It’s May… Already…?

Where did the months go?

Okay, that’s a rhetorical question. We’ve been on the road, in more states than I have time to count at the moment. At least a dozen. Lots of places visited. Lots of research. And so many hotels and Airbnbs… some far better than others.

In fact, I’m writing this in an Airbnb in Maine. (Just a couple of weeks ago, we were in Florida. And then we were in Virginia. The past year has been like that, filled with travel and research… and then more travel.)

Here’s what we’re working on…

Field Research

First, I’m still knee-deep (sometimes literally) in field research, especially looking for potentially-haunted places that might be worth investigating.

At the moment, if you know any eerie sites along coastal Maine that I should visit and film while we’re here, let me know: haunted sites, hotels, cemeteries, historic sites… anything that we should explore.

Our recent drive along western Maine’s Route 117 was astonishing. I’m still processing the footage from some wonderful old cemeteries we explored. Though we need to go back to investigate some of them, I’m certain that a few (or more) are haunted.

Videos

Right now, we’re focusing on YouTube, as it seems to be a good way to reach new ghost hunters. Frankly, I’ve winced at the few Sam & Colby videos I’ve seen, but I’m also certain their “good scare” approach will attract more people to serious ghost research.

I want to make sure we meet their needs.

So, my ghost-related YouTube channel is now How To Find Ghosts. (The URL is still youtube.com/@FionaBroome  )

Note: The Mandela Effect videos moved to MandelaEffectDotCom, at YouTube, (youtube.com/@mandelaeffectdotcom).  For now, I’m not adding much there. That topic took on a life of its own, long ago, and I don’t know that I have anything to add.

Site Updates

We’re also – finally – updating the Ghosts 101 website. It’s not as bad as we’d expected, but it does need work.

My original ghost-related website, HollowHill.com, is also going through some major changes.

That’s a far bigger project.

That’s not just because some of my Hollow Hill articles are dozens of years old (I’m not kidding), but also, many need updates and videos.

And many articles need complete rewrites that include more details. Lots more details.

My long-term friends and followers may recall that “Hollow Hill” referenced Irish legends about the Tuatha Dé Danann and faerie lore of that country. At the time, I added a few ghost-related articles, thinking they might interest the same readers. Instead, I found myself writing more & more about ghosts, since that’s what people asked for.

So, that’s why we’re rebranding that ghost hunting site – but just with a redirect – as HowToFindGhosts.com.

New Books and Updates

In addition, we’re resuming work on my books. Those that simply need updates are the highest priority.

Later, as time permits, other manuscripts – started but never finished – will be revisited.

So, these next few months will be busy. I’ll be online as much as possible, but – since we’re still in hotels, etc. – my top priority is field research and filming.

That means you’ll see more videos at YouTube. Lots more, to reach a new audience that wants to try ghost hunting. (It’s difficult to believe that it’s been 20 years since the “Ghost Hunters” TV series launched and sparked its own wave of new investigators.)

But, you’ll also notice changes – some dramatic – at my ghost hunting websites, HowToFindGhosts.com (aka HollowHill.com) and Ghosts101.com.

I’ll update this site – and my Facebook Page ( https://www.facebook.com/FionaBroomeNews/ ) – as we complete big projects. And, in general, I’ll try to be online every few days, at least to answer questions and comments.

Thanks for your interest, as well as your patience, as we restructure much of what we’ve been doing, especially related to ghost research.

Where I’ve Been, and What’s Ahead

(Copied from my Facebook post)

My long-time friend Raja Narain asked where I’ve been since November. That question deserves a full answer. So, this will be long.

Basically, after Halloween (when things can be a bit wild in this field), I needed a good, long break. I was irked because – on TV – far too many “ghost hunting” shows have become like parodies of what this field is… Or what it is for people like me.

I see people doing dangerous and/or silly things, just to hold the TV audiences’ attention. Maybe like a “Mr. Beast” version of paranormal research…?

That’s almost the polar opposite of why I’m in this field.

I enjoy visiting historical and “haunted” sites for the ambience, the mood (perhaps residual energy), and the sense of connection with people and events of the past.

The main reason I use ghost hunting equipment (like EMF meters) is mostly to rule out natural explanations for that “spooky” feeling.

