Ever notice?

While watching paranormal television, did you ever notice that no matter what color of hair people have in the daylight that everyone is Blond(e) on IR©? Literally.

I have.

Further, I noticed that the majority of paranormal research, especially as it is portrayed on television, follows an assumption based investigation model. And you know what happens when you assume...

Please pay attention to the next television show that you watch or the next investigation that you conduct. Did you assume? Bet you did. Did you acknowledge the assumption before formulating a conclusion? Bet you didn’t. I know I am guilty of it.

Guess that makes us all figuratively Blond(e) on IR©.

What I need to do right now (and I would love if you do the same) is take a step back and test as many assumptions that means will allow.

I expect to post my experiments and findings here. Please contact me with any research you have completed.

And yes, I am a blonde.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Electronic Voice Phenomenon is Not Evidence of Ghosts


(Reposted from PARANORMAL PEOPLE. Thank you to Martin J Clemens for the repost. Please comment on PARANORMAL PEOPLE. )

Published by Martin J. Clemens on 12 January, 2010

Electronic Voice Phenomenon is not evidence of ghosts.

That’s a bold statement, one over which I’ve been taken to task for several times in the last few weeks, and one I’m prepared to back up with long winded and highly semantic argument.  Though with a little verbal persuasion most would eventually agree that this is a true statement – at least in so far as there is no information known currently to prove that the above is false.

Electronic Voice Phenomenon is not evidence.

Another bold statement and one I’ve made on more than one occasion, almost always inciting some form of group argument over the fundamental purpose behind EVP research.  Though this one is much more difficult to gain acceptance for, but I am willing to try.

If you were to poll the entire Paranormal Community, meaning every person and group invested in the study of paranormal phenomenon (providing you could even find an accurate enumeration of the community), you would find that the vast majority of investigators, most of whom would call themselves Ghost Hunters, view EVP as a basic tool for investigating haunted locations.

There’s a contradiction there though, one that’s obvious to me but not to most others it seems.  If EVP is not evidence of ghosts, then why is it thought to be both synonymous with ghostly phenomenon and a tool for measuring such phenomenon?

EVP is not evidence.  Say it with me…EVP is not evidence.  For those who would argue against me, I ask, if it is evidence, then what does it prove?  I agree, this is a little simplistic, even if entirely correct, and the issue is not as easily summed up as that question would suggest.

The very nature of what EVP is, tells us that it is not evidence; it is at its best an undefined and unexplained phenomenon in-and-of-itself.  Among the proponent arguments for using EVP as an investigative tool, there are those that claim the historically popular link between EVP and ghosts is sufficient to continue viewing its use (meaning the collection of EVP results) as a tool for the overall investigation of ghosts.  Others suggest that it is as good a tool as any in the face of such unknowns  - what a ghost is, why and where do they exist, and how do they communicate – touting that there is no real reason to not think of EVP as connected to ghosts.  My purpose here is to layout an argument for clarifying and adapting our thinking when it comes to Electronic Voice Phenomenon.

EVP is not evidence, but it is worthy of continued study.

Within the study of such ideas and phenomenon, which is ostensibly the underlying purpose of any such group or person involved in the paranormal community, there have been very few advances in thinking or in methodology.  Those notions and assumptions that were held 100 years ago, are largely still held today, though there have been a few casualties along the way.  Séances, spirit trumpets, ectoplasmic research and many other ideas have fallen by the way side; all the while other ideas have flooded in and taken their place.  The modern ghostly enthusiast is just as convinced in the efficacy of EMF meters and tape recorders as evidentiary tools for proving ghosts exist, as spiritualist Séance sitters were of the tipping table and entranced Medium’s spirit voice a hundred years ago.

What’s the difference?  Well, for one, with table tipping and non-direct voice mediumship there turned out to be much too wide a margin for deliberate hoax, and ultimately the hoaxers ruined any value these early investigatory tools might have had.  In contrast, while there still remains a strong possibility in some cases for trickery and hoax, the vast majority of EVP samples are considered to be genuine, but ‘genuine what?’ is the question I ask.

As I alluded to earlier, this argument is largely semantic, meaning that I would be satisfied with a change in wording rather than a complete change in thinking, but I admit that I seek the latter with much more enthusiasm.  And here I get to the nuts and bolts of the argument…

EVP cannot be considered evidence, since it is not known what causes it.

If I were confident in the idea that most investigators are actually conducting two separate feats of experimental research when they embark on an investigation; the first being an attempt to document, and possibly explain the so-called ghostly phenomenon that originally drew them to that particular location, and the second being an independent collection of EVP data in an effort to explain what EVP is and how it works; I would be content to leave the issue be, but as it stands this is not what is happening in most cases.

As is proven by the surprising number of self-proclaimed paranormal investigators who publish their “findings” online, touting each audio clip as evidence that the location they attended was indeed haunted, the above separation of methodologies is certainly not the norm.

Quite simply, if I cannot prove without doubt that a particular EVP recording was caused by a specific ghost or spirit (by whatever means one might do so), and in turn was not caused by the host of other possibilities, then it is not evidence of ghosts…this is easy enough to understand.  What I propose here is that since we have no current hope of making that declaration, why don’t we reign in our ghostly enthusiasm a tad and start looking at EVP as an independent and exciting phenomenon that can and should be studied all on its own?

