Paranormal Articles


Articles

The following articles have been provided by visitors to my website unless otherwise stated, most were written by myself and represent my views and opinions. If you are a paranormal investigator or just a paranormal enthusiast and would like to submit an article please email me.

Paranormal Evidence Shadow people
hunting with dowsing rods Provoking ghosts
What are orbs Ouija board! Dangerous toy?
Dangers of the paranormal Proving the paranormal
Skepticism and the paranormal What can you expect from a ghost hunt?
Where spirits reside Time and the paranormal

Paranormal evidence

If you watch any of the paranormal reality type programming on television like "Ghost Hunters" on the SyFy channel or "Ghost adventures" on the Travel Channel. Or visit a few of the many paranormal theme websites on the internet, you can find many examples of what are proclaimed to be evidence for, or even proof of the reality of ghosts or some other paranormal phenomena. Many of these websites offer audio files of what are purported to be EVP or electronic voice phenomena, which you may listen to. There are also many instances of images of what are claimed to be those of real ghosts. And there are also many websites that offer video snippets of what are claimed to be evidence for, or even proof of paranormal activity such as ghosts and even UFOs.

The purpose of this article is not to try and debunk these claims or to provide evidence that they are not real. The reason I am not attempting to debunk these claims is simply because some of these videos, images or EVP snippets may in fact be very real and are exactly what they are claimed to be. I also do not believe that I have the right to bring into question anybodys evidence or to call anyone a liar or fake, especially when I was not there to witness the apparitions or sounds that may have been captured or recorded using film, digital or video cameras, or analog or digital voice recorders. Some of these photos, videos and audio EVP may be very real!

The reason I did write this article is with the hopes that those of you who do view these pieces of evidence of the paranormal, will do so with a bit of a critical or skeptical eye and not just buy into the reality of ghosts and the paranormal based simply on this type of evidence. There is a good reason that much of this type of evidence would not be allowed in a court of law. The reason it would not permitted as evidence is simply because it is too easily fabricated, altered or faked using computer image and photo editing software and audio editing programs. I am quite certain that some of this type of evidence has been altered or fabricated, but it is not my right to say what has been modified or altered and what has not. I say this because I am not am not a photographer, videographer or audio expert.

Most persons who are somewhat familiar with computer technology know that it is relatively easy to edit photos using software programs such as adobe photoshop or a similar photo editing program. It is also quite easy to alter audio files with similar editiong software programs and video files can also be easily modified with CG (computer graphics).

My advice would be to watch and enjoy these paranormal or ghost programs, visit the paranormal and ghost websites, view and listen to the evidence that's presented and make up your own mind as to the authenticity and reality of this evidence. But do view it with a critical eye, and do maintain an open and curious mind. Some of it may be real, but I am also quite certain that some is not.

Martin Burns
http://www.aformerskeptic.com.

Shadow people, what are they?

Shadow men, shadow people or shadow ghosts as they are also refered to as, are a type of paranormal phenomena that defies any simple explanation. Some of the non-paranormal explanations for shadow people range from just simple misinterpretation's of light play within a supposedly haunted location, to optical illusions caused within or by the eye itself. The shadow figures are generally seen through the peripheral area of the visual field or in other words, they appear out of the corner of the eye. And by the time the observer has turned around to look directly at the shadow figure, it just seem to disappear.

Many skeptics and physicians believe that these figures are probably caused by ocular disturbances and floaters within the orb or in the vitreous fluid of the eye itself, the condition of optical floaters is not at all uncommon, especially in older adults. But they can and do appear in all age groups.

Most of the theories that describe shadow people believe that they are probably sinister or evil in nature. There are several theories that describe what the entities of shadow ghosts or shadow people may be. Some of the more common of these theories state that they may be inter-dimensional beings who may be just as startled and frightened of us as we are of them, and that is the reason many feel they disappear so abruptly. Another popular theory is that they are aliens who are attempting to observe us humans for some sinister or nefarious reason. And one of the more bizarre theories that I have heard is that they are the disembodied spirits of living persons, who are in a state of astral-projection, and who may be there for some evil purpose. And yet there are others who believe they may simply be the ghosts of deceased persons who, for some reason are trapped between our reality and that of the astral plane. And this may be the only way these ghosts can manifest themselves. Many religious organizations who believe in this type of entity, believe they are either demons themselves or are in some other way demonic in nature. Another theory I have heard, is that they may be the spirits of persons who are in a state of NDE or "Near Death Experience". And yet there is another theory that believes they are actually human time travelers from our own future who are here to simply observe what would be their history.