For example, someone sensitive to elevated EMF levels may feel uneasy (or worse) if the site has bad wiring, or unshielded electrical devices.

(A classic example: If a really old refrigerator is used in a home, if you’re in the room on the other side – facing the back of the refrigerator – you may feel uncomfortable, or even as if the house is haunted. I’ve lost count of the number of “haunted” college dorms and old cottages where the eerie feeling is simply high EMF levels from old refrigerators, etc.)

Update: Here’s the related YouTube Short video, added in May 2024.

But, when I can’t find a reasonable explanation for high EMF levels, then – yes – the site might be haunted.

However – for me – ghost hunting equipment is an adjunct to the experience. It’s not what I focus on… ever.

Seeing someone on TV, waving a radio-like device, grabbing words he hears, and thinking it’s a ghost talking to him…? Yikes.

As I saw it at Halloween 2023, much of ghost hunting – at least on TV and at events where people are mimicking those shows – has been leaning heavily in that direction.

I needed a break. I needed to step back and evaluate just what I’m doing in this field, and how I want to talk/post about it.

I’m still in the midst of that process, but I’m (gradually) doing a reset with my websites, YouTube channels, etc.

I’m pretty sure most of my friends will understand this, and I’d like to hear your thoughts about the future of real ghost hunting.

YouTube – Answers and Shocking Stats

As you know, I was thoroughly irked this week, seeing unattractive comments about me and my research.

Then, once I stopped saying rude things to my computer monitor and calmed down, I decided to take action.

First, I posted a couple of YouTube videos, trying to correct apparent misunderstandings.

After that, I hired a team to see whether it’s worth my time to make YouTube a priority… but I’ll talk about that in a moment.

Anyway, about the videos…

For years, there’s been a curious, online fascination with my surname. (This has never made sense to me. Per Forebears, Broome is the 23,815th most common surname in the world, and 62% of Broomes are in the U.S.A.)

In case you’re as interested in quirks and oddities as I am, I stumbled onto this list of 100+ least-common surnames.  My favorite might be “Bytheseashore.” (Seriously. It’s a surname. I would love to see the comments it attracts.)

So anyway, in case it might bring clarity, I created a YouTube video, sharing some details about the my surname. (Admittedly, this might be an absolute snooze for most people.)

I’m pleased that I managed to keep this video under one minute. As a genealogy enthusiast, it’s far too easy for me to go on and on (and on) about the Broomes and related families.

In addition to the obsession with my name, even more people seem to think I’m a newcomer to the Mandela Effect. Some suggest that I’m a usurper.

Really, as soon as I’d posted my four-part audiobook recordings at YouTube, one person actually said, “she came along and took ownership.”  And then others followed with similar accusations.

Umm… wow.

So, in case it will do any good — admittedly unlikely — I created a YouTube Short video addressing that, too.

Meanwhile, musing about the general YouTube dilemma, I’d decided to ask some professionals whether I could create more videos on my two main topics – ghost hunting and the Mandela Effect – and get adequate traction with either channel.

I’m still in blink-blink mode, looking at their report.

Apparently, every month, an average of 930 people search on YouTube for “Fiona Broome.”  Just my name. Nothing else with it. (Is there another Fiona Broome they’re looking for…?)

But – and this is what really astonishes me – the competition for that keyword is pretty steep.

So, at this point, unless the YouTube algorithm is being indulgent, neither of my YouTube channels is likely to be on the first page of results.

Even one that’s “FionaBroome.” (That’s the actual URL/name of my ghost hunting YouTube channel.)

And then there’s “Mandela Effect.” YouTube receives over 73,000 searches for that phrase, every month.

I have zero chance of ranking well for that phrase, too.

However, the team did find a couple of YouTube niches where I might be able to shine.

I’ll consider them as we’re packing for our next cross-country trip.

They might be on my to-do list for 2024.

Why I (Should?) Rarely Talk About the Mandela Effect

Ick.

This afternoon, checking to see how my latest videos look on YouTube, I stumbled onto…

Well, here’s what I said at my Facebook Page:

On one hand, I’m flattered that my recent audiobook recordings so quickly attracted attention. (Thank you, MoneyBags73!)

