Tag Archives: ouija research

Why I pushed pause on EVP and Ouija, and why it’s time to get going again!

This post has been rolling around in my head for several months now. I didn’t really want to put it out there until it felt right, rather than being forced. And since I’ve been waiting for a long time to get my head in the right place to write about it, I decided I’m not going to stop until I get it all out. I’m not always great at verbalizing or making sense of my thoughts… or organizing them, so forgive me.

Some of you may find this fascinating, but others might want to skip this one (or look at the pictures… which means I should add at least one). Some of you might find it frustrating. Some of you will no doubt be annoyed with me (just as I am with myself sometimes)… but as many of you have complimented me on the fact that I question things and have an unbiased, openly skeptic approach, I hope it’s okay that I’m being honest here. But I felt I needed to explain why I pushed pause on EVP and Ouija a while back. And I think it really does have a good ending! If you’re reading on, you might need a bookmark though. Ha! (Actually, this might be one of those read it before I wake up tomorrow and decide to delete it posts.)

 

Here’s the deal.

For a while now, I’ve felt like I’ve been slacking in contributing to EVP or Ouija research or experimentation, and really, spirit communication in general. I know that a lot of the earliest readers and supporters of this blog came here for exactly that. And I used to occasionally have a nice treat for these folks, like a report from a paranormal investigation, audio samples or possible EVP/Spirit Box/Ouija evidence, etc. from my sessions. Looking back through my posts, unless you count a few of my reports on my Belvoir Winery weekend, it has been since January that I’ve reported on any of my spirit communication research. Why? Well… because even as far back as a year ago, when I disappointed my friend and researcher (and long-lost cousin) Randall Keller by dragging my feet and dropping the ball on some joint EVP research, I started experiencing some serious burnout. So there really hasn’t been any research. I hope Randy forgives me, but as you’ll soon learn, I’m not the easiest partner to experiment with, so he may have gotten over it quickly.

 

There are two reasons that I see as contributing to this burnout:

This is me sitting and waiting for EVP.

This is me sitting and waiting for EVP.

First of all, it’s tiresome and time-consuming! 

If you’ve ever conducted consistent and serious EVP sessions, for example, you know that you’ll spend at least twice the time it took to record it, to just give a basic sweep through to analyze what you have. If you decide to record every day for 30 or 40 minutes over the space of a week, you can expect to be sitting at a computer with headphones for at least 7 to 9 hours analyzing that week, and probably longer! That’s a nice full day of work with no paycheck. For me though, I get so focused and detailed that it takes way longer than that. And I’m incredibly OCD about organization and tasks, so it’s not easy for me to work at it for 30 minutes here, put it away for a couple of days, 30 minutes there. That drives me nuts and clutters my brain. So when I dig into this stuff, people around me usually just don’t see me for a while.

Secondly, there’s the problem of feeling let down or disappointed after not finding evidence, or at least not much of it, considering the time that went into analysis. Though some people in the field seem to find it way easier to claim and file EVP away, I cannot. I do have treasured EVP that I believe to be very special, and yes, paranormal. But those EVP are few and far between. Believe me. I WANT these noises and sounds to be EVP, but my heart and brain simply won’t let me claim something is paranormal or a voice from a spirit, unless I know deep down that it is. It’s almost never black and white for me. I will pour over the slightest flagged portion of an audio track for an hour or more, and though it may sound paranormal, and though I could force myself to hear a message, I almost always find that there are explainable reasons for what I’m hearing. That led me to recording sessions with two recorders, once again doubling the time it takes to go over the files. Through the use of that second recorder, I was ruling out most of what I was flagging as possible EVP from the other one. When life continues to move on around you, and when real life and a job doesn’t stop calling, coming up with zero evidence when you’re experimenting consistently, is a real downer.

 

EVP is REAL! But…

Me again... waiting for EVP. A different day though, and I'm wearing a different outfit.

Me again… waiting for EVP. A different day though, and I’m wearing a different outfit.

I absolutely believe that capturing electronic voices of spirits and other entities is possible and a legitimate phenomena. What I’ve begun to realize is that everyone does it differently. Everyone has different standards. Everyone has a different amount of patience. Everyone slept a different number of hours the night before. Everyone had a different lunch. Everyone possesses different abilities, knowledge, and experience.

