Full Of It

Lately, I’ve noticed some unusual events – small, barely recognizable paranormal incidents that seem to be increasing in frequency. Now this immediately presents a credibility issue for me because I’m a researcher – a self-proclaimed title that carries with it the mandate for supposed objectivity. Plus, I’ve always been suspicious of those whose involvement with the other side increases proportional to their activity in the field. To put it nicely, I think they probably benefit from an overly active imagination. Another way to say that is, they’re full of it.

I don’t want an overly active imagination, and I certainly don’t want to be full of anything – especially “it.” But I know what I’ve seen and heard! And lately, some strange stuff has been going on all around me. I almost don’t want to admit to it, because It makes me feel like one of those cops who chases the UFO down Main Street only to watch it dart away at incredible speeds. “What’d you see out there, Bill?” Uh… nothing. And I understand, because no one wants to feel everything he says or does will be suspect because of it. People frequently assume that you’re no longer able to be objective, and that sucks.

Well, a few nights ago I heard a deep throated woman giggle while I was smoking at the back door. I turned right away, but no one was there, so I chalked it up to something natural that my distracted mind misinterpreted. A day later, I heard it again in the bedroom – louder and more prolonged. My wife didn’t hear it, so again, I ignored it, but this morning while frying bacon, the same giggle. I decided something had to be going on.

Last month it was a mist in my mothers living room – twice, and the month before that a voice saying “hello,” and before that there was something else, and then something else… Frankly, I’m a little annoyed by all this other worldly attention. Assuming, of course, that’s what it is. I probably am too immersed in the subject; I could somehow be creating everything in my mind – for reasons unknown even to me. I could be making it up! Except, I’m not.

So it leads me to wonder whether or not personal experiences increase as one’s paranormal involvement grows deeper. In other words, are spirits choosing to communicate more frequently and in different ways – as in “the more you seek, the more you find?” Does that even make sense? I never would have thought so before – I truly would have argued against it, because I’ve seen too many non-sensitive people proclaim a new found sensitivity almost overnight. I don’t want to join that club.

I’m sure we all know someone who began to develop mediumship after only a few weeks in the field. Turned out she was always able to feel and see spirits; understood exactly what they wanted – she just never knew it before. It’s hard to investigate with someone like that – they already know everything, so I don’t even need to be there. But am I joining her ranks now? God I hope not, but other people aren’t hearing what I’m hearing, or seeing what I’m seeing, and that means either something has changed in my relationship with the spirit world, or I’m one psycho dude. I don’t want to be psycho, but I also don’t want to be “one of those” either. I’m perfectly happy searching blindly for my results – I don’t need the fast track, instant gratification of an “I already know” attitude.

Well, at least these spirits have stopped at merely making themselves known – so far. I shudder at the possibilities. Hopefully, they realize what a rotten conduit I would be, and are unwilling to take it any farther. I can only hope my spirit guide is fending them off for me. Maybe it’s cyclical and all of this will go away and return to normal, or maybe it’s just my turn, ya know? Wait! Did I just say something about a spirit guide? Oh no! Too late – it’s already started. Drat!
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Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.

It’s All So Exhausting

I’m mentally tired. For a lot of reasons, actually. Some of them are to be expected – pick up the kid, answer the phone, clean the house, blah blah blah… But some stuff is instantly annoying. For example, I’m getting phone calls that burglars have selected our neighborhood and are specifically targeting my block. Fake FBI robo-calls have convinced my neighbors that there’s real danger afoot, and that the world’s most vicious and unstoppable crime lords will be stealing all our big screen TVs any day now. I wonder what someone does with so many of those?

I’m tired of corporate promises that suddenly evaporate. For instance, my bank promised we’d “never have to pay for checks again.” I suppose what they forgot to add was “until you run out.” My mother has asked her cable company to turn off the voice mail feature eight times, but it’s still working. There is a circle of corporate insanity out there, with the electric company, grocery store, and my insurance provider – all charter members. The phone company can’t add all of a sudden. Mom’s doctor couldn’t spot arrhythmia. I just don’t understand it, and it’s all so exhausting!

