So… Hush!

I haven’t written in this space for quite some time, but it wasn’t for lack of anything to say – I always have something to say. There just wasn’t any time. And you know that happens – one’s time often fills up quickly with important life issues, and before you know it, there’s none left. However, and I shudder to say it, maybe this has been a good thing.

I remember the mother of a childhood friend once saying, “no one cares what you think, Keller.” I was immediately slandered – who wouldn’t be, right? But it remained with me even to this day, and she actually wasn’t wrong. Who cares what I think about Donald Trump, for example? If you’re a supporter, contentious thoughts from me won’t convince you otherwise – more than likely, you’ll become even more entrenched. If I tell you about my belief in God, I’m sure your atheism will continue to flourish just the same. Do we really think our mediocre, everyday banter contains the stuff of greatness; with enough wisdom to move the masses? How many Delhi Llamas can there be, for God’s sake? 

It’s difficult to suggest that there’s a lesson to learn from this, but maybe we need to just keep our mouths shut more often. We seem almost consumed with the notion that there should be more and more people to agree with us – a constantly increasing, all-encompassing inter-galactic consensus. It’s become some kind of an imperative! As though the world itself will cease to exist if “the others” get their hands on it, and possibly that will one day be the case, but history is full of good and bad alike while “the others” were in charge, and we’re still here. There are some life issues that transcend simple opinion, of course – we need to take better care of the planet, one shouldn’t be cruel to animals, murder is bad… Hard to disagree with those, and we can all think of items to add to the list, but these never seem to be the burning passions of the day.

We follow all kinds of temporary mantras instead. Who gets a tax break, should we spend more money to feed the poor, bikinis are sinful, etc. etc. etc. And I’m willing to confess, I want everyone to get a tax break, most of my friends are poor, and bikinis are a clear public service. More and more, I’m leaving these kinds of issues alone. Maybe it’s old age, or a rapid and unexpected loss of electricity in my brain’s microtubules, but I like to think it has something to do with my friend’s mother – “no one cares what you think, Keller.”

I mean, do you? Do you really give a rat’s appendix what I pontificate about? Is your life so wanting that you hang on my every word? I’d be shocked if you did. Will your opinion be changing should I suddenly suggest that cannibalism is an accepted dietary alternative, or if I campaign on the virtues of war with Canada? I think not. You’re so much more intelligent than that! Perhaps you’ll listen with interest if I wax poetic about a subject in which I am proficient – EVP, for instance, but if you’re really smart, even then you’ll listen objectively and with a very large grain of salt.

So what am I saying, then? That we should all walk through life close-mouthed with nothing to say for ourselves, the state of the world, or the human condition? Of course not. I guess what I’m saying is when we do open those gaping caverns of verbal ambiguity, we might want to know going in that what we have to say isn’t so damn important. The compulsion to communicate our thoughts seems to have a greater potential for doing harm than anything else, and unless we relish embracing the dark side of The Force, we should be careful. If we don’t have something good to say, then… Oh geez – you know the rest of that sentence. Do I have to say it – it’s such an overused cliche! But isn’t it also quite true? So… Hush!

Returning to Sensibility

Sometimes, there can be a real problem separating actual life from one’s paranormal activities. When every day centers around pouring over evidence, before you know it the floors are filthy, and the bathroom has become a giant science experiment. Instead of taking care of business, huge chunks of precious time revolve around this cat and mouse game we have with the afterlife, and reality gets lost. It really has to stop.

Returning to sensibility isn’t always as easy as we might hope. It’s really boring staring at the infrared video of a chair for 8 hours, but it does beat the heck out of grocery shopping or paying the bills. Who cares if the dog hasn’t been out in a week, he’s smart – he’ll figure something out. Besides, there’s several hours of thermal footage to go over! One has to keep his priorities in order, right?

But at the end of the day, what do you really know about the afterlife anyway? I’ve always tried to learn something new each day, but if your entire consciousness is tied up in the evidence analysis of some tedious old house by the river outside of town, there’s a good chance the only thing you’ll learn is how quickly you can become sick and tired. I’ve tried to remedy that in any way possible, and even if the extent of my learning consists of nothing more than useless, non-paranormal facts, at least that’s something. For instance, did you know that Americans spend an average of two weeks a year on the toilet? Or that King Farouk of Egypt was a kleptomaniac who once stole Winston Churchill’s watch. I didn’t, but I do now, and I’m sure it’s useful information, no?

Human nature fascinates me more than most subjects, so I couldn’t resist a quick break from the monitor to watch a Science Channel special on the topic. Good thing too, because I didn’t learn a thing from my research, but I did learn that unbroken eye contact is not a sign of honesty, but a good clue that someone is lying instead. That’s kinda useful info, but how many of you knew that? Plus, people are more likely to lie when they’re in a hurry. Fascinating! Believe it or not, eight percent of Americans even lie on their resumes. You know who you are, but “holy honesty, Batman.” I thought more people were trustworthy than that.

Speaking of lying, it turns out that Olympic medalist Stella Walsh was considered one of the fastest female athletes of her time, until upon her death, she was discovered to have a penis. A penis! Not too much stock in Apple, or an infatuation with other people’s toes… She had (dare I say it again) a penis. And speaking of “those,” it seems that the CIA trades Viagra to aging Afghan warlords in exchange for information. I thought gentlemen weren’t supposed to tell.

See! It’s an interesting world, so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised at the amount of functional insanity that’s loose within it. Maybe that’s what drove me to paranormal studies in the first place – a little peace and quiet from all this exciting normalcy, though admittedly, I’d like to be able to say that all the hours spent scrutinizing paranormal evidence has taught me something more significant than mindless trivia. But alas, the living are every bit as intriguing as the dead. In 2013, a woman from Jonesboro, Arkansas, suspected of DUI, was arrested when she tried to flee police on a battery-powered toy truck after crashing her car. I challenge you to top that one with something paranormal. Ghosts are entertaining, but they can’t hold a candle to that poor soul.

