They Don’t Know They’re Dead…

Some years ago I had decided to go to a workshop hosted by a local ghost hunter.  At this time in my life I had been ghost hunting for a little over a year, but was always looking for new things to learn as well as people to network with. I still do, by the way, I think that there is nothing more important than respectfully knowing and learning, even experiencing, other hunters beliefs and techniques.  Only by “freelancing” (as I call it), and seeing others in an investigation, can we learn new things and draw our own conclusions.  Sometimes it is an exercise in patients (lots and lots of patients), sometimes I learn something that I still use today.

I RSVP’d for the workshop and headed out there for a nice afternoon of socializing with other ghost hunters in my area.  It was a good time, I met some great new people.  Some of whom I still keep close contact with today.  But there was something about the content of the presentation that still nags at me to this day.

Before I continue with this post, I just want to say that the following blog post is just my opinion.  I am not accusing people of being wrong as I have no factual basis to do so.  Just like in life, the paranormal field comes with a diverse selection of beliefs and theories.  Many of which are deeply tied to ones religious or cultural influence.  I am not saying that anyone’s religious/cultural beliefs are wrong, I am just offering my beliefs based on my experiences.

Having said that; the presenter of this particular workshop started talking about interaction with a ghost.  He said that common sense should rule in ghost hunting.  If you have an intelligent haunting, that ghost is most likely a mirror image of their consciousness when they passed.  For instance, if they were killed during the civil war then they probably would not be able to communicate with you regarding the latest summer blockbuster in theaters as they would not know what a movie is.  Fair enough, I see the logic behind this.  Not sure I agree with it; but it makes sense to me why he believes this.

He went on to say that if a person was of higher intelligence in life, they will be of higher intelligence in death.  If they were simple in life, they will be simple in death.  They do not suddenly gain some sort of all knowing ethereal genius in the after life.  I understand why he believes this, but we are reaching a point in the paranormal path where we start finding forks in the road.  Many different theories branch off from here.

Finally he continued to the statements that I have not been able to get over, “When ghost hunting you NEVER ask about their death, when they died, or if they know they are dead.  Ghosts don’t know they are dead; so when you perform an EVP session you must make no reference to their death.”

In the years since I heard his presentation this statement has never left me.  Again, I understand his logic, but I have come to the conclusion that I disagree.  Though this is a touchy subject, and a lot of people have different theories, I believe that this is our subconscious romanticizing the idea of ghosts and our need to save them.  I am just going to bullet point why I don’t believe that Ghost’s don’t know they are dead:

  • Let’s stick with the example of the civil war ghost.  If he truly is unable to absorb information from our time and understand how the world has changed… then how are we “teaching him” to communicate with us through ITC?  By lighting up an EMF detector or Rem Pod?  We continually go into haunted locations with new tech and tell the “ghost” how to use it.  And supposedly we get responses.  If we are truly communicating, then is it not safe to assume that we have taught them how to communicate with us.  Why is it such a leap to believe that they could see The History Channel playing in the house they are haunting and learn about events that happened after their death?  Granted, they may not be able to do this all of the time, and only glean things here and there… but they have all of the time in the world to gather up snippets of information right?
  • Carrying on your level of intelligence from life to the afterlife makes sense, but doesn’t that include ones ability to learn and adapt?  Highly intelligent, or simple, we all continue to learn and adapt to our environment and situations.  Granted… some better than others.
  • Which brings us to the 500 pound gorilla in the room.  I couldn’t agree with it then, and I still don’t agree with it.  I do not believe that ghosts don’t know they are dead.  Maybe immediately after death until they acclimate to their new environment, but not forever.  Personally I believe we, as a paranormal community, have to much evidence to the contrary.  Including the fact that those of us that do not believe they don’t know they are dead have no problem asking about the ghosts death during EVP sessions and get responses.

