HuffPo and Hauntings and Me

Recently I was asked by the Huffington Post to create a list which people could use to tell if their house was haunted. I of course told them, then such list that could not be made and instead wrote them a brief little letter they could use in lieu of such a list. The Huffington Post article is located here Haunted House Myths Confirmed And Debunked – The Huffington Post  | By Carly Ledbetter, and my original response is found below.

P.S. I liked the Huffinton Post piece but I thought my original response should be out there. Thanks!
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Re: How to tell if your house is haunted

Over the last 27 years, I have been asked by thousands of people how they could tell if their homes were “haunted.” My response is always tempered by the fact that, although anecdotal, people’s stories sometimes have similar characteristics, but each experience is unique.

The reality is that there are no “hard and fast” rules. It is actually quite a long and laborious process in researching and investigating what is thought to be a “haunted” location, and due to the transient qualities of the phenomena, real investigation is far more difficult than what most people believe it to be.

I jokingly tell people that if they need four really good signs, without doing any research, to know if their houses are haunted, here are four inarguable occurrences that something weird is going on.

1.Your furniture is constantly rearranging itself.

2.Your pets have started to speak multiple languages.

3.Your collection of antique dolls all have glowing red eyes.

4.Your bed doesn’t need a box spring or frame because it hovers three feet off the floor.

Of course, none of these events are actually happening in people’s homes, but that doesn’t mean something weird isn’t happening in some places. The experiences jokingly mentioned above are what people believe probably happen when they have a “ghost” in their home.

The truer nature of hauntings is that they are far more subtle and vary greatly. Sometimes the experience is as simple as smelling the perfume of a loved one who has passed away, or the feeling of a tap on your shoulder when no one is there. People believe that a death or tragic occurrence in a home means their house is haunted, but not even this has been a reliable indicator that strange manifestations must take place. Most homes have seen death or tragedy in some way and, indeed, they do not have what people call “hauntings.”

I have documented that most residents of homes that are believed to be haunted report strange sounds more commonly during the fall and spring seasons, and this is usually due to the temperature changes taking place inside and outside of the home, causing wood, steel, and other materials to shrink and expand.

Reports of frightening experiences taking place in a home are also mostly based around confining and dark locations such as attics, basements/crawl spaces, and closets. This again can be attributed to our own human psychological fear of dark and constrictive spaces.

A quick look back through my files over the last 27 years shows that close to 98% of the cases I’ve investigated have had normal, if not readily noticeable, explanations. Thankfully, we live in a world filled with experiences as yet still unexplained by the accepted scientific community, and there is room enough to speculate, theorize, and even still be a little jumpy when something goes bump in the night.

Ghost Stalkers : A Tenney Perspective

During paranormal investigations, I have seen people put a ball in the center of the floor and ask “spirits” to “Roll the ball.”

Last year the ball began to roll.

Over the last 27 years, I’ve been involved with innumerable projects—some succeeding, some failing—but they are always learning experiences. True to form, the biggest of my failures were my greatest learning experiences and therefore not failures at all. Early in 2014, I was contacted to be a part of a new paranormal television show. My history working in television has been a tumultuous one, which—on many occasions—has broken my heart. All I’ve ever wanted to do in my studies of paranormal/anomalistic phenomena is make people think more deeply and honestly about, what seems to be, this currently shared reality and what may lie beyond it. I agreed somewhat grudgingly at first to be involved with this new project because I felt it was time people tried to help elevate the public discourse regarding paranormal phenomena. I found that the more I stood for honesty and forthrightness, the more the doors popped open. This has rarely been the case over the last 27 years. Sensationalism and hyperbole are usually the name of the game when it comes to television, especially television and “ghosts.” Of course, I understand that television is entertainment; you have to make a show people will enjoy and engage with, etc. etc., but this was a true opportunity to take a baby step in what I feel is the right direction for paranormal television. The show has spooky moments, scary visuals, and building, driving music that raises the pulse of the viewer, but it is mostly a show about the investigators. This is a side of paranormal television rarely seen. My co-star Chad Lindberg and I allow everyone to see who we are and what we feel, and in every instance to share in our terror and joy. During the filming of the show, there are some very exciting and mind-boggling happenings that are captured on video. As an almost 30 year veteran in paranormal research, I couldn’t be happier and more excited to share those moments with the world. But there is something more amazing than “ghosts caught on tape” in these episodes. Viewers will see personal transformations: the growth of two people both spiritually and psychologically. Because Chad and I choose to investigate isolated from all outside human interference, we are forced not only to deal with any alleged inhuman/post-human entities; we are forced to confront ourselves. Ideas and beliefs, hopes and fears stripped away and evolved in front of a camera.

