest.
He sets out the plan for the readers journey right from the outset and from chapter one you know exactly where you are going, gradually building an excellent case to support his hypothesis.
If you’re interested in reading about paranormal theories and possible explanations for the cause of ghosts and hauntings, then this is the next book you should read. The hypothesis presented between the covers is well put together and to me at least made excellent sense. A quick flick through the notes section and you can easily see the work that has gone into this theory, not to mentioned the wealth of knowledge on the subject that Massullo obviously possesses.
In all honesty I am not sure if I 100% agree with the entirety of the hypothesis, but then given the subject at hand there are bound to be a few things we wouldn’t agree on. That’s half the fun of such a wide-ranging and complex subject. However please don’t misunderstand me, as I agree with a large majority of what Massullo has put forward in this excellent book. Hopefully the source for future discussions, I will certainly be applying some of what has been learnt from this book to my own research now.
Closing the cover…
This is one of those books that I was pleased to read and I am very glad that I have. The hypothesis presented in under two hundred pages is excellent and in my opinion highly probable given the extensive supporting work. It is certainly food for thought and gets the old grey matter going.
I would encourage you to grab a copy of ‘The Ghost Studies’ as its likely that it will spur additional reading and research, which is always a good thing. It may not answer the hard questions of consciousness and its survival just yet, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and cannot sing its praises enough. If you’ve enjoyed many of my psi theory posts then you will more than likely enjoy this too. Although I have now finished the book, I am more than certain that I will be referring to this one on a regular basis for a long while to date.
Finally, I would like to thank Brandon Massullo for giving me this opportunity to read his work, it was indeed an enjoyable journey.
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After my usual experience with the ever so slightly annoying M25 motorway I finally arrived at Fort Horsted and only a few minutes late, which wasn’t bad going considering the Sat Nav had told me I would be at least thirty minutes late!
As usual the HQ for the evenings investigation was Room 51 and once we had all settled in; generally this means checking, comparing your equipment with others and grabbing that all important first cup of coffee, we received a brief talk on the location. These days an introduction talk at a location is somewhat becoming the normality, especially with the high focus on health and safety. However I have to admit the Fort Horsted ‘talk’ has become hands down, one of the most entertaining ones I have experienced to date. We laughed, we learnt and all understood the serious nature of keeping safe thanks to Paul’s excellent delivery and clear understanding of comedy.
We all started our evening knowing categorically that the biscuits, may contain biscuits! Plus an old slightly derelict Fort may contain trip hazards in the dark. I wonder if I could incorporate this approach into my day jobs manual handling talk?
Paul also showed us a photograph taken by one team at the Fort which included a spooky extra, though difficult to say for sure how paranormal it was, the picture was certainly interesting.
Following Paul, tough act to follow, the Paranormal Radio Show Team advised us on how the investigation would be approached. Which basically was along the concept of a few main areas that we had access to for the night; Room 10 area, Room 36 area, Casement 26 and Room 14 area.
The team for the night was made up of a few people from different teams, which in all honesty is fast becoming my favourite way to investigate purely because it encourages excellent cooperation between more in the field. Something that many of you know is close to my heart, but this isn’t a soap box moment, so lets move quickly on.
There was of course Medium Marc Richardson and the Paranormal Radio Show Team, Mel, Lucy and Loz too. Then there was the GCUK Team made up of Rachael, Amanda, Danielle and Stuart. There was also Paddy, Sue, Vicky, Jacqueline and Nicola. I would just like to say for all those I had met previously, it was great to see you again. For those that I met for the first time, as ever its fantastic to make to new contacts within the field.
So without further a do, we all hit the Fort for a walk around with Marc.
Location Tour with the Whole Team
We truly began our nights investigation with a walk around as a whole team to view the main areas available to us.
This covered the Room 10 area and those spiders that often get a mention. In fact during my last visit back in March with Sage Paranormal’s D-Day Tour and Brian J Cano, the little spiders were a tad elusive. However this time around they were out in force and some were positioned in some places which you felt you needed to keep an eye on. Something which is a little difficult when its so dark you can’t see your hand in front of your face.
