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?
Throughout the course of the last 30 years I have on many occasions been invited to, and indeed have partaken in, séances, psychic readings, table turnings/liftings, and all other manner of so called spiritualistic or psychical events. In all of those instances I attended not only to hopefully witness some miracle of unexplainable origin but also satiate my curiosity as to how the phenomena would be made manifest. During the early years of my delving into the world of anomalistic phenomena I realized that I needed to know how I could be tricked. The mind is a complicated but easily fooled machine and with this realization I made the decision to join as many guilds of magic as I could. I threw myself into the study and practice of illusions, mentalism, stage hypnosis and all other manner of trickery which could fool the senses and even more importantly might alter my ideas about actual supernatural phenomena. Now, I’m sure that many of my former breather in the world of magic will be somewhat dismay at this article and details which it will reveal but it is more important, to me, to expose some of the ways which people have fooled so many for so long. I am in no way saying that all psychical experiences are some manner of trickery but I simply want to show how it was done so that those who might one day be introduced into “strange” situations may be able to truly discern if something is blatant hoaxing.
The original séances:
Beginning the late 1800’s séances and mediumistic parlor sittings were becoming a common experience in Europe and America. Traditionally these séances were held in rooms which, at some point of the séance, could be made totally dark. The stage magician F. Shields wrote:
“A dark room is necessary, and I do mean dark, dim or dusky will not do. If the séance is to succeed you must not be able to see the hand in front of the face.”
When it comes time for the “spirit” to make itself known it will be an absolute necessity to have a free hand. But how is this to be accomplished when hands are all on the table? Mentalist William Larson explains how to free your hand.
“Have each guest place his hands on the table in front of him. The fingers should be outstretched. The thumbs should be about three inches apart. The fourth, little finger of each hand should touch the fourth finger of the person next to them”.
By doing so a “psychic -circle” will be formed. Larson continues:
“If anyone of us tries to move a hand or hands, those next to him will know. When you are ready to “black out” the room you should request the guest at your right to do so. Have only one light in the room and make sure it is slightly behind you and to your right. The light is placed so that naturally when you make the request of your guest he will use his left hand. Now, however, instead of placing your right fourth finger on his left fourth finger, you span your left hand so that the left thumb is touching the left fourth finger of the guest at your right.”
Now, obviously all manner of trickery can happen in the dark since you have a free hand.
As early as 1900 “Tapping” had become all the rage at séances and it was commonly known throughout circles of practicing magicians that, as magician Stephen Trulow said, “five to six small beans placed in the mouth and blown one at a time to act as a response to a questioner can provide a variety of “taps” unequaled by spirits.”
Another “strange happening would be the appearance of small luminescent lights while the room was dark. The mentalist Dunninger talked about creating these spirit lights in his “Mystic Series” pamphlets.
“A piece of piece of black cardboard with a good daubing of luminous paint is placed under the medium’s shoe along the instep. Naturally this is kept towards the floor until the lights are turned off. The leg is then lifted and swung to and fro. The glowing object appears and responds to the mediums desires. The foot is of course returned to the floor when the lights are snapped back on.”
Now these are simply a few of the tricks that magicians, and some mediums, used in the deception of others. There are literally thousands more with many being very elaborate. The goal in revealing these “tricks” is so that a casual observer or even a well-versed researcher of the supernatural understands that in many instances deception is more easily created than you may think it is.
In part two of Haunted Hooey we’ll look at Dry Ice and Cold Readings. Stay Tuned.
Every now and again I get asked for book lists, so here is one! This summer why not take some time and check out some classics of the UFO field. These 10 books will give you a pretty well-rounded idea as to what the UFO community is thinking, where it’s been and where it’s going. Some are a little older but the information they contain will really help out with sparking some fun and interesting thoughts. So here they are in no particular order. Have fun!
The Expanding Case for the UFO – Morris Jessup They Knew too much about Flying Saucers – Gray Barker The Threat – David Jacobs The UFO Evidence – Richard Hall Passport to Magonia – Jacques & Janine Vallee Operation Trojan Horse – John Keel The Hynek UFO Report – J. Allen Hynek Flying Saucer Occupants – Jim and Carol Lorenzen Flying Saucers Top Secret – Donald Keyhoe The Abduction Enigma – Kevin Randle, Russ Estes and William Cone
Yes, 2012 is in full swing and as we wait for Jörmungandr the midgard serpent to unfurl his mighty tail unleashing the wraith of the cosmos upon us we might as well get together and talk about weird stuff. There are lots of events and meetups already booked for this year and they include something for everyone. UFO and conspiracy lectures, Bigfoot hunts and good old ghosty get-togethers. Now I have no control over some of the ticket prices for these events which is why for every event that charges an entry fee I match it with a free lecture somewhere else. Pretty fair right? Who else does that for you? Nobody. So if you’re interested in hanging out check out the Events page and see when I’m going to be in your area. I am currently booking some other events so if I’m not near you now just wait because I might end up being closer than you want me to be. Not to beat a dead horse or anything but I also have this crazy awesome book for sale called “One Last Thing” and you can buy a copy on Amazon if you want, I don’t really care if you do but if you do I’ll love you until the world ends, which is only like 10 months away.
