Lisa Shaner-Hilty

Author's details

Name: Lisa Shaner-Hilty
Date registered: March 26, 2015


I am a supervisor for several programs assisting individuals with intellectual and mental challenges. I have 2 Masters Degrees from Penn State in Communication Disorders and Psychology. My first experiences with the paranormal were around age 5. I’ve been fascinated ever since. I have been an investigator for over 10 years (first 5 years with a team, then leaving to form my own more than 5 years ago, and have taught classes on investigation, evidence analysis (especially EVP) and debunking at local community college. I also have abilities, some of which began at age 5 and others around puberty. Therefore my fields of major interest are investigation and psychic and empath. While I am open to considering all aspect and viewpoints, I am dedicated to seeking natural explanations first before anything is considered evidence.

Latest posts

  1. BARA-HACK — February 28, 2016
  2. Undercliff Sanitorium — February 28, 2016
  3. Delphine LaLaurie — January 24, 2016
  4. Ideomotor Effect — January 24, 2016
  5. Mirror-touch Synthesia — January 24, 2016

Author's posts listings

Feb 28


Pomfret, Connecticut

Bara-Hack, Welsh for “breaking of bread”, is a long abandoned village in the Ragged Hills area of Eastern Connecticut settled in the late 1700’s. Very little of the village remains, having been long ago grown in by the surrounding forest. Bara-Hack was purchased in 1776 by Obadiah Higginbotham, though he did not settle there until 1790. His family was shortly after joined by Jonathan Randall, a British Army deserter and his family. Both were of Welsh descent and slave owners. Making their living by crafting flax wheels, a few other families joined the settlement as well. Higginbotham had built a water wheel and a mill. The small settlement, however, did not last. Demand for their product waned; families left for more prosperous areas, and the founding families passed on as well within the century.
Bara-Hack became a stop for colonial history buffs, who followed the paths from Ragged Hill to what little remained of Bara-Hack, mainly building foundations, paths and the cemetery where the Higginbotham and Randall families and their slaves remain buried. In days since, the tiny village has drawn paranormal buffs more often than history buffs. Reports of ghostly activity on the settlement grounds began as far back as its first days, most commonly the spirit of a baby sitting in a tree over the cemetery, reported by the families’ slaves and continuing to this day. Known also as the “Village of Voices”, some claim Bara-Hack to be the basis for The Blair Witch Project. Other claims include hearing laughter of children, as well as singing, the rumble and hoof beats of horse-drawn buggies, cattle and other domestic animals.
Newspaper articles have noted alleged spirit orbs and light streaks over the cemetery, as well as the face of a bearded man hovering over the graveyard. A paranormal team reported in 1971 seeing the bearded man, in addition to a wealth of other potential evidence. Some believe that the veil between this world and the next is thin in these woods, allowing a glimpse into days long past. Due in part to the unwelcome attention drawn to Pomfret by the investigators’ reports, as well as the newspaper articles, in addition to the dangers to amateur “ghost hunters” posed by crumbling remains of structures, holes from wells, and mountain lions, Bara-Hack is now private property, and access is prohibited.
Connecticut History


Feb 28

Undercliff Sanitorium

Undercliff Sanitorium

Undercliff Road
Meriden, Connecticut
The first sanitorium in the United States to focus solely on treating children with tuberculosis and other debilitating contagious disease, the building which came to be called Undercliff Sanitorium opened in 1910 at the base of South Mountain in Meridan, CT. Over the years, the sprawling facility also served as a mental hospital, and what many would refer to as a long term care mental asylum. As did so many other mental health facilities in the mid-1970’s, Undercliff closed its doors for the last time.
In addition to children and later adults separated from their families while being treated for diseases that slowly and painfully claimed so many of those inflicted, Undercliff also was the setting for horrific abuse inflicted in the name of treatment of those with mental health disorders. Some forms of treatment for mental health disorders included painful electro-convulsive therapy, lobotomy, immersion in hot or cold water, and isolation in small, dark, stimulus free rooms. At least one patient was purported to have been murdered by other patients. Convicted cannibalistic serial killer Hadden Clark lived in the area in his early years, claims to have buried at least one of his victims on the grounds.
Common belief is that many of the former residents and other victims have never left the abandoned institution. Children who had to be away from their families as they suffered and subsequently passed from tuberculosis, German measles, etc. are heard laughing as well as crying. Their shadowy figures and apparitions are seen in the halls or in the windows. Likewise footsteps can be heard running through the hallways. Some claim that these are hospital staff running to emergences or after mental patients; others claim they are actually mental patients running away from staff. Their screams can be heard inside the facility. The patient allegedly murdered by peers is reported wandering the grounds. Although entering the abandoned facility and its grounds was forbidden, EVPs and photos can be found on the internet. In 2010, one of three teen aspiring ghost hunters was killed when he jumped from a cliff while running from police when they were caught trespassing.
The former Undercliff Sanitorium, after sitting vacant for decades was demolished in 2013.
Haunted Places
Abandoned Abandoned

Katie Snow's photo.

Jan 24

Delphine LaLaurie

d1Delphine LaLaurie is among the most notorious figures of her time in New Orleans. Born Marie Delphine McCarty in 1787 to Creole parents, Delphine created a reputation for herself from a young age when she had a scandalous affair with and was made to marry the Governor’s second in command, who was nearly three times her age – the first of three marriages. Her entire name reads like a soap opera character: Madame Marie Delphine McCarty Lopez LeBlanc LaLaurie, a larger than life name for a larger than life woman. Details of Delphine’s life do vary from source to source.

Delphine, or simply ”Madame”, despite her colorful youth, became a popular socialite, known for her lavish parties, sometimes three in a week. In the early 1830’s, Delphine and her third husband, Dr. Leonard Louis LaLaurie (“Louis”) moved into the grand house on Royal St. Louis was significantly younger than Delphine, and this afforded her authority over her husband nearly unheard of at the time. She required him to sign a prenuptial agreement, as she had wealth from the deaths of her previous husbands, and Louis was a young doctor trying to establish a name for himself.

Growing up in a family with numerous slaves, Delphine and Louis were said to have had up to 54 slaves. While Delphine was known speak gently to her house slaves in front of her society friends, neighbors slowly grew to hear, and later to see, that when the parties were over, her demeanor changed dramatically. “It was said that Mme. LaLaurie’s manners were sweet, gracious and captivating. She was born in the society’s upper circles. She was accustomed to and acculturated to the good life. Yet there were persistent rumors that she treated her servants with disdain and in a cruel, abusive manner. And still, those who visited her said that she was kind to her servants. If one of them tremble in her presence or startled at the sound of her voice, she would soothe and endeavor to reassure her. Nevertheless, the stories of barbarity increased. The smothered indignation on Royal Street grew.” [2] Delphine has been widely considered to be mentally unstable, flying into fits of rage over insignificant issues, and an extreme sadist.

d2Details of what prompted the following vary, but in 1833 a young slave girl is said to have run through the house, with Delphine giving chase, to the third floor and flung herself off the balcony rather than face her mistress’ wrath. She died from the fall, and the LaLauries put her body in the well. This was when neighbors started to take notice. While slaves were not treated well by any means, brutality in proper society was not tolerated. The police were notified, and the girl’s body found in the well. Delphine was fined $300 and forced to sell the majority of her slaves. Being quite clever, she sold them to relatives, who secreted them back to the LaLaurie Mansion. Rumors spread about an attic chamber of torture, where slaves with whom Madame was displeased were taken, but from which they did not return. Neighbors noted screams coming from the lavish home. Not long after these events, the full truth of her sadistic treatment of her slaves would become public knowledge.

On April 10, 1834 an elderly slave who served as the LaLauries’ cook and was chained to the stove reportedly set fire to the house in an attempt to commit suicide. She had angered Madame and was willing to die rather than be sent to the attic. [1] While Madame and Doctor LaLaurie were legally separated at the time of the fire, Louis was in the mansion on the night of the fire. As the neighbors rushed to help, witness reported that Delphine rushed around the house rescuing her valuables. Neighbors asked about the slaves; where were they? Delphine reportedly told neighbors, “never mind the servants. Fetch my valuables.” [2]

d3Those who came to help, including a judge, began demanding the keys to the attic, “known to the neighbors …as a prison and that it was then tenanted by several unfortunate slaves.” [3] Louis Lalaurie… replied that “there are those who would be better employed if they would attend to their own affairs instead of officiously intermeddling with the concerns of other people.”[ibid] Breaking down the door, rescuers found an apparent torture chamber with starved, brutalized slaves. Some were old women wearing spiked iron collars; others chained into crippling positions. Judge Canonge, among the rescuers, gave a deposition which was published in the newspaper describing what he witnessed: “slaves, more or less horribly mutilated…. [Some were] suspended by the neck with their limbs stretched and torn from one extremity to the other.’ They found ‘an elderly negress,’…with a ‘deep wound on her head.’ A man had a “large hole in his head, his body [covered] from head to foot with scars and filled with worms.” [3,4] Reportedly Dr. LaLaurie, who specialized in osteopathy, performed medical experiments on slaves, most notably revealed by a slave whose bones were broken and reset in positions that resulting in resemblance to a crab.

d4The LaLauries’ former society friends ran them out of town, reportedly calling for their heads. They reportedly escaped to Paris, where Delphine died in 1842. [1] Rumors have Madame secreting back to New Orleans, still oblivious to her crimes, though there is no proof of this. Of the up to 54 slaves owned by Delphine, only 11 were rescued, leading to much speculation regarding the fate of the others, during a time when slave records were meticulously maintained. The LaLauries never faced charges. Delphine’s body is buried in St. Louis Cemetery #1 in a tomb belonging to her son.

Human remains are reported to have been found in the floorboards and grounds dating to the 19th century. The LaLaurie Mansion is considered by many to be New Orleans’ most haunted house, and even rumored to be cursed. [3,4] Subsequent owners have suffered death, insanity, and financial issues. A well-known actor purchased the mansion in 2007 for over three million dollars, and was forced to take a sizable loss when it went into foreclosure only 2 years later. While this actor claims to have experienced no paranormal activity, others report guests fainting, shadows, mists, thumping, moaning, screams of the tortured slaves, sightings of Madame herself. Many state that the little slave girl repeatedly throws herself from the third floor balcony, in apparent residual fashion. It is easy to believe that, given the abject horror of the LaLaurie’s barbaric behavior, that some of these souls may not be at rest. Granted using our due diligence, these claims can be debunked; however, this remains a case where the truth is truly stranger than fiction.

SOURCES: [1] [2] [3]
“Mistress of the Haunted House” by Carolyn Morrow [4]
“Mad Madame Lalaurie: New Orleans’ Most Famous Murderess” by Victoria Cosner and Lorelei Shannon [5]
“The Haunted House in Royal Street” by George W. Cable [6]

Jan 24

Ideomotor Effect

o1The human brain is a truly amazing organ. It can cause other body parts to perform tasks on command, such as closing the door (volition). It is also capable of so many things, some of which we are not even aware. Consider all the functions our brains performs without the slightest reminders from our consciousness (excitomotor actions): breathing, heartbeat, controlling body temperature and blood pressure, organ function. Similarly, survival instincts such as fight or flight, pulling your hand away from fire (sensorimotor actions) your brain does instinctively. [3] There are myriad other things our brains do on their own that are not life maintaining: blushing, tearing up, that silly grin you can’t suppress when that certain someone is around, fear responses. This article focuses on some other things our brains are up to in certain situations, without our conscious being aware. Let’s explore…the Ideomotor Effect.

In the Victorian Era, the paranormal had become all the rage…with that popularity came those who sought to make money from it. It was a time known for séances, Ouija, table tilting and others. The most noted and hotly debated (today, that is) is the Ouija. Let’s start there. At the Ouija’s height of popularity, the average life expectancy was 50; mothers died giving birth; people wanted to talk to their loved ones. Ouija was even consulted in solving crimes. In the 1920’s troubled financial times, Ouija was used to ask about prospects of an upturn. There was a board in nearly every house. [ibid] Later popularity waned, coinciding with the rising knowledge of the scientific data proving the game was just that – a game, not a valid means of speaking with the dead. The truth of the matter is that the science proving that Ouija is not paranormal was developed by physiologist William Carpenter in 1852, nearly 40 years before the Ouija was even patented in 1891, though used in Europe prior. Ouija remained a benign parlor game associated with nothing negative. [1,3,5]

02Today, the mere mention of Ouija boards sparks a firestorm of debate. Have you ever wondered where the idea that Ouija were evil originated? I certainly did. Hang onto your hats, folks! In 1973, the movie “The Exorcist” took the box office by storm; the story of a girl possessed after playing with Ouija. Almost immediately, the public began cries of Ouija is evil and summons demons. [5] Who knew? Funny how so many people put more stock in fictional movies and television shows than they do hard, proven science. My team has been called to ritualistically destroy Ouija boards for people – all because of a Hollywood created movie! Is it any wonder that National Paranormal Society does not discuss movies or television on the Facebook group?

The “forces” truly at work using an Ouija also apply to many other methods used by some in the paranormal world, including dowsing rods, pendula, automatic writing, and table tilting. Similarly the same principle applies to some methods used in days both ancient and modern to “cure” certain conditions. For the purposes of this article, we will not address the pseudo-medical end if the topic. These “forces” are known as the ideomotor effect.

03As I mentioned in the introduction, our brain does many things without our conscious mind telling it to do so. Using the Ouija again as an example, participants lightly place their fingertips on the planchette, and someone asks a question. Everyone is excited and nervous. The planchette glides seemingly on its own with its soft felt-tipped feet to letters or one of the words on the board. We have an answer! Or do we? Because of the ideomotor effect, a participant’s nervousness/excitement, coupled with their subconscious mind causes nearly imperceptible muscle twinges which start the planchette along its course. The other participants, startled and excited by its movement – “I didn’t do it – follow the movement. This is how the ideomotor effect works. Please note that with ideomotor effect, the participant is not faking (fakery is another issue altogether); they are not conscious of their actions. [1,3,4,5] Prove it, you say? Absolutely! Try having your participants wear blindfolds. [1,3,4] I have personally seen this done. A session is conducted with participants all able to see the table and what is happening. A person associated to a participant is selected and a question asked of their spirit. Question answered. Now, the blindfolds…wait, why is the planchette landing in blank space or between letters now? Even the subconscious mind cannot see the letters anymore. Debunked!

04So what does the ideomotor effect have to do with the other items mentioned? Let’s start with dowsing rods. Again, the user is hopeful of finding what they seek; with rods it can be water, oil, gems, buried pipes, etc. as well as spirits. Answers come with movement of the rods. Human error aside (shaky hands, not holding the rods straight, etc.), the effect is the same. How do we know? Try subtly hinting at a location where you know the target to be, then where you know it NOT to be. Studies show that the user will get movement in agreement with whichever spot is indicated. As in the Ouija experiment, blindfolding the dowser will lead to meaningless indications. [1,3, 4] Again, this is due to the subconscious mind triggering miniscule muscle movement, which in turn causes the rods to move/cross. Table tilting is debunked in precisely the same manner as the Ouija board. Similarly with using a pendulum, which directions the user is told will indicate yes or no will trigger the subconscious mind to move the user’s hand in that direction. Automatic writing and even the latest “Charlie Charlie” (created solely for a movie) are explained in the same way; “the ideomotor effect causes small, unconscious motor movements because of the person’s expectations, preconceptions or suggestibility.” [3] Unaware of their brain’s actions, the results with all of the items discussed are attributed to some paranormal activity, spirit or demon.

