Category Archive: Science

May 15

New Findings in the Drake Equation

Stephanie Kelly
Stephanie Kelly

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By: Stephanie Kelly

In 1961, a man by the name of Dr. Frank Drake developed an equation in the attempt to get the Scientific Community talking about the possibility of civilizations other than on earth. To put it simple; the equation was originally meant to summarize the main concepts that scientists must think about when considering unexplained and questionable radio communication.

This equation, N = R* x fp x ne x fe x fi x fc x L, contains many variables including:
N – the total number of civilizations in the Milky Way
R – the average rate of star formation
Fp – the fraction of formed stars that have planets
Ne – the average number of planets per star that has planets
Fl – the fraction of those planets that have actually developed life
Fi – the fraction of planets with intelligent, civilized life
Fc – the fraction of these civilizations that have detectable communications
L – the length of over which these civilizations release detectable communications

For a little bit of honesty behind this equation; Frank Drake originally made this equation just to get people talking! He wanted to figure out a way of combining the work of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) with mathematics and science. Drake come up with this theory after reading an article by Cocconi and Morrison which fueled his desire to communicate with other beings.

Drake used a 25 meter dish at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory to document his search for signals not created on earth. He named this research ‘Project Ozma.’ Dr. Drake planned on hosting a SETI meetings at the observatory and his preparation for this meeting he, somewhat unintentionally, developed this equation.

Now, let’s jump ahead to 2016! Adam Frank and Woodruff Sullivan, with the University of Rochester, announce their findings after ‘tweaking’ the Drake Equation. Most scientists, prior to Frank and Sullivan, used the Drake Equation in more a research and technology setting and, even then, could only give a scientific guess. Frank and Sullivan where more interested in figuring out how many advanced civilizations, more or less, have developed in the plan of the universe. The first thing this team did was removed the L (length over which these civilization release detectable communications). After that, they got a little fancy; the developed a form of the Drake Equation for Archaeology use. This equation is A = Nast * fbt. This equation takes a new form but is based off of Drakes work. A is the number of technological elements that have ever developed. Nast is the product of R, Fp and Ne of the Drake Equation. Fbt is the product of Fe, Fi and Fc of the Drake Equation.

What did Adam Frank and Woodruff Sullivan discover? Their analysis and research showed that there is less than 1 in 10 Billion Trillion chance that human civilization evolved on only Earth! Does this mean that there are other life forms out there? Does this mean we really are not alone? What is the next step in Science and the Unexplained?

Sources:

Tech Times; Tweaked Drake Equation – http://www.techtimes.com/

…/tweaked-drake-equation-hints-ear…University of Rochester, Are we alone –https://www.rochester.edu/news/are-we-alone-in-the-universe/

Stephanie Kelly's photo.

May 15

UFO or Drone

Stephanie Kelly
Stephanie Kelly

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By Stephanie Kelly

It would appear, from reports, that many people are seeing more unexplained flying objects all around the world. One possibility that has been brought up often is that of Drones or other Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Could this uptick in UFO sightings actually be related to the private and professional use of this type of equipment? Drones have become rather commonplace in many areas ranging from a novice who just likes the ability to record a family outing or gathering to them being used by the Military, Law Enforcement and Movie Studios. With Drones being a rather new piece of equipment, it is important to understand what a drone is, what they can do and what they may look like in the sky.
Drones, also referred to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), are basically flying robots. Most personally owned Drones are flown using a controller by a person on the ground. Commercially owned and Military controlled Drones are known to fly using GPS through software embedded in their systems, thus, no person is required to be within a certain range as it flies. Most normal citizens, in the United States, can’t fly their drone more than 400 feet above the ground by law but Drones have been recorded as high as 3,950 meters above sea level. It is possible for people to get clearance to fly their drone above 400 feet depending on location, weather, insurance and expertise. Most of the military and commercial use of Drones is classified as UAV flight or RPAS, remotely piloted aerial systems, flights. These RPAS and UAVs are made from much higher and longer flights, more than 60,000 feet high for extended time periods.
Now, let’s say you are peering up at the sky after the sun has set and see odd lights in the sky. Drones are also known to have multiple light patterns and colors available, most of which can be adjusted or altered at the flick of a switch or push of a button. The most common light set up for a drone would be 4 lights, typically white or blue, located on the bottom of the craft. Circular drones are known to have lights all the way around. RPAS can have lights that are white, blue, red or green and all them can be operated individually or shut off for surveillance purposes. Just because these shapes, patterns or colors are the norm doesn’t mean they can’t be altered or personalized, most can be completely redone at the owner’s desire.
The next time you see something in the sky, before jumping to the unexplained, try comparing them to known Drone images. You would be surprised at how many different types of UAV’s and different color patterns are available for purchase.

Sourcing:
Internet of Things Agenda –http://internetofthingsagenda.techtarget.com/definiti

…/drone
MUFON – http://www.mufon.com/field-investigators

-…/29-more-on-drones
Friends Committee on National Legistation –http://fcnl.org/issues/foreign_policy/understanding_drones/

Times: UFO Sightings or Drones –http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/11/04/ufo-sightings-drones/

Stephanie Kelly's photo.
Stephanie Kelly's photo.
Stephanie Kelly's photo.

 

Mar 12

Walter Russell

Stephanie Kelly
Stephanie Kelly

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Walter Russell
By Stephanie Kelly

Walter Russell, 1871-1963, was a man of many talents. He has been called a painter, sculptor, musician, and natural philosopher to list a few. He is also considered to be part of the New Thought Movement that started in the 1800’s and was based on combining spirituality and science. Some of the main focuses in the New Thought Movement were hypnotism, mental and spiritual healing along with health care that focused on illness being more mental than physical. To explain it simpler, the New Thought Movement focuses on being one with the world as a whole and less on the man made.
What was Mr. Russell’s role in the New Thought Movement? Walter Russell believed that humans evolved in stages, not only physically but also mentally. He was among the few that believed that the human brain had made leaps in its focus and process such as going from animal awareness as a primary focus to rational awareness. Russell accepted the thought of Richard Bucke that the next big leap in humans was going to be from rational awareness to spiritual consciousness. In an article for Message of the Divine Iliad, Russell stated “This New Age is marking the dawn of a new world-thought. That new thought is a new cosmic concept of the value of man to man. The whole world is discovering that all mankind is one and that the unity of man is real – not just an abstract idea. Mankind is beginning to discover that the hurt of any man hurts every man, and, conversely, the uplift of any man uplifts every man.” Mr. Russell also leased a building known as Swannanoa Mansion for the University of Science and Philosophy. This school was started by Mr. Russell and his wife with the motto “Our purpose is to help unfold the spiritual nature of man in order that the human race will find happiness and peace through knowledge and practice of the Love Principle of Giving and Regiving which Nature alone practices and man defies.” This organization still has a following today though it is no longer recognized as a teaching University and focuses on providing information for people to study independently.
With some research into Mr. Russell and his thoughts on the New Age and New Thought Movement, here is what I have gathered from his writings and biography:
Mr. Russell believed that our brain originally focused on processing its surroundings; animals, plants, weather, etc. This would of been done in a primal survival type of thought process. An example of this today is how an animal can hide an illness or injury so that predators won’t be able to easily spot its weakness. As we, as humans, developed socially and intellectually our thought process also developed. With social and physical stability we were able to develop a mental aware of ourselves more than our surroundings. This in turn caused us to become more aware of our health and injuries and allowed us to begin to show our weaknesses. This also would of caused our brains to develop a compassion and protective concern for others. My interruption of Walter Russell’s believe is that the next stage of mental evolution is that humans will become more aware of the unexplained and spiritual aspect of the world. We will also be able to control our Though he never truly states what our brains with start to process or how they will affect our lives, it does bring up a good conversation and focus of study.
Walter Russell was a very well educated man and he believed that one day spirituality and science will be able to work together under a common goal. Does this mean that he thought basic scientific methods could be used in proving spiritual and unexplained occurrences? It is hard to say if his theory of combining these two has developed or progressed since his death, it is also hard to say if his theory is valid.

Source:
http://www.britannica.com/event/New-Thought
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Russell…

The Man Who Tapped The Secrets Of The Universe, 1946, by Glenn Clark
http://www.philosophy.org/

Jan 31

Nikola Tesla – Human beings, not of this world

Stephanie Kelly
Stephanie Kelly

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t1February 9, 1901, Nikola Tesla, in an article published in the Collier’s Weekly, made many statements concerning his experiments at his Laboratory in Colorado that would make many in his field question him for the rest of his life. “I was familiar… with such electrical disturbances as are produced by the sun, Aurora Borealis and earth currents, and I was as sure as I could be of any fact that these variations were due to none of these causes…” That statement alone made many question the sanity, stability and intelligence of Tesla. How could a well known scientist and inventor believe that he had experienced something that couldn’t be explained?

As his fellow researchers, engineers and scientists continued reading this, somewhat rambling, article their eyes widened, “They are the results of an attempt by some human beings, not of this world; to speak to us by signals…”
These two statements, by themselves, make you wonder what did he hear? My first thought was these statements have to be, in some way, taken out of context! What scientist would openly, and with complete certainty, say they received an attempt at communication from someone or something not of this world. With some time and research I was able to find the original Articles titled “Talking with the Planets” (http://earlyradiohistory.us/1901talk.htm). This article appears to cover his presumption and experimentation in Colorado in the late 1890’s.

t2Upon reading this complete article in detail, twice, I had to find more concerning what he had experienced and what tests he had done in that Colorado Laboratory. Certain statements made in the article such as, “My first observations positively terrified me, as there was present in them something mysterious, not to say supernatural, and I was alone in my laboratory at night; but at that time the idea of these disturbances being intelligently controlled signals did not yet present itself to me” made me want to see what exactly these experiments were!
Without the extensive knowledge that Tesla had, it’s hard for me understand his notes concerning the Colorado experiments. What is certain is that Tesla did keep detailed notes of his daily or weekly experiments concerning a Spark Gap Transmitter. He also used a “Magnifying Transmitter” in these experiments along with controlling and altering the electromagnetic fields to fit his needs. Sadly, his notes do not exactly mention what he experienced, in detail, concerning the sound or signal that he observed.

t3Did Tesla truly experience a paranormal occurrence? How, and at what stage of his research, did he have this first observation? It is known that Tesla was a very intelligent man, but would tendency for instability, both mentally and financially, alter the value of his experiences? There are many questions that Tesla left unanswered and it is not known if answers will ever be found for these questions!

Sourcing:
http://earlyradiohistory.us/1901talk.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/…/Colorado_Springs_Notes,_1899%E2%…
http://www.tesla-museum.org/meni_en/nt.php?link=tesla%2&
http://www.ancient-code.com/nikola-tesla-secrets-behind-ge…/
https://teslauniverse.com

Jan 24

Ideomotor Effect

Lisa Shaner-Hilty

Lisa Shaner-Hilty

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.
Lisa Shaner-Hilty

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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]

SOURCES:
Psychology Today [1]
National Institute of Health [2]
Critical-thinking.org [3]
The Skeptic’s Dictionary [4]
Smithsonian.com [5]
Web.randi.org [image]

Oct 24

Demonic Possession and the resemblance to Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis

Holly Moreland

Holly Moreland

Director - Div 2 at National Paranormal Society
Hi, My name is Holly. I live in the middle of Michigan on a small quiet lake with my significant other. I have 2 children, and a couple I choose to also call my own! I have had a few experiences that have made me scratch my head about so I reached out to see what others have encountered! I love to research and communicate what I find in any aspect of life! I also seem to have a need to help others or I could say others seem to seek me out for help! Happy to be part of the group!!.
Holly Moreland

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Demonic Possession and the resemblance to Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis.

By Holly Moreland

 

Lets talk today about “demonic possession” and the resemblance to Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis. What is Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis you ask? I will get to that in a minute. I first want to tell you what originally sparked my interest in this particular subject. I am guilty! My interest did not come from the very well known movie “The Exorcist”, but came from watching a movie “Exorcism of Emily Rose”. Many of you may have watched this movie based on the case of Anneliese Michel. Now I am not saying that Anneliese suffered from this disease. Only that it peeked my interest and some of the symptoms are so similar. Makes one wonder if this disease had been discovered back then if it was possible it could have been the cause and had a different outcome.

I came across an actual case of Susannah Cahalan. A healthy 24 year old reporter for the New York Post. She was the 217th person to be diagnosed with this disease in 2009. The disease was first identified in 2007. I have attached a link to one of many articles telling her story.

Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis is a rare autoimmune disease that can attack the brain. Antibodies turn on the brain its self and causes it to swell. The disease mostly infects young women and is often mis diagnosed as psychological disorders, and possibly demonic possession. Although extremely rare, you can see why asking the tough questions and searching for all answers is crucial to the paranormal community.

Main symptoms

Flu-like symptoms

Memory deficits, including loss of short-term memory;

Sleep disorders;

Speech dysfunction – the patient is no longer able to produce coherent language or may be completely unable to communicate

Cognitive and behavioral disturbances – confused thinking, hallucinations, delusional thinking, dis inhibited behaviors;

Seizures;

Movement disorders – usually of the arms and legs and the mouth and tongue, but may include full body spasms. These types of movements are very common in Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis and the patient is unable to control them. They are often quite severe, requiring the patient to be restrained and sedated for their own safety and those of their care-givers. Sometimes patients are unable to move, and may appear like a statue, holding the same position for hours or days (catatonia);

Loss of consciousness – The patient may be semi-conscious or may slip into a coma;

Autonomic dysfunction – erratic breathing, heartbeat and blood pressure; loss of bladder control and bowel movements;

Central hypoventilation – the patient may stop breathing, and may require a mechanical breathing machine.

Vision and/or hearing may also be impaired.

I encourage you to read Susannah’s story! How her life was turned upside down! Her symptoms were mimicking that of what some people believe to be demonic possession. Also read the article attached on the disease. What are your thoughts? What might we ask or do if we come across such a case this extreme?

http://www.antinmdafoundation.org/…/what-is-anti-nmda-rece…/

Oct 24

How To Keep The Pareidolia Under Control

How To Keep The Pareidolia Under Control
by Jim Brown for NPS


Previous articles I have written have covered equipment quality and how we are all influenced by pareidolia. It was shown that most “evidence” can be dismissed due to pareidolia, and that we all fall victim to this phenomena. This article will address a couple methods we can use to help reduce the influence of pareidolia on our audio recordings.

There are two major factors that come into play when we do EVP / AVP work. The first are our preconceptions. We enter an area and begin asking questions. Unwittingly we have already set ourselves up for pareidolia. We expect an answer! Our minds are keyed up for a response to our questions. And often we begin by asking something like ,”Is anyone here?”

How stupid is that! We expect a “Yes” answer, otherwise why would we even be here in the first place? We have already conditioned ourselves for an expected response before it even comes. Not only that, the expected response is actually favored by the conditions at hand! Consider the fallacy of even asking a “Yes-No” question.

Let’s look at the word “Yes” itself. It is comprised of three phonemes; A minor (not emphasized) “y” sound at the beginning, the major “eh” phoneme at the center, followed by an “ss” sound at the end of the word. Provide those phonemes and pareidolia will allow almost everyone to hear the word “Yes” regardless of whether the phonemes are real or just approximations of the word. Now where might these sounds originate?

All recordings have a certain level of electron hiss present. That sound mimics the “SS” sound in speech. It is available to add its influence at all times. Next the minor “y” sound. That is not a strong phoneme and in fact may not even be present, yet if conditions are right, pareidolia will supply it to the interpretation. So really all we need is a trigger; something like the “eh” sound. It turn out that this one of the most common sounds in speech, and also is very similar to many background sounds we encounter. So we ask the question and something makes a sound similar to the “eh” sound. Our mind picks up on that and immediately also notices the faint electron noise hiss in the background. Now we hear “ehss”! The “y” sound is not really there, but it doesn’t take much for the pareidolia effect to add it in. And of course, we are already conditioned to expect a positive response. So now we have the answer to our question, “Is anyone here?” “y+eh+ss” or YES!

What about “No”? “NO” involves two phonemes, however both are much less likely to be generated than those in the word “Yes”. First, both are major, that is strong. They are also of longer duration. Thus the probability of spurious generation is reduced meaning the probability of pareidolia generating the word “NO” is greatly reduced. This can be proven if one simply looks at responses claimed to be EVP by those who have done sessions. You will find that “YES” responses outnumber “NO” responses claimed by about four to one. Between the preconception of expecting a “Yes” response and the characteristic of the word itself it can be shown that pareidolia is responsible for most of these claims.

What can we do to minimize this effect? The best method is to ask questions requiring a more in depth response. As the number of phonemes increases the probability of pareidolia decreases simply because the response becomes more complex. One or two phonemes may accidentally fall together to form a word, but putting 8 or 10 together at random is much less probable, unless of course speech is actually present. So ask questions requiring opinion or observation, not single word responses. Responses will come much less frequently, but it is no coincidence that pareidolia also decreases.

The second way we can identify pareidolia is by a more careful review of any recording we may obtain. Earlier I mentioned how pareidolia builds words from phonemes. We can be more diligent about those phonemes. Let’s reconsider the word “Yes”, and its three phonemes. Listen critically, are ALL those phonemes really there? Make an effort to hear each including the minor “y” sound. Does the “S” sound end abruptly as a word or does it just fade into the background like electron hiss? Often a critical analysis of the word reveals it is not as it first seems. Pareidolia has struck again! And if we can identify it as such we will obtain much more reliable evidence and less easily debunked wishful thinking.

Oct 24

Choosing The Proper Digital Recorder for EVP Work

Choosing The Proper Digital Recorder for EVP Work

by Jim Brown for NPS

 

First, to be clear I am not recommending any particular make or model.  To do so would require that I have actually tested it in my lab under controlled conditions.   Since my name is not Donald Trump, I can’t afford to buy one of everything and conduct the level of testing needed to make such a determination of which is “Best”.

 

What I can do is post a list and explain the specifications your recorder must meet to conduct such research and minimize false positives.  You can also use this list to determine the proper setting for your recorder; even the most expensive recorders can be downgraded by their settings to be rendered useless.  No matter what recorder you use it is your obligation to use settings which meet or exceed these specifications.

 

So let’s begin.

 

  1. Your recorder shall record in stereo (Two or more independent tracks). This is done for two purposes.  First since we have two ears it allows us to form a sense of direction for the source.  That same audio can also be used with an oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer should you want to conduct more intense spatial analysis of the area.  (I won’t go into all that here, suffice it to say spatial analysis requires two channels sourced from mics a known distance apart.)   The second reason is redundancy.  Two mics using two separate amplifiers are unlikely to pick up the same external interference should it occur.  Thus stereo recordings provide their own reference against each other.

 

  1. Your recorder shall use a 24 bit wide A to D converter. Many voice recorders only use 16.  The number of bits represent the number of possible audio levels available for conversion.  This is the resolution of your audio and directly affects the amount of conversion errors. (All conversion has some.)  An analogy to this is better understood in photography.  All factors equal, a 15 megapixel camera can produce a much sharper picture than a 4 megepixel camera.  Thus the possibility of canversion errors and pareidolia is reduced by the higher bit count.

 

  1. Your recorder shall sample at 96 KBPS or higher. The sample rate is the number of conversions made each second.  I won’t go into Nyquist Points and how the conversion errors increase as the signal approaches the frequency of the signal.   Suffice it to say that to obtain a good conversion with minimal aliasing the sample rate must be at least 3 times the highest frequency being converted. Since the “S” sounds in speech require up to 4 kHz, one might suspect that a sample rate of 12 kBPS would be sufficient.   But that would be wrong.

 

The Nyquist Point applies to sinosodial waveforms.  Speech is irregular and contains harmonics needed to provide proper inflections.  If we were to look at how the various frequencies interact on a scope it can be shown that we must provide the second, third, and fourth harmonic to properly represent the signal.  Thus our “S” sound is not 4 kHz, but 12 kHz!  So the minimum sample rate has just been bumped up to 36 KBPS.

 

I added the extra sampling simply because we don’t know what EVP is. We can’t definitively say there is no EVP audio above the “S” sound.  So extending it to 96 KBPS actually allows good converion with minimal error up to 6 Khz, just in case something else is present at the higher audio frequency.

 

  1. Your Recorder shall use a non-lossy conversion protocol. One of the problems facing digital recording is file size.  As a result to keep size down a system called Code-Excited Linear Prediction (CELP) was developed.  While I won’t get into the complex algorithms involved, in summary it looks at each sample then makes a prediction what the next SHOULD be.  Thus some samples can be  skipped to minimize memory usage, the algorithm fills in for the ones ommitted.  But since we don’t know what represents an EVP, how can we determine what can be safely removed from one?

 

The solution is to use a protocol known as Pulse-Code Modulation. (PCM) This is a much simpler method; it simply samples the audio and saves each conversion.  Thus there are no conversion errors introduced, but at the expense of requiring much more memory capacity and large files.  Thus to satisy this requirement your recorder shall use PCM, not CELP for conversion.

 

  1. Your Recorder shall use a non-lossy file format. Related to conversion is file handling. Losses and errors are introduced if a file is compressed.  Many recorders use the MP3 format to keep file size down.  This is unacceptable.  Rather the proper format is WAV.  This simply saves the digital equivalent of the audio without compression.  So your EVP recordings must be in uncompressed WAV format.  (Note:  Beware, some variations of WAV exist which do involve compression algorithms.  These are also unacceptable.)

 

All of the above specifications can be obtained from manufacturer’s spec sheets for any machine you may be considering.   There is a sixth requirement that is generally more difficult to obtain but is very important.   Usually (Rule of thumb here)  the more the recorder costs the more likely it is to meet this requirement.

 

  1. Your recorder shall incorporate adequate shileding against stray EM Fields. Failure here produces “EVP” caused by radio broadcasts or other outside interference.  Tests to verify proper shielding can be done in a lab where a strong RF field is generated around the recorder while recording.  The recorder should pick up no interference from the RF.   You can also do a quick and dirty version of this test yourself if you live near a strong AM radio station.   Simply visit the transmitter site and record silence.  If the radio station can be heard the recorder fails the test.  (Not definitive but it does rule out some of the more obvious failures before they get used to create more false EVP.)

 

Next: EVP Session methods.

 

 

Oct 24

Strengths and Limitations of Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Lillee Allee

Lillee Allee

Representative at National Paranormal Society
Lillee Allee has studied religion, spirituality and paranormal investigation for over 40 years. She is the widow of John D. Allee, an internationally known dark magician. She continues to consult in paranormal investigation. Her specialties include: Marian and cultural spiritual phenomena/apparitions, spiritual support to teams and clients who want spiritual counseling after investigation, evp work and old school audio, the accuracy and research of past life regression and seance, and spiritual protection. Lillee was also one of the first to incorporate trained canines into paranormal investigations. She hosts a radio program on the para-x.com network, Happy Mediums, with Debra Ann Freeman, who also consults with paranormal investigative teams in Southern New England. Lillee is a published author and journalist, and legal clergy with degrees in psychology and mass communication. Lillee walks on the middle path sees learning as a life-long endeavor and is looking to make a difference and contribution to this field before she too will be heard on someone’s EVP. Lillee is always available to educate and consult and continues to enjoy guesting on other’s radio and television programs.
Lillee Allee

Latest posts by Lillee Allee (see all)

Strengths and Limitations of Qualitative and Quantitative Research

By Lillee Allee

 

Research methods in social sciences fall into two basic categories: qualitative or quantative. Simply defined, qualitative research involves open-ended questions, diaries and interviews. While these studies are helpful, actual analysis can be difficult. Quantitative research can be ranked, reduced to numbers, measurements and ratings. Thus, analysis is made easier with clearer conclusions. Some work offers quantitative and qualitative data such as a questionnaire which will have yes/no answers (reduced to numbers) and descriptions of events (which are qualitative.

