Stormy Weather and Ghost Hunting

It was a dark and stormy night.Stormy Weather and Ghost Hunting

That’s a famous line used seriously – and sometimes comically – in different contexts.

But, for ghost enthusiasts, it can trigger a few deliciously eerie images of haunted places and the spirits they harbor.

Of course, few of us are foolish enough to investigate outdoors during thunderstorms. Between the soaking rain and risks of lightning strikes, it’s better to ghost hunt indoors.

However, a recent article raised a few questions worth considering.

Is there a connection between ghostly phenomena and weather? It may not be “just in your mind.”

Here’s part of the article,   A Dark and Stormy Night: Does Weather Affect the Paranormal?

The idea is not entirely far-fetched. After all, if ghosts, spirits, and other such entities do exist, then they must use some form of energy…

For example, it is thought that ghosts sometimes utilize the ambient heat in a room for energy to manifest, leading to cold spots as this energy is abruptly absorbed.

…There are various types of atmospheric activity that could possibly affect the paranormal activity of a location, with the most common image of this being thunderstorms, so how would these storms be able to exert an influence on supernatural entities?

…Perhaps the biggest factor is simply the sheer amount of electrical and electro-magnetic energy charging the air during storms.

That’s an interesting theory. I’m eager to hear if anyone has first-person experience with stormy weather increasing ghostly activity.

That same article raises other questions about other atmospheric conditions, too:

…A good example would be solar activity from our sun, which sometimes releases solar flares that set loose X-Rays, intense doses of UV radiation, and create what is called “solar wind.” This solar wind is composed of highly charged plasma particles that can lash out to reach all the way to Earth, where it’s electromagnetic energy is powerful enough to cause disruptions in the planet’s magnetic field called geomagnetic storms.

If you’d like to compare investigation results and solar activity and geomagnetic storms, NOAA offers Alerts, Watches, and Warnings. (I prefer the visual displays on the NOAA homepage.)

Then, the article continues with skeptical notes:

… it is also important to look at other natural explanations for why the weather might produce more reported paranormal activity. The most obvious one is that simply the spooky and rather ominous quality of storms… make for an atmosphere in which people more susceptible to perceiving perfectly mundane things for being supernatural.

I agree, especially if an investigator is new to paranormal research, or is feeling unusually stressed. “Dude, run!” moments can happen to anyone. It’s really embarrassing when the cause is debunked.

The following, one-minute video doesn’t claim to show a ghost, but the face-like image in the clouds is fun.

https://youtu.be/BwTOU8HAZX8

Finally, the storms article delves into the topic of infrasound, as well. It’s a topic worth considering, and something I check before any investigation.

Paranormal activity witnessed during storms may also be caused by phenomena other than the supernatural. The most obvious example would be ultra-low frequency sound waves, called infrasound.

But, ruling out the emotional impact of storms and infrasound, I’m very interested in any connections between thunderstorms, geomagnetic storms, solar flares, and surges in paranormal activity.

Also, has anyone noticed an increase in psychic activity (your own or others’) during extreme weather?

I’ll admit that – aside from dashing between the car and the investigation site, dodging rain, snow, or sleet – I’ve rarely paid much attention to the weather.

If you’ve experienced anything connecting paranormal activity and weather, I hope you’ll leave a comment to share your insights.

Source

Read the full article here – A Dark and Stormy Night: Does Weather Affect the Paranormal?

Notes on What Are Ghosts Made Of?

What are ghosts made of?What are ghosts made of, and why do ghost hunters notice EMF surges at active, haunted places?

That’s the topic of a June 2018 article at Higgypop, What Are Ghosts Made Of?

It’s an unusually good article, though I heartily disagree with some claims in it. (I’ve written a general review at my author blog, FionaBroome.com.)

But, certain parts of the Higgypop article are worth repeating for ghost hunters.

The first is how the Higgypop writer distinguishes intelligent (active, sentient) hauntings from residual energy hauntings:

There’s a belief within the paranormal world that some ghosts are intelligent and capable of interacting with their surroundings, and then there’s residual hauntings which are said to be merely events from the past being replayed.

Residual hauntings are thought to be an imprint of energy that has been left behind by someone who suffered a tragic, traumatic, premature death, usually a murder, suicide or execution.

I agree with most of that, but I don’t believe all residual energy hauntings connect directly with someone’s death. (Update: See Higgypop’s clarification in the comments, below.)

In the past, I’ve recommended singing “Happy birthday to you” in dining rooms and kitchens, to see whether anything happens. You could try “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” in front hallways, dining rooms, and immediately outside the front entry to an estate, too.

Neither of those have anything to do with death or even trauma. Both of those songs have triggered ghostly results at a surprising number of haunted sites.

