Soul to Soul

“That team is better because they have more equipment.” Not! Still, imagine for a second that quality paranormal research and investigation actually does hinge on possessing an abundance of gear. More is better. Bigger is better! Where have I heard that kind of thinking before? How discouraging…

Well, I guess a large library with a gazillion books is better than a small one. Assuming they’re quality books, of course – not just limited to bad romance novels and every Atlas known to mankind. It’s also probably true that a large urban medical group with dozens of specialists is more effective than old Doc Brown (third barn on the left), unless all those specialists are graduates of the Mozambique Academy of Archery and Medicine. That changes the perspective a bit. And certainly all those painters of motel wall art can’t be bad, right?

I still cry hogwash. More equipment does not mean a paranormal team is better. How many laser grids does one need? “Anyone want a FLIR? I’ve got two!” The first paranormal team I was associated with was anything but overly equipped and we managed to capture more evidence than any team I’d heard of, so you’ll never convince me that results have anything to do with how much really cool stuff you’ve got. But there are reasons our team’s investigations were fruitful, and it’s the same for every working paranormal team that succeeds. 

At the top of the list is using your resources wisely. Keep your equipment in working order, know when and how to use it, and understand that these wondrous devices are tools – it’s you who is doing the investigating. Pay attention to your surroundings and above all else, react to what you see and hear. Learn how to follow your core instincts, and don’t be afraid to go in the wrong direction. Be respectful and understanding of those whose environment you may be invading. And certainly not last or least, be as thorough as you can.

Investigating is actually a very dynamic situation – it becomes an entity of its own, and investigators feel their way through like the notes of a song in search of the melody. We become part of the darkness; a breeze in the wind, if you will. We are the peaceful representatives of the living world in a place where life may just be relative. We are ambassadors. “Yeah yeah, wax poetic, old man. A breeze in the wind indeed!” Well, overly hyperbolic or not, none of any of that requires even one piece of equipment. Investigation starts with the humanity of the individual, I think, and success doesn’t hinge on the lux of one’s IR bullet camera.

The team that spends its time bragging about their equipment, probably has their priorities out of line – a fairly understandable statement to make, I think. But what does that say about those of us who assume it makes them better? Not very much, I’m afraid. One doesn’t hire a surgeon for the number of scalpels he owns. His knowledge, creativity, and skill are better reasons. Why should it be any different with paranormal teams? Then again, I’d love to walk through a location armed to the teeth with every possible scientific apparatus available, but then how much time would I spend investigating? Equipment has its place – no doubt, and if used properly, can provide the evidence we all so covet, but I’ve always believed spirit communication is best achieved soul to soul. Equipment isn’t part of that equation.

I’m not saying less is best, or that a highly equipped team is automatically lacking – certainly, we need “things” to do our job, but most of today’s paranormal devices can’t prove a thing; won’t provide a shred of actual evidence. What we really need are well-trained, highly motivated investigators in whose hands to place all that equipment, and even then there are no guarantees.

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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.

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Anything Is Possible

I understand why people who are involved with the paranormal do not view the subject casually. That’s me. It holds great meaning for me and challenges my convictions in an intensely philosophical way. And occasionally, it strengthens my religious beliefs and redefines my understanding of our true relation to the universe.

I used to cringe every time I heard myself attempting to convince others of how dispassionately objective I was about the subject, because I’d hoped to remain the eternal skeptic. And I really tried, but wearing a mask of total impartiality never worked – you could always see the real me underneath. Eventually, I felt so hypocritical that the better part of valor was just to own it, so I confess – I believe there are events for which there are no plausible explanations. Therefore, even if only by definition, paranormal anomalies must exist.

That doesn’t mean I think every stray noise is demon clatter, or every mist, mass and vapor a ghost. It doesn’t mean that the continuance of the human soul can be proved or that God is behind a lick of it, but being a true paranormal disciple means anything is possible. That includes Heaven and Hell, possession, the transcendence of the soul, little green men, and water nymphs named Bob. I’m not saying I’m down with everything – just that I’m seriously not ruling anything out.

