“Daryl Bem Proved ESP Is Real” – (Slate)

He . . . proved . . .WHAT?!

When Firefox’s pocket feature showed me the headline, my eyebrow must have raised by an inch. Huh?!

As it turns out, I’m late in finding this article, written by and published by Slate on June 7th, 2017. Even if I am almost 4 years late in addressing this, now seems as good a time as any.

So let’s get to it.

“Well, extrasensory perception, also called ESP, is when you can perceive things that are not immediately available in space or time,” Bem said. “So, for example, when you can perceive something on the other side of the world, or in a different room, or something that hasn’t happened yet.”

It occurred to Wu that the flyer might have been a trick. What if she and the other women were themselves the subjects of Bem’s experiment? What if he were testing whether they’d go along with total nonsense?

“I know this sounds kind of out there,” Wu remembers Bem saying, “but there is evidence for ESP, and I really believe it. But I don’t need you to believe it. In fact, it’s better if you don’t. It’s better if I can say, ‘Even my staff don’t believe in this.’ ”

As Bem went on, Wu began to feel more at ease. He seemed genuine and kind, and he wasn’t trying to convert her to his way of thinking. OK, so maybe there’s going to be a you-got-punked moment at the end of this, she thought, but at least this guy will pay me.



Uh . . .

I’m already reminded of all those popular ghost hunting shows I’ve thoroughly developed a hatred for. Well, except for Buzzfeed’s Unsolved Series. Because Shane and Ryan are hilarious.

Anyway, I already don’t like the way this is being presented.

1.) Specifically, the usage of the word Believe. I believe, you don’t have to believe . . . IT DOES NOT MATTER!

There is either fact or speculation. Belief should have NOTHING to do with the process. Because you don’t need belief when you have facts and data.

2.) When studying ANY area of the paranormal, it is never wise to use people knowledgeable of either the phenomenon you are studying OR the test you are running. Because even if you and all the participants THINK they are rational enough to not be fooled by their imagination, there is no way to affirm this. To bring the Artificial Intelligence conversation into this realm, our brains are the ULTIMATE black box. Given our imagination in combination with our inability to understand the basics of what drives the majority of our decision making, humans knowledgable of the experiment are contaminated from the get-go.

If there is too be accurate and trusted measures of paranormal phenomena, they will have to be run in conjunction with an alternative distraction (such as a contest!). Reality TV is littered with potential ideas.

In truth, Bem had no formal funding for his semisecret research program. For nearly a decade, he’d been paying undergraduates like Wu out of his own pocket, to help him demonstrate that we all possess some degree of precognition—a subtle sense of what will happen in the future. He rarely came into the lab himself, so he’d leave his lab assistants an envelope stuffed with bills. They dispensed $5 from the kitty to each subject they ran through the experiment.

For the rest of that semester and into the one that followed, Wu and the other women tested hundreds of their fellow undergrads. Most of the subjects did as they were told, got their money, and departed happily. A few students—all of them white guys, Wu remembers—would hang around to ask about the research and to probe for flaws in its design. Wu still didn’t believe in ESP, but she found herself defending the experiments to these mansplaining guinea pigs. The methodology was sound, she told them—as sound as that of any other psychology experiment.

That is undoubtedly an eyebrow-raiser of a paragraph. We don’t hear about the experiment, but we DO hear a very pointed allegation. One of which hardly seems worth noting if the techniques utilized are genuinely sound.

There will always be idiots. We all know this. Why give them airtime they clearly don’t deserve?

In the spring of 2010, not long after Wu signed on, Bem decided he’d done enough to prove his claim. In May, he wrote up the results of his 10-year study and sent them off to one of his field’s most discerning peer-reviewed publications, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. (JPSP turns away some 85 percent of all submissions, making its acceptance rate comparable to that of the Cornell admissions office.) This was the same journal where Bem had published one of the first papers of his career, way back in 1965. Now he would return to JPSP with the most amazing research he’d ever done—that anyone had ever done, perhaps. It would be the capstone to what had already been a historic 50-year career.

Having served for a time as an associate editor of JPSP, Bem knew his methods would be up to snuff. With about 100 subjects in each experiment, his sample sizes were large. He’d used only the most conventional statistical analyses. He’d double- and triple-checked to make sure there were no glitches in the randomization of his stimuli.

Even with all that extra care, Bem would not have dared to send in such a controversial finding had he not been able to replicate the results in his lab, and replicate them again, and then replicate them five more times. His finished paper lists nine separate ministudies of ESP. Eight of those returned the same effect.

Bem’s 10-year investigation, his nine experiments, his thousand subjects—all of it would have to be taken seriously. He’d shown, with more rigor than anyone ever had before, that it might be possible to see into the future. Bem knew his research would not convince the die-hard skeptics. But he also knew it couldn’t be ignored.

Enough with the drama. Get to the bloody point.

When the study went public, about six months later, some of Bem’s colleagues guessed it was a hoax. Other scholars, those who believed in ESP—theirs is a small but fervent field of study—saw his paper as validation of their work and a chance for mainstream credibility.

But for most observers, at least the mainstream ones, the paper posed a very difficult dilemma. It was both methodologically sound and logically insane. Daryl Bem had seemed to prove that time can flow in two directions—that ESP is real. If you bought into those results, you’d be admitting that much of what you understood about the universe was wrong. If you rejected them, you’d be admitting something almost as momentous: that the standard methods of psychology cannot be trusted, and that much of what gets published in the field—and thus, much of what we think we understand about the mind—could be total bunk.

If one had to choose a single moment that set off the “replication crisis” in psychology—an event that nudged the discipline into its present and anarchic state, where even textbook findings have been cast in doubt—this might be it: the publication, in early 2011, of Daryl Bem’s experiments on second sight.

The replication crisis as it’s understood today may yet prove to be a passing worry or else a mild problem calling for a soft corrective. It might also grow and spread in years to come, flaring from the social sciences into other disciplines, burning trails of cinder through medicine, neuroscience, and chemistry. It’s hard to see into the future. But here’s one thing we can say about the past: The final research project of Bem’s career landed like an ember in the underbrush and set his field ablaze.

I’m glad his fans are as humble as the man himself.

I am now about to wade into waters WAY more in-depth than I am accustomed to, so please bear with me. Though I lack any kind of degree, even I can’t help but criticize this hypothesis. Daryl Bem’s research notwithstanding, the replication crisis is a consequence of attempting to further solidify the credibility of our knowledge base. There can only be a crisis if the theories were shaky to start with (and thus should have been reviewed in the first place!). And aside from this:

Many of the papers that were retested contained multiple experiments. Only one experiment from each paper was tested. So these failed replications don’t necessarily mean the theory behind the original findings is totally bunk.


If you check out the Vox article, there are many reasons why it can be hard to replicate past experiments, not all of them involving malice.

Past studies didn’t break down because of some guy doing a self-driven analysis on a paranormal subject. They broke down because of scientists doing what scientists should be doing, and because science, the world, and human psychology, in particular, are deeply complex issues. When variables can be a moving target (such as the individual and collective human mind as time moves on and new technologies create adaptations), this is to be expected.

Scientists may not necessarily have been wrong. They just might not have grasped the entire picture yet. An issue of particular interest if this endpoint in itself keeps changing alongside our collective evolution.

Daryl Bem has always had a knack for not fitting in. When he was still in kindergarten—a gentle Jewish kid from Denver who didn’t care for sports—he was bullied so viciously that his family was forced to move to a different neighborhood. At the age of 7, he grew interested in magic shows, and by the time he was a teenager, he’d become infatuated with mentalism. Bem would perform tricks of mind-reading and clairvoyance for friends and classmates and make it seem as though he were telepathic.

As a student, Bem was both mercurial and brash. He started graduate school in physics at MIT, then quickly changed his mind, transferring to the University of Michigan to study as a social psychologist. While at Michigan, still in his early 20s and not yet in possession of his Ph.D., Bem took aim at the leading figure in his field, Leon Festinger. For his dissertation, Bem proposed a different explanation—one based on the old and out-of-fashion writings of behaviorist B.F. Skinner—for the data that undergirded Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance.

This would be Bem’s method throughout his career: He’d jab at established ways of thinking, rumble with important scholars, and champion some antique or half-forgotten body of research he felt had been ignored. Starting in the 1970s, he quarreled with famed personality psychologist Walter Mischel by proffering a theory of personality that dated to the 1930s. Later, Bem would argue against the biological theory of sexual orientation, favoring a developmental hypothesis that derived from “theoretical and empirical building blocks … already scattered about in the literature.”

An unorthodox man and thinker. There is nothing wrong with that.

So long as you can back it all up.

As a young professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Bem liked to close out each semester by performing as a mentalist. After putting on his show, he’d tell his students that he didn’t really have ESP. In class, he also stressed how easily people can be fooled into believing they’ve witnessed paranormal phenomena.