I don’t feel I should have to endure all these roadblocks along the path through life, do you? I know some of it seems harmless – just part of normal commerce (or questionably educational), but I’m willing to take my chances without so much absurdity at every intersection along the way. So, if we meet one day at the mall, or mulling over tomatoes in the market; if our paths cross at a baseball game or we discover we share the same taste in cinema; if we just happen to find ourselves face to face for no reason at all, here are some things you shouldn’t mention. I can’t say for sure what will happen if you do, but I’m certain it will exceed your expectations. You’ve been warned.

1. Do not tell me to quit smoking! I know it’s a filthy habit and it’s killing me – this is not news. And I don’t wanna hear how easy it was for you to quit.
2. Do not mention that I’ve gained weight. So have you, fat head.
3. I don’t want to hear Obama and Hitler in the same sentence ever again, so unless public displays of ignorance are your thing, hush.
4. When you find out I do paranormal research, don’t tell me your wife is psychic. I don’t care. Besides, she’s not, or she’d have warned you not to tell me that.
5. Don’t ask me if I’m still married to “whatshername.” If we haven’t seen each other in that long, just keep walking, for god’s sake.
6. No, the grand kids are not keeping me young.
7. Yes, I remember you. And yet, I never tried to stay in touch. Hmmmm…
8. If you heard I was dead, don’t bring it up. I promise not to mention how often I heard you were stupid. I’m clearly not dead, but stupidity is unavoidable.
9. Don’t ask me if I’ve accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior. It’s not the question – it’s everything that follows.
10. Don’t tell me so-and-so turned out to be gay unless he’s getting married and you know where he’s registered. I’d rather buy a crystal serving dish for some guy I haven’t seen in forty years than spend one minute gossiping about his sexuality with you.

There are others, but if you embrace these ten suggestions, I can handle anything else. Unless you start on politics or religion, and then all bets are off – I don’t have time to “straighten you out,” and you’ll force me to try. In case you’ve forgotten, I understand the true meaning of the word obnoxious, and I know how to execute. Life’s tough in the big city! So, peace… Smiley face… Go Orioles!
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Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.

The Real Skinny

Change is good. Nothing too revolutionary about that statement – you’ve heard it before in reference to the paranormal. I’m not alone. It’s a wise person who is willing to integrate new methods and ideas, and I’m convinced doing so will make us all better investigators and researchers. It’s a good idea in life as well, don’t you think? I guarantee you that without a willingness to change, I’d be cowering under a rock somewhere – dirty, and mumbling about evil doers and fluoride in the water. The ability to adjust is built into the human condition, so why has it become such a moral dilemma these days when someone abandons the status quo?

I recently came across my first podcasts from 2007 – not published under the name Voices Podcast. Only about six people bothered to listen, but it’s both striking and disconcerting to realize how amply my attitudes and opinions have changed. After all, it’s only been seven years, and that hardly seems like enough time to be doing complete turn-arounds and full-reversals. In many instances, that’s exactly what I’ve done.

I’m reminded of a friend who felt obliged to point out a recent set of contradictions. He was quick to assert that it appears I don’t know what the heck I think. I should “pay better attention to previous claims.” Of course, I tried to explain that with anything paranormal, one has to be able to do that 180 and deal with the dreadful reality that you were probably mistaken. One can’t cling to wrong thinking – that will only maintain a bogus credibility, and credibility is important in the paranormal. Better to be honest with yourself and others throughout. Theres no shame in admitting that you don’t know or in confessing you were wrong.

Because of The Voices Podcast, I’ll be forever stalked by previous, errant conclusions, but there are also a couple of books out there with my name on them – an extensive public record of my inaccuracies and irrelevant ramblings. Good grief, I’m doomed! Maybe not. I’m sure most people realize there’s a learning curve with paranormal research, and that sometimes what you think you know today is less significant than what you don’t know tomorrow. In this field, being wrong should teach you a great deal, but you’ll eat a ton of crow along with it. My critical friend feels that until I am certain of something, I should be quiet – that I do no service offering unsubstantiated opinions and personal speculation. I guess he’s only interested in solid proof and guaranteed outcomes, as if anything paranormal is capable of delivering either.

