Ghosts and Mythbusters’ Infrasound Test

streamThe following isn’t (and wasn’t intended to be)  a ghost hunting video.

And, for those of us who know about the effects of infrasound, the results aren’t a surprise.  However, it’s still a good demo.

This video is important for ghost hunters because of the description Jamie gives as he’s experiencing infrasound.  

That’s what you’re looking for, if you suspect infrasound.

Watch this video:

Effects will vary from person to person, in terms of intensity and description, but any influence is important as we’re separating what’s normal from what’s paranormal.

Of course, most haunted sites won’t have a sound system generating infrasound.

However, underground streams or other sources of infrasound can affect people at a site. Investigators may interpret it as paranormal, though it’s not.

This is one reason why I recommend checking geological surveys of the area, unless you already know there’s water beneath the site you’re investigating.

This is a question that’s been raised about Gilson Road Cemetery in Nashua, NH.  There is a marshy area in back of the cemetery, and folklore suggest that the land across the street was once underwater.

However, in terms of underground streams within a block of the cemetery… the map doesn’t suggest that.

Of course, more research is necessary, not just in terms of geology, but also other infrasound sources.

Many hauntings — especially at sites like Nashua’s Country Tavern restaurant — seem to have intensely haunted rest rooms.  (Usually, it’s the ladies’ room.  I’m not sure why, unless women are more likely to notice — or talk about — ghostly encounters in bathrooms, while men tend to be more purpose-driven when they visit a rest room.)

So, I’d like to see study results related to water in pipes, as well.

One complication: There may be other connections between water and ghostly activity.  I think Colin Wilson was the one who commented on unexplained water on the floor, in connection with poltergeist activity at the Winchester mansion in California.

Nevertheless, when investigating a house where the owners or tenants are frightened of ghostly phenomena, infrasound may be the normal explanation they need to hear. (No pun intended.)

Originality (because they finally demonstrated the effect, and it took a lot of effort)

4-half-stars

Credibility (as a “ghost”)

Not applicable.

Proving That Ghosts Are Real

Proof - dictionary definitionThere is no scientific proof that ghosts are real, and there never will be.

When I say that, some people seem outraged, as if I’m betraying them. I’m supposed to be a real ghost researcher, right…?

Well, if we’re talking about scientific proof, you need to know this: That phrase — in popular use among paranormal researchers — is technically an oxymoron.  There is no such thing as scientific proof… for anything.

I’ve used the word “proof” in many of my articles and podcasts.  Generally, I mean that there’s compelling evidence to suggest that ghosts are real, or that we’ve just encountered one, or… well, whatever the discussion is about.  Most people understand that.

When I’ve used the phrase “scientific proof,” I’ve been talking about using scientific methods and devices to present sufficient evidence to convince most people that something — so far, unexplainedis going on at haunted sites.

And, in most cases, it’s reasonable to think that ghosts might be an explanation for that unexplained (or paranormal) activity.

I believe we can combine personal experiences with scientific methods and tools, and achieve more consistent research results.

Eventually, I’d like to be able to say with confidence, “On this date, at this time, something unexplained and dramatic is going to happen at this location.”  Then, I’d like 50 researchers there, each with cameras and measuring devices, to compile enough evidence to say, “This is paranormal and beyond coincidence or error.”

We’re not there yet.

Many of us — including me — are certain that spirits are among us.  Many people are equally certain that orbs, unexplained EMF spikes, EVP, and other measurable phenomena provide compelling evidence that ghosts are real.

However, the phrase “scientific proof” isn’t accurate, and — so you aren’t tripped up by skeptics harping on semantics — I decided to state that clearly.

Rampant Ghost Stories – Contagion or Consistency?

As I’m working on one of my next books, I’m researching regional ghost stories.  Sometimes, especially at large, single locations such as colleges, universities and schools, I’ll see a half-dozen ghost stories or more.  Often, they’re preposterous.  They’re classic urban legends:

  • The ghostly janitor.
  • The suicide victim who shows up in a mirror.
  • The abandoned date who’s still waiting at some outdoor location.
  • The pregnant girl (or girl who gave up her child) who’s looking for her baby.
  • And sometimes, the lost child.

Ridiculous? Yes.  Too many stories for one large location?  Yes.  Fake…?  Maybe not.

When faced with one of these dilemmas, look at the location in general.  Why was a college (or university or other large set of buildings) put at that exact location, instead of using it for residences or retail businesses?  Or, if it’s out in the middle of nowhere (or if it was, when it was built)… why that exact location?  Why did that seem like the right place for that institution?  If the land was cheaper there, was there a reason for that?

