When Art and Paranormal Activity Intersect

When art and paranormal activity intersectOften, after standing in a cold, damp, miserable site for two hours – with  nothing paranormal happening – I think, “there must be a better way to do this.”

But I keep standing there, waiting, because all the evidence suggests the site really is haunted… perhaps dramatically so.

And usually, if I keep waiting, the bone-chilling tedium was worthwhile. If I thoroughly research a site before visiting it, and confirm that it is a likely paranormal site, there’s an 80% chance the site is haunted. Or something paranormal is going on, even if it’s not “ghostly.”

The problem is, ghost hunting can be like waiting at a street corner for hours, hoping to see a green, 1964 Ford Mustang. And your only evidence is that – over the past 20 years – lots of people mentioned seeing one pass that street corner.

Whether you actually see a ’64 Mustang – or think you do – may depend on how long you stand there.

Patience. That’s all.

Are There Better Options?

In paranormal research, I think we need to expand our horizons. Explore offbeat theories that might lead us to something useful.

I mean, really, we’re already delving into topics many people consider too “out there” to take seriously. Why not go all-in, and see where the fringes take us?

Start with speculation, test it, follow-up with brainstorming, and extract the most promising elements.  Amplify those to see what happens. Repeat.

But where can we find fresh speculation? Where are the fringes?

Well… that leads to an article I read. It connected art with a sort-of paranormal headspace.

Art as a Path to the Paranormal

Are you ready to go way out on a limb, into speculation…?

Here’s the link that started today’s “what if?” musings: Susan Hiller, Conjurer of Paranormal Activity Through Conceptual Art, Has Died at 78.

In that article, I learned:

“Hiller eschewed the term ‘conceptual art’, saying she preferred the word ‘paraconceptual’ to describe her practice, given her interest in the supernatural.”

Later in that article, writer Alex Greenberger explained,

“it often seemed as though Hiller wanted to transport her viewers to another dimension or headspace by cinematic or aural means.”

That’s an extraordinary approach.

Would it work? Maybe. I have no idea. I’m not sure whether her goal was more than slightly shifting viewers’ headspace.

Then, I was more intrigued when I read a related article in The Guardian, where Hiller said,

“All my work deals with ghosts.”

Many creatives have expressed something similar as a figurative reference.

I’d love to know how literally Hiller meant that, and how it fits with specific art installations.

EVPs from 1971

In that same article, I read,

“She worked with the experiments of Latvian psychologist Konstantīns Raudive, who believed that tape recorders left in soundproofed rooms could pick up the voices of the dead – including Winston Churchill and James Joyce.”

In the past, I’d read about Raudive, but hadn’t followed-up to learn more.

Today, I found a YouTube video of his 1971 EVP recordings. I didn’t realize anyone was working with EVP, that long ago.  Not this seriously, anyway. (It’s a 5-minute video, and the recording quality is scratchy, but the voices are intriguing.)

What Are We, and What Are Ghosts?

Here’s another point I’m pondering: Hiller said,

“You know, we are pixels; we’re light.”

That reminded me of one of Vivek Narain’s comments on a recent trends article. He mentioned holograms, and – as usual – suggested several unique ways of looking at paranormal activity.

To me, his observations resonate with Hiller’s “we are pixels” explanation. It was interesting synchronicity.

I’m not sure if anyone else follows the connections I see between Hiller’s concepts, experimental work by Raudive, Vivek’s comments, and my research which spans many apparently distinct fields of study.

(I say “apparently distinct” because I’m not certain they’re truly separate, except in how we categorize the phenomena and explain it to ourselves. I don’t mean to sound flippant when I say, “We’re making this up as we go along,” but that’s how it seems, most of the time.)

Question Everything

I believe we need to explore how, when, and where we encounter paranormal activity. We should always question whether there are better research techniques.

After all, standing around in a “haunted” site, waiting for something to happen… it may not be the most productive use of our time.

I’m not sure how far out on a limb we should go, with research techniques. Do we go more electronic, or back to “old school” ghost hunting methods? What about creating environments – as Hiller and Raudive did – that might be more conducive to paranormal activity?

Today, I have no answers to this. Not even a clue.

But, I applaud Hiller’s work and hope to see some if it in real life, in the near future. I might try some EVP recordings around it. And, I’d be intrigued if her installations resonates – no pun intended – with how we feel immediately before and during a paranormal encounter.

Maybe there is an access point to those experiences. I’m not sure we can deliberately create it, or if it would be safe to try to.

For now, the Hiller story and the Raudive recordings are the kinds of breadcrumbs I watch for.

Nonsense or an Invitation?

If this seems like nonsense, that’s fine. I grew up in the halls of MIT. I spent countless happy hours, playing with strobes and other toys in Doc Edgerton’s lab. That was my childhood context, and – even now – it’s part of who I am.

So, I sometimes geek-out on innovative approaches to research. For me, nothing is too “out there” to consider. (Whether I take it seriously is another matter…)

But, if anything in this makes sense to you, or you can put more of this puzzle together, I’m interested in your theories. Sometimes the “what if?” questions lead to the most fascinating answers.

