Monthly Archives: July 2012

Haunting Trip Through an Abandoned Farmhouse…

 

I’ve been trying out some new video editing software. Technology takes me longer than most people normally, but it took me a LONG time to work out the kinks in this video. Believe it or not, adding text or a title is the roughest part in this program, so I’ve kept it basic. Not exactly how I wanted it, but I’m declaring it done for now. 🙂

This is a haunting trip through the abandoned farmhouse that MOSS investigated earlier this year. I’ve blogged about some of our experiences there. More than anything, it has been a really cool and interesting place to visit. If you’re interested in the final investigation report you can click HERE.

Oh and by the way… one of the interesting things about this video is the short musical clips throughout. They are from 1901, the year the home was built, and we used them as triggers for an experiment during our investigation. 

 

 

 


How To Record EVP…


Every now and then I look through the summary of the search engine terms that bring people to The Big Séance. The list is huge, but in some way or another, several people have been searching for EVP instructions, and
some have asked various questions about capturing EVP.

There are many many ways of recording for and capturing EVP. For decades, people all over the world have successfully recorded spirit voices in their own individual way. There are basic techniques, and there are techniques that are rather complicated, some requiring more equipment and more explanation. There are also wonderful techniques that due to times changing and new technology, are just outdated.

My experiences with EVP began as a paranormal investigator, but more recently it comes from research and conducting frequent EVP experiments in my home. EVP sessions during a paranormal investigation are typically a different ballgame all together.

Rather than writing a blanket “how to” post, I want to make it clear that this is simply me sharing how I typically go about recording for EVP for experiments in my own home.

My technique for recording EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena)

Finding a location

Find a location that is both quiet and comfortable. In my opinion, good vibes help. You want a location where you are familiar with your surroundings. Do certain noises or creaks happen at certain times? The central air kicking in, the fridge, the ice maker, be familiar with it all. For example, at my home there is a bathroom near my typical recording location. I’ve learned that after anyone takes a shower or uses a lot of hot water, the water lines will pop and make loud thud sounds in the wall off and on for 10 or 20 minutes.

The environment

Ideally, you will want to record when you are alone in the house/location. If someone is in the home with you and cooperating with your session, be sure to document their location and the fact that they are there, just in case confusion pops up later and you don’t remember. With certain sensitive recorders, someone speaking softly or making noise several rooms away or on a different floor will seem incredibly close, even if you don’t hear it with your own ears.

You’ll want to pick a time of day where the neighborhood (if that is an issue for you) is at its quietest. This is perhaps why many people choose to record in the evenings.

Either in your recording or in a log of your session, document specific equipment you’re using (if it’s out of the ordinary). Document anything you may be trying or changing as far as technique goes. Also, as mentioned above, document anything odd in your surroundings for a session. Is the ceiling fan on? Is your husband downstairs reading the paper? Are there roofers across the street? Is there thunder and lightning outside? Also, (and this is important and comes from personal experience) is the dog in the room? Sometimes my dog is with me and other times not. When listening back later it may be important to know.

Recorders and their placement

Sony ICD PX-820/720 (they look the same)

Now days I think it is safe to say that most researchers and investigators use digital recorders, but if you go digital, definitely look for USB capabilities. There are several brands and models that are very easy to use and upload to your computer for listening and analysis. I use the Sony ICD PX-820, the Sony ICD PX-720 (those specific models probably aren’t made anymore), and the Tascam DR-07 with an external Tascam microphone.

In my opinion, it is important to use two recorders at the same time for sessions. These recorders should be different models or brands. Let me explain why I do this.

