02:59:00 pm, by Admin   , 1483 words  
    Categories: Ghosts & Hauntings, How We Do The Things We Do

    Asked and Answered: What is the scariest true ghost story I know of...


    Welcome to Pandering to the Media et al 101 and one of the most frequently (blech) asked questions I get... what's the scariest ghost story I know of... being, usually, one specific to me/my groups/my work directly.

    I hate this question because you'd be shocked about one truism with a lot of ghost experients (not all, but a quiet majority of people we hear from) which is the four phases of ghostly experiences...

    As a rule...

    The first time is slightly unnerving, more quizzical than frightening.

    The second time is more quizzical than the first time, but still not all that frightening... most are more stressed over the potential next encounter in terms of what might happen.

    The third time starts to lose all sense of fear and turns into a frustrating desire to understand what's happening.

    By the fourth encounter, you're running towards the events and experiences instead of away from them.  You NEED evidence and indeed, just know more!

    I hit the fourth stage long ago... long, long ago...

    Worse yet, as someone who doesn't subscribe to any set belief in terms of what causes these things, my desire to run towards them has led to this blog and my sites... a very public display of seeking knowledge... even if only through discussion.

    Still, I am always asked about what scares me...


    Often people laughed at me when for years, I used to say the most frightening sound I could imagine (and thankfully has not occurred yet to me,) is children laughing.  I would say this, and especially parents would look at me like I was from Mars and chide me saying children's laughter is a wonderful sound...

    Hee hee hee!

    ...yes, I agree...

    ...unless it's 3am in a warehouse and there's no children around to laugh.

    It's a bit unfair to post this as it hasn't happened to me, but it has been reported in other places (like the warehouse)... and yeah, that would send a shiver down the ol' spine!

    As to what I've read in terms of "true experiences", I think the winner will always be the black mouthed old lady.

    Wait, I should clarify, it would be black mouthed old ladies... and the two I've heard about are both in Quebec and SEEMINGLY unrelated.

    This is tame...

    In both cases, a lone witness is in their home... one was in a half-nap and the other was painting a room... and they both sensed someone had walked into the room with them.  Neither said it was frightening or shocking other than they weren't expecting an elderly woman to come into the room... and neither reported a temperature drop, draft, or the like... but a solid, "normal looking" elderly woman (neither witness could give too much detail on clothing other than one said a dress and the other said "modern" clothes and when asked to specify, seemed to suggest pants and a top of some sort,) just walked in.

    Now, regular readers may know something that newbies may not... most apparitons aren't spotted and instantly register with the experient as a "G-g-g-g-ghost!", but instead are often mistaken for normal people until something tips off the experient that nope, that's not all that normal.

    This tip-off can be period clothing... more often than not, it's a weird behaviour, the most common being mistakenly assumed by people hearing the report from the witness as the ghost "walking through a wall"... the truth seems more often than not that the witness takes their eyes off the 'ghost' for a very brief time, looks back and the apparitions is gone... and they often say, "The only way out without being seen is if they went through the wall!"  This, of course, may not be true as the apparition may have faded away or... well, read this old post for details of other vanishing options.

    If it helps, these elderly women apparitions both did the "vanishing" act, and both experients did say it was when they'd "looked away" very briefly when they vanished...

    ...but it wasn't the fact an elderly woman who shouldn't be there was in their home...

    ...nor were they dressed "funny" or out of date...

    ...not even the vanishing act was the big clue...

    In both cases, literally hundreds of miles apart, close in time to each other, but not at the same time, from two different witnesses... the women "ghosts" were said to be walking and acting normally... except their mouths hung open... not to the point of being silly, just like their mouths were normally open... and they could see nothing inside the mouths at all... they were black.

    These otherwise misplaced, normal elderly women had gaping, open black mouths.

    Both witnesses were startled and both, when the entirety of the visage sunk in, went to find out what was wrong with this woman, both took their eyes away from her/them for a brief moment while moving towards what both assumed was still a living, breathing elderly woman who was obviously lost and had somehow gotten into their homes when they were suddenly gone.

    I am FAIRLY confident that the two reports were mutually exclusive... not because those were legitimately... um... well... weird... and slightly unnerving even to read!  Because of the dates and times that these reports came in (which was within weeks of each other despite the experiences happening months - almost a year - apart), I did something I usually don't do which is check and re-check what IP they were sent from and where, writing styles, and "Internet Footprint"... as of now, Google to see if they have Facebook, Twitter, or maybe Flikr accounts, back then, AltaVista to see if they had MySpace or Geocities accounts, and look for generic message postings and comments, and how long has this person been "online" by that footprint.  They checked out.  One of the witnesses responded to extra questions including an address, the other did not, sadly, so it's impossible to do a complete correlation check to see if the homes or families were somehow related.

    I should also note that I didn't publish the first report because... well... that's the person that didn't respond to further questions, and despite seemingly being a "real" gent of about thirty at the time, I thought it sounded too weird... and held on to the report offline... so it's unlikely in the extreme that the second fellow saw the first gents and went with that.

    We have not had another black mouthed old lady since, for the record, but the image of a normal looking elderly woman just wandering into my living room with a wide-open black mouth... that's a bit frightening to me.

    Granted, like the witnesses, I would have not assumed "GHOST!" on seeing it and, again, like most apparition witnesses, would simply be wondering how this odd woman got into my home!

    So, with those two thoughts out of the way, what was the most unnerving experience for me personally?

    I've been (via EVP) apparently told to "shut up" by a potential ghost... didn't bother me.

    In the same place, I had a bit of two-by-four lobbed at me... meh.

    Nope... I'd say the most scary moment for me was... one of the ones that started it all... and it ended with a laugh.

    Allow me to cut-and-paste from my own story online here...

    My family moved from a North York home to this small house in Leaside when I was 15. Prior to our purchase, the house had been owned by an insurance company that used it as a temporary home for employees that it recruited from overseas before they found themselves a new and permanent residence. Who owned it before this, I have (editors note: "had" now...) no idea.

    I made a fast friend who lived down the street and after a time, invited him for a "sleepover" at the new house. My parents banished us to the basement, for fear of being kept awake by two Atari playing tweenagers. After a time, we couldn't stand the atmosphere of the basement (despite the video game) and decided to quietly move upstairs to my bedroom for the night. After we got in to the room and decided on sleeping locations, my new friend asked, "What do you think made us come upstairs?" I replied, "Probably the ghost."