On some of the many paranormal investigating team sites out there, an investigator might proudly share his “Class A” EVP and be confident that the whole world will hear a particular message. I might laugh and try to figure out a polite way of saying… Dude, did you just start trying out EVP yesterday? Are you sure that’s not a footstep or someone clearing their throat? Or gas? And I’m confident that other investigators have had similar chuckles and thoughts about my claims. I’m also pretty confident that I don’t personally know any fakers out there, but you know they’re there. So then I start thinking… What’s the game? And what’s the point if everyone plays differently?

Parapsychologist Mark Leary has conducted studies on improving the interpretation of EVP among investigators and researchers. In the Summer 2013 ATransC (Association TransCommunication, formerly AA-EVP) News Journal, Dr. Leary concludes the following in an article about his research.

“Low agreement in EVP interpretations is the elephant in the room among those who are interested in EVP. All investigators know that low agreement is a problem, but they hate to confront it because it casts a pall on the entire enterprise of recording and interpreting EVP. Yet, failing to confront the issue simply creates more difficulties. Consistently acknowledging the agreement problem and encouraging investigators to be honest and cautious in how they assert their interpretations is an important first step.”

Though I haven’t yet dived into the actual studies, the mentioned article is fascinating and frustrating all at the same time. But it resonates with me and helps to explain my burnout. It is difficult to find ATransC articles and news journals if you’re not a member, but if you’re involved in EVP at all, try to look for it.

Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD publishes a blog with fascinating thoughts as she travels on her own paranormal journey. In what seemed like amazing timing, a few months ago she published Are EVP Meant Only For the Person Recording Them? and Why Investigators Typically Don’t Validate Other’s Data as Evidence. I’ve kept the links in my e-mail inbox for a long time, just for this post. In a comment to Kirsten, I tried to explain some of what I have here, but also that most of the time I find myself avoiding commenting or validating other investigator’s evidence. It doesn’t mean I don’t listen, but if I’m so incredibly hard on my own evidence, imagine what my brain goes through when I hear someone else’s evidence, and knowing I wasn’t there to see the whole situation, or to use my second recorder (or to partake in the late night snacks!) And does it really matter what I think? Does the trouble that my crazy analytical, yet complete believer brain puts me through really matter to someone else? Not really… at least not in most cases. Kirsten doesn’t need that… and neither do you. Am I still talking? (Gosh! No wonder spirits stay away from me!)

Let me just add this before I move on. Though I don’t believe a haunted location is required to capture EVP, it certainly seems to me that my very comfortable and non-haunted home struggles to let voices in, making me believe that a haunted location certainly makes it easier. It has been suggested that I haven’t yet developed the ear to capture large amounts of amazing EVP. And it very well may be that just like sensitivity to spirit, our ears may all work at different levels. God knows that if my ears are going in the same direction as my eyes, I’m in trouble. In my case though, I do not believe that my lack of confident EVP samples is due to a lack of experience or knowledge… and I hope that doesn’t sound cocky.

So where are you going with this, dude? You sound pretty down and bummed out right now. 

Well, I had to explain and describe the whole back story of my burnout, especially for those who may not know what goes into all of this, or for those considering it.

And you included “Ouija” in the title of this post. Are you ever going to get to that? Come on, dude! I’ve got dishes to do!

Meril waiting for EVP. He's more patient than I am.

Meril waiting for EVP. He’s more patient than I am.

Sorry. Okay, so this past weekend I had the pleasure and honor of having an amazing and fun discussion with Karen A. Dahlman, a person whom I have much respect for. I was interviewing her for an upcoming episode of The Big Séance Podcast. Along with being a psychotherapist, a hypnotherapist, a business owner, and an author, she’s an expert Ouija-ologist with over 40 years of practice and positive experiences with the board. In the last year, I’ve contacted her a few times after reading her book, and she’s been very supportive and willing to give advice and tips. She is so amazing and genuine, and knowledgable of so many topics, that I could listen to her all day. (I call her my “life-ologist”.)

