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The Paranormal Blog

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      04:27:00 pm, by Sue   , 78 words  
    Categories: Site Updates

    Site Updates July 24th 2013

    We love to hear your personal experiences with ghosts, and hauntings in the province of Ontario so please do keep sending them in. Your privacy will be protected, and witness comfort is our primary concern. You may email us directly at submissions AT or submissions AT


    York University (new)

    St Michaels Hospital (update)

    Scarboro Avenue (new)

    Old Fort York (updated)

    Fergus Bookshop (new)

    Perth County Road (new)

    Whitby - Private Residence of Nelson G. Reynolds (updated)




      05:14:00 pm, by Matthew   , 2308 words  
    Categories: Paranormal - Rants, Ghosts & Hauntings

    {Sarcasm} Yay. So happy for a success... {/Sarcasm}

    That's us... bullies...

    We're big meanies... we're trolls... we're evil and dislike the elderly.

    Seriously, we've been accused of this all because we take issue (actually, issues... there are many...) with the work of the Warrens.  Specifically, the late Ed and the not-late Lorraine.

    Ed and Lorraine Warren are ghost hunters... well, not completely... they are demon hunters as most things in their realm, regardless of what is happening or how it's perceived, end up on the short-list for being demonic and in need of the sort-of odd standard Christian exorcism.  Most people would know them for their work with The Amityville "Horror".  More contemporary folks would know Lorraine as a guiding light of the thankfully now defunct television program, Paranormal State.

    Now, I would go into lengths as to why I believe that 'work' done by the Warrens is questionable in the extreme... and here's a few links (click the words seen here,) that should make anyone stop and say, "Hmmmm..."  I also should not need to go into why the show Paranormal State should be questioned either... although, in my opinion, the Warrens and Paranormal State both are the worst (modern) thing for these studies in North America... and not JUST because of their potential fraudulent natures... although to ignore that would be silly, but still... there is worse because of them in terms of working towards actual information in these studies.

    Look! It's our MONEY MAKING... no, it's a tumbleweed...

    First off, I would like to alert you all to our paranormal income generating businesses... which do not exist.  Next, I'd like to show you my paycheque from all my work in the paranormal... which does not exist.  Lastly, allow me to show you my profitable business model for the paranormal... which does not exist.

    Oh, and we were also accused of doing things to garner "fans".  {More Sarcasm} Yeah, I'm a household name.{End Sarcasm for now}  A list of media people and organisations I've quite angrily told to "go to hell" is available on request for verification... not to mention I'm not at all well liked in many realms of the "paranormal community" because no, I won't walk in lock-step with someone's faith or belief without evidence and yes, I tend to question everything... and indeed, point out logic holes.  This does NOT endear me to many.  Basically, if I wanted "fans", I'm going about things in a VERY wrong way.

    So, why am I worried?  Why am I concerned?

    ...because I am an experient.  So's Sue.  We would like to know more about what we have run into and what maybe YOU have run into.  We don't care who comes up with the information, provided it's valid information... but thanks to odd circumstances, we managed to be here.  A lengthier reasoning on my getting into these studies and heading up groups is available in this post here... and an article on what you may wish to consider when looking at other groups and people is here and well worth the read.

    With this said, NO, entertainment is not a priority, so if you're a "horror film afficianado", cool... so am I... but these studies and popular media, in my world are (and should be with others,) two distinct entities.  I mean, watching Top Gun doth not make one an expert on the operations of the F-14 Tomcat fighter.... sorry... and MOST film buffs get that...

    ...but it's shocking how many cosplayers and fans don't get that with paranormal entertainment...

    ...and it's worse when potential frauds proclaim their fictional (or at best, "borderline sexed-up") work as TRUE.

    To know how it makes me feel, go to your local university, ask a professor of archeology if Indiana Jones movies are good legitimate leaping off points for a budding archeologist.  (Bet you can guess the answer!)

    Oh yeah, Miriam's in there somewhere... with Beloch!

    Trouble is, with these cosplayers, fans, and fame-whores, they see that these movies and programs are "popular" and people "famous" so they ape them... and unlike archeological digs (which are few and far between in terms of locations... especially in North America...) they put out shingles and call themselves "investigators", "demonologists", "house clearers", or the like and operate using only popular media as a guide... in people's homes and businesses.  Let me lay this out...