Maybe it wasn’t a conscious decision.  The land was there and it was empty, or it was donated, or something like that.  There’s often a very good, logical reason for placing a building exactly where it’s built.

However, when that location produces lots of ghost stories — a statistically unlikely number of stories — take a look at the history of the land.  Go back to the earliest records, including pioneers, settlers, and ancient people who may have used that piece of land.  See what the history is.

When I researched the land that Gilson Road Cemetery (Nashua, NH) is on, it appeared to be ground zero for a couple of significant Native American battles.  Obviously, I can’t prove what happened on that precise plot of land, when those battles occurred.  Nevertheless, the history fits.

Sometimes, we need to accept that we may not have provable, definitive answers to why some plots of land or even acreage are haunted.  A sort-of answer might be as good as it gets.

However, the opposite extreme is to dismiss a bunch of ridiculous “ghost stories” because they’re preposterous and there are too many of them per square foot, at that location.

Between those opposite views, it’s key to examine why people might be reporting so many stories that will usually evoke a rational response like, “You’ve got to be kidding.”

I’d start with geology.  I’d look for naturally high EMF levels, as well as infrasound from underground streams.  Maybe people are disoriented and explain it to themselves (and others) using classic ghost stories.

Then, if I can’t find any normal (if odd) explanations for the reports, it’s time to examine history and what might have left an imprint on that location.

People don’t always realize why they’re drawn to a particular location, even if it’s where they’re building a school or university.  In their conscious minds, they might be thinking, “Oh, this is a lovely spot.”

On a deeper level, they might feel magnetically drawn to or even fascinated by that piece of land.  That attraction might track back to residual energy or… well, only research will explain why.

At the time, the location choice seemed logical and like a happy decision.  50 or 150 years later, increasing reports of paranormal activity may tell a different story.

The point is: Just because you’re faced with the silliest collection of ghost stories ever, don’t walk away from a site.  Go deeper.  Ask the next question, “Why are all these people telling me ridiculous stories?”

It might be contagion.  Maybe all the cool kids tell each other ghost stories, trying to one-up the previous tale. That can happen.

Or, it might be consistency that’s pointing to an unexplored history of the site.

 

 

Heaven Can Wait? Downloading Ghosts’ Memories

NeutrinoIn the future, could we download ghosts’ memories?  Maybe.  It might be decades away, but the technology is evolving.  I’m not taking this seriously, but it’s fun to ponder.

In the past, there have been three ways to communicate with ghosts in real time:

  1. Yes/No communications:  Things like “Rap on the table, once for yes and twice for no,” and using loosened flashlight bulbs and K-II light flashes for the same yes/no purposes.  Essentially, this has been a binary response.  It’s probably the most time-honored form of ghost communication, and the most readily repeatable.
  2. Real-time EVP:  I’ve seen the best results in unique experiments by John Sabol, working with Mary Becker.  This is a richer response than yes/no communications.
  3. Psychic/medium interpretations: Generally dismissed by skeptics and difficult (if not impossible) to prove to third parties.  The anecdotal evidence can be compelling, but the subjective nature of this work is problematic.

Emerging research suggests ways to download memories from people, via physical connections with the circuitry in their brains.  In time, could we develop a “wi-fi” method to do the same thing with people we can’t connect with, physically?  The possibilities are highly speculative, but startling.

Watch the April 2012 TED talk, embedded below.

Important: Though the concept of downloadable memories isn’t discussed until the last half (around 11:20) of the following 16-minute talk, it’s worth watching the entire video.  Most of his talk doesn’t apply to ghost hunting, but the ideas are revolutionary enough that, as others have commented: This makes Battlestar Gallactica real.

When you get to the part about Ed Boyden’s experiments, and the possibility of mapping the pathways related to brain chemistry, pay very close attention.  Juan Enriquez says (at about 12:08), “It’s not completely inconceivable that, someday, you could download your own memories… maybe into your new body.”

Isn’t this exactly what so many ghosts seem to be waiting for: A “Heaven Can Wait” moment, where they can continue their lives and achieve unrealized dreams and goals?

Juan’s video raises this question in a scientific context.

We probably have a long time in which to sort out the moral, ethical and spiritual issues. In fact, this potential might never be realized.

However, when I watched this particular TED talk, my first thought was about our apparently reliable (and relatively repeatable) real-time communications using binary (yes/no) methods.  The resonance — no pun intended — was startling.

Yes, it is a little preposterous to think in these terms, and I’ve wandered far out on a highly speculative branch, but… have ghosts been refining their binary communications, anticipating a development like this?

