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.

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.

See For Yourself

The top deck of a cruise ship at night is not the place for inspiration on the paranormal or related topics. This is a blog about those subjects, and readers don’t come here for the travelogue. Nevertheless, the number of stars you can see in the middle of the ocean really is outrageously mesmerizing. It conjures a place inside of you where words don’t work but understanding is complete. All I could do was sit there, and I thought I was beginning to learn a little more about myself; about my work; about life – just from looking. Just being there awakened something within me and somehow the mysteries of the universe didn’t seem so mysterious. I felt privy to something, and it made me want to share with others, but even before I tried, I understood that it just wouldn’t communicate.

I was right, of course, but I had to try anyway. You almost have to even though you realize that an inevitably inadequate narrative will only cause others to interpret a kind of catharsis instead; a purification or cleansing – medicine for a hectic, over-wrought life. Others won’t be able to comprehend the depth of the experience – not without seeing it for themselves. It would just sound overly emotional; an imperative regurgitation of the horrors of modern life that must have been required to right a lost and fickle psyche. But that’s not it. In fact, that’s insufferable hogwash, but it’s not their fault – I opened that can of worms, and no one would even think of such things if I hadn’t tried to explain something unexplainable.

However, we can share the sensory aspects of the experience. After all, city folk don’t ever see this many stars, so we can talk about that. It’s also legitimate to toss around platitudes and panaceas like peaceful and breathtaking; astonishing and serene. If one is extremely brave, you can attempt to deal with the majesty of it all. Good luck getting that across, but don’t even try to explain the almost deafening mental stream-of-consciously suppressed religious thought that so much quiet grandeur awakens. Don’t try to explain how you can almost feel one with the universe. No one will get that from a description. Most folks will be polite, but they will definitely have to see it for themselves before anything you try to say will make sense.

“Wait! We are talking about the stars, right.” Yes. And no, because it’s really all about simply knowing; about awareness. The stars are purely the catalyst – the conjuror, if you will. They place you in resonance with everything; allow you to remember; make it possible to simply “know” once again; get in touch with your own existence – without doubt or questioning. You simply absorb the spectacle, and your soul rejoices in the liberation.

See! I told you it’s not something one can communicate very well. But actually, I do see a parallel with the paranormal – you can’t successfully communicate those encounters either. With or without evidence, a personal paranormal experience exceeds the boundaries of language, but it imprints your soul with certainty, and like the star field, it touches the center of your buried awareness. But again, you can’t explain the unexplainable.

I had to violate the rules to be on deck so high, so late. Had to walk past the velvet rope while pretending not to read the sign, and with each step up I expected to be stopped. But I know you sometimes have to be in the wrong place to discover the right things. This was my moment, but I highly recommend if you ever find yourself on the top deck of a cruise ship on a clear night, that you take the time to look up. Or if you’re in a country field, or atop a mountain, or anywhere alone with only the darkness and a clear view… You’ll know it when you see it – you can’t possibly miss it, but you have to see it for yourself.
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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.

Jerks

“Most of the people I’ve met in the paranormal field are jerks.” Just saying that makes me kind of a jerk too, right? Well, I didn’t say it – someone else did. Actually, he said something a little stronger, and if you really wanna get technical, I’m not sure very many of us could even do what it is he suggested we should do. But the problem is…. I kinda know what he means.

There are times when we’re a rather “direct” bunch. Some might say we’re full of piss and vinegar; men and women of conviction; strong-willed champions of truth; even spiritual explorers and supernatural warriors. Wow! Fancy that, eh? Yes, but we definitely speak before we know what we’re saying – a lot, and that can make it pretty difficult to grow or change our minds. When I think of all the times I’ve heard one of us stand on our principles and lash out at the “infidels and idiots,” it makes me shudder. Even harder to digest when I do it myself. Invariably, the day of reckoning arrives and we have to back pedal our way into accepting the very methods and ideas we ridiculed only weeks before.