Well, intriguing as mankind is, the one thing we don’t know anything about when it comes to the human experience is the afterlife. We guess and theorize, and we use our imaginations at every stop along the way but it’s been a very long journey, and we don’t actually know for sure where we’re going, much less which path to take. South Carolina police were once able to track a convenience store burglar right to his house by following a trail of Doritos. Too bad spirits don’t eat Doritos – we could sure use a break like that. Ah well, back to the video.

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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

Naive?

I’ve done my share of paranormal investigating, but I consider myself a simple EVP guy. Arguably, Electronic Voice Phenomena represent the best paranormal evidence we have so far – certainly the most prolific, and I don’t know an investigator who hasn’t captured at least one. This means I’ve got some company – there are more than a few EVP guys out there, and a lot of them are really good.

If there is competition among us, I’m not aware of it. Of course there are always those on the fringe who spend more time criticizing than they do gathering evidence, but serious EVP researchers would rather learn from one another. It’s generally understood that there are pioneers in the field who will always be set apart and held in high esteem – Sarah Estep and Constantine Raudive just to name two. Latter day masters such as Mark and Debbie Constantino deserve special recognition as well. There are others, but to a man (or woman), they would find competition among us to be a distasteful waste of effort and resources.

Debbie Constantino and I once spent ten minutes discussing the possibility of alien communication through EVP. She wasn’t entirely certain whether some of her results were from across the veil or across the galaxy. A controversial concept to be sure, but we were colleagues (of sorts), so the sharing of ideas was beneficial and desired. It was fun too! Debbie is no longer with us, sadly, but I cherished the few moments we shared. She and Mark are EVP heroes of mine, and I was blessed to have met them, but even more significantly, they treated me as an equal. I wasn’t, but they were encouraging and accepting just the same.

This is how it oughta be, right? After all, aren’t we all brothers and sisters-in-arms, sharing the same impossible quest? I was taught from the beginning that the most important thing about any investigation was to take care of my teammates. That was the prime directive, and there were occasions I needed to absolutely know I wasn’t alone. Evidence was a team matter as well. There was no place for individual accomplishments; never time for posturing; no expert opinions or unarguable ideas – the team spoke with one voice. It didn’t matter who captured the best EVP, or whose photo was the more convincing – it was a group thing and we were each “all in.”

Some of what I do now is outside the structure of that comforting team environment, but I often seek the input, opinions, and advice of those I trust. They are my safety net, and without them I think most of the joy in what I do would be gone. I need their candor and generosity, and I need to access the wealth of their knowledge and understanding. From time to time, they require the same of me.

Everything I have ever done in this field was inspired by others in some way. Not to recognize the value of keeping many counsels would be arrogant and foolish, but for some, these are utopian ideas. Naive. Instead, they withhold their most dynamic investigation evidence for their own edification; never share ideas or new methodologies. Being part of a team isn’t enough, and all too often, their rising stature in the field and aspirations of fame are far more important. There’s no room in the field for this, nor is the field so shallow as to allow self-aggrandizing and narrow-minded people to prosper for very long.

I mentioned some pretty lofty names a few paragraphs ago – folks who are held in the highest regard when it comes to EVP. People who kept no secrets; who shared every detail of their life’s work with anyone who wanted to know. People who understood the greatest value of paranormal research could be found in the hopeful benefit to all of mankind. They were inspirational, and their work powerfully broadened our ideas about the human condition; work for which they deserve great recognition and respect. Instead of basking in the glory, they persevered and they made us all feel that we too could contribute. And then they actually showed us how. Naive? I don’t think so.

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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

Paranormal Blasphemy

A spirit is supposed to be a soul that has moved along – gone toward the light, just like in the movies. Of course, that’s an over-simplification, but it’s close enough for horseshoes. This means that a ghost has decided, or has been forced, to stick around; has not been enticed by that pesky light – possibly the result of some unfinished business, confusion, or fear. There are a bunch more reasons that traditionally account for the presence of a ghost (more expedient simplifications), but the bottom line is that nobody can prove what happens when we die.

That said, it seems logical to me that most of us will also enter the next stage of our own existence considerably full of unfinished business, incredibly confused, and absolutely fearful. Being a somewhat religious person, I expect God to have that all taken care of, frankly. I can’t think of a single reason why He would allow us to wander aimlessly, lost and bewildered, without some kind of contingency plan. I mean, how would we even have a clue what to do – this whole death thing isn’t our idea, and instructions don’t come in “the box.” Logically, there must be some kind of orientation program already in place, right? A room with tables and pamphlets; some kind of tour, perhaps; a nice dinner with a dais of distinguished speakers – something. You don’t just throw the baby into the lake and hope he learns to swim before it’s too late.

I guess it’s possible that some of us are just too heinous and contrary to follow directions, but I honestly expect the creator of everything to have a plan for that too – one look at the universe convinces me He’s not sloppy about His business. Saying “no way, Lord” might fly here on earth, but that’s a far cry from acceptable when the disposition of eternal souls is at stake. So, maybe it’s some kind of punishment for the really nasty ones – a taste of Hell, possibly – let’s call it pre-damnation. 

But what about all those poor souls who are reluctantly lingering behind, yet do not seem deserving of eternal suffering? Held back by their despicable tormentors and forced to endure never-ending misery, are they then simply to be abandoned? Does God forsake them, adding to the despair and injustice they endured in life? Are they just stuck in-between – right next to those who cursed them in life? I’m not buying it. Life’s tough enough in the big city, and I’m counting on there being some relief in the hereafter. That’s not too much to ask or expect. If some miscreant is going to violate me, murder me, chop me up into little pieces, and feed what’s left of me to sea lions, I gotta think there’s some peace a comin’ when it’s finally over.

