Social Media’s Immersive Memories and the Paranormal

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Identifying Intelligent Communication

The Classical Two…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of course that’s residual…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s intelligent for sure…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zoom out, see a bigger picture…

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

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

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

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

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

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The Simple Glass Divination Experiment
The Simple Glass Divination Experiment

A Little Background

So, I know what you’re thinking how can you class glass divination as an experiment given that its likely to be seen as a sceptics favourite for criticism, plus results wise its near on impossible to understand if the glass is moved by a spirit or those touching the glass!

All very valid points and to be fair its not one of my favourite approaches. That said though it is a favourite still of many investigation teams out there and something I thought worth a little of my time. Especially as I have also used it on many occasions and experienced the odd time where this approach has yielded results which remain unexplained.

The concept in this simple form is to create a scenario where by spirit can use our energy to communicate yes or no answers to questions that the group may ask out loud to the location they are in. When this works and communication does appear to occur presenting information beyond the knowledge of the group it can be fascinating. It also generates many a debate; such as is the spirit physically moving he glass or are they providing the information to use unconsciously so we in turn move the glass without knowing. The key in my experience is to find a way to quantify the information source, which incidentally is not an easy task.

Still as Glass divination is an age old approach to spirit communication it’s not something we should abandon simply as it may not tick all the right boxes scientifically. Perhaps it could be adapted to be a better kind of experiment, that’s my hope anyway.

What You Will Need

Given that this is based around the glass divination approach this experiment doesn’t really require that much. However it is always good to find the right place to setup. Personally I have found that any kind of seance or divination works in little light, this maybe because the sensory deprivation helps with focussing psychically. That said more experienced spirit communicators may feel that they can work in more light, as I have heard that some well established circles work in day light.

For this approach you’ll need:-

  • A table for at least four people to stand or sit around. Ensure your comfortable.
  • A relatively light glass, like a tumbler. Just not a heavy one.
  • Yes and No indicators. This could be anything from two pieces of paper with yes on one and no on the other, to different colour lights.
  • A digital voice recorder or camcorder.

That is pretty much it really. You can of course add in additional gadgets to monitor the  situation like EMF, Temperature, etc.

The Method

This should be a relatively simple setup once the appropriate location is chosen.

  1. Setup/place the table in a relatively central location within the space you have, ensuring that there is plenty of space around it to stand or sit.
  2. Place the glass in the centre of the table.
  3. Place your yes and no markers at opposite ends of the table. Remember if the markers aren’t obviously related to yes and no,  then you will need to ensure that their relevance is made clear during communication.
  4. Place the digital voice recorder on the table and begin the recording. (Or Camcorder)
  5. Tag the audio with the location, date and time. Then give a brief description of what you have setup and what you are hoping to achieve.
  6. Settle into position around the table and glass.
  7. Place your right index finger on the top of the glass. Ensure the touch is gentle without pressure, just so you can feel it there. Tag what you are doing in the audio.
  8. Begin your communication by introducing yourselves, its only polite.
  9. Then you can start calling out to the room and location asking the spirits to communicate by moving the glass. Remember to keep your questions limited to yes and no answers. Identify the location a glass should go for yes or no too.
  10. If anything occurs, glass movement, noises, etc. Ensure that you tag it in the audio recording to the best of your ability.
  11. Once a form of communication is established continue it by asking further questions to gain as much information as possible.
  12. When communication ends and you wish to close off the session, ensure that you thank those that have communicated.
  13. Complete the session by closing the audio and tag the finish time. Stop the recording.

The length of the session is dependent on how well the communication goes, but ideally I wouldn’t try to exceed 30 minutes. Clear commentary throughout the session is also important to help understand what is occurring. This maybe difficult for those around the table, so an observer maybe a good option too.

Managing the Results

This isn’t a straight forward experiment to manage the results for really, but that said there are some things we can look at and draw conclusions from. Firstly, we can look at which questioning approaches are more successful. The circumstances that are in place when things go well and when things dont of course.