“But I thought you were a modern man,” you may ask. I am! But I refuse to be blinded by that modernity; I cannot accept the foolish notion that there must be limitations to existence. Science doesn’t limit possibilities, so why should we? Art doesn’t feel obliged to inhibit either it’s form or expression. What are mathematicians if not the architects of an unknown future? Why should we place the things we’ve witnessed into a little box labeled “nonsense” and store it on the top shelf with the rusty garden tools?

Being objective isn’t so difficult if the intention is for truth. You just tell it like you see it, and let the chips fall where they may. There’s no vested interest in anything paranormal being truth or illusion – it is what it is, and if it’s the truth we’re looking for, then I don’t see how we can arbitrarily decide that something can not be possible. Don’t believe in spirit communication? Unwilling to accept alien visitation? Demonic possession, climate change and evolution all sound like a bunch of hogwash? Fine, but you’ll have to prove it.

I mean, that’s how it goes, right? For years it’s been acceptable to assume the burden of proof belongs solely to the paranormalist* – it’s up to us to provide the world with iron clad, irrefutable proof backed by solid, unquestionable evidence. And if that’s not possible, every piece of our premise tends to be negated. But I think it’s time we share the burden for a change. It’s not good enough to dismiss paranormal explanations with a chuckle and a knowing look toward the local mental institution. Claiming an idea to be preposterous must be accompanied by facts, reason, logic, and a willingness to explain why. If you’re going to aggressively nullify things paranormal, then you’ve invited yourself into a conversation that carries with it some responsibility.

There’s just as much reasonability in the concept of life after death as there is in additional dimensions at the quantum level. Both ideas must bear the strain of reason – both concepts require some original thinking. Neither one merits anything less than our best consideration. Ultimately, no one cares what we believe – only what is factual. If we don’t know what that is yet, we must not be looking everywhere.

The word “paranormalist” borrowed from Renae Rude.
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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.

EVP Central

I used to refer to my mother’s house as “EVP Central.” I swear, once I thought I heard a voice claim to be the “dispatcher,” and frankly, there were so many different spirits representin’ at such an amazing frequency, the idea of a dispatcher seemed wholly plausible. That was in the beginning of my trip with EVP, and it was a fruitful initiation, but it feels like a very long time ago now.

These days, it’s not so hectic over at Mom’s. EVP frequency has dipped from time to time over the years – there’s always been a recovery, but the past few months have been downright mystifyingly quiet. I still manage to record the occasional comment or two, but the party atmosphere has vanished. No more joking, sarcasm, or weird impressions of the living; no more preaching or attempted words of wisdom. Now, it sounds like every other home I’ve investigated – often they say something fascinating, but mostly, they’re rather pedestrian.

As my mother grows older and nearer her final days, I would have expected activity there to increase. It felt like a logical conclusion over the years, and I couldn’t wait to record the droves of deceased family members and friends. I’ve been expecting a smorgasbord of transcendental treats – spirit voices off the hook, if you will, and I could just see ’em all lining the walls and floating around; bouncing on the beds or trying out the microwave. Instead, they may have grown tired of answering my stupid questions. Maybe they’ve run out of interesting things to say. I suppose it’s possible that I’ve gotten on their literal last nerve, annoyed them into silence, or maybe this is just how it goes – that as we approach our final days, everything becomes a little more serious. Those who visit may become more respectfully quiet. Who knows?

If I’ve learned anything about the paranormal over the years, it’s that everything is unpredictable and totally random. With that in mind, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when things don’t follow my “game plan” – nothing ever does. With the paranormal, stuff either happens or it doesn’t, but either way, it’s usually gone quickly, and while we’d all love to have been there, frequently we’re not. I guess that’s what is going on at EVP Central – these days it’s a lot more not than got, and I don’t have to like it, but I definitely have to accept it.