I wish I knew why we’re so hell-bent on denouncing someone else’s hard work! I don’t understand why their evidence is so frequently weak and ill founded, while our own feeble offerings are nothing short of earth-shattering or game-changing. Credibility doesn’t increase with the verbal persecution of others. And I’ve heard tell of more than a couple of great investigators who just tossed it all in rather than deal one more minute with this jaw-flapping horde of self-righteous evidence hawks. (Did I really just say that?)

But it does seem that just when you need a colleague to intelligently discuss something; just when you crave that understanding which can only come from another investigator, you run across a bunch of these predators instead. Maybe jerk is the right word after all – sometimes. I try really hard not to be that way myself, and even though I’m well aware of my own identical transgressions, I can recall a number of times when I just bit my tongue and quietly nodded instead.

“You should challenge everything! You owe it to the sanctity of the field!” No I don’t. I don’t know much about the sanctity of stuff (including that of “the field”), but I do know a little something about how to behave, and I just hate when I can’t manage to do that. It’s true that we shouldn’t have to accept lies, fakery, and unbridled stupidity, but most of the things we hear, see, and read in the paranormal are none of those. When we do, of course, something must be said, but aren’t we frequently a little quick on the draw? The way I see it, most of the so-called stupid ideas we find ourselves confronting come from people every bit as reasonable as ourselves, whose only real error seems to be sharing their thoughts with perceived compatriots. That’s a shame. Besides, today’s stupid is frequently tomorrow’s smart.

Perhaps I’m just being too hard on people, or misinterpreting the good intentions of solid paranormal researchers whose only desire is to find the real truth. Maybe, but such a lofty task must surely include a great deal of listening and a willingness to learn from others. The reality of the paranormal is every bit as big as that of the universe, and what we actually understand might not quite fill a thimble. So, how much of that small knowledge have any of us contributed? Some? None? Why place such high standards on everyone else when our own contributions are so minuscule? Maybe we are being jerks a lot of the time, and that just makes us useless. Being useless is much worse than being wrong, 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.

May 65th

The month of May has always been my favorite – primarily because of the weather, but also because I was born in May. This year I’ll reach the noteworthy milestone of turning 65, and so far, I don’t feel any different. In some cultures the count begins at conception, so I’m already there by those standards, but either way, by definition, I am now officially old.

When I was very young, this event seemed about as insurmountable as landing on the moon. The average male life expectancy was only 68, so reaching 65 would make me downright ancient. I might be confined to a wheelchair, suffer dementia, or surrender to the vapors. Thankfully, things have changed – people don’t get the vapors any more, and obviously we’ve been to the moon a few times.

In fact, according to what I’ve read, there have been more advancements during my lifetime than in any other period of history. When I was young, we didn’t even know what the word computer meant. There were no cigarettes with filters, automatic transmissions, non-stick cookware, radial tires, or watches you didn’t have to wind. We had 6-cent coke machines, penny candy, rotary telephones, push mowers, home milk delivery, and there was no such thing as The Grammys. We thought everyone from Great Britain sounded like Winston Churchill. We watched Gandhi in newsreels at 15-cent double features. There were reasonable Republicans, way too many petticoats, corner grocers, and everyone went to church.

So I figured if I made it to 65 there’d be a party, and then I’d probably be led away somewhere to die. Life would be over, or I’d opt to sit slowly rocking on someone else’s back porch comparing sunsets, smoking my pipe, and whittling until the end came. And now, none of that is going to happen. I can’t say I’m sorry either, since mentally, I feel about 40, and I’ve still got shit to do, dammit! Being this old is a whole lot less of a drag than I ever would have imagined.

But having officially reached old age also means I’ve got regular bellyaching to do, and much to the chagrin of others, I don’t give a hoot. The things that bother me the most seem to have finally achieved some sort of boiling point and I haven’t an ounce of patience for anything contrary. For instance, I don’t recommend you rub my nose in right-wing politics anymore – I’ve had enough of that selfish, short-sighted garbage, and I’m likely to go off on your tediously immature sense of morality and that self-righteous pomposity you pretend represents well considered thought. (See! I told you.) Likewise, I’m sick to death of thinly cloaked racism and homophobic fear mongering, and honestly have to fight the urge to punch people sometimes. That’s not good, of course, but the nonsense has been building up for so long that I’ve embraced the intransigence of old age as a surprising and comforting character flaw.

