Thursday, April 29, 2010

Orbs, A Definitive Answer?

We all know the various camps surrounding orb phenomena in photos. One point of view believes that orbs are the physical manifestation of spirit. Another believes them to be a naturally occurring phenomena that can or cannot be seen with the naked eye. Still others ascribe orbs to being merely particulate matter in the air too close to the camera when a photo is taken and the flash causes this photographic anomaly. Wherever you sit in the debate, it has always been my belief that until we can definitively rule something out as not being significant to our work, we should keep an open mind about it. You should never throw out anything that might be evidence, that is just good investigative procedure. But now, we have a small body of work that might bring the controversy to an end once and for all.
Steve Parsons of ParaScience has conducted his own experiment on orbs using a 3D camera. Admittedly, Steve is no fan of orbs and we cannot be sure of the method he used in his experiment but as with all things, until we can determine his method, we can at least look at his work and examine its validity in the debate. Using a Fuji W1 3D camera, Steve took 1,870 pairs of images. Of those, 630 pairs had orbs in them. Of the 630 stereo orb photos, 491 photos had orbs in either the right or left image but not both while 139 images contained orbs in both photos but not in the same position. What does that tell us? Well if we examine the evidence as presented, it would indicate that orbs ARE NOT naturally occurring nor are they proof of a physical manifestation of spirit.
Throw into the mix the recent investigation of Poveglia Island in Italy by the guys from Ghost Adventures. Immediately, some might dismiss the work of Zak, Aaron and Nick as the worst kind of tripe and made for t.v. garbage. But let's not be so hasty. In their investigation of the grounds on Poveglia, Zak reportedly got a measurement on an orb that was seen by the crew. If this was in fact the case, this whole debate might just have become even more murky and hard to decipher than before. Then too is the case of a woman here in the United States who actually witnessed orbs going through a screen door of her home. When the screen was removed and sent in for a metallurgic analysis, it was found that the composition of the metal in the screen had somehow been changed and that there was a slight trace of minuscule radiation to the sample.
Then too is the case where one investigation group reportedly was able to create orbs in a test experiment and related the creation to an energy source and its interaction with plasma in the atmosphere at the time of the orb creation.
Whatever the case may be, dust, real or something we can't just understand at this point in our knowledge of the world around us, we owe it to ourselves and to the field of paranormal investigation and anomalous research to not dismiss something out of hand and to not support something as fact when there simply isn't enough evidence to support that contention. We need to, in my opinion, keep the file open on orbs until we have a definitive, concrete and well documented body of evidence that will answer the question once and for all. If we throw them out as being non essential, we may well have to do what science has always done and that is to go back, re-examine the data and reverse our position. We might do well to consider an old maxim used by carpenters in this debate. Measure twice and cut once.

U.K. Experiences Most Ghost Sightings in 25 Years!

