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Quaerere,  Perceptum et Docere

The I.C.P.R.P.I. is a not-for-profit research consortium and educational resource centre. The purpose of the consortium is to firstly; gain a better understanding about the enigmatic nature of psi-phenomena as related to the human condition. Secondly, to act as a depository for related research into the investigation of psi-phenomena, which is to be made available for all interested persons world-wide, and finally, to uphold and positively augment the reasoning and purpose of psychical and parapsychological research in order to better the discipline as an accepted, and respected aspect of science and philosophical inquiry. 

The I.C.P.R.P.I. is invested to research and scholarly contribution, yet not limited to of the following areas of such thought: Hauntings, Apparitions and Poltergeist phenomena, Extra Sensory Perception (ESP), Post-Mortem Survival (PMS), Psychokinesis (PK), Metaphysical Studies, Dream-State Research and Astral Projection, Out‑of‑Body Experiences (OBE) and Near-Death Experiences (NDE), Mediumship and Spirit Channeling, The Occult and Magical Arts as related to the paranormal, Altered States of Consciousness, Ecto-Connectivity (EC), Religious Experiences and Beliefs (Sympathetic/Contagious Magic), Psychic Healing and Alternative Medicine, Astrology and Divination, Demon Possession and Demonology. In addition to this, The I.C.P.R.P.I. is also interested in regional and international aspects of Folklore and Urban Legends, Cryptozoology, as well as UFO incidents, Alien and Abduction phenomena.

We welcome all to participate in our investigations, and welcome your individual input in order to better the understanding of these and other controversial subjects.

“…Scientia potentia est, sed parva; quia scientia egregia rara est, nec proinde apparens nisi paucissimis, et in paucis rebus. Scientiae enim ea natura est, ut esse intelligi non possit, nisi ab illis qui sunt scientia praediti…”

Thomas Hobbes, De Homine, 1658.

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The following listing of organizations, agencies and private groups and societies constitutes a primary listing of affiliates, and which represents the professional end of the field of psychical research and related paranormal investigations. These organizations have been chosen by the I.C.P.R.P.I. as the main source for investigating this field from a professional and exact standpoint, and are of such advised for serious scholars to take part in. Having said that; it is important to realize that other groups and organizations that refer to themselves as professional and/or as ‘parapsychologists,’ though not having a scientific background, or at least having an actual working knowledge of the profession, should instead, begin taking part in serious research in order to better acquaint themselves to this profession as a whole…Its not only about ghosts and poltergeists. Although I can certainly respect the interesting nature of the popular ‘ghost hunting/reality “in-your-face” television shows,’ it would be a good choice to ‘investigate’ from another perspective. Furthermore, though this blog page is a retrospective of popular notions and concepts; almost entirely from a ‘folkloric’ perspective, we do indeed value the importance of the purely scientific quest to get the truth by scientific means. I hope you will too.

Training and Research

        If you’re looking for down-to-earth training in parapsychology, consciousness studies or transpersonal psychology, there are several organizations that can offer this, either from a scholastic, hard science foundation (listed later on in this report), or from a more hands-on foundation, taught by real-time professionals in the field. My first recommendation is Loyd Auerbach, a well-known expert on ghosts and psychic experience, holding a Master’s degree in Parapsychology; is director of the Office of Paranormal Investigations, as well as a professor at JFK University. He is the creator and instructor of the Certificate Program in Parapsychological Studies at HCH Institute, and hosts many lecture series both from a distance perspective and in California. Professor Auerbach is known to be open to questions and for offering sound advice for those who are serious about the profession.

For more information, please visit: http://www.atlanticuniv.edu/index.html and http://www.ghostvillage.com/ghostvillageu/parapsychologycourses.shtml For professor Auerbach’s Blog page, visit: http://mindreader.com/

 My second recommendation is Dr. Andrew Nichols, Ph.D., a well known figure in the psychical research community, having been seen in dozens of documentaries, is author of Ghost Detective: Adventures of a Parapsychologist and who is director of the American Institute of Parapsychology (AIP), a non-profit research and educational organization based in Gainesville, Florida. AIP’s purpose is to foster to its students a greater understanding about the anomalous aspects of the human experience, which of course includes the subjects of ghosts and hauntings. AIP conducts various courses in parapsychology, aimed at the general public, and maintains a library specializing in parapsychology, abnormal psychology and occult/mystical studies (a collection that includes hundreds of books, audio-visual materials and issues of the main parapsychology journals for students). Dr. Nichols and his staff offers top-notch instruction, but don’t expect silliness or reality show drama — This is the real thing, and will offer its students a chance to explore this topic from a direct point-of-view.

            For more information, please visit: http://parapsychologylab.com/  

           

 Top Organizations in Parapsychology and Psychical Research 

 

        The following organizations are among my favorites, and are ones I am involved with directly, or indirectly. I hope you, the reader, will take a moment to look at these groups and institutions and see how the ‘Real Ghost Hunters’ operate within the profession of psychical research. This listing should be regarded as the best of the professional organizations affiliated with the methodology utilized by the ICPRPI, and is recommended for the serious researcher to take part in, and/or join. No doubt, there are other groups and organizations befitting this listing, so if I missed anyone, my apologies. Please send your details for review, and we’ll be happy list you here. Otherwise, enjoy the grand opportunity you have to take part in the actual study of parapsychology from the top listing below. 

 

  • Rhine Research Center (USA)

 http://www.rhine.org/

Based in Durham, USA, the Center continues and expands the work of J.B. and Louisa Rhine, the Rhine Research Center is an integrative center for the study of consciousness. It serves as the hub for ground-breaking research and educational activities on the nature of human consciousness, which includes all aspects of paranormal and psychical research. This organization offers a scholarly listing of lecture and conference series, as well as resources that will aid the researcher in all areas of the field.

2741 Campus Walk Ave # 500
Durham, NC 27705-8878 — (919) 309-4600

 

  • Society for Psychical Research (UK)

http://www.spr.ac.uk/main/

The SPR was first overseen by Henry Sidgwick, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Cambridge University, and the society’s first president. The SPR is the ‘first learned society’ of its kind, founded in London in 1882 for the purpose of “investigating that large body of debatable phenomena designated by such terms as mesmeric, psychical and spiritualistic, and to do so in the same spirit of exact and unimpassioned inquiry which has enabled science to solve so many problems.” Among the early members of the SPR were such prominent figures as the physicist William Barrett; the experimental physicist Lord Rayleigh; Arthur Balfour, philosopher and Prime Minister Gerald Balfour, a classical scholar and philosopher As this is the first such organization to openly research and ponder such things; other than another of England’s premier psychical organization; ‘The Ghost Club,’ the SPR continues to be the pentacle of such societies, offering students, researchers and the public a plethora of resources regarding this area of scientific inquiry, though lecture and conference series, library inter-loan privileges and much more.

For further information: The SPR
49 Marloes Road, Kensington, London.

W8 6LA — Tel:  0207 9378984        

 

·         The Parapsychological Association, Inc. (USA)

http://www.parapsych.org/

The Parapsychological Association, Inc. (PA) is the international professional organization of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of ‘psi’ (or ‘psychic’) experiences, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, remote viewing, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition. It is also engaged in the more traditional aspects of the research, such as ghosts, haunting and related paranormal events.

 

·         The Parapsychology Foundation (USA)

http://www.parapsychology.org/

The Parapsychology Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation which provides a worldwide forum supporting the scientific investigation of psychic phenomena. The Foundation gives grants, publishes pamphlets, monographs, conference proceedings and the International Journal of Parapsychology, hosts the Perspectives Lecture Series, and even conducts an Outreach Program. In addition to this, it also operates The Psychic Explorers Club, operated by world-renowned psychic, Eileen J. Garrett. Visit  www.psychicexplorers.org/ for more information.

 

·         The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research P.E.A.R. program (USA)

http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/

The (PEAR) program, an organization that has existed  for nearly three decades under the aegis of Princeton University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, has completed its experimental agenda of studying the interaction of human consciousness with sensitive physical devices, systems, and processes, and developing complementary theoretical models to enable better understanding of the role of consciousness in the establishment of physical reality. It continues to research various aspects of anomalous phenomena.  This unique organization also housed the International Consciousness Research Laboratory http://www.icrl.org/home/an international, interdisciplinary consortium. Its goal is to foster a broader range of inquiry; to encourage a new generation of deeply creative investigators to expand the boundaries of scientific understanding; and to strengthen the foundations of science by reclaiming its spiritual heritage. 

 

  • Society for Scientific Exploration (USA)

http://www.scientificexploration.org/

The SSE is a multidisciplinary professional organization; the SSE is committed to the study of phenomena that cross traditional scientific boundaries. Designed as a professional organization for scientists and scholars who study unusual and unexplained phenomena, the SSE intermingles the foundations of mainstream science and technology with such concepts as consciousness, UFO research, and alternative medicine, yet often offers profound implications for human knowledge and technology. The SSE provides a professional forum for presentations, criticism, and debate concerning topics which are for various reasons ignored or studied inadequately within mainstream science. Their secondary goal is to promote an improved understanding of those factors that unnecessarily limit the scope of scientific inquiry, such as sociological constraints, restrictive world views, hidden theoretical assumptions, and the temptation to convert prevailing theory into prevailing dogma.

 

  • Institute for Scientific Exploration 

http://instituteforscientificexploration.org/

            The ISE conducts groundbreaking research in the biomedical, natural sciences, and social sciences fields, as well as investigates alternative practices, such as alternative medicine therapies, and alternative scientific theories and hypotheses, in order to help explain the many unanswered scientific questions, as well as, the many scientific anomalies and other unexplained phenomena of all kinds that have been observed in these fields. Secondly, based on research findings, ISE’s mission is to develop novel services and technologies that will benefit people, and help solve the major problems faced by corporations, government agencies, and other organizations and institutions that serve society, worldwide. This organization should be considered among the more scientific, though not entirely from the psychical perspective. This is an excellent organization for those who hold degrees in a scientific discipline, who wish to get active in a present field, and/or to publish though their network.

 

  • The Ghost Club (UK)

http://www.ghostclub.org.uk/

Noted as the original ghost-lore and paranormal organization in history (founded in 1862) the Ghost Club has had an illustrious membership. From Charles Dickens, Siegfried Sassoon, Harry Price, Peter Cushing, Peter Underwood, Maurice Grosse and many others, today the Ghost Club is a non-profit, social club run by an elected Council of volunteers. Its purpose remains true to its roots; the Ghost Club offers open-minded, curious individuals the opportunity to debate, explore and investigate unexplained phenomena with like-minded people and record the results for posterity.   The Ghost Club offers overnight and on-site investigations (Throughout the United Kingdom), as well as club meetings and a newsletter for its members.

 

  • Cognitive Sciences Laboratory (USA)

http://www.lfr.org/LFR/csl/

The Laboratory conducts Parapsychological research, and is part of The Laboratories for Fundamental Research based at Palo Alto, USA.

 

·         The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (USA)

http://www.csicop.org/

The purpose of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry is to promote serious investigation and critical thinking in the areas of the claims of the paranormal and similar concepts of a controversial nature. Though at first this organization appears to be the international naysayer of the paranormal investigator, it is vital for said researcher to view the opposite spectrum of the paranormal debate, and learn from their studies and contributions in order to better our own scholarly database. To that end, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry serves as a staging point from the skeptic’s point of view, and then to consider their findings in spite of the oftentimes demeaning approach in doing so.  

 

  • Department of Psychology, University of Goeteborg (Germany)

http://parapsykologi.se/artiklar/ganzfeld.html  

The Ganzfeld project at the University of Göteborg (Gothenburg) is aimed at bringing so-called subjective psi-experiences into a laboratory setting which will the exact nature of the experiences and the conditions influencing their occurrence to be studied. It incorporates the essential features relating to the occurrences of the spontaneous phenomena. The focus of research interest is the nature of consciousness and its relation to brain processes and human potential.

 

  • Division of Perceptual Studies, University of Virginia (USA)

http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/clinical/departments/psychiatry/sections/cspp/dops/home-page

Founded by the late Professor Ian Stevenson, the main purpose of the unit is the scientific investigation of phenomena that suggest that currently accepted scientific assumptions and theories about the nature of mind or consciousness, and its relationship to matter, may be incomplete. Examples of such phenomena include various types of extrasensory perception, apparitions and deathbed visions, poltergeists, near-death experiences (NDEs), out-of-body experiences (OBEs), and claimed memories of previous lives.

 

  • Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health (USA)

http://www.igpp.de/english/welcome.htm

The Institute, based at Freiburg in Germany, engages in research concerning insufficiently understood phenomena and anomalies at the frontiers of current scientific knowledge.

 

  • Institute of Noetic Sciences (USA)

http://noetic.org/

The Institute is based in California and conducts research into consciousness-related matters. Founded by astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell, now serving as a board member for the institute, he continues to be active at institute events, including lectures and conferences. The institute is an excellent way to find scholarly information and related referrals within the psi related communities, as well as offering a way to contribute and gain knowledge in this arena.

 

·         Berkeley Psychic Institute (USA)

http://www.berkeleypsychic.com/

Also known as the “psychic kindergarten,” founded in 1973, the institute is designed to further education in various aspects of psychic research, and teaches how to recognize and develop psychic abilities through classes in clairvoyance, meditation, healing and energy. This is an excellent resource for those living on the west coast of the United States.

 

·         The Boundary Institute (USA)

http://www.boundaryinstitute.org/bi/index.html

Boundary Institute is a nonprofit scientific research organization dedicated to the advancement of 21st-Century science. We are currently pursuing two major research themes, one concerning the foundations of physics, the other the foundations of mathematics and computer science.

 

  • Centre for Fundamental and Anomalies Research C-FAR(USA)

http://www.c-far.org/

The Centre for Fundamental & Anomalies Research aims to encourage, sponsor and conduct research into controversial or open issues in science and philosophy, and to use findings to promote positive social change.

 

·         The Koestler Parapsychology Unit KPU (UK)

http://www.koestler-parapsychology.psy.ed.ac.uk/

·         The Koestler Parapsychology Unit is a research group based in the Psychology Department at the University of Edinburgh. This scholarly organization consists of academic staff and postgraduate students who teach and research various aspects of parapsychology and psychical-based research, including: the possible existence of psychic ability, the belief in the paranormal the psychology of anomalous experiences, pseudo-psychic deception and other aspects of the field.

 

·         Pacific Neuropsychiatric Institute PNI (USA)

http://www.pni.org/esp/

PNI researches, among other topics, the anomalous experiences (those of a person’s having a paranormal, psychic or otherwise bizarre experience) that it cannot easily be explained using our conventional laws of science. Subjective paranormal experiences in temporal lobe dysfunction Déjà Vu, Out of body Experience and Vortex Pluralism to name a few.

 

·         The Paranormal Network/The Office of Paranormal Investigation (USA)

http://www.mindreader.com/

The OPI draws on the investigative and research traditions of parapsychology, psychical research and other fields of science to provide information and consulting services for the general public, Media, Business, the Legal Community, Law Enforcement, Realtors, and other specialized audiences. It is interested in potential applications of psi experiences in those arenas.