The Higgypop article also shares an interesting insight related to residual energy hauntings:

The phenomenon is known as “stone tape theory” due to the belief that energy is captured and stored like a video recording in the surrounding bricks, woodwork, stone and possibly even the soil. When the conditions are right, these materials release this energy and you sense or see the event occur in exactly the same position as it did years ago.

But then, I disagree with the next part of that article:

As residual hauntings represent nothing more than a reflection of the past, you can’t communicate with them. The visions seen are not aware of their surroundings. They cannot interact with you and are not aware of your presence.

For me, “communication” means anything my team or I do, which results in a cause-and-effect reaction at the haunted site.

While residual energy hauntings don’t seem to interact with us as a sentient, “intelligent” ghost would, I believe that changes in the surroundings – an anniversary, a time of day, etc., as well as triggers used by  researchers – can create a cause-and-effect result.

Yes, maybe I’m delving too deeply into semantics.

Mostly, I don’t want new researchers to write off residual energy hauntings as something that are entirely hit-or-miss. Some of them are far more predictable than that. Triggers can work with residual energy hauntings.

Most of the next part of the article is good:

When it comes to intelligent hauntings it’s a little different. These types of hauntings are the classic “ghost”, they can reportedly move objects, push or touch people, slam doors and even throw objects across a room. So clearly when they manifest there is some kind of physical force behind them.

However, since some people seem to be able to move matter with their minds (psychokinesis), I balk at the idea that ghosts “clearly” have a physical force behind them.

Despite my ambivalence about some claims in this article, I agree with the conclusion:

Perhaps the truth is, it doesn’t really matter. While some ghost sightings can be written off as hoaxes, the majority of ghost sightings come from people who genuinely believe they have seen something supernatural. So whether ghosts are electromagnetic energy, a reflection of the past, or a trick of the mind, you can’t take the experience away from someone who has witnessed a ghost.

You can read the full higgypop article at:

https://www.higgypop.com/news/what-are-ghosts-made-of/

Also, I’m interested in your thoughts about these topics, especially as they relate to ghost hunting.

One Good Reason to Avoid Ghost Hunting

It happens far too often: Someone suffers a tragic loss. Someone they cared deeply about is gone.

One good reason to avoid ghost huntingThe person decides that, through ghost hunting, he (or she) might reconnect with the deceased.

I have never seen a positive outcome to that… not the kind that involves certain contact with the other (deceased) person, or full closure to their grief.

Worse, it puts the grieving person at risk. He (or she) may be so eager to communicate with the lost loved one, he becomes vulnerable to dark or malicious entities.

(Yes, some seem to masquerade as lost friends and benign entities.)

Or, she (or he) may be victimized by charlatans masquerading as ghost hunting professionals.

Online or in person, those sleazy people can steal the grieving person’s money, or even their identity.

In real life, they use the cover of darkness for unprofessional and criminal actions. (That’s especially true when the grieving person is female, and either a minor or in an unhappy marriage. Since about 2008, that problem has been rampant in ghost hunting.)

At the other extreme, when someone is involved in paranormal research with a single, self-serving goal, it’s easy for them to let down their team members.

For example, the person may wander off by his- or herself, thinking he saw something that reminded him of the person who died.

Then, the investigation has to be halted while everyone searches for the missing team member.  In many cases, that adds up to a frustrating, wasted research session.

(This is why I recommend a careful interview before accepting anyone new on a critical investigation. Be sure you know the person’s motivation for ghost research.)

Finally, ghost hunting may prevent the person from completing the grieving process. They won’t let go of the past. They’re still trying to hold onto the person who’s gone.

At almost every ghost hunting event I’ve attended, by late in the evening, I’ve found someone sobbing in a corner, absolutely distraught.

In every case, the person was still mourning for a lost loved one. And, during that event, she (or he) has realized that ghost hunting wasn’t going to bring that person back.

Grief and ghost hunting don’t mix.

My advice is: Cherish the memories. Allow yourself to grieve. Give yourself as much time as you need.  (I’ve always admired the Jewish tradition of “sitting shiva.” I think many of those traditions could help people of other faiths – including Atheists – as well.)

Seek professional counseling if you need it; don’t feel embarrassed to reach out to those who can help.

After that, if you’re still interested in ghost hunting – out of curiosity, or a spiritual or scientific interest – get involved.

Meanwhile, you put yourself at risk if you leap into ghost hunting with the goal of reconnecting with a lost loved one.

There are many great reasons to become a paranormal investigator and go on ghost hunts. Be honest with yourself – and your team mates – about why you’re there.

We need more bright, interested ghost researchers. I hope you are (or will be) one of them… but only when the time is right for you.