Over 25 years ago I started experimenting with the process people now commonly call E.V.P. (Electronic Voice Phenomena). As the general public became more and more interested with the practice I became more and more frustrated with the way it was being portrayed in the larger venues of popular media. Every researcher who revealed evidence to a client would show up with small, unintelligible bursts of sound claiming that it was some kind of spirit-voice. I won’t even go into the nonsense of how long certain people would spend manipulating the original recordings with audio programs to squeeze a voice out of where there was none.
It was frustrating to me because in my home, upstairs in my file cabinets, were easily understood, clear, responsive anomalous voices. They seemed to answer my questions, sometimes cryptically, with no manipulation to the original recordings other than increasing the volume, or speed, slightly. Since theses “voices” were conversing with me they were also providing me with ideas and concepts of what a spirit world or an after-life dimension might be like.
I have played some of these recordings at the lectures I’ve given over the past 20 years but finally I chose to put them in a book. Now let me explain something about the book.
The book is short. It’s about 50 pages which contains far less that 10,000 words including the introduction.
“Why is the book so short?” You ask.
It is short because good quality E.V.P. samples are hard to come across. It took me over 20 years to collect the samples in this book. Now, I know some people go on “ghost hunts” and come back with dozens of E.V.P. samples but the reality of the situation is that most of them are unusable garbage. I don’t mean to be harsh…wait… yes I do. In a community of people who over-hype themselves and their evidence, where the “professionals,” who are only recognized as such because they are on television, will blatantly lie to you and falsify their “data”… I do actually mean to be harsh. This book is short because collecting good evidence is hard and it takes a long time. It’s short because I don’t want to waste your precious time with nonsense. It’s short because the ideas and concepts that are presented by the “ghostly speakers” in the book hold enormous potential ramifications if they are actual voices from beyond and if what they are saying has some truth.
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
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.
5 reasons why paranormal research is probably not taken seriously by the scientific community.
Paranormal/Psychical research has never been fully embraced by the accepted scientific community and although many of the people involved in the investigation of supernatural phenomena endlessly discuss the wanting to be taken seriously here are some reasons why I believe this field continues to be regarded by many people as a joke.
5. Merchandise. Sometimes… after years of studying in their field of speciality a scientist will become very well recognized like Stephen Hawking, Brian Greene and Neil deGrasse Tyson and because of of their increased exposure they MIGHT have a t-shirt with their face or their slogan on it. They will probably have books they can sell and maybe… maybe, some other kind of trinket but that is about it. For paranormal researchers one of the first things an up-and-coming team of researchers does is throw their logo on everything from t-shirts to key-chains to shot glasses. There is something fundamentally wrong when an investigator/team has more t-shirt and baseball hat designs than years of research. Merchandising of course gives people a chance to support you or your team but when the majority of your time is spent selling things to people it can generate feelings of an environment of greed.
4. Attire. There is no reason a “professional” researcher/investigator should ever show up to a client’s house looking like they just came from either a rock concert or a theme park. There is nothing wrong with dressing comfortably but, usually, when you want to present yourself as a knowledgeable, serious professional you try and look like one. Sure, sometimes scientists “look crazy” (like Einstein and his hair), but think about it this way, because scientists so-commonly dress professionally, including Einstein, 50 years later we still have to use Einstein’s hair as an example of a crazy looking scientist.
3. Outragous Claims. “Best Evidence of a ghost” and it’s crappy, grainy footage of some fog. “Proof of the afterlife caught on video” and it’s some dusty orbs floating around a dusty basement. “Real Demon Attack!” and it’s an 8-year-old having a temper tantrum. All of these pieces of “data” and others like them damage the reputation of the entire field. The paranormal community at-large has forgotten that our field of research is speculative and in doing so has forgotten how to use words like “allegedly” “perhaps” “maybe” and “could”. Using these words when posting a video-clip or photo may not make it as shocking, it may not get you as many viewers, but the point of our research isn’t to be shocking, it’s to help find answers…which leads us to #2.
2. Peer Review. Paranormal researchers so badly want to be the individual or team that “figures it all out” they tend to hoard their data. One of the most critical aspects of scientific research aside from being able to reproduce data is having your data reviewed by a large body of your peers. Before any data is posted it should have passed through countless hands and investigated by as many people as possible. All too often groups will post enhanced photos, video and audio data but will refuse to give our the raw original material. This is key, and when the paranormal community acts like a spoiled child then the accepted scientific community will continue to treat us like spoiled children.