 

  • ASSAP (USA)

http://www.assap.org/

The Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena is a scientifically-oriented educational charity and amateur research organization dedicated to a better understanding of anomalous phenomena.

 

  • Austrian Society for Parapsychology (Austria)

 http://www.parapsychologie.at/index.htm

Based at Vienna University, the society organizes public lectures and maintains a library, and serves as an excellent resource for our German/Austrian scholars and Germanic speaking students of the paranormal who are looking for related information and lecture series in their home countries. It also offers good resources for contacts and links, as well as having an excellent archival section of past and ongoing investigations and symposiums on the many aspects of psychical research.

 

  • Exceptional Human Experience (USA)

http://ehe.org/display/splash.html

Here’s another excellent web community that focuses on fascinating topics regarding   everything within the realm of parapsychology, but also the concepts of psychology, anthropology, sociology and all things akin to the human condition. Although the founder and primary contributor, Rhea White, passed away in 2007, the contents of this scholarly community continue, with their exceptional web journal ‘Psiline.’ For more information, on the subject of psychical experiences, contact http://www.parapsychology.org directly.  

 

  • The European Paranormal Society Germany (German)

http://www.teps-germany.de/english.html

Teps-Germany is located in Essen, Ruhr, and investigates throughout Europe. Because the founders have typical occupations, their meeting times are by appointment arrangement to be determined. This is a new organization which is dedicated to serious research and for the collection and preservation of all findings.   

 

  • The International Institute of Metaphysics IMI (France)

http://www.metapsychique.org/

The L’Institut Metapsychique International (IMI) or ‘The International Institute of Metaphysics’ is another excellent resource and scholarly organization/society for French-speaking students of the paranormal. Located in Paris, and established in 1919, the IMI supports the scientific study of phenomena related to paranormal, psychical and occult research. It houses an excellent library at its headquarters, and hosts lectures and related symposiums throughout Paris. 

 

  • Psychic Science (UK)

http://www.psychicscience.org/daniels.aspx

Dr. Michael Daniels BSc (Hons, 1st Class), PhD, AFBPsS, CPsychol. Is the administrator of the Psychic Science web page. He is Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Program Leader for the M.Sc in Consciousness and Transpersonal Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom. He is the author of several books and many academic articles and chapters in the areas of transpersonal psychology, parapsychology, psychical research and Jungian psychology. This site offers an introduction to parapsychology and a number of psi tests online. It is an excellent resource for those interested in the other aspects of Parapsychological research, which has been neglected in recent years. It retains a professional and courteous way in teaching this area of psychical research.

 

  • Paranormal Database (UK)

http://www.paranormaldatabase.com/

The Paranormal Database is a serious ongoing project to quantitatively document as many locations with paranormal/cryptozoological interest as possible, region by region throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Ninety-four areas are currently covered, now totaling over 9600 entries, with frequent additions and current stories continuously updated. This is website will offer the serious investigator a chance to explore the United Kingdom from an insider’s point of view. For our world travelers, this association will prove invaluable.   

 

  • The Princeton University School of Engineering Anomalies (USA)

http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/

The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program is a scholarly aspect of Princeton University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. Its primary goal was to experiment the interaction of human consciousness with sensitive physical devices, such as systems and processes, and developing complementary theoretical models to enable better understanding of the role of consciousness in the establishment of physical reality. Though this organization is comprised of scientists and engineers who take their craft very seriously, they are open to ideas about the paranormal from a purely scientific stance, and have a plethora of scholarly contributions to the field. Their theoretical models and detail to proposed implications will serve the technical student of psychical research with favor. 

 

  • Scottish Society for Psychical Research (UK)

http://www.sspr.co.uk/

The SSPR was founded by Professor Archie Roy in 1987, and aims to investigate all types of phenomena known as Paranormal or Parapsychological, and collect, classify and study reports of such phenomena. There are monthly lectures in Glasgow, (Sept. through April) which usually take place in the Boyd Orr Building of the University of Glasgow. These lectures cover everything from medium-ship and psychic detection to ghost and haunting research. The SSPR also has the PSI Report Magazine, which covers its meeting minutes and offers information of upcoming lecture series and referrals. 

 

  • The Harry Price Website (UK)

http://www.harrypricewebsite.co.uk/index.html 

This web page is dedicated to the life and work of England’s most famous ghost hunter and controversial psychical researcher, Harry Price (1881-1948). Harry Price had offered a great deal to the exploits of the historical psychical researcher, as well as for modern-day researcher. Though the constant victim from naysayers and critics of his day, he had investigated the concept of parapsychology with a certain zeal that continues to be used to this day. Best remembered for his research into Borley Rectory ‘The Most Haunted House in England,’ Price was one of the first researchers to use animals, primarily dogs, to accompany him on overnight vigils, as he believed that such animals had a keener sense of the unseen world around us. This concept, which is hardly refuted today, was an topic of humor in his day. This website will offer researcher a good look into the paranormal investigation of the past.  

* Please note: All stories, conjectures and resources have been written by the author, Greg Jenkins. All photos used are either those of the author, or are from a non-licensed source, such as from a public domain.  As the stories are in part from the author’s books, and owned by Pineapple Press, Inc., permission must be secured before any story, in part or in whole is reproduced, outside of being used as a cited quotation.       

Source:

http://new.pineapplepress.com/booksummary.asp

 

 

Here’s an interesting video caught in one of the once many, but now defunct Blockbuster Video Stores on their close-circuit TV cameras. It shows what can only be considered the effects of a poltergeist; otherwise known as “psychokinesis,” which are events caused by a living agent to that of a spirit. Though certainly controversial concept, having been divided between psychical researchers, it nonetheless remains a compelling idea. Either way, watch how this playful interaction with the living makes for a jumpy worker.

 

What do you think…Ghost, trickery, or something else?

 

This video is brought to you by Paranormal 360, and excellent resource of all things paranormal. It is your on-line source for news and entertainment about ghosts, hauntings, spirits and everything else paranormal from all over the world.

Please check them out at: http://www.paranormal360.co.uk/

Contact them at: info@paranormal360.co.uk

 

 

What do the experts think about Poltergeists?

Parapsychologists such as Nandor Fodor and William Roll wrote that poltergeist activity can be explained by psychokinesis.[ 1][2]

Poltergeist activity has often been believed to be the work of malicious spirits. According to Allan Kardec, the founder of Spiritism, poltergeists are manifestations of disembodied spirits of low level, belonging to the sixth class of the third order. They are believed to be closely associated with the elements (fire, air, water, earth).[3]

Physicists Pierro Brovetto and Vera Maxia hypothesise that poltergeist have for origin a reduction in strength of molecular bonds due to an enhancement in polarization of vacuum which decreases the actual electron charge. Arguments based on Prigogine’ nonequilibrium thermodynamics are proposed, which show how transformations in brain of some pubescent children or young women might be the cause of these effects.[4]

 

References

  1.  Fodor, N. (1964). Between Two Worlds. West Nyack, NY: Parker Publishing.
  2. James Houran, Rense Lange. (2007). Hauntings and Poltergeists: Multidisciplinary Perspectives. McFarland. p. 290. ISBN 978-0786432493
  3. Allan Kardec, Le Livre des Esprits. (2000). chapter 106, Jean de Bonnot. p.46.
  4. ‘They’re here': The mechanism of poltergeist activity – physics-math – 01 April 2008″. New Scientist. Retrieved 2014-06-15.

 

 

The St. Francis, St. Augustine

The St. Francis Inn B&B

 

One of my favorite haunts is the St. Francis Inn Bed & Breakfast. I’m sure to stay here whenever I’m visiting northeast Florida. Let’s take a look at one of St. Augustine’s most beloved inns. Located at 279 St. George Street, the St. Francis stands as one of the most beloved inns in St. Augustine. During one of my trips to the ancient city, and subsequently my second investigation into St. Augustine’s ghosts and haunted inns while writing a book on the subject, I made my way down beautiful St. George Street to revisit this lovely inn, one of the city’s oldest bed and breakfast establishments, dating back to 1791. I have had the distinct pleasure of having stayed here on several occasions over the years, and always find it comforting to know that it will likely be here as long as there are such resorts in the world.

When visiting the St. Francis, you’ll notice the many amenities that make this inn one of the quintessential destinations for many travelers. All of the rooms and suites are exceedingly beautiful, yet reminiscent of a simpler time and age, when one could relax without the necessity of computers and high-tech gadgetry. Though suggesting an antiquated stay, the guest can expect many conveniences as soon as they get settled, such as using the inn’s bicycles to tour the ancient city before heading out to any number of fine restaurants in town. When you return, you’ll be treated to the inn’s popular social hour, where guests can meet and have a drink together, and enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres prepared by an experienced on-site chef. The inn also offers complimentary deserts and gourmet coffees and teas in the evening to help you wind down, and in the morning, expect a fabulous breakfast you won’t soon forget.

The St. Francis also has a number of package deals and specials for the guest, such as the romance package, perfect for newlyweds and second honeymoons. Couples can enjoy a leisurely horse-drawn carriage ride through the ancient city, while enjoying Champaign and local-made chocolates. The inn will schedule guided tours through the St. Augustine Lighthouse, as well as a scenic cruise on the Matanzas Bay. Other packages include eco and nature tours, where guests can spend the day watching dolphins swim and play, visit the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park or enjoy a beach get-away with a ready-made picnic basket for two. The guest may wish to partake in one of my favorite packages known as “The Paranormal Paranoia Package,” where the guest can make reservations in one of the inn’s actively haunted rooms, such as Lilly’s or Anna’s Room, or perhaps Elizabeth’s Suite. The guest will also get tickets for one of the city’s famous ghost tours, and a few ghostly related books to boot. Indeed, the guest of the St. Francis Inn may expect excellent service for either the active vacationer, or for those just wanting a peaceful respite from a busy lifestyle.

If you’re a history buff, you’ll find the St. Francis of significance too, as the inn’s rich history and culture is quite detailed. Beginning during the Second Spanish Period, the architecture reflects a simple, but fortified design. Although it was a time when the citizen’s safety and protection against invaders was paramount, you can still see how the simple design was constructed with comfort in mind, even though there was a constant threat of invasion. Because of this, most of the homes from this period had to be constructed to serve as a fortress against such incidents, so strong, high walls made of coquina and tapia-shell were implemented to that of simple wood-framed homes found in later years.

 

Col. Dummett

Former owner Col. Thomas Dummett, c. 1820s

 

When the St. Francis was a simple home, its first owner was Gaspar Garcia, a sergeant in the 3rd Battalion Infantry Regiment. Garcia was granted the home and the adjacent tract of land, and the home was actually designed by the King of Spain himself. By 1802, the property was bought up by a ship’s captain named Juan Ruggiers, until 1838 when Colonel Thomas Henry Dummett, a prominent officer with England’s Royal Marines bought the St. Francis, including several hundred acres along the Tomoka River, just south of St. Augustine, where he would have a sugar mill plantation constructed for the purpose of rum making. After his death, his eldest daughter, Anna converted the home into a lodging establishment in 1845, lasting until 1888, when philanthropist John L. Wilson purchased the Inn. Many renovations were made, as well as the addition of the third floor and new mansard-style roof, so the inn has remained very much the same as it was from the dawning of the 20th century.

 

 old inn

The original structure, courtesy The Florida Archives

 

Though several families had owned the St. Francis since, it was during the reign of Major William Hardee and his family in the mid 19th century that a budding, albeit forbidden romance took place. This tale of two star-crossed lovers involved a family member and a beautiful maidservant named “Lilly.” She is said to have been a slave woman from Barbados who worked for this prominent military family. She was said to have been one of the loveliest women in St. Augustine during that time. Legend tells us that a young Spanish soldier fell in love with her, and a torrid romance began soon thereafter. The two held their love affair secret for as long as they could; sneaking into the rooms of the St. Francis to make love, until one day, the soldier’s uncle walked in on them. His reaction was less than pleasant. This forbidden love affair would not take place in this home, nor anywhere else for that matter, and made it very clear that it would end immediately. Not only did he deny their romance in his home, but made sure the soldier would cease the affair altogether.

This soldier, who was denied his Lilly, could not abide to his superior’s regulations, so he decided to climb the stairs to a third floor room for one final mission. While overlooking the quaint courtyard below where the two would once go to embrace; noticing that the room was now cold and barren of his love, he stood on a chair, anchored a rope through a space in a rafter, and fashioned a noose. He then placed it around his neck and leapt to a halting snap. The soldier was dead. What happened after this is a matter of conjecture with many local historians and folklorists. Though the majority of historical records had been lost over the years, some speculate that Lilly, equally distraught of the broken romance, killed herself in the same fashion as her lover. Moreover, she is said to have been with child when she did. Others, however, believe she lived and remained at the inn, while still others say she was relocated to another home, and died of a broken heart. Regardless of the details, however, the story doesn’t end here, nor does Lilly’s presence.

 

 Haunting manifestations and strange occurrences

            The St. Francis Inn, like many of the bed and breakfast inns and many other establishments in St. Augustine, has several time-honored ghost stories attached to it. The legend of Lilly’s gentle spirit is likely the most popular here, though her soldier lover is also observed on occasion. Though the majority of the paranormal events to have taken place here for the better part of one hundred and sixty years are typical of a classic haunting, there are reports of poltergeist activity as well. With the enigma of doors slamming when no one is at the inn, and the lamps and overhead lights flickering, many of the ghost hunters to have researcher the inn have pointed to the possible presence of a spirit entity being responsible. Whether the activity is associated to an ethereal presence or is residual in nature, the St. Francis seems to be an active location nonetheless.

During a visit in 2012, I had the chance to interview an innkeeper named Adele Wright, who had several fascinating paranormal accounts to share with me. Having worked at the St. Francis for many years, she has had the opportunity to hear many stories from the guests throughout that time that certainly piqued her interest in ghosts. Later, personal experiences would finalize such beliefs, with the antics of a playful spirit the staff simply refers to as part of the St. Francis family. According to Adele, the most observed ghost at the inn has to be that of Lilly, who seems to get the blame for the many spooky pranks to take place at the inn. On occasion, she has been seen by a few special guests and staff.

In one instance, while Adele was manning the front desk, while preparing to begin her day, she went through her normal routine of cleaning up, filing information in their rightful places and the usual tasks of an innkeeper. Just as she was about finished, while preparing to put the last of the vacant room keys in the slots for future guests, her encounter took place. It was as she reached for the key to the Overlook Suite, she noticed it wasn’t in the spot where it was only moments ago. She looked all around, under the stationary mat, on the floor and in her pockets, but found no key. By the end of the day, while cleaning, Adele prepared to empty the trash. She stepped on the lid-opener peddle, and reached in the take the full bag of trash out. As she did so, she noticed the key resting on the bottom of the little trash can, which was underneath the bag the whole time…It was just another gag played on the living!