    At that moment, all the books on a bottom bookshelf in my new bedroom fell to the floor one by one.

    As opposed to being frightened, we laughed and slept somewhat soundly for the rest of the night.

    I guess that would be the most scared I was by a "ghostly" thing...

    Now, although I'm over it, we could talk about other fears... like open heights or spiders... two things I'm now okay with, but don't rush towards... but they are not like the mystery of what causes ghostly experiences... That is something I still rush to look at!

    This is the End my Friend


      06:28:00 am, by Admin   , 955 words  
    Categories: GHRS/PSICAN News and Events

    Torontoghosts Turns Sixteen!



    I wish I could remember the exact day...  only that it was the first couple of weeks in October. To be more accurate, I've taken a "best guess" based on domain registrations and e-mails, but realistically, I can only say that the first Toronto Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society website went online in early October of 1997.

    It's kind of frightening for me personally to realise that in just two years, someone born when the website went live could become a member of PSICAN (over eighteen)... 

    To re-hash as briefly as possible... I was working for a large multinational telecom in the tech support lab on a (pun intended) graveyard shift and while trying to occupy my time between helping people with their dial-up modems, I decided to use some personal webspace to put up some better known ghost stories of Toronto.  The reason for this is that I was an "out and open" experient... I'd run into something I didn't quite understand in my early teens and since then, devoured books to try and figure it out.

    People would tell me it was "the spirits of the dead" and others would say it was my own "psychic energy"... others said it was all pranks (of which, indeed, some were perpetrated by some folks after I started discussing my experiences) and really, it was all just my imagination... I heard everything from demons to angels and almost all stops in between... and the people that told me these things were quite sure of being absolutely correct in what they *knew* caused my experience.

    Trouble is, I didn't know... still don't, to be completely honest.  The only thing I can say with certainty is that I feel I experienced odd things... 

    ...and you would be right to scream at me, "CORRUPTED TARGET!" because as a child I was in love with ghosts... 

    ....but that would be a lie.  in terms of the paranormal, as a child, I was fascinated with Bigfoot (thanks to some dreadful documentaries I saw as a young boy,) and UFOs... mostly UFOs.  This is because I was a big Trekkie (not "Trekker", please!) and a fan of Star Wars... heck my Doctor was the third Doctor... Jon Pertwee... so the concept of intelligent beings outside of our own planet was something I did believe in and still do... although their visiting us is something I'm not as sure of.  I also spent a great deal of time "up North" at a family cottage... so I had an interest (a fear, to be honest, thanks to those bad documentaries I saw as a young boy) in Sasquatch.  (For the record, it's no longer a fear of mine to bump into a Bigfoot if there's one out there... unless he's a fan of Karoke and plans on serenading me with renditions of 70's rock power ballads...)

    Ghosts didn't factor in until I had some experiences of my own which, if interested, you can read here (click here).  

    Now, this run-in with ghostly stuff, as stated, did set up a quest to know more about what I experienced and how.  This led to many, many books and discussions over the years... and thanks to that love of things "space-y" and added on to that a love of mechanical and electronic things... I was very nuts-and-bolts about the whole affair.  I was really disinterested in a "psychic take" unless you could prove and explain psychic power.  I could accept it as a hypothetical, but the minute someone tagged it as an absolute, I tuned out...  I was (and am) willing to accept the "all-in-your-head" explanations, save that when I discussed these things with others, I often heard their stories and indeed, even was taken to places people experienced things and again, experienced them, with fresh eyes and interpretations... so I'm not convinced it's all nonsense at all...

    If this wasn't enough to twist me good, I inherited from my mother a love (and I mean LOVE!) of history... so, ghosts, haunted places, history... in 1997, it was time to combine them online.

    A lot of my friends knew of my interests and as such, often bugged me to relay a "true ghost story" to them... usually around Halloween... so I thought, why not prep some of these stories on a website?

    My searches for Canadian ghostly content back then were fruitless, so I used my own stories as well as material from our (still on board) consultant, John Robert Colombo, and the rest is kind of history

    It started as a small site where I figured about fifty people a year would go to find ghost stories every Halloween...

    ...within two months and literally thousands of visitors, I started to realise it wasn't such a small thing after all.

    Within a year, tens of thousands of people surfed in and we'd become a group that not only looked into these stories as stories, but were also looking into things hands-on, so to speak, and all across Ontario as well as into the States (with a related team,) and even with friends and colleagues across the nation.

    Torontoghosts is now strictly a repository... a place to collect and share reports and stories... and focused primarilly on the legends, myths, history, and folklore... though we do still entertain other things...

    PSICAN, it's younger 'parent' site, are the investigative group now.

    As I (and Sue) get older... we hope that eventually we can leave PSICAN in like-minded hands to carry on as a coverall paranormal investigations and research group... and when we "retire", we can concentrate our efforts on our beloved Torontoghosts... for me, the site that started it all.

    Happy Birthday to us... and we hope many more to come!


    This is the End my Friend


      02:39:00 pm, by Admin   , 3515 words  
    Categories: Groups and Investigators, Paranormal - Rants, How We Do The Things We Do

    Socially Paranormal

    Whee... blech.

    I'm not at all friendly.  I'm horrid, hateful, and generally disrespectful.  I mistreat people and am a very angry and stupid man.  I've been told all these things... usually more than once every couple of months, by people via social media.

    My mother must be very ashamed...

    Sorry mom...

    The reason for this is also the reason I (presonally) rarely comment on the PSICAN Facebook group. 

    The trouble is this...

    Person 'A' Posts:  I am a psychic and a medium and have dead people living in my home that want me to leave.

    Now, I know in my heart that this person probably means...

    "I believe or have been told I'm psychic and/or a medium and weird things happen and I'm interpreting them to be negative towards me."

    In all honesty, I do not see that interpretation as bad or negative in my eyes because no one could quantify how or even if someone is psychic or has mediumistic abilities... it's a best guess or judgement call.  As for what's happening, perhaps it's the situation and not the actions that are leading to the belief in those experiences being about pushing someone out of their home?  I mean, let's say someone standing at the foot of your bed at 3am looking glum, this might be considered kind of negative, but is it?