One of my recorders (the Tascam) is a little fancier and a little more expensive than the others. I also tend to use a pretty good external microphone with it. The other recorders are more basic and simple and most of the time I just use the internal microphone with those. I almost never capture EVP with the better recorder, and that’s okay. Because of how well it records and how sensitive it is, muffled or unclear sounds from the environment picked up in another recorder will most likely be more obvious when I listen to the recording from the better recorder. Many times I’ll hear something that sounds like it is crawling up from the depths of hell. I’ll replay it thirty times trying to figure out if it is saying “Let’s get Keller” or “We’re hiding in the cellar”, etc. But then when I listen to the other recorder it is clear that it was just my wheezing intake of breath or my stomach processing my last meal. Because of its history of not recording EVP, and because analysis of EVP recordings consumes so much time, I’ve gotten to the point I don’t even go through the entire recording from the better recorder unless I have to. Sometimes I’ll just compare the flagged moments from the other recorder.

Tascam DR-007

Many paranormal investigators or EVP researchers will tell you that EVP are not often recorded in multiple recorders at one time. This isn’t always the case, but it seems to be the case with my research, anyway. If I’ve recorded a mysterious sound that I can’t identify, or if I am having trouble deciding if something is paranormal in nature, I listen for the same moment in both recordings. If I hear something or a voice out-of-place in one recorder, but not in the other, I’m more likely to believe it is truly paranormal and possibly an EVP.

Place your recorders near you, but far enough away where you won’t hear your every breath… but definitely keep the recorders in the same room as you. I like to put my recorders on opposite sides of me or in different spots in the room. You may decide to keep both of your recorders close to each other. I have never heard of a reason why putting both recorders next to each other would be a mistake, and there may be some experimental situations where having them right next to each other would be important.

Sometimes I choose to use headphones with one of my recorders as I’m conducting the session. It gives you a better chance of having a real-time two-way conversation. It also allows you to make mental notes of places where you think you may have heard something. A downside to this would be that using the headphones will most likely amplify sounds from the environment, sometimes making things more dramatic than they really are. Also, if knocks or other sounds are heard, you won’t always know what direction they came from when headphones are worn.

Lastly, when it comes time to press record, starting both recorders at the same time (or close) will be very helpful when comparing time stamps during analysis.

Some advice for your session to save you time and frustration later

Many paranormal investigators are familiar with what is sometimes called “tagging” while investigating or during an EVP session. Tagging helps to eliminate the possibility of claiming an investigator’s sneezing or a stomach growl is an EVP or paranormal. Depending on how quiet and stable my environment is, sometimes I have to tag a lot. Use familiar language or some kind of quick and easy code that you can say aloud while recording. Common tags that I end up using are “Meril” (for any noise the dog might be creating), “shifting” (if I have to shift in my chair or scratch my nose), “noise outside the window”, “stomach”, etc.

The EVP Session

Sometimes before a session I will choose to do a quick meditation or prayer. This is certainly not required. There is a debate among some EVP researchers regarding whether praying or asking for protection prevents them from recording EVP. On many occasions my meditation is a prayer or a request for help in sending or inviting willing spirits to help me with my recording and research. This is somewhat controversial, however. Sometimes I do all of this and sometimes I don’t, but I try to document when I have and haven’t in case I notice correlations. Sometimes I record the meditation/prayer and sometimes I choose to not start the recording until after. Sometimes before a session I’ll simply play relaxation or meditation music lightly in the background to help me chill out. I think it is important to be in a good place or frame of mind when practicing any form of spirit communication.

Once I start recording I allow for at least 30 seconds of silence since many times EVP are captured as soon as the recording starts.

Often the first thing that comes out of my mouth is another verbal request for either protection or for help with inviting willing spirits to help me out. Then, unless documented somewhere else, I’ll quickly state the date and time, describe the equipment and where it is placed, and anything unusual in my surroundings.

Then after more silence I’ll begin asking some basic questions. I feel it is important in EVP recording to treat those who may be joining us from the other side with absolute respect. I also feel that questioning spirits like they’re in court or being interrogated is insulting and unnecessary. Another pet peeve of mine is when people speak as if they are automatically smarter than a spirit because they happen to be alive. Don’t assume they want or need your help. Don’t assume they’re miserable. After all, most of the time you won’t really know who you’re communicating with (sometimes scary) and for all we know our talkative visitors could be beings that have crossed over and simply here for a visit. Too many investigators assume that whoever they are communicating with must be “earthbound” or troubled and in need of help. (But if I’m ever asked for help, I’ll certainly do my best.)

