ARTICLE 1

Caswell, Carniello, Tessaro, Sidorov, Dotta, Vares, Moga, Pitkanen, Millar, Bajpai, Tressoldi, Kokubo, Lake, Burns, Lehman, Baer, Rouleau, Schumacher, Juden-Kelly, Jarosek, & Ooi. (2014). Conditioning of space-time: The relationship between experimental entanglement, space-memory and consciousness. Journal of nonlocality round table series, Colloquium #4. Journal of Nonlocality 3(2), 1-54.

http://journals.sfu.ca/jnonlocality/index.php/jnonlocality/issue/view/8/showToc

 ABSTRACT: In response to the Vieques 2014 FQXi Conference on the Physics of Information (http://fqxi.org/conference/2014), this colloquium brings together over a dozen neuroscientists, physicists and medical researchers to provide a body of empirical data both supporting and extending the quantum information hypotheses recently advanced by Koch, Tononi and Tegmark.

Specifically, the evidence presented by the participants describes numerous controlled studies documenting nonlocal correlations between physical parameters of isolated living and non-living targets, as a result of operators’ mental intention, often in conjunction with changes in the target’s biophoton signatures. However, some of the results also suggest that elemental consciousness might not be a property of matter alone, as these quantum versions of panpsychism claim – but possibly a property of spacetime itself.

Although relevant clues are scarce at this point, the discussion aims to provide a stepping stone toward the better integration of quantum information theory and applicable experimental models, paving the way to a neuroscience freed from the current neuro-dogmas.

 

ARTICLE 2

Gaona, Rouleau, Caswell, Tessaro, Burke, & Schumacher (2014). Archaeoacoustic investigation of a prehistoric cave site: Frequency-dependent sound amplification and potential relevance for neurotheology. NeuroQuantology 12(4), 455-463.

http://www.neuroquantology.com/index.php/journal/article/view/772

ABSTRACT An archaeoacoustic study was recently conducted within the prehistoric cave system of El Castillo in northern Spain. With findings dating back at least 40800 years, archaeological studies of this cave have revealed the presence of prehistoric ritual activity associated with early shamanism. Simulated audio tones of varying frequencies were created and emitted from the location at which it is thought the shamans would conduct rituals within El Castillo, while the sound was simultaneously recorded from the likely location of potential observers or participants. Subsequent analysis identified a frequency-dependent amplification of recorded sound intensity for frequencies approaching the range of 100 Hz, with the greatest effect observed for 108 and 110 Hz. These results are markedly consistent with previous research of important or sacred sites which have shown significant sonic resonance features within this precise range of frequencies. Additional consideration is applied to the potential effects of 110 Hz physical stimuli on biological systems in the context of neurotheology and the associated biophysical analyses in order to demonstrate the potential importance of 110 Hz signals on religious experience and subjective states of consciousness.

 

Great new review article on ghosts, hauntings and theories. I would consider it a must read if you are serious about this field. You can download the article here.

Thursday, 07 August 2014 18:13

Oldest Known Medical Report of a Near-Death Experience

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The oldest known medical report of a near-death experience has been discovered. You never know what you will find at those antique shops. You can read the article here http://www.livescience.com/46993-oldest-medical-report-of-near-death-experience.html . The Resuscitation article (there is a link in the Livescience.com article) not only describes the report but also evaluates the NDE using the Greyson criteria. The reported NDE obtains a score of 12/32. A score of more than 7 is considered a positive NDE.

 

The Paranormal Research Group (PRG) originally started in Wisconsin in 1999 and has conducted scientific investigations of ghost and haunt phenomena throughout the United States. Since 2006 the PRG has been running Random Event Generators (REGs) during investigations of various reportedly haunted locations and poltergeist agents. The current report summarizes eight years of FieldREG data and research in reportedly haunted locations and with poltergeist agents. Further detailed analysis of this data is forthcoming.

READ THE PAPER

 

Sunday, 06 July 2014 00:18

PRG and TAR Conduct New and Interesting Research

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PRG's A.R.D. DIRECTOR JOINS TAR:

PRG Director, Dave Schumacher, has been invited to become a full time member of the Transnational Anomalies Research team. Dave’s role with the team will include experimental design, data analyst and authoring reports and publications. Transnational Anomalies Research (TAR) is an international collaborative research initiative founded by Joey M. Caswell and Dr. J. Miguel Gaona in 2013. The TAR team consists of members across Canada, Spain, the U.S.A., and the UK, with diverse specializations and backgrounds including neuroscience, psychology, physics, anthropology, and engineering. Our overall goal is the study of consciousness and physical anomalies by employing a transdisciplinary research approach. Some of our main areas of study include investigating the potential effects of consciousness on external random physical systems, long-term tracking and analysis of precognitive predictions, archaeoacoustic studies of ancient geographical sites, and theoretical/methodological development of paranthropological approaches to anomalous phenomena. Our research is conducted both in the laboratory and in the field.


DAVE SCHUMACHER REVIEWED AND WAS ACKNOWLEDGED FOR HIS HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS IN THE FOLLOWING PUBLICATION:

Investigation III: Statistical Anomalies in a Random Physical System Proximal to Large-Scale Animal Mortality.Gaona, J. M., Caswell, J. M., Tessaro, L. W. E. & Rouleau, N. Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research| June 2014 | Volume 5 | Issue 5 | pp. 448-466

The paper can be downloaded here: http://tarteam.org/wp-content/uploads/TAR_FieldREG3.pdf


OUR CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECT:

Dave Schumacher and Jennifer Lauer of the PRG's Anomalous Research Department are working with the Transnational Anomalies Research Team (http://tarteam.org/) on a new manuscript for publication to explore if focused intent followed by non-focused intent of an apparent RSPK human agent in a field setting results in directional (+/-) REG non-random output, and whether these deviations are consistent with the emotional valence theory regarding the directional component of the data, a theory developed by TAR and which have been studied in various novel settings by TAR and PRG.

