Do It Again!

There is a closet built in 1953 – the shelves doweled, glued, screwed, and nailed on screw-mounted wooden riders. The shelves are permanent and built to withstand a great force. They are anchored to the house as solidly as the door frames and window sills. When trucks rumble by and planes fly too low, nothing moves or even so much as trembles inside the closet.

Until now. A few days ago, closet door securely latched, several glass trays toppled to the floor, breaking one. It is indeed a mystery because as you can see from the first photo below, the stacked trays are within 1/2 inch of the immovable shelf above. Notice on the second photo, that the trays are pulled out to indicate their maximum extension with the door closed. Regardless, the stack tumbled to the floor within the closed closet landing on the metal tray visible in the third photo. That metal tray is stored on the floor of the closet, and the stack from the shelf above landed as a unit – in place, offering only one large bang. There were no sounds of sliding plates or of multiple bangs as each fell separately; there was no chain reaction – just a single, very loud event. The door was immediately opened and only a middle tray was broken. The trays were still stacked on their sides in the exact order as above.

“Well, it’s a tray so what’s the big deal?” Agreed, but these trays could not have physically fallen – it is scientifically impossible. None of the trays could be extended past the mid-point necessary to fall while the door is closed. None of the trays could be tipped because the stack is so close to the shelf above. And not another item in the closet was moved – there are dust patterns to prove it. The trays themselves have been there at least 5 years and the surviving stack weighs 32 pounds.

I am a witness that the door was closed and did not open as a result of the crash; that there was only a single banging sound. After the event, i pounded on the shelves with great force – they are so well anchored that my efforts caused no visible effect on any item still in place. There is no indication of rodents (freakishly strong ones), and the closet has no other access than through the door. It appears as though the heavy stack of glass trays was physically moved, and allowed to fall, even though, once again, with the door closed it could not have happened. And finally, if the door was open, the odds of the trays stacking neatly on edge on the floor below, is highly doubtful.

Now, I don’t know if this is a paranormal event, but nothing suggests it isn’t either. There’s always a burden of proof somewhere in things like this, but suspending one’s own belief system from the equation, nothing stands out as solid evidence one way or the other. Still, somehow, the impossible happened.

Someone once postulated that if you dropped a nickel on a table top enough times, at least once it would pass through the surface to the floor below. I actually understand the science behind that, but if the same principles could apply to an entire stack of glass trays, wouldn’t there be impact directly below? There wasn’t, so I don’t see theoretical physics bailing me out here either, so a permanent label of “unexplained” seems appropriate, if not somewhat understated.

This is a first for me, and represents what I love the most about “the paranormal” – the indication that there’s something going on we just can’t understand. That with all our science and technological advances; with all the philosophies of life; with religion, esoteric practices, folklore, and magic – the idea that something like this can happen outside of any explanation rooted in any stretch of reality, completely consumes me. Personally, I’m in awe, and my sense of wonder is alive and well. Bring on the cups and saucers! I want it to happen again!   

 

   

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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 
 

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“Where’s the party?”

So often, while investigating, we act as though the spirits are right beside us wherever we go. We behave as if the doors to rooms are impassible barriers, and that the invisible residents trapped within are patiently waiting for us to enter. The extent to which we tend to limit spirit movement is alarming to me, so I try very hard not to make those kinds of assumptions. Spirits may indeed be hold-up in the bedroom, but where’s the guarantee? Why are we so certain of that?

I frequently move in and out of rooms unpredictably or position myself in hallways, foyers, and staircases – more centralized areas, because I believe they more comfortably watch us from a “safe distance.” I think it’s human nature, and therefore spirit nature, to establish a kind of DMZ between strangers – especially considering the intensity of a paranormal investigation and the potential for heightened emotions. I think this is backed up by the frequency of EVP I’ve captured on remote devices planted in adjoining areas. A recent investigation serves as a clear example. Most of our attention was given to the living room. The previous homeowner died in that room, and it was the only spot that provided any contact with the team medium. However, one of my personal video cameras was parked in an adjoining family room throughout our visit, and produced more EVP than any other device – by far.

There are really very few indicators available to aid in determining location “hot spots,” so I try to place remote devices in the least interesting areas and visit them less often during the proceedings. On the aforementioned investigation, not only was I able to record more EVP on that remote device, I was also blessed with some interesting, though inconclusive, video anomalies. One EVP was especially fascinating and actually makes my point. It said, “The party’s in here,” and that certainly seemed to be the case. If I relied solely on recording devices I could carry, that gem and others would have been lost, and that would have been a shame. Perhaps we would be better served to look where we’re not.
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Also visit The Voices Blog at http://thevoicesblog.wordpress.com

“Is anyone here?”

