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The Paranormal Spectator

Blog of Southern Gothic Paranormal Research (Percy Priest Lake Investigators)

My First Ghost Hunt-Hope Hill Cemetery

By Benjamin

During High School on occasion my friends and I would go to areas that were supposed to be hot spots for paranormal activity. We didn’t have a ghost box, an EMF detector or any other tools of the trade, but we would go late at night with flashlights to look around for anything that confirmed the stories we had heard…often while some people in the group stayed back in the car. The area we lived in, West Tennessee, has a long memory, and we were familiar with multiple spots within driving distance of our hometown, Huntingdon, TN.

Continue reading “My First Ghost Hunt-Hope Hill Cemetery”

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Talking to Spirits So They’ll Listen

by Leah

Have you ever been interrogated? By the police, your parents, your boss? No one likes to be talked to in this manner. Well, someone might, but that’s a different thing altogether – if you know what I mean. (Another blog for another time…)

Imagine being stuck in a place that you simply cannot leave. You’ve got no family or friends around you. You see the same old scenery every day. You have a story to tell, but no one even knows you’re there, so how can they listen? It’s like being trapped—on an operating table, in a coma—and you can see and hear everything that’s going on around you, but no one even knows you are there. Or that you even exist.

In my mind, that’s how I imagine spirits feel. Continue reading “Talking to Spirits So They’ll Listen”

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The Rosenwald School-An Illustration Of Finding A Paranormal Investigation

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By Benjamin (with Leah)

The thing that has shocked us the most about paranormal investigation teams since we began what is commonly called “ghost hunting” is the relative uniformity among groups who engage in the practice. One would think that, given how much is unknown about what is considered paranormal, people would be more creative or innovative in investigating what is, by its nature, outside the box. It is not. (This is in not in any way a critique or a dig on the way that other teams perform investigations, these are simply our own opinions and observations.) Most teams follow the following format. They have a director, case manager, historian/researcher, equipment manager, and investigators. Many of the questions asked are nearly identical to questions on ghost hunting shows. The places that are investigated are places that have been investigated by multiple other paranormal investigation teams. Often teams pay to investigate the site.

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To be fair, we  do not deviate that much from the standard way that a team is organized, only roles are much more fluid. Leah is regarded by almost everyone who has worked with her as one of the finest researchers/historians people have worked with, and she is brilliant when it comes to finding places to investigate. When we look for a place to investigate, the last thing that Leah considers is whether other people have reported paranormal occurrences there. Leah considers the circumstances and conditions which would in all likelihood give rise to paranormal activity. Among the things she considers are: is this a location that would prompt a person to form an attachment in death; is this near a river, given that historically since ancient times bodies have water have been a source of life, civilization, transportation and food; and finally, is the location historically significant?

Recently, Leah and I were looking for a place to ghost hunt where we had not before, that had not been investigated before. Leah did a search of public parks with late hours and found the Rosenwald Park and Community Center. She noted that the school had been built in 1927 for African-Americans as the result of a joint philanthropy venture by one of the co-owners of Sears and Roebuck, and importantly Booker T Washington. The name Booker T Washington immediately resonated with me, as it would with almost anyone given that prior to Martin Luther King, Jr., he was probably the most influential civil rights leader in American history. Moreover, the school operated for 33 years in a period most Americans would like to forget about…segregation.

The location of the former school is now a park and features a replica of the school, as it once provided quality education to numerous African-American students who would otherwise be denied the education afforded white students. We went with our equipment in hand and got a lot of activity, despite the fact that to our knowledge no one else had conducted a paranormal investigation there. We were slightly limited in where we could investigate, because the replica of the former school was being used as a community center and people were present.  A little while later we went with the paranormal investigation team that we were then a member of and experienced less activity but, still enough, that it was a good night.

When Leah and I decided to go out on our own I told a man I know, Mark Walsh, who is in many ways the dean of paranormal investigations, at least in the area we live, about the location. Mark, like Leah and I, typically investigates locations that have not been over-investigated. Unlike Leah and I, Mark has been investigating since the late 1980s before the ghost boom and before cable TV was flooded with numerous ghost hunting shows. Mark was essentially apprenticed as a paranormal investigator before TV shows provided anyone with an idea about what equipment and methods to use.

Mark went there a few days later, and we communicated because I could not go. Mark reported a significant amount of activity that he was receiving. Not surprisingly, given the factor of experience, he reported more activity than Leah or I had noted when we went. And much of what he reported was almost identical to what Leah and I, and later the team we were members of, had experienced.

