Tag Archives: fraud

My Personal Experience with Mediums by David Almeida

Please enjoy another article that is very well written by David Almeida. Please check out his bio at the end of the post. Once again, Mr. Almeida has kindly given me permission to share this with you. Thanks, David!

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A person can easily say that mediumship is foolishness (I guess that sort of gives away my position on the matter).  It is my policy to report on my personal experiences in the “It’s what you actually saw, not what you think you saw” manner.  (Please note this remark is directed towards events that occur in the physical environment such as shadow people or hauntings).  I’m not certain if I have always stuck to this policy in my past writings.  With the supernatural, as with any topic whether it be politics, economics, or entertainment, people’s opinions naturally enter the discussion.  This article clearly demonstrates that fact.

 

When an unbeliever is personally touched by the spirit world, their attitude often changes. It’s like the people that we see on the Long Island Medium television show who receive spirit messages through Theresa Caputo.  We see the client exclaim in similar words “Wow.  How could she know that about me?” 

 

Being a spiritualist I can relate to this kind of wonderment.  It startles the person receiving a reading when a medium says something of a personal nature that could not possibly be known to him or her.  The first time I had a half hour session with the pastor of my former Spiritualist church, she made a statement that amazed me.  The pastor said, “You are into concepts.”  She barely knew me at the time.  This was during the time that I was writing The First Truth: A Book of Metaphysical Theories

 

While anyone can say that my pastor’s concept remark was coincidence, I find it interesting that she could have said just about anything concerning my character.  I believe it was during this session that I inquired with her about my suspicions regarding the Arthur Waite.  This question came from her mention of the name Arthur in a previous session and my realization of his connection to me.  She positively confirmed his identity, by asking me if this Arthur person swayed back and forth between good and bad.  This piece of information was among the few facts that I knew about him at the time.  Many people may find this sufficient evidence for what might be considered a grandiose claim, but it is consistent with several other experiences I have had with Mr. Waite.  I have discussed these experiences in other articles.

 

I am extremely careful in writing down my thoughts.  When I reduce my thoughts to writing, I intend to stand by it.  If I later find myself wrong about a particular statement I have written, or I discover a conflict with one of my theories, I am obliged to acknowledge my error.  In such a situation, all I can say is those famous last words “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”  While I am prepared to leave my ideas open to debate, I am duty-bound to defend my ideas.  Otherwise, there would be no point in sharing my articles with curious readers on the Internet.  Any theory can be refuted, no matter how well supported and officially endorsed they are.

 

I have seen the search results on Google that claim Theresa Caputo is a fake.  I did not venture onto any of these websites.  I have never met Mrs. Caputo, so I cannot personally attest to her mediumship ability.  However, I’m not sure that the show would air if the producers thought her spirit messages were bogus.  That revelation would reflect terribly on everyone involved in producing the show.  I know people will do anything for money, but even so, it’s seems to me that no one would risk their reputation on a faker. Putting your career on the line for a hoax is risky.  I would never knowingly associate myself with anything I recognized as a sham. 

 

I want to state for the record that a certain amount of skepticism is healthy and necessary in evaluating supernatural phenomena.  It goes without saying that one should not take everything he or she hears as the irrefutable truth.  In that regard, I consider myself to be a true skeptic, despite my feelings towards spirit communication and metaphysics.  My observations and conclusions are reliable when it comes to documenting what actually occurred in a particular situation. 

 

I have to admit that the practice objectivity is challenging when dealing with the supernatural.  Objectivity tends to be of little use in assessing spiritual or mystical experiences.  These are the kind of experiences that are labeled hallucinations and dreams by the skeptics.  If my statements in this article seem contradictory, then you are beginning to understand the deceptive and limited nature of objectivity.

 

I am not saying it’s impossible for Mrs. Caputo to be faking her talent.  Having seen her show a number of times, I feel it is reasonable to believe her mediumship ability is genuine. Many people would agree with my opinion.  Again a large number of people giving approval to a supernatural event, or to any situation, does not necessarily mean it is true.  However, the people I am referring to have first-hand knowledge of Mrs. Caputo’s mediumship ability.  If one chooses to disregard their personal testimony, then I do not know what to say.