    CASE #1: They contact or are contacted (thanks to their web page, business cards, or whatever,) by people who are worried and maybe even scared by things that may (or may not) be happening in their home or business.


    CASE #2: In order to find ghostly demons to video record for their YouTube, they contact (if we're lucky... sometimes they don't bother,) museums, public buildings, or the like with a reputation/existing reports of things 'ghostly' and dive in guns blazing.  Heck, sometimes they just go to places they WANT or HOPE to be haunted by evil demons without a prior report.  After all, aren't all spooky buildings haunted?

    Now, here's the usual conclusion...

    CASE #1: Usually, they upset or cause further grief for the experient who contacted them.  They usually proclaim tonnes of whatever as ghosts or demons and happily write everything up (usually with weird embellishments or odd and unnecessary personal details,) which can and usually does expose the experient in some fashion.  This can affect them as 'non-believers' (not sceptics... sceptics doubt, non-believers poo-poo on anything that doesn't fit in their world view,) will label them as "woo woos", it can bring thrill seekers and vandals to their property, and to be frank, I've yet to hear of a perfect "clearing" or "cleansing"... most times, these efforts only work a short time for the experient and in some cases, make it worse.  This is great news as the person/place now becomes a steady stream of content for the cosplayers... not-so-great for the property-devalued experient as a rule.

    CASE 2: They upset or even anger the owners/managers/whoever is in charge of the site(s) and then, through their own mis-actions (and as a rule, through fear mongering as they NEED to ape the famous demonologists,) and usually really shaky research of the actual history or importance of the site, manage to get everyone who's interested in these studies "locked out" of these places.

    Wow? You mean AFTER you slander them and cause trouble they don't want anyone back? Wow!

    These may sound hyperbolic... I wish they were... These are the rules... not the exceptions.

    Now, these fans and cosplayers are only one problem.  The next is witnesses or experients.

    They see or hear about these movies which never tend to be honest...

    "Honest?  As in the people portrayed are potentially fraudulent?"

    Yes... but there's worse again...

    I had access to literally two-hundred plus years of data from many of the world's leading (and oldest) paranormal groups... from The Society for Psychical Research's archives (of their journals) to Britain's Ghost Club... to The American Society for Psychical Research through our own (currently) thirteen-plus years of reports... and wanna know the truth?

    In the last two-hundred years, in Western Europe and North America, there have been documented cases where a "ghost" (or entity) was blamed for someone needing medical attention (or worse)... These reports DO exist...

    Now, "we" (just us) receive on average three reports per day... I have no doubt that these larger group are similar or the same... I know in a recent "browse", we had well over 5,000 reports sent in to us since 1997.

    You know how many of our 5,000 plus reports also mentioned needing a hospital or emergency room trip?


    Know how many mentioned someone being killed either in the past or presently by a suspected ghost where there's even a source-able death notice to find through archives?


    ...but those cases, as I said, exist....

    In over two-hundred years, literally tens-of-thousands of reports, documents, and the like from Britain, France, America, Germany, and Canada... how many cases had a doctor's notice or worse?


    Yup, a great big two.

    Both, by the way, are contested by many people in the study.

    One was "The Entity Case" from California in the 1970's.  The other was the "Bell Witch" case from the early 1800's in Tennessee.

    That's it.


    How many deaths in the last 20 (that's twenty) years in North America happened because of a botched or "over exuberant" exorcism? (That's ten per-cent of the above data... 200 years vs. 20...)

    On a cursory glance through Google, the number is at least eighteen.

    Eighteen people (mostly children) beaten, starved. dehydrated... worse... to death in the name of getting rid of a demon.

    TWO more important than eighteen, apparently...

    How many people have been left scared of their home due to proclamations by demonologistical ghost hunters?  How many have been fiscally hobbled by paying for services?  How many have left homes unnecessarily?

    I hope you all realise that numbers above would be much higher than any of the others mentioned.

    The truth is, those REPORTING to help, especially anyone invoking demons or "evil", are FAR more likely to kill, hurt, and even hospitalise you then anything in the ether.

    How many ghost hunters warn people about worrying more about the living then the dead?  How many of them were more-or-less potentially warning you about themselves?