Regardless, I feel a curious satisfaction from this work. I see it like a puzzle whose pieces are spread all over the neighborhood. I’m pretty sure if I can find enough of them, I’ll know what the picture is, but I doubt I’ll ever be able to completely solve it. Right now, I’m still looking for the pieces, and hoping one or two will connect with the ones I have. They rarely do, and that’s kind of a shame, but it’s also what turns me on about the whole experience. I expect to be wrong – it’s the nature of the beast as far as I’m concerned, and I’d lay you even money that seven years from now I’ll still be off the mark occasionally. Okay, a lot.

But maybe he’s right! Maybe I should just be quiet until I’ve actually solved something. I can accept that, even though I don’t see it happening. As long as I’m able, I intend to be going at it one way or another – wrong most of the time, but hopefully still enthused. I’m guessing I’ll be there until the end. Of course, then I’ll actually know, won’t I? If I can communicate from the other side, I’ll give you the real skinny then. But if I’m right, will you believe me?
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Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.

Science Doesn’t Do Lucky

So this EVP researcher walks into a bar… Okay, there isn’t a punch line, but the bar is abandoned and run-down, barely visible or accessible due to wilderness creep, and is verifiably empty – no one is within half a mile in any direction. He pulls out his trusty digital recorder and places it on the bar, in full view of the video camera he has positioned to document everything. The session continues for about an hour, until the researcher leaves to analyze his efforts on computer. The session was a great success, yielding several quality EVP, and each recording was deemed clear of outside contamination.

The results from this session in the wilderness cannot be duplicated or predicted. There are no witnesses or technicians to monitor the equipment or the researcher, and even though the nature of the EVP responses preclude the possibility of man-made or electronic interference, the session is labeled inconclusive. It might as well have never happened.

The EVP researcher doesn’t have a lab from which he can control circumstances. He doesn’t have expensive equipment to monitor his recording devices, cannot construct an acceptable research environment around an isolated location, and he’s unable to provide acceptable, lettered observers to serve as indisputable authorities on the veracity of his results. He cannot guarantee the location is completely shielded from outside electromagnetic anomalies, and to add insult to obvious injury, his reputation is suspect due to the nature of his research. He might as well be labeled a liar, although no one would do such a thing – there’s no need, because scientific governance will disavow his experiment immediately. End of story. He might as well have suggested the universe is made of sponge cake.

Now this may sound a little bitter to some of you. Perhaps I’m also resentful or jealous of the necessary precautions required by every credible scientific experiment ever destined to find universal acceptance. But I’m not bitter or resentful. I’m not jealous. I understand that this is how it must be. There was a time when I wanted science to embrace paranormal research as the long lost brother it surely was, but no more, because I know it can’t happen. The paranormal doesn’t work under proper, reasonable, controllable conditions because in order to succeed, it requires cooperation from the other side.

If a spirit doesn’t speak, there are no EVP, and everyone in our field knows they speak when they choose. Sometimes, you actually do have to travel to extremely remote locations just to talk to them. You have to “feel” your way through situations, find ways to pique their interest, or worse – return home empty handed. It doesn’t matter where you go, or what kind of conditions you’re forced to work under, communicating with the spirit world isn’t guaranteed. It’s a phone call, and they don’t have to pick up.

I can’t imagine the scientific community embarking on such a journey, and I fully understand. I wouldn’t want them to go about their work the way we do. I expect them to be methodical and operate under painstaking scrutiny; to be clinical, analytical, detailed, precise, and all sorts of other things not conducive to spirit communication. Of course, I realize there are aspects of EVP research that could withstand some sound scientific method, but the absolute bottom line relies on the willingness of those beyond the veil to participate. We understand we have to get lucky, but science doesn’t do lucky.

So, this EVP researcher walks into a bar and asks, “Is anyone here?” Later, he hears an unexplained voice answer, “Does it really matter?” Probably not, the researcher thinks, but he’s going back anyway.
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Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.

