Tag Archive: featured health and safety

Jan 24

Mirror-touch Synthesia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCES:
Pacific Standard Magazine (psmag.com) [1]
Wikipedia [2]
Synesthete.org [3]

Dec 31

Is The Thing That Goes “Bump In The Night” Caffiene?

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

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coWhat was that noise? Did you see that shadow? Is your house, school, place of employment the home of all manner or paranormal entities? Or is it possible you have just had to much caffeine?

Caffiene – that glorious substance that helps wake us up in the morning in a cup of coffee or gives us that extra boost through an energy drink at the end of a long day at work. We consume caffiene in many ways. Coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, even chocolate has it. Did you know that caffiene, although it is completely legal and unregulated is actually a psychoactive drug?

According to recent studies in both Australia and the UK, high levels of caffiene use have been linked to auditory and visual hallucinations. According to researchers at La Trobe university as few as 5 cups of coffee a day can cause auditory hallucinations. This was determined through a study of 92 non-clinical participants measuring high levels of caffiene and high levels of stressful life events.

Durham University in the UK conducted a similar study with 200 non smoking students. Students were asked about their caffiene intake including coffee, tea, energy drinks, chocolate and caffiene tablets. Stress levels and incidents of hallucinatory experiences were assessed as well. Seeing things, hearing voices and sensing dead people were among the things reported.

The possible explanation is that caffiene has been found to exacerbate the physiological effects of stress on the body.Stress causes the body to release a hormone known as Cortisol. Studies have shown more of this hormone is released in response to stress in people who have recently consumed caffiene. There is a possible link between this increase in Cortisol release and hallucinations according to study leader Simon Jones.

Since Jones and his collegues believe that psychotic experiences, including hallucinations exist in the healthy population as well as the mentally ill the study was conducted on subjects with no known mental illnesses or antiphsycotic medication use. According to Jones. Hallucinations are not necessarily a sign of mental illness. Given the link between “food and mood” he and his collegues feel that the link between nutrition and hallucinations is a sensible area to study. This research is ongoing.

According to the FDA and most experts consumption of up to 300mg of caffiene (the equivelant one to two 12oz cups of coffee or 6 to 8 12ox sodas a day) is within the “safe” range. According to Jack Bergman, a behavioral pharmacologist at Harvard Medical school , overdose of caffiene can produce a myriad of adverse effects including hallucinations. He also noted at that it is important to remember that hallucinations can be simply defined as sensory disturbances. There are many reports that extremely high intakes of caffiene can produce complex sensory disturbances. Another thing to note is that overdose of caffiene in some people can also produce paranoia which intesifies the sensory disturbances.

Given all of this data I would conclude that when one is experiencing a sudden onset of hearing, seeing or sensing things it would be prudent to examine that individuals caffiene intake. This information will certainly have me thinking twice before reaching for that third cup of coffee.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/…/090114-caffeine-halluc…
http://www.mentalhealthy.co.uk/…/424-too-much-coffee-can-ma…
http://www.livescience.com/3230-caffeine-hallucinations.html

Oct 01

Migraines – more than a headache

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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dt_141229_migraine_headache_brain_800x600Many have experienced headaches, and some realize there are a variety of headaches the average person can experience such as sinus or tension, but once a person has had a migraine, they realize it is in a different category. Often with a migraine, a person can experience what they may describe as paranormal experiences, however, that is all part of the migraine experience.

The average symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic staff, normally include sensitivity to light and sound (both are magnified often to unbearable levels), nausea and vomiting. The pain can be so debilitating that the individual may be confined to the bed for hours or days. The University of Maryland Medical System states migraines are believed to be neurovascular. This condition, (including cluster headaches which are more common to men) may be caused by blood vessel and nerve issues. Migraines may be felt on one side of the head or the headache can expand to encompass the entire skull and neck. These headaches are called classic (which come with the aura/sensory experience). Those with no warning aura are called common migraines. It is important to note that the cause of migraines have not been definitively diagnosed which adds to the mystery of this condition. Other types of migraines include menstrual, basilar (neck area), abdominal, opthalmoplegic, retinal, vestibular (where some experience blindness in one eye), familial hemiplegic (which has genetic roots) and status migrainosus (symptoms are so severe, hospitalization may be needed.

Many believe they are experiencing something supernatural because precursors to the migraine may include this aura experience of colors and lights, flashing lights, strange sounds, seeing an aura around people or things, blind spots, tunnel vision or tingling in one or all extremities. Further, these symptoms may continue throughout the headache.

Erin Dean explains a “silent” migraine as a painless but psychologically and physically disturbing experience that adds to paranormal fears. With silent migraines, there is no pain in the head, but the flashing lights can often appear so that the individual’s sight is negatively impacted. It is during a silent migraine that some report seeing “orbs,” “uneven lines, problems with speech and slight physical paralysis that may feel like someone is holding the body or an extremity down and making it difficult to move.

