A candid conversation with author, paranormal investigator, and Spiritualist minister, Tim Shaw. Hear about everything from his fascinating childhood experiences at Lily Dale, to his research into the C2D1 Haunting!
A candid conversation with author, paranormal investigator, and Spiritualist minister, Tim Shaw. Hear about everything from his fascinating childhood experiences at Lily Dale, to his research into the C2D1 Haunting!
Today was already an unusual day. Due to being a single father for a week, and because my schedule was going to keep me at school late today, I had to skip my lunch and my planning period to come home to walk my 4-legged son, Meril. Because of the time it takes to get to work, I usually don’t drive to and from work more than once in a day, and I’ve never attempted a trip home and back during the school day. I knew I was going to have just the right amount of time to make it all happen.
One of the greatest parts about the drive to and from our neighborhood is a stretch of black top road with several winding hills and lots of trees, a small bridge over a creek, and it’s not uncommon to see an occasional deer just relaxing and enjoying the same setting as your drive by. It’s the part of the drive that creates the illusion that you’re not in strip mall and parking lot filled suburbia. It reminds me of growing up in small town country. I was about halfway through this stretch of road, on the way home, and was busy listening to MSNBC on my SiriusXM radio. I was very tired. I wasn’t nodding off, but I was definitely tired and relaxed, one of those times you’re on auto pilot and suddenly you’re at your destination but don’t remember the drive. I also remember that around this time I was thinking of someone who recently lost their mother. All of a sudden, mixed in with the drone of the female news reporter, I heard my name, “Patrick”, clearly and almost sternly. It seemed to come through the radio, or at least from the speakers in my car. I felt that familiar charge over my body and I’m sure I had goosebumps. Whatever happened just instantly got my attention.
This kind of experience has only happened to me once before. It was an average day while I was going about my normal routine. I was walking into the front door from an early walk with Meril before leaving the house. I heard my father’s voice say my name like he does when he’s trying to get my attention. The first weird thing about that was my father is very much alive and lives three hours away. I called my parents on the way to work to find my mother had a similar experience a few hours earlier when she woke up in the middle of the night to find my father not in the room. Very strange.
Anyway… back to the voice in the car. Within seconds of hearing this voice I was alert and waiting for a sign or another voice, and I asked out loud if someone was trying to get my attention. Nothing. Was this pareidolia (matrixing)? Did the consonants and fricatives in of this woman’s voice in between words just magically fall into place to form my name? Is it possible that the report really did just say “Patrick” for some reason and it grabbed my focus? Or was this a completely separate entity using my car’s radio or speakers to get my attention? Or perhaps I’m just simply crazy. I found myself comparing this experience to spirit box sessions and how easily you can force yourself to hear something. But in this situation I wasn’t forcing myself at all. I wasn’t even actively listening, and other thoughts were in my head during this time as well. But it was sharp and clear and got my attention. Was this a spirit guide waking me up? Was it the crossed over parent of the person that was in my thoughts?
I suppose I need to stay alert for a while.
So I had just started my analysis from an EVP/Ouija/Spirit Box/Clock Radio session from March 25th of this year, the day after our 13 inches of early spring snow. This session lasted approximately 30 minutes and began with setting positive and respectful intentions, and included invitations to members of The Big Circle, paranormal/EVP pioneers, and also a loved one who is crossed over. Like usual, I was using two different recorders, a Tascam with an external microphone and a Sony PX-820 (my favorite for EVP). Twenty-four seconds into the recording, immediately after announcing the time and date, from the Sony I picked up what seemed to be a soft voice. All I needed was a little amplification for me to hear what I interpreted as a childlike voice saying “Hey! Great job, man.” It kind of has a Bart Simpson flare (and as far as I know he’s still 10 years old, alive, and kickin’) . This message was not captured in the other recorder, nor were any other sounds that could have been perceived as a soft voice. I’ve only shared it with a few people, and after talking with them I don’t believe they heard what I heard… only the syllables and the pattern of the message. I realize that the syllables and the pattern of the message is the only thing that is clearly heard here, at least in my opinion. The fact that I’ve already contaminated your brain with what I hear makes this not very scientific, but I am curious to know what my readers hear, if anything.
After hearing this, I cautiously allowed myself to accept the compliment and I’m sure I had a huge grin on my face! It made me excited to finish analysis of this session. Fifteen seconds later, and still before I had asked any questions, I captured what seemed to be another voice, this time a lower voice with a different quality. Once again, my brain pieced together a message together pretty quickly… it was “Liza Jane”. Ha! This time I laughed out loud! It was awfully nice for Liza to join me in this session. It’s unclear if this is THE Liza Jane… you know, the one we all adore, from somewhere way down south in Baltimore. If it was, then our buddy Randall Keller just might know something about that. I’ll keep you posted on her status.
So listen, I am in no way prepared to back these up with confidence that they are saying “Hey! Great job, man” or “Liza Jane”. They could easily be saying “Can I have one of those potato chips?” or… “Dog smells.” And honestly, even though for the first time in a long time I feel pretty good about these two, I can’t even confidently tell you they’re spirit voices. But isn’t it interesting how our brain and possible pareidolia (matrixing) works?
Recently I’ve read a few articles and research that discusses the interpretation of the actual message that is interpreted in EVP. It turns out that even among experienced researchers and investigators, rarely do they ever agree on the message of EVP. Some of these disputed EVP are even classified as “Class A”, meaning most, if not all listeners, should agree on its message. (I don’t usually classify my EVP.) It makes you wonder how we have confidence in this “field” at all, but it is definitely interesting. I plan on sharing some of this research with you soon, but I need to study it further when I get some time.
Anyway, these were the two artifacts that were captured without the aid of the spirit box or the clock radio. During the rest of the session I did get possible responses of names (including my own) and even a comforting “I’m here with you.” I’m still going through those, but my regular readers will know how cautious I am of radio sweep responses, anyway. As far as the Ouija board goes, to this date I’ve yet to have any action.
That’s all for now. Peace!
At the end of this post I want to encourage you to join the informal experiment and reply via a comment with your findings. But first…
I just finished Speaking to the Dead with Radios by Michael Hobert Edwards. In this young area of spirit communication, he is one of the leading pioneers. Even though I don’t have the wealth of experience at Radio Sweep that Michael has, I found myself agreeing with many of his thoughts and realizing that I could back those opinions up with experiences that I’ve had with a spirit box. In some areas I did have a few differing opinions… or maybe a better way of saying it is that I’d probably do some things differently. I was impressed by how thorough Mr. Edwards was at covering his entire radio sweep process, from the actual radio sweep devices, to how he records, how he analyzes, edits, and documents what he finds. The book really made me stop to take a look at my entire process of EVP recording, in general. And it may have just inspired me to try my hand at hacking a radio myself. I considered doing this a few years ago but chickened out. I want to try it, but I’ll definitely have to reach out for some techie help. I think Speaking to the Dead with Radios would be well worth the read for anyone involved in spirit communication, or in the paranormal, in general.
If you’ve never tried your hand at radio sweep or using a spirit box, here’s your chance. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be such a paranerd with all of your free time, give it a try! If you’re a seasoned researcher/investigator, I’d love to hear from you too!
Listen to the audio clip below. It is a 2 minute and 40 second portion of a Ouija Board/Spirit Box session I conducted back in December. This is the same session in which I claimed to hear the response of “Ouija… board” (read the blog post from that experience HERE) after asking whoever was present to tell me what I was touching. You’ll hear the “Ouija… board” response at the very end of the clip.
Regardless of whether or not you think the words or messages you hear are paranormal, what do you hear? Do you think what you’re hearing is the result of Pareidolia (matrixing)? Doesn’t matter at the moment. What do you hear? Even if you’ve decided a particular message or response is from a radio DJ, or a commercial for a little blue pill, or a portion of your favorite Barry Manilow hit, what do you hear? You’ll probably hear many short messages and responses. Will everyone hear the same messages? Leave your findings in a comment.
Before you begin, be aware that you will hear my voice as I ask a few questions. I look forward to hearing from you all!
I’m excited to share with you the latest books to land on my doorstep. I started Speaking to the Dead with Radios today and am considering being brave and reading both of these at the same time. I don’t do that often. I’ve read several “spiritual” books recently so I feel it’s time to once again dig deep into some “ghostie” books. Sometimes I just feel the need to do some homework.
