Paranormal Blasphemy

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

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

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

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

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

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

____________________________________________________________________________

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

Right Place, Right Time

I don’t actually believe in luck, but over the past years, I’ve had more than my share of it while witnessing the paranormal. For instance, I’ve seen quite a few black shadows. Not the ones that dance elusively around your peripheral, but the kind you can track; that move purposefully within an environment and menacingly blend in and out of the natural surroundings. I’ve even seen a few in broad daylight, a sight you don’t soon forget, but the difference between a legitimate black mass and anything else is stunning. There’s no room for doubt, and for a moment, you’re acutely aware of just how awesome it is to be in the presence of such a thing. I’ve never found them frightening, but on more than one occasion I’ve been frozen in my tracks.

I’ve also been blessed to have captured thousands of EVP from any number of different devices in any number of situations. I was part of a team that video taped an amazing full-body apparition in a location that was verifiably void of any human contamination. In a similar situation, I watched a tape of translucent humanoid shadows move in and around a space; come and go through walls… And through people. (I was one of them.) I’ve been touched a bunch of times in ways that defy reasonable explanation. I’ve seen a few mists and a pair of glowing orbs. It’s been fun!

And over the years I’ve investigated within inches of newly deceased bodies at a funeral home, observed reflections of movement in standing water at an old restaurant, heard discernible whispers at an abandoned mental hospital, and watched a graveyard entity disappear. I may choose not to believe in luck, but I may have experienced more of it than the average investigator and been able to record far more paranormal events than I would have thought possible.

So, I don’t know how not to believe in all this stuff. I used to embrace skepticism, but that was a long time ago – before that first black shadow came within five feet just to personally stare right through me. Maybe it’s not too difficult to understand why I’ve grown weary of the usual dissociating. Each time someone suggests a possible coincidence, or finds fault with my observational skills, my patience quickly dissipates. Every intimation of an overactive imagination, or suggestion that my senses are being deceived, plucks my last nerve. Of course all of those are highly plausible, but I’ve learned how to look there first. With so many unexplained sightings, were there a rational explanation for each, I would have no choice but to consider myself an impetuous, completely oblivious person with the observational acumen of sand. There’s been way too much paranormal water under the bridge for that.

I suppose I sound a little defensive, and there’s some truth to that, I’m sure, but why not? Where’s the value in denying certain events in the name of skepticism when the truth appears to be otherwise? Telling it like it is makes more sense to me than telling it like we think it probably should be. And I’m used to having my veracity questioned, my sanity in doubt, and my motivation examined. I’m sorry that everyone hasn’t seen these things, or heard those voices. I’m sorry some people feel that because it hasn’t happened to them, it couldn’t have happened to me. And others. But whenever I get too annoyed, I consider the fact that I am just a drop in the proverbial bucket, because I am not alone.

There are thousands just like me, and in a way, we draw strength from one another. It doesn’t take a lot of talent to be in the right place at the right time, but you do have to learn how to stand your ground. Not with the paranormal life you might encounter, but with the living who can’t believe it happened. In the paranormal deck of cards, the motivated skeptic card always trumps the red-eyed demon. I can’t help wishing it was the other way around – sometimes.
____________________________________________________________________________
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.

Ah, Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matador in a Santa Suit

A few days ago, my lawn mower stopped working – right in the middle of performing a cool pivot on the back forty. I burned up the motor – again. (I did that last summer too.) I prefer an electric mower, so it’s just as cheap to buy a new one, but two in as many years is ridiculous, right? Enraged and a tad depressed, especially since I still had grass to mow, I went inside for a much needed beverage. Upon opening the cupboard door, a glass jumped out at me, and tumbling down to the counter below, broke several other items. One of those was an irreplaceable sconce cover along with two collector’s glasses. Color me personally offended.

I decided a nice relaxing shower was what I needed. Nothing like washing away yard sweat to improve one’s attitude, but in mid-lather, I managed to bump into a hand mirror, and of course it broke into a million tiny pieces right there in the tub. A nice relaxing shower indeed. So, with nothing more than a towel to cover my shame, I went in pursuit of a bowl in which to place the broken pieces. I stubbed my little toe at full stride, but there is still one more mishap to come. The bowl slipped from my hands onto the stack of plates below – killing the top two and the felonious bowl as well.

Why didn’t I just put the broken glass in the waste basket two feet away? Why are glasses flying out of cupboards? What causes a motor to burn up so quickly? And why am I allowed to continue living life without adult supervision? I obviously need a chaperone!

Is this what it’s come to? Have I become the bull in my own china closet? I guess I’m now that guy who gets sucked up in the tornado or falls out of the plane; catches the fly ball with his teeth; builds his house of stilts on Mud Mountain. I am the living, breathing spiritual child of Wrong Way Corrigan, Wile E. Coyote, and Daffy Duck all rolled into one. I am a menace and a plague to my belongings; a matador in a Santa suit. In one hour, in the middle of broad daylight, in the body of a full-grown heretofore adult, I managed to inflict more damage and mayhem than I would have ever thought was possible.