A paranormal investigator walks into an abandoned bar and asks, “Is anyone here?” And a disembodied voice says no.

That’s it. Thats the punchline, folks. That’s all there is, and it actually happened to me, once upon a time, exactly that way. Well, it seemed like a perfectly reasonable question to ask at the time. When I heard the answer, I got quite a laugh, but then I slowly began to feel incredibly stupid. I don’t ask that question any more. I rank it right up there with the times that an EVP voice has outright told me my questions were “dumb.” (I appear to be the only person to ever admit to such a response.)

Regardless, that’s actually very good advice from beyond the veil; I consider myself blessed. Our comments often suggest that we’re just not operating with functioning brains, but we shouldn’t feel too bad – we all do it. “Show yourself. Give me a sign. Do you know you’re dead? I won’t hurt you. Are you lost? Go to the light. Didn’t you used to be so-and-so?” And on and on… The totality of our thickheadedness seems to be endless. We appear quite willing to be nothing more than the purveyors of hackneyed nonsense, and like a mouse in a trap, we’re a stereotype. At first, it’s all cheese heaven, but eventually…

I won’t presume to tell you how to talk on an investigation, but appearing to be more of a mental equal might give the spirit better motivation to converse with you. At the very least, we ought to act as though we have some sense; maybe spend more time expressing an interest in “them” than we do in repeating our same worn-out, silly routine. We can capture just as much proof that someone is there by asking smarter questions, and the better choices we make improves our chances of learning something significant. We have to see it from their point of view and stop wasting everyone’s time.

“But Randy,” you may say, “at least in the joke, the paranormal investigator got an answer.” Yes, but thats not the real punch line. The real punch line is that he heard nothing at all. And that’s not funny either.
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Also visit The Voices Blog at http://thevoicesblog.wordpress.com

Seen and Not Heard

A little quiet goes a long long way. I’m amazed at how many paranormal investigators have trouble keeping their mouths shut. I know that’s blunt, but sometimes being blunt is the only way to get the message across. We need to understand that our incessant chatter bothers everyone – including spirits. How could they possibly communicate with us when we’re so busy finding new reasons to flap our gums? We’re supposed to be providing a natural and inviting environment for them to speak; an encouraging atmosphere that’s focused on them – not us.

My most satisfying investigations are always the quiet ones, when hardly a word is spoken. I think we should indicate that we’re ready to listen, and that usually comes by being quiet. I’ve remained totally hushed for ten minutes or more before breaching the silence with my first question or comment – spacing my remarks within long gaps of nothing. This doesn’t always provide a ton of EVP, but sometimes it does, and the results are clean and easier to decipher.

Once, I only asked three short questions in the space of half an hour. “Do you live here with the Smiths? What do you do here? Why don’t you just calm down and give these people some peace?” I captured eleven responses during that time and discovered that the spirit did not actually stay in the house, that he liked to visit in the morning, and that he came there because they made him laugh. That’s a lot, don’t you think? It was a great exchange, and to this day, I think the spirit was so forthcoming because he knew I was actually listening. My visit was clearly all about him – not me, and why not – that’s the whole point.

Unfortunately, not all investigations can provide the kind of laid back situation I just described, but there’s no reason for us to contaminate the scene with our constant yammering. The goal isn’t to see how many questions we can ask, you know. The goal is to see how many responses we can capture. My grandmother used to say that “children should be seen and not heard.” Sometimes that applies to paranormal investigators as well.
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Also visit The Voices Blog at http://thevoicesblog.wordpress.com

Comfortable Paradigm

Sometimes I misread things. I’ve heard more EVP than most, but I still manage to draw the wrong conclusions way too frequently for comfort. Occasionally, the most outstanding learning opportunity is staring right at me, but I just don’t see it. That’s how it is with my recordings around small children. I have been so busy trying to figure the identity of the EVP voice, or trying to discover great significance with every comment, that I totally missed a fascinating trend.
 
Since I’ve finally wised-up, it looms rather monumental to me, and even though I’m a little ashamed to admit my dereliction of duty, I have to share with you. When I have recorded around children, while spending most of my time observing, there are a lot of EVP recorded. They are engaged with the child, speak to him directly, or discuss his activities. They even seem to be looking out for his welfare – a comforting thought, actually. 
 