As a person who investigates the paranormal and lives in the United States, I can only imagine the plethora of ghosts and hauntings occurring in Europe and the U.K. Countries as old as written history and older must have ghosts upon ghosts upon ghosts but I was shocked when I read a recent story published in the Telegraph. According to the story, there have been over 1,000 reports of "demonic activity" throughout the U.K. with the highest incidence of reports coming from Yorkshire.
We have all heard tales of phantom Roman soldiers wandering around parts of Britan along old Roman roads and phantom Highwaymen who still seem to be acting out their nefarious deeds but what has been going on to make activity go on the rise? The answer may not be unique to the U.K. as reports around the globe of ghosts and haunting phenomena seem to be on the rise. Could this increased activity have anything to do with the approach of 2012? Are we on the brink of a thinning of the Vail between the living and those who have made the transition between this life and the next?
I am always taken back to a conversation I had some time ago with a Catholic priest who I had given some EVP's to for his consideration and comments. When I asked him what he thought was going on, his reply stunned me. He said, "The world of spirit is closer to us than any of us could ever imagine or is comfortable thinking about." There is a lot to that statement and if we delve deeper, one of the theories I have always espoused is that the world beyond this physical reality in which we live is the center of our existence at this time but is surrounded by infinite planes of existence which allow interaction to those who know how to bridge the dimensions between.
Perhaps those boundaries, those invisible borders between dimensions or realities are thinning and the increase in reports of the living having more and more encounters with those who have "given up the ghost" are increasing for that very reason. Could 2012 not be the apocalyptic nightmare that some have suggested but a global awakening of consciousness that will break down the barriers between our own physical reality and other realities that coexist around our own? The question does give one cause for excitement and some pause at the implications.
In the U.K., the study conducted by Lionel Fanthorpe found that despite progress of technology and the speedy pace at which life can move, people all over the U.K. still have very real encounters and perceptions about the paranormal. There are specific stories of recent encounters that mirror stories told ages ago and yet we supposedly live in a time when science had dispelled these notions as fantasy and superstition.
For example, ghosts, werewolves, demons and even strange water creatures have always been woven into the folklore and oral traditions of many cultures and yet all of these have recently been reported in the U.K. by people across social and economic stratus. There are the reports of the infamous "Hell Hounds" roaming dark country roads in encounters with people who knew nothing of these stories or who put no stock in them. One such shadowy beast collided with a car near Northallerton. Devonshire has had no less than 57 reports of demonic entities with "devil like qualities". On Dartmoor, the gruesome specter of a man who killed himself has been seen and it is believed to be tragedy for anyone who encounters this awful apparition who is described to be, "hideously skeletal and wearing the tattered remnants of a grey robe."
The Black Shuck, a huge dog black in color with blazing red eyes, has reportedly been seen in the forest around Chapmanslade and is reported to bring death to anyone who encounters it. In Inverness, there are no fewer than 39 ghostly water spirits that have been reported. These apparitions lure people to the water where they then drown. This drew my attention the most being of Scottish ancestry myself (a Knox of the MacFarlane clan) and so I have heard tales of Kelpies and other water spirits and although I have done some research into similar reports, they were of a earlier time than the reports coming in now.
In the end, with the increased populations across the globe, it seems only natural that reports of encounters with unusual creatures of entities would naturally increase as less and less uncharted areas exist. There seems to be something, some force or other stimulus, that is causing an increase in such reports at a time and place where science should have all but eliminated these entities, creatures and demons from our minds and our world. Our minds can dismiss things away as tricks of light or sound or the mind to make us feel more comfortable with something we encounter that does not fit our neatly packaged world view. In the end, how we feel after these encounters and how they affect us is what matters and you can't ignore the bogeyman under the bed when he finally comes out and reaches for you. There are more things in Heaven and Earth Horatio then are dreamt of in your science!

Coming July 30, 2010- "The Dead Matter" From Midnight Syndicate

Midnight Syndicate, one of my favorite groups for wonderfully eerie and spooky music around the Halloween holiday is coming out with a new movie called, "The Dead Matter". From what I have been able to gleen from sources, the movie is to be released as part of the 13th anniversary celebration of Midnight Syndicate and is sure to be a winner. If they do movies like they do music, it will be a wonderfully macabre success!
Check out the Midnight Syndicate FaceBook page for more information and contests and giveaways by going to You can also find behind the scenes photos of shooting on the set of "The Dead Matter" as well as information on upcoming music releases and other projects and offerings from Midnight Syndicate. If you haven't heard any of their cd's of ambient, creepy music, you owe it to yourself to give them a listen. Truly opera for the paranormal fan and hauntingly beautiful melodies that will stay with you long after you hear them.
You can find a synopsis of the movie at the IMDb database by going to

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Technology And The Paranormal Investigator