 

Qualitative studies have many strengths and limitations, as do quantitative works.

Leedy and Ormond (2005) point out that problems may arise with quantitative research because it is often in a manipulated, experimental setting (such as a laboratory). While the researcher’s level of control is high in a quantitative study, there is also a chance that the results may not transfer to the general population in natural settings

 

Case studies would fall under qualitative research. Qualitative methods are invaluable to explore an issue and to gain some understanding, but also can be very limited in terms of generalizations. As Leedy and Ormond also note, with some qualitative studies, again such as an investigation, the researcher becomes a part of the experiment itself and this can cause some problems relating to objectivity. There is also a need for the researcher to remain understanding and willing to spend time understanding his or her role and not bring personal bias into the equation. This could inevitably cause confusion in later analysis and in provided conclusions that the data seems to support, but is ultimately flawed.

 

Gathering data can also be tricky. If there is more than one observer, it is very important that their results agree in terms of actual behaviors observed. Inter-rater reliability is defined as “the correlation between several ratings by independent evaluators of a variable (for example, participant’s performance) that is, the extent of agreement among the evaluators” (Corsini, 2002, p. 502). Leedy and Ormrod state it “is the extent to which two or more individuals evaluating the same product or performance give identical judgments” (p. 97). This is an important area that needs to be discussed between paranormal teams and the entire community.

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Corsini, R. (2002) The Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Brunner Routledge.

Gladding, S. T. (2005). The counseling dictionary. (2nd ed.) Upper Saddle River,

NJ: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.

Leedy, P. D., & Ormrod, J. E. (2005). Practical research: Planning and design (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.

McLeod, Saul. Qualitative Quantitative (2008) Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/qualitative-quantitative.html

 

Oct 24

Balanced Rock

Lillee Allee

Lillee Allee

Representative at National Paranormal Society
Lillee Allee has studied religion, spirituality and paranormal investigation for over 40 years. She is the widow of John D. Allee, an internationally known dark magician. She continues to consult in paranormal investigation. Her specialties include: Marian and cultural spiritual phenomena/apparitions, spiritual support to teams and clients who want spiritual counseling after investigation, evp work and old school audio, the accuracy and research of past life regression and seance, and spiritual protection. Lillee was also one of the first to incorporate trained canines into paranormal investigations. She hosts a radio program on the para-x.com network, Happy Mediums, with Debra Ann Freeman, who also consults with paranormal investigative teams in Southern New England. Lillee is a published author and journalist, and legal clergy with degrees in psychology and mass communication. Lillee walks on the middle path sees learning as a life-long endeavor and is looking to make a difference and contribution to this field before she too will be heard on someone’s EVP. Lillee is always available to educate and consult and continues to enjoy guesting on other’s radio and television programs.
Lillee Allee

Latest posts by Lillee Allee (see all)

Balanced Rock

By Lillee Allee

You are driving down the road and see a huge rock supported by some smaller stones, and it is guaranteed to pique your interest. The North Salem dolmen or also known as The Balanced Rock is found in North Salem, New York State is on Route 121/116 south of Keeler Road, on the left. The barn next to the rock is a town building that has a small pull-off area out front.

Balanced Rock is what is known as a propped boulder. According to Nativestones.com, a propped boulder is a huge stone supported with one or more stones under them. The big stone, lifted by the smaller ones, shows a gap between the boulder and the soil. When lifted above the land, the structure is called a dolmen (Gaelic for table). The main boulder, that measures 16 x 14 x 10 feet, is a pink granite boulder balanced on five limestone (or marble) supports.

While no one questions its existence, there are theories and debates about what has caused or who has built this dolmen in the state of New York.

It is important to remember that some propped boulders were naturally created by glaciers during their recession at the end of the ice age. Others say that it was a construction by Native Americans as a worship site. Still others saw that it was constructed by Celts who had come to North America before Columbus. The Celts would have constructed the dolman for tombs, worship or ceremonial rituals. This Celtic theory also allows that the dolmen was built to honor a king, such as in Ireland,

The roadside informational sign adjacent to the boulder long maintained the stone was a glacial erratic.  In recent years, the possibility of it being a Viking construction has also been added to this sign, despite the fact that there is no evidence of Vikings in New York.

It is up to the observer to make his own conclusions. If you visit the site, first look at the smaller stones. Natural creation would show evidence of the stones being tumbled with round edges. Check the measurements between the stones. Decide if these stones may have been purposely positioned by a human being. Rounded smaller stones cannot automatically be considered as natural, so look at the evidence.

In the larger boulder, many see pronounced striping that is visible in some photos. Some visitors even believe that there is evidence of old paint on the stone.

Judge for yourself. who or what set these stones up? Native Americans? Glaciers? Nordic visitors? Celts? Or, is there another possible answer?

 

 

Sources

 

Balanced Rock, North Salem, NY. Retrieved October 10, 2015 from http://www.adventuresaroundputnam.com/day-trips-outside-putnam/balanced-rocknorth-salem-ny/

 

The Balanced Rock, Town of North Salem. Retrieved October 10, 2015

from http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM3099_The_Balanced_Rock_Town_of_North_Salem_NY

 

North Salem Dolmen. Retrieved October 10, 2015 from http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=15600

 

Propped Boulders. Retrieved October 10, 2015 from http://www.nativestones.com/prop.htm

 

Sacred sites of Northeast USA: North Salem Dolman or Balanced Rock

(May 9, 2010). Retrieved October 10, 2015 from http://www.examiner.com/article/sacred-sites-of-northeast-usa-new-york-north-salem-dolmen-or-balanced-rock-north-salem-ny

Oct 01

What is a Thermal Imager?

Sara Fawley

Sara Fawley

Hello my name is Sara Fawley. I was born and raised in San Diego, Ca Oct 1965. I lived there until I was 19, then moved with my now ex-husband to Texas where I lived for the next 25 years. I have two grown sons who are married and have lives and families of their own. My current husband and I now live in a small town in Arkansas with our dachshund Shabar. I owned and antiques and collectibles shop but closed it down in September 2013 after having a heart attack. I still buy and sell antiques and collectibles and make handmade natural gemstone jewelry which we sell at shows and festivals. I don't recall ever not knowing that there was more than just us out there. My first experience happened when I was a young child and was visited by my godfather "Grandpa Clyde" at the time of his death and for three weeks after that. I have seen one other full bodied apparition in my life and had several other minor experiences that left me scratching my head.I am not an investigator but have a huge thirst for knowledge. I am always looking up this or that legend, myth or story I hear or sometimes I just have random thoughts and look them up to see if anyone else thinks the same way. I am very analytically minded and always like to get to the bottom of things.
Sara Fawley

Latest posts by Sara Fawley (see all)

007-3483-01_LgOne thing we all hear about in relation to paranormal research is thermal imaging. If you watch the paranormal shows it is used by all the “famous” ghost hunters but what is it and how does it work?

Before I started researching this, I thought I understood what it was and how it worked. I thought of it in the simplest terms. A thermal imager detects heat and cold, puts it up on a screen for you to see and if you see heat or cold where there shouldn’t be any you might have captured a ghost. Right? Well, according to some of what I have found in my research, this is not necessarily correct.

Like I did, most people seem to view a thermal imager as a “heat viewer”. The research I have done indicates it is more complicated than that. It is more like a camera that instead of recording visible light records mid and far infrared.

Digital cameras pick up visible wave lengths, what we see with the human eye. Thermal imagers pick up longer wavelengths ( further from the visible spectrum ). Most objects just absorb or emit these wavelengths without reflecting them. We are used to seeing objects by reflected light but the thermal imager sees them by virtue of emitted mid and far IR. The wavelength of this emitted radiation is characteristic of the temperature of the object which is why it can be used to produce a ‘thermal image’. The wavelength of the radiation is measured in an array of tiny sensors which is used to calculate an equivalent temperature for each point. This is used to build up a ‘false colour’ contour image of the scene showing the temperature of the visible surfaces.

The world looks very different through the eyes of a thermal imager. Most objects will give a temperature reading to the thermal imager. This is because they emit mid and far IR rather than reflect it. Since the image shows the temperature instead of the light reflected off of it, there can be hot and cold spots that would not show up in a regular photograph that is only portraying reflected light.An object that has previously been in contact with another object that is hot/cold can still reflect that heat/cold since heat, unlike light, moves slowly through a solid object. An example of this is a chair may still show a warm image of a human for some time after they have gotten up out of the chair when viewed with the thermal imager.

Not all surfaces show their true temperature. Some surfaces like metal, glass, polished ceramic and stone actually reflect mid and far IR rather than emit it.Any temperatures or even images on these surfaces could quite possibly be a reflection from another source. These types of reflective surfaces can even reflect radiation onto surrounding surfaces, warming them up. Reflective objects can also reflect radiation directly into the thermal imager lens causing strange false images similar to lens flare in a regular camera.

Since mid – far IR acts like light, you can still get the same type of anomalies that appear in regular light digital photographs. Strange shapes ( faces, figures, etc) can show up appearing to be paranormal in nature. Since objects appear completely different in IR than they due is regular light this can lead to false perception of images. What appears to be a tall ghostly figure on the thermal imager may in fact really be a tall metal object.

As with ordinary cameras, images in the thermal imager can be out of focus.Also, since mid and far IR has a longer wavelength that light images will always appear fuzzier than in normal light photographs. Because of this, thermal images should not be expected to produce a lot of detail.
One way to combat this is to always use a regular light camera in conjuction with a thermal imager. In this way the identity of any strange shapes that appear in the thermal imager can be verified.

Am I saying that thermal imagers are useless in detecting possible paranormal anomalies or events? Absolutely not. What I am suggestig is that the more you know about how they work and what they are actually showing the less chance you will have of being fooled by a false image. Knowledge is power and the more we know and understand about the technology we are using the better chance we have of finding and understanding those things that truly are unexplained by science as we now know it.

http://www.assap.ac.uk/…/ar…/Thermal%20imaging%20ghosts.html
http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/…/hig…/nightvision3.htm

Oct 01

Ball Lightenting- The Answer to Some Paranormal Mysteries?

Sara Fawley

Sara Fawley

Hello my name is Sara Fawley. I was born and raised in San Diego, Ca Oct 1965. I lived there until I was 19, then moved with my now ex-husband to Texas where I lived for the next 25 years. I have two grown sons who are married and have lives and families of their own. My current husband and I now live in a small town in Arkansas with our dachshund Shabar. I owned and antiques and collectibles shop but closed it down in September 2013 after having a heart attack. I still buy and sell antiques and collectibles and make handmade natural gemstone jewelry which we sell at shows and festivals. I don't recall ever not knowing that there was more than just us out there. My first experience happened when I was a young child and was visited by my godfather "Grandpa Clyde" at the time of his death and for three weeks after that. I have seen one other full bodied apparition in my life and had several other minor experiences that left me scratching my head.I am not an investigator but have a huge thirst for knowledge. I am always looking up this or that legend, myth or story I hear or sometimes I just have random thoughts and look them up to see if anyone else thinks the same way. I am very analytically minded and always like to get to the bottom of things.
Sara Fawley

Latest posts by Sara Fawley (see all)

10421589_10207909252514253_4882048914815285993_nBall Lightening appears as a floating fireball which has little tendrils emanating from it that appear to jerk it around. It floats around erratically followed by smoke trails that spiral around it and typically last from one to 30 seconds. They shine as brightly as a 100 watt light-bulb, can be white, yellow , orange red or blue in color and are most generally the size of a grapefruit although reported sightings have ranged from golf ball to beach ball size. They most usually occur during thunderstorms, however there have been sightings that have occurred when no storm was present.

What causes Ball Lightning?

While theories on what exactly ball lightning is have ranged from plasma clouds to mini black hole to aliens there is no absolute scientific answer at this time. There is one very promising theory however that becomes more promising the more it is looked into.

The most promising current theory, proposed by John Abrahamson at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, suggests that ball lightning is the result of a chemical reaction of silicon particles burning in the air.

Silicon , which occurs naturally in soil, combines with oxygen and carbon and turns to pure silicon vapor when lightning strikes the ground. As the vapor cools the silicon condenses into a fine dust. The particles in this fine dust are attracted to each other by the electrical charge from the lightning and form a ball.

The glow and heat is a chemical reaction when the silicon reacts with oxygen in the air. Once the silicon has burned out, the ball lightning disappears.

The theory also suggests that other materials such as aluminum and iron metal can also cause the fireballs, and that any atmospheric discharge, not just lightning, may explain why ball lightning has been sighted near power poles, electrical fitters and even active faults.

This theory has been tested with some success. Researcher Antonio Pavao and Gerson Paiva of the Federal University of Pernambuco in Brazil believe they have verified the theory with silicon substrate and a high voltage arc. They applied 140 amps of electricity to silicon substrate which vaporized the substrate and sometimes produced golf ball sized fireballs.

Eli Jerby and Vladimer Dikhtyar of Tel Aviv University in Israel, successfully recreated ball lightning with a device they call a “microwave drill”. The “microwave drill” is made from a magnetron taken from a kitchen microwave oven and a powerful microwave beam capable of penetrating solid objects.
The tip of the drill aims the beam at a solid object ( silicon and alumina were among the substances tested) and creates a hot spot in the solid. When the beam is pulled away from the hot spot, the drag produces a fireball resembling ball lightning.

In July 2012, Ping Yuan from Northwest Normal University in Lanzhou,China was prart of a group studying regular lightning on the remote Qinghai Plateau of northwest China. During one evening they saw ball lightning appear after a lightning strike about 900 meters from their equipment and were able to record a spectrum and high speed video footage of the ball.

Yuan and his fellow researchers found that the spectrum contained several emission lines from silicon, iron and calcium, all elements expected to be abundant in soil. This is in line with and seems to somewhat confirm John Abrahamson’s theory, at least in part.

How does this apply to the paranormal?

If the portion of Mr Abrahamson’s theory about ball lightning that states it can be created by other atmospheric discharges other lightning proves correct then I would propose it could be a possible answer for some of the case of “mystery lights” that have been reported all over the country for centuries. I have not seen any instances of studies where this theory has been tested but I wonder if there are any power poles, electrical fitters or active faults near the occurrences of “mystery lights” such as the Brown Mountain or Marfa Lights for example. If there are and there are concentrations of silicon or aluminum in the area this could be a possible viable explanation of these occurrences in my opinion.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/…/atmo…/ball-lightning1.htm
http://physics.aps.org/articles/v7/5

Oct 01

Audio Pariedolia- Hearing is not always believing

Sara Fawley

Sara Fawley

Hello my name is Sara Fawley. I was born and raised in San Diego, Ca Oct 1965. I lived there until I was 19, then moved with my now ex-husband to Texas where I lived for the next 25 years. I have two grown sons who are married and have lives and families of their own. My current husband and I now live in a small town in Arkansas with our dachshund Shabar. I owned and antiques and collectibles shop but closed it down in September 2013 after having a heart attack. I still buy and sell antiques and collectibles and make handmade natural gemstone jewelry which we sell at shows and festivals. I don't recall ever not knowing that there was more than just us out there. My first experience happened when I was a young child and was visited by my godfather "Grandpa Clyde" at the time of his death and for three weeks after that. I have seen one other full bodied apparition in my life and had several other minor experiences that left me scratching my head.I am not an investigator but have a huge thirst for knowledge. I am always looking up this or that legend, myth or story I hear or sometimes I just have random thoughts and look them up to see if anyone else thinks the same way. I am very analytically minded and always like to get to the bottom of things.
Sara Fawley

Latest posts by Sara Fawley (see all)

11863422_10207891157061878_8770335075788667452_nAudio Pariedolia is a subject I find fascinating, but something I think gets easily dismissed as a possible answer for phantom noises and voices. Audio Pariedolia works much the same way as the visual version.

The definition of Pareidolia (Pair-eye-dough-lee-ya) is – the phenomenon that causes the human brain to perceive random stimulation as significant. You hear a random noise, it could in reality be anything (whistles, a motor, wind, etc) your brain attempts to make sense of it. To do this it goes into it’s stored database of recognizable sounds and picks the one that matches most closely then tells your ears “This is what you are hearing”.

How does it do this? There are a couple of theorized reasons. One is that it picks the first most common recognizable sound in it’s databank. One theory is that this is why hearing your own name seemingly out of thin air is fairly common. You have been hearing your own name your whole life so it stands to reason that this is what your brain would pick for any unrecognizable sound that even remotely resembles it.

Another theory is that the power of suggestion plays a big part in it. An example of this is : Someone plays a clip of what they say is an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) that they have captured. You listen to it and hear nothing but random noise. Then they tell you ( either verbally in person or in written form if you are watching a video of it) what it is they believe they hear. You listen to it again and “Bingo” you hear exactly what they heard. Why didn’t you hear it the first time? Power of suggestion?

Now I know some people are going to immediately say “This is a bunch of baloney and psychobabble. I know what I heard” In searching for information I found a couple of experiments to test the power of suggestion theory. Give them a read and try the experiments. You may just change your mind and start questioning if hearing really is believing.

 

In this first article the experiment is in the last paragraph before the “Notes” section.
http://www.thecollapsedwavefunction.com/…/30-second-science…

Here is another one to try if you have the equipment necessary.
http://www.education.com/…/art…/hear-what-they-want-to-hear/

I am not saying this is the absolute, definitive answer to every instance of unexplained noises, but it should give us pause to think and consider that sometimes random noises are just that.

http://theness.com/roguesgal…/…/skepticism/audio-pareidolia/
http://hearinglosshelp.com/…/apophenia-audio-pareidolia-an…/

Sep 17

The Brain Waves 101

Lillee Allee

Lillee Allee

Representative at National Paranormal Society
Lillee Allee has studied religion, spirituality and paranormal investigation for over 40 years. She is the widow of John D. Allee, an internationally known dark magician. She continues to consult in paranormal investigation. Her specialties include: Marian and cultural spiritual phenomena/apparitions, spiritual support to teams and clients who want spiritual counseling after investigation, evp work and old school audio, the accuracy and research of past life regression and seance, and spiritual protection. Lillee was also one of the first to incorporate trained canines into paranormal investigations. She hosts a radio program on the para-x.com network, Happy Mediums, with Debra Ann Freeman, who also consults with paranormal investigative teams in Southern New England. Lillee is a published author and journalist, and legal clergy with degrees in psychology and mass communication. Lillee walks on the middle path sees learning as a life-long endeavor and is looking to make a difference and contribution to this field before she too will be heard on someone’s EVP. Lillee is always available to educate and consult and continues to enjoy guesting on other’s radio and television programs.
Lillee Allee

Latest posts by Lillee Allee (see all)

brainwavesThere are many parts of our body that go through regular cycles. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences state that “Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment. They are found in most living things, including animals, plants and many tiny microbes. The study of circadian rhythms is called chronobiology (para 1). It is related to our biological clock. Further, circadian rhythms can influence sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, body temperature and other important bodily functions. They have been linked to various sleep disorders, such as insomnia. Abnormal circadian rhythms have also been associated with obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder (para 7). Females often are aware of their position on their monthly cycle which ultimate determines and controls fertility. Other cycles include the elimination of what you have ingested, eating and digestion, and absorption and use.

The average person is usually shocked to find that the brain actually also goes through cycles. How do these waves happen? They occur naturally in our brains from the firing of neurons – there are electrical cells in our brain who communicate with each other and can be measured with an electroencephalogram, better known as an EEG. From studies in the 1930’s and 40s, scientists discovered these cycles and found the higher the cycle, the higher the awareness. Subsequent studies found sensory motor rhythm (SMR, 14 Hz) which links brain and body functions and gamma brain waves (39-100 Hz) are found in highly trained mind such as highly experienced meditators and highly focused work and the integration of data in the mind.

Many believe that these cycles can be manipulated and used to assist one to train their brain (or maybe be trained by their brain). On those days, that you feel focused, alert and ready to work, your brain is in beta. Beta waves range from 40-13 Hertz. Hertz is a scale of measurement, The hertz (symbol Hz) is the unit of frequency in the International System of Units (SI) and is defined as one cycle per second (cps). Heinrich Rudolf Hertz first established conclusive evidence of the existence of electromagnetic waves.

When you are in a creative, laid-back, relaxed state, you have lowered your cycles per second to the Alpha state. That sharp state has slowly transitioned to a calmer brain wave. Many find this helpful for creativity, creative visualization, prayer and light meditation, grounding and centering one’s self, stress and anxiety reduction. Alpha is also the gateway to other states of consciousness. At this Hz of 12-7, some way it is an optimum way to reduce blood pressure and increase health. You are right below consciousness, or have descended to below the level of normal awareness. According to Tools for Wellness, “alpha is also the home of the window frequency known as the Schuman Resonance – the resonant frequency of the earth’s electromagnetic field. From this scientific, measurable state, many say this is where the metaphysics begin. Is this the window that those who claim to have the gifts of prophecy, psychic work or mediumship as well as the place where behavior change can work more easily?

Theta is the next level, 7-4 Hz, it is lower and some claim it to be the place where the brain is working much slower. Some psychic healers say this is where the deepest spiritualist work can come. Some say this is a where your brain is said to be when you are in surgery or even in a coma. You are so close to sleep, but yet still retain a tiny amount of awareness. This is the area where one can work on intuition, memory, and deep meditation. This is where the brain can help one in overcoming addictions, quicker learning and retention, dream recall and deep hypnosis.

The final state is Delta,4-0 Hz, the slowest brain waves possible before death, but similar to a deep, deep sleep It has been said this is where one can experience an increase of the human growth hormone. Delta is an area that is best used only for sleep and with the assistance of professionals.

Fascinating, isn’t it? Imagine the applications! This is science that meets the medical community, the psychological fields and adds an interesting twinge to the fringe science known as parapsychology.

Sources

Hertz. Retrieved September 6, 2015 from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hertz

National Institute of General Medical Science. Circadian Rhythms Fact Sheet. Retrieved September 6, 2015 from http://www.nigms.nih.gov/…/…/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx

The Basics of Brain Waves. Retrieved September 6, 2015 from
http://www.brainandhealth.com/Brain-Waves.html

The Four Brain States. Retrieved September 6, 2015 from
http://www.toolsforwellness.com/brainstates.html

The Three Body States. Retrieved September 6, 2015 from
http://public.thinkmoreraw.com/3-body-cycles

Jul 29

Top 5 Ghost Hunting Mistakes Science and Pseudoscience in Ghost Hunting

Top 5 Ghost Hunting Mistakes Science and Pseudoscience in Ghost Hunting by Benjamin Radford adapted from SCIENTIFIC PARANORMAL INVESTIGATION

How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries BENJAMIN RADFORD

Scientific Paranormal Investigation_Benjamin RadfordYou’re interested in ghosts. Or maybe you investigate ghosts, and your group claims to be scientific; join the club. Just about every ghost hunting group calls themselves skeptical or scientific. A lot of ghost hunters think they are being scientific if they use EMF detectors and FLIR cameras. Others think they are being scientific if they don’t use psychics, or if they conduct tests or experiments. If you want to know whether an investigator or group is scientific or not, examine their methods and results. Do they use the pseudoscientific methods described here? What is their track record of solved cases? Do their investigations end up with inconclusive and ambiguous results, or solved mysteries? I’ve been a science-based paranormal investigator for over a decade. My investigations have been featured on CNN, in national magazines, and on a half-dozen cable TV shows. I give lectures on science literacy and critical thinking across the country. I edit a national science magazine and write columns for LiveScience.com and blogs for Discovery News. I’ve written four books from mainstream publishers (not self-published) and I have two more books coming out this year. I point this out not to brag but to establish my credibility. Every Joe Shmoe who owns the first four seasons of Ghost Hunters on DVD and has an EMF detector from Radio Shack thinks he’s a ghost hunter and knows how to investigate ghosts. I know both science and investigation, and 99% of what passes for “science” and “investigation” among ghost hunters and paranormal investigators is neither. This document explains why.

