Need To Know

“I want to know. I need to know!”

And I wanted to agree, but I couldn’t. Even though I understood. It’s just that I’ve heard so many paranormal investigators utter those exact same words in the exact same manner – like a recording; like clones. Of course, this raises the question – “Exactly what is it you want to know?” And here’s where scenarios individualize, because we all want to know about different things. About the transition to the other side, perhaps, or what awaits us when we arrive. Some of us want nothing less than verifiable proof that the afterlife exists. Still others want to know if God is real, and if they’re being honest – the devil.

There are all kinds of things paranormal folks want to know because there are all kinds of things everyone wants to know. It’s normal, and we are all different in our enunciation of that normality. We are curious beings to say the least, and If any one of us thought we could discover even an insignificantly tiny truth about the afterlife, we’d be all over it. Paranormal people are just a little more driven by the prospect; just a little more intense about it; a little more… Well, the word “obsessed” does come to mind, but that can be a valuable state given the proper perspective. Wanting to know about something is good, but taking that next step to find the answer is great.

Unfortunately, the actual quote has a second sentence – “I need to know!” That’s when I abandon ship, because I do not need to know. I need to know what day of the week it is, I suppose, and where I live; what year this is; who are my parents. I really need to know where a bathroom is sometimes, and birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays, but all of these could be forever removed from the realm of my cognitive thought and life would continue relatively unfazed. I guess I don’t really need to know them after all, and I don’t need to know one single thing about the paranormal. Wanting is not needing.

In fact, the more I investigate, the more I think that if we really did know something; if we actually had some answers, we’d probably be unable to understand them. We may not even be capable of spotting truth when we see it. For all we know, everything is already out in the open and right in front of us – just waiting for us to catch up. When that great day finally arrives; when we finally catch up, it wouldn’t surprise me if all we’re able to rouse is fear. We’re already excellent at that. Are we evolved enough to actually grapple with eternal truths?

I don’t think we are, and so, I don’t have a need to know anything. I’m perfectly content to accept my spot on the evolutionary ladder, and try to make sense of the world around me to the best of my severely limited and questionable ability. The paranormal is a large part of life for me, and I’ll make every effort to assimilate what I see, hear and feel into my flawed understanding. I’ll try to make whatever sense of things I can, and accept that it may be beyond me. I’ll espouse some simplistic theories; force strong opinions instead of facts I don’t have; that no one does. I’ll have much to say, no doubt, and every once in awhile I may inadvertently confuse someone into thinking I know what I’m talking about. Which I don’t, of course.

But don’t you think we put too much on our own shoulders sometimes? Seeking the answers to paranormal questions is a crusade, of sorts, and it’s not a race. We’ll probably spend our whole lives trying to discover one accurate thing about it, and more than likely we’ll fail. I suppose here is where I valiantly promise to keep trying anyway. I’ll mean it too, but It won’t consume my life. No obsession. I’ll take what I’m given and be grateful for sure, because I really “want to know.” I just don’t need to.
____________________________________________________________________________
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.

Primrose Lane

Lately, I haven’t been commenting in much detail about the paranormal – I’ve been avoiding specifics as much as possible. I received a few emails from a listener of The Voices Podcast who suggested that those of us who share our research with “the public” are committing a great disservice. He suggested I was leading my listeners (and readers) down Primrose Lane; taking advantage of their vulnerability and the very human need to believe in something beyond the physical life.

At first, I just knew he was wrong, but then I began to think about it; really think about it, and I found myself shying away from the subject more than usual. I certainly don’t want to misrepresent anything – purposefully or not; don’t want to lead anyone in any direction, much less the wrong one. I despise people who use the paranormal to deceive or dishonestly profit at the expense of others, and I want no part of it. Period! And of course, I recognize that there’s more of that going on in the field than should be acceptable, so I have always tried my absolute best to be honest. I feel I succeed at that, but unfortunately, maybe not well enough. Certainly my letter-writing friend doesn’t think so, as he suggested my predilection for EVP is a negative and potentially harmful influence on those who might take it seriously.

Well, that woke me up. Take it seriously? Shucks, I’m one of those – I take it seriously. I was duly insulted and under normal circumstances I’d stridently mount a rousing defense, but his comments deserve consideration, and have therefore lingered with me since. The question arises as to whether anything suspected of paranormal origin should ever be investigated by anyone outside of a purely scientific or clinical background. After all, plumbers don’t diagnose an illness – we rely on medical science for that, where trained individuals make decisions based on facts and proven realities. We don’t allow the kid who delivers the pizza to set policy about our nuclear stockpile, or to negotiate treaties based on his “sense of things.”

