Facebook Changes… and more

After some thought, I’ve deleted my personal Facebook account. I’ve barely used it since around 2014. Maybe earlier.

(One of my publishers runs the Fiona Broome Facebook fan page. That will remain, and I will post there, occasionally.)

Here’s the short version…

The world has changed. The pace of daily life has changed, and so has the nature of the Internet.

As of 2017 (and perhaps earlier), social media and websites might not be my best way to share theories and research.

So, I’m reducing the time I spend, online. That means deleting some accounts, consolidating websites, and so on.

Leaving Facebook was just one of several changes ahead.

Here’s the full story…

Things changed over a year ago, when my Mandela Effect theories (and website) went viral. Suddenly, I was in the spotlight.

That made me uncomfortable.

For me, the work has always been about the research. I’ve never wanted to be famous.

Oh, I want my work to be well-known. (I think every researcher feels that way.)  And, I want people to know my part in developing useful theories.

But fame…? No, thanks. I like my privacy. It’s why I’ve turned down offers from one TV producer after another, for over a decade.

I’m not sure when I finally said, “This isn’t as much fun as I had in mind.”

Facebook was involved. As the ghost hunting audience shrunk in size, bickering started among friends for whom fame was important.

(I’m sympathetic. Those who depended on TV success needed to maintain their popularity. It was about supporting their families, as much as anything. Some were successful. Some weren’t.)

Add the online political frenzy of 2016 & 2017, and I found all kinds of excuses not to visit Facebook.

But it wasn’t just Facebook. My Mandela Effect site was part of the problem.

The decline of fun

First, there were odd messages, suggesting that I should close comments, at least for a while. (I didn’t need much urging. The comments had reached deluge level, and I needed a break, anyway.)

A bigger turning point was when the Mandela Effect concept came under attack. (I don’t mean the DDoS attacks. They were merely annoying.)

After that, I’m not sure if people misinterpreted what I said, or if that was deliberate. (Meaning: trolls.) Either way, it was frustrating for my readers — and for me — to bear the brunt of scathing criticism and ridicule.

It’s why I never joined the Mandela Effect discussions at Reddit.

Early in 2017, those attacks became personal. I’ve been accused of all kinds of bizarre things, across a variety of media.

(They’d be laughable to people who know me in real life. Especially the idea that I’m racist. Or that I’m creating “fake news” for political reasons. Or… well, the list goes on & on. None of it makes much sense, so I shrug it off. But then I ask myself, “Why subject yourself to this nonsense?”)

So, I’m bowing out of Facebook. That’s not because of the insults.

It’s about the spotlight.

(Really, if I was interested in fame, I’d have taken it — with a nice paycheck — when I was offered my own TV series in 2004, and again in 2005, and in 2006, and so on.)

Merging websites

I’m also merging some of my websites. I’d created them — and then spun-off several others — between 1999 and 2014.

Back then, navigating a single, 600+ article website seemed too daunting. I had to split up sites like Hollow Hill.

Today, WordPress comes with shiny new navigational tools. So, running a bazillion little websites isn’t necessary. I can merge several of them.

(I’ll keep the domain names, and redirect them to the respective sections of larger websites.)

Meanwhile, I was going to expand my Mandela Effect theories into a new site, bordering on sci-fi, for fun. Right now, that’s “on hold,” for obvious reasons.

Book news

I am planning to write more books.  At least one will describe what I’ve observed from behind the scenes at MandelaEffect.com. It’s been fascinating.

(Note: I’ll write more books after major overhauls of my existing ones. Trying to juggle books + the Mandela Effect site + lots & lots of emails… I haven’t been happy with the quality of my recent books. They’re due for some serious editing. That’s one of my big projects for the rest of 2017.)

Now, for someone like me, books make more sense than websites.

Where websites fail

In 1999, when I left GeoCities and launched HollowHill.com (my first paranormal website), people would spend hours reading one article after another. Usually, they seemed to read them in sequence, or at least figure out where the conversations started.