2019 – A Good Year for Ghost Hunting Events

2019 looks like a good year for ghost hunting events, tours, and vigils. In my previous article, Ghosts & Paranormal Trends – 2019, I described general trends.

In this article, I’m focusing on Google search trends – for “ghost hunting” – in the US and the UK, to see what fans and researchers are looking for.


Summary:  In the US and the UK, an increasing number of people are interested in encountering ghosts, themselves.

In the US, they’re interested in ghost hunting equipment & how it works.

UK fans have maintained a steadier interest in ghosts. In the UK, people are looking for ghost hunting events, especially when they can learn from pros, and test-drive ghost hunting equipment, themselves.

In both countries, to reach wider audiences, TV shows and events could include ghost hunt pros (as “invited guests”), and share how-to sidebars, information, or workshops.


2019 - a good year for ghost hunting events and toursHere are the trends, as I see them.

In the US, ghost hunting enthusiasts seem most interested in ghost hunting on their own. Events and tours (and TV shows) can make the most of this by including how-to information.

And, in the case of events & tours, letting visitors borrow ghost hunting tools.

In the UK, people are looking for ghost hunting events, sometimes with specific people. They’re also looking for ghost hunting equipment, and shops that sell them.

Here are the graphs from late January 2019.

Ghost Hunting Trends

First, “ghost hunting” searches in the US, since 2004. I’m not sure if interest has stabilized or is increasing slightly in the past six months.

Ghost hunting search trends in the US, 2004 to 2019

Here’s a five-year US graph for “ghost hunting” Google searches. I think the 2015 spike can be attributed to Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015). 

Also, I think the 2016 decline may related to the announcement that Ghost Hunters’ TV series had been canceled. (Last episode was Halloween 2016.) I think that announcement was a social cue that – in the network’s opinion – the ghost hunting trend was over.

That may have been a self-fulfilling message/prophecy.

5 year trend - Google searches for ghost hunting

Here’s that same search (“ghost hunting”) for the UK, since 2004. There, it looks more stable over a longer period of time, and perhaps declining slightly since early 2013.

Ghost hunting search trends in the UK, 2004 to 2019

Here’s that same Google UK search graph – “ghost hunting” – since early 2014. To me, the past five years look fairly stable, with a downturn after Halloween, but an uptick with the new season of “Most Haunted” and other shows.

Searches for ghost hunting - 5-year trend

Next, I looked at “ghost hunting events.” What I saw surprised me.

Ghost Hunting Events Trends

Google had no graph for that term in the US; there weren’t enough searches. But – interestingly – the areas where Americans search for “ghosts” and “ghost hunting” were places hosting ghost hunting events around the time of the search. 

So, though those searches may reflect recently aired TV shows, I think Americans are less likely to add the word “events” when they’re looking for… well… a ghost hunting tour or event.

By contrast, “ghost hunting events” regularly appears on Google’s “breakout” searches lists for the UK.

Here are the UK graphs for “ghost hunting events” searches, starting with the 2004-2019 graph.

Ghost hunting events interest, UK, 2004- now

In the UK, those searches have been increasing since 2017. Americans should pay attention to this. In my experience, British ghost hunting enthusiasts are often one step ahead of American trends.

That’s what the graphs have indicated since I started tracking ghost hunting interest, around 2004: First, UK searches climb or even reach breakout status. Then I see those same kinds of topics/shows trend in the US.

Related Search Terms – Ghosts, Paranormal, Haunted

Finally, here are some comparisons among related searches. They’re of less value.

In the US, “haunted” searches spike at Halloween because people are looking for haunted houses and corn mazes, etc.  Also, that term seems to perform better than “ghost hunting.”

Some “paranormal” searches may need to be discounted due to searches for movies like Paranormal Activity.

“Ghosts” may also include searches for “Ghost in the Shell,” and the trending PlayStation game, “Ghosts Call of Duty.”

The UK graphs show the same Halloween trends, but a sharper drop in interest for the simple search. But, “ghosts” significantly out-performs “paranormal.” That’s the reverse of US trends.

Ghost-Related Breakout Searches

In related, breakout search terms, the US and the UK were somewhat different. Despite that, I think they point to a visible trend towards personal ghost encounters, at ghost hunting events and tours, or as part of independent teams.

In the UK, these were the top breakout search surges:

  • Ghost hunting equipment (and ghost hunting equipment in the UK)
  • Ghost hunt (probably includes the fiction series of the same name)
  • Ghost hunting events
  • Ghost hunting with (probably includes the TV series)

In the US, search surges highlighted:

  • Ghost hunting apps
  • Ghost hunting shows
  • Ghost hunting tools
  • Ghost Hunter (Note: that was singular, not plural)
  • Ghost Adventures

Yes, the US shows more interest in ghost hunting TV shows.

But, the prevalence of interest in ghost hunting apps, tools, and equipment also suggests a growing popularity in personal ghostly encounters.

What’s Ahead in 2019?