Well, I’ll still be recording there for as long as I can. I don’t have to come out with dozens of wildly disassociated voices – I’ll be more than happy with the occasional “hello” or a soft-spoken “yes” or “go away” from time to time. It was fun while it lasted, all those rousing spirit conversations, but nothing lasts forever, and I’ll definitely count myself lucky for being there when the time was ripe.

I guess when you can go anywhere you want, do whatever you please, and never have to worry about paying the rent, finding a new “haunt” seems normal. Transparent becomes the new black, after all, but wouldn’t most of us do the same? No sense in sticking around here when everything else is your oyster. I guess that’s why I’ve always felt so blessed to have heard from these people at all. But I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss it. EVP Central seems closed for business – just a skeleton crew on board. And me, of course – till the end, whenever that will be.
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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.

333

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been waking up at the same time every night – at 3:33 am. At first, this was greatly amusing – I even chuckled aloud once or twice. But then, I began to wonder why, and of course I thought there might be a paranormal connection. What else, right? Oh, I realize how frequently people manage to awaken themselves like this with their own inner clocks, but that’s no fun. Given my proclivity for things paranormal, a supernatural explanation should not be unexpected. You know, I even started to look forward to it.

But last night, as I opened my eyes to the now familiar 333; stood and started on my way to the bathroom; as I reached the bedroom door, something caught my t-shirt and held me back. It was actually difficult to pull away – whatever had me used a lot of force. I checked for nails, small slivers of wood – anything out of the ordinary, and I removed the shirt to search for snags, tears, or whatever. You can imagine – there was nothing. Was this what all these 333 moments were about? Was a spirit preparing me for this small tug of war just to let me know he was there? Was this actually paranormal?

Probably not. You know, I realize that we’re not exactly on top of things in the early morning hours; that we’re groggy when we wake up, and our senses are not to be believed. But this was a hefty pull, and I was awake, dammit! I know many of you might prefer I keep this to myself – why incur further embarrassment. You don’t want to think of me as confused and blindly accepting of such esoteric explanations. But what’s the difference? Something pulled my shirt. In fact, it lasted 3 or 4 seconds before I could break free. Does it matter which explanation suits me more?

It’s not so terrible to believe a spirit has been waking me at 333, and pulled my shirt. Mankind has always believed in things that go bump in the night, so frankly, it seems more normal than a lot of rational explanations based on maybe and what if scenarios. In my little world, I reserve the right to believe this fantasy and unexplained nonsense any time I choose.

I think what gets me; what chafes my thighs the most, is that because of this I have become a sleepwalking, dream-dazed, unaware old man, whose commentary on the things he does is now completely unreliable and specious. I couldn’t possibly be getting it right because I was asleep 5 minutes earlier. It couldn’t be a ghost or a spirit. Really? But why on earth does it matter? Why can’t it be Aunt Sue here to tell me that she’s present? “Because that’s just silly!” Who cares?! I like that possibility. It pleases me to think some spirit – whoever he or she might be, went to all the trouble of tugging on my shirt. I like all the foreplay of waking me up every night at 333. And it’s never going to be explained, so I think I prefer the nonsense explanation to the “walking dead” theory.

Even if I am wrong about this, it will never matter. It’ll just be one more fascinating little piece of life that makes me smile. Forget all the serious stuff, and my betrayal of duty as a modern man in a world full of incredible, but true explanations. When I pass this plane, I’m gonna ask everyone I meet on the other side if they pulled on my shirt and woke me up at 333 every night. I’m gonna ask until I find the guy who did it, and then I expect to smile about it all over again.
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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.

The Conjuring

I was fortunate enough to see an advance screening of The Conjuring last night, and even though I promised never to write a movie review, I’m gonna do it anyway. Since the official release date is July 19, I’ll do my best not to ruin it for you.

