Podcast: Are Shadow People Dangerous?

Are you worried about shadow people?

I created this 11-minute podcast to accompany my article at Ghosts101.com:  Are Shadow People Dangerous?

During the podcast, I talk about several topics, including:

  • Shadow people (v. fleeting shadows)
  • “Hat Man” and why he’s different
  • An odd shadow form seen in 2009
  • Protection for paranormal researchers

Ghosts 101 – Are Shadow People Dangerous?

This is a podcast by Fiona Broome, created to accompany the Ghosts101.com article, Are Shadow People Dangerous? In this 11-minute podcast, Fiona discusses shadow people, “Hat Man,” and protection for ghost hunters and other paranormal researchers.

In the podcast, I mention the shadow person I saw – and photographed – in Laconia, NH: Laconia, NH’s Ghostly Places, and the photo of the man in a hat, at the former bank in Old Town Spring, TX.

Books I mention: Paranormal Parasites, by Nick Redfern, and The Ghost Hunter’s Survival Guide: Protection Techniques for Encounters with the Paranormal by Michelle Belanger.

This podcast is also available at HollowHillPodcasts.com (hosted by Libsyn).

Ghost Hunting – Reality v. TV Shows, Revisited

Ghost hunting is more than what you see on reality TV showsIn the early 2000s, ghost hunting TV shows helped many people learn more about paranormal research and haunted sites. That helped this field expand, almost overnight.

However, many viewers were disappointed when they went ghost hunting, themselves.

I’ve talked about this in the past, and – I’ll admit – ranted more than a little.

But this week, a news report confirmed what I’ve been saying… and more concisely (and perhaps more authority) than I have.

The article is “5 Myths about Reality Television,” and it’s in the Washington Post.

Here’s part of what it said:

With very few notable exceptions (like “Big Brother”…), most reality television is shot first over a period of days or weeks, then edited. A month in the field could be whittled down to 44 or 22 minutes of action. That way, the audience sees reality stars only in essential moments… Almost nothing airs exactly as it fell into the lens, but the final product is usually more or less what happened.

That’s true about many (not all) ghost hunting TV shows. A typical one-hour episode might require three to five days of daily filming at the site.

Then there’s the editing, to make the show compelling to watch, with cliffhangers immediately before each commercial break.

What viewers see are the highlights of an investigation. They don’t see time spent waiting while nothing happens… and that’s most of what goes on, at many (perhaps most) investigations.

Viewers also don’t see the dozens of “haunted” locations scouted by people like me, where ghost stories turn out to be more fiction than fact.

But yes, what viewers see “is usually more or less what happened.”

I’m seeing a shift – towards almost radical authenticity – in some ghost hunting TV shows. Most Haunted remains one of the leaders in this trend. (In the UK, it’s on Really, usually on Fridays.) Also, I noticed that the show producers are considering shows featuring outtakes. That’s a fun idea. (See @OnlyMostHaunted at Twitter.)

While more authentic ghost hunting TV shows aren’t the adrenaline fuel of their fast-paced, highly edited counterparts, I like this trend.

And, for the record: the only sites I’ve investigated for just 22 minutes (the length of a 30-minute TV show, sans commercial breaks) are those that seemed too dangerous for research. Usually, that had nothing to do with ghosts; instead it was about creepy people in the area, or imminent lightning strikes.

If I’m familiar with a site, I might investigate just 44 minutes (the content of a one-hour TV show). Usually, that’s a follow-up visit, to debunk (or confirm) anomalies noted in an earlier, far longer investigation.

Though this isn’t exactly new news, I was glad to see mainstream media mention the reality behind many “reality” TV shows.

And, once again, I encourage researchers to arrive at events and investigations with low expectations. Lots of waiting may be required.

But, that’s a good opportunity for you to do a thorough (and sometimes repeated) “baseline yourself” check, so you’re always aware when weird things start happening at a haunted site.

Related articles

And, if you want to be on a ghost hunting TV show, search related keywords at sites like AuditionsFree.comBackstage.com, and – for the UK – Starnow.co.nz, TheStage.co.uk, and similar sites. (There are many.)

Ghost Hunting: How Much Should You Know?

Ghost hunters can have very different opinions.

There are believers and skeptics. You’ll also meet psychics, and those who want hard proof – or at least electronic evidence – before they’ll take any ghost story seriously.

And so on.

Ghosts - how much should ghost hunters know, ahead of time?But, another topic divides ghost hunters, and that’s how much to know before an investigation.

