When it Happens…

So, seen any ghosts lately? Do apparitions seek you out like a Jehovah’s Witness on a road trip? Or are you honestly more like the rest of us, because the dead do not usually line up single file waiting to make an appearance. In fact, I don’t need a hand on which to count the number of verifiable full-bodied apparitions I’ve seen, because I’ve never seen one.

I can’t even guess how many bonafide paranormal investigations I’ve participated in – there have been more than enough opportunities, and fortunately, I’ve witnessed all kinds of crazy stuff. There have been a bunch of black shadows, and even a couple of free-floating, light emitting orbs. I don’t usually even believe in orbs, but there they were. I’ve seen rods, light anomalies, mists, and God knows what else, but never anything that even resembled a human form. Well, We recorded something on video once, but that’s just not the same as an honest to goodness face-to-face, right? It’s great evidence, but it really doesn’t count if you’re not in the same room sharing some eye contact.

Don’t get me wrong. I totally believe those of you who lay claim to such “full-bodied” encounters. If you’re one of those (and I will know if you’re lying), you have my undivided attention – you’ve witnessed the paranormal holy grail. And I recognize that these things happen often enough to warrant investigation, which is why I happily hook up so many cameras, meters, and other recording devices in people’s houses and businesses. Infrared, full-spectrum, thermal – I’ll look with my eyes closed if it will work. I’ll do hand stands if that’s what it takes. I’ll shiver alone in cold, total darkness and talk out loud like an idiot to who or whatever will listen. I’ll beg to be touched; I’ll ask the absolute dumbest questions; I’ll suggest they roll a ball, spin a pinwheel, or suck the energy out of every battery I have. Once, I even promised to do a tap dance routine if someone would appear before me. It’s probably best for all concerned that they didn’t.

I’ve done all of this and more, and yet, no other-worldly specter has ever assembled into human form before me. It’s a very rare event, you know. It’s so rare, that barely a hand-full of such encounters can actually be verified. When you consider the number of people who are out there looking, it’s pretty amazing we haven’t seen more of them. I mean, we can hear them fairly easily; record them in a variety of shapes and dispositions; interact with them in a dozen different ways, but to actually see a for real ghost is spectacularly and extraordinarily uncommon. It is therefore, highly unlikely.

Spirits just don’t parade through thin air. I’m sure they have other, more important stuff to do. What makes us think grandma is going to get all gussied up and make an appearance at the family Christmas party? Why should the burn victim appear at the site of the accident? Do we really think good King Whatshisname is still rumbling through the castle moaning over the loss of his beautiful wife Gwendolyn? Aren’t they reunited by now?

And yet… When it happens, there’s no mistaking it, is there? Because sometimes it does happen, and then everything changes. Suddenly, there’s a new outlook on life and death; questions are answered with heavy authority; doubts are erased, and common sense goes out the window. When it happens, there is nothing more important for awhile, and your priorities change a bit – maybe a lot. When it happens, your soul is touched, your psyche is forever altered, and you know without a doubt it was real – regardless of anything anyone else will say. You feel privy to a kind of eternal understanding that few humans ever experience. When it happens, it feels like divine information; like a peek through the most exclusive keyhole ever.

Pretty heady stuff, eh? But if you don’t feel any part of the above, then I should probably ask you again – seen any ghosts lately? Don’t worry, you’ll know.

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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

Enough Already!

I recently read an article about EVP on a website called Academia. I won’t mention any of the pertinent details because I can not justify providing even a smidgen of free publicity. Suffice it to say, while steeply couched in faux scientific reasoning, the theme of the article was to deny the existence of true EVP as paranormal artifacts. All the usual reasons were presented – rogue transmissions, misinterpreted sounds; even audio matrixing. And certainly, these are the usual suspects when researchers try to uncover the truth about a questionable EVP, but the article went two steps beyond the normal skeptic’s approach.