While some sufferers seem to never find a way to avoid the experience, others have found food triggers such as alcohol, chocolate or cheese, beer, caffeine and food additives. Some medication triggers are the contraceptive pill or recreational drugs. Health triggers can be high blood pressure, environmental factors such as dust, rugs, mold and mildew, weather changes, bright lights and smells. Behavioral triggers include sleep deprivation, increased emotional or physical stress, skipping meals, being at a high altitude, travel by train, plane or car, and even exercise.

It is important to note that those who have experienced such a headache of any type should not self-diagnose but immediately see a doctor and neurologist. While many live with these headaches all their lives without any other complications, studies from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and the Migraine Trust in Britain show that there may be a connection to stroke. Because the symptoms can also be associated with far worse medical conditions, a diagnosis is essential.

As a paranormal investigator, when a client reports such experiences as above, it is important to know whether the client has been diagnosed and is on medication. If no definitive diagnosis has been made, the investigator should stress an appointment with a medical professional for the safety of the client. Undiagnosed migraine may also skew evidence in the wrong direction, so these are questions in the intake questionnaire that must be asked for the safety of the client and the quality of the investigation itself.

The author had experienced severe migraines several times a month for over thirty years. As she has aged, and with the correct medication, she experiences about one a year for the last ten years. Diagnosis and prevention and treatment can positively change one’s life.

Sources

Dean, Erin. They don’t give you a headache, but ‘silent migraines’ can be devastating. Daily Mail (UK) published January 6, 2014. Retrieved September 19, 2015 from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/They-dont-headache-silent-migr…

Mayo Clinic Staff. Migraine. Retrieved September 19, 2015 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/…/…/basics/definition/CON-20026358

University of Maryland Medical System. Migraine headaches. Retrieved September 19, 2015 from http://ummidtown.org/…/…/reports/articles/migraine-headaches

Sep 17

When the bad feelings linger: Post Traumatic Embitterment Syndrome (PTED)

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)

illo2Being on the cutting edge of science and academic study can certainly help assess a client’s situation without getting overly involved or acting outside of the sphere of your ability (such as diagnosing a client). However, understand the various stress syndromes can assist you in understanding where your clients are at. Once you better understand why they are acting and reacting, this compassionate approach can assist you with appropriate communication skills and better boundary building. A case manager can fully benefit from understanding the kinds of stress disorders a client may be suffering from due to the situation or from past events that are now impacting on their current mood. Depending on what type of phenomenon is going on, sometimes the behavior may look like post-traumatic stress disorder (hyper-vigilance, agitation, etc) but really may be part of how the haunting is affecting the family unit. Women are more likely to talk about their emotional feelings to generalize, of course, but men in particular may not state that that have a diagnosis because they fear it may make them look less virile. It also important to note that different people react differently to the same situation because like snowflakes, we are all different. Some of us have cultural and social supports that will make us less susceptible to these effects, but there are not guarantees.

To make this as simplistic as possible, BOO!, something scary has happened. What can happen immediately or later on to a client or to a member of your team?

Acute Stress Disorder

Scientists of all types uses scales and standardized descriptions to discuss a particular pattern of events. Today the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV or V) is used for diagnosis and treatment. After this event, we shall call BOO!, Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) occurs in some individuals after experiencing of an extremely emotional or traumatic event, such as the terrorism that occurred in America on September 11, 2001. For this particular stress diagnosis, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) (2000) states that symptoms must be present in the client for at least 48 hours and up to 30 days. At this point, either the condition will have been ameliorated or the diagnosis will change.

Morrissette (2004) describes a sufferer of this disorder as “an individual who has been exposed to a traumatic event, develops anxiety symptoms, re-experiences the event, and avoids stimuli related the event for less than four weeks afterward” (p. 38). Other sources such as the APA note that symptoms may involve disassociation, depersonalization and lack of feeling or specific memories of the event. Morrissette also explains emotional, cognitive, physical and behavioral symptoms for this disorder, yet research remains relatively sparse and has mainly focused on the experiences of police and rescue personnel. The APA also notes that though there has not been a lot of research completed, the information available suggests that up to 33 percent of those exposed to a traumatic event may exhibit symptoms of ASD. Further, Morrissette states there is no journal or organization working towards creating awareness and research with this particular stress disorder. Bryant, Harvey, Dang and Sackville (1998) note that this disorder first was recognized in the last version, DSM-IV. They offered promising results on the use of an Acute Stress Disorder Interview (ASDI) to not only identify those with ASD, but also at risk for later Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. ASD is a controversial diagnosis. There are theories as to whether there is a directly connection between ASD and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Some wonder whether ASD can stand as a disorder on its own, or as simply a possible precursor to PTSD. The impact of social, economic, historical, and political forces, such as terrorism have legitimized and shaped the development of this disorder’s description. A comparison of research styles and subjects before and after the terrorism attacks on September 11, 2001 show that the direction of the study of this disorder has dramatically changed.

