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.

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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.