“Once a belief is formed and reinforced, the believer does not usually ever give it up.” [3] Each time the planchette moves, rods cross, etc., it serves as positive reinforcement (a behavior modification term that simply means that the behavior of moving the planchette, for example, is rewarded, making it far more likely to occur again). Despite continually failing at blindfold and other objective, scientific testing, users cling to the belief that supernatural forces are at work. This continues no matter how much empirical evidence is presented, proving this thought process incorrect. “The ideomotor effect is a classic example of how we can be fooled by our senses and ourselves. Many people believe in things because they have experienced them for themselves; they trust in the perceived infallibility of their senses.” [3]

Psychology Today [1]
National Institute of Health [2] [3]
The Skeptic’s Dictionary [4] [5] [image]

Jan 24

Mirror-touch Synthesia

m1In order to understand the topic of this article, we must first understand the term synesthesia. Synesthesia is defined as a perception of mixed sensations: stimulating one sense involuntarily causes a person to perceive it with another sense, for example a sound being perceived visually. [3] Synesthesia is usually a developmental condition, however recent research has shown that mirror touch synesthesia can be acquired after sensory loss following amputation. [2] There are several types of synesthesia, which have been recognized and studied for quite some times. Others are relatively new to the medical forefront, such as Mirror-Touch Synesthesia (herein referred to as MTS), which was first noted in 2005. Synesthesia are hereditary, passed through the X chromosome (females possess 2 X chromosomes and males 1); likewise, a person who has one type of synesthesia is likely to have other types as well. [1,2,3]

Mirror-Touch Synesthesia is a rare neurological condition in which the “synesthete” (person with synesthesia) physically feels what others experience. One example is that if another person is stroked on their arm, the individual with MTS would feel the sensation of their arm being stroked. [2] This condition has received attention recently due to a neurologist with the condition, Joel Salinas, MD a neurology resident at Harvard Medical School. Salinas in one noted example, physically felt the sensation of his tapping a patient’s knee to test reflexes, despite the patient showing no clear reflexes. [1]

One can imagine the difficulty that Dr. Salinas must face every day, being a neurologist and working with people suffering from dystonias (disorders of muscle tone/spasticity), stroke, multiple sclerosis, etc. One early synesthete reportedly witnessed a man being punched and passed out in her car. [1] MTS for many can be debilitating. Imagine having this condition and witnessing a fatal car accident or murder. Some synesthetes become homebound, even unable to watch television lest they have a physical reaction to what they are watching. Studies show that the intensity of the stimulus does correlate to the intensity of the perceived sensation by the synesthete. For example, a touch vs. a punch. [2] When Salinas performs a spinal tap on a patient, he can feel the needle going into his own lower back. “When a psychotic patient goes into a rage, Salinas feels himself getting worked up. Even when patients die, Salinas feels an involuntary glimmer of the event firsthand. His body starts to feel vacant—empty, like a limp balloon.” [1]

m2MTS “has aroused significant interest among neuroscientists in recent years because it appears to be an extreme form of a basic human trait. In all of us, mirror neurons in the premotor cortex and other areas of the brain activate when we watch someone else’s behaviors and actions. Our brains map the regions of the body where we see someone else caressed, jabbed, or whacked, and they mimic just a shade of that feeling on the same spots on our own bodies. For mirror-touch synesthetes like Salinas, that mental simulacrum is so strong that it crosses a threshold into near-tactile sensation, sometimes indistinguishable from one’s own. Neuroscientists regard the condition as a state of ‘heightened empathic ability.’ “ [1] As you might guess from that quote, those with MTS have responses not only to physical stimulus of others, but also emotions. Studies show that persons with MTS “scored significantly higher…on reading social cues that indicated that a person was feeling confident, stressed, sad, perplexed, or mystified. They’ve also found that mirror-touch synesthetes tend to have a greater volume of gray matter in areas of the brain linked to social cognition and empathy, and less brain volume in the temporoparietal junction, which plays a key role in distinguishing self from other.” [1] Hence the relevance to National Paranormal Society.

MTS differs from other synesthesia in that it may be genetic in origin, or may develop following a trauma. Some amputees studied perceived stimulus of pain, touch, movement or cold, for example, in limbs which had been amputated. “Phantom pains” are reported by 98% of amputees. [1,2] Personally I recall a relative having excruciating pain in a leg that had been amputated due to complications of diabetes. Stroke patients with paralysis on one side rendered similar results.

Diagnosis of MTS depends on the presence of three criteria: 1) the synesthete’s response upon seeing another being touched must feel like a conscious sensation (i.e. not a delusion or imagination); 2) the responses are induced by a stimulus would not generally cause this response; 3) these sensations must be involuntary, i.e. not by conscious thought. [2] While quite rare, MTS is among the more prevalent types of synesthesia. It has two sub-types: one, a true mirror touch, where the sensation is felt on the opposite side as that of the person who actually receives the stimulus (as in a reflection), and the other in which the sensation is felt on the same side. [2]

MTS is a relatively new condition which places scientific research and data in the form of brain-mapping, and the relative mass of certain areas of the brain governing traits collectively assigned to empaths, with neuroscientists describing it as basically a hyper-sensitive form of physical and emotional empathy. MTS is still being studied; however, the results thus far are fascinating.

Pacific Standard Magazine ( [1]
Wikipedia [2] [3]

Jan 22

Cell Phone Pictures – Paranormal Pariahs

c1So, it’s 2016 and who does NOT have a cell phone with a camera? All 3 of you? That’s what I thought. Now, how many of you have used your cellphone camera when looking for paranormal activity? How many of you have caught something interesting whether on purpose or by accident? Is it paranormal? Sadly, not likely. I know; I know; I already spoiled your “Holy Grail” ghostly picture in the park in the motion blur article! I have to play Debbie Downer yet again…my sincerest apologies (sort of).

So what’s my problem this time? Well, let’s start with the differences in make-up of cell cameras versus digital cameras. Keep in mind though, that no type of camera has captured a verifiable full body apparition to this date, so don’t feel too badly.

c2Cell Phone Cameras:
– have a fixed focus lens, inhibiting your ability to control narrow or wide focus in order to take both close up and far pictures with intended clarity and control “fuzzy edges”; also impacts quality in low light settings, such as investigations
– have smaller sensors which hinders quality in low light settings; remember most investigations are conducted in low light settings
– have slow “rolling shutters” which are prone to anomalies due to the shutter being open too long, increasing likelihood of motion blur, and other odd effects on the picture not seen when shooting. You likely have noticed that there is a noticeable lapse between pushing “shoot” button and the actual “click” of the shutter closing. So frequently, your subject has moved during that time period. Rolling shutters act just as the name implies; the exposed area “rolls” from top to bottom, picture rows one at a time, rather than all at once as in digital cameras. [4]
– have LED flash that provides less light over longer period of time [2, 3]
– “use digital zoom to get closer to subjects, which often introduces image noise and visual artifacts into the photo and degrades image quality.” [2]
– have pre-focus abilities; however, are also sufficiently slow to cause you to miss your shot, or capture something that appears mysterious due to the subject having moved much closer or almost out of range [1]
Digital Cameras:
– have a wide variety of focus settings – what you are trying to capture should lead you to change settings. Autofocus, while less accurate, is also available
– have a significantly larger sensor and a variety of settings controlling the amount and length of light exposure to sensor – even when you need to avoid using a flash; again what you are shooting should lead you to adjust accordingly
– have a variety of shutter speeds which control when shutter closes; has a total shutter, meaning the entire sensor is exposed at the same instant [4]
– flash is immediate and quite bright; of short duration
– “include a true optical zoom lens that lets you get closer to your subject without lessening image quality.” [2]
– Briefly reviewing the vital points of the digital camera, as detailed in the motion blur article, ISO settings work with aperture and shutter speed to determine how much light is allowed in and for how long. Issues such as shaky hands or movement of either photographer or subject, slow shutter speed, or incorrect ISO settings for your environment can all cause motion blur.

c3Glad you asked! Cell phone camera issues are generally associated with slow, rolling shutters, such as motion blur, distortions and image aliasing. The effects of a rolling shutter become especially apparent when either you or your subject are in motion. The image appears with significant distortions, the appearance of pieces being disjointed from the whole. Also odd blotches may be seen. A well-known example of image aliasing is that of a propeller which resembles a series of boomerangs falling from the sky near the airplane (screenshot attached to article). [4] One could easily mistake this for a UFO. This anomaly occurs because, as stated earlier, the rolling shutter exposes small rows of pixels at a time.

It is these anomalies that prompt those utilizing scientific method in investigating or in analyzing photographic evidence to dismiss pictures taken with cell phone cameras with little consideration. Cell phones also may interfere with other equipment, and are not permitted on site by many paranormal research teams. In short, cell phones are simply not reliable sources of potential evidence of the fringe sciences, despite their convenience.

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4]

Jan 22

Analyzing Digital Audio

daOne of the most common methods we use to gather evidence in an investigation is audio. For the purposes of this article, I will focus on digital recorders. Since some readers may not be familiar with the use of digital recording, let’s go over the basics first.

There is such a wide array of recording devices available on the market today, that choosing one can be intimidating. There are inexpensive models you can purchase at any electronics store, some even have intelligent noise cut to remove much of the background noises for you as it records. I saw a wrist recorder online recently at quite the reasonable price. I have not tried it, and so will not speak to its quality. There are models that gather sound from a full 360 degree radius and allow in the field play back, which are more than double the cost. I have recently seen a 360 degree model coming out that has flashy visual features, with all the bells and whistles – I shudder to think what the cost will be when it hits the market. I have several recorders of differing types; some cost around $70 and my 360 cost $300.

To be honest, all of the models I have tried get great sound and have very sensitive microphones. That said, the fancier models have a learning curve. You will need to read up on them and practice prior to bringing to investigation, in order to use properly and get your money’s worth out of the features. If you are not a “read all of the instructions person”, these are probably not for you. My favorite is a $70 digital with intelligent noise cut that I purchased at a local electronics chain. Just be sure you get a model with a USB port (rookie mistake many, many years ago). The more advanced, expensive models can be purchased online from any of the paranormal equipment sites, or from Amazon, etc. to save money. After paying $300 for my 360 recorder online, I saw it a music store that caters to bands, etc. for $70 less than I paid. In short, shop around if you are looking for these models.

As stated above, I have several recorders, as do other team members. During an investigation, we ensure that they are spread throughout the room, and often will leave recorders in areas of reported activity even when we are elsewhere on site, to optimize opportunity to capture something interesting (just don’t forget to retrieve before you leave! Recorders should not be held on your hand, as you often see on television, as these sensitive microphones will pick up every time you inadvertently move your finger, or shift your stance. This will contaminate your evidence. They should be placed on sold flat surfaces during a session. Similarly movement should be kept to an absolute minimum, and any noises of which you are aware of the source should be ‘tagged” as such, so as not to be mistaken for potential evidence. Some use white noise in EVP sessions (white noise would sound like static from old model televisions, or a radio not tuned in to a station), [] believing that spirit will come through the noise to communicate. Others, myself included, take measures to eliminate any extraneous noise, believing this enhanced the ability to hear any potential finding more clearly.

My team places a few recorders around the room/area during each session, for a number of reasons. First, one recorder may be closer to a sound source, for example an air vent, which may then serve to debunk a less clear artifact that is farther away – as in furnace/duct work noises. The same can be said for a recorder near a window debunking voices as people outside. Second, more than one recorder picking up the same potential EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon, a response which, while not heard at the time of recording, is heard on recorder upon evidence analysis), this can serve to corroborate the finding. Third, at times a potential finding may be caught on one recorder, but not another, due to many recorders’ microphones being extremely directional – only picking up sounds to one area in relation to its placement. [1] With only one recorder, we would have missed that piece of potential evidence. Keep sessions relatively brief, and stop the recorder between rooms/areas so that they are easier to manage in analysis.

So now you have the very basics. Time for the subject at hand, analysis. You have conducted a controlled EVP session; what now? Some people choose to listen for EVPs with the naked ear. Others by simply plugging earphones into the recorder itself. Depending on your purposes, these personal choices may work fine. However, it is more difficult to discern what you are hearing and even more difficult to isolate the area or find it again later. In order to manage hours of recordings from an investigation, with the intent of presenting findings to a client, these methods would prove ineffective.

Many investigators choose to use analysis software installed to their computers. There are many to choose from in this category as well. Some can be downloaded for free, others offer a free trial period before you would need to purchase. Some are more user friendly than others, as in most software. As I do not wish to tout one software program over anther, my advice is to shop around, ask seasoned investigators for their opinions – and the reasons for those opinions.

If you choose to use analysis software, you will need to familiarize yourself with its capabilities. Keep in mind that these programs are also used by musicians, etc. to edit the sound of their music. You will not need many of the features. Using the USB connection that comes with your recorder, plug the small end into your recorder, and the USB into your computer. Open your analysis software program. Select one file to work with first. With your analysis program open, select a recorded file to work with first and open it in your program. I use noise-canceling headphones personally. Listen closely to the file. You may hear an anomalous sound or what seems to be speech. With the software, you have the ability to select that area to isolate it. I personally will then play it on a loop, so that I can begin to seek out a debunk for the sound…never neglect your due diligence! If the area continues to be of interest, I save it into a folder with site, room, and what I feel it may be, then come back to the clips I’ve saved at a later time for closer analysis. Once I have gone through each fie, I then go back and examine each saved clip more closely, listening for natural explanations and determining what I hear. I then delete debunked clips, and change the name of those I choose to keep (adding “.lisa” to the end of the clip name helps me keep track of where I am in the process and stay organized). Other investigators choose to resolve each anomaly before moving on. It is merely a matter of personal preference.

While some investigators alter their clips by amplifying, slowing or speeding up the clip, filtering, adding effects to them; others, myself included, feel that if it is necessary to manipulate it to that extent, it is not likely a viable piece of evidence. This level of manipulation also makes the clip sound mechanized and will likely be seen as suspect. While at times, some amplification may help to hear a clip better, potential evidence should be altered as little as possible, if at all. Personally, I use the software simply because it makes managing the copious amount of recordings more manageable with the ability to save areas of interest. Keep the whole files as well, in case you need to refer to them at a later date. Realizing this can eat up space on your hard drive, thumb drives or CDs for each investigation are life savers. I also make a copy of any findings that “make the cut” for my clients to keep for themselves.