    Now, if you're REALLY wondering if people (potential witnesses and experients) can be so "gullible" as to assume that they are in mortal danger from a demon, despite overwhelming (and check-able) statistics saying a house cat is FAR and AWAY more physically dangerous than any paranormal experience, think about this...

    The media or some found online 'expert', which they DO trust (sorry, look at how quickly internet hoaxes do spread until squashed and even then how many still buy into them,) told them that "weird noises" and "odd feelings" soon will (not might, WILL!) become blood-curdling horror-filled demonic infestations... think  in terms of a placebo.


    Take one! I'll make demons do naughty things to your bottom!

    A placebo.

    The noises they hear in their basement MAY be innocuous and the weird feeling on the stairs might only be a draft, but teevee TOLD THEM and voila! The experience BECOMES real...

    Now, I should note, people involved in legitimate parapsychology might assume I am now talking about triggered case of psi... and I could be... I don't know... but regardless, I can say that it's either psi or, more likely, overwhelming imagination creating the sensations of the experience... their bodies WILL react (regardless) as if they ARE facing a demon or worse... basically, a form of suggestion leading to a measurable physical reaction.  (If you're unaware of the mysterious - and legitimate - placebo effect, have a listen to this Radiolab program on it. Click here.)

    So, you have a popular movie... that's feeding a fan-base from a not-so-popular-but-had-fans television show... working off the back of a really old case which is considered by most to be questionable in the extreme....

    ...fuelling witness/experients fears and the very worst of wannabe ghost hunters/demonologists.

    For those of us who are (and have been) trying to find information and answers and have not accepted one simple "solution" to what causes these things, allow me to give you the personal equivalent...

    I'ma Finda Cure!

    Imagine you're a cancer researcher and thanks to some success with retro-viruses and genetics, you know either yourself or someone after you will find a cure.  As you're getting set to knuckle down for the next bit of work, a marvellous and interesting movie or tv show is produced and is about cancer patients (most of whom are questionable at best in terms of not being staged actors,) and researchers (who are coming off as actors and can't even keep up with the most basic of legitimate study.)  and thanks to them, a gaggle of people wander into your lab... some say they have cancer, though they don't SEEM to, and they are screaming at you because they are dying.  No worries though, behind them are a bunch of people in lab coats who say they're researchers and have the cure in hand!  Sure, they can't make it stick (even to those not afflicted with cancer,) but they trumpet it a lot... so much so, that the hospital is considering closing your lab... not because of stellar work, but because of the noise and wasted energy on crap.

    ...and I've already found it! LOOK! Well, it doesn't work, but it's THE CURE!!! HONEST!!!

    Welcome to my world.

    Now, again, fictional horror fans are 100% FINE...'s the other folks I talked about.

    Saying they muddy my waters is like saying Jaws was a bit bad in terms of the image of sharks and caused a tiny bit of over-reaction and troubles.

    So, you shoot it, right?

    With this said, I am going to put on my blinders and simply concentrate on my own efforts... and hope that the hoopla and other nonsense doesn't last long.

    Had you folks been in our shoes during the 'height' (not really... it never got huge...) of Paranormal State... and saw how many terrified viewers wrote in to us... some with kids they were scared for... because there was a "bad sound" in their basement or a "weird feeling" on their stairs which was IMMEDIATLY attributed to an evil demon like they saw on teevee, you'd understand why this "success" is something that really, really, REALLY bothers me.

    The new movie featuring the Warrens is out... reviews are good... and fans will flock... and believers will become evangelical in the face of overwhelming doubt... and fans/cosplayers will add to the cacophony.

    That said, there's not much we can do.  I can only hope that the waters become clearer and calmer... but right now, I fear the storm is approaching... again.

    This is NOT the end this time...

    PLEASE:  Before defending your idol or proving your fandom of Lorraine Warren, read this (click here)... and this (click here)... thoroughly.  These are only two... more are available... You DO NOT have to agree with me, but if you wish to fawn over or be a super-fan of these folks, please go to a "fan site" or page.  That's what those are for.  Re-read the top of this article... because I already know how crumby I am in your eyes... imagine, as I'm a truly open minded and fact-driven experient (one who has not adopted any belief despite personal experiences, as I require good evidence,) how I see them.

    It's like working on a dig in Egypt of a marvellous tomb, only to have whackloads of people dressed like Indy swoop in with explosives because they know better than me.