    ...so I, or anyone, makes this mistake...

    Person 'B' Responds: How do you know your psychic?  Do you think you need to be psychic to experience these dead people?  How do you know they're dead people?  Why do you think they want you to leave your home?

    ....which of course, breaks down into this...

     "How do you know you're psychic?"  -  What does this person think is the qualifications... or more reasonably, have they had more than these experiences and can they tell us about those?  Knowing if this is a one-off or one in a series allows the person responding to know if Person 'A' is working from a known model for what's happened... and if that model is only one-sided, or many sided, or...

    "Do you think you need to be psychic to experience these dead people?"  -  Have other people that do not feel they are psychic experienced these things?  Could they, in the witnesses interpretation?  Realistically, does this witness believe that one needs to be psychic to perceive anything paranormal in nature?

    "How do you know they're dead people?"  -  Could this be something else?  Does the witness have a description... or maybe even on hearing this, might step back and wonder if other forces are at play?

    "Why do you think they want you to leave your home?"  -  Straight forward... and really, an attempt to figure out if this person might make a hasty decision based on a quick observation that perhaps, with different eyes, may not seem so malevolent.

    So, reasonable questions.... except...

    Person 'A' Translates Person 'B's Response: I don't believe you.  You're lying.  There's nothing special about you.

    For the record, when Person 'A' retaliates or gets snippy because of this misunderstanding, the other folks online usually pile on and...


    Welcome to conversing on the internet and social media!

    People assume social media is a relatively new thing online... it isn't.

    Torontoghosts has had a message board since 1998 and PSICAN still maintains one  which is sadly more and more neglected... which is a crying shame on many levels... but I'll get to that later.

    Before this, there are those of us who remember newsgroups... and before that, Fidonet and the like... before that, local electronic bulletin board systems.

    People like to assume flame wars and cyber-bullying are relatively new things... nope... they're older than many of the people reading this! (Think early 1980's to start into the mainstream, picking up speed and new technology each year...)

    In the modern arsenal of social media with which "we" (everyone! not even just the paranormal folks!) converse, the two most common forms still in use Twitter and Facebook... and both have good points and significant drawbacks.

    For the record, I long ago abandoned Twitter personally and PSICAN, Torontoghosts, and ParaResearchers are off Twitter... (we no longer monitor our Twitter accounts)... simply because to express a thought or communicate about our studies is not something easily done in these subjects in one-hundred and forty characters or less.  Maybe some people are okay with things like...


      "I c a stdy of ghosts & psi r O/L thru UoE & Koestler bin pblished at ths url #psi"

     ...which is fine, but at the elderly age of forty-six (at the time of writing this,) I prefer the English language to be... well... legible, thorough, and easy to understand as a rule.

    I know I'm TERRIBLY guilty of being long winded which is a reason someone might think Twitter could reign me in, but to be honest, I'm not around here to produce three second sound bites... I'm knee-deep in my studies and like to share information.

    ...besides, I like my life infinitely better without knowing what Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian, and/or Justin Bieber had for breakfast.

    Facebook, on the other hand, has been great for communicating longer bits of information... and links... and yes, jokes of which I am most happy to share with people there.

    It also is the current prime area where the conversation (like the one I "exampled" on the top of this article) happen.

    Facebook is why I see the crying shame of losing so many people from our old (though still pumping) message board to a simpler form of social media.

    You see, most people have Facebook accounts... some mobile phones require it!

    To join our message board, you need to fill out a form, answer some questions, and supply an e-mail address to access... and it's not a link in Facebook in your feed, but something you may need to bookmark and visit seperately.  In other words, it requires time and effort.

    Hard work!

    This said, our message board does allow pseudonyms to be used (so you can maintain privacy) and is moderated to keep things on topic and keep away spam.  The message board is also set up so that conversations are separated into threads... that you can ignore if you wished to go directly to a specific section or note to read... and has larger sections too so you can specify which information you wish to concentrate on...

    Facebook is barely "moderate-able" without blocking a user completely... which can sometimes be a bit unfair.  When any post on Facebook is commented on, it leaps to the top of the page as the "latest thing" even though it may not be.  Since it's so easy to access, anyone can pile in to say anything, and controlling that is very troublesome.  If you wished to see only the posted items about studies, articles, or papers from one source (like MUFON or The SPR,) tough.  It's not that easy.

    On our message board, if things got heated in a post, we could moderate most of it and leave the rest... we could help to sooth nerves by having multiple people comment and come in with discussion... more often than not, to help people get on track and discuss data, not personalities or faiths/beliefs.

    On Facebook, we do not have these abilities and as such, we get regular complaints and even threats about being "reported" as cyber bullies or the like... which, if they desired, Facebook could take seriously and wipe out the entire group.... all because... well, look at the top conversation again.

    I've read things like...


    Person 'C': I think UFOs are aliens.

    Person 'D': I think they could also be trans-dimensional.

    Person 'C': Well, you don't know what you're talking about because I'm right.

    Person 'D': How do you know you're right?

    Person 'C': BECAUSE EVERYONE KNOWS I AM! Are you stupid? UFOs are from outer space!

    Person 'D': I'm not stupid and you have no proof and STOP USING ALL CAPS!

    ...and it devolves until we get a note from Person 'C' that Person 'D' is mean and a bully and another note from Person 'D' that Person 'C' called them stupid which is cyber-bullying and will be reported to Mark Zuckerberg directly if we don't delete it and ban them permanently.

    You may think this is bonkers... I assure you it's sadly not....

    Not too long ago, the PSICAN Facebook was filled with excellent articles and discussions... and really was the envy of a lot of other groups... we were enormously proud.

    Those articles and discussions are indeed still there, but now buried under a large quantity of posts that might not seem provocative to their authors, but indeed are (like the above examples) or worse, are veiled advertisements or the like... and it's frustrating.

    What's worse is that on Facebook, people seem to think there's similar controls like we have on our message board... and there isn't... and we can't control what people say, when they say it, or how they say it.  People seem to think we do, and we don't.

    So, Person 1 writes something...

    Person 2 responds with something nasty.