More information on the TAR team can be found at http://tarteam.org/

Thursday, 26 June 2014 08:53

Presentiment in Mainstream Science?

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Two recent publications in mainstream journals may have found and reported on something that those in the parapsychology field - Presentiment - an intuitive feeling about the future, especially one of foreboding. Parapsychological researchers have been doing studies on this phenomenon for many years. The studies showed the presentiment effect in skin conductance, heart rate, EEG measures and fMRI.

Here are the references to the two most recent studies:

 

Spontaneous Neural Fluctuations Predict Decisions to Attend

Jesse J. Bengson, Todd A. Kelley, Xiaoke Zhang, Jane-Ling Wang, and George R. Mangun

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, , Vol. 0, No. 0 , Pages 1-7
(doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_00650)

Ongoing variability in neural signaling is an intrinsic property of the brain. Often this variability is considered to be noise and ignored. However, an alternative view is that this variability is fundamental to perception and cognition and may be particularly important in decision-making. Here, we show that a momentary measure of occipital alpha-band power (8–13 Hz) predicts choices about where human participants will focus spatial attention on a trial-by-trial basis. This finding provides evidence for a mechanistic account of decision-making by demonstrating that ongoing neural activity biases voluntary decisions about where to attend within a given moment.

 

Spontaneous fluctuations in neural responses to heartbeats predict visual detection

Hyeong-Dong Park,1, Stéphanie Correia,1, Antoine Ducorps2, & Catherine Tallon-Baudry1,

Nature NeuroscienceVolume: 17,Pages:612–618Year published: (2014)DOI:doi:10.1038/nn.3671 Received 18 November 2013 Accepted 05 February 2014 Published online 09 March 2014

Spontaneous fluctuations of ongoing neural activity substantially affect sensory and cognitive performance. Because bodily signals are constantly relayed up to the neocortex, neural responses to bodily signals are likely to shape ongoing activity. Here, using magnetoencephalography, we show that in humans, neural events locked to heartbeats before stimulus onset predict the detection of a faint visual grating in the posterior right inferior parietal lobule and the ventral anterior cingulate cortex, two regions that have multiple functional correlates and that belong to the same resting-state network. Neither fluctuations in measured bodily parameters nor overall cortical excitability could account for this finding. Neural events locked to heartbeats therefore shape visual conscious experience, potentially by contributing to the neural maps of the organism that might underlie subjectivity. Beyond conscious vision, our results show that neural events locked to a basic physiological input such as heartbeats underlie behaviorally relevant differential activation in multifunctional cortical areas.

Here is a list of publications for the parapsychological studies from Dean Radin's website (http://www.deanradin.com/evidence/evidence.htm):

Spottiswoode & May (2003). Skin Conductance Prestimulus Response: Analyses, Artifacts and a Pilot Study

Radin (2004).  Electrodermal presentiments of future emotions. 

McCraty et al (2004). Electrophysiological Evidence of Intuition: Part 1. The Surprising Role of the Heart

McCraty et al (2004). Electrophysiological Evidence of Intuition: Part 2. A System-Wide Process?

Radin & Borges (2009). Intuition through time: What does the seer see?

Radin et al (2011). Electrocortical activity prior to unpredictable stimuli in meditators and non-meditators.

Radin (2011). Predicting the Unpredictable: 75 Years of Experimental Evidence

Tressoldi et al (2011). Let Your Eyes Predict : Prediction Accuracy of Pupillary Responses to Random Alerting and Neutral Sounds

Mossbridge et al (2012). Predictive physiological anticipation preceding seemingly unpredictable stimuli: a meta-analysis

You can also find a nice summary of the presentiment experiments in:

Radin, D. (2006). Entangled Minds - Extra Sesnory Experiences in a Quantum Reality. Paraview and Pocket Books, New York, NY.

Radin, D. (1997). The Conscious Universe - The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena. HarperCollins, New York, NY.

Thursday, 26 June 2014 08:53

Presentiment in Mainstream Science?

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Two recent publications in mainstream journals may have found and reported on something that those in the parapsychology field - Presentiment - an intuitive feeling about the future, especially one of foreboding. Parapsychological researchers have been doing studies on this phenomenon for many years. The studies showed the presentiment effect in skin conductance, heart rate, EEG measures and fMRI.

Here are the references to the two most recent studies:

 

Spontaneous Neural Fluctuations Predict Decisions to Attend

Jesse J. Bengson, Todd A. Kelley, Xiaoke Zhang, Jane-Ling Wang, and George R. Mangun

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, , Vol. 0, No. 0 , Pages 1-7
(doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_00650)

Ongoing variability in neural signaling is an intrinsic property of the brain. Often this variability is considered to be noise and ignored. However, an alternative view is that this variability is fundamental to perception and cognition and may be particularly important in decision-making. Here, we show that a momentary measure of occipital alpha-band power (8–13 Hz) predicts choices about where human participants will focus spatial attention on a trial-by-trial basis. This finding provides evidence for a mechanistic account of decision-making by demonstrating that ongoing neural activity biases voluntary decisions about where to attend within a given moment.

