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, 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.)

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.

2019 Website Changes

As 2019 approaches, I’m considering various improvements.

First, the websites.

First, the Ghost Hunting Websites

I’m in the process of improving my ghost hunting articles at HollowHill.com and Ghosts101.com.  (You may have noticed an increase in graphics and videos with my most popular articles. That’s just the beginning.)

Ghost hunting... it's back again, but different in 2019.Hollow Hill is a very large project, with over 400 articles currently on the site, plus another ~130 articles (mostly podcast-related) that I’d like to restore in 2019.

In addition, I’m hoping to add a new article weekly, usually on Thursdays.

(Ghost hunting is trending again, but it’s a slightly different audience. Britain is a major influence now. To get an idea of how things are changing, take note of channels like Really.)

Ghosts101.com features answers to the 101 most popular questions about ghost hunting and haunted places. I’ve been updating that site – and my answers – for several months. By mid-2019, I expect to complete that site’s renovations.

I’m redesigning Hallowfields.com with more, free mini-courses. Students have asked me to break down the big course – Introduction to Ghosts Hunting – into smaller, focused topics.  They’ve also asked for more videos. So, those are on my to-do list for 2019, as well.

Changes at Mandela Effect… maybe

2019 changes at MandelaEffect.com and Fiona Broome's other websites.By mid-2018, the Mandela Effect website (MandelaEffect.com) became unmanageable due to extremely heavy traffic.

I couldn’t even update it. I kept seeing error messages.

In December 2018, my other websites – on the same server – were stalling, too. That was unacceptable.

So, I shifted to the mirror site,  https://mandelaeffectsite.wordpress.com/

[As of January 2019, my sites are on more powerful hosting. But, when Mandela Effect interest spikes, you may still see some error messages and outages.]

In 2019, I may divide the Mandela Effect website into three smaller sites:

  1. The main site will feature the 25-or-so pages that most people always visit.  (The most popular articles from a year ago, are still most popular now.) Those topics include alternate memories about Forrest Gump, 51/52 United States, Nelson Mandela’s death in the 20th century, Berenstein/Berenstain Bears, Looney Tunes/Toons, and so on.
  2. A second site will be an archives with the rest of the “Major Memories” articles and comments. Each of those pages interest only about 5% of site visitors, while adding a lot more bandwidth “weight” (and sometimes wait, as well).
  3. A new site that focuses on Mandela Effect theories: Discussions about what might explain the Mandela Effect, and why it happens where & when it does. This third site is the only one I plan to update. (It’s also where my interests – and our earliest discussions – began, back in 2009. So, I’m kind of excited about this site idea.)

I’m still considering my options. Your feedback is welcomed!

Other Sites…

I’d like to make more time for serious faerie/folklore research, but – at the moment – my ghost-related projects are a higher priority.

I’m doing my best to avoid my “ooh, shiny!” tendencies. (Sometimes, that’s a challenge.)

So, I can’t promise to update or expand FaerieMagick.com in 2019. I’d like to, but… there are only so many hours in the day. (Until I find a time machine, that is. Anyone with a spare, let me know. LOL)

This website (FionaBroome.com) will continue as my personal blog, with insights about my research and related pursuits. And the occasional rant. And rave. And “what if…?” rambles.

And then – oh my – the Books!

Early in 2019, I’m planning to update & re-release most (not all) of my ghost hunting books.

Over the past year, I’ve spoken – in real life – with many ghost hunters, and I’ve seen a shift in interests and attitudes. Also, I’m seeing some interesting changes in how people approach investigations.

I’m excited about this, and glad I didn’t rush my book revisions. What interests investigators now… it’s refreshing. And, in some cases, very different.

But, yes, I’ve written over a dozen books.  So, this is a major project for 2019.

Consulting, among my favorite interests

In 2019, I want to make more time for consulting with owners of haunted & historic sites, plus TV & movie producers. I love finding locations and researching history.

And, I hope to get back to the U.K. to investigate more historic sites, and revisit some of the creepier British haunts I’ve written about in the past 20 years.

That’s what’s ahead for 2019. If you have any requests, leave a comment.

And, of course, I wish you a wonderful holiday season, and a happy new year.

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.

Review – What Are Ghosts Made Of?

A recent article at Higgypop attempts to answer the question, “What are ghosts made of?