Really, I thought it was kind of meta/hilarious that someone posted a video… about me posting videos.

However, I probably shouldn’t have read the comments at that gentleman’s YouTube video page. They were harsh reminders of why, several years ago, I stepped back from the Mandela Effect topic.

I’m sitting here, shaking my head and muttering, “Trolls, and those who repeat their nonsense, as if it’s true…” * sigh *

In case there’s any doubt:

1) Yes, I did start the original Mandela Effect website. (In my book/recording, I reference the topic’s quirky, collaborative start, and mentioned Shadowe in the book’s dedication.)

2) Yes, I do understand the scope of the Mandela Effect; I just don’t see the point in trying to prove it. Or even that the Mandela Effect is real.

3) No, my surname was never Broon, Broone, Broom, or Bloom. And the “witch” label actually evolved when trolls first described me as a “b—-,” and several conservative (lower-case C) critics preferred to use a euphemism instead. (I never thought they were serious about me being an actual witch… but maybe they were?)

However, I’m okay with people criticizing my voice* or my recordings. Mostly, I just wanted to put the contents of my latest book in a free – not paid – version of an audiobook. So there it is.

Okay, feeling really annoyed, that’s what I’d initially posted on Facebook.

Here’s what else I’d like to say: I don’t regret publishing the book. Or even putting the audiobook online, and making everything as free as possible. (The Kindle book is free in Kindle Unlimited, too.)

After all, I think it’s important for people to know the facts about the Mandela Effect, including

  • how the topic started,
  • some of its quirkier aspects and intriguing theories (like Mr. Stain’s cryptic comments, referenced in the audiobook/podcast)
  • and why the original website isn’t online now.

But now, seeing what’s said about me and my work, in the first 24 hours since I became far more vocal (literally) about the Mandela Effect… yikes.

Oh, the Mandela Effect site was tremendous fun for the first year or two or three.

But once the trolls showed up… the fun:exhaustion ratio wasn’t good, and it seems as if that hasn’t improved.

I’m rethinking how to deal with this, while ensuring the visibility of the astonishingly deep insights shared in our early conversations.

Many of those observations and theories haven’t been fully explored. In the future, they may lead to important answers.

To me, it feels almost immoral to let trolls – and those who see the Mandela Effect as something to exploit – control the focus, and how the topic is perceived.

I may regret this, but I think I’m going to speak up a bit more, in case it helps. Clarify points where people are being misled. Highlight the most original theories and  curious, quirky “rabbit holes” of our original conversations.

Well… maybe. I’ll need to see if that’s worth my time. If it’d be just another blog post or YouTube video (or two or three) that get lost in the algorithms, I may give this a pass.

Meanwhile, most reliable media resources give me appropriate credit for my work, establishing the Mandela Effect.

Long-time friends and fans know my role in that, as well.

I’m not sure if that’s good enough for current and future researchers to find the earliest Mandela Effect materials. But maybe it has to be?


* Should I have chosen an AI voice instead?

No, I’m not serious. LOL. Sites like ElevenLabs are producing some pretty good AI voices, but – to me – it seems important for people to hear the tone in my voice, in case that better conveys my sentiments. How flippant I am, and also what a science geek I am. The whimsical ideas that intrigue me, the cultural notes I reference, and how I say “heck” and “darn” instead of anything stronger. And so on. How all of that defines who I am. After all, text can be so vapid.

New and Old Podcasts Ahead!

Though we’re in the midst of travelling right now – in Texas for another week or two, after a year in Maine – I’m restoring almost all of my old ghost-related podcasts… to YouTube.

Yes, all ~100 of them. It’s a big project and the trial-and-error phase – testing software – has been daunting… but successful! (Well, more or less. I mean, some of those old podcasts had so-so sound quality, at best.)

First, I wanted to test a few microphones. (I own far too many.) That’s why I reviewed the new Living for the Dead series.

After that, my first major test of the actual podcast workflow was to record the opening chapters in my book, The Mandela Effect: A History….

Yes, that book is free to read in Kindle, but – since so many people comment (favorably) about my audios – I also wanted to record the initial chapters. So, those start here:

Next, I’ll be adding past podcasts to my ghost hunting YouTube channel ( https://www.youtube.com/c/FionaBroome ).