 

Spontaneous fluctuations in neural responses to heartbeats predict visual detection

Hyeong-Dong Park,1, Stéphanie Correia,1, Antoine Ducorps2, & Catherine Tallon-Baudry1,

Nature NeuroscienceVolume: 17,Pages:612–618Year published: (2014)DOI:doi:10.1038/nn.3671 Received 18 November 2013 Accepted 05 February 2014 Published online 09 March 2014

Spontaneous fluctuations of ongoing neural activity substantially affect sensory and cognitive performance. Because bodily signals are constantly relayed up to the neocortex, neural responses to bodily signals are likely to shape ongoing activity. Here, using magnetoencephalography, we show that in humans, neural events locked to heartbeats before stimulus onset predict the detection of a faint visual grating in the posterior right inferior parietal lobule and the ventral anterior cingulate cortex, two regions that have multiple functional correlates and that belong to the same resting-state network. Neither fluctuations in measured bodily parameters nor overall cortical excitability could account for this finding. Neural events locked to heartbeats therefore shape visual conscious experience, potentially by contributing to the neural maps of the organism that might underlie subjectivity. Beyond conscious vision, our results show that neural events locked to a basic physiological input such as heartbeats underlie behaviorally relevant differential activation in multifunctional cortical areas.

Here is a list of publications for the parapsychological studies from Dean Radin's website (http://www.deanradin.com/evidence/evidence.htm):

Spottiswoode & May (2003). Skin Conductance Prestimulus Response: Analyses, Artifacts and a Pilot Study

Radin (2004).  Electrodermal presentiments of future emotions. 

McCraty et al (2004). Electrophysiological Evidence of Intuition: Part 1. The Surprising Role of the Heart

McCraty et al (2004). Electrophysiological Evidence of Intuition: Part 2. A System-Wide Process?

Radin & Borges (2009). Intuition through time: What does the seer see?

Radin et al (2011). Electrocortical activity prior to unpredictable stimuli in meditators and non-meditators.

Radin (2011). Predicting the Unpredictable: 75 Years of Experimental Evidence

Tressoldi et al (2011). Let Your Eyes Predict : Prediction Accuracy of Pupillary Responses to Random Alerting and Neutral Sounds

Mossbridge et al (2012). Predictive physiological anticipation preceding seemingly unpredictable stimuli: a meta-analysis

You can also find a nice summary of the presentiment experiments in:

Radin, D. (2006). Entangled Minds - Extra Sesnory Experiences in a Quantum Reality. Paraview and Pocket Books, New York, NY.

Radin, D. (1997). The Conscious Universe - The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena. HarperCollins, New York, NY.

Monday, 02 June 2014 19:22

The Truth About Orbs Featured

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Note: This article originally appeared in Investigating The Haunted – Ghost Hunting Taken to the Next Level [1]. It has been revised and updated with new information as of June 2014.

Orbs here, there and everywhere!

Eventually you will stumble across the topic of orbs no matter where you go for paranormal information. Orbs were and still are a hot topic of debate among paranormal investigators. There are a variety of hypotheses on what they are, where they come from and why they are captured on cameras. Paranormal explanations include ghosts, spirits, angels, fairies and poltergeists [2-5]. At the opposite end are those explanations that are very natural and include dust, bugs, water vapor and/or artifacts created by the digital camera itself [6-7].

While debate continues between the hardcore believers and skeptics, what does the published literature tells us about the real origin and causes of orbs?

There are three main views on orbs [8]:

  1. The rationalist view – All orbs have a natural explanation.

  2. Minority belief – Some orbs have a natural explanation while others have a paranormal explanation.

  3. Rejection-of-rationalism – All orbs are paranormal.

 

Those who hold the rationalist view believe that all orbs have a natural explanation and there is no link to the paranormal. Natural causes of orbs include:

 

  1. Stray reflections (often from a high powered flash close to the lens) from shiny objects in the environment are re-reflected off of the lens surface. This can even occur without a flash! All it takes is just a light source and/or shiny object that reflect light into the camera lens.

  2. There is diffraction from the flash reflecting off of dust, dirt, pollen or other particles near but not on the lens [7].

  3. The phenomenon known as ‘blooming.’ This is the bleed-over from one pixel to another [9]. This is mainly attributed to the older and lower mega pixel digital cameras.

  4. The Association for Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP) determined that orbs are light reflected off of an object near the lens and are within a small angle between the digital camera’s flash or IR light on a video camera. This area close to the lens and flash and at a certain angle has been termed the Orb Zone [8, 11-12].

 

Support for the Orb Zone theory comes from two studies done by researchers in the UK. The results were [8, 12].

 

  1. There was no difference in the number of orb photos between haunted and non-haunted locations.

  2. Increasing the depth of field increased the number of orbs.

  3. There were more orbs while using a flash in low light conditions compared to not using a flash under the same conditions.

  4. Increasing the distance of the flash from the camera lens resulted in fewer orbs.

  5. The 35mm film camera had fewer orb pictures then digital camera pictures.

  6. There were fewer orbs when using a higher mega pixel setting versus a low mega pixel setting.

 

One can see that the data strongly supports the view that all orbs are not paranormal and most can be attributed to natural causes. However, these studies could not definitively rule out the possibility that some orbs are paranormal in nature and a number paranormal investigators claim that a small minority of orbs (1 to 2%) could have a paranormal causation. Therefore, more research with a new approach was needed.

Steven Parsons of Para.Science devised a novel experiment utilizing stereo photography to test the hypothesis that orbs are nothing more than airborne matter that reflect the light of the flash back toward the camera (i.e. proof of the Orb Zone hypothesis) [13]. If an orb was seen in only one picture of the stereo pair and not the other then that would indicate the source of the orb producing material was in the angle of the view between the flash and the lens and it was close to the lens (in the Orb Zone). However, if the orb showed up in both pictures and in the exact same location then the object was outside of the Orb Zone and other origins of the orb should be considered.

Parsons used a Fujifilm W1 3D camera for the experiment. The stereo pairs of the two pictures were identical with regard to flash and flash settings, image systems and exposure. The only difference was in the parallax – the displacement of difference in apparent position of an object viewed along two different lines of sight.

1,870 stereo pairs of pictures were taken at a variety of haunted locations and 1,000 pictures were taken at non-haunted locations. In the haunted locations, 491 pairs had an orb in the right or left picture only and 139 pairs contained an orb in both pictures but not in the same place. The results were the same in the non-haunted locations. The data supported the Orb Zone hypothesis and indicates that orbs have a natural cause.

Parsons also noted that if the 1-2% of orb pictures were paranormal, as claimed by ghost hunters and paranormal groups, then approximately 6 to 12 paired photos in the study should have been potentially paranormal (i.e. an orb would have appeared in both images in the same location). This was not the case. None of the pictures indicated a paranormal causation for orbs.

There is enough evidence to now indicate that orbs found in digital photos have natural explanations. With that being said, paranormal investigators and ghost hunters will still get orb pictures simply based on the nature of the equipment used. These naturally caused orb photos can be reduced by:

 

  1. Moving the flash away from the lens.

  2. Controlling the environment – dust, moisture, reflective surfaces, etc…

  3. Using an antireflective lens coatings [14].

  4. Using baffles to trap stray reflections within the lens [15].

It looks like there is now enough evidence to put the digital paranormal orb photo debate to rest…RIP digital paranormal orbs!

 

References

1) Lauer & Schumacher (2007). Investigating The Haunted – Ghost Hunting Taken to the Next Level. Bloomington, IN: Xlibris Corporation.

2) Chambers (Ed.). (2007). Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained. Edinburgh: Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd.

3) Cooper & Crosswell (2007). Ascension Through Orbs. Forres, Scotland: Findhorn Press.

4) Hall & Pickering (2006). Beyond Photography. Encounters with Orbs, Angels and Light Forms. Hants: O Books.

5) Heinemann & Ledwith (2007). The Orb Project. New York, NY: Atria Books – Simon and Schuster.

6) Radford (2007). Skeptical Inquiree, 31.5 URL http://www.csicop.org/si/show/nonmysterious_orbs/

7) Schwartz & Creath (2005). Journal of Scientific Exploration, 19(3), 343-358.

8) Wood (2007). PSI Journal of Investigative Psychical Research, 3(1), 10-18.

9) Hannemyr (2007). Imaging Defects: Blooming URL http://hannemyr.com/photo/defects.html#bloom

10)  UKParanormal (2007). Orbs, what the hell are they? URL http://www.ukparanormal.co.uk/Orbs.html

11) http://www.p-s-i.org.uk/orbs-2-1.htm

12) Wood (2005). Journal of Investigative Psychical Research, 1(1), 10-15.

13) Parsons (2014). Paranthropology: Journal of Anthropological Approaches to the Paranormal. 5(2), 44-49.

14) Macleod, H.A. (1986). Thin Film Optical Filters. (2nd edition) (Chapter 3)

15) Breault, R.P. (1995). Handbook of Optics. (Volume 1) (Chapter 38)

 

 

 

Does psi exist? Is there evidence to support the notion of precognition? Can we see into the future? These are some the questions that parapsychologists have been asking and researching for over 130 years.

The last four years have seen a renewed interest in the field and a renewed debate due to the publication of a precognition experiment in a major widely respected research journal.

The following is a recap of the studies and meta-analyses that have been conducted and published since 2011.

In 2011 Daryl Bem published the following article, “Feeling the Future: Experimental Evidence for Anomalous Retroactive Influences on Cognition and Affect.” This article described nine studies with over 1,000 participants in the area of anomalous retroactive influence (i.e.: precognition). The experiments were simple, participants were from the general population, there was no specialized instrumentation, each session took less than 30 minutes and the statistical analysis was nothing more than a t-test.

All but one of the studies obtained statistically significant results. The overall results were Stouffer’s Z=6.66; p=1.34x10-11; mean effect size d=0.22. p values less than 0.01 or 0.05 are typical for rejecting the null hypothesis of an experiment. Therefore, this result would indicate a very strong presumption against the null hypothesis or another way to say it - strong evidence for precognition [1].

This study was immediately presented by parapsychologists and believers of evidence of psi. Other researchers and skeptics criticized the study methodology, analysis and interpretation [2, 3]. Bem later replied and defended his study and data [4]. Other scientists attempted to replicate some of Bem’s work, but failed [5-7]. The debate continued and a registry was created to track the attempts to replicate Bem’s experiments [8].

Then in 2012, a meta-analysis was done covering 26 experiments from 1978 to 2010. The overall results were Z= 6.9 ;p < 2.7 × 10-12; and mean Effect Size of 0.21 [9]. This data would again lean in favor of psi.

Now, in 2014, Bem et. al. [10] have submitted a meta-analysis of 90 experiments dealing with precognition (or as the title of the paper prefers to say, “Anomalous Anticipation of Random Future Events”). The overall results of this analysis were: a Hedges’ g of 0.09 (another way to express effect size), Z= 6.33; p = 1.2 × 10-10.

So, where does this leave us? Some studies showed positive results, while others gave negative results. The meta-analyses make a strong case for something anomalous occurring in these studies and give credence to precognition. No matter what the final decision is on precognition and psi phenomena, it is encouraging to see a data based debate is occurring and the scientific method is being applied to find the answers!

