Tag Archives: skeptic

Spiritual Bypassing Panel Discussion – Big Seance #172

Spiritual Bypassing - A Panel Discussion with Amber Choisella, Ash Riley, and Brian Smith on the Big Seance Podcast: My Paranormal World #172

 

A month after the senseless killing of George Floyd, and after a medium claimed to channel him with a questionable and insensitive message, Patrick sat down in the parlor to discuss the topic of Spiritual Bypassing with special guests Amber Choisella, Ash Riley, and Brian Smith. What is Spiritual Bypassing? Other topics include speaking out against racism, shadow work, the mother wound, toxic masculinity, and mental health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In Search of the Paranormal with Richard Estep – The Big Séance Podcast #44

Richard Estep, paranormal researcher, Interview on The Big Séance Podcast with Patrick Keller, BigSeance.comParanormal Researcher, Richard Estep, gives us a peek into his book, In Search of the Paranormal: The Hammer House Murder, Ghosts of the Clink, and Other Disturbing Investigations. We also talk about the paranormal field in general, theories, favorite gadgets, and an interesting behind the scenes look at his Boulder County Paranormal Research Society (BCPRS).

 

Pssst… Are you looking for the SpeakPipe Link?

 

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The Big Séance Podcast with Patrick Keller - Paranormal, paranerd

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Ghost Tours for the Theatre of the Mind with History Goes Bump – The Big Séance Podcast: My Paranormal World #40

Interview with the hosts of the History Goes Bump podcast, Big Séance Podcast with Patrick KellerDo you like ghost tours? Are you a fan of the kind of paranormal history that… goes bump? Diane and Denise from The History Goes Bump podcast take us behind the scenes of their ghost tours for the theatre of the mind.

 

Psst… Are you looking for the SpeakPipe link?

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The Big Séance Podcast with Patrick Keller - Paranormal, paranerd

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Warrior Ghost or Gone in a Flash?

Warrior Ghost or Gone in a Flash? BigSeance.com

 

Every now and then I receive photos from readers or listeners. Often they come with a subject line like “What do you make of this?” I’ve never claimed to be an expert when it comes to analyzing possible paranormal evidence in a photograph. I don’t even bring it up much. And honestly, when I was out investigating, the photographs were always kind of an after thought. I used photos more for documentation of the surroundings, and never really thought about them as a way to capture evidence. As you probably know, my focus was always on audio.

Like many others in the paranormal field, the photos we often get sent to us involve “orbs”, which most of the time end up being quite obviously explainable. And just as often, it’s an awkward offended reaction that I get when I respond with my usual answer. People want SO BADLY for things to be a ghost… even after someone gives them 30 possible explanations for what they’re seeing. I’m not sure why some folks ask if they don’t want an honest response. And so some of these photos end up sitting in my inbox, or maybe I reply with something harmless like… “Cool photo!”

But this photo was different. I am NOT making a claim that this is paranormal. But isn’t it interesting? You don’t see one like this often. Here’s the information I have from the photo that was sent in by Sarah. I was given permission to share it with you. Sarah writes:

“I wanted to send you this photo and get your opinion.  I just [took] this picture of my daughter’s basketball team in our grade school gym.  There were children running around behind the team prior to me taking the picture but I sat and waited for them to leave before I snapped the pic.  If you look behind the chair of the last girl you can see that the white figure continues down behind her chair.  Please let me know what you think of the photo.
Thank you so much!”

 

What do YOU think? 

My mind immediately saw what looks like a solid foot or shoe planted on the ground behind the chair. If this were a child running behind the players in the photo, the foot would have been somewhat stationary, at least for the moment the picture was taken. But even then, seeing a solid foot doesn’t mean it isn’t paranormal. It’s definitely something to think about though. 