Though I haven’t put in the same amount of time into the Ouija board as I have EVP, it fascinates me just as much or more! But I’ve experienced a similar burnout and disappointment with the board. As most of you know, I’ve yet to have any movement from the planchette in any of my sessions, whether with a partner or by myself.

 

The good part that you’ve been waiting for!

There is just something about Karen’s message that woke me up, I think. I really can’t wait for you to hear the episode. I was reminded of how patient and consistent I had to be with my first formal and consistent EVP experiment, which many of you were there for. Though I never ended up with a gold mine of voices, some tiny gems were recorded. And I thought back to the luck of capturing what I still consider to be my paranormal team’s greatest EVP in what was only our second investigation. What a rush!

Karen and I both agreed that I need to continue working with the board, only this time LET GO and have more patience. As much as it pains me to say this, I need to get my analytical brain out of it… not all of it… but I need to let go (Cue the Frozen soundtrack). 

So I’ve had a break of several months now, and I may just be getting inspired to get back into the game, with the Ouija for sure. There’s a lot of time and patience involved, but you don’t have to spend 9 hours analyzing audio (unless of course you incorporate EVP into the sessions as I have in the past).

I think I’m going to look at this research a little bit different now. It’s going to be more personal, and not so black and white. That doesn’t mean that you won’t hear about any of it or see or hear samples, or be able to follow my progress, but it’s not so much about getting validation from others, or from myself even. And just know that I probably won’t comment on your EVP, and that doesn’t mean anything either. I’ve got to lighten up, let go, and just roll with this wave.

I really don’t think that the Ouija board and I ever really got to know each other well enough yet. I’m not done with that chapter. And yes, there may even be a new, yet simplified chapter with my old friend EVP as well. But I’m not pressuring myself.

 

Thanks for reading… and listening… and for supporting… 

Peace out!

 


The Spirits of Ouija: Four Decades of Communication

From our 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Ouija Session.

From our 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Ouija Session.

There are a few great people out there who have served as inspiration for my recent interest in spirit communication through the Ouija, and I’ve blogged about these folks before. If you happen to be looking for books on the topic, you probably won’t find many. I should rephrase that last statement. If you’re looking for serious books by people with experience and years of research, and not written out of fear, you’ll only find a few. Karen A. Dahlman’s latest book, The Spirits of Ouija: Four Dacades of Communication is one of them.

 

I loved the book! Here is my review. 

Karen A. Dahlman, who is a true Ouija-ologist, begins by giving the reader a brief history of the Ouija Board and the misconceptions that many have, thanks to Hollywood for the most part. As I mentioned in a recent post, Karen and I tend to share the same opinion when it comes to fear and the Ouija.

In chapter 2 of her book, Karen says:

“Fear is a big reason for Ouija being cast off into an oblivion of negativity. People often fear what they don’t understand. It is easier to fear something than to take the time to learn about it. Fear is first and foremost created by assumptions. Assuming that all communications with the Beyond, coming from outside our typical experiences and the world of our everyday senses and faculties, is critically labeled ridiculous or blasphemous, is narrow-minded in itself. Just because these experiences can’t be measured by scientific theory or understood by religious communities, speak to the unfair and harsh criticism Ouija Board has received. Quite often, this type of communication is attributed to ideomotor effects (involuntary and unconscious motor behavior) by the scientific community, while attributed to demonic and evil forces by  many traditional Christians. Could there be a deeper reason for the ridicule and fear, thus the unfair judgment?” 

We then get to learn about Karen’s history with the Ouija Board, how it all began, the spiritual growth she has gone through, and the wealth of experiences and learning she and many others around her have gained over four decades.

 

My favorite parts!

There are several parts to this book that I really appreciate. First off, as someone who experiments an awful lot with spirit communication, I love that she discusses the proper use of the board, preparing the space, and just how she goes about conducting a session. She also includes an example of an opening protective prayer that I’m going to start incorporating into my sessions. 

Through the Ouija Board, Karen has communicated with the deceased, such as spirits and earthbound ghosts, but also communicates regularly with angels, guides, ethereal beings, and the higher self. She includes many of these examples and the messages that came across, but I never expected to read about her communication with animals, both living and dead! Have you ever thought about animal communication and the Ouija? I hadn’t! The communication that she includes from her own living pets is just fascinating! You read that correctly. She communicates with her living pets. 