References

1. Bem, D. (2011). Feeling the Future: Experimental Evidence for Anomalous Retroactive Influences of Cognition and Affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 100 (3), 407-425.

2. Alcock, J. (2011). Back From the Future: Parapsychology and the Bem Affair. http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/back_from_the_future

3. Wagenmakers, E., Wetzels, R., Borsboom, D., & van der Maas, H. (2011). Why psychologists must change the way they analyze their data: the case of psi: comment on Bem (2011). Journal of personality and social psychology 100 (3): 426–32.Cite uses deprecated parameters (help)

4. Bem, D., Utts J, & Johnson, W. (2011). Must psychologists change the way they analyze their data? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 101 (4): 716–719.

5. Ritchie, S., Wiseman, R., French, C.., & Gilbert, S. (2012). Failing the Future: Three Unsuccessful Attempts to Replicate Bem's 'Retroactive Facilitation of Recall' Effect. In Gilbert, Sam. PLoS ONE 7 (3): e33423.

6. Frazier, K. (2013). Failure to Replicate Results of Bem Parapsychology Experiments Published by Same Journal. Failure to Replicate Results of Bem Parapsychology Experiments Published by Same Journal. csicop.org. Vol. 37(2). Retrieved 13 May 2014. Available at http://www.csicop.org/si/show/failure_to_replicate_results_of_bem_parapsychology_experiments_published_by

7. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2001721

8. http://www.richardwiseman.com/BemReplications.shtml

9. Mossbridge, J., Tressoldi, P. & Utts, J. (2012). Predictive Physiological Anticipation Preceding Seemingly Unpredictable Stimuli: A Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in Psychology. 3 (390), 1-18.

10. Bem, D., Tressoldi, P., Rabeyron, T., & Duggan, M. (2014). Feeling the Future: A Meta-Analysis of 90 Experiments on the Anomalous Anticipation of Random Future Events (April 11, 2014). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2423692 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2423692

Monday, 24 March 2014 19:54

New Parapsychology Articles of Interest

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If you are a serious paranormal investigator then it is a good idea to keep up on the parapsychological literature. Here are a few recent articles of interest.

 

Smith, A.M. (2014). Voluntary out-of-body experience: an fMRI study. Front. Hum. Neurosci. Vol. 8 Article 70.

Abstract

The present single-case study examined functional brain imaging patterns in a participant that reported being able, at will, to produce somatosensory sensations that are experienced as her body moving outside the boundaries of her physical body all the while remaining aware of her unmoving physical body. We found that the brain functional changes associated with the reported extra-corporeal experience (ECE) were different than those observed in motor imagery. Activations were mainly left-sided and involved the left supplementary motor area and supramarginal and posterior superior temporal gyri, the last two overlapping with the temporal parietal junction that has been associated with out-of-body experiences. The cerebellum also showed activation that is consistent with the participant’s report of the impression of movement during the ECE. There was also left middle and superior orbital frontal gyri activity, regions often associated with action monitoring. The results suggest that the ECE reported here represents an unusual type of kinesthetic imagery.

Article can be downloaded here.

 

Cardena, E. (2014). A call for open informed study of all aspects of consciousness. Front. Hum. Neurosci. Vol. 8, Article 17.

Article can be downloaded here.

 

Roll et. al. (2012). Case report: A prototypical experience of ‘poltergeist’ activity, conspicuous quantitative electroencephalographic patterns, and sLORETA profiles – Suggestions for interventions

Abstract

People who report objects moving in their presence, unusual sounds, glows around other people, and multiple sensed presences but do not meet the criteria for psychiatric disorders have been shown to exhibit electrical anomalies over the right temporal lobes. This article reports the striking quantitative electroencephalography, sLORETA results, and experimental elicitation of similar subjective experiences in a middle-aged woman who has been distressed by these classic phenomena that began after a head injury. She exhibited a chronic electrical anomaly over the right temporoinsular region. The rotation of a small pinwheel near her while she ‘concentrated’ upon it was associated with increased coherence between the left and right temporal lobes and concurrent activation of the left prefrontal region. The occurrence of the unusual phenomena and marked ‘sadness’ was associated with increased geomagnetic activity; she reported a similar mood when these variations were simulated experimentally. Our quantitative measurements suggest people displaying these experiences and possible anomalous energies can be viewed clinically and potentially treated.

Article can be downloaded here.

 

 

 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 01:39

Investigating the Investigator

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Investigating the Investigators

Ghost Hunting and Paranormal Groups Examined

 

The 21st century has seen an explosion in the number of ghost hunting and paranormal investigation groups. This massive growth in groups and investigators was and continues to be fueled by various reality shows such as Ghost Hunters, a variety of affordable paranormal investigation equipment, the internet and a plethora of haunted locations (both public and private) that these seekers of paranormal activity can investigate.

There is a long list of parapsychology studies in the peer reviewed literature dealing with ghosts and hauntings. However, this is dwarfed by the number of pictures, videos, audio recordings, investigation reports, equipment lists, podcasts, etc… that are found on ghost hunting and paranormal investigation websites.

So, why not have researchers investigate the investigators?

Well, that is exactly what has been done in the past three years.

Below are three studies that examine ghost hunting and paranormal investigation groups in regards to beliefs, practices, equipment used, goals, services, types of people who are part of ghost hunting and paranormal research groups, general procedures and how groups utilize the word ‘science’ and present themselves.

