Daily Topic 4/1/09

What is it about ghosts that is so interesting?

Dave:I’m not certain that I find this fact more interesting than I do disturbing. The one topic that seems to be excluded from paranormal research, (and we at PPS are guilty of this as well) is what appears to be the spirit world’s interest in watching the living.

This may be more unsettling for some more than others, but entities like to watch. We have numerous evps which indicate entities watch us shower, use the toilet and more than anything laugh at us in our bedroom activities.

This is not just a PPS theory. Of the four organizations that PPS is affiliated with, all four agree that we the living are entertainment for the spirit world. That means that 46 separate paranormal investigation teams have garnered evidence supporting the theory that nothing is sacred when it comes to entity intrusion into our private matters. That means 100% agreement on groups from the east coast to as far as the Mississippi River and two Canadian groups. We have heard evps which clearly made fun of the homeowner’s rather small genitalia and another from a group in South Carolina that described the client falling asleep on the toilet.

Is the ethereal world nothing more than a peep show, or an ‘Ethereal Funniest Videos’? I don’t think so, but to think that entities who know no physical limitations aren’t watching us in the bathroom would be naive. So how would I advise anyone who is disturbed by this? I guess I would say to suck in your gut when you are alone too, because you never know who is watching.

Jake: What interests me about ghosts is the idea that after a human being has died, there is a chance of him still communicating with those still walking the earth. Maybe it is simply a shadow from a car’s headlights that we think is a ghost. Maybe it is just the way the wind blows that makes us think someone of the paranormal world was calling our name. It’s strange to think of what waits for us once we are done on this earth … or once the economy finally tanks … whichever comes first.

Some of the theories surrounding the paranormal are interesting as well. My favorite, I think, is the theory that spirits can communicate better with those who are bald. The idea is that because there is such a glare off the bare head of a bald person, any light (whether it be from flashlights) or energy sources can refract off the skull and allow entities to draw that energy to either produce sound or even, though rare, show themselves in the form of an apparition.

PPS is lucky to have David Schmincke as our leader and co-founder, because David has suffered from what doctors actually refer to as “barebones skullapnia,” which is essentially male pattern baldness. (And the pattern is actually a horse shoe.) It’s very strange. But the payoff is that PPS has caught dozens of EVPs and possibly a few disembodied voices because of the energy that reflects off his bald head. The experiments that numberless paranormal investigation groups and scientists have performed have backed up this theory that was actually discovered nearly 45 years ago.

Einstein had E=MC2 … PPS had David Schmincke and barebones skullapnia.

James: Ghosts are quite interesting because of their profound ability to annoy you if they don’t like what you’re watching on tv. I had an encounter at my friend’s house when everytime we took the tv off of espn, the lights would flicker on and off and an apparition would start walking towards us. I googled it and turns out quite a few people have experienced what I’ve gone through. From Family Guy being turned off, to reruns of sandford and son. So next time you’re surfing the channels and the house starts to shake, maybe you should stay on Three’s Company before you start thinking about moving. You’ll be amazed at what you find.

Rex: I think the most fascinating thing about ghosts is that the human element still shows through. Ghosts were once living people and like those living they are still motivated by the same things: money and power. Why else would the groups with the more expensive equipment be able to capture images and audio of ghosts. Its not because the equipment is better or more in tune to the frequency that the spirits reside on, but because they know how much it costs and want to be around the owners of such equipment. The more expensive “ghost hunting equipment” you have the better your chances are of capturing something. Look at the places that are generally haunted: old mansions, lavish hotels, southern plantations; ok you may be thinking but Rex what about Eastern State Penitentiary? Well look at the most famous prisoner who stayed there Al Capone, with his book keeping you know he had money.
I think we all need to take a different approach to ghost hunting and stop buying expensive equipment that can only be used on investigations, we should take this money and buy things like PS3s and plasma screen tvs. This way we can still draw out the ghosts but this way we can challenge them to a Madden tournament or have them join in on “sweet emotion” while playing rock band. Oh and the little boy from The Sixth Sense was right, you know that prickly feeling on the back of your neck, it is them but they are trying to pick your pocket.