Their comments and questions made sense. Often, they prompted me to write new articles on those topics. It was fun.

Today, people are more likely to land on an article that’s in the middle of a series. They’re looking for specific information.

Most visitors read the article they landed on, and maybe half of another one.

Then they ask me questions — in comments or email — that were answered in other articles at the same website.

It’s not that my visitors are stupid. They’re not.

Mostly, they’re busy.

Today, sequential website articles aren’t the best way to share my research, adventures, and discoveries. They’re too easily taken out-of-context.

Note: This isn’t my own realization. It’s eloquently explained in a Kindle book called, Kill Your Blog. (Yes, that’s a harsh title, and the author’s pen name is regrettable. But, his logic and advice are sound.)

So, I’m changing how I manage my time, and how much I’m online.

Leaving Facebook is the first of several steps in this process. It wasn’t as easy choice, because I love my friends, fans, and fellow researchers.

But, it’s like knowing when to leave Disney World for the day, when my kids were little. I’d try to leave while everyone was still happy, and would look back on the day with happy memories.

This is the right time for me to leave Facebook. And, it’s the right time to make other changes.

Stay tuned for updates. I’ll share them here.

Please, Ignore the Trolls

a very tired woman at her deskI’m posting this in multiple places, because it’s just too ridiculous. And, I’m dealing with a deluge of concerned emails that are so very sad.

Oh, I’m tremendously grateful to have so many friends, fans, and supporters.

But… trolls are creating controversy where there shouldn’t be any. Worse, they’re taking up your time and mine. Trolls deserve neither.

Here’s what I posted at Facebook (at my fan page), and I’ll probably post it — or a variation of it — at the Mandela Effect website, as well:

This is getting silly. The Mandela Effect is science, opinions, and (perhaps fanciful) speculation. It was intended to be a fun topic of discussion.
 
It’s not magic, nothing spiritual, and my site was never intended as a disinformation site.
 
It’s okay to call it “sci-fi.” If you don’t share any of the memories at that site, it’s fine to think we’re making it up. (Generally, I don’t think we are, but I’m willing to be wrong.)
 
My initial plan was to see if anyone else recalled Nelson Mandela’s funeral in the very late 1980s (or so). I’d met a few others who remembered it (or thought they did), and it seemed like an interesting & quirky topic for a book. Or at least some fascinating conversations.
 
I had no other agenda, then or now. From the very beginning, the site was mostly a hobby for me. But, it may yet become a book.
 
I’m still thinking about it, but have too many other projects to focus on, at the moment. Like redesigning Hollow Hill. Editing & updating my ghost hunting books. Reading lots & lots of emails. And so on.
 
At MandelaEffect.com, might people have left fake comments…?
 
Yes, but I have no idea how likely that is. Since MandelaEffect.com started in 2011, and didn’t attract much attention for years, I trust the earliest reports & comments.
 
Later ones, especially after the Berenstain/Berenstein Bears issue attracted a tidal wave of attention…? Not so much. I’m pretty sure some comments were left to see how gullible I might be.
 
Bad news for them: I’m skeptical of almost everything. The more I research “haunted” sites and find very normal explanations, the more I raise an eyebrow at anything too “out there.”
In general, I default to science, but I also listen to the context of what people tell me.
I believe people’s paranormal experiences are real. I don’t think they’re “just making it up.”
I’m less certain of how we label and categorize those experiences. That’s where context comes in. And history. And science.
 
I study everything for normal explanations and easy-to-mistake glitches. I always want to rule them out, first, especially when people are frightened.
 
But, I DO recall the 20th century funeral of Nelson Mandela. Several of my real-life (and very credible) friends still insist they saw Billy Graham’s 20th century funeral, as well. And then there’s the Berenstein Bears issue, which speaks for itself.
 
My own, very personal answers tend to focus on quantum studies and parallel realities influencing (or intersecting with) our own.
 