That said these little creatures are actually really amazing and in this environment almost beautiful in a way. Granted their little bodies glistened in the light like the creature from the Aliens movie, but they captured our attention for a little while that’s for sure. Sometimes when you visit so many historic locations in search of ghosts and spirits, you miss what’s living there and the very point of paranormal investigaiton is to seek out the answer to the survival hypothesis, but its like that the answer equally lies in life itself.
We moved on from Room 10 and across to Room 36 and its adjacent tunnel. Room 36 was again another pitch black location, but this one had a table and chairs setup in it and has been a good location for seance and glass work in the past. Marc advised that the tunnel ajacent to Room 36 had a good energy and he heard a voice and whistling. An area which should be good later on.
Next stop was Casement 26, which meant a long decent under the moat I believe. Just to place it into perspective, if you had to walk up and down these steps on a regular basis then you could certainly cancel your Gym membership. During our visit to Casement 26 Marc picked up on a number of things in the area. A couple of the team managed to take a few interesting pictures too. My ‘on the fly’ analysis of the photos make me believe that one may have been slight digitisation when the photo was taken and the other possibly a close up of dust or moisture in the air. However this was my quick look at the photos and as ever there could be other explanations for these. After all at the point when one photo was taken, Tommy (Marc’s spirit guide) was advising when to take the photo. Sometimes you have to zoom out and analyse the bigger picture, so to speak.
In one of the rooms in Casement 26 we all held hands in a circle and Marc attempted to communicate with the localised spirits. There were a couple of interesting points during this session; one being the distinctive sound of footsteps (boots) and the other was the fact that we all turned and looked at the door at the same time for no reason.
Lastly after another long trek up and down the steps from Casement 26, we headed down the tunnel to the area near Room 14. At this point most of the group headed upstairs to the room. As they did I asked Mark what he had picked up on here, which he replied with a description similar to that which I heard during my last visit. These cross-overs always interest me.
Finally we headed back for a break, well deserved and to re-group before heading out on our first vigils.
Room 36 and Tunnel
Our first vigil of the night took us back to Room 36 and the adjacent tunnel. We all started off in the room, with most of the team sat around the table attempting to communicate to spirits using glass divination. However at the time this didn’t seem to be working, so the group attempted a little table tipping instead.
During the most of this Marc, Mel and Lucy were with us, but after a while they went to investigate the nearby tunnel.
The table tipping didn’t appear to actuate into much, although a few of the group believed they felt the table was kind of vibrating in a way. This was something I equally felt albeit extremely lightly.
Whilst Marc, Mel and Lucy were off in the tunnel they had three items thrown at them; a tea light candle, small stone and what looked like a piece of ceremic. When they viewed these items through their phone camera FLIR attachment, the items all appeared to be as hot as a human hand. I believe that Lucy may have even mentioned that one of the objects might have been warm when she first touched it. We later looked at this and sure enough all three objects appeared to show as warm on the FLIR, but we soon realised a possible problem with this. Something I am sure I have heard mentioned previously and that’s the fact that often more shiny objects can reflect the FLIR giving off a false reading. We tested this on all these objects which sure enough all appeared warm on the FLIR, but were cool to touch.
This would become the subject of a slight debate between Lucy and I for the evening. This by the way is a good thing, after all we should question everything, but equally all theory must have supporting evidence. So, we set about looking at this problem. My theory was that reflective items like these, mirrors and coins would indeed show as warm when they weren’t. However I would have to prove this. Love a challenge.
Before heading back we all spent a little time in the tunnel and Marc was picking up on a voice near by, which at one point another team member believed they heard something too. What was very evident and would make it difficult to conduct audio experiments there was how you could literally talk at one end of the tunnel and it would be echoed exactly at the other end. Often a few were caught out by this believing that they heard a voice.
