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Posts Tagged ‘ghosts’

Written by:
Wendi Friend

More and more, people are trying to find ways to provide scientific proof that ghosts, spirits, and elemental beings do exist in our realm. As technology advances, so do the tools used for serious ghost hunters! While some of the technology may provide adrenaline-pumping results, that same technology can be attributed to many “false” validations of supposedly haunted locations.

Let’s take a look, first, at what tools are currently being used in the field of paranormal investigators, and a bit of background information on why these tools are used. Then, we can take a more objective look at how and why some of these tools can be deceiving, and why, with all this technical advancement and “scientific investigations”, the existence of ghosts or ghostly beings has yet to be “proven”.

The most basic of tools includes:

• Pen/pencil and a notebook. This is to jot down any notes and to record details of the investigation.
• Flashlights: This one’s easy. Most paranormal investigations are done in the dark.
• Cables & extension cords: why, to plug in all the high tech gadgets, of course.
• Extra batteries, cassette tapes, and film.

Now, let’s get to the good stuff. Here’s the latest craze of tech tools for the paranormal investigators, “professionals” and amateurs alike:

• Digital Camera: For catching strange phenomena in still shot photos
• Standard 35mm camera: to offset shortcomings with digital results
• Video/Surveillance cameras: for recording strange movements or apparitions
• Infrared cameras for recording photos/videos in the dark
• EMF Meters: For locating fluctuations in the electromagnetic fields
• Compass: the non-digital tool of choice for locating electromagnetic field fluctuations
• Audio Recorder: for recording E.V.P.s, or Electronic Voice Phenomenon, with a special microphone for filtering out background noise
• Digital audio editing software: to analyze E.V.P.s
• Thermal Scanner: a no contact thermometer for recording temperature variations.
• Motion Detectors: to be used in rooms without human observation/interaction to detect motion where people aren’t present.
• Ion Particle Counter: Used in conjunction with photo/video anomalies to do determine if the anomalies have actual substance as opposed to light reflections.

Of course, there are always the good, old fashioned ghost-hunting tools, too:

• Dowsing Rods: Copper rods used for locating spiritual entities and/or portals (also used for locating water and/or energy sources).
• Pendulums: for divination purposes

Psychic mediums are also often employed as “tools” during paranormal investigations.

The list of tools is impressive, and there are variations and extensions of each on the market today, including special “ghost hunter” watches – wrist watches that detect beta, gamma, x-ray and radiant energy! With all of these tools and tricks of the trade, why hasn’t anyone produced solid scientific proof that ghosts or other spiritual entities exist? One of the problems, I believe, is too many cooks in the kitchen.

With the rise of popularity of paranormal activity, everyone wants to be an investigator. The Internet has made it possible for any Tom, Dick, or Harry to fully equip themselves with the latest fashion in gadgets. There’s an impressive variety of “Ghost Hunting Starter Kits” available on the market ranging from the cheap to the incredibly expensive! Television has assisted this boom with such shows as Ghost Hunters, Most Haunted, Haunted Hotels, and a multitude of other programs fuelling the paranormal fire. Unfortunately, the one thing many of these amateur investigators aren’t equipped with is objectivity and/or scientific perspective. Anything that registers on the amateur’s radar becomes “proof”.

One of the biggest culprits in providing false “evidence” is the digital camera. Oh, I’ve been known to fall prey to its sly tricks, too, so don’t feel bad. We snap a shot with our handy dandy digital photo and abracadabra, we have ORBS, or bubbles of light! Orbs have been a major cause of excitement for many paranormal investigators or common civilians who catch the orbs unexpectedly on their digital camera. Some have even gone so far as to say they see faces in the orbs. Dust particles can be blamed for a good percentage of those orbs, but it was later discovered that another common factor in catching photos with orbs is the camera itself. The cameras aren’t malfunctioning or broken, but because of their make up and design, they often capture images of the light reflected from their own flash or other lights in their casing. Not all orbs can be discounted due to these facts, but the good majority of them can. Isn’t that a bubble buster?

Well, how about those EMF meters then? Surely there must be some accuracy in those, right? There are two major malfunctions in trusting EMF readings. The first problem is that “spikes” on the meter can be caused by common sources such as wiring in the wall or other sources of electricity. The second problem is that electromagnetic fields are thought to produce reactions in the human brain that cause hallucinogenic effects. A person standing in an area of concentrated electromagnetic energy may genuinely feel they’re seeing, hearing, or feeling things when, in reality, it’s only their mind firing off reactions to the energy itself.

E.V.P.s can be fascinating to listen to, but the problem with electronic voice phenomena is that it’s subjective. One person may hear something that sounds like, “run” and another person hears the same thing and perceives it as “gun”. Furthermore, because it’s a sound caught on audio and not experienced physically, it can’t be proven where the source of the sound came from. Was it a ghost or a humming generator in the background?

The tools are cool, don’t get me wrong. I love exploring the possibilities of the paranormal and am tickled pink that we’re on the road to trying to establish rock-solid proof for paranormal encounters. I’m looking forward to conducting my own amateur investigations or tagging along with friends on ghost hunts. However, I do believe it’s utterly important that we don’t believe everything we read, that we don’t buy into the media hype, and that we remain objective in our efforts.