If you want to learn about the real science, the real deal, here it is. This article is adapted from Chapter 4 in my book Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries. I am making this material available for free to anyone who wants it, and it may be re-distributed in any form as long as proper credit is given. Do I hope you’ll buy, or at least check out, my book? Sure I do. I spent years researching and writing it, and it’s a damn good book with great reviews. But even if you don’t, I want to help educate the ghost investigation community about what real science is, and how to do good research.

Introduction

Ghost investigations can be tricky. Very ordinary events can be—and have been—mistaken for extraordinary ones, and the main challenge for any ghost investigator is separating out the facts from the jumble of myths, mistakes, and misunderstandings. Often it is very easy to accidentally create or misinterpret evidence: Is that flash of a light on a wall from flashlight reflection—or a ghost? Are the faint sounds recorded in an empty house spirit voices—or a neighbor’s radio? It’s not always clear, and investigators must be careful to weed out the red herrings and focus on the real information.

The most famous ghost hunters in the world, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson (co-founders of the Atlantic Paranormal Society—T.A.P.S.—and stars of the TV show Ghost Hunters), agree with me that science is the best way to approach investigations. They have always claimed to use good scientific methods and investigative procedures, for example writing in their 2007 book Ghost Hunting, “T.A.P.S. uses scientific methods to determine whether or not someone’s home might be haunted,” and “We approach ghost hunting from a scientific point of view.”

Yet Jason Hawes spends a grand total of four paragraphs (out of 273 pages) to a chapter titled “The Scientific Approach.” Hawes doesn’t say much about science or the scientific methods, and in fact it’s the shortest chapter in the book. Hawes writes that “Scientific knowledge comes from systemic and objective observations, which help us make deductions we can trust. It also means we have to test those deductions through controlled experiments that can be repeated by others under those same conditions…. We’re determined to come as close to scientific accuracy as we possibly can. That’s the only way we’re going to produce reliable evidence and advance the study of the paranormal.”

Jason Hawes is correct, as far as he goes. He is right that only scientific investigation will shed light on ghostly phenomenon. But he is wrong in his belief that he and his T.A.P.S. crew are doing good scientific investigation. After watching episodes of Ghost Hunters and other similar programs it quickly becomes clear to anyone with a background in science that the methods used are both illogical and unscientific.

Ghost Hunting

Most ghost investigations follow a similar pattern. First, the group hears about the claim, and goes to the location to interview one or more people who reported some unusual event. Next, armed with reports and speculation about what might be going on, the team spends hours bringing out and setting up high-tech gear (cameras, audio recorders, EMF detectors, infrared cameras, etc.) around the reputedly haunted location. Then the group does a stakeout that lasts anywhere from a few hours to overnight. During this time they walk around taking photos, temperature readings, recording audio and video footage, and so on. The lights are turned off, and sometimes psychic mediums, dowsing rods, pendulums, and the like are used to try and communicate with a spirit. Other times a test (or “control”) object (such as a teddy bear, ball bearings, a toy, a candle, etc.) will be placed in a conspicuous place, and the ghost asked to affect or move the object. Usually as the investigators, either individually or as a team, walk around the darkened place they may hear noises or bump into things. Often any “strange” sounds or smells or lights or other experiences will be considered potential ghost activity. Sometimes the ghost hunters will find an explanation for this (and the original claimed) phenomenon, other times they won’t. Nothing terribly dramatic will happen, and at the end of the specific time, the investigators have some phenomenon (recorded sounds, video, etc.) to be analyzed at a later time; the stakeout ends and everyone gets some sleep.

Later the investigators go over every bit of audio and video they recorded, combing through for anything that anyone thinks might be strange or unusual. Depending on how much recording they did, they may have dozens or hundreds of hours, and usually they are able to find a few faint “unexplained” noises (that might be EVPs, or ghost voices) or lights or odd electromagnetic field readings. If the team uses psychics, they will give their impressions. Usually at this point the team has found at least a few pieces of evidence that they can associate with a human presence. For example, a psychic may say she sensed an older male presence in one room or area; or a faint sound recorded at some location might be thought to resemble a child’s voice; or one of the investigators might suggest that a shadow on a wall looks like a tall, thin woman.

Often the investigators research (or further research) the history of the house, poring over early records and newspaper archives, perhaps interviewing previous owners, looking for anything having to do with the house, its previous occupants, or even the nearby land and houses. Once they have a rough history of the place, they will look for matches: Is there anything in the location’s history that can support or confirm the “evidence” they gathered during their investigation?

Often the answer is yes: If it turns out that an elderly woman lived in the house at any point since it was built (and especially if she died there—or even might have died there), that “confirms” the psychic’s impressions. If a young girl lived there at some point (especially many years ago, and therefore might have since died), then the sound that could be a girl’s voice is probably her. And so on. In this way, the investigators believe they are being successful when they find a correlation. They congratulate themselves on a good ghost investigation, explain their findings to the location’s owner, and then either call the local news media or write up a report for their Web site listing the phenomena they couldn’t explain.

While this is standard operating procedure for many ghost hunting groups and paranormal investigators, there are many errors, logical fallacies, and investigation mistakes in this scenario. Most of these mistakes fall into two categories: They either create false evidence (red herrings, or what in science are known as false-positives, or Type II errors); or the practice is illogical and violates basic scientific methods.

Studies have repeatedly found that the general public has a very poor understanding of science. Most ghost investigators are intelligent, sincere people who have simply never been exposed to the real scientific side of ghost hunting, and instead take their cues and methods from “experts” and what they see on TV shows.

Here are the top five ghost hunting mistakes.

1. Assuming that no specialized knowledge or expertise is needed to effectively investigate ghosts.

One of the most common assumptions among ghost investigators is that in the paranormal field “there are no experts.” If there are no experts, then of course anyone can effectively investigate ghosts. Almost all ghost hunters are amateur, part-time hobbyists from all walks of life, and thousands of them investigate ghosts (apparently with some success). On the hit show Ghost Hunters, two ordinary guys who work as plumbers during the daytime are touted as experts on ghost investigations, though none of the team has any background or training in science, investigation, forensics, or any other 3 field that might help solve mysteries.

Why it’s a mistake: Paranormal investigation requires no certificate; anyone can do it with no training, knowledge, or expertise whatsoever (though of course there are people who will try to sell you a “ghost hunter” certification). Whether they are effective or not—actually solve any mysteries— is another matter entirely. Despite their name, ghost investigators do not investigate ghosts; rather, they investigate various phenomena that might (or might not) be related to a ghost. Effectively investigating claims and solving mysteries, on the other hand, does require some experience and expertise—specifically in logic, critical thinking, psychology, science, forensics, and other areas. And there certainly are experts on that subject, people who have researched and investigated phenomena claimed to be evidence for ghosts. I’m one of them, and I can name a handful of others.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Ordinary people hire specialists all the time to explain or handle things that seem too arcane or mysterious for us layfolk. People don’t assume that a person without training can be a good mechanic, doctor, or athlete, yet when it comes to the supposedly “unexplained” mysteries—ghosts, crop circles, psychic powers, and so on—people often assume that no expertise or specialized knowledge is needed to successfully investigate the phenomenon. One thing that distinguishes an expert from an amateur is that experts get better. They improve their tools and refine their techniques as they gain knowledge and apply their experience to future investigations. Many ghost hunters, on the other hand, repeat the same mistakes over and over, investigation after investigation, year after year.

2. Considering subjective feelings and emotions as evidence of ghostly encounters.

Members of ghost hunting groups (and TV shows such as Ghost Hunters) often report descriptions of personal feelings and experiences like, “I felt a heavy, sad presence and wanted to cry,” or “I felt like something didn’t want me there,” and so on. They also describe in detail how, for example, they had goose bumps upon entering a room, or grew panicked at some unseen presence, assuming they were reacting to a hidden ghost.

Why it’s a mistake: Subjective experiences are essentially stories and anecdotes. There’s nothing wrong with personal experiences, but by themselves they are not proof or evidence of anything. Most people who report such experiences are sincere in their belief that a ghost caused their panic, but that belief does not necessarily make it true.

The problem, of course, is that there is not necessarily any connection between any real danger or a ghostly presence and how a person feels. Many people suffer from irrational phobias and panic attacks, terrified of any number of things such as insects, airplane travel, and crossing bridges. Their fears and panic are very real—they truly are sweating and terrified. But it’s all psychological; it has nothing to do with the outside world. In the same way, the power of suggestion can be very strong, and a suggestible ghost hunter can easily convince herself—and others—that something weird is going on. There is of course no objective, scientific way to test these sorts of claims, no test for fear, uneasiness, panic, a sense of dread, a “spooky” feeling, or other subjective sensations. Even if a person is sweating, or his skin feels clammy, there could be any number of things that caused it. Most ghost hunters recognize that their personal feelings can’t be considered good evidence, yet they often report these experiences along with the rest of their evidence. Investigators should make an effort to learn about psychology (especially perceptual processes) and human behavior so that their investigations aren’t sidetracked by these distractions.

3. Using unproven tools and equipment.

There are two basic types of equipment and tools that ghost hunters use: metaphysical ones (psychics, dowsing rods, pendulums, séances, etc.) and scientific ones (electromagnetic field detectors, thermometers, FLIR cameras, etc).

Why it’s a mistake: In their work, real scientists and investigators only use equipment that has been proven to work and is designed for the purpose for which it is used. Police detectives don’t use dowsing rods to identify suspects, and doctors don’t use EMF detectors to test for genetic diseases. It’s not that EMF detectors aren’t useful—they very much are, in certain fields—but they have nothing to do with what the doctor is investigating. The same holds true for these unproven tools.

Some investigators claim that they don’t use the equipment to detect ghosts; instead they use it to rule out natural explanations for a ghostly phenomenon. The problem is that the naturalistic “explanations” they claim to be ruling out often have nothing to do with the original ghost claims. For example, let’s say that a person believes his house is haunted because he hears faint voices at night, an odd glowing form appeared in a photograph of the house, and small items have inexplicably fallen off a kitchen shelf. Ion counters, FLIR cameras, and EMF detectors are of no benefit in addressing these claims. They cannot reveal the true identity of a glow in a photograph, nor will they explain the origin of the voice-like sounds, nor what caused an item to mysteriously fall off a shelf. The ghost investigators are not “ruling out” any natural explanations with this equipment, because the gear has nothing to do with the claims. Establishing the location of an electromagnetic field is of no value; it doesn’t “explain” anything.

Metaphysical Tools

Psychic abilities have never been proven to exist. Some people—especially those who claim to be psychic or “intuitive” —may disagree, but the fact remains that such powers have never been scientifically validated. This is not the place for a lengthy discussion on the reality of psychic powers; the scientific evidence can be found elsewhere. But, for the sake of argument, let us suppose that psychic power exists, and that some psychics have some unknown, unprovable ability to provide unique in- 5 formation about a haunted location or spirit. This would still be of little or no value to a scientific paranormal investigator. To see why, let’s examine some claims. In the book The Other Side: A Teen’s Guide to Ghost Hunting and the Paranormal, authors Marley Gibson, Patrick Burns, and Dave Schrader write, “Certain studies suggest that even the best psychics are accurate only 30 percent of the time… Remember again that a lot of psychics will be wrong more often than they are exact” (p. 49, 51). I don’t know where the authors—who, by the way, all believe in psychic ability—got the 30% figure (instead of random chance), but let’s assume they are correct. If the accuracy rate of psychic power is 30%, this is a horrible success rate!

No scientific test is accurate 100% of the time, but any investigative tool or technique that was wrong 70% of the time would never be used by a responsible scientist or investigator. Can you image going to a doctor for a cancer screening and being given a test that was wrong almost three-quarters of the time? Any result from the test would be worthless; you’d have to take the same test many times to overcome such a low accuracy rate. If you were smart, you’d use a tool that had been proven to be valid and reliable most of the time. And remember: that rate is for the best psychics. If the ghost-hunting psychic isn’t one of the best, the accuracy rate would presumably be lower—twenty percent? Ten percent? Zero percent? Who knows?

Imagine if, during the course of an investigation, a ghost hunter used a psychic who gave 30 different pieces of information about the haunting or spirit. Assuming your psychic is one of the best, she will be wrong about 21 pieces of information, and correct about 9 of them. Making matters worse, there’s no way to know which 9 clues she is correct about. To find out, each piece of information would have to be investigated, and three out of four will be wrong. It’s an incredible waste of time and resources—and that’s assuming psychic powers exist! No scientific investigator in his right mind would use a psychic.

Steve Gonsalves, of the Ghost Hunters TV show, wrote in the February 2007 issue of the TAPS Paramagazine that “the legitimacy and findings of remote viewing [psychics] are obviously questionable, but… if you believe in mind power and ESP, then I say, ‘Why not?’ It certainly won’t hurt…” Gonsalves’s answer reveals a very shaky grasp of both science and investigation. Real investigation requires knowing that the tools and methods you use to gather information are valid, and that the information from those sources is accurate and useful. To an investigator who wastes hours trying to verify wild leads provided by psychics who can’t validate their powers scientifically, it certainly can hurt!

The exact same problem occurs with the use of dowsing rods, pendulums, Ouija boards, and other metaphysical and New Age items: they may be fun to play with, but they have never been scientifically proven to work. There’s no evidence that dowsing rods can detect water, much less ghosts. Any readings that these devices provide are far more likely to be red herrings than valid evidence.

Scientific Tools

Many ghost hunters consider themselves scientific if they use high-tech scientific equipment such as Geiger counters, Electromagnetic Field (EMF) detectors, ion detectors, infrared cameras, sensitive microphones, and so on. Yet the equipment is only as scientific as the person using it; you may own the world’s most sophisticated thermometer, but if you are using it as a barometer, your measurements are worthless. Using a calculator doesn’t make you a mathematician, and using a scientific instrument doesn’t make you a scientist.

The use of these devices rest upon nothing more than assumptions and pure speculation. For any of these pieces of equipment to be useful there must be some proven connection to ghosts. For example, if ghosts were known to emit electromagnetic fields, then a device that measures such fields would be useful. If ghosts were known to cause temperature drops, then a sensitive thermometer would be useful. If ghosts were known to emit ions, then a device that measures such ions would be useful. And so on.

The problem is that there is no body of research that shows that any of the things these devices are measuring have anything to do with ghosts. Many things are known to emit electromagnetic fields and cause temperature drops; ghosts are not among them. There has not been a single study that shows that these things can detect a ghostly presence. Until someone can reliably demonstrate that ghosts have certain measurable characteristics, devices that measure those characteristics are irrelevant.

Every single reading, whether a fluctuation in a field or a drop in temperature or anything else, can always be attributed to something other than a ghost: even if an investigator gets an “anomalous” reading, there’s simply no way to prove it was caused by a ghost. The evidence gathered by these devices will be inconclusive at best—and always has been.

There is no reason for any scientific investigator to possess or use these devices, since there is no evidence that they detect ghosts. Using a tool or device without being certain it works to find what you’re searching for is illogical and unscientific. What’s the point in using a tool that—even if it works as you think it does—can’t prove anything one way or the other?

Many ghost hunters, including the T.A.P.S. team, use EMF detectors to search for electromagnetic fields because they believe that intense magnetic fields can create hallucinations, which in turn might create the illusion of ghosts. The basis for this theory comes primarily from research done by a Canadian cognitive neuroscientist, Michael Persinger. He found that hallucinations (such as outof-body experiences) could be triggered by stimulating specific areas of the brain with fixed wavelength patterns of high-level electromagnetic fields. He suggested that EMFs might therefore be responsible for everything from UFO sightings to religious apparitions to ghosts. It’s an interesting idea. Unfortunately for the ghost hunters, it’s just a theory—not a proven effect. There’s little or no evidence to support the idea that EMFs create ghosts. Ghosts are not being seen in Persinger’s experimental laboratory in Ontario; they are being seen in abandoned hospitals and suburban basements. There is simply no evidence that electromagnetic fields generated by common household appliances can generate EMFs of the frequency and power that induce hallucinations in a clinical setting.

Indeed, Yale neuroscientist Steven Novella says that the theory of EMFs as an origin for ghosts is “speculative at this point.” The electromagnetic stimulation used by Persinger “has to be focused, and at a certain frequency in order to have this effect. It seems unlikely that environmental electromagnetic fields would be fine-tuned just enough to cause this effect… It’s an interesting idea, I just don’t think it’s terribly plausible. At present, while we can certainly duplicate it in a lab, I’m not aware of any evidence to suggest it actually happens out there in the world” (Novella, Steven. 2010. Getting into the Spirit of Things. MonsterTalk podcast, March 2).

In their rush to accept this “scientific” explanation for ghost sightings, investigators extrapolated far beyond the evidence. Until it can be demonstrated that generalized, non-clinical EMFs can create the psychological perception of ghostly phenomena, there is no investigative value in detecting such fields.

Is it theoretically possible that, if ghosts exist, EMF detectors might find a sign of them? Of course it is; anything is possible, but there’s no evidence for that. There are hundreds or thousands of other devices or tools that could possibly do the same thing. Without knowing what specific characteristics define a ghost experience, it’s based on nothing more than guesses. There’s no logical reason to think that an EMF detector would be any more useful in detecting ghosts than a snow globe, a broken inkjet printer, or a fuel gauge from a 1983 Buick. I’ve been investigating ghosts for over a decade now, and I don’t use EMF detectors to find ghosts for the same reason I don’t use a toaster to clean my laundry.

This is not to say that cameras and other recording gear cannot be useful in an investigation. They can, but it all depends on the purpose, on what the investigator is using it for. A camera set to record the entrance to a door might be very useful in making sure that no one enters unnoticed to pull a hoax or prank. If there is a specific claimed phenomenon that is said to occur, the camera may be a useful tool to record the event if it happens. But simply setting a camera up to record for hours on end with no particular purpose is an easy way to collect bogus evidence.

Why do so many ghost hunters use these high-tech devices, even though there’s no evidence they detect ghosts? Part of it is because that’s what they see on TV, so they assume that must be the “scientific” way to look for ghosts. And partly it’s because there are dozens of “ghost equipment” outfitters who make a lot of money selling this gear to amateur ghost hunters. They can make hundreds or thousands of dollars by selling this equipment to people who don’t know any better.

4. Using improper and unscientific investigation methods.

In addition to misusing scientific equipment, ghost hunters often misuse (or ignore) good sci- 8 entific research methods.

Why it’s a mistake: Examining all the errors in ghost investigations would take an entire book; instead I will highlight the three most common mistakes I have encountered, drawing from personal experience and TV shows like Ghost Hunters.

Investigating with the lights off

Nearly every ghost-themed TV show has several scenes in which the investigators walk around a darkened place, usually at night, looking for ghosts. Purposely conducting an investigation in the dark is the equivalent of tying an anvil to a marathon runner’s foot. It intentionally hobbles the investigation and is completely counter-productive. It also violates common sense and logic; think about it for a second: if you are trying to identify an unknown object, is it better to look for it under bright lights, or in a darkened room? There are no other objects or entities in the world that anyone would think are better observed in darkness instead of light; why would ghosts be any different? Humans are visual creatures, and our eyes need light to see—the more light the better. Darkness, by definition, severely limits the amount of information available. Searching at night in the dark puts investigators at an immediate and obvious disadvantage in trying to identify and understand what’s going on around them. If limiting the investigator’s ability to detect things around them helps find ghosts, why not take it a step further and use blindfolds and earplugs on the ghost hunters?

Furthermore, this strategy fails on its own terms. While some report seeing ghosts as glowing figures, many people report them as shadows or dark entities. Searching a dark room for a shadowy figure is an exercise in futility. If it was an established fact that ghosts emit light, there would be some logic to looking for them in a dark room. Unless a ghost or entity has been specifically and repeatedly reported or photographed emitting light, there’s no valid, logical reason that ghost investigators would work figuratively (and literally) in the dark. Some ghost hunters believe that darkness helps to draw out ghostly entities. Yet even a casual review of ghost reports shows that this is not true: most sightings do not occur in darkness. People have reported seeing ghosts in broad daylight, in the morning, and at all times of the day. It is true that people are more likely to report seeing a ghost in the evening, but it does not logically follow that ghosts must be more active after sunset.

There are several non-supernatural reasons why ghost reports would occur more often at night, especially in homes. For one thing, there’s a sampling bias: most people are not at home during the daytime, and most of their waking hours while at home occur in the evening. Obviously, people are more likely to report potential ghostly activity at night in their homes instead of during the day at an office job or assembly plant. Furthermore, people are more likely to be in psychological states that can induce misperceptions (and even mild hallucinations) in the evening. The evening hours—which of course coincide with the darkness hours—are when people get off work to relax; sometimes they drink alcohol or use recreational drugs. Even those who don’t succumb to another mental state that has been clinically proven to greatly increase misperceptions and hallucinations: ordinary fatigue.

This of course does not mean that everyone who is tired after a long day will necessarily see or hear things that aren’t there, but fatigue is a real and significant factor that cannot be dismissed. Ghost hunters who are quick to attribute hallucinations to EMF fields often overlook fatigue as far more obvious (and proven) cause. Ironically, ghosts are almost never reported under the conditions that most ghost hunters search for them: late at night, in near-total darkness with flashlights and EMF detectors. The reason it’s often done for television shows is obvious: it makes more dramatic footage. It’s spookier and more visually interesting to film the ghost investigators with night-vision or infrared cameras.

Sampling errors

Elsewhere I explain why a ghost stakeout or overnight investigation is a bad idea, but there’s another, less obvious basic scientific mistake. Usually ghost hunters will begin their stakeout by taking readings from their high-tech equipment. While a thorough investigation into specific claims or phenomena (such as why a door opens on its own, or the source of a strange noise) can be conducted in a matter of hours, a complete investigation into a haunted location can’t be done in a few hours, or even during an overnight stay. The reason is very simple: a few hours or overnight is not enough time to gather enough information to establish a valid set of baseline (or control) measurements for what “normal” (i.e. presumably ghost-free) conditions are at the location.

To know what is extraordinary for the area, an investigator must first determine what is ordinary. Many ghost hunters understand this general principle, but greatly underestimate the importance of valid sampling. In environmental science, measurement sampling, for example checking for water or air contaminants, is a very complex process: choosing how to sample, where to sample, what to sample, how often, with what tools, etc. is critical to getting useful measurements. This is why for valid experiments, scientists must take dozens—sometimes hundreds—of independent measurements, and analyze the results to derive a statistical average (along with a range of normal variation),which can be used as a basis for research. The timeframes and number of samples that ghost hunters use are far too short to yield any scientifically meaningful baseline numbers.