    This Is The End My Friend


      06:58:00 pm, by Matthew   , 910 words  
    Categories: How We Do The Things We Do

    Where Rule One and Copying Permissions Intersect...


    1: The safety, security, and overall comfort of a witness is paramount in our efforts.

    What you see above was and is "Rule #1" since day one with us... and with reasons that are important and, oddly enough, evolving... as social media is and will never be 100% kind to all and is impossible to control... so this can be tricky to maintain... but is important!

    A sad incident happened today to reenforce this thought... and I'd like to share it with you.

    An experient (or witness or reporter - someone who sent us a run-down of a 'paranormal' experience they had to us,) wrote in to Sue directly to ask we remove their report from our site.

    The reason?

    The report had been copied (without permission by us or the experient) from our site verbatim and pasted onto this other organisations website... and the link then Twittered out.

    The experient was very upset as the offending website had "open comments" and obviously could not filter things said on Twitter, and although the experient's identity was not disclosed, they were upset by the pounding and abuse the story was taking by the usual trolls and "so called sceptics" (again, for the uninitiated, these are people who claim scepticism, but are just knee-jerk deniers who's main focus is either out-shouting opposing viewpoints or belittling or mocking them into silence,) and took personal issue... rightly so.

    We, of course, could not control someone who visits our site and steals information, (in fact, when you highlight and right-click on the PSICAN site, it does give you a warning about copying and permissions, but that's only effective if it's read,) but we understood the experient's complaint and removed the article... and put this in it's place...


    Instead of the report...

    For those who can't read the text above...

    Removed With Warning
    Written by PSICAN Group   

    This story was copied (duplicated from us here) and used without permission by another website (who posted it without request on their own pages).  As such, the original reporter has asked it be removed and we have complied.

    It is more than likely the original reporter will ask for it to be removed from the site that appropriated the material from us as well due to the experients concerns over negative feedback in open comments.

    The actions of whomever copied this report from us without permission will now most likely lead to the report being publicly lost to everyone and should another report like it come forward, it will be difficult for other people to find similar situations for comparison and further studies.


    It can cost everyone in the long run.

    For the record, the experient has since reconsidered (and realised our lack of external control,) and because it's now "already out there", is allowing us to put the report back... and we do thank them for this.

    I'll be honest though, and I don't want to ask... one wonders if the experient checked to see if the post had been removed and had seen my note and thought about things and that helped change their mind... because if so, my notice hit the wrong target... it's not the experient's issue, it's the format and way in which it was taken and redistributed.

    This said...

    I will be promoting this blog post as loud as I can to hopefully get a message through to as many people as possible...

    #1: Before taking something from another website, ask permissions.  The worst anyone might say is "no".

    #2: Be mindful of how experients are treated. We don't want nor do we need to silence people with questions or even opinions over the veracity of a report, but we do need to remember, experients and their reports are all our life's blood.  Please consider adopting our "Rule #1" above for yourself. You don't need to delete or ban, but moderate to ensure people are as gentle as possible under the situation to the original experient.

    #3: Social media is going to be a minefield REGARDLESS. Anyone trying to control or moderate social media is likely to be as effective at that control as they would be trying to herd cats. This should be a notice to not only people who run groups and websites, but to experients as well.

    We do our best to ALWAYS keep an experients' contact information and personal details away from things... really, the "experience is the thing" anyway ahead of the person involved, and not much more is needed for public consumption... but there are other things to consider... like if a workplace is mentioned or a particular family dynamic... we do our best at PSICAN, but regardless of whom you're sending things too, if they intend to use your information publicly, think about anything in your report that might "give away" your personal details and ask for them to be edited out. It can be done... and should be in most cases.

    Sadly, we still live in an age where the "Giggle Factor" (the pointing, laughing, and mocking of the paranormal,) looms large with a large portion of the population and especially the media... and with the internet, the gloves come off with troll-like behaviour.

    If you're an experient, make sure you're comfortable with things no matter who you're dealing with.

    If you're a group, organisation, or an independent, consider adding "Rule #1" to your philosophy and work habits.

    We need info... We need people to come forward and feel safe to do so... we all need to do our part.

    This Is The End My Friend

      06:48:00 pm, by Matthew   , 620 words  
    Categories: Ancient Mysteries

    Someone appreciates pedantry in wording! :)

    Jane Goodall

    (Image of Jane Goodall above via Jeekc at WikiCommons and is reproduced here under GNU 1.2 and WikiCommons.)

