WHAT IF WEDNESDAY:
How many times has this happened to you?
You're in a haunted location and you hear voice so clear it could be from someone standing right next to you, or you see a person, not just a shadow or light, standing directly in front of you?
Good thing you had a voice recorder rolling and your camera pointed straight ahead. But when you do your review the voice and figure aren't there!
This has happened to me more times than I can remember, and it's probably the most frustrating encounter during an investigation. I know, without a doubt, I've seen that person standing there. I know, without question, I heard someone who wasn't there speaking directly to me, but I have no proof of the interaction.
If I'm sure that it happened, what could be making it so I see and hear the entity, but my devices don't capture them?
Thought #1: Our brains have the amazing ability to show us and let us hear exactly what we want to see and hear. The hallucinations our brains create can be so real to us that we can see, hear and even touch a person that isn't there. A complete conversation can be had with a past relative or even a rainbow-scaled dragon if the right chemicals are dumped into our brains. And the most powerful hallucinogenic drugs on the planet are created by our bodies. These super drugs are stored in the brain and just waiting to be released when needed (see my blog post on DMT or if you have my book "GHOSTS FROM THE GROUND UP, " see chapter four, page 57). But these don't explain what I've seen and heard.
Thought #2: I think about the movie The Matrix and it's not very far off from the truth when it comes to the world our brain can create if the right areas are stimulated with electrical impulses. If you take a step back for a second and think about it, nothing in the world around us is real. Everything is a complete rebuild in our brains. It's taking the light waves that enter our eyes and constructing a world we understand, and taking in the sound waves entering our ears to create the soundtrack. Most of the time it's creating shortcuts by leaving out details, ignoring the everyday (Example: Your nose is always in view of your eyes, but the brain doesn't show it to you because you don't need to see it every second of every day) and if there's a blank spot, like when you blink or move your eyes (look up Saccadic Masking) it simply makes up what it thinks you should see and fills in the gap.
With these amazing superpowers our brains have in mind, we can now apply the, "WHAT IF."
What if ghosts are able to tap directly into our heads and "show us" what they want us to see, hear, and feel? The idea is that ghosts are energy. Our every thought, emotion, and sensation (touch, taste, sight, sound and smell) are created by electrical energy in our brains. So, is it possible for ghosts to use their energy to stimulate those areas in our brains that make us see, hear and feel their presence? I have to think that it would take a lot less energy for them to do this than to actually manifest or make their voice heard on recorders.
This ability to create sensations would explain many encounters during investigations. The ghosts could be able to effect one in a group, or if strong enough, let two or more experience something. For me it could explain the burning sensation I felt on my arm in Ireland that left no mark, the responses I've received during questioning that only I heard, and the numerous shadow figures that seemed to go unnoticed by everyone in the room except me.
In any case, it's an idea to explore and consider when only one member of your group hears or sees something. Maybe at that moment you should focus your investigation on that relationship and personal interaction. It could lead to some answers.
If you have a "What if..." You'd like to share, email me and I might post it.
Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT IF WEDNESDAY:
What if Wednesday is a bi-weekly post where I ask, what if? What if a crazy, outlandish, bordering on science fiction idea could explain what we're seeing, hearing and feeling while investigating the paranormal? These are not definitive answers! They are what if's. The following stories are fictional and only told to illustrate the ideas.
Scenario #1: The Patients of C Ward
The year is 1924. Summertime at the asylum means two things: it's hot in the hallways and the uncomfortable heat is making the patients in C Ward act up more than usual. The two patients here, under the care of Dr. William Sinclair, are special cases. They are not dangerous to others or themselves so they are allowed to roam the halls freely. Although there are times during their "episodes" where it's necessary to restrain the patient and place them in isolation, but they are rare. What these two suffer from is delusion. They believe that without a doubt, they can leave there bodies at night and travel to the future. In a recent session with one of the patients he described his latest "trip." He was in the year 2016. The asylum was in ruin. As he made his way through the dark halls he saw three people he did not recognize. The three people were dressed in all black and holding strange devices that made weird noises and had flashing lights on them. One of the people was asking questions. The patient tried to answer him, but it was as if the people couldn't hear him. When the patient went to touch the person closest to him he woke up and found himself back here in his room.
What if he is actually traveling to the future and interacting with people who can't see or hear him?
Scenario #2: Grandma's Dreams
Grandma has been gone for three years now. We moved into her home last year and ever since that time we've felt her presence and have even heard her voice in different rooms of the house. After a recent event where I saw a shadow cross the kitchen, followed by humming, which sounded like Grandma, I was reminded of the stories she use to tell us. When Grandma was alive she use to tell us about dreams she had. In them she was in the house doing what she always does (cooking, cleaning, listening to the radio), but the furniture and decorations inside were different. She would see us, her grandchildren, as adults in the house with people she didn't know. In her dreams she would try to join in on our conversations and get our attention, but no one would ever answer her. We would only look in her direction as if we were scared. We would always laugh at Grandma's stories and tell her we could never be scared of her, but now I'm starting to think differently.
What if we're actually living in the moment Grandma said she was traveling to? Are we being scared by her now as she dreamed about in the past?