Downside

There’s an upside and a downside to everything. You can’t have one without the other – like good and evil, beautiful and ugly, smart and stupid. You know how it works – if you don’t have one, how do you define the other? So, the downside of researching anything paranormal begins when people outside the field expect you to have answers. Most of my responses have to begin with “I have no idea,” because I don’t. Occasionally, I feel a little bit like a terminally ill patient being asked to conjure a cure. In both cases, a non-committal shrug seems appropriate.

“So, don’t you think it makes sense that…” Well, I guess so, but it’s a little more complicated than that. “Maybe everyone is a sensitive and we just don’t know it.” Maybe so, but if literally no one knows it, how would we be? And why do so many people want to be sensitive anyway? “Ghosts only show up at 3:00 am, right? How come?” Do they? I don’t actually see a lot of ghosts – almost never, but I think it can happen any time. “As long as it’s dark, then?” Good grief, I don’t know!

There’s so much more that I don’t know than I do, and the more experience I gain, the truer that seems to be. It’s not like being a mechanic or a doctor. There are no paranormal carburetors to fix, or broken bones to set, and you can go years without any results whatsoever. I cringe when their interrogations begin because I can see the expectation in their faces. Surely I must know something I can share with them; some other-worldly secrets; some kind of scoop on where the dearly departed have gone.

What they want, I think, are lots of really good, provably true ghost stories. Like the one where the old man walks the halls with an ax every night and watches the children sleep, or how the beautiful heiress meets her dead lover once a year in dreams. (It could happen!) I mean, why would anyone do this kind of research if there’s no payoff, right? It doesn’t make sense to keep coming up empty-handed time after time. Which means I’m either a terrible researcher, enjoy wasting my time, am unwilling to share, or I’m incredibly stupid. Hmmm… I wonder which one fits?

I often try to answer the questions with one of my own – “What do you think?” This usually results in some crazy scenario that I then feel compelled to deflate – out of professional pride, of course. Well, I can’t let them think deceased family members are turning into demons on the other side, or that when someone dies in the house it automatically becomes haunted. It’s a vicious circle! I have no answers, but I better come up with something, or else… Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t mind sharing what I’ve learned, and offering a theory or two is certainly not beneath me, but the bottom line is always the same – I know a lot more about what is not paranormal than what actually is paranormal.

The other day, an old friend called me full of questions, and I had absolutely nothing to tell him. “Well, you don’t know anything,” he finally said – incredulously. Oh, we know a lot, I told him – we just don’t know anything conclusive. There’s not very much we can prove. “Let me know when you figure it out,” he snarked. “Okay?”

Sure thing! I’ll get right on that. Whatever happened to “How’s the family?”
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Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/
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Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.

A Non-Existent Event

This past week I conducted an experiment I’ve been longing to do for at least five years – I video taped myself sleeping. I bet that sounds incredibly boring to everyone except me, but indulge me while I set it up for you. It seems that some of my most successful EVP sessions occur while I am asleep. I just turn off the lights, press record, close my eyes, and psyche myself up for four plus hours of next-day listening to heavy breathing. But I’m never alone for these sessions – there is often a menagerie of unexplained voices. So basically, I added an IR camera to the mix, and even though the usual suspects seem to have developed a slight streak of camera shyness, the results were interesting.

But why was I compelled to attempt to capture video corroboration of my EVP? Because of the noises. In addition to these unexplained voices, I usually record a lot of non-exigent noises as well. I don’t believe noise can qualify as EVP, but something or someone is making a lot of it while I sleep. There are often the sounds of drawers opening, of objects sliding across dresser tops, containers opening and closing, and a fascinating assortment of taps, knocks, and thuds. I wanted to see what’s behind all the ruckus! Can you blame me?

The current episode of The Voices Podcast reveals results from this session, as well as a self-analysis of fear, but there was something else worthy of discussion – a 37-minute gap that occurred as my digital recorder was apparently being manipulated. In all my years of paranormal research, this is a first, and therefore for me, an exciting moment worthy of note – especially since the video shows that I never left the bed.

