Weather or not – A quick perspective by Department Chair



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you would like to dig into the science behind these ideas, start here:…
The link below is one of many where weather related technology can be purchased.

Rob Hillstrom

Rob Hillstrom

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

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