First, it “proved” that some investigators were hearing their own voices, and being so hellbent to hear from the dead, were unable to discern the truth of who was speaking. And second, the author used a very small sampling of paranormal teams in an anecdotal way to advance a poorly devised experiment upon which he would base all of his conclusions. He claimed to have reached out to each of the country’s almost 2,000 paranormal teams. Really? He found a national registry online (as if), and even though I have never heard of such a list, he stated that less than fifty teams professed interest in participating in his experiment. Regrettably, only four of them actually showed up for the festivities. However, in his mind, they were among the cream of the crop – highly respected and greatly proficient, so he was able to proceed. Of course, they were not the cream of any crop.

His experiment focused on mistakes and evidentiary disagreements between the four teams, and then pointed out how silly and hyper-suggestive they were when it came to analysis. He seemed to take great satisfaction from this and gloated quite a bit between the lines until, of course, he felt completely justified to declare the study of EVP as a waste of foolish time. Sources were listed, bibliographics noted – his “white paper” on the irrationality of people like me was all tied up with a confident bow.

Surprise surprise, he was writing on behalf of a national magazine for skeptics, although the article’s appearance on a site named Academia through me for a bit of a loop, but I guess his point of view was to be expected. I was still greatly disturbed by it. I was deeply bothered reading his unfair comments about my brothers and sisters in the field. No one knows any better than I about how abysmal a bad paranormal team can truly be – I have taken my fair share of potshots at them from my own bully pulpit, and probably will again. But I’ve always considered paranormal investigators the same as plumbers or doctors or whatever – some are great, most are okay, and some are God awful. Paranormal teams run the same gamut.

But it seemed personal with this writer, even though his vitriol was hidden between the scientific buzzwords and an air of superior mental acuity. At first, you weren’t sure where he would fall on the subject, but then… Slowly, and with the steady hand of a surgeon, he began to cut as deep as he could, resulting in the successful removal of EVP as a topic even worthy of discussion. In his mind, he had delivered the death blow – his logic unchallengeable, his clever manipulation of the subject quite superb, and his laser-like dissection of the field flawless and clean.

Now, if you’re still reading, you may know that I can be very hard on skeptics for their larceny of science and their fascistic attitudes toward the paranormal. But I don’t actually object to hearing skeptical opinions when good, solid scientific method rules the day. What I fail to understand is this “by any means necessary” approach applied to the task of discrediting any and all things paranormal.

Is it really necessary to resort to the extremes of lying and name calling? Must they question the sanity and intelligence of those who would disagree with them? And why publish a bogus paper in a site named Academia? Such a lofty name – I wonder what sort of credentials accompany such a high and mighty moniker.

I don’t really know where to go from here. Maybe I’m hurt – no one likes to feel that others see them as delusional – or worse. Maybe I’m outright insulted because the intensity of the hypocrisy was based on lies in order to accuse us of fakery and malpractice. Maybe I’m sad because it weakens my desire to share results and findings. Pearls before swine, ya know?. But I think I’m just tired of it. Enough already! They don’t appreciate our work. They attempt to despoil our credibility incessantly and refuse to view our evidence objectively. I’m tired of it! Not angry tired – I’m just over it. No more for me. You can color me gone from these kinds of people, and that’s a shame. We could have learned from one another – I always thought we would; that’s how it was explained to me in the beginning. We were all wrong though, weren’t we? That’s our biggest failure; our most significant mistake of all – thinking we all just wanted the truth.

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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.

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.

“I’m Here”

Sometimes I wonder why EVP comments are usually so lacking in substance. What happened to all those revealing descriptions of the afterlife I’ve been asking for? The voices never even hint at what it’s like to be a spirit. I’d like to know how it was to meet Jesus. Surely a word or two about that could settle a few discussions here in the physical world. Is there a Heaven? Hell? Maybe there’s somewhere in between! How about just a little explanation guys? Nothing too detailed; it’s not like I want to know all the best secrets – maybe just a few…

Problem is, after a decade of research, and several thousand bonafide EVP later, I’ve decided this is a distinctly closed-mouthed bunch – they’re not gonna lay it all out on a silver platter for the likes of me. Oh sure, once in a blue moon someone over there slips up – no one’s perfect, after all. Occasionally, they’ll say something really spiritually titillating and I’ll get all worked up and think I’m actually on to something, but they seldom verify; rarely repeat; never elaborate. It seems almost as though certain subjects are automatically off the table, so I guess I’ll just have to grin and bear it; keep trying.

