Psychics – Why Do We See What We See?

calendarWhy do psychics see what they see? That’s (mostly) a rhetorical question.

For a long time, I’ve wondered why we “see” things about ghosts when the ghosts seem to reject our help. Most seem to want us to roll back the clock, and we can’t do that. It’s frustrating. It’s why — in recent years — my focus has been on more tangible evidence related to hauntings: documented history, readings on measurement devices, and so on.

This week, the other side of that issue was on my mind. (No pun intended.)

I wondered why so many of us see the future, as well.  It seems equally pointless.

Almost exactly five years ago, I visited Gavin Cromwell at home. He was living in the United States at the time. On that day, he stumbled out from his bedroom, clearly under lingering effects of the medication he’d taken for an illness. So, I’m not sure he’ll remember the conversation we had.

On that day five years ago, he was distraught. He talked about a ferry that was going to capsize. He thought it was in Asia, and he was sure hundreds of young people were on board and would be lost. He described them traveling from the mainland to a small island, not vice versa. He talked about the ship turning onto its side for no apparent reason, and doing so, quickly. Gavin also mentioned the crew telling the young people to stay where they were because moving around could be unsafe. (At the time, I thought he’d borrowed that from a dramatization about the Titanic.)

Gavin kept asking why he was seeing something like that when he couldn’t do anything to prevent it. He asked me if I knew a way to prevent it, but I wasn’t picking up on that event at all. I had no answers.

Now, as the recent (April 2014) South Korean ferry disaster unfolds, every detail echoes exactly what Gavin said five years ago.  Not just what I listed, above, but far more details, as well.

The problem is: That information wasn’t specific enough to be helpful. Gavin “saw” more than most psychics (including me) might have sensed, but not enough to say, “In five years, on such-and-such a date, a South Korean ferry carrying hundreds of students, en route Jeju, will be involved in a disaster.”

The vision upset Gavin… a lot. He was extremely emotional about it, and almost frantic to prevent the tragedy.

But, even with as many details as he “saw,” there was nothing anyone could do. He didn’t have a specific date or location.

If he recalls that prediction — and I’m not sure that he would, since he was taking medication and was barely awake when he conveyed that vision — I’m sure it would upset him to see that it really happened.

What I’m pondering today is why psychics see what they do. It’s rare that we can help spirits. It’s unnecessarily traumatizing to see a tragedy that can’t be prevented.

What’s the point of that kind of “gift”?

Rhetorical question, sort of. I’m not sure anyone can answer this.

But, as I watch details emerge in the South Korean ferry story, I can’t help recalling the accuracy of Gavin’s prediction and wondering why psychics “see” things like that.

Quantum Memory – Here and Not Here

binary code goes quantumThe headline is, Quantum memory ‘world record’ smashed. At first glance, that may seem interesting but not apply to paranormal research.

Think deeper.

Here’s the line that made me pay closer attention to this report:

But in a quantum system, “qubits” are stored in a so-called “superposition state” in which they can be both 1s and 0 at the same time – enabling them to perform multiple calculations simultaneously. (Emphasis added.)

When we’re ghost hunting, psychics (and others) often talk about ghosts being “here and not here.”  It’s how some people perceive the energy we often call ghostly.  It’s there, sort of… but it’s also not really there.  Trying to explain that can be challenging.

(We also talk about faeries in the “betweens” and the early Irish described the Tuatha De Danann as “gods and not gods.” All of them might reference the superposition state of entities that are both in our world and not in it.)

But, this quantum computing breakthrough — at room temperature — may apply to other aspects of ghost hunting, and other branches of paranormal research.

It could explain why one researcher held the Ovilus at the Salem Inn (in 2009) and nothing much happened.

About 30 minutes alter, when he handed that Ovilus to me, it immediately started chatting.

This could explain why some researchers photograph orbs, note EMF spikes, or hear (or see) things while others at the same location (at the same time), don’t.

The fact that the quantum concept involves memory… Well, though we’re talking about different kinds of “memory,” this might eventually apply to residual energy hauntings. What if that energy doesn’t dissipate within the context our our world? Maybe what we perceive is the gradual (and sometimes intentional) movement of that energy from “here to there,” wherever “there” is, in another world or reality.

That’s going far out on a limb. The semantics of this report triggered that “what if” thought.

Of course, while this is fun to think about, it’s also highly speculative. We’re a long way from being able to demonstrate any answers like this, consistently, though that is a goal.

One of the big questions has been the role of the observer, and how to insulate investigations so the observer factor can be studied.  Until now, quantum reports were encouraging, but not this dramatic.

You see, I’m pretty sure the 39 minutes in this test had to be observed.  As I see it, that’s the only way results can be recorded.  (It’s that old, “if a tree falls in the forest and no one’s there…” challenge.)

To take the superposition state from just three minutes (and in cryogenic conditions) to 39 minutes at room temperature… that’s an amazing leap.

This breakthrough also opens the door to think about paranormal encounters in fresh — and surprisingly possible — contexts.

Photo credit: Binary illustration by Flavio Takemoto.

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)


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.