 

Quite often the professed skeptics are nothing more than perpetuators of conspiracy theories.  I am thinking of the misinformed groups who continue to link the legendary Illuminati to various world domination conspiracies.  I fell for this nonsense in my early twenties.  I have out grown them since that time.  I like to be flexible in considering other people’s beliefs, but having followed many conspiracy theories in my younger days, I am of the opinion that the majority of these overblown rumors are unfounded.  There may be some truth to a few of these theories, but it’s hard to determine which parts are factual.

 

I could come up with many plausible reasons for why Mrs. Caputo and many other mediums are frauds.  By continuing in this manner, I would be doing a disservice to my readers.  Humans are meant to reach out to the hidden universe in search of new ideas and information.  I do not understand why some individuals feel the need to resist spiritual growth.  If we protect the status quo, we are only hurting ourselves.  The Truth will never be uncovered by thoughtlessly convincing people to maintain the notion of a closed universe.

 

Spiritualist mediums go through training.  After this, they spend what I believe is a year or two as student mediums.  They ply their skills once a month by giving readings to church attendees.  At some point, the student’s mediumship skills are tested for accuracy by an independent certifying board.  I have met some remarkable student mediums. 

 

Am I of the opinion that all mediums are equal in their ability to communicate spirit messages?  Of course not.  Many mediums maintain an outstanding track record, while others have moderate success in their readings.  The disparity in accuracy between mediums can be wide.  It’s important to remember that the medium is reliant on unknown entities for their information.  There is no known system for getting consistent results.  Even the best mediums can have an off day through no fault of their own.  I should also acknowledge the fact that there are excellent mediums who are not certified by any Spiritualist church. 

 

Interestingly, I have noticed that few mediums in the Spiritualist tradition make future predictions.  It confirms my suspicion that common spirits are no more capable of predicting the future than living beings.  I liken future predictions to the principle of cause and effect.  This universal law is responsible for the infinite possibilities that exist as our future realities.  Some of these “alternate realities” become future probabilities.  Both spirits and mediums are able to perceive the probable future.  This does not mean that a particular probability will unfold in the present.

 

Based my personal experience with mediums, I am convinced that spirit communication is a reality. A close-minded person will never acknowledge the truth.  No matter what a medium says to the skeptic, he or she is more than likely to deny the accuracy of the message given.  I do not feel the statement of an absolute skeptic is a reliable measure of a medium’s competence.  The assessment of reasonable and balanced person is much more useful in gaging a medium’s ability.

 

As a side discussion, I would like to make a brief comment on the paranormal investigator.  These special investigators are helpful in substantiating or disproving a supernatural claim.  By their nature, paranormal investigators are inclined to believe in the supernatural.  Otherwise, they would not be interested in pursuing the unexplained. As I already stated, I feel that this open-mindedness is an excellent quality for an investigator to possess.  Paranormal investigators minimize their natural curiosity with reasonableness and sensibility.  They look for “proof” or “evidence” of supernatural manifestations by using modern technology. 

 

I once requested the assistance of a paranormal investigation group to document the existence of supernatural activity in my former residence.  This was more than ten years ago and took place before I became acutely aware of nonphysical reality.  The investigators did not obtain the evidence I was seeking, but I was impressed with their professionalism.

 

 

Bio

David Almeida is a Spiritualist and researcher of Rosicrucian philosophy and esoteric knowledge. David is a past article contributor to the Sedona Journal of Emergence. He is also a Board Certified Hypnotist and Reiki healer. David is the author of The First Truth: A Book of Metaphysical Theories and Illusion of the Body: Introducing the Body Alive Principle. Both books can be purchased at Amazon.com. Visit http://www.findyourdivinelight.com

 

You Might Also Like: 

How to Evaluate the Authenticity of an Observer’s Supernatural Encounter (Big Séance)

Sylvia Browne: In her own words (Big Séance)

Sylvia Browne: Are members of the “spiritual community” turning on her?  (Big Séance)

 


I Still Watch Ghost Hunters… So what?