While no one can answer that with complete confidence, the Higgypop article covered some interesting theories. I agree with most, but not all of them.

Here are some excerpts from that article, with my thoughts:

…if people are able to sense the presence of a ghost, detect them with ghost hunting gadgets, or even see an apparition, then there must be something measurable and tangible that creates them.

What are ghosts made of?My reaction…? Yes, and no.

If we assume that spirit (God, the Universe, Deity) creates matter, I’m not sure we need to (or even can) assume that God has a physical body that we can measure.

And, if people are created in the likeness of their creator, I’m not sure each has to retain some physical form after death, in order to create energy in this reality/world/realm.

The article then explains the difference between “intelligent hauntings” and “residual hauntings.” (Many of us use different phrases for them. I’ve discussed this at length at HollowHill.com.)

About residual hauntings, the Higgypop article says:

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

That’s a pretty good summary.

Also, I like this about ghosts and spirits:

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

But then the article says something that – to me – seems like it goes a little too far out on a limb.

Many paranormal researchers believe that when someone dies, they continue to live on outside of their body as a form of electromagnetic energy, similar to the electrical impulses in the human brain. It’s thought that it is this EM energy that is responsible for ghosts. This is why ghost hunters often use electromagnetic field meters to detect the presence of ghosts.

Perhaps some paranormal researchers think all ghosts are a form of electromagnetic energy. Do most researchers think that…? No.  (I’m guessing that “many” falls between those two extremes.)

But personally,  I’m not willing to conclude that. Not at this point in our research.

I think they may (or may not) be in an environment where EMF exists and functions different to how it does in our reality.

So, I freely admit: I haven’t a clue why we measure EMF surges that correlate with activity we call ghostly. (I have theories, but they’re merely guesses spanning a wide range of paranormal phenomena. It’s important to keep an open mind.)

Despite my disagreements with the article – most of them minor (and some, admittedly, just me being too picky) – I’m nodding in agreement with the conclusion:

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

read the full, original article I quoted:

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

I’m interested in your opinions and insights, if you’d like to leave a comment at this article.

Misinterpreting the Mandela Effect

Right now, I’m working on a book series about the Mandela Effect. The first book – which has been my main focus for the past few weeks – is going to be a quick overview for those with a casual interest in the topic.

Misunderstanding the Mandela Effect. Fiona muses about news reports. For me, it’s another reminder that people don’t always “hear” text the way it was intended. But, as I’m researching others’ explanations for this quirky phenomenon, I’m also seeing some bizarre interpretations of things I’ve said online.

Oh, it’s not news that snarks, hyperbole, and sarcasm rarely convey clearly in text.

In the case of the Mandela Effect, I’ll have to include musings and “what if…?” speculation to that list.

For me, the Mandela Effect is like other paranormal topics I’m studying. I have absolutely no doubt that something odd is going on.

Also, I’m fairly sure that the Mandela Effect – like ghosts, faeries, and related subjects – can’t be explained (or shrugged off) with just one, all-purpose explanation.

In the case of the Mandela Effect, too many disparate reports match up in eerie ways.

  • They can’t be dismissed as just one or two people (or even a troll collective) submitting prank reports.
  • The “false memory” label doesn’t fit the reports, universally.
  • Nor can I attribute something as widespread as the Berenstein Bears’ issue as a literacy problem, or any of the myriad other explanations skeptics like to insist upon.

However, as much as I like the parallel realities concept – and feel that, in a way, it’s kind of an Occam’s Razor answer – I’m not going to insist on it.

In a February 2018 article in the British newspaper, The Independent, I read this:

Broome explains the Mandela effect via pseudoscientific theories. She claims that differences arise from movement between parallel realities (the multiverse). This is based on the theory that within each universe alternative versions of events and objects exist.

That’s too funny. Of course I don’t claim that. I offer the multiverse theory as one speculative, fun explanation. But – even if it’s among my favorite, “what if…?” theories – it’s only one of many.

And, if I were discussing the Mandela Effect seriously, the multiverse would be far down the list of most likely explanations.

(For starters, I usually tell people to research everything they can, related to the alternate memory they seem to recall. Maybe there’s a logical answer to the mystery. Perhaps it started as a simple misunderstanding, some troll-ish mischief, or an April Fool’s joke that someone thought was serious.)