I personally have seen what I think may have been a shadow person, but because the moon may have been out on the evening that I had seen this figure, I have to dismiss it as a possible misinterpretation on my part. I also believe that most encounters with shadow people are simply that, misinterpretation of light play or of ocular disturbances, which are not at all uncommon. I believe that most of these sightings are probably not paranormal at all, but there is always the possibility that some are.

I would like to see more research done into this phenomenon itself. I would like to see this research done to either debunk this phenomena or come up with more substantial and credible evidence as to the reality of these entities, what they are, why the're here and what they may want or need, and whether they're benign or malevolent and whether they present any real danger to the living.

Martin Burns
www.aformerskeptic.com

hunting with dowsing rods

Dowsing has been around for centuries it has been used for finding water and other natural elements, as in ore and precious gem mining. It is also called rhabdomancy which the dictionary defines as: (from the Greek) Divination by means of a wand or rod, especially for discovering underground water or ores.


Dowsing or divining can be used for finding many different things and in our present day it has been used by; oil refineries, farmers, well drillers, treasure hunters and police detection use. Dowsing has been used by the military during World War II and the Viet Nam war for finding enemy targets. It was widely publicized and met with excellent success rates.

Today the dowsing rod is very popular in ghost hunting and more!

By looking at the method in which the rods works you can compare them to sophisticated electronic equipment for detecting energy fields. You can test their sensitivity by using them along with an EMF meter (electromagnetic field detector). Your rods will move to detect physical manifestations that require an amount of energy, just like an EMF meter. The nice thing about your rods is, it cannot experience battery energy drain like an EMF meter!

Quantum physics teaches us that everything in the universe is a mass of molecules that vibrate and has an energy field. Even the very thoughts in your brain, are waves which is an energy field that can be measured. Every bit of energy vibrates and puts out waves which can be measured in one way or another. Your divining rods can pick up and detect these fields when trained to tune into the vibration, just like a tuning fork.

Practicing with your Rods to learn the signals that alert you to energy

Your rods may indicate an energy field by crossing for positive and open wide for negative. The action of crossing or open or bobbing up and down is a personal preference in which you train your rods. Practice with them so you know what they are indicating. I use my rods to cross for positive and open for negative. You may even use a bobbing action it's all up to you

  • You must tune into your sixth sense when approaching your new dowsing skill.
  • Then Practice, practice, practice is the most important part of dowsing>

Let's start with water:
Think of what you are attempting to find, tune into its vibration. Throw a water bottle or cross a watering hose and see how your rods react to the positive vibration of water. Try it on various wells or hoses that you know are there and practice this until you see the reaction you get. Then move on to electricity and again think, tune and then find. Use an electrical cord or go outside and find your overhead or underground electrical lines going to the house.

Try finding lost objects like your keys, tune into its vibration then find. Hide in a room and have someone hide the object for you. Then think about where it is. You should come out of the room thinking of its tune and vibration. Pay great attention to the signals, finding a lost object (this includes treasure) you will have to follow the very subtle direction points made by your rods. Go slow taking one step at a time. You may notice that only one rod will point you in the proper direction this is normal. After success and practice you will be able to move swiftly to find your target but go slow at first.

When you have the basics down go ghost hunting with your local paranormal group or on a ghost tour with your rods and see what they indicate.

Provoking ghosts

I'm not a ghost hunter, nor am I a paranormal investigator or researcher. I have never been on a ghost hunt and I know absolutely nothing about how one would go about hunting ghosts, other than what I have seen on TV programs like Ghost Hunters or any of the numerous other programs of that nature, and also from what I have read by visiting other websites related to the paranormal. And I don't suppose these ghost hunter programs really depicts what happens on a real ghost hunt because so much has to be edited for time constraints and entertainment value. I do suppose staying up all night with the hopes of seeing or actually capturing a photographic or video image of an apparition could be quite boring, but I also suppose that if the ghost hunter is fortunate enough to see or capture that apparition or ghost on film or with a digital camera, would be quite exhilarating. But I also think that there is one ethical question that should be considered when investigating the paranormal or hunting ghosts. I am not going to give up my basic beliefs and skepticism about the existence of ghosts and the paranormal, but like the web address of this site indicates I am open minded enough to believe that ghosts may be real, and possibly do exist.

