As some of you will know Minervia put up the reply below a couple of days ago. I thought it merited a full reply as she raises some important points about ‘ghosts’, psychic phenomena and such-like. I will try and answer concisely, although I’ll still have to keep it fairly short due to the magnitude of some of the points:
September 19th, 2007 at 5:52 pm eSays:“I guess I’ll have to go back to your main site and check out the videos. I’m glad you are doing more! It sounds really exciting and of course busy busy busy! You’ve had a difficult time lately so I don’t know how much time you’ve had for the site.
Well, I guess I’ll post my question that I began to ask you at JREF. Forgive me if my question/s seem a bit silly but I haven’t really been digging into the Paranormal along such lines for long so I’m a bit of a newb in a way.
In your opinion, are there any compelling cases for ghosts/spirits who have actually communicated to the person/people who see them? I wonder because of something you said on JREF; that ghosts may not be intelligent beings. It seems you leave the possibility that they are, just as I do. If they are, have you read of or participated in any cases where that may be the case?
I also wonder about the equipment you normally bring to an investigation. You know, the things that you would never go without. I do know that some investigators would never go without their thermal cameras, for example.
Do you place much stock in EVP’s? Have you ever tried it and found it helpful or not?
And, if this is not inappropriate to ask, do you and your team have to pull funds from your own pockets or do you get some help from universities or organizations? I just realized due to some discussions surrounding The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) that money is definately an issue. If this is too sensitive to ask just say so tactfully and I’ll shut up! I hope I’m not sounding like a hostile skeptic. Note that I’m not asking you for evidence! ; )
When dealing with ‘ghosts’ and unexplained phenomena, I think it is important (something that I have been saying for years) to first understand that psychic phenomena can really be divided into three basic categories, and it may be ‘dangerous to ‘lump these all together’ when trying to define a given type, as those in one category might not necessarily relate to another.
The most common of these categories may be said to be ‘ghostly images’ or apparitions whether these happen to be the figures or images of people or animals; or whether these appear as the images of objects, such as ‘ghostly coaches’ or scenes that be no longer there. This is greatly over-simplified but the point is that these images almost no intelligence as such, but are merely images that are ‘replaying themselves’ under certain conditions – including climatic ones.
What I am essentially pointing out here, that many of the reported images of ‘ghosts’, may not be ‘ghosts’ at all but merely unintelligent images that might be witnessed by some people. A television has no ‘intelligence’, for example, but this does not mean it is not ‘there’ and can not be seen by people.
There is a second category on unexplained phenomena, generally loosely termed the poltergeist.
Basically, this involves the effects ‘unseen forces’ are said to have upon people and objects. Some people claim to have actually been physically effected by this energy (they are usually assumed to be spirits), to the extent of being involuntary levied or maybe ‘pushed over’ with some considerable force. These ‘spirits’ are also supposed to have a similar physical effects upon objects; such as moving these, opening and shutting doors, turning lights on and off and even having a direct effect upon electrical systems, such as video systems and televisions.
I cannot list examples here, they are just too numerous.
My point however, (and one which I have stressed at various talks and in numerous articles I have written), is that such occurrences almost certainly have nothing to do with disembodied spirits, but are caused by unconscious energy released from the human mind itself. I have pointed out that such levels lie below that of the everyday thinking mind (‘normal’ or everyday consciousness if you like) and that ‘normal consciousness’ actually acts as a ‘barrier’ to this unconscious energy being released, which is probably why most of these occurrences take place while the subject is asleep (or a ‘waking sleep’) when the conscious mind is ‘lulled’ or at rest.
There is a third category of unexplained phenomena where there are said to be – or exist – independent ‘outside entities’ or spirits have possess ‘intelligence’ and can even communicate or give messages to their human ‘counterparts’.
This was a view that I was really bought up in, and one that I took far more literally when I was younger (much to the delight of some of my critics who reach back into the distant past, little realising that life is – or should be – part of a learning process; and that as a natural part different things may be discarded as new ones are acquired along the way).
You asked Minarvia:
In your opinion, are there any compelling cases for ghosts/spirits who have actually communicated to the person/people who see them? I wonder because of something you said on JREF; that ghosts may not be intelligent beings. It seems you leave the possibility that they are, just as I do. If they are, have you read of or participated in any cases where that may be the case?.
I may have left the possibility that there might exist independent entities (emphasis on the word ’independent’ here), but I left it only as a very small one. I tried to clarify this there (on Randi) that even in cases where people do claimed to have seen an active apparition or ’ghost’, why should this necessarily be separate and apart from the human mind? Why is it not possible for human thought to actually project what it is thinking sometimes, under certain conditions that might actually act as a focusing point? After all, many of these things (or sightings) have occurred in ideal conditions; in darkened buildings supposed to be haunted or at other supposedly haunted places.
I really don’t know the exact answer to your question, Minarvia. That area is still very much under investigation.
You also asked about the equipment we take to investigations.
This varies according to the particular groups I might happen to be with. Some have more sophisticated equipment than others. It also depends on a particular location and the availability of light, electrical supplies, etc.
Yes. One of the essential items is cameras, and night vision videos are extremely important where or when these can be left running, for unusual images or sound. Thermometers are also of great importance, as also barometers to measure air pressure. There are also many other ‘finicky’ tasks to be done. In buildings, for example, doors have to be ’sealed’ in the event of these opening when no one is there.
As to Electronic Voice Phenomena, and my opinion on this, I have to say I’m really not sure. I am sure much of this is authentic, but there may be nothing supernatural in it. If high frequency (or low frequency) electrical equipment can detect sounds not immediately audible to the human ear, it might only be recording ‘wavelengths’ which are really quite natural.
Dogs, for example, can detect sounds beyond those audible in the ‘human sound range’; as can many other animals. How knows what other unknown sound waves are flying around in the ‘human atmosphere’ of the 21st century!? But these may have nothing to do with spirits or ‘ghosts’.
You also asked:
Do you place much stock in EVP’s? Have you ever tried it and found it helpful or not?
And, if this is not inappropriate to ask, do you and your team have to pull funds from your own pockets or do you get some help from universities or organizations?.
You know Minarvia, I really have nothing to hide about Society funding. But having said that, I would not like this to be misunderstood or left open to misinterpretation. It almost certainly would be by my critics a who seem to take great delight in trying to twist everything I say about the supernatural just because this happens to conflict with other wild (and ridiculous”) fiction about ’vampires’.
I can tell you however, that I am really not interested in money. (Well, being involved in mysticism, it is hardly likely that I would be, is it?!).
You finish by saying:
I hope things are looking up for you.
Yes, I think everyone knows what you mean.
Off the paranormal now and back in the very human world . . . It always hurts when someone betrays you to those with evil intent – but I’ll get over it!
Thank you for your concern, anyway, and I hope I answered everything.
For the moment,