Over the last 100 years there have been numerous and various attempts to gather and collect data which would prove that some, or all, people do indeed possess some sort of psychic ability. The results are as controversial as the findings and belief systems of the persons involved in administering and taking the tests. One thing we do know for sure is that there are ways to conduct what look like actual psychic readings without having any psychic ability at all, the most commonly known is the process of “Cold Reading.” Now, the ways in which cold reading can be done are extensive and well beyond the scope of what I am attempting to cover in the first part of this brief article but I will hopefully try and touch upon some of the more interesting and deceitful ways in which anyone can create the illusion of psychic powers.
Acting like you know:
A very subtle way of starting to influence how a person thinks about you and your “psychic” powers is to phrase very simple actions which the person is already naturally doing. If you ask someone to, “think of a name” or “think about someone” give them a moment and then say something to the effect of, “Now, as you finish thinking.” The language is key in cold reading. You would never say, “Tell me when you’re finished” because this would reveal that you don’t know when they are done. But, since you’ve given them a command, “Think about someone who is near to you.” and since you’ve waited a moment you can assume they have done the action and are nearing completion of the task. So, when you say, “Now, as you finish.” There is a subtle sense that you knew they were finishing the task. Using proper indirect comments like this allows the person to start believing that you know what is going on in their mind at every moment.
The basic standard of all cold readings is realizing that humans, for as much as we like to believe, are not very different. When speaking in generalities we are often times relating to others on a much deeper level because they have experienced similar experiences. There are six key demographics that a cold reader must deal with these are young men, young women, mature men, mature women, senior men and senior women. These six types of individuals are “tendency oriented” which is very much like stereotyping. Again, we are not so different and it is this commonality that can be best exploited. Let’s look at some examples you can use on each of the types. Young Men: There is a lot of energy and desire to accomplish goals. They are deeply skeptical. They are starting to feel commitment pressures from lovers. They are looking for a “big break” and usually are wondering why everything is taking so long to happen.
Things to say during a cold read: Don’t call her…Progressing slowly… More Waiting… Big Opportunity.
Young Women: They are usually feeling undervalued at their job because of this there is a tendency to feel that they are smarter and harder working then the others at their job.There is a heavy focus on professional development. They are striving to stay independent and concerned with not making the mistakes of their Mothers. Social pressures are at their highest at this point for younger women.
Things to say during a cold read: That guy… Love won’t hurt… it takes sacrifices… They will see… More attractive… Last Chance.
Mature Men: They are mostly reaching material stability. Ther is an increase in wondering about investments of time and money. There is a decrease in self-esteem and health is becoming an issue.
Things to say during a cold read: Thinking of an adventure… It’s not too late…Call a doctor… Too risky?…Need more energy.
Typically the hardest to read are mature women. This is due to the changing nature and aspects of society. There are two general categories of mature women
There is some overlap and so it is up to the cold reader to make the leap using body posturing, and manner of speech/ dress to determine the best fit.
Conventional: There is a tendency to be slightly more judgmental about younger women but celebratory about younger women’s courage. Thinking about traditional motherhood roles increases and there are concerns about health issues.
Modern: There is an increase in the feelings of mistreatment about their role in society. They are willing to explore new areas of thought. A growing concerned with partner fidelity and personal health issues.
Things to say during a cold reading: Right decision?…Hard Choices…Keeping it a secret…worrying too much…no one cares.
Senior Men:They aremore cynical about the future. Health is vastly important. There is an increase in enjoying life without pressures of ambition. Small things are valued for their worth.
Things to say at a cold read: Too many places…They’ll see…How much more time?…They think they know.
Senior Women: They aredemanding of themselves, and there is an increase in self-rediscovery. They have pride with the ability to deal with difficult situations. Embracing progress becomes important.
Things to say at a cold read: Unspoken pain…I’m proud of him (her)…He (she) doesn’t know how to take care of him (her)…living alone.
Although the above outlines are very brief they serve as examples of how and what people performing cold readings can say, or do, to influence how you feel about the “psychic” experience they are performing for you. The most important thing a cold reader can understand is that they already know all about you because they know people like you.
In the next post we’ll get specific about how cold readers can get specific.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
As the networks run out of ideas on how to make people wandering around in the dark interesting I have five new variations on the paranormal theme. How many more can you think of?
5. Lil’ S.C.R.E.A.M.E.R.S
Follow the adventures of Supernatural Coalition Researching Eerie Anomalous Matters Everyday Really Seriously as they run around in the dark, scream and run away from the things they don’t understand. This dark gritty reality show takes viewers inside the real world of children who are basically just afraid of the dark. No one on the team is over the age of eight.