But life is a process with many bottom lines, and milestones aside, I still have goals that don’t involve a medical diagnosis. There are the obvious family hopes and desires – that goes without saying, but I also want to learn how to take great photographs, understand quantum physics, bake outstanding sourdough, visit London, and a thousand other things – so I’m just not ready to pack it all in yet. This is only my 65th May, and that doesn’t seem like a lot, does it?

Let’s face it. We’re all going to get old, and I’m pretty sure it’s downhill from here. So, if I had one piece of advice to offer, it would be to make the most of it while you can, but buy a rocking chair. Learn to whittle. It might come in handy any day now.
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Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.

Science Doesn’t Do Lucky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Night Vision Green & Infrared Splendor

Sometimes, I take great pleasure criticizing the paranormal television shows. I like to question techniques, poke fun at personalities, and laugh at the wardrobe choices – the list is long. I enjoy ranting and raving about that which runs contrary to my own practices and experience, but admittedly, I still watch as many of these programs as I can. Gathering more grist for the criticism mill? More easy targets for yet another unkind remark? No, I just like watching them.

I know that much of what we see is staged – or worse, and when things do appear to be credible, I am aware that they probably are not. I’ve been on more than enough real investigations to know what’s up, and I’ve poured over enough evidence to have confidence in what I finally present, so most of what I see on these shows is old hat to me now. It’s certainly true that at this point, I’ve probably surpassed the threshold of what I can learn from them. So again, why watch? Again, because I like them.

Let’s be honest. Almost every one of us currently doing anything within the paranormal field owes a debt of gratitude to these ghost hunters. Jason and Grant threw open the doors, while Zak and the boys dragged us in. Our fascinations may have been lying dormant in the heap of millennial culture, but these early shows taught us that it was okay to act on them. For all of us who wondered if there really were people who studied the paranormal; who secretly wanted to join that team, paranormal tv showed us that it was not only possible, but doable.

Their contribution to popular culture is unquestionable, but the legacy they’ve left us, their professional progeny, is priceless. They’re the reason we do the things we do, and hopefully we’ve taken their techniques and innovations and improved on them. Hopefully we value the culture of their work highly enough to expand upon it; take it seriously enough to understand that our own contributions can only build upon theirs. Maybe that’s why I feel such a strong sense of betrayal whenever I find fault, or have a laugh at their expense. Because I owe them.

I remember watching a 2004 episode of Ghost Hunters (my first) that included a chair moving on its own in an attic. That episode has since been questioned for its authenticity, but at the time, I literally leaped to my feet to get closer to the screen. I had just started my EVP research and was feeling kinda dumb about the whole thing. I questioned everything about it – including my own sanity, but that singular moment gave me hope. It instantly expanded my paranormal horizons and showed me that there might just be as much to it all as I thought. In a way, that one episode gave me the strength to continue, and as with all truly cathartic moments in life, changed me forever.

But it wasn’t real, you might say – possibly disingenuous. It doesn’t matter, because it moved me. It propelled me head first into a field of study that has taught me more about myself; about life in general, than I ever could have hoped for, and like some modern parable, it was inspirational. I remember standing there, watching that small clip of video, and knowing that not only could I continue, but that there was value in doing so.

So, gratitude is definitely called for, I think. Respect, appreciation, and admiration as well – for all the obvious reasons, but also for opening my eyes and ears; for awakening a side of my spiritual self that was truly going to waste; for challenging the fear within and transforming it into knowledge. And to all those trailblazers – especially those guys on tv decked out in night vision green and infrared splendor, much love. I don’t know where I’d be without you, but I’m glad I’m not there.
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Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/
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Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.

Uninformed and Misled

This week I read a very thought provoking blog post on The Big Seance entitled “How Does the Skeptic View Paranormal Folk?” It features a stunning video from a young lady which everyone in the paranormal field should see. Truthfully, I found most of what she said to be mildly offensive, and I thought she exhibited a surprising and willing lack of intellectual faculty concerning the paranormal field. However, I won’t dwell on her unfavorable opinions of us. She is well within her rights to speak her mind, and I would never object to her expression of those ideas, but I found it eye-opening. I recommend you read this blog entry and see the video – you can draw your own conclusions.