Around that time, Bem met Robert McConnell, a biophysicist at the University of Pittsburgh and an evangelist for ESP research. McConnell, the founding president of the Parapsychological Association, told Bem the evidence for ESP was in fact quite strong. He invited Bem to join him for a meeting with Ted Serios, a man who could supposedly project his thoughts onto Polaroid film. The magic was supposed to work best when Serios was inebriated. (The psychic called his booze “film juice.”) Bem spent some time with the drunken mind-photographer, but no pictures were produced. He was not impressed.

I should hope not.

Also, are we done with the biography yet?

In his skepticism about ESP, Bem for once was not alone. The 1970s marked a golden age for demystifying paranormal claims. James Randi, like Bem a trained stage magician, had made his name as a professional debunker by exposing the likes of Uri Geller. Randi subsequently took aim at researchers who studied ESP in the lab, sending a pair of stage performers into a well-funded parapsychology lab at Washington University in 1979. The fake psychics convinced the lab their abilities were real, and Randi did not reveal the hoax until 1983.

As debunkers rose to prominence, the field of psychical research wallowed in its own early version of the replication crisis. The laboratory evidence for ESP had begun to shrivel under careful scrutiny and sometimes seemed to disappear entirely when others tried to reproduce the same experiments. In October 1983, the Parapsychology Foundation held a conference in San Antonio, Texas, to address the field’s “repeatability problem.” What could be done to make ESP research more reliable, researchers asked, and more resilient to fraud?

A raft of reforms were proposed and implemented. Experimenters were advised to be wary of the classic test for “statistical significance,” for example, since it could often be misleading. They should avail themselves of larger groups of subjects, so they’d have sufficient power to detect a real effect. They should also attempt to replicate their work, ideally in adversarial collaborations with skeptics of the paranormal, and they should analyze the data from lots of different studies all at once, including those that had never gotten published. In short, the field of parapsychology decided to adopt the principles of solid scientific practice that had long been ignored by their mainstream academic peers.

Uh . . .good?

Props for getting into a position that you should have adopted in the first place?

As part of this bid to be taken seriously by the scientific establishment, a noted ESP researcher named Chuck Honorton asked Bem to visit his lab in Princeton, New Jersey. He thought he’d found strong evidence in favor of telepathy, and he wanted Bem to tell him why he might be wrong.

Bem didn’t have an answer. In 1983, the scientist and stage performer made a careful audit of the Honorton experiments. To his surprise, they appeared to be airtight. By then, Bem had already started to reconsider his doubts about the field, but this was something different. Daryl Bem had found his faith in ESP.

FINALLY, something non-biographical.


Daryl Bem may not have had an answer in regards to the Ganzfeld experiments, but a man named Ray Hyman certainly did.

First off, an explanation:

However, in ganzfeld, the idea is to instead provide homogenous stimuli. The subject, called the “receiver”, sits comfortably in a recliner, wearing headphones playing gentle white noise. The room is bathed in red light and the receiver wears translucent cups over the eyes, so all they see is a uniform, featureless red. They are relaxed and cozy. That’s the physical setting of the experiment. Two other people are involved: an experimenter and a “sender”. The sender, in an isolated room where they cannot be seen or heard by the receiver, concentrates for 30 minutes on a “target”, which is some object or video clip or something. Throughout the 30 minutes, the receiver is supposed to verbally recite what they see or imagine. The experimenter, who is also supposed to be isolated from both the sender and the receiver, records what the receiver says, and usually keeps notes about what they describe.

At the end of the 30 minutes, the receiver is shown the actual target upon which the sender was focusing, presented alongside with three other control objects. The receiver guesses which of the four most closely resembles their impressions during the ganzfeld session. Pure chance predicts a 25% hit rate. But ganzfeld experiments became famous within the parapsychology community because experimenters consistently found a significantly higher hit rate; closer to 35%.


And now Ray Hyman’s critique of the technique (from the same source as the previous):

The criticisms that Hyman found were inadequate randomization; sensory leakage (meaning that in some cases, the receivers could actually hear what was going on in the sender’s room next door; in others, it was possible for things like the sender’s fingerprints to be visible on the target object for the receiver to see); and inappropriate statistical analysis.

Mainly, Hyman felt that Honorton’s work suffered from a type of statistical complication called multiple testing. In a nutshell, multiple testing is when you take more and more variables into account between two groups; sooner or later you’re going to find more and more differences between them. These variables included the different ways that researchers had categorized the senders and receivers, cross referencing them to the results. They found that subjects were more likely to have positive results if they had been educated in a creative field; if they already had a strong belief in psychic powers; if they were extroverted; and if the experiment was conducted in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Hyman believed that the positive results reported by Honorton were due, at least in part, to multiple testing effects that inappropriately considered these types of variables.

He also mentions another phenomenon that I hadn’t previously heard of.

Hyman also found that the “file drawer effect” came into play, which is when studies are abandoned when they end up not showing any interesting results. Thus, the body of published work was inappropriately skewed to include those results which showed a positive result, which is going to happen sometimes simply due to random variances. Hyman figured that, working backwards and accounting for the degrees to which various weaknesses were present in each of the studies, the actual size of the effect was zero.

While some of this is over my head, I more or less understand what he is getting at. To put it one way, the results of this test can likely be influenced if proper attention isn’t given to various traits of participant’s personalities (dare I say, our black box brain strikes again?). While manipulation does not necessarily have to be intentional, the fact that it can be accomplished should serve as a cautionary warning to anyone viewing the results.


I may be knit picky. But I don’t like this.

  By then, Bem had already started to reconsider his doubts about the field, but this was something different. Daryl Bem had found his faith in ESP.

The word faith is like the word believe. I tend to recoil when I see it used anywhere near the realm of scientific inquiry. Again, maybe a tad nit-picky. However, words matter. As does keeping a 50-foot moat between fact and bullshit.

Not long after she was hired, Jade Wu found herself staring at a bunch of retro pornography: naked men with poofy mullets and naked girls with feathered hair. “I’m gay, so I don’t know what’s sexy for heterosexuals,” Bem had said, in asking for her thoughts. Wu didn’t want to say out loud that the professor’s porno pictures weren’t hot, so she lied: Yeah, sure, they’re erotic.

These would be the stimuli for the first of Bem’s experiments on ESP (or at least the first one to be reported in his published paper). Research subjects—all of them Cornell undergraduates—saw an image of a pair of curtains on a computer monitor. They were then prompted to guess which of the curtains concealed a hidden image. The trick was that the correct answer would be randomly determined only after the student made her choice. If she managed to perform better than chance, it would be evidence that she’d intuited the future.

Bem had a reason for selecting porn: He figured that if people did have ESP, then it would have to be an adaptive trait—a sixth sense that developed over millions of years of evolution. If our sixth sense really had such ancient origins, he guessed it would likely be attuned to our most ancient needs and drives. In keeping with this theory, he set up the experiment so that a subset of the hidden images would be arousing to the students. Would the premonition of a pornographic image encourage them to look behind the correct curtain?

This demonstration sounds a lot like starting from a preconceived conclusion, then working backwards to fill in the gaps. Not unlike the Ghost Hunters, who enter a home and only attempt to contact the person of the stories and not just anyone that happens to be floating around.

Alternatively, what if pornography acts as a sort of psychic repellent for a student? Could that be measured?

The data seemed to bear out Bem’s hypothesis. In the trials where he’d used erotic pictures, students selected their location 53 percent of the time. That marked a small but significant improvement over random guessing.

If you have a choice of 2 curtains, 50% sounds mighty close to the halfway mark in terms of just picking the correct object by luck. Maybe I am looking at this incorrectly. I am not a psychologist or scientist!.

For another experiment, Bem designed a simple test of verbal memory. Students were given several minutes to examine a set of words, then were allotted extra time to practice typing out a subset of those words. When they were asked to list as many of the words as possible, they did much better on the ones they’d seen a second time. That much was straightforward: Practice can improve your recall. But when it was time to run the study, Bem flipped the tasks around. Now the students had to list the words just before the extra practice phase instead of after it. Still, he found signs of an effect: Students were better at remembering the words they would type out later. It seemed as though the practice session had benefits that extended backward through time.

Similar experiments, with the sequence of the tasks and stimuli reversed, showed students could have their emotions primed by words they hadn’t seen, that they would recoil from scary pictures that hadn’t yet appeared, and that they would get habituated to unpleasant imagery to which they would later be exposed. Almost every study worked as Bem expected. When he looked at all his findings together, he concluded that the chances of this being a statistical artifact—that is to say, the product of dumb luck—were infinitesimal.

This did not surprise him. By the time he’d begun this research, around the turn of the millennium, he already believed ESP was real. He’d delved into the published work on telepathy and clairvoyance and concluded that Robert McDonnell was right: The evidence in favor of such phenomena, known to connoisseurs as “psi” processes, was compelling.