Therefore, for the sake of the argument on the ethical question I have, I am going to make an assumption that ghosts are real, and do exist. And if I make the assumption that ghosts are real, and then I must also must make the assumption that these ghosts or spirits are probably the souls of people no different than you or I. People who once walked the earth, and are now deceased.

The ethical question I have in mind is this. Is it ethical for a ghost hunter, to go into a supposedly haunted location, and use tactics such as taunting, provoking or similar tactics in their attempts to make contact, get EVP's or photographic evidence of any entities, ghosts, or spirits who may reside there? If we make the assumption that ghosts are real, and the paranormal investigators go into a private home, one that may have been occupied at one time by a person who has now passed away, and now their ghost haunts or resides in that same home or building, as he or she once did in life. And let us also assume that this spirit or ghost does not realize they are deceased for some reason, or they are simply comfortable in their surroundings and feels that they are home, and these ghost hunters come in and start using the tactics of provoking and taunting. How would you feel if some beings came into your home and started taunting, and provoking you into contacting them? Wouldn't you feel that these beings were trespassing on your privacy? And perhaps even your right to exist.

I wonder if these ghost hunters believe that a person loses all rights to privacy and dignity, because they have passed away and now reside in the realm of the spirit world? Whatever happened to the idea of letting the dead 'rest in peace' If you haven't watched the movie The Others with Nicole Kidman than I suggest you do so. The end of the movie has a pretty strange twist, but it does give an idea on what ghosts or spirits may feel or believe about themselves. I don't see anything wrong with the idea of attempting to contact the ghosts or spirits that may be haunting a particular residence or location, but I do believe that if these entities are real and do exist than I also believe they have the right to be treated with the same amount of dignity and respect that you would treat a living person in their own home. Some of these paranormal investigation groups seem to treat the ghosts or spirits, if they exist as if they don't deserve the same respectful treatment you would give to that same person if they were still alive.

I have also come to the understanding, that some of these ghost hunters think the practice of taunting an evil spirit may have a certain amount of danger attached to it. They seem to think that if they provoke an inhuman or demonic ghost then they are more likely to be attacked. Let me say this, first of all I don't believe in demonic ghosts at all. Evil spirits may exist, simply because evil people exist. And when evil people die, perhaps they become the evil spirits. But I don't think it matters whether the ghost is malevolent, benevolent or neutral, if a paranormal investigator goes into a building that a ghost may inhabit and consider its home then I think they should expect to get attacked if they use such tactics as provoking. If they came into my home and started provoking me, I know damn well I would attack with all the force I could muster, including perhaps even using a weapon if I had one at my disposal. To sum all this up, I think paranormal investigators should treat ghosts, if they exist with the same amount of dignity and respect you would show that same person if they were still alive. If these entities are real, they deserve no less.

By Martin Burns
http://www.aformerskeptic.com

Orbs, what are they?

It seems to me that orbs, is one of the more controversial phenomena that ghost hunters or paranormal researchers deal with. And from what I have been able to gather by researching them on the internet, is that most paranormal investigators now dismiss almost all photographs or images of orbs as nothing more than dust particles, insects, pollen or moisture droplets that happen to show up, primarily on images that are created with digital photographic equipment while using a flash. However there are also some paranormal investigators who still adhere to the belief that some of these orbs are evidence of paranormal activity, and perhaps even of spiritual or ghostly energy itself.

I have to admit, that I am a fan of paranormal television. And two of the most popular of this type of programming is "Ghost Hunters" on the SyFy channel, and "Ghost Adventures" on the Travel Channel. Ghost hunters, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson have a tendency to dismiss almost all images of orbs as dust, moisture or anything but paranormal. I think they do this to help squelch some of what the critics and skeptics may say and help make themselves look more analytical and scientific in their approach. Whereas the other group with Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin also dismiss most orbs as dust particles or some other non-paranormal phenomena, but sometimes their so called evidence shows balls of energy or orbs going into their heads, bouncing off their backs or even attacking them. One of their earlier episodes filmed at the Goldfield Hotel in Goldfield Nevada, even shows a sphere of energy or orb that almost looked as if it was caressing Zak Bagan's arm.

