Sunday, November 14, 2010

Monsters Amongst Us

Well, not necessarily amongst us...

Many continents have stories about great hairy ape-men - everyone's heard of the Yeti, Big-Foot, the Yowie etc. Some Australian indigenous stories tell of the 'Yahoo' - which were allegedly big, hairy man-creatures. While Jonathon Swift was writing Gulliver's Travels, by co-incidence, or perhaps something else, we had exactly such creatures with the same name in Australia. At least, according to indigenous legend.

When many different cultures and countries seem to share legends, it is very tempting to believe that there must be some originating truth in them. Cross pollination of legends is not unheard of, of course, but when cultures are essentially isolated - as is the case in Australia - it may be well not to be too dismissive.

Yowies - or whatever name you choose to call them - may have existed in Australia and of course elsewhere. Yes, it is possible. Over the last ten years, 1200 new species have been discovered in the Amazon alone.

Now of course, Australia isn't the Amazon. It is far more populated and forests, though at times large, are hardly unexplored. Could a large, hairy man-creature really still be living in Australia undiscovered?

Firstly, if such a creature does exist then it is hardly undiscovered. While there may be no conclusive proof, there are many, many reports about such creatures.

Secondly, while it is tempting to argue that we should have found bones by now, it is important to remember that bones of any animal are rarely found in the wild. There are plenty of creatures whose very life depends on the consumption of hair, skin and bones. When did you last see a koala skeleton?

One day, sadly, such a creature will be killed and DNA testing performed. Once we have located and killed the last of its kind we will be able to classify the 'Yowie' into a convenient species box.

Originally, scientists refused to admit the existence of the platypus. Now they know better.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Truth is Out There. And so are the Lies.

The world seems divided into those who desperately have to believe in aliens and those who desperately have to disbelieve in them.

Consider, for example, the case of the doctored Saturn moon picture

Clearly the image has been tampered with. On the one side, it is claimed that this occurred due to enhancement related to the merging of three images. On the other hand, it is used as 'proof' that something was removed which we are not meant to see.

While secretive tampering goes on, there will be fuel for the fire that makes the smoke. Such actions breed conspiracy theories. Which explanation is the true one, I don't know. But I do know that this sort of behaviour on the part of organisations such as NASA only serve to undermine their credibility.

Then, there was the case of the Air Force vs the Flying Saucers story that came out recently. A collection of high ranking officials with plenty to lose openly admitted that there had been cover-ups. They did not report encounters with bug-eyed monsters or dribbling jaw crunching aliens - just that they had been ordered to keep quiet about a set of circumstances which, at the least, strongly suggests extra-terrestrial involvement. It would have been better if they had admitted initially that unexplained lights appear to have influenced their equipment. IF there was an earthly explanation, then it might have subsequently emerged. The way it is, however, one can only wonder.

Personally, I don't doubt the existence of alien life. Whether or not it has visited, I don't know. But you only have to do the sums to realize that there are an awful lot of planets out there and the odds are than some of them are inhabited.

The biggest question, for me, is whether or not they have been here. The constant collaborative efforts of governments to ridicule the idea suggests that they have. And of course, if you look back at some of the 'photographs' of the past - i.e. paintings - then these are rather suggestive .....

The above all make those cave drawings (that 'could' be alien spacemen) look rather unconvincing even though in themselves, such ancient drawings do exhibit similarities to modern space travelers from Earth.....

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Attacked by a Ghost?

According to the report NT woman attacked by 'horny ghost' a woman claims she was pulled out of bed by a ghost. She also claims that she has experienced poltergeist activity.

Yet she has no plans to 'get rid of it'.

Clearly, if we take her at her word, there is some presence in her home that is capable of physical manifestations. It has the ability to interact with the physical world and even act with some violence. Yet she is happy to keep it around.

There are two important points with this case if, as I say, we choose to believe her story.

Firstly, she is choosing to remain in a situation of potential danger. Why?

Secondly, we seem to have the residual component of someone who really should have moved on. But she doesn't want to help it.

With respect to the first point, it must be understood that in many such cases, the 'spirit' or 'ghost' can actually give something to the person they are 'haunting'. In this case, it would seem to me that they are providing 'uniqueness' or more simply put, a boost to her ego. She feels important because there is a 'ghost' around her. Often, when people are influenced by such things, the line between host and parasite can be blurred because the parasite can prolong the relationship by creating a need or dependency. In my opinion, this seems likely to be the case here.