This is the story of a true haunting. It was the first ever filmed and televised by NBC in 1971. A young couple purchases a building that was built and occupied by a single family that refused to relinquish their hold, even after death. Investigated and verified by experts, this residence brought chaos to the lives of those who chose to reside there. Unlike a horror novel, this chronicles what a real ghostly experience would resemble. Long before the laws of disclosure, a young couple winds up in the midst of strange occurrences prior to the term ‘paranormal’ becoming a common description. Searching for help at time when supernatural events were a taboo subject and being ignored by the Church, sent them into a desperate search for any assistance. Only a little known organization came to their aid. Author Tom Valentine, brought in a nationally known psychic, Joseph DeLouise, who then asked assistance of an exorcist from England, Reverend William Derl-Davis. Together, they gave their best effort at exorcising the multiple spirits inhabiting the building and disrupting the lives of the living. Events were filmed by NBC, who sent their most prominent Chicago journalist, Carole Simpson, to cover the event. Follow a young couple with a newborn as they attempt to cope with inexplicable events, experience denial, plead for help from their Church, and step into the world of the paranormal. Understand why ghosts cannot be exorcised and a true example of their strong sense of domain, even after death. Learn what experts and gifted people did in a failed attempt to assist this desperate couple. There is no happy ending, as the young couple suffers emotionally, are physically threatened, have their pets terrorized, and eventually suffer financially by actually “giving” their building away. What was intended as a financial answer to their prayers became, instead, a curse to be abolished. Learn many of the various manifestations that can be common in haunting. Ghosts can be seen and heard. They can propel objects and interrupt utilities. They can affect your moods and feed off of your emotions. They can appear as solid as you and me. They can react and become hostile if threatened or violated. Most important, as this young couple learned, they can harm you and cannot be removed. This is a firsthand accounting of what a true haunting is like. There are certain subtle occurrences you may find the most frightening, because you just might relate and recognize them. If so, guess what? You may have a ghost! (Book description from Amazon.com.)
Speaking to the Dead with Radios I will tell you is not this just another fish story to reel in readers for momentary mind entertainment. Communicating with the dead using a radio with recorder is achievable and any person can do it. You do not need to be a psychic, a medium or have any paranormal gifts to make contact with the dead using these devices, and that my friend is the luxury of this in that you do not have to pay someone else hundreds or even thousands of dollars to contact your deceased family members or friends as you can do it yourself in the privacy of your own home. (Book description from Amazon.com.)
As promised, I want to keep my readers posted on this last session. On the late afternoon of December 26th, 2012 I held another Ouija board session, once again incorporating the spirit box and recording it all on a digital audio recorder. This would be the first time I held a Ouija session on my own. Other than Meril (my four-legged son), no one was in the house. And no, his paws are not allowed on the planchette. After a very brief meditation and stating my respectful intentions, the session began and lasted about 25 minutes.
The conversation on my end went pretty much like one of my typical EVP sessions with a few added questions specifically aimed at the topic of the Ouija. I also made sure to ask for any feedback or suggestions on how to make the communication more successful.
Once again there was no communication via the Ouija board.
I encouraged any spirit present to also communicate through standard EVP and my audio recorder. Other than one small instance where there is an unintelligible and very soft possible response that may or may not be paranormal, no voices were captured.
For the second half of the session I turned on the spirit box and continued to wait for a response through the Ouija board. The radio waves were very active with chatter, but at one point in the recording I can hear a possible response of “spirit”. Later, after I asked “What am I touching?” I can make out a fuzzy robot-like “Ouija… board”. A response like this (since my brain is wanting to hear “ouija board” anyway) could easily be pareidolia (matrixing), but I’m open to the possibility.
Oh… and I almost forgot. Toward the very end of the session while the spirit box was buzzing away, Meril growled as he stared down the steps to the lower level. It is pretty unusual for him to growl inside randomly so it caught me off guard. There were no relevant spirit box responses and there was no movement from the board. This may have been nothing, or possibly he was distracted by the spirit box itself, but I felt it was worthy of mentioning.
Due to life and work I’ve definitely not been regularly conducting spirit communication experiments in the last several months, but when I have I’ve been disappointed, for the most part. I’m trying to keep my spirits up (no pun intended).
Until next time…
This report has been completed for months but I’ve just now gotten to where I could get the online version done. I learned so much from this investigation. This was my first experience investigating with friend and medium Marilyn Painter. In fact, she invited me onto this case. It was definitely an interesting evening. Thanks, Marilyn!
Carthage Opera House Investigation Report & Evidence (www.BigSeance.com)
Fort Chaffee Prison Investigation Report & Evidence (www.BigSeance.com)
Highlights from our 9/15/12 Seance (www.BigSeance.com)
Haunting Trip Through an Abandoned Farmhouse (www.BigSeance.com)
Abandoned Missouri Farmhouse Investigation Report & Evidence (www.BigSeance.com)
The 8/4/12 Carthage Opera House investigation was my second joint investigation with the Joplin Paranormal Research Society (JPRS) and J H Paranormal Seekers (JHPS). Like the Fort Chaffee Prison investigation before it, analysis and review of this investigation has been a big undertaking. It is still somewhat a work in progress, however, I’m excited to finally share my report and most of my evidence with you.
