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)




    It doesn't all have to be bad...

    Lights Camera Eff You!

    I wrote this article to discuss the possibility of doing media interviews and projects that are good... and as usual, the bad (once remembered) ended up making me write more of a rant...

    Well, I'm-a-keepin' the rant (you'll see it below the break-line further down in this article,) but I thought I should actually start with what I think good media exposure for our study (personal opinion only!) should be...

    Spacer Down
    #1:  It should be respectful of all the people involved.... the witnesses and experients, any person who might be attached to properties that may be featured, and those who may be historically involved.

    #2:  It should take into account all beliefs and possibilities at some level... distinguish between folklore, faith, history, and what's been reportedly experienced.

    #3:  It should allow facts and hypotheses to be communicated along with folklore, faith, and belief... and the distinctions made... to allow anyone interested to see as many points of view as possible without only adhering to one.

    #4:  It should avoid lies, nonsense, and playing up crap.  Sorry to say, the vast majority of experients do not run and poop their pants in fear.  Some of us in the study do not skulk about in the dark in "haunted houses" with night-vision cameras and loads of recording equipment.  The "jump-scare factor" is shockingly low in investigations and the bulk of our time (speaking for PSICAN) is spent discussing, asking questions, and indeed hitting the books.

    #5:  If they have to have a sceptic or someone on to refute someone, do it face-to-face or at least have it relevant to what's happening/happened. Do not edited in later.

    #6:  It should be something more than what's already available from the schlock-and-trade reality-ish television shows.  Most people already have outlets for bad set-up fake ghost hunts. (See this old post for a good ol' rant on that one.)

    #7:  It should remember that most people have at least a glancing interest in a paranormal topic... so they appreciate good information.  Anymore, if people want a jump scare or 'spooky-boo', they'll move to fiction... horror movies and the like... or to the existing reality-ish television fare.  If the media considered presenting information as information without drama, it would probably do well as it would be different to what's out there currently.

    #8:  It should not be combined with (non-folkloric) fiction or comedy.  Fiction (contemporary) makes it appear to witnesses that their experience is being seen as fictional.  Comedy adds to what's called the "Giggle Factor" which is the quickest way some people shut-down others who are reporting or re-telling of their experience.  Ghost-busters comedy means ghost hunters comedy means ghost experients are comedic.  (See this post on The Giggle Factor.)

    #9:  If (and it shouldn't be mandatory) equipment must be shown, it should be allowed to be explained thoroughly and it's uses and genuine (acknowledged by third-party) success rate shown.

    ...and lastly and most importantly...

    #10:  It should not contain knowingly false information, hoaxes, or lies to "sex it up"... or make it more Hallowe'en marketable... in any way, shape or form.

    If these ten criteria are met, I'm interested personally.

    If not, then it's the same-old, same-old and who cares?

    Spacer Up

    Now, HERE'S the slightly longer "ranting" bit I wrote earlier...

    Not Too Happy

    I'm sure regular readers have noted that I may not be a big fan of the media.  In all honesty, I have turned down dozens and dozens of offers to do television shows, documentaries, even print media and some radio.  In fact, I have no doubt that if I was to publish a list of those people and production houses I have said "NO!" to (often bitterly) in the last year alone, many of those who actively seek media attention would weep, start gnashing their teeth, drop to their knees wringing their hankies yelling, "WHY!?!?!"

    Okay, let me answer the "Why" quickly so I can move on...

    I won't do media that wants me to parade scared witnesses in front of them.  I won't do media that requires me to hoax, lie, or falsify things.  I won't do media that incorporates known fiction with our work as I don't want those lines "blurred"... people who come to us are, for the most part, honest and had experiences they want to know more about and I will not take their information or experiences and give any sort of indication that those honest folks' feelings are fictional.  I won't sell short the study with cheap thrills or drama as that's not accurate to what we do or indeed, how most people feel their experiences are.  I won't intentionally place myself where I can be edited or shouted down by a fervent pseudo-sceptic (non-believer) or indeed, someone who is so far to one belief in certain world views that my questioning things is considered a heresy by them.