In terms of the second point, there are many things that might appear to be a ghost but which are not. But assuming for one moment that this is actually a ghost by the popular definition, i.e. the spirit remaining after the death of the body, then the case is clear. Spirits (as opposed to guides and any number of other 'things') are earthbound because they erroneously do not move on. Into, as they say, the light. To allow one to stay is a little like allowing a prisoner to remain indefinitely inside a jail purely because he hasn't realized that his time has been served yet. It is immoral.

Of course, this might all be little more than imagination or publicity stunt. It's difficult to tell from the little real information provided.

But if there is an ounce of truth to what has been told, then trivializing the situation and letting 'kevin' stay is most definitely the wrong decision.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ever had that feeling that you are being watched?

Most people have had the feeling at some point - that feeling of being watched. Mostly it comes about when there really seems to be nobody about. We write it off as paranoia or imagination.

But is it?

Is it possible that we are being watched - by someone?

Consider the case of 'shadow people'. This is an experience where strange shadow-like people are often observed, usually in the peripheral vision. There is no-one there - at least no one physical - and we often pass it off as ..... imagination.

But is it?

Could these two phenomenon actually be just the two sides of the same coin?

There is a theory (and only that) which is sometimes used to support the multi-verse theory in quantum physics. It is the interference effect.

I wont bore you with the details but the canned version is that under a certain set of conditions, light should pass through a slit and produce a uniform illumination but in reality produces bars - lines if you like - of shadow and light. One theory says that light from a different universe interferes with the light from ours and causes this.

Perhaps all those shadow people are actually IN some other quantum universe.

Perhaps when we get that feeling of being watched, we are actually subconsciously picking up photons of light from a different universe and realizing that they are seeing us - their own 'shadow people'.

Or perhaps it is just paranoia. Or imaginations.


You decide.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Comment on RACV article - The True non-believer

A recent article in the Australian RACV magazine presents a kind of interview with 'Victoria's head skeptic' Terry Kelly.

In defense of those with either an open mind or the power of deeper thought, I thought that I might make some interesting observations on the article and, more specifically, on 'skeptics'.

Firstly, there is the obvious problem relating to the classification of a paranormal event as 'bunkum'. This I call the 'one road theory'. It goes like this:

If I can get to Melbourne via the Geelong Freeway then the ONLY way to Melbourne is via the Geelong Freeway.

The 'theory' is based on the premise that all paranormal experiences are imaginary or faked because the same results can be obtained through non-paranormal means. A classic example is the spoon-bender. Nobody can bend spoons through the power of their minds because a magician can bend one through trickery.

This should give us plenty to think about and a good opportunity to revise testing and so forth in terms of measuring, detecting and classifying paranormal activity because it allows the creation of tests and tools to detect fakery. But it does not prove that all spoon-bending is a trick. That is not a logical assumption.

There are, in fact, many roads to Melbourne.

A look at real scientists will show, in fact, that there are many phenomenon which cannot be proved or whose criteria for occurrence cannot be identified. But scientists - real scientists that is - do not discount them as fakery. Quantum physics is a good example of this. But probably Mr Terry Kelly thinks Quantum physics is just 'bunkum' too I expect.

The second and much more important thing that comes to mind is that while skeptics deride those that they (correctly) term 'true believers', they are actually no different themselves.

True-believers believe without evidence.

Skeptics dis-believe without evidence.

Proving the non-existence of many or most paranormal phenomenon is impossible. We measure and value phenomenon using physical tools. By its nature, the paranormal must be non-physical - at least in part. So it cannot be measured. At best if can be implied or heuristically 'proven'.

You cannot, for example, prove the existence of a God who by definition must exist beyond our current limited physical definition of the universe. You might say that this God did not create the 'big bang' (Hawking) but you cannot disprove God's existence. You are free, at least in this country, to make up your own mind though.

But skeptics, such as Terry Kelly, decide that things don't exist - they believe that they don't exist - yet have no evidence to support their beliefs. Just like the true believer, they hold a view as truth without any evidence at all.

That is the biggest problem I have with skeptics. They are simply true believers who choose to believe something different.

They are not 'more logical' or 'more intelligent'.
They are not 'informed' or 'rational'.

They are religious zealots whose religion is denial.

In fact, they are the True Believers.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunny Days Ahead

There is, apparently, a solar storm approaching which will hit with the force of 100 million hydrogen bombs.