The most important thing to review though is the audio or video footage of the session. Within this should be any information that is communicated to the group and from this you can conduct follow up research to understand if anything is supported. This can sometimes yield some interesting results so is always worth doing.

Something else to review would be the audio for possible EVPs. This is based on the fact that as we are asking out and running a digital voice recorder, usual circumstances for EVPs.

It’s my hope that by creating a standard approach to follow regarding something as simple as glass divination we can begin to look at the similarities and patterns between our experiences.

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The Cromwell Hotel – Room 100

The Cromwell Hotel Brief History
The Cromwell Hotel

The Cromwell Hotel in Stevenage dates back to the middle of the 18th century, but there was an earlier building on the site. The earlier building was a farm, which may have stretched back as far as Church Lane. Perhaps the farm was acquired by John Thurloe later as one of several that he owned during Cromwell’s time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he lived there.

The 1911 census places the Solicitor Cuthbert Corbould-Ellis and his wife Eveline at number 25 High Street, now the main part of the Cromwell Hotel. Uniquely for the time Eveline has an occupation separate from her husband listed, which was that of an artist or painter. In fact the reality was that Eveline decorated miniatures. These would occasionally come up for auction with an alternative spelling of ‘Evelyn’. Her daughter Enid, not listed on the census, but would have been around 15 at the time was also an artist. Enid later moved to Australia where a portrait of her mother Eveline and Grandmother is on display in the New South Wales Art Gallery.

The marriage between Cuthbert and Eveline was actually rather unique. This was because they had combined their surnames; Cuthbert (Ellis) and Eveline (Corbould-Haywood). Corbould was actually Eveline’s mothers maiden name. At this point Eveline was a fourth generation artist and she was very proud of it too.

The couple also had two servants, a cook and housemaid.

Next door at number 27 at the Temperance Hotel (currently the Cromwell Hotel’s Old Business Centre under refurbishment) were Mr and Mrs Hood. At the point of the census the Temperance Hotel was empty.

In the local area to the Cromwell Hotel there’s a lot of possibly connected history, such as the great fire of 1807, which destroyed and damaged many buildings on the High Street.

Also, across the road and a little south is the White Lion pub (recently renamed). This was often used as a staging post on route to Peterborough’s prison of war camp around 1796 to 1816. At this time prisoners were often held in the stables and possibly the tunnels rumoured to be beneath the pub over night. The tunnels are believed to run from the White Lion cellar to the Cromwell Hotel across the road. However looking at this logically, the nearest point of the Cromwell Hotel to the White Lion is the Old Business Centre end, originally number 27. I wonder if the tunnel possibly connects there.

Reported Paranormal Activity

As far as physical activity goes the reports from the Manager and Staff members seem to indicate possible low-level poltergeist activity. This included a couple of the rooms having linen messed up after being tidied up and lights being switched on too.

One room, number 100, which is located in the older part of the building is particularly interesting. This has a couple of reports from the staff and guests. In this room the TV has been known to switch on by itself, the hangers have been heard to be moving by themselves for no reason, there have been notable temperature changes, some have heard children’s laughter, some have reported being touched, some electrical issues, knocking has been heard and possible object movement.

Other physical phenomena has been reported in other parts of the building, but not as many as in this one room.

However, a lot of possibly related information was picked up by Medium Michelle Crate during a tour of the location. This included quantifying some of the above for room 100. Although some was very vague and possibly had relation to the current staff rather than the location history, it was interesting and much was quantified.

The main cellar in the Cromwell was interesting and Michelle picked up on people being touched, light anomalies (which were also mentioned I believed), some heavy breathing or growling too. There was also a feeling that there may be something more dark in nature in the cellar, but there was nothing to support this.

In the old Cromwell Business Centre Michelle picked up on some information that had possible ties to Witches and Witchcraft. There’s no current research that supports this though. Could this be triggered by the ‘1667’ plaque above the fireplace. However that said Michelle did make reference to Books and Documents in the building, perhaps something behind the walls. Also, a man with a pipe that sat near to the fireplace was picked up.