You know, I’ve posed a great many significant questions to spirits over the years, so they’ve had a lot of splendid opportunities to spill the beans. Still, I think I’ve been able to learn a few things by piecing together hundreds of similar comments from who I think are different spirits – kind of like Family Feud. “We asked 100 ghosts what it’s like over there, and the number one answer is…” But whenever I get too deep, there’s usually complete silence, and it seems a bit rude.

I don’t want to take it personally – I assume no one else is being given the real skinny about the real deal, but it’s hard not to occasionally feel rejected after all this time. I thought they liked me, but then how does one know? Maybe it’s all so amazing that I couldn’t handle the truth or even begin to comprehend it. They could be doing me a favor. Or perhaps there just aren’t adequate words to even offer explanations. It’s difficult enough to describe a butterfly, so astral travel must be a bitch to get a handle on. Or, maybe they just don’t know anything. Like us, they’re just where they are and the mysteries keep confounding, and the number of puzzle pieces keep growing.

I mean, we’re about as sophisticated as any generation on earth has ever been and we still aren’t completely positive we’re even actually here. We’ve been struggling with the concept of existence since the very beginning, so it’s quite possible they suffer a similar fate of cluelessness. Also, we tend to think spirits are tuned-in to the true wonders of pretty much everything, but maybe not. Some of us even assume we go straight to heaven and everlasting communion with God, but for all we know, there’s yet another entire lifetime of some sort to endure. Maybe several – each markedly different than our current state, but still nowhere near the realm of understanding. It just might be that a spirit’s answer to all our substantive questions would be as vague and inadequate as our own.

I once asked a spirit where he was. I expected him to say he was in Heaven, or the fourth astral plane, in the attic, or something dynamic, bazaar, and spectacular. But his answer was more revealing, I think, and infinitely more fascinating. “I’m here,” is all he said. Of course I don’t know where “here” is, and there are a bunch of ways one could interpret the comment, but maybe none of it matters anyway. “I’m here” kinda speaks volumes if you really take the time to think about it. And well… I’m here too, friend, and I don’t know how else to put it either. I wonder if anyone ever will.

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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.

Mackenzie is Sensitive

People are way too sensitive these days. I’m not talking about emotional reactions – I’m talking about the increased sensitivity to all things paranormal. I’m pretty sure there is now a sensitive on every corner. There are a couple in my neighborhood, in fact. “Oh! You’re a ghost hunter? You should talk to my Mackenzie – she’s a medium.” Really? The woman I hear screeching her kid’s name every evening at dinner time is a medium? The one in the too tight Ravens sweat pants; drives a Fiesta; the den mother of Troop 732? That Mackenzie? “Yeah! She communicates with her dead relatives all the time.”

Sure, but don’t we all? I talk to mine religiously – in the shower, washing socks, cutting the lawn… And sometimes, I swear, I think they answer, but I’m just not a sensitive. These neo-mystics are like 7/Elevens. They’re everywhere. The world is lousy with people who either commiserate with the deceased, get temporarily possessed, see phantoms in the corner, or burn sage literally everywhere. A chill in the air means a spirit has passed through them; a blowing curtain means grandma is visiting; misplaced keys are the handiwork of a playful poltergeist, and djinn are stealing the petty cash. Shadows in the hall have nothing to do with the dog and a night light – Mackenzie knows better. Mackenzie is sensitive.

Sometimes a paranormal researcher magically develops sensitivity. Where once was a good investigator is now an emotional volcano who already knows where all the spirits are hiding as she (he) offers her body so they can talk directly through her. I just wanna be there when one of them actually takes her up on it. Oh to be a fly on the wall of the afterlife for that! Talk about something being worth the price of admission!