Basically, I think I may have witnessed the birth of a classic – the kind of paradigmatic film people recommend 40 years later for all the right reasons. The Exorcist and The Sixth Sense” immediately come to mind, and that’s some pretty lofty company. The Conjuring was just that good for me. It’s one of the best directed films I’ve seen in years, and the lack of CGI effects make the experience even more faithful to reality. Every technical aspect seemed wonderfully flawless to me, and the cast was perfectly selected, but that doesn’t explain why this movie works so well. That comes from its honesty, because this film tears right through your soul.

If you’re a fan of Ed and Lorraine Warren, and who isn’t really, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga do them proud with sensitive, realistic performances that can only add to the Warren legacy. And Lili Taylor was spectacular in my opinion. She righteously communicated the most difficult range of emotions to translate on film – that of growing, gripping fear, without any reliance on melodrama or forced reaction. For my money, Ms. Taylor may have turned in the best performance of her career – never over the top, but always on the edge. The entire cast was impressive, and they did it the hard way, with an obvious dedication to character and old-fashioned acting.

Unlike most modern films, The Conjuring doesn’t try too hard. Theres no window dressing or useless frills; no assaultive shock-value or cheap thrills; no bullshit paranormal mumbo-jumbo – just an unassuming but astonishing story that feels completely genuine every second of the experience. Of course there are moments sprinkled throughout the film that make you jump, but they’re natural without ever being obvious. And The Conjuring certainly doesn’t tone down the creepiness factor, but it never seems forced.

This is basically a throwback film in that it doesn’t rely on gimmicks, illogical horror, or gratuitous violence. Instead, The Conjuring commits to quality of story and just the perfect amount of suspense to seamlessly lead you down the same terrifying path of no return the Perron family is forced to endure. You share their anguish, feel their indescribably damaging and hopeless terror, and suffer every excruciating second along with them. But this film succeeds where so many others fail because it rises above the nonsense and makes you a true believer. I don’t think I spent a single moment questioning either its authenticity or plausibility.

The Conjuring is just very good filmmaking – possibly great. Certainly it is near the top of its genre. This is a must see, and well worth the trip to the theatre. This is what “the movies” are all about.
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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.

Definitely Kinda Sorta

I have a problem. I’ve captured video of some thingy that travels unpredictably, is incredibly fast, changes shapes, and casts its own very bright light. I recorded it during a private daytime investigation, so duh… It’s not a bug, flashlight, or car lights. Besides, no one was even in the building. But listen, I know what it’s not – I just don’t know what it is.

At first I was disappointed to see it a second time because that suggested a naturally recurring situation, but everything about it was completely different from the first one, so I labeled both of the anomalies as temporarily unexplainable. Likewise for the third, fourth, and fifth occurrences – each different, and each completely without sensible interpretation. However, by the time number six arrived, I was pretty jaded and with much chagrin, decided that I couldn’t accept any of them as paranormal. Into the proverbial trash with them all.

No, I had to re-evaluate. I knew eventually I would have to discredit the darn things because that’s my job, so I pushed it aside for later and moved on to the final video file. And there it was – number seven. This time, it was the shape and size of a bright orange baseball. I watched transfixed; spellbound and incredulous, as it moved up the stairs casting a soft, golden glow on the far wall of the stairwell. Basically, I just stared at the screen – fully awake and focused – watching it take the shape of a perfect orb, and slowly float away.

Wait. An orb? Oh Lord, not an orb! I don’t believe in orbs. Not even a little bit. In order for me to believe in an orb it would have to introduce itself verbally and sit in my hand while singing Handel’s Messiah and juggling. Orbs are never paranormal, dammit! And that’s final. But I dunno what this is! It was round just that once, which suggests I can probably avoid the word “orb,” so I’m calling it a light anomaly. But just because I don’t know what the phenomenon is, doesn’t mean I don’t know what I think, and I definitely kinda sorta don’t think it’s paranormal. Am I just being stubborn? I prefer prudent, cautious, and sensible, but if that’s so, then why does it feel so wrong? Well, it’s one of those things, right? Sometimes it doesn’t matter how unexplainable something appears to be, ya just can’t call it paranormal. Sometimes you just suck it up and try to muddle through.

