Tag Archives: gadgets

The Brilliant Britt Griffith! More from Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home…

See the end of this post for links to previous posts in the series.

Two of the biggest highlights from my T.A.P.S. weekend at Belvoir Winery involve the brilliant Britt Griffith. Now a permanent member of the cast of SyFy’s Ghost Hunters, Britt brings a much-needed fresh voice to the team… oh and gadgets. Lots and lots of gadgets. But he knows how to use them, researches them, knows their background, and in some cases has a hand in their design!

 

Britt’s Paranormal Technology Session

I was able to sit in on his paranormal technology session on the second day. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I found that I learned quite a few things. The best was having some of my own personal opinions and experiences reinforced or validated by someone who clearly has knowledge and a lot of experience. As if I was sitting in an undergrad lecture, I took lots of notes (which is why I don’t have a better photo), but out of respect for Britt and these events, I won’t cover his whole session here. Instead, I’ll point out a few things that really hit me in the head.

 

  • Did you know that both Britt and buddy KJ McCormick had done experiments with EMF and audio while under water?
     
  • Britt has apparently changed his mind about using IR (infrared) illumination during investigations. This really made me think and was kind of an “Aha moment”. In order to see shadows, you need contrast. Too much IR will prevent shadows. He went into some suggested ways to illuminate a room to prevent this problem. If I remember correctly, he also touched on the fact that we don’t really know what effect, if any, IR has on spirits (or humans, for that matter) when we blast them with it in large doses. Is it harmful? Is it polite? It very much reminded me of the first place I heard this topic being brought up. Check out Karl Pfeiffer’s How to Photograph a Ghost for more.
     
  • I learned that my current DVR would be of better use in the dumpster out back. I’m in need of a new one and now I know what to look for.
     
  • Britt is not a fan of the cheaper digital recorders (like the Sonys that I often use), because of the compression and the false anomalies they cause. He suggests only using them for stationary audio, but then also using a more quality recorder at the same time, to compare events to hear what actually happened. This is when I felt like a genius! I’ve always done this in EVP sessions. Along with one of my Sonys, I use a nicer Tascam recorder with a pretty good external microphone that would pick up a ghost in my neighbor’s house if it were quiet enough. When I think I have the Devil saying “Hey Keller! You suck!”, I compare that same moment in the Tascam and often learn that it was simply me scratching my nose, or my four-legged and furry son Meril rolling his eyes at me and sighing at the thought of another EVP session. It is why I’ve even considered video taping my sessions as well… to get a visual along with the sound. He suggested a few recorders. One of them is on my wish list.
     
  • Among many other things, he discussed logging barometric pressure (which I’ve often done, but can’t seem to find the perfect equipment for an investigation), E pods and REM pods, IR thermometer guns (Duh! Don’t use them to detect cold spots!), carbon monoxide detectors, debunking, Ovilus, reviewing evidence, and a popular favorite… orbs. I’ll only tell you that I very much concurred with his position.

 

Again, Britt used my spirit box! AAAAAAHHHH!

It was already a pretty cool spirit box, considering I got this particular one secondhand from Stephen Hill. But then during the overnight investigation, Britt suggested we get it out for a demonstration in a room that had already proven to be a hot spot for spirit box communication. Because this was such an Elvis moment, I awkwardly fumbled around in the dark trying to set it up and get it working to hand it off to Britt. When it didn’t turn on, I remembered Stephen Hill has always told me to take the batteries out while not in use. I’ve never really been good at remembering to do this…. but it turns out the previous time I used it, I followed those orders. I somehow found batteries fairly quickly, turned it on, and handed it off. Several of the people in our group had never seen or heard of a spirit box. We did get some communication, but you’ll never see it since my video footage of that moment has mysteriously vanished into thin air. See this previous post for more on that story. Actually, I have digital audio of that moment, but I’m still in the process of going through all of that.

 

Did you know?

Britt keeps himself busy by doing so much more than just paranormal investigation! Did you know he has been in several movies?

Check out his acting reel!

 

And the trailer for the 2012 film, The Black Dahlia Haunting.

 

Thanks, Britt! 

 

Previous posts from the Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home series:

Ghosts can do that? The Evidence… Sort of…
Amy, Adam, Britt, and Chip!

New Friends!
The Photos
I’m Baaaaaaaaaack!
TAPS and Chip Coffey at Belvoir Winery in March! 

 

 

 

 

 


ESP Trainer…

Yesterday I found a really interesting app for my iPhone after reading about it online. The ESP Trainer was developed at Stanford Research Institute under a NASA program by Russell Targ. According to ESPResearch.com, “We have found that people are able to improve their ESP scores by using a machine just like this and get in touch with the part of themselves that is psychic. This is often called a clairvoyant ability, and can enhance your life in many surprising ways.”