3 Easy Mistakes Beginners Make on Their First Ghost Hunt

Your first ghost hunt should be fun. It should be exciting. And, it should be something memorable (in a good way) so you’ll participate in future ghost hunts.

But, some mistakes are easy to make, and they can spoil your experience. Here are a few you can avoid.

3 easy ghost hunting mistakes1) Expecting it to be as exciting as what you see on TV

On TV, it can look like something weird happens every 15 minutes or so. In real life, I consider an investigation successful if we encounter one really interesting anomaly during any two- or three-hour visit.

2) Expecting drama, just like on TV

Sometimes, dramatic things do happen during a ghost investigation.

  • Someone sees an apparition, or captures a shadow person in a photo.
  • Or, you record some astonishing, clear EVP, even if it’s just one word.
  • Or, someone is touched by invisible hands or (rarely) hit, slapped, or scratched. (Note: It’s important to be sure that’s real, and not some joker in your group, taking advantage of the dark setting.)
  • Or… a door slams while you’re watching it, and no one is nearby, or an object flies across the room with no human contact, and so on.

During most paranormal investigations, the subtle things are the ones that seem the most disturbing… and sometimes very personal.

For me, the eeriest was hearing my mother’s voice – her distinct tone, accent, and phrasing – say a single line through a “Frank’s Box.” Just that once. And, the person with the box was on a balcony about 20 feet away from me, and had no way of knowing that my mother had died about three weeks before that.

If I hadn’t been listening closely, I would have missed what she said, which was directed at me, personally.

The rest of the investigation was merely average. A few odd noises. A few orb photos. Something that might have been EVP, or it might not.

But for me, that one, strange moment made it a successful investigation.

I’m glad someone else was using a Frank’s Box. I’m also glad I wasn’t focused on any ghost hunting tools. All I was doing was listening and observing, and that’s why I heard that faint, distant message.

Since Mum didn’t use my name, the researcher wouldn’t have known the voice was speaking to me.

It’s why I so often insist that people use their five (or six) senses, primarily, and rely less on ghost hunting equipment. (Yes, it could be argued that the voice came through a Frank’s Box. But without that device, in that quiet setting, I think my mother would have found some other way to communicate with me, if she needed to. For me, the key element was: I was listening to every sound.)

3) Investigating without a plan

I understand that some ghost researchers prefer not to know anything about the site – and its ghosts – ahead of time. They feel as if the investigation is more credible when they start with no expectations. Then, the power of suggestion cannot be a factor.

I prefer to research everything about the site, its ghosts, and their history. That way, I know exactly where I’ll get the best results, and I’ll have a list of possible triggers to use, to prompt paranormal activity.

No matter which approach you choose, it’s always good to have some kind of plan. Here are some suggestions.

  • Who will be with you, and transportation arrangements. (Also know the best route to the site, where to park, when the site is open/closed, any fees, etc.)
  • Who’s bringing what kind of skills and ghost hunting equipment. You can specialize in one area (ghost photos, EVP, temperature anomalies, and so on), so you have multiple confirmations of anomalies. Or, you can be sure to cover every possible kind of phenomena, and see if there’s a correlation between, say, EVP and EMF surges.
  • A Plan B, similar to what I suggest when you’re planning your Halloween investigations.

And… One mistake beginners make after their first ghost hunt

Whether it was a good experience or a bad one, too many beginners decide that their one ghost hunt was “all it is.”

I strongly recommend either going on a second (and third) ghost hunt, or revisiting the first site to debunk what you encounter (or confirming that the place really is haunted).

If your only previous experiences have been watching ghost hunting on TV, and hearing others talk about their investigations, you may be ill-prepared for what really happens at haunted sites.

From my experience at ghost hunting events, here’s what I see among many first-time ghost hunters:

  • 80% of first-time ghost hunters are looking for a “good scare.” (See my article about why a good scare is a bad idea.) If that’s their only interest, and they’re at actively haunted sites (or have vivid imaginations), there’s a good chance they’ll find the good scare they’re looking for.
  • 20% of first-time ghost hunters are looking for something specific. The majority are sincerely interested in this kind of research. They want to know if ghosts are real, and if some sites really are haunted. Or, they’ve encountered something odd in the past, and they think it was a ghost. So, they want to compare that with other known, “real” hauntings, and see if whatever-it-was really was a ghost.
  • Within that 20%, a small percent of first-time ghost hunters are driven by the need to confirm something about a loved one who’s passed. That’s a topic for another article, but – for now – I can say that most don’t find the answers they’re looking for. The best, usual outcome is the realization that something continues after death. And, for a one-time experience on a single ghost investigation… maybe that’s all they needed.

Whatever your reason for giving ghost hunting a test-drive, I hope you’ll have an interesting time (if not a fun one), and become a serious researcher. We need more serious researchers, and more consistent results, to gain a better understanding of this strange – and sometimes baffling – field.