4. The House
In an effort to document the strange phenomena occurring on one of America’s most haunted houses a camera will be set up in the living room to broadcast 24 hours a day for 2 years. Viewers are invited to spend hours of their lives staring at the live-feed in the hopes that something will happen. Will it happen? What will happen? Watch and wait and watch…and wait.
3. Paranormal Beach
All of the best looking paranormal investigators in the country descend on one of the world’s most exotic beaches to exchange the information they’ve uncovered… while uncovering each other. Night-Vision has never before revealed images so startling…and sexy.
Every week viewers will watch clips of dogs, cats, birds and other pets freaking out at what might be paranormal phenomena but in many cases will be fireworks and loud trucks.
1. X-Treme Ghost Fighting
It looks like only one person is in the ring but wait for the battles to begin! No really, it’s mostly just one guy in a ring yelling at nothing and swinging his arms around, but maybe something will eventually happen!
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
As the general population’s love of zombies continues to grow I thought I’d post this interesting little article from out of my files for all those who are convinced that a zombie apocalypse is eminent. Not only does the article give a brief glimpse as to what the world of “science” was like at the turn of the century but it also provides some more weird clues as to how we may be truly headed for an undead disaster. Also, notice that when the creatures are brought back to life…they’re angry.
Doctor Discovers Secret of Life and Death
The secret of life and the vital principle of its source have been uncovered by an Indiana physician. A lengthy series of experiments have been conducted, all leading conclusively to the support of the theory advanced by the investigator, and the success of the experiments have been sufficient, according to the physician’s associates, to convince even the most skeptical member of the profession that the Indiana doctor has brought to light a most important discovery. The physician is Dr. C. W. Littlefield, a well-known practitioner of central Indiana, whose home is in Alexandria, and whose laboratory also is located in the gas belt city. For fifteen years Dr. Littlefield has pursued his investigation and experiments and only recently consented to make public the result of his laboratory work.
During all this time the physician has confined his experiments to cats, dogs, monkeys and other lower animals and, only upon one occasion was it found possible to test the potency of his discovery on a human being. In this solitary case his theory was proved as correct as when its workings were applied to animals of the lower form. Dr. Littlefield asserts that his experiments have demonstrated to his satisfaction and to the satisfaction of his medical associates some of the following facts:
Life is not dependent upon organic function as a principle.
It may be infused into organized bodies even after the organs have ceased to perform their legitimate offices.
Where death has been caused by means not impairing tissue formation or induced by causes not destructive of organs vital in their purpose, life may be recalled and a perfect resuscitation may be secured by the employment of the most simple agents.
In short, Dr. Littlefield makes the astounding assertion that he can bring the dead back to life. But, as is obvious, he qualifies his assertion with the declaration that his methods are inoperative where death has been occasioned by tissue or organic destruction which cannot be repaired or replaced. The Indiana physician asserts that the secret of life, in substance, is violate magnetism.
In demonstrating his theory the doctor employs a solution of saline origin, with salt as the basis, saturated with oleo; resin and exposed for several hours to an atmosphere of free ammonia. The chemical thus formed, he declares, is an exact reproduction of conditions existing in the human body. Here, however, the volatile magnetism is drawn into the body from the atmosphere through the lungs and finding present In body tissue mineral compounds the potent atmosphere is at once absorbed, held in bounds, and later compounded by natural processes with the tissue and organic formations. In other words, by securing through artificial means the solution which has proved so effectual in his experiments, the doctor asserts he is only duplicating on a small but comprehensive scale what occurs in the human body when air enters normal lungs and becomes the life-giving atmosphere of a normal body.
Having secured this saline solution, Dr.Littlefield reduces it to a powder. It is this powder that he has employed throughout his long course of experiments. For instance, having put to death a dog or cat by drowning and allowed the corpse to remain long enough to convince anyone following his investigations that all life is extinct. Dr. Littlefield takes the corpse and, without preparation of any kind, places it upon a heated stone or porcelain plate, brought to a temperature corresponding to that of the normal body, and covers it thoroughly with a light layer of the powder. Within three or four minutes from the time the powder has been coated over the dead body signs of life manifest themselves, and within fifteen minutes after the resuscitating methods were begun, in every instance, the subject has returned to normal life.
Possibly one of the most peculiar features of the doctor’s experiments is the fact that, upon regaining consciousness and life in every instance, the beasts have displayed an intense anger. This, after an hour or so, however, wears away, and the subjects become greatly attached to Dr. Littlefleld, refusing to be separated from him. Cats, the experimenter has discovered, are probably less responsive to his methods than animals of similar importance In the animal scale. This doubtless is due to the fact that a cat, having been killed by drowning, suffers more than other animals and following resuscitation, usually evince symptoms of pneumonia or lung inflammation, due to the irritation and exposure induced by direct contact with the water. In such cases, however, a few drops of the powder administered internally have served invariably to relieve the sufferer and restore the subject to normal condition.