While not exactly a paranormal event - it's actually nothing new although our current dependency on technology makes this a greater threat than ever before - this does have some interesting facets.

Firstly, the projected time for this is 2012. Ah, the Mayan's were right. They correctly predicted it. Well, no. Even if this did cause the end of civilization as we know it, the Mayans did not predict it.

The Mayan calendar runs on cycles and 2012 is just the end of one cycle - the cycle restarts in 2012. They in no way, shape or form, predicted anything anymore than December marks the end of our year.

And, of course, for them to have really predicted it, they would have to have predicted our current dependency on technology, satellites, the integrated circuit and the iGeneration. Nowhere in Mayan artifacts is anything remotely similar to an iPod.

Secondly, the experts involved are warning that communications could be very badly affected. There is no doubt that, given a large enough event, our communications could be knocked out. Completely knocked out.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

It may be that all technology will be affected, not just communications. Imagine for a minute a world without technology.

You will have no phones - mobile or otherwise.
You will have no electricity.
You will have no water.
You will have no sewerage.
You will have no transport.

Should this event be as big as some are predicting, the impact could be very threatening indeed. Rather than five to ten years to recover, there might never be recovery.

With the loss of the above, comes the loss of information - the more dependent we are on i-solutions rather than old-fashioned paper-based information, the harder it will be to recover. With an oil-based society (petrol, plastics etc) there will be a difficult recovery when the whole oil-processing business is put out of action.

Where will the food come from? Crops will still grow but how will they be harvested? How will the food be transported into the citys?

It's an 'end of the world' scenario and - hopefully - one that will not come to be. But until we have weathered these storms..... who knows?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Beware of Witches or rather Bitches!

There are many witches in the world and very few of them wear black hats and ride broomsticks. Most of the witches I know are actually very nice people.

But then there's the famous Geelong Cop-dragging Witch.

Let me firstly say that all earthly witches ARE subject to earthly rules and laws. This particular woman's argument that she is not is pure bunkum. She obeys the laws of physics by driving a car therefore she is also subject to the laws of the land. The fact that the officer received injuries rather than turning into a frog probably illustrates that fact rather well.

Most interestingly is her claim that she has a 'universal' name which incongruously is not recognized here on planet Earth.

Witches everywhere will be bristling with anger. Here's this rather pathetic woman claiming to be one of them and yet without the simple intelligence to realize that a 'universal' name must be recognized everywhere - otherwise it is hardly universal!

Words fail me.

Still, perhaps she was just suffering from PNT. Paranormal Tension!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Paranormal Investigators - NOT.

Many people would like to investigate the paranormal. Some want to prove it real - others to prove it false. That's OK. Chances are, proof either way will not come easily.

But for many young adventurers there are pitfalls - and not only the moaning chain-rattling type.

You might just take a moment to read about the Ghost Hunters and the Cliff.

There are two big problems with the immature and inexperienced setting off on their big Ghost Hunting Adventure.

Firstly, they are unlikely to gain appropriate permission of entry. Trespass is trespass and it's illegal for a number of reasons, not least because you can be very badly injured when you invade a property that you do not know well. Often it is in a state of disrepair and apart from obvious dangers such as walls and roof falls, holes in the floor, exposed nails, broken glass etc... there are other less visible dangers. Such as asbestos.

If you enter a property illegally and are badly injured, don't expect the landowner's insurance to cover you. It might. Or it might not.

Of course, there is the other problem. It might seem fun - getting a little group together for a spot of Ghostbusting, but if the physical dangers don't get you, then there are other things. Depending on the individual situation you could be walking into a psychic mine field. It might be that you subconsciously open up to suppressed thoughts and emotions that cannot be dealt with in your conscious state. Or it might be that something very nasty might get a hold of you. Don't worry about which argument is right - the Skeptics and the True Believers have one thing in common - you will be putting yourself at risk.

Before indulging in any 'harmless fun' it really pays to make sure that you know what you are doing, take precautions and ensure that others know where you are going. It's common sense really.

Best option is to find a ghost tour. Or locate a group of experienced investigators with an ultimate view to becoming one of them.

What ever you do - it's not worth taking risks.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Is your ghost legal?

Big changes in the air - or perhaps I should say 'big changes in the Ether'!

Do the big decision makers read Too Haunted? It seems that they might. After we published our 3Bdrm, Mast ES,WIR,ModKitch, ERng, GHWS, DBGRG, ST(DEC) blog concerning the sale of properties that might contain residual paranormal phenomena, a change to the law in Australia has occured which can result in big fines for Real Estate agents who do not advise prospective buyers of a property's negative history.

