What do you think of this ghost?

Although I’m not a big fan of quotes I know that people, in general, love them since they seem to not have the time to read books. Here then are five statements about paranormal research and the phenomena that it is involved with helping to uncover. It’s nice to have fun but it is more important that all people engaged in paranormal investigation/research remember how serious our work actually is.

The material within this field must be taken from the anecdotal stage to that of experimentation before it can be classified as scientific knowledge.
- J.B. Rhine

I am asking you to take seriously a branch of scientific inquiry which may have results more important than any other that is being pursued in our time
- G. Lowes Dickinson

Realising that in fact all our knowledge of the universe rests on fragmentary impressions of our senses, we must assume that we shall never fully appreciate the true reality of the cosmic structure.
- K.Raudive

To be scientific does not mean to be infallible, but it means being clear and honest, and as exact as we know how to be. In difficult investigations pioneers have always made some mistakes, they have no immediate criterion or infallible touchstone to distinguish the more true from the less true, but if they record their results with anxious care and scrupulous honesty and painstaking precision, their mistakes are only less valuable to the next generation than their partially true generalisations; and sometimes it turns out, after a century or so, that mistakes made by early pioneers were no such thorough errors as had been thought, but they had an element of truth in them all the time, as if discoverers were endowed with a kind of prophetic insight whereby they caught a glimpse of theories and truths which it would take several generations of workers to disencumber and bring clearly to light.
- Oliver Lodge

It is a scandal that a dispute as to the reality of these phenomena should still be going on, that so many competent witnesses should have declared their belief in them, that so many others should be profoundly interested in having the question determined, and yet that the educated world, as a body, should still be simply in the attitude of incredulity.
- Henry Sidgwick

Not The End Of The World Day Party!

We have all just survived another prediction that the world will end. Looking through my files I realized that I, we, have lived through at least 9 “end of the world” scenarios. That number is probably much higher as my files are not as thorough as I’d like them to be. It seems that every few years someone predicts the end of the world, usually using some skewed math or an ancient calendar system–2012 is still a… year away. Many a self-proclaimed “visionary” have announced that they have finally pieced together the puzzle that has revealed our final day on Earth. Obviously since you are reading this, they have all been wrong.

I feel that the prophets and predictors who made their predictions of global catastrophe during the great wars had more of a claim to feel justified since there were enormous wars going on, but I digress. Manipulating words and numbers to instill fear in the population is an old trick and it will be used again. So, with that in mind let us declare Friday, October 21st 2011 the official “Not The End of The World Day.” A worldwide celebration of the normal everyday beauty of our world with no threat that some of us will be sucked into the sky while others are left to burn. A day when every person can relax and know for certain that no ancient serpent will unfurl his tail and crack the planet in half.

Obviously this celebration is non-religion specific. As a matter of fact, everyone (Catholic, Atheist, Muslim, Jew, Jedi, etc.) can come together on this day and say, “Wow, what a nice day. I’m glad the planet didn’t blow up!”

We must also recognize that it will be the last day for some people–people die every day. But the Earth will continue on even as we honor their memory. What better tribute to those who pass away than a celebration of the continuity of Earth’s life!

So please join me on 10.21.2011 in celebrating another glorious day on our wonderful little mote in the cosmic ocean. Parties should be planned since it is a Friday and the world will official not end at 5:30pm, right after most people get off work.

Also, please feel free to pass this event along to all of your friends no matter where they live, since the world won’t be ending all over the world.

If you have any questions, suggestions, comments or ideas drop me an email at john@weirdlectures.com

Attend the Official Facebook page here.

5 Frightening Ghost Photos!

As I go about my day I am asked, very often, by people to check out “ghost”  photos. I truly appreciate that they care about my opinion and I encourage people to continue sending me any strange images, video or audio they think they may have captured. The following images are shown as examples of photographs that can teach those interested in paranormal phenomena how difficult and sometimes frustrating the field of research can be. These photos, and others like them, take up the most valuable resource an investigator has…time. Even people who have captured “strange” images, who have no knowledge, or very little understanding, of supernatural occurrences should use a common sense approach when submitted photos to any researcher. As researchers, in a field that many ridicule, we must demand that the “evidence” we expose to larger audiences is not only startling or shocking but at a minimum at least not laughable. (click on the photos for larger versions)

1. What am I looking at?

Many times photos are submitted to me with a request to explain the “weird” image that has appeared in the photo. Often, it is never explained what I am supposed to be looking at. I’m sure the person who took the photo can see the anomalous shape but if I cannot see it how can I explain it. Which brings us to our next photo.

2. Pointing it out

You’ll see photographs on many websites where the photographer has circled the “ghost” in the photo. If you need to point out the “bizarre” shape or form then the photo might not be great evidence. We must strive for the most inarguable pieces of evidence and if you need to circle and/or use an arrow to draw attention to something in your picture you may want to rethink how unimpressive the photo might be to most people.

3. Not even trying

Some people just like to play with Photoshop or other image editing programs. Luckily, these photos don’t take a lot of time to investigate but they do clog up your email. I have seen some really good fakes but a lot of the time it looks like people aren’t even trying to make the photo look real.

4. Morewhereisit

“This photo has a face in it. Do you see it?”
Really, that is the kind of subject line in emails that I receive from people. Sure, okay I see the face it’s in the grass to the right near the bottom. Now what? When was the photo taken? What kind of camera was used? If there is a face where is the body? If the face is so “clear” why is there no body? Could I see an original of the photo that hasn’t been cropped? I know it sounds like a hassle but we must demand from ourselves that we ask any and every question we have about a photograph that is given to us from the public as evidence of a paranatural happening. When someone is unwilling to provide you with answers to simple questions how are you supposed to honestly comment on difficult evidence?

5. Oh, come on!

There are 2 “orbs” in this photo and probably 25 pixels. This photo looks as if it was shot on a digital camera that was on sale for three dollars next to the energy shots on the counter of the liquor store near my house. There is little, to nothing, anyone can do with this photo as evidence of anything other than that the camera which took the photo was terrible. Can you imagine anyone submitting this photo as part of a proposal to get a research grant? No.

I’ve posted these photos in the hopes that new researchers to the field will not only begin to understand the demand for better evidence but also in the hope that eyewitnesses will strive to provide us with more credible data. If our technology and understanding is truly getting better then our evidence must become better too.

May kicks off with a bunch of weird!

First I’d like to thank everyone for watching the newest episode of Paranormal State: The New Class which aired on A&E May 2nd. If you didn’t get a chance it is available for viewing on A&E’s website. I do not appear in the most recent episode but please check it out and continue to support Hoosier State Paranormal.  If you never caught the premiere episode you can see it on Vimeo here

Also I would like to give a big thank you to all of the radio/podcast hosts that have had me on their shows this week.
Eric from 5 O’Clock in the morning
Rob from Delamorte’s Dungeon of Deadly Delights
Dan & Misty from A Haunted Life
Mike Roberts from Distorted Silence Radio (even though that interview doesn’t take place until Saturday night)

And a big “thank you” to everyone for making 2011 such a crazy awesome, creepy weird year! I’ll be announcing upcoming lectures & events soon, for now you can always check the event page to see where I’ll be.