2009
04.25
Tonight we head back to our most recent investigation site in Pasadena. This time we will not have the rain to deal with which should make analysis a lot easier. We will follow up on some of the answers we received from our EVP sessions and other questions that were raised. Also on this time around we will be doing something we have never done before, involving the homeowners. After our main investigation is complete we will retire to the tech center and allow the homeowners to go to bed, we will monitor the cameras to see what happens during their normal nighttime routine.

Since this is a follow up we may include some of our lesser used equipment for experimentation. I am looking forward to tonight, this will be the first time I get to lead the entire investigation, so keep checking back to see the results.

-Rex

2009
04.23
As a group that is always analyzing and trying to better ourselves I posed this question to our team:
In what areas do you think PPS could improve?

Dave: As a relatively young group, there are still trial and error corrections being made with each investigation. While there are many books out on paranormal investigations, none cover every scenario the investigator will encounter. In this light, we chose to develop our own methodologies. Whether they are superior techniques or not remain to be determined.

I personally would like a better turn around time on evidence analysis. We are extremely meticulous in our analysis of recorded data. Looking and listening for every anomaly and often with duplicity of review can take weeks after the close of the physical investigation. What are weeks to us is an eternity to the client. As professional as we strive to be, isn’t very apparent if we do not report our findings timely.

We are making moves to improve this segment of our investigation by adding members who we feel would excel as analyzers. I don’t think the “mother hen” mentality I have will ever allow me to fully delegate this function off to others, but in the interest of the client, we need to shorten this cycle time dramatically.

As this field of study continues to advance with newer technologies and discoveries, I am sure that our procedures and methods will continue to change and improve as time progresses.

Rex: I think we have come a long way from where we started from, we’ve upgraded equipment enhanced the website and figured out some different techniques as far as debunking and investigating. Since Dave pretty much covered the analysis portion I’ll add getting more content on the website. I’ve added this daily topic and it seems to be getting some positive response, even if nobody is really posting them. But I want to add more “meat” the stuff you really want to see, we have hundreds of evps to listen to but due to the span in between investigations and analysis time, it can take a while before new ones are posted. One thing PPS will be doing this summer will be some experiments, Dave spoke briefly about it a few posts ago, these will allow us to update the website with interesting content in between our investigations. We will be looking into some of the theories about the equipment we use and even trying to debunk some of the skeptics claims. We will make videos of these experiments and post them here and on our youtube channel. If you have any suggestions about a theory or an experiment or something you want us to look into, send us an email at help@pasadenaparanormal.com

2009
04.21
How important is skepticism to paranormal investigation and far should one go as a skeptic when debunking?

Dave: I think skepticism gets a bad name. It is often associated with a doubting, unalterable opinion based on predisposed beliefs. But skepticism, properly dispensed, is the basis of all discovery. Without the need to prove something, experimentation is fruitless. If everything is taken at face value without debate and investigation, than we fall under a belief structure based on blind faith.

We approach every investigation as believers in the continuation of the soul. But this belief is based on past results and experimentation, not a rubber stamp of activity on the current case. Our jobs are to prove, or disprove activity at the client’s site after exhausting all possible earthly causes. By proof, I mean the lack of dispute for the claims made and evidence gathered. As we may never have concrete proof of the working of the ethereal realm, best educated guesses may be as good as it gets.

Every group needs to keep a certain air of skepticism in play throughout the entire investigation. This includes analysis. I have been so excited by an EVP hit, that another team member will later disprove as an EVP and rightly so. So to jump to conclusions without review and group agreement does a disservice to the client and the field of study as a whole.

Can someone be too skeptical? I absolutely believe so. We call this the “Andy Syndrome”. Most readers will know what I mean by this. These people try way too hard to disprove the paranormal. Their explanations can develop to the point where their earthly explanation is almost less believable than the activity reported. We try to bring in members that have a good balance between belief and skepticism, coupled with a deep desire to know the truth. With this mix, we feel very confident that we have delivered the best product we can to our clients.

Rex: There are extremists when it comes to the paranormal on both sides, skeptics and believers. Those labeled skeptics by the paranormal are usually on the extreme side, where they just deny anything paranormal without any investigation or study at all. Their main argument is “____ doesn’t exist” which basically applies to anything they deal with. On the opposite side are the believers that just accept everything anyone tells them without question.