Even if you don’t believe in God, you have to admit there’s enough consistency and balance in the universe to call into question this notion of misguided souls wandering around haphazardly with no aim or end in sight. It seems like a flaw of monumental proportions – a flaw unbefitting a spectacle as grand and as finely tuned as our cosmos. Where’s the order and symmetry we take for granted? Where’s the universal justice – so perfect and complete that it allows for every probability and each eventuality? Except for this one? Nah.

“But you’re a paranormal investigator! This is paranormal blasphemy, son.” Nonsense. Paranormal researchers know better than anyone that there aren’t yet any answers. Our souls could become cream cheese or sand mites – we don’t know. Sure, we hear and see unexplainable things and we have tons of theories, not to mention the plethora of stories and tall tales we’ve contributed to the culture. There’s still more than enough to keep us interested. But this spiritual mayhem is beneath even us, so good luck if you think either your deity or nature itself is unable to come up with anything better than this kind of clumsy chaos. The reality may be a very hard truth to grasp, but whatever it is, there’s probably beauty and dignity involved – not this random desolation we champion so easily. We probably need to rethink some of this.

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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

Trained

Somebody once told me I was a good investigator. I wasn’t sure what his criteria were, but a compliment is a compliment, and I get so few these days that I figured a “thank you” was probably in order. What I said instead was, “I had a lot of help.” Truer words were never spoken – I was trained, preached at, dragged kicking and screaming, and beaten within an inch of my life. Well, maybe it wasn’t quite that dramatic, but I was most definitely trained. I was molded in the image of my mentor, BJ Moylan, and I can honestly say that almost everything I know about paranormal investigation is the result of working alongside him.

Needless to say, field research is also a unique learning experience, and your teammates are your lab partners in a very intense endeavor. You learn and grow from each individual you work with, and the prime directive is to always maintain one another’s health and safety. Teammates come first. It’s therefore certainly necessary to work well with others but trust in the team is of major import. So is knowing your stuff, and being able to cover every base in any situation. We read articles and books, watched documentaries and interviews. We studied everything from angelology to the behavior of djinn in the hopes of being ready for the impossible; wanting to know rather than guess.

Not everyone was interested in committing the time; usually they weren’t convinced it mattered enough to warrant such “overkill,” so they didn’t last long. My training included long and intense discussions, attention to nuance, a dedication to detail, and tons of what-if scenarios, but everything I ever did needed to start with education and a thorough understanding of what was true and what was in need of proving. None of us had all the answers, and we were trained to look for solutions in ways that exceeded the current normality. We were taught to look beyond the obvious and that every success was just a logical stepping stone to the next level. We needed to seek that next level.

We were organized and never began an investigation without a plan. Individual ideas were encouraged, but since our best strategies often needed to change in mid-course, we were trained to maintain focus. We were expected to be respectful and diligent in maintaining decorum and attitude, whether toward the living or the dead, but we were taught to always remain in charge no matter what. We had worked hard to become good investigators, and we never let go of the need to continue in our growth.

Fear was never an option, so there was no giving in to it. There’s never a reason to be afraid anyway, but in those rare moments of human frailty, we knew to bury our fear with strength and good decisions. When we entered a location, we were confident – we had been trained well, and were prepared, so while fear can come upon you without warning, we knew how to anchor ourselves in reality – to finish our jobs and deal with misgivings later.

I think I am a good investigator – I agree, but I’d be lost without the gentle guidance of others. Without their help and strong presence, I’d have never succeeded; would never have lasted. Sometimes even the smallest event looms very large when you’re in the field, and I still find myself gratefully remembering those moments all these years later. There’s no substitute for strong leadership or a willingness to learn, and I can still hear BJ’s calm advice during certain situations; still remember what I gained from all that training. 

Paranormal investigation may not be rocket science or advanced medicine, but it’s a worthy subject that deserves the best effort we have to give. I’m just glad someone was there to push me in the right direction; someone who instilled a culture of competence and common sense. I’m grateful for his spirit of generosity. I’m grateful to have learned from the best.

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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, Christmas

Ah, Christmas – a time traditionally associated with beginnings, salvation, and joy. But lately, I’ve been spending much of every day at the hospital, and with that comes a constant reminder of death – the anti-Christmas, and small doses of sadness. Death is a subject all paranormal researchers must deal with as we attempt to communicate with deceased human spirits. However, the deeper concept of death, with all its ramifications, is never too far away from any of us, and spending an appreciable amount of time at a hospital underscores the inevitability of it all.

But I have been finding myself more drawn to pre-death – those last few days or hours before the unavoidable sinks in and changes the subject forever. Fortunately, my own situation hasn’t reached that point, but my mother, the reason for my visits, might disagree. She told me yesterday that every time she settles in to sleep, she wonders if she’ll wake up again, and that sometimes, doing so confuses her – she isn’t always certain of where it is she awakes. I find that fascinating and can’t even imagine what it must be like, but it’s easy to recognize her courage. Facing that possibility with such accepting dignity is truly enviable, as she replaces fear and the disturbing prospect of non-existence with elegance and grace.

It is doubtful I’ll live to be 96 as she has. I’m beginning to contemplate my own demise even now, but almost as soon as the thought enters my mind, it is sidetracked by every day life and the immediacy of now. For her, what she sees as an inescapable passing is her now, and in some way, it consumes the majority of her thoughts. It’s difficult to ignore that two-ton elephant in the room, so I attempt to distract her with conversation and trips down Memory Lane, but all avenues return there sooner or later. The strange thing is, the medical powers-that-be are not predicting her demise at all. She, on the other hand, is certain of it.

