A Scientist’s View on the Paranormal

Hey, everyone! Heather here! I’d like to introduce you to Christina, our resident scientist. She just defended her Master’s thesis and received her degree in Ecology. She’s an awesome investigator and this is her first blog post. Enjoy!

In light of Jeremy’s last blog post, I wanted to give a scientist’s view on paranormal research and my opinion on why the paranormal is considered a pseudoscience. As a scientist myself, I have worked with a number of individuals in the biologic community. I can tell you from my experiences that the majority of scientists do not believe in the paranormal what-so-ever. In more than one circumstance, I felt I needed to conceal myself from being a paranormal believer and researcher to prevent any scrutiny from my fellow colleagues.

So, why do most scientists not believe in the paranormal? One reason is that the paranormal has a religious perspective to it. The basis for most religions involves the afterlife. Religions also talk about angels, demons, exorcisms, and the list goes on. These things we currently cannot prove the existence of through the use of science. Additionally, it turns out that about 80 to 90 percent of scientists are not religious or have no belief in the afterlife. I am not saying you need to be religious to believe in the paranormal, I am only inferring the causality of why scientists have a hard time accepting the paranormal.

Another reason is scientists’ view of paranormal research and how that research is carried out. Most paranormal research involves a group of people running around in the dark, maybe with some recorders or cameras. In most cases, research is not carried out properly if at all. So, no science is actually being conducted. This, to me, is the main reason why scientists view it as a pseudoscience.

To properly carry out paranormal research, researchers need to properly follow scientific protocols. First and foremost researchers need to do extensive research on the question that is being studied. This involves primarily looking at primary sources from journals. The researcher will then become an expert on that topic. For example if I were going to do a study on the effects of the Moon on paranormal activity, I would do as much research as possible on what effects the Moon has on the Earth. Researchers also primarily need to create well-structured experiments that have a minimum of two different groups, their test group and control group. There should be a number of samples taken from each group. Also, a number of different parameters should be recorded such as temperature, electromagnetic field, etc. to be statistically analyzed later. This data that is collected is to be used to determine whether the data support or rejects the hypothesis or hypotheses that are being studied. At the very least if paranormal researchers do not want to analyze their data, they can always allow other researchers to do that for them, just as long as the data is adequately collected and recorded. This whole process can be very difficult for paranormal researchers especially since most are non-scientists.

In addition to the very well made points Jeremy brought up, what I have just mentioned are a few reasons why the paranormal field has been stagnant in past decades. If the paranormal community can work together and change how research is being conducted now, we can help move the paranormal field forward. By making these necessary changes, I believe we can change the paranormal field from a pseudoscience to a science. In turn this would change scientists from nonbelievers to believers and paranormal researchers would gain the acceptance of the scientific community.

Disclaimer: This is a public blog/forum. If you comment here, anyone who comes to this site will be able to see your comment. Comments are not deleted unless they are spam/offensive. If you have private information you don’t wish the public to see, do not put it in your comment. Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed. In other words, don’t comment with your email address, physical address, or phone number. If you do so, we cannot be responsible for any spam/crank calls you may receive. Think before you comment. Please.

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Why Is The Paranormal So Unbelievable?

Hello everyone, Heather here. I’d like to introduce you to Jeremy, one of our investigators who also serves as our Technical Assistant. Jeremy just completed his Bachelor of Science in Education from Kennesaw State University and we are so very proud! He also found time to write the following blog post that asks a compelling question many of us paranormal investigators struggle against. Hope you enjoy it and make sure you comment below and keep the conversation going!

As paranormal investigators we constantly have to deal with the ridicule that studying in this field often comes with. Many scientists believe that studying the paranormal is a complete waste of time and that every paranormal experience has a scientific explanation. However, why does the paranormal have to be relegated to science fiction by much of the scientific community? Why can we not simply treat it as natural phenomena that we do not, at this time, yet fully understand? These questions seem so glaringly obvious to myself, but outside of a few members of the group I have never heard them posed in an open forum. Well, in my opinion there are many different reasons for this. I want to open the discussion in order to not only push the paranormal field forward, but to also push the whole scientific community forward in their opinion of the paranormal.