    Person 1 demands we delete and remove Person 2.

    Person 2, on being deleted or removed complains that we suppressed them.

    Person 1 and 2 then both publicly complain about the group, us, and whatever else because, obviously, we're to blame.

    If we try to go in and smooth feelings by trying to come to any understanding, whoever we're appealing to first to "consider things" assumes we've taken the other person's side..

    Wash Rinse Repeat

    ...wash, rinse, repeat... usually until both parties loath us along with each other.

    To be fair, we can't control all that much on our old message board either, but Facebook pulls these flame wars to the top of the page for everyone to be forced to see first... whereas the message board contains these moments in their respective categories and threads.

    It's also easier with the message board to basically alert people to one truth with our group and work... the biggest issue of all that some people have trouble understanding is that we not only allow, but hope that people will ask questions.

    For those that they already know the answer, this can be extremely upsetting... because when they do post...

    POST: My photo of an orb is the ghost my dead aunt Agatha.

    QUESTION:  How do you know it's not dust or another airborne particle?

    QUESTION:  How do you know it's your aunt?

    ANSWERS:  There's no dust in my house and I said aunt Agatha's name before taking the picture!

     STATEMENT:  There is no such thing as a dust free room outside certain laboratories.

     QUESTION:  You simply said the name?  Why?  Were you trying to summon aunt Agatha?

     ANSWERS:  You're WRONG!  My house IS dust free because I use an air purifier in every room and YES! My aunt haunts me and I want to know why!

     STATEMENT:  No, seriously, look up your air cleaner... even the best HEPA filter doesn't make a room completely dust and airborne particle free.  You may have even had some dust or stuff on your clothes when you took the picture...

     QUESTION:  So you feel your aunt's response was to appear in a photo as a ball of light?

    Now, those "statements" and "questions" might seem mean... but they aren't really.  They're valid points... but to someone who only wants to share what they see as a special experience or thing, those points are the most hateful thing imaginable and the feelings usually become raw after this...

    Now, most of the people on the boards and even Facebook are not malevolent... but they are often relentless truth-seekers... and as such, when you make a claim, they will require evidence or at least, substantiation... and they will question it.

    Do not assume this goes only one way though...

    On the message board, your's truly has gotten into it with would-be sceptics... often, admittedly, on purpose. 

    THEM: I believe in what Carl Sagan onse said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence!

    ME:  Don't all claims require evidence?  Also, isn't proof or evidence kind-of a yes/no affair?  Either it substantiates the claim or it doesn't... how would you quantify the weight of the evidence if it only really either supports or does not support a claim?  How can that be made "extraordinary"?  Don't get grumpy over these questions... after all, they came from the person that actually said the "extraordinary claims" thing first, which was not Carl Sagan, but Dr. Marcello Truzzi... he racanted the phrase before his death and said he wished it was simply, "Claims Require Evidence".

    That usually doesn't fly... of course, even them saying...

    THEM:  I'm a sceptic!

    ME:  Me too!  A real sceptic in that I doubt things and often look for better evidence... but I never deny things automatically... and not without an equal amount of evidence to support that hypothesis either.

    When you're dealing with someone who's an auto-denier or auto-debunker, they hate the fact that the word "sceptic" is not really appropriate to what they are... non-believers or deniers.

    Smart Ass

    GRANTED, and here's the thing...

    I don't hate these sceptics... I don't even dislike them!  I'm willing for them to either admit I've got a good point, or prove where I'm wrong.

    ...but like the angry "believers" examples I've given above, it must be a competition where they need to be right... and damn the... well... my username on the message board pre-dates a certain similar named film by Al Gore... Inconvenient Facts.

     I've often said that the username stems from the title of the late Karl Pflock's book on Roswell... "Inconvenient Facts and the Will To Believe"

    I find "Inconvenient Facts" bother both people who believe without evidence and people who choose to be knee-jerk non-believers without evidence.  They don't understand the difference between faith/belief and fact.

    Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs... but not their own facts.

    All claims require evidence.

    There's the rub...

    "We" (PSICAN) don't exist to agree with everything... or disagree with everything.  We're looking into all things... and as such, can ask what seem to be loaded question and indeed, can seem unfriendly...

    We're not really...

    However, we are looking for answers and even better questions...

    ...and yeah, from both the "belief" and "non-belief" camps, the answers and evidence have to be better than, "BECAUSE I SAID SO!" or "Based on my private and undocumented experience."

    ...and with social media of any sort, that's friggin' hard to do without coming off poorly... and as stated, we regularly pay the price with people getting very cross at us.


    Many people on Facebook, where it's much easier, come with the thought that they will share their stories or thoughts without challenge to a grateful audience who appear to be nothing but supportive...

    ...and instead, often initially DO get the support and the gentle hands of those grateful folks, but then the questions come out... always nicely... but like I've shown, some people don't see that and it can get... bad.

    One last poke at the ease of Facebook and social media with us is indeed, spammers.

    I'm not only speaking of those folks who try to sell iPhones, sunglasses, or running shoes... but also the surf-by hits from people who don't add to the conversations and only link to their own groups or sites usually with the line, "Showing our support!"   We delete these as we come to them because if you really want to show your support, help with the study and the conversation.  Support us and the readers/posters and trust me, we'll do the same on your page.  (Just be prepared, again, to get those questions from our Facebook denizens!)

    The next type of spam is in my eyes, and the eyes of many people, the worst type... 

    We often get people posting as "experts"... sometimes for free but occasionally a fee as well (which we delete as we don't allow commercial advertising for psychical services)... sometimes they're looking for fame or a chance to have people contribute things to aid in their media-driven projects.  When it's a blatant commercial like this, we'll nuke it (delete it) the minute a moderator sees it.  When it's not blatant commercial or media spam, it's not unusual for someone to start probing...

    Why are you an expert?

    How do you wish to help this person?

    What qualifications do you have?

    What I wish these people understood is that we're not a media-driven group at all... and we're not a business... and we do work with members of very academic groups and organisations... and I'm not speaking of "The Organisation of Ghost Hunters of West Brampton", although they may be a fine body of people if they exist, but PSICAN has been proud to work with The University of Edinburgh through The Koestler Unit, we've done speeches at Ryerson University, University of Toronto, and York University... we have several legitimate Ph.Ds and Ph.D candidates on our team and many amazing lay people who are very well read and knowledgeable and are equal to many challenges.