I know that people will criticise the “evidence,” that people will rip apart every word spoken to find some “flaw” in the show—that is what our culture has become. I’m fine with it. Anyone who knows me knows that I am the first in the room to call “bullshit” when it comes to shakey, poorly-lit video and tenuous experimentation procedures.  Don’t think for a moment I don’t want to hear the critics and the complaints; on the contrary, I beg to hear them. I have been on a 27+ year journey and I need to know what the machine I am inside of looks like. Viewers can see, with a clearer perspective, what I am too close to see. I need YOU to be my eyes and ears because together can we create and construct new ideas that individually may never come to pass.

A few words to the different aspects of our community:

To the believers: Enjoy the ride. At this point it’s probably the closest thing to actual investigations and non-tomfoolery you will ever see or have ever seen on TV, and I wait with bated breath to hear if you loved, liked, or hated it.

To the skeptics: Enjoy the ride. At this point it’s probably the closest thing to actual investigations and non-tomfoolery you will ever see or have ever seen on TV, and I wait with bated breath to hear if you loved, liked, or hated it.

To everyone else: Enjoy the ride.

We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with hate, jealousy, intolerance, and a seemingly endless supply of negativity. I see nothing wrong with good people telling good stories that will make you laugh, scream, and then hold the hand of the person next to you and say, “Wow, what a ride.”

And the ball continues to roll.

john e.l. tenneyThanks for everything you do.
John

8 Old Tyme Paranormal Researchers Cooler than Hipsters & Smarter than You

I know you love being “hip” and you love your facial hair and you love researching weird stuff but all these gentleman have you beat.

Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle

8. Arthur Conan Doyle
Aside from being a doctor, being knighted AND creating Sherlock Holmes Sir Arthur C. Doyle loved researching supernatural phenomena, until he didn’t.
Moustache Level: Sherlockian

Charles R. Richet

Charles R. Richet

7. Charles Robert Richet
Noble Prize winning physiologist, aviation pioneer and past President of Society for Psychical Research. Richet coined the term “ectoplasm”.
Moustache / Ascot Power Level: One Billion

Richard Hodgson

Richard Hodgson

6. Dr. Richard Hodgson
Austrailan lawyer and secretary for the American Society for Psychical Research. Hodgson exposed numerous fraudulent mediums and psychics including Helena Blavatsky.
Beard Trimming Maestro

William James

William James

5. William James
Physician, psychologist and, considered by many to be, The Father of Psychology.  He was a founding member and vice president of the American Society for Psychical Research.
Both-sides Beard & Reverse Goatee

Frank Podmore

Frank Podmore

4. Frank Podmore
English author and member of the Society for Psychical Research. Due to his rational explanations of supernatural phenomena and his debunking of psychics Podmore is one of the few psychical researchers who found acceptance by the “scientific community”.
More Handsome than most Modern Men

 Sir William Crookes

Sir William Crookes

3. William Crookes
British physicist, chemist and knighted in 1897 he identified the first known sample of helium. He faked some spirit photographs which outraged his colleagues but in all likelihood it was because he had been having an affair with the medium he was investigating…which didn’t outrage him.
Lord of the Rings Character

Camille Flammarion

Camille Flammarion

2. Camille Flammarion
French author and astronomer,  first president of the Société astronomique de France, and has two craters, one on Mars and one on the Moon, named after him.  He believed in telepathy, the stone tape theory, and the survival of the soul after death but thought most mediums were faking it.
Has seen the edge of forever.