For several years now there has been a bit of tension and controversy regarding paranormal investigation and the hit SyFy reality show, Ghost Hunters. The production team and crew follow The Atlantic Paranormal Society (T.A.P.S.), founded by Jason Hawes in 1990, on their paranormal journeys. The series kicked off its first season in 2004, but I probably didn’t start watching consistently until the second or third season. I’ve since caught up on all of the episodes I’ve missed, and I’m still a fan that watches religiously. In 2008 SyFy even produced a spin-off series, Ghost Hunters International. Many similar shows on various networks have come and gone, but both of these shows are still going strong. At this point it would be pretty hard to believe that anyone reading this blog wouldn’t at least know something about T.A.P.S. or Ghost Hunters.

So where does the controversy come in?

I’m convinced that most of the negativity toward T.A.P.S. among many in the paranormal is due to a kind of jealousy. Paranormal investigation and “ghost hunting” (a term I actually despise) existed years before the hit show, but it has helped to create what I’ve been calling “The Great Paranormal Craze” of the 2000s. This craze seems to be slowing down just a bit (or at least shifting more to things like bigfoot and aliens), but is still very much with us. At one time, a paranormal investigation team may have been hard to find, but now there are thousands of organized paranormal investigation or “ghost hunting” (probably a name more appropriate for most of them) groups out there. Many, or most of these groups were inspired to do what they do because of what they were now seeing on TV. For better or worse, these newbie groups that I’ll call the “Ghost Hunters Generation”, have been demanding a place to sit at the paranormal table, taking away much of the spotlight and attention from all of the veterans.

I have to be honest here. I’m a member of the Ghost Hunters generation of paranormal investigation. The show inspired me and my family to form our own group, Missouri Spirit Seekers (MOSS). While it would have been nice to be able to say that I got my start before the craze, it would simply be a lie. I know that many great investigators out there are ashamed to own up to it, or afraid to admit to how it all influenced them, but chances are they’ll be home on Wednesday nights watching the latest episode. Is there really that much wrong with it? 

In a way, I really can understand some of the jealousy from veteran groups. After all, what paranormal investigator doing all of this hard work for FREE wouldn’t be jealous of the people who get to be in the spotlight, quit their day job, and make a living doing it?? Although maybe “concern” would also be an appropriate word to use here. We all have to start somewhere, but clearly there are groups out there that have earned a reputation for being nothing more than thrill seekers and rednecks that jump in a truck with a few meters they bought online, possibly bundled together in a flashy package named a “Ghost Hunting Kit”… groups that don’t take the time to read current research, read books by the pioneers of the field and current knowledgeable authors… groups that go out and have their fun, trash the site, and then you never hear from them again. Yeah… Ghost Hunters has definitely had its side effects.  Don’t misunderstand me. There’s room for everyone. I was one of those newbies. We just need to do a better job of educating and training each other, and making sure we work on our image and how we present ourselves. Maybe we shouldn’t show up in overalls and hop out of the window of our Dukes of Hazard car. 

But possibly the biggest piece of the controversy involve the claims floating around the internet that T.A.P.S. has faked evidence and overly staged experiences. In a very popular post from earlier this year, one blogger and investigator claims that they’ve even left a script lying around after leaving a location… and it’s all for the cameras (the SyFy kind). You don’t have to search long to find videos and blogs from people going out of their way to expose T.A.P.S. as frauds. Do I believe it all? Absolutely not. Like I said… jealousy. But… no one should ever expect to find evidence of the paranormal at every single investigation, but when you have a TV show and ratings, I can certainly understand where there would be the pressure and the temptation to keep things exciting. I often wonder though… who runs the show in these investigations? The production crew? Or are they just along for the ride and Jason runs the whole show? 

