The Reluctant Ghost Hunter Twenty-Two Years of The Anomalous: Heresies, Discoveries, And the Road Beyond
Why do we do this? • Some seek proof of survival. • Some seek metaphysical truths. • Some feel the need to help the departed. • Some seek answers for their own experiences. • Some do it for the mystique or socializing. • Some believe scientific proof can be found, for vindicating ghostly lore and spiritual beliefs.
Me? I fell into it… For me, the foray into the paranormal began as an extension of research into claims of alien abductions and contact. I had no concern for, or necessarily any belief in ghosts as spirits of the dead. The dead can tend to themselves…
The Question I asked… • What is the true nature of these strange events in human lives, that seem to lie outside of known causality? • By 1992, I became aware that experiencers of “alien” phenomena also appeared to have lives rich in paranormal events. • Thusly were quests formed… quests for clues, quests for a model that incorporates the entire spectrum of anomalous human experience – not just ghosts, aliens, and PSI…
Part 1: The Winding Road • The early years… • 1987 – 1996: Primary focus on UFO, “alien”, and paranormal entity encounters… • 1996 to 2003: Partnership with L. Schillig – Ghost and PSI investigations… • 2003 to 2007: More cases - making sense of what was observed, seeking new clues, and constructing viable models of the paranormal.
The Avalon Approach: 1996-2003 • Partnership with a highly accurate intuitive and clairsentient, Mrs. Lori Schillig. • The dual approach – controlled intuitive plus instrumentation. • Multi- dimensioned focus: historical factors, geographic/environment factors, medical, psychological, and spiritual factors… the role of the experiencer.
What did we observe? • From 1996 to 2003, Mrs. Schillig and I handled between 50 and 70 formal cases… Every case was unique and different, as was every experiencer. • We found that “Ghosts” comprise a wide array of phenomena that appearedto arise from a number of different root causes. • Comparatively few of these cases, after critical thought, actually suggested to us interaction with a known deceased human personality or spirit. • We saw that the overall phenomenon of ghosts is highly complex and only a small part of a much greater spectrum of anomalous experiences.
Avalon Observations Part 2 • By 1999, we derived a taxonomy or general categorizing system for the different “types” of haunts. • We discovered that haunts tend to be extremely rich in Jungian archetypal symbology – thus demonstrating that they are far more about living human (experiencer) consciousness than dead people.
Avalon Observations Part 3 • We verified on numerous occasions what SEEMED TO BE low level but measurable magnetic anomalies (>20% of geomagnetic ambient or ~.1 gauss) that related to locations of unusual activity. • We verified on at least 3 occasions localized thermal inversions of >5oC in areas correlating to recent unusual activity. • We observed occasional atmospheric ion count changes or e-field distortions in areas correlating to unusual activity. • We observed on at least 4 occasions, slight but measurable (.02 inches of Hg) barometric pressure drops in rooms where unusual activity had been recently reported. • We asked, “if these measurable phenomena are real, then why would the dead produce them but the living don’t!?”
Avalon Observations Part 4 • We came to see that experiencer is by far the most important factor in haunts. A person might experience ghostly activity for 10 years in a house, then a new family might move in, and never experience anything unusual… at all. • There are, however, many variables that can amplify or increase the probability of paranormal activity. (Discussed later) • We did experience deeply synchronistic events during research, such as equipment and camera failure and oddly timed personal hardships.
Avalon Observations Part 5 • Paranormal activity in cemetery settings may indeed be a very distinct “family” of phenomena, not so much related to “spirits” but residual human bio-field, ala the Egyptian concepts of Ka and Ba…
Avalon Observations Part 6 • Photographic evidence is crucial, and viable anomalies on film or digital format may be found. However the vast majority of paranormal looking elements in photos are explainable as artifacts.
What we did NOT observe… • We never obtained any EVP data that could not be explained by audio simulacra, RFI, or background or spindle noise. We did not however use typical Q-A EVP format, rather recorders were left under controlled conditions alone.
An Orb Moment… • Orbs continue to be one of the single most debated subtopic in ghost research… • Classic photo orbs are almost entirely explainable in most…but not ALL cases. • Some orb images suggest a reflexive or anticipatory nature that in turn suggests observer psi or a trickster phenomenology.
Stray Notion #1 • With every case that comes your way, ask yourself again, “Why am I doing this, and what am I looking for?” Make sure you have your answer before you proceed… The paranormal is not a playground.
Stray Notion #2 • If you use a scientific instrument (such as gaussmeter, IR pyrometer, EMF meter) to acquire data, it is essential that you know both the theory of operation of the instrument, the basic physics of what you are measuring, and what constitutes a significant reading for the calibration of your instrument. No excuses.
Stray Notion #3 • When you investigate, you become part of the phenomenology, and thus become a variable. It’s because of this that classical Scientific Method ultimately fails in paranormal research… even as we must try to use the instruments of science.
Stray Notion #4 • In those cases where ghost removal or cessation of the paranormal phenomena is requested – the most SURE FIRE method has nothing to do with mediums or exorcists. It has to do with helping the experiencer through the emotional issues of the phenomena, and helping them to become introspective and analytical about their situation.. • WHY?...