“Background noise is important! It provides an audio context and reassures the listener that the recording has not been manipulated. It can also provide clues to any possible natural explanations for apparently paranormal sounds. For instance, is the paranormal sound louder than the ambient background noise, about the same level or fainter? If the sound is louder than the background noise then there is the possibility that it is a real sound that was not noted at the time or was forgotten. It is also possible that the microphone was directional and happened to be aimed at a sound source that no one noticed at the time. It could also be radio or electrical interference. If the apparently paranormal sound (APS) sound is at the same level as, or fainter than, the background ambient noise, then it could be a chance effect. Background noise is, typically, random and unpredictable. If two elements of it (such as a squeaky chair and a creaking floorboard or an electric fan and a noise from outside) happen to occur at the same time, they may combine to sound like something quite different and weird. By listening to the background over a long period, you may be able to deduce that this is precisely what has happened.” [ibid]

Now, you have thoroughly analyzed your digital audio recordings – quite a lengthy and daunting task with the hours of audio. You have done your due diligence to eliminate any and all natural explanations for the voices or other anomalies you found. You have carefully documented from where they were taken and on whose recorder (prior to starting a session in each new room, my team is sure to turn on our recorders at the same time, introduce the site, date, time, room, and who is sitting or standing where). Now you are meeting with your client to review what you feel has “cut the mustard”, so to speak. It is very easy to manipulate what others hear if you tell them u front what you feel the clip “says”. Personally, I give the client headphones and play the clip at least once to orient them to the actual length and sound of clip, being careful to avoid them seeing the “name” of the clip. If they wish, I will put it on a loop. I encourage their input as to what they hear. Only when they have had ample time to assess on their own, do I tell them what I feel I have heard. At times, what the client hears makes more sense to the context of the site and their experiences. Remember to stay objective and open-minded. Find a process with which you are comfortable and off you go!

Jan 16

Motion Blur versus the Holy Grail

1You snap a picture of a peaceful park, or if you are like me, a quaint old cemetery. You notice nothing when you are aiming your digital camera and taking the photo. Imagine your initial response when you look at your photos on the computer screen and see a translucent image in the background…did you capture the spirit from the past?

The simple answer is, not likely. If you are like most people, it is not likely that you pay much attention to the settings in your camera. Most of us are not quite sure what the symbols mean, let alone what function they serve, and after all, who needs instructions? Am I right?

In reality, however, those symbols and the functions their buttons serve make all the difference in the world – literally between this world and the next! OK, so I could not resist having a little fun with that one! One of the most common causes of these ghostly figures or oddly “dancing” lights we catch is motion blur. Motion blur is defined as the apparent streaking of rapidly moving objects in a still image or a sequence of images such as a movie or animation. It results when the image being recorded changes during the recording of a single exposure, either due to rapid movement or long exposure. [5]

2But it really looks like a ghost…how can this be my error? Among we non-photographers, some will be unfamiliar with the terminology. For those of us who investigate and actively debunk our own potential evidence in that endless quest for the Holy Grail of paranormal research – the full body apparition – these terms have become second nature. They are inter-related and have dramatic effect on your shots.

ISO – International Standards Organization: ISO involves the standards for many areas other than camera settings. For the purposes of this article, the ISO settings determine sensitivity to light. These settings can be changed before each photo you take in order to allow the perfect amount of light in for the shot you want. Since most investigating occurs in the dark, a higher ISO would be used, so that the shutter speed will increase. Shooting in daylight, a lower ISO may be more appropriate. [4]

APERTURE: aperture in any context simply means a hole. For our purposes, it is the opening in the lens through which light shines. Go ahead, look at your lens, you know you want to, and you can see it!
DEPTH OF FIELD: a narrow depth of field is ideal for taking a photo clearly focused on a small area; the rest of the photo will be fuzzy. This can be accomplished using a small aperture. A wider depth of field will leave your photo with the same crispness throughout. [4]

FOCUS: finally, a word we all know!! Or do we? Focus is controlling your depth of field by manipulating your aperture. Most of us probably use autofocus features on our digital camera. Easier is better, right? Not necessarily. Your detail will vary if you take pictures of things close and far, or in rapid succession. Taking pictures in rapid succession is common in investigating. Should you get your Holy Grail, you’d better have pictures from before and after for the debunk process!

3Many cameras use a ring around the lens to adjust focus for each shot. Some advanced cameras have continuous autofocus, which “tracks” your subject in motion, maintaining focus all along. These, however, are quite pricey. [4]
SHUTTER SPEED: this one can really be a trouble maker for avoiding those false alarm spirit photos we talked about. The definition is fairly simple; shutter speed is the time that the shutter is open, or how long your camera “sees” your subject. [6]

OK, great, now you know the big words. So what does this have to do with my spirit pic? Everything!
Remembering that all of our camera’s parts and settings work together to get that great shot, let’s look at what can go wrong and cause that “spirit” or those weird lights, and how to fix it.

OK, anyone willing to admit that their hands are not steady as steel holding a camera? Come on, be honest! No one can hold perfectly still with no hand shake for as long as they think, especially when they know they are anticipating pushing that button at just…the…right…second. Our whole body will tend to move ever so slightly as well. If that hand shakes ever so slightly, or you shift your balance…ugh, motion blur! Solution: try using a tri-pod if possible. [2]

We discussed the joys and sorrows of autofocus earlier. In some circumstances, it is fine. In taking multiple pictures with little “recovery” time, not so much. “A slight miscalculation in the focus can throw the subject completely out of (focus), or give you a portrait with a perfectly sharp earlobe and blurry eyes.” [2] Again, motion blur is quite likely.

Now to the likely culprit, shutter speed. Remember that shutter speed is related to ISO and aperture, as all work together I determining how much light gets in. Should your shutter speed be too slow, more light gets through for a longer period of time. So should a jogger accidentally enter the area where you are shooting your park/cemetery pictures – even if they notice this, turn and attempt to get out of the way, they show as your ghostly figure. Headlights or other lights will show as your dancing streaks of light. Sometimes we get motion blur even when we are aimed right where we want to shoot, but your subject moves. Perhaps you are trying to catch a child dancing, but your shutter speed is too slow. You may end up with a distorted image of the child or even a disturbing black mass due to movement combined with slow shutter speed.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that professional photographers master the use of motion blur to take some stunning shots quite purposefully for the sake of art. Conversely, we know all too well how easy and common fakery has become in the paranormal world. There are sadly those who would attempt to pass off a known case of motion blur as a spirit photo. This is why we who work so hard to push the fringe sciences forward are continuously honing out debunking skills and always, always look for the natural explanation first. Alas, no Holy Grail has been captured as of yet…

Short and sweet, the moral of the story is that instructions are our friends – read them; be aware of your camera settings, your surroundings and who is in the area, and without fail, do your due diligence.

“Camera Shutter Speed” [1] [2] [3] [4]
Wikipedia [5] [6]

Jan 06

Akhenaten – Pharoah From The Stars?

p1Akhenaten was a 14th century Pharaoh in Egypt, most noted today for being the father of Tutankhamun (King Tut) and married to the fabled beauty Nefertiti. In ancient times, Akhenaten was known for the distinct differences from Pharaohs prior and following his reign. Succeeding his father Amenhotep III, Akhenaten changed his name (from Amenhotep IV) during the fifth year of his reign to reflect his controversial beliefs. Akhenaten was revolutionary for his time. The ancient Egyptians were known for their polytheistic beliefs. Akhenaten decreed that the country would worship one god only, making him arguably the first monotheist. This god was Aten, the sun disc, distinct from Amon Ra, the traditional Egyptian sun god. [1,2,3] Akhenaten translates to “glory of Aten”, fitting his claim to have descended from Aten himself. “There is only one god, my father. I can approach him by day, by night.” [2] The Aten was first noted in Egyptian deities during the 12th dynasty (Akhenaten reigned in the 18th dynasty); a song to Aten describes a “deceased king…rising as god to the heavens and uniting with the sun-disk, the divine body merging with its maker.” [2]

Ancient Egyptian culture is known for being quite advanced in science, thought, etc. Akhenaten even more so. During his reign, the arts advanced significantly. Before, and not long after his reign, ancient Egyptian art was known for its uniform style of depicting people, animals, and plants: rather triangular with humans always shown with their heads facing to the side, their torsos front and legs again to the side. Pharaohs in particular were portrayed as muscular and fit, as they were believed by their people to be gods on earth, depicted in art for their power for posterity. Statuary and drawings always depicted subjects as motionless. During Akhenaten’s reign, not only did depictions of the Pharaoh and his family in motion, but showing affection for one another. Likewise, the physical appearance of himself, his wife and children were a complete deviation from Egyptian art. They are portrayed with an unusually elongated heads with very large eyes. Arms and fingers are quite long and thin; knee joints pointing backward. Most art portrays him facing fully to the front, showing a somewhat protruding belly, wide hips and thighs. [1,2,3,4] These seem to mesh with typical androgynous descriptions of extraterrestrials.

p2Given the advanced intellect of the ancient Egyptians and Akhenaten’s claim that he had descended from Aten be explained by these striking dissimilarities? “Akhenaten was one of the most controversial Pharaohs to rule Egypt. According to Egyptian Mythology he descended from the gods who arrived on Earth at the time of Tep Zepi and until today, people still believe that this Pharaoh did in fact come from the Stars.” [2] Could he have been a hybrid of human and extraterrestrial, as so many believed both then and today? Accordng to some ufologists, Akhenaten could have been mutated in some way by visitors from another planet. [1] Such claims have been made regarding other areas of ancient Africa. Writings by Akhenaten note visitation from “beings descended from the sky” giving him instruction. [2]

Akhenaten’s changes: changing to monotheism, having all images of former deities removed, building a new capital city, Amarna, dedicated to the worship of the Aten were not accepted by the priests of his time. Many believe that Akhenaten was removed from his throne after 17 years, and forced to flee with his followers. [2] Akhenaten had many children, it is not known how many may have fled with him. These offspring, regardless of where they lived out their days, would have passed on this alleged extraterrestrial hybridization for generations to come. His most famous son, Tutankhamun, remained and succeeded his father to the throne at a young age. It would not be long before Tut restored Egypt to its former polytheistic beliefs.

In 1907, Akhenaten’s remains were found and analyzed. His skull was found to be elongated and misshapen as described, but also of greater thickness and structure than other human skulls. {3,4] The same was found of Tutankhamun. Many theories have emerged in attempt to explain these anomalies. In general, royal bloodlines may be prone to deformations due to “inbreeding”; however, Nefertiti was a commoner, not of royal blood. While Nefertiti was not Tutankhamun’s mother, both had the same features. This is of significance when considering the source of these body features.

THEORIES ON SOURCE OF UNUSUAL PHYSICAL APPEARANCE: One theory applied to explain the odd appearance of Akhenaten was that he had a genetic abnormality. Some proposed Froelich Syndrome, which would explain his long jaw and somewhat effeminate appearance. However, Froelich results in sterility. As stated, Akhenaten had many offspring. Likewise it results in learning disabilities, stunted sexual development, and obesity, none of which are indicated in this case. [1,3,4] A second option explored was Marfan’s Syndrome.

“Marfan’s syndrome, unlike Froelich’s, does not result in any lack of intelligence or sterility. It is associated with a sunken chest, long curved spider-like fingers (arachnodactyly), occasional congenital heart difficulties, a high curved or slightly cleft palate, and a highly curved cornea or dislocated lens of the eye, with the requirement for bright light to see well. Marfan’s sufferers tend towards being taller than average, with a long, thin face, and elongated skull, overgrown ribs, a funnel or pigeon chest, and larger pelvis, with enlarged thighs and spindly calves. Marfan’s syndrome is a dominant characteristic, and sufferers have a 50% chance of passing it on to their children. All of these symptoms arguably sometimes appear in depictions of Akhenaten and of his children. Recent CT scans of Tutankhamun report a cleft palate and a fairly long head, as well as an abnormal curvature of the spine and fusion of the upper vertebrae, a condition associated with scoliosis, all conditions associated with Marfan’s syndrome. However, DNA tests on Tutankhamun, in 2010, proved negative for Marfan Syndrome.” [1 quoted; supported by 3,4]

Stuart Fleischmann, Assistant Professor of Comparative Genomics at the Swiss University in Cairo has studied the remains of Akhenaten, as well as other Pharaohs, extensively. “The results were much as expected for 8 of the 9 Pharaohs studies. Akhenaten, however, proved to be an anomaly through repeat testing. [3,4,5] “A gene called CXPAC-5, is responsible for cortex growth. The tests carried out showed a significantly increased activity in Akhenaten’s CXPAC-5 genome which would suggest he had a higher cranial capacity because of the need to house a larger cortex. [4, 5] “Telomerase [a genetic enzyme] is only expended by two processes: extreme aging and extreme mutation. Genetic and archaeological data suggests Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten lived to about 45 years of age. That is not nearly enough to consume all the chromosomal telomerase, leaving behind one inconvenient but possible explanation. This…is a telltale sign of the DNA helix healing after being exposed to strong mutagens.” [4,5]

Many believe that these studies indicate that Akhenaten, and subsequently his descendants, are a type of human-alien hybrid. These scholars cite the descriptions by Akhenaten of visitors from the heavens, as well as the scientific studies of his physical and genetic make-up proving very distinct differences from others of any time period. The potential for spread of these genetic mutations, whether naturally occurring or introduced by extraterrestrials, over the number of generations since Akhenaten’s time is staggering. How many of today’s population carry these mutations?

SOURCES: [1] [2] [3] [4]
Stuart Fleischmann [5]

Jan 04



By: Lisa Shaner-Hilty

The Knights Templar, have been an order of legendary status, living on in infamy to nearly the same extent. While scholars in great number have studied this group of elite warriors and financiers, it is unclear to this day what is fact and what is mere speculation. Were they a dedicated defenders of Christianity, or did they practice in the Occult…or both? Let’s explore…

It is known that The Templars were formed approximately 20 years after the First Crusade and the fall of Jerusalem into Christian control in 1099 (“Dark History of the Knights Templar”). The Knights used the Temple of Solomon as their stronghold, hence the name Knights Templar. One segment of the Knights were elite soldiers entrusted with defending and expanding the Christian faith; others were skilled financiers and architects/craftsman.

The Templars reportedly excavated the Temple of Solomon, securing secret treasures until it was again lost to the Muslims some 70 years later (ibid). In 1128, Pope Honorius II afforded the Templars great authority, answerable to the Pope alone (“Order of the Knights Templar”). True to the adage “power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely” (John Acton), the Templars amassed treasure from not only the Temple of Solomon, but also from usury, and looting those brutally defeated in battle. They became a force to be reckoned with throughout Europe, and as far as Africa. Their mission seemingly shifted to amassing wealth and power. Castles, churches and other strongholds were built throughout the vast area covered by the Templars, where treasure was hidden with deeply encoded clues re location to keep outsiders from finding it.

ALLEGATIONS OF OCCULT PRACTICES: The Templars returned to Europe in 1290 to rumors of their having turned away from their Christian vows and embracing the occult, even devil worship. It is unclear whether these rumors were true, or whether they were falsified by rulers and clergy who were heavily indebted to, and envious of, the Templars. The extreme secrecy of all Templar locations, rituals, etc. added fuel to the firestorm of rumors. After all, if they were carrying out their assigned mission for God’s glory, what did they need to hide?

According to multiple sources, occupying the same area in Jerusalem as the Cabala, adopted their practices. Cabala, which pre-dates the Torah, “mystic synthesis of pagan teachings prior to Torah and Judaism, associated with sorcery. For thousands of years, the Cabala has been a resource for sorcery and black magic… The Templars engaged in research into the Cabala with the goal of acquiring supernatural powers.” (“Dark History of the Knights Templar”). Those who believe in magic attribute their whole success to magical artifacts acquired via Solomon, and say that the Templars’ astonishingly rapid rise to power was due to either genuine black magic, use of Godly powers, or both. (djps).