However, even though I won’t concern myself with the negativity, I’d like to focus instead on the one area in which she and I agree. I even recorded an entire podcast episode about the same subject entitled “No Scientists.” It centers on what I feel is a fact – paranormal investigators are not scientists. That shouldn’t be a shocking revelation. I do believe we have fiercely stepped into a gaping void we call “paranormal studies,” but we’ve done so out of love for the subject, passion for the possibilities, reverence for the unknown, and because the scientific community has almost to a man, ignored it. Regardless, we’re not scientists – not by determination or default.

We don’t do things scientifically, carry out our work according to any accepted scientific methods, record and store our data in any reasonable scientific manner, or draw conclusions in an organized and sensible fashion. If we’re being honest, almost nothing about what we do is definitively scientific.

But all is not lost. There’s nothing wrong with observing accurately and reporting what we observe? That’s actually what we do. We’re reporters. That’s how I see it – we’re like this strange new kind of guerrilla journalist. A journalist, by definition, is “anyone who keeps a journal, diary, or any other record of events.” Likewise, a reporter is “anyone who reports”. Well, that’s us! We might also be able to call ourselves researchers since the dictionary states that research involves a “diligent, systematic, and often extensive inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover or revise facts, theories, applications, etc.” That fits like a glove, no?

We shouldn’t even hint that we do science (and you know, a lot of us do) because that would be truly inaccurate, but also because scientists are forced to deal only with facts and unquestionable truths. As paranormal investigators (reporters; researchers), we deal with the exact opposite. We may believe our paranormal realities are facts, and they may indeed be quite true, but there really is no proof. Not yet. That’s what we’re looking for, right? The data we gather is incredibly, and singularly important to that end, and some day, science may find that data to be priceless in determining heretofore elusive facts and truths. One day, they may move forward into the unknown on the back of our data. An unknown, we already know exists.

You know, the scientific community has a history of ridiculing those who don’t quite meet their standards and criteria. Today’s breed might deny that, of course, but it’s on the record – the facts don’t lie. Some scientists spend considerable time attempting to invalidate and dismiss us all as uninformed hobbyists or unfortunately misled souls. That time would be better spent looking at our data with the unbiased eye they so humbly claim to possess, but I don’t see that happening any time soon. Partly because they’re very good at missing the forest for the trees; partly because (if the aforementioned video is any indication) they just don’t want anything to do with us. Well, it doesn’t matter. We’re not scientists anyway, so they’ll do their thing and we’ll do ours. Much respect to everyone, but I’m not sure I want to enter a pitch black abandoned mental institution with a scientist by my side anyway. I prefer my “uninformed and misled” brothers and sisters. Peace!
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Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/

Temporal Therapy

We’ve been anxious about the afterlife from our beginning. For thousands of years we’ve entertained a constantly evolving and intense curiosity centered around our own demise. What happens when we die? Where do we go? What about our soul? Can we come back? We seem plagued by so many questions that appear to have no definite answers.

Some of our inquiries find religious solutions or resolve themselves within the science of “the times.” These offer mechanisms of faith and knowledge that appear to provide both rejoinder and life-affirming action, but they have proven to be temporary, and over time, return for another generation’s consideration. In short, over the millennia we’ve come to very few correct conclusions, which is why we still spend so much time on the same old issues.

Today’s paranormal investigator seems to focus mainly on spirit communication. Of course that’s over simplifying a bit for the sake of brevity, but what used to be ancestor worship seems to have evolved into proving the afterlife through contact. Many of us might deny that is our signature interest, but in some form or iteration, that which follows life is at our core. Today’s paranormal is all about the afterlife. We don’t seem to mind not understanding the particle accelerator, but we are frantic to know exactly what happens when we die. If you think about it, that’s pretty significant. It truly helps to define us, and therefore, should lead us to a better understanding of our human condition. A worthy end indeed, and a valuable contribution to society, right?