First of all, it seems that there is an aura of arrogance in the world. We have come so far in the past 100 years that we tend to think that we know everything about the planet and the universe. However, there are still many mysteries that are yet to be solved and we need to remain open minded that paranormal occurrences don’t have “rational” or “scientific” explanations. It was not that long ago that we thought the earth was flat. It was not long ago that we thought the Earth was the center of the universe. It was not long ago that we were unaware that microscopic organisms made us ill. This all finally changed with breakthroughs in science, mathematics, and technology. How do we know that we simply do not have the correct tools in order to accurately measure paranormal activity? Sure we have our Mel Meters, voice recorders, K2s, and cameras, but these are tools that present evidence that is very subjective. All it may take to push the field forward and be taken seriously by the scientific community is a technological breakthrough. History is full of these discoveries and, in my opinion, many different types of paranormal phenomena are actually a naturally occurring phenomena that we do not yet fully understand. I think as human beings we need to remain humble, because the fact is that we are only one small piece of the universe. I think many fear the unknown and find comfort in thinking they know everything. However, I find the unknown exciting and I think it drives scientific exploration forward.

Now, you may say to me, “Jeremy, the real problem is that science shows no supporting evidence for hauntings and many people think that all paranormal experiences can be explained through psychology,” and yes many scientists do believe that. However, anyone that has actually spent some time investigating the paranormal will tell you that there is plenty of evidence, but the problem is the subjective evidence. It is true that almost 99% of cases can be explained very logically and rationally, but that 1% is what excites me as an investigator. That 1% is incredibly hard to write-off as psychological, especially when multiple people see that same apparition at the same time and do not tell each other what they see until later. My point is that many people around the world have these experiences, and to simply write them off and say that they are all just suffering from mass delusion serves no purpose except to ignore that something we don’t fully understand may be happening. My very first investigation with PGI was an old hospital and there were multiple shared experiences that night. We experienced phantom footsteps, voices, and I experienced physical contact for the first time. So, did we imagine all of this activity we experienced? Some could say that maybe we were feeding off of each other and in some circumstances I would agree that it could be a possibility. However, this night we were experiencing the same thing at the same time and corroborating each others stories, so I do not agree with that statement. We always try to be as objective as possible and that means that we never assume that location is haunted. We always carry the attitude that we can explain most hauntings logically, and it is only when the evidence points towards a haunting that we can truly deem it as such. However, our aim should always be to turn the subjective into objective evidence.

In short, the reason so many find the paranormal so unbelievable is the unwillingness for science to accept the paranormal due to subjective evidence. Now, I completely understand why people would be skeptical, but this is a shame considering the amount of accounts there are on a daily basis. Obviously something compelling is happening. Can all of these people be imagining things? Or, is there a natural phenomenon that we have not figured out how to tap into yet. I adhere to the hypothesis that what we deem as paranormal is in fact natural, and eventually we will see paranormal as normal. This will require extensive study, and for now since there is a lack of support in the mainstream scientific community it is up to groups such as ours to perform the study, collect the data, and help answer the questions. We need to push on, and gather as much evidence as we can. Then maybe one day we can drop the “para” from paranormal.

Disclaimer: This is a public blog/forum. If you comment here, anyone who comes to this site will be able to see your comment. Comments are not deleted unless they are spam/offensive. If you have private information you don’t wish the public to see, do not put it in your comment. Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed. In other words, don’t comment with your email address, physical address, or phone number. If you do so, we cannot be responsible for any spam/crank calls you may receive. Think before you comment. Please.

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Lunar Lunacy – Fact or Fiction?

This full Moon image was captured and made by William Chin, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Copied from www.astronomycameras.com.

This full Moon image was captured and made by William Chin, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Copied from http://www.astronomycameras.com.

As promised, I have delivered. Back in March, I wrote a post about why the popular limestone hypothesis circulating in the paranormal community is, unfortunately, not a valid hypothesis. Limestone will never be a cause of paranormal activity because you need quartz or quartz-like rocks (like granite) to possibly cause a piezoelectric effect to contribute to paranormal occurrences.

Similarly, full moons do not affect the psychology of the living. And based on the data we’ve collected thus far, full moons do not affect paranormal activity.

