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?
5 Myths People Tend to Believe about Paranormal Research… because of Television and Movies
5. Demons are everywhere.
Over the past 10 years, demons must have been working overtime. It seems like everyone everywhere is either being attacked by a demonic force or is possessed by one. Talking to researchers, priests and historians, it seems that cases of what many people believe to be “demonic” energies or beings is actually very uncommon. Although the Vatican itself will not acknowledge an actual number of cases that they become involved with, by researching where and when they will confirm priests to perform exorcisms we find that perhaps the number might be somewhere between 10 and 20 cases a year world-wide. Now, remember the Vatican has unlimited funds and time to investigate cases and yet they find throughout the world only 10 to 20 cases a year that need intervention. So why does every ghost hunting team find a demon? Why are exorcisms and deliverances being performed almost nightly on paranormal reality television shows? Mostly because people don’t truly understand what is actually involved during an alleged demonic possession or when a supposedly demonic force is manifesting itself. As a side note, most people who call themselves “demonologists” don’t even understand what that word traditionally means (see this post) Sorry, but it’s true.
4. EVP is a relatively new process.
Experimenting with Direct Voice, Electronic Voice Phenomena and other forms of I.T.C. has been around for as long as the technology to perform it has been around. Pioneers, like Jungerson, started honing their skills and research methodologies close to 70 years ago. Even equipment like the “ghost box” has its origins with inventors like Thomas Edison. It’s not a new process and unfortunately many researchers are unaware of the decades worth of documentation, data and evidence on how and why the process is supposed to work. Here’s a tip: Long ago, EVP researchers determined that if you can only hear an understandable voice because of manipulation to the recording, then the evidence is no good, so try again.
3. Screaming at a ghost is a great way to get a response.
In my last post, “Come at me ghost,” I looked at ways that “provoking” probably isn’t a wonderful form of investigating. Put as plainly as possible, when someone I know, who is alive, starts yelling at me I’m pretty likely to not respond.
2. Psychics/Mediums are needed to investigate.
Throughout the past 20 years I have utilized persons who regard themselves as “psychic” or “mediumistic” to act as additional tools during research. Unfortunately, psychic power is part of the paranormal phenomena which we as researchers are supposed to be investigating. Using paranormal phenomena to explain paranormal phenomena is like getting lost in the forest and then asking yourself for directions out of the forest. Again, I have no problem asking someone if they can confirm or deny information, but then I will have to confirm or deny what they are telling me. Then I will have to study the psychic to figure out how they have received that information. Psychics/Mediums, in my opinion, should be treated as a piece of equipment to further your research, but only after all accepted/traditional forms of research and investigation are exhausted.
1. Investigation happens at night.
Ghosts probably don’t wear watches. It’s more than likely that if there is a spirit realm, time does not exist in a way that we, the living, understand. Television producers know that humans have an inherent fear of the dark, so most of the time research and investigation is shown taking place only or mostly at night. In all honesty most of the “research” that should be taking place can only happen during the day because places like libraries and court houses are only open during the day. Also, interviewing people usually has to take place during daylight hours, since most people are usually asleep at night. On-site investigations should take place during all times of the day to allow the researcher to see when the activity in a location is most energetic… plus during the day you don’t have to stumble around a dark unfamiliar house… and bang your shins, because that really hurts.
6 things you will most likely not see me do on TV. (or anywhere else for that matter)
6. 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 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.
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 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. Even this list isn’t for certain, but it’s pretty close.
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 rockstars than researchers. Remember, it’s about the data, evidence and helping people to feel more secure in their day-to-day lives.
Driving through the neighborhoods at Halloween time our eyes are barraged by fake tombstones, giant inflatable grim reapers and foam body parts. All of this can be good fun, but in all reality we must ask ourselves, “Is it scary?” The answer is a simple, “no.” When I was growing up the scariest house on the block was the old abandon bungalow–grass overgrown, windows boarded up and a front porch that you dare never go on to. That house was Halloween all year around. The fright and horror came not from a bloody skeleton hanging on the front door but the imagined skeleton that just might be lying in the shuttered living room. As a person who has been in hundreds, if not thousands, of alleged haunted houses, buildings and cemeteries, I am happy to share with you 10 tips for creating a really frightening, perhaps horrifically traumatizing, stop for the trick-or-treaters in your neighborhood.
10. Don’t mow the lawn. I don’t mean don’t ever mow it, but if your neighbors are willing to put up with a lawn covered in fake fencing and plastic gravestones you should be able to get away with not mowing your lawn for 3 or 4 weeks. Overgrown lawns provide a feeling of disrepair and abandonment.
9. Your porch should be red or orange. Replacing that bright white bulb with a red or orange bulb still shows you are home while providing enough light for the kids to get up the porch. Red and orange lights also create unnatural shadow colors which can evoke feelings of uneasiness. Blue and green bulbs are recognized as totally unnatural light colors. It looks like you’re making an effort to be different, which negates the feeling of disregard you’ve built up with the unkept lawn.
8. Carve your jack-o-lanterns poorly. No one wants to see an R2D2 jack-o-lantern, except the kid dressed as Asajj Ventress or General Grievous, or Darth Vader for those of you don’t watch Clone Wars. A jack-o-lantern is supposed to be creepy. Think of it as a glowing light in the middle of a swamp, think of a face trying to scare away ghosts and spirits, but don’t get too crazy with the design. Stay simple with the concept; it makes the face ten times scarier.