Trying to portray my research as anything other than curiosity (albeit quirky) is laughable.
 
I appreciate the emails about how I’m being portrayed, but please, ignore the trolls who want to stir up controversy. They’re playing silly games. If you don’t play along by choosing a “side” in their arguments, they’ll find something else to do.
 
And, I’ll have fewer emails to read, and more time for interesting projects. Like finally updating the “alternate memories” list at the Mandela Effect site.

Ghost Hunting Isn’t Over – 2016 Rebound

I study ghost hunting trends, just as I study patterns in paranormal research. And, the current ghost hunting trends look better than you might expect.

But, before I get into that topic, maybe I should explain a few things.

You probably know that my thoughts can seem like a weird mix of “what if…?” speculation, and hard facts.

Sure, I believe in things we can’t yet explain. That includes ghosts. But, I also study trends and patterns in every aspect of what I do.

Nobody was happy when, in 2010 (and earlier, but more quietly), I said that the ghost hunting fad was in a decline. It had been faltering since around 2004.

(Okay, a few rabid, skeptical critics were thrilled by the prospective demise of ghost hunting. They missed my real point, but I’m okay with that.)

This weekend, examining the trends and stats of October 2016, I’ve seen something interesting.

Not quite the demise of ghost hunting

Take a look at the following graph. It shows the popularity of Google searches for the phrase “ghost hunting,” from January 2004 to Halloween 2016. (The blue line and grey horizontal bars are from the original. Everything else — the orange dots and black arrows, for example — are mine.)

2004 - 2016 ghost hunting trends
“Ghost hunting” search popularity – a graph courtesy Google Trends

As you can see, the most recent popularity of ghost hunting peaked in 2004. That’s not news.

The subject has been in a decline for years.

Look at the dots

The orange dots mark each October’s search figures. They’re most of what I look at. I see where the peaks are.

Of course, around Halloween, I expect that my website traffic will trend upward, and my book sales will surge.

That’s when I study the trends, to be sure I understand readers’ interests. And, to be certain I’m staying current, I track my numbers against others in the field.

Every October, if my books sell at least as well as other long-time ghost hunters (like “Ghost Hunters” star, Jason Hawes), I figure I’m doing okay.

(Sorry, Jas, but you know I’m always honest. And often tactless. But there it is.)

However, like Jason (and others), I built my first ghost-related website around 1998 (maybe earlier). It was kind of a hobby site, to start with.

And, like the Jason and the TAPS team and other “old-timers,” I’ve never been involved in paranormal research because it was trendy. I do this because I have a passion for it.

But, well, bills must be paid. I need to adjust my priorities and shift my focus so my income continues.

So, I study the trends. In the field of paranormal research, I can share a lot of insights. It’s just a matter of understanding what people want to know, so I prioritize to meet their needs.

Where I get my numbers

To track my readers’ interests, I use a variety of tools, and Google Trends is one of them. That’s what you’re seeing in the graph, above. The line from 2009 to 2014 made clear: during those years, the interest in ghost hunting was fading.

In fact, if you look at the general trend from 2004 to 2014… well, it didn’t look good.

It’s no surprise that ghost hunting TV shows have been cancelled. Ghost hunting websites are vanishing from the Internet, as teams close their doors.

To be honest, my October 2016 website traffic (for EncounterGhosts.com) was 50% higher than it had been in September. I’m pleased to see that kind of traffic.

But book sales…? Not so great. So, I need to make some changes there.

Why I’m optimistic, anyway

Here’s what I’m excited about, the day before Halloween 2016:

Halloween pumpkinComparing ghost hunting searches between October 2014 and October 2015, the line went up.

It’s only a slight increase in interest — you can barely see it — but it’s still an increase.

For those of us who earn a living from work related to ghost hunting, that’s a good thing.

The portion of the Google Trends graph that really excites me is the trend between October 2015 and throughout 2016.