Indeed, a belief in ESP fit into Bem’s way of thinking—it tempted his contrarianism. As with his attacks on cognitive dissonance and personality theory, Bem could draw his arguments from a well-developed research literature—this one dating to the 1930s—which had been, he thought, unfairly rejected and ignored.

Or . . . proven false and cast aside?

Together with Chuck Honorton, the paranormal researcher in Princeton, Bem set out to summarize this research for his mainstream colleagues in psychology. In the early 1990s, they put together a review of all the work on ESP that had been done using Honorton’s approach and sent it to Bem’s associate Robert Sternberg, then the editor of Psychological Bulletin. “We believe that the replication rates and effect sizes achieved … are now sufficient to warrant bringing this body of data to the attention of the wider psychological community,” he and Honorton wrote in a paper titled “Does Psi Exist?” Sternberg made the article the lead of the January 1994 issue.

By 2001, Bem had mostly set aside his mainstream work and turned to writing commentaries and book reviews on psi phenomena. He’d also quietly embarked upon a major scientific quest, to find what he called “the holy grail” of parapsychology research: a fully reproducible experiment on ESP that any lab could replicate. His most important tool, as a scientist and rhetorician, would be simplicity. He’d work with well-established protocols, using nothing more than basic tests of verbal memory, priming, and habituation. He’d show that his studies weren’t underpowered, that his procedures weren’t overcomplicated, and that his statistics weren’t convoluted. He’d make his methods bland and unremarkable.

In 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2008, Bem presented pilot data to the annual meeting of the Parapsychological Association. Finally, in 2010, after about a decade’s worth of calibration and refinement, he figured he’d done enough. A thousand subjects, nine experiments, eight significant results. This would be his solid, mainstream proof of ESP—a set of tasks that could be transferred to any other lab.

On May 12, 2010, he sent a manuscript to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. He called it “Feeling the Future: Experimental Evidence for Anomalous Retroactive Influences on Cognition and Affect.”

Alright, this has gone on WAY too long. Let’s get to the meat and potatoes already.

Honestly . . . easier said than done. To start off, I can direct our attention to an article on Medium titled Discovery Without Theory: Thoughts on Daryl Bem And ‘Broken Science’. This article was written by Kate Nussenbaumback back in 2017, and as you may have guessed, it’s directly referencing the Slate article I am working with.

A fascinating Slate article made its way around science Twitter last week. The article describes psychologist Daryl Bem’s quest to demonstrate the existence of extrasensory perception (ESP) through a 10-year series of experiments in his lab at Cornell. The kicker? Using conventional techniques in experimental design and statistics, Bem successfully demonstrated that participants in his research could predict the future. He ultimately published his work in one of his field’s top publications, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Bem’s tale is equally interesting and disturbing because he’s no Brian Wansink (though that story is also equal parts interesting and disturbing). In other words, the crazy effects he describes in his paper are seemingly not a result of fraud — he didn’t fabricate his data, he did not purposefully mislead readers with his description of his methodology, and he encouraged others to attempt to replicate his findings. The Slate article portrays him as an open and honest scientist.

And that’s why his story is so scary. It essentially means that using the widely accepted statistical approaches in psychology, one can find evidence for basically anything. In part, that’s because one widely used practice (even though at this point everyone knows it’s unacceptable) is to write papers as though the single analysis that reveals the expected was the single analysis that was planned out from the beginning of the study, and to ignore the other statistical tests that were conducted but that didn’t “work.”

I can’t help but think of something that occurred to me earlier in this piece:

This demonstration sounds a lot like starting from a preconceived conclusion, then working backwards to fill in the gaps. Not unlike the Ghost Hunters whom enter a home and only attempt to contact the person of the stories and not just anyone that happens to be floating around.

I will now skip ahead to get straight to a part that I really find interesting.

Instead, I’m interested in another aspect of Bem’s work that, as far as I can tell, has been mostly ignored in the coverage of his crazy findings: He had no theory. He had no theory. The entire foundation for 10 years of his work were his own fanciful whims.

The Slate article overlooks this, and describes Bem’s “hypotheses” as well as the earlier, theoretical blocks on which he built his work. But the theoretical background cited in the article is simply an earlier series of experiments that may have demonstrated the existence of ESP. Again, as far as I can tell, that research also failed to include any explanation for how or why such effects emerged.

In fact, in his description of Bem’s work, Engber consistently misuses the term “hypothesis,” in places where he should have used the term “prediction.” In science, a hypothesis involves an explanation.

At the end of Bem’s paper, Bem does spew some stuff about quantum theory in physics and electromagnetic signal transmission, but he openly acknowledges that those ideas do not amount to any sort of mechanistic explanation for how ESP might be operating. In fact, he justifies his entire 10-year investigation with the following sentence in his paper’s introduction:

“Historically, the discovery and scientific exploration of most phenomena have preceded explanatory theories by decades or even centuries.”

To me, this sentence demonstrates his work’s most egregious flaw. Bem seems to conflate the idea of serendipitous scientific discovery with actively searching for an effect without any sort of mechanistic hypothesis. Alexander Fleming observed that a certain mold had anti-bacterial properties; he then spent the next decade exploring its biochemical effects. He didn’t wake up one day and say, “Antibiotics must be real!” without any sort of testable explanation for why that would be the case.

It’s hard to articulate why, but I think there is a fundamental difference between discovering something that’s hard to explain, and actively searching for an effect without a reason. Psychological science is beautiful and powerful when it builds on itself to deepen our understanding of how the mind works. Everyone in the world can observe weird stuff that their brains seemingly do, but the role of scientists is to elucidate not just what, but why.

I agree. Particularly with the final sentence.

When it comes to scientific literacy, the media is the last place one should look for certain information. Not necessarily because journalists and commentators don’t know what they are talking about (or bring some form of bias to the reporting, though it definitely can happen). It’s more because non-scientists, in general, tend to not comprehend the complexities behind many of the outcomes of the science. One need look no further than the history of various widely published studies focusing on almost any subject matter, as covered by the media.

If the people behind the science aren’t interested in ensuring it’s quality and accountability, who else is going to do it?

In today’s media environment, that is a scary question. But that is not the focus of this piece.

Bem’s work does raise interesting questions: Is it valuable to publish work that just illuminates effects? What constitutes a theory that’s worth testing? How much evidence should there be for a probable effect before its existence is investigated? How do we make the distinction between serendipitous discovery and active searching for nonsensical findings?What about when ideas aren’t as obviously nonsensical as ESP? Is there a difference between mechanistic hypotheses that are then tested vs. strange effects that are searched for and later justified with mechanistic explanations? When does something qualify as a satisfactory mechanistic explanation? How do we avoid conflating “mechanisms” with “neural data”? If his findings did show the existence of a real effect, should we care about that effect if it does not build on any prior work or offer any sort of insight into how the brain / mind works? If we insist that all studies are justified by logical theories before they are conducted, is there a risk that we will prevent people from conducting work that may challenge conventional wisdom, particularly since frequentist statistics can really only confirm hypotheses?

I don’t know the answers to any of these questions. But I do think it’s important that when we think about what Bem’s work reveals about the ways in which science is broken, we don’t just focus on the pitfalls of conventional statistical techniques. His story also raises questions about the complex relationships between theory and discovery that are critical to think about as we attempt to construct a better science moving forward.


While Kate acknowledges the importance of getting this right from the standpoint of ensuring good quality scientific inquiry, it also brings to mind a new consideration. How the scientific establishment as a whole has reacted to researchers in any field of study who continue to gain fame and notoriety off of long since debunked works of junk science. From my viewpoint from the outside, it SEEMS like most within academia are either ignorant of, or pay little attention to, the spread of trash science and academics in the realm of social media. In particular, the increasing growth of crowdfunded pseudo-academic movements such as The Intellectual Dark Web. I’m tempted to call it The Intellectual Cash Cow, but I already have.

Ideas are big money. Or more accurately, trending ideas are big money.


Either way, while the IDW bastardizes many more areas of expertise than those related to science or sociology, you get the point. In an environment where both consumer demand and financial reward can be found in ANY academic pursuit (legitimate or not!), the legitimate figures need to come out ahead of the frauds. In the world in which we currently live, not doing so only continues to erode public trust in both science and academia as a whole.

But that is another tangent. Time to get back to the original inquiry. Did Dr. Bem REALLY prove ESP?

According to at least one follow up study . . . not really.

This paper reports three independent attempts to replicate the retroactive facilitation of recall effect . All three experiments employed almost exactly the same procedure and software as the original experiment. In addition, they used the same number of participants as the original study and thus had sufficient statistical power to detect an effect (our three experiments combined had 99.92% power to detect the same effect size).