We approach our cases as believers who are skeptical about each claim given to us. We aim to prove the paranormal by making sure that we cannot debunk the claims. Debunking is a major part of our investigations, we look for things (within reason) that could cause these things to happen. Once all natural phenomena are exhausted we can look to the paranormal. The “Andy Syndrome” that Dave speaks about is when the ridiculous is considered as an explanation. For example a claim may be that a client hears loud banging coming from their attic after we rule out the possibility of squirrels and raccoons or tree branches blown and the only explanation possible would be if someone dropped a Buick from 100 feet onto the house, the Andys of the world would accept this.

2009
04.20
A lot of times we determine that a house is not necessarily haunted but does have paranormal activity going on, what is the difference in a house/location that is haunted and one that just has paranormal activity?

Dave: Unfortunately the word paranormal and ghosts have become synonymous with each other. Ghosts and hauntings are an example of paranormal activity, but the word paranormal basically means “beyond normal”. Beyond normal encompasses anything that cannot otherwise be scientifically explained. This includes: psychokinesis, ESP and telepathy, cryptozoology, UFO’s, etc. One example of a non-entity paranormal event was recently discussed in our Daily Forum when Rex defined what “Poltergeist” activity encompasses.

A true haunting exists when all attempts to explain reported activity as originating from earthly causes fail, and recordable confirmation of spirit activity is captured. The term “earthly causes” encompasses non-human origination, (High EMF caused paranoia, raccoon caused footsteps in the attic, etc.) and human caused events such as unintentional telekinetic episodes. PPS will never run the haunting flag up the pole unless we have quantifiable evidence of various types, (audio plus video, audio and personal experiences backed-up by recordable measurement equipment findings, corroboration of client findings without successful debunking, etc.).

As a haunting may be either an intelligent, or a residual event, even a confirmed finding of a haunting takes on different courses of action. In either case, or if something non-entity driven is taking place, bestowing the client with knowledge and confirmation are the best and perhaps the only resolve.

2009
04.16
This week’s episode of Ghosthunters revolved around a traveling Titanic exhibit, currently located at an Atlanta aquarium, the exhibit contained items pulled from the wreckage and stories of paranormal activities followed it from city to city. The question for today is, can personal belongings be the source of a haunting?

Dave: As part of our pre-investigative interview, we will ask if the client can remember bringing either an antique or yard sale item into the home around the same time activity was first noted. If the client can remember bringing such an object into their homes, we ask them to remove the object for a period of time to see if the activity ceases.

Why would an entity follow an object from place to place? I’m not a big fan of believing that an object traps a spirit within it, I would lean towards the object having played a very significant role in the entities life. I fully believe that when I transition my TV remote will be haunted like a big dog. This may explain the many reported cases of haunted dolls and musical instruments. If this premise is true, it would explain why the entity is mobile. It is a “Hey, where are you taking my _______?”

In the case of Wednesday night’s “Ghost Hunters” episode, I did not finish watching the episode, but saw enough to know that the objects on display where mostly money and articles of clothing. These are hardly items that would fall under the “beloved objects” aspect of this theory. I will have to defer my opinion of whether there were Titanic victim entities present until after I watch again.

Rex: There are lots of documented cases where objects have paranormal activity surrounding them. I am another one who doesn’t think that a spirit is trapped by or within an object but follows it as it holds some significance with a spirit. Who’s to say what can be a significant item that would be worth following around. As for Wednesday’s Ghosthunters, they could not determine that the activity was linked in any way to the Titanic based on the evidence captured. The items in the exhibit may have only been trivial things but for a tragedy like the Titanic, they may have been the last personal possessions that they had when the ship went down. I think it would be interesting to see if any other exhibits around the country, that contain items from a specific event, have paranormal activity.

2009
04.15
Is the mini box (aka ghost box or Frank’s box) a reliable tool for paranormal investigators, or is it still too new to be used for more than experimentation?

*if you are not sure what the mini box is check out the website’s equipment page at the very bottom. We also have a pretty good positive result from one of our big circle recordings:

Pasadena Paranormal Radio Sweep

Dave: The “Mini Box”, “Frank’s Box” and other similar configurations of radio band sweeping devices are tools used in ITC (Instrumental Transcommunication) research.

ITC research covers experimentation in both audio and video attempts to communicate with the spirit world. The premise of Radio Sweep equipment is that by using a device which sweeps a radio band (AM, or FM) without pausing at a particular frequency, an entity will use the available noise to form words.