I know, I know. You’re on the other side of this screen, shouting, “But my dad is a cop and he says the 911 calls go up on full moon nights!” Or, you’re shaking your head saying, “I’m a nurse and I know our ER is crazy-busy on full moon nights!” Or, maybe you’re quietly disagreeing and muttering, “My ghost is more active on full-moon nights. She’s wrong.”

So, let’s talk about this and maybe change your mind. Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson has pointed out that the only way for our brains to be affected by a full moon would be if our heads were planetary-size. “But our bodies are 80% water! OF COURSE the moon has a gravitational tidal affect on our bodies!” The main difference, though, between our bodies and the ocean is that the ocean is an open body of water and the water in our bodies is closed. The moon has no gravitational tidal effect on water in water towers and yet we’ve never sat around and debated this. In fact, as the late astronomer George Abell once noted, a mosquito landing on your arm has more of a gravitational effect on your body than our own moon. Last time I checked, no one blames their actions on errant mosquito landings.

In addition, new moons – the period during moon phase cycles when the moon is at its darkest, or not visible – have as much gravitational pull as full moons and yet no one equates behavior or paranormal activity to new moons. This could most likely be due to something called illusory correlation. This basically means that we will sometimes associate two things together that in reality have nothing to do with one another. Let’s take into account the following graph:

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 7.27.12 PM

We’ve all heard of the many ideas put forth of what may or may not cause autism. Organic foods is not one of those things purported to cause autism. But, if we look at the above graph, it clearly shows a rise in sales of organic foods over the course of a decade along with the rise in autism diagnoses. Looking at this, you could say that one is the cause of the other.

But, you would be wrong.

Illusory correlations exist because our minds have a propensity for recalling certain events over other non-events. In other words, you’re going to remember an odd event that occurred during a full moon and not, say, during a waning crescent. We will remember that 20 drunks were arrested during last month’s huge full moon because we noticed that giant orb and we told others about it and this helped to reinforce the memory.

I know some of you really want the full moon to be the cause of something besides beautiful night skies. Well, here you go. Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland, led by Christian Cajochen, have found that full moons CAN affect your sleep patterns. Even when placing the study participants in rooms with no windows and no access to lunar phase records, researchers found that brain activity related to deep sleep was reduced by 30%, that study participants took five minutes longer to fall asleep, and overall they slept 20 minutes less.

Could THIS validate “full moon lunacy?” Not really. Probably only if you are already suffering from a psychological disorder, for example schizophrenia, then less sleep could cause a psychotic break. But, from the paranormal investigative side, it makes sense that you as the client may experience more paranormal activity during a full moon because you’re suffering from less sleep and therefore awake for a few more minutes, and aware of your surroundings. Has the activity increased? No, but your perception of activity has.

So, where might the idea of “full moon lunacy” come from? Psychiatrist Charles L. Raison of Emory University thinks that before early man made structures in which to live, when our ancestors lived and slept outside, they were much more affected by the light of the full moon than we are today. Even though our sleep cycles may notice a 25-minute loss three nights a month, our ancestors could have lost several nights in total each month. And those latent psychological disorders most definitely would have come to the forefront and given rise to early “werewolves” and “vampires” and “lunatics” and many other monsters of the night.

Paranormal Georgia Investigations will continue to collect moon phase data with each investigation we perform and, I’m sure, we will note increased sleeplessness in our clients, not more ghosts in their homes because of it.

Disclaimer: This is a public blog/forum. If you comment here, anyone who comes to this site will be able to see your comment. Comments are not deleted unless they are spam/offensive. If you have private information you don’t wish the public to see, do not put it in your comment. Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed. In other words, don’t comment with your email address, physical address, or phone number. If you do so, we cannot be responsible for any spam/crank calls you may receive. Think before you comment. Please.

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I Just Want to Know That I’m Not Crazy

Hey, folks! Heather here. I would like to introduce you all to fellow PGI investigator Nancy. She’s an amazing investigator, a fabulous case assistant,  first-time blog poster, and a wonderful asset to our team. Enjoy her post and make sure to comment!

“I just want to know that I am not crazy….”

Imagine seeing something in your own home or office that you can’t explain, don’t understand, or that scares you. Maybe you have heard someone talking and you know that you were home alone. Have you ever put something down and went back and it’s moved, or a door opens and/or closes by itself. Think about how you would feel experiencing this on a weekly or daily basis. When you tell friends or family they just shake their head, suggesting you are just seeing things, your eyes were playing tricks on you, or you were asleep. After a while, with everyone doubting your experience, you begin doubting yourself! Sometimes to the point of asking yourself the same question, “Well am I crazy?” Sound familiar?

A 2013 Harris Poll found that 42% of Americans believe in ghost (Shannon-Missal, 2013).

“Nearly one-in-five U.S. adults (18%) say they’ve seen or been in the presence of a ghost, according to a 2009 Pew Research Center survey. An even greater share – 29% – say they have felt in touch with someone who has already died.” (Lipka, 2013).

I do believe that some people who have said they have experienced paranormal activities may have personal issues, such as drugs or even chemical imbalances.  This can take away from the fact of your own experience and may cause people not to believe you or they are able to easily shake it off as a coincidence.

But, during a recent investigation, along with 2 other people, I witnessed a shadow person walk up and down the hallway several times. (Yes, encountering things like this now excite me.)  People have asked why a nice person like myself investigates the paranormal (I don’t like the term “ghost hunter”). They go on to explain they would be scared to death of a “haunted house” but this comes to the reason I do this… let’s back up a few years……

When I was much younger I had “unexplainable” things happen to me and I stopped talking about them because NO ONE believed me. Growing up, I had an intense fear of the dark and the feeling of death bearing down on me every minute. I convinced myself that a lot of the things that happened to me were my imagination, but deep down inside I knew they weren’t. As an adult I have seen some of the most expensive doctors and they have assured me I’m sane (I’ve been tested) so what in the world could make me think I was losing my touch with reality?

A few years ago for my birthday, even though he doubted my belief in ghosts, my sweet husband sent me on an investigation with a wonderful person named Andy (Andy was the head of a local paranormal group). I thought, as my husband did, that one night would answer some of my questions and that would be the end of it.  This instead fueled a fire inside me to learn more and experience more things. After getting some of my own equipment and attending many investigations with Andy’s team, I started investigating on my own and joined in on a few “guest investigations” with other groups. The more investigations that I completed, with the help of family and friends, the more I realized that I could not help people effectively as a “guest.” So I started looking for a team to join. That is when I found Paranormal Georgia Investigators (PGI) and for the first time in my life I felt semi-normal.

Several of PGI’s clients have looked at me and said “I sure hope you find something, I mean I hope you don’t find something, huh I mean….”  And I say “You hope we find some answers, whether they are natural or paranormal, that will put your mind at ease.” They look at me and say “I just want to know I’m not crazy.”  Boy, do I understand exactly how they feel!

This process started out with me looking for some answers, which lead to wanting to help others and I realized that along the way I was overcoming a lot of my childhood fears! No longer did I cry on car trips at night in the rain, no longer did I hate the quiet or the dark, and in my journey I tried to learn to scuba dive and even have taken a few airplane trips. Now I may never get the answers that I am looking for, but I think that the side effects have totally been worth it! Thank you Chris and PGI team members for believing in me and letting me be a part of something so interesting!

References

Shannon-Missal, L., (2013), Americans’ Belief in God, Miracles and Heaven Declines

Lipka, M., (2013), 18% of Americans say they’ve seen a ghost

Disclaimer: This is a public blog/forum. If you comment here, anyone who comes to this site will be able to see your comment. Comments are not deleted unless they are spam/offensive. If you have private information you don’t wish the public to see, do not put it in your comment. Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed. In other words, don’t comment with your email address, physical address, or phone number. If you do so, we cannot be responsible for any spam/crank calls you may receive. Think before you comment. Please.

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Piezoelectric Properties of Rocks or Why Limestone Isn’t Even a Factor in Hauntings

Oh, yeah. You saw that title and you either got excited because SCIENCE! Or you popped that mouse arrow over the Back button because SCIENCE!!!!

Well, don’t worry. Don’t click on that horrible button. Just stick with me. I promise not to throw a bunch of equations or big words at you if you promise to stick with it for a few minutes while we discuss geology and why we, paranormal investigators, record the geology of each client’s property

Cool? Cool.