Reportedly a former Templar (though Templars took oaths for life) had made claims against the order for denouncing their faith, engaging in activities forbidden by the church, occult practices, and Satan worship. During the Knights’ extremely secretive initiation rites, initiates were required to deny Christ three times, spit or urinate on, or trample a crucifix, (Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Dark History of the Knights Templar”, dpjs). There is no definitive proof of devil-worship; however, with demon images built into and within churches and other Templar buildings, many accept that they were Devil worshippers. Templars studied Cabala Arab occultism, many forms of magic, and other occult practices. (djps, Dan Brown)
The Templars were reportedly worshippers of Baphomet, referred to by some as a devil, others a demon, others an idol. Underwood describes Baphomet as “a demon with the head of a goat, whose image was later to become the symbol of The Church of Satan.” Eliphas Levi, an occultist and practice of Cabal, depicted “Baphomet as having a goat’s head with two faces, and a winged human body that is female above the waist and whose lower half is male.” Other sources listed below provide similar descriptions. During the interrogations which followed the dissolution of and unsuccessful attempt to eradicate the order by Philip IV of France, many Templars confessed to these claims, and practices including worshipping idols of cats, a bearded head on a stick, and being invested with occult powers during secret black masses and other rituals (djps).

While many Templars were captured, tortured and confessed, most recanted their confessions, only to be burned. Others escaped and are widely regarded as having fled to what is now Switzerland and to Scotland, where to this day, Templar symbolism is evident. One common belief is that the Templars exist even to today in the form of Freemasons and the Illuminati. (“Dark History of the Knights Templar”, djps). Scholars to this day strive to prove or disprove the alleged practices of the Knights Templar by attempting to follow the maze of codes and symbols. For now, their legend continues and the majority of their secrets remain hidden…

“Dark History of the Templars” (via

“Order of Knights Templar” (via


guest writer Dan Green
“Templar” (via

) by Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica

“The Knights Templar” (via

“Holy Blood and Holy Grail” by Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln
‘Dictionary of Occult and Supernatural” by Peter Underwood

Dec 31

Hindu Beliefs on Demons

rakEvery belief system seems to include the alleged existence of demons. As you will notice, National Paranormal Society is compiling a series of articles detailing how those who follow each belief system view demons, and exploring whether or not any proof of demons exists.

“According to scholars, the evolution of Hinduism may be divided into three periods: the ancient (6500 BC-1000 AD), the medieval (1000-1800 AD), and the modern (1800 AD to present). Hinduism is commonly thought to be the oldest religion in the history of human civilization. (“Theories About the Origin of Hinduism”, article taken The name was taken from the Indus River, along which the peoples who are believed to have developed Hinduism were settled. Hinduism, a polytheistic religion (believing in more than one God or deity), ranks fourth in order of most prevalent worldwide.

According to Hinduism Facts, each living creature, human or not, has a soul. “The soul travels through 84 million species” before earning entrance into a human body. The soul is then reincarnated into another body based on the karma during life; this new body could be that of human or another creature. The soul is to strive to reach unity with the Supreme Soul, a state of Nirvana.

There is “no equivalent of Satan in Hinduism. Hinduism has a universal Brahman which pervades all things good as well as evil…there are only three principles or entities that exist in reality…Brahm (God), Jeevatma (the countless souls) and Maya (the material energy).” (HinduismStackExchange) “All the ‘demons’ in the Hindu religion are classified under the ‘soul’ category. Due to their Karmas (actions) they are born in those wicked races and have such sinful propensities…no one can be equal to God, thus, there is no room for any independent being to work against the will/design of God in Hinduism. (ibid)

“Hindu scriptures state that any person performs actions only according to his will. Of course, these actions are shaped by his company and atmosphere, but there never is any inherently evil being whispering sin into his ears. In fact, Hinduism denies the very idea of evil. Evil, according to the Hindu scriptures, is non-existent. There are three modes of nature – sattva, rajas and tamas. The demons and other cruel people are said to be possessed of tamas, but even they can overcome this darkness by purifying their mind through association with sattvic matter/personalities.” (ibid) Tamas refers to the concept of lethargy, ignorance, darkness or death. It is not a demonic entity, or an entity at all. Rather it is the lowest of the forms of energy in both Hinduism and Buddhism. (

KALI: “Kali is an angry form of Shakti (Shiva’s consort). Here the statement that Kali is a demon is only correct if the word “demon” is understood in its ancient touch. Her fierce depictions are only based upon her need to fight against desires of one’s ego. She is misunderstood by Europeans and Americans, and her “demonic” attributes are artificially given to her by people from other cultures. She is not a demon… She is included here only with purpose to invalidate this” depiction. (“Hinduism Is” by Sanatana Dharma)

In summary, Hinduism seems to refute the opening premise of this article, which I have allowed to remain above as it relates to the purpose of this series of articles. Hinduism does not teach the existence of demons per se, but rather only the negative actions cognizantly chosen actions of humans along their soul’s journey toward Nirvana. Such behaviors result in negative karma and a regression to a lower form upon death and reincarnation. The soul then has another opportunity to correct the bad karma and move back to a higher form in its next life.

“Hinduism Is” by Sanatana Dharma

Dec 31

Islamic Beliefs on Demons

demon6Every belief system seems to include the alleged existence of demons. As you will notice, National Paranormal Society is compiling a series of articles detailing how those who follow each belief system view demons, and exploring whether or not any proof of demons exists.

Islam is the second most commonly practiced religion in the world. Dating back to 622 AD, Islam is based on the teachings of the prophet Muhammad (570-632AD), who is considered by Muslims (those who practice Islam) as the last of the prophets of Allah, according to EncyclopaediaBritannica ( These teachings given to Muhammad are detailed in The Qur’an, the sacred book of Islam.

THE JINN: The Qur’an references the creation of entities called Jinn, which were said to be created from smokeless flame or fire for the purpose of worshipping Allah. Abdul Barr in his book, “The World of Jinn and Devils” states that there are different types of Jinn. Most relevant to this article are the aamar, who live among man; the shaitan who are evil and work against man; and the stronger, more dangerous afreet. Barr goes on to describe shayteen, or “satan” or “devil”, defined as jinn and man who are disbelieving and disobedient.

Similar to the story of creation of man in Christianity and Judaism, the Qur’an teaches that Adam was created the first man, and was made from clay. Allah instructed the angels and jinn to prostrate themselves before his creation Adam. One of the jinn, Iblis (Satan), refused to prostrate himself before Adam and was banished from the heaven by Allah. The Qur’an references shaytaan (plural of shayteen) as being both jinn and human in form, human followers being “hizh”. Followers, both disobedient jinn and man are condemned to hell by Allah. The Qur’an states that the influence of the jinn who chose to be disobedient is in whispering evil into the hearts of man. These whispers are intended to lead man to commit acts contrary to their faith. Some are said to be possessed by Jinn. Those who practice Islam are encouraged to whisper “I seek refuge in Allah” when shaytaan whisper to them, in order to repel the entity.

“The Jinn are beings created with free will, living on earth in a world parallel to mankind. The Arabic word Jinn is from the verb ‘Janna’ which means to hide or conceal. Thus, they are physically invisible from man as their description suggests. This invisibility is one of the reasons why some people have denied their existence.” (Invitation to Islam) This article further states that some jinn chose to be Muslim while others chose not to follow Allah, but rather to follow Iblis. “That which clearly distinguishes the Jinn from mankind, are their powers and abilities. Allah has given them these powers as a test for them. If they oppress others with them, then they will be held accountable. By knowing of their powers, we can often make sense of much of the mysteries which go on around us. One of the powers of the Jinn, is that they are able to take on any physical form they like.” (ibid) The article further discusses the possibility that what humans have perceived as aliens may in fact be jinn; likewise that alleged demonic possession is also the work of evil jinn, as well as activities that fall under the category of the occult.

DEMONS: The Qur’an does reference Muhammad and Jesus casting out demons. There is disagreement among Islamic scholars, however, regarding whether demons and jinn are 2 distinct entities, or one and the same. Their actions and abilities to possess a human, as well as cover great distances in seconds and take on various forms are the same.

BUT DO THEY EXIST? As in other belief systems, there is no undeniable proof that jinn or demons exist. While anecdotal evidence is plentiful, personal experience, from a scientific standpoint, is not considered proof. The first link provided alleges to be proof of a jinn lurking in a mosque: However, it appears to simply be a person on all fours dressed in black.

The second link provided depicts an alleged possession of a woman by a jinn: A number of possible natural explanations for this alleged possession may be presented to debunk. An investigator would need to consider Tourette Syndrome. Tourette’s is a neurological/psychiatric disorder which at times presents with uncontrolled inappropriate verbalizations, which are frequently strained (possibly due to the individual’s attempts to fight the verbal tics; possibly simply a part of the disorder itself). Other physical conditions may manifest with strained speech as well, such as cerebral palsy and other disorders which impact the vocal musculature. Outright fraud must also be considered. The woman who is alleged to be possessed is not present in the video; therefore we have no idea what is in reality transpiring. Unfortunately falsified evidence is quite common in the paranormal, and therefore cannot be ruled out. In short, there remains no irrefutable evidence of demons under the Islamic belief system.

The Qur’an
“The World of Jinn and Devils” by Ibn Abdu Barr (Muhammad Prophet of Islam by: Seyyed Hossein Nasr)
Invitation to Islam, Issue 4, January 1998
The Jinn (In the Qur?an and Sunnah) by Mustafa Ashour
The Jinn by Abu Al Hasan (Al Jumuah Magazine)

Dec 24

History and uses of the Pentacle

gThe Pentacle, a five pointed star with perfectly matched angles; quite difficult to draw without geometric assistance, has come to be at times a source of debate: is it a symbol of good, or evil? Or could it symbolize both…or neither? Let’s take a look at the some of the history, as well as some of its uses.

The oldest known use of the Pentacle dates to 3,000BC. It is believed to have been the symbol of an ancient Egyptian goddess Kore, whose fruit was the apple – if an apple is cut in half through the core, the shape of a pentacle is revealed. It appears that most ancient cultures had a use for this symbol. Some ancient civilizations utilized the pentacle for angles in building and for showing directions, others in astrology, with the five points referring to Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus. Ancient Hebrews referred to the pentacle as the “Seal of Solomon” which appears still today on Ethiopia and Morocco’s flags. Pythagoras, who is widely considered one of the fathers of math and geometry, referred to the pentacle as a “golden ratio” of lines an angles, resulting in the Greeks including it in their architecture. Unlike the more ancient peoples, they considered the five points as representative of the five elements of fire, air, water, earth, and knowledge. Early Christians looked at the Pentacle as a representation of the five wounds of Jesus Christ, which pierced: his two hands, his two feet, and his side. It was referred to as the Star of Bethlehem, that guided the Three Kings to Jesus, and worn as an amulet of protection.

It was many years later when the pentacle became thought to represent the head of Satan’s goat, and became associated mainly with the practice of witchcraft and Satanism, among others. As typical of mass fear, thousand were killed for its use. “The folk symbol for security – for the first time in history – was equated with evil and was called the witch’s foot.”

In modern times, the symbol is thought by many to represent the five primary religions: Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism. If you recall the ancient peoples as stated above thought the pentacle represented the five planets they could see with the naked eye. It was commonly stated in those times and beyond, “as above so below” – as it is in the heavens, so it is on earth. This more modern school of thought brings us full circle to that idealism. Despite all major religions, and many other religions’ use of the symbol, many still solely associate the pentacle with Satanism and black magic, though this is not always the case. Hence the debate that rages on…

Some use pentacle and pentagram as synonyms, even the definitions are subject to debate. Some sources refer to a pentacle as the star alone, and the pentagram as the star with the circle; others, however, state that both have the circle and the customization differentiates the two. The orientation of the star is sometimes significant as well, though not in all cases. The Mormon Church uses both upright and inverted pentacles in their architecture.

An upright pentagram has the two pointed side at the bottom, similar to the stars on the American flag, and may be surrounded by a circle, depending on the definition one follows. The upright pentacle is quite commonly used in religious symbolism, including in Paganism, Christianity, Wicca to name a few.

In German folklore, the pentacle is believed to keep evil spirits from escaping a certain area. In Tarot, the suit of pentacles (equivalent to diamonds in playing cards), when upright symbolize how we influence our own external surroundings, and with self-image.

The inverted pentagram has the single point at the bottom. Some religious and spiritual groups have used the inverted pentagram. During the 20th century, Satanist groups adopted the inverted pentacle/pentagram as its own, again referring to a goat’s head seems to be visible in the form.

The inverted pentacle with the goat’s head is referred is the Sigil of Baphomet. While it is unclear how, the Sigil of Baphomet reportedly was used in The Middle Ages in the torture of the Knights Templar. According to the Mystica website, “In the 20th century German occultists formed the secret “Order of Templars in the East”. They installed the English occultist Aleister Crowley to head their British section. Crowley took Baphomet as his magical name.” Crowley’s name is synonymous with the occult. The Baphomet symbol is currently used by religious Satanists.

That said, the US Congressional Medal of Honor is also a pentacle, which appears inverted when hanging from its ribbon. It is the nation’s highest medal for valor in combat that can be awarded to military. The Order of the Eastern Star is a Freemasonry-related fraternal organization for adults, both men and women. The group admits persons of all religions. The pentacle is inverted here as well.

In Tarot, while upright pentacles represent personal growth, the meaning changes when the pentacles are reversed. When reversed, the pentacles present negative aspects of the human psyche: greed, possessiveness, laziness, etc. However, these signs are intended to encourage the person being read to reverse these traits and set goals or prioritize in order to get back on track. So it seems that, particularly in the case of the inverted pentacle, the symbolism is wrapped in the intention of the user. It cannot be assumed to be a symbol of evil unless specifically customized to make that intent clear.

Sources: The Oracle Institute,,,, Mystica,

Dec 15

Disappearance Of The Indus Valley Civilization

vvTheories regarding the sudden disappearance of the Indus Valley, or Harappan, civilization close to 4,000 years ago is quite consistent across sources. This was the world’s earliest urban civilization, which began approximately 5,200 years ago. The population of over 5,000,000 lived along the Indus River in what is now India, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh – spanning over 386,000 square miles. While the land along the river valley was fertile, those just beyond were arid and unable to be cultivated, preventing the civilization from expanding further.

The loss of the Indus Valley Civilization is most baffling mainly due to their advanced culture. While the civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia are well known by the population at large, “the Indus civilization, which was bigger than these two, was completely forgotten until the 1920s,” said researcher Liviu Giosan, a geologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. It was at this time that evidence was unearthed indicating a civilization using advanced cities using grid systems, plumbing and sewage systems, mapped trade routes and sea routes to Mesopotamia, and as yet un-deciphered system of written language. Findings indicate use of domesticated animals (though not horses), as well as crops including cotton, peas and barley, though not on a large scale due to lack of extensive irrigation systems. Experts say that such an advanced culture was found again for many centuries. Construction was done using stone and bronze. There is no evidence of armies, slaves, conflicts, or other aspects of ancient societies. They were believed to have been a society similar to democracy, with no signs of monuments, sacrificial altars, etc. common to civilizations long after their time.