These are all just “things” though, and can easily be replaced, but the level of decimation to my soul is incalculable. For all I know, I may never fully recover. Just the act of explaining myself is painful and spiritually debilitating, so I still prefer to keep several paces between me and everything else. I just wish there was a philosophical way to look at this, you know? Some way to put it all in perspective and find balance in the world once again; some kind of redeeming lesson to learn; a homily, perhaps, or a fable of some kind. There’s not.

On a warm day in middle May of 2014, a man happened upon… No, stumbled upon a pure path to destruction and unleashed awesome havoc on unsuspecting household goods. It was brutal, and bloody, in its own way, but finally it appears to have subsided. And I’d love to rationalize that this was a valuable learning experience, if nothing else, but what could I possibly learn from any of it? The new mower will arrive in a day or two – everything else has been trashed. Fortunately, no one has cut their feet in the shower yet, and the old lawn mower has been stacked on top of last years model in the garage – still mocking me from afar.

And the moral to this story? There is no moral, and no point in trying to make me feel better either, but it has occurred to me that I should probably be glad it happened. How better to understand the insanity and pure ignominy of life than to have it crash and burn all around me? Besides, I’m in good company – at one time or another, we’re all matadors in Santa suits. I guess it’s just a question of how much bull we can stand.
____________________________________________________________________________
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.
____________________________________________________________________________
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.

Ninjas Are Real!

From time to time I read or hear something that just makes me crazy. It makes me want to foam at the mouth, chew the carpet, spit fireballs, and do a Wile E. Coyote right off the cliff. But most of these troubling items are political or religious in nature, and definitely not fodder for this venue – especially since this is supposed to be a paranormal blog.

However, my sensibilities were irreparably harassed while reading some comments about food stamps on that bastion of credible reasonability we affectionately refer to as Facebook. I knew that reading the comment was not wise, but I like the young lady in question, and before I knew it, I was engaged. Even being totally aware that the average “Facebook political pundit” is less informed than my dog Oliver, I indeed took the bait further to hazard a comment. I thought I could state a fact – not an opinion; a fact, and that others might reconsider their extreme point of view. I sorta knew what would really happen. I promised myself not to follow up and to allow the jackals to tear at my silent carcass with as much vim and vigor as their semi-sentient minds could muster. They went for the throat first.

Sometimes, presenting something factual is tantamount to strapping raw meat on your body at a lion convention. It was brutal. Acceptable facts are in high demand these days because so many of us refuse to believe them. People believe whatever propaganda matches their level of anger – regardless of accuracy or common sense. (There’s actually a name for this condition, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it is.) Anyway, without wasting any more time, here is a list of ten things I wish were true, but alas, are not. And please feel free to let me know which ones you’re going to accept regardless. Why not join the club, right? I mean… Everybody’s doing it!

1. Food stamps are no longer necessary. Everyone has a good-paying job, all the starving children are well-fed, and God himself is now in charge.
2. Cancer is cured by eating free vanilla bean cheesecake. Add any fruit topping to prevent Shingles.
3. Ninjas are real. Swear to God!
4. Fox News and Wikipedia have formed a new network called WikiFox promising to take accuracy and credibility to a new level.
5. Homophobic thugs and bullies across America were only kidding. Oh, you guys!
6. Health insurance has been replaced with unlimited free money for life.
7. There’s no such place as Bengazi, so we can all relax now.
8. All free-floating phantasms have been given amnesty, upgraded to ghost status and given green cards. (See, this really is a paranormal blog.)
9. Enemies of the State are not right-wing extremists, but a metal thrash band from the Jersey Shore.
10. Obesity has been replaced as the national pastime by the milk of human kindness, and an unquenchable hunger to love thy neighbor.

I know. Lame, right? But I think my facts make about as much sense as anybody else’s. If I had known it was okay to make stuff up all these years, I wouldn’t have spent so much time looking for the truth! Think of all the tests I’d have aced; all the Little League games I’d have won; all the sorrow I could have avoided. What good is the truth if all it’s gonna do is prove you wrong, right?
______________________________________________________________________
Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/
______________________________________________________________________
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.

Downside

There’s an upside and a downside to everything. You can’t have one without the other – like good and evil, beautiful and ugly, smart and stupid. You know how it works – if you don’t have one, how do you define the other? So, the downside of researching anything paranormal begins when people outside the field expect you to have answers. Most of my responses have to begin with “I have no idea,” because I don’t. Occasionally, I feel a little bit like a terminally ill patient being asked to conjure a cure. In both cases, a non-committal shrug seems appropriate.

“So, don’t you think it makes sense that…” Well, I guess so, but it’s a little more complicated than that. “Maybe everyone is a sensitive and we just don’t know it.” Maybe so, but if literally no one knows it, how would we be? And why do so many people want to be sensitive anyway? “Ghosts only show up at 3:00 am, right? How come?” Do they? I don’t actually see a lot of ghosts – almost never, but I think it can happen any time. “As long as it’s dark, then?” Good grief, I don’t know!