    In short, I want to be honest, ethical, and legitimate.

    I should point out that the above things I won't do is mostly a personal credo... and realistically, PSICAN, in it's rules, does allow it's members to do media of any sort they like (outside of presenting knowingly fraudulent information,) so I am speaking for myself here, so this post is about what I would consider media worthy of eating my precious time with.

    With that answered...

    Angelic Questioning...

    I asked myself recently, "Is there any GOOD media?"

    In other words, what would I be comfortable with - for myself - doing in terms of working with the regular media?

    I guess the first thoughts are the "pros" of doing any media... the HONEST "pros"...


    a: ) It shines a light on the study in general and might spur interest from people who might either become active in the work (and help answer questions or ask good ones,) or allow a witness to come forward with less trepidation.

    b: ) It lets people know that there are people to talk to about their experiences.

    c: ) It allows for potential alternative viewpoints and thoughts (outside of other media) to have a public voice.



    For me, that's it.

    Ca$h Money Millon$
    Some people MIGHT assume money could be involved... but...  the fact is that 99.99999% of the media we've been asked to do is NOT paying gigs, but people wanting us to volunteer our work, people, and materials for nothing.  We make them money while we work for free.  When you top this off with the fact that the vast majority of those offers to do media are crap that would make us, a witness, or the study look like prize-A dog poop, you see that in the end, you get used for no money, no bemefit... and all to look dumb. 

    In terms of "exposure" that might lead to something... usually (right now) the dream of a reality television show? 

    According to an interview I heard on the CBC radio programme (Q), that focused on a successful reality television programme in the United States (a non-paranormal one,) the average annual salary for a reality television star (and I mean a "main player", not a side character,) is about $50,000.00 with no benefits for the first few years... remember, that's for the year, not the episode. 

    That's still a reasonable chunk of change for a few months work... until you're cancelled... or until they feel you're asking for too much and they bump you off the show... then you're a person who's a FORMER reality star with little prospects and God knows how long a patch without real work experience (in either legitimate media or in the rest of the world while you were involved.) 

    Save the good looking folks who can do endorsements or who's show is spectacularly popular and get more than three seasons and (as such) have probably hired managers or professional representation, most reality stars do not fare well at all post "show".  Even some of those good looking, made-good-coin-while-they-were-hot types end up not doing too well in the end.

    Hobo with a Kibble-bag
    Fame really does NOT equal success... which has been proven over and over again... and money is not something media usually offers.

    ...so, if you're honest, the best you can hope for is the "abc" above... which is good when it can be found!

    Usually, I find print journalists and radio folks to be the most open about stepping back from the ridiculous... moving away from the Scooby-Doo-esque nonsense and usual jump-scare B.S. when dealing with things considered paranormal and letting us try to put a better light on things, but almost to a person, television people really are... well... incurably repetitive, stupid, and arrogant.

    They are repetitive because no matter WHAT they say, they all end up in the same place... re-enacting an existing "ghost hunter" show.

    Stupid, because when we openly (and clearly) state and re-state we will not feed them a witness or private site, they always ask for us to feed them a witness and a site that no one has ever filmed before.

    Arrogant because when we tell them to learn to read and comprehend before contacting people and then tell them that we're not interested, we're told about how great the exposure will be (not really) and how much money we could potentially see (a non-issue,) and finally usually saying something along the lines of, "Do You Know Who We Are?"

    ...to which I always say, "Do You Know How Little I Care About Who You Are?"

    Yup, it's happened!

    What does that line mean when spewed forth? "Do you know who I am?"

    Why? Have you forgotten?

    I know it's usually meant as a threat... that I'm never going to work in this town again as a celebrity...



    Granted, the people that say this crud always do point out one truism...  for every time I personally say I won't do crap which belittles my study, there's a line-up of would-be paracelebrities who can't wait to put on the night-vision-friendly tap shoes and dance on a witness' experience and someone's home or business for a chance to have their face on television or the like... with little or no concern about the actual subject of what they're supposed to be looking into. 