With this kind of research, the possibility of a perfectly natural explanation looms very large on the paranormal event horizon. It just makes sense to look at our known world for understandable rationale before declaring solutions that emanate from one whose existence we can’t even verify. But when all the debunking is fruitless, and the scientific possibilities offer no answers; when common sense comes up empty, and every fiber of your intellect is stumped, what is left but to enter a reasonable plea for the paranormal?

A “gap” of any length represents something that truly does not exist, and still, I’ve spent some days now attempting to resolve as much about it as I can. Even though all avenues led to dead ends (I’ll spare you the details), something deep inside suggests I’ll never find a real-world explanation for this non-existent event – that this “missing” incident may indeed be some kind of inexplicable anomaly; something potentially paranormal.

Unfortunately, too often we demand that a paranormal explanation must include factual evidence of such, thereby loosing sight of the very nature of something paranormal. There must be a tape that reveals the action, or audio that definitively ties the voice to it, but sometimes even evidence lets us down. When all reasonability fails, that paranormal explanation becomes every bit as potentially accurate as any piece of unknown science or any vain and failed exercise in logic. Sometimes, it makes just as much sense to consider something unthinkable. Maybe something that doesn’t even exist at all can occasionally show us the way.
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Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/
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Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.

Ah, Vacations…

Vacations are probably the best part of the year. They trump any holiday mankind has ever created. Even if Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween were all rolled into one; even if I were given fifty presents, a perfect turkey dinner and all the “fun-sized” Milky Ways I could eat, I’d still choose a genuine vacation every time. So it’s important not to waste these precious, extra-curricular moments of life. A trip to Granny’s is great, but no matter how long it lasts, it will never qualify as a vacation. The same is true for one of those “just stay home, sleep in and relax” things. Or a week of day trips. Any time you hear yourself say “we didn’t feel like going anywhere this year,” you’re lying, and it’s not a vacation. It’s blasphemy, and you could maybe possibly be punished.

Ya gotta plan a vacation, and it has to include doing stuff at a place you’ve never been before. I’m sorry. There aren’t many rules to this, but those are non-negotiable, because “vacation” is itself a holy word, and should therefore not be taken in vain. If your phone or computer is in any way an integral part of your plans, you are in danger of a spiritual crisis. In fact, receiving text messages, emails, and checking one’s Facebook status are among the worst infractions of The Vacation Code.

In case you’re thinking this point of view is a bit extreme or at the very least, overly zealous, here are some interesting tips about vacations that may have escaped you.

1. Vacations do not discriminate. For example, murderers and politicians are known to frequently partake. Should you run across one of these in vaca-mode, don’t panic. Move away from the raw bar and order something less ostentatious.
2. If you’ve read more than four books during a seven day period, you are not on vacation. (Guide books do not apply.)
3. Bringing actual work on a vacation is patently irreverent and parts of your body will begin to fall off.
4. You are required to tell everyone you meet where you live. “Hello, my name is Hans and I come from Dusseldorf.” Keep in mind, if you can get away with it, lying is acceptable.
5. There is no such thing as “over-packing.” That is a despicable rumor created by AARP.
6. There are secret, government Vacation Vouchers available. This is very hush-hush, so if you’re uncertain whether or not you qualify, you don’t.
7. Always plan on not being able to drink the local water. Generally, potable deficiency figures are higher for the more beautiful locations. But don’t be discouraged – Coca Cola products are in abundance everywhere, as well as vodka, and many variations of rum.
8. Always exceed the limits for carry-on luggage. The rest of us will take great delight in watching the flight crew force you to check it. After all, spectacle is everything on a plane.
9. Do not try to see the world alphabetically. There are too many A’s.
10. Dress appropriately. Flip flops and cut-off sweats belong at the beach, not the airport. Usually, if you think your appearance is of no consequence, you’re tacky, and even though you’ve just slathered on the Mitchum, others will assume you smell bad.

And there you have it. I hope these observations have been helpful and I wish all of you “happy trails” this year. We’ve just returned from our vacation – it was spectacular. Next up? Fun-sized Milky Ways, of course.
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Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/
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Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.