But I think we get confused into believing that every problem actually has a solution, and that all we need to do is find the right one. There are so many theories, and many of them “feel” so right… Certainly one must be accurate, even though history has shown that incontestable truths become old-time foolishness soon enough. Our modern ideas fall by the wayside in the wake of new and better discoveries. We proclaim that our experience teaches us reality, that our careful research offers insight, and that spiritual understanding provides “the way.” But we’re not so bright. Even though we sputter and bluster and pontificate about thus and such, we still know nothing about the afterlife for certain.

I recently found myself trying to ease the very worried and heavy heart of a 94 year-old woman, as she pondered the uncertainty of what awaits her. And I lied. I told her all about the wonders and joy of a rich hereafter; about an eternal existence free from bodily failure and mental degradation. I told her how she and her lost loved ones would meander through time in peaceful bliss – without a care or worry; without so much as a single fly in the ointment of everlasting nirvana. I told her my favorite theories – those that spoke to me. I told her as if I knew them to be true, and they seemed to soothe her restless imagination. But I was wrong, and I knew it.

Words are usually only temporal therapy, but what’s so wrong about taking our death with a dose of the inevitably fabulous? Are the facts so sacrosanct that our only final certainty must be that we haven’t a clue? Isn’t it better to believe there will be a new, exquisite life emerge through that final exhale?

I don’t know. I think there are no honest answers – just more questions, but there comes a time when all we really care about is finding a calm and peaceful now, even if that “now” is no more than the final second of our final breath. It should be sufficient to know that whatever awaits us is worth waiting for, but can that be enough? Will that satisfy the itch? I doubt it, because this is not about who we are. It’s about who we will be and our instinctive need to move forward.
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Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/

Beside Us

The lady misplaced her jacket, and they spent a portion of three months searching for it. She remembers hanging it on a hook in the hall closet, so they were certain it was not lost, but after a while, they forgot about it, and no longer cared. It would show up eventually, no doubt.

Lately, they’ve been experiencing loud, unexplainable banging sounds, and their three year old frequently complains about a strange man in his room. So, yesterday, when the jacket was found hanging on the railing, in plain sight, they were understandably disturbed. The long forgotten jacket appeared on the end piece of the railing at the bottom of the most noticeable place in the living room. Something paranormal was possibly afoot.

But here’s the interesting part, because a story about a missing jacket doesn’t typically qualify as a legitimate “paranormal” event – she found her car keys in the jacket pocket. Car keys that she has used every day while the jacket was on sabbatical. The Mister said she turned a whiter shade of pale and muttered something about seeing the “ghost hunter” down the street. That would be me, and just so we understand each other, I absolutely believe their story.

Now, I’m not saying I think their house is haunted, but I know these people, and inventing this tale would not be their kind of thing. I like to think I have a pretty good BS detector, and everything about them screams “the truth.” Regardless, I volunteered to look into it, if they wanted – they did not. I offered to provide some equipment they could use on their own, if they felt it might help – they thanked me and said no. All I had left to offer were words of comfort, but it seems they really just wanted to talk about it; they’d be fine.

Well, I was glad I could help in some way. More often than not, it’s enough to just lend an understanding ear. People often feel better by getting it off their chest, and the simple act of saying everything out loud becomes a cleansing measure. Besides, I think there are too many people conducting investigations at the drop of a hat these days – investigations that may not be warranted or result in positive experiences for the so-called victims.

Not every odd occurrence should become part of the paranormal laboratory, you know – sometimes acceptance is the better path. On rare occasions, we miraculously realize that learning to deal with life as it is presented is the true test of who we are, and that sometimes, spirit life is permanently and intricately intertwined with our own. Sometimes, we come to the understanding that sharing our existence with what we cannot comprehend is only normal, and that truly, if we want to be left alone, we must find the will to reciprocate. Not all ghosts need to go away; some spirits belong beside us.