Unless I know who I’m speaking to, most of the time I try to spark conversation by asking the same usual questions, followed by whatever happens to be on my mind that day. Make sure you allow plenty of time (20 to 30 seconds) in between questions. Also, if you have a complicated or deep question in mind, consider breaking it up into smaller chunks.

Some of the questions I start out with.

  • Hello. Is there anyone with me today?
  • Please tell me your name?
  • Have you visited me before?
  • How many spirits are with me today?
  • Do I know you? Are you a friend or family member?
  • Are there any messages you’d like to pass on today?

I don’t always instigate it, but often I get spirits who like to let me know of their presence by knocks or “rapping”. And the investigator in me would LOVE to be touched or to witness physical objects being moved, so sometimes at the end of a session I’ll ask for some kind of validation through a noise or knock or the moving of an object. I’ve never witnessed any cool physical phenomena like this, but I know that when I get two or three loud knocks or raps when I ask for it, I’m way more likely to be confident about any EVP captured in that session. It’s also a really cool experience to document when it happens.

Before ending a session I always give any spirits present the opportunity to give me any feedback or suggestions to make my research more successful. Then finally I thank them for their energy and presence and invite them to return for future sessions.

I think my sessions are longer than most people prefer. A typical session for me is 15 to 20 minutes. Just remember that depending on how thorough you are during the analysis of your audio recordings, it will take at the very least twice as long to listen and analyze as it took to record. Some of my more complicated and longer sessions can take a day or more to get through.

Other techniques

Often I will allot a few minutes of my EVP sessions for using a background noise source such as “white noise” or “pink noise” (pink is my preference). This is also somewhat controversial, but many believe that this may help entities to communicate. Also, I will sometimes use a “spirit box” (sometimes referred to as a “ghost box” or “Frank’s box”) or any device that will help me practice the “radio sweep” method, which is an example of “opportunistic EVP”.

 

 

I have to give some credit to the following researchers/authors who have influenced me: the late Sarah Estep, one of the great EVP pioneers; Tom and Lisa Butler, directors of Association TransCommunication; and Randall Keller, a wise and experienced researcher who has been a great mentor. A lot of what I know and the “how to” came directly from them in one way or another.

 

More later on the analysis of your audio and what to do when you actually think you’ve captured an EVP! For right now this post is long enough.

 

 

 


The Scole Group’s “A Basic Guide”…

I’ve blogged about the Scole group several times here at The Big Séance. Like many people, I first read a bit about this group as it is simply highlighted in many books on the topic of spirit communication. Then, when I saw the documentary, The Afterlife Investigations, it seemed so much more real. I then had to read the book The Scole Experiment: Scientific Evidence for Life After Death by Grant and Jane Solomon. From reading the book

The “Scole Hole”, where most of the experiments took place.

I learned that in 1996 the Scole group formed “The New Spiritual Science Foundation”, and they published A Basic Guide to the development of Physical Psychic Phenomena using energy. This guide was written to help groups all over the world wanting to start similar spiritual energy circles, and sometimes it is just referred to as “A Basic Guide”. Of course, I had to have it. To my knowledge it can now only be obtained by downloading it from the link above. 

If you’re not familiar with this group and the really cool phenomena that they documented, below is from one of my previous posts. 

The Scole Experimental Group was started by two mediums who joined several other spiritual individuals in what most probably know as a spirit circle, which is also similar to a séance group. One thing I didn’t know before reading this book was that the structure of the group and the experiments were pretty much organized and guided by their “spirit team”. The team was composed of around 6 main entities, but other spirit scientists and technicians were involved in the process. Most of their communications came by using the two mediums in trance, but this was not the case every time. Some of the phenomena were moving spirit lights, manifestations of hands and faces, being touched, surround sound-like voices speaking in the room, levitating objects, faces and pictures showing up on sealed photographic film, and some of the cooler experiences involved many gifts of apports (the manifestation of an object seemingly coming from nowhere).

