EIFs and Paranormal Research

ElectricityEIFs are Experience Inducing Fields. Hardly anyone talks about them. They’re difficult to measure. Their effects are tricky to estimate.

So, many paranormal researchers pretend they don’t exist.

However, it’s vital to consider them as we evaluate paranormal sites.

EIFs include sites with high levels of EMF. We can measure those. We know they can create emotional, mental and physical distress.

Infrasound is an issue. It may be a big issue. I’ve talked often about the relationship between hauntings — particularly poltergeist activity — and underground streams, and water in general.

At present (2010), geomagnetic fields (GMFs) are practically ignored during most paranormal discussions.

That’s a problem. But, I’m about to take this in another “what if…?” direction.

What if those fields don’t just affect some researchers.

What if those fields also act as beacons for… well, whatever’s reported at the location?

At the moment, that’s a question that no one can answer.

We need to talk about these things.

Yes, I know: When I go out on a limb like this, skeptical critics chuckle. Others may use EIFs to dismiss all paranormal reports.

We can’t let critics — and potential ridicule — stand in the way of important research. Every theory should be considered and explored.

I believe that EIFs may explain many — but not all — paranormal experiences.

Let’s identifying things that merely seem paranormal. Then, we can narrow our investigations to sites with genuinely baffling anomalies.

Links

I’m interested in your thoughts on this. I hope you’ll leave feedback below.

Bennington Triangle, VT – America’s Weirdest?

Bennington Triangle - People vanishThe Bennington Triangle may be America’s weirdest paranormal triangle.

Of course, it’s not the only one. The Bermuda Triangle is far more famous. But, The trouble with the Bermuda Triangle is:

(a) its location is huge and mostly over the water, and

(b) it has been so frequently researched, there’s a massive amount of information to sift through to find any patterns… or any credible, overlooked theories.

The Bridgewater Triangle (MA) offers some interesting quirks that haven’t been fully explored. But, that area is densely populated.

That’s both a plus (lots of eyewitnesses) and a minus (many locations are difficult to access or on private property).

By contrast, the Bennington Triangle (VT) has remained under the radar for many people.

Thank heavens for the Wayback Machine, so I could read this 1999 article: Vanishing Point, by Carl Hughes. If you’re interested in it, print it out; it could vanish from the Internet.

Bennington’s Strange Stories

That article begins:

A strange celebration took place recently around Bennington in Vermont, north-eastern USA. The festival celebrates 50 years since anyone has vanished.

Bizarre, you may think, but not nearly as bizarre as what happened in this area between the years 1920 and 1950.

The actual date for celebration was October 28 that is when in 1950 a young hiker named Freida Langer became the last victim of what is known locally as the Bennington Triangle. Like dozens of others before her, Freida disappeared as completely as if the Starship Enterprise had beamed her up.

The article continues, describing the bizarre discovery of Freida’s body, seven months later.

But then the article explains:

At least Freida did return eventually, albeit dead. In most other Bennington Triangle cases the victims were never found. They disappeared from their gardens, from their beds, from petrol stations, from log cabins. One man, James Tetford, even vanished while sitting on a bus.

Those stories are very weird.

Research Opportunity… or Danger?

I stumbled onto those stories when I researched facts behind the movie, The Haunting, and – in 2018 – the Netflix “Hill House” series. (Yes, there is a connection between the Bennington, and the Hill House stories.)

And then I heard about a couple who – if they weren’t doing drugs – encountered something extraordinary. To me, it sounds like an alternate reality, “hiding in plain sight.”

But anyway, I think the Bennington Triangle offers great opportunities for serious investigators… and genuine risks. (Read my longer Bennington Triangle article, first.)

The challenge is knowing where to look, and what to avoid.

Until we know more, Bennington is probably a great location for hiking or to enjoy Vermont’s fall foliage.

Just don’t go there alone.

The Role of the Observer

In quantum studies, the role of the observer is a key part of how we perceive reality.

In paranormal research, including ghost investigations, it’s important to consider how much the observer impacts the findings.

headphones on someone listeningSpecifically, I’m thinking about people who — using the same camera (not just one like it) or listening to the same EVP recording — get much better results than others do.

In the case of EVP results, is the recording affected by the first person who listens to it, or the first person who listens to it and hears something?

I’m not talking about the power of suggestion. That is, when everyone suddenly hears the voice saying, “Get out,” once they’ve been told that’s the most likely phrase.

Instead, I’m speculating about the recordings that one person hears and says, “Nope, nothing.”

Then — double-checking the results — a second person hears something clearly. This is an even more important question if everyone (including the first listener) suddenly hears the EVP clearly.

This is entirely speculation, but it’s worth considering. We can’t rule anything out, as we’re exploring paranormal phenomena.