While Bem found a substantial effect, our results failed to provide any evidence for retroactive facilitation of recall. Although we opted to follow Bem’s preferred strategy of using one-tailed tests, we acknowledge that there are arguments against this approach and it might be objected that had we opted for the generally more accepted approach of using two-tailed tests, we would indeed have had one statistically significant finding to report, i.e., the finding that the high SS participants in Replication 2 recalled fewer of the practice words than the control words. We feel that it is safe to dismiss this finding as almost certainly spurious given the relatively large number of statistical tests carried out and the fact that the difference is in the opposite direction to that predicted by Bem. Furthermore, no such trend was discernable in the other experiment that collected SS scores.

First off, one and two-tailed tests. Because I have no idea.

When you conduct a test of statistical significance, whether it is from a correlation, an ANOVA, a regression or some other kind of test, you are given a p-value somewhere in the output.  If your test statistic is symmetrically distributed, you can select one of three alternative hypotheses. Two of these correspond to one-tailed tests and one corresponds to a two-tailed test.  However, the p-value presented is (almost always) for a two-tailed test.  But how do you choose which test?  Is the p-value appropriate for your test? And, if it is not, how can you calculate the correct p-value for your test given the p-value in your output?

What is a two-tailed test?

First let’s start with the meaning of a two-tailed test.  If you are using a significance level of 0.05, a two-tailed test allots half of your alpha to testing the statistical significance in one direction and half of your alpha to testing statistical significance in the other direction.  This means that .025 is in each tail of the distribution of your test statistic. When using a two-tailed test, regardless of the direction of the relationship you hypothesize, you are testing for the possibility of the relationship in both directions.  For example, we may wish to compare the mean of a sample to a given value x using a t-test.  Our null hypothesis is that the mean is equal to x. A two-tailed test will test both if the mean is significantly greater than x and if the mean significantly less than x. The mean is considered significantly different from x if the test statistic is in the top 2.5% or bottom 2.5% of its probability distribution, resulting in a p-value less than 0.05.

What is a one-tailed test?

Next, let’s discuss the meaning of a one-tailed test.  If you are using a significance level of .05, a one-tailed test allots all of your alpha to testing the statistical significance in the one direction of interest.  This means that .05 is in one tail of the distribution of your test statistic. When using a one-tailed test, you are testing for the possibility of the relationship in one direction and completely disregarding the possibility of a relationship in the other direction.  Let’s return to our example comparing the mean of a sample to a given value x using a t-test.  Our null hypothesis is that the mean is equal to x. A one-tailed test will test either if the mean is significantly greater than x or if the mean is significantly less than x, but not both. Then, depending on the chosen tail, the mean is significantly greater than or less than x if the test statistic is in the top 5% of its probability distribution or bottom 5% of its probability distribution, resulting in a p-value less than 0.05.  The one-tailed test provides more power to detect an effect in one direction by not testing the effect in the other direction. A discussion of when this is an appropriate option follows.


Okay, I think I grasp the nuances. A one-tailed test only measures data about one direction of interest, whereas a two-tailed test splits the data in half and tests along 2 differing directions of interest.

Or as my laymen brain seems to be telling me, Daryl Bem only wants researchers to focus on the positive results, not the negative. Just one tail, not 2.

One interpretation of these findings centres on the possibility that Bem’s original effect was due to the types of statistical and methodological artifacts outlined by several critics , , , , . Similar arguments apply to the alleged correlation between participants’ performance on the test of precognition and their scores on the Stimulus Seeking Scale. This scale was far from the only variable recorded during Bem’s studies. In fact, several other variables are recorded by the experimental program but are not mentioned by Bem, including participant age, their test anxiety level, and how often they have used meditation or self-hypnosis. The experimenter is also asked to record how enthusiastic each participant appears, and how ‘friendly’ they are towards the experimenter. It is unclear whether the relationship between participants’ scores on the tests of precognitive ability and such variables were examined.

Alternatively, it may be the case that the effect is genuine, but problematic to replicate. Replication issues have long dogged parapsychology, with proposed explanations focusing on experimental artifacts, fraud, or variation in psi ability on the part of both participants and experimenters , . It has also been suggested that psi is elusive, and does not lend itself to laboratory study in the same manner as other psychological effects .

However, as noted above, Bem explicitly stated that Experiment 9 should be among the easiest of his studies to replicate , and all three Principal Investigators went to considerable lengths to ensure that their attempted replications matched his original study. Experimenter involvement was kept to a minimum by the use of the same computer programs used in the original experiment, and any potential experimenter effects in two of the studies were minimised by having student assistants conduct them.

The only noteworthy difference between Bem’s experiment and our replication attempts is that we conducted our experiments after his had received substantial media attention. Thus, the possibility arises that, since some of our participants might have heard of Bem’s study, they may have known what to expect in the procedure. This could have influenced their performance, perhaps leading them to explicitly attempt to memorize the stimulus words (we are grateful to an anonymous reviewer for bringing this potential limitation to our attention). However, while the participants knew the experiment concerned ESP, they were not informed that it was a replication attempt of a specific study until after they completed the procedure. In addition, the computer’s random selection of words after the memory test meant that foreknowledge of the procedure should not have influenced the results in any particular direction.

Our failure to find similar results even after three close replication attempts, along with the methodological and statistical issues discussed above and at least one other published report of a failed replication attempt , leads us to favour the ‘experimental artifacts’ explanation for Bem’s original result.


To put it all into perspective for the rest of us:

1. an experimental finding that is not a reflection of the true state of the phenomenon of interest but rather is the consequence of a flawed design or analytic error. For example, characteristics of the researcher (e.g., expectations, personality) or the participant (e.g., awareness of the researcher’s intent, concern over being evaluated) are common sources of artifacts.


I could have saved myself hours worth of annoyance and frustration (including trying to access scientific papers behind paywalls. WHY?!) by simply grabbing the final sentence from the abstract above, then called it a day. But I had to see this through.

In conclusion, we are once again forced to admit that the answers to such things as PSI are still elusive. Like many other realms of the paranormal, our species may never know the truth. I am perfectly fine with accepting that.


* * *


Since I have your attention, I saw another interesting example of the media getting ahead of real scientific fact just yesterday. On The Daily (Social Distancing) Show, of all places. In a Snapchat segment of the show (I don’t watch The Daily Show normally), Trever Noah talked about the recent discovery of a parallel universe to our own, wherein time flowed backwards. Maybe flowed is the wrong word (time is not a liquid), so time runs backward?

Either way, it doesn’t really matter because it’s not really true.


Parallel Universe Discovered? No, NASA Hasn’t Found a Universe Where Time Runs Backwards

Is there a parallel universe where time runs backwards? That is what many news reports seem to be suggesting, attributing the “finding” to NASA scientists. While this has certainly made a whole lot of people excited but in reality, this is far from the truth. In fact, scientists have just found evidence of high-energy particles that defy our current understanding of physics and a parallel universe has been suggested only as one of the possible theories to explain them, without any solid evidence in the favour.

What happened?
It all started after a report by New Scientist about an experiment by astrophysicists came out. Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) is a telescope that comprises of radio antennas attached to a giant balloon that hovered over Antarctica at a very high altitude of around 37kms. It is run by a multi-university consortium led by Peter Gorham of the University of Hawaii-Manoa. ANITA was sent so high so that it was able to detect matter like the high-energy particles called “neutrinos” from the space, according to CNET. The telescope can spot these neutrinos coming from the space and hitting the ice sheet in Antarctica. ANITA detected these particles, but instead of coming from the space, the neutrinos were found to be coming from the Earth’s surface without any source. These detections happened in 2016, then again in 2018, but there was no credible explanation.

No clarity on the anomaly
“After four years there has been no satisfactory explanation of the anomalous events seen by ANITA so this is very frustrating, especially to those involved,” CNET said quoting Ron Ekers, an honorary fellow at Australia’s National Science Agency. The recent reports claiming that there is evidence of a parallel universe appear to be based on ANITA findings that are at least a couple of years old.

Another neutrino observatory in Antarctica called IceCube that is run by the University of Wisconsin–Madison conducted an investigation on the ANITA findings and it published a paper in The Astrophysical Journal. The researchers said in January that “other explanations for the anomalous signals – possibly involving exotic physics – need to be considered” because the standard model of physics cannot explain these events.

“‘Exotic physics’ would be where this theory of a parallel universe fits into the conversation. It’s just one of several theories outside of our current understanding of physics that has been floated as a potential cause for this,” reported WUSA9.

What are the possibilities?
IceCube researchers also said that main hypotheses on the strange detections include an astrophysical explanation (like an intense neutrino source), a systematic error (like not accounting for something in the detector), or physics beyond the Standard Model.

“Our analysis ruled out the only remaining Standard Model astrophysical explanation of the anomalous ANITA events. So now, if these events are real and not just due to oddities in the detector, then they could be pointing to physics beyond the Standard Model,” said Alex Pizzuto, one of the leads on the paper published in The Astrophysical Journal.

This means that there are two possibilities—one of which could just be an error. Errors are a part of scientific experiments when researchers try hard to find something new.