Hopefully you realized before getting to this point that we were not serious about any of what was said today…
although the ghosts do seem strangely attracted to Dave’s bald head.

A lot of groups have labels for their members such as Psychic/Medium, Skeptic and sometimes Demonologist. What are your thoughts on groups that claim to have a demonologist on their team or on the field of demonology itself?

Dave:It never fails to amaze me how comfortable people are at affixing titles to their name without any basis. Demonology is one of the highest orders of Orthodox Theology. I am not certain if there are any true Demonologists alive today. For someone to read extensively on the subject doesn’t make them a demonologist anymore than studying ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ makes you a doctor.

Even though demonology involves the study of both benevolent and malevolent non-humans, society has labeled the subject to deal solely with evil spirits. As with yin and yang; if we believe in good, we must also believe in evil, both physical and ethereal.

We at PPS, since our inception have a firm policy of not becoming involved with any investigation where the possibility of a demonic event is occurring. Not that we turn our backs on anyone who needs help; that would never happen. It is simply this: we do not have enough knowledge or experience to effectively deal with something of this magnitude. Any group who claims to have either is both full of crap and setting both the client and their team members up for disaster.

Should it appear that something so vehemently evil exists in a property, we would so advise the client, and would assist in finding the proper channels to deal with the situation. To state that we are able to help them directly would be an extreme disservice and an outright lie.

These groups seriously need to re-evaluate who and what they are. As I have said in the past, paranormal research is one of the few studies where there are no regulatory bodies. Anyone can hang that shingle at their doorstep and pretend to be an expert. If anyone truly believes what they are experiencing is caused by an inhuman agent, do not trust in a group who claims to have a staff demonologist. Immediately seek the assistance of clergy, who albeit will need to go through additional channels to seek assistance, are a much better option.

Jake:I am hardly a scientist, but I try to think with an open mind and a I think that anyone who claims to be a skeptic is a smart person. We should all be skeptics … never take any information at face value. Everything should be researched and anything that cannot be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt should be taken with skepticism for sure. (That’s how O.J. got off the first time)

But as far as demonologists and psychics go, it’s all a bunch of people who seek attention and since they cannot get it from the earthly beings, they are stealing it from the dead. It’s perverse in my opinion. If a spirit wished to speak with any of us, I’m sure it will find a way to do so, but it won’t be just to specific people, appearing out of thin air like Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Not a sermon, just a thought.

Rex:This brings us back to one of the older posts about the problems with the paranormal field, it seems that anybody with a flashlight and a $40 recorder claims to be a paranormal expert. Worse yet some think that because they’ve seen the Exorcist that they are a demonologist. In reality there has only been one lay person who was ever recognized by the Catholic church as a demonologist, his name was Ed Warren. He and his wife Lorraine are pretty well respected in the field having over 50 years experience and 10,000 investigations under their belt. We as a group know our limitations and would not think of trying to pass off one of our members as something they are not. There is too much of an unnecessary risk to homeowners and a group’s members to take on something that they can not fully understand. I advise anybody out there that is starting or that belongs to a group, DO NOT venture into this dangerous field unless you have decades of first hand experience dealing with these entities.

We had the reveal for the Bodkin investigation on Tuesday and posted the evidence last night which consisted of over 20 evps, bringing me to todays question. Why do you think we get so many evps on our investigations?

Dave: I have often wondered why we as a group end up with a veritable plethora of EVP hits at normal venues when some famous groups may have a total of two at some of the most famous haunts around. The twenty we presented at our last case were the best quality ones we captured, however in total we had a library of 105 class c or better. So are we just fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time? I don’t believe so. The amount of audio we acquire at every locale is staggering.

To analyze why we have such prolific audio results I often compare our methods with those of other groups (mainly those that are televised). I have found that PPS’s method of “recording as soon as possible for as long as possible” allows us to audibly observe an area during not only the investigation, but during a portion of set-up and tear down. Some of our most intriguing audio has come during set-up. To believe you should activate recording only during an EVP session limits the ability to observe activity during periods when the observation area is quiet. To believe that entities communicate only when spoken to is fool-hardy.