What was the goal of this group? In his first visit, Manu, the “gatekeeper” and leader of the spirit team told the Scole Group that “The team of beings I represent is made up of many thousands of minds from the many other realms of existence. We will be working with your group to provide very tangible evidence of the reality of these other realms. Our plan is to pioneer important methods of communication between the dimensions using ‘energy’ rather than the more traditional methods such as ectoplasm.”

It might be easy to blow this group off and say that there is no way to prove any of this phenomena and the experiences were real, but there are a number of scientists, psychologists, parapsychologists, and other wise and educated professionals who were present and inspected and studied the experiments. Some of these individuals were connected with the highly critical Society for Psychical Research.

I have some séance plans for this fall, but spirit circles are quite a bit different. If you’re interested in forming or joining one, then you should definitely check out the guide, especially if you’re wanting amazing results like the Scole group. 

What are some of the highlights?

Well, the handbook gives guidance on how to choose members for your group and stresses the old saying that “like attracts like”. It might take several sittings to find the right balance and harmony of group members. Once a group is established, no member outranks another, however, group members should consider themselves members on a trial basis at first. On a side note, I’ve heard from people who have had experience in spirit circles. Some  people end up getting their feelings hurt when they end up not fitting into a group’s harmony. I’ve heard of power struggles that go on in some groups as well. It seems to me like finding that harmony would be a tough trial period to get through. 

The Scole group received many specific and necessary instructions from their spirit team, and the room and its layout was apparently a part of those instructions. Your room ideally should be used for nothing else but your spirit circles (tough one). It should be free of unnecessary furniture and decorative items, other than a table and chairs arranged in a circle around it, and other recommended items (including a required glass dome) used for experiments. Unnecessary electronic equipment or powered items should be removed. And, perhaps most importantly, these sittings are to be carried out in complete darkness. This could make finding a location a challenge. The Scole group admits that this requirement is sometimes controversial, but the spirit team insists that it is necessary for phenomena to occur in any spirit circle. Perhaps for obvious reasons, a location with only one way in or out is ideal. Something I thought was cool was that luminous tabs (for the table, other experimental items, and wrist bands for sitters) is recommended. 

The handbook also gives instructions on general procedures, such as how often you should meet, when to arrive, how long a session should be expected to last, settling in and relaxing, opening prayer, quite a bit of instructions about music that should be used (as a music teacher this was very interesting), a healing exercise that should always happen after the main session, and lastly, a closing prayer. 

 

Forming or joining a spirit circle just may be in my future. I find it very interesting. 

Peace!


After Tragedy: an author on “healthy shame”…

Yesterday I struggled to pull myself from the cable news coverage of the tragic and senseless killings in Aurora, Colorado. The day was pretty much a wash since I couldn’t get all the sadness out of my head. I could have walked away… and I tried. I spent some time out in the absolutely beautiful weather that we experienced here in my part of Missouri. I even tried a meditation. I struggled to clear my head and ended up right back in front of the TV for most of the day. I don’t live in the Aurora area, and to my knowledge I knew none of the victims or their families, but I was really affected by it all.

I follow the author Karla McLaren on Facebook and I’ve mentioned her here a few times. Among other things, she writes about and discusses empathy and the language of emotions. In short, she often speaks of how important emotions are when they happen. For part of yesterday, I told myself that it was okay that I spent so much time dwelling on the tragedy, even though most people would probably think it wasn’t healthy. Maybe it was something I was meant to be feeling at the moment.

Then, Karla posted the following on her Facebook page.

As we read of yet another gun tragedy and send blessings to the victims, survivors, and the city of Aurora, I’m thinking so much of the vital, irreplaceable work of healthy shame.

In explosive violence, we can all see the panic and rage — out of control, brutal — but what I see more strongly is the absence of healthy shame, which helps people moderate their behavior.