It’s the first year-long “ghost hunting” uptrend I’ve seen in some time.

(Yes, this October’s Halloween-specific search figures are down. I see that. What I’m looking at are the long-term trends… what interests people the rest of the year. And, when it comes to ghost hunting, those numbers are trending up. For the first time in several years.)

I’m not entirely sure what it means, but I have some ideas that I’m exploring, right now.

Of course, the field is changing. That’s a given. It’s normal.

But, over the past few months, I’ve seen some dramatic shifts in interests, related to ghost hunting.

Things are changing in interesting ways

A lot of my friends and fans are still as enthusiastic as ever. I’m grateful for that. (Thank you!)

Many (most?) of the really dramatic shifts are coming from new people in this field. They’re asking really different questions.

(That’s why I stopped selling my 2014 “101 Ghost Hunting Questions, Answered” book, and started posting its contents — free — as articles at Ghosts101.com. All of the articles will be at that website by mid-December 2016.)

For me, this is energizing. (Right now, I have six tabs open on my browser, as I compare results from various research & trend-related sites I use.)

I know that a lot of people left ghost hunting (professionally, at least) when the in-fighting and exploitation (online, on TV, and in podcasts) became too tawdry and upsetting.

I sat it out, myself. I had no problem being a wallflower during that particular dance. (Growing up geek-y, I’m used to it. <– I’m saying that with a smile.)

But now, the tide hasn’t just turned… the tide is coming in again. And, the long-term search trends at Google prove it.

So, if you thought ghost hunting was taking its last virtual gasp, think again.

Are you making the most of what’s changing?

silly ghost costumeWe can’t do ghost hunting the same way we did back in 2004, or even in 2014.

Well, I suppose some can, and probably will.

Me…? I’m not interested in reliving the “good old days.” The memories are great, but the future beckons.

If you’re involved in ghost hunting — especially as a professional — take a good look at what’s happening.

This is more than just exciting. It’s exhilarating.

Happy Halloween (and happy Samhain, if you celebrate it)!

2017 is going to be a good, fun year for ghost hunting. I’m getting ready for it, right now. There will be changes, and some of them will be abrupt.

For me, the time between Halloween and early February are my “rest, review, and plan” months. I see where I’ve been, what’s working (and isn’t), and what changes I’ll make in the upcoming year.

What are your thoughts? I’m interested. Leave a comment, below.

EMF, Tinnitus, and Doors

If you’ve followed my ghost hunting theories, you know that I’ve annoyed a lot of people by insisting that some (or even all) EMF surges aren’t actually ghosts.

Oh, I still believe in ghosts. I have no doubt that something odd is going on at haunted places, and — at many of those sites — the answer really is ghosts.

However, I think those EMF surges are actually electromagnetic leaking into our world, or otherwise signalling when the “veil between the worlds” (whatever you want to call it) is opening.

Remember the old TV series, Quantum Leap? Do you recall the door (or really big window) that appeared when Al was about to make an entrance or departure?

I think it’s something like that, but we can’t actually see it. We can measure it with EMF devices, and maybe with tinnitus. (Maybe. The latter needs far more testing.)

I’ve been describing my EMF/haunted places theory for years. Almost every time I do, I’m met with stony silence. If people hadn’t been so polite, I’m pretty sure they’d have declared, “Heresy!”

(Yes, I’m joking. However, my EMF theories — which may include orbs, as well — were not well received.)

Fast-forward to late November 2015…

Heading into 2016, I’m about to expand that concept, big time. It’s an evolution based on one of my conversations with Mike H. at the Mandela Effect site.

And, I think this is very cool.

As I see it, one of my most “out there” theories might have far wider implications than I’d realized.

This is going to be very, very fun.

Sidereal Time and Paranormal Research

old-fashioned clockLately, I’ve talked a lot about sidereal time, and the edge it can give us in paranormal research.

A few people have paused and raised an eyebrow. They wanted to know what I was talking about.