I also think that if Sarah admits to knowing children had been running around the team prior to the photo, could it be she captured one of them and she just doesn’t remember? That’s probably the most logical explanation. But… even then, I wouldn’t expect such a ghostly, unrecognizable flash of white from a camera in this day and age… even if the kid was super fast! But I could be very wrong. Thankfully, when I mentioned my question about a possible kid running behind the players, Sarah wasn’t offended. She responded very politely with the following: 

“I will tell you that when I took the picture I was not looking at the screen, I was actually looking over my camera to make sure all the children had ran past. I steadied the camera on my knees and watched above it. I actually have a sequence of pictures, one with the kids running past then the one with the figure that I sent you and then one with no one but the team. They are time stamped about 8 seconds apart.”

 

Surely we have some photographers or experienced investigators out there willing to weigh in with their thoughts or explanations. Is this a Warrior ghost?

And thank you for the photo, Sarah!

 

P.S. 

Love Never Dies by Jamie Turndorf, Book Giveaway at BigSeance.comDon’t forget about the Love Never Dies Book Giveaway! Deadline for entries is Monday March 30, 2015! Can’t wait to hear from you!


Randi’s Prize: What do skeptics say? The latest book to land on my doorstep!

James Randi, BigSéance.com

James Randi, state magician and skeptic. By Terabyte at de.wikipedia [CC BY-SA 2.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/de/deed.en), GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], from Wikimedia Commons

We had some very serious discussion here a few years ago after I wrote about the thoughts and opinions of skeptic Sharon Hill, in How Does the Skeptic View Paranormal Folk? It was truly eye-opening for me. This led to a great response by Randall Keller, titled Uninformed and Misled at The Voices Blog. After all of the hurt feelings that I think it’s safe to say that many of us had, I’ve actually found myself occasionally following Sharon’s writings and videos. I certainly don’t agree with all of her opinions, but there’s always that awkward moment where the skeptic side of me (the same skeptic side that I frequently rant about… the one that really ticks me off!) can appreciate the suggestion that I think about some things differently. With that being said… I still occasionally get my feelings hurt. It’s a strange and bi-polar relationship that I have with my skeptical side, and the two of us are still working things out. I’m actually considering reaching out to Sharon about a guest appearance on the podcast. We’ll see how brave I get. Good idea? Bad idea? What do you think?

 

Randi's Prize: What skeptics say about the paranormal, why they are wrong and why it matters, by Robert McLuhan. BigSéance.comAfter listening to another great interview by Jim Harold on the Paranormal Podcast, I decided to take a deep breath… and order Randi’s Prize: What sceptics say about the paranormal, why they are wrong and why it matters, by Robert McLuhan.

Here’s the description from Amazon:

James ‘The Amazing’ Randi is a stage magician who says he has a million dollars for anyone who can convince him they have psychic powers. No one has even come close to winning, proof, say sceptical scientists, that there is no such thing as ‘the paranormal’. But are they right? In this illuminating and often provocative analysis, Robert McLuhan examines the influence of Randi and other debunking sceptics in shaping scientific opinion about such things as telepathy, psychics, ghosts and near-death experiences. He points out that scientific researchers who investigate these things at first hand overwhelmingly consider them to be genuinely anomalous. But this has shocking implications, for science, for society and for even perhaps for ourselves as individuals. Hence the sceptics’ insistence that they should rather be attributed to fraud, imagination and wishful thinking. However, this extraordinary and little understood aspect of consciousness has much to tell us about the human situation, McLuhan suggests. And at a time when militants are polarising the debate about religion, its mystical, spiritual element offers an optimistic and enlightened way forward. Randi’s Prize is aimed at anyone interested in spirituality or those curious to know the truth about paranormal claims. It’s an intelligent and readable analysis of scientific research into the paranormal which, uniquely, also closely examines the arguments of well-known sceptics.

 

I’ve got a couple of books in line ahead of this one, but I’ll keep you posted. Has anyone out there read it?