This actually is quite a landmark decision. While it is easy for the non-believer to sit back, have a good laugh and decry such such "stupidity", there are many who have inadvertently purchased property only to discover that there are things that go bump in the night and that they are often unpleasant or even quite dangerous.

Read All About It Here

Of course, Agents can still pretend ignorance and, in many cases, they might not be in full possession (sic) of the facts, but at least when they are called on to sell a property known to them to have a dark past of some sort, they are under legal obligation to make that past known.

Are there really ghosts of murdered victims a-wailing and a-moaning at their site of their deaths? Clearly there can be residual effects at times and equally as clearly, some people are more sensitive than others.

It is, therefore, your right to know. At least, it is now. In Australia.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Bamboo Saucer

In the late sixties there was a film set in China concerning a flying saucer. The film was entitled The Bamboo Saucer.

It wasn't one of the world's best UFO films because really, the plot revolved more around the groups traveling to the site of the UFO and tensions between Russia, China and the U.S. But having said that, it was an interesting movies because the UFO - from the audience perspective - is treated almost as an every-day thing with the film concentrating on power games, struggles, conflict and so forth.

Apparently, a Chinese airport was recently closed after a UFO appearance.

Of course, the whole thing is ridiculed and the event is described as sunlight reflecting off conventional aircraft.

America, Australia, Russia - almost every country has reports of UFOs and many are explainable. But there are those which defy explanation.

Given the limited ability to get truth out of a country which has a history of genocide and atrocities, it is hard to imagine how this story could ever have gotten to the world press. At least, it is hard to imagine if it was a simple case of 'sunlight reflecting off conventional aircraft'. But if it wasn't.....

Many airports have stray or unexpected aircraft violating airspace. But they don't usually close the airport. Of course, China might be different.

It is important to realize, though, that Tibet and China (different countries by the way guys) both have a history of UFO phenomenon. Proven or otherwise, they are both significant locations in terms of alleged (i.e. neither proven nor dis-proven) extraterrestrial activity.

Is this recent sighting just sunlight? Or is it more interesting?

I guess you have to make your own mind up about that.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ghost Tours - Are they really worth the money?

Everywhere I look I see a ghost tour on offer. It's amazing - hard to imagine that there are that many ghosts hanging around to entertain the tourists. It's still a fact that the dead outnumber the living but with China's 2009 population of 1,338+ million and India's 1,156+ million that might soon be changed. If, that is, we didn't live in a world where 24 thousand children die each day.

Even so, most people who die do not hang around in perpetual haunt-mode. I won't upset anyone's beliefs here except to say that most pass on to other things.

Which is why, I guess, that many ghost tours are more like theatrical entertainment than real paranormal experiences. It's pretty hard to run a ghost tour when few (if any) of your clients are going to experience anything beyond a cold spot of a a bunch of orbs on their digital snaps, so I guess you have to improvise a little. Perhaps more emphasis should be placed on 'experiencing' locations rather than promising encounters with the paranormal.

It's pretty hard to argue that they are fraudulent however. To do that would require legal recognition of paranormal activity - something that doesn't occur (at least not in Australia).

None of this means, though, that there are not tours where you do have a good chance of encountering 'things that go bump in the night'. There are locations which have some form of other-worldly influence of one type or another. There are a number of types of manifestation and despite the hype, those who are sensitive to such things can find some tours very rewarding.

At the end of the day, it's important to learn as much as possible about the tour before you take it. Check out forums, see what others have thought about the experience. This is often a good indication of the real nature of the tour. Is it show or is it real? Is it both? They are not mutually exclusive - just because the host is wearing Victorian clothes does not mean that you won't meet up with a ghost! Nor does it mean you will, though.

So are they worth the money? Some are, some are not - unless you are just after a bit of fun. And there's nothing wrong with that. Just be clear about what you are interested in and seek the experience of others who have been on the tours (not just the tour operators!) to see if it is likely to match your expectations. At the end of the day, if the tour delivers what you want then it's worth the money. Whether that's a show or a real paranormal encounter - that's a different story.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

ORBS - Not in the Spirit of the Paranormal

Now let's get this straight.


One of the most common assertions by so-called professional paranormal investigators is that 'orbs' on a photograph (usually digital) are 'spirits'.