    I was going through my old podcasts (I'm a podcast "junkie"... it keeps me sane at work to have them on my iPod while in the lab,) and came across this one I'd saved... well, this is a wee part (transcript) of the podcast I'm speaking of.

    It was from CBC's "Q" with Jian Ghomeshi interviewing Dr. Jane Goodall from April of 2013... and it's kind of directly linked with this old post (click here) which I still take heat for.

    BEFORE CARRYING ON, I am NOT suggesting (still) that lay people (or experients/witnesses) abide by thinking of things scientifically, but that as researchers, investigators, or people who (like us) are trying to elevate the studies, we need to do this... WE are the conduit through which experients might be heard by those who can help with more information and resources... it's up to us to be a good filter, not the experient... so do not assume I'm suggesting we "correct" a witness, only mind our OWN interpretations of things... what WE put out, not the lay person...

    ...anyway, here's the transcript as best I could do it...

    Jian Ghomeshi: "About that time, Jane, you said, and I'm quoting you, "I wasn't allowed to talk about chimps having personalities and certainly not about them thinking or having emotions", that's exactly what you observed and wanted to write about. It was a controversial move, some accused you of anthropomorphizing, as a female scientist, were you ever afraid of not being taken seriously by talking about the emotions of animals?"

    Dr. Goodall: "Well, fortunately I think, you know, Lewis actually picked me because he said my mind hadn't been biased by the very reductionist thinking of that time, and all through my childhood, I did have a fabulous teacher who taught me that animals did have personalities, minds and emotions, and that was my dog.  You can't share your life in a meaningful way with a dog, cat, rabbit, pig, whatever and not know that the professors were wrong and I don't think they believed it... and so fortunately, I had a very amazing supervisor who at first was my sternest critic,  then he came to Bombay and he met the chimpanzees and he said that totally changed him, so he being a very reputable scientist taught me how to write in such a way I couldn't be torn apart by the other scientists."

    Jian Ghomeshi: "...and what way would that be?"

    Dr. Goodall: "Well, for example, when I wrote in my naive way that young Fifi, six years old, was very jealous when another young one came up and tried to play with her baby brother, and Robert Hines said, "Well, you can't say she was jealous, 'cause you can't prove it." so I said, "Well, she was. So what shall I say?" He said, "Fifi behaved in such a way, that had she been a human child, we would say she was jealous." Now that's very clever, the way you put your words... and he taught me logical thinking and I love it. I love writing scientifically."


    I wish everyone who is looking into these studies... who wants to see them in a better light outside reality-ish television and the like would consider what Dr. Goodall above says when doing their own reports, papers, articles, and documents.

    Not just because "I" (as in that pompous know-it-all git, Matthew Didier) like it, but because when something is well thought out and well worded, it get better attention and avoids folks tearing work apart because it is not up to a very good standard.

    Just sayin'!

    This Is The End My Friend

      06:44:00 pm, by Matthew   , 2722 words  
    Categories: Ghosts & Hauntings, Ghost Tours & Travel, Folk Stories & Legends

    History and Ghosts Connected? A Blog Post in Three Parts...


    Part One: Maybe not...

    Ghosts are dead people.  Dead people are from history. 
    Ergo: History is key to ghosts, right?

    ...well wait a second...

    Poltergeists are lumped into ghostly phenomena.  There's a good body of data to suggest that poltergeists are not the spirits of dead people, but potentially psi (living person's "psychical" abilities having an effect on the external environment,) related.  Living people will be considered history one day, but as a rule are not considered such at the present. 
    Ergo: History has no place with some ghosts.


    Some apparitions have been said to look like people that have passed on.  People who have passed on are history. 
    Ergo: Ghosts and history go together absolutely!

    ...and then...

    We know of a case where there were odd happenings in a home on Canada's East Coast.  The home was originally occupied by a Loyalist escaping the American revolution who had slaves.  Slavery was a much more grey area in Canada, but this loyalist kept one fellow as he was their main servant.  The man was considered family, and when he grew old an sickly, they tended him in their home until he passed.  It was thought his ghost was causing the weird stuff... until someone caught glimpse of an apparition who was decidedly not an "old slave", but had the appearance of a fisherman... a Caucasian one... so who/what might have been causing the disturbances?
    Ergo: Running with a history to attach to a ghost might be premature.