As I sift through the various ghost hunting programs and web sites, I am often taken aback by how easy some people make the field of paranormal research sound. Today, it's as if by just going out and picking up an EMF meter and digital recorder, you are ready to tackle anything. Technology is a wonderous and beautiful thing when you know what you are doing and understand the principles and the theory behind the equipment.
I think the renowned parapsychologist, Lloyed Auerbach, said it best in an article for the San Francisco Chronicle. He said, "What ends up happening is nobody reads the instructions. I'm seeing people use (electromagnetic field meters) all over the place, and they get all excited when they get a high reading. It turns out they're next to a microwave oven. I've found more bad wiring in homes than I've found ghosts with these devices."
Lloyd has it right. You can't just wake up one day and say to yourself, "I think I am going to go out and go ghost hunting." It takes preparation, discipline to teach yourself the things you need to know and especially how to properly use any equipment you intend to take with you. Remember that old saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"? There is a lot to that statement and unless you are willing to learn how to correctly use your equipment and how to prevent harm coming to yourself or someone else, you are a dangerous liability just looking for a place to melt down.
We have theories out there that ghosts are basically able to use energy in the environment to perform tasks such as moving objects or communications through EVP or instrumental transcommunication. But ghosts, if they do in fact interact with us using the energy in the environment, aren't the only things that can have effects on electromagnetic fields or give intensely high readings on EMF meters.
The entire planet is, in many ways, saturated with electromagnetic fields. The very nature of our universe has electromagnetic fields at it core to hold things in place and to manipulate relations between objects both in the space around us and right here at home on good old Mother Earth. Human beings have fields of electromagentism around each of us as do all things to some extent or another.
There are naturally occurring fields and man made fields. Electricity travelling through the cord to an appliance creates an electromagnetic field that meters can detect. Even the computer screen you are looking at right now has an electromagnetic field surrounding it that can be detected by the simplest EMF meter. But more than this, research has shown that EMF's can have effects on people who are especially sensitive to them. These effects range from the perception that motion is seen just out of the field of normal vision (seeing something move out of the corner of your eye) to increased feelings of anxiety, paranoia, anger and other emotions.
In the most extreme cases, prolonged exposure to high EMF's can result in very real and very troublesome physical manifestations such as illness, or even hallucinations and intense feelings of being watched or not being alone.
A good practice to get in the habit of is working with your meter in your own home. Hold the meter at arms length and take readings around light sockets, lamps, t.v.'s, your computer monitor, etc. Mark down the readings you get and then keep these and use them as a reference for baseline measurements when you are in the field. Normal measurements can range anywhere from 0.1 mG (milli Gauss) to 10 mG. Depending on different factors such as age of the location, age of appliances, wiring in the home, etc., you may get very high readings in some areas so be aware of that possibility.
Single axis meters are okay but they are not the best for applications involving anomalous phenomena. Ideally, you want a tri field meter since it can measure side to side, up and down, forward and backwards giving you more accurate results and it takes human error out of the equation because its readings can be recorded and even saved to a computer via various software. This information can be crucial when determining whether or not activity at a site is explainable or possibly anomalous. Single axis meters (like the Dr. Gauss meter) are good for determining the source of a fluctuation but they lack the versatility of the tri field meters.
Remember too that meters should not be carried around and waved wildly with reckless abandon. Movement can impact the readings of your meter and give you false readings that may be interpreted as genuine. The last thing you want to do when on an investigation trying to help a client who is at their wits end is give them incorrect information.
In short, there are wonderful tools out there in existence and being developed to help the paranormal investigator incorporate the newest technologies in to their search for answers. But all the technology in the world is only as good as the person making use of it. Know you equipment, know the operations of your equipment and the shortcomings and strengths of it before you go out into the field with your six guns blazing. Safety first should always be at the forefront of your investigation protocols and safety begins with knowing your tools and how to operate them.