For many of us who avidly watch Ghost Hunters as well as other paranormal shows, or who frequent paranormal message boards and podcasts, there’s this theory bouncing around out there that limestone formations help in the manifestation of paranormal activity, that somehow the limestone acts as a storage device that records residual paranormal activity or even becomes a sort of electrical outlet for paranormal activity to “plug into” in order to use the energy from the rock to manifest.

The only problem with this idea is the structure of limestone itself. Limestone is a sedimentary rock, mostly made up of skeletal fragments of marine organisms (a.k.a. dead coral). There’s really no crystalline structure to the limestone itself that would contribute to any sort of electromagnetic properties. This is where the word piezoelectric comes into play.

There are several types of rock, that when mechanical pressure is applied, an electric charge will accumulate. You can apply pressure all day long to limestone and it isn’t going to create an electrical charge, no matter how much you try. It will eventually just shatter. Quartz rock, on the other hand, is the most well-known of these “piezoelectric” rocks. Heck, for $10 you can purchase Flash Rocks from Amazon. It’s just two quartz rocks that you can rub together and create an electric charge, much like rubbing your sock feet across a carpeted floor and touching a door knob in winter. It’s a perfect elementary school science project that you can try at home. The cool thing is that it’s not just quartz that has piezoelectric properties, it’s any quartz-type or quartz-rich rock, i.e. quartzite, granite, gneiss, and mylonite. We think that because small quantities of quartz can sometimes be found between layers of limestone that this has helped perpetuate the myth of “limestone aids in the manifestation of paranormal activity.” It’s not the limestone, people, but the quartz.

But, here’s the thing. Quartz by itself, just sitting there, does not create an electric charge and does not contribute to ghostly happenings in your home. If you buy a huge piece of quartz to display on a bookshelf, your house isn’t going to suddenly become haunted. If you buy a fancy quartz crystal to wear around your neck, it isn’t going to give you any special electrical or psychic powers. Remember, the piezoelectric effect only occurs when mechanical pressure is applied to the rocks. So, how do we apply this pressure? Either with a structure (building, house, etc.) or seismic activity creates the necessary pressure. The problem with a typical family-size home in the United States is that it really doesn’t exert all that much force, or pressure on the ground itself. Typically, houses can be one- or two-storeys but are also spread out. When you’re talking about a structure exerting enough force to cause a piezoelectric effect in rock, you would need to look at tall office buildings or skyscrapers. And if we look at the mechanical pressure caused by earthquakes, then you need a pretty strong earthquake in the close vicinity of the quartz or quartz-type rock. A 3.0 magnitude quake every seven or eight years just really isn’t going to cut it. But I doubt anyone would be able to live, survive, or investigate an area of quartz deposits that experiences 7.0 magnitude earthquakes on a daily basis.

I guess what I’m trying to say is COULD that quartz deposit sitting several hundred or thousand feet below your house have anything to do with your late Aunt Clara walking the halls at night? It’s doubtful. Could paranormal activity, in a skyscraper, sitting on a hunk of granite, be caused by the piezoelectric effect of said skyscraper on said granite? Possibly. Do we record the geology of your property when we investigate your home or business? Yes. Because we believe that if we stick with this field long enough and collect enough raw data, that we will someday be able to say, definitely, “Stop telling people that the rocks under their houses cause paranormal activity. Because it doesn’t.”

Next time we break out the science here – FULL MOONS! Inducing the crazy or just a bunch of hokum?

Disclaimer: This is a public blog/forum. If you comment here, anyone who comes to this site will be able to see your comment. Comments are not deleted unless they are spam/offensive. If you have private information you don’t wish the public to see, do not put it in your comment. Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed. In other words, don’t comment with your email address, physical address, or phone number. If you do so, we cannot be responsible for any spam/crank calls you may receive. Think before you comment. Please.

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War Was Here

Hey, folks! Heather here. Allow me to introduce you to Clint. He is a founding member of our group, served as our first Director, and is one of our team sensitives. Currently, he’s writing a book! I’ll let him tell you all about it, as well as a personal experience he had while working on said book.

I have been conducting research for my book called War Was Here, for over a year.  This book is a photographic documentary of General Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign and the March to the Sea.  I will be documenting the current conditions of the battlefields and other significant locations on the campaign’s route through Georgia.