Oh, back in the early days (2009- 2010), Mandela Effect conversations were different. We were a small group – maybe a dozen or so people – sharing thoughts via comments at my website.

I’m pretty sure all of us knew the difference between when someone was serious, and when they were having fun with “what if…?” speculation.

By April 2011, far more people had joined the conversation. Some took the topic more seriously than others. In general, the tone was still “what the heck is this, anyway?” as we tried to sort the evidence and possible explanations.

In other words, few people – including me – locked into just one reason for the Mandela Effect.  Our conversations were sincere, but also light in tone. Most of us recognized how strange it all sounded, even to us.

Then, in 2015 after the Berenstein/Berenstain Bears topic went viral, I guess my whimsical tone of voice didn’t convey well in what people read. Or they didn’t go back to see the wide range of theories and banter we’d already shared.

So, some mistakenly think I take everything very seriously, and insist on just one Mandela Effect theory.

For example, in a 2015 article at Psychology Today, I see this:

Broome believes memories that are out of sync with recorded history occur because our minds get entangled with alternate universes. According to the “Many Worlds” hypothesis proposed by quantum physicists Hugh Everett and Bryce DeWitt, the world splits into parallel universes every time a quantum event happens. Thus, while Nelson Mandela did not die in prison in the 1980s, at least in this universe, there is some other universe in which this did occur. And Broome’s memory of the event is proof that her mind has come into contact with that alternate universe!

Umm… no. My own late 1980s’ memory could be badly flawed. It could be a mish-mash of several funerals in TV news reports. I’ve never claimed otherwise.

In fact, that’s why I’d never mentioned that memory until someone else (Dragon Con’s security manager, Shadow) brought up the topic. I was absolutely amazed that anyone else shared that weird, unsupported memory… much less thousands of people.

In fact, it’s probably an understatement to say I was amazed. Utterly stunned and flabbergasted might be better terms.

But even (or perhaps especially) knowing that others share the memory of Nelson Mandela’s funeral in the late 1980s, “normal” explanations elude me.

A few things really baffle me. They include others’ reports with details (that I’d omitted from public posts, deliberately) that matched my memories of the Mandela funeral, 100%.

Also, I’ve never found other funerals from that era with details that I could have conflated.

Yes, most critics insist I’m remembering Steve Biko‘s funeral, but that was in 1977, when I lived in northern California. The funeral I recall was on the TV when we lived in Florida, so that places it between 1987 and early 1990. Also, the TV coverage continued for days, at least two and possibly three.

But, being somewhat skeptical by nature, I’m still not certain that my memory of the Mandela funeral is accurate. I’m open to other explanations.

As a Mandela Effect researcher, I try to keep an open mind. Also, in addition to trying to explain my memory of that funeral, I’m looking for an explanation for the thousands of other people who seem to share that quirky memory.

Like me, they seem to recall several days of TV coverage, the outdoor speeches under a big tree, the emotional widow and her bodyguard, the odd assortment of folding chairs, and so on. Lots of details that usually (but not always) match my memories. That still seems very odd, and I’m still hoping for a simple, non-weird explanation.

But, that’s very different from claiming that my “mind has come in contact with [an] alternate universe.”

Of course, the person who wrote that article might have written it as humor. Again, text doesn’t always convey tone of voice.

It’d be kind of cool if I did feel confident that I’d crossed time, space, or dimensions, and ventured into an alternate world. That sounds like tremendous fun.

Alas, I don’t have that kind of confidence, though I love the parallel realities explanation. Among all the options, it’s easily my favorite, and it seems to resonate with many of my friends and fans.

Even better, quantum studies seem to suggest that parallel realities are, well, real. So, that could be the best, single explanation for my “alternate” memories, and others’.

But… yes, I’m still looking for patterns that will explain paranormal phenomena, including the Mandela Effect. I’d love simple, single answers.

Meanwhile, I’m in a world where writing books still involves research, putting words on a page, editing those words, and then publishing them.

But hey, if anyone knows the gateway to a universe where thoughts go directly to printed words and then magically appear in books, let me know. 

(And, just in case a reporter mistakes that for a serious request: Yes, I am laughing as I make that request, but I also know we may not be far from achieving some of that. That’s the fun of “what if…?” speculation: Sometimes, it actually becomes real.)