So many of us learned about shame by *being* shamed — but that’s not how shame works in a healthy psyche. In fact, an overly shaming environment can actually create the kind of explosive violence we see in these sorts of tragedies. When people can’t access their own healthy, authentic, intrinsic shame, their behavior often goes off the rails.

Bullying, abuse, and violence — all are clear signs of serious shame impairment. Healthy and appropriate shame is an absolutely irreplaceable emotion that reduces violence and helps us become better people.

Today, along with feeling sadness and grief, I bow to healthy shame as the necessary emotion in this and so many other painful situations. Blessings to us all.

– Karla McLaren

I must admit that I don’t get it exactly. I think I need some explanation. Any thoughts?

Peace!

UPDATE: 

So it’s 20 minutes after I posted this. I’ve read it over a few more times and followed some of the commentary on her facebook page. I think I understand better now. I initially thought she meant this as some sort of coping thing for the rest of us… which I didn’t get. But I think she is just saying we should be really happy that “healthy shame” exists because it keeps us from getting into trouble and doing bad things. And be happy you have it, because apparently this guy is missing that skill or part of the brain. Am I there? Maybe? I don’t know.


Paranormal Burnout…

Warning! Lots of opinionated comments and blabbering below… 

As a teacher, I have learned to appreciate my well-deserved summers. I’m not one to take trips, go to the beach, socialize with friends, or probably most other activities that people engage in during the summer. And, because we have no children (other than the four-legged kind), I’m able to be selfish and go about whatever business I plan. On my spring break this year I planned out and conducted my two-week EVP experiment that many of you followed. When it ended I was already excitedly planning what I was going to do during the summer months, including ordering a big pile of books on the topic of spirit communication. With more time to be consistent, I would continue my EVP research. I could finally get tons of analysis of some previous paranormal investigations completed. I was also pumped to start thinking and planning some séance experiences for this fall. And… of course, I was very excited to blog my way through it all on The Big Séance.

Well, I’ve done most of these things. Unfortunately, the results of my recent EVP research would bore most of you. A lot of VERY quiet and VERY questionable moments that I continuously label as “possible” communication or “possible” EVP. I get nervous about the possibility of my hard drive filling to the max with these “possible” audio clips, and sorting through them and labeling them is becoming a chore. I’ve stopped saving so many of these and only make note of them. Either I’m doing something wrong or I’m not very patient. Or… maybe I’m not supposed to be an EVP master like Randall Keller. 🙂 It probably shouldn’t ruin my day, but sometimes after spending hours reviewing one session with no gems, it gets me down and I begin to wonder what the point is.

I’ve continued to occasionally experiment with radio sweep on my clock radio, which was brought on by possible (there’s that word again… see a theme here?) encouragement from spirit in a dream as well as an EVP response a while back. I’ve done more research with the spirit box, which I was very excited about, but have continued to be disappointed by, or maybe I’m just too skeptical about responses that may be coming through. Or… maybe I just need to get out of the house and record elsewhere. Or… maybe I just need to get out of the house. 🙂

By now I’ve read most of the books. One thing I didn’t consider is that these books would take me on a wild ride through several tangents and ITC topics that are interesting me. My mistake? I jumped right from one book to the next due to my addiction of knowledge and need to gain lots of it in a small amount of time. I didn’t stop to take a break between each book, or to even think about or attempt any of the concepts inside each individual book. Now that I’ve realized this, I plan on taking a step back. I’ll review each book by taking some notes, researching more of the techniques or concepts more deeply.

And finally, I’ve developed a kind of paranormal attitude that I’m not liking one bit. I’m a member of several online groups or circles of different paranormal and spiritual people and I’m learning a lot about other nerds and “crazies” like me. I find myself too easily criticizing the person who sees the obvious dust particle or reflection of the sun or a beam of light as the beautiful spirit orb whose name is Ralph, who is apparently in the photo to protect the person being photographed while sitting at their table at Applebees. Whaaaat?! “What you are seeing here in this water scrying example is a sprite. I also see a native American.” Why is there always a native American? And who am I to judge or get upset, anyway? I’m the one planning séances and sitting here waiting for my clock radio to talk to me based on a dream. And you should know that I’m interested in the spirit box. I’m interested in all things ITC. I want to be able to meditate successfully. I want to channel. I want to experience astral travel. I really want to hear and see what others do. As you may know, I’ve struggled to balance the “spiritual” nerd and the “paranormal” nerd inside myself. You may think there’s not a big difference, but trust me, they are completely different circles of people.