 

Schumacher, Dave. (2013). Paranormal Beliefs of Those Involved in the Ghost Hunting and Paranormal Investigation Field. Paranormal Research Group – Anomalous Research Department.

Pdf report available at: http://www.paranormalresearchgroup.com/images/PDFs/Beliefs_Study_Short_Report.pdf

Here is the quoted text from the Conclusions and Discussion section.

“There was a high level of experiences and belief in ghost and haunt phenomena among those who are interested in and involved in the ghost hunting and paranormal investigation field. The individual Extraordinary Belief Inventory statements that had the highest frequency of the “7 - Strongly Agree” response were those dealing with a supreme being, life after death, spirits can communicate with the living, immortal soul, ESP, haunted buildings and ghosts. The individual Extraordinary Belief Inventory statements that had the highest frequency of the “1 - Strongly Disagree” response were those dealing with luck.

There were statistically significant differences in the six types of paranormal beliefs with spirits and psychic experiences having the highest levels of belief and creatures and luck having the lowest levels of belief.

These results were expected because of the websites, boards and e-mail lists where survey participants were recruited from as they were mainly focused on ghosts and hauntings. However, they did have information and areas for religion, cryptozoology and skeptics.”

Observations and Comments:

  • Belief on one type of paranormal phenomena does not mean there is belief in other types of paranormal phenomena.
  • The high level of belief in ghosts and hauntings is interesting since many ghost hunters and paranormal researchers indicate that they are open minded, are seeking the truth, have not made a decision if ghosts exist or not and are driven by science and the scientific method. These high levels of beliefs could present a potential bias when investigating and interpreting experiences and data.
  •  

    Duffy, Rick. (2012). Survey of Paranormal Research and Ghost Hunting Groups. Independent Investigations Group, Colorado.

    Pdf report available at: http://iigcolorado.org/sites/default/files/IIGSurvey2012.pdf

    Excel raw data file available at: http://iigcolorado.org/sites/default/files/IIGSurvey2012.xls

    Here is the quoted text from Section 3 General Observations.

    “Responses sometimes varied quite a bit, and the actual questions and breakout of responses fill out most of the rest of this report. Below are some generalizations of those responses.

    Most group names include a local city or area identifier, along with the words Paranormal, Research, Ghost, Investigations, or Society. The most common group was founded 5-6 years ago with 4 people, and has since doubled in size. Their primary goal is to help people reporting strange occurrences, along with conducting investigations and research, and educating others and themselves. Some also have the goal of helping ghosts. Roles include a founder, investigators, technical specialists, and case managers. Many also have psychics or sensitives. While most groups have no specific new goals for the future, they hope to continue what they are doing now, and feel they get better at what they do over time.

    Most groups do not consider themselves a business, have not registered a trade name, are not insured, and are not registered as a non-profit organization. The average group spends $1000 a year, and does not charge for their services, or collect membership fees. They have no overall group religious identity, though 41% of the groups indicated their members have been blessed or prayed over during an investigation, and about half have encountered activity they felt was evil. Few have ever encountered anyone they would consider possessed, but those who have often then seek aid from Catholic clergy.

    Most members are 20 to 40 years old, though there are older members, but few under 20, and few retirees. Occupations are roughly similar to the US population, with heavier concentrations in photography, writing, and the media industry, and life, physical, and social sciences, and lighter participation in office support, food preparation, and installer/maintainers. Potential new members contact groups out of the blue, often due to information about the group on the web. While groups value any education or training their members may bring, there are not generally any specific educational requirements to becoming a member. Most training occurs in-house by other team members.

    Groups rarely investigate in cemeteries. The most common locations are private residences. When a client contacts the group with concerns about possible paranormal activity, the group begins to collect more information and to determine the next step. Often an investigation is recommended. Occasionally a group will also recommend the client keep a journal to document any unusual disturbances.

    The typical group has performed at least 70 total investigations, and now performs about 2 per month. Investigating with another group is uncommon. Investigations usually occur in the evening into the morning hours, since that is when the client requests, or the activity is reported, and since that is the time that conflicts least with the investigators outside work schedules. Nighttime (with the lights off) also is said to be beneficial because of less environmental noise (sounds, light, and so on), and because some of the equipment used works best in the dark. The most common equipment used is audio/video, EMF detectors, thermometers, and IR or night vision technology. Very few groups use things like dowsing rods, religious items, or Ouija boards.

    Actually finding something a group would consider paranormal does not happen every time, but it does occur at least half the time. About half the groups have encountered clients they felt should seek psychological help.”

    Observations and Comments:

  • First, make sure you download and read the pdf report and the Excel file with the raw data. The data is informative, surprising and will cause one to pause and perhaps evaluate and re-evaluate what their group is doing and why. The next few observations and my comments are on those things that particularly peaked my interest.
  • Goals of the group: 95% help people; 94% conduct research; 85% educate others; 72% answer personal questions about the paranormal; and 21% develop or be on a TV show. The top four goals are impressive and will lead to increasing the credibility of investigators. However, proper methods must be used to conduct research and good information must be provided to people.
  • Describe what the group does: 63% investigate/research; 58% help people; 31% educate others; 20% try to find other explanations; 9% document; 8% help spirits or cleanse or clear; 5% public events and fund raise; and 3% collect stories or legends.
  • Plans for the future: 42% continue doing what they are currently doing; 21% help people and investigate more; 18% educate others; 18% legitimize the field and/or find proof; 13% increase TV, radio, web and/or film presence; 12% educate themselves; 2% fix group problems; 2% increase income; 1% join TAPS; and 1% publish book.
  • Investigation goals: 85% help those experiencing paranormal phenomena; 75% conduct research; 73% collect evidence; 54% help ghosts or spirits; and 28% have fun. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have fun. Just make sure that the locations investigated will meet that purpose. If conducting investigations of private residences one needs to make sure that the best interest of the clients are the main consideration.
  • Training or education required for those joining a group: 39% in-house training; 17% no training; 14% hands-on; 8% read; 7% degrees; 3% research or scientific methods; 2% parapsychology; and 1% psychology.
  • Training provided to members: 35% in-house; 24% hands-on; 21% generic – must be trained; 19% research on-line; 9% little or none; 7% outside experts; 6% instrument manuals; and 2% manufacturer training. For this point and the one before it - 17% requiring no training is a concern. Even though there are no experts in the field, there has to be some level of training and/or expertise in some area. Considering how much parapsychology and psychology are involved in this field it is surprising there is not more training in these areas. It would also be very beneficial to thoroughly read and understand any equipment manuals.
  • Services offered by groups: 37% teach classes; 36% cleansings; 27% guide spirit onward; 24%  blessings; 18% tours; 15% spiritual protection; and 4% exorcism.
  • When do investigations take place: 44% best for client or when activity occurs; 30% best for investigator’s schedule; 18% more activity occur at night; 16% activity occurs in the day as well; and 1% more fun in the dark. The vast majority of investigations should take place during the time activity is reported to occur.
  • 61% listed private residences as very common investigation locations. If the goal of the group and the investigation is to help people and conduct research then this is ok. If there are any other goals then perhaps investigating locations other than private residences would be better.
  • Lighting conditions: 49% dark; 21% greater than half the time in the dark; 13% lights sometime on and sometimes off;  and 5% lights on more than off. Again, investigations should be done at the time and under the conditions that activity has been reported to occur.
  • 0% reported experiences when the lights were on most of the time. Interesting since there are numerous reports of paranormal experiences occurring during times when it was light outside and/or the lights were on inside.
  • Environmental conditions groups consider when investigating: 74% age of structure and/or location; 70% weather; 57% water in area; 41% phase of the moon; 38% solar activity; 6% astrology; 7% toxins, gases, chemicals; 5% mineral and geology; 3% EMF; 3% history; 1% client beliefs; 1% geomagnetism; and 1% ion levels.
  • Tools used every time: 94% audio; 79% video; 77% EMF detector; 66% thermometer; 54% Infra-red/night vision; 35% spirit flashlight; 26% EVP box; 13% spirit application; 10% EM pumps; 8% dowsing rods; 7% seismometer; 1% Geiger counter; 1% magnetometer; and 1% RF detector. Considering the amount of peer reviewed published studies showing the various correlations between EMF, geomagnetism, radiation and ion levels and paranormal experiences, it would seem these areas would be focused on by more groups and researchers and more of the equipment that measures these things would be used. Unproven and questionable
  • Encountered a possessed person: 11% yes; 80% no.
  • What did the group do when they encountered a possessed person: 45% help from the catholic clergy; 36% performed a cleansing or deliverance; 18% prayer or blessing; ad 9% got help from others. Possession symptoms could certainly be indicative of various psychological and medical conditions. Therefore, involvement of psychologists, therapists and/or medical doctors is highly recommended.
  • Paranormal activity found: 39% rarely; 31% about half the time; 21% more than half the time; 4% every time; and 2% never. These groups must have great luck in finding locations with paranormal activity. After 20 years involved in paranormal research and investigation I would say only about 5% to 10% of the locations investigated had activity that could not be explained naturally.
  •  

    Hill, Sharon. (2010). Being Scientifical: Popularity, Purpose and Promotion of Amateur Research and Investigation Groups in the U.S. A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University at Buffalo, State University of New York in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Education (EdM).

    Pdf Report available at: http://idoubtit.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/hill_arigs_being_scientifical_thesis.pdf

    Here is the quoted abstract from the study.

    “21st century television and the Internet are awash in content regarding amateur paranormal investigators and research groups. These groups proliferated after reality investigation programs appeared on television. Exactly how many groups are active in the U.S. at any time is not known. The Internet provides an ideal means for people with niche interests to find each other and organize activities. This study collected information from 1000 websites of amateur research and investigation groups (ARIGs) to determine their location, area of inquiry, methodology and, particularly, to determine if they state that they use science as part of their mission, methods or goals. 57.3% of the ARIGs examined specifically noted or suggested use of science as part of the groups’ approach to investigation and research. Even when not explicit, ARIGs often used science-like language, symbols and methods to describe their groups’ views or activities. Yet, non-scientific and subjective methods were described as employed in conjunction with objective methods. Furthermore, what were considered scientific processes by ARIGs did not match with established methods and the ethos of the scientific research community or scientific processes of investigation. ARIGs failed to display fundamental understanding regarding objectivity, methodological naturalism, peer review, critical thought and theoretical plausibility. The processes of science appear to be mimicked to present a serious and credible reputation to the non-scientific public. These processes are also actively promoted in the media and directly to the local public as “scientific”. These results highlight the gap between the scientific community and the lay public regarding the understanding of what it means to do science and what criteria are necessary to establish reliable knowledge about the world.”