So how did such an advanced civilization disappear? Two theories attempt to explain, Aryan Invasion and Climate Change.

THE ARYAN INVASION THEORY claims that Aryans, a nomadic, Indo-European tribe conquered the Indus Valley Civilization. As described above, the Indus Valley people were peaceful, non-militarized. They did not have the use of horses or effective weapons to hold off an attack by invaders on horseback with advanced weaponry. Initial attacks began approximately 2,000 BC. They would have been easy prey for the Aryans. However, elements of Indus culture are found in later civilizations, which puts this theory in question. This would seem to indicate that they were not wiped out, but perhaps driven from their home.

CLIMATE CHANGE THEORY seems to be the prevailing school of thought. As with most river valleys, the Indus region was prone to at times destructive flooding. Likewise, this part of the world had and still has monsoon season. Over time, however, studies show that the monsoons lessened in intensity. Giosan states that solar energy varies in cycles, which impacts monsoons and their intensity. As monsoons weakened, the valley became quite fertile. This is how the Indus Valley people were able to cultivate crops, as indicated above. However, over time the increasing solar insolation caused the monsoon-based river to dry, leaving insufficient water supply for drinking, the bath and plumbing systems of the Indus people, as well as their domesticated animals and crops. The monsoons migrated to the east due to the climate change, and so then did the Indus civilization. They had to move eastward as well, to the more fertile ground along the Ganges River, Giosan speculates. Here monsoons were still reliable. In the Ganges region, this large civilization is believed to have broken into smaller villages and farms, as larger cities could not be supported there. Since they were unable to produce sellable goods, trade with the Mesopotamians lessened as well.

Other scholars agree with the climate change theory as well as the migration toward the Ganges, but believe that other natural disasters: drought, deforestation, flooding, and changes in the course of the Indus River may have also contributed to the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization. Around 1800 BCE, the Indus valley climate grew cooler and drier and a tectonic event may have diverted the river system toward the Ganges Plain. Excavations in the Ganges Plain show that settlement began around 1200 BCE. By around 1700 BCE, most of the Indus Valley Civilization cities had been abandoned by this time.

Sources:,, UCLA

Dec 13


renneschateau03_173dThe Knights Templar, originally the Poor Knights of Christ, remain among the most fabled groups of lore, literature and movies, and were thought to be anything but poor. The Knights held great wealth and military power for nearly 200 years in The Middle Ages. The Templar Knights who fought in the Crusades, known for their white mantles emblazoned with a red cross, were known for their bravery and battlefield prowess. Non-combat member of the Order were known for their financial and building skills. The entire Order is steeped in mystery involving treasure, the Holy Grail, and expert use of symbolism and coding. In every region of the world, the Knights Templar flags once flew above castles and houses there are myths and legend associated with each – England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Israel, Egypt, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic.

The Knights, noted in some sites in France as “Les Tempiers” or “Horse of God”, once a favored charity endorsed by the Catholic Church, lost support when the Crusades failed to win The Holy Land. Rumors of secret ceremonies created distrust. King Philip IV of France had many members in France arrested, tortured, and burned at the stake. Under pressure from King Philip, Pope Clement V disbanded the Order in 1312. The sudden disappearance of a major part of the European infrastructure gave rise to speculation and legends, which have kept the “Templar” name alive into the modern day. Some feel the mystery that surrounds Rennes-le Chateau…hidden Templar treasure…is not only probable, but proven while others feel that it can be debunked as a rouse.

RENNES-LE-CHATEAU, located in Languedoc, a former province in central southern France, in the present day Pyrenees, is shrouded in mystery, rumor, but based on fact. Documentation supports that in 1156 skilled workers appeared in the vicinity of the castle in order to explore local mountains in search for precious metals, which gave rise to rumors that this area became a source for some of the Templar silver and gold. One legend states that the Knights Templar, in attempt to save some of their possessions from the king, cast a large silver bell and hid it underground. Every year the knelling of this bell can be heard at night on the eve of October 13, when pale shadows appear from the graveyard and proceed to gather at the castle, mourning the demise of the powerful military order (source: KnightsTemplarVault).
MYSTERIOUS ALIGNMENT OF STRUCTURES: in ancient times, it was not uncommon for “sacred” sites to be built in locations chosen for a particular effect, for example the sun set shining through an aspect of the structure on dates significant to the builders, or forming a certain view from above. As previously noted, the Knights were known for complicated use of coding and symbolism in order to keep their secrets just that, secret. Rennes-le-Chateau, as well as Bezu Castle and Castle Blanchefort, form a triangle; Bezu Castle and Rennes-le-Chateau both are at 72degree angles to BC. Further, 2 other crags of significantly similar heights in the area; combined with the castles, for a pentagon – 5 being a sacred number in Templar symbolism. Some feel a pentacle, rather than pentagon, a point that will be explored further later in this article. One crag has a rock formation resembling the head of a horse, believed to be a reference to the Order as “Horse of God”. A fire lit on 1 of the crags can be easily seen from the others. Similar stars or pentacles, most importantly centered on the number 5, appear throughout the areas where the Knights Templar built structures, as well as within the architecture of these structures. The same is true of the horses.
The Knights Templar treasure was believed to have been rescued from Bezu Castle and moved to Rennes-le-Chateau under St. Magdalene Church. (source: Martha Neyman article on, others state it was buried on the cemetery of the same church. This treasure was thought to be obtained in Jerusalem during the Crusades. It was hidden then moved to protect it from King Philip.

HIDDEN CLUES: Further clues thought to be left regarding the location of treasure at Rennes-le-Chateau center around 2 parchments allegedly found within pillars of St. Magdalene Church, two paintings which adorn the church located there, with significant reference to the location and a seemingly out-of-place statue within the church. These clues are most difficult to follow; however, the clues from the three sources tie together closely. The parchments have been dismissed by some experts as a rouse to throw off potential treasure hunters. However, Neyman finds that, linked with the paintings, the structure atop Rennes-le-Chateau, and astronomical beliefs of the time, they bear serious consideration.

The parchments were reportedly found by a poor priest named Saunière in St. Magdalene Church on Rennes-le-Chateau. You will hear his name again. Decoded, there is reference a “key” in the two paintings, and features of them which hold great meaning in decoding the mystery. “Shepherdess no temptation” Neyman cites the translation as stating, “Poussin and Teniers guard the key…I by the cross and this horse of God complete this world guardian in the South blue apples.” This may seem to make no sense in modern times. However, remembering the knowledge of the times and the language being French, the words for blue apples were also used to describe the planets. This will come into play shortly. Translating further, Neyman finds reference to “the demon”. This could come into play in 2 ways: one, as Neyman feels, is by adding a space between letters in the original French we find “this world” as the translation. Another possible reference would be a reference to a statue within the church which is glaringly out of place – that of a demon, which will be addressed shortly as well.

Neyman believes that the parchments decoded reference a key given by two master painters. One painting “The Arcadian Shepherds” by 17th century artist Poussin is believed to be wrought with clues as to the whereabouts of the treasure. This painting has as its backdrop what bears a stunning resemblance to one of the crags forming the pentagon, or some say pentacle, of the three castles and two other crags. This painting also hides reference to the Hypaethral, roofless, construction which Templar used in the virtual temple construction which also includes Rennes-le-Chateau, the horse of God, and features the “Shepherdess no Temptation”.

The second painting, “Pas de Tentation” by Teniers portrays the torments of St. Anthony features reference to the “blue apples”, believed to represent the planets, as well as reference to the horse and the bearer of light, according to Neyman.

How does Mary Magdalene and the star/pentacle fit in? Mary Magdalene, reformed sinner and disciple of Christ, was associated by people of The Middle Ages with the planet Venus. Remember that at the time, the world was believed to be flat, the sun revolving around the earth. Planet rotation and revolution was as yet unknown. It was then believed that Venus formed a pentacle every eight years in its “travels”. It was common to attribute “as above, so below”. Hence the use of Magdalene with the pentacle formation of the 5 crags, the naming of the church after her, and the references to her in the parchments and paintings, not to mention the décor of the church’s interior.

Now for the demon statue inside the St. Magdalene Church. Shocking to most, to say the least! Looking at the demon, however, in profile one can see the profile of a chess style horse head…the knight in chess. Similarly, the floor tiles within the church were laid out in the style of a chess board, in reference to the Knights Templar, or Horse of God.
SO, IS THERE A TREASURE? The Abbot of St. Magdalene Church in the late 1800’s was Bérenger Saunière, who had found the parchments. In 1885, the priest was quite poor, living off hand-outs of his parishioners and villagers. In 1886, it is believed that he found the treasure, as he was suddenly quite handsomely wealthy, spending extravagantly. And so it seems that the treasure may indeed have existed, and the layers upon layers of codes, clues and keys deciphered by a poor priest.

Sources: Martha Neyman via, “The Holy Place” by Henry Lincoln, KnightsTemplarVault

Feb 13

Spiritual Shielding

shiedThe spiritual practice of building such an energy field around oneself and strengthening it regularly is called Shielding. A shield is a protective covering around an individual. Spiritual shields are invisible energy fields which safeguard an individual from external negativities and harm. They also act as containers to hold and prevent the loss of important energies from his/her system.

In these turbulent times, there exists a decisive battle between light and dark. The practice of shielding protects an individual from the influence of dark forces and helps him/her to evolve spiritually. Particularly persons who possess and utilize psychic gifts/abilities, and those who investigate paranormal phenomenon which hold the potential to be negative, shielding is needed to protect body, mind, and spirit. An empath, for example, may have a particularly difficult time in crowded areas, such as malls, hospitals, etc. due to the energy and physical/psychic pain of those sharing the area. Similarly, should a psychic or empath participate in a paranormal investigation, it is vital to shield oneself from a negative entity interfering with or spiritually attacking them.

The basic function of a shield is to protect the individual from any external harm or negative effect. This negative effect arrives in the form of energies which enter an individual and disrupt his health and well- being, potentially creating dangerous situations in the individual’s life. They can pervert his thinking/perception and influence his interaction with others. Most importantly, they can weaken the positive energies and faculties inside his system. They can influence and divert his attention away from spiritual growth and evolution.

How does shielding work? The Shield forms a layer around the individual. With regular strengthening, the individual will be surrounded by a protective covering of Light. A strong shield around the individual acts as a barrier for such harmful energies. If the shield is strengthened regularly, it does not allow any negativity to enter and influence the individual in any of the above ways. People with psychic powers can read others’ minds and gather information about the person. A shield around us prevents such mind-readings done by others.

For the individuals who are not spiritually advanced, the shield usually repels the negative energies, even purely dark energies. If the negative energy is very strong, then the shield will not be able to stop everything, and the individual will be affected. These individuals must strengthen their shield and strive for spiritual growth and healing to reverse this effect.

For spiritually advanced individuals, the shield works by both repelling and absorbing the negative energies. In cases where a negative energy is sent consciously to harm an individual, the shield absorbs it for a period of time and then, at an appropriate time, rebounds the dark energies back to the attacker.
In certain cases, the shield just absorbs the negativity. It accepts the core aspect of the negative energy and then dissipates or transmutes that energy. Shields protect us not just at the physical but also at the astral levels. They safeguard our astral bodies from attacks at that level. A strong shield acts like a magnet and attracts positive light and energies which are required for the physical and astral bodies.

If we harbor negative thoughts, emotions or actions, they can weaken and even destroy our shields. So, transcending our weaknesses and negativities is as important as strengthening the shields around us.

The shields that are used regularly must also be strengthened regularly. If one is lax in this practice, the shield gets weakened over a period of time. Also practicing wrong spiritual techniques can weaken the shields. When an individual receives very strong energies, if he/she is not able to handle it, the shield can break.

How to form and maintain a Shield: The easiest and most efficient way to build a shield and strengthen it is to be regular in meditations. A dedicated effort at spiritual growth creates a shield automatically and also keeps it vibrant and strong. And when we relate to Light all the time and be aware of its presence in our system, this Light itself acts as a shield—protecting, guiding and nurturing us.

According to Vishwa Amara, one of the most effective ways to build and maintain a shield is to take the help of Light as follows:
Sit cross legged on a mat facing North
Imagine that you are inside a Blue globe of Light, of any size with which you are comfortable.
Pray to this Blue Light and also to Lord Hanuman, for protection and positivity.
Experience this Light for 3 minutes.

Not comfortable with this type of activity? Another method involves consciously thinking of this shield for a minute whenever we go out of our homes. Some invoke protection from St. Michael the Archangel, asking for prayers of protection from a religious or spiritual community. Still others use spells or incantations. Amulets may be used as well. Visualization of spheres, globes or grids of protection seem to be a prevalent method, used along with meditation. Again, finding the method that fits with your comfort and belief system is the one that will work for you. Shielding is used for protection in combination with Grounding and Centering, each covered in individual articles.


Feb 13

Spiritual Centering

spiritualSpiritual centering is a foundational principle of manifestation. A true spiritual practice evokes spiritual centering, perhaps in a time of meditation, attunement or prayer. The daily application of the practice maintains spiritual centering while engaging in the activities of life. Spiritual centering is the simplest and most foundational of principles. It is the consistent practice of it throughout life that brings fulfillment. Neglect of the practice dissipates the experience of life. Centering is believed to bring more life current to your body and spirit.

The principles of manifestation are the principles that create the magic of life. For a person who harmonizes with those principles, the energy of the universe that is within all creation flows freely in their experience, according to David Karchere. These are the principles that bring the manifestation of life, and life more abundantly, in and through a person and in the creative field that surrounds that person. When these principles are not followed, the universal energy goes nowhere. It is not flowing creatively for the people involved.

The manifestation of life on earth relies on the already-existing energy of the universe. We as human beings don’t have to make that up; it’s already there. We are not making our heart beat, and we are not consciously orchestrating many of the other vital processes that are going on within us. That is all happening because of the universal energy that is at work. There is power within all creation. There is an intelligent pattern to the manifestation of life. There is both intelligence and power at work in the principles of manifestation. Using other words for the same realities, there is both truth and love.

Centering is done prior to grounding, which is covered in a separate article. Take time to turn your attention to the intelligent power within you; stop obsessing in thought and emotion about what is happening to you. Invite peace. Invite the possible. When you do, you will immediately notice that there is a new flow in your thoughts and your emotions. They begin to entertain the creative possibility of what could happen. They begin to paint the world of your observation with a vision of beauty. This change in orientation is the process of spiritual centering. As human beings, we are designed to be centered.

Methods of Centering:
Many feel that spiritual centering consists of the personal philosophy of life. A spiritual centering should include the five principles of love, peace, truth, strength and joy. If we live with wisdom according to these five principles, we grow into happiness, into enlightenment, into a life in the light (in God, in fulfillment).

The easiest way of spiritual centering is the daily reading in a spiritual book or internet. We must not read much. A small text, a meditation a day, is enough to keep us on the path to lasting happiness. For many people a daily oracle card is helpful to get a positive outlook on life. For this we need each day just a minute. In that short time, which we all can spare in a daily, long term gain may be immeasurable.