I respect team members who focus on their psychic responses to ghostly energy and spiritual impressions. Many – but not all – avoid learning anything at all about the site.

They feel their impressions are more credible (to themselves and others) when they can say “there was no way I could know about [whatever they perceived].”

In most cases, I believe that’s a personal matter. It affirms – to the researcher – that what he or she experiences is real.

Deep Research as an Asset?

At the other extreme, some people (including me) want to know every possible detail about the site, its history, its geography, and its ghost stories.

I’m impressed when something quirky turns out to be true. I’m even more excited when we glean information that no one else had discovered, up to that point.

I’m sure there’s a large group between those opposites. They want to know a little about the site, but nothing that will make them wonder if an experience was “just the power of suggestion.”

But, for all of us, the question of telepathy lingers. That is, if the energy or mental images we pick up were inadvertently communicated, psychically.

Telepathy and Ghost Hunting

In Peter Underwood’s classic Dictionary of the Supernatural, he describes telepathy as “Communication between one mind and another without the use of speech or any of the normal conscious channels. Also known as thought-transference [and] thought-reading…”

He also says, “Telepathy probably plays a part in spiritualist séances when information… could conceivably have been obtained by the medium telepathically.”

Then he references Zener card tests, which seem to show some psychic connection between certain individuals, but none among others.

The Telepathy Question and ghost hunting

So, I think telepathy can play a role in some investigations… but not all, and perhaps not most investigations.

For example, in Confessions of a Ghost Hunter, Harry Price described a remarkable psychic encounter:

The most striking incident was where the alleged spirit of Lieutenant Irwin came back within forty-eight hours of the crashing of the R101 airship and gave a circumstantial, detailed, and highly technical account of the disaster. The psychic was Mrs. Garrett, the British trance medium, who does not know one end of an airship from the other. The sitters present at the seance were also quite ignorant of such a highly-specialized business as navigating an airship; yet ‘Lieutenant Irwin’ gave particulars of the R101 which were semi-official secrets, and which were afterwards confirmed at the public inquiry.

If you’re familiar with Harry Price’s work, and how carefully he phrased his reports, you’ll understand why this account is credible.

Does Distance Matter?

One problem with questions of telepathy is the same reason Albert Einstein – initially, a believer in telepathy – rejected the notion: That is ESP (including telepathy) doesn’t fall of sharply and isn’t diluted with distance between the sender and receiver. (Technically, this relates to the inverse square law.)

In other words, the psychic investigator might be picking up thoughts from someone researching the site’s history, at a laptop computer 500 miles away.

Is that likely? I’m not sure.

As I see it, this means we can’t think of telepathy as something isolated to the investigation site.

Likewise, there’s a problem if telepathic communication doesn’t decay with distance, and a ghost is a spiritual/psychic projection by that ghost. In that case, we can’t assume the ghost is at that research site. It might be half a block away, or on the other side of the globe.

Okay, that’s placing one “what if?” question on top of several others. So, let’s put that challenging topic to one side, for now.

Where’s the Proof?

In my own research, I’m more alarmed by some investigators’ reliance on “evidence” provided by electronic ghost hunting equipment.

Oh, I use EMF meters, ghost boxes, voice recorders, and so on, just as many researchers do.

However, I still believe that the most meaningful proof – if there is any – is based in the mind of the investigator. If you’ve had a meaningful ghostly encounter, and it affirms your faith in life after death and spirit communication, does anything else matter?

That brings me back to the topic at hand: How much ghost hunters should research prior to an investigation.

Why I Believe in Pre-investigation Research

For me, historical and geographical evidence can support the idea that a location is haunted. Or, it can make me question it.

I like the odds stacked in favor of a successful investigation.

In addition, if I already know the names of likely ghosts – and those they associated with, in life – I think I get better results. Everyone likes to feel remembered, and called by name.

If I also know the context of the ghosts’ lives and deaths, I think it improves my rapport with them, whether I’m looking for a reaction on an EMF meter, an EVP response, or something else.

But, for others, the stronger confirmation is what Harry Price described: An investigation where no one on the team (or nearby) had any prior knowledge about the ghosts.

That’s something each ghost hunter needs to decide, in general, and sometimes on a case-by-case basis, depending on your goals.

I like to know every bit of information I can dig up (no pun intended) about a site and its ghosts.

I’m interested in your opinions, and hope you’ll share them in comments at this website.