Preparing for that, I tested an old Halloween-related podcast, about one of America’s most famous ghosts, Ocean-Born Mary.

And this one:

Remember, these are among my early efforts.

Basically, I’m taking my old Libsyn-hosted audios (2012 – 2019), and turning them into YouTube podcasts… which mean they have to be in video format. (I know; that’s a bit weird.)

And then there are transcripts to compile and edit, and so on.

In other words: Don’t expect dozens & dozens of podcasts, overnight. Especially since we’re about to leave Texas for Florida, and then it’s the holiday season.

And then… well, in 2024, Ireland may be on our itinerary. (We’re like that. We love to visit cool places with interesting landscapes and histories. And maybe a few ghost stories.)

So that’s the news, why I’ll be posting podcasts intermittently, and why I may not even be online very much – off and on – through the end of 2023.

“Living for the Dead” on Hulu – Why it Matters to Me

To be honest, I’d almost given up on ghost hunting TV shows. Even some of the shows that I’d liked (kinda-sorta) when they first aired… Too many have become self-parodies.

And, to be even more blunt, some of the cast who’ve signed deals for their own shows…? They have my sympathy. Often, between the “unscripted” directions they’re given and how the shows are edited… yikes.

But, as a fan of “Queer Eye,” I couldn’t not take a peek at “Living for the Dead,” just in case it was different. I wanted to see what kind of spin those producers might bring to ghost hunting.

I was astonished. In a good way.

As I see it, there are two kinds of ghost hunting.

One variety is what you see most often on TV: People (mostly men) portrayed as “everyday guys,” go looking for ghosts. They rely heavily on ghost hunting equipment, and seem unprepared for anything truly startling.

I understand how that appeals to the viewing audience. Anyone watching the show might think, “Cool! I can do that, too!”

And so they do.

And then they’re disappointed.

Or find themselves in a dangerous situation, physically or spiritually.

Or both. (Deep sigh.)

The other kind of ghost hunting is what I do: I visit sites with interesting histories and the potential for ghostly energy, perhaps intriguing “residual energy,” if not actual ghosts.

People like me rely on their senses (five or six), and only use ghost hunting equipment to check for anomalies that might explain the “weird vibes” of the site.

High EMF from bad wiring in a building…?  That can make anyone uneasy.

Add some infrasound, and people can have a genuinely terrifying experience.

People like me aspire to a rich experience at each “haunted” site, feeling a connection with history.

That’s the opposite of the “Dude, run!” version of ghost hunting, where people seem to want “a good scare.”

… Of course, those two different kinds of ghost hunting aren’t always distinct. There can be plenty of overlap in that Venn diagram.

Anyway…

Here’s my review, as a YouTube video. (I apologize for the audio quality. With seasonal allergies, my voice isn’t as reliable or consistent as I’d like, but I wanted to share this review as quickly as possible.)

And, if you’ve watched that TV series, I hope you’ll share your opinions in comments, below. (I’ll admit to watching a couple of the episodes twice. When they’re good – or fun, or both – they’re definitely worth a second glance.0

The Mandela Effect Site is Back… Sort of

Is this actually big news…? Maybe.

Unexpected? Probably.

The short version is: We now have a Mandela Effect YouTube channel.

And, as of a few hours ago, the two Mandela Effect videos that were at my ghost-related YouTube channel are now at the new Mandela Effect YouTube channel.

I’ve also added a YouTube Shorts video – less than a minute long – for those who have a passing interest in the Mandela Effect topic.

I’ll be adding content to both of my YouTube channels (the Mandela Effect one, and the ghost-hunting one) over the next few days, and then as time permits.

Here are the (boring?) details…

My long-time URL, MandelaEffect.com, now redirects to the Mandela Effect YouTube channel I’m working on. (That redirect may take up to 48 hours to resolve. Later, I may change the name of the channel, but my URL will still redirect there.)

So far, that YouTube channel contains the two Mandela Effect videos that had been at my ghost-related YouTube channel. (We’ve moved the videos, and fixed the subtitles so – finally – they’re readable.)

I’ve also created a one-minute video, explaining what the Mandela Effect is.