For whatever reason, probably due to the surprisingly conservative way that many teams investigate, this paranormal investigator’s gem had gone unnoticed. This site will be open to a public investigation on October 13th and 14th this coming Friday and Saturday night. It pays to think outside the box when conducting paranormal investigations.  https://www.facebook.com/SouthernGothicParanormalResearch/IMG_0945

The Paranormal Investigator As Today’s Alchemist

By Benjamin

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More than once I have been asked if I think that paranormal investigating or “ghost  hunting” is a science. I have never had any difficulty admitting that it is not. With that said, I answer that it is an exciting time to be a paranormal investigator, because much is being learned that hopefully lays the groundwork for much to come, and it will be a part of what will be considered science. Skeptics to the claims of paranormal investigators love to report that we do not do what can be considered the scientific method with regard to our claims and reports. They love to note that nothing paranormal investigators have presented can hold up when presented with the scientific method.

While the high tech instruments we use are scientific, most were not originally intended for ghost hunting. Likewise, when we are ghost hunting, and our K2 meters go off, and we get flashlight activity, and later we go back and look at our photographs and listen to our recorders and see orbs and hear EVPs, we get excited. We know from our experience, and from that of other paranormal investigators, we have encountered something. This, however, means nothing to a scientist, because although we have experienced something, the fact that we cannot predictably and reliably repeat our findings means that it does not meet the requirements for the scientific methods. Additionally, for a scientist, there are other things which can account for what the K2 meter shows, the flashlight method is given a hand wave, and what we see in digital photographs is attributed to particles of dust.

Not only does such rigid skepticism run counter to the qualitative experience we as paranormal investigators encounter, it runs counter to science’s own history.

Several centuries ago, the precursors to modern chemists attempted to turn iron into gold and did many things that modern scientists considered foolishness. What scientists appear to forget is that while many things alchemists did run counter to proven science today, the discoveries they made laid the foundation to modern chemistry. But for alchemists, there would not be chemists. In the process of attempting feats that were impossible, alchemists discovered many important findings regarding chemical conversions, the elements, and compounds. When a chemist or chemical engineer considers the paranormal a pseudoscience, he or she forgets the roots of his or her own scientific discipline.

Paranormal investigations essentially are based on the hypothesis that spirits, ghosts, or whatever we may encounter can be detected by ghost hunters because of energy. We believe that our K2 meter shows spikes because of energy emitted by a spirit. We believe that what we hear on a recorder is the result of a spirit with enough energy to cause the electronic voice phenomenon. The same can be said of orbs and the flashlight method. While many of the beliefs of alchemists have been disproven by modern science, the basic hypothesis of paranormal investigators regarding energy has not been disproven. Our hypothesis regarding energy is at best is called “fringe science” by mainstream scientists, but the fact that it cannot be disproven, and that we experience it gives hope that it will be mainstream science in the future.

Paranormal investigators understand what people in the scientific community intellectually understand, but have not internalized. There is so much about the universe we do not understand. In many ways paranormal investigators, like alchemists, are on the frontier of what will likely be major scientific understanding which will shed light on many things currently unknown about the universe. Like alchemists, we experience what scientists cannot explain and hopefully we will live to see the day that much of what we are encountering and experiencing now, will one day be accepted science.

Is Your Paranormal Bogus Detector Going Off?

By Benjamin

Do you tell stories in the light most favorable to yourself? There’s a good chance you do if there is any room for interpretation, and there is nothing that is unusual about that. Or if you are like me you do it not so much because it gives a different interpretation, but you do it because of the way you remember the story which may differ from another person’s recollection. Throughout most of my adult life, I have had jobs that required me to listen to the story of the subject. Two jobs that immediately come to mind include working in a state Office of the Public Defender as an investigator and researcher and working in a state Disability Determinations office. In the former, my primary source for truth was the criminal defendant, in the latter my source was a person applying for disability benefits.  One common statement I heard from people when I told them where I worked was, “I bet you get lied to all the time.” Surprisingly, I did not. I can safely say that I was seldom outright lied to by criminal defendants or by persons trying to obtain disability benefits. (Of course I was lied to on occasion.)

Criminal defendants were generally not dishonest with persons representing their interests because they knew that at the end of the day their attorney, and anyone else involved with their defense, had to know the actual truth. This is not the reason that every defendant avoids taking the witness stand. Although it certainly accounts for many, because they are not taking the stand on the advice of counsel, who often knows the truth. (Unfortunately many do not take the stand because they have been informed by counsel that certain prior convictions may come out on cross-examination and they feel will cause the jury to lean towards the prosecutor’s theory of the case.) Not dissimilarly, persons applying for disability generally do not lie about their conditions.  Often such persons believe that they are disabled when, in fact, they are not.

