Can a Ghost Read Your Mind?

 

Here’s a recording of this article, read by Fiona:

Can Ghosts Read Your Mind?

Do ghosts listen to your thoughts? Do other entities read your mind, too? Fiona Broome discusses the possibilities in this short, six-minute podcast.

Can a ghost read your mind? Maybe...Can a ghost read your mind?  That’s what Maddy from Santa Monica asked me, today.

That’s not a simple question to answer.  It depends on the context.

First, we’re not sure what ghostly phenomena are.  Are they all spirits of the dead… really?  I’m not convinced of that.  The more I work in this field (over 30 years), the more certain I am that some (not all) of what we’re encountering aren’t “dead people.”

That includes such a wide range of possibilities, it all depends on what’s real for you:  Pranks by humans (people who are alive), angels, demons, aliens, faeries, the person’s imagination, or… well, I’m sure there are another dozen or more explanations that could work equally well, depending on your beliefs.

My personal view: I believe that at least 50% of what I encounter in the field is actually someone alive and well and living in his or her own time stream.

In some cases, that time stream is our past.  And, I think that moments of intense emotion convey across the barrier between our worlds.

I also believe that some ghostly phenomena are caused by other paranormal entities… things outside our current definition of “normal,” but they may turn out to be not-so-weird, after all.

However, I don’t expect most people to agree with me.

For many ghost hunters, 100% of what they encounter will be spirits of the dead.

But, let’s consider the possibility that ghostly phenomena aren’t always caused by people who’ve died. And yes, some of them may be dangerous.

Demons and malicious entities

It’s well documented that demonic entities may have the ability to read the victim’s mind.

They may also read the minds of almost everyone who attempts to remove, banish, or exorcise the demon.

I wouldn’t rule out deliberate, mind control techniques by other malicious entities.  Though reports of that kind of problem are extremely rare, each ghost hunter should be aware of this.

This is important: If  – even before the investigation – you feel like something malicious is trying to connect with you, stay at home. Also, alert others who are going ahead with the investigation.

By contrast, many people who communicate with angels (and other benevolent entities) will assure you that angels are given many spiritual gifts. They may know your own thoughts and wishes better than you do.   Of course, that’s more empathic than mind-reading.

Some other entities, including faeries and aliens… well, it’s anyone’s guess if they can use their ability to use telepathy as a one-way or two-way communication stream.

For many ghosts, “It’s all about me”

So, let’s get back to the subject of ghosts.  The next thing to consider is the question: Why do people haunt?

If we assume that they’re stuck here for some reason, those reasons become important to them… and to us.

  • Maybe the person refuses to believe he or she has died.
  • Perhaps the person recognizes the death, but has unrealistic expectations about what’s supposed to happen next.
  • The ghost may have unfinished business or a story to tell, before letting go of this existence.

In almost every possible scenario like that, the ghost’s attention is on him- or herself.  From the ghost’s perspective, why would the ghost want to read your mind… even if that were possible?

So, if a spirit that’s haunting for the usual reasons, mind reading is unlikely.

Guardian spirits and rapport

The second most likely situation is where a family member, friend, or other benevolent and caring spirit is visiting from the other side.  That’s a lot like an angel.

He or she is interested in you.  That’s the opposite of a ghost with a personal agenda.

It seems reasonable that a guardian spirit would have empathic gifts, at the very least.

So, the spirit may care deeply about you, and want to know how you’re doing.

Perhaps he, she, or they are looking for ways to help you.  In that case, I think mind reading is a possibility.

So, the answer is mixed.

Remember, this is all speculation.  If you start with the idea that ghosts are real and most spirits you encounter will be from “the other side,” you can use logic to decide whether or not a ghost might want to read your mind.

Is it a ghost with a very personal agenda – something he or she needs help with, urgently? In that case, the ghost is less likely to care what you’re thinking.  He or she is focused on getting help.

Mind reading is unlikely in that situation.

So, to answer Maddy’s question: Yes, a ghost probably can read your mind, but most won’t. They’re focused on their own interests.