There’s also the logical problem of comparing readings (EMFs, temperatures, etc.) taken at different times. As any scientist or statistician can tell you, two data points are meaningless. All you can tell from two sets of readings is that either the number has changed or it hasn’t. How can the investigator know that the baseline readings they got “before” the investigation started were not detecting ghosts? Think of it this way: Just because Measurement A was taken a few hours before Measurement B does not mean that Measurement A is the “normal” one (the control) and Measurement B represents an anomaly. Maybe Measurement A was the anomaly; or maybe Measurement B was the anomaly; or maybe both Measurements A and B were within the ordinary range of variation and if the investigators took Measurement C they would find that to be the anomaly. There’s no way to tell which of these interpretations is correct without many more samples (data points).

It gives you no information about which number (or set of numbers), is the “normal” condition and which is the “anomalous” one. It gives no information on correlation or causation (such as noting that a higher temperature reading was taken in a room that had just been occupied by a dozen warm- 10 bodied investigators). It gives no information about anything, yet it is a standard procedure among many ghost hunter groups, who have convinced themselves and others they are doing good science.

A scientific ghost investigator would have to make at least a dozen separate visits to the location (at different times of the day and under different conditions) to carefully measure and record whatever variables (temperature, humidity, light, vibrations, sounds, electromagnetic fields, etc.) they will be measuring during their stakeout. The more times an investigator samples the location, the more complete and more accurate the information will be.

It’s easy to understand why ghost hunters don’t follow scientifically valid sampling methods. First, it requires learning about basic scientific and sampling methodologies. This doesn’t require a college education; there are plenty of books that can help investigators learn about this. But ghost hunters need to “know what it is they don’t know” and be willing to study and use correct procedures.

Second, there is the time commitment and “fun factor.” From my experience, most ghost hunters aren’t really interested in the science; they want the fun. Taking measurements and creating a data set in preparation for an investigation is neither interesting nor spooky; it is boring, tedious, mathematical drudgery. Why bother spending weeks with equipment and silly old numbers and textbooks when you can be walking around an abandoned hospital with flashlights, spooking your friends and jumping at shadows?

Ineffectively using recording devices

As we have seen, devices such as EMF detectors and ion counters have no use in ghost investigations. Ordinary cameras and audio recorders, however, can be helpful if used correctly. Unfortunately, many ghost hunters (including the Ghost Hunters) don’t know how to use the equipment effectively. For example, in Episode 401 (airdate March 5, 2008), the TAPS crew investigated Philadelphia’s Fort Mifflin. While there, lead investigator Grant Wilson acted startled on camera while looking through a crawlspace (in near-darkness, of course). He claimed he saw a human face staring back at him only a few feet away, but predictably the television crew trailing him didn’t capture it on video. This type of incident has happened dozens of times over the six seasons of the Ghost Hunters television show: One or another ghost hunter claims to have seen or heard something just off-camera, and therefore without any proof. Was it real, a hoax, an illusion, or hallucination? Without some recorded evidence, it’s just another personal story. The solution is obvious: head-mounted wireless digital cameras. They were finally used occasionally in a few recent episodes (though not consistently by all the crew), and it’s odd that it took five years for the high-tech TAPS crew to realize they were a good idea.

Another example is the use of voice recorders. Most ghost hunters, including the TAPS team, use handheld voice recorders in an attempt to capture a ghost voice or EVP. Often the ghost hunter holds it while standing in the middle of a room while addressing the supposed spirit, or while walking around. Sometimes a voice-like sound or noise will be heard at the time; if so, the ghost hunter(s) will ask more questions, and if not the sound or EVP will be saved for later analysis.

Unfortunately, this is not an effective protocol. To identify the nature of the sound (human, ghost, cat, furnace, etc.), an investigator must first determine its source, and that in turn involves locating the sound’s origin. This can be very difficult for a ghost hunter to do, especially in a darkened room. If the sound came from an open window, that would suggest one explanation, while if the sound’s origin could be located to the middle of an empty room, that might be more mysterious. Locating the source of a sound is nearly impossible using only one recording device.

The way to scientifically determine the source location of a sound is with more than one microphone—at least three, and the more the better. By placing sensitive microphones throughout the location (and certainly in the four corners of a room and outside), the signal strength of the sound can be measured at each microphone. Sound is created by longitudinal compression waves in the air, moving away from the source of the sound. Furthermore, soundwaves have several measurable characteristics, including frequency, amplitude, speed, and wavelength. Along with a basic knowledge of acoustics and math, these characteristics allow the investigator to triangulate within a few feet where the sound came from. Ideally this should be done in real time so that the ghost hunters can immediately investigate. Methods of triangulation have been used by engineers and sailors for hundreds of years– and are widely used in GPS equipment—but for some reason are not used by the T.A.P.S. crew.

5. Doing a stakeout or “lockdown.”

This is typically an overnight “investigation” into a haunted location, usually with a half dozen or more people wandering around the location, setting up cameras and other gear, etc. This is one of the most common and basic mistakes made by amateur ghost investigators. Nearly every ghostthemed “reality” television show features this, and it’s a staple of most ghost-hunting groups, and a particular favorite of the cast of Ghost Adventures TV show. It’s also a huge red flag, warning of bad science and amateur investigation.

Why it’s a mistake: As an investigative procedure in ghost hunting, the stakeout (or “lockdown,” as it’s sometimes melodramatically called) has a 100% track record of failure; out of the hundreds of stakeouts conducted by ghost hunters, not a single one has yielded any significant proof of ghosts. (As I noted, they might have better success if they left the lights on.) Every stakeout gets more or less the same results: a few ambiguous—yet supposedly mysterious— noises or lights or shadows, but never anything scientifically useful or definitive. Scientists and investigators abandon tools and techniques that don’t work, help solve mysteries or explain phenomenon. Instead of recognizing that their evidence never gets any better using this technique, amateur ghost hunters keep doing it. There’s a certain entertainment value in walking around a supposedly haunted location and scaring each other silly.

A stakeout is essentially a scientific experiment without the science. Scientific experiments are carefully controlled by the investigator or experimenter: he or she controls some variables or conditions, and measures the variation. To use a basic example, if a scientist wants to see if one potting soil helps plants grow better than another potting soil, she can set up a simple experiment to test this. But she would need to establish careful controls over the experiment to make sure that the results she gets are valid. She would take two identical plants (ideally cuttings from the same parent plant to control for genetics) and expose them to identical sunlight, water, temperature, and so on— essentially controlling a dozen or more variables, so that she can be sure that any difference in growth between the two plants is a result of the dependent variable, the different potting soil. This careful control of the environments is absolutely critical to conducting a valid experiment. If one of the plants was given more sunlight or more water, then that could be the reason it grew better, regardless of which soil it was planted in. Without careful control over the variables and conditions, the experiment is invalid and any results from that experiment are worthless.

Some ghost hunters and paranormal investigators believe they are using good science and controls when they conduct tests, for example setting out “trigger” or “control” objects (teddy bears, balls set on tables or chairs, and so on) that ghosts are invited to move to demonstrate their presence. The problem is that there is no scientific control group to compare any result to. For example, let’s say that a child’s ball is placed in the center of a table in a reputedly haunted room and recorded on camera overnight. Even if the ball begins to move or roll for some reason, it is not a valid experiment. The investigator would need to have a control condition—one or more identical balls set up in comparable conditions and locations that are supposedly not haunted. It might be, for example, that slight vibrations from a passing train a few blocks away would be enough to move the ball, and that any ball placed on any comparable table anywhere in the neighborhood would act the same way. If the investigator only tests that one ball on that one specific table in the suspected haunted location, it’s impossible to know if any movement was caused by a circumstance unique to that place. Without a control group, there is nothing to compare any result to. It is classic pseudoscience. This is directly relevant to ghost investigations, because in a stakeout the experimenter by definition cannot control all, or even the most, of the variables and conditions in the experiment he’s conducting.

In a recent issue of Haunted Times magazine, ghost experts Christopher Mancuso and Brian J. Cano suggest searching for ghosts in urban areas such as abandoned hospitals, institutions, and factories. This, of course, is a textbook example of a completely uncontrolled location with an untenable signal-tonoise ratio. It’s difficult to understand why Mancuso and Cano would think that their “urban exploration” would be a productive setting for an investigation. A serious investigator wants fewer variables and distractions, not more. You might as well try to record EVPs during a rock concert. How, exactly, is an investigator  supposed to tell the typically subtle signs of a ghost in a place that is not only decaying (and likely infested with rodents, insects and other animals), but also surrounded by the typical lights, smells, and noises of an urban area? There are likely to be ordinary sounds and drafts all over the place that would duplicate or mask any supposed ghostly phenomena. (Not to mention the potential problems of running into vagrants, drug users, and police enforcing trespassing laws.) It’s hard to think of a worse place for ghost investigation—or one that would be more likely to create false-positive evidence. An investigator’s inability to reliably distinguish between ordinary and extraordinary phenomena renders these “investigations” a joke.

Making the problem worse, ghost hunters often have little or no training in proper investigation procedures and usually create as much “evidence” as they uncover. I have witnessed many cases where ghost hunting groups waste time investigating “evidence” that they themselves created because of sloppy technique and carelessness. It’s very much like a dog chasing its own tail, and it would be funny if it wasn’t such a serious problem. It’s important to remember that nearly anything anyone thinks is odd for any reason can be offered as evidence of a ghost. There is an impossibly broad spectrum of phenomena that have been claimed as signs of ghosts, including lights, shadows, noises, silence, heat, cold, moving objects, smells, uneasiness, and so on. If the presence of a ghost could be narrowed down to a specific phenomenon—for example, if everyone agreed (or it had been proven) that ghosts give off red light, or a certain high-pitched sound—then the problem of not having a controlled location would be greatly reduced. An investigator wouldn’t need to rule out every possible source of sound, smell, light, etc. but instead rule out merely any sources of red light or a high-pitched sound. But because just about any phenomenon can be attributed to ghosts, there is no way to rule out or control for the conditions. A ghost stakeout or lockdown is completely unscientific, and a waste of time.

There is one limited exception when a stakeout is warranted: if there is some claim or specific reason to believe that the ghostly phenomena will appear at a certain time, or under certain conditions. This can help establish or refute a cause-and-effect link. For example, if a mysterious sound or light is claimed to happen at a specific time (say, around midnight), or under certain conditions (such as a full moon or the anniversary of a death), then it is reasonable to be present and ready to investigate should the phenomenon present itself. However, simply sitting around waiting for some unspecified event to happen is non-scientific and almost guaranteed to create false positive evidence.

To be fair, some of these techniques may be useful in doing demonstrations for the public as to how not to scientifically investigate ghosts (for example using EMF detectors to explain to the public why they can cause false readings). Similarly, if ghost investigators are not claiming to be doing good science or real investigation but merely having spooky fun, there’s no harm in these techniques. These are mistakes only if the goal is to understand the phenomena using science and logic.

There are many more common ghost hunting mistakes; I list another half-dozen in Chapter 4 of Scientific Paranormal Investigation. Ultimately, of course, whether ghost hunters and paranormal investigators choose to use the scientific methods and strategies I describe is up to them. I personally don’t care either way; it’s not my time, effort, and money that’s being wasted. I get results and solve cases using these techniques. If ghost hunters don’t care about doing scientifically valid investigations and are happy with the quality of evidence they are getting, they are welcome to ignore this information. But they can’t complain that no one has offered a science-based paradigm for investigation. I believe that if ghosts exist, they are important and deserve to be taken seriously. If investigation is to be done, it should be done right: with science. Healthy peer review is an important part of good science. To that end, I invite informed, constructive criticism of the material presented here. If ghost hunters who use these techniques can explain the valid science behind their methods, I will be happy to address those comments and revise this material. I can be contacted via my Web site www.ScientificParanormalInvestigation.net.

About the author

Benjamin Radford has been a science-based paranormal investigator for the non-profit educational organization The Center for Inquiry since 1997. He is author of five books and hundreds of articles on critical thinking, popular science, and paranormal investigation. He is also a columnist for LiveScience.com, Discovery News.com, and has been seen on CNN, CBC, ABC News, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic Television, MTV, and The New York Times, among others. He has investigated and solved dozens of ghost cases, including New Mexico’s Haunted KiMo Theater, the Santa Fe Courthouse Ghost, Jamaica’s White Witch of Rose Hall, the Kansas City Gym Ghost, California’s Wolfe Manor, and many others.

This material is copyright 2010 by Benjamin Radford, adapted from Chapter 4 of his book Scientific Paranormal Investigation. It may be redistributed free of charge for non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons License as long as proper authorship attribution is given. The author thanks Reed Esau, Tonya Keyser, Matthew Baxter, Blake Smith, and others for their input and suggestions. www.Scientific Paranormal Investigation.net 15 Scientific Paranormal Investigation is available at bookstores everywhere, online at www.RadfordBooks.com, or direct from the publisher at www.RhombusBooks.com. At RadfordBooks.com and Rhombusbooks.com, signed copies are available at a discount; enter coupon code SPI10 to receive 20% off your online order. Or you may return this coupon with payment of $16.50 per book (includes shipping, cont. U.S. only) to: Rhombus Publishing Company P.O. Box 806, Corrales NM 87048 Also by the author Tracking the Vampire: Chupacabra in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore 2011 (in press) Science Under Siege: Defending Science, Exposing Pseudoscience 2009 (contributor, ed. Ken Frazier) Paranormal Claims: A Critical Analysis 2007 (contributor, ed. Bryan Farha) Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World’s Most Elusive Creatures 2006 (with Joe Nickell) Media Mythmakers: How Journalists, Activists, and Advertisers Mislead Us 2003 Hoaxes, Myths, and Manias: Why We Need Critical Thinking 2003 (with Robert Bartholomew) 16

Mar 16

Paraconclusion

Rob Hillstrom

Rob Hillstrom

Director / Chair Science at TEPI
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.
Rob Hillstrom

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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.

Mar 06

The Mel Meter

Todd Wayne Knipple

Todd Wayne Knipple

I was awakened to the reality of the paranormal at the age of 12 while at a friend’s home. What happened that one night back in 1983 kept me awake for three days. After that incident I was left with many questions. My determination to find answers to what had happened that night became an obsession that would lead me down a path into investigating the paranormal. I found myself consumed by these strange anomalies that were captured on video, audio and photographs, and the strange feelings and sensations I would have from walking into old buildings or a person’s home.
For nearly 30 years, I have dedicated myself to finding these answers by using a scientific approach to fully understand and bring explanations to those who seek help and who are experiencing themselves the same things I experienced some 30 years ago. I can say that out of all of the cases I have investigated over the years as a paranormal investigator, 99% can be explained as a product of environment. There is, however, that 1% that can only be considered Beyond The Grave.
Todd Wayne Knipple

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Tonight I would like to talk a little bit about The Mel Meter.MelMeter

Many people have asked me about Electromagnetic Field (EMF) detectors and how do they work and which ones are the best ones to use for paranormal investigating.

Like most things you really need to use as many meters as you can and make a determination as to which one you personally prefer. In our group we have a nice variety of meters to choose from, KII, Cell sensor, Trifield natural, digital, ELF zone, Osun and the Mel-8704. Since there is only one of these that was designed for paranormal investigation that is the one we will talk about, and that is the Mel-8704.

I recently had an email exchange with Gary from Professional Measurement. He was gracious enough to answer a few questions on the Mel meter and here is what we discussed:

Currently there are 10 different models of the Mel-8704, 5 have a green display and 5 have the red display. There are also differences as to what each can do, we will discuss some of the most popular features here.

Q – The Mel meter is listed as a 2 axis meter, what does this mean and what does it measure?

A – The Mel-8704-2X Utilizes to independent coils for formation of the dual axis circuit. One circuit is calibrated to cover 30Hz -300Hz (ELF) range and the other goes down to 20Hz. The purpose of this is to try and identify if a “Spirit” can manipulate and communicate easier using the lower 20 Hz (ULF) range. It’s just a concept that I came up with to try and prove if “Spirit” vibration can be more easily discerned at other range. The cool part is that both can be used simultaneously and a cross comparison can be made by the observer / Investigator.

Q – What is the effective range of the Mel meter?

A – As with all EMF meters, the Mel meter detection distance depends on the location and strength of the radiation source.

Q – The meters description mentions a “Burst” mode, what is that?

A – The Burst/FAST mode has always been a part of the Mel features. Basically, we just “escape” out of the temperature measurement mode and then allocate 100% of the microprocessors scan time to update the EMF readings. I always tell investigators to use the meter in this mode. Then, if they feel a temp change, switch over to the dual readout mode….it’s easy to do and only takes 3 seconds to do. The display update in the Burst/FAST mode which is around 10X/second is excellent for sweeping a room to uncover EMF sources or for detecting a fast EMF spike or dynamic change while using the Mel record mode.

Q – What is the effective range on the thermal mode?

A – The Mel uses a precision “K” type of thermocouple probe. The bead reads Ambient (air temp) temperature only. As such, it can only sense a temperature change that comes in contact with the beaded tip part of the probe.

Q – The newest meter has a vibration and touch detection capabilities. It is said in your documentation that this is accomplished via an accelerometer. Is this device a single axis of, 2 or 3 axes? Also, does this device utilize a piezoelectric electric effect (microscopic crystal structure) or capacitance?

A – The Mel-8704R-Vibe utilizes a Crystal based piezo accelerometer. We can calibrate this device to detect very, very small vibrations.

One of the newer models is a combination Mel meter and KII with an audible alarm. I have one but it is sensitive. I use it without the K2 on.

For more information on the Mel meters visit the Professional Measurement website listed under the equipment links on the Left.

http://professionalmeasurement.com/

Feb 16

Dr. John E. Mack – A Positive Perspective on Inter-Species Communication

Lillee Allee

Lillee Allee

Representative at National Paranormal Society
Lillee Allee has studied religion, spirituality and paranormal investigation for over 40 years. She is the widow of John D. Allee, an internationally known dark magician. She continues to consult in paranormal investigation. Her specialties include: Marian and cultural spiritual phenomena/apparitions, spiritual support to teams and clients who want spiritual counseling after investigation, evp work and old school audio, the accuracy and research of past life regression and seance, and spiritual protection. Lillee was also one of the first to incorporate trained canines into paranormal investigations. She hosts a radio program on the para-x.com network, Happy Mediums, with Debra Ann Freeman, who also consults with paranormal investigative teams in Southern New England. Lillee is a published author and journalist, and legal clergy with degrees in psychology and mass communication. Lillee walks on the middle path sees learning as a life-long endeavor and is looking to make a difference and contribution to this field before she too will be heard on someone’s EVP. Lillee is always available to educate and consult and continues to enjoy guesting on other’s radio and television programs.
Lillee Allee

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jm

Dr. John E. Mack graduated from Oberlin College and Harvard Medical School. A rather traditional practitioner in the beginning of his career, Mack was a graduate of Boston analytical society and received his certifications in psychoanalysis for adults and children. One of his main interested was how one uses cognitive skills to create their Weltanschauug. One’s worldview is a combination of ethics, beliefs and philosophies which lead to particular behaviors or actions. These orientations added to his interest in dreams and teen suicide. He was awarded a Pulitzer prize for his biography of British officer T.E. Lawrence, known commonly as Lawrence of Arabia.

His curiosity was piqued by the psychological implications of the Cold War that led him to interview a variety of politicians. He was an active member of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

While a noted and highly respected psychiatrist and writer, his work took a rather unexpected turn. Many were shocked that a renowned Harvard psychiatrist would move into alien abduction research, but he did. Most likely, John E Mack will best be remembered as a ground-breaking researcher in the field of alien abduction. His first studies centered around a theory that this phenomena may be related to mental illness. He retained an interest in people’s idea of connectedness to others, and studied visionary experiences and spiritual quests.

The interest in Mack’s theories continues to be strong. His original book on aliens, Abduction, was recently released for Kindle and in trade paperback, with a new edition and format, based on Mack’s personal preferences. The significance of this book is found in its hypothesis that both species could benefit from such interaction, and detracted from the then-more popular view of humans being victims of a more intelligent or advanced species. While Abduction is based mainly on interviews and the idea of connections between cultures, Passport to Cosmos deals more with the philosophy and psychology behind such experiences.

A film version of his life is currently being developed by Makemagic Productions with one of Rob14619_886204754743631_424831510683728602_nert Redford’s companies. Mack died at the age of 74 in 2004. William Shatner, in May 2014, stated to Larry King that he is writing a novel based on Dr. Mack’s work with the abduction phenomena.

The John E. Mack Institute’s (JEMI) mission is “to explore the frontiers of human experience, to serve the transformation of individual consciousness, and to further the evolution of the paradigms by which we understand human identity.” The organization, named in recognition of “John E. Mack, M.D. (1929-2004), Pulitzer prize-winning author and psychiatry professor at the Harvard Medical School, has the goal of continuing to honor his courageous examination of human experience and the ways in which perceptions and beliefs about reality shape the global condition.”

The Written Works of John E. Mack, MD

As author:

*Passport to the Cosmos: Human Transformation and Alien Encounters (1999)

*Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens (1994)

*A Prince of Our Disorder: The Life of T.E. Lawrence (1976)

*Nightmares and Human Conflict (1970)

As collaborator:

*The Alchemy of Survival: One Woman’s Journey (1988)

*Vivienne: The Life and Suicide of an Adolescent School Girl (1977)

As editor:

*Mind Before Matter: Vision of a New Science of Consciousness (2007; replaced by Paul Devereux)

*Alien Discussions: Proceedings of the Abduction Study Conference Held at M.I.T. Cambridge, MA (1995)

*Human Feelings: Explorations in Affect Development and Meaning (1993)

*Development and Sustenance of Self-Esteem in Childhood (1984)

*Borderline States in Psychiatry – Seminars in Psychiatry (1975)

Unpublished:

*When Worldviews Collide: A Paradigmatic Passion Play, a manuscript about the Harvard inquiry, was largely complete at the time of his death and is in-development as a motion picture, according to The John Mack Project: A True Story”. MakeMagic Productions. 2011.

* *Elisabeth and Mark Before and After Death: The Power of a Field of Love, the story of Dr. Elisabeth Targ, outline and interview transcripts only. (Blumenthal, Ralph (May 9, 2013). “Alien Nation”. Vanity Fair.)

Foreword:

*Paths Beyond Ego: The Transpersonal Vision (1993). *The PK Man: A True Story of Mind Over Matter (2000) by Jeffrey Mishlove *Secret Life (1992) by David M. Jacobs.

Chapter contribution:

*The Long Darkness: Psychological and Moral Perspectives on Nuclear Winter (1986)

*The Psychology of Terrorism Vol. 1: A Public Understanding (2002), *The Psychospiritual Clinician’s Handbook (2005).

Sources for this article include: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_E._Mack. Retrieved February 13, 2015. John E Mack Institute, http://johnemackinstitute.org. Retrieved February 14, 2015. MakeMagic Productions, http://makemagicproductions.com. Retrieved February 14, 2015

Images from google search. Retrieved February 15, 2015.