I personally have to agree with most paranormal investigators. I think that almost all images of orbs are created by a digital cameras flash, reflecting light off of objects like dust particles, pollen, snow or moisture in the atmosphere. I think the ones that cannot be explained by this hypothesis are probably created by some natural phenomena akin to ball lightning. Ball lightning itself is also a debatable phenomenon by scientists because of the problems of trying to recreate it under laboratory conditions. However many scientists do believe that it is real phenomena because of the number of reports of the phenomena during electrical, or thunder storms. I think ball lightning has something to do with a sudden, unexplainable accumulation of ions in the atmosphere interacting with the earth's natural magnetic field, when the conditions are just right. But I'm no physicist, or meteorologist. So I'll leave that to them.

Orb photo
Photo used with permission www.ourcuriousworld.com

I have seen a lot of images of orbs and of all the images that I have seen; this one is perhaps one of the more compelling, compelling that it is something other than dust, pollen, insects or something of that nature. It appears to be emanating its own light because of the reflection of the object off the floor. This photo was taken with a digital camera without flash. Could this photo or image have been doctored using Photo shop? I suppose! I am not a photographer, nor am I an expert using photo shop. But even if this image is of a genuine orb or sphere of energy, that is still not evidence that it is a ghost or spirit, although I would definitely consider it paranormal because it is not normal to have spheres of energy running around your home. If you would like to see a closer view of this image, please click on the image itself.

By Martin Burns
http://www.aformerskeptic.com

Ouija board! Dangerous toy?

Is there a danger to the use of the Ouija board? The Ouija board, or as it is also known as the talking board, spirit board or even witch board. Is it simply a toy, or is there is some sort of danger attached to it's use, danger from evil spirits, ghosts or demonic forces? Danger that these entities could possibly attack the user or users on a spiritual level.

The history of automatic writing using an oracle or planchette goes all the way back to approximately 1000 years BC in China. The modern version of the Ouija board, was introduced in the latter part of the nineteenth century by the toy maker Parker Brothers, and was distributed and sold primarily as a toy.

Ouija Board

Some religious denominations, especially mainstream Christians, believe that using the Ouija board can lead to demonic possessions. And these Christian groups also believe that when you do use the Ouija board you're actually communicating with demons, not with the souls or spirits of people who may have passed on. And even some occultist believe that it's use can open portals or doors to the spiritual realm and allow ghosts, demons and evil spirits to enter our realm of existence and haunt, possess or in some other way harm or annoy anyone who may have used the Ouija board.

In my opinion this is all bunk! The Ouija board is nothing but a toy. If the oracle moved on its own, without being touched, then and only then would I believe it has any mystical powers. But because it has to be touched with the fingertips of the people performing the seance, I think it is nothing but someone, either intentionally or subconsciously moving it. And I believe that if there is any danger attached to its use, then I believe it comes from the subconscious psychology and fears of the person or people using it. If the individual or individuals, who are using it, sincerely believes they are communicating with ghosts or spirits, than I suppose it would't take too much more to make them also believe that they may become possessed by these ghosts or spirits. Especially if they believe it is sinful or evil to be even using the device in the first place.

Like I have said elsewhere on this web site I do not claim to know all the answers to things that are related to the paranormal. It is entirely possible that I am completely wrong and totally off base on this subject. Perhaps it is possible that evil spirits, demons or even the devil himself could possess your soul if you use the Ouija board, but I think this is highly unlikely. It's only a toy!

Dangers of the paranormal

Are there any real or potential dangers, to the study of the paranormal? Does ghost hunting, or researching the paranormal, have any inherent dangers attached to it? I do suppose that staying up all night, in a dark, poorly lit, unmaintained, decrepit old building with rotting timbers and loose floorboards, could lead to some potentially hazardous situations. Situations, where the ghost hunter could fall, trip or in some other way harm or hurt him or herself. There are also some other potential dangers, to the ghost hunter. Some of these other dangers include toxins that may be in the immediate area, toxins like black molds, asbestos, and other contaminants that may be in the atmosphere of any old abandoned building. There is also the possibility of venomous insects and other animals that could attack or in some way harm a paranormal researcher. So in this way, absolutely yes, there are some potential physical dangers that the unwary, paranormal researcher might encounter.