On the other hand, if it’s a spirit visiting from the other side, checking to be sure you’re okay, an empathic connection (aka, mind reading) is not only possible but likely.

Ghost Hunting – Mind Your Manners!

Regency Manners - 1798Ghost hunters should be aware of the rules of etiquette and manners of the ghosts they hope to contact. Of course, it helps if you have an idea of the era when each ghost lived. Manners changed considerably, from time to time.

Remember, through much of the 19th century — and even today, in some cultures — when someone flagrantly or consistently broke rules of etiquette, people with good manners usually ignored them… quite deliberately.

So, learn the manners of the time if you want to establish rapport with a specific ghost.  I discussed this briefly in my earlier article, Consider the Ghosts’ Contexts.

At right is a specific example.  It’s a list of “ill manners” for anyone attending a party or dance in 1789.  These kinds of manners will apply to ghosts from 1750 – 1850, and perhaps a wider time frame.

What might offend your ghost so much that he or she will act as if you’re not there?  Here are a few things not to do, mentioned in the 1789 guide.

  • Arriving with your hat on, and — even worse — leaving it on, indoors.
  • Whispering.
  • Laughing loudly.
  • Tapping or drumming with your hands or feet.
  • Leaning on a chair that a ghost might be sitting in.
  • Throwing something to another person in the room, instead of walking over to them and handing them the object.
  • Ridiculing anyone.  That includes sarcastic comments about other people who aren’t in the room, or making fun of someone else, even as a joke everyone enjoys.
  • Smiling too much.  Frowning (or looking concerned) too much.

If you want to establish rapport with your ghost(s), know the etiquette of their time.  That’s not just about avoiding bad manners, but keeping good manners in mind.

  • Knock before entering a room that might be occupied by a ghost.
  • Introduce yourself, and explain what you’re doing there.
  • Once rapport (any kind of communication) is established and someone else enters the room, you should do the introducing, since you’re already known to the ghost.
  • If you do something that might startle the ghost, apologize.
  • When you’re preparing to leave, explain why you’re leaving, and whether or not you plan to return.

Though most ghost hunters have success without following all (or any) of these guidelines, consider trying this approach to see if it improves your results.

For a wider range of manners and rules of etiquette, visit your public library.   Some of the best authors for our work will include Emily Post and Letitia Baldridge, as well as Miss Manners.

For further reading:  Consider the Ghosts’ Context

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.

 

 

Homemade Dowsing Rods

How to make your own dowsing rods

Many ghost hunters use dowsing rods to identify things — like underground streams and electrical wiring — that can create false positives in ghost research.

Others use dowsing rods for a second purpose: To identify areas of high paranormal activity or vulnerability.

Whether or not you believe that dowsing rods work, they’re easy to make and fun to experiment with.

You’ll need:

  • Two wire coat hangers.
  • A very strong wire cutter, heavy tin snips, or a similar cutting tool.

(Some dowsers use just one rod, but it’s best to start with two until you’re accustomed to how the rods respond.)

How to make a dowsing rod from a coathanger.

Here’s all you need to do to make your dowsing rods:

  1. Cut each coat hanger at the X marks, and discard the right (twisted and hooked) section.
  2. Straighten the wires enough so that the bend in each forms a right angle (90 degree bend) like the letter L.

That’s it.  You now have a set of dowsing rods.

Here’s a video I recorded in 2018. It’s more complete, with additional options you might like.

If you're sharing that video with others, here's the YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/OLYp7xyHv9c

How to use your homemade dowsing rods

Hold one L-shaped wire in each hand, and grip each one gently, forming each hand into a loose fist.

Each thumb should rest at (but not over) the bend in the wire. The rods should point away from you, straight ahead, and swing easily from side to side when you tilt your hands.

There are other ways to hold the rods. Some grip the rods loosely with the index, middle and ring fingers, and then prop the little finger on the other side of the rod to steady it. The thumb is held away from the rod.