Going by what the scientists have actually said, it’s clear that these are exciting times for the astrophysicists trying to find an explanation and future experiments with more “exposure and sensitivity” will be required to get a clear understanding of the anomaly. However, people wishing for a parallel universe will have to wait because the evidence is lacking and the scientists are not ready to call it a discovery.


Are these findings noteworthy and exciting?

For the science-lovers and the astrophysicists of the world . . . yes.

Has humanity discovered a parallel universe wherein time runs in reverse? No.

One thing that comes to mind when pondering this situation that is WAY beyond my scope of expertise . . . how well do these neutrinos (which the equipment over Antarctica picks up, as per the story) travel though the earth itself? Is there such a device also deployed in the arctic to monitor neutrinos coming from that side of space as well?

Either way, this is just another example of why one should be careful when considering media reported science discoveries.

“The Connection Between Ghosts, UFOs and God” – (Patheos)

I recently read an article that I found had interesting insights on the topic of paranormal and extraterrestrial beliefs of the nonreligious. I was surprised by the findings, and have a few comments of my own.

Here’s an interesting fact: People who are not religious are twice as likely to believe in ghosts and UFOs as those who are religious. It seems that the less religious people are, the more likely they are to endorse ideas about hauntings, UFOs, intelligent aliens monitoring our lives and assorted government conspiracies.

These facts come from a new research study by Pew Research and Clay Routledge, a professor of psychology at North Dakota State University. But perhaps most interesting are the conclusions the professor and his colleagues make about how this relates to our search for meaning. Routledge writes:

The less religious the participants were, the less they perceived their lives as meaningful. This lack of meaning (resulted in) a desire to find meaning, which in turn was associated with belief in UFOs and alien visitors.

This made me raise an eyebrow. But it also made a question come to mind.

The researchers seem to have concluded that the perceived meaninglessness of life as perceived by many irreligious people has driven them to find meaning. Apparently in UFO’s, conspiracy, the paranormal (well, aside from deity’s) and other sources.

I have to question if it is less a case of finding meaning than it is a case of just filling the void with another ideology. I wrote a lot in my early days as an atheist expat about the phenomenon of many atheists replacing one religion with another, this happening most often with very devoted religious believers turned atheists. Though the faith and ideology of religion are purged, the frameworks often remain. Hence why you can have the leader of Americas most prominent secular organization aside from the US government (American Atheists) regularly promote black and white dichotomy’s (“People are either theists or atheists, PERIOD!”) as logically and rationally correct.

Anyway, I suspect that embrace of seemingly irrational pursuits like conspiracy theory and the paranormal by irreligious individuals may be yet another branch of this phenomenon. Purging the ideologies of religion, but keeping some of the same frames of mind.

Which is understandable, really. The only thing harder than changing an actual ideology is changing the mindset that allows those like it to fester and conform. Call it a personal life lesson.

There’s just one problem with this. Routledge says that belief in ghosts and UFOS are poor substitutes for religion. While we all need something to believe in, a way to organize and understand the world around us, the researcher points out belief in the paranormal is “not part of a well-established social and institutional support system.” It also “lacks a deeper and historically rich philosophy of meaning.”

That seems rather obvious. Anyone who is going to take the time to read these findings likely either already knows that, or is ideologically blocked from coming to the conclusion.

On a related note, I can think of at least 2 variables that could impact the findings of this study that seem to be missing. One is the length of time in the nonreligious mindset. The other is one’s level of education.

First off, it has to be said that the diversity of people keeps the overly generalized rule of thumb conclusions at bay, in terms of cases like this. That said, however, one should be careful with assigning too much weight to conclusions that may change.

While an initial step away from religiosity may bring people to some interesting places, people may not stay there. It depends on how much time these people want to devote to evaluating these things. And to a degree, ones education also guides where they land.

You can’t really fault someone for not having a “deeper and historically rich philosophy of meaning” if they were never exposed to such pursuits in life.

In The Super Natural, a book about UFOs and alien encounters, Jeffrey J. Kripal writes that “the human species is a mythmaking species. Just as birds instinctively build nests and bees build hives, we “make worlds”, mythical universes to live in. We have no choice. Human beings need meaning, which is to say story, in order to live, much as they need food and air. No human community can live without meaning.”

This need for meaning goes back to the advent of man, when myth was used to explain the world. Just like we never lost the “fight or flight” response, which dates back to prehistoric man fleeing from threats in the wild, we may still possess the need for archetypes, primitive mental images that inhabit our psyche. The renowned psychologist Carl Jung believed we inherited theses archetypes from our earliest human ancestors and that they’re present in the collective unconscious.

To that end, Jung believed that UFOs were in fact “archetypal images” and “involuntary automatic projections.” He wrote that: “UFOs could easily be conceived as “gods.” They are impressive manifestations of totality whose simple, round form portrays the archetype of the self.” When we lose touch with our innermost being, these archetypes make themselves known.

In all honesty, I don’t even know what to do with that. But I can concur that humans need . . . something.

Meaning. A purpose. A reason for being.

For many, the prescribed road maps of society and culture do the trick, right to the end. Others find purpose in the counters to status quos of both society and culture. And some others dwell even beyond that. If the city is society and culture, and the suburbs are the status quo counterculture than these people reside in the far unlit unknown. Where the streets have no name.

People need something to look forward to. Something to get them out of bed in the morning. Otherwise, what is the point?

I am unsure really, where else one could go with this. Because there really is nowhere else to go. There is no advice to give. Those in the city or the suburbs will generally find their way to something compatible.

Those who venture beyond the lighted boarders can find something to. It will just take more legwork and potential trailblazing. And there is nothing wrong with that really. The best inventions and the biggest civilization advances rarely come from the comfortable status quo.

Why Do Some People See Ghosts And Others Don’t?

Today I came across this article in a local paranormal group that I am a part of (partly out of interest, and partly because I am friends with some of the groups founders). This article looks to have been posted back in 2009. But more importantly, it makes some interesting (and quite questionable) claims.

Lets begin.

People seeing ghosts? There may be a genuine mind-body foundation for such anomalous perceptions, according to two researchers, Michael Jawer and Marc Micozzi, MD, PhD. Their book, The Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion, suggests that sensing a presence, seeing an apparition, or feeling energy around a person or place may be related to the workings of the limbic system — the “emotional brain” — as well as a personality type that rapidly registers feelings.

As surveys consistently show that anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of the public say they’ve had an extra-sensory experience — with nearly 25% of respondents stating they’ve actually seen or felt a ghost — anomalous perceptions are nothing to shrug off. “People have had these experiences down the ages and across all cultures,” comments Micozzi, a physician and anthropologist. “They’re quite universal. What we’ve begun to document is that there’s a certain type of person most likely to experience them.

And right off the bat, I am skeptical. Because nothing is being said (with the exception of the proposed theory) that is not already obvious to even the casual observer of all things paranormal.

A good chunk of respondents to a survey say they they have seen a ghost, or otherwise had a paranormal experience. That is not at all surprising. Because I am thinking that if one asked many of these individuals questions such as if they believe in some form of a god or if they thought that some form of conspiracy theory was true, you would likely get overlap.

This does not invalidate the claims of paranormal “experience”. But it does shed some light on how the person personally defines “evidence”. In fact, in many cases, the language utilized is a giveaway to how the person defines evidence. Which is important if you want a good “scientific” survey that is not skewed by questionable results.

Well, many will always view the results of such a survey as questionable. This is completely understandable (when it comes to this topic, I border very close to that edge in terms of my skepticism). However, the follow up questions on both deity and conspiracy theory are a good way to test how people perceive claims without external evidence to back them up.

Let me explain.

No matter what may (or may not) be the cause of a paranormal experience, such experiences have a real notable impact on a person. You see something, you hear something, you feel something. Indeed this is nothing more then anecdotal and circumstantial “evidence”, but it is more then what is often associated with conspiracy theory or a deity.

Now to the other part of the quote, the bit about there being a certain type of person who is likely to have a paranormal experience. Again, this adds nothing new to the field. We already know that some people are apparently /allegedly more “sensitive” to this sort of thing, and that most of these people also happen to be self diagnosed.

That person is environmentally sensitive, according to Jawer, an expert on the condition known as Sick Building Syndrome. “Our data show that anomalous perceptions parallel other forms of environmental sensitivity, such as having pronounced or longstanding allergies, migraine headache, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, irritable bowel, even synesthesia (overlapping senses) and heightened sensitivity to light, sound, touch, and smell. Women make up three-quarters of this sensitive population but there are other markers as well: being ambidextrous, for instance, or recalling a traumatic childhood. The more we look at the people who say they’re psychic, or who have recurring anomalous experience, the more it seems there’s a mix of nature and nurture that predisposes them.”

First off all, what is sick building syndrome?