Henry Sidgwick

Henry Sidgwick

1. Henry Sidgwick
English economist, founder of Newnham College in Cambridge and first president of the Society for Psychical Research. His book Methods of Ethics, is considered by some critics as the most noteworthy ethical work in English of the 19th century.
Kicking your hipster ass back to square one.

5 Terrible “paranormal” episodes of non paranormal shows.

Everyone, including the writers from television shows, get tired. As these “writer’s” days become fuzzy from working on horrible T.V. shows they will inevitably kick out a show that has some type of paranormal theme. These five only represent the thousands that exist, Happy Days had Mork, Larry from Three’s Company mentions seeing a sea monster, etc. but out of all the shows that weren’t supposed to be about paranormal experiences which one had your favorite or least favorite supernatural episode? Comment below.

Lassie & UFOs

Lassie & UFOs

Lassie: Timmy vs. The Martians – 1961
Timmy and his friends build a UFO detector in a rickety old shed. A military plane crashes nearby and the government shows up. Of course due to our government being completely inept only Lassie can solve the mystery surrounding the crash.

 

Arnie & Aliens

Arnie & Aliens

Roseanne: Aliens – 1992
Nancy, Roseanne’s sister, is heartbroken when Arnie leaves her because he claims he was abducted by aliens. I can only assume this episode was based on Tom Arnold’s real life drug abuse.

Wings & UFOs

Wings & UFOs

Wings: Plane Nine from Nantucket – 1991
A UFO is spotted and reluctantly reported to the FAA. A group of UFO researchers shows up and asks for a plane ride to see if they can spot it again. I hate Tony Shalhoub.

Close Encounters of The Nerd Kind

Close Encounters of The Nerd Kind

Saved by the Bell:  Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind – 1990
Zack fakes an alien encounter and of course the government shows up. Screech dresses like an alien and the government wants to dissect him. I’m sure Dustin Diamond wished he had been dissected.

Walker Texas Time Traveler

Walker Texas Time Traveler

Walker Texas Ranger: Way of the Warrior – 1999
An Indian shaman transports Walker back in time to the 19th century to prevent a recurrence of a 20th-century injustice. Wait…WHAT?

Sounds of the Weird: Volume One

418+1zL0BWL._SL500_AA280_Sounds of the Weird is a soundtrack of audio experiments meant to accompany research into unusual phenomena. Each volume of the collection is crafted using, in most instances, ambient sounds from the time periods and locations of specific anomalous experiences. Sometimes melodious, other times discordant Sounds of the Weird strives to be a new strange experience beyond those which prompted the creation of the collection. You can get your copy from Amazon buy clicking here.

This CD and the music contained on it are not meant to be a comprehensive study of the topic for which the volume was named but all sounds/songs were created specifically to be listened to while researching certain topics.

Michigan’s 10 Most Haunted Cities for 2013

ROYAL OAK, Mich. — Citizens who are easily scared or who are fascinated by the paranormal may be wondering where they can find — or hide from — the cities in Michigan where they’re most likely to encounter ghosts and paranormal phenomena. To help the communities enjoy their Halloween season, paranormal researcher John E.L. Tenney has once again identified Michigan’s Top 10 most haunted cities.

After losing the top spot on the list, four years ago, Detroit is back at number one.

“The top ten cities include places for believers and skeptics, living or otherwise,” says John E.L. Tenney, Tenney is a well-known veteran paranormal researcher, the founder of WeirdLectures.com, national lecturer and author. Tenney’s organization collects and compiles e-mails, news stories, letters, and historical documents to create the list. “People are not only interested in paranormal phenomena allegedly occurring in their community,” he says, “but they use those experiences to connect with neighbors and other residents and share in a new kind of oral history.” The real excitement in these haunted cities, Tenney says, comes from exploring them in person and absorbing their essence.

All the cities on Tenney’s list have incredible histories to share. Self-guided walking tours are a fun, relaxing, and healthy way to see these communities. Every year, some citizens worry needlessly about the list, which has become a “rite” of the Halloween season. But not to fear, Tenney says. “The only thing some residents are really afraid of is if this list will have an effect on the marketability and value of the homes in their community. The reality of the situation is that researchers and scientists would pay anything to get their hands on a truly haunted house.”

