Rob Hillstrom

Paranormal: Somewhat cliché but, my experiences began at a young age though I don’t recall making the “paranormal” association until the age of 9 when my grandmother died and returned for a visit. Through the years, I have given many phenomena more attention; from subtle dream images to apparent physical contact from “unseen” sources. I have been involved in independent research/study and investigation for about 30 years and began using some equipment about 20 years ago. I have been working with the Colorado based TEPI team since 2010. As a science oriented investigator, I am a bit of a contradiction. I believe the experience more so than the evidence. Simply because there can be many plausible explanations for most evidence. The experience on the other hand, can sometimes be very complex and difficult to explain easily. Professional: I have a Master of Science degree that essentially qualifies me to manage a multi-discipline team in their efforts to accomplish technical activities. (If I say more the MIB might show up.) My engineering background is primarily electronics but includes mechanical, astrophysics, and some aspects of thermal, optical, and audio. Previous careers were medical including paramedics and medical device technology (design, manufacturing, and training medical staff). I also dabbled heavily in photography before the wide spread use of digital imaging. Ideological: I was raised Presbyterian but allowed to find my own path. I studied Zen for a short time and explored many other faiths. In my late teens I attended a seminar on the subject of Quantum Physics and how it relates to our mind and consciousness; this was the turning point in my belief system. I did not become a scientific skeptic, I simply began to view nearly everything differently. I removed definitions I had learned and replaced them with relationships to my personal experiences and observations. Things once clearly defined as paranormal now had a plausible spin to them. Personal: In my spare time I write dark music, dark poetry, and horror/science fiction stories.

Author's posts

Paraconclusion

There have been many recent topics regarding what constitutes beneficial evidence in support of paranormal events. With scientific method in mind, I would like to start this discussion around three terms; cause & effect, correlation, and conjecture. I will provide examples of each and hopefully generate interest in how this applies to paranormal investigation.

Definitions:

Cause & Effect – a direct and verifiable relationship between two things; one causes the other.

Correlation – an apparent relationship between two things; one appears to cause the other.

Conjecture – a guess, most likely biased by culture and personal experience.

scdCAUSE & EFFECT:
This is where science gives us answer. Maybe not the only answers but, answers the paranormal community needs to acknowledge to be taken seriously. Cause & Effect is where meaningful conclusions come from verifiable data. These conclusions are proven through repeated experimentation within a given situation and present us with likely cause whenever we experience the same effect/result. However, we need to remain aware that these conclusions may not apply to all situations.

1. Specific particles, lighting, and camera position can result in “orbs”.

2. The omnipresence of radio frequencies can result in EVP.

3. Hair, straps, clothing, or moving particles can result in streaks in photos.

4. The omnipresence of EM Spectrum signals can cause unexpected EMF readings.

 

Screenshot_5CORRELATION:
This is where some science starts. Correlation may point our research in a good direction but, it can be too broad and completely misleading. Correlation should not be used to support a conclusion. Be aware of people who have carefully chosen specific correlations to support a deceptive agenda. There may be extensive verifiable data in support of each aspect of a correlation but, there may not be a verifiable Cause & Effect between the two. If the scope of the correlation is narrow enough we may be able to take the leap to Cause & Effect.

1. I took a picture at a haunted location; there are “orbs” in the picture.

2. Some EVP seem like direct answers to specific questions.

3. The area history suggests satanic cult activity; I took this picture with the streak in it.

4. I noticed this EMF reading when I heard the noise.

Screenshot_6CONJECTURE:
There is no verifiable data here. Some science concepts may start here but, without verifiable data, there is no progress to mature the concept into something more. This is often where bias, driven by culture and personal experience, keeps our emotions tied to ideas we cannot otherwise support. From here we may be able to make the leap to Correlation but, we cannot find Cause & Effect.

1. “Orbs” are disembodied spirits.

2. EVP are the voices of the dead.

3. The bright streak in this photo is a demonic portal.

4. This EMF reading indicates spirit activity.

Hans Holzer

hansParapsychologist and author of 138 books on Ghosts, Hauntings, Dreams, UFO’s, Astrology, Reincarnation, Healing, Paganism, Witchcraft, and other topics. Hans Holzer coined the term “ghost hunter.” He is especially known for his role in the Amityville case. He believes in using both scientific and psychic means to probe the paranormal.

Holzer was born January 29, 1920, in Vienna, Austria. His interest in the paranormal began in early childhood with a fascination for ghost stories and tales of Fairies related by an uncle. By age nine, he was writing poems and dramas.

In 1938, at the age of 18, He and his brother left Austria and immigrated to United States. Hans settled in New York City, where he remained the rest of his life. He enrolled in Columbia University, studying Far Easter culture. At the London College of Applied Science, he earned a master’s in comparative religion, followed by a Ph.D with a specialty in parapsychology.

Hans married once and had two daughters. He divorced after the birth of the second daughter.

He has taught parapsychology at the New York Institute of Technology and lectures extensively. Holzer also writes and produces television and radio talk shows. He has written numerous magazine articles.

Holzer has had some paranormal experiences, but does not emphasize their importance and says experiences are not necessary for an investigation. His first visual experience was in New York with his father in a penthouse apartment on Riverside Drive. Holzer was asleep in bed and woke up to see his dead mother dressed in white, pushing his head back onto the pillow. At the time, he was suffering from migraine headaches, and his head had slipped off the pillow during sleep. The action taken by his mother prevented a bad attack. Hans greeted his mother, and she disappeared.

Besides the term “ghost hunter,” Holzer coined other terms, among them “stays behinds,” for people who like to linger after death and thus become haunting ghosts; “ufonauts,” for ET visitors; and “the other side” for the afterlife realm. Of stay behinds, he says they frequently are people who lived in one place for a very long time. They are unaccustomed to any other place and discover after death that they are still where they were in life.

Unlike many paranormal investigators Hans- who calls himself a scientist- does not shy away from Mediums and psychics but, believes them to be the most critical assets to investigations because the dead can speak through them and deliver clear messages. He criticizes investigators who think that the only way to tackle the paranormal is with equipment. The only equipment he likes is a camera in the hands of a “psychic photographer,” a person who has a gift for capturing images of phenomena.

Hans says that 75 to 80 percent of haunting phenomena are imprints or recordings and not the presence of stuck souls. He has never been frightened during an investigation. He disbelieves in nonhuman entities, including Demons. In fact, Holzer says he doesn’t believe in anything, even the existence of ghosts. The supernatural does not exist, but rather is part of the natural order. He has particular objections to organized religion, which he says aims to distort truth and oppress people and make them obey the rules. He does not believe in religious concepts of heaven or hell.

Holzer believes the afterlife to be a world like a better version of the physical world. There are seven levels of consciousness concentric with this world, which cannot be perceived by the living is made only with the permission of Spirit Guides. Souls can choose to reincarnate.