Ghost events, tours, and vigils can use these trends for greater success in 2019. Especially in the UK, including popular/expert ghost investigators can attract more guests to sites and events. (That’s not news. Every ghost hunting event is more appealing when it features recognized stars and popular researchers.)

Of course, ghost hunting TV stars – British and American – draw the largest interest.

Large-scale events may also benefit by including authors of paranormal fiction, if they’re well-versed in ghost hunting.  (Michelle Belanger – who starred in Paranormal State – comes to mind, as she’s developed a successful career in paranormal fiction, too.)

And, in the US, shows may benefit from including segments explaining ghost hunting tools and techniques, with how-to advice.

Likewise, I’m seeing a growing interest in US events featuring stars of past ghost hunting shows, including Ghost Hunters (and Ghost Hunters International), Paranormal State, and Ghost Lab.

(Would ratings rise if they’re guest investigators on newer shows? From related, continuing “where are they now?” questions in my email, I think so.)

2019 may be a good year for ghost hunting. I won’t pretend that I see massive upticks in any single trend, at this time.

But, if you consider the graphs and breakout searches, I see potential for a new – perhaps younger and more analytical- audience.

They could spark a new wave of enthusiasm for ghost hunting shows and events, and haunted sites that are open to overnight stays and tours.

What are your thoughts about this? After studying these trends for nearly a month, this article and my previous one are condensed overviews. I’m happy to answer questions or consider alternative opinions. Please leave comments below.

Ghosts & Paranormal Trends – Jan 2019

Ghosts and paranormal trends - January 2019 reportIn recent months, ghosts and paranormal topics have been trending in interesting directions.

(Note: I use specialized software for this research. It’s not just Google Trends.)

In general, global interest in ghost hunting is starting to increase, but with an emphasis on personal experience and how-to information.

In the US – and globally – people are still very interested in Ghost Adventures. Both Ghost Hunters and Most Haunted attract fresh searches, as well.

The spike that occurred with Netflix’s Hill House has been more about “hidden” ghosts in the series.

Also, people want to know what happened to Nick Groff (which many spell as “Nick Goff” when they’re searching), and they’re still asking, “Is Ghost Hunters real?”

In the UK, “Are ghosts real?” is the question most people are asking. And, they’re interested in watching Most Haunted, Paranormal Lockdown, Ghost Adventures, and old/full episodes of Ghost Hunters, not necessarily in that order.

Trending Interest in Ghosts & Paranormal Topics – 30 Days

Here are some graphs representing mid-December 2018 through mid-January 2019.

First, here’s the only topic trending in the UK, among searches focusing on the word “ghosts.” (And eliminating searches related to the PS4 game, “Ghosts Call of Duty.”)

Ghosts trends in the UK - Jan 2019

Here’s what’s trending for “ghosts” in the US. Aside from “what room do ghosts avoid?” (probably a gaming question), searches doesn’t show much interest in ghosts, per se.

Trending searches for "ghosts" in the US

Trending Searches – 90 Days

Three-month trends show something different. However, remember that these include searches starting in mid-October, just before Halloween.

The first shows worldwide searches that focused on “ghosts.” Obviously, The Haunting of Hill House dominated those trends. But, they were interested in finding “hidden” ghosts in the Netflix series.

The Ghosts of Christmas Eve searches could be about the 2018 Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert, or about the 1999 movie, or both.

Worldwide searches for "ghosts" - 90 days (Jan 2019)

The next breaks down similar online searches, but only in the UK. Again, Hill House’s “hidden” ghosts captured interest. (In a US-only study, the results were nearly identical to the graph above.)

I was surprised to see people ask “how many ghosts visited Scrooge?” Related searches continued to spike after Christmas, as well. (If you count just the main ghosts, there were four: Marley, and the ghosts of past, present, and future.)

Searches for "ghosts" from UK browsers - Jan 2019

Paranormal Searches

Stepping back a bit, here are 90-day results for “paranormal” searches in the US. Paranormal Activity continues to hold interest, with Paranormal Lockdown attracting attention, too. Regional interest in Paranormal Cirque spiked, and then vanished as the show continued its tour.

Searches for "paranormal" in the US - Jan 2019

In the UK, the 90-day “paranormal” trend is about the same, minus the Paranormal Cirque interest.

90 trend for UK searches on "paranormal"

Ghost Hunters Searches

Narrowing my research focus, I checked 90-day searches, worldwide, for “ghost hunters.” Clearly, Saturday Night Live’s parodies are popular, and people still want to watch Ghost Hunters’ full episodes.

But… people still ask if Ghost Hunters was fake. And, in related trends, Ghost Adventures seeps in, as well.

90-day trend "ghost hunters"

Compare that with “ghost hunting” searches, worldwide. They want to go ghost hunting, or at least learn about ghost hunting equipment.

Venues offering ghost tours might do well to lend ghost hunting tools to visitors. (Even wire coat-hanger dowsing rods can be useful. Just be sure to curl the wire ends, so no one is jabbed by a sharp point.)