In the next few days, this new YouTube channel will feature more new YouTube Shorts (videos that are one minute or less) on the Mandela Effect topic. (That’s just the beginning. I’m working on this as fast as I can.)

Meanwhile…

The Mandela Effect WordPress site has been updated as well, and it’s now using the URL of MandelaEffectSite.com

Here’s why I’m making these dramatic changes.

The Mandela Effect videos never fit the topic of my ghost hunting YouTube channel.

I just didn’t know where else to put them.

And really, the hyperbole around the Mandela Effect topic had become so preposterous — and volatile — I thought I’d never talk about it again. (I know, “never say never,” right? lol )

Early yesterday morning  – around 3 AM – after reading the great, recent CNN article about the Mandela Effect, I woke up realizing that the Mandela Effect topic is now mainstream enough to encourage calm, genuine conversations. I’m hopeful.

NOTE: This does NOT mean I’m able to read or reply to emails or comments about that topic. Halloween – my busiest ghost-related time of year – is almost here, and I’m far behind on projects I’d promised my fans.

Mostly, I realized that YouTube could resolve two of my biggest Mandela Effect website problems: Inflammatory comments and website hosting costs.

Here’s why YouTube seems to be the answer:

    • YouTube blocks the most extreme comments, while allowing continued dialogue among viewers with a genuine interest in the topic.
    • YouTube can handle the massive traffic that the Mandela Effect topic seems to attract.

So, I’m pleased, and hoping this works.

Of course, some people will ask about the channel earning money. As if it’s immoral or something.

I addressed that general topic last March, when I more-or-less formally – and finally – “retired” from publishing my Mandela Effect research and participating in conversations.

But yes, in the future, with enough YouTube channel subscribers and a massive number of viewing hours, I may qualify for income from the ads YouTube displays with almost all of my videos.

(YouTube doesn’t approve all channels for that, and it’s not why I’ve created the channel. In fact, it’s a fairly moot point; for an income of about two cents for each view, I’m not seeing dollar signs in this move. It’s just saving me hosting bills. And time.)

For me, YouTube seems be a place where – once again – the origins of the Mandela Effect topic (and my actual opinions on it) can be seen, and friends’ conversations can continue.

Will this work…? I have no clue, but it seems worth a try.

(And yes, there will be trolls at YouTube. It’s the Internet. Do your best to ignore them, okay…?)

This was not an easy decision for me, and we’ve spent the past ~48 hours making the initial changes. It’s been a LOT of work.

However, I’m hopeful that — once and for all — YouTube solves the biggest problems related to sharing my original content. And, at the same time, it’s a place where people can comment and have conversations about this topic.

Warning: My Voice Was Cloned!

This morning, I was beta-testing some AI video software, and — for amusement — asked the AI to produce a ghost-themed video.

I provided the general topic and ideas, and AI did the rest.

I did not use my actual name when I signed up for the beta. (As you know, I’m a bit of a privacy fanatic.)

Well… when I played the video to see if the AI was worth using in the future, I was stunned.

They’d cloned my voice, probably from my YouTube channel. No doubt about it.

I’m doing my best to take this as a compliment: That, when talking about ghosts, using my voice makes the video sound more credible.
Or something…?

Of course, it might just reflect the number of podcasts and videos I’ve shared online, over the past 20+ years. That gave AI an abundance of voice samples to clone.

Whatever the reason my voice was selected: PLEASE be aware that this is going on.

Whether it’s my voice or someone else’s (Jason, Grant, Zak, Jack, Alex, Kris, Steve, Tango, Dustin, etc.), if the “voice” is saying things that seem a bit off, or outright uncharacteristic, report it.

This is especially true if the fake voice is being used for potential commercial gain of any kind, including on a YouTube channel or as an adjunct to “I want to be a celebrity, too” self-promotion. (Yes, I’ve already talked with an attorney, who put my mind at ease. See this legal precedent: Midler v. Ford Motor Co.)

And tell others, in case they might be confused, too.

In my case, if the recording isn’t on my YouTube channel or my own websites… It’s almost certainly NOT me.

It’s been a few years since I gave interviews or spoke at events, and – frankly – I’m enjoying having time to focus on my own projects. (I may return to Dragon Con, etc., in the future, but not yet.)