Such statements do nothing for their own credibility, but more importantly transform the whole field of paranormal research into a smelly bog.

There are a number of reasons that 'orbs' can be captured - I shall list some. The observant reader will notice the significant absence of 'spirits' or 'faeries'.

1. Dust (even pollen!) - one of the biggest causes of orbs. This is especially the case then a flash is fired. Dust particles in the air reflect the light and appear - yes, you guessed it - as orbs. Of course you didn't see the dust particles when you took the picture. Would you have expected to?

2. Moisture - another major cause of orbs. Not unlike dust, moisture in the air can actually reflect light - gasp, horror! And not unlike dust, these particles are not two inches big and carrying large signs reading 'i am moisture'. You don't normally see them when you are taking the picture. But the cameras, bless them, do!

3. Insects. Yep - sometimes really tiny ones. They can appear very orb-like or even as hideous demonic forms. Especially when they are close to the camera and out of focus or flying by.

Now some might suggest that digital cameras could be more sensitive to infrared light and that ORBS could appear due to some ghostly manifestation as pinpoints of infrared.

The fact is that digital cameras are very much more sensitive to infrared light. So much so, that to take decent photographs, it was necessary to include infrared blocking filters on most digital cameras. Which means very little - if any - infrared light gets through. As I shoot considerable footage with specially modified infrared cameras, I can assure you that most off-the-shelf point-and-shoot cameras have more chance of photographing an honest politician than anything in infrared.

The biggest 'push' with respect to ORBS is that they are some sort of energy source. But if you blow up orb pictures, you do not get a characteristic energy image - a bright point decreasing in brightness. Instead, you get something with varying pixelization in a manner that suggests that it is a (tiny) three-dimensional object reflecting light. Not a light source.

There are many images that remain speculative, where the captured 'manifestation' cannot be easily explained. Digital cameras MAY be more sensitive to light in ways we are unaware. Perhaps they pick up other radiations which, unlike infrared, are not filtered out. The jury is well out on whether or not ghostly images can be explained away by the cynical skeptic - all out to believe in nothing regardless of any evidence. Ghosts - or some other paranormal activity - may well be captured on camera.

But ORBS are not paranormal activity. Just an indication of site contamination by dust, moisture or other particles.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

3Bdrm, Mast ES,WIR, ModKitch, ERng, GHWS, DBGRG. ST(DEC)

Wow! You've finally found that house. The perfect fit. And at a bargain basement price too!

3Bdrm, Mast ES,WIR, ModKitch, ERng, GHWS, DBGRG. ST(DEC)

Three bedrooms, so there's ours, one for Johnny and one for Aunty Peg when she comes visiting. The master bedroom has an ensuite and a walk-in-robe, just like we wanted. There's a modern kitchen with an electric range and gas hot water (which is economical). The double garage will be a real treat rather than leaving the cars outside all night.

Not sure about ST(DEC) though. ST I think stands for 'sitting tenant' which might be a problem. Probably why it's so cheap. But what about DEC? I'll give them a call. It might be a nice old lady who could provide us with free babysitting.... you never know. And it IS so cheap that we'd be crazy to pass it up.

So I've called the agent and they say that there's no actual tenant there now, but there used to be, a Bikie called MadDog Mick, but he died about ten years ago - hence 'DEC'.

We thought about it and talked about it and in the end decided to give it a miss. We'll wait for something else.

The scenario you have just read is fictional. The reason is because there is currently (to my knowledge) no law that says that the sellers of a property are required to advise regarding ST(DEC).

The house you buy might have been the scene of a terrible murder or suicide. It might have belonged to someone suffering severe depression. it could be the vortex to a different dimension through which hideously deformed dwarves pass through in the dead of night. But they are under no obligation to tell you.

While vortexes are pretty rare - if they even occur at all - houses with dark pasts involving murder or suicide are not so rare. It is pretty safe, in fact, to say that any house over 50 years of age will almost certainly have at least one death occur either in the house or involving one of its occupants.

But you'll see no ST(DEC).

Some advice, then, to prospective buyers.

1. Go by your own feelings. If something feels wrong about the house you are inspecting, then steer clear. It might be something physical that your subconscious has picked up or it might be something paranormal. Either way, move on and leave it be.

2. When purchasing a house, ask about its history. If an agent deliberately misleads you then they could be held accountable in a court of law. No court in Australia (or most other countries) will penalize the agent because s/he didn't tell you about the ghost of MadDog Mick. But if the agent has told you that there were no deaths on the property and you determine later that there were and the agent knew about it, then you will have grounds to seek legal advice.