Search trends for "ghost hunting" - Jan 2019

(In a future article, I’ll elaborate on the increasing interest in ghost hunting events, vigils, and tours.)

Ghost Adventures Searches

Ghost Adventures seems to hold its audience – and thrives in searches, worldwide. Further down the list (not on this screenshot), people were searching for “what happened to nick in ghost adventures” and “ghost adventures halloween special.”

(The question about Nick isn’t a surprise. At one of my websites, the most popular article of 2018 – even after all these years – answers a similar question about Grant Wilson and Ghost Hunters.)

Search trends for "ghost adventures" - Jan 2019

Most Haunted Searches

Most Haunted is gaining moderate traction in worldwide searches, too. I’m pleased to see their 2019 shows present ghost hunting in a more realistic context. Somehow, Hill House turned up in related searches. And, of course, people are asking “is Most Haunted real?”

However, I was surprised to see a surge in questions about “the most haunted town in America.” I’m not sure if that’s related to a Travel Channel series, or something else. (If you know, leave a comment.)

And maybe someone should contact John Zaffis‘ team, since “most haunted object in the world” has a few search spikes.  (Oh. Wait. That search was probably about Post Malone being “cursed” by a haunted object.)

"Most Haunted" search trends - Jan 2019

Summary

Both Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters remain popular in Internet searches.  Netflix’s Haunting of Hill House may have been a short-lived trend, and mostly about clever imagery.

In Season Two, they may bring more depth to the story. There’s plenty to explore, and leads to follow from Shirley Jackson’s original book.

In ghost hunting – and ghosts, in general – trends seem to favor ghost hunting equipment, and how it works. I’m not sure if those searches are by aspiring ghost hunters, or people who want to understand what they’re seeing on TV.

I think ghost hunting is rebounding after some YouTube videos, TV shows, and movies took things to a ridiculous extreme.  (Did anyone really believe that “shadow people” hide under your bed, and might kill you…?)

For those who continue serious paranormal research… well, we’re still rebuilding credibility.

Recently,  Most Haunted’s Eden Camp episode was helpful; it showed a more accurate view of ghost hunting, while still including some thrills to hold the audience’s interest.

I’m optimistic about ghost hunting in 2019, and trends suggest a good year for haunted sites that offer “ghost tours” or overnight stays.

In terms of TV shows, I think there’s a fresh audience for ghost-related programming. But, to get the best ratings, producers will need to understand what’s changed in ghost hunting, over the past couple of years.

Fresh angles and new approaches can bring viewers back to ghost hunting shows, but producers will need to make sweeping changes without sacrificing what intrigued people back in 2003.

In general, I believe innovators will be the winners in 2019.

In my next article, I’ll explain why Google trends suggest an uptick in popularity for ghost tours and ghost hunting events… and how this field can deliver what ghost enthusiasts are looking for: 2019 – A Good Year for Ghost Hunting Events, Tours, and Vigils.

ESP and Paranormal Research

Does ESP affect paranormal research? Does ESP affect paranormal research?

It’s a question I’ve discussed with several people in relation to multiple topics, but especially ghost hunting.

Here’s a quote that may be relevant:

“Comments by Captain Ed Mitchell, the American astronaut, during a radio interview in January 1973, helped to strengthen the growing interest in psychokinesis. He told listeners of experiments in which metal had been fractured by this mental process. ‘It’s an ability that can be trainable,’ he said.”

[from “Ghost Hunting, A Practical Guide” by Andrew Green]

Mr. Green also believed psychokinesis has a connection to hauntings. Describing poltergeists, he said:

“This phenomenon, one of the most publicized and so often misunderstood, is comparatively easy to establish as nothing more than psychokinesis (sometimes referred to as telekinesis), though exactly how this operates is not yet fully known.”

Poltergeists – Psychokinesis (PK) or PK Plus an Entity?

Many 20th-century ghost hunters believed that a living person was the source (or nexus) of the energy. But, was it that person’s subconscious wish to make the noises or move the objects? Or, was some kind of entity involved, as well?

In my opinion, the latter is more likely, but I’m not sure how we could prove that.

In history, one of the most famous poltergeist cases involved the Fox sisters. Many associate them with the founding of the 19th-century Spiritualist movement.

No matter what the truth about the apparent activity around the Fox girls, their home had a long history of poltergeist activity. That’s why few tenants stayed there, even before the Fox family moved in.

Testing the ESP/Psychokinesis Connection

In The Ghost Hunter’s Guide, 20th-century paranormal researcher Peter Underwood wrote about testing during a ghost hunt.

“I have found it useful to have with me a pack or two of Zener cards to test the possible ESP of the nexus of the poltergeist and other occupants of the house.”

That’s an interesting thought, but I’m not sure what it would prove, one way or the other.

I would like to see if – during ghost hunts – psychics test differently than they do in not-haunted locations. Again, it probably wouldn’t prove anything, but it might be intriguing.

If the results were much better at the haunted location, something at the location – perhaps ghosts or paranormal energy – could be a factor.