It strikes me that the current popular notion that EVP is somehow caused or created by ghosts should require that we test this hypothesis against the possibility of capturing EVP results in locations that are not reported to be haunted.  And herein lays the real problem…

We do not know what ghosts are, we cannot define why a particular location may be haunted while another is not; we know so little that we cannot even be sure that there are non-haunted locations.  So in the face of all this uncertainty, is it helping the cause any to subscribe to using an unknown and unexplainable idea such as EVP to measure, describe or prove the existence of another unknown and unexplainable idea?

It’s been said by some that my argument is all well and good, that it is one thing to suggest that we all need to change our thinking, but unless that suggestion comes with an idea of what we should change it to, the argument is moot.  And in answer to that statement, I offer the following.

For too long the paranormal community has looked at their study in macro fashion, classifying and defining whole entities rather than individual phenomenon.  We have presented volumes of data and “evidence” intended to support big ideas and big assumptions.  I think it’s time to compartmentalise, to separate issues and begin looking at various ideas and phenomenon independently, and where better to start than with the cheapest and most accessible field of study?  EVP!

Yes, I called EVP a field of study, as it rightfully should be viewed.  There are enough mysteries hidden inside the idea of Electronic Voice Phenomenon to warrant several lifetimes of independent experimentation and scrutiny.  EVP is a phenomenon unto itself, and though it may ultimately be connected to ghostly communication, the current thinking and use of the idea is unlikely to get us to that understanding.

In the spirit of this revolution of thinking that I propose, I offer the following experimental opportunities in the independent and direct study of Electronic Voice Phenomenon.

Faraday Shielding Experiment

Construct a Faraday box to house your recording device

Place your recorder inside the box ensuring that the recorder is insulated from vibration through the box from its operation (to eliminate clicking etc. from the mechanical parts inside the recorder), resting the recorder on a piece of carpet inside the box would suffice.

Use an EM shielded remote microphone, rather than the built in recorder microphone, to further reduce those same ambient mechanical sounds.

Conduct your EVP session as you normally would and compare to results achieved without the use of the Faraday box.

Vary the experiment by switching from a d/c power source to an a/c power source, and even introduce various sources of EM interference (in this instance be sure to document EM field measurements from both a baseline and throughout the experiment).

As a control element for the experiment, use a second identical recording device set up in the same manner but left outside the box.

The purpose of this experiment is to determine if there is a direct relationship between electromagnetic interference and EVP (which we know there is), vary the experiment further, according to your own findings, to explore the extent of that relationship and other factors.

Multiple Recorder Experiment

Utilise multiple recording units (5 or more) over a series of EVP sessions, begin by placing the units in close proximity to each other.  The units should be identical (brand, model etc.) or as close to identical as is possible. Again, take all steps to ensure the reduction and/or elimination of ambient mechanical noise from the device and from the environment if possible.  Vary the experiment by increasing the distance between the units and even by creating physical barriers between units.

As a control, place one unit in a predetermined location, central to all other units and do not move it as you vary the position of the other units.

The purpose of this experiment is to determine if it is possible to achieve the same EVP result on multiple recording devices.  From this point, there are numerous variations that could be undertaken depending on the results found over several sessions.

Microphone Variance Experiment

Conduct a series of EVP sessions using multiple identical recording devices, and use different types of microphones, i.e. Electret, Condenser, Carbon, Dynamic, Fibre Optic etc. and compare to results achieved with a control (standard Electret microphone).

Alternately, use each various type of microphone independently over time (rather than as a series of experiments with multiple recorders at one time) and compare those results.

The purpose is to determine if there is any difference in the quality, quantity or type of result achieved with any other the various microphones.

These may be elementary experiments and each is indeed intended to require a great deal of patience as they are carried out over time, but they outline my earlier point.  Neither experiment is necessarily tied to a particular location and thus is not dependent on the notion that the location is “haunted”.  It would be prudent for the study to undertake the same or similar experiments in locations that are reportedly haunted, but as a function of independent EVP experimentation and not as a function of an investigation of the location.

You may or may not agree with my point of view, you may or may not have subscribed hopelessly to the idea that EVP results are the voices of the dead, or you may think the entire thing is a little too woo-woo for you.  In any event, there is much to be learned from the study of not only EVP, but also of the many varied elements of the typical haunting.  I suggest we stop chasing ghosts and start seeking to answer some of the smaller questions involved.  For those answers may lead to some big discoveries.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013


I set a handful of posts to upload automatically. None of them did! So much for technology making our lives easier.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Yes, Virginia, Santa Claus is a Cold Reader…


One of my current areas of study is Cold Reading.Santa photo 12

Cold Reading, although around for years, has made news lately (look up Florida Gypsy Psychic Scam among others). Cold Reading is a series of techniques—predominately verbal and a few physical-- that permits the reader to extract details out of a complete stranger. If done well, the subject does not understand that they supplied the information about themselves!