Lilly has been blamed for many creepy accounts to take place at the inn over the years, where many have considered the events related to poltergeist activity. Parapsychologists disagree, however, insisting that such events would be short-lived activity, meaning that poltergeist behavior is both sporadic and brief. The events recorded at the St. Frances are certainly more of longevity and tradition. One visiting gentleman, for instance, woke up from a deep sleep, and found himself underneath his bed, actually wedged under the frame. The poor fellow was so tightly wedged-in that the St. Augustine Fire Department had to be called to set him free. Though this gentleman didn’t say for sure if Lilly was responsible, he did say that he caught an image of a dark woman in his suite’s mirror just for a moment before he went to bed that evening. He went on the say that he dreamt of her leading him by the hand throughout his room. She was wearing a light-colored scarf on her head, and she was gently smiling at him. The gentleman went on to say that perhaps she lead him under the bed as a joke.

Other supernatural occurrences that are considered poltergeist activity involve objects being hurled across rooms by themselves, sometimes making such a racket, that some of the inn’s maids will refuse to work in those rooms alone. Once, the contents of a lady’s handbag were thrown all over her room when she awoke one morning. She thought that perhaps the handbag simply fell off her bed, and let the event go as being an accident. But when her handbag was found full of water the following morning; she left the St. Francis in a hurry. In addition to these paranormal events, television sets and radios will sometimes go on and off by their own accord, even changing stations while the occupant is witnessing the event. Although some of the guests have left in the middle of the night all together when the occurrences got a little too weird, for the most part however, these uncanny activities always seem to reflect a playful spirit rather than one of harmful mischief.

One of the reasons most paranormal researchers believe the activity is caused by Lilly, is because there have been reports of a ghostly, disembodied hand seen descending the rail of a staircase that once lead down to the servant’s quarters. The slender feminine hand is said to have belonged to a dark-skinned woman, silently gliding down the railing. As Lilly was said to be affectionate and good-natured in life, it stands to reason for most that the primary spirit at the St. Francis is hers, however, some believe there are yet other spirits here, such as the soldier who had took his own life in an upstairs room, who is said to walk the grounds of the St. Francis, sometimes seen gazing out one of the third floor windows. The soldier is reported to have an extremely sad demeanor, melancholy and distant, as if looking for something. Though many feel that the two lovers no longer meet in secret, it stands to reason that he is searching for Lilly even to this day.

Of the other paranormal incidents to have occurred at the St. Francis, the sounds of childish giggling has been detected in the Elizabeth Suite, where on occasion, both staff and guest have heard the jovial, sprite-like giggles coming from this room, only to revel empty space when someone investigates. In most cases, a guest might hear the giggling just as they are leaving their room, which of course makes them wander back in the see how someone’s kids had got past them without noticing. When they do, they find no children, nor anyone else inside. On another occasion, while one couple had just fallen asleep in Lilly’s Suite, all was well until 3:00 A.M. when the lady woke up to a chilly room. The room was so cold, in fact, that she could see her breath. Just then, she observed a whitish light glowing from the bottom of her bed, which seemed to pulsate and throb as if it were alive in some way. A moment later, the misty-light appeared to race directly toward her face, and then hover over her for a few seconds, only to disappear. On yet another occasion, while a couple was soundly asleep in this room, they were awoken to scraping sounds coming from the corner of the room. The husband reached over to get his cell phone to activate the camera. He had hoped to record whatever it was making the scratching noise. Just as he did, both he and his wife saw a white, glowing cloud pass right before their faces, and then dissipate altogether. The couple later showed the innkeeper their evidence of the ghostly presence, though no one could identify the strange glowing mist.

The innkeeper, Adele Wright, also related to me that there were other strange happenings that have both amused and frightened guests during her time at the inn. Events like the full-bodied apparitions of a man and woman in period clothing leaning over the second floor balcony, and of eerie faces seemingly materializing within the walls of the inn and then vanishing have been taking place here for years. Cold spots and phantom sounds have been reported too, suggesting that the inn certainly has more going on in it than just fine service. No, the staff and guests know that St. Francis Bed and Breakfast Inn is quite haunted.

 

 The haunted stairwell

One of the haunted stairwells were Lilly has been seen

 

            Although I have not experienced any out-and-out ghostly activity here, I can relate an incident from my last visit that has me believing. Just after my interview with Adele, I asked if I could walk about the inn, and snap a few photos. As I was doing so, walking about the floors and around the patio area, I made a final journey into the dining room. Not wanting to disturb the guest enjoying their morning meal, I was as polite as possible, and when finished, I began walking through the archways to the main desk. As I did, I quietly whispered thank you to the spirit of Lilly and her spirited cast of ghosts. A few seconds after that, I heard an equally soft, whispering voice respond “You’re Welcome.” It was the voice of a young woman. Now, I’m not sure if that was Lilly giving me her approval for being polite while visiting her inn, but I could not find anyone remotely near me who could have said that, let alone heard me say thank you in the first place. In the end, the St. Francis Inn has proven itself time and time again to be one of Florida’s most lovely and downright pleasant bed and breakfast inns. Whether spirits roam throughout its stately hallways will certainly be defended by those who have experienced them. For those who deny the existence of such things, however, are likely to miss out on a large, albeit somewhat hidden part of the Sunshine State’s most spirited city, St. Augustine. Either way, the St. Francis will delight everyone equally.

Have a lovely stay….

For more information:

 

  • Call us toll free at 1-800-824-6062 (USA & Canada)
  • Call us at 1-904-824-6068 (International)
  • Fax us at 1-904-810-5525

E-mail: info@stfrancisinn.com

 

You can also check the availability for any of rooms or suites online, and even book your reservation online: http://www.stfrancisinn.com/index.html

 

 

 

Here’s a odd UFO seen over London, UK on 25 May, 2014. It appears to look very much like the old style Pork Pie hat UFOs seen during the early 1950s throughout the world. Are these of a particular race coming back to check on us?

 

According to the website “Unexplained Mysteries,” a passenger on a commercial flight captured these images while in transit. When magnified, the photos show an extraordinary craft of strange origin cruising in the distant clouds over London, UK. The images show a dark-colored object resembling either a hat-shape, or cigar-shaped craft, which appears to fly up and away towards the right side of the frame. Authorities are still baffled as to what it is.

What do you think?

 

More info at http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/news/267009/ufo-photographed-from-plane-over-london

 

 

 

ROYAL-Ghost-1

Is this Henry VIII’s spirit?

Story by Ben Burrows, Daily Mirror

 

A couple believe a ghost of a Victorian girl is “haunting” them after a chilling figure appeared in their family snaps.

John Burnside and Shona Backhouse took a handful of photos when visiting York’s Castle Museum two years ago with their baby son Johnthomas.

But when looking again at the photographs more recently, they noticed the image of a ghostly girl appearing in some of the pictures.

In honour of this latest paranormal sighting, we’ve scoured the length and breadth of the country to bring the best ghostly goings on in the UK.

Henry VIII is said to still walk the corridors of his former palace, even some 500 years after his death.

Alongside wife number three, Jane Seymour, and wife number five, Catherine Howard, he apparently haunts the giant buildings he was given in 1528.

Nine years ago security staff spotted a figure in a large cloak bursting through some fire doors.

Under closer inspection of CCTV footage the doors can be seen being thrown open and a shadowy figure appearing.

 

 

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/uks-spookiest-ghosts-henry-viii-3442609#ixzz32z6GBF3V
Follow us: @DailyMirror on Twitter | DailyMirror on Facebook

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/uks-spookiest-ghosts-henry-viii-3442609#ixzz32z64bmdf
Follow us: @DailyMirror on Twitter | DailyMirror on Facebook

 

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/uks-spookiest-ghosts-henry-viii-3442609#ixzz32z3P1lyz

 

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“What is their purpose?” Hell, one thing is for certain, the personalities and intentions of shadow people are just as varied as any one of the six billion people populating this planet. While a number of witnesses believe that shadow people act as benevolent guardians watching and guiding us, just as many witnesses have no doubt of the evil soul-wrenching potential of these beings. Shadow people seem to be ghosts, but the stories received, read, compiled and uploaded are more convincing that shadows are a type of inter-dimensional beings, from which ‘ghost’ is only one sub-category.

What do you think about this? Just what are they?

 

Source:

 

Paranormics

http://www.paranormics.com/shadow-people-best-evidence-in-the-world-video/

Ed & Lorraine3

One example of how Hollywood distorts the truth — The gadfly of the serious researcher

 “It is not wax that I am scorching, it is the liver, heart, and spleen of so-and-so that I scorch.” 

The Golden Bough, 1890

 

This quote from section 1: Sympathetic Magic and the principles of magic and section 2: Homoeopathic or imitative magic is meant to exemplify the power of belief in the ancient world; how it is received by the people and how it is directly related to scientific thought. This concept and related research was vigorously investigated by English anthropologist and fellow of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, Sir James George Frazer III (1854–1941); in his seminal work The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion. He was able to analyze the evolution of human behavior through primitive myth, magic, the ritual and the taboo within all cultures of the world. And it was his analysis that created an understanding on such inlaid powers of belief that separated humanity from the animal kingdom. Specifically, he realized that humans could manifest various reactions from unseen forces held by the individual. It is this aspect of the human condition that appears to create an elevated sense of understanding within the human subject that lends directly to psychic research and that there may be a direct correlation between psychic phenomena and the power of belief.

Within the arena and context of psychical research, the power of belief is likely to be viewed as something more secondary to that of a main theory. However, when we examine the power of belief for those who claim to be psychic or otherwise have extraordinary skills, for instance, belief is indeed the primary structure for them, though also for those they are working with. One example of this is when an interested party takes part in a psychic reading from one who already believes in an innate, albeit a mystical power held by the psychic in question. When this psychic offers an outlook, no matter how illogically elaborate of subjective, the interested party; the “believer,” is likely to grasp the information and follow it blindly, and in some cases actually manifesting what the psychic had bestowed upon the interested party.  Where the experiencer of so-called paranormal or otherwise extraordinary events is examined, we might very well observe that a particular belief system is preexistent to the event in question. When this is the case, it is necessary, if not vital for the examining researcher to take this fact into question before issuing results regarding the case. Because such a mandate is warranted, largely because the experiencer might be influenced by such beliefs, thus altering the proposed event in the first place, said experiences might not be accurate, or simply fabricated by an overheated imagination. If we apply Sir James Fraser’s concept of Sympathetic Magic, specifically the “Principles of Magic,” we should see an overpowering resemblance to pattern and affect. Likewise, when we thoroughly investigate reports of a paranormal nature, we might be able to find the following aspects of Fraser’s belief system in place. Such aspects of this system are as follows:

 

Sympathetic Magic

(Law of Sympathy)

|

——————————-

|                             |

Homoeopathic Magic             Contagious Magic  

(Law of Similarity)                        (Law of Contact)

 

This triad of the Sympatric Magic ideal as a law can be observed as how and why a belief system works in the first place. In the realms of magic and soothsaying, for instance, we might see the quintessential witchdoctor or voodoo practitioner placing a curse on a proposed victim as within the second law of sympathetic magic; “Homeopathic Magic.” Here, we might see such a practitioner using a fetish or poppet doll of his intended victim; with hair and fingernail clippings sewed inside and with a photo or artistic likeness of that intended victim placed were a face would be. The practitioner would then perform a ritual intended for his followers and/or the intended victim to witness. The ritual aspect is likely the most integral part of the overall action, in that the victim is aware of the ritual as an action against him or her. This action serves as a catalyst designed to form a cause and effect upon the intended victim. The key factor for the ritual to work is the intended victim’s belief system to respond to the action of that ritual. If there is no belief system, the practitioner’s action cannot work, as there is no “sympathy” for that action to take place.

In the excellent book Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition, by Stuart A. Vyse, a professor of psychology at Connecticut College, he proposes that magic is a product of a primitive mind, were such an incident involving a witch doctor and his intended victim is age-old; reminiscent of Stone Age thinking. Though true, however, this simple concept continues to be recognized even today, as evident by modern case studies collected by seasoned psychologists, sociologists, religious leaders and physicians.   In recent years this concept has been proven time and time again with many people in the mental health and medical profession, specifically in regions that embrace otherwise superstitious concepts or with patients that exhibit behaviors of religiosity and similar traits. One South Carolina psychiatrist named Dr. Emmett Michael Lampkin, M.D. has researched extensively on the subject of mind-over-matter, and has authorized various treatment plans of such a nature to warrant the title Hoodoo or Root Doctor as an addition with his practice over the years. Because he lives in a primarily superstitious section of the state, he has had a large number of patients who either believe or fearfully embrace the idea of curses’ mojo cures; the power of graveyard dirt and many other examples of magical thinking. As an addition to his practice, Dr. Lampkin has gone so far as to use various recognizable rites and rituals in order to draw his patients away from such fearful thinking as a means to heal their psychiatric issues.

For the most part, behaviors such as mixing potions, and using harmless medications in order to create a physical response, and then to apply verbal commands that the “curse” will be broken, or to advise the patient to bury a penny in a graveyard, or leave a half-full bottle of whisky and a cigar on the grave of a well known root doctor, have all been employed in his sessions so as to help a particular number of his patients through their psychoses, neuroticism or compulsive disorders. He has even gone as far as wearing the traditional blue-tinted glasses, and reciting particular incantations during such processes; the trademarks of a powerful root doctor in order to secure a trust with his patients. In the end, by knowing the mindset of that portion of his patients, and understanding the power of using sympathy for their “magically-minded” issues, those patients were able to let go of the imaginary curses and frighten off the hobgoblins of their mind as a form of medicine. And, though some might consider such an addition to their medical practice as irresponsible or unethical, we might consider that such methods would be employed for younger patients that have similar fears or otherwise illogical concerns. In short, such an action for the later group would be warranted and even expected by some as a method to help the patient as a nontraditional, but acceptable medical approach.

 

 

“…While homoeopathic or imitative magic may be practiced by itself, contagious magic will generally be found to involve an application of the homoeopathic or imitative principle. Thus generally stated the two things may be a little difficult to grasp, but they will readily become intelligible when they are illustrated by particular examples. Both trains of thought are in fact extremely simple and elementary. It could hardly be otherwise, since they are familiar in the concrete, though certainly not in the abstract, to the crude intelligence not only of the savage, but of ignorant and dull-witted people everywhere…”

Chap. III. Sympathetic Magic –

§ 1. The Principles of Magic

 

 

Though sounding somewhat curt, we must remember the overall opinion was arranged toward the primitive mindset, in equally primitive settings. Examples of this kind of thinking and human expression, however, have been discovered both in ancient and modern cultures alike; continuing to coexist in various patterns worldwide. In respect to this concept and alleged psychical events, as well as for those who accept such ideas as plausible, such as the belief in ghosts or haunted locales, we will find a correlation between the legend of that ghost or haunted place and the person or people experiencing the events. In this case, the “sympathetic” factor is first and foremost the belief that there is indeed a ghost or that a location is indeed haunted, is directly related to Frazer’s initial concepts. As such ideas have been expressed in numerous ancient cave paintings around the world, in the form of supernatural-like creatures; it should be of no surprise that such belief systems have been a part of the human condition since our inception. And, it should be of no surprise that we can find a similar pattern in any number of the popular reality-based television programs that revolve around paranormal situations today. Shows such as the popular series Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventurers, When Ghosts Attack, Haunted Collector and many other comparable programs are prime examples of Frazer’s concept being played out in this particular subculture.