 

About the Author

From her author page on Amazon.

Karen A. Dahlman believes that life is meant to be a joyful experience, driven by the expression of our creative inner potentials. She believes that we are able to tap this great source within when we open ourselves to all possibilities.

Within her latest book, The Spirits of Ouija – Four Decades of Communication, she shares all of the insights she gained, while opening up her communication with conscious beings from the Great Beyond via the Ouija Board.

Karen has a strong spiritual connection to her spirit friends as she has throughout her entire life. Highly experienced as a Ouija-ologist (one who studies the uses of the board), she teaches others about the positive benefits of using this tool as a means for expanding and deepening one’s world and expression within it in the most profound ways.

Karen’s background is as diversified as her writings are controversial. She began her career as a licensed and board certified art therapist, hypnotherapist and counselor after graduating the University of New Mexico with both her bachelor and master degrees. For over a decade Karen worked within multiple settings, with varying populations, including her private practice and public workshops, while providing creative and expressive means for her clients to find health.

After spending her formative years living all over the United States, she made Southern California her home in 1999. At that time, Karen hung up her therapy shingle and entered the high-tech. industry of telecommunications and founded CVC, Inc, a consulting and utility design firm for the fortune 100 wireless carriers. Coming upon its thirteenth year in operation, Karen remains at the helm as CEO.

Coming full circle within her career, from right brain to left brain to center brain, she strives to maintain a balance of her total brain within her heart. Karen shares within her books, her process of doing this with herself and with others. She endeavors to help others deepen into their unique possibilities to discover their own empowerment to affect personal growth, their spiritual evolution, and a passionate expression of their calling.

 

What’s next for Karen?

I want to personally thank Karen for her advice and encouragement with my own Ouija sessions. She truly knows her stuff. I asked her about her future projects and in her own words, she’s working on a book “based on the personal development my spirit friends have assisted me and other women with via the Board. It’s a book entitled: The Alchemical Woman: Becoming the Queen. It speaks to the transformation we women must go through in order to discover and find out true empowerment. The book is a culmination of all my experiences of evolution/growth via the Board, including my practice as a psychotherapist, and working with many women along the way, helping them uncover their inner truths and strengths. My spirit friends actively participate in the writings as we traverse down this path of balance and evolution. This book incorporates their teachings, our learnings and the process to discovering true empowerment.” I’m hoping boys are allowed to follow along in this future journey. 🙂

 
For more on Karen A. Dahlman, visit www.karenadahlman.com

 

You might also like:

Ouija Gone Wild (Big Seance)

Ouija Gone Wild (Big Séance)

 

Thanksgiving Ouija Session 2013 (Big Séance)

Thanksgiving Ouija Session 2013 (Big Séance)

 

 


Holiday Spirits…

There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories
of Christmases long, long ago.

Ever hear those lyrics to Andy Williams’ It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year and wonder just what those scary ghost stories were all about? Many would probably think this was a tradition more fitting for spooky Halloween festivities. I always assumed it was a long-lost tradition, but after one of my recent reads, I wasn’t surprised when I discovered it dates back to Victorian days. Oh how I would love to jump into a time machine!

Spirit Photographer William H. Mumler supposedly took this famous photograph, purportedly showing Mary Todd Lincoln with the ghost of her husband, Abraham Lincoln. (From Wikipedia)

Spirit Photographer William H. Mumler supposedly took this famous photograph, “purportedly showing Mary Todd Lincoln with the ghost of her husband, Abraham Lincoln”. (From Wikipedia)

Well the lyrics to this song got me thinking of something else in the last few days. Even though I’ve always believed we have special spirits with us (spirit guides, guardian angels, etc.) every moment of our lives, I also believe that there may be other important or meaningful times of the year, such as holidays, when our passed loved ones and other spirits come to check in on us. I think the gathering of families, heightened emotions, reliving past memories, and telling stories of loved ones play a big role in this. 