Several weeks ago I was scouting a location where the Battle of New Hope Church was fought.  This battle was fought along what is known as the Dallas Line.  It was a line of Confederate troops that stretched from Dallas, Georgia, to Pickett’s Mill.  There is a church there, two actually, as well as some trenches, and the cemetery.  The churches and cemetery are on a low ridge and as you stand in the cemetery and face in a north-westerly direction, you will see the cemetery continues down a gentle slope to the tree line.  This cemetery was here during the battle, but was much smaller, and the wooded area beyond the cemetery was open.  Confederate troops were positioned in the cemetery and out of respect for it they refused to entrench themselves or even use the grave markers for cover.

The property at the tree line is posted and I do not recommend going in there without permission, but if you stand at the tree line you can look into the woods and see a fairly deep ravine.  This low area and ravine, as well as several other ravines located further back and a little more north (between some neighborhoods), were nicknamed “Hell Hole” after the battle.  The Union troops were unable to break the Confederate line and the Union troops took a beating.  Many dead were scattered across the field of battle and the ravines were filling up fast with wounded and dying soldiers, as well as those just trying to get out of the line of fire.  These soldiers were stuck there until nightfall, when those that were able, slipped back to the Union lines under the cover of darkness.

While standing at the tree line looking into the ravine, I was overcome with an overwhelming sense that I was not alone.  I felt heavy, almost like I could not stand up on my own. I felt exhausted and my head got a little swimmy.  The most memorable part was when my mouth went completely dry and I could barely get my tongue off the roof of my mouth. That’s when suddenly I began to taste that metallic, coppery taste of blood.  I had been at the tree line less than a minute when it hit me.  I can assure you that I surely did not stay a minute longer.  I had not been prepared for that, but I will be when I go back on the anniversary of the battle to make images for my book.

If you are interested in my book please feel free to check out the links below.  One is to my Kickstarter page to help with funding and the other is to my blog about the book and will have updates as I progress from location to location making the images.

War Was Here Kickstarter

War Was Here Blog

Disclaimer: This is a public blog/forum. If you comment here, anyone who comes to this site will be able to see your comment. Comments are not deleted unless they are spam/offensive. If you have private information you don’t wish the public to see, do not put it in your comment. Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed. In other words, don’t comment with your email address, physical address, or phone number. If you do so, we cannot be responsible for any spam/crank calls you may receive. Think before you comment. Please.

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Shadow People

Hey, folks! Heather here! I’m proud to introduce you all to one of our investigators, Lani. In this post, she recounts her experiences with shadow people and shares a few theories she has encountered in her research on this fascinating subject. Enjoy!

Shadow people have been an obsession of mine since an early age, partly due to curiosity and partly due to personal reasons. I have conducted quite a bit of research and I am baffled at the vast amount of individuals that have experienced shadow people in the past and/or encounter them on a regular basis.

My research has led me to the realization that shadow people mean different things to different people. So what are shadow people? Where do they come from and why are they here? There is an abundant amount of theories out there trying to pinpoint what these dark humanoid figures are. One theory is that they are a fabrication of our imagination. Obviously this theory stems from skeptics that have never experienced a shadow person. They continue to say that it is the work of our over-active imaginations, our minds playing tricks on us. Some even speculate that there are natural causes that lead us to believe that we are seeing a shadow person. I agree that the human mind, especially in a frightened state, can in fact play tricks on us. But can these mind tricks account for so many occurrences? I think not.

Theorists also consider that these shadows could be time travelers. This theory I find very interesting but less plausible. They suggest that the shadows have come from the future and possess technology that we cannot conceive of yet.

There are theories out there that suggests shadow people are the shadows or essences of sleeping individuals that are having out of body experiences. It is thought that while we sleep, we all travel outside of our body and the shadows we are experiencing are the ephemeral astral bodies of these twilight travels.

There are also theories that shadow people are demonic in nature and will exhibit an aggressive disposition when encountered. The thought is that if we experience a shadow person that a catastrophic event is soon to follow. This, in my opinion, is mainly because of the malicious feeling that is associated when we encounter shadow people. This simply could be that we are naturally frightened when the experience occurs, which in turn leads us to believe that there is malevolent intentions.