Cold Reading is employed by Counselors, Palm and Tarot Readers, Mentalists, Sales Persons, Medicine Men, Pick up Artists, Priests and Priestesses and, let’s not forget fake Psychics. Cold Reading allows the reader to establish rapport with a stranger quickly. I chose to pursue Cold Reading to aide me in building my consulting network.

A few days ago, I realized we need to add Santa Claus to the list of Cold Readers.

My mom—being true to form--- did her research before taking my nephews out for their annual Santa photo. Mom was on a mission find the best Santa Claus. She drove from mall to mall as well as other Santa venues around Southern California to rate the Santas. Apparently, the Santa at the Westminster Mall in Orange County received mom’s approval on look and interaction. Mom and the boys drove all the way down to Westminster Mall.

Now pay attention to the following exchange between Michael and Santa Claus. I’ll try to point out the cold reading in [brackets] and the technique in bold. It will actually take me longer to type out and for you to read than the entire exchange took.

When Michael and his baby brother reached their turn to see Santa, Santa looked Michael up and down and said, “Well, Michael, I see you have grown an inch and a half since last year!” [Great all-purpose statement that applies to all kids. What child had not grown or think they had grown since last year? This technique is called a “Barnum Statement”; Barnum Statements describe aspects of the client that would apply correctly to most people. As far as Michael’s name, undoubtedly, my mom had instructed the eight year old, hyperactive, Michael, to stand still or get back in line. Mom usually corrects us kids with some volume. Santa most likely overheard.]

Michael’s eyes grew wide. [Michael has an expressive, rubber face, rivaled only by Jim Carey. Cold readers utilize observation to pull in clues about the target. Manner of dress is one source of information. It helps that Michael’s trousers are hovering around his ankles AGAIN. Santa could have guessed Michael’s growth based on what he was wearing. Minute expressions are used to gauge if the reader is on the right track. Here are a few examples: widening or narrowing of the eyes, change in breathing pace, tightening of lips or opening mouth, flaring of nostrils, where their eyes are looking and more.]

“I’m tallest of all of the other third graders at my school!” Michael’s speech picks up, “When I am 14 I want to be as tall as James or even taller like Adam.” [Michael just volunteered he is in third grade and is likely to have two older brothers. If brothers, the best guess on birth order is Adam, James and Michael. Now that I think of it, Adam means “first born”. I had not considered Onomastics until just now. ]

[Santa’s eyes flit behind Michael to see my mom holding the four month old baby in very “boy” clothes.] “Last year, you wanted to be a big brother. There are four boys this year.” [Santa’s raised his eyebrow, which converts these statements into questions. This technique is called the “Disguised Question.” Also Santa does not commit to the word “brothers” just in case he is incorrect.]

Michael held up four fingers, “Yep! Now there are four of us brothers.”

Santa smiles, “I told you last year you’d be a big brother too.” [This is half lie and half guess and it works; it could be called the “Good Chance Guess”. Santa has confirmed Adam and James are brothers. The big gap between Michael and the baby means Michael has been the “little” brother for some time.]

[As my mom confirms the photo package with the “Elves” and Michael situates himself on Santa’s lap, Santa engages Michael in a conversation about the children in his class. This gives Santa enough time for Michael for forget he volunteered his brothers’ names.]

Santa ho-ho-hos as mom hands him the baby. Mom whispers the name “John ” to Santa.

“Wow, Michael! I can’t tell if John looks more like James or your oldest brother, Adam!” [Well played, Santa! Michael thinks Santa “knew” James, John and Adam’s names and that Adam is the eldest. This technique is called “Feedback”. ]

[The minute or two left of the visit continues as Santa continues to feedback and work with the information Michael has provided. A good guess or two was thrown in for good measure. Santa even impresses Michael that Santa knew that my mom watched “Howdy Doody” as a kid. A good guess on my mom’s age and a bet her family had a television pays off. This technique is called the “Stat Fact.” I suspect Santa knows all the pop culture trends/stats to use on other kids of all ages.]

There is much more to cold reading than is presented here. I think you get the idea.

Santa Claus is a hell of a cold reader. I just may hang out at the mall for a day and pick up some tips.

Santa--- wherever you are-- thanks for helping keep Christmas magic alive one more year with or without Cold Reading. There is not enough hope and magic in the world.

Happy Christmas.


The Handbook of Psychic Cold Reading (2010) by Dantalion Jones

Psychic Cold Reading in Theory and Practice (2010) by Terry Weston

Sunday, December 9, 2012

100 trials, 100 trials….

I haven’t forgotten about anyone. We are diligently working toward the 100 trials we need to begin to draw conclusions.

100 trials….

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hundreds of trials


Ok. It is taking a loooooooong time to gather the 100’s of trials we need to develop results.

Haven’t forgotten about you….just busy with trial after trial after trial.

Anyone want to copy the experiment and help??

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Forensic UV/IR Photography

Thanks to Michelle, we have this great information on Forensic UV/IR photography.

"Light is the most important component of photography. UV and IR photography utilizes what is called light, but is actually radiation waves in the electromagnetic spectrum. To begin, a brief explanation of the electromagnetic spectrum is necessary."

Read the rest here: