Tuesday, 25 May 2010

An excuse to dress up

It has been reported that wearing period costume in the appropriate period building or location can actually increase paranormal activity. How true this is I do not know, but what a marvellous excuse for a good dress up!

Just imagine it. A whole team of paranormal investigators all dressed as, lets say, 17th century characters parading around a building in the dead of night. I don't know whether it would increase activity. I do know it would increase the spectacle and the theatre of it all.

This may all sound flippant, but there is a serious purpose behind me mentioning this. It seems that during airshows that feature period aircraft such as those from WW11, the aircrew and ground crew dress up in period outfit to add to the authenticity. This has been reported to trigger happenings in lonely hangars late at night when watching over the aircraft. I suppose the resident spirits would feel more secure and at home seeing the living dressed in appropriate attire from their period.

I have never been one to dress up in a uniform you are not entitled to wear. Don't wear the gear if you haven't done the service. I feel it is in some way disrespectful. If there is a legitimate excuse as at the airshows then I feel this is fine. Similarly, as a one-off investigation at an appropriate old airfield, maybe it could prove a useful tool to bring out the shy spirits.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

A Good Piece of Advice.

I have had someone mention something to me on a forum, and I have to admit it is something that has never crossed my mind. If you are planning a ghost hunt somewhere, and it isn't one of the "done to death" places on the normal ghost hunt tour circuit, it would be advisable if you told the local police about your forthcoming activities.

If you see a property that is all in darkness but you can see the odd flash from a torch appearing inside one of the rooms, the first thing that springs to mind is burglars, NOT ghost hunters. Try and make any neighbours and the local bobbies aware of what you have planned. It would be best if you weren't descended on by sirens and flashing lights! It can spoil the ambience when some burly policemen is banging on the door shouting "come out - I know you are in there. We have the place surrounded".

Makes sense to me anyway - and no, this article is not written from personal experience!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Benefit of the doubt

I am a self confessed sceptic. This is the online dictionary definition of a sceptic "a person who habitually doubts the authenticity of accepted beliefs".
Note a very important word in there. The word DOUBTS.
Most sceptic posts that I read are nothing of the kind. They are saying quite clearly that ghosts and the paranormal do not exist, and they seem to see anyone who could have an interest in such things as either delusionalists or idiots. I hope to think that I am neither of these things, but I am still struggling to find an answer to the phenomenon of the ghost. This (in my thoughts anyway) makes me a sceptic.

It does seem to be that SOMETHING is going on. Surely to goodness all the millions of things that have happened to people of a paranormal nature can't purely be written off as delusion or hallucination - or even worse, pure lies?

They also seem to mock anyone who believes in the existence of UFO's, but many people say have seen them. Amongst the reported stories are many commercial and RAF pilots who even wrote these encounters in their flight logs. The UFO phenomenon seemed real enough for the RAF to have a dedicated team investigating these things. So, who do I trust the most. Some guy writing a blog or the RAF?

The whole concept of those two huge words "truth" and "proof" are by their very nature flawed. Science is endlessly rewriting the book and totally rejecting what was once taken as established fact. We can still only take an educated guess as to how pigeons can navigate back home over hundreds of miles. The established logic is that they can see the lines of the earths magnetic field and can navigate home via these invisible highways. I can't do that. So does that mean that because I can neither see, experience or measure it that it must be garbage?

All I ask is that people nail their colours to the mast and say what they are. If they are a sceptic then BE a sceptic. If they are total non-believers and won't be swayed in their arguments then say so. The latter are not sceptics.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Ghost Hunting Toys

I am a bloke therefore I like gadgets - there, i've said it!
After seeing those two on Ghost Hunters using a K-ll meter I was intrigued. Mine has turned up in the post today, so no doubt I will be asking questions to thin air again tonight to see if I can get its pretty lights to twinkle like they do on the TV programme.
Flippancy aside, it is another tool in the armoury. I have the night vision scope and IR torch, so I am all set for stumbling around in the dark. I also have the standard stuff such as the digital voice recorders, laser thermometer, digital cameras, intruder alarms thingies etc - I even have a Franks Box (as previously discussed on here).
When I have saved my hard-earned pennies a little more I may invest in a night vision digital video camera. If I get a real rush of blood to my head I might even get one of those infra-red video cameras, but they cost an absolute fortune. I think that last item will remain a pipe dream. I am only a happy amateur after all.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Shadows of the past

As it was a quiet sunday I passed the time by watching a little TV. I sat through a documentary about the Somme. As always happens any time I watch anything to do with WW1 I immediately think of my grandad. He was the single biggest influence on my life and the way I think today. He was also my living hero and someone I still feel privileged to have known.

He managed to survive the living hell of the Flanders battlefields for almost three years before being wounded by a mortar shell. After all his experiences and the horrors he encountered, he came through it all not only sane, but one of the gentlest and loving men I have ever met.

It was whilst watching the flickering, black and white film clips taken at the time I realised something so very obvious but something I had never really thought about before. These happy, virile young men gallantly waving their hats in the air for the cameras were all now dead and part of history. The very nature of cinematic photography had created something not only poignant but it had also created a type of ghost. The dead are replaying a vivid and powerful time in their lives over and over again. Oh I know they aren't really ghosts in the strict sense of the word and that film is merely a recording medium, but the feelings it can evoke at certain times can almost be as powerful as the real thing.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

A Telephone Line to the Dead?