This will be her first “no show” at the annual family festivities, and we’ll all miss her greatly, but I’ll visit her, so I guess there’s only so much complaining I can do. For some folks, the veil of death will not pass them by – their loved ones will be gone this year. For some, the hospital monitors will be silent; the strange beeping glow will go dark. Death will win this season, as it always does, and for some there will be no holiday celebrations – joyous spirits will forever be irreparably vandalized. I mourn their loss, and having come close, I also relate.

But now it’s Christmas, and I have only things for which to be thankful! Even just one more day is a blessing, and all indications suggest there will be many. So out with the “bah humbugs” and the “woe is me” attitude – this year I receive a gift of life. Death has decided to visit elsewhere.

Author Peg Bracken is reported to have said that “Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.” I think that must be right, because this year I have them both – what I do with them is up to me. In spite of death and the possibilities it provides; irrespective of the uncertainty of watching loved ones suffer; regardless of potential outcomes and probable certainties, this year the reaper passes us over, and all the stereotypes of the season seem real. I can’t be anything but overjoyed because I have my Christmas miracle. I truly hope each of you find your own. It’s out there, you know – just waiting to happen. When you least expect it. Ah, Christmas. Peace.
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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.

Even Pirates Have Integrity

Once upon a time, only a few years ago, I was a marginally respected member of the so-called paranormal community. People came to my book signings and waited patiently for me to write something personal and witty on the title page. I made a few dozen radio appearances and gave several lectures. People seemed to like my writing style, and I felt encouraged in my chosen direction. I was even asked to make an appearance on a national TV program once, which I turned down. I thought my integrity would come into question if I did the show, and no amount of fickle fame is worth one’s good reputation in this field.

Then, life happened. Things changed when almost out of nowhere, family matters became my main concern. They replaced the daily writing regimen, relentless hours of experimentation, late night radio interviews, and book signings. Still, people encouraged me to press on anyway and “bang out” a third book. Tempted is a better word, but I wouldn’t give in, because if I couldn’t do it right, I wouldn’t do it at all. Integrity had to be considered.

Most of us have our own very personal definition of integrity, and I would guess there are as many of those as there are people. Each one of us takes a stand on some kind of perceived principle and draws a line in the sand we refuse to cross. Doing so would be perilous to our self-respect, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, says, or does – we’re prepared and willing to stand valiantly and victoriously tall in our principle. After all, there is honor among thieves, people true to a hopeless cause, and religious martyrs. We’ve all heard “just the facts, ma’am,” and “do unto others,” and the unflinching cries of “never compromise” that all represent someone’s notion of integrity.

Personal integrity is often complicated by specific loyalties, one’s individual sense of responsibility, and large amounts of very intimate distinctions. No one appreciates having their integrity brought into question. You can make a pirate walk the plank without a whimper for almost any reason, but question his adherence to the pirate’s code and you’ve got an angry brigand on your hands. I’ve had my paranormal ethic questioned now and then, and you better believe my defense came fast and furious. After all, we spend the better part of a lifetime deciding where to draw those lines in the sand – it’s not likely we’ll allow others to question our sincerity so easily.

Unfortunately, humans just don’t often seem to understand that someone’s self-worth and decency is tied up in their concept of integrity. We’re convinced of our own resolve, but someone else’s? Not so much. I’ve run across a great many paranormal folks with whom I do not agree. I think their premises are based on faulty knowledge, their evidence is weak and suspect, and the conclusions they draw are suspiciously convenient. I’ve had those same things said of me – the only difference being that we each recognized our own integrity, while everyone else’s was questionable at best.

So, it seems the time has come to stop the nonsense. Thank God we’re all so different. It’s truly a blessing to be able to believe in the veracity of others; to not question their virtue simply because it differs from our own. There is not one commonly acceptable set of truths in the paranormal, so with such diversity must surely come an increased opportunity to learn. We should be taking advantage of that, not looking for the “gotcha” moment or laying ready to pounce at the first sign of deviation.

Our paranormal integrity should probably be simple and direct – honesty, and when called for, a willingness to be wrong. Maybe then we can get off each other’s backs and move this field forward to the place of reverence and dignity it deserves. Perhaps this current “paranormal craze” can finally move toward an enduring acceptability and be allowed to grow legitimately. There have always been respected researchers, you know, but with so many new participants, just imagine how much more we could accomplish together. Seems like a waste otherwise, and I think the question of integrity will probably take care of itself.
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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.

Complicated Creatures

Here’s a dream. I walk down the stairs to my mother’s basement, and there are two cots neatly made up. Each with brilliant white sheets and pillow cases; each with a bright red blanket – one is turned down. To the right and at the foot of the cots, my father sits in a brown leather chair. He is wearing a starched white shirt and an expensive-looking black suit. He is beaming at me and questions, “you don’t like me anymore?” Based on his expression, I take it as some kind of joke that I don’t understand, but I am also confused by his presence and the scene. Since my wife has entered the room, I answer, “Of course. We love you!”

He continues to smile, but my wife is looking for something and does not acknowledge either of us. I go to sit on the cot closest to him and notice two packs of cigarettes (my brand) and a white lighter on the small end table. When I look back at him, he laughs loudly and then we sit in silence – staring at each other for what feels like quite awhile. Eventually, I am distracted as my wife goes up the steps, but when I turn back around, he is gone. I am then alone in a very dark space – still sensing his presence even though I fear he is no longer there. “Dad, are you here?” There is no answer, and I awake.