There’s no Ph.D. in paranormal science; no established practicum for spirit communication. In fact, all we’ve got are a lot of folks like you and me, and I don’t know about you, but I’m just not sure of the final impact of my work. Am I a purveyor of false hope? Is every EVP I capture just one more exercise in sophistry? Is mankind better off knowing nothing until something can be proven? Since so much of what we do is based on an individual’s understanding of unsubstantiated theory, isn’t it possible we might offer no more than regurgitated folklore and potentially errant interpretations of ambiguous evidence?

I can deal with being wrong, because in the paranormal, most of us are, most of the time. But how does that help our clients? They assume we know what we’re doing; that we can identify their problem, and affect solutions. Can we? Or are we metaphorically firing in the dark in the hopes of hitting something – anything? And what is the collateral damage of our actions? I’ve seen the look in some client’s eyes – a kind of desperate hope that finally someone can help them, but is that what we’re doing?

I know that most of our hearts are in the right place; that the basis for our efforts come from a strong need to understand that which is unexplainable. But what if all the theories, ideas, and analytics are wrong? What if, out of thousands of possible answers, only those we’ve overlooked are accurate? Perhaps we’re unable to comprehend the truth, or too primitive to recognize it all around us. Good intentions or not, perhaps even our best efforts are doomed to become lies.

Personally, I think our need to believe in something beyond the physical life is at the core here, and if EVP give us the hope that existence can be everlasting, I don’t see a problem. If you object to that kind of hope; if you don’t want people to believe in an afterlife; if you think others should be quiet so that your point of view will prevail, then maybe you’re the problem – not me. But you almost had me there.
__________________________________________________________________________________
Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/
__________________________________________________________________________________
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.

Demons

You know, sometimes this paranormal world I’ve attached myself to really gets me frazzled. It’s difficult to put my finger on, but I’m frequently tempted to simply disappear from “the scene” – never to be heard from again. I don’t know where it comes from, or even why – I just know that it comes on me when I least expect it.

Everybody sees demons – maybe that’s where this originates. It’s an obvious exaggeration, but if everyone I’ve met who claimed to be besieged by demons actually was, I’d be hiding beneath the alter in a monastery. There’s a demon epidemic! And silly me, I have yet to meet one after all this time and all these investigations. I’m sans diablo, and frankly, I’m not sure how I feel about that. I hate being left out of things.

Or maybe it’s other investigators. Specifically, the photos of super cool paranormal groups threaten my lucidity. You know, the ones with creatures on their matching shirts and that “I’m a rock star look.” Rock stars in search of demons, no doubt. (See, they’re everywhere.) “Fred, remember that time you wrestled with Satan?” Now don’t smile. Click. I think I may have developed an inexplicable intolerance of useless posturing. It’s just that I keep wondering if these folks are good for the field, or whether they’re what’s wrong with it.

What a crappy attitude I have, right? But it might not be my fault entirely. Maybe the paranormal tv shows are a contributing factor. The Celebrity Ghostly Fear Encounters kind of show. You know, where everyday people are dragged into the Old Mill by the local Bad Boys from the previous paragraph? Or Famous Dave recalls his summers in the Adirondacks with a family of… demons? I especially love the one where the local soccer mom photographs an indistinguishable blob and proudly announces that she alone has “the proof that ghosts are real.” God bless her. Where’s a demon when you really need one?

I swear. If I hear the word “debunk” one more time this week… In fact, there are lots of words that really need to take a short sabbatical from my life. Too much orbs, footsteps, ghost boxes, poltergeists, evil entities, and feelings. If you’re inclined to suggest out loud, in my presence, that a spirit should “make himself known” to you, you may want to duck. You won’t have to debunk the origin of that flying Mel-meter. And I say it time and time again – stop yelling, the spirits can hear you!

So, okay – we’ve established that it’s my attitude at fault here. And I’m sorry! I’m probably just going through something. But I’m not gonna quit “the biz” and take up needlepoint or southwestern cooking. I guess I just need a break from the nonsense – including the demons. I know things will still be the same when my brain gets back – the Rock Stars will still be wrestling with Satan, Demonic Infestation Syndrome will still be running rampant, TV shows that used to serve as resources will remain stupid, and paranormal buzz words will rattle through my head like some possessed game of pong, but what the heck!