Because… • The act of analytical observation and removal of the experiencer’s emotional attachments to the phenomena “de-construct” the system. Without human emotional energy and attachment, ghosts… for whatever we fancy them to be… lose the ability to manifest, and return to latent patterns of “data”…
Stray Notion #5 • The likelihood of “disentangling” a real paranormal situation from the influence of the investigative observers is inversely proportional to the number of investigators on site… in other words, keep your team as lean as possible!
Stray Notion #6 • Large “Pay-to-Attend” ghost hunts or tours become literal feeding and breeding grounds for perceptual distortions, negative non-corporeal entities, and manifestations. You will not learn any useful information. If you want spooky laughs, socializing, and creepy environment, fine – just be aware of the energetic and spiritual scene you are participating in, and why you are there…
Wayward Thought • If some ghosts are indeed the earthbound personas / spirits / components of the deceased… maybe it is the attachments of the living that keep them here… be it through memory, myth, or folklore…
Another one… • Folklore and myth are forever key parts of what makes us human. Ghost folklore and legends are wonderful stuff. Sometimes, it may indeed be that a genuine haunting creates the folklore… however…sometimes folklore can create a genuine haunting… (The “Phillip Effect” – TSPR 1972)
Four Favorite Avalon Era Cases: • Carsonville, MI – May 1997 • Cloverdale, Ohio – October 1998 • Mansfield, Ohio - May 2003 • Conneaut, Ohio – November 2003
Carsonville MI 1997 Knowledge Gained: The key role and supreme importance of The experiencer, their history, and their psycho-spiritual issues…
Cloverdale, Ohio 1998 Knowledge Gained: The role and key factor of negative human emotional energy or informational resonance in hauntings…
Mansfield, Ohio 2003 Knowledge Gained: The role of symbolism and archetypes in hauntings… and the possibility of physical apports.
Conneaut, Ohio 2003 Knowledge Gained: The key role of geographical placement, and earth related forces in some hauntings… Photo Courtesy of Mary Lou Lardi, 4-2003
Apports… • Harvey – 1998 • The Penny Dropper - 2003 • The Ribbon from Nowhere – 2007
Part 2:Putting it Together at Quest’s End: Compiling a Coherent and Viable Model of Paranormal Personal Activity… • All observations that pass critical thinking and examination must be considered in self-honesty… physics, psychology, sociology, spiritual beliefs, environment. • All pre-conceived or cultural notions must be set aside. • No circular logic or self-defined terms allowed.
Variables and Relationships in Paranormal Cases – a Review: • Paranormal Phenomena (PP) are experientially selective and observer dependent. • Interpretation of events and forms of manifestation can both be culturally driven. • In cases of claimed PK / poltergeist activity, the objects or locations involved are often symbolic and even archetypal in Jungian terms, and are linked in that way to the experiencer.
The presence of the investigator and the act of observation constitutes a strong variable in on-going paranormal situations. • Consequently, in many cases, a reflexive property, evocative of a Jungian Trickster nature is exhibited. • Cultural and spiritual belief properties of the investigator can be reflected back into the greater phenomenology and events.
Levels of claimed activity – “manifestations” – appear to be influenced over many cases by such environmental variables as: • Weather – low wind, high humidity. • Season – in some cases a cultural (Halloween) cognizance factor, but other times not. • Locales where large EM emissions could interfere constructively. (Notable case - Elmira, MI, 2007) • Nearby earth disruption such as mines, excavation or caves.
In some cases, historical personalities and events are presumed to be factors, however many paranormal cases occur where there is no known link to such factors as deaths in home, previous tenants, or even previous homes on sites. This is an expression of the application of cultural expectation. (Notable cases – Mansfield, Ohio, Sept. 2001 and Carsonville, MI, 1997)
Geographical alignments (Toledo, Ohio, 2004) • Occult history and locations of improperly conducted magical operations. • Geological factors, such as underlying rock strata composition and stresses, as well as aquifers and theorized subtle telluric currents. • Geomagnetic and geo-gravitational gradients are claimed to enhance or attenuate paranormal activity per unit area (F. Crawford 1992) • Areas near ancient Native earthworks or sacred sites.
The geometric forms in architecture as well as building materials appear to influence manifestations (Mansfield, OH 1998, Kent, OH, 2008) • Disruption of material surfaces – remodeling, construction, demolition – can cause a sudden rise in manifestation potential.
The presence and ratio of ionic species in the air appears to play a strong role in some cases (Troy, OH 1998) Anecdote claims that negative ions repel or attenuate ghosts. • Possibly related, we have seen a re-occurring factor of upper respiratory medical issues in experiencers. • Neuro-chemical (hormone?) factors in PK / Poltergeist demographics.
Investigations now and beyond… • Any further investigation needs to be driven by those parts of our model that are yet unclear… • Cases involving occult or ritual magic factors. • Cases of strong PK / Poltergeist vectors. • Cases involving geo-physical factors, geomantic alignments, and ancient sacred sites. • Careful sociological profiling of both experiencers and investigators…
Wait a minute, what was that last one about? • One of the most neglected yet powerful tools for analyzing an anomalous personal phenomenon is to study the lives of the experiencer as well as investigators. Observe how people’s lives are affected during and after a case… beliefs, behavior, relationships, personal habits. • For this reason, I have always tried to maintain an ongoing follow-up policy with case experiencers.
The Questing Puzzle • Whether or not we find the resulting picture attractive to our eye, there is only ONE correct solution to a jigsaw puzzle… All pieces must fit, and none can be discarded…