I can remember every detail because it was one of those hyper-real dreams; the kind some folks say are actually visitations from the spirit of the person you dreamed about. I went over and over the events before I ultimately drifted back asleep – finally convincing myself that it was his way of saying that cigarettes were going to be the death of me; that I had made my bed and would lie in it – the other bed belonging to my deceased sister, a victim of lung cancer. I was certain my wife ignored us because she was unaware we were there – as if the deed was already done; a fete accompli, if you will.

I never pay very much attention to dreams even though they seem like the perfect vehicle through which to deliver important messages. Considering the immense difficulty we have in communicating with the other side, thought to thought through dreams seems like such a flawless method. In theory. However, I am reluctant to put too much stock in them – they seem such fragile nonsense. We jumble them, combine them, and remember them wrong, but once in awhile, a specific dream does stand out – it’s perceived message lingers.

So, did my father use this vague whimsy to visit me? I don’t know. Probably not. More than likely, something within me decided that smoking would do me in – that’s a sensible determination. Besides, I desperately want to quit and have tried almost every cure to no avail. I could have easily expressed my concern through a dream, and one’s deceased father is, after all, a memorable spokesperson. Predictably, the message stayed with me so much longer – indelibly.

On a personal level, I don’t actually need to know where dreams come from, nor do I actually care, if truth be known. I tend to accept things like this on whatever level they’re presented to me, but I enjoy the notion that my father’s spirit might have visited to provide potentially life-saving insight, so I’ll go with that. But every concept we have of spirit is collectively lacking, and since we really haven’t a clue, to think we do can only increase our ignorance and lessen our chance of ever truly understanding. I know enough to be satisfied with wondering.

But I ask again – do I think my father actually visited me in a dream? Well why not? It doesn’t matter if I really know the correct answer. It was just nice to see him again, and very comforting to think he is still able to care. And let me add, he was rocking that suit, but even better, he looked really healthy. That’s encouraging, you know. We are such complicated creatures.
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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.

Video Addendum – “It’s Been Emotional.”

For those of you (dear readers) who do not follow The Voices Podcast, this entry will hold little meaning. It is, in fact, a video addendum to episode 88 of the podcast, which was entitled “It’s Been Emotional.” During the broadcast, mention was made of this footage and it will definitely mean something to podcast listeners. However, I invite you all you watch anyway, and I encourage everyone to have an opinion.

Let me say at the outset, that the phenomenon recorded here is not a reflection, a shadow, or some light anomaly created by investigators, whether by accident or otherwise. It is not a malfunction of the camera or lens, and there has been no fakery. I am the only person who has handled, edited, or enhanced the video, so if you believe any of it has been manufactured, you’ll be accusing me directly. Rather, this video depicts something for which I have no explanation – nor can I conceive of any natural occurrence that could have caused it. It is therefore, something paranormal, because it is outside the realm of sensible explanation.

I do not claim this to be a spirit or ghost captured on video, although that does seem like a possibility based on the events that preceded it. I don’t know what it is, and I’ve never personally seen anything quite like it ever before. No EVP were captured during this small window of time, and there were no physical manifestations noticeable by anyone’s naked eye. For some reason, this showed up on camera without benefit of credentials. So, I ask you – what do you think it is?

Feel free to let me know your thoughts, and if you’re new to The Voices Podcast, I would encourage you to at least catch up on the backstory of this video before passing judgement.

http://goo.gl/1TFjCf
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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.

“Crazy!”

People sometimes think I’m crazy. That may be the wrong term – “out of my mind” sounds more palatable to me. “Insane!” is just unkind, don’t you think? Regardless, this is not how I see myself. But who knows. Maybe they’re right. Ever since I started looking into the paranormal, I’ve seen and heard things I never did before, so it’s conceivable that this might explain the madness which seems to have surreptitiously usurped my position as a pillar of the community. (Ah… The good ole days.)

I’ve read that the more you immerse yourself in the subject, the more frequently experiences occur, and I think that makes sense. If a spirit wants to be recognized, he really ought to appear to someone who isn’t afraid and who actually desires communication. Perhaps that’s why there’s been such an increase in the number of personal experiences I’ve had and have been able to record in recent years. I’m clearly available, so what the heck! Love the one you’re with, right? Besides, I may have unknowingly passed some kind of test to certify my status as a conduit.

Then again, perhaps I’m just convincing myself to see and hear these things because I want to, or worse, because I psychologically need to. In other words – crazy. (There’s that word again.) Flipped out. Off the deep end. Whacko. Two legs short of pajamas. Perhaps I’ve just gotten so involved in all this paranormal mumbo jumbo that good sense has left me, and these absurd events, which are obviously figments of a delirious imagination, seem as though they’re actually happening. Certainly, a cogent person wouldn’t talk about such things – he’d keep quiet and seek professional help as soon as possible. My own mother once said, “Randy, people don’t do these things! What’s happened to you?”

What’s happened indeed. Last night, unable to sleep, I saw a hint of purple diffused light coming from behind some clothes stacked on my wife’s dresser. It was only 6 feet away, and I watched the light slowly increase until it was a bright glowing purple ball of brilliant color. Before I could get to it, the light dimmed and disappeared. I literally leaped to my feet, to my wife’s vociferously expressed dismay, and began to search every inch of her dresser for the probable source. How’s that for crazy? There was nothing in the vicinity to explain it, as you may have already guessed, and so I sheepishly turned off the light and laid back down hoping to see it again. You see? Out of my mind.