These aforementioned television programs involve self-styled ghost hunters and self-proclaiming researchers of parapsychology in search of evidence of the otherworldly, including subjects like demons, diabolic possession and survival of human consciousness after death by way of a haunting. These shows exemplify the Hollywood ideal of such topics, complete with scripted dialog; drama; conflict and unfortunately, deception and outright fraud as made evident by past performers and guests. Regardless, the sympathetic magic ideal is seen here too, and in representation of each of the three laws of Frazer’s concept. This is accomplished by firstly, having the hosts of these shows exhibiting the search for said entities and reputedly haunted sites, and secondly, by the audience responses and participation. Though having all the proper information from said audience is not statistically possible, we can assume that at least half of these program watchers are there to experience evidence of ghosts, and from a point-of-view that is possibly based in pseudo-religious foundations, or a fear of death and dying. The other half possibly because they have an interest in all things of a macabre nature (e.g., ghosts, monsters and things of a Halloween temperament), creating a fantasy affect on this audience.  Although the nature of these shows is to cover such popular topics, it’s primary premise is to use the watcher’s belief system in very much the same way as the aforementioned witch- doctor or voodoo priest – Deception, misdirection, coercion and induction as seen in the three laws of sympathetic magic.

In order to best exemplify this concept, we must examine these popular television shows, and how they employ the laws of Sympathetic Magic as a major component to their success. The initial reasoning for such a concept might be observed in the general interest of the show’s following. Beyond this, we firstly see the Law of Sympathy, which is merely the concept of “like attracts like.” That is to say that the viewers of such programs have more than a general interest in the subject matter; that there is a direct interest and form of involvement in that subculture, whether in the mild to intermediate researcher of such concepts or as an active ghost hunter like those involved in the programs. This process simply reflects a like-minded component, much like the witchdoctor that uses his magic as a threat to the intended victim. Without the victim’s belief and fear of the witchdoctor’s alleged powers, the threat cannot exist. Likewise, without the viewer’s common interest in the ghost hunting reality shows, he or she will likely not accept the proceedings of such a program in the first place, and surely not subscribe to the subject matter as realistic or otherwise feasible to their philosophies.  The second article of this process is the law of Homeopathic or Imitative Magics community and subgroup. Some might refer to themselves as parapsychologists or psychics in order to create an elevated persona, thus melding their designed capabilities or perceived supernatural gifts as directly related to the television personalities or to the subject matter in general. s leader, and to be accepted by the community by adhering to its doctrines and philosophies, we can see that there is so much more going on than simply done for moving up the social scale.

The final aspect that can be seen as a direct correlation between Frazer’s ideal and it’s relation to psychic research may be found in the law of Contagious Magic, signifying that contact with an action or philosophical ideal might act as a contagion to another action or philosophical ideal, thus altering that “action” and/or “philosophy,” usurping the newly contagious element in the process. In short, for the aforementioned witchdoctor or tribal member, the primary type of magical thinking embraces the law and principle of contagion as a necessity. Such a principle suggests that when two objects come into contact with each other, they will continue to affect each other even after the contact between them has been separated. To exemplify the stereotypical ghost hunter, we might observe the law of Homeopathic or Imitative Magic in motion, thus culminating with the zealot followers becoming their television idols in fact, or at least factual from their point-of-view.  If we are to examine the effects of such programming, we might find that the contagion of such shows actually produces like contagion at an exponential rate. Indeed, because these shows are installed with spooky music and sound effects, as well as scripted dialog and outright fraud, all in order to capture one’s attention and imagination, it stands to confuse why such shows last as long as they do. If we are to rationalize the logic at why serious psychical researchers should take a closer look at these stories and Hollywood films, it is only to educate in the modes and methodologies as to how and why such forms of entertainment are able to entice and pull in so many people, and most of all, how these entertainers can somehow meld their philosophical circumferences within serious psychical research. And though the quick and easy answer to these questions might appear as simple; that exposure and money to be the primary function and reasoning, the effects of Sir James Frazer’s sympathetic magic hypothesis can be seen in each and every aspect of this question.

In order to best find a correlation between the sympathetic magic hypothesis and the public consciousness regarding psychical and paranormal research, we will need to examine how entertainment-minded individuals and specifically-designed fraud have and continue to contaminate serious and scholarly intention into psychical research. The following shall prove how this idea is applied to either possible or completely fictitious cases, and alters the public perception in the process.

 

 

A Case Study in the Principles of Sympathetic Magic:

The Haunting of the Snedeker family

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asbfaM1GjKE

A brief overview

“…Take a house reeking of death, bring in a “demonologist,” commission a professional writer to enhance the alleged events, Hollywoodize the resulting book into a horror/thriller flick, and shamelessly bandy about the word true in promotional copy…Shades of The Amityville Horror!”

Joe Nickell, PhD,

The Skeptical Inquirer

 

Dr. Nickell’s sentiments seem to reflect the common opinion of most psychical researchers regarding the Snedeker family and the allegedly haunted home they rented during the 1980s. The story was written by popular horror novelist Ray Garton in his book called In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting (1992), with notable success. It later became a made-for television documentary known as A Haunting in Connecticut (2002), and recently into a major motion picture of the same title in 2009. For the most part, the entire affair appears to be bogus, minus perhaps a few aspects of the alleged haunting encounters, more likely a design by Ed and Lorraine Warren, who are well known in the pop paranormal circuits as being flamboyant fame-seekers of ghosts, demon hunting and exorcisms. Though we must take into account that there are polar-opposite biases of the two public figures interviewing the case, specifically Dr. Joe Nickell, an educated folklorist and researcher of claims of a psychical nature; a regular columnist with Skeptical Inquirer magazine, while the late Ed Warren, a self-proclaimed demonologist and ghost hunter, bent from a religious point-of-view, rounds out the typical fight between belief and non-belief respectfully.

When the story of the hauntedSnedeker home came to public attention, it would seem that lines were immediately crossed, and an ensuing battle between believer and skeptic hit the airwaves with a controversial bang. As we examine this case in relation to the sympathetic magic hypothesis, we will be able to view how the power of belief can affect the public, and create Hollywood blockbusters, movie stars and book deals in the process. Though the secondary question should revolve around the story itself; its authenticity and history, the primary coverage had followed a tabloid-like feeling since its inception. Moreover, because the story had been showcased on various television programs such as the Sally Jessy Raphael Show, and typically shown as part of Halloween programming, it stands to reason that a direct motive of the fantastic was being established for the sole reason of capitol and celebrity status.

 

The process and demeanor of the story

In defense of the survival hypothesis and psychical research as a whole, it would be unduly unwise if researchers would not take advantage of such tales of high strangeness, yet unfair to either accept or deny such a tale without thoroughly examining the story in a logical and mindful manner. To that end, many researchers have been doing just that, and from both sides of the spectrum; from scholar to skeptic equally. Though a tale surly fascinating from many perspectives, we must first analyze the events from their inception; right on to the current thoughts on the alleged haunting and subsequent “demon attacks” without bias or personal opinion, in order to review the events in a scientific and honest manner.  According to the primary witnesses, Carman and Allan Snedeker and their children Brad, Philip, Jennifer, A.J. and two nieces, all who made fantastic claims of a ghostly nature, where all had interacted with some form of discarnate entity since moving into a former funeral home located at 208 Meridon Avenue, Southington, Connecticut. For the most part, it appears that the primary behaviors observed were noises and overall bad feelings. Other secondary events including missing objects (Apports), unaccounted-for odors, and occasional voices emitting from unknown places were reported over a period of several weeks after moving in the home. Later, accounts of a more horrific nature were reported after news of strange happenings received a general audience, and the involvement of the Warrens making for sensational press as a result.

At the time of the home’s occupancy by the Snedeker family, their son Phillip was receiving medical treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at a nearby hospital, which made necessary for the rental of the home in the first place. The home was secured do to the location of Phillip’s hospital, the price of the home, and for leniency regarding the number of children in the family, making the rural home perfect for all involved. The first sightings of the “ghosts” in question came after the family discovered that the home was once used as a mortuary, a fact that was allegedly withheld from them by the renter, according to the family.  In addition to the discovery that the home had been a mortuary, the fact that the family had discovered many tell-tale artifacts of the former business, such as cadaver and casket hoists, embalming gurneys, tools and other funeral home paraphernalia only added to the creepiness of the dark and somewhat foreboding basement area, which ultimately became a room for several of the children. Furthermore, we must take into account that Phillip, the boy who was receiving medical treatment at the time, specifically Cobalt-60 radiation therapy, would have experienced exaggerated side effects of nausea and vomiting, without mental disturbances. However, with various adjacent medications used (both prescribed and recreational), auditory and visual hallucinations might have occurred, and created a factor in experiencing ghosts and related phenomena. The boy would eventually be admitted to a psychiatric hospital during his treatment due to erratic behavior. Another factor to recognize is the fact that the boy was known for taking illicit drugs, and partaking in various criminal activities during this time as well. Such only adds to more plausible causes for the alleged paranormal occurrences, and forces skeptics to take note.

 

Limelight and sensationalism

Although there have been several variations of the story over the years regarding the types of haunting, and ghosts purportedly witnessed by the family members, as well as other occurrences of a paranormal nature, most agree that the level and severity of occurrences reported jumped many decimals once the fame-seeking Warrens became involved. And whether or not the Snedekers contacted the Warrens or vice versa, the facts seem to show that there was a monumental growth in the stories after their involvement. Remembering that the Warrens have been directly involved in many other sensational cases, namely The Amityville Horror, and had written many books on that and similar cases, including The Haunted: The True Story of One Family’s Nightmare (1988), Ghost Hunters: True Stories From the World’s Most Famous Demonologists (1989), Satan’s Harvest (1990), Werewolf: A True Story of Demonic Possession (1991), et al., indicate a tremendous thirst for celebrity and financial gain, but also a distinct belief in all things of a macabre nature.  In addition to the above titles and investigations of demons and mythical monsters, it stands to reason why the story of this family’s alleged plight became a notable subject within many circles of this subgroup. Moreover, the fact that the aforementioned author of In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting, Ray Garton later confessed that the majority of the book was designed by Ed Warren, essentially telling Mr. Garton what to write, only furthers the idea that deceit in the name of fame and fortune was the primary motive. Then, in a 1992 episode of the Sally Jesse Raphael Show titled “I Was Raped by a Ghost — A Haunting in Connecticut,” the proverbial ectoplasm hit the fan. In what can only be perceived as the new age of talk show nastiness, a showdown between Carmen and Allen Snedeker, along with friends Ed and Lorraine Warren defending their supernatural turf against Dr. Joe Nickell and several neighbors who stood against the claims, both on the stage and in the audience battled it out.

 

Ed & Lorraine2

The world famous demonologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren

 

During the episode hour, we see the story of the alleged haunting play out before us. It begins with the back-story and the initial paranormal incidents experienced by the witnesses. As the story of ghosts began to alter into the popular dogma of the 1980s, demon attacks and demonic possession, the audience found that both the mother and father were repeatedly being raped and sodomized by an unseen creature. Moreover, that some of the children were allegedly being molested as well, the typical classic, gothic domain of the common legend had been upped in ante to that of simple haunted houses and ghosts. In effect, the influence by Ed and Lorraine Warren, and others made this story a sensation and making millions for Hollywood and booksellers in the process. During this time we see tempers flare, and ensuing arguments arise, finally having to separate the two parties; the believers and the skeptics. The audience is filled with people from the Snedeker family’s neighborhood, as well as another fame-seeker in the making, John Zaffis, yet another self-proclaimed demonologist and paranormal expert, not to mention a nephew of the Warrens. Indeed, the show was entertaining, and indicative it what was to come to mainstream television, but most of all we were able to witness several facets of the Sympathetic Magic hypothesis directly. Specifically, we can see the correlation between how the quintessential witchdoctor or voodoo practitioner placing a curse on a proposed victim and how, in this case; the Warrens and many other fame-seekers adhere within the second law of sympathetic magic, known as Homeopathic Magic. My planting a seed, whether a truthful one; one with partial truths and partial lies, or one completely false, we should be able to witness that seed mature in the fertile minds of those who want to believe.

As the witchdoctor might mumble a curse to his chosen victim; pierce a stuffed doll with the intended victim’s likeness on it, or cast it into a fire in hopes of sparking the fear that already exists within the victim, we can see a common pattern to that of creating the classic “fish tale,” where the original story continues to grow and augment each time its addressed. If, however, the victim does not believe, then that curse is nothing more than a hollow threat, and thus cannot work. Basically, by planting the seeds of deceit, in this case by Ed Warren advising author Ray Garton to falsify the facts in his book, and then by advertizing it as a work of complete truth is within the same category as the witchdoctor’s curse. The victims, in this case the “believers,” and those who have either read the aforementioned book or have watched the video media on the story, are all primary targets. The facts, for the most part have been greatly altered to entice and enthrall the believer, where the believer in question takes with him or her, the story as a fact, in spite of the truth. The second aspect that should follow is the law of Contagious Magic, which signifies that contact with Ed Warren’s action or “manipulation” might act as a contagion to another, thus altering the philosophy and belief- systems of his intended victims. When the facts are questioned, a typical violent reaction should occur, thus cementing a separation between the believer and the skeptic, respectfully.

 

Contributing factors and possibilities

“The creepy setting may well have had a powerful suggestive effect. Spooky phenomena began with the oldest son, Philip, whose basement bedroom was adjacent to the gruesome area. Soon he reported seeing ghosts, although his parents say they first attributed this to cobalt treatments he was receiving for Hodgkin’s disease. Philip’s personality changed drastically: he began wearing leather, developed an interest in demonology, and even reportedly broke into a neighbor’s home, telling his mother he wanted a gun so he could kill his stepfather

                             Corica and Smith 1988a; Rivard 1988; Carpenter 1988 

 

 

Because the events listed are quite fantastic in most respects, considering such as unbelievable is quite understandable for the majority of people. Yet, when we take a closer look at why people believe in such things, and commit to such tales as truth is as old as mankind. From the ancient witchdoctor and sorcerer to the modern day psychic selling fortunes to their believers, very little has changed. Though the above passage relates at least some down-to-earth answers to the fantastic events as claimed by the Snedeker family, we should be able to see how the laws of sympathy can pass down its primary concept to others willing to accept it. The idea that “like-attracts-like” is a logical addition to irrational thinking, where flights of fancy often ignite other such fancies like a germ infecting a healthy host. Magic, after all, is only as real as the one who embraces it.  When we look at Sir James Frazer’s three laws of sympathetic magic: The Law of Sympathy; The Law of Similarity and The Law of Contact/Contagion, we should be able to see how the above example fits directly into this philosophy. Because the early tales of the Snedeker’s haunted house were initially tame by comparison to Ray Garton’s book, and the television and film adaptations that followed, we might be persuaded to investigate further, should we have a healthy interest in the subject matter. Yet, if we want to believe simply for the sake of believing, then the events that occurred in that former funeral home are indeed fact, hands down.