When you think about it though, it’s pretty cool having a genuine sensitive at your beck and call. I should go to more neighborhood functions and make the rounds. Get as much advice as I can; improve my portfolio; rid my house of evil spirits. I don’t know, there must be something. Unfortunately, my initial reaction is to avoid these folks, and I’m very good at disappearing quickly. I don’t really want my future revealed over barbecue. I don’t understand why I need to “hang in there.” It’s good to know things will get better soon, but I thought everything was fine!

It’s a shame really. I’ve worked with real mediums before, you know. I can’t say they’re always spot on, but they have legitimate track records, and offer insight that coincides with evidence. They’re not a dime a dozen. It’s sad that their hard work and valuable contributions get so watered down by the likes of screechy Mackenzie and the metaphysical mavens of Essex Avenue.

Oh I know… I’m just no fun at all, but I truly don’t mean to be such a wet blanket. I just can’t help it, and I’d bet the entire farm I’m not the only one who feels this way. We’ve all had our run-ins with the occasional psychic correctness – I’ve predicted what will happen now and again; had a fleeting “feeling” that turned out to be right. I’ve definitely seen and heard things no one else did. It’s inevitable, really, but that no more makes me a sensitive than catching a foul ball makes me an athlete. It is also not a brief glimpse at my clairvoyant potential – no matter how hard I worked to develop it. I respect those who have the gift – I prefer my sensitives to be authentic, and I’m pleased as punch not to be one of them. I’ve got my own talents and skills; my own calling. That should be enough, don’t you think?
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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.

“I know it was real.”

Having just watched the film Heaven Is For Real, I was reminded of a conversation I had many years ago with a man who had his own near death experience. At the time, such things just seemed preposterous to me, and I’m now a little ashamed to admit that I was less than kind as I incessantly grilled him. I’ve forgotten most of what he claimed, but amazingly, this film seemed to unlock some of the details, and foremost among them were the words “I know it was real.” I can see him say them; picture the look in his eyes and the angst he was experiencing over my disbelief – an outright rejection with which he was probably accustomed.

Nevertheless, he was completely convinced that every second of the incident was accurate and profoundly true. Nothing could shake or even temper his faith – he knew “it was real.” As I said, I’ve forgotten most of the details, but I clearly remember that he claimed to have visited what he assumed was heaven and that he met several deceased family members; some who had passed before he was born. I also remember that his time was brief there and that he knew he would be revived and returned to the living.

There’s not much you can make of such a tale, especially since these days science offers many convincing explanations that would quickly label the experience an honest hallucination. But the fact is that he had indeed died on an operating table and was gone for several minutes due to an unsuspected issue with the anesthesia. God only knows the kinds of dreamlike thoughts that might occur under anesthesia, and how can we possibly be certain the so-called NDE coincided with the actual moments of temporary death?

My own “NDE” was a total non-event. In fact, my description of flatlining was that of complete and utter nothingness. Since I was not under anesthesia, it does seem very convincing that his “hallucination” was the result of mind altering drugs, while I experienced the real thing. Regardless, I have stated before on this blog that I was aware of my nothingness – a much more difficult experience to describe than a trip through heaven with the family. And yet, no one questions my story. For the most part, people listen intently and then go on about their business. In fact, I have yet to hear a single expression of doubt from anyone, and most people find it interesting.

I guess it’s just easier to see the expressive near death experience as an explainable occurrence based on the right amounts of imagination, brain activity, and drugs. Typically, many of us prefer our real life to be understandable and wholly predictable. Anything else is just too far out for acceptance, and almost any natural explanation is more tolerable than something other-worldly. But “I know it was real,” he said – clear as a bell, and full of confidence, and now, ten thousand EVP later, I find it almost impossible to doubt a single word of the story.

Surely, if I can listen to EVP voices from beyond the veil, the idea of an NDE that can be cogently described is not so farfetched. The notion that we are occasionally chosen to gain momentary and limited access to the next plane seems like an obvious no-brainer to me now, and I owe that guy an apology, I think. But no amount of disbelief from others could alter his resolve then, so I would guess he still stridently believes. Time doesn’t seem to remove the life-altering impact of a near death experience; I’m sure he still knows “it was real.” He’d better. I would think the dangers inherent in denying such a gift might be immense. I certainly wouldn’t do it – no matter how crazy it sounded. Would you?
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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.