PPS has a Mini Box which we use during our ITC experiments. We haven’t used it extensively at investigations as the results of Mini Box experiments are subject to debate. Many opponents feel that the words recorded are merely snippets of words being said on the stations being scanned and those sentences, or groups of words are random and pure chance. Proponents believe these are indeed “voices from beyond”. We listen for a predetermined length of time following the question, usually six seconds is the cutoff, and we listen for relevance to the question posed. As PPS hasn’t fully embraced this method, we never base any results from its use as “evidence”.

We have had a few compelling recordings using the radio sweep technique as Rex stated in the question. If anyone is interested in starting ITC experiments, I recommend joining the AAEVP (American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena). They have very minimal yearly dues and have groups all over the world that share the experiments they are conducting and are very happy to assist those new to the field with getting their start. Their website is http://www.aaevp.com/

Until then, watch our website for an upcoming section devoted entirely to PPS experiments with ITC coming in late summer 09.

Jake: I hate the mini box! Not because I think it is without use. Not because I have yet to experience anything paranormal using that machine (though I’ve only seen it once). I hate it because it freaks me out! I don’t know if I could handle hearing a disembodied voice speak to me clearly using radio waves … the good news is that there are fewer commercials than FM radio. The down side is that I always need to remember in the future to pack an extra pair of drawers.

Rex: I think it is still too new to be used as a primary tool to capture paranormal evidence. On one hand the box continuously scans radio frequencies and radio stations broadcast programs on those frequencies which already puts labels voices caught as questionable. However if used properly and sticking to a clearly defined set of rules on how long you will wait (for us its about 6 seconds) for a response I believe it could, in time be very valuable to investigators.

If you watched the clip at the beginning of this post you will know that I personally have first hand experience with a positive result. We were conducting a “Big Circle” session and one of the first questions Dave asked was for a spirit to say the words “HI REX” immediately we heard what sounded like the word “HI” and we respond to it. As we were talking it said “HI” again and then “REX” which we comment about in the clip, then we got a clear voice saying “HI REX” at the end. The words HI and REX are said by the same voice as if in one continuous statement, if this were a case where the minibox was just picking up an actual radio broadcast it would have been 2 different voices and most likely broken up due to different frequencies.

2009
04.14
From garlic to burning sage to wearing tin-foil hats and rings of salt there are a lot of items people claim can protect you from evil spirits. Do any of these items actually work or do you have your own theory on protecting yourself against harmful entities?

Dave: I don’t know if I can answer this question with any level of expertise. As we elected from our inception, PPS will not subject its members to possible demonic cases.

Our game plan was to direct the client to contact their clergy, or to arrange for a clergy visit to address their needs. As such, I haven’t educated myself fully along these lines.

My first suggestion would be to not invite these entities into your home to begin with. Dabbling in occult type rituals, Ouija Boards, amateur EVP recording efforts, etc., can open a door to something the person didn’t desire. I don’t believe entities; either good or evil perform drive-by hauntings. The conditions need to be favorable for the entity to take hold. This could be: an abusive home, a home filled with consistent anger, or one completely devoid of God’s love.

As far as my personal choice for preventing evil from entering my home is to fill it to the rim with love. Love for my family, for my Lord and for all my blessings.

There just isn’t any room for evil.

All paranormal researchers are involved with the unknown and are subject to the dangers of such. This is what frightens me when I see the proliferation of “Ghost Hunter” wannabees treading into a world they haven’t educated themselves about or taken the proper precautions. Herein lies the dangers of all the “reality shows” Rex mentioned yesterday. This isn’t “The Bachelor”, or “Last Comic Standing”. There are real dangers associated with the ethereal realm and to place both those chosen by a casting agent, or inspire your audience to place themselves in these situations is both very dangerous and irresponsible.

I implore anyone interested in investigating the paranormal to do so through the guidance of a serious-minded, experienced group. Do your research first and be certain the team you choose to solicit is a viable, established and focused group. Learn as much as possible on your own about both paranormal research and hauntings before soliciting a group. If you are just looking for thrills, or a good scare, wait for Halloween and go to a haunted house instead.

Rex: Most of the items people claim provide protection have some religious significance to it whether Christian, Pagan, Native American, Voodoo or Wiccan. The danger is that if there actually is an evil entity are you using the correct talisman? I recall one of the only episodes I watched of Paranormal State where a demonic spirit was attacking a family in a trailer park. The investigative group brought in clergy and demanded the spirit leave by quoting biblical verse, they mentioned that they wouldn’t say the name of the demon but flashed the name several times across the screen in jumbled up letters. Using a bit of logic and research I was able to find out the name of the demon was from Judaism and I’m not sure but I think bringing in a Catholic Priest to cast out a Jewish demon would probably do more harm than good.