Quantum Studies – Gooey and Prickly

Prism and spectrumQuantum science is difficult to discuss without delving deeply into terminology best suited to a Ph.D. program. That’s why I like the terms and phrases created by Fred Alan Wolf.

Specifically, I like to use terms like “gooey” (i.e., in the realm of possibilities, the substance with which we create realities) and “prickly” (i.e., the things we create with the gooey stuff, at least for our own observation).

The following video includes some of the interviews with Dr. Wolf. It’s from the movie, “What the Bleep…?” Quantum Edition, a DVD set that I consider a must-own if you’re involved in this level of research.

In the video below, Dr. Wolf’s summary of the God concept is open to individual spiritual interpretation (or rejection). However, I believe that the gooey-to-prickly-to-gooey concept is key to understanding our unique personal experiences when we’re studying paranormal phenomena.

One important question in our research is: Who’s creating what we perceive as prickly?

As I see it, the possibilities include:

  • We create our own experiences.
  • An entity is creating the experience.
  • An entity is influencing how we perceive the experience.
  • The entity is co-creating the experience with us, particularly when it’s a psychic/emotional encounter.
  • The prickly stuff exists in a parallel realm, and we’re simply able to perceive it from our world, with varying degrees of belief that it’s actually in our world.
  • There is nothing gooey, and reality is uniform; the variables extend only to how our personal contexts affect our perceptions of all reality, including the experience in question.

I’m sure there are other possibilities, and I’d like to hear your opinions. Please share your comments on the gooey and prickly concepts, below.

Making Money in Ghost Hunting

Stacks of moneySome people are in this field for fame and/or fortune.  I’m not one of them, and I hope that you’re not.

I know absolutely no one, personally, who’s getting rich as a paranormal investigator.  In fact, most TV stars that I know… they have day jobs.

However, most of us would prefer to work full-time in the paranormal field, rather than ask people if they’d like fries with that order.

So, here’s a summary of the main ways to earn a living as a paranormal expert.

They’re not the only ways, just the usual ones.

TV- and movie-related work

Fame: Fame is possible, and perhaps likely.  Infamy is a risk as well.  It’s all in how you’re edited by the producers and the network.  Then there’s the makeup and lighting, what your co-stars say about you, whether or not you’re ridiculed on social media, evening talk shows, and many other variables.

Fortune: Don’t expect to get rich from documentary-style movies or reality TV.

Warning: Absolutely anyone can film a pilot for a TV show.  Getting the show picked up by a network is only slightly more likely than being struck by lightning, unless you have talent, a great angle, and truly great connections.  So, if someone wants to include you in their TV pilot, don’t quit your day job.

Typical work opportunities in TV and movies:

  • Be a regular star on a TV show.  (Most guests on reality shows aren’t paid, and sometimes don’t even get travel expenses.)
  • Be a consultant for a TV show or series, or a movie. (Get everything in writing, signed and notarized, on paper.)
  • Write for TV or movie productions.  (If you make the right connections, you can build a career and have fun at the same time.)
  • Develop a fan site about the TV show or movie, and find ways to monetize it. (This is tricky. I tried it with one show and didn’t earn a cent.)

Writing books and articles

Fame: How famous you become depends on how good your writing is, and how well you promote yourself.  Even if you’re published by a major publishing house, do not expect them to organize book signings or provide PR for you.

However, if you write well and you’re willing to work hard, you can achieve moderate fame with your writing.

Fortune: If you’re working for a traditional publisher, it’s possible you’ll have a best-seller and earn lots of money.  It’s about as likely as winning the lottery.  Books that sell for $9 – $15 usually earn their authors about 25 cents per copy sold. (That’s what I’ve earned and what Jack Canfield mentions in the video, The Secret.)

You can usually do much better as an independent publisher, but you may have to do more work on the book and on your own PR and distribution.

Generally, I don’t recommend any publishing house that charges a fee to publish your book. Go “indie” instead.


Recommended resources:

  • If you’re writing nonfiction, Joanna Penn. (She also offers good fiction advice.)
  • If you’re writing fiction, Chris Fox. (Possibly more than you ever wanted to know about writing fiction, in weekly videos and more. But, if you’re writing “ghost stories,” he’s worth learning from.)

If you’re writing stories for book anthologies or for magazines, your writing skills and reputation make the difference between earning at least minimum wage… and earning nothing.

My favorite book for freelance journalists:  The Renegade Writer by Linda Formichelli.  Good writers earn three figures per magazine article they sell. Really good writers can earn four figures per article. (When I write for anthologies, I’m well paid.)

Writing articles for online use usually pays $2 – $15/article, or more if you’re really good at writing or you’re a celebrity. Writing for magazines, add at least a zero to the end of those numbers.

The biggest demand for ghost-related writers is for Halloween-related books and articles.

Tip: If you write books for traditional publishers, you may not see your work in print — or earn a cent from it — for six months to two years.