Other theories suggest that shadow people are simply another type of ghost. However, they do not have the same characteristics that a ghost has. Ghosts are generally see-through and misty white, whereas shadow people are dark in nature and have mass that you cannot see through. Regardless of their label, shadow people could very well be more than just one type of being.

My experience with a shadow person happened between the ages of six to twelve. I grew up in a house that was somewhat older and my bedroom was the only bedroom that was exposed to the back yard, all other family members bedrooms were facing towards the front yard. Quite often after I went to bed I would see a man-shaped shadow standing in the corner of my room. Sometimes I would only see part of his silhouette and sometimes all of him. Sometimes I would not see him at all but I could sense him. He would stand in the corner of my room and it was apparent that he was darker than the space around him. Looking back and knowing what I know now, I do not think his intentions were malicious, he just petrified me. I did not only experience his energy at night, this is just the time that I noticed it the most. I could always sense his energy when he was about to appear and felt it until he was gone.

In addition to the shadow man that regularly visited, one night I saw an older lady as plain as day float across my bedroom floor. She looked as if she was from the early 1900’s because of the way she was dressed. It looked as if she was gently smiling at me as she floated across the floor and disappeared into the wall that led to the back yard. I have always felt I was sensitive to energies around me and maybe that is why I was seeing these visitors. I got the sense that the ghostly apparitions were somehow tied to the back yard. Often when cutting through the back yard to go to a friend’s house, I found myself running because I felt someone was watching me. My back yard had a completely different feel from the front yard at my house. There were a few times at night that I would hear, what I thought to be, knocking on my window and I would pull the covers over my head.  I knew that my windows were so high up that no one could possibly reach them and the trees did not go up that high.

Once we moved from that house, around the age of 13, I had no problems sleeping alone. I did not experience the shadow man again until around 16. Although I did not physically see him I felt his energy. For the most part I wasn’t as scared as I was when I was younger. Even to this day, often I feel I see shadows out of the corner of my eye, only to look and nothing is there.

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Perchance to Dream

Heather-DadVery recently, I marked the 16th anniversary of my father’s passing. January 30th is never an easy day for me and even though I miss him all the time, that day is the worst. I always picture him at the funeral home and I remember the fresh pain of losing his wisdom, easy humor, and quick smile. Tom Scarbro is one of the main reasons I became a paranormal investigator. We would sit and talk about ghosts and UFOs and cryptozoology and everything paranormal and unexplained. He would end every conversation with “Do you ever think they’ll prove it?” and I would confidently answer, “Yes. They will.” I do wish he were here to talk to about all of the experiences I’ve had in the last six years. I know he would avidly listen to every word and interject his own ideas and opinions. Would he go on an investigation with me? I have no idea. That question will never be answered. My mother swears up and down that for several months after his death, she heard him walking the floors of our old West Virginia home. The creaking would always happen late at night, his usual time for a late-night kitchen raid, and said creaking would start at the bedroom door, move down the hall, through the living room, into the kitchen, and back. The activity subsided once we buried his ashes in the Scarbro family plot near Paint Creek, West Virginia. I didn’t witness or observe my father’s late-night wanderings after his passing, but I do truly believe that my father visited me in one of my dreams.

I know that in many Greek Orthodox communities, the faithful believe that newly-departed souls linger nearby for the first forty days and that experiencing your loved one during that time is not uncommon. I wasn’t raised Greek Orthodox (Yoo hoo! Presbyterian! Right here!), but I do believe there may be something to this idea of the dead lingering close to the familiar before they pass on.

I’m pretty much a non-practicing Christian now-a-days, but I can tell you that at least one Bible verse sticks out in my head when I think of my father. It’s John 14:2 and it states, In my Father’s house there are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. This wasn’t his favorite verse but it reminds me of the dream I had with my father shortly after he died.

I found myself walking down a street not unlike those I rode my bicycle on as a child. Concrete, rough, just wide enough for parked cars on either side and one car to drive down the middle. As I walked down this street, I saw many homes that looked like your typical suburban Charleston, West Virginia houses. They were small, one-story, aluminum siding, neat, postage-stamp yards. And I walked up to one as if I lived there, even though I had never seen this home before. I walked through the front door, took a left into the living room, and there sat my father. He was dressed to the nines in a very dapper suit and as soon as he saw me, he stood up. He walked over to me, took up my right hand, placed his right hand at my waist, and we began to dance a waltz. There was no music, just sunlight, peace, and joy at seeing my father again. And we looked at each other and just danced.