Some center using physical activity in which they are able to clear their mind and spirit of negative energy and draw in positive energy and life force. Yoga, meditation, diet, and working on one’s mental status – both from within and without, by eliminating negative stimulus, relationships, etc.

Others center by directing spiritual energy toward your personal center or core, whether you feel this is your third eye, heart, or solar plexus chakra. Draw upon your energies, inhale deeply, then release any negative or unproductive energy as you exhale deeply. Finally, visualize yourself balancing on a beam of light. Stand straight and tall with arms outstretched. Feel yourself swaying until you come to a perfect point of balance on the beam of Light.

In short, there are several methods which prove effective in centering one’s spiritual being. You simply need to try different methods until you find the method with which you are comfortable. Many use centering in combination with grounding and shielding as spiritual protection when investigating. Similarly persons with psychic, empathic, and other abilities use these techniques for the same reason. Shielding will be discussed in another article.


David Karchere of

Jan 30

Spiritual Cleansing

special-chakra-training-226x300What is spiritual cleansing? It is a type of healing – not a medical treatment for any physical, emotional or mental ailment, but an energetic healing that involves cleansing a person’s energy of negativity. Spiritual cleansing can also be used to release negative energy from a physical location, according to Silva Method Life. This will be covered in the latter half of this article.

How important is a spiritual cleansing? Think of yourself as an energetic being instead of a physical being; your energy can be polluted with negativity, which creates a very chaotic energy field that cannot be focused on what you desire. If you’ve ever been happily immersed in doing something you love, you know how important focused energy is. But if your mind is racing with worries, you cannot focus your energy on creating the life you want. More importantly, other people will be affected by your energy. Many believe that by cleansing your spirit of negative energy, positive people and situations will come into your life. Cleansing must be done in a positive spirit. It will not be effective if you are angry.

Cleansing generally consists of cleaning your living area of clutter, as well as meditation and visualization. Silva Method reminds us that the state of your home reflects the state of your spirit. If it is dirty, clean it. If it is cluttered, get rid of anything that you don’t use regularly or that no longer brings you joy. If things are in disrepair or broken, fix or get rid of them. This will help cleanse your own energy, leaving you feeling lighter and cleaner energetically. Lighten the load – give away anything you don’t use or that holds no meaning for you and do a thorough cleaning. This will automatically raise the energetic vibration of the room, as well as yours.

If you are familiar with meditation, follow your usual routine; if you’re new to meditation, use one of the exercises found online or in related literature to enter the meditative state; the Centering Exercise is a good one to put you in the right frame of mind for spiritual cleansing. As you meditate, visualize pure, white light and unconditional love emanating from your heart and filling every cell in your body; then outward to every part of the room you’re in; your entire home; your town; your country; your planet; solar system; galaxy; universe…

Visualize the light and love in your heart filling every ‘dark’ space in your energy. Just as a single candle lights up a dark room, the more light you introduce, the less negative energy or ‘darkness’ will remain. Allow light and love to flood your entire being. Feel the light and love replace all negativity. Next, visualize what you want in life. Visualize yourself doing, being and having what you desire and give no thought whatsoever to any negativity in your life. Allow light and love to replace the negativity. Focus on what you want, and only on what you want. Anytime you give thought energy to the situation you’re trying to escape, you are polluting your energy.

Source: Silva Method Life


Spiritual research has revealed that most houses around the world have some form of negative vibrations. These negative vibrations can be due to a number of reasons such as: the people in the premises, whether they are doing spiritual practice; psychological profile of the residents; purpose for which the premises are being used; type of construction, cleanliness of the house, the items in the house and their placement, etc.; land on which the house has been built, as well as the surrounding area. It is felt that negative energy attracts ghosts, departed ancestors or former residents, more negative energies, demons, etc. This information is according to the Spiritual Science Research Foundation. Cleansing homes has been in practice for centuries, practices by Native Americans, Chinese, Medieval Europeans, to name a few. Cleansings are used at any time from moving into a new home, to having a bad run of luck, suspected paranormal activity, after ill ness or heartbreak, again to name a few.

Similar to cleansing of your spirit, the first step to cleansing your home to free it of dirt and clutter. Next open your windows and doors, including closets, cabinet, microwave and traditional ovens, etc. Walk throughout the house in a counterclockwise direction, starting either at the bottom and working your way up. A wide variety of methods may be used including burning incense which may be from various woods or herbs (each has a specific purpose), using sea salt, oils and/ or holy water, candles and prayers, sage smudging, St. Michael, sounds, or even spells. The method you choose should reflect your personal beliefs. An array of cleansing and smudging kits are available on line or in specialty shops. Some follow this banishment of the negative with burning sweet grass, as one example, to bring up the positive energy. Many also finally perform a binding ceremony to keep the energy from returning or following participants home. A prayer of protection may also be included.

Source: Spiritual Coach

Jan 30

Sleep Related Disorders

sleepAbout 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems. Sleep deprivation is associated with injuries, chronic diseases, mental illnesses, poor quality of life and well-being, increased health care costs, and lost work productivity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Psychology Today” estimates the prevalence world-wide as 150 million. Sleep disorders are becoming more and more common, with significant impact on physical and mental health.

Sleep related disorders are more prevalent in women and the elderly. Sleep problems are more often found among people with lower education, people who are not living with a partner, and those who report lower self-rated quality of life. They are strongly linked to rates of anxiety and depression; several of these associations—particularly the link between poor sleep and depression and anxiety—are similar to those associations that have been found with sleep problems in developed countries, “Psychology Today” states.

Sleep disorders are divided into the following types: Insomnias, or inability to fall or stay asleep; Hypersomnias or excessive sleepiness; Parasomnias, or unpleasant occurrences upon falling asleep, during sleep or upon waking; Breathing related sleep disorders; Circadian Rhythm disorders, in which sleep/awake cycles are out of synch; and Sleep Movement disorders, which cause movement before or during sleep.

Insomnias: “Sleep Education” cites three types of insomnias: insomnia, which we will explore in further detail; childhood insomnia, in which a child will not go to sleep without an enforced bedtime; and short sleep, which describes people who function optimally with about five hours of sleep. Most people are somewhat familiar with insomnia. This is when a person is unable to fall asleep, stay asleep or waking too early. Many mistake the occasional night(s) with poor sleep with insomnia. This is not the case. Insomnia is considered short term if lasts three months, and long term if beyond three months.

Insomnia involves both a sleep disturbance and daytime symptoms. The effects of insomnia can impact nearly every aspect of your life. Studies show that insomnia negatively affects work performance, impairs decision-making and can damage relationships. In most cases, people with insomnia report a worse overall quality of life. Long term insomnia may significantly impact thought processes and ability to function day to day. In some cases, serious mental impact develops including hallucinations (see article on hallucinations for details).

Hypersomnias: People who live with hypersomnias may fall asleep several times daily, including at inappropriate times (at work) or dangerous situations (while driving). As in insomnia, hypersomnia causes unclear thought processes. The most familiar hypersomnia is narcolepsy, a lifelong sleep disorder that makes you feel overwhelmingly tired, and in severe cases, have sudden uncontrollable sleep attacks. Narcolepsy can impact nearly every aspect of your life. It is dangerous because you can have excessive sleepiness or a sleep attack at any time of the day, in the middle of any activity including eating, walking or driving. Operating a vehicle with untreated narcolepsy can be very dangerous and some states even have laws against it. Narcolepsy has a typical onset between fifteen and twenty-five years of age. Symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness; one may feel refreshed after a short nap, but the sleepiness quickly returns; Hallucinations involving all five senses; Sleep Paralysis, where one loses the ability to move and feel paralyzed when you are falling asleep or waking up. This usually lasts a few seconds or minutes. This can be frightening, but it is not associated with an inability to breathe. Sleep paralysis can sometimes be paired with hallucinations, which are especially upsetting; Disturbed Nighttime Sleep, when people with narcolepsy waken frequently during night and are unable to go back to sleep; Memory Problems; and Cataplexy, or sudden loss of muscle tone which includes the musculature used in speech.

Other hypersomnias include; Ideopathic Hypersomnia which causes debilitating day time sleepiness despite normal or even more sleep at night; Insufficient Sleep Syndrome, in which a person is consistently unable to get enough sleep, resulting in sleep deprivation; and Long Sleepers who despite quality sleep, require more sleep than most others. Given restraints on sleep time such as need to wake for work/school, these individuals may have difficulty feeling awake and active during the day.

Sleep Related Breathing Disorders: This class of sleep disorders is straightforward and includes Obstructive Sleep Apnea, during which the sleeper briefly stops breathing multiple times; Snoring; Child Sleep Apnea; Infant Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea which is actually caused by a brain or heart issue rather than airway blockage. Again, a lack of restorative sleep over long periods of time may result in significant physical and mental issues.

Circadian Rhythm Sleep-Wake Disorders: An article on Circadian Rhythm Disorders appears on the NPA website. These occur when the natural life rhythms are disrupted, impacting the body’s natural asleep-awake cycles.

Parasomnias: “Sleep Education” describes parasomnias as a group of sleep disorders that involve unwanted events or experiences that occur while you are falling asleep, sleeping or waking up. Parasomnias may include abnormal movements, behaviors, emotions, perceptions or dreams. Although the behaviors may be complex and appear purposeful to others, you remain asleep during the event and often have no memory that it occurred. If you have a parasomnia, you may find it hard to sleep through the night. These include confusional arousals, in which the sleeps awakens unsure of where they are and how they came to be there; sleep terrors detailed in a separate article; sleep eating disorder; REM sleep behavior disorder, in which vivid dreams are acted out in sleep; sleep paralysis where one is unable to move their body upon falling asleep or waking; nightmares; bed-wetting; sleep hallucinations; exploding head syndrome detailed in article of same name; and sleep talking.

Sleep Movement Disorders: This group of sleep disorders is self-explanatory, and can make falling asleep, staying asleep and feeling rested a challenge. These include Restless Leg Syndrome, in which a person feels itching or burning sensation in their legs when they lie down, making it difficult to get comfortable and fall asleep; Periodic Limb Movements, marked by a series of uncontrollable limb movements during the night, usually the lower leg, which significantly impact sleep; Sleep Leg Cramps, which occur usually I the lower leg or foot; Sleep Rhythmic Disorder occurs mostly in children. It consists of rhythmic movements such as rocking, head rolling or head banging during sleep.

As you may have noticed, some disorders include symptoms which are frightening, disorienting, or result in sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation may cause hallucinations, making the sufferer see, hear, smell, taste or feel things that are not there. This may result in claims of paranormal activity. Disorientation may cause feelings of having been “taken” by unseen forces. Sleep paralysis is quite frequently perceived as a spirit holding the body down. Night terrors are also often perceived as spirits or demons trying to harm. Similarly upon seeing your child banging their head in their sleep or a loved one flailing in their sleep, the same conclusion may be drawn. Again, these questions should be raised during debunking process should these claims be made.

Jan 28

Exploding Head Syndrome

ilness14Exploding Head Syndrome is in a class of sleep related disorders called parasomnias. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the term “parasomnia” refers to all the abnormal things that can happen to people while they sleep, apart from sleep apnea. Parasomnias can occur as a person is falling asleep or at any point in the sleep cycle. Parasomnias, as a whole effect 10% of the population, most often children.

Exploding Head Syndrome, or EHS, is a parasomnia which, while quite rare, has been discussed more frequently on social media of late. EHS, as described by the American Sleep Association, occurs when the subject experiences a loud bang in their head similar to a bomb exploding, a gun going off, a clash of cymbals or any other form of loud, indecipherable noise that seems to originate from inside the head. Contrary to the name, exploding head syndrome has no elements of pain, swelling or any other physical trait associated with it. They may be perceived as having bright flashes of light accompanying them, or result in shortness of breath, though this is likely caused by the increased heart rate of the subject after experiencing it. It most often occurs just before deep sleep, and sometimes upon coming out of deep sleep. Unlike most parasomnias, EHS is found most often in persons 50 and older, but may be found as young as age 10.

Episodes can cause a high level of distress and fear. Many people think that they are having a stroke. The number of attacks varies. They can happen very rarely. They can also occur many times in one night. Having many episodes can greatly disturb your sleep. Some people report having a cluster of attacks over several nights. Then a few weeks or months will pass before it occurs again.

EHS is thought to be highly connected with stress and extreme fatigue in most individuals. What actually causes the sensation in individuals is still unknown, though speculation of possible sources includes minor seizures affecting the temporal lobe, or sudden shifts in middle ear components. It may occur more often when you are very tired or under stress. In many people the episodes occur less often over a period of years. Since EHS is rare and does not significantly impact sleep, it goes largely unreported and therefore untreated. Other sleep disorders need to be ruled out before attributing experiences to EHS. Some find relief with certain anti-depressants. If source is suspected to be stress, relaxation techniques may help.

Due to the oddity of this experience, and how little is reported regarding EHS, sufferers are likely to be confused about the source of the sound. Some report the sensation of re-entering their bodies when experiencing episodes of EHS. If a client of a paranormal research team experiences these sensations together, a sleep disorder specialist should be consulted rule our EHS or other sleep disorders prior to coming to any conclusions. This should be a part of debunking routine.

Jan 28


PhobiasAll humans are born with the ability to experience fear. When a threat is perceived, we feel fear, and instincts kick in – do we fight or take flight? Fear, according to the American Psychiatric Association, is a normal response to danger. In the case of phobias, the fear triggered is either irrational (in response to something that is in fact not a danger) or excessive (the reaction is far beyond the actual threat level). People of all ages, countries, and backgrounds may develop phobias, generally to animals (spiders or snakes for example), situations (small spaces, heights) or activities (flying, being in/on water). Phobias in some cases are triggered by one or a series of unpleasant events, or may have no clear trigger. Studies are being conducted at present to determine whether phobias have an inborn, primitive genesis that has carried through the centuries. Treatment consists of anti-anxiety medication and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Symptomology: According to the American Psychiatric Association, phobias cause an emotional and physical response to feared things, activities, and situations. Symptoms include:
– Feelings of panic, dread, horror, or terror
– Recognition that the fear goes beyond normal boundaries and the actual threat of danger
– Reactions that are automatic and uncontrollable, practically taking over the person’s thoughts
– Rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, trembling, and an overwhelming desire to flee the situation—all the physical reactions associated with extreme fear
– Extreme measures taken to avoid the feared object or situation

Types: There are far too many specific phobias to detail in the confines of this article. For our purposes, we will discuss those that may be relevant to this field of study. Agoraphobia, commonly recognized as a fear of wide, open spaces includes the fear of being alone in places perceived to be dangerous as well. This may include being in tunnels, crowded concerts, or busy city streets. This phobia begins in early adulthood to mid-thirties, and may have a sudden trigger or more gradual development. The person feels paralyzed with fear and unable to function when finding themselves in these areas. They may be unable to predict which situations will trigger this terror until they are in it. Once the panic attack symptoms occur in a particular place a few times, they are likely to recur there, due to the memory of the experience. The brain may then generalize this “memory” to similar places/situations, to the point that they may become unable to leave their home without great effort and physical support of a trusted person. Agoraphobia may be of relevance to the field of paranormal study, as a person confined to their home for long periods of time are subject to social isolation, which can result in hallucinations or delusions, as detailed in the articles on those topics.