But why? Am I actually going to ignore this just because it’s an orb? I could have been wrong all these years. Orbs might actually be paranormal. Not the silly ones that supposedly have faces and only happen at the exact same moment as lens flare, of course, but what kind of investigator refuses to recognize evidence just because it differs from his “other” world view? Either this is real or it isn’t – there’s no middle ground here. But an orb? Sigh… I’d have preferred a tap dancing T-Rex.

Well, I’ll be okay – don’t worry about me. I’ll just do a lot of shoulder shrugging and say things like, “I dunno what it is. What do you think?” My reputation will stay in tact; my credibility will come back. There’s nothing to fret about because it is sooo not an orb, but then what is it? Okay, I know. I get it! It’s a light anomaly, and there’s an explanation out there somewhere. I’ll figure it out. Geeez… Why me?
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Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/

Is That All There Is?

Let me just say that nothing in my life can ever communicate the adoration that comes with knowing my children, and that the impact their very existence has made can never be equalled. That said, I’ve been blessed to have done a great many other things during my time on this planet and plane. I’ve been a rose-grower, janitor, art director, web designer, a professional photographer, and even a musician – briefly. These are the tip of the iceberg. I was once fired from a detective agency because my voice wasn’t “sweet enough” when I answered the phone. I wrote a song that was stolen by a famous artist (don’t ask – I won’t tell).

I demonstrated for civil rights and against the Vietnam War, was hired to film Richard Nixon at a funeral, and saw both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones live. Janis Joplin and Ravi Shankaar as well. I actually had a “real” ticket to Woodstock, which I gave away. I helped occupy my college administration building in 1969, have been robbed at gunpoint twice, been punched in the face for looking “Jewish,” and I legally challenged and beat the draft. I was offered the job of lead sound engineer on a tour with Sly and the Family Stone, which I turned down. I put everything I owned in a VW microbus and moved to LA. Six months later, tail between my legs, I drove back in a first generation, 2-cylinder Honda car.

I have six fantastic children, six grandchildren, and my parents turned out to be right on most things. I play guitar, some keyboard, harmonica, and (shudder) accordion. I believe in both God and Jesus, but can not over-emphasize the intense spiritual catharsis I experienced reading the Bagivad Gita and The Upanishads. And still, we’re only touching the surface. All of these things are just what came to mind, and don’t even begin to indicate what a full and diverse life I feel I’ve had. I’m not finished yet – there’s still much more to experience. I see what comes my way as gifts, and I do not intend to waste them.

Outside of the personal relationships, none of this has come close to the life affirming revelation of hearing from the afterlife through EVP. Things paranormal seem to have somehow touched every sub-atomic spec of reality within me; taught me how to begin filling the gaps in living; allowed me to intellectually fathom the potential in eternity. Something just happened to me the day I truly realized that EVP was like hearing from the hereafter. It was as though nothing else could ever matter quite as much. Since then, for me, nothing else has so completely articulated the essence of humanity.

One single voice from beyond trumps every experience in a heartbeat. It teaches us that life is forever, and that the diversity of it proves every second of effort to be of tremendous value. Knowing that life continues ought to enhance our souls, and for me, it bestows new and significant ambition to the concept of our time on earth. A true believer in Chaos Theory, I am convinced that everything we do simply leads to the next, and that an eternity of living promises is nothing less than spectacular. A little melodramatic? Arrogant? Too much over too little? An EVP-crazed lunatic? Probably, but like I said at the beginning, I feel blessed, so a little passion seems in order. For those who live life and wonder “if that’s all there is,” my answer is always a resounding “Hell no!” You’ve only just started. All we have to do is listen.
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Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/