    So, does history fit into ghostly phenomena?

    Sort of... but not how many people would like it to be.

    Many of the "ghost hunters" out there (not parapsychologists and not all ghost researchers/investigators,) consider two things when looking into a site.

    One is to look at the historic ghost stories - "Who is said to be haunting where and why?"

    Another is to consider bringing in a psychic or medium to contact the 'spirits' (let's call 'em as they are, the dead folks,) to communicate or at least get a bead on who's there.

    Now, brace yourself... I'm about to say something very un-Matthew-like...


    I don't think this is wrong... BUT... (You knew that was coming, didn't you?)'s about 1/3 of the work... if that.

    Many people picked up on the whole "We don't go to find ghosts, we go to see what's there" sound-byte I whelped up long ago, but few people understand it thoroughly... because "what's there", as you might be able to tell, is not necessarily "who's there".

    How do we know that "X" person is haunting "Y" place potentially because of "Z"?

    Answer: We really don't.

    So, what a decent investigator/researcher needs to do is step back and look at the one "sure thing" we do know about.  The one thing that the biggest "non-believers" (again, I don't use sceptic, because scepticism requires doubt, not denial,) can't argue with... and it's bone-headedly stupid...

    The one thing you can't argue with?  People say they experience these things... and assuming, (and you'd be right to assume this,) that the people who say they've bumped into these things aren't all liars, the FEEL they've experienced these things.  The experience is real...

    Now, slow down... take a step back from your beliefs and simply look at the situation at hand... REMOVE any preconceptions... and ask this question...

    "What caused the experiences?"

    Uh, say what?

    Now, too many people jump to history and the DPH (dead people hypothesis) and start spouting off about this historical person or that historical person and their love/torment/death/whatever holding them to a spot.  The question then becomes, are you 100% sure about that hypothesis?

    I mean, even *IF* you saw the apparition of someone who you could identify through a portrait or old photograph, are you 100% sure (and again, remove cherished beliefs and faith,) that this image could not be a psi projected apparition from someone else who knew about this person or had even seen said photo or portrait?

    With no intention to besmirch all psychics and sensitives here, but it is awesome how many times (usually on television shows or in books,) we hear a psychic claim absolutely no foreknowledge of a place before coming up with their readings or discoveries... but when that's said at a place like The Tower of London in England, The Whaley House in America, or Toronto's Keg Mansion in Canada, how could anyone with a half-interest have missed information concerning them?

    That aside, I have sadly seen more psychics get things wrong (in 'lesser known' reputed haunted locations,) then right... although, sad to say to my non-believer friends, I've also seen some startling (potentially scary) accuracy... but the lion's share are not quite right.

    Then, also, one could argue that they're not picking up a "present spirit", but somehow a simple past echo... not sentient, but somehow replaying to the sensitive's mind.  How about a collective psi construct?  Something akin to a Tulpa... in a place supposedly haunted by a lady in red, so many people come through looking for said lady in red (who doesn't actually exist,) that their collective minds create a lady in red.  The Philip Experiments (amongst others) would bear the possibility of this out.


    Realistically, if someone was truly interested in studying something they recognise as "unknown", then they'd have to realise... the DPH is held by the last letter of the acronym... "Hypothesis".

    Quite frankly, we just don't know... so history can only be a small portion of the actual work.  A potential check-source for proving (or disproving) the DPH on a case-by-case basis.

    History, realistically, may not be all that important in the great study of ghosts... only a small part of it... and potentially, it can lead someone astray.

    Since we're conditioned (as a society) from a young age to favour the DPH both in culture and media, a small amount of evidence that shows it to be the case can be overblown in our minds... our desires and faith overtaking our logic and potential observation.

    History plays a part only in terms of the DPH... but shouldn't a good investigator or researcher start by looking at things without a favoured conclusion?


    Hanging Around

    Part Two: Well, hang on there...

    History, however, is one of the cornerstones of the evidence we do have.  In fact, putting aside the DPH for a moment, how do we know what's been experienced and how?  Simple...  Experient testimony... which is, as a rule, recorded as history!