 


Energy Formulas and some thoughts on “My Son and the Afterlife”

One of the books I’ve been reading this summer is My Son and the Afterlife: Conversations from the Other Side by Elisa Medhus, MD. If you’ve ever visited ChannelingErik.com, that’s Elisa. Much of the book comes from the site, which she started not only to work through her grieving, but to serve as a place to share the channeled messages that she received from her son Erik, who committed suicide in 2009. These channeled messages come mostly from Erik’s spirit communicator (medium), Jamie Butler

I was introduced to ChannelingErik.com two or three years ago, and was immediately blown away and overwhelmed with the wealth of information and transcribed sessions between Elisa, Jamie, and Erik. In fact, one of my very first blog posts featured the site. For many, the site is controversial, and you’ll find several sites expressing skeptical opinions about it all. Elisa herself claims to have gone from skeptic to believer because of this whole journey. If you know me, you know I can’t NOT doubt a bit when I read things like this, but who wouldn’t want this to be authentic and real? I do my best to keep my ego and somewhat analytical mind in the corner while I read his messages, and I find them fascinating!  

As I said, the blog itself is a bit overwhelming… and that’s perhaps why I haven’t been a regular reader in a long time. But I’ve really enjoyed the book so far. Having it all organized in book form has really been helpful to me. After giving some background and describing the tragic moments that changed the family’s life forever, Elisa goes right into what I can only assume is a kind of “best of” from Erik. At the moment I’m only halfway through the book, but so far Erik has given answers to most of the typical questions that people wonder about the Afterlife. 

 

“Energy Formulas”

I don’t know why this fascinated me so much, but I immediately thought to blog on it when I read it. It’s so simple, really. 

Elisa asked Erik how it was possible for him, or spirits in general I suppose, to create smells, good or bad, so that we on Earth notice or sense them. Erik has been known to be a jokester, and so he apparently will often create “rank sock smells”, for example.

He answered by saying “everything has an energy formula on Earth, so I just replicate that energy formula, and I put it in that space.” So stop to think about the energy formula that your perfume or cologne is made up of, or even something we see as solid, like your desk or coffee cup. He says that what we end up sensing or smelling doesn’t actually exist. It’s just the energy formula that we’re sensing.

And do you know what I instantly thought of? It made me think of binary code, or the 1s and 0s used in computer programming, and even the recording of CDs. When would I ever think about or even try to understand binary code? A recording in a .wav or mp3 file, or from a CD playing, can potentially put me in a kind of euphoric state, or make me cry, or transport me to another world. The music and the orchestra isn’t sitting here in my room or living in my headphones, but the code is. So when I stop to think about it now, I totally get it. I mean, I don’t think it’s a concept that we’ll ever completely understand until we get such knowledge and experience on the Other Side, but I’m beginning to process it.

 

Isn’t it fascinating?

Whether you choose to believe all of this or not, isn’t it truly fascinating when you think about it? Or… am I just a nerd? One of my earliest readers and blogging friends, Ashley, knows a lot about Erik and the CE site, and she created the Facebook group for fans and readers of ChannelingErik.com. I hope she chimes in!  *HINT HINT*

 

A Message for Erik

This message is for Erik, if he’s reading. I know you’ve been known to visit and play tricks on many of the visitors and readers of ChannelingErik.com. I’ve made the request before, but I’m sure you’re busy. Consider this a formal invitation to bug the hell out of me for experimental purposes! Bring it. And I’ll keep everyone posted. 

 

Peace!

 

 

 

 


My Guest Appearance on The Kiwi Psychic and the Midwest Ghost

I was very honored that Debbie Black and Thomas Spychalski invited me to be their very first on-air guest for Episode Two of the brand new podcast, The Kiwi Psychic and the Midwest Ghost! I was very nervous, but excited. (Sometime I’ll have to tell you a funny behind-the-scenes story that happened while recording.) Both Debbie and Thomas have been great supporters and followers of this blog, and I thank them for giving me the opportunity. The YouTube video of the episode is below. The episode can also be downloaded HERE.


 

My “Show Notes”

If you’d like to listen and follow along, the links to many of the topics and stories that I discussed in the episode can be found below.

 

My post on How To Record EVP

Final Report from the Friedens United Church of Christ investigation. The “It’s all over me” EVP is covered in the video at the top of the page, or you can scroll down through the report and find more details and further discussion just below the first picture of the fellowship hall.