Hans’s books are often reissued under new titles. Among his works are Hans Holzer’s The Supernatural Explaining the Unexplained (2003); Ghosts: True Encounters with the World Beyond (1983)’ a compilation of earlier work; and Hans Holzer’s Travel Guide to Haunted Houses: A Practical Guide to Places Haunted by Ghosts, Poltergeists and Spirits (1998), also a compilation. His wish is to be remembered as “a man who told the truth.” He died April 9, 2009, in New York City, N.Y.

References

Belanger, Jeff. “Dr. Hans Holzer-A Lifetime of Explaining the Unplained.” URL: http://www.ghostvillage.com/legends/2005/legends35_02072005.

Brockway. Rev. Laurie Sue. ” An Interview with Famous ‘Ghost Hunter’ Hans Holzer.” URL: http://wwwofspirit.com/lauriesuebbrockway2htm. Casteel, Sean. “Interview with Dr. Hans Holzer.” URL: http://seancasteel.phantombookshop.com/holzer.htm.

Holzer, Hans. Ghosts: True Encounters with the World Beyond. Chicago: Black Dog and Levental Publishers, 1998.

Carl Gustov Jung

td

Inventor, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Journalist

B: July 26, 1875– Switzerland

D: June 6, 1961 – Switzerland

Carl Gustav Jung developed a personality typology, based on the archetypes of introversion and extraversion, widely recognized in psychology to this day. Carl intended this typology as more of an internal view of how our ego deals with the world. Today we use it as more of an external view of how different typologies interact with one another. Most of Carl’s career was focused on understanding aspects of consciousness and dreams.

Though he initially studied medicine, Carl’s passion soon gained focus on spirituality and psychiatry.

He earned his medical degree in 1902; with the completion of his doctoral dissertation titled “On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena”. He practiced psychiatry for several years at the University of Zurich. In 1906 he sent a compilation of some of his work to the highly respected Sigmund Freud. The two met in 1907 and began a close professional friendship. Though, after only 2 years, Carl became somewhat disillusioned with Sigmund’s focus on sex and pursued his own focus on the spiritual nature of dreams, philosophy, mythology and art. Carl’s approach being an analytical psychology rather than the psychodynamic approach of Sigmund and his followers.

This separation from Sigmund’s theories initially cost Carl a significant amount of credibility and professional relationships. Beginning in 1909, Carl pursued his own theories with intense focus on analysis of his personal experiences. He found parallels between the metaphors of his dreams and real world events; including World War I. He assigned and developed personalities for aspects of his dreams. These personalities are primary elements of theories he would eventually publish.

Carl’s theories are centered on the human psyche having three parts; the ego / personal consciousness, personal unconsciousness, and a collective unconsciousness. The ego being the present time consciousness and awareness. The personal unconsciousness being personal memories we are easily aware of as well as those that are suppressed. The collective unconsciousness being a collection of all human species knowledge that can come into play to guide us.

td2Though there are many archetypes within Carl’s theories, they are generally simplified into that of introversion and extraversion. Carl’s main goal seems to be personal realization in an effort to get a level of synchronicity between the three parts of the psyche. Modern psychology has made an effort to evolve this personal realization into a means for us to not only understand ourselves but, also to help us know how to interact with other people and our perception of the world around us.

References:

Carl Jung. (2006). Shippensburg University website. Retrieved Dec 07, 2014 from http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/jung.html

Carl Jung Biography. (2014). About.com website. Retrieved Dec 07, 2014 from http://psychology.about.com/od/profilesofmajorthinkers/p/jungprofile.htm

Alexander Graham Bell

AbellAlexander Graham Bell

Educator, Linguist, Inventor, Scientist

B: March 3, 1847 – Scotland

D: August 2, 1922 – Canada

Alexander Graham Bell is mostly known for the invention of the telephone. Though this gained him fame and considerable wealth, it was not from the efforts of his passion. There are some urban legend stories regarding Bell personally experiencing “disembodied voices” from his invention but, the limited research for this article found nothing verifiable. These stories likely originate from early voice transmissions often being difficult to discern and understand.

Alexander’s passion was helping and teaching the deaf community. This was the family business and in spite his other ventures, Alexander always considered himself to be a teacher of the deaf. He was mostly home schooled by his mother who was deaf and also an accomplished musician. She had significant influence on his life by inspiring his curiosity.

At the age of 12, while playing at a grain mill, Alexander conceived his first invention in a faster method to remove wheat husks.

At age 16 he took a position teaching elocution (speaking in a manner that allowed the deaf to more easily read lips) and music at an academy in Scotland. After one term, he returned to the family business to help teach his father’s methods of “lip reading” to the deaf community. After several more years alternating between teaching on his own and helping his father, the family moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1871.

In 1872 Alexander, now in his mid-20s, ventured out on his own tutoring deaf children in Boston. Gardiner Hubbard, the father of one of his students had been seeking to improve telegraph technology. Alexander, shared his ideas with Gardiner. Intrigued by Alexander’s ideas, Gardiner convinced another student’s father to help finance development of the technology. As Alexander worked on telegraph improvements, he became distracted by the idea of transmitting voice by wire. Gardiner hired Thomas Watson in an effort to help focus Alexander on the telegraph. Thomas also became distracted with the idea of voice transmission. In March of 1876, legend suggests Alexander was speaking to Thomas when, due to circumstance and without direct intent, Thomas heard Alexander’s voice from the wired device.

The Bell Telephone Company came into existence in 1877. Alexander assigned others to run the company and continued his efforts to develop his ideas and to work with the deaf community. Alexander is credited with involvement in the invention of many things including the iron lung, metal detector, the audiometer (for testing hearing), and Thomas Edison’s phonograph.

References:

Alexander Graham Bell. (2014). The Biography.com website. Retrieved Nov 29, 2014, from http://www.biography.com/people/alexander-graham-bell-9205497.

An Introduction to Frequency

frequency-green-figure-rhythm

Most investigative effort in the paranormal field is focused on frequency. Whether via “full spectrum” photography, the latest EMF gadget, audio recorders, or DIY sensors and transmitters, the omnipresent trend is to find some paranormal signature within the electromagnetic spectrum. There seems to be, unfortunately, a general misunderstanding of what is being “sensed” with our equipment. As usual, I am not claiming to have to have the one and only correct perspective on this subject. Nor do I intend to provide complete answers and information. I am asking the reader to evaluate any information they are given by taking on a little research of their own.

Whether we see it, hear it, or even feel it, energy as we perceive it, is part of the same spectrum; from static fields to slow (long wave length) approaching zero cycles per second and up to what we can assume is an infinitely fast (short wave length). “Bandwidth” is a range of frequencies within this spectrum associated with a specific topic. We are most familiar with bandwidths such as visual, audio, radio, infrared, ultraviolet, etc.