    Sure, a person might see said lady in red that has no reason to be where the lady in red is seen, but what was that experience like for them?  How has a knowledge (or expectation?) of history coloured their experience...

    ...what if there WAS a lady in red...

    Lady in Red

    ...or in black and white... what if the lady in red should have been a nun in history?  What if a lady in red is being seen inside an old convent?

    Finding a historical match could lead one to finally say that the hypothesis of "hallucinations via expectations" is rubbish... or at least, questionable in the extreme.

    How about the 'case'(?) of The Lady and the Soldier from the book,  "Haunted Heartland" by Beth Scott and Michael Norman?  The story is about a forlorn red-coated soldier who appears to his lady love after he is killed in the taking of Detroit in 1812... which sounds like a classic story, save that it's not based on any historical fact.  Detroit was considered a "bloodless victory" for the British as only two private soldiers were killed weeks earlier near Detroit... so to die in the taking of a town that surrendered quickly would have been quite something!

    Granted, without knowing your history, how would one know?  Has the ghost story now become folklore?  If a soldier is seen at this house, is it the SAME soldier as in the story?  Not likely...  How about another soldier and different story?  Possibly...  How about a psi-construct?  Could be...

    ...but in order to remove the potential of getting mired in history, you had to KNOW the history.

    Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Canada is a great spot for ghost stories and has a very dark history in terms of wartime horrors... and yet, the place that freaks most people out is the tunnel at the Eastern end of the fort leading to a small tower.  Soldiers are seen in the tunnel, complete with shakos and accoutrements befitting early nineteenth century warriors.... except, the tunnel was complete in the 1930's.  It didn't exist, historically.  It was an addition when the fort was refurbished to act as a museum... a "make work" project during the tag end of the depression.

    Spooky Tunnel NOT FROM FORT GEORGE... but all tunnels are haunted, right?

    So, is it a collective mind causing these soldiers?  How about ghosts that simply found their way in?  (Imagine if that was the case and you had hard evidence!  You'd have proof of sentient ghosts completely aware of modern surroundings!)  Could it be reenactors or interpreters who've passed on and that's how they know the tunnel?

    One of my favourite stories (at another War of 1812 fort,) is from Toronto's Old Fort York, where an experient reported seeing a man who was dressed "funny" like a period soldier, but this notion was dismissed by the experient as they were neither in a red coat (British) nor a blue coat (American)... so they wanted to know who this man in green with the funny tall hat was who disappeared when they turned away from him... and I introduced them to both The Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles and The York Militia... both stationed at the fort during the war... and both... well, see below.

    Here's "The Glens"...



    ...and here's a York Militiaman...

    York Militia

    History needed to be a step in order to trace these potentials to again, rule them in... or it could have ruled them out...

    John Savoie's fantastic look into the history of the semi-famed "Blue Ghost Tunnel" (also in Niagara, Ontario,) is another way in which history needed to be brought in to hopefully clear some issues... and present new challenges!

    Knowing the history could be very important as many ghosts do seem to be echoes of our past... and perhaps, because it is prevalent, we do need to have a good grasp on what came before in order to better understand the here and now.

    History does play a role, even if it's simply telling us about experiences past with good metaphors.


    Ghostly Doin's

    Part Three: The Vitality of History with Ghosts...

    The single most important things about ghosts and history is how one, regardless, does help to teach about the other... but not how you may think if you're a ghost hunter.

    Ghosts help us teach history.... not the other way around... and THAT makes history vital!

    How so?  Simple...



    Have you ever taken a group of people (NOT JUST KIDS) to a historic site and tried to tell them about it and maintain interest?  It is NOT easy...


    When you wrap folklore around the story and use it to lead in to history, that means all the difference in the world.

    Paying ATTENTION!

    A huge part of "real" history (and forgive me, but the only true "real" history that's rarely up for interpretation is geology, hence the quotes,) is oral tradition... which often contains ghostly lore.  Some of the best ghost stories don't start with a ghost, but a story... and often, ONLY at the end are the words, "...and to this day..." and THEN you get the ghostly bit!

    ...and to this day, you can see his/her ghost...

    ...and to this day, they say he/she haunts...

    ...and to this day, the site still has an air of...

    You get the idea.

    A good historian, also, would be quick to point out why that story might hold water... and why it may not!  Often, spoken history is muddled, but teaching about the "muddling" often brings greater understanding to the student or audience.