Technology and Paranormal Investigation

There are many groups and individual researchers out there today who are going above and beyond when it comes to developing new technologies are incorporating existing technologies into the field of paranormal investigation. Some of these people are active in the field, others are merely hobbyist in one discipline or another such as electronics engineering or audio engineering. Still others have little interest beyond their own need to find answers but the work they are doing adds to the field of paranormal research and expands the possibilities for all of us who brave that great undiscovered country and move forward into the darkness to search for the light of truth.
I would like to take a moment out to bring some of these folks to your attention and where possible, give a link to their websites so that you can check out what they are doing and how it benefits us all as seekers of truth and knowledge. Let's start out with some fascinating work being done with regards to software and data input for investigators to make documenting those investigations and other vital information more centralized and streamlined.
I direct your attention to the Ghost Hunters Web website where they are developing an online service for paranormal investigators and investigation groups to streamline the process of documentation, contact with those needing assistance, questions, group management and evidence presentation as well as storage and cataloging. The information on this tool, which is still under developement, looks very promising and I for one think that this is an awesome tool that could aid all researchers and investigators. I have also seen the potential in this for a huge central repository of information on anomalous phenomena from around that world that could be shared between investigators and accessed from around the world.
If you would like to learn more, the website can be found at and they appreciate your interest and if you like what they are doing, let them know and you can also suggest anything they might have missed for consideration of including in the final product.
A great source for information on just about anything related to ghosts and hauntings can be found at the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena or ASSAP. The website has tons of information on a variety of subjects and if you know anything about the world we paranormal investigators live in, you know that there is always debate and difference of opinions when it comes to certain things. Where we differ from other disciplines is that we are more often than not willing to listen to a different opinion and then weigh what we know with what we have learned. The ASSAP website gives you clear, accurate information that you can really use and it makes it easy to understand. You can check out their website at Believe me when I say that you won't be disappointed.
So you have heard about things like EVP, Transcommunication and phone calls from the dead but you aren't really sure what to think about it all. One place you can turn to for information, techniques and thought provoking articles is the organization that used to be called The American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena or AA-EVP. These days, the group is now known as Association Transcommunication or ATransC. I have had my own personal experiences with group members and I really applaud the work they are doing in the field of Electronic Voice Phenomena and Transcommunication as well as their undying belief in the continuation of life after this life. Not only are they informative and helpful but they take the time to answer your questions and they really are passionate about the work they do. Check out their website at to find out more.
Those of you who have been watching the ghost hunting shows on t.v. know that there is definitely an upsurge in the coverage of paranormal investigation shows that you can view. Some are questionable while others seem to be on the cutting edge of obtaining real evidence and doing it in a way that adds not only credibility to the investigators but to the field of paranormal research as a whole. I have been a favorite of the Ghost Adventures crew since they first came on television with their investigation of the Gold Field Hotel and have been hooked ever since. Zak, Nick and Aaron are real people and you don't get the "made for t.v. production" feeling you get with some other shows. These are investigators doing it the way we all do it at one time or another and who can forget the first time you captured a voice of a person who wasn't there or saw something moving in the shadows and then heard it whisper your name.
But all accolaides aside, there is a group of people that I have really come to identify with and their take on the paranormal and how we should be investigating it really mirrors my own beliefs and methods so much that I wish I could investigate with them at least once. I am speaking of course of the Ghost Lab team. Brad and Barry Klinge and their team have brought the science of paranormal investigation to the television in a way that no other group has. They use scientific method and field experimentation to prove or disprove theories about certain aspects of anomalous phenomena. If there were ever to be a ground breaking series for t.v. about paranormal research, it would have to go hands down to the team from Everyday Paranormal and their show, Ghost Lab. Check out their group website at
Well that about does it for this post. Check back soon when I have more for you to check on. There are some really excellent paranormal research sites out there and you can count on CRPIS to bring them to your attention.

After Much Consternation, Here Is The CRPIS Official Blog

Well, after the demise of the website and the breaking off of group members to found their own group, the Coulee Region Paranormal Investigation Society is back on the net and prepared for some interesting investigations in 2010. With new associations formed with other paranormal investigators around the globe, the CRPIS is now poised to bring it's three fold mission to other groups and work towards the establishment of professional and meaningful partnerships with fellow investigators from Scotland, Ireland, Germany, France, Belgium, The Netherlands and nations in the Orient such as Japan and yes, even China.
Our mission statement has not changed, we still believe in and adhere to our goals to help those beset by anomalous phenomena to better understand what they are experiencing and discover the reasons behind it as well as effective and positive ways for dealing with it. We still strive to utilize the best practices and methods for field research that are accepted in the paranormal investigation community to document and catalog phenomena as it occurrs and we also seek to inform and educate wherever we go by dispelling myth and Hollywood dogma with real answers and scientific observations.
CRPIS is proud that we have never charged for our investigations and we plan to keep it that way. The work we do is a win/win for us and the clients we serve. Hopefully, when our work is done, we have answers they need to better understand the phenomena as well as things they can do to deal with it positively and the knowledge and evidence we stand to gain while helping people makes it a positive situation all the way around. But the real bonus to the work we do is the advancement of man's knowledge about himself and the world around him and how death is not an end but another path, a door that opens to another realm of existence and life beyond the physical.
We hope you will check back often for upcoming features about new equipment, software and methods for getting the most reliable and factual evidence in any paranormal investigation. From time to time, we may offer up software we have tested and trialed in our own work for you to examine and trial yourselves. In addition to those things, we will provide details of the cases we are working on to you so that you can see how an investigation is conducted and the information we obtain during these missions. It's going to be a great year for CRPIS and we welcome you along for the ride.