The NIH defines it simply as nonspecific symptoms happening to various occupants of a building. This is often accompanied by an increase in absenteeism and a decrease in worker productivity. A cause is often impossible to locate. Many environmental factors are cited as potential causes.

Apparently the claim here is that there is a paranormal equivalent to sick building syndrome. This is also nothing new. Many claim that traumatic events leave an “imprint” on a room, object or even an area of land. And not very many people can pick up this “energy”.

So far, we have nothing more then a borrowed scientific term to attempt to explain something that seems similar.

The researchers posit that brain and body are effectively unified — a perspective taken by the pioneering field of psychoneuroimmunology — and that highly sensitive people react more strongly than others to what they’re feeling as well as to incoming environmental stimuli. This raises the possibility, Jawer and Micozzi assert, that subliminal feelings and other environmental nuances could be picked up by individuals who are sufficiently sensitive. A reputedly “haunted” place, therefore, could exhibit stimuli that register more with certain people and less with others.

– See more at: http://disinfo.com/2009/10/why-do-some-people-see-ghosts-while-others-dont/#sthash.BfPG3U2f.dpuf

First of all, psychoneuroimmunology. That is a term that I have never heard before, and I don’t even know if I could say it properly. So lets look into it. The first thing Google tells us is this:

Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body.

The NIH has this to say about the field:

Psychoneuroimmunology is a relatively new field of study that investigates interactions between behaviour and the immune system, mediated by the endocrine and nervous systems.

I have no idea how this terminology is in any way related to the paranormal. Besides as being just another scientific term borrowed because it seems to “fit”.

I decided to see what I could find by throwing the term “paranormal” in with the search query. The first page of note is this one on a topic called “epigenetics”. This one activated my BS detector right off the bat with this opening paragraph:

The area of scientific study so often referred to as “pseudo-science” continues to get mainstream attention as time after time very interesting results capture the minds and hearts of those who think there is more to our world than meets the eye. While not completely understood yet, it appears the common label of “pseudo-science” is more of a defense mechanism of dogmatic scientists than it is a legitimate claim. After all, in the spirit of science, a theory holds true until we can prove it wrong via the scientific method.

Well then.

Experiments Evaluating Thoughts On Water

There have been experiments in the past that closely monitored the potential of our thoughts as they affect reality. One of the most well known experiments was conducted by Dean Radin, Ph.D., who is the Chief Scientist at IONS and Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Psychology at Sonoma State University.[1] The experiment was done to measure how intention alone affects water crystal formation. Co-Investigators were Masaru Emoto, a Japanese energy scholar and author along with a few other researchers and scientists.

The experiment tested the hypothesis that water exposed to distant intentions affects the aesthetic rating of ice crystals formed from that water. Results showed that the test was consistent with a number of previous studies suggesting that intention may be able to influence the structure of water.

Alright, that is enough of that. . .

There is a forum post that attempts to associate it with the concept of “Chi”.

And then there is this PDF on the subject, sourced from one of the people quoted in the article. I see nothing really useful within it (I suspect that one would need to hear the corresponding speech to make more sense of it). None the less, I have come to my conclusion.

Nothing has been proven. All I see is the hijacking of 2 otherwise legitimate scientific terms,  for use in a “scientific hypothesis” which makes no sense at all. I would go as far as to saying that the terms only seem to be there to bolster the  credibility of the “theory”.
For a certain segment of people, they see a couple of big (or legitimate sounding) words and think “Well, that sounds valid”.

Unfortunately however,  I am not one of those people. And I am not afraid to call bullshit on this article, and the theory behind it.

I Hate “Ghost Hunting” Shows


First off, I have to make a stipulation.

My views of the Ghost Hunting segment of reality television are not exactly akin to my views on the paranormal itself. Though this is a subject that tends to mainstream on the fringes (most either absolutely believe, or know for a fact its all a load of crap), I am apt to be on neither side. If there were a word that I would use to describe my stance, it would be “agnostic” as coined by William L Rowe (Someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in God. Or in this case, the paranormal).

I also have to acknowledge that the “paranormal” is an umbrella term for a great many phenomenons (even the “god” question, since it falls into the domain of the supernatural). And they are not all equal in terms of, how seriously they should be taken. For example, though mediumship is in the same category, I have written before about why I think that most psychics and mediums are completely full of crap.

Ghosts and other such phenomenons, occur (or can occur) outside of the context of the human mindset. One can write off with some certainty many (most?) paranormal phenomenons that are based around human influence due to misunderstanding, dishonesty and other factors. But phenomenons that are independent of the human mind (such as ghosts), should have more consideration.

However, one has to take biased mindsets into account. Speaking of biased mindsets, time to move on to Why I Hate Ghost Hunting Shows.


I used to watch (even enjoy) watching some of these ghost shows. Though Ghost Hunters is the most recent example of a show I enjoyed (well, ONCE enjoyed), there have been many over the years. I have read many books on the subject, on both regional and far away stories. And I have heard my fair share of ghost stories over the years, to various degrees of believability. I even had a bit of a “spooky” incident of my own, described in a previous post about the Paranormal written a couple years ago (it may or may not reflect my current stances, being the amount of time that has passed since then).

The subject always has interested and to a degree, fascinated me. For the same reason that it does for so many other people (its an unknown, unexplored and misunderstood realm).
That said, though ghost hunting shows found their way into the mainstream by way of attempting to put an end to the ambiguity of the phenomenon of ghosts and the paranormal, most (all?) are TERRIBLE at the job for various reasons.

The Biased Entry

This one can split into 2 parts.

First, you have the bias that comes from knowing exactly what to look for. Then you have the bias that is, your mind knowing what you are going to find.

These shows all seem to start in the same way. First you get an overview of the location that will be under investigation. You learn the history of the location and the surrounding areas (which includes notable past traumatic events or uses of the building, such as fires, suicides or if the place was an asylum or other such facility).

Then you will have the walk though with the buildings owner or other representative of the property. They take you on the “spooky” tour of the place, telling you where notable past events have occurred and where people have allegedly experienced mysterious phenomenon. The ghost hunting team then uses that data as a guide to where to set up, whatever equipment that they intend to utilize that evening (there is a HUGE number of different devices that I have seen deployed).

And we arrive at my first problem with such shows. The problem that is, bias of conclusion.


One of the big problems with paranormal investigation, is the human brain itself. The more information you absorb on what COULD happen (what you COULD see or experience), the higher the chance that you WILL experience such phenomenon.
A great example of this (for me personally) is from the show Mystery Quest, in an episode about hauntings similar to the Amityville NY haunting of Hollywood infamy. A famous photograph was shown on the screen at first with no explanation. And I was initially confused as to what I was looking at.
Until the narrator mentioned the presence of a little boy in the photo, which suddenly made ME see the little boy. The person I was watching the show with seen the boy even before it was mentioned, but I attribute this to a life long interest in the paranormal (having read many books on the topic, they likely seen the famous image previously).

It is this same phenomenon that makes me critical of the practice of educating a group of investigators as to the alleged activities in a location, then having the same team do the investigation.
Sure, I see shows where so called “personal experiences” that happen to one part of the group in one location are hidden from the others who later enter the same location (who often have similar experiences). But that is not good enough, since the whole team is already biased by KNOWING exactly what happens. All “personal experiences” are tainted by this bias.


I hate seeing shows do an investigation based ONLY around the history of a location.

For example, say there is an allegedly haunted house that had a past fire in 1908, and a suicide in 1946. 2 died in the fire, and 1 by suicide, leaving 3 seemingly obvious suspects in the “haunting”. So the team enters, does its investigation, but only attempts to make contact with the 3. Not taking into account that the “hauntings” could  originate from the old couple that passed away peacefully in the home in 1985. Individuals of which, may not feel obligated to “make contact”, since your not even looking for them.
Or of which may be mildly annoyed, on account to a bunch of idiots in “their” house asking stupid questions and freaking out every time the refrigerator kicks in.

Investigating To An Agenda 

By this, I mean shows with teams that go in with the goal of “proving” a location to be haunted. Or to otherwise prove the existence of, whatever phenomenon they happen to be covering that episode.

When it comes to this aspect, I have to admit that not all ghost hunting shows are equal. Despite the amusing meme that i opened this post with, I have to give Ghost Hunters (and Ghost Hunters International) credit for not operating to this end (or at least, I do not pick up that vibe). Its something that I watch for, particularly in the intro to the shows. If I hear “were here to prove the existence of the paranormal”, then it is an automatic red flag for me.

I may have this screwed up, but to me, the job of a true “investigator” should be first to debunk, and otherwise just gather. Do not go in LOOKING to prove something. Because chances are your brain will turn whatever you find into “evidence” of the paranormal.
A problem that is only amplified when this methodology is combined with the problem of using biased investigators to investigate a location.

Using Mediums In Investigations 

This one ties into my “Investigating to an agenda” paragraph a bit , in that many of the shows that set off that said red flag often end up utilizing mediums in their investigations. If not within the investigations themselves, then in the preparation procedures (to see where the “energies” are strongest).