Harvey, Bryant and Dang (1998) note the lack of specific detail recall that seems to be an identifying component of ASD. The cognitive theories will also come into play as well. Bryant, Harvey, Dang, Sackville and Basten (1998) found that cognitive behavioral therapy could be effective in treating ASD specifically. The social/interpersonal approaches will look toward external stressors such as culture and interactions with others will affect not only whether the individual acquires the symptoms of this disorder but also whether they continue to later change the diagnosis to PTSD or not. Bonanno, Galea, Bucciarelli and Vlahov (2007) found that socioeconomic factors and prior trauma exposure may have an effect on whether the individual develops a stress disorder or not.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Diagnostic criteria for PTSD include a history of exposure to a traumatic event meeting two criteria and symptoms from each of three symptom clusters: intrusive recollections, avoidant/numbing symptoms, and hyper-arousal symptoms. A fifth criterion concerns duration of symptoms and a sixth assesses functioning. The Mayo Clinic Staff (2015) explains that many people do not understand that the symptoms have no start and or range of timelines. PTSD can rear its ugly head from 3 months after BOO! to years or decades later. Friendships, relationships, and work experience can become harshly affected. The four types of symptoms are memory intrusion, avoidance, negativity and emotional or mood change. According the Mayo Clinic:

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

• Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
• Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
• Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event or severe emotional distress
• Physical reactions to something that reminds you of the event
Avoidance is trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event. Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event
• Negative changes in thinking and mood may include:
• Negative feelings about yourself or other people
• Inability to experience positive emotions
• Feeling emotionally numb
• Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
• Hopelessness about the future
• Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
• Difficulty maintaining close relationships
Changes in emotional reactions (arousal symptoms) may include:
• Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
• Always being on guard for danger
• Overwhelming guilt or shame
• Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
• Trouble concentrating
• Trouble sleeping
• Being easily startled or frightened
PTSD does not go away or ameliorate over time. It can become overwhelming and therapy is advised at the very least after the diagnosis by a medical professional is made.

Secondary Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Secondary Stress Disorder or Secondary Post Traumatic Stress disorder is also a relatively new diagnosis. It gained more recognition during the 9/11 attack on America. Just by watching the news or hearing stories from loved ones, family and friends found that they were have a disturbing change in their stress reactions. This can also occur if people lived with someone (such as a military veteran) who suffers from PTSD, they may notice themselves beginning to “mirror” some of the vet’s behaviors (Familyofavet.com, 2015). Those who are caretakers for relatives with long-term debilitating or terminal disorders or injuries (such as cancer or third degree burns)

However, it currently is not recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Post Traumatic Embitterment Disorder

Another controversial category not well known or accepted in the United States is post-traumatic embitterment disorder (PTED) discovered by Linden in Germany after the fall of the Berlin wall. He studied people who were adversely affected by the re-unification of Germany that involved job displacement, and political and social confusion. These individuals had aspects of PTSD but did not adequately match the criteria. Linden (2003) offered the definition and core criteria for PTED as a legitimate subgroup of the adjustment disorders. PTED was also distinguished and differentiated from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTED is a universal condition that can happen after a significant, but not life-threatening event. Embitterment is different from depression, adjustment issues and PTSD in that there are issues of self-blame, feelings of revenge and injustice. It is not clear that treatment for PTSD, depression or adjustment disorder will be sufficient for these individuals, as a change of world-view or schema may be necessary for full relief. Linden offers seven areas for focus to differentiate PTED from other disorders: the life event (trigger); pre-morbid personality and functioning; subjective interpretation of the event; emotional reaction; modulation of effect; duration of the condition/symptoms; and social consequences.

Linden, Baumann, Rotter and Schippan (2008a) confirmed that patients with PTED had symptoms that included feelings of injustice, embitterment, revenge, resentment and rage. With PTED, patients rarely experience remission and continue ruminating over the negative life event. It is the level and overwhelming pre-occupation with these feelings that are characteristic of PTED. The intensity of these emotions affects the individual’s mental and physical health and general functioning. Linden, Baumann, Rotter, and Schippan, (2008b) compared PTED to other mental disorders and found that PTED can be differentiated from other diagnoses as PTED patients had less anxiety, and reported a higher rate of disability and symptomatology prior to admission. The authors note that 50 percent of PTED patients do score significantly for major depression, but the PTED patients do not have any consistent problems with affect. Further, there has to be a causal relationship in the PTED patients with the onset of symptoms and a major negative life event. Finally, while PTSD can be seen as a problem that causes feelings of anxiety, PTED can be described as one that involves feelings of revenge and injustice. One of the symptoms of PTED involves the issue of assigning blame and personal failure. While PTED patients externalize the feelings and identify them as unjust, harboring resentment and feelings of revenge, there still is a component of self-blame. Bodner and Mikulincer (1998) developed a study where participants either experienced “universal” failure or “personal” failure after being presented with some problem-solving exercises. The authors found that those who were to take the failure as a personal flaw or weakness experienced symptoms similar to depression and paranoia. There may be a relationship between attentional focus and the assigned responsibility for failure. This is also important to PTED investigation as Linden speculates that multiple events and/or past negative experiences may affect the reaction to the critical negative event.

Additional symptoms of PTED involves intrusive thoughts and ruminations. Boelen and Huntjens (2008) studied intrusive images during grieving. They discovered that intrusive events were common while grieving. The authors found that intrusions are caused by ineffective functioning in processing the loss and may lead to the negative cognitions and evasive behaviors. More frequent intrusions also appear linked to deeper grieving, depression and anxiety. Frequent death images and views of a bleak future seemed to result in anxious symptoms while re-enactment fantasies and negative thoughts of the future were linked to depression.