I’ll still have my EVP, right? I think they make more sense anyway, and they never even mention demons. What happened to good ole investigations? You know what I mean? Am I getting old?
______________________________________________________________________
Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/
______________________________________________________________________
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 a Calling

We all have things that keep us busy. Sometimes I cringe when the phone rings or groan when my message alert goes off. “I have too much to do for this nonsense!” But I absolutely adore “the call” for an upcoming investigation. I don’t know why exactly, because paranormal investigations are a lot of work. For me, that usually means an excess of 6 hours of video to watch, 3 hours of audio, assorted digital photos, Spirit Box recordings, and time lapse images. Reviewing all of these is definitely a task, and it eats away at my time-starved days, not to mention the incredible boredom built into the process.

So, then why do I love it? It’s not because my life is empty; I don’t need friends – I have children. I don’t lack intellectual stimulation, or crave new ways to occupy all the spare time I don’t have. There is precious little enjoyment watching hour after hour of static video, so the anticipation of seeing a ghost must keep me going, right? Nah. Been there, done that. So why do I drop everything and run off into the dark with a handful of equally insane people, lugging suitcases and camera bags, bottles of warm water, and enough cigarettes to kill me on the spot? Is boring the new fun?

This is a calling – that’s why. Just one of those things in life that I feel destined to do. Rain, shine, or ten feet of snow – I’ll be there if it’s at all humanly possible, and I won’t regret a single minute. It’s a calling. And not everyone who has tried paranormal investigation has been called. So, in case you were wondering whether you’re made of the right stuff, here are ten questions to ask yourself.

1. Are you concerned about missing the newest episode of Degrassi (or any TV show)?
2. Do you buy AAA batteries at the Dollar Store?
3. Do you see demons around every corner? (If so, go to church, and never come near a paranormal team.)
4. Can you differentiate between being “touched” and walking into a spider web?
5. You do realize spirits are the only ones allowed to whisper, right?
6. Do you still think EVP stands for electric voice people?
7. Did it take you six months to figure out that the ghost in your kitchen is the ice-maker?
8. Do you understand that the black shadow who follows you everywhere and who mimics your every move is actually you? (Hint: Don’t stand in front of light sources.)
9. Do you know what the words “personal hygiene” mean?
10. Are you one of those who thinks investigations require more of a party atmosphere – whenever possible?

Some of you may have additional questions, but these work for me. However, for those of us who feel this endeavor is actually a calling, there’s one permanent, universal necessity – behave like you’ve got some sense. That’s a little vague, I suppose, but if you think you’re prepared to handle paranormal investigation, common sense is the first prerequisite. I’ve met very few investigators I didn’t like, but I’ve met some who shouldn’t be there. Either way, if you’re called, you already know, regardless of where you buy those batteries.
______________________________________________________________________
Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/
______________________________________________________________________
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.
______________________________________________________________________
Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/
______________________________________________________________________
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.

Indisputably Worthless

It has been suggested that I write the occasional movie review here on The Voices Blog. Well, it’s true that once upon a time I knew everything there is to know about film, and since I have a BFA in Cinema, I still should, right? But over the years, all the knowledge has slowly drained from my brain into an amorphous lump of unfortunate drivel usually based solely on nothing more than what I like. Since quality is no longer a major concern, I’ve obviously become one of the “great unwashed.”

To help explain this… For me, The Walking Dead isn’t good because of camera angles or point of view; character development is of incidental importance. The rhythm of the editing is meaningless, the acting inconsequential, the special effects of secondary significance, and the underlying definition of the human condition is irrelevant. The Walking Dead is good because there are cool zombies and crazy people. You see? It’s taken a lot of years, but I’ve finally forgotten every last thing I learned in college. When they told me a college education would come in handy, I didn’t think there was an expiration date. It no longer comes in handy.

These days, my usual comments about the films I watch are so pedestrian and personally indulgent that I don’t even enjoy hearing my own opinions as I state them. So, in case you’re still not convinced, here are just ten of the reasons why my opinion on film is totally and indisputably worthless.