There are some in the paranormal field, who believe that ghost hunting could also pose some other dangers. Dangers other than the obvious physical ones. Some of these other dangers include, but are not limited to, such things as demonic possessions, partial possessions, spirit attachments, psychiatric disorders, mental illness, marital problems, alcoholism, drug abuse and even physical attacks by the ghosts or spirits, just to name a few of these potential dangers. Personally I am somewhat skeptical of these claims. But as I have said many times on this website, I am not an expert in the field of the paranormal. So therefore perhaps some, if not all of these other dangers are real and could be cause for concern.

I do believe that ghosts are most likely real, and there could be some possibility of being attacked by a spirit or ghost if the ghost hunter uses tactics such as taunting or provoking. As I have said in another article I personally do not believe that such tactics as provoking, or in some other way antagonizing a ghost or spirit, for the purpose of making contact or obtaining an EVP should be employed. If ghosts are real and do exist, then I believe they deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect as any other entity, living or not.

The only real dangers, I see in the hunting of ghosts, other than the obvious physical ones, would be to the psyche, religious faith and psychological well being of the ghost hunter. If the ghost hunter should experience or see something paranormal. Something that may be, in contradiction to his or her religious beliefs and faith, then I absolutely do believe that this contradiction could, in itself, result in some deep psychological problems that may be severe enough to require professional help. Help from either their clergy or even a psychologist or psychiatrist or possibly even both. But I do believe that if the ghost hunter or paranormal investigator is well grounded in his or her personal faith and religious beliefs, and maintains a good, healthy, well balanced attitude toward any potential paranormal activity or events. Then I believe that even this danger, would be all but eliminated.

By Martin Burns
www.aformerskeptic.com

Proving the paranormal! A fools quest?

Is it possible to prove the paranormal, and the existence of ghosts? Can it be demonstrated scientifically that the spirit or personality of a person transcends death? Is it possible to prove, even to the most ardent skeptics or perhaps even to an open-minded skeptic that ghosts are real and do exist? To be perfectly honest, I don't know if it is possible to prove, in any sort scientific manner the reality of the supernatural and paranormal. It may be possible to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that ghosts are real. Proof that may be acceptable in a court of law, proof that may even be beyond a reasonable doubt, proof that might convince the majority of people and perhaps even the majority of scientists that the paranormal is the normal. It may be possible to proof the existence of ghosts, but it will always be impossible to prove that they do not exist. The burden of proof does, in my opinion ride on the believers, not on the skeptics.

Paranormal investigators rely on a number of scientific instruments in their quest to document and provide evidence of the paranormal. Some of the instrumentation they rely on and use in their investigations are common and some, not so common. The following list includes most, but I am sure not all, of the items used by most paranormal researchers. I am not a paranormal researcher myself, therefore this list may be incomplete, there may be other instruments used that I am not aware of. If you are a paranormal investigator and know of other instrumentation that is used in this type of investigation, I would appreciate your contacting me, and let know about it and what it is and what it does.

  • Digital cameras
  • Digital and analog voice recorders
  • Digital and analog camcorder's
  • Infrared Illuminators
  • EM meters
  • Probe type thermometers
  • Infra Red cameras (FLIR)
  • Full spectrum cameras
  • K-II meters
  • Night vision goggles and scopes
  • Geiger counters

Even with all this instrumentation at their disposal and with many years of researching the paranormal, not one irrefutable piece of evidence has ever been put forward, that one piece of evidence that proves conclusively the existence of ghosts or any other paranormal phenomena. Does that mean it is impossible to prove the paranormal? I don't think so! If the paranormal is real and ghosts really do exist then I believe that it is possible to prove, prove in a way that would convince even the most ardent skeptics and scientists that the paranormal is real. But I sincerely believe that the ghost hunters or investigators must make some very basic changes in their approach to their investigations of the paranormal.

By Martin Burns
http://www.aformerskeptic.com

The ghost! A physical reality?

Is the ghost or soul of a deceased person a physical reality or is it purely spiritual energy? As I have said elsewhere in this website I am basically a skeptic, but I am also open minded enough to believe that the soul or spirit may continue to exist after the death of the corporeal body. If it is true that ghosts are real and do continue to exist in some form after death, then I have often wondered whether that ghost is a physical reality or entity made of actual physical matter which has mass, or is it some sort of pure spiritual energy that has no physical mass at all. I'm fairly certain that most scientists or at least the ones who might believe in the possibility of ghosts would probably say it is some sort of physical entity with an energetic component, whereas most theological or religious persons would probably believe that the soul is a purely spiritual entity in nature and not physical at all, and probably resides in another realm of reality other than ours, ie, heaven or hell.