7. Leave the screen door shut but the front door open. With all of the initial unease “treaters” will feel walking up to your house, an open front door will create a parallel psychological thought pattern. Since open doors are a sign of welcome the brain’s conceptualization of unknowing and knowing will compete for dominance, causing internal feelings of confusion.
6. Turn off the lights in your house. One or two candles in the living room far away from the front door will be perfect. This should be a no brainer. As soon as kids see a house all lit up, they know people are in there having Halloween fun. The fact that you have a porch light on but no other lights is very disconcerting. If your living room is totally lit up all horror rushes away from the “treaters” as they see the normal interior of your home. In the dim light of candle glow, shadows bounce and flicker, creating a world of unfamiliar shapes inside your house.
5. Play classical or orchestral music. Most kids these days only hear classical or orchestral music in a few places: religious ceremonies, weddings, funerals, and horror movies. As a plus, a lot of kids associate classical music with old people. Aside from their grandparents–sometimes including them–most kids are confused or even scared of old people.
4. Make them have patience. When you hear “Trick or treat!” don’t run to the door. Walk …slowly. And walk from another room. If you must be doing something, why not sit in another room watching TV or playing on the internet, sans lights. Let them see you coming, but make them wait. As you open the door of the room you are sitting in and meander down the hallway, the glow from your TV or computer can add some neat lighting effects as it shines and flashes behind you.
3. Don’t talk. If you must say something when you walk to the door say “Treat.” Most people strike up conversations and ask questions about the costumes. Kids don’t care. They are there for the candy and to be scared. They have asked you, “Trick or Treat?” and you should answer them, “Treat.” Trust me, it’s creepy.
2. Don’t let them see what you are giving them. It’s extra creepy to produce the “treat” from a suit coat pocket or purse. Retrieve the treat and hold it entirely in the hand away from curious eyes until you’ve placed it in the “treater’s” bag. Or have your treats just lying on a table out of view, or anywhere but a giant bowl. Don’t let them see what the treat is. Just let them feel it hit the bottom of the bag.
1. Don’t underestimate the power of subtlety. Horror comes from the unknown. We all harbor some fear of the dark or the unfamiliar. Children have a heightened sense of strangeness because things are still new to them and so much is still unknown. When kids leave your front porch whispering to each other, “what was that all about?” or “dude, that was weird” you can rest assured that they will be talking the next day about the creepy house they went to on Halloween. Your house.
For Halloween I’ve jotted down a few notes for those of you that are interested in “ghost hunting”. Have fun and be safe.
The following is a quick and easy starters guide to investigations. As with any research there must be a followed method or procedure this is true as well in phantological investigations. The following tips and tricks should guarantee at least an enjoyable time.
Always wear the appropriate clothing for whatever weather circumstances you may encounter. Be sure that jewelry is not loose and is not apt to jingle or rattle. If possible try and have two watches available one winding and one digital.
PROCEDURE: Do not trespass. If an area is marked “no trespassing” it means no trespassing. If you must have access then contact the proper officials or property owners. If no one can be contacted notified the local authorities of your presence. Cemeteries are places of respect and sanctity treat them as such. Don’t litter or trampled flowers, also, do not smoke. Smoke can linger in the area for a long while and may skew the results of your investigation.
Having fun doesn’t mean being stupid. Having a positive mind-set will help your investigation, but don’t treat the experience as a joke try and limit needless discussion especially if trying Electronic Voice Phenomena and although it sounds like school, “no horseplay.”
The majority of your investigation should be information gathering and the documentation of the situation at hand. Many people believe that “Ghost hunting” is 99% field work (going to haunted houses, cemeteries and running around with a flashlight) and once they find out that there is paperwork to be done they become uninterested in ghosts and any related phenomena. Any “real” ghost hunter is well versed in the field of research.
Make sure people know where you are going and make sure of the surrounding area’s safety. Always visit the location during the day before the investigation when you have time to note areas that may be hazardous, especially if you intend to research an abandon structure. Get a feel for the local neighborhood, there are some undesirable types that enjoy hanging out in cemeteries and abandon structures. Once again, Get permission to be where you are going to be. Do Not Trespass! If you cannot locate the owner of the site being investigated then contact the local Police and forewarn them of your plans.
Check the weather. www.weather.com Inclement weather such as rain, snow and fog can hinder your chance of accurate reports. Cold weather can also provide inaccurate findings due to breath clouds. If it’s cold enough to see your breath be sure not to snap photographs directly after you exhale, breathe out count to 7 and take a picture. This should allow sufficient time for the breath to settle; remember breath falls, smoke rises. Your best bet is to investigate when it is not cold enough to see your breath.
Limit the amount of people involved. The human brain can accurately and easily record seven pieces of information at one time but an optimal number of investigators in one area would be four, including yourself. You can easily keep track of who is where (and when) with four people acting as compass points, (North-South-East-West). The larger the number of people the better the possibility of an inaccurate interpretation of data from a certain area.
FINDING THE SOURCE WITH INFRARED THERMOMETERS
Optical systems of infrared thermometers gather energy from a circular spot which increases with distance. Make sure that your target is larger than the spot size you are measuring. The smaller the target, the closer you should be to it. The further away the more inaccurate the reading.
LOCATING THE ANOMALY
If a temperature anomaly is found by an investigator, since the field of measurement is of increasing size, a second investigator can be used to more accurately locate the temperature variance. Please remember you are not measuring air temperature you are measuring the heat/coolness of the surface you are near. Again, infrared thermometers are NOT measurng air temperature.