Those with this disorder are resistant to traditional therapy. Linden devised a form of cognitive therapy, called wisdom therapy, that works to develop new perspectives, empathy and an increase in active and positive coping behaviors. Eventually, the negative life event is evaluated, the consequences are explored, the motivation to change is illustrated and the acceptance of the reaction and feelings are encouraged. The counselor then works with the client to change. Basically, the negative life event has violated the person’s beliefs about the world and herself and this has led to doubt and humiliation. Linden stresses that the processing of the resentment and anger are important so that integration of the event can happen.

Sources
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Cambridge, MA: Hogrefe and Huber.
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trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder among children exposed to the 9/11 World Trade Center attack.” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 78(1). 103-108. Retrieved August 2, 2009 from PsycARTICLES.
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Aug 31

Tick Borne Illnesses

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)

unoParanormal researchers and investigators can wind up in some pretty remote areas especially those in search of cryptids or who enjoy investigating overgrown, rundown building and cemeteries. When in these areas there are all kinds of things to look out for other than what you are searching for. Critters, snakes, spiders and ticks.

Today I want to discuss ticks and tick borne illnesses. When most of us hear ticks we think of Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. There are actually a total of 14 tick borne illnesses that can affect humans. I will give a brief outline of these illnesses and then discuss precautions that should be taken when investigating areas where ticks can be encountered.

Anaplasmosis – Caused by the bacterium Anaplasma phagoctophilum and primarily carried by the black-legged(deer) tick in the northeastern and upper midwestern US and the western black-legged tick along the pacific coast.

Babesiosis- Caused by microscopic parasites that infect red blood cells. Mostly occurs in parts of the Northeast and Upper Midwest and usually peaks during warm months. Is carried by the nymph stage of the black-legged(deer) tick.

Borrelia miyamotoi- A spiral-shaped bacteria that is closely related to the bacteria causing tick-borne relapsing fever and more distantly related to the bacteria causing Lyme disease. It is carried by the black-legged (deer) tick and western black-legged tick.

Colorado Tick Fever- A virus causing chills, fever, headache and body aches. There are no medications to treat it. Occurs in the Rocky Mountain states at elevations of 4000 to 10,500 feet. Carried by the Rocky Mountain wood tick.

Ehrlichiosis- A bacterial disease causing fever, headache, musle aches and fatigue. Occurs primarily in southcentral and eastern states. Carried by the lone star tick (Ambylomma americanum).

Heartland Virus- Since it was first described in 2012 has only been found in Tennessee and Missouri. Symptoms of this virus include fever, chills, body aches, nausea, vomitting ,diarrhea and loss of appetite. Causes a loss of cells that fight infection and help blood clot. Carried by the lone star tick.

Lyme disease- Caused by the bacteriu Borrelia burfdorferi. One of the most well known tick-borne illnesses. Carried by the black-legged (deer) tick in the northeastern and upper midwestern and the western black-legged tick along the pacific coast.

Powassan disease-An infection that can cause fever, headache, vomiting, weakness , confusion, seizures and other neurological problems including swelling of the brain. Occurs in the Northeast and Great Lakes region. Carried by the black-legged(deer) tick and the groundhog tick.

Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis- A type of spotted fever. Various forms of this fever can occur all over the United States as well as internationally. Carried by the Gulf Coast tick.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever- Caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii and is potentially fatal. Occurs all over the United States as well as South and Central America. Carried by the American dog tick, the Rocky Mountain wood tick and the brown dog tick.

STARI(Southern tick-associated rash illness)- A rash similar to the rash of Lyme disease which may be accompanied by fatigue, fever,headache, muscle and joint pains. Occurs in the southeastern and eastern states. Carried by the lone star tick.

Tickborne relapsing fever- Bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Borrelia spirochetes. Characterized by recurring episodes of fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and nausea. Occurs in 15 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Carried by soft ticks.

Tularemia- Infection that can be fatal but can generally be sucessfully treated successfully with antibiotics. Occurs throughout the United States. Is carried by the dog tick, the wood tick and the lone star tick.

364D rickettsiosis- A spotted fever virus. Only reported in California at this time. Carried by the pacific coast tick.

Tickborne illnesses can be reduced or prevented by taking proper precautions when entering potentially tick infested areas. Try to avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. Walk in the center of paths and trails.

Use repellents that contain 20 to 30% DEET on exposed skin and clothing. Use products that contain permethrin on clothing.Treat clothing such as boots, socks and pants. Treat gear like packs, sleeping bags and tents.

Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors. This will wash off any ticks crawling on you and help find any that may have attached. Do a full body check with a hand mirror or full length wall mirror.

Check clothing and gear. Ticks can hitch a ride on these things and attach to you later. Tumble clothing in the dryer on high heat for 30 mins to an hour to kill any ticks hiding in the cloth.

Following these basic suggestions can greatly reduce your risk of contracting one of the above listed tickborne illnesses.