Persistence of Ordinary

The house is on the small side. Nothing special or worthy of note, save the persistence of ordinary. It is clean and well taken care of, and while there are signs of improvements “waiting in the wings,” there’s no sign of neglect. So, the house is nice and pleasant enough – its vibe is normal and average. Wealthy folk have never lived there, and never would, but there is a kind of gentle opulence.

In death there are no wealthy; no landed gentry – just as there are no poor or in-firmed. In death we are more similar, and there is a strong possibility and every indication that spirits visit this house. Sometimes there are “situations” that challenge the people who live there, because things happen which probably should not. At the very least, there are experiences which defy the obvious explanations, or suggests more than meets the eye must surely be afoot. Sometimes, the family just can not understand, and every once in awhile they are afraid.

The oddities which occur do not discriminate; they show no preference or madness of method; they happen when they do, defying predictability and the comfort of something expected. When a cheerful and warm morning sun bursts through the window blinds or especially in the dead of night, it is surely spirit which comes. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it is misunderstood normality – someone visits. There have been voices, and movement, and things from just outside the periphery – a cloud of occasional darkness that confronts the regular. Always subtle at first, occurrences crescendo simply because they cannot be explained. This syndrome of presence screams in its silence and becomes overwhelming by the very fact of its continuance. This is not the stuff of movies – no one is ever harmed, but this is a true horror story because no one knows why. Or who. Or how.

Most of the time, they manage to forget. Or maybe it is that they choose not to remember, because life goes on. People eat; they shower and watch favorite shows or rented movies. They entertain occasionally, splurge occasionally – they plan vacations, make grocery lists, call the plumber – occasionally. They do what we all do, and much the same as we all do it. It is only when they least expect it, and when all things point elsewhere, that their lives are touched by something else.

We might say there is a haunting. We may even think they live horrific lives cloistered within walls of terror, locked in alone with God knows what or who. At the very least, we are not envious, and would not welcome the ordeal they must surely be courageously surviving. But that’s not how it is – they recognize and adjust; make the most of things, and frequently embrace it as though part of the mortgage, or paint on the walls. They’ve even been known to laugh about it, and yet no matter how accepting they are, this will always be too far away from their senses. It will never be relatable; will always seem invasive – like something they must endure. It feels like penance, and it’s all too foreign; distracting. They are the living and do “living” things, so they are finally weary, and it is time for things to change.

So, one day it just stopped. Probably not because some steel-trap-minded investigator came and rummaged through their list of symptoms. Not because a medium sent someone to the light or arrogantly attempted to explain the impact of death to the dead. Not because sage was burned or Holy Water sprinkled. It is over because this was a symbiotic relationship, so simple communication did the deed. Sometimes reasonable people just find a way to work things out, and it doesn’t matter whether they’re “dead” or alive. For all we know, spirit is still there, where it probably belongs – but hiding, since the deeper truth is unimportant here. Regardless, the persistence of ordinary continues, even if we think we know better.
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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.

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.
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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 Ghost Story

So here’s a story for you. I guess it’s more of a claim because, as luck would have it, there’s not a shred of evidence in support. So, let’s call it a yarn instead. A tall tale but a short saga – something destined to thrive around campfires and office water coolers. Conversational filler – a ghost story, if you will, and a relatively lame one at that. Unlike most ghost stories there’s no high drama or suspenseful crescendo here – no one is frightened by gruesome goings-on or unspeakable horrors. A typical ghost story is movie worthy in the right hands, and touches that certain spot in our psyche. Real ghost stories have the popular gene.

Not this one. This one is casual by comparison, and actually fits a realistic model, because like most true paranormal experiences, the event happens quickly, and then it’s gone. Advance warnings don’t often accompany the real thing; no fanfare when they’re over. There’s nothing extraneous, and this ghost story is unpretentious and timid as well. That’s probably why I believe it – in and out with a flash; gone in the blink of an eye; poof, like a wisp of winter wind.