Eichophobia, or fear of the home or home surroundings, may cause an individual to believe there is something evil in their home in order to rationalize their fear or excuse their inability to remain inside their home to others.

Phobias related to common claims of paranormal activity: Many phobias have more than one name; I will not be covering all of the terms in this article. Please recall that phobias manifest as outright terror of the object, situation. It is this terror that may lead a person with phobia to report paranormal claims. One of the most common claims investigators encounter are shadows or shadow figures. Sciophobia is the irrational fear of shadows. This may result in a person feeling that shadows which naturally occur from televisions on in adjacent rooms, people moving about or cars going by to be paranormal in nature. Amychophobia is the irrational fear of scratches or being scratched. Those suffering from this phobia, upon discovering a scratch, may fear it is from an unseen force, spirit or demon. Catoptrophobia is the fear of mirrors. Often clients claim to see or photograph spirits in mirrors. In certain time periods, this phobia was so common that mirrors were covered by black cloth to keep the spirits from exiting the mirror. Another frequent claim is sleep paralysis, as well as night terrors. Somniphobia is the fear of sleep. Other articles have detailed the results of sleep deprivation, which may include hallucinations of all five senses. It can result in paranoia, unusual behavior, and altered states of consciousness. These may not only result in the sleep deprived person making claims of activity, but may also cause others to feel that person is possessed. This information does not imply that the potential claims above are not possible. It is intended to assist in the debunking process necessary to paranormal research.

More directly related phobias include Phasmophobia, fear of ghosts; Pneumatiphobia, that of spirits; Daemonophobia, that of demons; Satanophobia, fear of Satan; and Hadephobia, fear of hell. No doubt most of us have seen a large number of people on social media who jump to the conclusion of demons, possession, etc. seemingly at every turn. Individuals with the phobias listed here are quite likely to interpret tapping sounds, scratching sounds from rodents, growling from neighboring dogs, etc. which may not be audible during the active daylight or evening hours, but are audible at night, as demonic activity. My own team has been called in for these claims on numerous occasions, only to easily debunk the claims. This in no way implies that such activity does not exist. It simply states that these phobia are not uncommon and need to be ruled out in considering such claims.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are a group of phobias which may result in relatively similar claims. These include: Hagiophobia, fear of saints or holy things; Hierophobia, fear of priests or sacred things; Staurophobia, fear of crosses or crucifixes; and Uranophobia, fear of Heaven. Persons who display the terror common to phobias in reaction to the people/things listed here may well be thought to be Satanic, demonic, possessed, or generally evil. One could easily picture the scenes from movies involving exorcisms in these cases. Again, this is not to imply that these conditions do not exist, just to consider in routine debunking efforts.

Phobia that may impact team members’ performance on investigation: Seasoned paranormal investigators are familiar with the conditions and creatures that may be encountered on a case. When training new team members, as well as enthusiasts just starting, should be cognizant of the following possibilities in order to deal with them if necessary: Most investigations are performed in the dark, as night is quieter with fewer distractions; photo or video evidence with full spectrum or IR lighting more effective. Nyctophobia, or fear of the dark, may cause an inexperienced investigator to misinterpret things they see, hear or feel in the dark. Arachnophobia, or fear of spiders, is well-known. Spending time in dark basements, attics, outdoors, etc. one is likely to encounter spiders and their webs; Claustrophobia, fear of closed in spaces, may impact an investigation in crawl spaces, coal cellars, etc.; Chiroptophobia, fear of bats, may come into play in barns, covered bridges, outdoors, etc. Prepare your team for these eventualities. If your team is aware of all possibilities, new recruits may err on the side of caution and choose not to participate if they have a phobia detailed above.

Jan 26

Psychological Effects of Narcotics

hedrugNarcotics are a class of drugs which affect mood or behavior. These may be prescribed or illegal. A common example of prescription drugs classified as narcotic include pain killers or sleeping pills. Illegal narcotics include heroin and cocaine. Narcotics in general dull the senses, induce sleep and relieve pain. In excessive doses or in substance abuse, they suppress brain activity, and may result in euphoria, stupor, coma, convulsions, insensibility, even brain damage or death. Narcotics, both prescription and illegal, or “street drugs” are widely abused and have heightened potential for addiction.

While initial use of narcotics may cause the user to feel a reduction of pain and anxiety, even euphoria, continued use may cause a tolerance to build requiring greater and greater amounts of the drug to feel those effects. Regular use of narcotics may cause those feelings to dissipate, though the user will continue to use the drug in attempts to recapture those feelings. Addiction to narcotics is quite difficult to treat successfully. Long-term use is likely to induce temporary or long-term psychological effects, including those described above.

Relevance to National Paranormal Society: Long term euphoria may lead to hallucinations, which have been detailed in several other articles. The person may see, hear, feel, taste or smell things that are not present, and truly believe that their claims are true. This will persist, even if no evidence of these phantom sensations is found. Hallucinations are at times present in seizure activity, which is a potential result of addiction to narcotics.

Jan 26

Chronobiology: Circadian Rhythm Disorder

chronoChronobiology simply refers to the study of how the brain’s internal clock interacts with the daily alteration of light and dark in the environment, according to the University of Columbia’s School of Psychiatry. The field of chronobiology is an interdisciplinary field of study, combining aspects of molecular genetics, anatomy, physiology, endocrinology, behavior, physics, cell biology, neurology, and chemistry.

Light and dark are the predominant cues the human brain uses to keep in synch with the outside world. As you are no doubt aware, there is no shortness of regular cycles of light and dark in our world. That said, today’s society with its more indoor lifestyles, tends to spend significantly less time outdoors than previous generations, cutting ourselves off from these vital cues or links that keep the brain in synch with the world around us. When these cues of light and dark are absent or weak, our circadian rhythms of body temperature, hormones, sleep and alertness — and yes, even mood — get out of adjustment with earth’s rotation about the sun, says Dr. Michael Terman of UCSP. This leaves us open to “down” moods.

Other examples of chronobiology include hibernation in certain animal species and photosynthesis on plant life. The most vital rhythm in chronobiology is the Circadian Rhythm, the approximately 24 hour cycle of light and dark by which living creatures synch with their environment. Circadian is a term meaning “approximately a day”, simply enough. There are three basic circadian rhythms: Nocturnal, or mostly active at night; Diurnal, or mostly active during the day, and Crepuscular, or mostly active around dusk or dawn. Most of us are aware that there are “morning people” and “night owls”; these are examples of differing circadian rhythms within the population.

When normal rhythms are disturbed, whether by environment, lifestyle, or physiology a living being may be plagued by insomnia or other disruptions in sleep patterns. In some neurological patients, for example those with Multiple Sclerosis, the need to sleep may be almost insatiable; in others the awake portion of the cycle can last for literally several days, until the body can no longer sustain and “crashes”.

There are other rhythms of lesser importance, the most discussed for our purposes being Lunar rhythms. There is much discussion in the field of psychology and behavioral sciences of the effect of lunar phases on human, and some animal – wolves for example, behavior.

Treatment: Dr. Terman’s methods used in clinical chronobiology include timed exposure to bright artificial light to reduce insomnia or sleep-awake disturbances due to shift work, and the use of a spring-like lighting environment to fight winter depression. New applications include light therapy for chronic depression and depression during pregnancy. In some cases, medications are used to fight fatigue during the day, allowing the patient a greater likelihood of sleep at night.

Relevance to National Paranormal Society: In many cases where the awake/asleep cycles are disrupted to the extent described above, intense fatigue or insomnia result. With either of these conditions over a period of time, such issues as hallucinations or paranoia may manifest. These may compromise the credibility of claims and should be considered when preparing for an investigation.

Jan 26

Delusional Disorder

ddisDelusional Disorder is one of the category of psychotic disorders. Not surprisingly, it is marked by the prevalence of delusions. Delusions may be non-bizarre or bizarre. Delusions in general are persistent, unyielding beliefs that are not true. These beliefs must persist for more than a month to be considered delusional, and must not be attributable to another disorder such as Schizophrenia, symptoms of which include delusions. Beliefs must also not be attributable to substance use. Persons with Delusional Disorder may function fairly well in society, hold a job, etc. Treatment includes medication and psychotherapy.

Non-bizarre delusions are false, persisting beliefs that while in some cases may be possible, are not true. A common example would be that their significant other is cheating. While possible, to meet the criteria, the individual would have investigated, and repeatedly rechecked the possibility, found it to be untrue, yet persist in the belief. A belief that he/she has a serious health condition that has been definitively ruled out is another common example.

Bizarre delusions are, again not surprisingly, beyond the realm of possibility in the eyes of the vast majority. One example of a bizarre delusion cited in “Psych Central” is that a stranger has removed all their internal organs, closing the wound without leaving a scar.

Delusions may also be categorized based on the nature of the belief. Likely the more well-known delusions include those of grandeur, in which the person believes themselves to be of grossly inflated power, notoriety, etc. (royalty, for example) as well as those of persecution in which the person believes that someone or some group is plotting against them. Other types include somatic delusions, in which he or she would focus on a health issue as described above. I erotomanic delusions, he/she believes someone of higher social status to be in love with them. The example above regarding the cheating lover is a jealous type of delusion. There are also mixed types (combination of types) and unspecified.

Relevance to National Paranormal Society is transparent. A person who lives with Delusional Disorder truly believes their delusion. If this belief is that they are being persecuted by a spirit for example, which as an investigator I personally have encountered, it is extremely difficult to convince this person, despite a lack of evidence, that this is not happening to them. In the case I encountered, the client continues to request I re-investigate despite having done so numerous times with no findings.

A person may claim that they were abducted by aliens and used for experimentation. To a growing number of people, this is in the realm of possibility. In these cases, it may be necessary to gain as much knowledge of the client as possible before drawing any conclusions.

Jan 26


hallucinatioHallucinations are defined as the perception of something that is not present. Hallucinations are commonly associated with Schizophrenia and other Psychotic Disorders. However, “Healthline” notes that they may be caused by several other factors, including prolonged lack of sleep, brain cancer, high fever, migraines, seizure activity, social isolation, dementia, loss of effective use of one or more of the senses, alcohol withdrawal, very low sodium or glucose levels in the blood, and others.

The general population is familiar with the term hallucination; however, not many are aware that these can be perceived by any of the five senses. The classic example of a hallucination is the man wandering lost in the desert and suddenly sees a lush oasis. He plunges his hands into the crystal clear water, only to find it is just sand. The oasis was not really there. This is a visual hallucination, the type most associate with the term. Visual hallucinations may also include flashes or other forms of light (please note light anomalies may be aura preceding migraines or seizure), or any other form that is seen with the eye.

Hallucinations may be auditory, as in voices which in the case of persons with psychotic disorders may tell them to do things or that someone is plotting against them. Other examples include tapping, footsteps, creaking floor boards.

Tactile hallucinations are the perception that someone or something is touching, pushing, grabbing or holding someone down. These could also manifest as the feeling of bugs or rodents crawling over the skin. Tactile hallucinations can be quite traumatic.

Olfactory hallucinations are odors that no one else smells (it should be noted that this can also be an aura preceding migraines or seizures as well). Hallucinations of taste are self-explanatory, a metallic taste on the tongue, pipe tobacco taste in non-smoker’s mouth for example.

As you looked through the potential causes of hallucinations, you no doubt surmised that some are temporary in nature, as in high fevers, seizures, etc. Others, as in those associated with the psychotic disorders, are chronic (ongoing in nature). These are treated with psychotropic medications and psychotherapy.

Relevance to National Paranormal Society: The very nature of a hallucination makes the relevance quite apparent. It is nearly impossible to give credence to claims made by an individual who exhibits these symptoms. In some cases, as in hypoglycemia (low blood glucose level in the blood; also occurs from time to time in diabetics) this condition can be easily remedied. As an investigator, a team member had a disturbingly odd experience. Knowing the person was diabetic, blood sugar was immediately checked to rule out hypoglycemia while other team members continued to investigate. It is important to watch for these symptoms and to seek the cause in a respectful, gentle manner. Also note that some persons with challenges may also live in active homes!

Jan 26

ADHD & Hyperfocus


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has become one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders. ADHD is generally diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. In recent years, Adult Attention Deficit Disorder has gained recognition. ADHD presents as difficulty with attending to task, impulse control (acting without thinking about consequences of the behavior), and difficulty being still and calm. A person with ADHD may exhibit predominantly inattentive behavior (ADD), predominantly hyperactive behavior (HD), or the combination of the two (ADHD). Persons with ADHD often are challenged in getting along with peers, keeping track of their belongings, remembering, being able to not talk or be still in appropriate settings, taking turns in games or conversations.

Hyperfocus is not considered a diagnosis in itself in the DSM-5. It is in fact, according to “Psychology Today”, an interesting and seemingly contradictory, symptom of Attention Deficit Disorder. Hyperfocus is an unwavering fixation on a topic or event, complete submersion. This fixation causes the individual to lose all attention to self-care, relationships, and other necessary activities, so all-encompassing is the focus on the event or topic. Should an interpersonal relationship become the object of hyperfocus, serious implications often arise.

Contrary to what the general public may think when observing a child with ADHD, consumption of sweets, excessive television, poor parenting are not believed to be associated with the condition. Risk factors include low birth weight, premature delivery, brain injury, substance use during pregnancy, and exposure to environmental dangers such as lead, according to CDC. Treatment consists of medication and psychotherapies. Adult ADHD is treated in the same manner.

Relevance to National Paranormal Society: Medication used to treat ADHD, in some cases may have side effects including: confusion; feeling that surroundings are not real; seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there; sudden loud verbal outbursts or body movements. The first three side effects noted may cause a person to feel that there is something haunting them. The latter two may cause others to suspect possession. It should be noted that these side effects are not among the most common to these medications.


Jan 23

Psychotic Disorders (Generalized)


The disorders that fall under the umbrella of Psychosis are marked by the individual having a break with reality. He or she will be unsure what is real and what is not. Psychosis effects approximately 1% of the population, and impacts each gender equally. Psychoses may run in families and can be treated using psychotherapy and antipsychotic medications. See article on Schizophrenia for more detail on these medications and their side effects.

In the Schizophrenia article, the symptoms of auditory, visual, olfactory, and tactile hallucinations as well as delusions of grandeur or persecution were detailed. Likewise disorganized and confused speech and behavior were discussed. Schizophrenia is the most common psychotic disorder. Symptoms must present for 6 months or more for an accurate diagnosis.

Other types of psychoses are closely related and include Paraphrenia which is simply Schizophrenia presenting in the elder years. Other individuals experience acute (sudden in onset and lasting generally a month or less) incidence of psychotic behavior known as Brief Psychosis. This is commonly brought on by severe stress. Medical issues such as a brain tumor or other physiological condition may trigger Medically Induced Psychosis. This is self-explanatory, as is Substance-induced Psychosis from use of methamphetamines, alcohol, etc.

Schizoaffective Disorder presents as a combination of Schizophrenia and a mood disorder such as mania, depression, etc. Schizophreniform Disorder is diagnosed when a person exhibits symptoms of Schizophrenia for fewer than 6 months.