3. If you purchase a property and discover that there might be some sort of paranormal activity, don't panic. There are many varieties of manifestation ranging from a type of recording to all-out negative entities. You need a specialist to advise and to create a safe and comfortable environment in which you can live. Don't worry about knockers - they don't have to live there, you do. Seek help - there are experts out there with open minds who will do their best to help you.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Alien Life - The Realities

Plenty of so-called experts will tell you that alien life does not exist. They will assure you that the almost infinite reaches of the universe, while beautiful and often at or beyond our threshold of understanding, do not hold any life other than that of the small blue-green globe that we call Earth.

These people are fools.

The reason that these people are fools is quite simple. They are unscientific yet purport to use scientific methods. They call parapsychologists quacks and charletins while attempting to foister their own opinions on others without real scientific evidence.

Consider the case of a genuine scientist - astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. He actually is happy to admit that aliens are out there based not on some subconscious fear of the unknown, but on statistical probability.

Here then, is the opinion of someone that we can trust. His opinion is not based on some arrogant assertion of the 'uniqueness' or 'special-ness' of planet Earth, but on good, sound reasoning. In the absence of definitive proof, reason is the best we have and the item most obviously lacking in the skeptics argument.

As he points out, the universe is made up of some 100 billion galaxies each containing hundreds of millions of stars. Now at this point, you could go and do some research in an attempt to verify this. I guess I am happy to take this particular astrophysicist's word for it.

Now assuming the U.S. definition of a 'billion' which is only 1000 million, and that when he says a galaxy contains hundreds of millions of stars he means literally only 100 million and not 200 million etc, well, I get the following calculation:

1 billion = 1,000,000 * 1000 = 1,000,000,000
100 billion = 1,000,000,000 * 100 = 100 000 000 000
100 billion * 100 million stars (assuming that's not 200 million in reality etc) = 10 000 000 000 000 000 000

Now assuming that our superior skeptic scientists could put one second's worth of analysis into each star to determine whether or not it holds life, then it would take approximately 316,231,532,078 years - which is over 3,162,315,320 centuries, to check them all.

In other words, at one second per star - which is naturally insufficient in reality to determine if they hold life - it would still take over 3 billion centuries to go through all of them.

So when an 'expert' tells you that there is no life in space, you might like to ask them how long they've been looking - if indeed they have.

Real scientists with real brains just cannot back them up.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Light bulb lights up in my brain - and the TV changes channel.

An astonishing revelation - some of the new lightbulbs can actually change the channels on your TV set.

Such events are not unheard of in paranormal cases. I could say that the restless spirits are trying to find something decent to watch. Good luck to them, I say, because I certainly can't!

On a serious note, there's nothing funny about paranoral activity - far from it. So what does a paranormal expert have to say about paranormal channel surfing in light of this new discovery?

Well, the first thing to understand is that the particular (faulty) variety of logic which I like to call Randypandy (after a famous skeptic) does not hold. Just because a TV can change channels under the influence of a lightbulb does not automatically prove that ALL channel changes are due to the lightbulb. Just hitting the button on the remote control can prove that! Therefore, although certain lightbulbs may effect this rather disconcerting phenomena, that does not mean that it is always going to be the cause.

Secondly, the biggest - and pleasing - result of this discovery is that we now have another check to be performed. Are there any lightbulbs near the offending TV? If so, remove them. If not then consider if any other electrical equipment might be able to generate rogue signals. It might actually be something adversely affecting the TV's components and not a lightbulb.

Paranormal research is not about jumping in and declaring ghosts all over the place. It is a painstaking - and sometimes boring - process of eliminating all of the 'normal' possibilities one by one until the only thing left is the 'paranormal' possibilities. It also relies on supporting evidence - not one single piece. Much in the paranormal is non-physical, so it is very difficult to prove. Instead, inferences are made based on different pieces of evidence. So a real paranormal investigator would not assume a mischievous spirit just because a TV cycles its channels.

Even when we do reach the conclusion that something is paranormal, it doesn't mean it CANNOT be due to an as-yet-undiscovered cause. Being a true paranormal investigator means that you must be open minded about things. It might look like a ghost, it might sound like a ghost - it might feel like a ghost - so if every other explanation has been ruled out, then it is safe to assume that perhaps it IS a ghost. Until some better explanation arises.