I’m not a superstitious person, I don’t personally believe that any of the items most use as personal protection talismans will actually do anything. I do believe in the power of positive thinking and that sometimes all a person needs is some reassurance that everything is going to be ok. If a crystal or bottle of Holy water is what it takes to make you feel better than that is fine but be aware of what you are getting into. I know the dangers involved in this field and I approach it cautiously and accept responsibility for whatever happens to me. I also know that nobody on our team would do anything to endanger the rest of the group or our clients. As Dave said on the demonology post “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…we do not have enough knowledge or experience to effectively deal with something of this magnitude.”

As far as garlic or foil hats:
1 Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2 Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Using a knife, cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.

3 Place the garlic heads in a baking pan; muffin pans work well for this purpose. Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over each head, using your fingers to make sure the garlic head is well coated. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 400°F for 30-35 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft when pressed.

4 Allow the garlic to cool enough so you can touch it without burning yourself. Use a small small knife cut the skin slightly around each clove. Use a cocktail fork or your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins.

Eat as is (I love straight roasted garlic) or mash with a fork and use for cooking. Can be spread over warm French bread, mixed with sour cream for a topping for baked potatoes, or mixed in with Parmesan and pasta. (from www.elise.com)

2009
04.13

Daily Topic 4/14/09-TV

Since the paranormal is a hot topic right now it seems that every tv network is jumping on the bandwagon with at least 4 new shows starting within the next 6 months.

  1. E! is adding a show where cheerleaders are put into a haunted house, filmed with the camera mounted facing them so that their reactions can be seen.
  2. Cartoon Network is adding a few live action reality show including a paranormal one where a group of teenagers hunt ghost after school with the help of their moms for transportation. This is also filmed in the same style as the show on E!
  3. Ghost Cops is about a group of Chicago police officers who investigate the paranormal, filmed COPS style, not sure which network.
  4. Steve and Tango from GhostHunters are getting their own show where they travel around the country to different colleges and “teach” students how to become investigators. I’m thinking Ghosts Gone Wild! here

Actually there are more, I’ve seen casting calls for a number of other shows that have yet to receive a greenlight including my favorite in which they are looking for a “paranormal investigator/demonologist” that hunts ghosts with the help of his or her dog.

My question is: What would you do if approached by a TV network wanting to give PPS their own show? What would the conditions have to be in order to accept?

Dave:Ahhh the lure of fame and fortune! Here is the problem with having a televised show of your own; “your own” doesn’t apply any longer. You are now an employee. The show may begin with the stars being autonomous, but with success or failure being one rating away, the control and direction become the producers’.

Who wouldn’t want money for better equipment, a career doing what you love, and a little notoriety? Anyone who still takes the subject seriously and wants to have their team calling the shots.

Let’s face it; most investigations are 80 hours of prep, investigation and cumulative analysis time with about 40 seconds of thrills. That will never bring in the ratings. Next thing you know, we’d be studying a script. “Okay, Jake flushes the toilet upstairs and Rex yells ‘what the frig’ while I look left, no, right with a startled expression”. No thanks.

Now if an organization doing a documentary about paranormal investigations solicits our group to show what an actual investigative process entails; we may be interested. And by actual, I mean: No music / sounds effect overdubbing, no retakes due to botched camera angles, and no staged responses to generate excitement of the viewer. Since that isn’t going to happen, you can always watch us every Tuesday at 8:00 pm Eastern by looking through our living room windows.

Rex: The problem with all of the tv shows out there is that they came to be about money and ratings rather than furthering the paranormal field. The only possible way I would even consider it would be if it was stated in a contract that we are able to do it OUR way. That means we conduct our investigations the way we always do using the team members that we choose and NO SOUND EFFECTS. I would also demand that the people on the production team be team members themselves that way no outsiders could create fake noises or evidence. But since Hollywood won’t buy a reality show that is actually real, I guess that will never happen.

2009
04.11
We have captured lots of EVPs over the course of our investigations but our video and photographic evidence is almost nothing. Why is it so rare to get images (whether video or photos) that can be presented as evidence?