Dr. Littlefield asserts in a statement prepared some time ago that he has not yet discovered how long a time may elapse between death and the time of attempted resuscitation before his theory and its operation become ineffective. A cat remained dead two hours and during this time was allowed to remain in the hot sun until rigor mortis had set in. The corpse was then placed upon the heated porcelain and powder applied and the animal returned to consciousness within five minutes. The experimenter has allowed a number of flies and bees to remain dead for twelve hours and has succeeded restoring life within two or three minutes. Only upon one occasion was the potency of Dr. Littlefield’s theory tried upon the human being. This occurred some years ago, when the experiments had not reached their present perfect end finished state. Upon this occasion a boy who had fallen in the water through the ice was given up as dead by physicians summoned to restore life by the usual artificial means. Dr. Littlefield, however, secured permission to make an attempt to resuscitate the lad and, taking his body to his laboratory a mile away, immediately submitted it to the powder treatment. In fifteen minutes, together with a continuance of the other means of restoring life, the boy revived and evinced no unusually abnormal symptoms. Dr. Littlefleld makes his statement without reserve that he is positive, as in the instance already recited, his theory is successful in operation on human subjects.
The origin of the experiments which have led to the discoveries had its source in the doctor’s desire to discover, if possible, whether it were practical to rebuild injured or impaired tissues. The course of the experiments finally led into the channel they have now taken, and for a number of years the investigator has confined himself to the work in hand, abandoning his former researches. The magnetic influence can easily be seen by placing a drop of the liquid with minute particles of solid substance in it under a microscope. The particles can be seen flying back and forth with indescribable energy and life. These original experiments were based on a careful study of the various compounds that enter into the formation of the different tissues of the body and were, for the most part, an attempt to group both the organic and the mineral compounds in the exact proportions in which they appear in healthy tissues.
During his investigation the doctor noticed that the changes of atmosphere frequently affected his patients. There were times not noticed by the healthy person when a patient was much worse than at others. The doctor deduced that this is because there is not the great amount of volatile magnetism in the air at the times referred to. At least the conditions of his patients led him to investigate, and the conclusion followed that there was an unknown power separate from the chemical, operative, but indefinable. After several years, Dr. Littlefield declares he succeeded in compounding a liquid that absorbed or gathered this force from the atmosphere. This he now calls the volatile magnetism, formed with the salt as its basic feature.
This article is for everyone but written specifically to be read by those who, mostly because of popular media, now believe in demons.
Many years ago I had the pleasure of chatting with theologian and former Jesuit Fr. Malachi Martin. We discussed his history working with the Vatican’s Biblical Institute, conspiracy theories surrounding the Vatican and of course exorcisms. A warm and open conversation was had about topics that at the time, almost 20 years ago now, the general public would, I believe, have found unbelievable. Now, due to the influence of reality TV and the extreme over-exposurer of so-called demonic forces by popular films and books the concepts of a “demonic reality” are thought about by many and believed by many more. I remember discussing the various types of “demonic” attacks that Fr. Martin explained as possible; from general psychological harassment, alcohol/substance abuse to actual possession of the human body by a non-human force. We disagreed and agreed with each other on many points during the conversation but ultimately left each other smiling.
Fr. Martin has now passed away and I am left with only the memories of our conversations and ideas which have over the years matured and expanded. For that I am forever grateful. Yet, over those years the ideas and conversations have allowed me a unique opportunity to watch the general public’s discourse regarding demonic influences on our world evolve and unfortunately in most cases degenerate. Frustratingly it becomes more and more difficult to explain and discuss the issue of demonic possession in a serious, philosophical, academic and non-hyperbolic way when in truth the squeakiest wheel does actually gets the grease. Reality TV is not the home of the intelligent and insightful exchanging of information that we need. There are people now in the public eye who without any, or very little, care or concern for how they portray themselves or certain situations continue to promote wild-eyed tales of fancy for the sole purpose of gaining larger viewership or selling more merchandise. These people seem to have no regard for how the general viewing audiences may internalize what is being shown and how influential psychologically these “true” events can be not only to the young but also to the “true believers.” To say it is a disservice is nothing more than apathy.
It is nonsense and insulting.