History is full of examples of discoveries which are first ridiculed and then adopted as fact - only to then be replaced by new theories when it is appropriate. So it is with the paranormal.

So, when the TV next develops self-will - check the lightbulbs first. Then, look for other signs.....

Friday, April 9, 2010

Exorcism - Not all it's cracked up to be!

Sad to say, there are still many on this God-forsaken planet who think that there are demons just waiting to possess people. The case of Sangeeta Persaud comes to mind.

This poor child died as a result of an exorcism. Simple treatment of convulsions would have left her much better off. Stupidity reigns I am afraid.

Now that's not to say that demons do not exist. Nor that they cannot have influence over people. But such cases are extremely rare and the treatment in such cases does not involve the excessive consumption of lime juice, nor pounding on the stomach.

Mental and emotional sickness account for many alleged cases of demonic possession. And possibly possession may account for a few cases of madness.

Before you rush off to have some untrained amateur attempt an exorcism of you or someone in your family who is relying on you for their well-being you should do a little common sense research. This involves getting medical opinions as well as spiritual ones. It also involves consulting professionals in the field (paranormal or otherwise) which very often does not include those who are locked into religious dogma.

Get professional help. If you want to seek the assistance of someone in the paranormal field, then that's fine. But find out about their experience, their qualifications - and what they intend to do. If it involves bondage, violence or any other such stupid (and in terms of demonic possession, useless) practices, then move on to someone else.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Is Friday the 13th Unlucky?

Many people live in fear of the number 13.  The technical term for this is Triskaidekaphobia.  Yes, it is a real word - check out the Wikipedia entry if you don't believe me.
The word for those who are afraid of Friday the Thirteenth is paraskevidekatriaphobia.  It's a not-uncommon fear.

But is it all just superstition or is there some valid basis behind this fear?

There are many articles and experts who can help you draw conclusions regarding the origin of such concerns, but the history is at best sketchy.  Is it, then, part of some retained ancient wisdom that is able to highlight the days on which evil could triumph?  Or is it rather the foolish man's misunderstanding of various unrelated stories fashioned into popular myth?

The biggest problems with Friday the 13th lie with two fundamental issues.

Firstly, the number of fingers that we have.
And secondly, the absence of better telescopes.

Let me explain.

Firstly, the fingers.

Human kind has ten fingers.  Because of this we work with what is called a base-10 numbering system.  In other words, once we get to nine, we then start afresh from zero with a one (1) before it all.  Thirteen, therefore is represented as 10 plus 3 -> 13.  This counting system is quite significant. Computers use binary (0, 1, 10, 11, 100 etc) for example.

But if we had only 8 fingers, then once we got to seven we would then introduce that one (1) and restart from zero again.  Consider the following table which shows the numbers from one to thirteen in both base-10 as well as base-8:

Number Base-10 Base-8 Base-2 (Binary)
one 1 1 1
two 2 2 10
three 3 3 11
four 4 4 100
five 5 5 101
six 6 6 110
seven 7 7 111
eight 8 10 1000
nine 9 11 1001
ten 10 12 1010
eleven 11 13 1011
twelve 12 14 1100
thirteen 13 15 1101

As you see, with base-8 we would get to '13' quickly as the written equivalent of eleven. Similarly, thirteen would be written as '15'.

Of course, in base-2 i.e. binary, thirteen must be written as 1101 and there is in fact no meaning in the word "13" since only ones (1) and zeroes (0) are used.

Now that throws numerology and other systems off somewhat.

So if we had been born with 8 fingers (or in fact 9 or 11 etc) then our understanding of 13 would be massively different.

Then, there is the problem of the absence of better telescopes.

The main reason that the seven day week was chosen was in part (at least) due to the significance of the number seven, and specifically because there were seven known planets.

Sun, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Moon, Jupiter, Saturn

Poor old Pluto and Neptune had not been discovered!

If they had then we might well have had 9 day weeks which, apart from giving us either a very long working week (or a very long weekend!) would also have affected the days on which our current Friday the Thirteenth occurs. In other words, because the weeks would be 9 days long, the day which we currently associate with Friday the Thirteenth would probably be a Monday instead. Or a Saturday. Or a Gooday or a Gnomeday..... or whatever they chose to call the extra two days.

The practical upshot of all this is that the whole association that we have with a day being a Friday and the 13th of a month is completely arbitrary and totally unrelated to fate or evil or whatever.