If you write for magazines, allow them at least three months’ lead time to publish your work.  In other words, pitch Halloween articles no later than April or May.

Sometimes, you’re paid when you deliver the work. More often, you’ll be paid once the magazine is actually on the newsstand, or 30 days after it’s published.

Typical opportunities for writers:

  • Writing books, including nonfiction, “ghost stories,” and novels.
  • Articles.
  • Screenplays.

Photography

Fame: Like writing and art, your fame potential depends on your skill and how well you promote yourself.  Luck and novelty can also be factors.  However, keep in mind: If you walk up to a stranger on the street and say, “Quick, name one ghost photographer,” they’ll probably stare at you before mumbling some TV star’s name.

Fortune: You can earn a good living as a freelance photographer if you’re willing to work hard.  Halloween-related photos (ghost pictures, cemetery photos, haunted house pictures) sell well year ’round to book and magazine publishers.  You’ll want a copy of the latest edition of Photographer’s Markets to learn who’s buying what, and how much they’re paying.

Typical opportunities for photographers:

  • Illustrate books and magazines.
  • Illustrate promotional material for paranormal events and speakers.
  • Sell your photos via stock photo services, online.  iStockPhoto.com is one of many.

Videos have a narrower audience, but you might get involved in filming a TV pilot (get paid up-front, not after the show sells) or create your own videos of haunted encounters.

Appearing at paranormal events and conferences

Fame: The bigger the event, the more famous you’ll seem.  However, be selective about the number of events you speak at. (Avoid over-saturating the market.)  Try to get your name and photo on the event’s promotional materials.

Fortune: Unless you’re already a star, or selling your own books at the event, paranormal events pay little or nothing.  If you’re reimbursed for travel expenses and/or your hotel room, that’s great… but don’t count on it.

Warning: Find out who’s on the schedule with you before committing to any event.  If many of the speakers have poor reputations, it can reflect badly on you. (“Birds of a feather…”)

Don’t make firm travel plans until you’re sure the event will happen.  About 50% of the events that book me, postpone or cancel the event altogether.

Tip: Big events at major venues — and those hosted by major celebrities in this field — rarely cancel, even if they’re taking a big loss on expenses.  Conferences organized by local groups have a higher cancellation likelihood.

Putting on a paranormal event or conference

Fame: Until your event has been successful for several successive years, your own events won’t make you famous… unless you’re already a celebrity in this field.

One bad event, or someone griping about how your ran the event, can be very damaging.

Fortune: Unless you’re very lucky, you’re likely to lose money putting on your first event (or two). After that, it’ll depend on the economy, when and where the event is, the quality of your speakers and activities, and how much competition you have (saturated field).

Warning: Hotels often ask for non-refundable deposits, and their meeting room prices may shock you.  Never rely on filling up hotel rooms (sleeping rooms) to offset some or all of your meeting room expenses.

It’s better to be pleasantly surprised with a profit than devastated by four-figure  (or higher) losses.

Set a firm “no refunds” date — usually the date that you have to give the hotel the deposit — and stick to it. People will call you with the most amazing, convincing tall tales excuses, usually involving themselves or a family member being diagnosed with cancer.

Also have a “Plan B” ready if your biggest celebrity cancels at the last minute. It happens. Often.

Investigations

Some people charge money for private investigations.  Most people — including me — don’t.  In fact, most of the bigger celebrities don’t charge a cent, and some don’t even ask for travel expenses.

Fame: If you produce extraordinary results, you might build a reputation as a great paranormal investigator.  In 80% or more of your cases, the home owners will be reluctant to admit that they even consulted you.

Fortune: In most cases, there’s no money in investigating.  I’ve talked about this in other articles.  Some clients have already lost their jobs due to the stress of the hauntings. Other people won’t take you seriously unless you charge a fee.  The latter group is diminishing rapidly, because they see ghost hunters on TV conducting free investigations.

If you consult for a business — for example, helping realtors who need to know if a home or business is haunted — you’re more likely to be paid.  Home owners rarely pay for investigations.

Tip: If you expect to charge money, even just travel expenses, you must have professional-level experience in this field — probably more than 100 real, formal investigations — and a list of references for potential clients to check.

It’s prudent to have liability insurance for your team.   If a Ming vase is broken during your investigation, the client won’t care that it was poltergeist phenomena, and not your fault.

Get rich quick?

There are no get-rich-quick paths in this business.  Though some people have catapulted themselves to fame and/or fortune, few remain there for very long.

Success in any field — including this one — requires hard work, constant study, and immense integrity.

If ghosts and hauntings fascinate you, it’s probably best to keep your day job and pursue this field as a hobby, at least for the first few years.

In the meantime, keep all of your photos.  Maintain a detailed journal of your investigations.  Experiment with new ideas, theories, investigation tools and techniques.  All of them may be extremely valuable once you are ready to enter this field as a full-time professional.