Demons, demonic influences and possessions can be discussed in a serious manner and lead to larger philosophical questions about the natural world around us and an alleged all-permeating supernatural reality. The topic of demonic influences help to make shocking films and startling TV but, (this is stressed for the true believer of things paranatural), think about who and how the conversation is influenced.
How did the topic become so popular?
Why are there now far more reported cases?
Who are the famous, wealthy, successful people who promote the outrageous?
Who holds sway over the masses with a blend of shock and fear?
And while you are considering questions like the ones above please keep in mind how alleged demonic influences supposedly work. Not all who are “possessed” are drooling, screaming tortured souls. Indeed religious officials charged with performing exorcisms will tell you that the reason there is such a reaction is that the person who is allegedly possessed is fighting against the possession. But what about those who do not feel the need to fight? What about those who want to be possessed?
One of the topics Fr. Martin and I discussed all those many years ago were the examples of “perfect possession.” This is a topic, like many others, which has been left behind in our 24-hour-basic cable FacebookTwitterTumblr4SquarePinterest Universe. The discussion of the people who want to be possessed. The people who for whatever reason whether it be the gain of fame or money allow themselves to be a conduit for purposeful misinformation and hysterical confusion of the masses. Now I ask you, the believers, these questions in seriousness.
Who is benefiting from your hysteria?
Who is using fear to gain your confidence?
Who takes the darkest most repellent aspects of religious ideas and uses it for self-promotion?
Do you believe in those people?
Do you support those people?
Because truthfully, anyone who tries to influence your life through the promotion of fear and darkness… is a demon.
I know you’ve seen Paranormal Activity and Insidious but there have been many films which included paranormal or psychical researchers throughout the years, most of them comedies, that go unseen. These films are not only entertaining but they provide hindsight as to how and why the public may associate the paranormal community with it’s recognized identity of, at best, bumbling and at worst unreliability. These films should be readily accessible through NetFlix, Hulu or maybe even just on YouTube. If you have nothing to do why not give them a watch, it’s better than what we’re being given on “reality” TV these days.
8. Hold that Ghost
From 1941 and starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello Hold that Ghost is more of an “old dark house” film than an actual movie about ghosts. Why this film is included in the list is due in part to the constant screaming of “Help” and “what’s that?” The premise of 2 gas station workers inheriting a mob bosses tavern and a trying to find a stash of hidden money makes this one of Abbott and Costello’s weaker films haha!. If you try and figure out how the characters resolve the “paranormal” happenings in the house throughout the film you might go a little batty. Also, the beginning of this movie has some very racist moments… as films from the 40′s often did.
7. Little Rascals: The Haunted House
The gang have formed EEgle Eye Detctive Agency as well as procured some fake mustaches and beards, (paranormal goatee anyone?) and after hiding in a wooden crate are delivered to a Haunted House attraction where hilarity ensues. I know what you’re thinking, “But if there are no ghosts and the haunted house is just a haunted attraction then what does this have to do with ghosts?” Okay, now think about that question again and realize how many people go on ghost hunts at haunted attractions…then watch this film.
Seriously, you know what this movie is about.
5. Spook Busters
Another film from the 1940′s featuring The Bowery Boys and Huntz Hall! Huntz who? Exactly. A group of newly graduated exterminators decide to rid a creepy old house of it’s spectral residents only to find a crazy old scientist. No spoiler here as the scientist is on the poster for the film. Bonus points for this movie since it contains the obligatory gorilla most “scary films” had for some reason back then. The Bowery Boys do a great job of bumbling and fumbling around looking for ghosts which is actually somewhat reminiscent of a typical episode of Ghost Adventures or Ghost Hunters.
4. The Others
This film is often panned by critics for being too slow paced but it contains some real chills and a pretty clever, although foreseeable, resolve. The Others plays like an early 1970′s Hammer film with solid acting from everyone involved. What about the paranormal researchers? Well, I can’t get to into it if you haven’t seen the film…spoilers.
The special effects are dated and some of the moments that audiences thought were most frightening about this film are now laughable but many people forget just how heavily a part paranormal researchers played in this film. Seeing the team setting up cameras and recording devices gives you a backwards glance at what would soon become standard fair for not only future paranormal films but the future of paranormal reality TV.
2. Mr. Vampire
I don’t even know where to begin with the Mr. Vampire films. Are there paranormal investigators in this film? Kind of. Do people fight ghosts? YES! Mr. Vampire came out in 1985 and it is a ghost, vampire, ass-kicking extravaganza! Whoever thought blending Kung-fu and vampire Chinese-hopping-ghosts is a genius. Not only is there some incredible fighting but you’ll learn all sorts of tricks and tips to help in your paranormal investigations should you ever some across a Chinese ghost, like holding your breath or jumping up and down on sticky rice. Wow, simply wow.