Obviously, as with in life, there could be exceptions to this rule.  There are always exceptions to rules in this world, but I do not believe that everywhere we go are ghosts trapped here who need help to “cross over”.  I believe that there is an afterlife that we don’t understand, and it is quite possible that the afterlife is intertwined with ours.  I believe that every now and then some in the afterlife reach out to us in whatever way they can.  I believe that sometimes they entertain those of us who go seeking them in whatever way they can.

If a ghost has figured out how to communicate with us through EVP, by learning the many different ITC methods, by manifesting to us… then I think it is safe to say that a ghost understands it is not with us.  That, by our definition, it is dead… though they may have a completely different definition of what they are…


Spirit Box P-SB7 Modification

As complained about in a previous post, I own a Spirit Box P-SB7.  I have seen others use the P-SB7 and other similar devices with some incredible results, and I have seen extremely questionable results.  After observing use that spanned the spectrum of believable to unbelievable I decided to get one for myself and experiment with it on a regular basis.  The jury is still out for me, but I try to make a point of using it at least once during every investigation I do.

A Spirit Box is just a hacked radio.  It has been modified to continually sweep radio stations at a fast rate.  This creates a lot of fuzz, and the idea is that a spirit can communicate through this fuzz.  The P-SB7 has features that allow you to chose between the AM and FM bands as well as sweeping forward or backwards.  Though I can’t think of how these features matter except to make the device look fancy.  Fuzz is fuzz, whether you are on the AM or the FM band, sweeping forward or backwards.

The P-SB7 also gives you several speeds that you can set your sweep to from slower to faster.  I default to the fastest speed for one particular reason; if something comes through, then it is harder to dispute the evidence if you can prove that the word(s) you have captured spans multiple radio stations during the sweep.  Making it more impossible that it is bleed-over from a radio station.  Which begs the question, why an antenna?  If the point of these devices is not to allow words from a radio station to actually make it through, then why include a component that boosts reception?

I have decided to modify my P-SB7 by removing the antenna.  My biggest challenge, in the midst of moving, was finding a tiny screwdriver.  Once I found a tiny screwdriver the process was quite simple:

Step 1:

Flip that Spirit Box over!  The first two screws are under the battery cover.

The first two screws are under the battery cover

Step 2:

Back to the front.  Carefully remove the silver display cover.

Carefully remove the silver display cover

Step 3:

Under the display cover are two more screws.  Once removed, this will allow you to open up the P-SB7

Two more screws under the silver display cover

Step 4:

With the P-SB7 now open, there are some more screws to remove.  In the upper left hand corner of the display screen, the lower right hand corner of the display screen and the lower right hand corner of the circuit board.

Remove the screws in the upper left hand corner of the display screen, the lower right hand corner of the display screen and the lower right hand corner of the circuit board

Step 5:

Carefully move the circuit board aside.  The board is attached to battery contacts on both sides, you will carefully pop these out to grant you the room needed to work.

Carefully move the circuit board to the side

Step 6:

Remove the antenna…

Remove the antenna

Step 7:

Carefully replace the circuit board.  I used some needle nosed pliers to pop the battery contacts back into place.  Replace the three internal screws.

Carefully replace circuit board and replace screws

Step 8:

Screw the outer shell back on and replace the silver display cover. ** I used a dab of super glue to re-adhere the silver display cover to the P-SB7.  I do not recommend this, as you can see, it seeped up into the display and looks messy.  If you are really careful, the cover seems to have no problem adhering back on.  However; if you want to, a couple little pieces of double sticky tape should do the trick. **

Re-attach the outer shell and replace the silver display cover

And there you have it!  The following is a quick video showing that the P-SB7 works just fine without it’s antenna:

I look forward to testing my modification this weekend at the Old South Pittsburg Hospital!

Watching Paranormal TV Shows… Not Watching Paranormal TV Shows… Does it Really Matter?