Some create handles from the cardboard tubes from coat hangers that are used for hanging up slacks. Cut one tube in half and rest the handle of one rod in each tube. Hold each tube so that the rod swings freely inside it.

Now, tilt the rods down very slightly.  The idea is to give gravity a chance to pull on them slightly, so the rods aren’t swinging randomly and by chance.  However, don’t point the rods down so much that the rods can’t move on their own.

Now, walk around your home or yard to see what happens. Generally, the two rods will cross in front of you when you are near water pipes.

Some genealogists report similar results in cemeteries, helping them find graves (sometimes hidden in shrubs or tall grass).

Some ghost hunters use dowsing rods to detect areas of paranormal energy.

Once you become comfortable with your new dowsing rods, you can try asking questions. That’s another way ghost hunters (especially psychics) use dowsing rods.

  • Start with questions you know the answer to.  Each should be a yes/no question, like “Is my name Fred?” or “Is my age 102?”  This will establish what movement you’ll see for the answer, “yes,” and which will indicate a “no.”

Scientists can’t explain why dowsing rods work. Some speculate that the rods react to elevated EMF levels and that electro magnetic energy pulls on the rods.

I thought dowsing rods were a lot of nonsense until I tried them.  I’ve had equally good results — in different locations — with the dowsing rods from Dowsers.com and my own, homemade dowsing rods made from coat hangers.

Also, here’s a hastily recorded video about using dowsing rods for ghost hunting. I recorded it early in 2018, before taking the time to put together a dowsing rod course for Hallowfields.com.

Here's the YouTube URL for that video: https://youtu.be/H4OCvwPBL2A

Three Kinds of Ghosts You Can See

man-door-roseWhile ghost hunting, I’ve seen weird things like unexplained lights, shadows, and figures just out of the corner of my eye.

Here’s the basic rule: If they can’t be explained by something normal, we consider them paranormal.

Anything that’s seen or sensed that can’t be explained, except in paranormal terms, can be called an anomaly.

In ghost hunting, that means one (or both) of two things:

  1. We can’t explain it.  We see three gravestones, but a fourth one shows up in a photograph.  Or, we can hear a certain investigator’s voice on our EVP recording, but she wasn’t there during the investigation.
  2. Even if we could explain it,  it’s still very weird and doesn’t make sense.  It’s “statistically unlikely” in the context of where it happened or was recorded.  This is the kind of evidence that skeptics pounce on.  Sure, that orb could be humidity, but why did it show up in just two of about 15 photos, each taken within two minutes of each other… and by two different cameras?

So, when we’re at a location that’s supposed to be haunted, we’re researching paranormal activity and we’re documenting anomalies.

Those aren’t necessarily ghosts, or even evidence of ghosts.

However, when it’s something best described as a ghost, we call it a ghost.  It’s as good a label as any, for now, and — when we say “a ghost” — others recognized the kinds of phenomena we’re talking about.  Whether the person believes it represents the spirit of someone dead… that’s another matter.

As ghost hunters, we’re collecting evidence, trying to figure out what’s going on in haunted places.  Often, ghosts are the most logical explanation, so that’s the word I’ll use in this article and at this website.

There are at least three kinds of ghosts you can see:  Ghosts that emit light, ghosts that are shadows, and ghosts that are apparitions.  (There may be a fourth category, ghosts that absorb light, but we’re not sure yet.)

Ghosts that emit light

The most frequently photographed ghosts are those that emit light.  We see orbs (translucent circles or spheres) in our photos.  Those orbs usually have fairly crisp edges; they’re not reflections from headlights or lens flares.

In the photo below, the orb is very faint, and over the EMF meter on the right.  In a series of photos, the orb seemed to float between the meters, back and forth.  When it was near one of the EMF meters, that meter would signal. Then, the orb would float back to the other meter, leaving both meters dark in the interim.

At the time, we described it as spiritual ping pong.

This photo was not altered with Photoshop or any software, so the orb is very faint.  My photo is among many taken that night, at Tenney Gate House (Methuen, MA), showing the orb floating back and forth, triggering the EMF meters.