One thing both groups of people have in common is the same thing that officers taking the stand have, and that psychologists or doctors trying to prevent a person from obtaining disability benefits have–they tell stories in the light that most closely reflects their interests. Likewise, I have found that when people tell stories about paranormal activity they are experiencing, they usually believe what they are saying. Importantly, I will even state that many are even more honest because their motivation is to know the truth, and there is little they stand to gain by spinning a story even slightly.

One phrase often heard when people are talking about those with competing interests, who have conflicting stories, is that “there is his side, there is her side and there is the truth.” I have always felt ambivalent about that expression because, regardless of who says and believes that Planet Earth is flat, it is not. With that said, I do understand the sentiment behind it. While the goal of any investigation is to obtain objective truth, pure objectivity does not exist in the hard sciences (for all people have certain biases), much less in anything that involves one’s perspective or eyewitness. However, any paranormal investigator will occasionally encounter people who outright lie.

I am not referring to people who believe their own bogus stories for lack of a better term, because people who are not purposely lying often do that. I am referring strictly to people who knowingly and willingly tell lies. I am going to note various things to look for when this happens. I hope that no one who reads this will start looking for these signs, because people who are telling the truth often do many of these things. Just consider all of the circumstances when your bogus detector goes off.

Occasionally, when people are outright lying, regardless of their motivation, about paranormal events, entities, or experiences, they will give textbook responses that are often over-the-top. Their story never changes, and at some level, it makes logical sense. The old expression that the “truth is stranger than fiction” is very apt when it comes to when a person is lying. Often the truth does not necessarily make sense, but lies do. How many times have you heard a story that is so absurd that you told yourself that it could not be made up? Often when a person is lying, they have a story that has airtight “facts” that cannot be disproven, and there is nothing truly unique in the story. Health-care professionals are well aware that when someone is faking an illness, to obtain narcotic pain medications, disability benefits or whatever the motivation, they will report textbook symptoms that are often over-the-top.

In reality, every set of circumstances are different, and people will report unique symptoms to a health-care professional, and unique experiences regardless of their underlying diagnosis. For instance, I have hardware in my neck, and two of my vertebrae are fused. People who have had a similar surgery report various symptoms. I have some, but not all. I have never felt that my pain intensified when there is a cold front. However, many people who have this procedure do report more pain when it is cold. Often I have migraines, and I never had them before my neck surgery. I have heard few people report this side effect. Rest assured though, that if a person was seeking narcotic pain medication, they would report literally every symptom they have read on the internet.

I am writing this mainly because it reminds me of a call requesting a home investigation I got recently.

I received a call from a woman reporting multiple instances of paranormal activity. At first, given what she was describing, I did not dismiss her claims outright. Everything she reported was something that I had either heard of, read, or had seen (albeit not as dramatically as she described). While I took notes, she described Orbs, Shadow People, Night Hags, Imps, Residual Energy, bruises and scratches that came in sets of three (commonly called the trinity), knocks and described herself as a Sensitive. Interestingly, she was very careful not to use any buzzwords or terms commonly used in the paranormal community. She never used words like Shadow Person or trinity, but described each in almost textbook terms, as she did Imps, Night Hags, and herself as a Sensitive. The only term she used that was a slip up was when she said the word Orb.

As I typically do, I suspended my disbelief while speaking with her. She seemed educated and intelligent, and at face value, nothing indicated that she was outright lying. She mentioned that she was given the name of a priest who could assist her with the problem. While I did not think anything about it at the time, she mentioned that her house was for sale, and that she had lived in it for four years. More importantly, she stated that the paranormal activity had occurred since she had purchased the home. She also stated that more than one fire had occurred in the house.

I mentioned it to my fiancée, our team historian, and she found the story extremely odd. While discussing it with her, along with the rest of our team, several things occurred to us. The first question we all asked when I was relating the story to our team was “what isn’t happening?” The woman sounded as if she had watched every episode of every show shown on Destination America, which mainly features shows about the paranormal. The second was “why had she not contacted the priest, and why was she waiting until now?”

Being familiar with the town she lives in, at first I thought that she might be embarrassed to disclose the activity she was reporting. That was until I remembered that she said the house was for sale. My fiancée uses an app on her phone that gives the history of a house that a person might be concerned about if they believe that was haunted. She looked up the property and found nothing about fires.

We wondered what could possibly be the person’s motivation for making the story up, given the small town she lives in, and the fact that otherwise, she did not seem like an attention-seeker and seemed intelligent.