    Historian? I have no idea... but it's the best I've got.

    I admit, as a stickler for history, I would not want to see every historic site or museum "make up" a new folklore in order to further their tourism or the like, (I do believe the study of ghostly experiences is important and as such personally prefer the waters not get too muddy with fiction... and I'll return to this later...) but those places with an existing (historical!) folkloric ghostly tradition should embrace it!

    It is most certainly NOT bad history to acknowledge ghostly lore... nor bad science!

    First of all, "science" and "history", at last check, are two different areas... unless it's geology... or the history OF science... but simply telling a story that may seem fantastical, but head's for a greater truth is not as bad as some would believe... in fact, the dumb worry that telling children a ghost story (based in folklore) followed by the real history behind the story will make them grow up believing in psychic surgery has about the same value as saying the same kids watching Scooby Doo makes kids believe that a Great Dane can communicate vocally pretty well, with only a weird speech inflection and "accent".

    Jinkies! He TALKS!!!! ...sorta... and only after you eat a Scooby Snack...

    For those in historical venues concerned about academic correctness and telling "fairy stories" as potentially true, you've been lied to if you have heard embracing ghostly folklore (or even experiences,) is bad science.

    As I stated, it cannot be argued that people feel they experience these things... for them, the ghostly experience is real.  If they report it or make it public, it now passes to history and potentially folklore.

    Effectively, the experience and the report are tangibles.  What causes these things, however, is not.

    So, talking about or acknowledging experiences is not un-academic and most certainly not historically incorrect.

    If a mime says it's okay, it's okay.

    This is why I personally loath fiction writers trying to scratch up a "new ghost story" to justify tourism or the like... because it's not only unnecessary more often than not for a particular site or place to lie to sex things up, (What?  You couldn't find a better avenue of interest so you BS about a ghost?  Try other ideas before lies as a good management rule!)  but it also hampers those people looking for answers as to why people feel they experience these things (sends them on wild goose chases,) which sure, to ghost hunters means looking for the spooky ghost... but to many of us, it means looking into potential things in the natural/normal environment that might be making people "feel" things is now harder because we don't know which ones are 'true'.  This is bad because the information we might glean COULD explain experiences to people who are unnerved in other locations... like their home.

    It also robs someone of doing what I've already suggested... finding the potential truth in the folklore and helping to aid the actual history.

    Not to worry about this ol' thing!

    Provided you audience KNOWS that the ghost stories must be seen as just that, "stories" first, then no, there is no lasting harm... promise.  You can hold me to that!

    ...and even if the ghost story ends up being bupkiss... or ends up being very close to being authentic and worth further study, the only thing you'll end up doing is teaching and learning.

    Last I checked, that's what a museum and/or historical site was trying to do as a mission.

    Provided it's done with respect and with honestly, history with ghosts can and should be a very important and vital thing!

    In Closing:

    History and ghosts are two different subjects that collide in odd places.  The can compliment each other, and refute each other... sometimes simultaneously.

    If you're a folkorist or historian first, then of course, start with the history.

    If you're a paranormal investigator or researcher, then start with only the nuts-and-bolts of the experiences first.  History should only play a part in an overall look at things.

    If you like a good story and either believe or potentially disbelieve in things "paranormal", you can still appreciate a good bit of lore and enjoy the ties to the factual... without feeling as if you're betraying logic or science.

    I do a bit of both, personally... as does Sue.

    PSICAN is the nuts-and-bolts of ghosts... a group that looks into the experiences and mechanics behind them... where history plays a smaller part.

    Torontoghosts/Ontarioghosts is the other side... dealing primarily with the history, folklore, and first-hand accounts of things ghostly.

    It allows us to enjoy learning about both aspects.

    Is history important in the realm of the paranormal?  I'd say yes...  but it's important to understand how and if it fits in to what you're looking for first because it seems that there may be a question as to whether you need history to explain ghosts, but ghosts can help explain history!

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    The entries found on this blog are based on the thoughts and discussion of Matthew Didier and Sue Demeter-St.Clair...two paranormal investigators/researchers based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada who just also happen to be a couple.

    We are founding members of The Ghosts and Hauntings Research Societies, PSICAN, and Pararesearchers of Ontario and are members and supporters of The Society of Psychical Research, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences

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