I also lean towards our painstaking evidence analysis efforts. This is the time when I feel we constantly need to apologize to the homeowners for the length of time it takes until the reveal. We will spend hours reviewing minutes of audio footage. The subtleties of many EVP can be easily missed by either the untrained ear, or an impatient investigator. The time we dedicate to intent, focused listening consistently provides copious results. If we are asking for an entity to communicate with us, shouldn’t we learn to listen?

Whatever the reason, it is always rewarding to watch the faces of the clients when they have confirmation that someone they believed they were imagining are indeed speaking out, and have a lot to say.

Jake: I agree with Dave, that if you stand still in one place long enough with a voice recorder taping, you will catch an EVP. There have been so many people that have lived before us, it would be naive to believe that unrested spirits aren’t just roaming and looking for someone to talk to.

Rex: Some groups, even those with their own tv shows seem to only have their recorders running while doing evp sessions or during their “dead time”. We saturate the house/business with recording devices(digital recorders, wired audio, wireless audio) and start recording even before setup. This and the amount of time we spend on analyzing the audio(double coverage on all audio) gives us a lot of positive results. We also have a theory that these entities are all around us at any given time allowing their voice to be captured on our recorders. Given this, we can’t necessarily say that a location is haunted when the only evidence is evp.

Today’s Post will be dedicated to the opinions about our Pasadena investigation.

Dave: This was a very interesting case. The homeowners had performed some investigative work on their own before calling paranormal groups. They recorded on a Sony camcorder with infrared capabilities. While we informed them that we could not treat their recording as evidence, (strict PPS rule) we would review the footage. Rex cleaned the video as best as he could and one sectioned intrigued the group. Our preliminary investigation had sufficient, clear EVP to warrant a full investigation.

Even though the night was disastrous for audio, (down pouring rain) we did receive several good names to work on and enough audio evidence to ask the homeowner for a return investigation. I am holding off on my impressions of the activity until after the conclusion of the second investigation, but with our decision to involve the homeowners in the second round, I hope to add some video evidence to the volumes of audio we have collected so far.

Jake: Wow! Bodkin was such a great case to serve as my second with PPS.

First off, it was great that the residents of the home are inquisitive, yet rational, people who took the initiative to “investigate” a bit on their own before contacting us. They catalogued the times of the day/evening when activity reached its peak. They used their personal mini DV recorder to capture some activity that turned out to be very helpful to the PPS investigation. I think it is fair to say that it cannot be stressed enough that anyone who may be thinking of contacting PPS for a possible investigation should spend a few days/weeks keeping a journal of what times activity occurs in the residence/office and what types of activity is taking place. That kind of information can go a long way in either debunking or validating anything PPS catches during an investigation.

Regarding the evidence captured at Bodkin, we ended up with so many good EVPs (and yours truly even experienced a disembodied voice). The research that accompanied the evidence validated a few pieces of evidence, and brought up many more questions regarding the possibility of more than one or two entities still taking up residence in the home. I enjoyed participating in my first evidence review session with David and Rex as it opened my eyes to how tough it is to complete an investigation from the preliminary interviews all the way to the reveal. Not to brag, but I thought that PPS did a great job and we definitely enjoyed meeting the residents of the home.

James: For my first investigation I couldn’t have asked for a better place. Very small yet plenty to search. The evidence was awesome. I’m glad we have a chance to go back.

Rex: This was a great investigation, the clients were very cooperative, not only documenting their experiences but recording some. It was raining during most of the investigation which made audio analysis difficult but we were still able to get several good EVPs. Unfortunately there was no picture or video evidence. We did have a few personal experiences Jake heard a disembodied voice, which he originally thought was Colleen. Audio evidence verified that it was not her voice. We also got a response when Crystal asked for a spirit to “knock three times”. I was in the doorway of the bedroom and immediately after the request there was a loud slam right outside the room. Upon reviewing the audio we heard 2 more knocks, this audio clip can be heard on the EVPs page Here. I want to thank our clients and say that I look forward to the follow up investigation we have planned.