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Written by:
Wendi Friend

You’re sitting alone in a dimly lit room, slightly uneasy; and you might have the feeling you’re being watched. Just as your heart-rate quickens and breathing slows, you see a shadow-like figure from the corner of your eye, darting across the room. By the time your head snaps around to take in the full fear of what you’ve seen, the shadow vanishes right through the wall, never allowing you full scope. Suddenly, you’re overcome with feelings of terror and trepidation. Could it be you’ve been paid a visit from the elusive Shadow Beings? Have you been singled out, targeted, and spied upon by this dark force? Maybe – but maybe not.

Shadow beings – also known as shadow men, shadow people, shadow folk, and a multitude of other names – have been reported on and off throughout human history. However, escalated reports over the past decade or so have increased our awareness, interests, curiosities, tales, and fears of these unknown entities. What are they? Where do they come from? What do they want? Why are they here? The theories of these paranormal phenomena are as wide-spread and varied as one could imagine. However, there are also a few potential scientific explanations with origins firmly rooted in the non-paranormal reality in which we live and function.

These are the traits most commonly associated with Shadow People from varying reports:

• Dark, shadow-like substances lacking mass
• Sometimes appearing in child-like form, not much taller than three feet
• Generally associated as males
• Can be reported as having red, glowing eyes, but also as having no discernable features such as mouth, nose, or eyes
• Most often seen through peripheral vision, rarely directly with center-forward vision
• Can be accompanied with severe feelings of dread
• Have been known, though rarely, to “attack” people, although “attack” has not been clearly defined. Some people report seeing Shadow figures with weapons, although the weapons have not been clearly described or defined.
• Have been reported as humanoid silhouettes, shapeless masses, or dark mists
• Movement is described as initially slow, and then lightening quick
• Are usually attached or drawn to one particular person or place
• Have been associated with smells such as sulfur, rotten eggs, or decaying flesh
• Can sometimes appear as animals, such as “shadow-cats”
• Animals are said to react violently to the presence of shadow figures
• Have personalities ranging from timid and wary to downright nasty
• Have been identified as pranksters, toying with human emotion for entertainment (ex: pulling down the covers when a person is in bed)

Shadow people are said to differ from ghosts and ghostly apparitions because, unlike ghost sightings, shadow people cannot be described as having recognizable features or manners of dress such as period clothing.

Now that we know their supposed character attributes, let’s take a look at some of the theories about where these shadow people come from:

• Demonic in source
• Spiritual representations of live people engaged in out-of-body experience, or “astral-projections”, the traveling souls of live humans
• Time travelers from the future whose technological time-travel techniques limit them to shadow substance in human form
• Quantum leaps from “otherworlds” – beings from parallel dimensions, alternate universes, who have found a way to transport between realms, such as elementals
• Aliens, of course
• Manifestations of negative energy
• Jinn, Dijinn, or Genies
• Guardian angels warning of impending doom

Which of these theories you believe can tie directly into your religious concepts. In order to believe these beings are either demonic or angelic would require one to believe in certain religious concepts such as God and Satan. To believe these are creatures crossing between the veils separating dimensions, one would have to believe in faerie-lands and otherworlds. The alien theory requires one to buy into inter-galactic travels, and if leaning toward the Genie or Dijinn theory, then who uncorked the bottle or rubbed the magic lamp, and why? None of these explanations offers a solid, tangible, logical, scientific explanation for the origin of shadow figures. That’s not to say shadow figures don’t exist, or that these theories are “wrong”, but it does leave room for reasonable doubt and most of these theories cannot be applied to humanity as a whole based on their varied belief systems. However, there is a bit of rock-solid scientific evidence for where these shadow figures might come from, and why they may not be paranormal pranksters or peeping Toms.

Shadow people are most often reported as having been seen “out of the corner of the eye”, or through peripheral vision. Well, there’s an explanation for how this could be possible without being paranormal. There’s a condition known as Pareidolia. Peripheral vision is connected to the area of the brain that recognizes patterns, but provides less detail to the brain than something seen in full view. In this circumstance, the brain wrongly interprets patterns of light and shadow. It reminds me of optical illusion artwork where we’re asked whether we see the face of an old woman, or a vase of flowers.

Another condition which could account for shadow figures scientifically versus paranormally is called Hyponogogia, a form of waking sleep when dreams and reality overlap one another. In this state, your body is awake and your mind is attuned to your physical surroundings, but at the same time, the dream-state drapes over that reality, blending fact and fiction.

Neurological factors could explain many shadow people encounters.

In addition to these physical, psychological, and neurological contributions to the existence of shadow figures, there’s also the consideration of electromagnetic fields. Electromagnetic fields have been suggested to influence the human brain, causing “misfires” of information and hallucinations. Maybe you’re not encountering a shadow figure at all, but instead, are sitting or standing in an electromagnetic “hot spot”.

Of course, then there’s the obvious. If you’ve just smoked a fatty, popped a pill, or downed a pint of Vodka, chances are, what you saw was NOT paranormal, but chemically induced.

Most reports of shadow figures can be explained away by these scientific or logical explanations. Most… but not all, which leaves room to believe in the possibility that amidst the ample false reports, some encounters may actually be true.

Oh, and for those of you who may truly be terrified of such encounters, here’s a bit of comforting information. While some reports do account for feelings of dread or some form of attack, no case has ever been documented or proven in which a human was actually harmed due to the presence of a ghostly shadow figure.

Sources:

Paranormal.about.com
http://paranormal.about.com/library/weekly/aa022502a.htm

Psychic Detective – Shadow People
http://the-psychic-detective.com/Shadow-People.htm

ShadowPeople.org
http://www.shadowpeople.org/

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