Sept. 9, 2006
One aspect of paranormal investigation is the attempt to rule out natural phenomena as cause for events labeled as supernatural. However, there is a greater issue at stake here: ruling out investigator assumption that an event, such as an investigation, will always be in a haunted location.
Television shows have teams that come in to locations to prove or disprove a haunting. Often, these locations have a history of lore that links them to a ghostly phenomena or at least a violent/mysterious past. For the average team, however, working with the public, these venues may not always be accessible. This is why the SPIRITS of St. Petersburg has an active call out for non-haunted and haunted locations to host investigations.
Bridgeview is one example of a venue that was not haunted. Only slight anomalies were reported by the homeowner. These included:
*The family dog barked at 3 a.m. on some nights. Having met the pooch in question, however, we noted that it was a toy breed and very active. While this can be one sign of haunted phenomena, the timing could relate to a scheduled event that the homeowners did not notice. Not enough information was supplied for this to really reach the realm of the supernatural, but after observation of the dog and when added with the other small amounts of reported phenomena it did not amount to “paranormal.”
*Her mother heard herself called by the homeowner (“mom”) when no one was there. However, mothers and children have often reported hearing each other calling when no one speaks; perhaps this could relay to a form of ESP, memory regurgitation, or other such phenomena. A single isolated event in a decent amount of time did not necessarily equate to a ghostly presence.
*Lastly, the homeowner saw a box of laundry detergent fall on its own. This is the only event that cannot be easily explained, though a number of factors could have caused the detergent to fall. Had other items moved, the detergent repeatedly been moved despite attempts to replace it, or other phenomena been reported then this would seem more supernatural than a one-time phenomena.
Ruling these out as supernatural, the purpose of the exercise, then, was to evaluate the SPIRITS’ investigation processes. This included noting how well the contact who set up the investigation maintained confidentiality without leaking any information to the team, to determine what team sensitives found on the location and how accurate that data was, and to see how equipment reacted on the site.
These were the conclusions:
The team did not report any “leaked” information from the contact. The investigation continued in a normal manner with sensitives reporting information, orbs captured on film, and EVPs attempted. The investigation ran a normal length of time and SPIRITS members concluded that the house was not haunted. They seemed pleased when, at the end of the investigation, the homeowner and then the contact confirmed this.
Sensitives did attempt to pick up data. Only minor bits of information were detected, though it could have been relevant to the family’s daily lives. The most interesting aspect was the name “Roosevelt” that one person picked up on, only to learn that the homeowner’s husband, who was not present at the time of the investigation, was reading a book on FDR.
Orb images were produced by digital cameras. The orbs were few and far between, but one, at least, showed the typical signs of what many orb believers would mark as paranormal. Yet, the homeowner did have a dog, cat, and other small pets in the home and orbs captured were likely dander. It continues to build the argument that standard round white orbs, even with texture and which appear self-illuminating, may not be valid proof of a haunting.
EMF was detected and the meter did spike even without a presence. Investigators did attempt to unplug miscellaneous electronics and requested that the homeowner turn off her satellite dish. The spikes slowed but were still produced. Additional study into EMF spikes and what produces EMF was later conducted and the team did add natural EM meters, as well as a variety of other brands of EMF detectors, to the equipment roster to help reduce false positives.
EVPs did produce one odd sound of tapping, but even during the investigation and before the team was told that the house was not haunted the EVP was ruled out as natural phenomena. This took some time but it was good to see that even during an investigation EVPs recorded on computer could be ruled out as natural.
Overall, the exercise is well worth doing. While it does not produce an exciting investigation report it does help the team to monitor its own behavior and modify its techniques. This can only lead to improved investigations and more accurate results for the future which is the desired outcome. This allows us to provide better service to our clients and that, after all, is the end goal.
Homeowner Statement: The homeowner told the team that she was the first owner of the new home and had been in the home for approximately 1-year. She explained that around 2:00-3: a.m. one of her dogs will begin barking in the kitchen area and also will bark at the outside area. Back in February of this year, the homeowner stated that, again around 3:00 a.m., a large box of laundry detergent was “thrown” off the top self in the laundry room, denting the new washer/dryer and making a mess. Once when the homeowner’s mother was in the house alone, she thought she heard her daughter call out loudly to her. However, the daughter was not home at the time of this incident. The homeowner also stated that she has a “bad” feeling when she enters the laundry room.
Impression: This pleasant home has a very welcoming and friendly inviting feeling to it. The dog barking could simply be that this brand new residential development has encroached into natural Florida land and what is left of natural Florida with various wildlife such as wild boars, deer, opossums and raccoons crossing on a much used nature trail might elicit the dog to bark at a given time in the early morning hours. I could not find an explanation for the laundry soap incident and can only speculate a natural event though I believe it was a natural event.
Stormy weather (lightning, etc.)
Homeowner, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 2 turtles, 1 guinea pig
Unless otherwise noted, the EMF meter is set on the 0 - 3 scale.
Sitting room/computer room:
Some flux in the meter, but we determined that it was caused by machinery in the room.
79 - 80 degrees
1.5 EMF (spikes) likely cuased by a satallite dish in the room. Stopped when unplugged.
2 slight spikes, .2 - .4 EMF
Slight flux. Orb image on digital.
I discovered that my digital camera has the capacity to work in black and white, negative, and through filters. I proceeded to use the black and white filter and the negative setting.
EMF near dog dish, stove, microwave, etc.
Satallite feed, not picked up by EMF (uncertain as to why other rooms had a response when the dish was unplugged).
77 - 79 degrees
.2 - .4 EMF
.2 EMF, but with three signficant spikes (.4 - 1.2 EMF).
Brandy: Flux in bedroom 1, 3, and garage.
Orbs showed up on film in bedroom 2.
Group decided to try an EVP in the kitchen.
1) Is anyone here? (EMF beeped)
3) Last year that you remember?
4) Live in area?
5) How old when you died? (EMF spike. Denise heard the term "Roosevelt")
6) Related to the homeowners?
7) Try to let yourself be known?
8) Move things?
11) Like animals in the house? (2 beeps)
12) Related to wife?
13) Related to husband? beep.
14) Message you want to pass on to homeowner?
Reviewed the recording. Heard odd tapping sounds; tested for EVP possibiities (finger nails clicking, dog toe nails, keyboard sounds, etc.) Determined it was likely a natural cause.
Mostly a test home. Has become interested in the paranormal and noticed that after investigations in Feb. activity picked up.
Activity included: One of her dogs barking at the outside every morning at 3 a.m.
A box of laundry detergent falling/thrown off the shelf in the laundry room. As a seperate event, homeowner's mother heard the homeowner call "mom" from the laundry room, no one there.
Did acknowledge that her husband's father passed and that she felt the two were close. It may have been the "Roosevelt" reference. Her husband also was reading a book on Roosevelt.