Source:

Preventing tick bites. (2015, June 1). Retrieved August 31, 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/avoid/on_people.html

Aug 25

Prescription Medications and the Paranormal

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)

prescription drugsWhen someone reports that they may be having a paranormal experience because they are seeing things (shadows, movement, strange anomalies) , hearing things (knocks, footsteps, voices), smelling strange smells, feeling something touch them, getting strange marks on their skin having frightening dreams we typically ask a series of questions to help rule out non paranormal reasons. One of the most obvious questions, of course is drug use.

When we think of drug use, the first thing that comes to mind is illegal drugs. Then we may think about drugs used for mental illness. What about commonly prescribed drugs like antibiotics, sleep medications, blood pressure medicines and smoking cesstation drugs?

In doing some research I have found that a lot of commonly prescribed antibiotics, sleep aids and blood pressure medications have little known side effects such as hallucinations, strange skin rashes, vivid night terrors, memory loss, sleep- walking, eating, driving and any number of other things ou might attribute as being paranormal and probably would not associate with these commonly prescribed medications. With some medications such as fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Levaquin, Cipro, Avelox to name a few) the effects can last for months after stopping the medication.

Along with the above mentioned fluoroquinolone antibiotics some blood pressure medications such as Lisinopril, sleep medications like Lunesta and corticosteroids have been known to have the side effect of hallucinations, even after having taken them for a while with no ill effects.

Sleep medications like Lunesta and Ambien have been known to cause vivid night terrors or strange “waking dreams”. There have also been reports of them causing people to perform actions (such as eating, gambling, walking even driving) in their sleep with no waking knowledge of it.

Smoking cesstation drugs like Chantix have been known to cause depression, anxiety, and hallucinations.

Erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra can cause visual anomalies such as spots, flashes and blank spots in vision.

I cannot list all the medications and their possible effects or this article would go on forever. The point is that when something unusual happens and we are looking for a reason for it something like the antibiotic we are taking for our sinus infection or our blood pressure medication is probably not going to be something we think about. This is why it is very important to discuss any unusual experiences we may have with our doctors especially if we are on long term medications. They just might be the culprit. It should also be noted that you should never stop any medications without first fully discussing it with your doctor.

We cannot say that medications are the reason for any experiences we have Most of the time it is probably not since these are not common side effects. The important thing to remember is that knowledge is power and prescription medications are just one more thing to consider when ruling out possible causes of unusual experiences.

Sources:

WorstPills.org -. (n.d.). Retrieved August 25, 2015, from http://www.worstpills.org/includes/page.cfm?op_id=459

Popular Antibiotics May Carry Serious Side Effects. (2012, September 10). Retrieved August 25, 2015, from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/10/popular-antibiotics-may-carry-serious-side-effects/?_r=0

6 Of The Strangest Prescription Drug Side Effects. (2014, October 2). Retrieved August 25, 2015, from http://www.medicaldaily.com/side-effects-may-vary-wildly-6-strangest-things-prescription-drugs-are-capable-306142

Medicine triggers hallucinations. (n.d.). Retrieved August 25, 2015, from http://onlineathens.com/stories/122308/liv_370237719.shtml#.Vdxk5PlViko

Feb 13

Spiritual Shielding

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

Latest posts by Lisa Shaner-Hilty (see all)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources:
vishwaamara.com
soul-healer.com

Feb 13

Spiritual Centering

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

Latest posts by Lisa Shaner-Hilty (see all)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources:

David Karchere of http://emissaries.org/
https://www.wikiversity.org/

Jan 30

Spiritual Blessings

spiritual-blessings-heaven-gate-subliminalThe spiritual blessings of working in communication with your intuition in the form of God, Goddess, Creator, your own spirit, angels, spiritual guides, etc. are many and varied. They range from simple everyday matters, such as finding your lost keys and parking places where you need them, to miracles of healing, or exceptionally peaceful passing over to the other side. Blessings are often offered in the form of prayer or ritual, depending upon beliefs. It is said that blessings are as beneficial to the giver as the receiver.

Blessings are asked at beginnings and endings, and at many points in between. Indeed, any time we feel a situation or a person needs the benefit of divine providence, we ask for blessing. This is how we normally understand a blessing in our culture. It’s an invocation of the presence and power of the sacred upon a person’s life or upon the function of an object.

The term blessing translated means “to speak well on”. Generally we bless ourselves, as upon entering a church in certain religions; others throughout the day, even strangers and perhaps silently – not just for sneezes! We also offer/request blessings on our meals. Often people go to their spiritual leader for blessings on their marriage, their new home, religious items, etc.

A blessing can be anytime we wish to make a deeper connection with the life (and lives) around us. As much as it is an invocation, it’s also an act of discovering the part of us that moves in harmony on the dance floor of creation. In fact, the art of blessing is not only about the act of blessing but about an attitude towards the world, a way of seeing things that goes beyond our ordinary perceptions.

In the context of NPS, blessings of varying forms are offered prior to an investigation (asking for protection), during (for a potentially “stuck” spirit to cross over), as well as following (asking for peace for the client and protection after interaction with spirit). Clients may wish to have their home and its inhabitants blessed following activity by their pastor or other qualified person. It is important when offering a blessing within a client’s home that their belief system be respected, or permission to use that of the team, if any.

Sources:

http://www.spiritual-how-to.com/spiritualblessings.html
http://Spiritualmetaphysicalcenter.com (site no longer available)
http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/

Jan 30

Spiritual Cleansing

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

Latest posts by Lisa Shaner-Hilty (see all)

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Silva Method Life

CLEANSING A HOME OF NEGATIVE

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

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

Source: Spiritual Coach

Jan 30

Sleep Related Disorders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 28

Exploding Head Syndrome

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 28

Phobias

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 26

Night Terrors

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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gr2Although night terrors typically occur in children ages 3-12, they can happen to anyone of any age.

Night terrors are not like nightmares, most children do not recall the event while some adults may remember a fragment of a dream.

Some of the symptoms of a night terror include increase heart rate and breathing, and sweating. It typically begins approximately 90 minutes after falling asleep. The child sits up in bed and screams, appearing awake but is confused, disoriented, and un-responsive to stimuli. The child may have recurrent episodes of intense crying and fear. They may get up out of bed and sleepwalk. The child seems unresponsive to the parents trying to comfort or wake them. Although most episodes last 1-2 minutes, they may last up to 30 minutes before the child relaxes and returns to normal sleep.

Night Terrors may be caused by the following:

  • Stressful life events
    Fever
    Sleep deprivation
    Medications that affect the central nervous system
    Recent anesthesia given for surgery

Home Remedies for Night Terrors:

  • Make sure child’s room is safe to try to prevent injury during episode.
    Eliminate all sources of sleep disturbances.
    Maintain consistent bedtime routine and wake-up time.

Night Terror Prevention:

  • First, note how many minutes the night terror occurs from your child’s
    bedtime.
    Then, awaken your child 15 minutes before the expected night
    terror, and keep her awake and out of bed for 5 minutes. You
    may want to see if she will urinate.
    Continue this routine for a week.

Night terrors are typically short lived and usually occur over several weeks. Nearly all children will outgrow night terrors by adolescence. If night terrors persist, seeking the advice of your physician may ease your mind. They may be able to help by doing a complete history and physical examination.

For more information see the link provided.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/night-terrors

Jan 26

Psychological Effects of Narcotics

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

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

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

Jan 26

Chronobiology: Circadian Rhythm Disorder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 26

ADHD & Hyperfocus

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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asdhd

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

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

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

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

 

Jan 15

CPR and AED

Ted Milam

Ted Milam

Ted grew up in Maryland and spent his early years near Antietam Battlefield, where he witnessed a few unexplained things as a young kid. When Ted graduated high school, he joined the United States Marine Corps, and spent 10 years on active duty traveling the United States and quite a few Countries along the way. After a paranormal experience while serving in Japan, Ted knew he had to find out some answers. After leaving the Marines in 2002, Ted was hired as a Firefighter in the San Diego area, where he spent the next 6 years. In 2008, he went to Iraq as a contractor for a year, then in 2009, moved to Georgia where he works today as a Firefighter in the Savannah area. Ted founded Ghost Watchers Paranormal Investigations – Savannah, in 2010. Ted’s goal is to find some common answers in the paranormal field.
Ted Milam

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NPSGraphic

I think by now most of us have heard of CPR and AED. What is it?  “CPR” is Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and “AED” is Automated External Defibrillator.

Why is it important? Sudden cardiac arrest can happen suddenly for many reasons. It is important to know what to do when it happens. A good tool is called the “Chain of survival”

1. Early access

Call 911 Immediately…the sooner Advanced care arrives the chance are better for survival. This should be done within seconds.

2. Early CPR

Chest compressions and rescue breathing at a rate of 30:2…refer to the American Heart Association guidelines

3. Early defibrillation

Automated External Defibrillator is a small machine normally located in public places such as airport terminals and malls. It is a self functioning system that will prompt the user what to do.

Refer to the American Heart Association guidelines

4. Early advanced care

The Golden Hour. It is important to have the person be seen by advanced care as soon as possible for the best recovery chances.

Source:  http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/

Jan 01

Spiritual Protection

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

Latest posts by Lisa Shaner-Hilty (see all)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Wikipedia)

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

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

(Source: Wings for the Spirit)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Sources: Wings for the Spirit, meanings.crystalsandjewelry.com, crystalearth.com)