Why I continue to watch… 

After getting started in the field it didn’t take long for me to realize that the experience of it all isn’t exactly as you see on TV. Sure, at first many of us modeled our groups after what we saw. We have “founders”, “tech. managers”, “specialists”, “command central”, etc. We hear “disembodied voices”, investigate “fear cages”, “debunk” what we can, and classify some experiences as “residual”, for example. Some of us even have “reveals”. And boy do we all have our official sounding acronyms. Ghost Hunters may have been our first textbook on the subject, but we’ve grown a lot since then with real experiences and research. Well, at least I have.

The first couple of seasons were definitely a little more authentic, and in my opinion, more fun to watch. You’d see more of the behind the scenes activity, more of the investigating, not just the dramatic evidence and their reactions (“What the frig?!”). I don’t have proof that T.A.P.S. has or hasn’t faked or staged evidence for the cameras, but I want to believe it’s not true. I want to believe that when the crew or the cameras are absent, they take their work seriously. I want to believe that their analysis is more than just a couple of hours of sitting at a table with some headphones. I want to believe that they still help the desperate family in need on occasion. I get excited to come home from a long day and watch the personalities that I’ve become so familiar with. And yeah, I LOVE the good evidence and the great EVP! But when I watch now I’m not immediately sold on everything I see. I’ve picked up a few techniques and have learned to avoid some of the embarrassing ones. I take notes. 

Bottom line is… why do I watch Ghost Hunters? BECAUSE I LIKE IT… and it’s better than another cop show… 

This week’s all new episode for Season 8

For a lot of serious fans, this episode stood out as the first investigation without the longtime co-founder of the group, Grant Wilson. Before I watched I was curious to see if they would shake the usual pairs up and if any of their typical roles would change. Spoiler alert!! In general, it was a very exciting episode! They investigated the Old City Jail in Charleston, South Carolina. The jail is supposedly haunted by the spirit of the facility’s first female serial killer. Never before has an episode contained so much alleged physical contact from a spirit. A behind the scenes SyFy crew member continued to be scratched all over her body. Do I 100% believe it all? I’m not sure… but I couldn’t help thinking that it was a bit irresponsible to continue with the crew member as they seemed to encourage it to keep happening. Jason was even the victim of some scratches. Amy Bruni (who is pregnant) eventually decided to sit the rest of the investigation out due to feeling uncomfortable with the activity. And of course, the claims at this location were choking, scratching, rope burns, and bite marks, mostly reported by women. T.A.P.S. saw shadows, heard door slams, footsteps, and a disembodied voice. They captured a not very impressive EVP, but the big event and topic for the evening was all of the endless dramatic scratching. For a while I thought I was watching Ghost Adventures. I kept waiting for the demonologist to show up. 🙂

Here are some of the new and different things I noticed with this week’s episode. 

  • New graphics with lots of split screens (reminded me of Carrie).
  • New music and audio effects with a slightly different style.
  • Twitter handles displayed on screen during the interview sections.
  • A more relaxed “analysis” portion. They ditched the table and much of the equipment in favor of some more comfortable furniture. 
  • It appears Dave Tango may have moved into the tech. manager position. Jason and Steve Galves started the evening out paired together, hinting at Steve possibly taking the “Grant” role. 
  • Britt Griffith and Dave Tango were paired together. Is Britt now going to appear regularly? 
  • Amy Bruni and Adam Berry (who is apparently STILL “in training”) seem to be paired up again. 
  • A new shadow detector gadget.

 

DVR is already set for next week!

 

Peace!

 


An Interview with Harry Price…

Introducing Harry Price (1881 – 1948), the British psychic researcher and one of the very first true paranormal investigators. I have not been able to figure out exactly what year this was filmed, but I love it! I love the library and the laboratory, I love that he smokes and uses the ash tray as if it was scripted, I love the eerie chime of the clock. I even love the awkward pauses and the throat clearing. 🙂 

 

 

For more on Harry and his paranormal research, I very much recommend his book The Most Haunted House in England about the Borley Rectory. I believe it is out of print, but there are usually used copies for sale online. It is like a lesson in taking things back to the basics in an investigation, although Harry was pretty techie for the time period.

 


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