Electromagnetic Spectrum as we understand it:

Frequency – Cycles per second / hertz (Hz)

Cycles per Second 10 ^ X Nomenclature example
0 to 999 10^0 Hz (hertz) Ultrasound, Audio, Brainwaves, household power
1,000 to 999,999 1*10^3 to 999.999*10^3 kHz (kilohertz) Audio, AM Radio
1,000,000 to 999,999,999 1*10^6 to 999.999…*10^6 MHz (megahertz) Shortwave Radio, Television, FM Radio
1,000,000,000 to 999,999,999,999 1*10^9 to 999.999…*10^9 GHz (gigahertz) Microwaves, Radar, Radio Telemetry
1,000,000,000,000 to 999,999,999,999,999 1*10^12 to 999.999…*10^12 THz (terahertz) Infrasound, Infrared, visible light
1,000,000,000,000,000 to 999,999,999,999,999,999 1*10^15 to 999.999…*10^15 PHz (petahertz) Ultraviolet, X-Ray
1,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 999,999,999,999,999,999,999 1*10^18 to 999.999…*10^18 EHz (exahertz) Gamma rays
ES1

graphic from: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html

Static fields (those with essentially no measurable frequency) include; magnetics, batteries, and the potential charge that zaps our fingers when we reach for a door handle. An intriguing, yet seldom discussed, aspect of the EM Spectrum is brain waves; near 0 Hz up to about 60 Hz. Within this frequency range, we also find information covering the Schumann Resonance (frequencies associated with Earth’s magnetic field). I will not go into this sort of detail here but, I recommend anyone intrigued by paranormal events also look into frequencies of the brain and the Schumann Resonance. There are many different definitions but an introduction is shown below.

Brain Frequencies and Schumann Resonance Peaks

Frequency Bandwidth Brainwave Name Associated with: Schumman Peaks
>35 Hz Gamma Panic, Fear, Loss of Reasoning 39 Hz
24-35 Hz Beta 3 High Alert Activity, Flight or Fight 26 Hz & 33 Hz
15-24 Hz Beta 2 Active Consciousness, Sleeplessness 21 Hz
12-15 Hz Beta 1 Conscious but Relaxed Attention 14 Hz
7-12 Hz Alpha Relaxed, Eyes Closed, Pre & Post Sleep 7.8 Hz
4-7 Hz Theta Dreams, Deep Meditation, Hypnogogic, REM Sleep, and certain creative states
<4 Hz Delta Deep Sleep

At 50 and 60Hz we find the most common frequency for household power. 20 Hz up to 20,000 Hz (20 kHz) is the nominal frequency range for human hearing. Above 20 kHz we find defined bandwidths like radio, microwave, infrared, visual, ultraviolet, x-ray, gamma, etc…

The “man-made frequency” misnomer:

Nature vibrates, typically with a sinusoidal wave shape. The EM spectrum is not man-made, it is entirely comprised of natural frequencies. Man has found ways to utilize and manipulate certain frequencies into signals to enable technology. Our technology generally creates signal shapes other than sinusoidal and signal patterns intended to transfer information. There are no uniquely man-made frequencies, though signal patterns are often man-made. While determining the frequency of an EMF “spike” may ultimately be valuable in attempting to determine its origin, the frequency alone does not indicate a man-made origin.

Limitations of technology:

Perhaps one of the most important points here is to understand the capabilities of the technology used for paranormal investigation. Read and research the specifications of a particular piece of technology.

EMF meters detect/measure a very narrow range of frequencies. Most are designed to determine if consumer electronics and household wiring are emitting excessive fields that may disrupt the function of other devices or effect people physiologically. None are, nor can they be, designed to detect paranormal energy. Even custom DIY projects are limited to a narrow bandwidth. Lower frequencies require larger sensors; the simplest of which may be comprised of several miles of wire. Search “antenna theory” for more information.

A “full spectrum” camera is not capturing a full spectrum image and the associated LED illuminators often utilized are further limiting what the camera might potentially capture. With respect to the visual bandwidth, standard cameras are already “full spectrum”. The specifications of the sensor in the camera will indicate sensitivity to frequencies beyond that of human vision. Filters are added to the light path in the camera to block infrared and ultraviolet along with software interpretation of the data from the sensor to result in an image our eyes and brains recognize. What is marketed as “full spectrum” simply has the IR and UV filters removed. This allows a wider bandwidth of frequencies to reach the camera sensor. The software interpreting the data is not adapted to the IR and UV data so the resulting image is already subject to produce a false interpretation. Increasing the discrepancy, we tend to use LED illuminators. LEDs emit a very specific frequency. If whatever we are trying to enhance is at a different frequency, the LED illuminator may be washing out the image preventing capture of the desired image. Also, without understanding the specifications of the camera sensor, the illuminator we choose may not emit a frequency the camera can sense properly regardless of the intensity of the LEDs. Be sure to understand the light wavelength/frequency the given camera and illuminator are designed for. There are alternate non-LED illuminators but these come with heat/fire risks from IR lamps and potential eye and skin damage from UV lamps. True IR and UV image systems are also available but come at significant cost.

Audio recorders tend to come in two varieties; one for simple voice dictation and the other for music. The audio bandwidth they will record can be significantly different. Those designed for the human voice may have a narrow bandwidth as part of the effort to eliminate “noise” from the recording. Even the headphones and speakers used to review audio will change what may be overlooked. Be sure to understand the audio bandwidth a given set of headphones or speakers can reproduce accurately. If the bandwidth is unknown or narrower than 20 Hz to 20 kHz, valuable “audio” information may be lost.

 

A few typical specifications; research your equipment to understand its limitations.

Typical unfiltered camera sensor sensitivity: 303 THz to 999 THz

Typical Infrared LED emission: 316 THz to 353 THz

Typical Ultraviolet LED emission: 749 THz to 821 THz

Typical low cost microphone dynamic range: 60 Hz to 12 kHz

Typical low cost headphone dynamic range: 60 Hz to 16 kHz

Typical low cost voice recorder: 100 Hz to 10 kHz (usually dependent on optional settings)

 

Additional info, Aspects of physiology:

human – vision: 400 to 790 THz, hearing: 20 Hz to 20 kHz

canine – vision: 484 to 697 THz, hearing: 60 Hz to 45 kHz

feline – vision: 500 to 700 THz, hearing: 20 Hz to 64 kHz

This does not mean humans and their common pets see colors in the same manner.   Studies suggest what humans see as red, orange, and yellow may be more blue or gray to many animals. Additionally, many animals have an extra structure in their eyes allowing them a level of “night vision”.