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

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

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

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

Sources:

http://paganwiccan.about.com/

http://readersandrootworkers.org/

http://wiccanspells.info/

http://www.wingsforthespirit.com/

http://meanings.crystalsandjewelry.com/

http://crystalearthllc.com/

http://www.idiotsguides.com/religion-and-spirituality/supernatural/how-to-protect-yourself-against-demonic-spirits/

https://en.wikipedia.org

Sep 08

Dangers Unseen

Allen Marston

Allen Marston

Director / Chair Health & Safety at Apocalyptic Paranormal Investigation & Research
Allen grew up in a small town in Southern Virginia. His interest in the paranormal began as a young child after his parents told him of some experiences that they had over the years involving UFO’s and Ghosts. He began reading every thing about the paranormal he could get his hands on, thanks to his mother. As the years went by he had many experiences and feelings that he could not explain. One day he found out about a group in his area that was actually conducting paranormal investigations in his area and attended a public investigation with this group. He was totally hooked and began doing investigations with this group. After some time he and another member decided to leave the group to gear towards conducting more scientific investigations. Allen is co-founder of Apocalyptic Paranormal Investigation & Research where he specializes in audio and EVP. His team is the first to ever investigate the buildings of the Appomattox Court House Historic Park, where the surrender of Civil War occured. He has a passion for the paranormal and strives to bring all teams together to hopefully find concrete proof of the fringe sciences. When Allen is not working as a professional firefighter, you can find him spending time with his wonderful family, working other jobs to make money, creating artwork or finding more places to investigate.
Allen Marston

Latest posts by Allen Marston (see all)

dangerclosegames_logoOver the next few months we will be taking a look at the dangers that you may face while conducting paranormal investigations. For the first few topics we will be focusing on the dangers that you may not see, and effects that may not show themselves until later down the road. I am going to be straight and to the point with these. I will list the danger, where it can be found, and the symptoms that one will face if effected,etc. In this article we will look at two dangers, the next article a few more and so on. I hope these will give you the knowledge to keep you and your team safe and healthy.

 

ASBESTOS

What is it?

Any of several fibrous mineral forms of magnesium silicate. Asbestos is resistant to heat, flames, and chemical action. Some forms have been shown to cause lung diseases.

Where can it be found?

  • Attic and wall insulation produced containing vermiculite
  • Vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives
  • Roofing and siding shingles
  • Textured paint and patching compounds used on wall and ceilings
  • Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets
  • Hot water and steam pipes coated with asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape
  • Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets with asbestos insulation
  • Heat-resistant fabrics
  • Automobile clutches and brakes
  • In soil and rocks

How can you be exposed?

In general, exposure may occur only when the asbestos-containing material is disturbed or damaged in some way to release particles and fibers into the air. The greater the exposure to asbestos, the greater the chance of developing harmful health effects.

Sign and Symptoms

Sign and symptoms can include but are not limited to:

  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, or hoarseness.
  • A persistent cough that gets worse over time.
  • Blood in sputum
  • Pain or tightening in the chest.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Swelling of the neck or face.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Weight loss.
  • Fatigue or Anemia

Effects from exposure

Asbestos-related conditions can be difficult to identify. Healthcare providers usually identify the possibility of asbestos exposure and related health conditions like lung disease by taking a thorough medical history. This includes looking at the person’s medical, work, cultural and environmental history. After a doctor suspects an asbestos-related health condition, he or she can use a number of tools to help make the actual diagnosis. Some of these tools are physical examination, chest x-ray and pulmonary function tests. Your doctor may also refer you to a specialist who treats diseases caused by asbestos.

The possible diseases are:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Mesothelioma- a rare form of cancer that is found in the thin lining of the lung, chest and the abdomen and heart
  • asbestosis- a serious progressive, long-term, non-cancer disease of the lungs

How to protect against it:

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-approved respirators that fit properly should be worn by investigators when asbestos disturbance could have occurred or may occur.

MOLD

What is it?

  •  Molds are fungi that grow both indoors and outdoors.

Where can it be found?

  • Indoors: anywhere there are high humidity levels
  • Outdoors: damp and shady areas where there is decomposition taking place

How can you be exposed?

Most if not all exposures come from touching or inhaling the mold or it’s spores.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Sneezing
  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, red, watery eyes
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Throat irritation
  • Chest tightness

Effects from Mold Exposure

(taken form American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine)
Molds and other fungi may adversely affect human health through three processes: 1) allergy; 2) infection; or 3) toxicity. It is estimated that about 10% of the population has allergic antibodies to fungal antigens. Only half of these, or 5%, would be expected to show clinical illness. Furthermore, outdoor molds are generally more abundant and important in airway allergic disease than indoor molds — leaving the latter with an important, but minor overall role in allergic airway disease. Allergic responses are most commonly experienced as allergic asthma or allergic rhinitis (“hay fever”. A rare, but much more serious immune-related condition, hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP), may follow exposure (usually occupational) to very high concentrations of fungal (and other microbial) proteins. Most fungi generally are not pathogenic to healthy humans. A number of fungi commonly cause superficial infections involving the feet (tinea pedis), groin (tinea cruris), dry body skin (tinea corporis), or nails (tinea onychomycosis). A very limited number of pathogenic fungi — such as Blastomyces, Coccidioides, Cryptococcus, and Histoplasma — infect non-immunocompromised individuals. In contrast, persons with severely impaired immune function, e.g., cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, organ transplant patients receiving immunosuppressive drugs, AIDS patients, and patients with uncontrolled diabetes, are at significant risk for more severe opportunistic fungal infection.

See more at: http://www.acoem.org/AdverseHumanHealthEffects_Molds.aspx#sthash.ie827nu6.dpuf (Not accessible without membership.)