As the rest of the group headed back Lucy advised me that she had seen a large fluctuation at the entrance of the tunnel on the KII meter there earlier. We took a look with my MEL Meter, but their wasn’t any activity at the time. Once again we fired up another debate, this time regarding how mobile phone checking with the nearest towers can make the KII flicker. However its highly possible that any nearby phones were in flight mode or too far away to interact with the KII. This also appeared to occur a couple of times on the way back to our HQ too, so although my explanation is relevant, it may not be the cause on this occasion. These fluctuations remain unexplained, but only because under those circumstances at that time I couldn’t 100% prove my phone theory as the cause. Sometimes science does hold an explanation, but if we cant equally utilise that explanation to prove the paranormal event, then we must keep looking.
After a good break the whole group headed across to Room 10, the Spider nest! After we admired the spiders we all stood in a circle in one of the rooms on the right. With all the lights out this area was pitch black and could be a little unnerving.
In fact it wasn’t long before many of the group were experiencing something or picking up something. Once again proof that sensory deprivation may indeed heighten our psychical ability.
Even I had the feeling that there were a few additional energies with us in that little room. At one point a ten pence piece appeared to be thrown into the circle too. This would give us four thrown objects or apports for the night, which is a great effort.
As the session moved forward the attention seemed focused around where Rachael was stood. Some even believed they heard a growl at times. In order to return some balance and also becloser to the action Marc moved over to stand next to Rachael.
Following this the energy appeared to move around the circle, with a couple us seeing shadow movement at one end of the circle when Mel was using the FLIR. However towards the end of the vigil the energy moved towards me. At this point Paddy told the group that he could see a kind of blue light coming from me. What Paddy didn’t know was when he said this I was actually getting random words in my head. This then changed to a weird feeling almost like pins and needles down one side of my face, literally as I began to feel this and was about to mention it, Marc asked about it! Now that’s pretty damn paranormal right?
Question then becomes; did Marc and Paddy both telepathically understand what was occuring to me or did spirit communicate it to them. These are the questions that keep me up at night. Although telepathic interaction is the most likely logical explanation, its still as unproven as mediumship according to mainstream science. Certainly the possibility of experimentation ahead on this one.
We then headed directly to Room 14, climbing the stairs which are very steep by the way. This was also where we were treated by the Batman. Okay it was a little bat just hanging around as they do. Again though it drew our attention briefly away from the search for those that have passed back to the living. Many of us took photos of the little guy, but apparently he’s not too keen on having he’s temperature taken by an IR thermometer. As he flew off, both Loz and I decided to do ski impressions honest! It was purely coincidental and not because we thought a bat might suddenly attack us.
So, with the bat out of the picture we attempted a little table tipping using Paddy’s purpose build table. It was a little slow going, but after a while the table lifted on one side ever so slightly. Nothing like the Royal Oak, where a table walked out of the door on me once, clearly something I said, but still interesting.
After this the room seemed a little dead, pardon the pun. So we decided to call it a night and regroup back at our HQ before heading home.
All in all this was a great investigation, with some fantastic people at a location that is heading up my favourites list at dramatic speed. Somewhere I would like to investigate again for certain.
The team were great too, with an excellent mix of individuals that were a pleasure to investigate with.
The investigation certainly delivered some interesting activity, both physical and psychical too. It’s always good when you can leave somewhere with your own unexplained personal experience too. Although I have a funny feeling I wasn’t quite alone in that respect when leaving Fort Horsted.
Oh yes, that FLIR debate with Lucy. Well in order to try and prove the theory it was suggested we left a fifty pence coin on the concrete floor in the main tunnel whilst on our final couple of vigils. When we returned sure enough the coin showed as warm on the FLIR. It was of course not warm at all and certainly not the same temperature as say our hands. We also used an IR thermometer to measure the floor temp and that of the coin (on and off the floor). They matched. This in my mind proves the theory that objects with a smooth or reflective surface are likely to bounce back causing false measurement. Debunked Lucy!
If you have any info on the FLIR attachments for smartphones regarding this, please feel free to share.
Still Fort Horsted was an excellent location to investigate and once again I was lucky to investigate with some great people, thank you all.
Special thanks to Marc, Mel, Lucy and Loz from the Paranormal Radio Show Team – follow them on twitter @prslive and catch their show every Wednesday at 9pm on Spreaker.
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