Psychokinesis and Conjuring Up Philip

It’s important to consider the effects of ESP and psychokinesis (PK) in the Philip case, as well. Could all of that phenomena be attributed to ESP and PK?  We may never know.

The following YouTube video is the tip of the iceberg, in terms of the full Philip experiment. (If you can find – or borrow – a copy of the book, it’s essential reading for serious paranormal investigators.)

(If that video doesn’t appear automatically, here’s a link – https://youtu.be/X2lGPT2J1cc)

Many questions come to mind.

  • How much poltergeist activity might be psychokinesis (PK) instead of ghosts?
  • If poltergeist activity is a two-part phenomenon – the spirit and the (living) energy source – does it matter whether PK is involved?
  • If an historian is on-site during an investigation, how many psychics’ (and others’) “impressions” are actually mind-reading or ESP?
  • In famous cases such as the Amityville Horror house, how much of the disturbance was contributed to, by the residents?

The ESP/ghosts/psychokinesis/poltergeists knot is difficult to untangle. I don’t know how we’d even begin to separate these kinds of activity.

I’m interested in your thoughts about this topic, and any way we could distinguish paranormal activity from psychokinetic abilities.

Do Paranormal Researchers Attract Ghosts?

Do paranormal researchers attract ghosts? It looks that way...Different things can spark an interest in paranormal research.

For many people, it started with a childhood interest in ghost stories, or an experience that – as adults – they still wonder about: was it really a ghost?

That’s why they go looking for ghosts, or evidence that proves (or disproves) their existence.

But, now and then, someone asks me if ghost hunters live in haunted houses, or even attract ghosts.

People want to know if we “take ghosts home,” or feel uncomfortable if we move into a house… and later find out it’s haunted.

Attracting or Repelling Ghosts

I’m not sure how many ghost hunters attract ghosts. On my New Hampshire team, one person – the one we called “ghostbait” – certainly attracted them.

If he was part of an investigation and the site was haunted, weird things would happen. It was almost guaranteed.

Of course, this is a chicken-or-the-egg question: Did “ghostbait” attract ghosts because he was a ghost hunter, or did he become a ghost hunter because he naturally attracted ghosts?

At the other extreme, we sometimes included a friend who described himself as a “walking banishing ritual.”  If he was within a dozen feet of an anomaly, ghostly activity would halt.

The tragedy was, that latter friend was eager to encounter ghosts, and it rarely happened when he was there.

So, I’m confident that some people attract (and others repel) ghosts, naturally. In both cases, these people didn’t actively do anything to affect the ghosts.

Can one develop those qualities? I have no idea.

It’s possible that some experienced ghost hunters seem to attract ghosts, when they’re merely more observant. After a few dozen investigations, they know exactly what to look for, if the site is haunted.

  • That could be a sense of where the ghosts are, at a particular location.
  • It could be something they detect with their five (or six) senses.
  • Or, it could be a personal reaction – a “gut feeling” – that the site is haunted.

Living with Ghosts

Some – not many – ghost hunters live in haunted houses. Usually, they’re happy to share the space with a benign spirit who once lived there.

Some paranormal researchers aren’t so happy about that discovery.

In a January 2019 article, “This Paranormal Reporter Didn’t Find Her Next Story… It Found HER,” the reporter’s reaction surprised me. She said:

“[T]his is the kind of thing I ask for when out in the field,” she writes, “but sitting in my own living room, I’d rather not experience the unexplained.”

She finally called out to whomever it was, asking them to stop bothering her… and immediately, they stopped.

All seemed normal again until she went to bed. Once the lights were out, the noise returned… but this time it was coming from the living room. Something — or someone — was walking through the house.

Disturbed by the unseen intrusion, Roncace nevertheless does not want to know what’s causing it.

However, Ms. Roncace is a reporter.  At the time she wrote about her haunted house, perhaps she hadn’t investigated intensely haunted places.

I understand not wanting to live with a ghost. It can be unsettling… no pun intended.

But, as a homeowner, I’d definitely want to know more about the ghost – who’s causing that walking noise, and why.

At the very least, it might help me become a better paranormal researcher.

Choosing a Haunted House

Choosing a Haunted House?I’m okay with ghosts. They don’t scare me. I’m interested in their history, and if there’s anything I can do to help spirits “cross over.”

If they’re merely visiting, or keeping watch over the house – or those in it – that’s fine with me.

(I often joke that ghosts are great roommates – they don’t take my food from the refrigerator, and they never leave the toilet seat up.)

So far, I’ve lived in three haunted houses. Only one had an annoying ghost; we remodeled the house, and he left.

But, if I were house-hunting, I probably wouldn’t ask a realtor to show me haunted houses.