Two EMF meters and a faint orb, at Tenney Gate House, Methuen, MA.
Two EMF meters, spiking alternately, and the orb that floated between them.

Using Photoshop with a typical orb, the characteristic colors are revealed.  This next photo could have been taken anywhere, but I was at Fort George in Ontario, Canada.  Though skeptics will look at this kind of photo and explain it as dust, pollen, or moisture, this orb was photographed by about four of us, each standing about 10 – 30 feet apart, pointing our cameras in the same direction.  Mapping its location relative to landmarks we were seeing from different angles, it was easy to show that we were all photographing the same orb.

Typical orb. Perfectly circular. Looks three dimensional.
Typical orb. Perfectly circular. Looks three dimensional.

Some photos show a streak of light, often described as a vortex.  Unfortunately, a large number of vortices (plural of vortex) look identical to camera straps.  So, we’re not sure how many of those photos show something paranormal.  It’s too easy to explain them as a forgotten camera strap that fell in front of the camera.

However, if you have a photo with an image like this and you’re sure no camera strap or similar object was near the lens of the camera, you might have an anomaly we call a vortex.

This is a camera strap.
This is a camera strap.

Sometimes, we see light-emitting shapes or figures in real life, not just in photos.  Weirdly, those anomalies rarely show up in photographs.

They could be circular shapes or spheres.  They might be rods of light.  Or, in very rare cases, they assume the form of a figure, like an apparition.

These kinds of ghostly figures are best seen and photographed after dark.  Though I’ve taken photos of daytime orbs, with no flash or possibility of lens flare, the vast majority of light-related anomalies are photographed at night.

That’s one reason for a lights-out investigation at haunted sites.

Ghosts that are shadows

Ghostly shadows — sometimes “shadow figures” — are among the most disturbing ghostly phenomena we encounter.  We don’t know what they are, but they can seem a lot more covert and sinister than the ghosts we usually study.

The photo below, taken at a private residence near Laconia, New Hampshire, shows an eerie shadow figure we saw in a fully-lit basement.  It’s one of many troubling photos from that investigation.  In real life, the figure looked like a tall man.  There was nothing to explain that shadow.  I could see the cause of almost every other shadow, but not that one.

Laconia-basement3-shadow-230x300

The figure in the photo, above, is unusual because shadow figures usually seem to hide among other shadows.

We’re not sure what these figures represent. Sometimes, they appear individually. At other times, they seem to travel in groups or packs.

In general, I don’t recommend lingering at any location where you see shadow figures.  We’re not sure that they’re as benign as what we usually call “ghosts.”

Ghosts that Absorb Light

At the present time, we’re not sure if shadow figures or “ghost shadows” are actually casting a shadow, if they are simply dark figures, or if they’re absorbing light like a black hole.

If they’re absorbing light (and perhaps energy), that’s another very good reason to be cautious if you ever see a shadow figure.

We don’t know what these are, and if they’re a separate kind of entity.

Ghosts that are apparitions

Apparitions are ghosts that look like they did in life.  Sometimes they’re more-or-less translucent.  Others look like living people, but they may appear to be in historical costumes.

It seems that there are very few photos of apparitions.  Here’s a classic, the Brown Lady, photographed in 1936 by Captain Hubert C. Provand.

Brown_lady

I have three of theories about why we don’t see more credible photos of apparitions:

  1. Most apparition photos aren’t credible, and look like double exposures or as if they’ve been created in Adobe Photoshop.
  2. Often, the anomalies we see in real life don’t show up in our photos, and vice versa.
  3. Many apparitions seem so lifelike, we don’t realize they’re ghosts until they fade or abruptly disappear… and then it’s too late to get a photo.

Those are the three kinds of ghosts you can see… maybe:  Ghosts that emit light, ghosts that are shadows, and ghosts that seem to have physical form and look a lot like they’re living people.

A fourth category, ghosts that absorb light so they’re not just shadows but something like black holes, is a troubling concept that has yet to be explored.