    So if you say you're an expert because some TV plumbers wrote you an e-mail, you want to help this person for your YouTube channel, and your qualifications are a Ph.D in ghost hunting from MailOrder U, don't be too upset if we note that's problematic.

    BS Credentials

    Don't get this wrong either... You can be a great and knowledgeable person in this field without an academic title... but to qualify as respected, you would need to "show your work"... and I mean what articles have you written?  What papers have you published?  What work can you display outside of cosplaying reality-ish television?

    This said, imagine you're a newbie to our Facebook, and the first thing you see, being at the top because of the newer postings, is someone who posts that they are a  ghost hunter and extolling the virtues of their new electro-magnetic meter in finding ghosts and asking for volunteers to give up their haunted houses so they can video themselves looking for ghosts and demons...

    ...and you see the pile-on underneath their post.

    "What legitimately tested and recorded evidence do you have to support your device... let alone that EM and ghosts have anything to do with each other?"

    "Are you sure you know what a demon is?  Have you spoken to someone in the church?  What definition of demon are you using and why?"

    "Why do you need to video this?  What kind of guarantees do you give any volunteers that their address and home will be kept private?"

    "How come I can't find anything about you or your work online?"

    ...and the ghost hunter eventually responds with more than a wee bit of aggravation for our questions.

    We sure would look hateful...

    ...even though, no, we're not.

    We're trying to be honest... and keep other people honest... and indeed, ensure that people see the inconvenient facts.

    On our message board, we can do this with ease and keep people sandboxed (so to speak) in particular areas so people can go to the information and/or discussions they want and potentially need...

    We can also let people know that a responder is someone "we" (as a group) know and trust...

    ...on Facebook, nope.  Can't do that.

    So, with all that said, allow me to sum up what I see is the best way to contact/discuss things with PSICAN...

    If you want a large audience of all types and are willing to put up with arguments and a subject that might end up spiralling into other territory... and you're aware that questions will be asked and know that because of it's open-ness, feelings may be hurt, I recommend Facebook,

    If you want a smaller audience, kept on topic, where you may wish to be anonymous, and where moderators will keep things civil (which does NOT necessarily mean .we will keep things "on your side", but we can affect changes to avoid name-calling and ad hominem attacks,) then try our message board.

    If you need a "proper answer" that's on track and without too much extra commentary, criticism, or potential "off topic" flights of fancy... or if you prefer things private, e-mail us.

    We don't use Twitter, remember... and needless to say, we abandoned MySpace long ago...

    We MAY pick up more on Google+, but right now, that's mostly dormant was well.

    In short, in response to the constant complaint about us not being friendly...

    In a one-on-one situation, of course we are and work hard to be friendly... and we're happy to be so!

    ...but in an open and difficult to moderate social media forum where things can be a bit disorganised due to post-positioning and it's not "just us" reading/responding, it wouldn't be inappropriate to see the situation as similar to being in a classroom of eager students all wanting information, answers, and the ability to voice their own opinion.  In those cases, we acknowledge that "we" may not seem all that friendly.

    Still, we do try... and hope you'll consider with us which media is truly the best to contact us through.


    This is the End my Friend


      11:39:00 am, by Admin   , 4304 words  
    Categories: Investigations, Ghosts & Hauntings, How We Do The Things We Do

    Ghostly Good Questions...


    This blog entry contains five actual unanswered questions legitimate investigators and researchers who say they're looking into ghosts should be trying to answer... and two questions they should stop asking.


    Question #1:

    If we know (and we do know) that we can remove/kill a piece of brain from a living being and, provided it's part of the brain for this function, we can remove memories of experiences and even the learned/inherited knowledge to accomplish certain tasks, why do ghosts supposedly know what the person they represented did/where they lived/who they knew in life? The brain is dead and rotting, so what's containing those memories and experiences?

    This is a good and unanswerable question, and one I dealt with on another blog post (click here) but the truth is... three fold.

    First, sorry to say, we do need to acknowledge that ghosts may not exist... and the witness may be seeing what "makes sense" to them to explain a weird feeling or moment... and it may just match up neatly with something they expect or may have been told about.

    That said, let's assume whatever's happening is "real" for the next two...

    Second, we are working with witnesses interpretations of what they experienced.  This could mean that they are seeing/hearing/feeling something and then, as most humans do, putting it into their own context... which may or may not be the situation at hand.  For example, if one spotted an apparition of a woman in a gingham dress in a historic home's kitchen, one might assume she was cooking or at least "tending home" and therefore make leaps about what was happening and why... but what if it was the 'ghost' of a former interpreter and they kept files in the upper cabinets of the kitchen?  What if it was a man carrying gingham fabric, but the visual glance was too brief to see the whole picture of what was happening?

    We also know that over an extremely brief bit of time, memories can change or be altered to fit a model a person expects?

    ...so maybe the ghost is not actually doing anything the person they're thought to represent is/was up to.

    Third is the answer I've heard many, many times... which is there's some mechanism that does allow ghosts/spirits to maintain memories and experiences from when they were alive.  This said, no one has ever been able to qualify or quantify what that mechanism is... other than something either akin to a universal consciousness where all is maintained forever to transdimensional explanations (bordering on quantum immortality usually) to (and most usually) people just saying that we are our souls and of course we maintain or memories despite our living memory machine (the brain) being destroyed either rapidly through trauma or gradually by putrefaction.

    To be 100% honest, that last one?  It really smacks to me that this is the bastion answer to those who are terrified of dying and losing their "personalities" in any way, shape, or form... effectively, a belief to sooth only the ego with no evidence to say there's a good reason for it.

    The real answer, of course, is we honestly don't know.  Everything, no matter what you hear, is a "best guess" or more likely, someone's belief, hope, or faith.  This is a question that deserves attention.


    Clothes make the ghost Question #2:

    If we believe that ghosts are the spirits of the dead, why would they be dressed in clothing?  Did the clothes have spirits and they died too? If we believe a soul to be separate from the body, why would a ghost still look like a specific body?

    This is a question oft given by so-called sceptics (otherwise known as non-believers or fundamentalist deniers) to prove there's no such thing as ghosts.