So therefore, there can be no sensible way in which we can assume that any Friday the Thirteenth is unlucky!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Beyond Life

Most people will agree that there are two highly important stages that the average person experiences and that these are:
  • Birth.
  • Death.

Unfortunately, from there on it becomes highly complicated.

For example, we all agree that we were born but what does that actually mean?  Being born is, after all, just a transitional change from living in one environment (the womb) to living in another (the world).  Should we perhaps be talking about conception?  Or is that too dangerous?  Are we at risk with such thinking?  Whose body is it, for example, one second after conception?

Let's leave 'birth' and try death.

Death, of course, presents us with different problems.  First of all, there is the simple question of when death occurs.  You might think that death occurs four minutes after the brain is starved of oxygen.  What then of those whose brain does not function but who are being kept alive by machine?  What if brain cells could be frozen and then thawed without cellular collapse - could a person be brought back to life?  Would they have actually died?

Many years ago, a solution for epilepsy was trialled.  Severe victims of this condition had the left and right sides of the brain separated.  It was no longer possible for the two sides of the brain to pass messages between them.  They did not die.  They experienced some very strange effects, but they still lived.  How could a single person survive with two half-brains?  

And we haven't even touched what might happen after death.

The point of this is to draw attention to the fact that - despite people having very clear cut opinions about life and death - there is really very little clear cut about it.  When even the point-of-entry and the point-of-exit are so difficult to pin-point, then it seems unreasonable for people to then make statements such as 'there is no life after death'.

Or before conception.

The paranormal is about questioning our experiences in life and trying to find sense in them.  Things happen to us that might fit very neatly into the small-box of alleged rationality.  But then, sometimes things happen that do not fit.
All about us is a world that we still hardly understand.  The dead and the unborn - which might yet turn out to be the same - still have many secrets, as do the living.  Strange powers, ghostly apparitions, terrifying feelings, aliens - the human imagination is full of explanations for the less tangible and very odd shaped pegs that will not fit into our very square holes.   Yet, until events are fully understood; until some better explanation arises, it is foolish to discard such labels even though they have been somewhat tarnished by entertainment and scary stories.

Science often rolls its eyes at the paranormal and uses words like 'proof'.  Yet much of science is not built on proof but on hypothesis, on theory and on accepted conjecture.  Man does not - can not - know everything or prove everything.  To reject the concept of the paranormal is, in fact, unscientific.  There is no evidence to prove its non-existence.

Whether any one person's experiences are paranormal or not can be a difficult call.  Even something that seem to be paranormal may one day be explained.  And there's nothing wrong with that.  But somethings will never be explained away - in the conventional sense - and there's nothing wrong with that either.  Despite our best efforts, the word 'haunting' might be the best description of a problem.

We cannot pin down the beginnings of life.
We cannot pin down the endings of life.
We cannot even be sure about the bits in the middle - the physical.
Because some things go beyond the physical.  Beyond life.

It's No Laughing Matter!

Imagine this.  It's the middle of the night and you hear strange noises.  You investigate cautiously, but there's no one there.  The same thing happens again.  And again.  Without apparent cause.

By morning you have had little or no sleep, are very on edge and yet beginning to wonder if it was just your imagination.  The next night it happens again.  And again, there is no explanation.

So you talk to your friends.  You tell them that something strange is happening in your house.  Maybe something unnatural.  And what do they do?  They laugh.

It is no laughing matter.

The cause of your problems might be quite rational and simple - or it might be far more complex and harder to define.  But the effect that is is having on you, on the other hand, is clearly far from humorous.  Unexplained phenomenon - especially in your own home - can be a terrifying ordeal and it is quite inappropriate for your friends to respond to your calls for help with laughter.

The problem is, that most people don't believe in the paranormal.  Or to be more accurate, most people are terrified of the paranormal.  Laughter at ghosts and ghoulies and long legged beasties and things that go bump in the night is most often related to childhood fear of such things.

In this case, laughter can be a coping mechanism used by the subconscious to cover up the fears and worries that we are suppressing.  Laugh at something and you rob it of its power.  Laugh at your fears and you are more easily able to cope with them.

What you need is support.  You don't need someone to roll up with magic incantations dressed up like a reject from a fortune-tellers' convention.  But neither do you need to be laughed at.  You need someone to help you work out what is going on, and - if necessary - to stop it.

Remember, whether there is a 'normal' explanation or an 'abnormal' explanation, your health and quality of life are at stake.  It's no laughing matter.