I have met many ghost hunters who swear they don’t watch TV shows about ghost hunting… I don’t believe it for a second!  People seem to claim this almost as if they think that they are cut from a better ghost hunting cloth.  Like it is a declaration of automatic entitlement over the rest of the ghost hunting field.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but the fact is, ghost hunting is my passion.  So when something airs on TV that deals with the same subject that I love… sure as hell I am going to watch it!  It really is as simple as that.  I would like to think that most of us are smart enough to know that television is for entertainment.  So why does the paranormal field seem to take up this cause and jump on their soap boxes about paranormal TV shows?  Don’t we all know that this is just for entertainment?

Because I watch a paranormal show does not mean that I automatically agree of everything I see.  It does not mean that I believe everything that they insinuate or claim as evidence either.  I whole heartily believe that as long as I am aware of that, and don’t treat these TV shows as the standard with which to measure myself… I can watch away without feeling like I am less of a ghost hunter!  Just like I do not think that a homicide detective uses CSI to adjust how they investigate a crime scene, but we seem to have no issue with the fact that a cop watches CSI, or a lawyer watches Law and Order… why such a fuss over paranormal shows?

And let me add an argument to the mix.  In my very sheltered life growing up; I absolutely LOVED “true” ghost stories and everything paranormal.  In elementary school I would check out book after book from the library and scare myself reading these tales of the unknown to the point that I couldn’t go to sleep.  I would just lay in bed and shiver in fear certain that there was some sort of dark entity behind me.  My mom banned me from bringing these books home, so I continued my quest within the school library walls.

But with the circumstances of my life and upbringing, I never knew that there were ghost hunting groups out there.  I knew about the Warrens and other Parapsychologists, but never thought that there was anything beyond this small fold of scientists that investigated people’s homes.  These were the kind of investigators highlighted in one of my favorite shows, A Haunting (the old school version).  I ate that show up, and wished I could be among the ranks of the Warren’s, Auerback’s, or Taff’s of the parapsychology world…

Then comes along the TV Show, Ghost Hunters, and with it the realization that ghost hunting is actually out there… and anyone can do it.  One night they aired an episode in Gettysburg, which is not far from where I live at this time.  I couldn’t wait to go up to Gettysburg to “see for myself”.  And so it began…  I dove head first down the rabbit hole of the paranormal because I wanted to see if something like what I am watching on Ghost Hunters could really happen to me.  I refused to believe what they are saying is going on in this location until I experience it for myself!  Soon after this revelation I stumbled across a group run by a friend of a friend, and the rest is history.  I have been educating myself, and hunting ever since.

If not for the widely popular show, Ghost Hunters, I never would have found this whole wide world of everything I am fascinated with.  The mystery, the suspense, the adrenaline.  I never knew it was all at my fingertips!!  Ghost Hunters ushered in a new era in the paranormal on a couple of levels.  It mainstreamed the possibility of the paranormal which, in my upbringing, was not a possibility.  It brought back to life the extreme curiosity of these mysterious happenings that used to keep me up as a child… the stuff I kind of grew away from because my religious upbringing did not have room for ghosts.  Secondly; it showed that, if you really want to, you can do this too!

I know many of you do not like what I just said.  I have heard so many people say with absolute spite how ghost hunting shows on TV have ruined the paranormal.  Saturating the field with a bunch of half assed crack pots that give everyone else a bad name.  And yes, in a way it may have done that.  But at the same time, look at your team.  Look at the people you trust with every investigation and tell me that you aren’t grateful to have them in your ranks.  Odds are several or all of them go into this after the TV wave of ghost hunting popularity became unavoidable.  There are a lot of amazing investigators that have come out of this as well.  And it is these investigators that will still be here when all of the ridiculous thrill seekers and frauds fall away.  Those of us that are serious about what we do have been forced to step up our game.  To rise to a higher level of understanding about the field and various theories within.