However, when I spend time playing or interacting with the child instead of merely watching, there are noticeably less EVP. Additionally, the nature of the voices change from protective, playful, and intensely interested to uninvolved and typical. To put it another way, the voices seem to reflect a guardian attitude when I am not devoting my complete attention to the child. As I become more actively involved, the spirit comments have reverted to familiar and more ordinary response patterns. It’s almost as if they no longer feel responsible within the situation; they don’t feel obligated to pick up my slack.
 
Of course, as of now, this is conjecture on my part, but it has been consistent over a substantial number of sessions, so I realize specific tests now need to be done. I also understand that this conclusion is based on some pretty flimsy circumstances, and there’s not nearly enough data to support it, but it kinda makes sense – it fits with what we know about human nature. Still, it seems surprising to me, and at the same time, I wonder why it took so long to notice the trend. 
 
There are two lessons for me to learn here, the first of which is obvious, but the second stands as a bonus. Simply put, I need to focus a little more on the bigger picture. We spend so much time proceeding with our preconceived notions and comfortable paradigms that we sometimes miss large chunks of the puzzle. It’s amazing what we can learn from children.
 
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Also visit The Voices Blog at http://thevoicesblog.wordpress.com

 

Colossal Dork

Last entry I discussed the values of employing a naming convention for EVP clips, and here I am, back again, to add to the confusion. What a colossal dork, right? Not only do I think your EVP clips should be organized, instantly recognizable, and consistently named, I think this nerdfest needs to prevail over the entire disorganized mess you’re loosely referring to as your “evidence.”

From my limited observation, paranormal investigators love to brag about how neat and orderly their stuff is. Hmmm. If that’s accurate, why is it frequently so difficult to find anything? I’m not talking about the equipment cases – those are almost always staunch representatives of a well-oiled machine ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. I’m talking about your results. Can you find investigator Joe’s personal video masters for around 2:15 am from three years ago? You know, where you claim to have captured that free floating mist on the stairs. So, find the original and let’s make absolutely certain we’re seeing it right. Three years later? Of course. Can you put your hands on it – like now?

That never happens, right? Not three years later. Well, it will. How quickly and easily can you find the footage? And while we’re at it, hopefully no one will question that super cool EVP; hopefully you won’t have to compare Bonnie’s audio with Bill and Ted’s. Hopefully, your excellent adventure in search of the authentication won’t cost you half a day digging through 12 years of poorly labeled DVDs. Fingers crossed…

This isn’t like back issues of Superman Comics – it’s proof of the afterlife – the hereafter. Eternity! Have some respect! And every last piece of evidence contributes to the universal collective understanding. Dude, it’s not just Jason and Tango who get to prove that eternity exits. Plus, your EVP are frequently better than their’s – you just have to be able to prove it. There are thousands of us on the case, you know – not just Zak and the boys. And in my book, our evidence is more valuable because we help people directly and don’t have to answer to ratings.

So shape up. Get organized. Show some pride in yourself and your very valuable work. We are the keepers of an awesome thing – paranormal validation. Being organized isn’t so tough – you can figure out how to do it, and then you too can be a colossal dork. It’s easy, and I guarantee you’ll feel better for it.

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Also visit The Voices Blog at http://thevoicesblog.wordpress.com

Bad Boys

A recent discussion on the Voices group on Facebook centered around “provoking.” It was short and sweet, but the subject has come up several times before, and seems to frequently surface in most paranormal circles. Without question, the vast majority of folks find unnecessary provocation to be rude and undesirable. In fact, I am hard pressed to think of people I know who are in favor of it (except as a last resort in very specific situations).

I’ve seen aggressive behavior exhibited on investigations before, and I’ve never liked it. In fact, I hate taking a turn “inside” a location after one of these mule heads has fouled the air before me. However, again, the majority of investigators I’ve witnessed have been polite, respectful, and totally appropriate. So, all is well with the world, eh?

I wonder. If very few publicly appreciate the practice; if investigators rarely do it; if paranormal pundits preach against it, then why do we see so much of it on television? There’s frequently some guy in a bitchin’ ghosty-shirt recounting how “something demonic” attacked him after he taunted the poor creature. Obviously, I am aware that most tv investigators do not provoke, but certainly a significant percentage of them do, and for some reason, they revel in the negative attention that results. “This is what it’s all about!” Really? No it’s not.

Just bad boy syndrome? Tough guys? Egomaniacs? Jerks? What’s the persona they’re going for when so many people in-the-know disdain the practice? It all just seems kinda lame, and it’s a shame, because I think most of us believe they’d get more and better results with a simple attitude check. Well, personally, it makes me tired, and I’m pretty sure the time has come for these fellas to lower their dose of testosterone and grow up. Bad boys indeed. More like bad investigators.