If I were, here’s what I’d look for:

  • A house with a documented history that supports its ghost stories. Let’s say the ghost is supposed be to haunted by one of King Henry VIII’s mistresses. I’d be certain the house – or at least the land it’s on – had a documented connection to that woman & her family.
  • Ghostly phenomena that aren’t entirely poltergeists.  Otherwise, when the previous tenants moved, they may have taken the poltergeist with them.
  • A price that’s a little (or a lot) lower than the estimated value of the house. Most people think of a ghost as a “defect,” so the house should sell for less than it would without the ghosts.
  • No malicious or sinister phenomena. No history of Ouija board use in the house, or rituals (however well-intended) that might summon a dangerous entity.
  • No history of extreme mental illness among recent residents. You don’t want them returning – in living form or as ghosts – if they were deeply disturbed. (And then there’s the question of what triggered the illness, and if the house’s spirits were involved.)

Other Considerations

Some paranormal researchers choose homes based on their eerie reputations or locations.

For example, some UFO enthusiasts want to live near where UFOs are regularly reported.

On the other hand, I don’t think I’ve ever met a cryptozoologist who wanted to live in a “triangle,” like the Bridgewater Triangle or the Bennington Triangle.

And I don’t know anyone who’s chosen to live near a Hum or a Mystery Boom.

So, if you’re looking for a haunted house to live in, be sure the sellers understand the difference between hauntings and other paranormal phenomena… unless you’re okay with Bigfoot howling outside your window.

What Makes a House “Suddenly” Haunted?

Can a not-haunted house suddenly become haunted? Maybe.

Ms. Roncace, the paranormal reporter, had lived in her home for nearly 20 years without evidence of ghosts.

So, why did a ghost suddenly show up? Had she attracted one, or brought one home from a haunted site?

It’s unlikely a ghost followed her home. It’s rare for a ghost to leave the site that he or she haunts. Hardly any ghosts follow people.

It’s possible that something concerned the ghost enough to make his (or her) presence known.  A good example is Ms. Roncace’s story about the ghost knocking on Ms. Roncace’s dresser, when her daughter was ill.

Also, poltergeist activity could explain the noises in the kitchen. The movie she was watching, The Omen, could have been a trigger.

The footsteps she heard might have been more poltergeist activity, or something different.

More likely, it’s a residual energy haunting. That phenomena was likely to stop after a week or two, or even sooner.

It’s possible that Ms. Roncace attracted a ghost… but that’s unlikely.  Most ghosts are trapped – or choose to stay – in the primary location where they haunt.

And, if you’re a ghost hunter, it’s an asset if you can attract ghosts at haunted locations. Unless, of course, ghosts frighten you. In that case, it’s best to find another hobby.

 

 

Paranormal Research and “What If…?”

The importance of asking "what if?" in paranormal research.Almost all of my paranormal research starts with “what if…?”

I’ll bet your interest in ghosts, etc., began the same way:

  • What was that thing I heard/saw? And what if ghosts are real?
  • Everyone says that house/battlefield/cemetery is haunted. What if they’re right?
  • Ghosts can’t be real. I won’t believe in them. But what if something really is going on, at that “haunted” site?

My “what if…?” questions seem to multiply, like wire coat hangers in the basement wardrobe. Or dust bunnies under the sofa.

This morning was no exception. I had an idea for a new Hollow Hill article.

It was going to be about one particular archetype in ghost hunting.

I started to research the idea, based on a series of related, haunted places in the U.S. and the U.K.

Within minutes, I realized this topic is too big for an article. It’s a book. (Like I don’t already have a dozen books to update & re-release… right?)

So, I’m sitting here, printing pages & pages of information about repeating patterns in this kind of research.

And I’m editing Thursday’s article for Hollow Hill. In it, I’m speculating about a possible light effects connection with ghostly activity. (It’s another “what if…?” question, but – in this case – I didn’t think of it, myself. I just amplified it to include other, similar anomalies.)

I’ll put aside the book idea from this morning’s research. My next editing-and-updating project must be my “Is Your House Haunted?” book.

Why? Well, there’s no way I can reply to all the emails from people asking if their homes are haunted. And, frankly, most probably aren’t… but some sound like they are.

My book will help people rule out unusual (but normal) reasons a house can just seem haunted.

Trending: Hill House

I think most of this concern relates to the “The Haunting of Hill House” TV series on Netflix.

That show is an interesting revision based on Shirley Jackson’s wonderful book, and what may be my favorite “haunted house” movie of all time, “The Haunting” (1963).

Here’s a YouTube video from the original movie, featuring one scene.

If that YouTube video doesn't show on this page, see it at https://youtu.be/bQxyaI74v7U

That 1963 movie is a powerful example of a terrifying paranormal investigation. (It also inspired Disney’s “Haunted Mansion” attraction.)

No, most ghost hunts and vigils aren’t even close to that dramatic, but many can be just as scary… in more subtle ways.

Likewise, the Netflix “Hill House” series isn’t realistic. The tropes in it are fun, and it includes a few good scares, but that’s not what happens in haunted houses.

Hill House and Sleep Paralysis

At least half of the latest emails in my in-box sound like sleep paralysis.

That is, the person thinks he (or she) has woken up – or didn’t fall asleep yet – and has been visited by a disturbing figure (usually a scary looking ghost). The victim usually feels paralyzed, cold, or numb… and terrified.

The incident can seem to last forever, but – in actual fact – it’s usually just a few minutes.