My initial post on the “Can You Help Me” EVP and the Investigation Report from that undisclosed location. Also, here is the original, unenhanced audio and the enhanced audio.

A look back on my visits from the “Rapper” (with transcripts and audio examples) –  My Rapper: Missing you, old friend…

Some spirit box examples: Belvoir Winery: Audio Highlights of Spirit Box and Flashlight Communication, and 200th Post and Fort Chaffee Prison Spirit Box Session.

For several posts about the Ouija Board, visit the Ouija Category Archives.

For a free download of Audacity, visit audacity.sourceforge.net.

All of the Belvoir Winery Posts:

Audio Highlights of Spirit Box and Flashlight Communication
The Brilliant Britt Griffith!

Ghosts can do that? The Evidence… Sort of… (Discussion of the mysterious disappearance of the video.)
Amy, Adam, Britt, and Chip!
New Friends!
The Photos
I’m Baaaaaaaaaack!
TAPS and Chip Coffey at Belvoir Winery in March!

For my cemetery photography, you can find most of the cemetery albums on my Flickr page, or visit the Cemetery Category Archives.

Adopting Graves 2013: My Thoughts and a Look Back on a New Tradition

Here’s Thomas’s very popular Amityville Ghost Boy Post 

 

More links for The Kiwi Psychic and the Midwest Ghost 

Facebook for Kiwi Psychic and the Midwest Ghost 
YouTube Page
Twitter: @Kiwi_Psychic
Thomas Spychalski’s Blog – News From the Spirit World
Debbie Black’s Blog – Spirits and the Paranormal (debbiedakiwi.com)

 

 

 

 

 


Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead

In Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead, Christine Wicker packs her bags and takes a good honest look at the Spiritualist community of Lily Dale and the mediums that call the place home. She views every experience with an open and respectful, yet unapologetic and skeptical eye, which I appreciated… even if I felt a bit guilty for appreciating it. The reader gets to follow what ends up being a cast of fascinating characters, including guests, mediums, and other members of the community. She asks the questions many of us would probably want to ask, but wouldn’t, because we’d be afraid of being offensive. Christine covers the good, the bad, and the dysfunction of Lily Dale (even juicy gossip among mediums)! And even though she stubbornly refuses to have a spiritual experience, there’s evidence that she does, even if it’s just temporary. 

In the last five years or so, I’ve spent much of my time reading, experimenting, and researching all things “spirit communication”. After first reading about Lily Dale in a book about Spiritualism and the famous Fox Sisters, and after conversations with medium Lee Allen Howard and hearing about his trips to the famous Spiritualist camp, it has been a destination I’ve been very interested in learning about and possibly visiting. Also, six months ago I watched and reviewed No One Dies in Lily Dale, the HBO documentary. As I mentioned in the comments of a recent post about this book, I think I’m going to have to watch the documentary again after reading Christine’s take on it all. I’ll make it to Lily Dale one of these days, but in the meantime I feel like the experience of reading this book was the next best thing. 

Do you have any other recommendations on the topic of Lily Dale? Let me know in the comments below! 

(Speaking of taking my word for it, you may be interested in LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow Kickstarter project.) 

 


Pub Ghosts Captured on CCTV Cameras

CCTV, or closed-circuit television cameras, have become cheaper and more accessible in the last several years, allowing many homeowners and businesses to use them for security. For the same reason, paranormal investigators often use them as well. They’re the same cameras that are in the hallways of my school. They’re found in the woods now too, though hunters like to call them “game cams”. (Aliens and Bigfoot have been caught several times on these game cams… if you didn’t already know.) You can even get them at Walmart. The video is recorded continuously onto a DVR and is usually easily searched if you know the approximate date or time you’re interested in.

One of our CCTV "DVR" screen shots from an investigation of a residence back in 2011.

One of our CCTV “DVR” screen shots from the MOSS investigation of a residence back in 2011.

The combination of CCTV and the popularity of the paranormal has provided a great opportunity for business owners to play ghost hunter, as they capture and publicly disclose their “ghosts”, often taking advantage of the publicity and hype that comes with it. 