Focus on one niche rather than trying to be an all-around ghost hunter.  Sure, you’ll need to know a little about every facet of ghosts and hauntings.  However, career success comes from identifying your strengths and greatest interests, and developing a niche that’s uniquely yours.

Photo credit: Michael Faes, Switzerland

Reality Check – Ghost Hunting

Google trends - ghosts
Did ghost hunting TV shows peak in 2004?

I wrote this in 2010. Since then, aside from spikes around Halloween, interest in the field has continued to decline.

Here’s what I said in 2010:

It’s time for a reality check in the ghost hunting field.  I’m about to talk about the dark side of ghost hunting — and almost any fad — when the trend declines.

This isn’t pretty, and I don’t like to bring it up, but someone has to warn new ghost enthusiasts about these (now old) problems.

Some people are scrambling to renew or create a foothold as celebrities.  They want their own TV shows, media coverage, and — if all else fails — at least a few paycheques.

The fad is over.  Ghost hunting — as a trend — peaked years ago.

Since then, producers of TV shows and movies keep trying to find new (and sometimes ridiculous) ways to revive interest.

Frankly, I’m not sure the 2004 popularity of shows like Ghost Hunters will ever return.

As the fan base shrinks, some “ghost hunters” are claiming credentials they don’t have. They fit the Scams and Con Artists profile.

Convicted criminals, including child molesters, are posing as ghost experts. I’m not comfortable being alone with them in a dark room.  I certainly wouldn’t bring my children to events where they’d participate in after-dark investigations.

Another high-profile personality has been quoted, saying it’s routine (or even essential) to lie to people if you want to succeed in the paranormal field. He’s a fun guy, but — if that story is true — I’m not sure how he sleeps at night.

Many “old timers” (including me) have stepped back from public ghost hunting events. We’re not willing to share the stage with people whose reputations could damage us by association.

However, by being less visible, we’ve put our careers in jeopardy.  To be taken seriously by many people, a list of TV and event appearances seems mandatory.

It’s kind of “darned if you do, darned if you don’t”  situation. (Yes, I really do talk like that.)

My solution is to be more aggressive about my research, write more books, and share more free information online.

However, I’m one of the lucky ones.  I really am a researcher.  My brain seems to be wired for connect-the-dots logic, so I find new ways to find and investigate haunted sites.

Others aren’t so fortunate. They have fewer options.

Here are the trends.

As shown in the graph above, Google searches for the word “ghosts” have steadily declined since 2004.

In the next screenshot, you’ll see that Google searches for “ghost hunting” also peaked in 2004, with minor rallies since then.

Trends for ghost hunting - 2004 to 2007

 

In the next screenshot, Google searches for “ghost hunters ” — generally related to the TV series — peaked in 2007.  Most of the spikes occur predictably around Halloween.

 

Searches related to the word “paranormal” have always had limited popularity.  The spike around Halloween 2009 was largely due to the movie, Paranormal Activity.

The trend is fading. Ghost hunting may be close to the conclusion of Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations bell graph.  (If your goals include fame and fortune, catch trends at the Early Adopter and Early Majority phases.)

Here’s the time-honored way of building a solid reputation as a ghost hunter:

  1. Study the field or serve an apprenticeship.  This involves years, not weeks or months.
  2. If you can, conduct unique, in-depth research that reveals new and useful information that contributes to our understanding of paranormal phenomena.
  3. If innovative research isn’t easy for you, find someone who is good at it, and be part of his or her research team.
  4. Then, share your discoveries with others.

Real credibility is built on accomplishments in paranormal R&D. Your reputation is based on how many people you actually help.

Those are the areas to focus on, for long-term respect in paranormal research.  The field may be shrinking, but the people who’ve never cared if ghost hunting is trendy… they’re the people I value most among my friends and colleagues.

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2016 addition: The decline in ghost hunting as an “OMG fad” is exactly why I’m (very slowly) becoming more active in the field again.

The con artists and fame-seekers are moving on to other fields and fads. For serious paranormal researchers like me, that’s a huge relief.

I’ve been involved in ghost hunting for decades. I expect to be here for the long haul.

So, for a few years, I decided to sit out the “sound and fury, signifying nothing,” and wait for the field to become interesting again.

If you check related Google search numbers, you’ll see that interest in ghost hunting seemed to fall off a cliff, starting in late 2014. (The graphs were rather spectacular.)

For now, the ghost hunting fad is nearly over.

(I say “for now” because popular interests tend to go in cycles. See Slate’s article about 15-, 20-, and 40-year cycles. Also see The 90s, 2015, and the 20-Year Cycle, and — for those who want to take this further — the Sekhmet Hypothesis of 11-year solar cycles.)

As of 2016, we’re getting back to fascinating (and fun) research again. So… yes, I’m here and enjoying it again.