If you’re a regular reader here, you know that I’ve recently begun doing some experimenting with the Ouija board. Not at parties, not for silliness, no alcohol involved, just research. A few weeks ago, a few members of my family (who are also members of my paranormal investigation team) and I had a quiet Ouija session late  on Thanksgiving night. Nothing much to report, but I hoped that a holiday would be a good time to achieve some good spirit communication. I’d planned on trying it again over Christmas, but the timing and atmosphere just didn’t seem right. I plan on having a few sessions here at home this week as I’m still on my holiday break. I’ll keep everyone posted.  

Does anyone have a story you’re willing to share relating to this topic? 

 

Related Articles/Posts:

A Very Ouija Thanksgiving (BigSeance.com)

The Origins of Ghost Stories at Christmas (Hypnogoria.com)

Spirit Communication Around Holidays (lauramendelsohn.com)


A Very Ouija Thanksgiving…

From our first Ouija session…

So I’ve been hinting for a few months now that I’d be doing some research and some experiments with the Ouija board soon. After reading Rosemary Ellen Guiley’s Ouija Gone Wild and then learning about some pretty amazing Ouija sessions on the Consciousness Travels blog, I realized (and I’m just hoping I’m right) that Hollywood has turned the Ouija into something it is not. Well I’ve had the board for several weeks and have just been waiting for the right day… the right moment to start my next exciting spirit communication journey. 

While going back home and visiting for Thanksgiving, I thought it might be a good time to try it out if the right moment came along. My family makes up most of my MOSS team. They’re used to investigating and participating in my experiments. But most importantly, they know how serious I am and how important this research is to me. So on Thanksgiving night at around midnight, after all of the festivities winded down, I set up for my first Ouija session. 

You can see my setup in the picture above, but in addition I recorded the session with a digital audio recorder, I had a Mel Meter (measures ambient temperature and electromagnetic field) and a spirit box on hand. For those who may not know, a spirit box (sometimes called a “ghost box”) is simply a radio that has been modified to sweep through all of the radio stations on either the AM or FM band at a quick pace. Using a device like this for spirit communication purposes involves a somewhat controversial technique called “radio sweep”, which along with EVP fits under the umbrella of “ITC” (Instrumental Trans-Communication). The spirit box was only used toward the end of the session.

Three of us were involved in the session, but only two of us were at the board at a time while the third monitored the surroundings. We began with our own personal quiet time for meditation. I then stated our intentions and respectfully invited any non-negative spirit to join us for the purposes of learning about the other side and spirit communication in general. (I decided to avoid the popular  “from the light” statement because sometimes I feel this can kill an experiment right off the bat.) I was open and honest about this being our first Ouija session and invited anyone present to give advice or help us with our technique. We asked several times if anyone was present with us and then waited. We received no answers through the board, however, there were multiple instances where the light fixture overhead (set to be very dim) flickered. It is not exactly unusual for lights to flicker in my parents’ house, but not usually this many times in such a short period. Also, my mother has never noticed the flickering with this particular dining room overhead light fixture. Several of the flickers seemed to happen within seconds of each question, especially the “Is there anyone with us?” questions. We noted the flickering and moved on with other various questions and received no answers. That’s when we turned on the spirit box. 

I’ve used my spirit box in a few paranormal investigations, and although I continue to be openly skeptical about how people use or interpret it, I feel there is a good chance I’ve had some legitimate spirit communication through the device in those situations. In my experiments at home I haven’t had the same experience. This may have been the case with our Thanksgiving Ouija session. After asking for anyone present to introduce themselves, we heard a pretty significant response that sounded like “Bubba”. Other than that moment, I don’t feel like we had any significant or paranormal responses through the spirit box. 

Regarding the Mel Meter, no unusual EMF or temperature readings were noted. 

Were we disappointed? Sure. I was completely prepared to type out the transcript for you in this post. But paranormal investigators get used to things being quiet and boring for most of the time. And sometimes, paranormal or not, the simple light flickers are pretty exciting. I still intend to analyze the audio eventually, and perhaps we captured an entity who preferred to communicate that way instead. If this is the case, you’ll hear about it.  

I’d love to get feedback or suggestions from some of my readers who are experienced in this form of spirit communication. Just so you know, my future Ouija sessions are likely to be conducted by myself. I’m not sure when the next one will be, but I’ll keep everyone posted.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Peace! 

 


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