For more information, visit WeirdLectures.com.

The 2013 Top 10 Haunted Michigan Cities (2012 rankings in parentheses)

1. Detroit (4)*
2. Kalamazoo (3)
3. Jackson (1)
4. Mount Clemens (9)
5. Ann Arbor (8)
6. Flint (5)
7. Battle Creek (7)
8. Lansing (-)
9. Traverse City (6)
10. Grand Rapids (2)

*The five most commonly reported locations within Detroit:
5. The Whitney
4. Indian Village
3. Corktown
2. Historic Fort Wayne
1. Detroit Public Library

CBS Radio Workshop: A Report on ESP

The CBS Radio Workshop was a dramatic radio series that aired on CBS in the 1950′s. Subtitled “radio’s distinguished series to man’s imagination,” it blended fiction and non-fiction news accounts. In this episode from 1956 the concepts of ESP, Dowsing, Precognition and Telepathy are covered. Starring John McIntyre and Raymond Burr.

CBS Radio Workshop: A Report on ESP

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Unconventional Conventions – John Keel 1966

John Keel is regarded by many as a pioneer in the field of Fortean studies. He popularized, and indeed may have created, the terms “Men In Black” and “Ultraterrestrials” but Keel is most well-known as the main researcher and investigator of the Mothman experiences. He wrote a number of books including The Mothman Prophecies, Disneyland of the Gods, Our Haunted Planet and Jadoo. He challenged the commonly held belief that flying Saucers, cryptozoology and hauntings were unique and separate experiences. In an interview Keel stated that,”The objects and apparitions do not necessarily originate on another planet and may not even exist as permanent constructions of matter. It is more likely that we see what we want to see and interpret such visions according to our contemporary beliefs.”
Without Keel the “paranormal community” would be lacking in much of its insight and humor.

Here for you enjoyment is a lecture by John Keel recorded during a UFO convention in 1966.
John Keel, UFO Convention 1966

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The World’s Most Haunted Location

I am very frequently asked by people, “Where is the most haunted place in the world?” My answer is always the same, “If any place is haunted, it’s the Earth.”

Now, although many people think that I am trying to be funny, which I am, I am also being serious. So, let’s try a little thought experiment.

If ghosts are what people generally believe them to be, the remaining energy/consciousness of a human being who has died, then each person could potentially become a ghost when they pass out of this realm.
I’m bad with math but I can make this easy on myself and you…so hold on.
Since human beings have been “human beings”, (we’ll just go with the genus Homo which will put us around 2 million years ago), estimates of population would show that approximately 75 to 105 billion have been born and died on planet Earth. Now, let’s say that some “ghosts” have passed on and or perhaps never became ghosts; I’ll be generous here and say that out of the 100 billion deaths 85% either never became ghosts or are ghosts that have moved into a different existence that doesn’t interact with us on Earth. That leaves us with approximately 15 billion ghosts still residing with us on this planet.
Now that we know we might have as many as 15 billion “ghostly” friends wandering around we need to look at where they could be. The total land surface area of Earth is about 57 million square miles, of which about 57% is uninhabitable leaving us with about 15 billion acres of land.

See why I was so generous by saying 85% of the ghosts are “gone”? I makes it easy for me to do the math.

So, 15 billion ghosts divided by 15 billion acres of land equals 1 ghost per acre… at least.
So why are people traveling all over to investigate ghosts?
Isn’t there at least one right next to you?

American Society for the Occult Sciences: Hans Holzer Recording

In 1973 an advertisement appeared in some occult/paranormal magazines which invited people to join “America’s most exciting new Society”. Your payment of $10 enrolled you as a charter member of  The American Society for the Occult Sciences. One of the bonuses you received after joining was a vinyl record LP which included How to develop your ESP and What is Witchcraft? Both sides of the album were narrated by Hans Holzer. Here, for your enjoyment is that recording.

Side One: Develop Your ESP

Side Two: Facts about Witchcraft

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