Feb 09

Stanton T. Friedman

Bethany Schelling

Bethany Schelling

Assistant Director - Div 6 at National Paranormal Society
Hey everyone. My name is Bethany Schelling. I'm a mother of a beautiful 10 year old daughter. I'm a bartender/waitress and studying cosmetology. I love in a small town in Amish country. A far cry from the Philadelphia, I know. I have been interested in the paranormal since I was a kid. I've always asked a ton of questions and never really got answers that made sense. After having a few unexplained experiences myself, I started looking for serious answers. Belief isn't enough for me. I want evidence that can stand for itself. I come from a logical point of view and believe science is going to help answer the questions we have. I want to continue to learn and help anyway I can.
Bethany Schelling

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Screenshot_6Many know Stanton Friedman for his work regarding the Roswell incident in 1947. But he is much more than your average UFO seeker.

Born on June, 29, 1934 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Friedman went on to earn a Bachelor in Science at the University of Chicago in 1955 and a Master in Science degree in nuclear physics in 1956. He was employed for 14 years as a nuclear physicist for many different companies including, General Electric, Aerojet General Nucleonics, General Motors and McDonnell Douglas where he worked on advanced classified programs on nuclear aircraft, fission and fusion rockets and compact nuclear power plants for space applications.

He became interested in UFO’s in 1958 and in 1970, left his position as a nuclear physicist to pursue the scientific investigations of these unidentified flying objects. He has since given lectures to over 600 colleges and over 100 professional groups all over the world.

Stanton Friedman is known as the first civilian to investigate the Roswell incident and one of the first to interview many key witnesses that were involved. Friedman supports the hypothesis that it was indeed a crash from something not of this world. He is well known for his stand with debunkers of UFO’s and the Roswell Incident in particular. He has shared many times his four basic rules of UFO debunkery:

1. What the public doesn’t know, we won’t tell them
2. Don’t bother us with the facts, out minds are made up
3. If we can’t attack the data, we’ll attack the person, it’s easier
4. Do ones research by proclamation not investigation, it’s easier and people don’t know the difference

Friedman is a methodical researcher, a steadfast debater, an investigator, a scholar and a scientist. Indeed, it was his constant digging into the case that brought the widespread attention to Roswell.

His main lecture “ Flying Saucers Are Real”, has been given all across the world. The evidence is overwhelming, he says, that the planet is being visited by extraterrestrials, and that the government is covering it up. A piece of evidence he often cites is the 1964 star map drawn by alleged alien abductee, Betty Hill, during a hypnosis session. Astronomer Marjorie Fish constructed a three dimensional map of a nearby sun-like stars and claimed a good match from the perspective of Zeta Reticulli, about 39 light years away. Friedman defends the validity of this match and believes it to be authentic.

He has been on countless TV series such as Unsolved Mysteries, History Channel documentaries, network interviews on Nightine and CBS Sunday Morning and Larry King. He has written a number of articles and a few books such as, Science Was Wrong and Flying Saucers and Science.

Most people believe in aliens. Though they may not share that with everyone, a CNN poll showed 80 percent of Americans believed the government was hiding information about UFOs and 64 percent believe we have been contacted by extraterrestrials. Some may call Friedman crazy or obsessed but he has spent his life trying to solve one of our biggest mysteries using scientific investigation methods. And he continues to search for the truth and more importantly the proof that we are not alone.

“Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there, which is and important lesson to learn as a researcher”
Stanton T. Friedman

Jan 29

Scientific Method and Bacon.

s1by Virginia Carraway Stark

Are you reading this article to find out about the connection to Bacon? The Bacon in question here isn’t a food but a person (sorry to disappoint, but keep reading!). The first person ever credited with ‘inventing’ the scientific method was Roger Bacon (1214-1284). It wasn’t really his own idea, it was based on the teachings of the Greeks and other ancient societies that believed that rationality was the best state for humanity. It is significant to note why Roger Bacon is credited with inventing the method by which we evaluate all science and discovery that brought the world out of the dark ages.

It was the Dark Ages that Bacon lived in. It was a time of superstition where if you picked a flower you might be accused of witchcraft and burned and tortured. The people were terrified and nothing was ever proven in the way that we now think of proof. Before scientific method became the standard of proof, people could claim anything based off of accidents, coincident or circumstances.

s2That is why it is important to focus on the sciences when studying the paranormal. It is the only thing that really stands between an observer and the same attitude of people in the dark ages who believed that demons and witches were responsible for everything that went wrong in their life. If a child died, it was a witch, if a wife or husband cheated, it was a demon. Every little thing was attributed to the paranormal and this caused people to become even more fearful of the world they lived in. Terror, violence and superstition are the proven results of failing to apply the scientific method in any field, but this is especially valid in the realm of the paranormal.

The scientific method is rarely definitive because as a species, we are constantly learning new things and adding to the puzzle that is the universe. Used properly, the scientific method continues refining and questioning endlessly.

It all starts by making observations. These observations are watched until the person is able to come up with a question. For example, someone might say: my door is always shutting on its own. That is an observation.

This is refined into a question: why is my door always shutting on its own?

From there a hypothesis is formulated. For example in the case it could be: I suspect my door is shutting on its own because it’s on the door crooked.

Then: Develop testable predictions. How to predict a crooked door? Well, how about if I put a pop bottle on the top of the door. Does the liquid look tilted? The door has to be moved until I perceive it is hanging straight.

s3Now it is time to gather up data to test the prediction you have made. That means in this case, rehanging the door, making sure that it isn’t in anyway crooked.

If this fixes the problem then you have developed a general theory on doors. That means that you have something that you feel certain is to be true based off of trial and error.

Now lets say that it didn’t fix the door. You have to refine, alter, expand or reject you initial hypothesis. For example, maybe check the floor too…is the house crooked? Did the door stay straight after you rehung it?
In the field of the paranormal you must rule out all possible known hypothesis before assuming that it’s a ghost or spirit that is closing the door. The generally believed hypothesis that already have been proven take precedence over unusual or unproven theories, that is part of our duty as ration human beings. It is by applying and refining this method that we can learn about the paranormal and still stay out of the dark age

Jan 29

The Scientific Revolution

s1The Scientific Revolution was marked by the emergence of modern scientific method. What had started in the 13th century as a desperate backlash to the superstition and fear of the Dark Ages was now an established way to process and spread information that was reliable and more or less ‘proven’. The era lasted from the 16th century when great minds began to propose that the way we assumed the universe to be could possibly be wrong through until the late 18th century. This age was also known as The Age of Enlightenment.

The recognized founder of empiricism was John Locke. He proposed that true knowledge must be gained solely off of experience. He argued that it was sensory impressions that we gleaned knowledge from. This was an important revelation because prior to this knowledge was thought to be given through divine or spiritual means rather than from the human mind absorbing and learning on its own. Locke said that sensory impressions were recorded by the mind and our other senses, layered and then reflected upon. In doing this we were able to gain knowledge that was both accurate and proven through repetition. Francis Bacon refined this technique into the Baconian Method and this was the basis of the Scientific method that was first proposed by Roger Bacon in the 13th century.

s2None of these steps away from superstition and towards rational thought would have mattered if the people in authority hadn’t lent their support and backing towards the philosophy behind logical scientific methods. Previously the inquisition and various other forces had viciously stamped out people who used rational logic to debunk erroneous assumptions as heretics. By doing this the human race conceivably was set back hundreds of years and lost thousands of brilliant minds. By the 17th century someone in power was able to intercede in a major triumph for rational people everywhere.

That person was Charles the Second of England. Charles was a man of many skills and a deep interest in architecture, literature and science. He would often set up science experiments in St. James Palace. He was concerned by what he saw in his kingdom. The Black Death killed thousands during his reign and nobody knew what had caused it, let alone how to stop it. Superstition and persecution were rampant and people lived in terror of being accused of witchcraft or heresy. The atmosphere of terror caused his country to stagnate when he wanted it to be land of hope and freedom. He knew he had to do s3something about it and that he had the power to do so. In 1660 he backed and founded the Royal Society. Their motto Nullis in verba translates ‘Take nobody’s word for it”. This was a breakthrough for science because before that asking questions could easily brand you as a heretic which could lead to Inquisitors knocking on your door. Finally there was a safe environment for science to flourish in.

The purpose of The Royal Society was to carry out experiments, encourage healthy debate and discussion and the dissemination of scientific knowledge to all humankind. It was a lofty goal but Charles the Second involved all the most brilliant minds he could get together and the society would be the first of many of the kind. The Royal Society is still in existence today with over 1400 member, 80 of whom have been awarded the Nobel Prize. It is the oldest body of its kind in the world. Philosophical Transactions, the magazine that The Royal Society started to print in 1665 is the oldest scientific journal in existence and it continues to be a highly esteemed s4publication to this day.

The result of The Royal Society was that the Scientific Method went from being a fringe science and something only believed in by weirdos and heretics to becoming the foundation of our world today. The right to use science and to eschew superstition is a right that people have been tortured and burned alive for. It is a vital human right and the basis for remaining a civilization where the rational mind is respected and truth triumphs over fear.

Jan 22

Orbs and Aerodynamics

Candy

Candy

Executive Director at National Paranormal Society
I have had numerous experiences in my life that have tied me to thisplane of existence and others. I came to the paranormal field,compelled by curiosity and the need for knowledge. On a very personal level, I understand my connection to this earth. However, I look toscience for clarification, standards of methodology. The mysteries that surround us provide a plethora of opportunities I believe that my professional background and my spiritual experiencescomplement each other, allowing me to bring my strength andperspective to the NPS.
Candy

Latest posts by Candy (see all)

flfl2fl3

With the bazillion discussions we have about Orbs…. I think it is prudent that we have a basic understanding of Aerodynamics. The reason I am bringing this to the table is so that we can collectively explore the possible flight pattern of environmental contaminants. Many people start off saying, my home is not dusty or dirty. Fair enough. But, unless you have magically or medically managed to hermetically seal your home… Stuff is floating through the air.

So, lets focus on the flight patterns of this ‘stuff’.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Imagine yourself running your finger through a sill body of water. Even the slightest touch creates visible results. Not, just imagine the results that are not visible to the naked eye; undercurrents from the bottom of the water, vibrations originating from the Earth itself, and countless other factors that cause even the most minute disturbances.

Lets apply this to air. Air is much like water in the fact that it moves around fixed objects. If you think about it, air is invisible dry water in a sense. Ebbing and flowing from the atmosphere, the lowest valleys, in hospitals and yes… In our own homes, in constant and never ending motion.

How can we come together to learn to create a distinction between debris and possible orbs?

Useful information about aerodynamics!

Dec 08

Carl Gustov Jung

Rob Hillstrom

Rob Hillstrom

Director / Chair Science at TEPI
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.
Rob Hillstrom

Latest posts by Rob Hillstrom (see all)

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

Dec 01

Alexander Graham Bell

Rob Hillstrom

Rob Hillstrom

Director / Chair Science at TEPI
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.
Rob Hillstrom

Latest posts by Rob Hillstrom (see all)

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.

Oct 31

Albert Einstein

10419522_834966943192231_4997867626080244479_n Night after night, spirit chasers around the world venture into old homes and empty deserted factories, buildings, cemeteries, and other creepy locations to investigate every creak, bump, and unexplained phenomena in search of that undeniable proof of ghosts.

According to many ghost hunters, there are allegations to the existence of ghosts in modern physics, and particularly in Einstein, who offered a scientific basis on the topic.

According to Einstein, all the energy in the universe is constant which means that it can neither be created, nor destroyed … so what does happen when we die? If it cannot be destroyed, then it is transformed into another sort of energy and what could this form of energy be?

Did Einstein believe in ghosts himself? Dr. Reynolds asked Einstein if he did believe in ghosts in which Einstein confessed to never having seen a ghost, and then added, “When twelve other persons have witnessed the same phenomenon at the same time, then I might believe.”

Einstein, whom is widely known across the universe as the father of E=mc2 is probably one of the most famous physicists to date; but this isn’t what makes the man this month’s topic—but rather—the little known things about the 20th century genius.

At age 51; Einstien had made his way to Pasadena where he eventually found solace in the company of the author Upton Sinclair.

In his day; Sinclair was comparable to a Michael Moore, Sinclair’s ‘The Jungle’ (1906) exposed unsanitary conditions and labor exploitation in Chicago’s meat-packing industry. His book had caused a national outcry and had horrified President Theodore Roosevelt enough that he repeatedly threw sausages out of the White House window.

Sinclair (who had went on to write further jeremiads against big business) had become obsessed with extra-sensory perception and had authored a book about it entitled ‘Mental Radio’ (1930) that talked about experiments he’d conducted which seemed to prove the existence of telepathy.

Sinclair had sent Einstein a copy of Mental Radio before his arrival into the U.S. and the two had become the closest of friends. Other than Mental Radio, Einstein had never professed any sort of interest, let alone a belief in supernatural beings or extra-sensory powers. “Even if I saw a ghost”—he once said—“I wouldn’t believe it.”

Count Roman Ostoja (a claimed Polish aristocrat) had been working the West Coast under a stage name of Nostradamus and had gained plaudits for being buried underground inside of a coffin for three hours. He also claimed to have studied under “occult masters” in India and Tibet and had wowed Sinclair with his mind reading.

Sinclair had asked Ostoja to conduct a séance at his home and on the list of invitations were Albert Einstein, Richard Tolman (the soon to be chief scientific advisor to the Manhattan Project) and Paul Epstien, Caltech’s professor of theoretical physics. As the evening arrived, Sinclair addressed the learned crowd by warning them not to panic.

Helen Dukas who was then Einstein’s secretary remembered being “frightened to death” by the proceedings. Ostaja went into a cataleptic trance and mumbled incomprehensible words. Each guest was invited to ask him questions though silence fell, and the table began to shake “and then”—remembered Dukas—“nothing happened.” Sinclair was noted as distraught and had complained about “non-believers” being present at the table.

Curiously enough, when Einstein would be asked years later about his beliefs in the telepathic experiments of Dr. JB Rhine (who was then studying parapsychology at Duke University) he stressed his skepticism in strictly scientific terms. All of Rhine’s experiments had reported that psi-forces didn’t decline with distance unlike the four known forces of nature – gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force and the weak force. “This suggests to me a very strong indication that a non-recognized source of systematic errors may have been involved.” Einstein wrote.

Indeed it was fallacies such as these, rather than drawing room séances, that could most reliably send a shiver up Einstein’s spine. When he was confronted with seemingly illogical phenomena in quantum mechanics – where particles appear to communicate instantaneously with each other – he chose to label it in terms more suited to one of Sinclair’s séances as “spooky action-at-a-distance”.

7097_834966893192236_4000158790400717157_n

References:
Pendle, G. (2005, July 13). Einstein’s close encounter. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
Lemind, A. (2012, Nov) Do Einstein’s laws of physics prove the existence of ghosts.
Charlie Chaplin, My Autobiography, Simon and Schuster: New York, NY (1964), page 321

Oct 19

The 21 Grams Theory

scaleOn 10 April 1901, an unusual experiment was conducted in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Dr. Duncan MacDougall was going to prove that the human soul had mass, and was therefore, measurable.

Dr. MacDougall conducted this experiment on six dying patients who were placed on specially made Fairbanks weight scales just prior to their deaths. Dr. MacDougall’s intention was to weigh each body before and after death to determine any differences measured by the delicate scales. The patients were selected based upon their imminent death. Two patients were suffering from tuberculosis, 5 were men and one was a woman.

In the company of four other doctors, Dr. MacDougall carefully measured the weight of his first patient prior to his death. Once the patient died, an interesting event occurred.
“Suddenly, coincident with death,” wrote Macdougall, “the beam end dropped with an audible stroke hitting against the lower limiting bar and remaining there with no rebound. The loss was ascertained to be three-fourths of an ounce.”

The experiment continued on the next patient with the same results. Dr. MacDougall felt he was on to something extraordinary. A quote from the 11 March 1907 New York Times article captures the historic moment:

“The instant life ceased the opposite scale pan fell with a suddenness that was astonishing – as if something had been suddenly lifted from the body. Immediately all the usual deductions were made for physical loss of weight, and it was discovered that there was still a full ounce of weight unaccounted for”.

All five doctors took their own measurements and compared their results.

Not all the patients lost the same weight, but they did lose something that could not be accounted for. Unfortunately, only four of the six patient’s results could be counted due to mechanical failures or the patient dying prior to the test equipment being in place.

But what about the consistent weight loss? Everything was taken into account, from the air in the lungs to bodily fluids. It still could not be explained. An interesting variation occurred on the third patient, who maintained his same weight immediately upon death. But after one minute, he lost about an ounce of weight. Dr. MacDougall explained this discrepancy as follows:

“ I believe that in this case, that of a phlegmatic man slow of thought and action, that the soul remained suspended in the body after death, during the minute that elapsed before its freedom. There is no other way of accounting for it, and it is what might be expected to happen in a man of the subject’s temperament”.

Following the experiment and consulting with the other attending physicians, it was determined that the average weight loss of each person was ¾ of an ounce. Dr. MacDougall concluded that a human soul weighed 21 grams.

Dr. MacDougall conducted the same experiment on 15 dogs. The experiments showed no change in weight following their death. MacDougall concluded that this may signify only humans have souls.

H. LaV. Twining, a physics teacher at Los Angeles Polytechnic High School, attempted the same experiment on mice in 1917. His conclusion was in line with that of Dr. MacDougall. There was no deviation of weight when the mice died.

Dr. MacDougall was a respected physician of Haverhill and the head of the Research Society that was conducting work in this field for six years prior to the experiment. Although this experiment would be considered unethical in modern times, it is still a peculiarity that sparks a lot of criticism, ranging from the methodology used to various religious implications

Dr. MacDougall admitted that more research needed to be done, but following these experiments, Dr. MacDougall diverted his attention to obtaining the ability to photograph the soul as it left the human body. Unfortunately, following his soul weight experiments, Dr. MacDougall failed to establish any further scientific breakthroughs. Dr. Duncan MacDougal passed away in 1920.

 

Resource(s):

Heddlesten, J. (n.d.). The 21 Grams Theory. Retrieved October 19, 2014, from http://www.historicmysteries.com/the-21-gram-soul-theory/

Oct 11

The Soul Fits Into Quantum Mechanics According To Physicist.

Source: www.theepochtimes.com | Original Post Date: June 24, 2014
the-soul-fits-into-quantum-mechanics-according-to-physicistHenry P. Stapp is a theoretical physicist at the University of California–Berkeley who worked with some of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics. He does not seek to prove that the soul exists, but he does say that the existence of the soul fits within the laws of physics.

It is not true to say belief in the soul is unscientific, according to Stapp. Here the word “soul” refers to a personality independent of the brain or the rest of the human body that can survive beyond death. In his paper, “Compatibility of Contemporary Physical Theory With Personality Survival,” he wrote: “Strong doubts about personality survival based solely on the belief that postmortem survival is incompatible with the laws of physics are unfounded.”

He works with the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics—more or less the interpretation used by some of the founders of quantum mechanics, Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg. Even Bohr and Heisenberg had some disagreements on how quantum mechanics works, and understandings of the theory since that time have also been diverse. Stapp’s paper on the Copenhagen interpretation has been influential. It was written in the 1970s and Heisenberg wrote an appendix for it.

Stapp noted of his own concepts: “There has been no hint in my previous descriptions (or conception) of this orthodox quantum mechanics of any notion of personality survival.”

Why Quantum Theory Could Hint at Life After Death

Stapp explains that the founders of quantum theory required scientists to essentially cut the world into two parts. Above the cut, classical mathematics could describe the physical processes empirically experienced. Below the cut, quantum mathematics describes a realm “which does not entail complete physical determinism.”

Of this realm below the cut, Stapp wrote: “One generally finds that the evolved state of the system below the cut cannot be matched to any conceivable classical description of the properties visible to observers.”

So how do scientists observe the invisible? They choose particular properties of the quantum system and set up apparatus to view their effects on the physical processes “above the cut.”

The key is the experimenter’s choice. When working with the quantum system, the observer’s choice has been shown to physically impact what manifests and can be observed above the cut.

Stapp cited Bohr’s analogy for this interaction between a scientist and his experiment results: “[It’s like] a blind man with a cane: when the cane is held loosely, the boundary between the person and the external world is the divide between hand and cane; but when held tightly the cane becomes part of the probing self: the person feels that he himself extends to the tip of the cane.”

The physical and mental are connected in a dynamic way. In terms of the relationship between mind and brain, it seems the observer can hold in place a chosen brain activity that would otherwise be fleeting. This is a choice similar to the choice a scientist makes when deciding which properties of the quantum system to study.

The quantum explanation of how the mind and brain can be separate or different, yet connected by the laws of physics “is a welcome revelation,” wrote Stapp. “It solves a problem that has plagued both science and philosophy for centuries—the imagined science-mandated need either to equate mind with brain, or to make the brain dynamically independent of the mind.”

Stapp said it is not contrary to the laws of physics that the personality of a dead person may attach itself to a living person, as in the case of so-called spirit possession. It wouldn’t require any basic change in orthodox theory, though it would “require a relaxing of the idea that physical and mental events occur only when paired together.”

Classical physical theory can only evade the problem, and classical physicists can only work to discredit intuition as a product of human confusion, said Stapp. Science should instead, he said, recognize “the physical effects of consciousness as a physical problem that needs to be answered in dynamical terms.”

How This Understanding Affects the Moral Fabric of Society

Furthermore, it is imperative for maintaining human morality to consider people as more than just machines of flesh and blood.

In another paper, titled “Attention, Intention, and Will in Quantum Physics,” Stapp wrote: ”It has become now widely appreciated that assimilation by the general public of this ‘scientific’ view, according to which each human being is basically a mechanical robot, is likely to have a significant and corrosive impact on the moral fabric of society.”

He wrote of the “growing tendency of people to exonerate themselves by arguing that it is not ‘I’ who is at fault, but some mechanical process within: ‘my genes made me do it’; or ‘my high blood-sugar content made me do it.’ Recall the infamous ‘Twinkie Defense’ that got Dan White off with five years for murdering San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk.”

Written by Tara MacIsaac of www.theepochtimes.com

Sep 08

Charles Hoy Fort

Charles_Hoy_fortCharles Hoy Fort whose researches into mysterious and unexplained phenomena made him a forerunner with regard to modern interest in UFOs and the paranormal. Fort was a prodigious collector of newspaper clippings and, on the basis of 100,000 press cuttings, compiled four books: The Book of the Damned (1919) New Lands (1923) Lo! (1931) and Wild Talents (1932).

These works were subsequently brought together as The books of Charles Fort and published through the auspices of the Fortean Society in 1941.

Fort was interested in unexplained showers of frogs, snails, snakes, and fish that fell from the sky; in the appearance of supernatural or inexplicable lights; in ghosts and poltergeists; and in such events as the case of the Devil’s Hoofmarks.

Freed in 1916 and 1917, after two inheritances, from the financial stress that had dogged him all his adult life, he devoted most of his time to what had become his “obsession … [the] search for the unexplained.” The search took him through complete runs of scientific journals, popular magazines, and newspapers and led him to London, where he scoured the publications not available in the New York libraries. His odyssey taught him one clear lesson: that strange events, far from being isolated marvels, were “quite ordinary occurrences.”

From this massive archival research; Fort wrote The Book of the Damned. Friend and novelist Theodore Dreiser took the manuscript to his publisher, Horace Liveright, and gave him ab ultimatum: if he didn’t publish Fort, he would no longer publish Dreiser.