And then, the person is left with a sense of horror, a racing pulse, and pumping adrenaline. Sleep is difficult to resume, if the person can get back to sleep at all.

The problem is, it can seem a lot like the ghost at the foot of the bed (or over the bed) in shows like Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House.

And that’s why people write to me.

They want to know what if it’s real? What if it happens again?

The Benefits of “What if…?”

It’s easy to brush off people’s concerns, saying “you have an over-active imagination.”

I won’t do that.

I’ll point to reasonable, scientific explanations, and let the person decide if that’s the answer. (Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t.)

More important: I believe the “what if…?” impulse is a healthy one. It keeps us interested in the world around us – seen and unseen.

Usually, those questions leads to simple, fact-based answers. The person sighs with relief. What they experienced was normal, not paranormal.

But, sometimes that’s just the beginning, and further research leads “down the rabbit hole,” as in Alice in Wonderland.

Either way, it’s important to keep your critical thinking skills engaged.

And, in my case, it’s even more important to stay focused on my current projects. They include updating my websites and my books. That will keep me busy for much of 2019.

But, I’ll confess that this morning’s research – and the connections I discovered, among iconic haunted houses – sings a siren song. I’m always intrigued by “what if…?” questions.

So far, I’m resisting temptation.

600 Dogs, a “Suicide” Bridge, and Black Shucks

Note: When articles cross two or more topics I routinely research, I’m planning to post those articles at this website. It’s simpler than trying to choose one of my other websites… and risk selecting one that isn’t the best match.

ghostbat

Black Shucks

Black shucks – made famous in Conan Doyle’s story, The Hound of the Baskervilles – have always fascinated me. As a child, I was terrified of large dogs, and that may have contributed to my interest in them.  (Eventually, I outgrew my fear of large dogs… but I’d still prefer to avoid black shucks.)

Dangerous bridge and black shucks - a connection?In 2008, when Armchair Reader: Weird, Scary & Unusual asked me to write a chapter about black shucks, I was delighted to share what I’d learned about those mysterious creatures.

So, what are black shucks?

In 1901, author William Dutt described the black shuck. “He takes the form of a huge black dog, and prowls along dark lanes and lonesome field footpaths, where, although his howling makes the hearer’s blood run cold, his footfalls make no sounds.”

  • Shucks have been reported for centuries. They’re not just legends. As recently as the late 20th century, police officers have encountered them.
  • Most shucks are reported along England’s east coast, including the town of Cromer.
  • The Cabell family (the basis of the Baskervilles, in the Sherlock Holmes story) has other ghost stories, but the black shuck may be the most famous.
  • In Norfolk’s town of Overstrand, there is even a Shuck Lane where shucks have been seen.
  • Shucks and eerie black dogs have been reported in Wales and Scotland, too.

Some of the most reliable recent stories place black shucks at or near bridges. (Coltishall Bridge, just north of Norfolk, is one of them.)

Often, those bridges have suicide stories, as well. So, though I’m sad (beyond words) to read the following news story, it may be important for paranormal researchers. Will black shucks appear there in the future? I’m not sure if I’d want to see – or even hear – one.

Is a Black Shuck a Ghost?

I’m not sure a black shuck is a “ghost.” To me, it may fit better in the fae context, perhaps the Unseelie Court.

Or perhaps it’s best categorized in cryptozoology. That may be the best answer.

Also – as you’ll read in the following article – there are the other, actual ghost stories at this active location in Overtoun, Scotland.

Be forewarned: this story is horrifying. I don’t want to sound like I’m trivializing how awful this is. As an animal lover, I hope they find an answer to this terrible situation, quickly.

But, as a paranormal researcher, I’ve noted it for future investigation.

Maybe nothing weird is going on. Maybe it can be explained by minks in the area, or something else. Frankly, I like that idea. It’s something they can fix.

If you’re investigating around Overtoun, keep this in mind.

Suicide Dogs?

Here’s part of the article, “600 dogs have attempted suicide from the mysterious ‘haunted suicide bridge’ in Scotland.” (The full article is linked at the foot of this page.)

ghosts - divider

Around 600 hundred dogs have attempted suicide from the Overtoun bridge in Scotland.

And all the dogs jumped from the exact same point.

Experts are baffled and are unable to explain the mystery.

600 dogs have leaped from this bridge (Image source: Twitter/)
600 dogs have leaped from this bridge (Image source: Twitter/)

The bridge has a history of 160 years and has been responsible for the deaths of a specific kind of dogs: those with long snouts, such as German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers and Scottish Terriers.

A number of locals believe that the bridge as well as the Overtoun house is haunted by the spirit of ‘The White Lady of Overtoun’.

The bridge is nicknamed ‘Dog suicide bridge’.

Overtoun Bridge
The signpost warning against dog suicides at Overtoun Bridge. (Image source: Twitter/Ruben)

Dogs have continued to leap from the bridge, and this strange phenomenon has gone unexplained since as early as the 1950s.

Experts believe that dogs might be attracted by the animals hiding under the bridge, causing them to leap. [Fiona’s note: That makes sense to me.]