They are often funny to watch, because it is painfully obvious how often their “readings” are just generalized presumptions based on factors of the location and its surrounding area.

For example, in a warehouse in a heavily industrialized area with a past record of a refinery explosion that killed 3, the medium apparently “felt” at least 2 men present. Such a shock, given demographics of past (and present) industrial workers.

Then there was one doing a walk though in a slaughter house turned bar, with a history of murder. Of course the medium picked up on the presence of “rivers of blood”, along with the “presence” of the murdered spirit.

Then there was another doing a tour of an Indian reservation and burial ground somewhere in the US. She apparently said she felt a feeling of “injustice and great pain”, which invoked strong emotion in some present.
That one actually pissed me off.

But moving on, I know that the main reason why this trick works is because of the fringe nature of many paranormal believers. One who has already been convinced, does not need a high bar of evidence to be further convinced. None the less however, the next time you see a medium doing a “reading” on one of these shows, try and determine if the information is just conformation to the surroundings, or to the history of the facility (and/or its surroundings).

Misinterpretation Of (At Best) Circumstantial Evidence 

Again, not all ghost hunting shows seem to be equal in this regard. I again acknowledge Ghost Hunters and GHI as being fairly careful in this regard.

However, I have seen some examples that are just, terrible. Lets take an episode of Mystery Quest I seen last night.

There was an investigation involving some manor in rural California. The place was seemingly abandoned and fairly isolated, no electrical power coming into the place or nearby. One method of investigation was utilizing some sort of military grade intrusion detection system to keep track of any vibrations on the ground outside.

It was noted that one of the detectors started to pick up vibrations in the ground outdoors. After seeing this for a few minutes, a team is sent out to “investigate” (check if there is a person outside). They find no one, and chalk it up to some sort of electro magnetic field “entering” the house.
Something that I was amused by, being that as they were outside looking around, the tail lights of passing vehicles on a fairly nearby roadway could be seen.

Inside the same house, a team investigating on an upper floor is said to have had an experience with a spirit though contact with a loud and obnoxious (I believe) EMF detector.  The show seemed fairly confident in the reading, being that the home was away from most of civilization’s baseline EMF sources (electrical power).
However, I am not quite as confident to make that judgment call, being that EMF is not just generated by AC powered devices. Though the house is not electrified, the team has plenty of battery powered gadgetry. It would likely have to be close by, but one example I can think of as a possibility is a walkie talkie. Another is a mobile phone.

I have mentioned the mobile phone thing to paranormal hunters that I know personally, and they suspect the contribution of most modern handsets to be very low (compared to models of years past). One thing I wonder however, is if that is a finding based only on a mobile phone with excellent to good base station reception (in a city or other well served area).
This I acknowledge, because this home is in a rural area.  Rural areas tend to have less base stations situated further apart. Meaning that phones communicating in not so good to fringe coverage areas, likely have to boost their power output (and thus, their EMF output).

Just a hunch.

After having purchased an EMF detector and testing it in proximity to my then smartphone under a few modes of operation (idle, phone call, text, data, wifi etc), I can confirm that what feild the devices create didn’t even register on the unit. The only time the phone created a detectable feild was when it was plugged in and charging. A normal behavier of any applience plugged into electrical power. 

I did not test walkie-talkies, CB radios or other potential non-AC based EMF feild manipulators, however.

Another incident (in this some house) was in an upstairs bedroom. A thermal camera picked up an allegedly “pulsating” cluster of heat in a wall very close to a window. Since it was  the wee hours of the morning, it was assumed to be a “vortex” (a portal for spirits beyond to apparently, enter our world).

That in itself is hilarious.

Not even considering the possibility of non-spooky alternatives. One being residual heat from the sun in an object that is in (or on) the outside wall (a brick?). Or an animal that found a nice cozy place to sleep (pulsating = breathing?).


When it comes to the paranormal, I am still (and likely always will be) on the fence. I can not rule out what I can not prove. But I also can not be sure of what I can not confirm. An intellectual enigma.

One thing I do know for sure however, is that I can not watch ghost hunting shows. They just, hurt.

Mom’s A Medium – Seriously?!

Its 2am and in killing time before bed, I found myself watching “Wife Swap” on CMT (I know . . . Trash tv is hard to kick!).

Either way, cut to the first commercial break, and CMT airs a spot for a show called “Mom’s A Medium”. On an upcoming episode, a country star is reportedly brought to tears by his reading.

I had to resist the urge to throw the iPhone though my TV set . The stupid of this spot, hurt (mostly because I whacked myself in the head with the remote).

Its 2014, and people SERIOUSLY are still falling for this shit?! As stupid of a question as that is, its none the less, frustrating.

Google has been around for a number of years, social media in its many past and present forms going on around a decade (give or take). If people do not know by now, the internets power of being a provider of ALL SORTS of information (including how to fake mediumship, and a HUGE source of personal information on almost anyone), then I do not know how to drive the point home further.

Which brings me, to the meat of the issue. Awhile ago I wrote about psychics, after having found out that a member of our family, had seemingly been duped by one. I had big suspicions, not just because of the “mediumship” (or the fact that the family member and the person were longtime friends). But mostly, because our family history is fully available on publicly accessible search portals.

On account to both social media and various additions to our family tree on various ancestry oriented sites, one can learn almost anything, with a simple google search.

I was even surprised and amazed to get hits from searching my grandfathers name (who passed away in 1998, and never ONCE had ANY direct interaction with the internet).
A facebook group created by family. Various bits and pieces from ancestry websites.

Oh yeah, this whole psychic “obsession” within my family started when my grandfather (same as above) apparently “dropped by” during a free reading with my aunt.

But, this post goes to show, that even my small and largely unknown family from the middle of Canada, has a fairly extensive publicly available digital footprint.

None of us are even CLOSE, to being “famous” in any sense. This blog, so far as I know, is the closest thing to public exposure we have. And thats not a whole lot lol.
No one, really, has any reason to dig into our past.

Unlike, a celebrity. For example, an up and coming country star. A star with fans and press hungry for all the details of his existence, who all will scoop up everything they can find, and share it in all sorts of easily accessible digital locations.

If a psychic reading on any of my family members could EASILY be influenced by publicly available information, then it would seem almost a certainty that any celebrity of ANY status, would have a “heavily influenced” reading.

Yet, apparently not. Not only does this still work, but it STILL draws enough of an audience to warrant a television series.

I used to feel bad for people that fall for this sort of thing. Especially for those that were duped out of cash. But at this point, im starting to think, to bad for you.

The materials to warn and educate yourself against these tricks, are freely available. Hell, some of the materials are in your own head (use common sense!).
If you still choose to be ignorant and disable your sense of logic, then there is nothing anyone can do for you. We can just hope that learning the hard way, will do the trick.

Astro-Clairvoyant “Chris” Comes To Canada

I got a bit of a surprise in the mail today.

Most of it is the typical that I am used to receiving. A message from a local politician. A safeway flyer (they always mail one a day in advance of the bundle of flyers that comes tomorrow). An ad for a local eyeglass place. And an unstamped and unmarked envelope with a simple generic message:

Dropped this off as I was passing by . . . Take just 3 minutes of your time to read this letter. It will be worth it and I think it will be of real interest to you

CR (<– I assume)

The message was printed on the front of the envelope in blue ink, in a hand written type font.

The envelope made me curious, but that was it. I figured it might have been from a door to door charity person, a survey from a local business or something of the nature (AKA junk mail), so I just put it in the house with the rest of the mail and went out to run a few errands.

Then I got back home, and opened the rest of my mail (much of it now in the blue box. That is where the majority of it ends up). Then I got this the “mystery” envelope.  I  was correct in my assumption of it being junk mail. But the contents surprised me.


I am looking for 100 people
to help for free
before next friday>>
and who would like to receive $75…

Interesting. Do tell me more . . .


Clairvoyant medium,
specialist in visions of
love and money

Oh boy. . .

I have received flyers and leaflets from the Mormons and other churches, but this is a first. But I read on, curious. This was certainly out of the ordinary.

*cue spooky music*

If you have problems with money or love, I would like to help you. All absolutely free.


I am currently writing a book on the countless changes that occur suddenly in peoples lives
immediately after they have received my help. In order to finish my book and prove irrefutably the
intensity of the secret powers that I, alone, posses, I am offering to help people like you, who have
an urgent problem in money or love to solve, all absolutely free
I just ask that you let me know as soon as your problem has been solved. You only need to send me a
little letter indicating how long it took for your problem to be resolved and how it happened.
If your story is chosen as one of the testimonies to be published in my book, I will send you $75 to thank you.
Of course, neither your first or your surname will be used. Only your initials will be given to respect your privacy
and protect the confidentiality of our relationship. You see, as an astro-clairvoyant, an expert in
telepathic research, I am astonished by the letters I receive every day, to see how sad people are when
it would take so little to transform their lives into happiness and prosperity.