1. Scariness. The paranormal community must, if it is willing to survive and flourish, start to re-brand paranormal phenomena in a serious manner and break away from the shock and fright mentality. Plain and simple, paranormal phenomena is not scary, at least not any scarier than working next to a particle accelerator or diving 3 miles down to the bottom of the ocean in a tin can. Most researchers already aren’t scared but for some reason, usually to sell people stuff, the paranormal community continues to advertise itself as “scary”. The work we are doing is exciting, emotional and just may be the most important work anyone has done to answer some of the oldest questions known to humankind. But, as long as thousands of researchers scream and run and hide and pant in breathless panic over a “clunk” in another room how in the world do you expect anyone to take us serious?
In case you didn’t know, at the beginning of January I launched a new bi-weekly podcast called Realm of the Weird. The episodes are between 10 and 20 minutes long and are formatted in the style of old-time radio horror shows. Every episode is based on actual cases from my files from over the past 20 years. To listen to Realm of the Weird just visit the official site at http://www.realmoftheweird.com Information is on the site so that you can become a fan of the show on Facebook, follow the show on Twitter and subscribe using iTunes.
Thanks to everyone for their support in my new adventure!
I’d like to wish everyone a very happy new year! I hope this year brings exciting adventures and dreams fulfilled. I’m working on a bunch of new projects as well as waiting to see what happens with Paranormal State: The New Class. Look for an announcement on January 8th when I will reveal a new website I have been working on for a couple months. Also check out the “Events” link for some upcoming appearances. Thank you all for a wonderful 2010 and what looks to be an amazing 2011.
Since childhood I have loved the concept of collective nouns. In elementary school I was excited whenever my teachers would reveal a new way for me to describe a group of animals, or for that matter people & places. We take for granted a box of crayons or a majority of people, since the terms are heard so often. What interests most people are the collective nouns for animals such as, a murder of crows, a sleuth of bears, a charm of hummingbirds, a shrewdness of apes and a pounce of cats. I am now proposing a new series of collective nouns for the paranormal community. Some of them are silly but I chalk that up to writing the list at 4am.
A descent of Sea Monsters
A toe of Bigfoots or A forest of Sasquatches
A ware of Flying Saucers or A beam of UFOs
A look of Appartitions
A drink of Spirits
A dusting of Orbs
A concentration of Psychics
A heard of EVPs
A shock of EMFs
A crash of Poltergiests
A drama of Paranormal Investigators
and of course…
A fraid of Ghosts
Have anymore? Let me hear them. It can be fun…if you’re a word nerd.
Well, now that the show has been shown it’s back to normal life for a paranormal investigator. My heartfelt appreciation goes out to everyone for their love and support. I don’t talk too much about my personal life but my mother has been having some health issues lately and the fact that she could come to the premiere and watch her son on television doing what he loves surrounded by people that love him was one of the greatest early Christmas presents I could have ever hoped for. Again, I thank you all.
If you want to be friends with Paranormal State: The New Class on Facebook click here You can reach our individual pages through that page plus it also has information about our twitter accounts. Also some great friends created a “Say ‘Yes’ to Paranormal State:The New Class” fanpage which you can join by clicking here.
On July 7th 2009 I received an email, the subject line of which read “Producer looking for talent”. After I read the message I laughed and marked it as spam. A few hours later I looked at the email again and typed the producer’s name into Google. The first return was from IMDB and I realized that this email was not spam. I sent a reply and after two or three brief emails I was asked to drive to Indiana and meet a young team of paranormal investigators they were called Hoosier State Paranormal. It had been a month since I received the original email and I was surprised that something was actually going to happen. Being involved in the paranormal community for over 20 years I was happily accepting of my choice to simply research, investigate and lecture. Now I had been given the opportunity to teach.
Over the past 2 decades I had increased my knowledge, but after meeting the team in Indiana I realized I had lost my overwhelming passion for the topics I had loved for so long. The Hoosiers reignited that fire. Driving home after that first meeting all I could do was smile. I had made friends with some very wonderful people, people who inspired a jaded old researcher. If nothing else happened I had still come out on top of the game. Family and friends are the only thing that really matter. That saying sounds old, it is, it sounds trite, it is, but it is true, and sometimes has to be re-learned.
Things kept happening.
Before I knew it, it was today. The day a television show would air and people all around the country would have the opportunity to not only watch a new paranormal tv show but they would also have the chance to increase their circle of friends and family. We, the Hoosiers and I, have worked hard to get the word out. Many people are upset because they assume the show is one thing or another. We did not have huge budgets to promote the show we paid for everything out of our pockets. We did not have a huge community of people subscribed to mailing lists, we had friends and family. We drove to events hoping they had free food since we were using our money to pay for gas. We asked our friends to talk to their friends and spread the word. The response was amazing. 1300 friends on Facebook in 15 days. Hundreds if not thousands of “tweets” and emails. I am overwhelmed.
Driving home that day in August a year ago I knew I was on the right track because I had made new friends.
Now over a year later I look at everything everyone has done and I know we’re all on the right track because we, (Facebook friends, Twitter followers, everyone) have extended our families.
I cannot thank you enough.
Please overlook my poor grammar and punctuation errors I am writing fast and am exhausted. I know you will understand, family always does.