An important aspect, not to be detailed here, is temporal resolution. Temporal resolution is a measurement of at what rate a series of images appears to be continuous motion. Television images flicker at about 60Hz allowing us to perceive the sequence of images as continuous motion. Dogs and cats have higher temporal resolution, meaning they do not see continuous motion on the television screen but can see a series of images.

As far as hearing goes, dogs hear higher frequencies than human and cats can hear even higher frequencies. There are many aspects of perceptual differences between species. Since this is beyond the intent of this discussion, I suggest the reader research these details further. When your cat or dog stares off into a direction where there is nothing to see, it is likely they are listening to a frequency we cannot hear rather than actually looking at something.

With all species, there is a tendency for our visual and audio senses to weaken with age or other damage. Many frequencies can damage the structures of our body as well cause significant changes in how our brain functions.

Search the internet for additional images showing the electromagnetic spectrum. Such as: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/ems1.html

Much of the information will be formatted as wavelength and/or energy. This link is for a conversion calculator for wavelength/frequency/energy: http://www.cactus2000.de/uk/unit/masswav.shtml

Why Use Science? A perspective

Science-wordle

Being my first “official” submission to NPS, it may be important to explain where I am coming from. It is not my intent to provide answers. It is not my intent to decode individual experiences. It is not my intent to focus on what is right or wrong. It is my intent to leave readers with more questions. Hopefully, some will choose to research their questions.

My current perspective

As an investigator/researcher, my approach may seem contradictory. My focus is science and research but I accept that current science and technology are unlikely to provide useful data to even begin to explain paranormal events. Even though the evidence is worth consideration, I am a skeptic of evidence more than I am of the experience itself. I do believe there will eventually be widely accepted scientific explanations for many paranormal events but the popular technology and techniques currently in use are unlikely to provide these explanations. I trust my instinct and intuition more than any “paranormal data” I have collected or reviewed. From my perspective, all historical and current paranormal data have plausible scientific explanations other than being purely unexplainable paranormal in origin.

My numerous personal experiences allow me to accept that many things are not easily explained and are perhaps something from the paranormal realm. I accept that while theology and mysticism may be paranormal at their roots, they often provide some of the best explanations for paranormal events. By definition we must always remind ourselves that paranormal is simply that which lies outside of a definitive scientific explanation. At the same time, paranormal does not need scientific explanation. If it had scientific explanation, it would not be paranormal. I am, in a sense, saying that nothing is paranormal; it is just awaiting proper explanation.

So, why use science?

Grabbing a number out of thin air, I’ll estimate science has been involved with paranormal investigation, in an attempt to explain things, for at least 150 years. Have we gained a significant understanding in this time? We are still chasing noises, energy fields, odd images, and intuitive impressions. Yes, our technology to do these things has changed significantly but, are we doing anything new? Our ability to measure has become more and more precise (more finite in some cases) but, has this accuracy lead to specific solutions? More recent technology has us looking at brain waves but this is essentially a subset of energy fields. All this said I have to ask…why are we so dead set on applying science?

Regardless of our core beliefs and biases, we apply science because we have to. It is human nature to ask who, what, when, where, and why. If we ask questions and try to find answers, we are using science in its basic form (we do not need to agree on the answer to the same question). The more answers/information we collect and analyze, the more robust the science becomes. When we can verify and repeat the information over time, we begin to find theories and perhaps explanations. Notice that I do not use the word “proof”. “Proof” has been misconstrued to imply 100% fact. Some people like to use the word to shut down discussions. Proof is nothing more than compelling evidence. To insist on or to claim 100% proof is to stop asking questions. If questions are not being asked then science has been abandon. Similarly, to claim an opinion is 100% fact or simply “the way it is” is to abandon science. Question everything, nothing is absolute (yes, I am aware of the irony).

Konstantin Raudive

Source: Google Images

Source: Google Images

Konstantin Raudive Proponent of: ITC (Instrumental Trans-Communication) Born: April 30, 1909 – Latvia Died: September 2, 1974 – Germany Raudive was a writer who became involved in ITC related studies in 1964 after reading Voices From Space by Friedrich Jürgenson. Jürgenson wrote the book about his research into the phenomena he had discovered accidentally while attempting to record bird songs. Raudive worked with Jürgenson for a short time before continuing research on his own utilizing various techniques. Raudive worked with numerous researchers and engineers developing his technique and technology. An English translation of Raudive’s research was published in 1971 leading to Raudive being considered the person responsible for bringing “Raudive Voices” to the attention of the general public. The term “Electronic Voice Projection or Phenomena” may have first been used in a promotional article for Raudive’s book. Information Sources: http://latvianhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/konstantins-raudive-the-latvian-who-discovered-the-electronic-voice-phenomenon/ http://www.skepdic.com/raudive.html http://www.psychicscience.org/evp.aspx http://atransc.org/circle/konstantin_raudive.htm

Repose

NPSGraphic

Time for repose; to let the mind wander through the subjects we briefed this week. Why the fuss about science? What about that EM Spectrum? Where to go with the Big “E”s and why IR and UV? What’s the problem with our Brain? What’s the deal with TV Demons?

Science is all we have to hold the laughter back. With various internet and news media tearing us limb from limb based on the actions of thrill seekers, science is the only thing setting us apart. The integrity we own our clients, ourselves, and each other comes from science. The questions we should be asking come from science. We should not be asking for proof; we should only be seeking more information. We should not be confirming feelings with our own feelings; we should be offering alternate explanations. Not dismissing or denying the events we seek to explain but, also not accepting blindly.

It turns out the EM Spectrum just might be everything. Our senses rely on it, our technology relies on it, and it even allows our brain to work. To paraphrase Nicola Tesla; “If you want to understand the universe, think frequency.” Can it be that simple? Within its limitations, the EM Spectrum represents our understanding of energy. If nothing can happen without energy, and our understanding is incomplete, it can be suggested energy/frequency can explain things we have yet to understand. It seems Tesla may be correct.

We focused in a bit on EVP, EMF, IR, and UV. These subjects arguably being the most popular bits of data we collect, share, and debate. Primarily we questioned our readily available technology related to EVP, EMF, IR, and UV. None of our technology appears to provide a particularly useful range for what we seek to find. Nor can we design a technology to discover the unknown. We can only deploy what we have hoping to detect a clue of some sort. If nothing else, at least this technology provides some level of safety doing what it is designed to do.

Is it all in our minds? It could be but. We want data so everyone will believe our experiences but, we refuse to accept data from others wishing we would believe their experiences. Our brains are a mess of confusion and contradiction. Our brain seeks to help us through our lives by misinforming us with its interpretation of what serves us best. We are born with the ability to recognize faces and our brain wants to find them, and other familiar things, no matter what we are looking at. Though our brain my mislead us, it wants to know, it wants to understand, and it allows us to ask questions. Whatever information it allows us to perceive, we need to try to understand why and how our surroundings and history has led to that perception. Likewise, we need to understand how this whole thought process is unique to each of us.