So… The man sat on the sofa where he always does, directly across from a glass fireplace cover, and stares at his own reflection. After only a few seconds, he notices a line of thick white mist dart in front of him, stop to his right, and reform in the shape and size of a seated, human torso on the sofa next to him. He looks, nothing is there, and two seconds later the reflection fades and is gone. The story is over. The event is accomplished in less time than it takes to read about it. There’s no lingering trace; no source capable of creating the mist, and no changes in the environment are evident. He doesn’t know what to think. He wasn’t sleeping, day dreaming, or suffering a psychotic break. There were no hallucinatory medications involved, no surface reflections, changes in the temperature, or other people present.

But if this is a ghost story, where are the howling banshees and red-eyed demons? What about menacing shadows and thick black masses? Can we have a little ectoplasm at least? What could possibly cause such a thing? So atypical – such a non-grisly, benign, and almost poetic expression of spiritual transformation – as graceful as a breath.

Most of us already doubt the tale. There’s always a viable explanation for such things; our crime is usually one of distraction – something was missed. Perhaps he wasn’t as observant as he claims, or is predisposed to seeing such things. Possibly he made it up. Certainly, we can’t label every strange occurrence as something paranormal – most probably he made a mistake, his senses in err. After all, without a witness, and so little else to go on, it would be irresponsible and wrong to accept this tale as accurate – it simply could not have happened as he described it. But if it happened to you?

I’ve seen all kinds of things that are unexplainable. I’m convinced that I’m not easily flustered, fooled, or bamboozled, and I try very hard to approach such things intelligently. Still, this will always be one more tall tale of the unexplained, and I don’t know how to argue against that. But again I ask, what if it happened to you? It’s always a little different then, isn’t it? Never a question of veracity, observational skills, or mental acuity. When it happens to you, it may be confounding, but it’s always real. We reserve our best skepticism and our categorical invalidation for others.

We love to find the answer, debunk the magic, and disprove the outrageous. With all of that going on, there’s precious little time for acceptance; no room for awe – certainly not enough to understand this spec of a ghost story. Unless it happened to us. Oh well, it is what it is, right, but I always wonder if it just might 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.

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.

Two!

About a week ago, The Voices Blog quietly celebrated a birthday. It’s been two years since I wrote my first entry and waited pensively to see if anyone would read it. I think if you had asked me then how many people would still be paying attention two years later, I might have suggested it would be a terrible flop and that my singular follower would probably stop actually reading in a few weeks. Well, this blog won’t be breaking any records, but I’m grateful to have exceeded “one” of you, and I’m thrilled every time someone clicks “like.” Everyone wants to be liked, right?

I haven’t strayed too much from my original plans for the blog – once in awhile, maybe. No one is perfect, and sometimes the temptation is just too strong to resist, but I’ve only gone on one political rant. I count that as a major personal victory, because I surmise the rest of you aren’t here for the party polemics. I’ve also only talked about purely personal things a few times – my vacation, time management issues – stuff like that. I’ve tried to write about subjects that are important to me as they relate to the paranormal – to the art of investigation, or the wonder of EVP; perhaps a ghost story or two; occasional humor. I feel successful in that regard, so please, feel free not to burst the bubble with comments accentuating the obvious flaws in my self-analysis.

But after two years, I recognize there are subjects I haven’t touched on as yet that could possibly be of some value to others. Maybe. You probably realize that I’m about to share some of those with you now. So here are ten things I wanted to write about but for one reason or another, decided against. Keep in mind that I resisted the temptation and deserve points for doing so.

1. Why I believe a paranormal team without women is doomed and a stupid idea.
2. If one more medium tells me I am being followed by an Indian Guide, I’m gonna have them scalped. It’s always a Native American with a wolf and he’s very wise and… Sigh. Stop!
3. Is “the paranormal” just another religion?
4. TV ghost shows are not training manuals for good investigations.
5. Why I am convinced that Ouija boards (and similar practices) are dangerous – even if nothing happens.
6. Some Christians should stop abusing scripture as a means to their own selfish ends and refrain from calling themselves Christians altogether. Somewhere in their new name should be one of the following words: film-flam, malarky, hooey, bunkum, poppycock, drivel, or bull.
7. Science, religion, and paranormal research are just different points of view on the same subject. There should be more listening; less evangelizing.
8. Is there sex in the afterlife? Do spirits procreate?
9. What I really think of The Ghost Box and other advanced forms of TransCommunication.
10. Why we will never find the answers to any of our “paranormal” questions.

My list actually exceeds ten by quite a few. Maybe if you’re still reading after this, I’ll find the temerity to post about some of those, but these ten are off the table, thank God. I think the problem with blogs is that we assume other people care what we have to say, which is why I’ve tried so hard to police myself. So, I’m much obliged to those of you who have been so supportive these past two years. I hope you’ll keep coming around and that it’s not too punishing. You never know, I might just find the courage to tackle one of these taboo subjects someday – like those “new” Christians, or spirit propagation. Well, I’ll write something every 7 – 10 days regardless – I just hope it’s not boring or too typical. Thanks!
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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.

True Believer

I died last night. It’s the second time in three nights too. Of course, I was dreaming, but these are the only times I ever remember having a dream like that. My life wasn’t in danger – no one was chasing me; I wasn’t falling off a cliff; weapons were not involved. In each dream, I had already passed, and the events that transpired did so completely from within the afterlife. That’s kinda heavy, no? Imagine waking up from that!

There was this guy there who was somehow able to make things happen on the other side. (Think of the here and now as the other side.) He was a congenial guy, and quite happy in his little room with gadgets and dials and computers. He told me he could do all sorts of things that would “show up over there” and he asked me what he could do for me.

Being a newbie, I didn’t know exactly. EVP, perhaps? I recommended a particular investigator to speak to, but that was too predictable, he said – “let’s try something new.” His idea of “something new” was to post on social media, and see who responded. As you might imagine, several people did just that, and most of them were pretty annoyed about the whole thing. Pranking at the expense of a dead guy? Not funny. Just one person asked if I was speaking from beyond the grave, to which we promptly clicked the like button and answered “yes!” Then everything went completely dark, and we could no longer hold the connection.

Facebook flaming aside, my deceased mentor was thrilled with the success of his “something new,” but I woke up troubled. I opened my eyes with his last words firmly imprinted on my brain. “At least you found a true believer,” he said, and it appeared I had. It was 5:01, and I was very much alive, thank God, and highly focused on the idea of “a true believer.”

For those of us who involve ourselves within this paranormal circle, I wonder about the nature and levels of our belief. Since it’s not religion and therefore makes no promises, it seems reasonable that our paranormal belief would be highly conditional, but even so, it’s unlikely that any of us would surrender a single suspicion in the name of unbridled faith. Who among us can truthfully say they know beyond any shadow of doubt that the afterlife is real? And for those willing to make the claim, could they also accept something like my dream scenario as being possible? I doubt it. I certainly wouldn’t.

“But this was only a dream, Randy. You can’t base anything on a pair of stupid dreams, right?” Definitely not, but it has been bothering me that maybe the largest missing piece of the paranormal puzzle is our having the willingness to accept unconditionally. Mediums know because they engage in all sorts of spiritual cavorting. Some of them can see, hear, touch, and even smell spirits. Wouldn’t they qualify as true believers? The rest of us can’t even agree about the medium’s veracity, much less trust the message, but if we could… If we were actually able to relax all the walls around us, would the game change?

I don’t know. I think we’re probably doomed to forever distrust the most significant part of living – it’s certain continuance. I wonder if we will ever even come close to being able to grasp and understand the truth of such shrouded concepts as paranormal, ghost, and afterlife. We claim to need proof – evidence of unquestionable reality, and we seem so reasonable with that viewpoint, but the true believer wouldn’t care about such things. He or she would already know, so maybe they are our only best hope of meaningful signification. Maybe our only way toward legitimate progress is to follow the true believers into the veil. I don’t know. It was just a dream, after all, but sometimes the line between life and death seems so delicate and porous. As though at any moment, we will simply awake… But what then?
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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.