1. The Changeling The Changeling from 1980 and starring George C. Scott is an oft overlooked film but for those who are “paranormally” minded it should be seen. Allegedly based on the true experiences of playwright Russell Hunter this movie may be plodding at some points but is far more creepy and disturbing than many modern “scary” films. Also, if you can find a copy of the original soundtrack buy it because it is wonderfully weird. As a side note, Martin Scorcese put The Changeling on his personal list of scariest movies of all time.
I originally wrote this post and titled it “6 things you will most likely not see me do on TV. (or anywhere else for that matter)” about a year ago after the first episode of Paranormal State: The New Class. Since that time somethings have happened in the world of paranormal “reality” TV that have made me adjust the list, nothing has been subtracted but some have been altered and others have been added. The original post is located HERE.
8. I will not deal in absolutes. Paranormal research is a speculative field. The theories that are in the process of evolving will keep me from saying “This is absolutely a ghost” or “This can only be Demon.” When you start stating that you “know” without a doubt that something has to be a certain way you are setting yourself up to be wrong. I will try and use the words “maybe,” “probably” and “alledgedly” because I understand that I might be wrong. I have no problem with being wrong or not knowing something. And,even though I say “will not” in this list…none of it is certain or absolute, but it’s pretty close.
7. I will not sell sex. We all know that sex and sexiness sells… but I am not selling. I am trying to advance the field of paranormal research. I am trying to help people who are going through traumatic and difficult times. I am concerned about how the field of paranormal research is understood and recognized by the general public – flexing muscles, spray tans and bikini tops are not variables in that equation.
6. I will dress as if I am the professional I proclaim to be. I will not wear a baseball hat in a client’s home or during an investigation. Although I am balding, and self-conscious of it, I, personally, do not feel that baseball hats,concert t-shirts and cut-off shorts represent a professional attitude while performing an investigation. Additionally, you will never see me wearing a t-shirt with a ghost, skull, bat or gravestone on it. My clothing will reflect the professional nature of my attitude toward investigations. I may dress comfortably but I will not look like I just came from a rock concert. I know many people will argue that you “shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover” but in all honesty, in one way or another, everyone does.
5. I will not dress up in costumes. I know that some researchers believe “getting into the spirit” of the spirits helps during an investigation but I do not think that way. The chances of seeing me dressed as a civil war solider or a turn-of-the-century barber are the same as seeing me with a sheet over my head…zero.
4. I will not present clients with absolutes. If I collect data from an investigation then that is exactly what it is, collected data. It is not evidence or proof of anything and that is how it will presented to the client. If I was ever convinced that a location is truly and without question “haunted” then I would need to refocus all my time and energy, right now and until, I had recognized scientists and acedemics come to that location so that the data could be continued to be collected, peer reviewed and reproduced as to advance this field. My goal is not to prove that something is haunted it is to add information to the collective field so that we as a community have more information about phantasmagorical events.
3. I will not yell at ghosts. If ghosts are real they do not exist as we do, meaning, they don’t have physical bodies which have ears that pick up sound vibrations and convert it to electrical impulses which are then interpreted by a brain into sound. If research has shown us anything it is that the non-corporal communicate through vocalisation and auditory abilities are difficult. Screaming and yelling should work just as well as normal voice levels or whispers. Also, even if I postulate that an entity is “mean” or “evil” I have no assurance that my assumption is correct. In our day-to-day lives we often misinterpret “anger” with confusion and “maliciousness” for fear. The last thing I want to do is scream at something/person/spirit which may already be frightened and confused.
2. I will not be afraid that a “ghost” “demon” or any other spirit is going to kill me. Over the past 20 years I have been placed in some harrowing situations and have always been unharmed. My mental stability and faith in my abilities to deal with unknown situations provides me with a level of comfort wherein I will not be afraid that I will be killed by a paranormal entity.
1. I will not, ever, consume alcohol near, during, around or immediately before or after an investigation. The field of paranormal research is already subject to scorn and ridicule by the “accepted” scientific community. We must perform above and beyond professional standards if we expect to be taken seriously. Anyone who thinks it’s funny or acceptable to drink alcohol while in the midst of an investigation is doing an incredible disservice to hard-working paranormal investigators everywhere who have struggled for decades to make paranormal research a respected field of research.
These opinions are mine and I know everyone has different ideas on how investigations should happen. Hopefully though we can agree that the paranormal community has become overrun by individuals that are more concerned with being movie-stars than researchers. Remember, it’s about the data, process of investigation and helping people to feel more secure in their day-to-day lives.