Next, we questioned the validity and value of TV shows. They use cool technology. They visit awesome locations. They show us some intriguing evidence. Some even claim a scientific approach. Many of us are here because we felt inspiration from one of these TV shows. So, what’s the harm in a little entertainment? TV Demons take the form of a bad example to the public. They may demonstrate some rough technique but they don’t teach method. They may hold a piece of technology in their hand in the name of science but, they rarely use the technology properly. They may hint at the importance of evidence review and finding alternate explanations but, they science is dismissed in general.

So, how should we close this first opportunity for NPS Science Week? Let’s close in repose…relax, slow down, and ask yourself some questions. “Am I doing this the way I want to do this?” “Do I truly understand the technology I have chosen?” “Do I understand my biases and how they affect my results?” …etc. …etc. Pick a subject and do some research. Share you research with the community.

Brains!

NPSGraphic

So many of us seem to fall back on our personal experiences. If a fellow investigator shows us some intriguing evidence, we tend to say; “I didn’t experience it myself so I have a hard time believing it.” All the hard work, late nights investigating, and evidence review comes down to a complete lack of confidence in anything but our own experiences. Next comes the irony, we wish we had evidence to back our personal experiences…maybe then others would believe us. What is the problem here? Our brain is the problem.

Even if we do have scientific data and intriguing evidence to support personal experiences, we still need to get beyond our own biases to accept anything. Our life experiences program us to perceive everything with some level of bias. Most of these biases are difficult to ignore since they serve our survival day to day. In addition to these biases, our brain also has a tendency to lie to us to keep our perceptions within a context we find acceptable. It is difficult to accept that our own brain is lying to us to appease our biases, preconceptions, and to just generally help us through the day. This happens to such a high degree that we have applied names to it; primarily apophenia and pareidolia. Our brain will even fill in the blanks with completely fictitious information if it happens to fit a pattern from a past experience or source of authority. Details that never occurred can become 100% certain facts from our individual point of view.

So, should we stop trusting our intuition? No, absolutely not. We survive because of our intuition. For most of us this happens subconsciously but, every once in a while we are fully aware of that “gut feeling”. Take note of it and everything happening around your at that moment, analyze it, try to understand it. Is it evidence of the unusual events we seek to explain? Probably not but, you will never know for certain if you ignore it.

So, should we stop believe our own experiences? No, absolutely not. These experiences are likely at the root of why we have chosen to pursue investigation and research. Write them down, take note of your surroundings and everything happening around you at that moment, analyze it, and try to understand it. Is the experience evidence of the unusual events we seek to explain? Probably not but, you will never know for certain if you ignore it.

So, what about all of the data and evidence interpretation, do we dismiss it? No, absolutely not. No matter how objective we try to be, our brain is going to choose the interpretation that makes the most sense given our biases. Write it all down, take note of your surroundings and what was happening when the data or evidence was captured, and try to understand it. It is very unlikely to lead to the events we seek to explain but, you will never know if you ignore it.

Sorry to sound so repetitious but, the point is to use whatever information your brain chooses to accept. Our senses overwhelm our brain with vast amounts of input. Our brain does its best to focus on the most important information for a given moment in time. Be aware that your brain is discarding an enormous amount of information. Do your best to understand your biases. If you understand your biases, it will be easier to set them aside and analyze everything more impartially and more critically when required. Accept that what your brain is telling you is carefully crafted to fit within your life experiences.

More about our brains:

Brain Games: http://braingames.nationalgeographic.com/episode/0/

Your Bleeped Up Brain: http://www.history.com/shows/your-bleeped-up-brain

How Our Brain Works: http://www.howourbrainswork.com/

A ton of good info from Psychology today: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-sense

Brain Facts: http://www.brainfacts.org/sensing-thinking-behaving/senses-and-perception/

Brain Statistics: http://www.statisticbrain.com/human-brain-statistics/

Why IR or UV?

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Why are we interested IR and UV? Perhaps it is just a slightly-away from normal means to monitor our surroundings. Perhaps it is simply a matter of easy access to the technology. Again, there is no scientific basis behind IR and UV having any relationship to the unusual events we seek to explain. Thermal imaging is within the realm of IR but will not be discussed here. The primary intent of this discussion is to illustrate the limitations of the technology we use. Research your equipment to understand exactly what it is and isn’t providing for you.

A “full spectrum” camera is not capturing a full spectrum image. With respect to the visual bandwidth, standard cameras are already “full spectrum”. The specifications of the sensor in the camera will indicate sensitivity to frequencies beyond that of human vision. Filters are added to the light path in the camera to block infrared and ultraviolet along with software interpretation of the data from the sensor to result in an image our eyes and brains recognize. What is marketed as “full spectrum” simply has the IR and UV filters removed. This allows a wider bandwidth of frequencies to reach the camera sensor. All we are actually achieving with a “full spectrum” camera is a level of enhancement to the tiny portions of the IR and UV bandwidths our eyes already perceive.

Potentially increasing the discrepancy, we tend to use LED illuminators. LEDs emit a very specific frequency. If whatever we are trying to enhance is at a different frequency, the LED illuminator may be washing out the image preventing capture of the desired image. Also, without understanding the specifications of the camera sensor, the illuminator we choose may not emit a frequency the camera can sense properly regardless of the intensity of the LEDs. Be sure to understand the light wavelength/frequency the given camera and illuminator are designed for. There are alternate non-LED illuminators but these come with heat/fire risks from IR lamps and potential eye and skin damage from UV lamps.

More effective IR and UV image systems are available but may come at significant cost. We see IR imaging every day associated with “FLIR night vision” systems and satellite/telescope imagery. UV imaging is not as prevalent in the media but we may hear mention of it related to forensics and utility troubleshooting as well as satellite /telescope imagery.

A few typical sensitivities/specifications to consider:

For perspective; 1 Hz is once per second, 1 THz is 1,000,000,000,000 times per second

Infrared bandwidth: 300 GHz to 430 THz

Ultraviolet bandwidth: 790 THz to 30,000 THz

Typical human vision sensitivity: 400 THz (red) to 790 THz (violet)

Typical unfiltered camera sensor sensitivity: 303 THz to 999 THz

-covers about 29.56% of the IR bandwidth

-covers about 0.5% of the UV bandwidth

Typical Infrared LED emission range: 316 THz to 353 THz

-about 8.6% of the IR bandwidth (best case using a wide variety of IR LEDs)

-a typical LED illuminator operates with numerous LEDs of a single type. Since each LED type emits a specific frequency, a typical IR illuminator is providing illumination equivalent to 0.0002% of the IR bandwidth or about 2% of the effective IR range of an unfiltered camera. These number are even less effective for the UV bandwidth.