After doing a little research online I recently purchased a new piece of equipment. Originally invented by Frank Sumption, it is a Franks Box. Well in actuality it isn't. It works in a similar manner, but a Franks Box (I believe) is a trademark, so everyone now seems to call them a Ghost Box. How it works is quite simple. It is a radio that has autotune but never actually settles on a channel. It sweeps the A.M. band constantly. A little like if you constantly turned the tuner knob slowly backwards and forwards. The idea behind it is that you ask questions and snippets of conversations come back out of the speaker that are supposed to be spirits communicating with you.

Being the open-minded person that I am I thought I had at least better test one of these things before coming to any conclusion, so I bought one off Ebay quite cheaply. Consequently I sat down on a quiet evening when I had the house to myself and prepared myself to "have a conversation with the other side". I have to admit that some of the snippets it came back with after I had asked a question ranged from total jibberish to the coherant. One question I asked was "how is the best way to contact relatives who have passed over" and it answered by telling me to buy the greatest hits of Johnny Cash. Another question I asked was "Is anyone in the room with me right now", to which it answered "well of course" - that sort of made me raise my eyebrows.

After playing with the new toy for about fifteen minutes I found myself getting a headache with the constant channel tuning. It really can become most annoying. If I had to be honest I found it to be less than 20% coherant in its answers, the rest of the time it was just total nonsense. Just to give balance I found my copy of the Collected Works of Sherlock Holmes (yes I am a Conan Doyle fan) and asked the same questions and opened the book with my eyes closed and pointed to a place on the page with my finger. The coherancy of the answers were actually slightly higher, at around 30% - but yet again a degree of interpretation came to bear. It was a little like someone answering you in riddles.

My conclusion is that the Ghost Box and a copy of a big thick book will both give random answers as long as you are willing to use a little imagination, but the ghost box throws out more random junk because of the nature of radio advertising. My thoughts are that the box is an amusing parlour game but not to be taken seriously. It is merely a random phrase generator.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

What's in a name?

It seems to be a popular thing for anyone with a resident spectre, spook or spirit to give it a name. I am no different. I have christened mine George. I know he is male because I have heard his voice on two different occasions (and no - I don't hear voices!). Both times no one else was in the house and no one was outside. Both times I did a complete house search, and both times the voice was as clear as if in the next room. An odd anomaly, and I have no proof (of course) that it was a ghost.

I wonder what the most popular names for resident ghosts are? - has anyone taken a poll or done a study?. I wonder if the most popular names change between here (the UK) and America?

If you have any thoughts on this then please leave a message.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Lost in translation

I often wonder when watching paranormal programmes how the resident medium manages to cope when the spirit they are conversing with is from a completely different time frame. The dialect they speak in the 1300's would be pretty much unintelligible to the modern ear and vice versa. Also, I often wonder what happens when the spirit they are in contact with doesn't speak any English at all. It's all very confusing!

Maybe there is no need for the mundanity of words in the after-life. Maybe all communication is done with feelings and pictures and the medium merely transcribes these into modern language for us.

As you can probably tell by most of the writings in my blog, I am still on the journey of making my mind up as to what is true and exists (to me anyway) and what I see as utter garbage. TV programme mediums are no different. I still have to make up my mind. To use Arthur Conan Doyle's words in the Sherlock Holmes stories "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth" - and isn't THAT accurate?

That's the problem with the paranormal, it's a little bit like quantum physics. Everything we are dealing with is so vast that the truth is merely an evolving theory, because our minds can only encompass so much in one byte. Every year we come to accept something that was once soundly trashed as total nonsense. Science and the paranormal seem to make very uncomfortable bedfellows, yet they have so many things in common.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Ghost clearances

Are there some special powers that some mediums/clairvoyants etc possess?. I am talking about those clearances that these people perform in allegedly haunted locations. I have seen a few different approaches on those TV programmes taken during this "service" that they perform for distressed property owners.
I have seen them announce that the malevolent spirit is a violent and evil character and something of a tough cookie, only for him/her to "walk into the portal of light" as gently as a little lamb. I saw one particular TV programme last night where one of the clairvoyants actually claimed to be leading the spirit outside by holding his arm. It didn't show what she did when the hapless spirit was outside. She probably just told him to "get lost and don't come back".

The point I am trying to make is whether the clearances have a physical effect in actually ridding a property of spirits, or are they actually just having a placebo effect on the property owners. If you THINK your house is haunted then every creak and bump is paranormal. If someone has assured you that your house IS NOT haunted then you dismiss the same creaks and bangs and put any actual anomalous sightings down to imagination.
Maybe I am being over-cynical (as usual). I have no idea. Maybe I only saw edited highlights of these clearances and loads more stuff went on beforehand. Maybe the constant pounding of more and more paranormal TV programmes is de-sensitising me a little. All I can think is that if a spirit really is a nasty piece of work then he/she wouldn't give up without a bit more of a fight - surely?
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