The Plan for Room 100

As Room 100 seemed to stand out distinctly from the rest of the individual rooms, with its wide range of activity being reported, this stood out as a good location to attempt an initial overnight investigation. The previous reports seemed to have been made by most of the guests that had stayed there too, so this appeared to be the logical approach for me.

Through the Manager I arranged an overnight stay at the Cromwell Hotel in order to experience Room 100 for myself. It’s important to realise at this point that location investigation isn’t always something that can be successful in one visit. Often with any investigation of a location we must keep an open mind and gather data continuously drawing conclusions as we do so. During my first overnight investigation of Room 100 I kept this in mind and kept a balanced mindset.

Knowing the previously reported activity I decided the best approach would be to spend some time looking around the room for logical explanations to the reported activity, both internally and externally to the room. Then I would spend the night as a normal guest would and hope to experience what previous ones had too. A simple approach you may think, but often this can be the best way. After all we have to start based on the data we have to start with.

My Stay in Room 100

I began my stay in Room 100 by familiarising myself with the room in relation to the reported activity and noting the associations to obvious auditory and visual contamination. This initially focused on the wardrobe and its reports of the door opening and the clothes hangers rattling. My theory on this was related to vibrations from the near-by railway or the High Street below. However after being present in the room for a few hours I soon realised that this wasn’t the case, as neither had any effect on the wardrobe.

Next up, I conducted a quick sweep of the room with MEL Metre to check the EMF and Temperature readings. Now, it’s very important to understand that I didn’t do this in search of ‘ghosts’, the reason was simply to gain a better measurement of my environment within Room 100. This paid off too, as it highlighted some high EMF readings around some ceiling light fittings. These levels of EMF and their location probably wouldn’t be considered cause for the activity or conception of it,  but its good to know it’s there. Temperature was pretty much normal throughout though.

I spent the next few hours just being present in the room as someone might in Hotel room. This albeit slightly mundane is specifically useful in understanding the relative aspects of the location. In this case the traffic and external noises to the room, which on observation noises from outside the room were obviously identified. Also, the radiator nearest to the bed made a continuous low-level noise which was a little similar to white noise.

Just before I went to sleep I decided to attempt a very basic version of the Ganzfield Experiment (Effect) by laying on the bed wearing a blindfold and listening to white noise through earphones. This would create a simple sensory deprivation scenario and should the theory be correct, allow me to be more able to tune into other possibilities. During this mini experiment my right leg from just below the knee down felt freezing cold.

Following the Ganzfield Experiment I checked the temperature where my leg was situated to see if I could locate a reason for this feeling, which I could not. Interestingly enough though when I first visited Room 100, both the Manager and Michelle picked up on a cold draught just close to where my leg was situated. Was I now picking up what they had or perhaps because I knew what they had picked up was I now recalling the scenario? How confusing is the human mind and the paranormal?

I took the opportunity to sweep the room with the MEL Metre too, which proved that once the ceiling lights were off the EMF spikes dropped dramatically. Switch the lights back on and the EMF fluctuated again.

I decided to leave a Voice Recorder setup in the room with me whilst I slept. The Voice Recorder would only come on and record should there be a certain amount noise in close proximity to it. However on this occasion on review the Voice Recorder didn’t record any anomalies.

The Morning After The Night Before!

I woke up the next morning without having experiencing any physical phenomena during the night. There’s probably a joke in there somewhere too. Still there was a very odd feeling which left me a little uneasy. During the night on a few occasions I felt as if I was being watched. This ‘sense of being starred at’ originated from different parts of the room too. A couple of the corners, near the window and also right up near the bed on one occasion. A little weird to say the least.

Although the night wasn’t massively eventful I believe that the Cromwell Hotel still has more to investigate within its walls. I feel, lets call it a hunch, that the place still requires a more fuller team investigation at some point. So, with that in mind I look forward to returning to the Cromwell Hotel to investigate further.

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