Why You Should Stop Looking for a “Good Scare”

Many people start ghost hunting for fun. They’re looking for a “good scare.”

In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with that. Not on its own.

Ghost hunting - stop looking for a good scare."Of course, if drinking or drugs are involved, it’s risky to visit haunted places. That’s not just about ghost hunting dangers. A bigger concern may be the police who closely watch “haunted” sites and arrest trespassers.

In fact, many people who thought ghost hunting was a one-time “just for fun” adventure, later become serious researchers.

Looking back, I’d guess that at least 30% of my team members and close associates had a “good scare” story from the past. And, in every case, that’s what sparked their long-term interest in paranormal research.

So, why should anyone stop looking for a “good scare”?

In many cases, maybe they shouldn’t. I’m not sure, and it’s probably a very individual decision.

Today, my warning is about the adrenaline rush and possible addiction. In ghost hunting, it can lead to danger.

A Typical First-Time “Good Scare” Ghost Hunt

Let’s say that Joe and his friends visit a famous haunted cemetery (or a battlefield, an abandoned hospital, or a deserted house).

Maybe they’re just bored, looking for a thrill.

They wander around the site, griping about stupid ghost stories, stupid ghost hunters, and how this visit is a waste of time.

That’s when they encounter something odd.

And, on closer investigation, they realize it’s truly scary.

They run, nearly falling over each other, back to the car.

“Holy crap,” one of them says. “What the heck was that thing?”

“I dunno,” another replies. “I wish we’d never gone there.”

“Me, too,” a third agrees. “Let’s get out of here. Now.”

Eventually, they go home. And, for a few days, each promises himself he’ll never joke about haunted places again.

And Then, the Scare Wears Off

Some time later, Joe decides he was just imagining things. Or maybe he realizes how alive he felt, in that moment of terror.

He decides to revisit the site – his own or with his friends – to see how it looks, now.

One of four things result:

  1. Nothing happens. Joe is disappointed.
  2. The same thing happens, but Joe debunks it.
  3. The same thing happens, but Joe isn’t so scared, this time.
  4. Something bigger and scarier happens, and – once again – Joe experiences that intense adrenaline rush.

If nothing happens, Joe may shrug and laugh about how scared he was. In time, he may forget the whole thing.

If it’s 2 (Joe debunks it) or 3 (Joe isn’t so scared), he may decide he’s kind of interested in this. He learns more about ghost hunting, goes on a few ghost hunts, and becomes a serious researcher.

Joe, frightened - a good scare or not?If something bigger & scarier happens (point 4), Joe may quit going to haunted places. He figures he’s learned his lesson.

Or, he might decide he likes that “good scare,” and go looking for bigger and better scares.

That’s when he’s at risk.

Sure, maybe he tells himself he’s ghost hunting, or looking for UFOs, or something else.

But, what he’s really doing is looking for another adrenaline rush.

It can become an addiction, as Joe looks for progressively more terrifying encounters.

That’s the Danger

If Joe doesn’t understand the real risks – physical, emotional, and spiritual – at haunted places, he’s a danger to himself.

Physical risks include stumbling or falling because he’s not watching where he’s going, or he’s ignored warnings about uneven footing, weak floorboards, etc.

Or, eagerly pursuing “a good scare,” he might forget to put on his respiratory mask at a site with deadly mold or rodent droppings.

Emotional and spiritual risks include being tricked or attacked by a malicious entity.

demonic face - provoking demons is never a "GOOD scare"If Joe is on your ghost hunting team, he could provoke spirits best left sleeping. (Joe might do this deliberately, or without thinking about it.)

Or, he might recommend a site that’s truly dangerous, thinking everyone is on the same page.

What to Do

If you’re Joe, pause and think about your ghost hunting goals, as well as clear warning signs that it’s time to stop. Put them in writing. Tell a trusted friend (or team member) what they are.

Consider going to scary movies – the bigger the movie screen, the better – for a safer “good scare.”

If Joe might be on your ghost hunting team, sit down with your members. As a group, discuss each person’s goals and limits (time, money, travel distances, fear/boredom levels) in paranormal research. Find out which kinds of sites (or hauntings) intrigue them, and what they’d rather avoid.

When everyone knows more about fellow team members, they can support each other’s goals. Your research results may improve.

And, if anyone is searching for increasing “adrenaline high” moments, you can follow-up with a private conversation about potential risks.

A “good scare” can be a fine foundation for future serious, paranormal research. Many ghost hunters started that way.

The only time it’s a danger is when the person doesn’t realize he (or she) is seeking a thrill, and deliberately looking for an increasingly terrifying experience.

Know the difference, for yourself and your team members.