The facts of investigators in this and similar cases are typically on two sides, we must remember that the skeptic can be as obstinate as the believer is potentially gullible. Certainly, with a little investigating, the intrepid researcher might uncover many truths that will change perceptions, alter belief systems and anger the rest. As the Law of Sympathy suggests that similar things attract other things of a similar nature; demeanor; creed or philosophy, it stands to reason why this ghost story, or more appropriately, “demon story” became so popular in the first place. Remembering that when these incidents allegedly occurred, in 1986, the American public was saturated with many tales of the unknown; from Elvis sightings and Bigfoot encounters to testimonies of UFO abductions, alien hybrids and devil cult conspiracies. The collective conscious was inundated with tabloids like the National Enquirer, Weekly World News and The Globe, all for a few bucks at your local grocery store. To be sure, where today the hot topics revolve around celebrates without makeup and which movie star is in rehab, the 1980s was devoted to all things of a paranormal and often ridiculous nature.   On the television, we had Morton Downey Jr., Sally Jessy Rachael, Phil Donahue and Geraldo Rivera, all who faithfully shared such tales of the supernatural throughout the day. In addition to this, they also covered many reports of satanic churches, Satan worshipers, cult abuse and interbreeding and related deviancy. In fact, according to a national poll at the time, by the late 1980s, 70% of Americans believed that Satanism and sacrifices were real, while the reaming 30% believed that the government was covering it up. Without a doubt, the devil was big business, and no longer the sole domain of heavy metal rock stars and flamboyant radicals…But what is real, and what is not?

 

    I was offered the job, and because I used to read of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s exploits in the National Enquirer when I was a kid, I took it. I went to Connecticut and spent time with the Warrens and the Snedekers. When I found that the Snedekers couldn’t keep their individual stories straight, I went to Ed Warren and explained the problem. “They’re crazy,” he said. “All the people who come to us are crazy, that’s why they come to us. Just use what you can and make the rest up. You write scary books, right? Well, make it up and make it scary. That’s why we hired you.”

Ray Garton –

Damned Connecticut Interview, 2009

 

 

In what is now considered to be a matter of fact, the many naysayers of the now famous Snedeker case have their day in the light, with the above statement by author Ray Garton. Yet, as damning as the statement is to the story as a whole, the legend is considered true all the same, in spite of the testimony. Though no less a light has diminished on the late Ed Warren; flocks of people will continue to read the books by the demon-hunting duo, and watch the many future films inspired by their exploits into the darker regions of man’s psyche. Nevertheless, there will always be belief in such things, no matter how silly the story, or obvious in falsehood they are.

 

Conclusion

Whether or not one believes in ghosts, the possibility of haunted places or incidents of extraordinary human powers is entirely up to each person. Regardless of such a philosophical question, when we weigh the many aspects of such testimonies scientifically, whether by examining by way of the scientific method, or by simply writing a book on the subject, we will ultimately take sides betwixt reason and fantasy. Although each and every investigator into the unknown will approach their research individually, and from personal standpoints, we should at least address what we discover, or do not discover with dignity and honesty. Doing any less is simply unfair to the research, and self-discriminating to the researcher.  Now that we have a basic understanding of how the concept of sympathetic magic as applied to psychical research, just as it was for Sir James Frazer more than a century ago, who watched as natives danced around bonfires in order to appease their gods, or as tribal women in Africa bathed in the urine of cattle in order to secure the favorable breeding of their livestock, so much is directly related to modern man equally. Without a doubt, from a magically-minded state, people today are similar in that they might follow seemingly out-dated customs and religious mandates; carry talismans and fetishes in order to detour the evil eye or the attack of a sorcerer, or to toss a pinch of spilled salt over our left shoulders to secure that bad luck doesn’t get us are all long-lived examples. And though sounding impractical and somewhat redundant, such customs remain with us, just as the ghost story and the haunted house do today.

At this point we should be able to observe that the seeding of the Snedeker demon story by Ed and Lorraine Warren is very much the same in purpose and overall effect as the aforementioned witchdoctor, who plants his curse in the mind of his intended victim. As embellishment and manipulation is the mainstay of such films, television shows and books, we can assume that the majority of what we watch or read follows the simple method of the ancient magician, in that we enlist the beliefs of others to propel our goals. And though our first thought is to demean the works of people like Ed Warren and the Hollywood machine in general, we cannot in all honesty say that all accounts are false. Just as the initial events to have allegedly taken place in the Snedeker home cannot accurately be measured, proven or disproven, we as researchers should at least give the benefit of the doubt until a thorough examination can be performed.   t mean it does not, or cannot exist, merely that we cannot prove it as yet.

Because Sir James Frazer’s concept of magical thinking and sympathetic magic hypothesis relies on belief, then we should expect there to be a fair amount of fiction involved. For where there is a faux story designed to entice and enthrall; gain confidence or wealth, there is also a true story that goes unnoticed or ignored because it’s not as spectacular as the one drenched in fiction. For the psychical researcher, the first objective should first and foremost be designed on the unbiased collection of facts, if possible. The facts should be weighed and measured appropriately, and then investigated further. If this cannot be achieved, then the second objective should be to collect the story as a part of a folkloristic study, and assigned to further study from that perspective. When, however, pure fraud is detected; then the story should be rejected from continued research and cataloged appropriately as a hoax.  In the end, when we consider the awesome power of belief, even when such concepts, faiths and things that cannot be empirically understood or proven, is it not at least as real as the believer believes it to be?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWcDC4BsnJs

Sally Jessy Raphael Show episode

 

 

References

 

Bendici, Ray (2009) Damned Interview: Ray Garton, Damned Connecticut Retrieved May 1, 2014 from http://www. damnedct.com/damned-interview-ray-garton#sthash.f65060Pe.dpuf

Boyer, Pascal; Liénard, Pierre (2008). “Ritual behavior in obsessive and normal individuals”. Current Directions in

Psychological Science 17 (4): 291–94.

Brant Shermer, Michael (2002) The Skeptic Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience, ABC-CLIO Pub.

Evans-Pritchard, E. E. (1977). Theories of Primitive Religion. Oxford University Press. pp. 26–7.

Frazer, James George, 1854-1941: The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion (first edition reprint, 2

volumes; New York and London: Macmillan, 1894)

Garton, Ray (1992) In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting. Villard; 1st edition

Hood, Bruce (2009). SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable. HarperOne.

Hutson, Matthew (2012). The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy, and Sane. Hudson

Street Press.

Nickell, Joe Demons in Connecticut. Investigative Files Volume 33.3, May / June 2009, Retrieved 4.30 2014 at:

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/demons_in_connecticut/

Serban, George (1982). The Tyranny of Magical Thinking. New York: E. P. Dutton.

Vyse, Stuart, A. (1997)Believing in Magic: The Psychology of  Superstition,Oxford University Press.

Wikipedia (2009). Ray Garton. Retrieved May 1, 2014.

Nickell, Joe (June, 2009). Demons in Connecticut, The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, Investigative Files,

Volume 33.3, Retrieved May 1, 2014 from http://www. csicop.org/si/ show/demons_in_connecticut/

 

A few links:

 

http://lostcreekmedicineshow.weebly.com/1/category/loraine%20warren/1.html

http://www.damnedct.com/damned-interview-ray-garton

http://paranormal-witness.wikia.com/wiki/The_Real_Haunting_in_Connecticut

http://www.skepticblog.org/2009/06/22/hunting-the-ghost-hunters/

http://www.mmdnewswire.com/brothers-sue-world-famous-psychic-lorraine-warren-for-false-accusations-in-devil-book-2347.html

 

Ghost Tapes

Check out this fledgling series about a few Chicago ghost hunters. Its worth taking a look at.

Synopsis:

Armed with video cameras, two men delve into some of the most haunted locations Chicago, Illinois has to offer them. With the sole intent on capturing paranormal evidence on to video, they hope to answer many of the questions we all have about the paranormal, and life after death. Turn out the lights. Turn up the volume. Enjoy Ghost Tapes.

https://www.facebook.com/TheGhostTapes

All music was created by, and used with permission by Daniel Byerly aka Alacazam

http://www.youtube.com/user/alacazam

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz-loch-ness-monster

Strange, massive image caught on satellite…What is it?

This story came in from the Independent UK online News Service, Monday 21 April 2014.

In what may be a game changer in the Scottish independence referendum this September, the elusive Loch Ness Monster has reportedly been spotted on Apple Maps.  Images on the satellite mapping service shows what appears to be a 100-ft-long floating creature, using its flippers to wade through the Loch in the Scottish Highlands with its neck dipped down into the water.

26-year-old Andrew Dixon, one of two people who separately spotted the Nessie-like figure, told the Daily Mail: “It was a total fluke that I found it. I was looking at satellite images of my town and then just thought I’d have a look at Loch Ness.”

The charity worker for the Great North Air Ambulance from Darlington, County Durham, added: “The first thing that came into my head when I saw it was, “That’s the Loch Ness Monster”. It was the shape of it I thought it had to be something more than a shadow.”

Mr. Dixon alerted the President of the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club to the picture six months ago, who was pleased that the beast had been “seen” for the first time in 18 months.  Mr. Campbell, who keeps a register of sightings, told the newspaper: “We’ve been looking at it for a long time trying to work out exactly what it is.

“It looks like a boat wake, but the boat is missing. You can see some boats moored at the shore, but there isn’t one here. We’ve shown it to boat experts and they don’t know what it is.

“Whatever this is, it is under the water and heading south, so unless there have been secret submarine trials going on in the loch, the size of the object would make it likely to be Nessie.”

He also dismissed other “logical” explanations, including that the image merely shows a floating log or a seal causing ripples.

 

Whether or not it is Nessie is anyone’s guess. It looks more like a giant catfish than a prehistoric dinosaur, so maybe there are more than a few odd creatures lurking under the waves of the famous Loch….Either way, keep watching the water!  For now though, be sure to check out more news of the strange on the Independent at: http://www.independent.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

st.aug pics 105

36 Charlotte St, St Augustine

Here’s a locale I have been visiting since the mid 1990s. It’s one of those places that will find favor with travelers through St. Augustine honorably, as it offers a cool, dark atmosphere that’s inviting when the summer heat is on, and in the evenings when you want an exotic beer or wine, surrounded by cool jazz echoing in the air. Stogies Jazz Bar is one of my must-go destinations every time I’m in the ancient city. Stogies Jazz Bar is certainly a quaint location, in that it’s not over-assuming or overdressed as many cigar bars can be. It’s down to earth with a relaxed atmosphere, and of course, it has a wide selection of libations to aid in one’s relaxation. Indeed, they have over 100 imported beers, with 7 on tap, 55 different kinds of local and imported wines and 65 varieties of port that will amaze any connoisseur.

The home was built around 1856, later having additions added to the structure in the late 1880s during St. Augustine’s Flagler era. It served as a private residence for many years, as well as a parcel post office for a short time. By the 1920s it became a small lodging house for weary travelers, and then again as a home until the late 1940s when it was used as a storage unit for a prominent family in town. It was vacant for several years during the 1950s and then became a modest tee shirt store during the later part of the 1960s. During this time, several families lived here in a kind of makeshift commune until the mid 1970s, when it was used as an office for various businesses up until 1990 when it was closed due to severe termite damage. The building stood vacant again until 1994 when it was rented by Jeff Holleran and his brother Jack, who are the current proprietors.

Jeff and his brother fixed the place up, added another bathroom and gave the place a well-need paint job. A bar and walk-in humidor was installed for the imported and domestic cigars, and an outside patio was designed for added comfort. They opened for business soon thereafter, and found themselves welcomed to a steady parade of loyal customers and jazz artists from near and far to make this establishment a favorite location in the ancient city.

In the evenings, Stogies hosts an easy-going atmosphere with many local and visiting jazz musicians. In fact, Stogies has hosted such notable artists as Steve Nichols and Steve Robinson, whose saxophone and flute performances have recreated a sound reminiscent of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Miles Davis and Jethro Tull. They offer many different venues, so you’ll never know what kind of jazz will be playing, though you can be sure it will be over the top, and true to the coffee and wine houses of old. Certainly, though the visitor will have a relaxing experience at Stogies, they are likely to get a little more. From having the feeling of being watched, as so many others have over the years, to spotting spectral children frolicking about, there seems to be quite a bit going on here. Though for the most part, these events are not as much threatening or menacing as they are spooky, there are a few people here; guest and employee alike that will tell you that Stogies is without a doubt haunted.

 

A history of paranormal activity and unexplained events

The haunted bathroom?

During my a visit to St. Augustine in 2012, I had the chance to interview the owner, Jeff Holleran about this location’s history and its various haunted events to have occurred here over the years. To no surprise, there have been many incidents reported at Stogie’s that are certainly worth relating. I began my interview with the owner Jeff, to see if he had had any personal encounters. Though he has not had any overt paranormal experiences inside the place, other than having the occasional feeling that he was being watched by some unknown observer, he did say that his brother Jack had a frightening experience during the renovation period in the home back around 1994. Evidently, it was while the renovation was taking place that Jack decided to spend one evening in the upstairs loft in order to watch over the house and the supply inside that his experience occurred. And it turned out to be a night he will never forget.

Jack brought his dog ‘Delilah’ with him both as companionship and as protection. Delilah was a large dog, and very protective of Jack, so having her with him during the night was not only a good idea, it turned out to be the best idea he had all week. It was around 2:45 AM, when Delilah began to growl and bark intermittently. Then, she stood over Jeff as if to protect him, while the whole time staring at the newly refurbished bathroom area. Jeff got up, and cautiously walked toward the darkened interior that seemed to peer through the half-opened door of the bathroom. He pushed the door open to reveal absolutely nothing. He told himself there were no problems and certainly nothing to be scared of…But he was scared.

Interestingly, though there seems to be no logical reason for the dog to react in such a manner, I did find a few interesting facts about this location later on that made me consider the haunted legends to be accurate. As I opted to interview a few of the long-time locals in the area, I was able to unearth several tidbits of a dubious nature. Apparently, one lady who has lived in the area for close to 50 years, and whom wishes to remain anonymous, told me of several historical events regarding this home that most are not aware of. One incident revolves around one of the original residents of the home dating back the early 1900s, who allegedly fell down the winding stairs from the second floor and died. Though this tale closely resembles a similar death that occurred within another St. Augustine home, which has also become a pub in recent years, my informant was certain that such an accident did take place here too. And it is this accident that has spurred a few tales of ghostly visitations, where a spectral woman has been seen descending and ascending the stairs in a milky-like mist.