Published in the Spring of 1919, Book opened with these words; “A procession of the damned. By the damned, I mean the excluded. We shall have a process of data that science has excluded.” In the procession were giant hailstones, red and black rains, gelatinous meteorites (traditionally known as pwdre ser, or “rot from the stars”), falls of various substances, archaeological anomalies, and what would be called, three decades later, unidentified flying objects. Except to the humorless, Book was no crank book; rather it was a parody of a crank book, rich in satirical asides in which Fort proposed “theories” he regarded as no less preposterous than those scientists were offering to explain the manifestly unexplainable. “Science of today—the superstition of tomorrow,” Fort wrote. “Science of tomorrow—the superstition of today.”

To Bohemian writers and intellectuals the effect was electrifying. Booth Tarkington wanted to know, “Who in the name of frenzy is Charles Fort? … People must turn to look at his head as he walks down the street; I think it’s a head that would emit noises and explosions, with copper flames playing out from the ears.” John Cowper Powys remarked on Fort’s “curious genius,” and Ben Hecht hailed Fort’s “onslaught upon the accumulated lunacy of fifty centuries.” In the same review, published in the Chicago Daily News, Hecht coined the adjective “Fortean.”
The title of Fort’s next book, New Lands (1923), picks up (though without acknowledgement) from words and sentiments expressed in the first paragraph of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 1836 essay “Nature,” which ends with these sentences:

“There are new lands, new men, new thoughts. Let us demand our own works and laws and worship.”

Fort writes, again sarcastically, of literal new lands, namely huge floating land masses from which fish fall and aerial vessels are dispatched. Lo! (1931) dealt with the usual range of physical anomalies, though with a particular focus on UFOs and unknown animals; in his fascination with the latter, he anticipated the later science of cryptozoology. Wild Talents (1932), published the year of his death, dealt with extraordinary phenomena associated with human beings.

In 1920 the Forts moved to London, where Charles resumes his researches in the British Museum. In the next few years, he contributed four letters to the New York Times. All dealt with his view that extraterrestrial beings were visiting the Earth; humanity remains blind to their presence even though the evidence for their presence—in the form of reports of unearthly aerial phenomena be credible observers—exists in abundance.

By the end of the decade, Fort’s health was in decline. He and Anna moved to the Bronx in 1929. Despite his problems he completed his two last books, and he was amused when in 1931 his friend Tiffany Thayer organized the Fortean Society, which Fort, as skeptical of his own authority as of anybody’s, refused to join. He died on May 3rd, 1932.

In 1941 Henry Holt published the omnibus Books of Charles Fort, which went through numerous printings and kept Fort’s name alive even after the Fortean Society folded in 1959. The international Fortean Organization (INFO) was formed in 1965; its quarterly INFO Journal publishes articles and short items on unexplained physical phenomena. Fortean Times and Strange Magazine chronicle and analyze current and historical anomalies.

SFE: The Science Fiction Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Authors : Fort, Charles : SFE : Science Fiction Encyclopedia. Retrieved July 25, 2014, from http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/fort_charles
Many Parts: Remnants of an Autobiography by Charles Hoy Fort. (n.d.). Many Parts: Remnants of an Autobiography by Charles Hoy Fort. Retrieved July 25, 2014, fromhttp://www.resologist.net/parte10.htm
Charles Fort. (n.d.). – The Skeptic’s Dictionary. Retrieved July 25, 2014, fromhttp://www.skepdic.com/fortean.html

www.sf-encyclopedia.com

Welcome to the third edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Our aim is to provide a comprehensive, scholarly, and critical guide to science fiction in all its forms.

Sep 06

An Introduction to Frequency

Rob Hillstrom

Rob Hillstrom

Director / Chair Science at TEPI
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.
Rob Hillstrom

Latest posts by Rob Hillstrom (see all)

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

Sep 05

Why Use Science? A perspective

Rob Hillstrom

Rob Hillstrom

Director / Chair Science at TEPI
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.
Rob Hillstrom

Latest posts by Rob Hillstrom (see all)

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).

Jul 25

Konstantin Raudive

Rob Hillstrom

Rob Hillstrom

Director / Chair Science at TEPI
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.
Rob Hillstrom

Latest posts by Rob Hillstrom (see all)

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

Jan 08

Stephen William Hawking

Katie Snow

Katie Snow

Chair: Aliens & UFO's at Dead Ringer Paranormal
My name is Kathy Snow however in the Paranormal world I am simply known as katie! My team and I take the paranormal field very seriously and have been up and down the eastern seaboard investigating known and unknown locations. My team consists of all family members giving us the opportunity to work well together with no drama. I am a national as well as internationally published paranormal writer. Our evidence has been shown on My ghost story caught on camera and we work hard within our community to bring awareness and understanding to the field. There are four ordained ministers on the team. After 16 years in the field we no longer do in house investigations as we are out trying to find unknown haunted locations and we consult on cases other teams may have questions on. After founding 3 teams, we have recently relocated and our new team name is Dead Ringer Paranormal. We are proud of the work we do and try to show the community it is a scientific field of study and a lot of work goes into what we all do. We are an old world team meaning we investigate with just what we need, we do not hook up wires and tons of equipment, we believe in studying the paranormal in traditional proven ways. I am excited and proud to have been asked to be a rep for NPS..
Katie Snow

Latest posts by Katie Snow (see all)

shawking

Stephen William Hawking a former Lucasian Professor of mathematics and author of “A Brief History In Time” who is currently the Director of Mathematics and Theoretical Physics and Founder of the for Theoretical Cosomology Dept. for the University Of Cambridge was born on the 8th of Jan 1942. Wanting to study Mathematics his father would have preferred his son to study medicine. Since Mathematics was not available in the University College he pursued the study of Physics and after three years was awarded an honors degree in the Natural Sciences.

Stepehen then went on to the University of Cambridge to pursue Cosomology however there were again no one working in that field so he studied under Denis Sciama and gained his Ph.D. and moved on to the Institute of Astronomy and leaving in 1973.Stephen then came back to Cambridge where he returned to Mathematics and Theoretical Physics and began holding the Lucasian titleshortly thereafter.

The Title of Lucisian Professor was created and founded in 1663 with funds left in the will of the Reverend Henry Lucas who was an important member of Parliament for the University. The title had been held by famous by names of distinction such as Isaac Barrow as wellas Iaasc Newton.

Stephen Hawking has worked on the basic laws which govern the universe. With Roger Penrose he showed that Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity implied space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes. These results indicated that it wasnecessary to unify General Relativity with Quantum Theory, the other great Scientific development of the first half of the 20th Century.One consequence of such a unification that he discovered was that black holes should not be completely black, but rather should emit
radiation and eventually evaporate and disappear. Another conjecture is that the universe has no edge or boundary in imaginary time. Thiswould imply that the way the universe began was completely determined by the laws of science.

shawking2His many publications include The Large Scale Structure of Spacetime with G F R Ellis, General Relativity: An Einstein Centenary Survey, with W Israel, and 300 Years of Gravity, with W Israel. Among the popular books Stephen Hawking has published are his best seller A Brief History of Time, Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, The Universe in a Nutshell, The Grand Design and My Brief History.

Professor Hawking has twelve honorary degrees. He was awarded the CBE in 1982, and was made a Companion of Honor in 1989. He is the recipient of many awards, medals and prizes, is a Fellow of The Royal Society and a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences.

Stephen was diagnosed with ALS, a form of Motor Neurone Disease, shortly after his 21st birthday. In spite of being wheelchair bound and dependent on a computerized voice system for communication Stephen Hawking continues to combine family life (he has three children and threegrandchildren), and his research into theoretical physics together with an extensive program of travel and public lectures. He still hopes to make it into space one day.

Source
shawking.org.uk

Jan 07

Harry Houdini

Screenshot_7

Born Erich Weisz on March 24, 1874, in Budapest, Hungary, young Harry Houdini moved with his family to Appleton, Wisconsin, where he later claimed he was born. Fascinated with magic, he began performing and drew attention for his daring feats of escape. In 1893, he married Wilhelmina Rahner, who became his onstage partner as well. Houdini continued performing escape acts until his death, on October 31, 1926, in Detroit, Michigan.

In 1899, Houdini’s act caught the attention of Martin Beck, an entertainment manager who soon got him booked at some of the best vaudeville venues in the country, followed by a tour of Europe. Houdini’s feats would involve the local police, who would strip search him, place him in shackles and lock him in their jails. The show was a huge sensation, and he soon became the highest-paid performer in American vaudeville.

Steve and Patricia Hanson related in a Los Angeles magazine article that Houdini became interested in “making contact with those who had gone beyond” after his mother’s death in 1913. His attempts in this area brought him into contact with writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930), the creator of the Sherlock Holmes character. In 1908, as a publicity stunt, Houdini had written a letter to “Holmes,” asking for help in catching crooks who were stealing his tricks. By 1920 the two men had formed a friendship based on their talent and their grief—just as Houdini had lost his beloved mother, Doyle had lost his son, Kingsley, who had been killed in World

War I (1914–18; a war in which Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Japan fought against Great Britain, France, Russia, and the United States). Each man sought ways to make contact with the spirit world.

After a while the friendship began to weaken. Houdini was not as strong a believer as Doyle. Part of Houdini’s career was devoted to exposing fakes who pretended to be able to contact spirits. As the Hansons noted in Los Angeles, Houdini felt that Doyle was too blinded by grief to see clearly, and Doyle thought that Houdini was not open-minded enough and was too anxious to expose fraud. The two men’s friendship ended.

Houdini continued his act in the United States in the early 1900s, constantly upping the ante from handcuffs and uewb_05_img0356straightjackets to locked, water-filled tanks and nailed packing crates. He was able to escape because of both his uncanny strength and his equally uncanny ability to pick locks. In 1912, his act reached its pinnacle, the Chinese Water Torture Cell, which would be the hallmark of his career. In it, Houdini was suspended by his feet and lowered upside-down in a locked glass cabinet filled with water, requiring him to hold his breath for more than three minutes to escape. The performance was so daring and such a crowd-pleaser that it remained in his act until his death in 1926.

Though there are mixed reports as to the cause of Henry Houdini’s death, it is certain that he suffered from acute appendicitis. Whether his demise was caused by a McGill University student who was testing his will by punching him in the stomach (with permission) or by poison from a band of angry Spiritualists is unknown. What is known is that he died of peritonitis from a ruptured appendix on October 31, 1926, at the age of 52, in Detroit, Michigan.

After his death, Houdini’s props and effects were used by his brother Theodore Hardeen, who eventually sold them to magician and collector Sidney H. Radner. Much of the collection could be see at the Houdini Museum in Appleton, Wisconsin, until Radner auctioned it off in 2004. Most of the prized pieces, including the Water Torture Cell, went to magician David Copperfield.
Sources.

World Biography. (n.d.). Retrieved January 7, 2015, from http://www.notablebiographies.com/Ho-Jo/Houdini-Harry.html

(n.d.). Retrieved January 7, 2015, from http://www.biography.com/people/harry-houdini-40056

 

 

Jan 07

Zecharia Sitchin

Sitchin

Zecharia Sitchin (July 11th 1920 – October 9th 2010) was born in Russia and raised in Palestine, where he acquired a knowledge of modern and ancient Hebrew, other Semitic and European languages, the Old Testament, and the history and archaeology of the Near East. Sitchin attended and graduated from the University of London, majoring in economic history.

A journalist and editor in Israel for many years, he now lives and writes in New York. His books have been widely translated, converted to Braille for the blind, and featured on radio and television. Sitchin claims that his research coincides with many biblical texts and that the biblical texts come originally from the Sumerian writings of their history.

He was an author of books promoting an explanation for human origins involving ancient astronauts. Sitchin attributes the creation of the ancient Sumerian culture to the Anunnaki, which he claims to be a race of extra-terrestrials from a planet beyond Neptune called Nibiru. He believed this hypothetical planet of Nibiru to be in an elongated, elliptical orbit in the Earth’s own Solar System, asserting that Sumerian mythology reflects this view.

Sitchin’s speculations have been ridiculed by professional scientists, historians, and archaeologists, who note many problems with his translations of ancient texts and categorize his work as pseudohistory and pseudoscience.
Similarly to earlier authors such as Immanuel Velikovsky and Erich von Daniken, Sitchin advocated theories in which extraterrestrial events supposedly played a significant role in ancient human history.

According to Sitchin’s interpretation of Mesopotamian iconography and symbology, outlined in his 1976 book The 12th Planet and its sequels, there is an undiscovered planet beyond Neptune which follows a long, elliptical orbit, reaching the inner solar system roughly every 3,600 years.

This planet is called Nibiru (although Jupiter was the planet associated with the god Marduk in Babylonian cosmology). According to Sitchin, Nibiru, (whose name was replaced with Marduk in original legends by the Babylonian ruler of the same name in an attempt to co-opt the creation for himself, leading to some confusion among readers) collided catastrophically with Tiamat (a goddess in the Babylonian creation myth the Enuma Elis), who he considers to be another planet located between Mars and Jupiter.

Zecharia-Sitchin-w-Olmec-Head-StatueThis collision supposedly formed the planet Earth, the asteroid belt, and the comets. Sitchin claims that when struck by one of planet Nibiru’s moons, Tiamat split in two, and then on a second pass Nibiru itself struck the broken fragments and one half of Tiamat became the asteroid belt. The second half, struck again by one of Nibiru’s moons, was pushed into a new orbit and became today’s planet Earth.

According to Sitchin, Nibiru (called “the twelfth planet” because, Sitchin claimed, the Sumerians’ gods-given conception of the Solar System counted all eight planets, plus Pluto, the Sun and the Moon) was the home of a technologically advanced human-like extraterrestrial race called the Anunnaki in Sumerian myth, who Sitchin states are called the Nephilim in Genesis. He claims they evolved after Nibiru entered the solar system and first arrived on Earth probably 450,000 years ago, looking for minerals, especially gold, which they found and mined in Africa. Sitchin states that these “gods” were the rank and file workers of the colonial expedition to Earth from planet Nibiru.

Screenshot_5Sitchin believes the Anunnaki genetically engineered Homo sapiens as slave creatures to work their gold mines by crossing extraterrestrial genes with those of Homo erectus. Sitchin claims ancient inscriptions report that human civilization in Sumer of Mesopotamia was set up under the guidance of these “gods”, and human kingship was inaugurated to provide intermediaries between mankind and the Anunnaki (creating the Divine right of kings doctrine).

Sitchin believes that fallout from nuclear weapons, used during a war between factions of the extraterrestrials, is the “evil wind” described in the Lament for Ur that destroyed Ur around 2000 BC. Sitchin claims the exact year is 2024 BC. Sitchin claims that his research coincides with many biblical texts, and that biblical texts come originally from Sumerian writing called Cuneiform.

Sources:
Zecharia Sitchin – Crystalinks. (n.d.). Retrieved January 7, 2015, from http://www.crystalinks.com/sitchin.html

Jan 05

Budd Hopkins

Katie Snow

Katie Snow

Chair: Aliens & UFO's at Dead Ringer Paranormal
My name is Kathy Snow however in the Paranormal world I am simply known as katie! My team and I take the paranormal field very seriously and have been up and down the eastern seaboard investigating known and unknown locations. My team consists of all family members giving us the opportunity to work well together with no drama. I am a national as well as internationally published paranormal writer. Our evidence has been shown on My ghost story caught on camera and we work hard within our community to bring awareness and understanding to the field. There are four ordained ministers on the team. After 16 years in the field we no longer do in house investigations as we are out trying to find unknown haunted locations and we consult on cases other teams may have questions on. After founding 3 teams, we have recently relocated and our new team name is Dead Ringer Paranormal. We are proud of the work we do and try to show the community it is a scientific field of study and a lot of work goes into what we all do. We are an old world team meaning we investigate with just what we need, we do not hook up wires and tons of equipment, we believe in studying the paranormal in traditional proven ways. I am excited and proud to have been asked to be a rep for NPS..
Katie Snow

Latest posts by Katie Snow (see all)

hopkins1

Born in 1951 Budd Hopkins was a Sculptor, Artist and a important figure in UFO Research. He was the founder of the Intruders Foundation, a nonprofit, scientific research and support organization and investigated over 700 cases of alien abduction as well as writing 3 prominent books on the subject. His books are considered he most influential series of books yet published on  the abduction phenomenon. These works, his Hopkins’ lectures, and his other presentations have been responsible for bringing a number of other noted researchers-David Jacobs, John Carpenter, Yvonne Smith, and John Mack, among others-into this extraordinary area of specialization. One of his most interesting investigations in which he wrote the book “Witnessed” The Linda Cortile Napolitano Story took six years to investigate and he was quoted as saying:

“Either it’s a hoax, with many people going to an awful lot of trouble and expense to set it up, or it actually happened. After six years of research we have more than 20 people who either were involved in it or were witnesses to it.”

hopkins2Budd Hopkins expierenced an UFO sighting himself in 1964 in Cape Cod Massachutes. It was during daylight hours and lasted about threeminutes. He was with two friends who also were witness. At first they thought it to be some sort of flattened balloon but obvious to them it could hover and move at great speeds. This was the beginning of his research into the realm of UFO and Alien Abductions andhe began to research heavily into other sightings. Before long others started writing to him and telling him of their expeirences.

Realizing abductions and sightings can be overwhelming, Mr Hopkins started his foundation. In 1992 a made-for-television film “Intruders”features fictionalized characters based on the works of Budd Hopkins and psychiatrist John E. Mack.

hopkins3Mr Hopkins passed away in Manhattan in August 2011 however his great strides in the UFO Research can never be forgotten.Because of his works and Foundation he has made great headway into this part of the Fringe Sciences.

Sources:
www.bibliotecapleyades.net/bb/hopkins
http://www.imdb.com
PBS.org

Dec 28

William James

NPSGraphic

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. –William James

 

wjames2Best Known For:

• Pragmatism
• Functionalism
• James-Lange Theory of Emotion
• Often called the father of American psychology

Timeline of Events:

• Born January 11, 1842 in New York City.
• 1869 – Received M.D. from Harvard.
• 1875 – Began teaching psychology at Harvard.
• 1882 – Death of William’s father, Henry James Sr.
• 1890 – Published The Principles of Psychology.
• 1892 – Turned lab over to Hugo Munsterberg.
• 1897 – Published Will to Believe and Other Essays
• 1907 – Published Pragmatism and officially resigned from Harvard.
• Died August 26, 1910 at the age of 68.
The writings of psychologist and philosopher William James had a major impact on the way we look at the mind, the body and the world.
IN THESE GROUPS
• Famous Capricorns
• Famous People Born in New York
• Famous People Born in United States
• Famous People Born on January 11

Synopsis
William James was born in New York City on January 11, 1842, into an intellectual household; his father was a philosopher and his brother, Henry James, grew up to become a renowed novelist. After medical school, James focused on the human psyche, writing a masterwork on the subject, entitled The Principles of Psychology. He later became known for the literary piece The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy, which was published in 1897. James died on August 26, 1910, in Chocorua, New Hampshire.

As the family money began to dwindle, William realized he would need to support himself and switched to Harvard Medical School. Unhappy with medicine as well, he left on an expedition with naturalist Louis Agassiz, although the experience was not a happy one. “I was, body and soul, in a more indescribably hopeless, homeless and friendless state than I ever want to be in again,” he later wrote.

Suffering from health problems and severe depression, James spent the next two years in France and Germany. It was during this time that he studied with Hermann von Helmholtz and became increasingly interested in psychology.

After graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1869, James continued to sink into depression. After a period of inactivity, the president of Harvard offered James a position as an instructor. While he famously commented that “the first lecture on psychology I ever heard being the first I ever gave,” James accepted the job and went on to teach at Harvard for the next 35 years. James also founded one of the first psychology laboratories in the United States.

wjames1His classic textbook The Principles of Psychology (1890) was widely acclaimed, but some were critical of James’ personal, literary tone. “It is literature,” psychologist Wilhelm Wundt famously commented, “it is beautiful, but it is not psychology.” Two years later, James published a condensed version of the work titled Psychology: The Briefer Course. The two books were widely used by students of psychology and were known to most as “the James” and “the Jimmy” respectively.

William James – Theory:
• Pragmatism
James wrote considerably on the concept of pragmatism. According to pragmatism, the truth of an idea can never be proven. James proposed we instead focus on what he called the “cash value,” or usefulness, of an idea.

• Functionalism
James opposed the structuralist focus on introspection and breaking down mental events to the smallest elements. Instead, James focused on the wholeness of an event, taking into the impact of the environment on behavior.

• James-Lange Theory of Emotion
The James-Lange theory of emotion proposes that an event triggers a physiological reaction, which we then interpret. According to this theory, emotions are caused by our interpretations of these physiological reactions. Both James and the Danish physiologist Carl Lange independently proposed the theory.

William James – Theory:

• Pragmatism
James wrote considerably on the concept of pragmatism. According to pragmatism, the truth of an idea can never be proven. James proposed we instead focus on what he called the “cash value,” or usefulness, of an idea.

• Functionalism
James opposed the structuralist focus on introspection and breaking down mental events to the smallest elements. Instead, James focused on the wholeness of an event, taking into the impact of the environment on behavior.

• James-Lange Theory of Emotion
The James-Lange theory of emotion proposes that an event triggers a physiological reaction, which we then interpret. According to this theory, emotions are caused by our interpretations of these physiological reactions. Both James and the Danish physiologist Carl Lange independently proposed the theory.

Influence on Psychology
In addition to his own enormous influence, many of James’ students went on to have prosperous and influential career in psychology. Some of James’ students included Mary Whiton Calkins, Edward Thorndike, G. Stanley Hall and John Dewey.

Source(s)
Cherry, K. (n.d.). William James Biography. Retrieved December 28, 2014, from http://psychology.about.com/od/profilesofmajorthinkers/p/jamesbio.htm
William James. (2014). The Biography.com website. Retrieved 04:02, Dec 28, 2014, from http://www.biography.com/people/william-james-9352726.

Dec 28

Scientific method – wrap up –

Aurthur Mclelland

Aurthur Mclelland

Alt Asst Director / Chair: Tech at Cheyenne Mountain Paranormal Investigations
I have always been questioning the paranormal since I was a kid. Having lived all across America and in several countries overseas, I have heard story after story of this place or that place being haunted, and my curiosity always got the better of me. Always looking and seeing things I could not explain, my eye opener was when I was twenty and seeing a full body apparition standing in front of me made me more curious of what actually happens to us when we pass on. I aim to find the truth of what is out there. When I am not finding the truth I am usually taking care of officer business or fencing in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.). Aurthur is also President (for business only) Chase Manger, director of Cheyenne Mountain Paranormal Investigations, co-owner of Front Range Ghost Shop and also severs 16 years army and has been Medical Retired. Having been station in places like Iraq, Korea, Fort Hood TX, Aberdeen Maryland, Fort Irwin CA and Fort Riley KS just to name a few this hole time caring what ever equipment he could care doing investigation on his time off in all thous places trying to learn what he could and how to be a better investigator. always learning on how to do thing better.
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So as you can see we need to work together on this in every way to do what we need to do. So we are no longer pseudo-science but a real science and have some doctors in the field later on in life. So just to sum up this is how it work.

  • Ask a Question
  • Do Background Research
  • Construct a Hypothesis
  • Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
  • Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
  • Communicate Your Results

If we all can do this it would make all of us be more believable. No I have a theory that I know most of you don’t share but through the years and hearing about string theory they will find different dimensions than ones we know about and this might lead to us acutely proving the existence of ghost or other apparitions in one of these dimension which will lead to better technology and even better science so I think we can find are answers through string theory so watch it very closely as they make new discovery’s.

Dec 28

Scientific Method Reporting

Aurthur Mclelland

Aurthur Mclelland

Alt Asst Director / Chair: Tech at Cheyenne Mountain Paranormal Investigations
I have always been questioning the paranormal since I was a kid. Having lived all across America and in several countries overseas, I have heard story after story of this place or that place being haunted, and my curiosity always got the better of me. Always looking and seeing things I could not explain, my eye opener was when I was twenty and seeing a full body apparition standing in front of me made me more curious of what actually happens to us when we pass on. I aim to find the truth of what is out there. When I am not finding the truth I am usually taking care of officer business or fencing in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.). Aurthur is also President (for business only) Chase Manger, director of Cheyenne Mountain Paranormal Investigations, co-owner of Front Range Ghost Shop and also severs 16 years army and has been Medical Retired. Having been station in places like Iraq, Korea, Fort Hood TX, Aberdeen Maryland, Fort Irwin CA and Fort Riley KS just to name a few this hole time caring what ever equipment he could care doing investigation on his time off in all thous places trying to learn what he could and how to be a better investigator. always learning on how to do thing better.
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Now this is the hardest thing for any of us to do. Because no science journal will post anything from a pseudo-science so what we need to do as a community is star publishing are own. Until that day the best thing we can do is share are findings with each other. Like on NPS or other sites to share with other and to work form your findings and work from other testing there theory’s making the point that they are sound. Or you found a new way to test said theory. Or a new piece of equipment dose a better test and it is proven. As sound equipment but a better understating of how it works. Unfortunately none of us are doctors of the paranormal. But as work together on it we will all get a better understanding on what we are looking for. It will also get us closer to the Holy Grail we are all looking for.

So sharing the finding we are looking with are testing and research done on this the finding will get more real and we will get closer to the right answer even if it not what we are looking for. But coming to that realization of what is real and what is not real. Now faking findings or not fully testing your findings will lead to bad result even if it dis prove your Hypothesis it is still need to be reported someone might figure out what you did wrong or what you forgot to test. That is why we need to share all findings good or bad.

Here are some scientific journal to see how we need to report are findings until we find a better way. http://www.scientificamerican.com/ http://scientificjournals.org/ http://www.sciencedaily.com/ http://www.sciencemag.org/journals/

Dec 28

Scientific Method Documentation

Aurthur Mclelland

Aurthur Mclelland

Alt Asst Director / Chair: Tech at Cheyenne Mountain Paranormal Investigations
I have always been questioning the paranormal since I was a kid. Having lived all across America and in several countries overseas, I have heard story after story of this place or that place being haunted, and my curiosity always got the better of me. Always looking and seeing things I could not explain, my eye opener was when I was twenty and seeing a full body apparition standing in front of me made me more curious of what actually happens to us when we pass on. I aim to find the truth of what is out there. When I am not finding the truth I am usually taking care of officer business or fencing in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.). Aurthur is also President (for business only) Chase Manger, director of Cheyenne Mountain Paranormal Investigations, co-owner of Front Range Ghost Shop and also severs 16 years army and has been Medical Retired. Having been station in places like Iraq, Korea, Fort Hood TX, Aberdeen Maryland, Fort Irwin CA and Fort Riley KS just to name a few this hole time caring what ever equipment he could care doing investigation on his time off in all thous places trying to learn what he could and how to be a better investigator. always learning on how to do thing better.
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Know this is the hard one and I hope I explain it in simple form. Frist thing first working from your Hypothesis you need to create data charts to log everything down. With that in mind we have a tool everyone uses in the paranormal is a recorder so you can talk in it what you are seeing digital read outs and geranial observations to add to your paperwork later. Now let say you are trying to prove the showdowns you are seeing is actually a showdown how you document this will first thing is observer what you are seeing describe everything around you at the time. The humid, tempters, weather if outside like cloudy, rain and so forth. You also want to mark down time and date. Now you have started you paperwork.

You need to make categorizers for all of that on a spread sheet that you like and now how to use. Then when you get the same thing you do the same proses over and over again and seeing what differs if any from your previous results. That is correlating data. It is time consuming and very daunting but you will know if the tempters is at this temp and humidity is at this point I should see a showdown down that cave. Or nothing at all but doing the same thing over and over again. Document everything that is in your power.

I almost forgot moon phase get that down to and if it is visible or not. All that data will help in proving or disproving your hypothesis. It will also help us move to a real science not a pseudoscience. That all we need to do the more data we gather and share with each other the more we can get to the heart of it science wise anyway. And the more we all learn and it could even lead to better equipment that we know will get what we all are looking for and a way to prove it to the world. But I am getting a lot ahead of myself.

Dec 28

Scientific method with EVPs

Aurthur Mclelland

Aurthur Mclelland

Alt Asst Director / Chair: Tech at Cheyenne Mountain Paranormal Investigations
I have always been questioning the paranormal since I was a kid. Having lived all across America and in several countries overseas, I have heard story after story of this place or that place being haunted, and my curiosity always got the better of me. Always looking and seeing things I could not explain, my eye opener was when I was twenty and seeing a full body apparition standing in front of me made me more curious of what actually happens to us when we pass on. I aim to find the truth of what is out there. When I am not finding the truth I am usually taking care of officer business or fencing in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.). Aurthur is also President (for business only) Chase Manger, director of Cheyenne Mountain Paranormal Investigations, co-owner of Front Range Ghost Shop and also severs 16 years army and has been Medical Retired. Having been station in places like Iraq, Korea, Fort Hood TX, Aberdeen Maryland, Fort Irwin CA and Fort Riley KS just to name a few this hole time caring what ever equipment he could care doing investigation on his time off in all thous places trying to learn what he could and how to be a better investigator. always learning on how to do thing better.
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Now this one is going to be the expensive one. I know you saying how that can be all I need is a digital recorder. Wrong that a start the second thing you need to pick up is a decimal reader it will let you know if the sounds is coming from the area of the recorder or not also help with debunking as well as tagging which is also a good tool don’t ever stop tagging ever. But I digress back on topic this are not the only tool you need but at least it is a start. So with tagging and a decimal reader all that tell you is everything in the imitate environment but one thing the biggest thing that most scientist try to say they are is radio waves also now as radio frequencies.

Now there is a tool to check for this is EMF-829 is used for broadband devices of monitoring the wide range radio frequency electromagnetic field Measurement V/m, mW/cm^2, W/m^2. Monitoring electromagnetic field, for example: cell-phone station, hospital equipment, radar, micro-wave oven, radiation work, TV antenna, Radio station, welding setting value. Equipment, baking- equipment, television, computer, factory, laboratory, and other environment…etc. For precision measurement consideration, the meter Accuracy ± 2 dB. There are included two probes : Probe Type EP-01H : 100 MHz to 3 GHz. EP-02L ( Low frequency Probe, 100 KHz to 100 MHz ) EP-01H ( High frequency Probe, 100 MHz to 3 GHz ) know it runs a lot more than $500 dollars. But running this with everything can rule out more and more but can only be run at the same time as all the other equipment. Know doing all that and filming it all at the same time you are documenting and proving your evp instead of forcing the proof

The next part is analyzing the sounds you have to brake the sound apart lessen to it at all levels a sound board will help now I know that is expensive but there are ways to get it done but we are still talking dollars but the more and further you go the more reliable the evidence is. That is what we all are going for the truth and the truth will set us free for lack of a better pun.

Dec 28

Scientific Method with Photos

Aurthur Mclelland

Aurthur Mclelland

Alt Asst Director / Chair: Tech at Cheyenne Mountain Paranormal Investigations
I have always been questioning the paranormal since I was a kid. Having lived all across America and in several countries overseas, I have heard story after story of this place or that place being haunted, and my curiosity always got the better of me. Always looking and seeing things I could not explain, my eye opener was when I was twenty and seeing a full body apparition standing in front of me made me more curious of what actually happens to us when we pass on. I aim to find the truth of what is out there. When I am not finding the truth I am usually taking care of officer business or fencing in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.). Aurthur is also President (for business only) Chase Manger, director of Cheyenne Mountain Paranormal Investigations, co-owner of Front Range Ghost Shop and also severs 16 years army and has been Medical Retired. Having been station in places like Iraq, Korea, Fort Hood TX, Aberdeen Maryland, Fort Irwin CA and Fort Riley KS just to name a few this hole time caring what ever equipment he could care doing investigation on his time off in all thous places trying to learn what he could and how to be a better investigator. always learning on how to do thing better.
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Now the first thing to remember is if it can be recreated it not paranormal. Now the one thing that can help is photograph everything. Not just the area you are investigating but your equipment and your notes back up is back up. Everything you can document writhing or photo help with proper documentations. The more photos the better and even recording everything helps. The more you take the more you have to back up your proof of your Hypothesis. So with this as a tool to use instead of just fire off random shots. Make your shots more deliberate. Let say you take a radon shot and you get something that you can’t explain yet like an orb. If you shoot in a different area you get nothing. Will dose that prove that is what you got is what you think no because it is two different pitchers of two different area and two different shots but a group of shots same angel same location and different day and times and get the same thing every time it proof. And easy to document as long as you set up every time the same way at the same location.

Now this is where tech guys are going to hate me. As a tech guy myself understand the pain the next big tool you will need in your arsenal is measuring tape. You need to measure the distance the camera is from all four directions north, south, east, and west if you don’t have wall as a refinances then use land marks also drawing a grid of the area will help also. The more you can document the locations of you cameras the more it also help with the proof of you hypothesis.

The last thing is placing cameras to watch cameras the more you cover what you are get the better your evidence will be. At the same time if are able to investigate an area over and over again set up the same way. This also help to prove what you are trying to do and even if you don’t get anything it is still evince proving for that one time you do. That make photography stronger in are field and sharing this information with other teams going into the same locations help both teams. That why we should share with everyone all the time.

Dec 28

What is scientific method

Aurthur Mclelland

Aurthur Mclelland

Alt Asst Director / Chair: Tech at Cheyenne Mountain Paranormal Investigations
I have always been questioning the paranormal since I was a kid. Having lived all across America and in several countries overseas, I have heard story after story of this place or that place being haunted, and my curiosity always got the better of me. Always looking and seeing things I could not explain, my eye opener was when I was twenty and seeing a full body apparition standing in front of me made me more curious of what actually happens to us when we pass on. I aim to find the truth of what is out there. When I am not finding the truth I am usually taking care of officer business or fencing in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.). Aurthur is also President (for business only) Chase Manger, director of Cheyenne Mountain Paranormal Investigations, co-owner of Front Range Ghost Shop and also severs 16 years army and has been Medical Retired. Having been station in places like Iraq, Korea, Fort Hood TX, Aberdeen Maryland, Fort Irwin CA and Fort Riley KS just to name a few this hole time caring what ever equipment he could care doing investigation on his time off in all thous places trying to learn what he could and how to be a better investigator. always learning on how to do thing better.
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sci·en·tif·ic meth·od (noun)

a method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.

This is what we all learned in any science class. The steep we need to take when try to prove anything.

  • Ask a Question
  • Do Background Research
  • Construct a Hypothesis
  • Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
  • Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
  • Communicate Your Results

So let go over thesis one at a time. Ask a question, for most of us that question is ask it why we do what we do to explain what we saw or what happen to us. Even is there answers out there. So we all move on to the second one do background research. Will their lies the biggest problem all we have for background is ghost hunting T.V. shows with people calming to be experts but even they don’t follow the first rule of science which is fallowing the basic this list. Three construct a hypothesis and that is what we all are doing is what I caught real or do I need to learn more. We all need to learn more even me but the simple hypothesis is what we are hunting casino online is real. Know come the hard one testing your hypothesis. We all have some or part of the equipment need the biggest item is pen and paper writhing down everything I will threw out the week let you know about more but that the biggest. Now analyze your data and draw a conclusion. The best way for this is build excel fillies that can help correlate data I will try to show how to do this threw out the week? Then communicate your results this is the hardest for a lot of us basically sharing everything and I mean everything from evidence to locations. It nice if you got a place to hunt but if we are not sharing then no one will ever take us as seriously about anything. The best way to put it if you found the cure for cancer would you keep it to yourself if so then it not a cure.

Dec 28

Repose

Rob Hillstrom

Rob Hillstrom

Director / Chair Science at TEPI
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.
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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.

Dec 28

TV Demons

NPSGraphic

By Christina Barber

So, you sit down in your favorite chair and turn on the ‘tube’. While there is a myriad of channels and topics, you zoom in to your preferred topic – Ghost Shows! And there are a TON of them, so many, that it may be hard to choose. Which one to watch? They each provide their own scare as they film the paranormal investigator going into a ‘lock down’ or a similar situation where they are left on their own in the scary place . . .in the dark. Surely there are a ton of scares that will happen that will leave you, the viewer, on the edge of your seat, right? And that’s what you want! Right?

Unfortunately, unbeknownst to you, the viewer, these situations are scripted television shows. Yes, they do go to the supposed haunted location ‘of the week’, but what you see on television is not really what happens. I am sorry to say, but what we see on television is NOT real, and is written by someone – so the ‘characters’ of the show are merely acting the part they were hired to do. It is hard to stomach, and something that we choose not to believe or realize, that these show are just entertainment and not real life, or how the paranormal work on a scientific level. I know this from many levels. First, I have many connections in the paranormal network and know both the writers and the stars of these shows.

Secondly, I also know people in the television business and they do what needs to be done. It is a reality that we, as viewers, don’t see. It’s the ‘behind the scenes’ or the reality of the reality show which is not pretty.

I know with these shows comes the whole pantheon of demons, that we will discuss here.

Television (and movies for that matter) are a wonderful medium. They bring to life a world that we wouldn’t normally tread. But where is the ‘line’? Where the line of real vs. is made up (or scripted)? We will examine those television demons up close and personal today.

For Entertainment Only

Perhaps that is an essential and often overlooked phrase – ‘For Entertainment Only’. It encompasses what we see on television with regard to the paranormal, and rightfully so – as it’s intoxicating. But understanding the ‘for entertainment’ aspect and what is real and scientific are two completely different worlds. However, they don’t worry about if their audience will understand or even care that they’re following the scientific method, nor will they care a whit If what happens to them on the investigation seems a bit ‘out there’. It’s all for the camera. It is a joy ride and nothing more. Most viewers mistake this for ‘real’ and don’t even give it a second thought, it’s the whole ‘it’s on television’ deal that make it so. Is it enough to watch these shows and ‘live’ in their world, one that is scripted, or written by someone else? Or do you want more? That becomes personal choice. Some prefer to live in that television world, while others decide that they need to discover the real science behind the paranormal and venture beyond the television screen.

But What’s the Harm?

Watching television and enjoying the shows is one thing, but there are a few who have taken it too far. Some have seen shows on demons and demonic possession and have taken it into their own hands to deal with someone they thought was possessed – by killing them. Others have trespassed into an historical building to ‘ghost hunt’ and burned the place to the ground. None of these people made the connection that what you see on television is not real, and thusly shouldn’t be practiced without more research and consideration. I remember many years ago, there were warnings that were splashed up on the bottom of the screen, “Warning – Do NOT try this at home.” Perhaps showing that ghost hunting is an easy, common thing that anyone can do should have contained more warnings.

Where do we go from here?

So – where do we go from here? Some think that what they see on television must be the ‘right way’ and that this is how to go about conducting a paranormal investigation (after all it’s good enough for –insert whatever show you wish here), so it’s what I do too. This is a huge misconception. As pointed out prior, these shows are for entertainment, NOT to learn, or to do things scientifically, not in the least! In order to conduct a scientific paranormal investigation, one must start with the basic premise of using the scientific method. The scientific method is something that we’ve all learned somewhere during our education – some learned in high school, others learned it in college, but it all starts with a basic assumption, or what’s called a hypotheses. Then from there you test your hypotheses, observe, record

data, review data and then make a conclusion if your hypotheses was correct. If your hypotheses was incorrect, or maybe just not correct, you might need to make some simple tweaks to it, or toss it out and try again. Another important factor in scientific measurements is that whatever ‘experiment’ you choose must be able to be repeated, multiple times, with multiple variables to make certain you’ve fully test your hypotheses.

If you are interested in learning more about using the scientific method in your own research, here is a great place to start: http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/scientific_method.html

Dec 28

Brains!

Rob Hillstrom

Rob Hillstrom

Director / Chair Science at TEPI
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.
Rob Hillstrom

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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/

Dec 28

Why IR or UV?

Rob Hillstrom

Rob Hillstrom

Director / Chair Science at TEPI
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.
Rob Hillstrom

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NPSGraphic

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

Dec 28

Big E’s

Rob Hillstrom

Rob Hillstrom

Director / Chair Science at TEPI
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.
Rob Hillstrom

Latest posts by Rob Hillstrom (see all)

NPSGraphic

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

Dec 28

EM Spectrum

Rob Hillstrom

Rob Hillstrom

Director / Chair Science at TEPI
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.
Rob Hillstrom

Latest posts by Rob Hillstrom (see all)

NPSGraphic

(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

Dec 28

WTF?

Rob Hillstrom

Rob Hillstrom

Director / Chair Science at TEPI
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.
Rob Hillstrom

Latest posts by Rob Hillstrom (see all)

NPSGraphic

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.

Dec 28

Infinite existence – an answer we can never know

NPSGraphic

While trying to get my head around the nature of the universe, I find myself coming back to a troubling bit of the puzzle. Can intelligence make the universe larger? Throughout history, we find the extent of the universe to be limited by our beliefs. As our minds became capable of realizing additional beliefs, our universe has expanded. We can apply similar logic to different species.

Once upon a time, the “human” reality/universe didn’t extend far beyond acquiring food, a mate, and perhaps shelter. What we might find over there or out there was not even a concern. The universe was defined by surviving until the next sunrise. As we gained knowledge and created technologies, we found more things in the universe and our realization of the universe became larger.

The problem developed here, is the apparent relationship between mental ability and the size and nature of the universe. Can it be so simple; the more stuff we believe, the more stuff will exist? If we believe in everything then must everything exist? If we believe anything can happen then must it happen?

The problem grows when we take into account how different mental abilities will affect the universe. A single cell organism can not conceive the universe as we do yet its universe is no less real. This organism’s universe exists within ours yet from its perspective we likely do not exist. To further the complication, we must acknowledge how we change the organism’s universe even though it is not aware of us. Likewise, some of these organisms can destroy us without actually being aware of our existence. A species from another galaxy may perceive us as little more than single cell organisms. While from our perspective, they may not exist at all. A human with a certain degree of brain damage will perceive the universe much different than others do. Brain activity in a vegetative state can vary from nil to hyperactive. Has the hyperactive brain of a vegetative human found a different and perhaps larger universe?

The easy answer is to accept only one defined universe for all things and all levels of intelligence. However, if we do this we must set limits on the universe; meaning we must accept nothing beyond what we know at this moment is possible or even conceivable. The simple acts of imagining, calculating, and conceiving what is possible must cease.

If the universe is not what we know it to be; it must be infinite. It is everything we can conceive it to be but, it must also be everything which does not yet exist. Greatly simplified quantum mechanics tells us existence requires an observer. In order to exist, all things must reside within the perspective of something. Yes, this does lend to “logical proof” of the existence of some sort of almighty deity, but it also requires something equivalent or even greater to allow a deity to exist.

This brings me to the final thoughts and bits of the puzzle which are both confounding and intriguing. Deities are often thought of in terms of infinite intelligence. If we are to achieve this infinite intelligence can we then do anything and everything? Would we realize an answer to that which is indefinable or would it continue to be infinity? If we were to achieve infinite intelligence would we be deities ourselves or would something still be beyond us? If we evolve, must our deities evolve ahead of us? If they do not evolve, do we surpass them or do we cease to exist?

Dec 28

Smartphone Paranormal – A perspective on the controversy

Rob Hillstrom

Rob Hillstrom

Director / Chair Science at TEPI
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.
Rob Hillstrom

Latest posts by Rob Hillstrom (see all)

NPSGraphic

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.

Dec 28

Weather or not – A quick perspective by Department Chair

Rob Hillstrom

Rob Hillstrom

Director / Chair Science at TEPI
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.
Rob Hillstrom

Latest posts by Rob Hillstrom (see all)

NPSGraphic

 

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

Dec 28

Technology in the Paranormal

NPSGraphic

by Blane Willcut

 

It seems like those of us in the paranormal arena are always on the lookout for new things to add to our arsenal of investigative equipment. Truth be told, all too often we spend a lot of money on equipment that simply does not live up to our expectations and we must then make the walk of shame while our team mates snicker and giggle behind our back.

Technology, as it applies to paranormal investigations, is an ever-changing field. New devices and gadgets are introduced to us on a regular basis. Moreover, all too often, those that manufacture these toys are looking to do nothing more than to make a buck off of us. With that in mind, I am offering a bit of great information for all to enjoy. Look at some videos that Paul Browning has posted on making the R.V.P.R. This is a fantastic piece of equipment designed by an experienced and well-respected member of the paranormal community that will deliver exactly as it promises.  Enjoy!

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

Dec 28

Why Use Science? A perspective by the Department Chair

Rob Hillstrom

Rob Hillstrom

Director / Chair Science at TEPI
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.
Rob Hillstrom

Latest posts by Rob Hillstrom (see all)

Science-wordle-150x150

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).

Dec 22

Nikola Tesla

Rob Hillstrom

Rob Hillstrom

Director / Chair Science at TEPI
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.
Rob Hillstrom

Latest posts by Rob Hillstrom (see all)

NPSGraphic

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

 

Dec 21

Joseph Banks Rhine

111209-lg-rhinejb-1950sJoseph Banks Rhine (September 29, 1895-February 20, 1980) was the founder and director of the Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke University, often called the father of modern parapsychology. He believed that the limits of Extrasensory Perception would have to be established before any meaningful work could be done on the problem of Survival After Death, but he never lost a personal interest in the latter.

J.B. Rhine was born on September 29, 1895, in a log house in the Pennsylvania Mountains. From his childhood he heard many stories of omens, warnings and messages from the unseen agencies, although his skeptical father taught him to dismiss them as so much superstitions nonsense. When he was about 12, He had a religious experience and decided on a life in the ministry; he held this determination until he met Louisa Ella Weckesser, his future wife, whose critical attitude to religion gradually brought him to question his faith.

Rhine served in the Marines from 1917 to 1919. He and his wife Louisa were married in 1920. He began to study biology and plant physiology, preparing for a career in forestry. He received his Ph. D in botany form the University of Chicago in 1925; His wife had received her PhD in the same subject from the institution two years earlier. But Rhine did not find botany satisfying: more and more his mind turned to psychic experiences. The Rhines had heard Sir Arthur Conan Doyle lecture in Chicago in 1922, and his claim to be in touch with his deceased son made Rhine wonder whether psychical research might provide the way of establishing proof of a nonphysical world.

Rhine joined the American Society For Psychical Research in 1924 and in 1925 began to abstract foreign-language publications for the ASPR’s Journal. The Journal at this time was under the editorship of J. Malcolm Bird and was printing many stories of the Boston medium Margery. Joseph was enough impressed by what he read to want to conduct his own research with Margery. Boston was across the river from Cambridge and Harvard, where William McDougall, a prominent figure in psychical research. It was partly with the idea of investigating Margery that the Rhines left Morgantown in June 1926 and moved to Boston.