Only a couple of weeks earlier, my big toe was touched. I swear to a God – my big toe. Not the shoulder; no stroking of the hair – someone touched my big toe, which was hanging out of the covers. I mean, who makes that up? Couldn’t it have been something dramatic or exciting? It’s not totally uncool, of course, but it just sounds like more craziness is afoot (pun intended). And I may seem to be playfully accepting of my lot, but it really disturbs me not to be completely and unconditionally believed. When you add full disclosure to this crisis of credibility, it looks even worse, so I ask you – what is this need paranormal investigators have for reporting everything that happens to them? And in such detail! What good has ever come from this sort of transparency?

I dunno what that stupid purple light was, but I’m not even concerned about it. It very well might have been my imagination, or I may in fact have been gloriously sound asleep, although you’d think a grown man would know whether he was awake or not. But I don’t care if it was an orb, a fairy in heat, or a full-blown flaming phantasm – I’m just doing my job by reporting it, so I guess you can think what you want. Call me whatever interesting synonym for “crazy” you care to. I can take it. For now, at least.
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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.

What Should We Expect?

Just exactly what should we expect from “the paranormal?” It’s fairly obvious that some of us expect to be thrilled or even frightened, and the larger questions of afterlife and spirituality go basically unnoticed. Others are looking for proof of something. Maybe validation for a belief in God or perhaps even an affirmation that a connection with deceased loved ones should be a reasonable hope. Still others have no idea what to expect from “the paranormal,” and I guess this is where I fall on the spectrum.

It’s always been my thought that the truly important items in one’s spiritual life are unprovable anyway, and that faith is the only productive path when dealing with thIs kind of unknown. But not just faith in God – faith in humanity as well, and in the strong, predictable continuance of life in the universe. I suppose there are better ways to say this, but very early in my “paranormal” studies, I stopped expecting specific experiences, and began looking for emotions. I figured that any hope of recognizable two-way communicatIon with spirit would require some kind of worthiness on my part. I thought the best way to do that was to be willing to understand and do my best to relate. If associating with me was to be of any value to “them,” it would have to come from what we have in common, not in how we differ – in our common humanity Instead; our emotions. I felt that I needed to find honest ways to go precisely there.

I don’t mention this to suggest that I’ve figured anything out, or that I might be a little smarter than everyone else. I haven’t, and I’m not. I’ve had 60+ years to realize that I’m fairly average in most areas, and my life decisions have been evenly divided between good and horrible. I’m not special, gifted, erudite, or unique, and since I have very few paranormal expectations, there are times when none of it makes any sense at all and defies even my wildest imagination.

I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if a spirit walked up to me in the grocery store and asked where to find the olive oil. It wouldn’t shock me to see one made of smoke form in the shape of my grandmother. Out of five very good pieces of video evidence I’ve captured, each one appears totally different. Based on that, I’d expect the next five to follow suit. Lord knows my experiences with EVP are even more diverse. They express everything from totally boring and uninspiring comments to wild eccentricity and downright craziness.

But sometimes, what we see and hear doesn’t quite fit the acceptable paranormal paradigm. So I wonder, who made up these rules that define paranormal phenomena? Who decided something unexplained can only be unexplained if it fits certain understood criteria? Who knows so much about the unknown that they can categorize, codify and label it. And the biggest question of all, why do we pay any attention to these “paranormal masterminds?”

So exactly what should we expect from “the paranormal?” How about anything and everything. How about “who knows?” We’ve had nothing but momentary glimpses into this unseen world; tiny little grains of knowledge which spawn only a suggestion of anything out of the ordinary – of an existence that would also logically have to surpass our own at every level. We have barely begun to scratch the surface – we’re still thinking about it, so are we really smug enough to presume we know anything for certain?

Well, it’s definitely not my place to tell you what to do or how to think. What you feel is your own business. As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t like broccoli you shouldn’t have to eat it, and if all your spirits come in neat little boxes, by all means, stack ’em high. You’ll forgive me if I do not. I may not have very many expectations of “the paranormal,” but I’m terrified of missing it when it happens. So, don’t tell me what to look for. Just let me tell you what I found.
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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.

Reverence for the Majesty

One of the more successful investigations I’ve ever been involved with took place at the end of August, and since it’s a private investigation, there’s only so much I can share right now. However, I can definitely change names to protect the innocent. Part of the reason I’m so thrilled with this endeavor over so many others requires some explaining, but anyone who has done this before can attest to the sad fact that paranormal investigation usually results in little or no evidence.

The team itself consisted of three investigators and a medium and we were tasked with covering a mid-sized commercial building. Now before I go on, let me just say that I do not generally like to investigate with mediums present. This should not be interpreted as a slight to the gifted, because I completely believe that there are those among us who have been blessed with mediumship. However, I personally find their vision to be highly distracting during an active investigation. I feel inhibited and find that I am less likely to pursue directions that seem significant to me – following their lead instead. I also find my attention to detail suffers, so I’d much rather not investigate in their presence.

The world does not revolve around me, however, so it seemed the better part of valor and a worthy challenge to suspend my own designs for the location and go with the flow. It wasn’t long before the medium related the tale of a young soldier who just so happened to be standing right next to me. For the next 45-60 minutes I took direction from the medium, followed his line of questioning, made the same assumptions he made, and behaved as if every word he spoke was both accurate and true. Turns out, it probably was.

EVP I managed to capture reinforced almost everything the medium related – the voices responded to both of us with cogent and clearly pertinent comments. When he mentioned that our soldier brought a date, there are EVP from a female to back it up. We learned a great deal about them both – how he was injured and passed away in the field during the Korean Conflict; that she was his nurse; that he was a Navy Commander. There were many other details – the young lady was particularly funny and endearing. And much of what they revealed to the medium was corroborated with EVP.