So I ask again… is it really that disgusting that I still tune in and watch paranormal TV shows?  I treat them with the same entertainment value as I do with Breaking Bad, or Drop Dead Diva… because we all know that those are absolutely real as well!!  And by the way; does anyone know how the Fresh Prince of Bel Air is doing these days?  I have always hoped that things worked out for him…

Orbs… We Have To Have This Discussion Again?

Orbs… need I say more?  Apparently I do because the math just doesn’t add up!

Everyone I talk to claims that they don’t believe in orbs.  “Orbs Schmorbs” they say.

Perhaps those of us trying to sound sciency would word it more like, “It is so hard to successfully differentiate a true orb from dust, particulates, moisture or bugs.  In addition, orbs are too easy for a skeptic to scrutinize as far as validity because of the higher possibility that it is one of the aforementioned natural occurrences.  Therefore, our team does not support orb photo’s.”

So why do I continually hear this caveat to the above statements, “But check out this picture…”?

WHY??!!??  Really; why should I “just check out this one picture”?  Because it looks like a demon head is inside of it?  Because, if you blow it up so much that it is as pixelated as a 70’s video game, you can see a southern belle in all her finery on her way to Cotillion?  Is that why this particular picture merits a “but…”?

A few years ago I investigated Antietam Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Maryland.  As you can see by these pictures… there must have been ghosts EVERYWHERE!!!  Well; that or it was such a humid night that every picture looks like “Its raining ghosts!  Hallelujah, it’s raining ghosts, amen!”

It was an amazingly humid night folks.  Just like every other summer night in Maryland.  It was plenty warm, we were in jeans and t-shirts, but it was so humid that the moisture just hung in the air.  We saw that with every flash of the camera’s.  One of the people, whom I had never met before, was investigating for her first time.  Some weeks later I ran into her at an event in Fredrick Maryland.  She informed me that she caught a picture of a ghost.  This peaked my interest as she whipped out a well worn photo from her giant purse.  I am not kidding, this purse was big enough to stuff a baby in!

I am looking at her photo, and looking, and looking.  I can’t see this ghost, until she points it out to me, and there it was!  Actually; the ghost she pointed out to me looked exactly like a storm ship trooper.  She began to explain to me that this is a confederate soldier leaning against the fence while watching us investigate.  If confederate soldiers wore full body armor made out of white plastic with silly mask faces… then yes, I would have to agree with her.  But it wasn’t a confederate soldier.  It was a clump of moisture droplets suspended in the air.  To an eye that is desperate to find something, they turned into whatever she wanted them to be.

People I have never met before show me their “ground breaking” evidence which consists of smokey swirls between the camera and a scrubby mess of bushes.  But I look at the picture and I think one thing… okay, maybe two.  Why do people always take pictures of scrubby messy bushes?  And why am I supposed to believe that this isn’t cigarette smoke?

Oh, I know you say it isn’t cigarette smoke, and you tell me that this was taken on a warm night so it wasn’t your breath.  But the truth is, I wasn’t there when this picture was taken so I can only rely on the most logical conclusion… which is that it was cigarette smoke.  Any skeptic can only rely on this conclusion as well.  The bottom line is that you have no way of proving that this isn’t cigarette smoke especially when you have no corroborating evidence to show me along with your photo. “But look at the mist.  It is clearly a picture of a Care Bear shooting a musket at Bigfoot!  Look at this swirl here?  This is the rainbow across his tummy! DON’T YOU SEE IT?”

“Well yes, I see something resembling what you are describing, but yesterday I also saw a perfect formation of an elephant in the clouds… it wasn’t paranormal.”  And guess what everybody, I have been in Gettysburg on a night so hot and humid that we were sitting in chairs in our shorts and t-shirts, and you could see our breath like it was below zero.  Any number of natural occurrences (or cigarette smoke) cold have caused this.

“Okay, fine.  That doesn’t impress you?”  as he scrolls through pictures on his iPad, “Check out this one Orb…”