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

Haunted Hooey – Part One: Shifty Seances

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.

5 Myths People Tend to Believe about Paranormal Research…

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.

Psychic Test #4: What will be the total? – Contest has Ended

Psychic Contest 4On Friday, September 17, at 12 p.m. there will be a rolling of these dice. Correctly predict the total number, when all three are added together, and win a prize. Predict the total and the individual numbers and you’ll win a better prize. The rolling of the dice will be filmed and posted on Friday between noon and 1 p.m. It’s easy, it’s fun and all you have to do is know what events transpire in the future.

Did you win? Watch the video for the answer.

Psychic Test #3: What is the word in the box? – Contest Ended 7/29

Guess the word in the box. Win a prize. Guess the word in the box and the number written on the envelope win a better prize.
contest3

How the test was created:
Three words were chosen by a random word generator. The words were printed out on sheets of paper, the same size, and placed in similar envelopes. The envelopes were then shuffled and three different individuals determined how they would be numbered, (1,2 and 3). After being numbered another individual picked an envelope, (without seeing which number was written on it), to be placed in the box. The box was then sealed. What is the word written on the paper inside of the box? Extra points for guessing the number written on the envelope.

The contest will be open until Midnight on Wednesday, July 28th. FOR THE WINNING WORD & NUMBER CLICK HERE

Even I don’t know what number is on the envelope and although I know all 3 words I don’t know which one is in the box.