A lot of groups talk about shadow people what do you think they are, paranormal entity or just your eyes playing tricks on you? And is there a difference between shadow people and full body apparitions?

Dave: Just the term “Shadow People” suggest that this type of phenomena has its own genre in the paranormal world. There are those who believe that “shadow people” actually exist in a parallel universe and have found our world through a portal into their world. Others feel that these occurrences are entities unable to fully materialize, yet are able to block out light in a human-like form.

I have witnessed what I believe to be movement caused by something with enough density to block out available light. I also have been temporarily stunned by witnessing a moving shadow that turned out to be a very non-moving door frame. Any investigator worth their salt will debunk their experiences as intensely, or more intensely than they do the clients claims.

The difference between a full body apparition and a “shadow person” is that the full body apparition will have well defined features that are unmistakably human. The shadow type apparition may, or may not even exhibit extremities and are a more two dimensional apparition that simply blocks out background light of is devoid of coloration.

Jake: The term “shadow people” freaks me out a little bit. It evokes ideas of little shadow people colonies, kind of like the movie Willow, but with shadow people.

I think the phenomenon is most likely a combination of one’s eyes playing tricks on him/her, and a legitimate haunting. The idea I have is that an entity is trying to show itself but can only muster enough energy to show its shadow without features. (Incidentally, these may be the entities that can only lift 10 pounds) Maybe certain people die and are just banished to an afterlife as a shadow person, never to be able to claim their earthly identity. Strange theories I know, but it’s not like I’m using dowsing rods!

One must consider, however, that some reports of shadow people could very possibly be related to our eyes playing tricks on us. I truly do not think that we fully consider how our eyes work, and when something as simple as a slight ripple works across your eyes, it could trick you into seeing movement, and if there is already a shadow anywhere near, of course it could be misconstrued as a shadow person.

Rex: I think when shadow people are concerned, it has to be taken on case-by-case basis. When somebody sees something out of the corner of their eye, most if not all the time this is just your eyes playing tricks on you. However if its something standing right in front of you or blocking out a known light source then we can look into the possibility of a “shadow person”. There are a lot of theories as to what they are from ghost to inter-dimensional being its hard to verify since they won’t stay around long enough to talk to you… Wait do shadows even have mouths?

Every now and then we come across a question from someone or a statement from another group that is so far out there that it makes you think “they can’t possibly be serious.” So with today’s topic I will be posting one of these wacked-out theories.

Wacked-out theory #1
I discovered this yesterday while doing some reading on another group’s page. Get ready for it, the theory is  “Ghosts can’t lift more than 10 pounds”

Dave: This isn’t as wacked out as you may think. Not many non-paranormal investigators are familiar with the U.F.G.A.P. (The United Federation of Ghosts and Poltergeists). Ben Booscareme, shop steward for Local 316 states that it is a contractual agreement that “no entity, at anytime acting in their official capacity, be required to: lift, push, pull, or otherwise displace any object weighing more than 10 pounds (4.53 Kg) without the requisite assistance of another union entity of the same or greater labor grade”.

Actually, we can make light of the claims of other “paranormal groups” theories all day long, but the reality is that we know very little of what it is we are researching. Paranormal research although not a new study, is a difficult field in which to prove, or disprove “theories”. Very little that I have experienced can be replicated over and over with similar results. Each case and each experience are for the most part, unique. As this statement was recently made by a member of a very popular group, and said with an air of authority, those who follow that group believe it to be law. I believe it to be a conceited, arrogant and misleading fabrication of unproven hogwash. Wow, I’ve always wanted to use “hogwash” in a sentence. Now I can die a happy man and then come back as a spirit and throw some 9 pound 15 ounce stuff around.

Jake: First off, I am as paranormal as they come, because I haven’t lifted a weight since 1994.