Sep 06

Lets Get Started

Allen Marston

Allen Marston

Director / Chair Health & Safety at Apocalyptic Paranormal Investigation & Research
Allen grew up in a small town in Southern Virginia. His interest in the paranormal began as a young child after his parents told him of some experiences that they had over the years involving UFO’s and Ghosts. He began reading every thing about the paranormal he could get his hands on, thanks to his mother. As the years went by he had many experiences and feelings that he could not explain. One day he found out about a group in his area that was actually conducting paranormal investigations in his area and attended a public investigation with this group. He was totally hooked and began doing investigations with this group. After some time he and another member decided to leave the group to gear towards conducting more scientific investigations. Allen is co-founder of Apocalyptic Paranormal Investigation & Research where he specializes in audio and EVP. His team is the first to ever investigate the buildings of the Appomattox Court House Historic Park, where the surrender of Civil War occured. He has a passion for the paranormal and strives to bring all teams together to hopefully find concrete proof of the fringe sciences. When Allen is not working as a professional firefighter, you can find him spending time with his wonderful family, working other jobs to make money, creating artwork or finding more places to investigate.
Allen Marston

Latest posts by Allen Marston (see all)

 

Safety 2

I am sure that most of you have been riding down the road and noticed a building that you would love to investigate. The one that when you look at it, you get cold chills down your spine just because of pure excitement of the possibility of crossing the threshold of its doors. This is the point that your mind starts racing trying to figure out the right way to go about investigating this location, not only legally but SAFELY. How many of us really know the right way to go about investigating a location that appears to be abandoned? In this article I will outline the proper ways to go about getting permission to investigate these buildings, as well as steps to ensure your safety while conducting said investigation.

 

1.) Find out the owner of the building: This can be achieved in a number of ways. If there are other buildings and businesses adjacent to the building, stop in and ask if they know who owns the structure. If you can’t get any information from them, many counties and cities use what is known as GIS that you can use to get this information from  the computer to trace the address and find the owner. If they do not use this system you can go to the county office or city hall and they can instruct you on how to obtain the owners name and in some cases they may be able to tell you right there.

2.) Contact the owner: Before you contact the owner have what you want to say already in writing so that when you get in touch with them you already know what to say and you can sound as professional as possible. Let the owner know that you will do no harm to the structure and you are only there to conduct an investigation. They may or may not agree to let you do so. If they say no, thank them for the consideration and leave your contacts and let them know that if they ever change their mind you are still interested in investigating there. However if they do say yes, setup a date and time that you can meet with them at the location and go over the property with them.

3.) Pre-investigation Investigation: Make sure that you bring a notebook, a permission to investigate form for the owner to sign and date as well as other forms that your teams utilize, caution or flagging tape, a camera, and possibly a video camera. Go through the location and note any belongings etc. That are still in the structure and photograph them as well so it shows their condition before conducting the investigation. Take notice of any hazards that you come across and flag them with your tape and photograph them. If there are any hazards that could be a respiratory hazard please make notation that you will need to include respiratory protection while the investigation is being conducted. Also, keep an eye out for any indications that squatters or vagrants could be possibly be taking up residence in the building and let the owner know. This probably goes without saying, but make sure to take as many pictures, and possibly video, of the location so that you will have them for comparison when reviewing your investigation pictures and video. Also make sure to make note of any background noise that you may hear such as heavy traffic, domesticated animals, farm animals, etc. You can also use this time to go over the history of the structure with the owner. Find out if there are any stories or legends associated with the building, as well as former tenants that may wish to share there experiences. Go to the records hall or the internet and get as much history as possible on the location. This can include what the place was used for, any noted deaths, year it was built, and so on.

4.) Gearing Up: Take the information that you collected during your pre-investigation investigation and make a checklist for your team that includes any special equipment, as well as the standard equipment you already bring with you. Aside from investigative equipment make sure that you at least have a basic first aid kit. If your members have any allergies you should ask them to include any medications for the kit that can be used to combat such allergies. If you use certain items for paranormal protection, you may want to include this on your list as to not forget them on investigation day.

5.) Investigation Day: On investigation day, show up to the location a little bit early so that you can do a quick walk through noting any changes that have occurred since the pre-investigation, and look for any hazards again such as slips, trips, and falls. If anything has changed make notations as well as photograph the changes. Go ahead and do your investigation as soon as everyone is ready and acclimated to the structure. Make sure to use all the protection equipment that you have listed. NO DRUGS OR ALCOHOL before or during your investigation. At the end of the investigation, take a few extra moments to run through and photograph the location one last time to show the condition of everything as you left it.

6.) After the investigation: Of course review your evidence a couple of times as to not miss anything. Send the owner a thank you letter and include a list of any evidence that you find. Also give them an invitation to contact you if they would like to experience the said evidence. This could aid you in gaining another investigation due to the this client giving you a good reference. This is a just a list that I feel will keep you legally and physically safe when conducting investigations in abandoned locations. I know that every investigation is different so this list can be altered to suit your needs for whatever investigation you may have. Make sure to abide by all state and local rules. Try to think about what things may physically occur and try to have a game plan for such instances and what items may be needed for them.

Above all stay professional, stay safe, and HAVE FUN (safely)

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