Very exciting, in my book, but thats not why I’m writing about it here. In addition to everything, there was video. On a regular old camcorder, something appears to be pouring out of my digital recorder as I’m holding it in my hand. Something that looks very much like you might assume energy would appear. It was very fluid – almost liquid-like. No, that’s not right. It was… Completely indescribable. Totally unexplainable. Every investigator present should have seen this as it happened – especially me since the recorder was in my hand, and yet, we saw nothing in real time. Still, the video is undeniable, and theres just nothing that can reasonably explain it.

This is truly one of the most uncharacteristic things I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, i can’t share it yet, but soon… I’ll post it here, and then the public doubt can begin. The skeptics and naysayers can assemble their best forced explanations and give it to me with both barrels blazing. But when you really stop to think about it, isn’t that what we want them to do? To doubt, and challenge their perceptions?

I’ll understand, because this video doesn’t look right; not your typical apparition or mist, and it behaves unpredictably from beginning to end. It doesn’t appear to be natural, but it isn’t predictably paranormal either. The phenomena is unexpected and unlike anything I’ve ever seen, but I wonder how I could possibly know what the paranormal is supposed to look like. All I know is that on a day in late August of 2014 it looked like this and may never look like that again, for all I know. This constant redefinition of what is most probably the simple “norm” never ceases to amaze me; emphasizes my ignorance, and instills a kind of reverence for the majesty of life’s intention. Continuance. That strikes me as really cool.
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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.

An End in Sight

I haven’t made an entry in this blog for a month now. I wish it was because of vacation, or due to some kind of wonderful life-affirming experience. Childbirth, perhaps, or a stint in Africa fighting the Ebola virus. But alas, we’re having our kitchen remodeled and who knew it would take this long. We were so full of hope; thrilled at the thought of finally realizing a dream, and it’s truly getting there. Or so I’m told.

Now, you may wonder why a simple remodel should hamper my ability to scribe 750 words once in awhile. Surely there’ve been paranormal investigations worthy of discussion during this time. Certainly, there have been interesting personal events I could have written about. I assure you, it’s not that I’ve been completely uninspired, because there are tons of subjects I’d like to talk about. I could have broken my “no politics” rule, or discussed the new fall television schedule… I could have shared something; done my duty as a “blogger”; created some fiction; told some tall tales. But no! I haven’t dared, and if truth be known, I haven’t given this blog, or anything else I hold dearly, even a moment’s thought. However, yesterday, while cutting the grass and listening to the Beatles White Album, I finally realized why I’ve been so quiet. (Thanks again, Fab Four.)

During the past month without a kitchen, I’ve endured more horrific assaults on my person than I would have thought was possible. You don’t want to write while your sensibilities are being bombarded non-stop. Just the simple act of searching for a salt shaker in hopes of adding some meager seasoning to a microwaveable dinner is enough deprecation to ruin several hours by itself. Who knew it would be inside the toaster oven, which was hidden between the box of plates and a large trash bag of potholders, aprons, and cutting boards. Likewise, I haven’t a clue as to the whereabouts of an entire case of microwave popcorn, or the donuts I bought last week that everyone else claims I imagined.

The box of plastic forks and spoons keeps moving on me – it’s never where I last saw it. I keep spilling the ice trays walking from the bathroom to the frig. And speaking of refrigerators, I could have written several blog entries about why we don’t keep them in the living room. Our house mouse, Socrates Swahili Strindberg, stuck his head out in confusion and has moved next door. And I shudder when I think of Oliver the dog, wandering the house aimlessly in search of his dish. In the end, he gave up, sighed heavily, and laid down defeated. Our robot vacuum has given up as well. It came out as programmed one Friday and stopped somewhere behind the sofa, which is blocked in by the stove and refrigerator. I half expected to find the salt shaker back there as well – hiding. On purpose. Oh! I almost forgot, someone tripped and fell on the box with our glasses inside. I won’t say who, but old age had nothing to do with it.

A month doesn’t seem like such a long time in someone’s lifetime, but it is. This month has been an eternity, but when you add the indignity of having cabinets arrive at the wrong size, drawers without stops, live exposed electrical wires in the wall, and a dented microwave/exhaust hood, it has become forever. Yesterday, two days from installation, we were informed that our granite slab has cracked, and we must choose another.

Is there an end in sight? One would hope so, and certainly I’m mustering every ounce of optimism I can find (even though I’m convinced most of that is behind the sofa with the robot). We’re all holding up quite well, considering, because we know that when the dust finally clears, we’ll have a beautiful kitchen that we’ll cherish for many years. (We’re not doing this again in my lifetime.) Yes, we’re stiff-upper-lipping it, and dealing with adversity like true DIY champs. We’re a few dollars poorer and have noticeably aged during the process, but it will all be worth it – we’re just hoping we can hold on long enough to actually see the finished project. Besides, tonight we’re going to TGIFridays instead of Boston Market. Or MacDonalds. Or Sonic. The first thing I’m gonna do when the kitchen is completed is make spaghetti. I’m pretty sure we’re storing the sauce under the bathroom sink.
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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 Recollection of Facts

Here’s a story for you. Recently, during one of my regular trips to Mom’s, she asked me to delete messages from her answering machine – something she was able to do as recently as last month, but has since forgotten. The fifth message originated at 7:57pm on Tuesday of the week before, and the usually very clear recording consisted of about ten seconds of strange static through which a voice was laboring to be heard. Unable to understand a word, I noted the date and time and pressed delete. The next message was the same, but this time, I tried to figure out what was being spoken. This time, the paranormal investigator woke up, and I spent several minutes playing it over and over. The message was recorded at 11:28am on Wednesday of the week before, and like the first one, bore a strong similarity to EVP I’ve recorded over the years. I am completely certain that a voice was attempting to form words.