Relevance to National Paranormal Society: Given the nature of psychotic symptoms, it is clear that claims of phantom sounds and smells are likely in a person living with a psychotic disorder. Likewise feeling touched, seeing things that are not physically present are also common. Observation of a client requesting an investigation of their home is important; the nature of the claims will likely trigger concern. Is the person confused, feeling persecuted by what they feel is in their home? Are they claiming seeing, hearing, smelling things that do not add up? Since a person living with a psychotic disorder is not sure of what is real and what is not, knowing their status, if possible, is important and must be handled gently. Debunking skills would be in the forefront of an investigator’s tools.

Jan 22


gaslightHave you ever met someone who seemed to always recall events in a completely different manner than how you know they occurred? No matter how sure you are, they glibly dismiss what you say, insisting on an opposite chain of events? Did you find yourself second-guessing your every move, not wanting to make decisions because you knew they would be wrong? Find yourself constantly apologizing? You may have been a victim of gaslighting.

Gaslighting is a behavioral trait of people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and is a complicated form of psychological abuse used by these individuals on family, friends, employees, significant others, to gain and maintain control. Gaslighting refers to gradually manipulating or twisting the truth over a period of time in order to cause the partner to doubt what they see, feel, think and know to be true. Victims will at times doubt their sanity. While some in early use of this trait are less skilled and more easily spotted, others have developed significant subtly and finesse over time, and may not be noticed until significant damage has been done. Over time the narcissist has redefined the reality of his/her victim and uses this as a control mechanism. Control may be over not only important aspects of the relationship, but also insignificant aspects: choice of clothes, how tasks are performed, even facial expression.

“Psychology Today” describes stages of gaslighting from the victim’s standpoint. First, the reaction is disbelief. “How could he possibly say that “I” was flirting with a man, when I know for a fact that it was he who was flirting with another woman?” for example. The victim finds the behavior strange, but thinks it is just an off moment, and may even make up excuses for the incident.

The second stage is defensiveness. The victim has realized that something just isn’t right. I KNOW I was not rude to him/her. Why are they insisting I insulted them? The victim questions the manipulations and asserts their knowledge of what they know is true. However, the conversation goes in a continuous loop with the narcissist continuing, with increasing incredulity, to insist that what they are saying is fact. This causes increasing stress and frustration to the victim. No matter what they do, or how hard they try to please this person, they are met with the same “flipping of the script”.

Finally depression sets in as the third stage. The victim gives up and has no faith in their own knowledge, memory, or abilities. The victim is unable to feel joy, and does not recognize him- or herself (again according to “Psychology Today”). They feel as if they cannot do even the most mundane tasks right. The victim blames themselves for not being a good enough wife, boyfriend, employee, friend, parent…

Once the gaslighting is recognized, this cycle of mental abuse can be broken, with time and support to regain the inner strength, and sanity, that were there, but called into doubt.

Relevance to National Paranormal Society: The incidence of psychological and other abuse is staggering. Narcissistic personalities are more common than one would think, and exist in differing degrees. Once a person doubts what they see, hear, feel, they are more likely to buy into the group mentality…”if others believe this, then I will too, since I can’t think for myself”. They may avoid looking for an explanation for activity due to low self-confidence. They may state whatever the gaslighter convinces them that they see/do not see, hear/do not hear. An objective investigator should watch the relationship dynamic. As investigators are not generally trained in this area, they should not attempt to intervene beyond their training, but consider this in their interactions and evidence analysis.



Jan 01

Spiritual Protection

spiritual photoAn old saying tells us that where there is good, there is bad. Where there is light, there is darkness. Where there are angels, there are demons. Paranormal phenomenon are no exception. When investigating buildings, homes, outdoor sites we cannot be sure which we might encounter, so we must prepare for the worst and hope for the best. While most often activity is positive or neutral, there is always the possibility of encountering a negative spirit, or on rare occasions a demon. Many teams and individual researchers choose from an array of methods to protect themselves before, and sometimes during and after an investigation. This article will address many of these methods.

In order to ward off negative or demonic entities, protection prayers are recited. These prayers are not necessarily considered to remove demons that are already present. Instead, they are meant to prevent demonic entities from entering, or otherwise influencing a person, home, property, or object. The type of prayer is a decision of the investigator or team, based on their belief system.

Paranormal investigators and professional exorcists often use the repetitive recitation of protection prayers as a chant to shield themselves from harm or fear whenever engaging malevolent spirits or demons. Since demons cannot really be destroyed, but only banished from a person or place, these prayers also prevent demons from “jumping.” Jumping is to shift from one individual/space to a new one. Demons have been known to do this in order to temporarily fool exorcists into believing they have successfully cast them out, when in fact the targeted demons have only moved to a new space. In extreme cases, when serious mistakes are made by an exorcist, demons have even been known to attempt jumping from the possessed person or space to the body of the acting exorcist. Reciting prayers of protection can offer a protective shield against the demon being engaged. *Please do not attempt to exorcise a demon without the proper training (demonology and exorcisms). Thankfully demons are a rare encounter; however, you may do more harm than good, both for your client and yourself. Know and respect your limitations when such cases arise.*

Commonly used prayers of protection: The Circle of Light
The “Circle of Light” prayer is an effective nondenominational protection prayer. Sometimes, this prayer is recited after lighting a blessed or unblessed candle. Before reciting the prayer, first envision being completely surrounded by a strong circle of protective light.

The light of God surrounds us (me).
The love of God enfolds us (me).
The power of God protects us (me).
The presence of God watches over us (me).
Wherever we are (I am), God is.
And all is well.

The Prayer to the Archangel Michael
One of the most powerful prayers of protection against demonic forces is the “Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel” There are several known alternate versions of this prayer. Those who regularly deal with demons and malevolent spirits usually memorize the shortest version and believe they gain strength when a group recites the prayer in unison. This short version is as follows:

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray
And do thou, Oh Prince of the Heavenly Host, by God’s power, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits
Who wander the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen

The Twenty-Third Psalm
The Twenty-Third Psalm, from the Old Testament Book of Psalms, can be recited for a variety of purposes. Therefore, some consider it a multi-purpose prayer. As a prayer for those in mourning, it is often recited at funerals of both the Judaic and Christian faiths. It also gives courage to the fearful and hope to those who suffer from despair. Additionally, it is considered a prayer of protection against evil or demonic forces.

The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake, and though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all of the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

(Source: How to Protect Yourself From Demonic Spirits – Nathan Brown)

An amulet is an object whose most important characteristic is the power ascribed to it to protect its owner from danger or harm. Amulets differ from talismans, as a talisman is believed to bring luck or some other benefit, though it can offer protection as well. Amulets are likewise often confused with pendants; charms that hang from necklaces. While any pendant may indeed be an amulet, so may any other charm which serves to protect from danger. Amulets have been used throughout the ages and across cultures and religious denominations. Potential amulets include gems, especially engraved gems, statues, coins, drawings, pendants, rings, plants, and animals; even words in the form of a magical spell or incantation to repel evil or bad luck. Amulets may be worn or carried for protection. If danger is perceived, the bearer may choose to clutch it in their hand to feel closer to the amulet and its perceived power.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Spiritual Protection is something that everyone should know how to do, regardless of our religious beliefs (or lack of). It encompasses far more than just ghosts & spirits too. Negativity in any form can be damaging to the human energy field (aura). Fear, anger, depression, negative people/places, arguments and more actually create negative energy that can cling to you or build up in your home and cause problems over time. Spiritual cleansings are very important, for yourself and your home. Many recommend they be done at least every few months, more if feeling stressed or fatigued.

A pendant is anything hanging down from the neck, usually suspended from a chain. As stated above, an amulet may be in the form of a pendant, as may medallions, crystals, etc. Similar to amulets, pendants are worn for spiritual protection. The wearer may also clutch their pendant when feeling the need for more security from harm or spiritual danger.

(Source: Wings for the Spirit)

A medallion is simply a pendant in the shape of a medal worn around the neck, for our purposes for protection from negative or evil forces. Medallions often have images of saints or other spiritual symbols which vary by religious or spiritual belief of the wearer. In the Catholic faith, religious medals were in common use for centuries. This use has waned somewhat in present times. The Archangel Michael and St. Benedict are the two most recognized protection medallion.

Saint Michael the Archangel is the patron of the dying and soldiers, to name just a few. He was the leader of God’s army during the uprising of Lucifer and is honored in not only Christianity but also Judaism and Islam. Saint Michael the Archangel is considered to be the guardian and protector of the Church. The medallion depicting Michael is often used for protection by investigators. Some medallions have the prayer etched on them in addition to the depiction of the Archangel slaying the beast.

Perhaps lesser known to the general public, but quite renown among those seeking protection from evil is that of Saint Benedict. Many believe the Medals of St. Benedict, or “devil chasing medals”, are the most potent objects in the barring of malevolent or demonic entities. St. Benedict was the founder of the Benedictine monastic order, and many stories involving the barring or thwarting of evil or demonic forces are credited to him. This medal is used in exorcisms, approved by Pope Benedict XIV in the 18th century.

According to the story, when a servant of evil offered St. Benedict a poisoned goblet, the man of God made the sign of the cross, and the goblet immediately shattered. A loaf of poisoned bread that the man had also offered to Benedict was then set upon by a raven that flew away with it, thwarting the man’s plan to kill the monk.

(Source: How to Protect Yourself From Demonic Spirits – Nathan Brown)

Crystals and stones are believed by many to give their metaphysical energies to protect. From amber which was used extensively for protection by the ancient Romans to golden amulets of the ancient Egyptians to modern good luck charms, many protection magic items have been made of crystals and stones of a vast variety, far too numerous to name in this article, each with a specific purpose.

Certain crystals and stones carry protective properties. Here is a short list of the most common ones: fire agate, amber, amethyst, fluorite black onyx, citrine, coral, emerald, garnet, obsidian (apache tears), ruby, tourmaline. You can charge your gemstones in the sunlight, and either carry them with you, place them around your home, or purchase jewelry that contains stones with the properties you want, and wear them. A detailed listing of crystals and their intended use may be found on

Crystals are believed to protect not only attacks on the body and spirit from negative entities, but also to ward off negative energy. They protect the psychic energy, and the aura of psychics from attack when in the psychic and spirit realms. They provide balance, healing, and energy. This article is a general description of use of crystal for protection. There are other more detailed articles on crystology available on the NPS website.

(Sources: Wings for the Spirit,,

In many magical traditions, workings can be done to ensure protection of home, property, and people. There are a number of simple ways you can do protection workings. Witches, as well as practitioners of Wicca, Black Magic, White Magic, Hoodoo and pagan traditions use spells to ward off evil spirits, harm from enemies, etc. Wicca and Hoodoo protection spells are detailed here, to represent one more commonly known and one lesser known practice. Protection spells for the others listed above are easily found by internet search.

In Wicca, There are many basic techniques of protection that require no rituals or incantations. These things are easy and effective: Salt – A circle of salt around an area prevents negative entities and demons from crossing into it. You can make a line of salt along a door or windowsill to make it impassable. Iron – Iron symbolizes the pure will, and repels evil. This is why Wiccans sometimes put an iron object in the entrance of their homes to deter unwanted visitors. Three iron nails driven into the frame of a door or window (one at each bottom corner and one in the top middle) block malevolent spirits from passing. Silver – This symbolizes the Moon and the Goddess, making silver jewelry easy to enchant to make talismans of protection. A silver pentacle is a powerful protection even without a spell. The Pentacle – the five-pointed star symbolizing the five elements can be traced almost anywhere as a powerful symbol of protection. Light – Many lesser demons avoid bright places and attack only when it is dark. This unfortunately has no use against the demons of higher rank. Fire – Some evil spirits fear fire, especially those spirits related to water or ice. In some cases, a single candle can be a protection. Crystals – Four quartz crystals previously blessed by a witch can create a circle of protection very quickly. Simply arrange them in a circle on the ground to create a circle that most spirits would find it hard to cross. This circle can protect you, or instead it can be used to trap a spirit in the middle. The circle is much stronger if the crystals are placed by the cardinal points.

Gemstones – stones and gems have qualities useful in magic, and many are effective for protection. Tiger’s eye reflects negative energies to their source; Amethyst blocks manipulative spells and decreases the effect of harmful potions, magnetite can be used to entrap lesser demons, while opal can temporarily lock even higher demons, onyx and obsidian capture and cancel various negative energies including those used in necromancy. The mineral most often used by sorcerers is clear quartz, but it must be blessed or enchanted for it to be effective as protection. Two apples and a knife – This is another very simple method to create a circle of protection. An apple cut in half crosswise presents five areas containing its seeds as a natural pentacle! Deposited on the ground by the cardinal points, two half apples create a circle of temporary protection, which disappears when the apples are completely oxidized and have changed color. Incense – Some types of incense can make the air unbearable for bad spirits. If you have a good quality incense, you can keep many of them away. The most common protective incense types are sandalwood, patchouli, myrrh, frankincense and sage. Plants – Several herbs, spices and other plants used in Wicca have protective qualities. Garlic repels creatures that drain their victims (thus everything that has a vampiric nature); saffron and thyme deter flying spirits that are associated with wind; rosemary repels evil spirits associated with water; Sage, when burnt, is very cleansing and intolerable to evil spirits. Henbane and aconite violently repel demons, but they are very toxic plants so be careful when handling them! Lilacs planted near a home will deter wandering spirits who come by chance (but they won’t stop those who come with a clear goal in mind). Branches of a thorny plant (such as a rose) placed along a door or windowsill will form a barrier as effective as a line of salt. Finally, myrrh strengthens almost all spells and protective talismans. The Athame – Although many Wiccans do not sharpen their athame and never use it to cut anything, this knife is nevertheless a weapon, in addition to being a phallic symbol and thus a symbol of God . An athame which has been properly blessed can draw a circle of protection very quickly – point it in the air and draw the boundaries of the circle. In addition, unlike any other blade, an athame can hurt spirits and demons even though they have no physical body. Broom – This is a symbol for cleansing, and a broom placed by the door will prevent weaker spirits from entering. If a particularly dangerous spirit enters the house, the broom will tend to fall to the ground as an alarm signal.

Clients seek out Hoodoo rootworkers to cast Protection From Enemies, Warding Off Evil, and Safe Travel spells for a number of different reasons, so under the general category of protection and safety spells, conjure doctors and rootworkers group together many types of magical works undertaken on behalf of clients who are seeking spiritual defense and physical security for themselves or their loved ones, including family members, children, and pets. Spiritual protection and physical protection may be combined in one job, but rootwork that aims at providing physical protection is not a substitute for following safety guidelines or seeking help from law enforcement when necessary. When evil is warded off, it is not being broken, negated or returned back on the sender; it is simply diverted or rebuffed. Warding off evil is the spiritually cleanest way of protecting oneself. This is an important point for clients to consider if they do not wish to harm the person or entity who is bothering them, but only to stop the damage from continuing or from escalating. Wards against evil quite often take the form of physical items, including apotropaic talismans, amulets, and seals which may be placed at a location or worn on the person. The mogen David, also called the shield or star of David, is one such talisman; the mezuzah or guardian of the doorposts is another. From feng shui mirrors and foo dogs to Guardian Angel prints and hanging braids of garlic, there are many such wards available to the client, no matter what their cultural traditions. Your root doctor can prescribe such a talismanic ward for you, your dwelling, or your place of business, and dress or prepare it for your particular use.