Dr. David Sand of Animal Behavioral Clinic explains that it is impossible for dogs to attempt suicide…

He elaborates that there could be other factors…, one being mink urine.

Overtoun Bridge
Locals believe that the bridge is haunted. (Image source: Facebook)

Paul Owens, the author of ‘Baron of the Rainbow Bridge: Overtoun’s death leaping dog mystery’, argues that there is a supernatural presence on the bridge, forcing the dogs to leap. [Fiona’s note: This is possible, but unlikely.]

The mystery behind the bridge has attracted worldwide attention and supernatural theories have been proposed so far, some even calling it the ‘Thin Place’ where afterlife and physical world meet.

Different theories have been put forward to explain the dogs’ bizarre behavior. However, there have been no solutions; the mystery bridge continues to claim lives of the dogs.

A longer version of that post, 600 dogs have attempted suicide from the mysterious ‘haunted suicide bridge’ in Scotland, appeared first on Journal Post.

Thank you, Coast to Coast AM!

Tonight’s radio show was so much fun, I want to thank everyone involved.

George Noory was a gracious host, and his extensive background in paranormal topics made the two hours practically fly. (I’m glad I had a chance to vote for him at the National Radio Hall of Fame, shortly before polling closed tonight.)

Thanks also to the many listeners who called into the show with fascinating questions and insights. (Also, I’m grateful to those who were in the audience, nodding in agreement and contributing such positive energy to the evening. Everything about the show really felt right.)

Of course, the show ran smoothly from start to finish, due to the high level of professionalism of the Coast to Coast AM staff, including Lisa, Stephanie, and Tom. I appreciate how easy they made… well, everything connected with the show.

If there’s such a thing as a perfect radio show for people in my research field, I think Coast to Coast AM is it.

I’m still smiling, and glad I had a chance to be on such a respected radio show. It was a wonderful experience.

Thanks so very much!

(Coast to Coast AM subscribers can hear the replay almost immediately. In addition, Coast to Coast AM shows are available at YouTube, about three weeks after they initially aired.)

Why Paranormal Research?

With tonight’s radio show looming, I’ve been trying to record videos to answer the most likely questions.  (They’re at my YouTube channel.)

Here’s the latest, explaining why I’m still a paranormal researcher, and a little about what I do that’s unique.

The “TL;DR” summary..?

One of my main goals is to be sure that everyone who wants a paranormal experience, can have one.

In this video, I describe some of the nuts-and-bolts of my work.

That goal is why I keep fine-tuning my system of analyzing repeating patterns of odd, ghostly, and other paranormal events.

With that information, I can often predict when & where people will encounter something eerie. And, in some cases, I can share insights about how to increase the chances of it happening, with specific triggers. That’s not just about objects, but also about the kind of person (or his/her demeanor) that seems to make a difference.

The Reality of Psi – A Shift in Past Attitudes

Reality of Psi - A Shift in Past AttitudesThis week, Mark – a friend and visitor to my ghost hunting site, HollowHill.com – posted a comment about a recent report in the American Psychological Association’ academic journal.

The Daily Grail summarized the report and some of its implications, in The Reality of Psi: Leading Journal Publishes a Paper Revealing for Superpowers of the Mind.

Here’s the opening of that article.

Is controversial research into telepathy and other seeming ‘super-powers’ of the mind starting to be more accepted by orthodox science? In its latest issue, American Psychologist – the official peer-reviewed academic journal of the American Psychological Association – has published a paper that reviews the research so far into parapsychological (‘psi’) abilities, and concludes that the “evidence provides cumulative support for the reality of psi, which cannot be readily explained away by the quality of the studies, fraud, selective reporting, experimental or analytical incompetence, or other frequent criticisms.”

The new paper – “The experimental evidence for parapsychological phenomena: a review“, by Etzel Cardeña of Lund University – also discusses recent theories from physics and psychology “that present psi phenomena as at least plausible”, and concludes with recommendations for further progress in the field.

The abstract of that paper summarized a dilemma many paranormal researchers deal with, daily.

“Throughout history, people have reported events that seem to violate the common sense view of space and time.”

Of course, that’s been a long-time issue: Arguing against closed minds that reject our “what if?” musings as contrary to common sense.

Worse, those critics seem to portray our questions as assertions, when we’re simply trying to open the door to scientific investigations.

But now, papers like Cardeña’s provide support. We can point to that research and repeat what we’ve been saying since at least the 19th century: Let’s explore these topics to find the real answers.

I’m delighted to see us move beyond absolute rejection under the guise of “common sense.”

Right now, my favorite quote is, “The important thing is not to stop questioning.” That’s something Albert Einstein said.

Or, as the Bible reminds us, “knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7)

I feel as if we’ve waited a long time for this door to be opened, even a sliver.

Yes, it’s just one paper, but it’s a significant step forward.

Sources

Daily Grail article: http://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Famp0000236

The abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29792448

The full paper: http://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Famp0000236

Photo credit: Marko Blazevic for Unsplash.