While we were brainstorming, I remembered a rather bizarre real estate case I read about in New York State: Stambovsky v. Ackley. In it, a house was purchased for $650,000 with a $32,500 down payment. The house had a reputation for haunted activity, and the buyer was unaware. As anyone who has ever sold a house knows that a seller is required to disclose anything that might make the house unmarketable. The buyer, Stambovsky, sued to obtain his down payment and have the contract voided, arguing that the seller should have disclosed the haunted activity. In a case that shocked many people, but nevertheless makes sense, the judgment was for the buyer under the reasoning that the house’s reputation as haunted might could easily make it unmarketable.

Our team realized that it was far-fetched, but that something related to real estate might be prompting the woman to want to have the house inspected by paranormal investigators, and as small as the town she lives in, is might give it the reputation as haunted. She contacted the woman for “clarification” purposes and asked several questions regarding the property, how long the woman had lived there, and whether the priest had been contacted. She turned the phone on speaker, and we quickly noticed that the woman’s answers were guarded. She was not guarded in terms of thinking about what she was saying because she wanted to give an accurate answer, or find her words which even honest people do. Importantly, it was in terms of doing everything she could to avoid using terms commonly used in the paranormal community and seemed to be trying to dumb herself down.

My fiancée accidentally laughed once, mildly skeptically, when she asked when she planned to contact the priest just after she asked why she wanted the house investigated now if she was moving out, given how long the activity had occurred.

I had an admittedly bizarre theory, that amazingly had some factual support: that the woman was trying to keep the house from being sold, as we doubted that the bank in the small town had included the reported paranormal activity. Next, my fianceé, who is great at researching anything, looked on a state database for houses that are in foreclosure. It was no surprise that it was. We then googled paranormal activity, real estate and disclosure. To our amusement, we found that a lot was written, not by paranormal writers, but by many lawyers that paranormal activity should be reported. It is our belief that the woman was creating tales about the house to stall her house from being sold, and subsequently avoiding eviction. We soon learned after doing just a few web searches, that this stunt is a “thing”, so to speak, to avoid foreclosure.

Not surprisingly the woman never called us back after sending multiple texts to me over several days about the house’s paranormal activity, that were not surprisingly increasingly dramatic, as she may have thought she had gained my trust, when in reality I had listened to her without judgment as I would anyone else, and could report activity that was even more concerning. Admittedly, this is not something people will encounter very often, but they may. In one of the few instances we have encountered, it was not unlikely outright fraud to avoid foreclosure. We wanted to be angry, but the story was so outlandish that we found her level of dedication to be humorous in a very dark way.

Continue reading “Is Your Paranormal Bogus Detector Going Off?”

The U.S. Military Believes People Have a Sixth Sense

Will the Navy’s contemporary work on “sensemaking,” the continuous effort to understand the connections among people, places, and events, finally unlock the mystery of ESP? Might technology available to today’s defense scientists reveal hypotheses not available to scientists in an earlier age?

http://ti.me/2o3djDG

 

New CIA Document Reveals Carl Jung Accused the Air Force of Withholding Information on UFOs

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“I would like to point out that Dr. Jung is not the first person of integrity and reputation who has made such charges. He is merely the latest.” –from a declassified document written by a “Fred A. Kirsch”

https://newearth.media/new-cia-document-reveals-carl-jung-accused-air-force-withholding-information-ufos/

 

Are These the Worst Ghosts of 2016?

Photo courtesy of: http://hayleyisaghost.co.uk/the-worst-ghosts-of-2016/
Photo courtesy of: http://hayleyisaghost.co.uk/the-worst-ghosts-of-2016/

Hayley Stevens of Haleyisaghost.co.uk has been choosing the worst ghosts to make headlines every year since 2011. Here, she calls out what she believes to be the worst to get press coverage from all of 2016.

http://hayleyisaghost.co.uk/the-worst-ghosts-of-2016

That Time the CIA was Convinced a Self-Proclaimed Psychic Had Paranormal Abilities

From The Washington Post

The Central Intelligence Agency this week announced that it had posted more than 12 million pages of declassified documents online.

The documents posted online this week were previously available to the public, according to a CIA news release, but anyone who wanted to check out the files had to visit the National Archives Records Administration in Maryland and view them in person. The records cover a load of different of topics, including CIA history, the Cold War, the Berlin Tunnel project, and the “STAR GATE remote viewing program files.”

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think there is any acceptance of or use of the paranormal in our government as a whole? 

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Israeli-born Uri Geller and his spoon-bending act. Image courtesy of http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2342901/Was-Uri-Geller-secret-CIA-spy-Thats-claim-new-BBC-documentary-And-really-mind-boggling-It-just-true.html

 

 

 

Unexplained Mysteries

A website with some good material.

http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/

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