It’s difficult to think of such things this way, because we seem geared against coexistence, and our fear is so easily justified by peers and society. Fortunately, every now and then, one of us (perhaps even a small family) rises above the dread and apprehension in order to willingly share life’s tranquility. Peace is always more easily found when all involved are allowed to partake.
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Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/

Description of an Apparition

The last 18 hours have been fascinating: two paranormal-like events! I will start with this one and tell you the other in a day or two.

It has been about an hour since I woke up to see an apparition standing on my bed. I had been asleep and dreaming, but the dream awakened me, and I was attempting to remember details; putting off the inevitable trip through the cold to the bathroom. I didn’t want to open my eyes, and after about 2 minutes I felt someone climb on the bed. I first thought it was my daughter, but the sensation was that of a lighter person, so I assumed it was my granddaughter.

I waited for her to speak, and when she didn’t, I begrudgingly opened my eyes. Instead of a 45 pound 7-year old, there was a tall, sharply-formed, dark person. He was about 5 feet tall, was wearing a nearly black jumpsuit, and his left arm (stretched out in front of him) was parallel to the plane of the bed. The jumpsuit was creased in a way that indicated pressing, but there were no parts of his body visible. He did not have a head, his feet were buried in the stomach of my wife, and his outstretched hand seemed to blend into the long sleeves.

I had opened my eyes without moving my body, so I thought perhaps he was not aware that I was watching. It also occurred to me that without the slight light creeping through the nearby window, he would possibly have looked like a shadow. And then, after about 3 seconds, he put down his arm as though finished, and he was gone. He seemed to break apart; to dissolve into the air as we often see in movies – digitally and very quickly, but in pieces; as though in small clumps of pixels. The difference is that he was not flat and projection-like – he appeared solid, and his dissolving was three-dimensional in appearance.

He was less than three feet away from me, and I was not asleep or groggy, or disoriented. I realize many people will suggest this visitation was trickery of the mind, or a classic case of confusion – something else; various other nonsense. It was as I saw it, and I was fully aware. I knew what it was the moment I opened my eyes. I knew some of what it wasn’t. I checked my wife, got out of bed, walked through the entire house, and sat down to write this. And now, there are questions.

Considered Easy

Paranormal people are supposed to be skeptical. That’s the company line, and it always has been. We just accept it, and for the most part, it makes sense. Everything we don’t immediately understand can not be labeled “paranormal” – mostly because we’d be wrong, but also because we want to know the truth. Truth requires unsusceptible validation. Accepting every bump in the night, or shadow in the dark as an other worldly expression is just too cozy an answer; too easy, and since when have human beings ever been considered easy?

Our religions are insane – even on a good day, and everyone thinks their’s is the true one. Our politics is crazy as well. Forget the dictators and the megalomaniacs – even the planet’s glorious democracies are riddled with nonsense, stupidity and hypocrisy. Inter-personal relationships are a crap shoot at best. All you have to do is observe most marriages, and the horror should make the point for me. Not very much about the human condition seems easy for an excellent reason. It just isn’t.

Faith and belief are frequently comfortable situations – they don’t require much from us, and allow us to accept without reason. They speak to our humanity quite effectively, but they make us lazy and neither represent universal concepts – one man’s faith is another’s call to arms. We seem able to believe in almost anything – often to the exclusion of common sense or without a reasonable parsing of clear facts. Can you imagine investigating the paranormal with only faith and belief in your equipment bag? Skepticism absolutely has its place – especially if it’s informed and enlightened enough to fuel study and research.

But every once in awhile we have to give in to our human frailty. Sometimes, we have to believe. We need it, and resisting can lessen our chances of seeing the truth when it presents itself. For instance, It’s easy to insist that an EVP is a recording aberration no matter how loud or clear it is; simple, because all you have to do is refuse to believe. There is nothing to prove the voice in question is paranormal; there’s as much support that it is not. Without belief, we must decide that what we hear on a recorder is never the voice of a spirit – only a technological mistake. By refusing to believe, we render spirit as completely non-existent. What will we learn from that?

There will never be a way to guarantee a correct paranormal diagnosis as long as the the skeptic and the believer in us remain separate. Staunch skepticism will always win the day because the cry for proof can never be answered – no proof is possible. No “one and one is two” in the paranormal; no sun setting in the west. It will never matter what we experience – verifiable proof will always be lacking.