There’s so much more that I don’t know than I do, and the more experience I gain, the truer that seems to be. It’s not like being a mechanic or a doctor. There are no paranormal carburetors to fix, or broken bones to set, and you can go years without any results whatsoever. I cringe when their interrogations begin because I can see the expectation in their faces. Surely I must know something I can share with them; some other-worldly secrets; some kind of scoop on where the dearly departed have gone.

What they want, I think, are lots of really good, provably true ghost stories. Like the one where the old man walks the halls with an ax every night and watches the children sleep, or how the beautiful heiress meets her dead lover once a year in dreams. (It could happen!) I mean, why would anyone do this kind of research if there’s no payoff, right? It doesn’t make sense to keep coming up empty-handed time after time. Which means I’m either a terrible researcher, enjoy wasting my time, am unwilling to share, or I’m incredibly stupid. Hmmm… I wonder which one fits?

I often try to answer the questions with one of my own – “What do you think?” This usually results in some crazy scenario that I then feel compelled to deflate – out of professional pride, of course. Well, I can’t let them think deceased family members are turning into demons on the other side, or that when someone dies in the house it automatically becomes haunted. It’s a vicious circle! I have no answers, but I better come up with something, or else… Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t mind sharing what I’ve learned, and offering a theory or two is certainly not beneath me, but the bottom line is always the same – I know a lot more about what is not paranormal than what actually is paranormal.

The other day, an old friend called me full of questions, and I had absolutely nothing to tell him. “Well, you don’t know anything,” he finally said – incredulously. Oh, we know a lot, I told him – we just don’t know anything conclusive. There’s not very much we can prove. “Let me know when you figure it out,” he snarked. “Okay?”

Sure thing! I’ll get right on that. Whatever happened to “How’s the family?”
______________________________________________________________________
Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/
______________________________________________________________________
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.

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.
______________________________________________________________________
Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/
______________________________________________________________________
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.

Compos Mentis

It never rains but it pours. That’s an old saying for sure, but it does seem to be accurate – things happen in bunches sometimes. Over the past year I’ve been wrestling with a small portion of my compos mentis – I keep thinking I hear whispers. Yes, I said whispers – voices that sound a lot like EVP, only there’s no recorder involved. You know, as in “he’s losing his mind?”

But I’m secure enough to chalk it up to every day stress, some kind of psychosis, or… Well, just in case, I’m making notes. The other day, it happened twice in one conversation, and both times I instantly stopped speaking and asked the other person if she said “whatever.” Both times she did not. Both times, the whispered comment fit the subject on the table. Well, what did it say, Randy? (don’t worry, I hear the snicker in your head too.)

In the middle of telling my wife an unfortunate story, a raspy female voice said “just wonderful” with what I believe was just the right amount of sarcasm. And a minute later, the same voice said, “I’m leaving now.” I asked my wife where she was going – she said she was probably going crazy, but she wasn’t leaving. “Why?”

If she didn’t hear the voice, it must be my sanity that’s leaving, right? It’s not a VP (voice phenomenon) if I’m the only one who hears it – I know I’m not a sensitive or a medium. I’m not hearing dead people. I don’t believe I’ve got EVP on the brain to the point of hallucination either. Besides, this has happened while on the phone quite a few times, as well as when I’m alone. Frankly, I feel like I’m about 6 minutes from schizophrenia; like these are the famous Son of Sam voices and pretty soon they’ll be telling me what to do. Oh sure, it’s all innocent now. Right now it’s all “close the door” and “lay off the donuts,” but how long before it turns to “kill the nun.” Maybe I’ll get lucky and it will stay benign and just order me to do yard work or learn to crochet.

I’m not crazy, you know. I swear! Trust me! And I’m sure it’s not one too many sessions with the earphones on – not wishful thinking, self-fulfilling prophesies, or a chemical imbalance. It’s one of those blasted voices that’s learned how to be heard. She’s whispering in my ear alone, and rather effectively. You know, similar to how EVP only show up on one recorder when several are present.

But right in the middle of my bout with sanity, I found out that my neighbor two doors away is hearing them too. It’s those voices that have prevented her from sleeping in her own home for several weeks now – she’s scared. Reportedly, her voices aren’t very nice, whereas mine are just typical. But there’s more – another person in the neighborhood is hearing them as well. So I guess everyone who saw a rubber room in my future had better rethink, eh?

I don’t recall hearing or reading anything about a situation like this, but it certainly seems possible that something might just be happening in the entire area. We’re so conditioned to look for more localized haunts – buildings, homes, old mines – something containable. Looking more closely at the history around the homes in question, the problems seem to have begun around the same point in time – including my voices, so I think I’ll wait before I book that rubber room and keep making notes. I’ll let you know what happens next, but for now, let’s just say there’s something going on around here, and you’ll be the first to know. Well, second.