 

Stogies upstairs

The upstairs loft where strange things occur

Another legend was born during the 1960s, when the house was being used as a tee shirt store, where at least one death occurred on the second floor of this home. The area where the bathroom is now was simple attic space, only later converted into a bedroom. My informant went on to tell me that there may have been more deaths around this time, as this area had a less than favorable reputation in those days. Evidently, before St. Augustine officials started making serious city-wide renovations, the old section of town had its share of problems, which included some drug related issues and various crimes. Therefore, many things could have gone on in this quaint home of yesteryear that might have contributed to the alleged paranormal activity.

When I interviewed the bartender, he described a few incidents he couldn’t readily explain. One episode involved the inexplicable sounds of breaking glass that he heard one early evening. It was while he was working behind the bar, stocking and cleaning up that he began hearing the sounds of glass breaking, as if someone had either dropped a glass, or had tossed it against a wall on purpose. The bartender understandably went to investigate, and walked over to the area where the sound was coming from. He found nothing out of the ordinary. As soon as he walked away, however, a fan blade from the overhead paddle fan flew off and smashed into the cigar humidor where he had been standing only seconds earlier, shattering the glass and sending it all across the tables and floor. Whether simply a coincidence or the angry response from some form of spirit entity, the bartender believes that if he would have been standing there a few moments longer, he would have been hit by that detached fan blade or cut by the shattering glass. He didn’t know whether to be frightened or grateful.

The bartender went on to tell me of other weird incidents to have taken place at Stogies, such as the time chess pieces from the first floor sitting area were being thrown at him from some unseen assailant, even though no one was in the bar yet. This occurred on several occasions. People have claimed to have seen or heard children inside the bar, though none where in the building at all. Indeed, on several occasions patrons reported to the bartender on duty that there was a child, sometimes two children running around upstairs, or that they heard a child giggling or laughing from behind a wall or from within a cabinet on the second floor. When someone goes to investigate, no one is ever found.

Over the years, self-styled ghost hunters and psychics have come to Stogies in search of ghosts. One local psychic has made several claims that a young spirit of a little girl named ‘Anne’ haunts the place. Though there is some conjecture as to who she was in life, many have said that she was once the child of a former family who died in an accident. Another psychic has claimed that she was a neighborhood child who died after a long illness, and had wandered into Stogies, making it her home. Yet another psychic has claimed that there are in fact several ghostly children haunting the jazz bar, simply coming and going as they please. Without a doubt, some very odd things have taken place in this jazzy little cigar bar on Charlotte Street, and the strangeness is still going on.

When visiting St. Augustine, make Stogies one of your destinations. Whether escaping the blazing, mid-day sun or to just relax with a cool drink, this is a good place to do it, even if you’re not looking for ghosts. If, however, you are looking for ghosts, you might just get lucky here too. Because many parapsychologists feel that the residual energy of a once living thing may be collected and stored within the very fabric of material objects, such as wood and stone, the presence of a ghost, per se may actually be a part of the home in question, replaying its actions over and over. Other possibilities are that these paranormal events are indeed manifestations of a sentient entity that can somehow interact with the living, in which case people who have reported feeling like they’re being watched may be quite accurate in that assumption. Though it’s difficult to be absolutely certain who these spirits might be, historically speaking, one thing seems to be certain — There are more spirits lurking within Stogies Jazz Club than just beer and wine.

 

 The House Cats Jazz Band

 The House Cats Jazz Band, one of the many bands that play at Stogies

 

 

Stogies Jazz Club & Listening Room is located on Charlotte Street, just north of Hypolita Street, in the heart of downtown, and near the shopping district.

For more information on Stogies Jazz Club:                                                                         

36 Charlotte Street, Saint Augustine, FL 32084                                                                       

Phone: (904) 826-4008                                

 

 

 

zzzz-test4

Bill Murray as a Ghostbuster conducting an experiment…Well, sort of

Introduction

During the last century and a half, scientists of all categories; clergyman and philosophers of all disciplines, as well as various scholars and academics have posed many questions into the almost countless examples of hauntings and associated psychic phenomena. These inquisitive people had conducted various individual surveys; recorded certain events and finally culminated in thesis’ regarding their questions, observations and overall findings. They may not, however, have concluded with a definite answer to any one question; deduced a quantitative report of acceptable ratios, nor devised any list of systematic empirical data, statistical, mathematical or computational information that could be considered fact in all collegiate institutions. Regardless, such scholarly behaviors always point to the one aspect of critical thinking that must always be applied to every scientific inquiry — The scientific method.

In the arena of science, whether chemistry, biology or physics, it is necessary to follow various rules and regulations for any inquiry to be accepted as proper research into a scholarly discipline, regardless of that discipline. To exemplify the scientific method directly we will need to survey a scientific discipline and its particular area of research. As all disciplines make their assumptions by posing questions, observing to support that question and experimenting to accept or reject the overall findings, the importance of such a study process becomes clear. To briefly exemplify this process, we might observe the methodology of the ornithologist in the course of his or her research. Hypothetically speaking, the researcher in question is searching for the reason why certain birds of a certain genus are behaving differently from others in that same grouping, possibly through a differential situation, such as one genus living in another region; food type consumption or yearly weather conditions. Moreover, because the birds are behaving differently even though they belong to the same genus, the researcher will need to question what could be the causation of such behaviors; if there is a biological reason; an effect by way of nature or from a nurturing perspective and other pertinent inquiries. Following that agenda, the researcher will need to pose a general hypothesis for the behaviors; likely by adding a series of sub-hypotheses to best support that assumption. Then he will need observe each group of birds from that specific genus, and then follow up by conducting a series of experiments of various natures to test the hypothesis and its additions. Finally, the researcher will pick and choose which individual or set of hypothesis could be applied to the overall inquiry, and then culminate in either accepting or rejecting that hypothesis all together.

For the aforementioned researcher, the proper agenda was followed, and the end result yielded several possibilities that could explain why the birds were behaving differently. Whether the reasoning was associated to weather changes, food differentials or possibly breeding compatibility of the two genuses of birds might have offered the proper information for the researcher to use. In short, because the scientific method was properly applied to the researcher’s inquiry, he was able to conclude and reject various previously conceived theories as to why the birds were behaving differently, and then applying his or her newly found data for other researchers to consider. Without that method being properly utilized to the outstanding inquiry, the answer would have been mute in the eyes of the scientific community, and summarily ignored. Because the researcher did use the proper method, the findings were accepted and duly assigned further research into the inquiry; considered as fact by that researcher’s peers and community, or abandoned all together.  Now that we have at least a working understanding of how the aforementioned hypothetical researcher applied the scientific method to the ornithological inquires, can such a process be applied to psychical research as well? The answer is absolutely yes, and should be done each and every time in spite of the fact that the subject matter is highly subjective and difficult to document. Moreover, though the lay researcher considers the collection of photographs and associated video examples of alleged ghosts, as well as audio surveys of alleged sounds thought to be the voices of discarnate spirits to be both compelling and examples of proof, the scientific community largely ignores this data as either highly subjective itself, due mostly to the reality of fakery or misrepresentations of known phenomena, thus becoming disqualified for further inquiry, or simply labeled as from a misidentified source that cannot be considered acceptable, and duly dismissed.

For the proper researcher of psychic phenomena, it is firstly to apply a broad observation to the subject matter in general, which will create a foundation to the items being examined. For this example, I will use the alleged ghost lights of Route 520, a section of road in the state of Florida of the United States. This will be done in order to formulate the best answer to what might be causing the seemingly paranormal responses as witnessed or otherwise felt by many observers. The background and location history will be discussed fully, followed by a detailed listing of haunting events and occurrences by firstly, gathering information about the biological world that could be playing a part in this inquiry, and secondly, how and why we must always apply two important mechanisms in our research, which is sensory perception and our ability to reason. Finally, we will examine the reasoning and possibilities of said occurrences in order to best apply such findings to the case study, and then culminate with the findings of the overall methodological process.

The scientific method in practice

As stated, in the proper search for an answer to any scientifically based inquiry, a detailed study must first be secured in order for the subject matter to be found both logical and acceptable within the scientific community. In short, if such an inquiry cannot be properly challenged and found true or false by way of observation, hypothesis, educated prediction of test processes and outcomes, followed by the performance of experiments, submitting to a thorough analysis of the experiments, and finally drawing a conclusion that proves or disproves; often finding a null or alternate hypothesis in the process, then the scientific method is not complete. In spite of rationale and reason, the method is not considered satisfactory unless these basic steps are completed in detail. In the case of psychical research, this can be applied equally to various forms of said research, such as in cases of telepathy, which is the transference of various forms of information, both on emotional and base-thought foundations between individuals by senses other than the five classical senses, sight, hearing, taste et al. This methodical series of steps can also be applied to other aspects of this discipline, such as psychokinesis, or the ability of a mental influence over or beside matter, and/or time-spatial issues. Moreover, it may also prove practical in other forms of research like that of precognition and remote viewing, where both issues can be tested not by addressing topics of perception and information gathering, but by being able to account for the information being collected during the process, and then proving the information correct. Some topics of a psychical nature that may prove the most difficult might be in the arenas of clairvoyance, which entails the gathering of information about places or events, and often regarding remote locations; clairaudience, a form in hearing that transcends the physical form of acoustics by psychic means; clairsentience, which enables one to receive information by way of “feeling” and clairscent, where one is able to detect otherworldly or otherwise discarnate odors by a psychic response. Although these psychic responses may prove difficult to measure, it is possible to apply the scientific method equally by ways of testing the information, such as authenticity of the subject’s findings, especially when the information is not public knowledge; names of people or places within the context of the investigation and so forth, so long as the process remains within provable guidelines.  Moreover, apparitional and related experiences and near-death experiences, specifically phenomena attributed to ghosts and haunted locations represent that which is still in the realms of testability, though considerably difficult to authenticate as factual due to possibilities of fraud, misunderstanding about normal phenomena that may seem unnatural and a general lack of information suitable to prove the observations of the experiencer. In addition to this, long standing legends about a particular location being “haunted” may influence the experiencer into elevating his or her natural senses, in effect, prompting that person in believing that an event is occurring when it is not.

Because a person or people can be coerced by word-of-mouth events, whether historical events or recent events that might create a general belief system due to the emotional factors involved, such as a place where a crime had occurred, or where people may have died, might influence false emotions or experiences, in effect, making the experiencer see, hear, feel or smell things that are not actually there. Such a response is not dissimilar from people suffering from group hysteria, or when a neurosurgeon probes a section of a patient’s brain, eliciting physical sensations from the patient that are not actually occurring. In such cases, many wakeful patients may very well experience visual anomalies, such as seeing colors and images that are not there; olfactory events, such as smelling particular foods or experiencing motor activity not sanctioned by the patient, aspects that all represent the power of the mind, albeit an unknown power. And though such sensations are not factual for the patient, this serves as a logical example for some who make claim to psychical, or otherwise “paranormal” events, and it is for this reason that psychical researchers must apply the scientific method along with well-thought reasoning to their investigations in order to best separate possible physical, mental or emotional issues from genuine psychic phenomena.

Background research and understanding fact from fiction

     As with any astute study, psychical research requires and equal share of in-depth analysis. Though the subject of ghost lights and tales of apparitions and hauntings may hang on the ledge of the fantastic, in fact being regarded as folk custom to that of existing on the plane of reality; not falling in a bracket that can be diagnosed from a scientific foundation; such is not entirely true. Indeed, there are many ways to investigate such experiences directly, though not all aspects will be answered completely. To begin with, we will have to investigate the history and general background of the location in order to have a clear knowledge of what exactly is going on, and why the legend is occurring in the first place. To do this, we’ll start with research at the local library and that city’s public records department to find clues that may lead to explicit answers to why these events might be taking place. We should then interview professionals in the areas of nature, like forest rangers and fish and game officers who will likely know of the legends, and who may have actually witnessed them. We will also interview scholars in the fields of chemistry, biology and ecology to see if there is a natural explanation to the mysterious ghost lights. When these interviews and the initial library research are complete, we’ll begin the weigh the evidence.

The following serves as a detailed background of the legends that continues today:

 

History and general background

The legend has and continues to occur just south-east of the busy city of Orlando, Florida, on a dark and oftentimes ominous stretch of road known as Route 520. This road runs about 35-miles through dense forests and musty swamplands straight past Interstate-95, through the busy U. S. Federal Highway-1, and on to the Cocoa Beach seashores. Having served as a time efficient shortcut for Floridian travelers over the many years, this road expedites the journey from central Florida to the sunny beaches in half the time to that of other roads. Though efficient and cost effective, Route 520 has a lethal and foreboding reputation as being one of the most deadly roads in the state of Florida, and ranking the 3rd most dangerous roadway in the United States by the Florida Highway Patrol. While Route 520 has served motorists for the past 30 years, it is still only a two-lane road in most sections, and a bumpy one at that. Because of these setbacks, there have been many fatal accidents over the years, some killing entire families while en route for Disney World, Universal Studios or any number of theme parks throughout central Florida. Sometimes, tragedy would come to those in a hurry to get home after a long day’s work or after a full night of partying in downtown Orlando. As such, this dark and tattered path has earned the appropriate nickname “Bloody 520 — Road of Broken Dreams.”  The location in question is a long and winding highway that runs through a mostly unlit and rather dense section of central Florida. And as this area is dark and winding, it stands to reason that the opportunity for accidents is more likely here. Whether by driving intoxicated or having fallen asleep at the wheel, Route 520 has claimed many lives. For certain, any Florida State Trooper or Sheriff’s Deputy will tell you, far too many people have lost their lives on this most deadly of Florida’s roadways.

 

Legends and belief systems

For at least the past 35 years, Route 520 has taken on a more supernatural reputation to that of merely being known as a dangerous route to travel. Many local Floridians have claimed strange and even frightening events to have taken place there over the years. From UFOs hovering in the darkened skies over this long stretch of unlit road and nearby swamplands, to the elusive Skunk Ape; Florida’s answer to the Bigfoot creature prowling the nearby thickets and woodlands, such constitute a few excellent examples of Route 520’s oral traditions of the strange and uncanny. Yet, even with such folklore, there is one story that keeps popping up; a time-honored legend that has many late night motorists stepping on the gas peddle just a bit harder in order to quickly pass this dark and foreboding road without catching a glimpse of those frightening glowing orbs known as ghost lights.

For roughly the last four decades Route 520 has been the home to one of the oddest forms of ghostly phenomena known to psychical researchers and paranormal investigators. Well known as ghost lights, spook lights, ignis fatuus (foolish fire) and willow o’ the wisps, these strange luminous balls of mysterious matter may not be as unique as one might believe. In fact, radiant orbs like the ones observed near Route 520 have been experienced all over the world, sharing similar qualities and behaviors since ancient times. Even though many have tried to find reasoning behind these ghostly lights; with such ideas as swamp gas or reflections of disembodied headlights from distant cars, hard evidence to what they truly are, their nature and purpose have never been conclusively established by scientist or layperson.