    Observations and Comments:

  • This study was written with a skeptical approach.
  • It is important to realize that using ‘scientific equipment’ does not mean that real science is being done. Using the scientific method involves developing a hypothesis, designing an experiment, collecting the data, interpreting the data and modifying the hypothesis as needed.
  • Data collected during investigations needs to be published so others can review and evaluate it.
  • Certain methods and/or equipment are used because they give positive results. Those pieces of equipment that give negative results are not used. Investigation data generated from equipment that gives positive or negative results should collected and published. Negative results can be just as important as positive results. This will also reduce the amount of bias.
  • Some equipment and methods are used just because others use them. The type of equipment or methods used should be utilized in order to answer a specific question and/or to evaluate a specific condition that may or may not be contributing to the phenomena being investigated.
  • The Long Awaited SWPRG film, "Ghosts of Door County" has finally been released!!!  For those of you not familiar with the film, the SWPRG (PRG) traveled to Wisconsin's picturesque Door County peninsula to dig deep into the area's haunted past.

    Ghost stories abound in this historic area, yet ten locations stand above the rest as the most notorious supernatural hot-spots. Armed with an assortment of high-tech devices and years of experience, the team sets out to determine if these locations are truly haunted or merely the birthplace of ghostly legends.

    In the end, what they find will challenge everything you've come to believe about the nature of these unearthly phenomena. Remember, legends have to come from someplace ...

    View the TRAILER, the BEHIND THE SCENES TRAILER and the Official GODC Website HERE.  

                                        PURCHASE THE LONG AWAITED FILM, HERE

    If you are interested in real parapsychological research and information then this is the conference for you!

    Conference Information and Registration

    56th Annual Convention
    of the Parapsychological Association

    Viterbo, Italy

    August 8-11, 2013

    The Parapsychological Association (PA), will be holding its 56th annual convention on August 8-11, 2013 at the Ora Domus La Quercia in Viterbo, Italy. Leading scientists and other academics from around the world will gather to present the latest research into psi and related phenomena, such as extra-sensory perception, psychokinesis, psychic healing, altered states of consciousness, mediumship and possible survival of bodily death. 

    The site of the PA convention, the Ora Domus La Quercia hotel, is the former convent of the Sanctuary of Saint Maria della Quercia on the Via Francigena, a major route leading to Rome from Canterbury which in the past was used by thousands of pilgrims on their way to Rome.  Constructed between 1470 and 1525, the hotel still maintains its Renaissance elegance and is steeped in local history.

    The PA Board has invited Dr. Simon Thorpe to deliver the J.B. Rhine address on Saturday evening of the convention. Dr. Thorpe is the research director of the Brain and Cognitive Research Center (CerCo) at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Toulouse, France. He will be speaking on the possible implications of psi for cognitive neuroscience and thinking about the nature of mind and consciousness. 

    The PA convention will offer an opportunity for attendees interested in that wide range of human functioning popularly known as the ‘psychic’ or ‘paranormal’ to hear the latest and most advanced scientific thinking about parapsychological topics.  This page will be updated with more details as they become available.

     

    A residual haunting, or the more recent term of place memory, is a paranormal hypothesis in which the environment (being a location or object) can record highly emotional (both good and bad) events. The activity is imprinted on the environment much like an image or sound is recorded on a video or audiotape. Those events with higher emotional content seem to be recorded and perceived better. Then, under the right environmental conditions (magnetic fields, electrical charge, weather, or who knows what) and with the right person, the recorded event is re-played and perceived. You can simply think of it as a looped video playing over and over again.

    The identifying characteristics are:

    • The phenomenon is independent of the people in the location. There is no interaction at all between the ghost and the living.
    • It can go on for decades if not centuries.
    • It almost never includes object movement.
    • People can experience visual, auditory, olfactory (smell), and/or kinesthetic (feeling or a sense) phenomena.
    • Apparitions witnessed in a residual haunting are different than the true “dead guy” apparitions (see the next section). The apparitions in a residual haunting are more appropriately referred to as pseudo-apparitions or apparition-like phenomena.
    • One person, a few people, or all people in a group may experience the phenomena.

    There is little acceptance of the residual haunting phenomena outside of the paranormal and ghost hunting community. The lack of solid repeatable data in mainstream science seems to be the problematic issue.

    The main challenges to the hypothesis are:

    1) Can human emotions affect the environment?

    2) What is it in the environment that actually serves as the recording medium?

    3) Is there a residual event that is truly residual and repeatable?

    The following studies provide data to address the above challenges.

     

    Blasband, R.A. (2000). The Ordering of Random Events by Emotional Expression. Journal of Scientific Exploration. Vol. 14(2). 195-216. Article

    This study shows that a patient’s emotions in a biopsychiatric therapy setting can affect the output of a Random Event Generator (REG). Therefore, it seems as if human emotions can affect the environment.

     

    Radin, D., Taft, R. and Yount, G. (2004). Effects of Healing Intention on Cultured Cells and Truly Random Events. The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine. Vol. 10(1). 103-112. Article

    This study shows that intentional healing and space conditioning affected the output of a Random Number Generator (RNG) and the effect was still seen when there was not active intentional healing and space conditioning being conducted in the environment. Evidence of a residual effect!

     

    Persinger, M.A. and Dotta, B.T. (2011). Temporal Patterns of Photon Emissions Can Be Stored and Retrieved Several Days Later From the “Same Space”: Experimental and Quantitative Evidence. NeuroQuantology. Vol. 9(4). 605-613. Article

    This study shows that photon emissions from a hydrogen peroxide-hypochlorite reaction can be entangled in time and space and can be ‘stored’ and retrieved long after the event took place when in the presence of complex magnetic fields (and no they can’t be detected with a KII Meter). This shows that ‘events’ could be stored just within space itself under complex magnetic fields and there doesn’t need to be a substrate such as quartz, house structures, furniture, etc. Pages 610 to 612 are especially worthwhile reading!

     

     

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