And so… I’ve decided I’m just burned out. Or maybe it’s just the July blues and I really need for school to start (and don’t worry, it will… less than two weeks away). Maybe I just need to get grounded and go be a “normal person” for a while. My friend Marilyn tells me I need to go and stick my feet in the dirt. Not a lot of dirt around here, but maybe she’s right. If you drive down my street and see me sitting in the yard looking like a patient from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, perhaps staring off into the distance while chewing on a blade of grass, just wave and drive on by. If you’re invited to my home and you notice I’m hoarding chicken carcasses under the bed like the girl from Girl Interrupted… well… just call for help, please. 

Last night I prayed to whoever would listen, perhaps my spirit guide, or my totem, or an Archangel, or maybe even Ralph. Hopefully someone can help me figure out what I’m supposed to do or not do. I hope you’ll understand if I take a blogging break for a while. You may even enjoy a break from reading it. 🙂 

I hope I haven’t offended anyone. Am I still talking? (Are you still reading?)


Fort Chaffee Prison Video…

Patrick inside the max security building at Fort Chaffee Prison.

 

As you know, a few months ago I participated in a joint investigation of the Fort Chaffee Prison in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The investigation was headed up by Dar and the Joplin Paranormal Research Society (JPRS) out of Joplin, Missouri. Also investigating was J.H.P.S out of Fort Smith, and, of course, I represented Missouri Spirit Seekers (MOSS). Not only was it a blast, but I met some new friends and colleagues in the field.

Analysis is ongoing, but Dar has made a really cool video highlighting the investigation. I told her she should move to Hollywood. As you’ll see, much of the prison facility is currently set up as a working haunted house. It made investigating very interesting. Most of the video is from our walk through of the facility. We’re using night vision cameras and flashlights and are completely in the dark, but what you see and hear at the very end is our guide surprising us by turning on the sound and mechanics of the whole production. Such a weird experience. I can’t make fun of Dar for screaming at the end because we have documented evidence of me screaming at a different moment during the walk through. 🙂

Soon I may post a really funny clip from part of the investigation that I captured on my camcorder. But, I’m sure Dar will doctor it up soon, so I won’t ruin the unveiling. 🙂  More to come, I’m sure…  For now, enjoy!

 


Conversations Beyond the Light

 

I just finished Conversations Beyond the Light: with Departed Friends & Colleagues by Electronic Means by Dr. Pat Kubis and Mark Macy (1995). Rather than write a review, I decided to post a few videos.

This first video is by Mark Macy, who is one of the authors and a pioneer of ITC (Instrumental Transcommunication) research, and is the founder of World ITC.  In this video, Mark discusses the research of George Meek, another very important pioneer in ITC research who crossed over in 1999.

 

 

The next video is mainly for the audio, and the description below is from the World ITC website. The book discusses this historical moment of spirit communication.

On January 27, 1994, the telephone rang in George Meek’s office, and once again George Meek made history. It was the late ITC pioneer Konstantin Raudive on the phone, and it was the second spirit phone call ever placed to an American ITC researcher.

G Meek: Good morning, this is George Meek.

K Raudive: This is Konstantin Raudive. George, my friend, at last we succeeded in contacting you. Jeannette is beside me, and she wants to give you all her love. This is Konstantin Raudive. This is the first contact you get from us. I suppose that you can hear me?

G Meek: I can hear you very well. Very plainly.

K Raudive: Fine! So, this is the beginning of a new story, a new chapter, George. You are a very good friend of ours, even if we haven’t met. We will continue this. This is the first bridge we have succeeded to build to the States. Mark was contacted, and I must interrupt now.

 


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