There was an actual experiment done in the early part of the 20th century by a doctor Duncan MacDougall of Haverhill, Massachusetts. Dr. MacDougall weighted 6 patients dying with terminal illnesses. He hypothesized that if the soul existed and had physical mass than a patient would weight somewhat less after the soul departed the body. He used industrial scales that were supposedly accurate to the gram. The beds with the dying patients were placed upon this scale. He calculated after allowing for physiological changes, that the average body lost approximately 21 grams of weight, and he made the assertion that this was the approximate weight of the human soul, and that it did, indeed have physical mass.

I don't know if anybody since Dr. McDougall has tried to replicate this experiment, but the scientific methodology used by the doctor has come into question and most physicians and scientists are skeptical of his claims. Does that mean that this claim has been debunked? No, and many people still adhere to the belief that a ghost does have a physical component to it. Whether it does or not, I cannot say, although I too remain skeptical of this claim, but I am open minded and have to admit that I just don't know.

By Martin Burns
http://www.aformerskeptic.com

skepticism and the paranormal

When it comes to the paranormal and to ghosts and haunting's in particular, I think there are, in my opinion four basic types of personalities. The first type is the true believer. These are the people who believe in ghosts and the paranormal, usually based on faith alone. Some of these persons may believe because of religious convictions, i.e. Christians who believe in angels and demons, Heaven and Hell and the continuation of the soul after death, they believe in such things because the religious doctrine of their particular church demands it of them, they must believe because of the dogma associated with their particular religious denomination. Others may believe in ghosts and the paranormal because of some personal experiences they may have had with the paranormal themselves. They may have seen or felt what they believe to be the apparition of a deceased loved one. This is probably most likely to occur shortly after the death of a loved one, and while they are still in a state of extreme grief. Or they may have lived in, or are now living in a house, that they believe to be haunted, and have experienced unusual, paranormal or poltergeist type of activity. Because of their experiences they are now convinced of the reality of the paranormal. Whether the events are real in an empirical way really does not matter, because the person who experienced these events believes they are real, and that is all the proof they need. Some of the individuals who experience and believe in the paranormal may be mentally ill, hallucinate from the use of illicit drugs and even prescription medications can alter ones sense of reality. I do not make these statements to convince the believers that these things are not real, because in their minds they may be, very real! And who knows, perhaps what a psychiatrist or psychologist may label as an hallucination is in fact a vision of a reality that is invisible to the rest of us.

The second type of person is the open-minded skeptic. These are the people that are open to the idea that there may be some things that are beyond the scope of normal human understanding and perhaps do exist. They believe that ghosts and the paranormal may be real. But the open-minded skeptic wants something more than just some hearsay or flimsy evidence to convince them of the reality of ghosts. They want some evidence that is more substantial than some scratchy, barely audible EVP's or photos of orbs, fog or some other unexplainable anomaly, to help convince them of the reality of the paranormal and of ghosts. These are also the people who may be reluctant to believe, even if they themselves have had a paranormal type experience, because they know that the human mind can and does sometimes do play tricks on us, even their own mind. But I think that most open minded skeptics want to believe, but it's going to take more proof then has been put forward thus far.

The third type of person is the true skeptic. Many people who are labeled as skeptics are automatically assumed to be nonbelievers and closed minded. This is not the case at all. The skeptic isn't someone who disbelieves, but rather a person who want empirical and irrefutable scientific proof of the existence of the paranormal. They are the ones who believe that almost all claims of the paranormal and ghosts can be debunked as natural phenomena. But they are also the ones who can be convinced by using the appropriate scientific methodology. This I think is the category I would have placed myself, until of some personal experiences that I have had. I think most main stream scientists would fall into this category. They are trained to be analytical and skeptical and not buy into anything at face value. There is one famous skeptic, James Randi who offers a 1 million dollar reward to anyone who can prove the paranormal or any aspect of it. To date no one has been able to provide the proof needed to pass the test to Mr. Randi's satisfaction. I have listened to Mr. Randi speak and somehow he seems, to me to fall more into the last category (The closed-minded skeptic).