Scenario #3: The Time Machine
Welcome to the year 2105. There have been many advancements in the field of science. The latest announcement comes from the study of electromagnetism. In the upcoming issue of Scientific America, the cover story will disclose the findings from this years time travel trials! Many test signals have been sent back to different times, ranging from 1890 to 2026. To date these tests have only consisted of light and sound waves, and from studying data from "paranormal" researchers during those times in the past it has been concluded that sent voice messages have been captured on recording devices. There are also documented sightings of lights and shadows, which corespondent to the light wave signals sent back. Unfortunately scientists are only able to send these signals to targeted dates and locations 5% of the time. The majority of the signals are scattered, but seem to focus on a number of "Hot Spots." In the coming year tests will include sending small inanimate objects like coins back through time. Monitoring investigations of the paranormal in the past will tell us if these tests are successful.
What if what has been labeled "paranormal" from the year 1890 to 2026 are only signals sent through a time machine in the future.
If you have a "What if..." you'd like to share with others? Email me and I might post it.
Send to: email@example.com
Read more about the time traveling ghost concept in my blog post: TIME SLIPS
When I first heard the Renovation Theory I was intrigued. My intrigue funneled into research.
It’s really easy to explain this theory. All you have to do is think of the movie Beetlejuice. Dormant spirits become active when changes are made to the dwelling. The ghosts in a location being renovated are disturbed and they’re making their disapproval of the changes known to you and anyone swinging a hammer.
I’ve never heard reports of people singing Calypso music while dining on shrimp cocktails, but I have read many reports from people who’ve experienced intense paranormal activity soon after they started to renovate their home or business.
Tools are moved, strange noises and voices are heard, lights flicker, and in many cases those doing the renovating feel unseen hands touching them and even find unexplainable scratches on their skin.
When I starting renovating my home, a 1910 craftsman in a historic neighborhood of Northeast Portland I experienced similar activity. As I sledge hammered lath and plaster walls, tore out knob and tube wiring, and ripped up stained floor boards I was reminded of what I’d read during my research. I started to hear unfamiliar noises, smell fragrant odors, and experience the exact same symptoms reported by people who had experienced frightening hauntings and possessions during a building renovation.
I became dizzy and fatigued in my basement. I even discovered fingernail-like scratches on my arms and body that I could not explain. But I didn’t rush to a conclusion and contact my local ghost hunting group. What I did was ask this question:
What else could I possibly be disturbing?
Dust, which more than likely contains mold spores. Exposure to Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (mVOC) and Mycotoxins can cause:
All symptoms said to be linked to paranormal claims. These spores also give off an unpleasant odor, which could explain phantom smells.
Molds are commonly found in older buildings and those open to the elements. When we investigate in these locations, with each step, placement of equipment, and opening of a door we’re launching spores (mVOC & Mycotoxins) into the air and ingesting them. Some people can go all night and not be affected. Others may feel these symptoms after a few minutes of exposure. It will be different at every location and with every person in your group. Strapping on a mask eliminated my problem and is now a permanent addition to my gear.
So, if you’re feeling haunted, think about the other things in the space you can’t see. They may be the cause of the activity and for residential cases, a lot easier for the homeowners to exorcise than a ghost or demon.
I took this digital photograph in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 2006. I didn't look at the photo right then and there. It was later that night when I went through the day's pics. At first glance I thought I had moved the camera, creating the blur, but then I took a closer look. Everything in the background is in focus, only the light in the foreground and the anomaly "flying" in from the from the right are blurred. This prompted the thought, "Did I just capture something?"
When I returned home I put the photo through every test at my disposal. There had to be another answer to what I was seeing here. After exhausting my bag of logic, science and common sense I still wasn't satisfied. I sent the photo to people I respect in the paranormal field for their expert and unbiased opinion. I included all the information and details I remembered from the moment I took the photo, down to the temperature and presence of (or lack of) pigeons. After a couple weeks all came back with their thoughts and ideas, but none of them had a definitive answer. To each and everyone, based on the information they were given, this could be actual evidence of the paranormal.
And then it happened.
I was on vacation in Africa. I was setting up to take a picture of a bull elephant, but the sun was blinding. So I took my sunglasses off and put them over the lens of the camera. I snapped the picture, took a look, and saw I had the answer to a 3 year old mystery.
When I took this picture in New Orleans I had done the exact same thing with my brown tinted sunglasses. I just forgot that I did it when I was reviewing the pictures hours later.
From that day I've asked myself these 3 questions whenever I'm presented with claims:
In this case I made it happen, but it would have been really easy for me to post this pic on every social media page and website, claiming that I had photographic proof of ghosts in New Orleans. I could have argued with every negative comment and blocked “Haters." My story could have been picked up by news organizations all over the world, and for 15 minutes people would know my name. But that is not why I and many of you investigate paranormal claims. For us this is a personal quest for answers to a deeply moving experience, and seeing easily dismissible "evidence" posted on webpages is a scar on our field of research.
The message here: Dust floats, its every action dictated by the wind. It ultimately settles, remaining still until wiped away and discarded. Don't be dust. Be the wind. Become that force with the ability to move ideas and research in the paranormal field forward.
Patrick H.T. Doyle
Being out in the middle of nowhere for an extended amount of time gives me time to think. My mind wanders, jumping from thoughts about current theories in the paranormal to new ideas in the hopes of discovering the truth about what we're encountering. These are some of those ideas.