When you see these captures on video, you don’t often get much background information on the location. No one is there to answer your curious questions. What was behind the camera? Was anyone there at the time? (There are many other questions I could think of.) Now days you have to wonder if the video was doctored, embellished, faked, etc. Was it a publicity stunt for an upcoming “found footage” movie? Even so, they can be fascinating and appear very real… and if you’re like me, deep down you really WANT them to be authentic evidence of the paranormal. 

 

The Ghost of Ye Olde Man and Scythe

The most recent example was brought to my attention by Ghostsnghouls.com. Watch it and then find my commentary below. 

Supposedly there are no windows behind the camera, making the flickering and lighting changes seem very mysterious. And the flicker just before the blackout seems a bit too perfect for me. I wish I had several pictures of this room in the daylight so that I could get a feel for the whole place. And does it all seem just a little Hollywooded up to you? It’s only missing an edgy score by Hans Zimmer, am I right? It’s definitely fascinating video though. I bet this pub has named a nicely priced drink after this “ghost” as well.

 

My favorite CCTV “ghost”…

…is also from a pub (why always a pub??) and was captured several years ago in Britain. I really really REALLY REALLY wanted this one to be real. Like a lot of these videos, this is almost guaranteed to be evidence of a lack of cleaning up high in corners of the rooms where these cameras are mounted. I could find several cobwebs in a few corners of this room right now if I wanted to. Watch closely and you can identify this ghost as a fly or some other kind of insect. Often, a simple cobweb will cause excitement and claims of paranormal activity. 

Don’t you just love it? You had the story worked up in your mind, didn’t you? The centuries old pub has an old employee that loved the place so much that they help clean up overnight. Either that or it’s a residual haunting and it’s just a normal night at work, serving beer and cleaning tables. Right? Please oh please oh please. Having a brain ruins all the fun, doesn’t it?

 

You never know…

I’ve never claimed to be an expert in video when it comes to evidence, but I still say that video is the least likely place to capture true evidence of the paranormal. It’s funny that so many people put so much focus and emphasis on that very rare and heavily contested video evidence. Of course, as the reporter in the video stated (while taking the easy way out and not mentioning possible logical explanations… ahem… like flies), “Hey. You never know.”

 

You might also like: 

Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home: Ghosts can do that? The Evidence... sort of... (Big Séance)

Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home: Ghosts can do that? The Evidence… sort of… (Big Séance)

My Rapper: Missing you, old friend... (Big Séance)

My Rapper: Missing you, old friend… (Big Séance)


How Does the Skeptic View Paranormal Folk?

I’m going to go ahead and safely assume that the vast majority of readers or even one time visitors to this blog are somehow interested in or involved in paranormal or spiritual topics (unless they landed here on accident while trying to search for something cool like a Snuggie for their dog, although those people tend to be paranormal folk too… I think.) So it is this group that I would like to direct this post to. But I want to make it clear, skeptics and Snuggie people are welcome to read and respectfully comment as well.

There are several things that I have not been shy about discussing since I started Big Séance. One of them is that several years ago I began experiencing what I’ve called a “spiritual shift”. That’s the spiritual side of me. At about this same time I started to be fascinated with the paranormal, specifically ghosts and spirit communication. That’s the paranormal side of me. Sometimes I have a hard time bouncing back and forth between the two, fitting into discussions or conversations online, etc. But the one thing that makes me the awkward guest at both parties is the fact that I’m often the more skeptical (a naughty word in both parties) person there. Obviously that doesn’t mean I am out to prove the paranormal doesn’t exist. I’m convinced life doesn’t end at death. I know that sometimes spirits don’t move on and stay with us, and perhaps visit us on occasion. No one needs to tell me one way or the other. But I do think that there are many in the paranormal field whose behavior and reckless claims about things make us look a little… hmm… childish. Inexperienced. Dumb. There always seems to be that Class A EVP that CLEARLY says “Hey thanks for stopping by but I want you to GET OUT!” even though I hear a cough and 4 investigator footsteps. There’s the orb that has 50 possible natural explanations, yet someone decide’s it’s the ghost of Matilda because look, you can see two eyes a nose and a mouth. I try my best to not criticize the theories and beliefs of others, and feel like often I examine and take a hard look at my own. I don’t go out there trying to pick fights. I just think that as investigators or “ghost hunters” (ugh), we need to be as honest and responsible with what we’re saying and what we’re putting out there.