Having noted the times, I proceeded with deleting messages and thought nothing more about it. That is, until my mother informed me several days later that she had received a phone call from herself. Apparently, while watching yet another episode of Law & Order, her phone rang, and across the bottom of the tv screen scrolled her own name and number. You can imagine how this might completely bewilder a 95 year old, and by the time she gathered her wits enough to reach for the receiver, it was too late. I, of course, did not believe her until I scrolled through the list of missed calls on the Caller-ID. And yes, she seems to have called herself twice – once at 7:57pm on Tuesday of the previous week, and again at 11:28am the following morning.

Those are the facts. Hopefully, you’ve noticed that the times and dates of the “homemade” calls corresponded exactly with those of the strange static-riddled messages. End of story – let the wild speculation begin! In fact, let me save you the trouble and start the ball rolling. It could be a telemarketing tool that prevents the Caller-ID feature from showing the proper number. After all, wouldn’t you be more inclined to answer a call from yourself? I would. Who wouldn’t? The poor quality of the recordings are probably the result of a bad connection. Or perhaps there was some kind of problem with the local 256 exchange station and the “wires got crossed” (to coin a phrase). Surely that could happen. That could also have messed with the sound quality.

But I bet you’re waiting for me to suggest something paranormal, aren’t you? Well, I have heard strange voices on the phone before – voices that definitely didn’t belong; that said very accurate and personal things. And I’ve recorded EVP on my own answering machine several times. They’re difficult to prove, of course, so I rarely mention them. They’re very random and therefore too unpredictable for experimentation, but I am definitely convinced that spirits use the phone, and since Mom doesn’t record for EVP, that seems like an effective alternative method of communication.

“But come on, dude – theres a reasonable, common sense explanation.” And I’m sure there is. It’s just that I’m fairly certain the second message said “Randy, where are you?” (I kinda left that out – writer’s prerogative.) Well, it is true that I’ve stopped recording at Mom’s house. It makes her uncomfortable and it’s been feeling a little stale anyway. Besides, these days we don’t sit and talk during my visits – I do stuff, run errands, and yell things into her hearing aids. It’s all very exhausting, actually, and man does not live by paranormal investigation alone, so… Still, maybe they miss me.

However, it occurs to me that personal paranormal experiences never provide indisputable proof. There’s always someone who can explain them away or chalk them up to coincidence. Even the purveyors of certified paranormal evidence must suffer the indignation of disbelief or the inevitable label of charlatanism. So, no – there won’t be any claims made about these two extremely rare phone calls. It’s just an interesting story – an accurate recollection of facts that used my name and made a request, which I do intend to honor. I’ll begin recording again at Mom’s, and I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes. I’ll ask them if they called, and who knows – they might even answer. Maybe i should ask them to call me back.
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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.

Welcome Home!

I’m certainly not the only person who does any traveling. In fact, we’re relatively pedestrian when it comes to seeing the world. However, our usual trips to the ocean, lake, or local tourist traps have been replaced with more adventurous excursions the past few years, and there are a great many “tips of the trade” I wish I had known from the beginning. For instance, an experienced traveler knows not to pack his phone and camera chargers in a checked bag. This little miscue cost me $90 worth of sundry cables, connectors, and extra batteries. An experienced traveler would also know better than to even attempt recovery from TSA, but I had no idea and wasted hours filling out forms, talking to idiots, arguing with liars, and trying to control my temper.

So, I thought since I haven’t done a top ten list in awhile, this would be the perfect subject to share with the world. I only hope this will reach you before it’s too late, and save you hours of grief and unwanted vacation stress. I call this list “Ten Things You Should Never Do Before, During or After a Vacation.” Keep in mind, the list consists of things that had yet to happen until this year’s trip on a seven day cruise to Bermuda.

1. Don’t let anyone use your car while you’re gone. It’s true that everyone will do their best to take good care of your pride and joy, but you could return to discover it’s been in two accidents. Not one. Two! (I still don’t understand it.)
2. Don’t forget to tell the bank you’re traveling. They’ll shut down your credit cards and you’ll be stuck telling a Cruise Director that you really do have the money. “Clean up on Deck 9.”
3. Don’t leave your things unattended on the beach. Several thousand dollars worth of camera equipment will be fine, but your umbrella will be long gone. Try explaining that to the attendant who has your $20 deposit.
4. Don’t forget to seek clarity when your bus driver says he’ll pick you up at the corner. There are many streets and many corners. Specificity is a must.
5. Don’t pack wet beach towels full of sand. It may deter TSA from doing a proper search, but you might also find them out of the plastic bag you meticulously packed them in. That being the case, everything in the luggage will be damp and smell like dead fish.
6. Don’t pack old underwear. The elastic won’t be sufficient and no matter how many weird gyrations you attempt, they’ll still wind up bunched halfway below your waist. Always pleasant while sitting on the steaming vinyl tour bus seat.
7. Don’t tell people not to call you on vacation. That will just encourage them. There seems to be no shortage of “really good reasons” to call once those roaming charges kick in. This is especially true if you’re overseas.
8. Don’t forget to run the garbage disposal before you leave. Inevitably, those you leave behind will be compelled to buy fruit-fly infested peaches that gleefully take up residence in the drain of your sink.
9. Don’t assume a squirrel won’t die on the porch while you’re gone. Definitely do assume that others will not dispose of the body no matter how decomposed it is. They’ll wait for you to return regardless of how bad it smells. “Welcome home!”
10. Don’t leave the bedroom door open while you’re gone. Your dog will miss you terribly and vomit all over the bedroom carpet. No one will bother to clean that up either.

Now I realize you are probably more experienced than we are, but the odds are that none of these things have happened to you – yet. Trust me – they will eventually rear their ugly heads if you’re not careful and very diligent. And yes, the dead squirrel smell lingers.
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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.