Also, how much science would we need, to realize the ghosts’ goals?

  • Would the ghost be happy to return to physical form in our time, or would he (or she) need time travel, as well?
  • With time travel added to the mix, could we go back to the past and “renew” the person’s life in his or her own time?  Would we do this right before the person’s historic demise, allowing the old form to fail on schedule, or does that (two copies of the same person in one time stream) raise additional problems?  (Quantum science suggests that this would create/follow an entirely different time stream, so we wouldn’t be altering our own past or the ghost’s actual timeline in our shared past.  That gets into pretzel logic, in a way, but… well, this is all speculation anyway, right?)
  • If we’re renewing the ghost in our current time stream, is the best physical form built from the ghost’s own cells? That could present health issues, with old illnesses brought forward to modern times, and immunity (vulnerability) issues for the ghost.  Even a modern, common cold might be devastating to him or her.

This technology isn’t going to be available for awhile.  Maybe not for a long time, if ever.

Nevertheless, as a science fiction fan and a ghost hunter, when I hear about downloading memories, the possibilities are intriguing… if unlikely.

EMF – Stronger than Gravity?

artwork - tree and orbsAlmost everyone over age 40 is profoundly aware of gravity.  Its effects stare back at us in the mirror every day.

Okay, all kidding aside… Gravity is a major force. However, I’m reading about a “fifth force” and how electromagnetic energy is more powerful than gravity. (Yes, I am a geek.)

This gets back to my continuing questions about where gravity comes from. (It’s one of those wonderful physics conundrums.)

I think we’re underestimating the power of EMF.

EMF seems to be one of the most reliable indicators of paranormal activity.

But, of all the energy forms an entity could use, why EMF?

More questions that pique my interest:

  • Is EMF actually seeping into our world through a break in the membrane, at the point of entry/crossover as ghosts visit us? (This gets back to the question of whether gravity is leaking into our world or out of it.  That’s a major debate in physics.)  I’ve long maintained that EMF is more likely the signal, not the actual ghost.
  • EMF can cause headaches, stomach pain, nausea, and even paranoia and hallucinations.  If you were a ghost and had a choice of tools to work with… why something that upsets people?  Okay, ghosts get major points for drama, but why not something else?
  • If ghosts are working with EMF, there must be a specific reason. What are we overlooking?  Maybe we need a bigger net when we’re investigating?
  • Or, maybe — if EMF is one of the strongest forces in our universe — it’s the logical choice and we’re just not seeing the trees because the forest is so darned big.

Okay, those are my random thoughts, and even I can see that some have more merit than others. I’m just throwing them onto this page so they’re out there (no pun intended) and I can take another look at  all of this, later.

Here are some of the articles that sparked this train of thought:

KEMO’S JOURNAL – Mysteries

kemo-d7.livejournal.com

Physicists stalk a delicate “fifth force” of nature, hidden within the interstices of the other four. What they have … The modern version of the search for new kinds of radiation is the search for new forces of nature. Scientists say … …

That was a fairly lightweight discussion.  The next one is the article that really started the gears turning, but even I don’t fully understand everything the author is talking about.

anakupto: Are There Mysterious Forces Lurking in Our Atoms and anakupto.blogspot.com11/9/11

Are There Mysterious Forces Lurking in Our Atoms and Galaxies? | Physics & Math | DISCOVER Magazine: “Physicists stalk a delicate “fifth force” of nature, hidden within the interstices of the other four. What they have not

Somewhere in-between is this “technicolor” article from April 2011:

A fifth force of nature detected at Fermilab? – Popular Science and

www.kirps.com4/10/11

Yesterday, Fermilab www.fnal.gov announced that scientists at the Tevatron particle accelerator discovered an anomaly that could hint at a completely new particle, as well as at a fifth force in the universe. This could be really

Next, interesting concepts and info, framed in an article/blog post that’s… well, a little eccentric.  It’s like reading a page from a novel, with a bunch of science ideas thrown in.

Einstein Was Busy Pondering A Fifth Force Of Nature

bwinwnbwi2.wordpress.com6/26/11

Einstein Was Busy Pondering A Fifth Force Of Nature. Posted on June 26, 2011 by bwinwnbwi.

Black Hills Cabin Sept. `76.

“So,” Tom shot back at Sara, “you’re telling me that all the stars and galaxies are speeding away from the Earth at close

I have no idea where any of this leads.

I just keep scratching my head and asking no one in particular, “Why EMF?” when I’m looking at paranormal phenomena.

If you have thoughts or insights, I hope you’ll share them with me (and my readers) in a comment.