In regards to this actual theory, I am quite positive that someone out there figured that since spirits tend to throw objects such as plates, candlestick holders, etc., then the entity probably could not lift more than a certain weight, which someone discovered to be 10 pounds. An entity most likely can lift as much weight as it cares to. If the theory that they draw on what energy is around them is true, it may be hard for them to visually present themselves or to do any heavy lifting because the amount of energy necessary is just not around them at that time, especially since most investigations are conducted in the dark.

The moral of this theory is that if you ever feel a demonic entity in your home and you feel the need to move, don’t count on the entity to help you — they can only lift 10 pounds!

James: Of course they can. The living aren’t the only people with steroids. The dead have them too.

Rex: This theory makes me feel a lot better, now I’ll know if I’m ever lifted in the air by an unknown force that it is not a ghost. If it turns out to be a ghost lifting me then I’ll just inform him of this theory and I’ll be put down. Any way I don’t know if this video proves or disproves the theory but it does include 2 of my “favorite” things orbs and ghosts trying to lift weights.

GHOST in Gym – caught on security cameras ACTUAL VIDEO

What do you think of dowsing rods as a paranormal tool?

Dave: Dowsing rods have been utilized for centuries, most often in the attempt to find water, metals, or ore deposits. Older dowsers used bent wood, usually willow, or witch hazel and would respond to a downward movement of the rod to indicate the location of their intended target. Today, most dowsing rods are made from “L” shaped metal rods, usually brass and are used by some researchers to attempt to locate paranormal activity. The theory is that the rods in association with the dowser are sensitive to 60 Hz, (the cycle of a/c current).

The effectiveness of dowsing rods and those that wield them have been questioned. The results of experiments testing their abilities have been inconclusive as to the validity of the dowser’s claims. Most test results have shown that verifiable hits are only slightly better than chance.

We at PPS stray from using questionable methods of evidence collection. We are already dealing with the unknown and to rely on questionable evidence collection seems foolhardy.

Jake: Personally, I think anyone who uses dowsing rods is definitely a paranormal tool! There is a point when ouija boards and dowsing rods and any type of equipment that might be manipulated by the operator should be considered a joke. I would much rather put my faith in pieces of equipment like video, voice recorders and K2 meters, at least there is tangible evidence or debunking that comes from there. The next time I witness an investigator using dowsing rods, I hope it points them directly toward the exit.

Rex: Dowsing rods, like ouija boards have way too much human interaction to be considered a reliable tool for measuring paranormal occurrences. Specific to dowsing rods is that only one person controls the device leaving a lot of room for false or fake evidence. False evidence may be due to the user not being aware that he/she could be moving the rods by very small muscle contractions too small to notice. The thing I find odd about the people who swear by these things is that they were once used to find water, well isn’t approximately 75% of the Earth covered by water and our bodies 70%. Couldn’t that have an effect on the rods? With a 70% – 75% chance of error why would anybody use these?


3/22/09 Poltergeist

We received a request for help on a case involving possible poltergeist activity. Surprisingly tv shows, movies, websites, and other paranormal groups do not explain poltergeists accurately. Today’s post will deal with the most widely accepted theory among para-psychologists and paranormal investigators.

Poltergeist (German for “Noisy Ghost”) activity more than likely is not a ghost/spirit driven event. Most poltergeist labeled activity are actually psychokinetic events caused by a human agent. Usually a pre-pubescent female. The hormonal activity and tumultuous emotions associated with that age is believed to be the cause. In most cases the youth is unaware that he/she is causing the phenomena and learning of this may cause an increase in activity due to higher stress levels.  The safest way to “deal” with the situation would be to take away anything that could cause stress to the agent. If you feel that this may be happening don’t hesitate to contact us, we will gladly offer guidance and offer help to relieve the situation.


Daily Topic 3/20/09 Orbs

PPS has a pretty clear “NO ORBS” policy. Why do you think other groups rely so much on orb photos as evidence and why do some groups claim to be anti-orbs when most of their photos have titles like “orb next to John” or “orb over grave”?