I know I’m not a scientist or parapsychologist, or an expert in either of these fields, but I have bravely referred to myself as a “researcher” who seriously studies and works with the paranormal… and even though there is a lot I still don’t understand, up to now I’ve felt good about that. Perhaps that’s silly. I follow and learn from smart people, many who truly are deserving of the “expert” or “researcher” title. I realize that people who know me in the real world probably get a kick out of this time-consuming and expensive hobby when they find out how I spend my time when I’m not at the day job. Perhaps some of them snicker when they see my posts, and maybe decide that it’s a shame that I’ve gone off the deep end. But honestly, most of the time I don’t even worry about what people think, because I get so excited about it! I plan my blog posts out in my head at work sometimes and can’t wait to come home to get them started. When an investigation is in the works or when someone asks for help, I put all of my effort into that. I get really excited to jump into my next non-fiction book. I want to learn… I want to discover… and I want to share.

Am I still talking????

Sharon Hill - Geologist, Author, Skeptic

Photo Credit: Sharon Hill – Geologist, Author, Skeptic

Anyway… So I find this skeptic and her blog and I think… “Hey, I like to be skeptical. I want to be balanced and see what I can learn from this.” Sharon Hill, the skeptic, is also a geologist. According to her bio at The Huffington Post, where she is a contributor, she “is a researcher specializing in the interaction between science, the media and the public. She is an advocate for scientific skepticism and the editor of DoubtfulNews.com — a critical thinking weird news blog.” Sharon is also the author of another blog, Doubtful (idoubtit.wordpress.com) which I now bravely follow, that caught my attention and is the reason you’re hearing from me today.

Promise me that even if you stop reading now you’ll watch this 35 minute video that was shared in her latest blog post.

It is your homework. This is her speaking at the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS), in which she discusses her examination of paranormal groups and paranormal people, our beliefs, practices, equipment, our black t-shirts, our self published books with no references or citations, and our “sciencey” words because we want to sound professional and serious. It will open your eyes and mind to what we as paranormal folk look and sound like to the skeptic. I’m not going to lie… I was scared to death and worried that she was going to pull up a screenshot of my paranormal group’s outdated website… or even this blog. I found myself agreeing with her at times. She hit paranormal TV pretty hard. But I’ll admit I was hurt (didn’t shed any tears) because in parts of her talk I saw and heard myself in a lot of what she was saying. I’ve watched a few videos and I’ve heard her in an interview, and I really do think she is making an effort to understand us. She seems to be respectful about her opinions, even though she’s clearly relaxed and in front of her own crowd in this video. But still… I’m a bit bothered by it all. She feels that most of us “value science” but we “don’t have a clue how it works.” At one point she talks about how we tend to want to help, and we’re serious, we just don’t know how to do it. We’re simple folk who are just “invested emotionally” in our beliefs. 

Here are several questions that popped in my head during the two times I watched this video.

  • Is she talking about me?
  • Am I just so “invested emotionally” in my beliefs about the paranormal that my eyes are closed to anything else?
  • Am I “fooling the public”?
  • Are her views and opinions a reflection of the average scientist?
  • Am I seen as dumb or ignorant?
  • Should I even care about science? Do we have to have their approval?
  • Does my involvement in the paranormal have any worth at all?
  • Have I helped anyone?

The video from her latest Doubtful blog post.

If you’ve made it through this incredibly bi-polar and emotionally invested post, please share your thoughts. I know you want to! Share away before I wake up tomorrow and decide to delete the whole thing!

 

Related:

The Skeptical Perspective (Jim Harold’s Interview with Sharon Hill on The Paranormal Podcast)

No Scientists (Voices Podcast)

Coming Out of the Paranormal/Spiritual Closet (Big Séance)

 


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