To: Paranormal Investigators Everywhere
Re: One-Syllable EVP
I move that we, as paranormal investigators and researchers, stop placing so much importance and confidence on one-syllable “responses” when recording for EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena). Whether you’re capturing your EVP through traditional recording methods or through opportunistic methods like white noise generators, radio sweep/spirit box, etc, one-syllable sounds or “responses” are commonly captured. These sounds can certainly satisfy an EVP craving, especially when they happen after we ask those oh so challenging questions requiring a “yes” or “no” answer. After all, you’re eagerly awaiting a wise response. They really can be paranormal (and some of them clearly are), but compared to longer phrases or patterns with more than a single syllable, I feel they’re way more likely to be either imagined or simply one-syllable sounds (either created by investigators, the clipped voice of a DJ from a random radio station, or sounds found in the natural environment) confused for common responses like “yes”, “no”, “hey”, “stop”, “leave”, or any of the single-digit numbers that we always seem to hear. This is often referred to as “pareidolia” or audio “matrixing”.
A creak in the house, a car door shutting from nearby, a bark from the neighbor’s dog, or any slight movement you make while recording can be the cause of these sounds. I think sometimes we’re listening for and hoping to hear things that are paranormal, therefore that quick scratch of your arm through your shirt ended up being a response of “yeah.” I think I annoy fellow investigators a lot because I tend to be more conservative (the word “conservative” is ugly, but so is that annoying phrase “openly skeptical”) in my listening and determining what I’m hearing in recordings. Most of the time I probably end up going with my first instincts. If from the beginning it sounded like a scratch, or the shuffling of a piece of paper, or a footstep on a dusty floor, then in my opinion any words or “responses” that you can force yourself to hear from that noise are accidental. Of course then there’s the opinion and theory that spirits may just take advantage of those natural environment sounds or our own movements to create their communication. It’s possible. In most of these cases I think they’re important to note or document. But to classify some of these as “paranormal” or “EVP” is a bit reckless, in my opinion. This is why I have tons of files saved as “possible EVP” or just simply “artifacts”. They don’t impress people as much, but until I can prove otherwise, that’s what they are to me.
I’ve been tempted more and more recently to not only use two audio recorders (the normal routine for me) in experimental sessions here at home, but to also use a video camera. Your brain can’t log (and recall later) every slight move you make in a recording session. You thought you were sitting silently, but did you scratch your nose? Did your stomach make a quick noise? And in my case (embarrassingly), occasionally my breathing will have a slight wheeze to it… or a tiny squeak. And many times a good audio recorder will pick up a noise that you weren’t even aware was happening. Just like in a more typical paranormal investigation, a video might help you more confidently determine if what you are hearing can be ruled out.
When it comes to radio sweep/spirit box sessions, I still very much consider myself a newbie. But I keep an open mind. And sure, I’ve heard my name a few times in investigations. I’ve even heard spirits read words presented on objects in the room. Those are notable experiences and responses that are probably worth carefully classifying as “EVP”. But if you have a white noise generator or a spirit box of some kind, do me a favor by doing this little experiment for me. Find a friend or two and challenge them to think of a common one-syllable response without revealing it to anyone. If you listen for at least a minute I almost guarantee that each person (if they’re honest) will report hearing their response. Now challenge them to all listen for the phrase “My name is Sylvia and I like pork chops”. Please contact me directly if you heard this one.
But if you have a white noise generator or a spirit box of some kind, do me a favor by doing this little experiment for me. Find a friend or two and challenge them to think of a common one-syllable response without revealing it to anyone. If you listen for at least a minute I almost guarantee that each person (if they’re honest) will report hearing their response.
So basically, I feel we just need to be more careful about what we’re so quickly and easily classifying as “EVP” or “paranormal”.
But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe a spirit named “Joe”, who claims there are “five” spirits present, simply saw your Little Debbie next to the recorder and said “yum”.
You probably remember me blogging about some of the great experiences I’ve had while investigating with my friends from JHPS and Joplin Paranormal Research Society (JPRS). Dar with JPRS has been nice enough to invite me (representing Missouri Spirit Seekers) along to some cool places. The 5/12/12 Fort Chaffee Prison investigation was my first joint investigation. Analysis and review of this investigation has been a big undertaking. It is still somewhat a work in progress as JPRS is still completing their review. However, I’m excited to finally share my report and most of my evidence with you.