Typical Ultraviolet LED emission range: 749 THz to 821 THz

-about 0.2% of the UV bandwidth (best case using a wide variety of UV LEDs)

Again, an excellent graphic showing the EM Spectrum (thanks to Sparc Para Analytics):

http://infothread.org/Science/Physics/Electromagnetic%20Spectrum%20A.jpg

Professional camera conversion:

http://www.lifepixel.com/products

Big E’s

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The Big “E”s…EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) and EMF (ElectroMagnetic Field). Arguably, the most discussed evidence. I combine them here since they are related within the subject of the EM Spectrum.

To get to root of the subject, there is no scientific basis behind EVP and EMF having any relationship to the unusual events we seek to explain. Science, as we understand it, tells us any event requires energy to occur. When an event occurs, we should be able to measure the energy associated with the event. Ever since our technology evolved to where our voices could be recorded and played back, there have been efforts to contact those who have died. Similarly, ever since technology could measure the energy associated with motion, there have been efforts to measure the energy of events caused by unseen forces.

Limitations of technology:

Perhaps one of the most important points here is to understand the capabilities of the technology used for our investigations. Read and research the specifications of a particular piece of technology.

EMF meters detect/measure a very narrow range of frequencies. Most are designed to determine if consumer electronics and household wiring are emitting excessive fields that may disrupt the function of other devices or effect people physiologically. None are, nor can they be, designed to detect energy we have not defined. Even custom DIY projects are limited to a narrow bandwidth. Lower frequencies require larger sensors; the simplest of which may be comprised of several miles of wire. Search “antenna theory” for more information.

Audio recorders tend to come in two varieties; one for simple voice dictation and the other for music. The audio bandwidth they will record can be significantly different. Those designed for the human voice may have a narrow bandwidth as part of the effort to eliminate “noise” from the recording. Even the headphones and speakers used to review audio will change what may be overlooked. Be sure to understand the audio bandwidth a given set of headphones or speakers can reproduce accurately. If the bandwidth is unknown or narrower than 20 Hz to 20 kHz, valuable audio information may be lost.

A few links for useful information:

Exceptional articles from Sparc Para Analytics:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/sparc-para-analytics/digital-recorders-to-go-cheap-or-not-to-go-cheap-is-that-the-question/201209333391413

More info on EMF:

http://www.who.int/peh-emf/about/WhatisEMF/en/

Skeptic thought on EVP:

http://www.skepdic.com/evp.html

Digital Recording Technology:

http://www.digital-recordings.com/publ/pubrec.html

EM Spectrum

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(The following is largely copied from an article on the same subject posted at the NPS web page.)

Most investigative effort in this community is focused on frequency. Whether via “full spectrum” photography, the latest EMF gadget, audio recorders, or DIY sensors and transmitters, the omnipresent trend is to find some telltale signature within the electromagnetic spectrum. There seems to be, unfortunately, a general misunderstanding of what is being “sensed” with our equipment. As usual, I am not claiming to have to have the one and only correct perspective on this subject. Nor do I intend to provide complete answers and information. I am asking the reader to evaluate any information they are given by taking on a little research of their own.

Whether we see it, hear it, or even feel it, energy as we perceive it, is part of the same spectrum; from static fields to slow (long wave length) approaching zero cycles per second and up to what we can assume is an infinitely fast (short wave length). “Bandwidth” is a range of frequencies within this spectrum associated with a specific topic. We are most familiar with bandwidths such as visual, audio, radio, infrared, and ultraviolet.

Static fields (those with essentially no measurable frequency) include; magnetics, batteries, and the potential charge that zaps our fingers when we reach for a door handle. An intriguing, yet seldom discussed, aspect of the EM Spectrum is brain waves; near 0 Hz up to about 60 Hz. Within this frequency range, we also find information covering the Schumann Resonance (frequencies associated with Earth’s magnetic field). I will not go into this sort of detail here but, I recommend anyone intrigued by paranormal events also look into frequencies of the brain and the Schumann Resonance. At 50 and 60Hz we find the most common frequency for household power. 20 Hz up to 20,000 Hz (20 kHz) is the

nominal frequency range for human hearing; also the likely range for EVP sources. Above 20 kHz we find bandwidths defined as radio and microwave. It is important to note that most EMF meters are designed to detect or measure frequencies from 20 Hz up into the microwave range. The intent being to monitor frequencies commonly used in our technologies which may damage our health. Beyond microwave we find, infrared, visual, and ultraviolet. All three will be discussed briefly later this week. Beyond ultraviolet we find x-ray, gamma, etc.

The “man-made frequency” misnomer:

Nature vibrates, typically with a sinusoidal wave shape. The EM spectrum is not man-made, it is entirely comprised of natural frequencies. Humans have found ways to utilize and manipulate certain frequencies into signals to enable technology. Our technology generally creates signal shapes other than sinusoidal and signal patterns intended to transfer information. There are no uniquely man-made frequencies, though signal patterns are often man-made. While determining the frequency of an EMF “spike” may ultimately be valuable in attempting to determine its origin, the frequency alone does not indicate a man-made origin.

A few links to useful information:

An excellent graphic showing the EM Spectrum (thanks to Sparc Para Analytics):

http://infothread.org/Science/Physics/Electromagnetic%20Spectrum%20A.jpg

Brain waves:

http://www.transparentcorp.com/products/np/brainwaves.php

Schumann Resonance:

http://www.glcoherence.org/monitoring-system/earth-rhythms.html

WTF?

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So, WTF? Why The Fuss about science? Why question evidence and ask investigators explain their results and conclusions? Why should everyone watch COSMOS? (Non-paid plug)

Why The Fuss about science?

At this point, science may be the only thing saving this community from the disinformation of the currently popular television shows. Without science our investigations become little more than entertainment. This discussion will not go into detailed scientific method. However, a handful of basics are important. No investigation can adhere to proper scientific method. No single bit of evidence is proof of anything. Situational association is not proof. Interpretation, opinion, beliefs, feelings, none of these are proof of anything. The use of some form of technology during an investigation is not required. At its core, science is observation, record of observation, comparison of observations. No, I’m not suggesting we ask for scientific proof. Asking for proof is a cop out; meant only to stop discussion. Science does not ask for proof. Science asks for information and explanation.

When a client is seeking answers, we owe them more than an opportunity to watch us play with toys in the dark. We owe them the answers they seek. We owe them science. We may offer them our opinion but, we best have some science to support our opinion. We owe our client explanations they may not be considering. We owe them peace of mind apart from any preconceived notions culture and media have trained them to believe. We do not owe them images of ghostly faces peeking through windows. We do not owe them video of orbs drifting about their property. We do not owe them our interpretation of recorded “voices”. Yes, we do owe them evidence but, we owe them alternate explanations for this evidence. We do not owe them proof of a visiting dead relative. We do not owe them solutions to family events or property history we are only vaguely aware of. Associating a single bit of evidence with previous events is pure speculation.

Granted, many clients are looking for baseless evidence and claims for reasons other than peace of mind. None the less, if we are to be taken seriously, we owe them nothing other than alternate explanations for events they wish to confirm. Simple confirmation of their personal experience with accounts of your own personal experience serve nothing but ego.

We need science to help know when it is best to walk away from a dangerous situation. Rather than stepping through the door for the thrill of the next investigation, listen closely to client then research the location and claims. Subtle clues as well as public reports may hint at something less desirable…family violence, noxious environments, etc.

Why question evidence and ask investigators to explain their results and conclusions?

This is what science is best at. We are responsible to teach one another which methods seem to bring results (be it intriguing evidence in support or plausible evidence to the contrary). We need to know why something might be beyond science as well as why science seems to explain it. Some will shout “Where’s the unity?” Unity does imply agreement, it only suggests working together to bring respect to the community. As a community, we can no longer take evidence at face value. Technology allows fraudulent evidence to be produced far too easily. Similarly, people are so anxious to have some level of notoriety, they will present the slightest anomaly as evidence without sufficient research of their own. Inversely, those presenting scientific data are often blind to the flaws in their method or research. As a community, it is more important for us to listen to those who disagree than those who agree. If we all agree, we will learn nothing.

There are, unfortunately, science extremists in the community. Oddly, all I have encountered hide behind their own hypocrisy. This group of people is damaging the community as much as their counterpart. These are the folks who accept no explanation other than science “fact”, and will in turn refuse to share their own data or “poof” to support any of their own claim.

So WTF? Why The Fuss about science? Because this community needs more than a shoulder to lean on and more than the warm fuzzy presented by belief and faith. We need to combat the wealth of disinformation the media is instilling in the public. We need to set ourselves apart from the sensationalism in the television shows and the news headlines. We should be telling our clients what we find and how it could be explained within science. Regardless of our personal impressions, we should not be telling clients how we felt while at their location. We should not be suggesting or implying anything of an unseen nature is lurking about.

Why should everyone watch COSMOS? (Non-paid plug) Because knowledge is good whether you agree with the subject or not.

Smartphone Paranormal – A perspective on the controversy

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Is a “smartphone” part of your investigation kit? If so, why? If not, why? For the purpose of this article, I intend to take a quick look at some of the comments given as reason not to use a smartphone as an investigation tool. I intend to counter these reasons. Not to convince people to use smartphones for paranormal investigation but rather an effort to get people to not hastily dismiss potentially useful equipment.

Smartphones shouldn’t be used for paranormal investigation because…

  1.  …there are apps to create fake ghost images and otherwise prank for entertainment.
    People have been using various methods to modify images as long as there have been images to modify. Why apply this bias to smartphones and not all other images? Even further to the extreme, some people dismiss all paranormal oriented apps because some apps are intentionally “misleading” or for entertainment only. If we are to follow this thought, since evidence of any nature can be “fraudulent”; we should dismiss all paranormal evidence.
  2. …they aren’t designed to detect paranormal events.
    There is not a single piece of equipment in existence which is designed to detect paranormal events. If we are to dismiss equipment because it isn’t designed to detect paranormal events, then we have no equipment to use. There are various type of equipment intended for use by paranormal investigators but, nothing about such equipment is designed to detect paranormal events.
  3. …they don’t include the necessary technology.
    As far as necessary technology goes, yes, smartphones do contain the technology to work similar to many other pieces of equipment. The venerable K2 has very similar circuitry compared to what can be found in smartphones. Apps for EMF, audio, vibration, etc…rival some of the functionally similar equipment paranormal investigator desire most. Smartphone cameras now rival many cameras paranormal investigators use without questioning a single image.
  4. …cell phone signals interfere with other equipment in use.
    Don’t use a smartphone simultaneously with other equipment that is obviously effected by the use of the smartphone. Or, use an older smartphone that is no longer connected to a network; load the desired apps from wifi.

In conclusion, use what ever equipment provides results you suspect may be leading to something meaningful. The paranormal community will continue to disagree on a “best approach”. If a smartphone app helps with some aspect of an investigation, use it. Can a smartphone be the only equipment a paranormal investigator uses? Yes. Should use of smartphone apps be avoided? No. Should it be the only equipment used? Probably not.

Weather or not – A quick perspective by Department Chair

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This is not intended as an explanation for all paranormal events which might fall under this topic. The intention is to inspire questions and a desire to not except the first, and perhaps most popular, explanation for any given event. An assumption here is that investigations are only taking place in typical residence and business environments.  This is only a generic overview and avoids some technical and mathematical detail that some may want to explore further.

There is a possibility that a majority, if not all, “things that go bump in the night” can be associated with environmental changes. It is tempting to associate this with whatever the local weather person has reported. I suggest this local report is not sufficient; we need to go beyond noticing if it is windy or raining. The local weather forecast is likely based on a location far from the investigation site.

There are five aspects of weather we can easily relate to paranormal phenomenon:

  1. Temperature: Perhaps the easiest to understand and easiest to relate to our environment and acuity of our senses. We easily judge “hot” and “cold”. Temperature changes cause materials to expand or contract.
  2. Humidity: Perhaps a bit less obvious though we can still use our senses to perceive it pretty well. This moisture content in the air has a direct effect on many materials; making them harden or soften and making them expand or contract.
  3. Relative Humidity: A relationship between temperature, barometric pressure, and humidity. If a sufficient method to dehumidify the air is not in use, humidity tends to rise as temperature falls.
  4. Dew Point: Another temperature / humidity relationship. At a given humidity, this tells us at what temperature moisture will begin to condense onto surfaces. As temperature falls below the dew point, additional water will condense from the air.
  5. Barometric Pressure: Perhaps the most subtle though our sense can still give us hints with headaches, “popping” ears’, shortness of breath, etc.. Also has influence on how much water can be suspended in air. This is the weight of the air pushing down on us and everything else.

There will always be “air currents”, perfect equilibrium is not possible; something is always disturbing the ambient environment. Surfaces in a given location will be at various temperatures. This temperature difference will result in air currents swirling all around the location. Particles caught in these currents will drift in many directions whether we can feel the breeze on our skin or not.

Each of these aspects can be associated to bumps, thumps, squeaks, groans, pops, bangs, and even vocal sounds as everything is affected as these aspect change moment to moment. These noises can be quite rhythmic as stresses are relieved at one point of a building structure and applied to an adjacent point. As certain materials push and rum against other materials the rhythm can mimic what we might interpret as vocal sounds.

Equipment malfunction can also be attributed to these aspects. Read the manual with the equipment to understand the conditions it is designed to work under. Battery drain is a good indicator that something about the environment exceeds what the equipment is designed for. Perhaps it is the investigators act of carrying the equipment from one environment to another causing the problem. Carrying a relatively cooler item into an area with high humidity will potentially cause moisture to condense on sensitive parts of the equipment.

In more extreme conditions we may be able to associate these aspect of weather to other events; glass or similar material cracking or breaking, certain containers popping open or making noise, mood or personality changes, moisture or water in unexpected locations, headaches, a generally uneasy feeling, etc… Visually or in pictures we may notice “mists” drifting or rising from specific locations. Depending on the angle of our perspective and lighting conditions this mist may present as a “shadow”.

Thoughts in conclusion: Mapping the changing environment in each room of a location is just as important as mapping the reported paranormal activity. Many correlations may be evident even if not immediately understood. Simply tracking the conditions of the immediate environment at those certain “active” times of each day may lead to answers.

If you would like to dig into the science behind these ideas, start here:http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/heacon.html…
The link below is one of many where weather related technology can be purchased.
http://www.ambientweather.com/west.html

Why Use Science? A perspective by the Department Chair

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Being my first “official” submission to NPS, it may be important to explain where I am coming from. It is not my intent to provide answers. It is not my intent to decode individual experiences. It is not my intent to focus on what is right or wrong. It is my intent to leave readers with more questions. Hopefully, some will choose to research their questions.

My current perspective

As an investigator/researcher, my approach may seem contradictory. My focus is science and research but I accept that current science and technology are unlikely to provide useful data to even begin to explain paranormal events. Even though the evidence is worth consideration, I am a skeptic of evidence more than I am of the experience itself. I do believe there will eventually be widely accepted scientific explanations for many paranormal events but the popular technology and techniques currently in use are unlikely to provide these explanations. I trust my instinct and intuition more than any “paranormal data” I have collected or reviewed. From my perspective, all historical and current paranormal data have plausible scientific explanations other than being purely unexplainable paranormal in origin.

My numerous personal experiences allow me to accept that many things are not easily explained and are perhaps something from the paranormal realm. I accept that while theology and mysticism may be paranormal at their roots, they often provide some of the best explanations for paranormal events. By definition we must always remind ourselves that paranormal is simply that which lies outside of a definitive scientific explanation. At the same time, paranormal does not need scientific explanation. If it had scientific explanation, it would not be paranormal. I am, in a sense, saying that nothing is paranormal; it is just awaiting proper explanation.

So, why use science?

Grabbing a number out of thin air, I’ll estimate science has been involved with paranormal investigation, in an attempt to explain things, for at least 150 years. Have we gained a significant understanding in this time? We are still chasing noises, energy fields, odd images, and intuitive impressions. Yes, our technology to do these things has changed significantly but, are we doing anything new? Our ability to measure has become more and more precise (more finite in some cases) but, has this accuracy lead to specific solutions? More recent technology has us looking at brain waves but this is essentially a subset of energy fields. All this said I have to ask…why are we so dead set on applying science?

Regardless of our core beliefs and biases, we apply science because we have to. It is human nature to ask who, what, when, where, and why. If we ask questions and try to find answers, we are using science in its basic form (we do not need to agree on the answer to the same question). The more answers/information we collect and analyze, the more robust the science becomes. When we can verify and repeat the information over time, we begin to find theories and perhaps explanations. Notice that I do not use the word “proof”. “Proof” has been misconstrued to imply 100% fact. Some people like to use the word to shut down discussions. Proof is nothing more than compelling evidence. To insist on or to claim 100% proof is to stop asking questions. If questions are not being asked then science has been abandon. Similarly, to claim an opinion is 100% fact or simply “the way it is” is to abandon science. Question everything, nothing is absolute (yes, I am aware of the irony).

Nikola Tesla

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Inventor, Engineer, Physicist

B: July 10, 1856 – Croatia

D: January 7, 1943 – USA

tesla1Nikola Tesla developed the basis for much of the technology we rely on today. From the alternating current (AC) systems that power the world, fluorescent lighting, x-ray, radar, radio, and on to a technology concept reminiscent of smartphones; Tesla was ahead of his time. He is highly regarded in the paranormal community but, there seems to be little direct basis for the regard. Though, his ideas regarding electromagnetic fields merge nicely with many current philosophies on the paranormal. There is also mention of some potential mental problems and hallucinations following the death of his brother in 1863.

Born in Smiljan, Croatia, Nikola’s father was an Orthodox Priest and his mother ran the family farm. She may have influenced Nikola’s future heavily as she reportedly invented small items to use around their home. Nikola studied math and physics at Realschule Karlstadt in 1873 with a particular interest in electricity. In 1881, while working as an electrical engineer, he was already sharing his ideas to improve AC motors. Prior to coming to the USA in 1884, he worked as a design engineer for the Continental Edison Company in Paris. He had privately and successfully developed his AC motor ideas but, could not find interest for the device in Europe.

After coming to America in 1884, Nikola worked as an engineer for Thomas Edison. Edison, however, had based the future of his company on the use of direct current (DC) power rather than AC. Edison offered Nikola a large sum of money to improve DC technology. Nikola took the challenge and ultimately improved the technology but Edison never paid stating that the offer was some sort of joke. This, along with their differing opinions on AC and DC, led Nikola to leave Edison’s company after only two years.

Nikola endured the following year with a failed attempt to launch his own electric company and survived with odd jobs. During 1887 and 1888 he finally found support for his AC ideas. He was granted more than 30 patents and eventually caught the attention of George Westinghouse, Edison’s primary competitor. George hired Nikola and provided him a lab to develop his ideas further. George also purchased the patents Nikola had received for the AC system. Their partnership ultimately led to the first modern power station with the installation of hydroelectric AC generators at Niagara Falls.

tesla2Though the 1890s and early 1900s, Nikola pioneered many technologies for various measurement devices, improved lighting, x-ray, radio / wireless telegraph and wireless control, naval radar, and more. His most ambitious pursuit involved global wireless communication as well as global wireless power. He had demonstrated the technology for wireless power by lighting lamps a reported 25 miles away without the use of transmission wires. During this time he also reported receiving signals from another planet.

Nikola died alone in his New York apartment with more than 700 patents registered in his name.

References:

Nikola Tesla, the Genius Who Lit the World. (1998). Tesla Society.com website. Retrieved Dec 21, 2014 from http://www.teslasociety.com/biography.htm

Nikola Tesla. (2009). History.com website. Retrieved Dec 21, 2014 from http://www.history.com/topics/inventions/nikola-tesla

Nikola Tesla (2014). Biography.com website. Retrieved Dec 21, 2014 from http://www.biography.com/people/nikola-tesla-9504443