But we have never been satisfied with a two-dimensional acceptance of only those things that are provable, so why do we insist it be so with the paranormal? Being able to appropriately mix a little belief into the recipe allows us to understand more fully – multi-dimensionally, no matter how untenable it makes us feel. It requires courage to believe; even greater fortitude to know when to stop. By refusing to believe at all, we can never learn the whole truth – only the easy truth. And since when have human beings ever been considered easy?

Stupid

Okay! I’m gonna try to keep this brief, because frankly, if I say too much I’ll just look stupid. Occasionally, you run across EVP that do that to you – they make you look and feel stupid! Maybe dumb is a better word, or uninformed, incapable, ineffectual, or even reactionary. I don’t know. I was recording around a small child, and doing things the way I do them – pulling out clips of suspicious sounding, possible voices. You know! Hopeful EVP.

I usually don’t return to the clips until I’ve listened to the original file exhaustively, and I had labeled this clip “male voice,” expecting to figure it out later. When I went back to sink my teeth into the thing, no matter how many times I re-listened, it kept saying, “Jesus is close. Forget about him.” I know. I know! But I can’t just ignore it. I can’t pretend it didn’t freak me out. I know the color had to drain from my face; I could feel that weird sensation of warmth and tingling combined. It felt exactly like that time I completely erased my hard drive. It was the same feeling I had seeing my deceased father standing in the hall. Oh, who am I kidding – it’s impossible to explain.

I just felt stupid. Was this voice talking to me, the child, or to someone else I couldn’t see? Was this one of those subliminal attempts to alter behavior? Was it someone “negative” attempting to lure the toddler away from Jesus? Was the voice telling a spirit friend to leave us alone because the boss was coming? It could have been telling us to stop messing around and pay attention to The Lord’s entrance. He might as well have said, “Drop everything. There’s a Beatles reunion in the bedroom!” You’d pay attention to that, right? I mean, come on, when you hear a spirit say, “Jesus is close,” you listen up.

There are so many different ways to interpret what those words could mean, but that could never be a throw-away phrase. Forget the fact that you might not even believe in Jesus – the name Itself definitely ups the ante, and automatically heightens the emotional response. Of course, there’s also a chance that the spirit just decided to freak me out. Well, that worked, didn’t it? Regardless of how many different possible meanings one could attach to this simple statement, it definitely freaked me out.

But that’s how it is with EVP, isn’t it? Just when you least expect it, there’s a controversy of some kind. You’re totally convinced that you know exactly what the voice is saying, and someone else comes along and throws the proverbial wet blanket on the fire. You’re positive that you’ve heard something earth-shattering, but no one else is impressed. A key word could actually be several different words – each one changing the meaning completely. EVP can be very frustrating despite the fact that they’re also such a pure blessing.

So what am I going to do with this “Jesus is close” comment? I don’t know! I suppose eventually I’ll decide what it means to me – I’ll take my best guess. It’s conceivable that I’ll file it away somewhere and re-listen several months later. Who knows, maybe then it will sound like something different, but as for today, I just feel stupid. Stupid because of how I reacted, stupid because I can’t decide what it means, and stupid because I love every minute of it. I do, you know – every last, freaked out minute of it.

Bring Some

I was sitting awake by the hard blue light of my iPad, trying to figure how best to allocate my time. More and more these days, things grab at it, and I’m left with doing my own thing hurriedly. This week, there was only one day to spend on a very long list of necessary evils, most of which did not get done. So when I turned off the light, and said “goodnight” to the understanding woman beside me, I thought maybe it would be peaceful enough to concentrate and find a solution.

I decided to tap on WavePad, and record while I sat – just because. It’s what I do. No questions to ask; no comments or requests – just the dark, cold air and my thoughts. The recent months have been a time of doubt for me, and occasionally I’ve felt as though my contribution to the paranormal field has been maximized – there’s nothing more I can contribute. But that’s tough to decide – it’s difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.