    The fame crack-whores are out there en masse... some of which masquerading as genuine interested parties, but little more than opportunistic, repetitious, capricious narcissists intent on doing the seemingly impossible... get rich and famous through the study of the paranormal.

    In other words, we say no because we care, someone else (usually with a statement of good intentions that doesn't mean it,) will happily leap into the opportunity because their ego and dreams tell them to.

    ...and they look like this.

     "We are serious and will show the paranormal goodly! MAKE US FAMOUS!!!"

    Perhaps it's arrogant of me... but I want my interests, my study, and my preferred subject to be treated slightly better than the rubbish I've seen and indeed, been offered...

    ...and I know it's possible.

    Basically, again, if you're in the media, try to be ethical and help get the real information (which should start with the words from your sources... all of them... "We don't know...") about things out there and you might be shocked.

    Sadly, with October (and Halloween) fast approaching, I expect the usual slew of...

    "Let's do a ghost hunting show where you can show me people that pee their pants at g-g-g-g-ghosts!"

    ...and the like... and not one person standing back and thinking...

    "Wait a second... we might actually be able to do something really odd and present information that most people are interested in... without being buffoons!"

    Even in those rare times where something LIKE the above is uttered, the media person or company is swayed by what someone thinks is "better", but their version of "better" is little more than a wash-rinse-repeat of all the crap that's come before.

    Someone might step up legitimately to show better things...

    ...but I am not holding my breath.

    This Is The End My Friend


      12:43:00 pm, by Matthew   , 1869 words  
    Categories: Paranormal - Rants, Pop Culture & The Paranormal, How We Do The Things We Do

    Pseudo Science... or How Media Gave a Young Boy Pseudo-Diabetes and Pseudo-Cancer

    We didn't have colour TV when I was very young...

    When I was a very young lad, there was a television commercial about diabetes and the symptoms one might have if they were diabetic. Watching the commercial, I was certain that these symptoms were almost all present in me.

    My doctor disagreed, but I felt pretty sure... not enough to give up candy though.

    Not long after, a series of posters were put up in subways and streets about detecting cancer showing what could best be described as happy cartoon people all suffering from cancerous symptoms.  I was certain that, indeed, I had cancer now...

    I didn't.

    Hypochondria could be a possibility as to what ailed me... suggestivity is probably a better diagnosis considering my age at the time.

    Fast forward and roll off this topic...

    Recently, I was reading a list of things that scare, and I quote, The World's Smartest People.  On the list (the fourth on the list,) was the fear that, "Pseudo science gains ground" which was posited by Helen Cronin, a Darwinian rationalist.

    Here's the rub...

    I completely agree with Ms. Cronin... but I equally disagree... but not where it may matter.


    I know Ms. Cronin means the "fear" that evolution is overtaken in teaching and belief with creationism will take its place... and that the work, evidence, and indeed proof of hundreds of years of valid science will be tossed away for faith-based information... which also scares me.

    The same can be said for a belief in the pseudo-science that says that vaccines are dreadfully and awfully harmful for everyone.  I believe (know, actually,) that the benefits of vaccination FAR outweighs any potential (and minimal) risks from deciding not to be vaccinated.

    I might as well come out of the closet now... I do believe in evolution... and that vaccines are good things for most people (a large majority, to be fair, barring those that have allergies,) to have and get... and that climate change is real and we (human activity) has played a big part in it... and a few other "controversial" things as well that just don't seem all that controversial to me as the evidence, proof, and indeed, the science is there to support these things.

    So, I do agree with Ms. Cronin.


    This be us maybe...

    According to a loud group of so-called sceptics (auto-deniers/remote-deniers/non-believers... as actual scepticism means doubt, not knee-jerk denial,) looking into ghostly experiences is pseudo science.  Looking into reported UFO sightings is pseudo science. Examining cases that fall into cryptozoology is pseudo science. Testing and looking into psi and psychical experience and indeed, potential is pseudo science.

    Robert Jahn? Pseudo-scientist.
    Rupert Sheldrake? Pseudo-scientist*.
    Dean Radin? Pseudo-scientist.

    (Sad point: I was going to use the Wiki entries for the men above, but "Guerilla Skeptics" had edited them fiercely to ensure all their works were listed as rubbish and the men were basically slandered.)

    * - How much of a pseudo-scientist do illiterate turds see Sheldrake as out there? Well... click here.

    I could go on and on... even encompass entire organisations such as The SPR, ASSAP, and The Parapsychological Association... or institution such as The Koestler Unit at University of Edinburgh or The Rhine Institute... all pseudo-scientists.

    Needless to say, I disagree with this.

    Spooky Ghost Hunter! BOO!

    There are a large number of people (especially 'ghost hunters') that do practice what I would phrase as non-science often claiming to be being scientific... as they are using lab equipment, but not using it properly and with controls in place... or have decided causation of things prior to even any retrieval of data, usually based solely on their belief and/or indeed, their faith... and I often point out you can use a hammer and chisel to create a marvellous sculpture, but you can also use them to reduce a stone wall to dust, but you can't claim to be doing both at the same time really.  They haven't posited a hypothesis as to what's happening and why before simply trying to get "creepy stuff" to show people to prove that they can get creepy stuff to show people... because it won't be proof if not properly vetted.  They still, despite this, claim to be scientific.

    These people, if we must use the term, might be considered doing "pseudo-science"... but although they are a majority, they are not the voices of the actual studies of the paranormal... and to assume they are is simply do what most pseudo-sceptics do... find the low hanging fruit, ignore the rest, and make an assumption.

    Now, I've irritated and alienated (personally) dozens of people in the 'ghost hunting' community using weapons such as logic, reason, and questions... but that's them and me.  The ufological community actually does a pretty good job of policing itself through folks like MUFON and the ol' Updates crowd. I can't speak to most cryptozoological organisations, but the one's I've been involved with for the vast majorities part, have been excellent taking cues from zoology proper. The psi and psychical?  Well, people claiming to be parapsychologists who are just low-rent 'ghost hunters' who heard the term in a movie or saw it in a book... and neglect that "psychology" is the root of the term not included, but concentrating on actual parapsychologists, they more often than not studious and thorough and rather reliable in terms of the data they present.

    ...but are the sceptics right?

    Despite our understanding of science and the distinction between hypothetical vs. theoretical vs. fact... despite not being very well liked by those who have already decided what causes 'Things Paranormal'... and as opposed to simply saying that, "people experience the paranormal", they know what causes these experiences and are now trying to prove their pet theory... often ignoring evidence and facts (all of which does seem awfully familiar...) are we purveyors and supporters of "pseudo science"?

    The number one reason people who claim we are supporting pseudo science give us, is that 'we' (PSICAN) discuss the topics and allow conversation and study about it.

    Think about that...

    "We" are guilty of pseudo science because we talk about things that those folks see as dangerous thought unless crapped on from great heights.

    Hmmm... where have I heard that sort of thing before?


    This is because these bastions of "real science" neglect two things...

    #1: It's a safe assumption people do feel they experience these weird things.

    #2: Science and the scientific method allow for this thing called a "hypothesis"... and as we do not know what causes these experiences to happen in general, my hypothesis is as good as yours until it's tested.

    This said, BAD science, as mentioned, can be a situation where a conclusion is based upon a belief, faith, or inadequate information... like those 'ghost hunters' who are only trying to prove they can record creepy things...

    ...or those pseudo-scientists who call themselves sceptics who decide it's all rot as something doesn't fit their world view.

    Now, removing those 'ghost hunters' (sorry to pick on you lot, but it's where I have the most experience,) who are most interested in cool YouTube captures, media attention, proving they are just too cool for school (no fear and intelligent with their knowledge gleaned from - usually - television,) and adding on those people who truly believe in the phenomena... and those truly looking into the weird stuff... those experiencing it...

    ...and more importantly, those grasping at straws... Whoops!  New thought now... I'll get back to this, hang on...

    Bear With Me!

    Bear with me...

    I should define... when I say grasping at straws, I am talking about those so desperate to prove/capture something (anything!) paranormal, that they start... well... as I've often said, hearing every mouse fart as a loud poltergeist sound.

    A lot of people present photos, sounds, videos that are fairly easy to see are not definitively paranormal in nature (or depicting something weird,) and claim it's absolute proof and evidence.  I don't fault these people at all (for the most part,) as they've usually had an experience and now are trying to show others it has happened... whether that be because of ridicule (the giggle factor) of their claim as nonsense or just because it was either scary or affirming for them personally.

    Many of these folks become paranormal investigators...

    Many have decided that they know what it was and are more-or-less trying to prove their belief any way possible.

    These people are indeed marks for con-people selling trinket, toys ("tools"), or the like.  Are they victims of pseudo science?  Are we, as a group discussing these things, feeding this as (let's face it,) most people don't read? 

    A shocking amount of people do not find out about PSICAN and e-mail asking for things we do not and will not do... like exorcisms, psychic readings, and that sort of thing...

    We exist.  They draw conclusions.  Our actual work and philosophies are ignored.

    ...sort of like the pseudo-sceptics when they assume we do promote the things that the passionate faithful believers hope we do...

    ...and we don't.

    This said, why do these people...

    #1:  ...assume we're pseudo-scientists selling snake-oil and almost religious belief to sheep?

    #2:  ...assume we're psychics and will help them communicate with the dead OR will validate their grainy overly-digitally zoomed cell-phone photo as genuine?

    Honestly, I hate to play an old song here, but I'm going to blame...

    The Media.


    I know, I know... but not JUST the standard media... but the internet, newspapers, and even some books as well!

    So many movies, TV shows, and articles tell people what "paranormal investigators" do... and when you look at the aforementioned (acknowledged) work by members of the Society for Psychical Research or The Parapsychological Association... or indeed, ourselves who do go out of way to draw the lines between history, folklore, and observations, we are... boring.

    We don't make good copy.
    A film about us would be dull for the most part.
    A lot of our work is research. Visiting libraries or doing in depth discussions in online groups is not all that fascinating television...

    ...except to ourselves and to those who, indeed, still have a genuinely open mind as to what causes these experiences.

    The Only Way... apparently...

    The only way for some...

    So, why do people think that the blurry photo is a flying saucer?  Why do they think the garbled recording that might be a voice that said, "Purple monkey dishwasher." which is obviously (to them) an adequate and sentient response to the question, "How are you?" genuine proof of life after death?  Why do people assume that we're making money hand-over-fist selling Ouija boards to people and then fleecing the marks to have them "cleansed"?  Why do people assume I can speak to their dead grandparents?  Why do people assume that we are promoting pseudo-science without examination of the facts?

    ...I think...

    ...because as a young lad, I was certain had diabetes and cancer.

    Aha! That's why the begining of this!

    The media told them what to believe, what to think... even what to feel... they had reference points... and therefore, it's all true.

    It's a shame they can't step back, look at the whole picture, and find perhaps the truth. That might help all of us out instead of one favoured hypothesis only.

    That blurry photo?  Might not be much of anything.
    That recording? Who knows what that is.
    That experience? Might be overblown... or not... or natural... or not...

    Examination, critical thinking, and actual investigation (without taint of pre-determined conclusions,) is essential... no matter what you are trying to do.

    Are we pseudo-scientists or promoting pseudo-science?  In my mind, only if you don't investigate thoroughly and without prejudice.

    This Is The End My Friend

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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:

    The Ghosts and Hauntings Research Societies, Paranormal Studies & Investigations Canada - PSICAN, and Pararesearchers of Ontario We are also members and supporters of The Society of Psychical Research, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences

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    Thank you to all of our regular blog readers for your support throughout the last eight years! We appreciate it And while comments will now be closed on the individual posts, feel free to contact us through our continuing websites as listed above.


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