Dave: This question ties in nicely with one posed earlier pertaining to the availability of ethereal voices. It is true that EVP evidence has been prolific at all our investigations, while video evidence is virtually non-existent. Which way do we lean in explaining this?

1. We suck at getting video evidence.
2. Entities choose not to reveal themselves to strangers.
3. Entities are able to speak ‘way’ easier than they can appear.
4. The voices are not coming from the site being investigated.

Ok, I’m not a big fan of #1, but I believe the remaining three hold water. Do entities not want us to see them? We have volumes of EVP evidence that say, “Hide”, “Run”, “Shhhhh”, as if trying to elude our team. It is the equivalent of hiding in the closet, or under the bed if an intruder is in your home. Perhaps a familiarity with the home’s residents makes them feel comfortable in interacting visually. We are actually testing this theory on our next investigation by using a portion of the investigation time to allow the homeowners’ normal evening activities to be observed without Investigator interaction. Keep your fingers crossed!

Can entities speak easier than they can appear? It is believed that spirits require significant energy to manifest, yet are able to use ambient sound sources to form words. As EVPs are not audible at the time of recording with our Human ears, I assume much less energy is required for verbal contact than visual. Obviously they never remember that entities should be seen and not heard. We have had minute video events, but none conclusive enough to confirm a paranormal source.

Are the voices we record originating elsewhere? This is my personal favorite theory. Believing that EVP evidence could originate from a non-resident, intelligent source “screws-the-pooch” as far as authenticating a localized paranormal event. As our case load settles down, we intend on testing this theory by recording at locations which have no reported paranormal activity. Should we amass enough positive EVP hits at these locations, this theory may have some credibility. We will provide the experiments results on the web site.

Which ever reason keeps the elusive entities in hiding, we will continue looking for the “Holy Grail” of paranormal research.

I wish everyone a Blessed Easter!

Rex: I agree 100 percent with Dave on the reason we don’t catch much in the form of photographic or video evidence. I would like to add that there are a few other reasons as to why we don’t present what we do catch as evidence. Mainly the anonymity of our clients is very important to us, and if a client does not want us to post pictures or videos that could identify their house we will not. Another reason for not displaying pictures is that they are almost always taken out of context, its easy to mistake a normal picture for a paranormal one if you don’t know what happened before and after the picture was taken. For example what may appear to be an unexplained mist may just be somebody’s breath on a cold day which you wouldn’t be able to tell if there were no people in the shot. Video provides more context allowing viewers to see the events leading up to the paranormal activity, which is why video is much more rare than photographic evidence. In reality though, video should be easier to catch since cameras can be fixed in multiple locations at one time and record for several hours, where still cameras pointing at a random location and taking a picture would provide a smaller amount of probability to capture something. Even a photo taken when somebody experiences something paranormal(cold spot, touch, sound) the picture is taken after the event happened.

From time to time we get photos, evps, videos sent to us for analysis from our site visitors. If you would like us to analyze something you captured we would be more than happy to help. Just send an email to help@pasadenaparanormal.com We also would like to invite you to send us your questions, comments, stories so that we may discuss them on this blog.

2009
04.09
Today’s post is a response to the number of “ghosts” that have been spotted on Google Maps’ street view. One of the more popular pictures being circulated right now is this one from Cardiff Wales.

A UK paper is reporting that the woman is wearing clothes not seen in today’s fashion, basically she is dressed like Mary Poppins, hovering above the ground without legs and the odd effect on the bottom of the picture is actually ectoplasm.

This of course is not the case as you can see in this picture.

Google’s street view is created by a camera mounted on a vehicle which takes 360 degree digital pictures and then put back together again by their street view program. Sometimes a picture may be missing or slightly different than the one before causing an overlap when put back together. This is exactly what happened here causing this poor woman to briefly lose her legs.

Another picture going around is this one from Toowoomba, Australia

The reported ghost is the odd shape in front of the left window. The homeowners themselves believe this to be a ghost and reported their findings to an Australian paper

This is a different but very common type of glitch caused by Google Maps. Due to privacy concerns Google added an automatic blur feature that would try to recognize things like faces and license plates. Since faces are very tricky to auto-detect sometimes it blurs out things that are not faces at all. This is what I believe is happening here, their program thought that this window should be blurred out and the part of the window that divides the panes(muntins) changes into oval shaped blurs.

I know these aren’t the only cases and probably won’t be the last, as more and more streets are covered by the street view program I’m sure we’ll see many more reports.

-Rex

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