    Sadly, as an argument for that, it's hogwash... because all it does is pose the question, "Why are ghosts seen as dressed?" as opposed to saying that experiences never happen at all.

    The answer, once accepting (and we should/must) that ghostly experiences may not be 'real' and moving to the next hypothesis that the experiences did/do happen, is we don't know at all.

    The most common response is that we're seeing ghosts as they wish to be seen.  

    This said, there's also the probability that we are seeing ghosts as we wish to see them... and not necessarily in terms of a hallucinatory thing, but we, as potential witnesses/experients are also acting somewhat as mediums and through psi ability, giving this entity an appearance we either consciously or unconsciously assume it should have.

    We could also assume they just are dressed like that as we're witnessing anything from a recording of some sort, to viewing a 'time slip' dimensional rift to... well, you get the idea. 

    The absolute truth is that it could be all of the above... at the same time!

    Assuming that all experiences have the same causation is a flawed model... it's like saying every time you see something brown, it's a brown bear because brown bears are brown... it's not milk chocolate, stained woods, brunette human hair... it's a brown bear.

    Ergo: It's really any of the possibilities above and/or something we haven't considered yet.  Again, it boils down to something we should ponder...

    They're He-e-ere...

    Question #3:

    Are poltergeists spirits of the dead?  If not, why are they considered ghosts?

    Well, as we all know, the vast majority of poltergeist experiences involve a pubescent or pre-pubescent child... usually a girl... and...

    ...no wait.  That's codswallop.

    There is no statistical average for poltergeist experiences... they can happen to any one at any age with any situation at hand... although, tantalizingly, there is possibility that there could be a connection between stress (the people involved) and occurrences of poltergeist phenomena.  This might suggest that poltergesists are psi related abilities of a living medium. 

    I need to re-point out, a "medium" does not necessarily mean a psychic or even someone who know/thinks that they have abilities, a medium can be blank... and not know how or if they are helping things happen...

    Now, we do have cases where poltergeist stuff is happening where apparitions are seen, but considering what I just pointed out, are they mutually exclusive?  As one might have an infestation of termites and mice at the same time in their home, is it possible that one might have a person with latent and unknown psychical abilities who's freaked out about the apparition and as such, is making poltergeist things happen with psi related abilities?

    ...or are poltergeists somehow the manifestations from the dearly departed?

    Honestly, the lion's share of tangible evidence (such as it is,) seems to be pointing to the idea that poltergeist activity, for the vast majority's part, are related to psi... so perhaps the "DPH" (Dead Person Hypothesis... the idea that ghostly things are the responsibility of a dead person in some form,) does not relate to poltergeistery...

    That said, the jury is out still... but one should keep an open mind and look at all the data first before assuming deceased Aunt Agatha just lobbed that coffee cup across a kitchen!


    EM Poop Question #4:

    Why can we detect ghosts with electro-magnetic detectors and meters? (...or more realistically, why do we look for ghostly energy?)

    I've covered this before... in terms of the use of the word "energy" in this post (click here), and the history, as can be dug up, on EM meters and the paranormal in this post (click here), which does throw a bucket of cold water on EM meters... but that doesn't stop stores and businesses trying desperately to sell them sadly.

    In a nutshell, and to spare those who haven't read through the posts mentioned (though you really should if you're truly interested,) there is no correlation between electro magnetic field variations (of any sort) and perceived paranormal phenomena outside of the (usually questioned) work of Doctor Michael Persinger who feels (and has evidence to show) that sustained exposure to elevated EM fields will cause hallucinations.

    Historically, electro-magnetic fields and the paranormal first bump into each other seemingly with Jacques Vallée positing that EM might be being used to power unidentified flying saucers which accounts for witnesses disorientation and memory issues after seeing them.  It then pops up in a novel and movie, The Legend of Hell House (1973) where a scientist, in an effort to clear an old mansion of it's ghostly infestation, bombards the edifice with EM waves through a comically enormous machine... it doesn't work in the movie by the way.  You then see Dr. Persinger's work start to show up starting in the mid-to-late 1970's and the capper (and where most "ghost hunters" make the assumption that EM is absolutely tied to ghosts,) is the use of something called a "PKE Meter" which does indeed seem to detect ghosts... and was successfully used to pre-locate the ghost of a librarian (an apparition which also was accompanied by poltergeist activity,) in New York City in 1984... in the comedic film, "Ghostbusters".  It was the doohickey that Egon used that had antenna-like arms that lit up and raised from a hand-held unit when ghosts were about.

    Either way, there's been no "found" information pre-dating The Legend of Hell House in terms of correlating EM and ghosts at all... and the data currently out there only suggests that EM meters are things ghost hunters use to... well... not much of anything.

    This said, and I speak from personal experience as I'm sure most can, the idea of saying a room or an area has an "energy" to it, be it negative or positive in it's "feeling", isn't too whacky to hear anyone say...  so what is that "energy"... considering years of people wandering about with variations of EM meters have seemingly found nothing... it's not electro-magnetic energy!

    Psychologically and physiologically, it could be explained... many of the negative occurrences of an "energy" could also be the human physical reaction of "fight-or-flight" as being akin to a static energy.  (Fight or flight happens when people are scared or unnerved... the skin tightens making the hair stand on end, blood rushes to the muscles to prepare to either run like heck or beat-up on the whatever it is, and hearing, smell, and sight all become heightened to figure out where the potential danger is,) but is that the only answer?

    Next issue is poltergeistery... which is things moving about and/or sounds being made... which (should/does) require atomic structure.

    You may remember in grade {mumble} science class learning about atoms... and how everything is made of atoms... and when one hard atomic structure, like your fingers, tap another hard atomic structure, like your mouse button, they push away from each other.  This require (here it comes) energy.  In the case I just suggested, the muscle energy to move your finger on top of the potential atomic energy of the particles that push away from each other.  Well, something had to pick up the atoms of that coffee cup and a LOT of energy was needed to hurl it across a kitchen... 