The 520 ghost lights are said to be greenish-yellow iridescent balls of light, which are sometimes seen floating on the sides of the roads or hovering through the nearby woods. Often witnessed as a single orb that bobs up and down erratically, and sometimes seen in pairs acting as one or as independent entities, these intriguing glowing anomalies have become a part of Florida’s unique and very interesting folklore. One aspect to this legend, which alters their playful reputation, are reports that these ghostly lights will sometimes act with almost human qualities, mimicking a playful dance through the treetops, or jotting to and fro around the darkened road. Local legend goes on to tell that sometimes these enigmatic orbs of light will actually chase people and cars as they pass by. Some of these legends however, are a bit more frightening. According to one gentleman living in the Cocoa Beach area since the late 1950s, a pair spook lights followed his wife home one evening in 1979. As the story goes, when his wife was coming home from visiting her sister in Orlando, while driving through the dead center of Route 520, she began seeing a glowing ball of light bobbing up and down near the passenger side of her car. This ball of light kept pace with her for several minutes. She tried to reason what she was seeing, thinking it might be a reflection of another car’s lights hitting her window, or perhaps it was a light from her dashboard somehow casting the glow on the passenger-side window. Regardless how hard she tried to find an answer, the eerie light continued to keep up with her car as if the light were somehow alive.

As the now thoroughly frightened woman continued to drive as fast as she could, the ghostly orbs appeared to subside, and then stopped all together, hovering still on the side of the road, and then slowly slipping into the adjacent woodlands. The poor woman later related her terrifying story to friends and family, in effect, inaugurating this spooky legend to Florida’s robust ghost lore.  A similar story occurred in 1998 from a man walking home from work. This man, a short-order cook at one of Cocoa Beach’s roadside diners, was preparing to walk home after closing for the evening. His car was not running at the time, but as his home was only about a mile and a half down Route 520, it wasn’t too much of a problem for him. As this man was on his trek home around 2:30 A.M., while walking on the left shoulder of the road, he noticed a faint greenish glow about fifty yards ahead of him within the dense woods. This light was pulsating from bright to a dull hue much like an old time railroad lantern, so he thought it must have been local hunters looking for raccoon or opossum. Yet, he just could not help thinking that something was wrong about the nature of this light, thinking it just didn’t look right.

As the weary cook continued for home, he noticed that the odd light was keeping pace with his every step, as if mocking his every move. Then suddenly, a second light appeared behind the first. Though much dimmer than the first light. It proved without a shadow of a doubt that the light was not from a hunter’s lantern, and the cook later admitted that he was becoming quite nervous about the whole affair. Nonetheless, the strange lights continued to follow him for nearly twenty minutes, all the time bobbing up and down as if taunting his every move. Within a few moments, the first light seemed to move upward, as if climbing a nearby tree, with the second light becoming very dim, and then reducing itself to a pinpoint of light, then disappearing altogether. By this time, the cook was becoming frightened, and decided to pick up his pace in order to elude this bizarre occurrence. As he was reaching a turn to his housing development, he saw the saving glow of car headlights about a mile ahead. Pleased that at least someone was close by, the cook gazed back only to find the floating orb of light now in the center of the road, as if watching him. The cook later stated he was getting more than a little perturbed at the evening’s events. He was tired, and he wanted to get home, take a shower and go to bed, but felt that someone or something was playing with him, and he had had enough. The out of breath cook decided to stop and hold his ground and prepare to fight if need be, but as he turned, he noticed that the light was becoming denser, flicking a bit, and then extinguished all together. The man never witnessed the ghostly lights again. Although this short-order cook, now a bartender in downtown Cocoa Beach was more than happy to relate this story to me, he admitted that even though his car is up and running today, that if for any reason he was ever stranded again, he would take a cab instead rather than waling that stretch of road.

 

 Possible explanations 

The legend dictates that the best time to witness the ghost lights of Route 520 lights are between 5:00 P.M. and 3:30 A.M., and have several individual legendary examples to offer a reason for the lights themselves, but what of more plausible reasons? As there have been many scientists and self-styled paranormal investigators over the years to claim that these lights are a result of nature en flux; a simple break down of plant and animal deposits, which creates methane gases, and when ignited through natural causes, the end result may produce an upward dispersal and instant glow or “burn-off,” thus creating the seemingly spooky event. The process is usually instant and can reach to several feet, only to fizzle out. This event is in fact a true scientific occurrence, which takes place in most estuaries, swamps and other bodies of stagnant water. And though Route 520’s ghostly lights show some similarities in behavior, the particulars are certainly different.

The natural process of burning swamp gas will usually take place within the summer months when it is balmy and humid, and even at night when there is a slight cool down in temperature. Because of such explanations, it would be logical to assume that these strange lights are completely natural in origin. Swamp gas does not, however, float through the woods and follow cars or people as they pass by. This is more the nature of the so called “ignis fatuus” or foolish fire. And although the ghost lights of Route 520 have been reported as being playful in nature, as if playing hide and seek with those lucky or unlucky enough to experience them, there is a feeling of malevolence to their odd nature nonetheless. Even though there has never been a report of these luminous orbs of light having caused physical harm to anyone, the nature of these anomalies remains a frightening subject for anyone who experiences them. Moreover, while these particular ghost lights appear to be more entertaining than anything dangerous or evil, their presence in the realms of psychical research and world folklore shall always remain a mystery.

 

Understanding the scientific method – Separating the wheat from the chaff

Before a research problem like ghost lights can be honestly explored, said researcher must first do a complete background investigation for the question; its means, value to the study and the purpose of the interest. For the supposition of ghost lights being of intelligent origin; or from the folkloric perspective, an entity of discarnate origin, we are certainly taking a huge leap of faith. That is to say, the possibilities of defining the lights being observed in a swampy region in the southern states in America as “paranormal” is indeed a huge leap of faith, considering that methane gas burn-off is a simple and quite natural response to nature. Dead matter decomposes, is rendered active from the state of simple change to another, and then responds to that change. In this case, the decomposing matter becomes gaseous, which in turn ignites and takes various patterns before dissolving. The legend, in contrast is rich in folklore, finding various homes of thought regarding the so-called supernatural. From the discarnate spirits of pioneers and long-dead native Indians, to ghostly locomotives, jackrabbits with lanterns strapped to their backs and luminous creatures of a fantastic nature, the ghost lights have been witnessed since ancient times. But how do psychical researchers investigate and catalog them?

In the course of any psychical investigation, it will be necessary to address the mundane along with the seemingly fantastic. In cases of the survival hypothesis, which this work is dedicated, the subject of alleged accounts of hauntings and poltergeist incidents will glean a heightened chance of experiencing fantasy prone personalities, mental illness and outright fraud. Indeed, researchers will hear every kind of tale imaginable; most that may not warrant further attention. However, when dealing with the experiencer, specifically those within the public domain, the researcher will have to apply the scientific method to all aspects of the investigation, a reality that is equally true when working alone or with other researchers.

To best exemplify this process, we will apply the example case study to the methodology process accordingly, and in the following manner:

 

                       zzz-Research-Process-Methodology1

 

Step 1: Make observations.

This process might at first appear obvious, but in truth can be the most taxing within the investigation. Outside of initial and preliminary investigations; interviewing the experiencer(s) and collecting general information, on most occasions the researcher will have to deal with many hours of waiting and observing at the location. Unlike a chemist who can watch a reaction to a chemical experiment in a matter of moments, the psychical researcher might have to sit in a parked car, remain still within a dwelling or in the elements waiting for an alleged event to occur (e.g., an apparition making a presence as according to folklore, ghost lights “ignis fatuus” or similar phenomena). In spite of the sacrifice of time, this aspect of the scientific method is the most vital part of the process, largely because what the researcher observes or does not observe will fortify the study, and construct the foundation for the following elements of his or her research and eventual presentation.

 

Step 2: Form a hypothesis.

In general, the hypothesis is a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation. It serves as the base reasoning of your investigation, and typically has the following characteristics:

a.)          It should consist of a general principle that holds across all spans of knowledge

b.)         It should consist of an idea, though tentative; or otherwise pliable for further research

c.)         It should coincide with available observations

d.)         It should be simplistic and easy to comprehend.

e.)         It should be testable; possibly provable and possibly falsifiable, meaning that there should be a way for the hypothesis to be disproven as well, which will make your research unbiased. If, however, there is not enough evidence to complete the observation point of the method, then it will have to be listed as missing information, just as in any mathematical study. Because there may not be enough information, the scientific method cannot satisfy its peers; the scientific community, thus rendering the study incomplete. However, a general answer might result as a null hypothesis or as an alternate hypothesis in order to dismiss or hold the study until such time as the study can be explored again. In psychical research, this is a common and unavoidable factor, until such time as proper information can be collected in order to prove or disprove the hypothesis.

Example: If researching ghost lights “ignis fatuus” as an intelligent form of haunting, for instance, various scientific apparatus might be used to take samples of air, methane and other gasses, ions and various aspects of a chemical nature in order to rule out a simple answer for the visual effects witnessed by people. The collection of such elements or a lack of such elements would be considered a testable measurement, which would offer an unbiased result, assuming the information collected is provable and acceptable by authorities in that field of study. If, however, you are unable to collect the proper data to prove that the “ghost lights” are actually related to ghosts or otherwise paranormal activity, then the study will likely result as a null hypothesis. An alternate hypothesis, in contrast remains true to the original theory, and that an observed effect will occur, in this case, there may be intelligence behind the ghost lights, and not a result of swamp gasses or other natural phenomena. Or, that the events are indeed a natural cause, and not of a “paranormal” nature. It all depends on the position of your hypothesis.

 

Step 3: Make a prediction.

Decide on what you will expect from your hypothesis from step 2. At this stage you understand that your hypothesis is tentative and may or may not be factual. Keep notes about what you think you’ll discover during your testing stage. As the location appears to have unforeseen, luminous lights existing where there should be no such lights, you “predict” two possibilities: (1.) The effects are a natural phenomena, a result of methane gasses burning off during the summer months and (2.) the lights could be another concept of nature, albeit a controversial concept known as the “Corpuscular Theory,” whereby billions of microscopic points of light attract to each other, congeal by means yet unknown, and become mobile; are able to float and motivate by unknown means. The first theory simply relates to methane gasses burning off naturally, a common effect in marshy terrain during certain times of the year, while the second appears as real, though being on a different plane of physics as simple as reflective or refractive light; ball lightning or the spontaneous combustion of living or inert materials. You make a prediction that these are of the two possible causes, and not a “paranormal” manifestation as local legend attests.

Note: If the experiment doses not work accordingly to your hypothesis, then you will have to modify your hypothesis in order to proceed. This can occur by margins or by proposing an entirely new hypothesis, though for the most part it may only require you to add or subtract variables in your theory, or force you to reconsider original ideas. If you need to modify your hypothesis, return to Step 2, and then proceed with another experiment.

 

Step 4: Perform the experiment.

We rely again on our sensory perception to collect information, and design an experiment based on our predictions. In the case of the ghost lights, the first necessity is time, patience and keen observation. The legend gives us testimony that strange, greenish-yellow and sometimes bluish-colored lights are seen hovering near an embankment that is close to Route 520, roughly 155-yards. The road itself has a long history in this sleepy part of Cocoa Beach, Florida; a small seaside city of less than 18,000 residents, and resting between the cities of Melbourne and Titusville. The history dates to roughly the early 1760s, but northern settlers didn’t start setting up homes here until the 1860s. The route has been a main link to the busy city of Orlando, and runs about 35 miles. It has a long list of road fatalities and has a reputation of being haunted as a result. This is the local folklore that has generated interest in the subject of ghosts and hauntings for this area since at least the 1960s. The first step is to locate the section where the ghost lights have been witnessed. Then the researchers will set up a temporary camp and employ the tools of their trade in order to measure and collect data regarding the alleged events, and then apply the scientific method in resolving the mystery (the question) if possible. The following list of equipment will be used in the investigation.

1.)         Eudiometer; a laboratory device that measures the change in volume of a gas-mixture following a physical or chemical change.

 

2.)         Sensit Gold C – model; a gas sensitive detector that can pick up and record levels of various gasses, both natural and synthetic.

 

3.)         MSA Altair, Single-Gas H2S Detector; a device able to pick up and record hydrogen sulfides (H2S), which is both toxic and flammable, causing a variety of problems, including causing visual hallucinations.

 

4.)         Magnetometer-Tri-Field meters with a magnetic setting calibrated for 60 Hz-sine waves and Analog Electro-Static Voltmeter (AEV). The Tri-Field Meters determined various magnetic strengths at this location, both inside and outside where no electric sources could be found. AEV is used primarily for checking surface and ambient electrostatic charges.

 

5.)          Non-Contact Infrared Radiometer-Thermometer and Digital Hygro-Thermometer. The basic temperature reading detected massive temperature differentials at the site, where some levels differed to 32 degrees hotter in a space of one hour. Hygrometer-related temperatures found barometric pressure and relative humidity to change by at least 18 degrees inside a confined space, and close to 22 degrees outside, though levels may vary.

 

6.)         Infrared 35-mm camera with 50 mm (171.8 lens) with a Kodak No. 25-Filter, High Speed Infrared Film (HIE 135-36) 36 X 3 exposures are sensitive enough to detect shadow-like images, as well as photographic curvatures otherwise not detectable on standard film.

 

7.)         Digital Cameras/Video Recorders (various brands) with night vision attachments, as well as infrared capabilities for capturing evidence of Orb and/or Vortex activity, regardless of personal theories of significance. Though possible explanations for the majority of orbs photographed may be due to duct, mist and other water-related causes, the anomalies may not be acceptable in moisture-prone locations.

 

8.)         Ion Survey Meter (ISM) used for the detection of ion particles and various forms of low-level radiation. Ions, both positive and negative can cause various mood and emotional variations, and are able to cause intense fear, anxiety and dread, or unwarranted elation and happiness without logical circumstances.

Now that the equipment is ready, the primary researcher and others will choose the proper location where to set up for their experiment. Unlike the average scientist of chemistry, physics and such, who might have a well fortified laboratory to work from, these psychical researchers will have to submit to harsh environments in order to perform their experiments. Here, the researchers are looking for the alleged ghost lights to appear, so they are on location, two researchers near the marshlands and another two near the roadway. They will sit up throughout the night, and observe the area were the anomalies have been witnessed. Because the researchers have agreed upon a hypothesis model, they will begin with the use of their equipment. The experiment will last for three consecutive nights within the same hours as a guideline. They set up two (2) video cameras with night vision attachments, as well as infrared capabilities. Each camera is set to two separate points of location, and will be running at a long-play setting in order to last for the hours expected. Next, they will use their testing equipment, such as the eudiometer, a laboratory device to measure the change in volume of a gas mixture following a physical or chemical change. This will be used in water beds and nearby estuaries, and will follow a typical protocol. Also in use will be the Non-contact infrared radiometer-thermometer and digital hygro-thermometer, to be used for scanning the general and surrounding areas. These tests will be ongoing throughout the experiment to record any changes and variables that may cause the effects observed by witnesses in the past, as well as to formulate why such an event might occur in the first place. Next, the researchers will employ the MSA Altair, single-gas H2S and the Sensit Model-C detectors in order to collect and analyze the various gasses collecting around the general locale, as well as near the road where the events are said to have occurred. This is done to rule out or prove the existence of such gasses, as well as to possibly add to the concept that such gasses are contributing to the effects witnessed.