On July 1 the Rhines had a sitting with Margery which left Rhine badly disillusioned. He had seen the medium kick a megaphone within reach of her hand in the dark, and when he checked a balance after the Séance he found that the weight had been moved so that the “wrong” side would go down. He quickly wrote to the ASPR about what he had seen; later he resigned his membership in the society.

The Rhines had based their decision to leave Morgantown partly on a belief in Bird’s presentation of the mediumship, Louisa wrote in Something Hidden (1983), her book on their life together, but now suddenly everything was up in the air. They had reached Cambridge to find McDougall leaving for sabbatical, and the Crandon mediumship had turned to be a fraud. Fortunately, there was Walter Franklin Prince at the Boston Society For Psychic Research.

Prince had left his position as research officer with the ASPR partly because he too, was skeptical of the Crandon Mediumship. He arranged for the Rhines to have sittings with a mental Medium, Minnie Meserve Soule, on behalf of a Detroit school administrator, John F. Thomas, who was working on his doctorate under McDougall. Thomas, in turn, arranged for the Rhines to go to Duke University in the fall of 1927 to assist him in his data analysis. Duke had hired McDougall away from Harvard after his sabbatical.

Rhine at first worked as a research assistant to McDougall as well as Thomas. He stayed on to teach psychology after Thomas received his Ph. D, and in the fall of 1930 he and McDougall, along with others in psychology department, began the ESP experiments that would make the Parapsychology Laboratory world famous. The association with Prince now had another benefit Prince edited and the Boston Society published Rhine’s monograph Extra-Sensory Perception (1934), in which he reported the results of those early experiments.

The Soule sittings they had conducted for Thomas had been interesting, but the Rhines disagreed with Thomas had over their interpretation. Thomas believed that these and other of his séance communications were genuine messages from his deceased wife, whereas the Rhines thought they could be explained on the basis of the medium’s ESP. The debate was an old one, going back to the beginnings of the Society For Psychical Research (SPR) in London in 1882.

But Rhine had not lost his personal interest in the survival problem. In a series of books and lectures, as well as scientific papers and editorials published in the Journal of Parapsychology, which he founded at Duke in 1937, he was quick to point out that ESP supported a dualistic separation of body and mind. And if body and mind were separate, then in theory the mind should be able to survive the body’s death. Until the limits of ESP were established, however, he believed there was no scientific way of pursuing the survival problem.

The Parapsychology Laboratory continued in operation at Duke until Rhine’s retirement in 1965, when he moved it off campus to the new Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man, where it is still in existence. Rhine died on February 20, 1980, at his home in Hillsborough, North Carolina.

References

Berger, Authur S. Lives and Letters in American Parapsychology, Jefferson, N.C. :McFarland, 1988.

Brian, Dennis. The Enchanted Voyager: The Life of J. B. Rhine. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice-Hall, 1982

Matlock, J.G. “Cat’s Paw: Margery and Rhines, 1926.” Journal of Parapsychology 51 (1987): 229-247

Mauskopf, Seymour, and Michael McVaugh. The Elusive Science. Baltimore: John Hopkins, 1980

Rhine, Louisa E. Something Hidden. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1983

Rao, K. R., ed. J. B. Rhine: On the Frontiers of Science. Jefferson, N.C., McFarland, 1982

Dec 21

Thomas Glenndenning Hamilton

hamiltonThomas Glenndenning Hamilton (1873-1935)  was a physician in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. As Founder and President of the Winnipeg Society for Psychical Research, Hamilton conducted systematic research on physical mediumship in a laboratory in his home over a period of 15 years.

T. Glen Hamilton, TGH or Glen as he came to be known, was born on November 27, 1873, into a farmer’s family in Agincourt, Ontario, now a part of Toronto. The Hamiltons moved in 1891 to Winnipeg, where Glen attended college, and taught school for a period before studying medicine. After graduating from Manitoba Medical College in 1903, he did a year’s internship as house surgeon at Winnipeg General Hospital, and established a private medical practice. In 1906, he married Lillian May Forrester, a nurse. The Hamiltons had four children James, Margaret, Arthur, and Glen.

TGH was active in community and medical affairs, serving on the Winnipeg School Board for nine years, from 1906 until his selection as Liberal member for Elmwood to the Manitoba Legislative Assembly in 1915, a position he held until 1920. In 1916 he became the first chairman of the Winnipeg Committee on Mothers’ Pensions. He was elected president of the Manitoba medical Association for 1921-22. From 1922-23, he was president of the Canadian Medical Association, and from 1923-31, he was the Manitoba representative on the Executive of the association. He also taught medical jurisprudence and act as an examiner in clinical surgery.

TGH was first attracted to psychical phenomena as an undergraduate, when he read an article by the Spiritualist W. T. Stead in the Review of Reviews. In 1918, he came across the Patience Worth publications, which greatly impressed him. The following year he devised and carried out a telepathy experiment, and begin widely in psychical research. His first practical experience with the psychic came in 1920, at a table-tilting session arranged by his wife in their home, at which the deceased Stead and Frederic W. H. Myers purported to communicate.

The Hamiltons became interested in the work of William J. Crawford, whose books on the Goligher Circle had recently been published. Mrs. Hamilton was struck by an apparent similarity between Kathleen Goligher and Elizabeth Poole, the medium at the Hamilton’s table-tilting session, and wondered whether people might have greater untapped abilities. Poole was willing to find out, and the woman began to hold weekly séances in the Hamilton home. Nothing unusual happened for several months, and they were about to give up the sittings, when suddenly their table reared up unto two legs. It remained so for several minutes, despite efforts to push it down. TGH was called in, and the phenomenon was repeated.

His curiosity aroused, TGH formed a small groups of sitters, with Poole as the medium. By March 1922, after some 40 séances, he had satisfied himself about three things: (1) a 10-pound wooden table would make powerful movements under Poole’s touch; (2) It would continue to make strong movements after she had removed her hands; and (3) the rappings he and the others sitters heard showed signs of intelligence in their responses to questions. He accepted the table movements as Evidence of paranormal activity, but he was skeptical of the idea that the raps really were communications for Stead and Myers.

TGH decided to give up the psychic work. He had satisfied his curiosity and he was much aware how this research would be regarded by his medical colleagues. But it was a decision he found impossible to carry through. Nine months later, at an impromptu séance held for a visiting friend, Stead advised him to go on with his work, predicting that there was more to come. Impressed, TGH told his wife that if she could get together a suitable group of people, he would find time to continue. The sitter group which Mr. Hamilton formed over time consisted of our medical doctors, a lawyer, a civil engineer, and an electrical engineer, In addition to the Hamiltons. Poole and two other nonprofessional mediums were engaged. And, perhaps most significantly, a special séance room was outfitted in the Hamiltons’ house. This room was furnished with an open medium’s Cabinet, a 12-pound wooden table, and chairs arranged in a half circle facing a cabinet. There was a ruby-color light in the ceiling, equipped with a dimmer. There were also a large battery of cameras of various tapes, some of them stereoscopics, positioned at the end of the room. These could be operated by remote control with the aid of a push-button device TGH invented. TGH loaded all photographic plates and did all the developing, printing, and enlarging. A secretary took verbatim notes during séances. These arrangements, together with TGH’s standing in the community, greatly impressed many who heard him speak about his work in later years.

The settings began in April 1923. Many movements and partial levitations of the table occurred, some graphed, from various angles. Soon Poole began to enter a spontaneous trance. At first, her deep trances would last only a few minutes, but gradually they became longer. During these deep trances, Poole would be “invaded” by trance personalities, two of which-those purporting to be the writer Robert Louis Stevenson and the missionary-explorer David Livingstone- became regular communities communications. It was as a consequence messages from them that TGH ultimately became convinced of survival after death and the correctness of the spiritualist view of mediumistic communication. A woman whom had demonstrated some mediumistic ability and her occasional appearance with the group started to attend regularly in January 1928. In February, a control calling himself “Walter” and identifying himself as Mina Stinson Crandon’s control of the same name attached himself to this woman, Mary Marshall (Dawn). At Walter’s insistence, TGH built a bell box of the sort used in Crandon’s séances. This was a box with a hinged lid which, when pressed down, would bring two strips of metal into contact, and cause the bell to ring. Walter instructed TGH to place this bell box on a shelf in the séance room, where it would be heard to ring periodically at sittings. In July, Walter excused that the TGH photographs Marshall while the bell was ringing. In September, a developed plate shown very fine, thin cords connecting Marshall’s her head to the bell box, some three feet above. Walter explained that he had constructed the cords from the ectoplasm, allegedly a substance exuded by physical mediums that enables materializations to take place.

In October 1928, Walter announced that he would try something new. Between November 1928 and May 1929, photographs of miniature faces of the likeness of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a preacher in England, appeared not long thereafter, the circle underwent another major development with some of the regular sitters falling into trance along with the designated mediums. Marshall, however, was the only one to produce ectoplasm. Photographs showed some of these to be attached to her head, others separated from it. They ranged in size from a silver dollar to substantial growths three or four feet in height and several inches thick. Several showed faces, and a few represented more fully formed figures, replete with hair and clothing.

As his research continued, TGH began to speak about it openly. He gave a presentation, which included displays of photographs, to the British Medical Association at its convention in Winnipeg in 1930. He was convinced that European psychical researchers were wrong in interpreting materialization as a psychokinetic action of the medium, and believed that the production of ectoplasm was under the control of the personality, as Walter claimed. TGH published a series of articles on his work in Spiritualist publications such as Light and Psychic Research in the early 1930’s, is only book, a compilation of his notes edited by his son James, appeared posthumously in 1942 as Intention and Survival. The title expressed the TGH’s conviction that séance communications were purposeful providing evidence of intentions, and therefore of a surviving intelligence.

TGH died of a heart attack on April 7, 1935, at the age of 61. After a hiatus of some months, the sittings were continued by Mrs. Hamilton, partly for the purpose of giving him the opportunity to communicate himself. As the Hamiltons’ daughter Margaret tells in her book Is Survival A Fact? (1969), the most significant of these new sittings occurred in February 1939, once more at Walter’s suggestion. TGH’s likeness was produced in ectoplasm, and through Marshall a TGH communicator referred to events known only to Mrs. Hamilton, and that had been forgotten consciously even by her. She and the other sitters were confident that TGH had indeed communicated his continued existence from the beyond.

Sources:

Dean, K.E. comp. Register of the Thomas Glenndenning Hamilton Collection. URL http://umanitoba.ca/libraries/units/archives
Hamilton, Margaret. Is Survival A Fact? London: Psychic Press, 1969
Hamilton, T. Glen. Intention and Survival. Edited by James Ha
milton, Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1942
University of Manitoba Libraries, Archieves and Special Collections, Thomas Glenndenning Hamilton collection, MSS14. URL http://umanitoba.ca/libraries/units/archieves

Dec 08

Frederic William Henry Myers

Frederic_William_Henry_MyerBirth: February 6, 1843 in Keswick, England
Death: January 17, 1901 in Rome, Italy
A leading theoretician during the first generation of psychical research. He was born February 6, 1843, at Keswick, Cumberland, England, and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. For 30 years Myers filled the post of an inspector of schools at Cambridge. Here his resolve to pursue psychical investigation was born in 1869 after a starlight walk and talk with Henry Sidgwick.

His theory was that if a spiritual world ever manifested to humans, a serious investigation must be made to discover unmistakable signs of it. For “if all attempts to verify scientifically the intervention of another world should be definitely proved futile, this would be a terrible blow, a mortal blow, to all our hopes of another life, as well as of traditional religion” for “it would thenceforth be very difficult for men to be persuaded, in our age of clear thinking, that what is now found to be illusion and trickery was in the past thought to be truth and revelation.”

Myers had in mind an empiric method of deliberate, dispassionate, and exact inquiry. It was in this spirit that, in 1882, the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), London, of which he was a cofounder, came to be established. He devoted all his energies to its work and concentrated with a deep grasp of science on the psychological side. Of the 16 volumes of the society’s Proceedings published while he lived, there are few without an important contribution from his pen.

In Phantasms of the Living, a collaboration with Edmund Gurney and Frank Podmore (and one of the society’s first major studies of the paranormal), the system of classification of paranormal phenomena was entirely his idea.

The words “telepathy,” “supernormal,” “veridical,” and many others less in use today were coined by Myers.

In the SPR he filled the post of honorary secretary. In 1900, Myers was elected to the presidential chair, a post that only distinguished scientists had previously filled.

To periodicals such as the Fortnightly Review he contributed many articles. They were collected and published in 1893 under the titles Science and a Future Life and Other Essays.

His chief work, Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death, was posthumously published in 1903. It is an exposition of the potential powers of the subliminal self, which Myers pictured as the real ego, a vast psychic organism of which the ordinary consciousness is but an accidental fraction, the life of the soul, not bound up with the life of the body, of which the so-called supernormal faculties are the ordinary channels of perception.

Myers challenged the Spiritualist position that all, or most of, supernormal phenomena were due to the spirits of the dead, contending to the contrary that by far the largest proportion was due to the action of the still embodied spirit of the agent or of the percipient himself. The theory brought order into a chaotic mass of psychical phenomena. On the other hand, it greatly enhanced the probability of survival after death. As the powers of the subliminal self did not degenerate during the course of evolution and served no purpose in this life they were obviously destined for a future existence. Why, for instance, should the subconscious so carefully preserve all thoughts and memories if there would be no use for them?

William James suggested that the problems of the subliminal mind should be called “the problem of Myers.” And he added, “Whatever the judgment of the future may be on Mr. Myers’ speculation, the credit will always remain to them of being the first attempt in any language to consider the phenomena of hallucination, automatism, double personality, and mediumship as connected parts of one whole subject.”

Theodore Flournoy, a profound psychologist himself, considered Myers “one of the most remarkable personalities of our time in the realm of mental science.” Further, he observed, “If future discoveries confirm his thesis of the intervention of the discarnate, in the web and the woof of our mental and physical world then his name will be inscribed in the golden book of the initiated, and, joined to those of Copernicus and Darwin, he will complete the triad of geniuses who have the most profoundly revolutionised scientific thought, in the order, Cosmological, Biological and Psychological.”

Walter Leaf compared Myer to Ruskin and considered him in some respects his peer. According to Charles Richet “if Myers were not a mystic, he had all the faith of a mystic and the ardour of an apostle, in conjunction with the sagacity and precision of a savant.”

“I never knew a man so hopeful concerning his ultimate destiny,” wrote Sir Oliver Lodge in memoriam. “He once asked me whether I would barter–if it were possible–my unknown destiny, whatever it might be, for as many aeons of unmitigated and wise terrestrial happiness as might last till the secular fading of the sun, and then an end. He would not.”

Myers was working not only in the first generation of parapsychology, but at a time when psychology was struggling to separate itself from the dominance of physiology. The kind words of Myers’s contemporaries about his psychological theories reflect his general high standing in the intellectual community and the larger consideration that was being given to Myers’s theories concerning the human personality. His psychological theories, which could possibly have made a significant place for the paranormal in the consideration of the psychological community, were, however, displaced by the competing thought of his contemporary, Sigmund Freud, and the emergence of psychotherapy. In the success of Freudian thought, Myers’s ideas were pushed to the fringe.

Myers on Spiritualist Phenomena

In Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death, physical phenomena received but little consideration. Myers believed in telekinesis, but in spite of his own experiments and those of Sir William Crookes, its genuine occurrence did not appear to him sufficiently believable to justify discussion in his book. Nevertheless, in dealing with possession he suggested an ingenious explanation, i.e., that the possessing spirit may use the organism more skillfully than its owner and may emit some energy that can visibly move ponderable objects not actually in contact with the flesh. Of his own investigations between 1872 and 1876 he said that they were “tiresome and distasteful enough.”

On May 9, 1874, in the company of Edmund Gurney, he made the acquaintance of medium William Stainton Moses. The two became such close friends that when Moses died on September 5, 1982, his notebooks were handed to Myers for study.

Myers’s articles in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research (vols. 9 and 11) contain the best accounts of this remarkable mediumship, althyough his conclusions were not solely based on personal experiences with Moses. He also participated in some startling sessions involving C. E. Wood and Annie Fairlamb Mellon.

In 1894, on the Ile Roubaud, Myers was the guest of Charles Richet and participated with Sir Oliver Lodge and Julien Ochorowicz in the experiments conducted with Eusapia Palladino. The Cambridge exposure of Palladino’s fraud shook his belief and he then wrote: “I had no doubt that systematic trickery had been used from the first to last, and that there was no adequate ground for attributing any of the phenomena occurring at these sittings to a supernormal cause.” Later, however, he participated in another series of sittings with Palladino in Paris and at the solemn adjuration of Richet he declared himself convinced that both telekinesis and ectoplasm were genuine phenomena. He also sat with Mrs. Thomas Everitt, Elizabeth d’Esperance, and David Duguid.

Further, Myers experienced crystal gazing and he investigated the haunted Ballechin House in Perthshire, Scotland. As a result, he published two papers in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research: “On Alleged Movements of Objects without Contact, occurring not in the Presence of a Paid Medium” (vol. 7, pts. 19 and 20, 1891-92).

Myers Speaks from the Grave?

Myers died January 17, 1901, in Rome, Italy. After his death, a flood of claimed communications from his spirit came from many mediums. The most important ones were those received through Leonora Piper, Margaret Verrall, and Alice K. Fleming (known publicly as Mrs. Holland). As regards the latter, Frank Podmore and Alice Johnson agreed that the “Myers” control was a subconscious creation of the medium. The views there expressed were alien to the mentality of the living Myers.

Verrall apparently obtained the contents of a sealed letter that Myers had written in 1891 and left in the care of Sir Oliver Lodge for such a test. However, when the letter was opened in 1904 the contents were found to be entirely different.

In 1907, Eleanor Sidgwick obtained good identity proofs through Leonora Piper. On her behalf, Verrall asked some questions to which she did not know that answer and received correct replies as regards the contents of the last conversation that had taken place between Mrs. Sidgwick and Myers.

Many other impressive indications of his surviving self were found in cross-correspondences, especially during Piper’s second visit to England in 1906-07. The whole system of cross-correspondences appears to have been elaborated by him, and the wealth of classical knowledge displayed in the connected fragments given by several mediums raises a strong presumption that they emanated from Myers’ mind.

The most striking evidence of this nature was obtained after Piper’s return to the United States by G. B. Dorr in 1908. Frank Podmore considered it “perhaps the strongest evidence yet obtained for the identity of any communicator.”

In The Road to Immortality (1932), a book supposedly written by Myers through Geraldine Cummins, a stupendous vista was opened up, apparently by Myers, of the soul’s progression through the after-death states. As regards the authorship of the book, Sir Oliver Lodge received independent testimony through Gladys Osborne Leonard from “Myers” of his communications through Cummins. Lodge saw no reason to dissent from the view that the remarkable accounts of the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh states “are the kind of ideas which F. W. H. Myers may by this time [1932] have been able to form.”

Sources:
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York: Paragon House, 1991.
Gauld, Alan. The Founders of Psychical Research. New York: Schocken Books, 1968.
Haynes, Renée. The Society for Psychical Research, 1882-1982: A History. London: Mcdonald, 1982.
Myers, F. W. H. Human Personality and the Survival of Bodily Death. London: Longmans, Green, 1903.
——. Science and a Future Life: With Other Essays. London: Macmillan, 1901.
Myers, F. W. H., Edmund Gurney, and Frank Podmore. Phantasms of the Living. London: Trubner, 1886.
Pleasants, Helene, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology. New York: Helix Press, 1964.
Salter, W. H. “F. W. H. Myers’ Posthumous Message.” Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 52 (1958).

Dec 04

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

doyleSir Arthur Conan Doyle (May 22, 1859 – July 7, 1930) was a Doctor, Author, and Journalist.  Author Doyle scribed 60 mystery stories which featured the wildly popular detective character Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Watson. It was in 1890 that his novel A Study in Scarlet introduced the character of detective Sherlock Holmes. He’d also strove to spread his spiritualism faith through a series of books that were scribed from 1918 through 1926.

On May 22nd of 1859, Doyle was born to an affluent, strict Irish-Catholic family in Edinburgh, Scotland. Doyle’s mother, Mary, was a lively and well-educated woman who loved to read. She particularly delighted in telling her young son outlandish stories. Her great enthusiasm and animation while spinning wild tales sparked the child’s imagination. As Doyle would later recall in his biography, “In my early childhood, as far as I can remember anything at all, the vivid stories she would tell me stand out so clearly that they obscure the real facts of my life.”

[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]At the age of 9, Doyle bid a tearful goodbye to his parents and was shipped off to England, where he would attend Hodder Place, Stonyhurst—a Jesuit preparatory school—from 1868 to 1870.[/pullquote] Doyle then went on to study at Stonyhurst College for the next five years. For Doyle, the boarding-school experience was brutal: many of his classmates bullied him, and the school practiced ruthless corporal punishment against its students. Over time, Doyle found solace in his flair for storytelling, and developed an eager audience of younger students.

When Doyle graduated from Stonyhurst College in 1876, his parents expected that he would follow in his family’s footsteps and study art, so they were surprised when he decided to pursue a medical degree at the University of Edinburgh instead. At med school, Doyle met his mentor, Professor Dr. Joseph Bell, whose keen powers of observation would later inspire Doyle to create his famed fictional detective character, Sherlock Holmes. At the University of Edinburgh, Doyle also had the good fortune to meet classmates and future fellow authors James Barrie and Robert Louis Stevenson. While a medical student, Doyle took his own first stab at writing, with a short story called The Mystery of Sasassa Valley. That was followed by a second story, The American Tale, which was published in London Society.

In 1880, Doyle returned to medical school. Back at the University of Edinburgh, Doyle became increasingly invested in Spiritualism or “Psychic religion,” a belief system that he would later attempt to spread through a series of his written works. By the time he received his Bachelor of Medicine degree in 1881, Doyle had denounced his Roman Catholic faith.

The prolific author also composed four of his most popular Sherlock Holmes books during the 1890s and early 1900s: The Sign of Four (1890), The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892), The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894) and The Hounds of Baskervilles, published in 1901. In 1893, to Doyle’s readers’ disdain, he had attempted to kill off his Sherlock Holmes character in order to focus more on writing about Spiritualism. In 1901, however, Doyle reintroduced Sherlock Holmes as a ghost in The Hounds of Baskervilles and later brought him back to life in

The Adventure of the Empty House so the lucrative character could earn Doyle the money to fund his missionary work. Doyle also strove to spread his faith through a series of written works, consisting of The New Revolution (1918), The Vital Message (1919), The Wanderings of a Spiritualist (1921) and History of Spiritualism (1926).

In 1928, Doyle’s final twelve stories about Sherlock Holmes were published in a compilation entitled The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes.

Having recently been diagnosed with Angina Pectoris, Doyle stubbornly ignored his doctor’s warnings, and in the fall of 1929, embarked on a spiritualism tour through the Netherlands. He returned home with chest pains so severe that he needed to be carried on shore, and was thereafter almost entirely bedridden at his home in Crowborough, England. Rising one last time on July 7, 1930, Doyle collapsed and died in his garden while clutching his heart with one hand and holding a flower in the other.

Reference(s)

Arthur Conan Doyle. (2014). The Biography.com website. Retrieved 07:20, Nov 30, 2014, from http://www.biography.com/people/arthur-conan-doyle-9278600.

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