1. I have developed an intense hatred for slasher movies. Every time someone gets cut I have to look away. I usually turn to whomever I’m with and say, “This is just stupid. Do you like this crap?”
2. I think “2001: A Space Odyssey” is ground-breaking and seminal, and I still laugh at the instructions for using a zero gravity toilet.
3. When did Monty Python stop making movies? They were just getting the hang of it!
4. I liked “Mama.”
5. I’ve seen “That Thing You Do” 27 times, and I’m not ashamed of it. I want to tell you my favorite part, but it’s too embarrassing.
6. My favorite genre is alien movies. I like ghosts and demons too, but all it takes to get my money is a Gray in his birthday suit.
7. I couldn’t sit through an entire romantic comedy if my life depended on it. Lord save me! Doesn’t matter how much sleep I’ve had the night before, I’m bagging zzzz’s well before that fool decides he can’t live without her. Sometimes I even fall asleep with popcorn still in my mouth.
8. If Bruce Willis is in it, I’m there!
9. I have actually heard myself say, upon occasion, that Tom Cruse is a good actor. When you couple this with the Bruce Willis thing…
10. The whole Jack Sparrow persona still hasn’t gotten old for me.

Watching film is something I do incredibly well – probably because it’s so easy! I do a lot of it too, in one form or another – everything from television shows to movies to footage of my last investigation. I watch it on a big screen tv, iPad, computer, iPhone, and of course, in the theaters. If something has been immortalized on video, celluloid, or digitally mastered, I’m all about it and looking for a front row seat. Problem is, I might know what I like, but I’m no longer certain why. Fortunately, I haven’t lost all semblance of intelligent thought, because I’m smart enough not to attempt a movie review. I wonder what happened to me?
______________________________________________________________________
Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/
______________________________________________________________________
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.

Physical Evidence

For each of the last three investigations in which I have participated, I’ve returned home sporting a small bruise. Each has been almost identical – on the inside of my upper right arm, smaller than a dime, and circular in shape; very dark at first, but quick to disappear. Folks, these are not major bruises and there has been no pain, itching, burning, or other annoying irritation. (Thanks for your concern, though.) It’s mind-boggling, and I wish I had an explanation.

I’d have taken a photo, but it didn’t seem important until now – three times in a row seems to defy coincidence, doesn’t it? It’s such an unusual occurrence, to say the least, and one would think the investigator in me would have chosen to document it, but frankly, I feel a little silly even mentioning it. So before you jump out of your seat trying to be the first to insist that it’s not paranormal, relax! I’m making no such claims. It’s just so odd, though; doesn’t make a lick of sense; defies all logic, and there’s nothing to make me think it’s related to the esoteric portion of the investigations in question.

But hold on a second. I can’t seem to debunk the darn things. I don’t even know where to begin! It doesn’t come from a camera strap, the clothes I wore, close proximity to chemicals or fire, or the seat belt in my car (which I don’t wear, by the way because that’s just how I roll). I’m reasonably certain a disease is not involved, and the only consistent factor is a proximity with paranormal investigations. This lack of a credible explanation has me stumped, even if there is physical evidence. I don’t bruise easily – never have, so what ever could it be?

Well, some have suggested these bruises are the possible entry points of spirits attempting to temporarily possess me. Uh huh. If it weren’t for evidence discovered in analysis, you wouldn’t even know there was activity at these locations, so I don’t think spirits entered my body and left a bruise. And likewise, I don’t believe they represent a place where a spirit touched me. I also refuse to accept alien abduction as the culprit, or an ectoplasmic allergic reaction, over-exposure to electro-magnetic fields, an outward manifestation of fear, a warning from God, or radiation poisoning from Hell.

I suppose it could be psychosomatic, but logic suggests I’d have chosen something a little more dramatic. A cry for help? I doubt it. A latent need for attention? Please. My absolute favorite suggestion included my wife’s hair iron, a deep sleep, and her subconscious need to inflict revenge of some kind. I assure you, that’s not the case either. She may have good reason, but she’s not spiteful.

However, it did occur to me that this situation is very much like the paranormal in one overwhelmingly obvious way – it’s unexplainable and will probably remain so. Of course, I’ll be ready after the next investigation. Cameras, meters, and a crack team will be poised for installment number four, but I think we all know how it will go down. Much ado will be made and nothing will happen. Just when I’m primed, prepared, well-equipped and full of my “mature” version of youthful exuberance, nothing will show. Skeptics will suggest I made it up, team members will be supportive, and friends will be polite, but I bet these incidents stop at three. Sigh… Here we go again.
______________________________________________________________________
Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/
______________________________________________________________________
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
Theree Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.