    You may remember in grade {mumble} science class learning about sound waves... that without air (or some sort of atom to be pushed about,) you have no sound.  One of physics most pedantic (and accurate) complaint about sci-fi space programs in loud explosions in deep space... couldn't happen... well, unless you were in the enclosed environment with loads of atoms (air atoms... oxygen making up a large part of those,) to be moved by the explosion... but outside in space?  You wouldn't hear a small "pew" when the bang happened.  Sound is created when something collides and manipulates the atomic structure of the environment (the air in normal situations,) and the waves are pushed into a receptor (like your ear drum) which vibrates into your aural nerves and voila! You hear something!  Same is true for recording equipment... something causes a "wave" the pushes the atoms that vibrate the microphone or magnetic recording device and voila (again)!  You play that back, the electricity makes the speaker vibrate in all the right spots causing the air to move (the atoms are pushed by the sound wave,) that is caught in your ear... and...

    This is why when you are under water, sounds are so muffled... water molecules (groups of atoms) are "thicker" than air... and why when someone makes a sound in another room, it's muffled because the vibration is mostly stopped by the door or wall... 


    If we accept that we can hear and maybe even record ghosts, what causes that vibration?  It would require (all together now) energy!

    You may remember in grade {mumble} science class learning about light and how we see things.  Basically, the situation is this... For our eyes and a normal camera, white light (from the sun or a light bulb), which is made up of three primary colours of light pushed together, (Remember mucking about with prisms?  The glass things that divide the white light into it's base colours?  That's just a cute way of showing the visible spectrum...) either is absorbed (making things dark), reflected (making things light), or refracted (bounced to one side).   Wait, that's a lot in those brackets...

    To see or photograph something, the "something" either needs to absorb, reflect, or refract light waves.  For the most part (and with our range of vision even looking at a photograph,) it's the visible spectrum... those three colours mentioned above.  Muck 'em together, it's black... reflect 'em all away, it's white... absorb some spectrums and not others, you see colour... you get the idea.

    {Before I hear about FLIR or IR - night vision - please skip quickly below to the bit about "Why can we photograph things we can't see, like ghosts?"}

    Now, in order for something to interact with the light, it needs to affect that visible spectrum... it needs, without question, an atomic structure to have that affect.  No structure, no image... nothing to see... well, unless it's a hallucination and we SHOULD allow for that hypothesis (it's all in your head) but hallucinations are highly personal things... like dreams... so the chances of more than one person sharing a spot-on hallucination with someone else are slim in the extreme... although multiple-witness sightings of an apparition (all at the same moment,) as also extremely rare... but it has happened... so let's entertain the idea that apparitions are external and do exists.

    If apparitions have atomic structure, and we know that those atoms effect light waves/particles... then, (one more time!) they would have energy!  (Albeit, for this one, not a whole lot, but you get the idea...)

    I could add temperature variations (need energy to move particles about to change temps) and ever the "sense" we seem to have as humans to "detect" (through instinct) potential dangers (taking up space/being someone requires particles) which all lead to the same place...

    You need energy.

    The question is not "How do you use a machine that so far, has little validity in the realm of looking into these things to desperately try to find them?"....

    The question is, what is - if it exists - that energy in the first place?

    ...and while we're there, how do we measure that energy?

    That's the question we all need to ponder...


    Where's that pesky ghost?

    Question #5:

    If a ghost haunts in a forest, and no one is there to experience it, does it still haunt?

    How many of you read that and knee jerked to any answer?

    Okay, looking at your answer, how would you know it's right?  No, seriously, how would you know... and how would you prove it to me?

    First, I need to get into an idea of quantum mechanics... but only to steal a notion...

    Most people know about Schrödinger's cat... 

    ...which is a live cat in a sealed-from-view box with a mechanism that will cause a hammer to break a glass flask of poison *if* said mechanism is triggered by some sort of monitor that's watching the decay of a single atom of uranium (also in the box and not visible).  The atom's decay will decide either the poison is released (killing to poor cat) or not (leaving the slightly confused cat in the box alive.) 

    ...but not many people know why Schrödinger made up this model... and we can blame a fellow named Niels Bohr who, using the evidence that an atomic particle can exist in two places at the same time, brought the hypothetical trapped cat into existence... hang on, if that bit about atoms being everywhere at once doesn't compute, have a boo at this YouTube (click here)  for a good demonstration which is from an excellent documentary I caught a few years back.  (The entire documentary, which is amazing, is located here in several parts: Parallel Worlds/Parallel Minds)

    Anyway, so if an atom can be everywhere at once, how do we see... stuff?  How can we measure that atom?

    Logic to the rescue!  According to Bohr's model, an atom behaves differently... if it's being observed.  Effectively, the atom behaves for us!

    You lookin' at the atom, it stays put.

    You not lookin', it's everywhere.

    Now you can get the cat experiment!

    Since we can't see the cat and the apparatus in the box with it, the cat, using this model, must be both alive and dead at the same time UNTIL we observe it, then, like all good atoms, it stops and takes one form.

    ...keep this thought in mind... the observer controlling the outcome just by "being there" and... well... observing.

    We could also click-in the similar (but not quite) version of the same thing (the act of observing modifying a result,) named, appropriately enough, the Observer Effect... which, in a VERY quick nutshell says that just watching anything... even seemingly unaware phenomena... has an affect in how it behaves or what it does.

    My point is there is scientific evidence to simply say that something being observed will behave differently, even on a sub-atomic level, then something not being observed.

    Deep breath time as I now introduce this... psi.

    Psi is the ACTUAL realm of parapsychologists as a rule... not ghost hunting... and what psi in relation to the paranormal translates to is the potential existence of psychical energy that can and does manipulate external environments.   In even more easy-to-understand terms, it means "we" create things... make things happen... using some form of energy created consciously or unconsciously through psychic abilities... that we may all have!

    Now, there is work that does seem to show that most people have SOME level of psychical ability... and the argument to CONSIDER moving psi from the fringe to the mainstream based on the work being presented is actually kind of astonishing.  (Dean Radin is a good place to start for this information... but he's most certainly not alone...) and psi is far and away the most logical and scientifically supportable hypothesis as to what causes some paranormal things to happen.  Basically, "we" create the ghosts just by thinking about them... or something like that.  Lately, a lot of people have looked into and considered "thought form" ghosts... the idea that somehow enough people in a place or spot looking for a specific ghost will literally create that ghost even if it was never there... and the Phillip Experiments certainly do give that legitimate credence... 