You know, EVP are a passion for me. I still have my priorities in line, but I feel close to these voices – they’ve found an indelible place on the list. I listen carefully, and my anticipation is not in hearing them so much as in understanding what is behind their words. We have become such strange friends, because we’ve formed a perfectly reciprocating relationship. Nothing unworthy in that. Isn’t that enough to continue what I arrogantly call “my work”? I can make changes, certainly. Less social networking, perhaps. Less worry about book sales. I can cut back on the number of podcasts too. There are lots of ways to solve my time issues.

I stopped the recording, anticipating nothing, but instinctively, reached for my headphones and began to listen. Some kind of whispering was there – nothing anyone could ever understand; whispers that most researchers would label as ambient sounds. I know the room well, and I know what they are, but they’re not voices until there are words. But then… there were words. “Sad,” she said – clear as a bell, and equally as expressive.

I thought she was talking about me. I thought she had gauged my mood; that possibly all the whispering had been centered around my self-absorbed need for over-analysis. Perhaps she was even carefully chosen to express a group sentiment – “sad.” Well, I was a little sad. How intuitive of her; how correctly she had assessed my demeanor. But before I could rest too comfortably in that interpretation, she spoke again. “Bring some,” she said.

Bring some? Really? Doncha just love it? How do you not fall head over heels for these voices? Not only was she not interested in my somber reflection, she didn’t make a lick of sense. I can’t walk away from this; can’t concern myself so stridently with the relevancy of “my work” or whether I’m maximized, marginalized or whatever-ized. There’s a spirit out there doing her best to entertain the bejesus out of me, and maybe someday, along the way, I’ll make some sense out of it. But until then? No need to be “sad,” I’ll just “bring some.”

Together

Someone once told me to never write anything down late at night. Apparently, reading it the next morning proves the point. What seems so profound in the very early morning becomes stupid and foolish in the light of day. But I couldn’t sleep, and frankly, I’m feeling sorry for myself.

I woke up missing those old investigations. I know, it’s weird, but how I loved it there in the quiet and the dark; sharpening my senses; preparing for anything. I miss every part of it – even setting up and tearing down the equipment. I miss all the little things too, and I suppose it makes sense, because it’s hard to replace the intensity. There’s adrenaline flowing, your mind is in full-on observation mode, and there’s this bond you form with fellow investigators; the way you rely on one another. I miss those people most of all.

Oh, it’s great to see them in other settings – on the street, in the mall, or at a restaurant, but it’s not the same. I mean, the guy texts and drives, but there’s no one I’d trust more in a dark abandoned building on a moonless night in the middle of nowhere. It’s the same with each one of my former teammates. Those times together were unique and so totally indelible. We formed a trust that was really quite visceral, and what we didn’t create in the name of friendship, we certainly forged through complete confidence in each other.

You quickly grow to realize that if you have to, you’ll brave anything to stand by their side. You’ll definitely have their back; you’ll never accept fear over their safety; will always walk into the abyss, if need be, to guarantee they’re not alone. And you understand they’ll reciprocate. But at the end of the day, when everything ends and it’s all up to technology to provide the answers, you know that you’ve done something meaningful, and more importantly, you did it together.

We share more on those investigations than is ever obvious. The experience is not dissimilar to being a member of a Super Bowl team, or the campaign staff of the newly elected candidate. You’re like a Blue Angel, a part of Delta Force, or one of The 300. You breathe rarified air, because this thing you do together, week after month after year, is just that special. You’re real spiritual warriors and come what may, you’ll handle whatever you find with grace and valiancy. And you know this because you know these people, and every ounce of your own strength and mettle comes directly from them. Even if you fail, you do so with family.

A little over the top? Will this be embarrassing in the morning? Possibly, but this is what I’m feeling, and why there’s no rest for the weary tonight. Because I miss them as much as I would miss the work. What I wouldn’t give to get the whole gang together again and go haunt some ghosts. What I wouldn’t give for just one more walk through the dark with “the team.” Our mates are so much more than brothers or sisters in arms – they’re our perfect counterparts; our better halves. So before I try to sleep again, thanks guys. I miss ya all the time. Sorry I don’t call very often, but I know you understand.