The fourth type of person is the closed-minded skeptic. These are the people who probably would not believe in the paranormal or ghosts under any conditions, and no matter what that proof may be, or who provided it. I think the reason some people may become this way is because of adverse reactions to religions indoctrinations. I also think most true atheists would fall into this category. Also some military veterans who may have experienced graphic and extreme war violence may also develop this attitude because their faith in the idea of God has been shaken, shaken to the point where they may almost become atheistic. My late father, who was a medic in world war II, was in this category, he believed that when you're dead your dead, and that's all there is to it. He did not believe in Heaven or Hell, life after death, ghosts or the paranormal or anything of that nature. To him it was all bunk. I don't even know for sure even if he had a belief in God or not. All I can say is "Dad. I hope you're wrong".

By Martin Burns
http://www.aformerskeptic.com

What can you expect from a ghost hunt?

Ghost hunting events have increased in popularity over the past few years, thanks largely to the number of paranormal-related TV shows and films that have appeared. Programs such as Most Haunted, and films such as Paranormal Activity tap into the desire to feel the adrenaline rush that being scared creates.

If you go to virtually any historical site in Britain, there is likely to be some story of paranormal activity, from the Moddey Dhoo (Black Dog) at Peel Castle in the Isle of Man, to the many apparitions said to haunt the Tower of London. Britain's rich history makes many of these sites a magnet for ghost hunters. Not only can you get the adrenaline rush that comes from being scared out of your wits, but you may also learn something about the history of the place you are visiting.

Ghost hunts can therefore be educational, as well as scary, and a fun way to meet new people.

There are hundreds of websites devoted to the paranormal and the methods used to track and record it. There are also many companies these days that operate ghost hunts, so it is always best to do your research and make sure that you are choosing a reputable company which uses experienced mediums and ghost hunters. Look for celebrity mediums, as they quite often conduct ghost hunts, and are an indicator of a quality ghost hunting company.

  • You should expect to stay awake all night, as many venues do not have sleeping facilities. Not that you would be getting much sleep anyway! Hot drinks and snacks are often provided, although some companies run "Ghost Hunt Suppers" where a meal is included in the ticket price.
  • Don't forget to bring a camera or other recording equipment. The professional ghost hunters and mediums will provide some equipment, but you may want to bring your own. You might catch something you didn't even realize was there.
  • Wear warm clothing and comfortable shoes. Venues often get very cold, and you may find yourself investigating cellars, gardens or caves. It is important to stay warm.
  • Choose your venue wisely. Some places are much more haunted than others, which will increase your chances of successful ghost hunting. Supposedly very haunted places include the Tower of London, Nottingham's Galleries of Justice, and the Shrieves house in Stratford upon Avon. Sadly, there is no way to predict paranormal activity, so the more reputedly haunted, the better, as far as ghost hunting is concerned.

Most importantly, you should go ghost hunting with an open mind. You never know what will happen, and even the most hardened sceptics might find themselves converted. Simply go with the intention of having fun and enjoying yourself.

Helen Laird writes for Dusk Till Dawn Events who specialize in Ghost Hunts and Paranormal Events

Where spirits reside.

I used to be somewhat of a skeptic. Because of my interest in EVP and some personal experiences I have had, I have become more of a believer and I do feel that ghosts most likely do exist and that there is something to the paranormal. And it probable that our souls do continue to exist after the end of life as we know it. And if it is true that ghosts exist, then I have also wondered at where these ghosts or spirits reside. I have often asked myself, do they exist within our realm of reality, but perhaps on a much more subtle level, or do they reside in an entirely different realm of reality such as another dimension, or perhaps even in another time, or maybe even in another universe.

dimension

Some main stream religious organizations believe that ghosts probably exist in a state of purgatory, or limbo and they need to work through the sins of their lives before being allowed to enter the gates of Heaven. Others may believe that these spirits or ghosts, are for some reason are either earth bound or trapped between realities, and they, the ghosts either don't want to move on to the afterlife (whatever that may be) because of fear of the retribution they may receive, for transgressions and sins that they may have committed in their lives. Perhaps it is also true that they don't want to leave our reality because they feel they have unfinished business, or they don't want to leave because of an intense emotional attachment they may have to a living person or person's, or that they may feel the need to comfort a grieving loved one. And I suppose it is also possible that some ghosts or spirits are comfortable with their existence in our reality, and they feel familiar with it and just don't want to leave. I suppose it is also possible that some ghosts do not realize they're deceased, because their death was sudden and unexpected, such as battlefield casualties in war, auto accidents or even murder victims, or anyone who may have died suddenly and very abruptly.