Dave: I think the reliance on “Orb” evidence stems from a combination of individuals not educating themselves on the paranormal before attempting to collect evidence, and the need for instant gratification. As most seasoned investigators know, paranormal investigations usually are 4-6 hours of mundane tasks inter-dispersed with 10 – 20 seconds of thrills. This would never satisfy the amateur ghost hunter, so the readily available “orb” evidence is right up their alley.

As stated in the question, PPS has a “No Orb” policy. Not that orbs don’t exist, but the chances what is being recorded is actually; dust, bugs, etc. are too great. Actual “orbs” are merely pockets of energy, many of which are naturally formed and not of paranormal origin. So even if what is photographed is an “orb”, it is no indication, or evidence of the presence of an entity.

As long as there are Alien abductions, there will also be the Orb-bots running around the internet with their “evidence”. I hope eventually, groups are held accountable for the ‘evidence’ they present and the research they have done.

Jake: I once snapped some photos of my dad’s attic because his wife’s uncle, who had lived in the home previously, passed away and there was some alleged activity. Uncle Ray had a particular chair and desk that he was fond of and it was being stored in the attic. When I reviewed the photos I saw what I believed to be an orb floating right where a human’s middle torso would be if they had been sitting in the chair. I was excited … I thought I had begun my paranormal investigation career.

However, I was able to e-mail my photo to a member of the TAPS team, and this person said it was likely not an orb, and if it was, there would be nothing unusual about it. I know very little about orbs, but it seems to me that these little bundles of energetic joy are simply natural balls of energy that are everywhere, but not of a paranormal nature. A very wise man told me in recent months that if you stand still long enough with a tape recorder, in any place, you will eventually capture an EVP. In my opinion, the same can be said for orbs. If you’re willing to wait, you’ll probably one day see one. But to be used as evidence of a haunting, absolutely not.

James: I think it truly depends on the status of the group. If the group either doesn’t take its research as seriously as we do, then they will blow what is probably  a bug or dust spec way out of proportion. If the group is more establish and have better investigative equipment like us, then that group can ignore the orbs.

Rex: A lot of uninformed groups/people rely heavily on orb photos, they actually believe that they are the manifestation of a spirit. In reality “real” orbs are just pockets of energy but even these are rare, probably 99% of the orbs seen in photos are light reflecting off of dust or bugs. There is an area called the “scatter zone” which is an area in frame where the reflective properties of dust are more prominent due to the location of the flash. We have a link to a website(see links on the left) that explains this in great detail as well as some explanation of what a non-dust orb may be. As for the anti-orb groups who have orb photos, well they are basically desperate for evidence for one reason or another. Mainly though they don’t want their time on an investigation to be for nothing.

Since I asked about the problems facing the paranormal community yesterday, I’ll take the other side today.
What has been beneficial to the paranormal community today?

Dave: There is always a silver lining to every cloud and yesterday we detailed what was negative about the current popularity of paranormal research. There are however, just as many pluses to the paranormal becoming mainstream.

One is the availability of equipment that is designed for the work we do. Until recently, paranormal investigators needed to build, modify, or make do with existing meters, cameras, etc. to achieve the desired results. As the demand for industry specific equipment grows, we should not only enjoy finding our tools more readily, but also more affordably. I anticipate that as this equipment becomes more and more popular and therefore profitable, we will see more innovation and growth in research results.

The biggest benefit to this growth was touched on in yesterday’s topic by Rex. People whose lives are being affected by the paranormal now feel that they can come forward with what they are experiencing without ridicule and if they choose, can readily find groups in their area that will help them cope with the occurrences.

I am confident that in time, the pluses will certainly outnumber the negatives. As the ‘new ghost smell’ wears off and only the serious groups remain, I hope to see more lives improved by the services we provide, and major advances in our knowledge of what lies ahead for us all.

Rex: The advances in technology seem to be one of the biggest benefits to paranormal investigation in recent years. Now it is easy and relatively cheap to buy equipment used by most paranormal investigators. The popularity of the field and the demand should start to increase the amount of tools available and bring down the price even more. The internet, still relatively new in a “every household has it” kind of way, has allowed groups to easily share experiences, questions and theories to a world wide community of paranormal investigators.

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