Once the gas count is concluded, an ion count will be taken with the Ion Survey Meter in order to ascertain if the effect of either positive or negative ions are present in any great or otherwise exaggerated number. As either pronounced levels could point to elevated moods, such as depression, fear and anger, or happiness and euphoria, such could possibly have altered moods and outlooks of the experiencer, making them, in effect, “see ghosts.” Finally, the researchers will submit to taking photographs with the Infrared 35-mm camera using 50 mm (171.8 lenses) with a Kodak No. 25-filter, high speed infrared film throughout the experiment timeline. Such will be conducted throughout the time spent at the location; from dusk until daybreak (approximately from 6:45 P.M. to 6:00 A.M.). Each researcher is given two rolls of film for conventional cameras, and a new Scandisk chip for each digital camera.                  In addition to the primary study, the researchers will also use a Magnetometer and various tri-field meters to rule out electromagnetic responses, where there should be none. As the phone lines and its electrical components are at least 135-yards from the observation location within the swamp area, only the lowest levels should be detected, if at all. Other tools like a tape recorder, notepads, pens, small LED lights, as well as a large battery lamp and food and drinks will be provided for the researchers.

Note: Cell phones are permitted, but must be turned off during the experiment. And no radio, television or other entertainment devices will be allowed. Furthermore, researchers will refrain from smoking or wearing colognes as such might interfere with the experiment. The researchers will take their meals and spend their day-time sleeping hours at a nearby hotel.

 

The experiment

The researchers were able to find the proper locations, and dutifully set up a small camp, which would be used only during the hours of testing. The first two nights are spent without issue, and make no observations of unexplainable lights or otherwise experience anything out of the ordinary. A series of tests with the aforementioned equipment was used each night with normal or otherwise typical responses regarding natural gasses, sights, sounds and expectations for the terrain the researchers were in. On the third day, however (5:35 P.M.), the researchers witnessed what appeared to be a soft glow coming from the marshlands just northeast of their location, approximately 155-yards from the westbound road of Route 520. The color of the light was bluish-drab with hints of yellow at its core. The researchers began an immediate series of tests with their equipment. They captured photos, and video evidence of what could be detected on their digital and video cameras, authenticating a visual existence. Moreover, there was a scent collected, albeit largely undetectable to the researchers, but found on the gas detection devises, offering the following readings in Step 5:

 

Step 5: Analyze the results of the experiment. 

(1.)        Upon initial, secondary and tertiary experiments with the equipment listed in Step 4, the researchers discovered the presence of phosphine (PH3) in the gasses collected. Understanding that Phosphine (phosphorus trihydride) is a highly poisonous gas naturally and synthetically created by watery soils, and resulting from the natural decay of plant and animal proteins and other phosphate-bearing matter, such serves as the primary cause for said accounts of so-called “ghost lights” observed in the research area. Moreover, trace amounts of phosphorous tetrahydride (P2H4) have been found, and clinically determined that when a tetrahydride-carrying phosphine is introduced into methane, a self-ignition occurs.

(2.)        As a result, the flame should appear as a bright greenish-blue in color, accompanied by fair amount of smoke from the burn-off. There was also a distinctly unique odor as a result of the burn-off. In spite of this evidence, it is common knowledge, as well as through Folkloristics that “ghost lights” do no emit an odor. However, because the majority of witnesses have reported these oddities from a distance, and rarely up-close, it appears likely that the “ghost lights” in question are a combination of simple and complex gasses igniting as a result of temperature, which was agitated by the time of year July 23-25, with a mean temperature of 92 degrees Fahrenheit or 33.3333 Celsius.

(3.)        In addition, a series of in-lab experiments at the Chemistry Departments-University of Central Florida and the University of Chicago was conducted. The research team used an Aerograph gas separator-vapor phase chromatography in order to complete a detailed analysis of collected water samples from the testing location. The final report submitted from an x-3 test resulted in a failure to detect a part-per-million trace of phosphine in the laboratory samples.

(4.)        Non-contact infrared radiometer-thermometer/digital hygro-thermometer was able to record readings that were unremarkable for the locale. Temperature readings fluxed between 92 degrees Fahrenheit/33.3333 Degrees Celsius to 79 degrees Fahrenheit/26.1111 degrees Celsius through the duration of testing time.

(5.)        Photographs, both 35 mm and digital cameras were able to catch images of what appeared to look like balls of light rising up from the marsh and nearby estuary. The balls were wisp-like, and had resin upward only, and did not travel or move horizontally as local legend attests. The lights followed the first behavior by dissipating altogether, leaving a momentary trace of smoke, or something resembling smoke. The event lasted approximately 3-4 minutes, as opposed to the estimated duration of witnessed ghost lights, which have been reported to last up to several hours.

(6.)       Magnetometer and various tri-field meter readings: Inconclusive/Null

(7.)       Ion Survey Meter: Trace elements/positive count of 2,500 per cc to the millionth per location of 50-yards from road area estimated. As positive ions, or the lack of a certain amount of negative ions may cause a condition known as serotonin hyper-function syndrome or “irritation syndrome,” which may involve irritability, tension, sleeplessness, , migraine headaches, heart palpitations, hot flashes, sweating, chills, tremors, nausea and dizziness, such may have caused a general sense of fear and anger for sensitive individuals. Note: The acceptable minimum concentration of negative ions indoors is 200-300 ions per cc, while the optimal level is 1000-1500 negative ions per cc.

(8.)       Spectral activity: Null

(9.)       Out-of-place sounds, scents or feelings experienced by researchers: No extra or out of the ordinary scent or feelings occurred for the researchers, save that for a pungent scent as a result of the marshlands and stagnant waters near the test location.

(10.)          Adverse effects reported by researchers: Negative

Sample report from research team:

“The water of the marsh is ferruginous, and covered with an iridescent crust. During the day bubbles of air were seen rising from it, and in the night blue flames were observed shooting from and playing over its surface. As I suspected that there was some connection between these flames and the bubbles of air, I marked during the day-time the place where the latter rose up most abundantly, and repaired thither during the night; to my great joy I actually observed bluish-purple flames, and did not hesitate to approach them. On reaching the spot they retired, and I pursued them in vain; all attempts to examine them closely were ineffectual. I went to the place, where I waited the approach of night; the flames became gradually visible, but redder than formerly, thus showing that they burnt also during the day; I approached nearer and they retired. Convinced that they would return again to their place of origin, when the agitation of the air ceased, I remained stationary and motionless, and observed them again gradually approach…The gas was evidently flammable, and not a phosphorescent one, as some have maintained. But how do these lights originate?”

(1.)   From an 1832 account recorded in Newmark, Germany, courtesy the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal)

 

Step 6: Formulate a conclusion

AND

Step 7: Report your results.

(Partial conclusion) The final analysis of the test location gives credence for typical experiences that may be found at such locations that are surrounded by brackish water, primarily stagnate or non-flowing water like that of this region of central Florida. Because the test results proved positive for its gas readings, which are comparable in some aspects to sewer water, where the decay of plant and animal remains have been broken down to form said gasses, it stands to reason that for the most part this area is experiencing a natural burn-off of such decayed matter to form balls of luminous, gaseous light, followed by various forms or “wisps” of smoke. It is our contention that the majority of witness accounts were of this simple methane burn-off. Unlike other enigmas like ball lightning and spontaneous combustion of living or inert properties, this particular event is short-lived, causes no damage to the surrounding area, or is mobile from its initial location save that from moving upward to dissolve.

zzz-Research-Process-Methodology-methane

Fig.2 Report of gas count – methane et al

100,000 and we reject the null then we must conclude that the alternate is true and the ghost lights are paranormal in nature; if we fail to reject it is plausible; that the ghost lights are not of a paranormal foundation, we will not use it. In this case, with the evidence collected, our findings could be viewed both ways; both meaningful in result because the gasses, ions and photo evidence seem to prove that this may in fact are the causes of the ghost lights. However, because the behaviors and responses are not like those of the ghost lights as witnessed in folklore and urban legend, we may conclude that the hypothesis is alternative, because there may yet be another, yet undiscovered reason that the ghost lights are in fact based in some paranormal arena, respectfully. value is greater than the significance level, then we must reject the null hypothesis and consider the test example as it is plausible. Understanding the null or alternate hypothesis in this question, and considering a hypothesis against the null hypothesis, meaning that the ghost lights are natural and the cause of this otherwise paranormal event; the data collected being evidence against the mean, and assuming the mean is factual, trying to prove it untrue; the question remains open for further exploration.

In short, after finding the test statistic and p-value, if the p-value is less than or equal to the significance level of the test, then we must reject the null hypothesis and conclude the alternate hypothesis is the most logical. If, however, the p-value is greater than the significance level then we might conclude it is plausible. In contrast to this, if the question statement asks you to determine if there is a difference between the statistic and a value, the hypothesis becomes a two-tail test; meaning that the null hypothesis, for example, could be μ = d to that of the alternate hypothesis, which could in turn become μ ≠ d…An interesting concept to say the least.

zzzz-test

Fig. 3 Possible viewpoints of the hypothesis

Regardless of the science that could be applied to an otherwise religious or metaphysical question only asks us to continue searching. Because an alternate hypothesis is a prediction that we could make when using a non-experimental method for our research, such as creating a questionnaire, lickert scale and survey, or when observing an experiment, the predication may continue in spite of the initial findings or lack thereof. The alternate hypothesis dictates that the researchers will observe some kind of effect during their test experiments.

Note: For future reference, in statistics the formulation of an alternate hypothesis is shown as either Ha or by H1 symbols. The null hypothesis says that the researcher will find no observed effect for the ghost lights during the experiment. In statistics and mathematical formulations for such will be denoted by H0.

 

 

In conclusion

When conducting authorized experiments, scientists will ultimately publish their findings in various scientific periodicals and trade magazines; they will report their findings at symposiums and share their concepts in books. They’ll give lectures at international meetings and in seminars held at the most prestigious colleges and universities throughout the world. So, understanding that everything is on the line, the researcher in question will work hard to assure his or her work is perfect, logical and above all, acceptable. I say acceptable because proving some theories are simply not possible, even if the author of such a theory claims it with great fervor. After all, even though humans make up the names of planets and galaxies, periodic tables and the nomenclatures of all things, such does not mean they are correct — It only assures us that their suppositions were accepted as correct, mostly by concurrence of their peers, and on more than one occasion by popular vote. Incorrect theories like phrenology and supreme eugenics, among many have gone the wayside because they found no basis in a science that can be proven. And though many people would like to think that their suppositions are correct, even when it proves false time and time again, we must remember that even when our theories fail and our methods prove fruitless, the importance for disseminating our results is the most essential aspect of the scientific method as a whole. Because doing so allows others to investigate, and verify your results when correct, or develop additional hypotheses to retest them when they are false, and entices critical thinking and an eventual advancement of that discipline. In the end, you will be known for your contribution to that question, no matter where the answers lay.

For the psychical researcher, the need for the scientific method is just as important for the research scientist with NASA or for the professor of physics who is composing a new theory. Indeed, if truth be known, this sentiment is even truer for the psychical researcher, as this discipline unfortunately remains in the ether realms of fringe science, magic or metaphysical philosophy, having yet to receive a fair enlistment into founded academia, or a warm embrace by fellow researchers in the field of science and social significance. Therefore, the scientific method becomes the very foundation of everything the psychical researcher is striving to prove. It becomes the one completely accepted aspect of all the sciences in spite of the reputation of the few.  In the end, more than the methods and systems you’ll use during the creation of your hypothesis, whether you will need to augment or totally rewrite your supposition in order for it to function in the experiment process, the one aspect that must be applied each and every time is critical thinking. More than anything else, the scientific method relies on critical thinking because it is the process of examining current beliefs and accepted explanations, with a goal to distinguish logic from popular conceptions. Those without the proper level of adequate evidence or rational foundations to their theories will be summarily denied. Therefore, without solid arguments to back up your theory, consisting of one or more premises, along with a thorough and comprehensible conclusion, your method process will simply not be complete.

If we are to weigh the importance of one research question to another, we might find that we are comparing apples to oranges. That is to say the psychical researcher is among the few pioneers left to true and unfettered science as we know it. We are among the last to represent the great unknown; the undiscovered country that so diligently wishes to be explored. Though the true researcher will always be at odds in the unforeseeable ocean of naysayers and skeptics, it is the unknown that continues to act as a beacon that heralds the wise and dedicated alike to continue the search. As the only way to achieve an acceptance by mainstream researchers within the scientific community is to adhere to time-honored and accepted systems that they recognize, the importance of this process becomes clear. The television ghost hunters and psychic spook detectors will simply not do outside of an entertainment program, offering little more than a sideshow-like atmosphere to fill an hour of your time. In the true pursuit of scientific knowledge, the psychical researcher will have to brave the waters of hard science in order to reach the other side safely, if not only to be revered. Those who cannot or will not adapt to this simple edict will not survive. Therefore, for the honest and dedicated researcher, he or she must begin with the undemanding practice of actual research; diligence in that study; a sacrifice of many hours to his or her research, and above all, always applying the scientific method to each and every aspect of research within their discipline. Doing any less is just not science.

 

 

Reference

Bauer, Henry H., Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method, University of Illinois Press, Champaign,

IL, 1992

Bloom, B. (1956). Major categories in the taxonomy of educational objectives. Retrieved January 17, 2012 from the

University of Washington-Seattle Website: http://faculty.washington.edu/~krumme/guides/bloom.htm

 

Brody, Baruch A. and Capaldi, Nicholas, Science: Men, Methods, Goals: A Reader: Methods of Physical Science, W. A.

Benjamin, 1968

 

Burks, Arthur W., Chance, Cause, Reason – An Inquiry into the Nature of Scientific Evidence, University of Chicago Press,

Chicago, IL, 1977.

 

Frizzell, Michael A. & George F. Walls. Stalking The Mysterious Lights; Pursuit Magazine, Volume 20, Fourth Quarter, 1987

 

Soyka, F. 1977. The ion effect. Lester and Orpen Limited

Figure 2 courtesy RapidTables.com

http://www.rapidtables.com/math/symbols/Statistical_Symbols.htm

 

Figure 3 courtesy Statistics Symbol sheet:

http://www.tc3.edu/instruct/sbrown/swt/symbol.htm

 

(1.)       This account took place in Newmark, Germany and was documented in an 1832 edition of the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal and was recaptured for posterity by William R. Corliss in Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights and Related Luminous Phenomena , pp. 168, 175.

 

 

 

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