Most main stream scientists are extremely skeptical of ghosts and the paranormal in general. Most of these scientifically minded people believe that the paranormal is nothing more than an overactive imagination, or at worst may even be a symptom of mental illness. But I also suppose there are some scientists, who may be just open minded enough, to at least believe in the possibility that the paranormal is real. And I would also suppose, that the ones who do believe in the possibility of the paranormal, probably would believe that spirits or ghosts reside in another dimension (As string theory indicates, there may be 10 or possibly even 11 spatial dimensions) or perhaps even in another time. Albert Einstein believed, as part of his famous theory of relativity that the past, present and future all exists simultaneously. And if what, Dr. Einstein believed about space and time is true, than that could possibly explain what some ghosts might be, and where they might exist. Ghosts may be nothing more than a fleeting glimpse of someone from the past through an ultra-thin part of the veil that separates the present from the past. And who knows, perhaps people from the future may even view us as ghosts for the same reason. I suppose it may even be possible to interact, to a limited degree with these people from the past, and that could conceivably explain EVP or electronic voice phenomena.

To my knowledge, there is no scientific evidence at all that would even come close to supporting or validating any of the theories I have mentioned in this article. I have read some of these theories elsewhere and even attempted to formulate in my own mind, theories as to where spirits and ghosts may reside after the end of life. These theories and ideas are nothing more than that, theories.

By Martin Burns
http://www.aformerskeptic.com

Time and the Paranormal

Time is one of the more difficult concepts that theoretical physicists deal with. No one, not even the astrophysicists and astronomers who describe the cosmos can adequately describe what time is. Most of the scientists who adhere to the "Big Bang" theory believe that not only space, but time itself began at that moment, the instant when the singularity began to expand and create the universe as we know it today. On the other hand there are other theoretical physicists who believe that time is infinite and existed before the "Big Bang" and to them, M-theory describes how the universe was created, the M meaning membrane. It's a theory that states, in its simplest form, that our universe was created by a collision between two membranes which ultimately caused the "Big Bang" and that our universe may only be one of an infinite number of universes or as they, the scientists like to call it, the multiverse.

It was Albert Einstein, who with his now famous theory of general relativity, stated that time is relative to the motion of objects in space and also to an observer, and that time and space are essentially the same thing. Space cannot exist without time and time cannot exist without space, hence the term space-time continuum which describes our 3 dimensional universe where time itself is the 4th dimension. Dr. Einstein also believed that the past, the present and the future all exist simultaneously. I'm not a physicist nor do I have the educational background to fully understand or wrap my mind around these concepts and theories, but if what Dr. Einstein believed to be true about the relativity of time is actually true. And most, if not all of Albert Einstein's theories have been validated and proved to be true, then this, I think could help explain, some, if not most paranormal phenomena.

If it is true that the past, the present and the future do exist simultaneously then every event that has ever happened in the history of the cosmos is happening right now. Your birth, your first day of school, and even your death would all be happening in the now, at this moment, but in another dimension of time and space. I know this may sound bizarre, but if true then what you may perceive to be a ghost or apparition may only be a fleeting image of a past event that is happening in the now of the person you perceive to be a ghost, and by the same token that person may also perceive you to be an apparition or ghost of some sort. In my view this would probably happen, perhaps in some part of space itself where the veil that separates the past from the present or future would be at its thinnest. The reason that some sections of the veil that separates the space- time dimensions may become thinner is because of some extreme energy generating event, perhaps something akin to a murder, suicide or perhaps even a battle site in war.

I'm not a physicist nor am I a parapsychologist or paranormal researcher of any sort. This is not my theory or my hypothesis. It is theory I have read about elsewhere. But if ghosts do exist then I am more inclined to believe that a theory of this nature is more likely to explain what ghosts are or may be, then a theological belief system would be, where ghosts are the souls of those who have died and are now earth bound for some reason. I make no claims to know what ghosts are, why they're here, whether these theories are valid or not. This theory just represents one explanation as to the possible existence of the ghosts and the paranormal. I know there are many other theories and religious beliefs and one of them or perhaps the above theory may hold the ultimate answer.

By Martin Burns
http://www.aformerskeptic.com



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