    ...so is it possible "we" need to create the ghost?

    Ergo: No, if "we" are not in the forest, the ghost doesn't haunt?

    How about this...

    Granted, the most "popular" (cultural) hypothesis for a ghost is known as the DPH or "Dead Person Hypothesis"... which is the idea that ghosts and related phenomena are the spirits of the dead.  There is evidence to support this one too... but that evidence is not based on anything like ghost hunters proving they have a dead guy... nope...

    The evidence we have is from people that we assume (through investigation) are not aware of a who or what would be at a certain place and they experience it anyway.  In other words, a lone witness has an experience to match a historical event or person (that has passed away... as a rule... but not always... but let's work with the "D" part of the DPH for now...) that they had little or no foreknowledge of.  This is compelling as it would suggest that a completely external event or cause is at play and that the witness is truly that... just a witness.

    Ergo:  Yes, the ghost would be in the forest regardless as the witness is quite literally just doing that... witnessing... and nothing more as the experience is completely external to them.

    ...but here's another thought...

    What if the ghost is there, but requires psi energy to have any effect?  Without the witness acting as a medium (and no, I don't mean as in the popular version of that word, but as in the conduit of said energy... like the fact that electrical cables are the medium through which electrical energy flows or a blank CD is a writable medium for data... a medium as being the raw energy to manifest the experience...) 

    Ergo: The ghost is there, but without the witness, it won't haunt.

    ...and I could even throw in the idea that the ghost is external and indeed, self-aware and only haunts when there's someone to appreciate it...

    Ergo: Same as the last ergo... but for other reasons.

    Welcome to the real question... the "hum dinger"... the one ACTUALLY people should be trying to answer... which is...

    What Causes These Experiences?

    ...and this should be asked with a genuinely open mind... which includes psi abilities of a witness, the DPH, and even the idea that nothing is being experienced at all (at least externally and measurably)....


    Cemeteries - Ghostsly? No...


    Why are cemeteries so haunted?

    In short, they're not.  If we set our criteria as to "What is haunted?" to being those places where many people have experienced ghostly stuff, cemeteries are oddly enough (statistically) not well represented at all.  In my home province of Ontario (Canada) there are literally thousands (at least three-thousand) known burial grounds... and eight of those have more than one historic ghost report (reports spanning more than twenty years) about goings-on...

    This means, when looking at strictly rough ratios, theatres would be the most likely spots... followed by hospitals... then military buildings... then prisons... then pubs... then churches... cemeteries would be way down the list.

    So, the better question is, why do people assume cemeteries are so haunted?

    I wrote a blog post (long ago) to address this in a way, but the long and the short of it is, they are a place where dead people are, so people assume that all the bits of a dead person (including their "spirit") must be loitering about.  This said, if you read that blog post (which is lengthy, but it's interesting and a good read, I hope,) there may be even more about why we're 'weirded out' by cemeteries that has more to do with history, folklore, and even potentially a form of instinct!

    Either way, cemeteries actually aren't all that woo-hoo in terms of the paranormal.


    Camera Action... or not... 


    Why can we photograph things we can't see, like ghosts?

    Covered in some detail in this post ...and even in this post... and a little in this post... in order to photograph something with a normal camera (or even an IR or "night vision" camera,) you need to see it as it must "break light" waves... or more properly, affect the travel of light particles.  The camera, like your eye, needs to have some sort of light source (IR is a light source... anything you see in "night vision" will be visible with white or normal light,) to react with what it captures.  There is no mysterious "other", sadly.  When you look at your optic nerve and/or a camera lens and/or the chemical or digital signal processor (depending on the camera,) it needs to have SOME light and then extrapolates the image, from shadow to colour, on how light plays off of it.

    Basically, if it can be photographed, using a digital camera on your phone, an SLR camera, or even an infra-red cam, it can be seen with the naked eye.  Period.

    One could argue "orbs" are not visible in terms of the more likely cause of them, (microscopic airborne particles caught near the lens by the flash,) but indeed, you can see a photographed orb...  Ever see the dust and stuff floating in a sun beam?  All potential orbs... they can be seen.

    Even thermographic images are visible on a level... firstly the tangible items imaged in thermography are obviously visible (like walls and tables and stuff)... and the "severe" changes in temperature in the air?  Look at a road in the hot sun... see those waves of heat? If those waves (that look like water) were thermographed, they tend to be red or orange in colour... and yep, film 'em and look at them with the naked eye... they're prettier and more visible in thermography, but they are still there and visible without it.  Cold?  Black in the thermographical pictures as a rule... which is, of course, nothing... blue/purple thermographic images are usually surface images only.  If there's a surface, it can be seen.

    So, realistically, if it can be seen, it can be imaged... if it can't be seen, honestly, triple-quadruple, quintuple check this fact out... it can't.

    PLEASE, if you wish to argue this, consult at least three people and bring their facts to the table...

    #1:  A camera technician.  (Not a photographer, but someone who fixes and maintains cameras professionally.)

    #2:  An optometrist or ophthalmologist.

    #3:  A (non-paranormal) professional photographer.

    The question they need to answer...

    Outside of needing magnification, can something be photographed that cannot be seen by a healthy naked eye?

    This Is the End My Friend


      03:40:00 pm, by Sue   , 106 words  
    Categories: Ghosts & Hauntings, Toronto Ghosts Website Updates

    Site Updates September 19th 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 torontoghosts.org or submissions AT ontarioghosts.org


    One Yonge Street - The Toronto Star Building (new)

    Phantom Car Aurora Ontario (new)

    Pell Street Scarborough (updated)

    Penetang Private Home Haunting (new)

    Etobicoke Glen Agar Drive Private Home  (new)

    Prince George Hotel Kingston (updated)

    Jester's Court Port Perry (updated)

    Inn At The Falls (updated)

    Bala Bay Inn (updated)

    Doc's Palace - Belleville (updated)

    Cuchulainns Irish Pub - Streetsville  (new)



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    The entries found on this blog are based on the thoughts and discussions of Sue Demeter-St Clair and Matthew James Didier....two paranormal investigators/researchers based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The blog is now archived, but will remain online for those interested in reading it. Please have a look for us via these websites:

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