I downloaded this free app yesterday and have tried it a few times. It is definitely interesting. You can see from the screen shot from my phone above, that four squares (green, yellow, red, and blue) are constantly present. The idea is to use your psychic skills to determine which square “has a picture behind it”. Once you click a square, that is considered a trial. The app keeps track of the trials on the lower right hand of the screen. If the square you chose was not the square with the picture (chosen randomly), then the correct square flashes, letting you know that you were incorrect. If you choose the correct square, the picture (that seems to be different every time) will flash on your screen and then slowly fade out. The phone buzzes and plays a tone as well, but I’ve been playing on silent so as not to complete annoy those around me. The scale at the top of the app keeps track of the ones you guess correctly. At the end of 24 trials, it lets you know how much ESP ability you have. To start again, you must hit “reset”. 

I must tell you, the highest score I got yesterday was an 8, and the app told me I had “some ESP present”, but when I got lower scores, it clearly avoided giving me false hope and just didn’t say anything. 🙂 I will also say I tended to get higher scores when I took my time and really focused. When I went faster my scores seemed to be lower. (Although, I just read a comment from a user who claims he got better scores the less thought he put into it.)

From what I’ve read on ESPResearch.com, apparently there are different levels that you can achieve, but obviously I have not accomplished that yet. What are your thoughts about this? Apparently people really have seen results and have improved their ESP or psychic ability using this app, or at least the program that is similar to this app (I’m not sure). My only concern is, how random is it? Is there ever a pattern that repeats? Is my brain just gradually picking up on a pattern? Maybe not. I’ll have to do more research. But hey, if NASA and Stanford says it works… 

 


Sony NightShot: A Call for Advice from Paranormal Investigators…

MOSS uses Sony DCR-TRV280 Handycam Camcorders with NightShot

MOSS uses Sony DCR-TRV280 Handycam Camcorders with NightShot

I’m going to break away from my typical post this evening, because I’m hoping I can get some advice from techie and/or paranormal investigators out there… or maybe even a super soccer mom who has mastered modern videography. When I formed Missouri Spirit Seekers in 2010, I scrounged up whatever equipment I could afford. I even spent a few tax refunds on some of the more expensive equipment. For the size of my group and the number of investigations we are involved in, the equipment that we have tends to be just right for us. I mean don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE a thermal imaging camera or a few of those fascinating rem-pods that are gaining popularity now. But really… my major concern currently is being stuck in the 1990s with our Sony NightShot camcorders. (Click HERE for an almost current look at our equipment.) 

For years, paranormal investigators everywhere have used Sony’s line of NightShot IR (infra-red) technology. Obviously there are TV production quality night vision cameras out there, but not affordable for most groups. Several years ago Sony phased out NightShot, Super NightShot, NightShot Plus, etc. I always heard rumors as to why they did this, but I’m not sure if they were true. But after doing research, I found that the Sony DCR-TRV280 with NightShot was a pretty reliable and common camera available on Amazon and Ebay, etc. I bought two of them used (for probably way too much money) and one of them immediately malfunctioned several times and so we use it strictly as a charger. I have since ordered another one and so we have two that have been working fairly well for us. I like not having to learn how to use 14 different generations of cameras, so it’s important for us to use the same kind. They come with some problems, though. They are incredibly noisy. One of them has a consistent click about every 10 seconds. Also, in this day and age, working with tapes is an outdated inconvenience. Some investigators would tell me that it is irresponsible, but I re-use my 8mm cassette tapes. Not only are they nearly impossible to find anymore, but they’re expensive, and we go through 4 or 5 tapes in one investigation. It’s just not realistic right now to use them once and have that be it. 

But after nervously buying used camcorders online and not knowing how well they’re going to work, I’ve been concerned with what the common paranormal investigator was going to use for night vision in the future. These cameras aren’t going to last forever. Not only that, but I had to have someone help me to make some considerable accommodations to my computer to be able to upload the video.  I’ll soon need a new computer. Will that computer have the capability to support these old cameras? 

The newest non-night vision Sony camcorder that I own. Sony HDR-CX150

The newest non-night vision Sony camcorder that I own. Sony HDR-CX150

This last fall I went on a paranormal tour hosted by a local paranormal team (as I rolled my eyes), and the group members passed out a handful of newer Sony camcorders (nearly identical to the Sony HDR-CX150 Handycam Camcorder that I own) for tour goers to walk around with. Each camcorder had two smaller IR attachments, and in the dark these cameras had amazing IR technology. In my experience, IR attachments on camcorders that are not equipped with IR technology are worthless. So were these IR camcorders or just amazing attachments? I was not smart enough to take a picture of this camcorder and the attachments, or to sound like a nerd while asking the group leader about their cameras. 

I will be completely honest and say that I haven’t really researched this situation in a year or so. It overwhelms me and I’m not a techie person at all. I do great with technology when I get used to it and learn to work with it. But… I don’t know what I’m looking for. 

So here’s where I need help. What is out there now currently? What are you using? What do I need? What attachments and accessories are required? Someone help transport MOSS to the year 2013! 🙂 

 

Peace Out!

 

 


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