And then I woke up.

Why do I think my father actually visited me in a dream and that it wasn’t just my subconscious trying to grasp at straws? Because this was so out-of-character for both of us. My father didn’t dance except to do, as Billy Crystal called it, “the white man’s overbite” and my dancing was of the 1980s nature. Neither of us had ever waltzed and any dream my subconscious made up would have involved a lot of smart-ass conversation and laughter.

When people tell me of dreaming of their loved ones, I believe them. I don’t discount it, because whether it’s a true visitation or not, it is certainly healing.

I haven’t dreamed of my father since then. We buried his ashes in early April, 1998, almost three months after he died. The activity in my mother’s house stopped and I never dreamed of him again.

But I’ll never forget how wonderfully we danced together.

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Paranormal Georgia Investigations Made the News!

And, it happened. We found ourselves arriving at the CNN center on a cloudy Monday, ready to tackle a national TV news interview in the spirit of Halloween. Did we pull it off? Judge for yourselves. Have a safe and happy holiday everyone!

Disclaimer: This is a public blog/forum. If you comment here, anyone who comes to this site will be able to see your comment. Comments are not deleted unless they are spam/offensive. If you have private information you don’t wish the public to see, do not put it in your comment. Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed. In other words, don’t comment with your email address, physical address, or phone number. If you do so, we cannot be responsible for any spam/crank calls you may receive. Think before you comment. Please.

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Busy, Crazy Halloween

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Waverly Hills Sanatorium. Photo by Heather Dobson.

Halloween is a busy time of year for us. October is a crazy, wonderful month for paranormal teams across the country. Many of us are speaking at public libraries and other events, promoting ghost tours and doing interviews. It’s an exciting time of year to be a paranormal investigator and it gives us an opportunity to talk to the general public about what we do and why we do it.

What always surprises us, though, is that our calendar quickly fills, from mid-September through late November, with weekend client investigations.

When our clients call us asking for help and understanding with paranormal activity and they request us to perform an investigation, we typically schedule them on Friday or Saturday nights. This gives all of our investigators an opportunity to investigate late into the night and not worry about work or school obligations the next day. Typically, from December through August, we have one investigation a month. But when September rolls around, the email requests for investigations come hard and fast, we find ourselves investigating every weekend for two months, and we’ve always wondered why the appearance of jack-o-lanterns in the stores makes our calendar fill up so quickly. And I think I’ve discovered why.

Summer is probably the busiest time of year for all of us. The kids are out of school and this is the one time of the year when most of us travel for major vacations. The kids are taking off for various church/summer/athletic/art/academic camps and we parents are chasing after them. Then, it’s all-day pool parties followed by late-night cook-outs with friends and family and we all tumble into bed, sunburned, tired, and content.

Then, school starts. The kids get back into a routine, we aren’t out late because of that 5:30/6:00 AM wake-up call, and as the weather turns colder and the days become shorter, our activities stay closer to home. We’re watching football games in the living room with chili cooking on the stove and we may still have evening campfires, but we’re all in bed by 9PM. And this means we start paying more attention to what is going on in our homes.

I firmly believe that we have so many investigations this time of year not because people see the ghost decorations in Target and think, “Oh, yeah! We have a ghost! Let’s call some Georgia paranormal investigators!” I think it’s because our focus turns more inward, more homeward, and we finally sit back and notice our surroundings and what is going on around us. And we finally have the time and energy to hear the footsteps and notice the flickering lights. And the client emails roll in.

Either that or the ghosts are gearing up for their annual Halloween extravaganza. Sounds legit!

Disclaimer: This is a public blog/forum. If you comment here, anyone who comes to this site will be able to see your comment. Comments are not deleted unless they are spam/offensive. If you have private information you don’t wish the public to see, do not put it in your comment. Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed. In other words, don’t comment with your email address, physical address, or phone number. If you do so, we cannot be responsible for any spam/crank calls you may receive. Think before you comment. Please.

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