Since those were real-life conversations and I didn’t have the key information at hand, I promised to post it online… so, here it is.

Basically, a quirky (but impressive) study has shown that sidereal time may affect anomalous cognitions — aka: the accuracy of psychics and mediums.

The abstract and summary at Association Trans Communication explains:

“The essence of the article we are referring to is that scientists have found a direct correlation between the sidereal time of day and success in psychic ability experiments.”

David Wilcock has talked about this, and published his own paper at Scribd, in which he “shows you how to find your local sideral time, so you can meditate at 13:30 LST to increase your psychic abilities by 400%.” [sic]

Can’t access Scribd? You’ll find nearly identical information at this Project Avalon link.

In one of Wilcock’s audio blogs, he explained:

Sidereal time is the time that it takes the Earth to orbit once, relative to the center of the galaxy, rather than to the Sun.

Basically, the peak time is 1:30 PM, Local Sidereal Time. That’s not necessarily 1:30 PM, where you are, and it’s not a time you can calculate in your head, based on GMT or anything like that.

To make the most of peak psychic sensitivity, today, use LST software to calculate the exact time for today. (Tomorrow, it’ll be about four minutes earlier, and it’ll be earlier again the next day, and so on.)

For accuracy, you’ll probably use the longitude of the nearest city that’s in your time zone.

Here are some links that will tell you the Local Sidereal Time where you are:

The actual window — with ~400% better psychic accuracy — about 15 minutes before 1:30 PM, Local Sidereal Time, and continues until about 15 minutes after that time.

So, how do we use this in ghost hunting and paranormal research? We schedule our psychic investigations for times that will include the 30-or-so minutes when psychic receptivity may be highest… around 13:30 LST.

Of course, most of us investigate haunts all year ’round. But, as an example, let’s look ahead to Halloween 2016.

For Halloween/Samhain (31 Oct 2016), if you’re in the same time zone as New York City, you’ll want to start your investigation no later than 10:15 AM, since 13:30 LST will be at 10:44 AM. In fact, to give everyone time to be where they’re supposed to be, with equipment set up and in a receptive frame of mind, you should probably arrive no later than 9:30 or 10 AM.

(In England, 13:30 LST will be at about 7:50 AM, so you’ll need to arrive at 7 AM or so, to be ready.)

I haven’t tested this enough to say it definitely helps with ghost research. Nevertheless, the supporting evidence is convincing enough to recommend trying this with your research team.

If you do, I hope you’ll share your results in comments at this site.

If you want to read the full, original study, it’s titled “Apparent Association Between Effect Size In Free Response Anomalous Cognition Experiments And Local Sidereal Time.” The author is S. James P. Spottiswoode. [PDF]

Interested in Ghost Hunting Books?

Isolated boats on a dark and stormy night.In paranormal fields, authors seem to work in greater isolation than other fiction and nonfiction authors do.

I’d like to help change that with projects involving readers and fellow authors.

Beta readers

I’m looking for a few people who’d be interested in reading my ghost-related books before I publish them. At the moment, I’m looking for intermediate or professional ghost hunters, for some of my more advanced books.

If you’re selected, you’d agree to a few things:

1. Read the book (in PDF format or digital format) and give me an honest evaluation, including what works and what needs better explanations.  And, do this within a week or so of receiving the file.

2. Not share the file with anyone.

In return, you’ll be acknowledged in the book, and receive a free digital copy of the finished book.

You’re not making a commitment, right now. However, I’d like to know what your interests are and why you might be a good beta reader.

When I’m ready for beta readers, I’ll contact you first. Upcoming books include my revised ley lines research book and my paragenealogy book.

Fellow authors

In addition to the usual exchange of cover blurbs, I have a few ideas for collaborative projects.

If you’re writing ghost-related books, or you’d like to: Let me know.

How to contact me

Use the Contact Form at my FionaBroome.com website.

Thanks!