Well, this is quite the situation we have here.

They will give me $75 for “helping” to prove that this guy “CHRIS” no last name has secret, intense powers. Secret, intense powers, that can apparently help me find love and get rich.

He certainly seems to say that he has the right credentials, being an “astro-clairvoyant” and an “expert” in telepathic research and analysis. But you do not just have to base your opinion off of his word alone. He has a testimonial!

Just as it did for Agnes C., a young women, just 39 years old, who had some serious financial problems.
Take a look at her testimony. It is incredible: “Up until last May, my husband and I had been having
tough times for years, and it was only getting worse with each passing day. Our money problems kept
accumulating and I was not able to make ends meat anymore. Then, to top it all off, my husband
got laid off

But the worst was yet to come …

I think I’ll remember it for the rest of my life. One morning, a bailiff knocked at the door, ready
with eviction papers. What a shock! I could see myself in the street with my 2 children in my
arms. I cried all day. I just could not stop.

At this point, they have a photo of I am guessing “Agnes” smiling and happy, with im guessing her daughter on her lap. It is a nice touch, to compliment the previous bit and help tug to the heart strings. Only thing,  it looks like the daughter is picking her nose. Which is fucking HILARIOUS.

Then on May 7, everything really changed for me…

Our sweet neighbors gave us a head of lettuce from their garden. It was wrapped in newspaper. I unwrapped
the lettuce and the newspaper must have been lying flat on the kitchen table for a good ten minutes when
an article caught my eye. it was a report on an unusual clairvoyant. He was kindly offering to help
people that had serious problems. Like me. Chris had a strange power that could quickly – overnight
in fact – change the lives of all those who agreed his free help. But I was still skeptical.

Good for you.

That is a good way to interpret an article like that in the newspaper. Or on the internet. Or in a random envelope that arrives in the mail.

One (important) detail made me take it seriously, though . . .
This was not the first time I was reading an article on a clairvoyant. In fact, I had already been to see
a few psychics in the hopes of seeing my situation turn around, Unfortunately, nothing had ever really
changed for me.
And a little voice inside my head kept saying, “You are not going to fall into that trap again and believe a bunch
of nonsense like the last time …”


You learned from your past  mistake. That easy money is but a pipe dream. And that psychics, are almost 99.9% guaranteed, to be completely and totally, full of shit.

Good for you.

Wait, you took it seriously? I am seriously confused.

That was when something struck me: Before he gave the lettuce, my neighbor surely had to have read that
newspaper article. Otherwise, how could he have been able to buy those two new cars?…And how could he
have gone on holiday 5 times this year?…And what about his wife that goes to the hair dresser at least once
a week?…How can all those changes in their lives be explained, especially when they have all come about 
so suddenly? Because it was not long ago, that they were just like us, after all…
Then there were the authentic testimonies from all those people. That is what ultimately convinced me.
Their lives had changed radically thanks to Chris’s intervention. Some of them said they had won a huge 
sum of money at the lottery. Others said they had experienced true love after going though absolute 
despair. All of them had been rid of their problems fast. 

*shakes head*


This started out so well, you started out on a good track. How the HELL, did you end up HERE?!

I am guessing that your neighbors did read, or at least glance at, the article you were talking of. I have no doubt about it (I would read something like that). But my guess is that, they had the same reaction to it that I would . . .

“What the fuck is this shit?!”.

Your basing the assumption of your neighbors good fortune on, them going to see/communicating with some random stranger from a news article?!
Its not possible, that one or both, got a good job? Got some sort of inheritance or windfall?
How do you know, one of then is not some sort of high ranking embezzler? Or a theif? Or a fraudster/banker? (HA!) Or a drug pedaler?

Did you ever think, to just ASK?!

They must be very “sweet” people indeed, if they do not let you in on any details whatsoever, when it comes to their lives.

And the testimonials. Oh, the awesome and detailed testimonials.

All the people had come to Chris, in the most terrible situation that they have ever been in their LIVES. And because of his “intervention”, some found monetary freedom. And others found love and happiness, thus concluding the shitty part of their lives. And, most importantly, all of them had been rid of their problems, FAST.

Fast, like a lightning bolt. Or fast, like complete glacial ice melt in  the scale of geologic time. Well, that is certainly a huge window of variation. Between mere seconds, and around 60 to 100 years. Do tell me more. I plan on NOT being fucked, for as much of my life as I can, if I can help it.

Not to mention, all these words, and no filler. What exactly does this Chris do? Of course, besides write articles in newspapers, and send random testimonial sheets to people. Like me.

So I asked myself, “Why not me?”…

After all, is Chris was able to make all those people so lucky, why would he not be able to do the same
thing for me? In any case, I was not risking a thing in giving it a try. It was absolutely free.
So I immediately filled in the form at the bottom of the page and sent it in with a photo of me. I could
not wait to hear back. Every day, I was on the lookout for the postman.
Finally, on May 17, I received a big, white envelope. I quickly opened it. Let me tell you, I was not 
expecting to recieve what I did. Chris had already studied my case. It revealed in incredible detail
certain facts about my past. And it announced some great events for my future. Plus, he had already
done a special stopgap measure so that everything could work out in my life straight away…

I am impressed. I really am. This “Chris” fellow, knows. He has the POWER.

He has, THE POWER. . . . of the internet, and his imagination.

The best thing about this, is how you give no details, as to what “Chris” seen in your past. Not that it matters much.
Because with a Google search, it is possible to build up a huge profile on a person. And the person may not even realize how much of their info is “out there”.
Consider all the various public web services that you have used. Not just the current social networks and such that you use, but ALL OF THEM that you have EVER used. If you did not delete those profiles, those forum posts, those blog entries, and all other posts scattered around the web, they are still there. And as such, sifting though it, can tell a lot about a person.

Not to mention, knowing what has happened in a person’s past, can be a pretty good predictor of what lies in their future. For example, if someones schooling and college classes primarily surround biology, then chances are they are not going to grow up as an accountant. Otherwise known as, pulling stuff out of his ass.

Come on, your almost 40. You had to have heard about, at least in concept, the internet. How it is a giant pool of all sorts of information.

And, “stopgap measure”.


The very next day, the first unexpected event took place…

My husband’s former colleague offered him a job. He had been unemployed for months,
unable to find anything, and this was an extraordinary chance. Not only that, but
the salary was great and it was just down the street from us. We could not believe it…

Neither can I.

The second event was just as surprising…

When I was very young, I had had a son with my first husband. He had been living abroad
with his father, and I had not heard from him in years. it was one of my most cherished wishes
to see him again. A few days later, i received a letter from him asking if he could come see me
with his wife. He told me that I was going to be a grandmother. Can you believe it? At 39!

Oh, I can believe it.

Give me a break. An old co worker of your husband stops by, to offer him a good paying job. No chance of him knowing your husband is available, and just happening to have an opening at that time. It MUST be Chris.
And there is NO chance that your other son had just HAPPENED to find out the good news at around the same time you wrote “Chris”, it is not a coincidence.

And, your a grandmother at 39. Congrats. I know guys that are my age (25), and they already have one or 2 kids. One I know, already has 3 kids. People are popping em out earlier and earlier, and more and more. Unfortunately for our already strained and polluted biosphere.
But why would that matter to YOU. Your  the one testifying to the credibility of an “astro clairvoyant”.

Then…Well, just take a look! Its incredible!

Every day, things seemed to just work themselves out. Life was completely different. I would
get up in the morning full of hope, excited to start the day. Everything was going well my husband
with his new job and he was in a good mood again. And I was, too…

It is indeed, incredible.

Your husband got a great new job, and you have a long lost son coming to visit that will soon make you a grandmother. In my mind, those are very much positive events in any context. Meaning, even without this “Chris” fellow in your life, im thinking that these would be good days for you.

Enjoy the event timings, for the coincidences that they are. Stop giving this “Chris” asshole credit, for doing nothing.

That is when the most wonderful thing of all happened…

Without mentioning a thing to me, my husband had bought a lottery ticket. He was always
saying, “Oh! What’s the point? I’m never lucky anyway…” And for the first time in his life
he pocketed a tidy little sum…Let me tell you, it gave us quite a little nest egg…
He is not at all the type to believe this kind of thing, but he had to admit, “We’ve been
so lucky ever since you wrote to that clairvoyant Chris. It can’t be a coincidence…”


You Win.

I am the overly skeptical asshole that should just chill the fuck out and open my mind.

Chris be praised.


But I think it was when I was able to pay off all our debts that I realized how much our
situation had changed. I did not owe anyone anymore money, and I still had some money to see 
me though for some time. It was the first time in my life that had happened…

Well, to hell with the kids. They are fine. And to hell with the husband, who is out there MAKING the money.

You have money Agnes. be happy.

Today, I have agreed to write about this and have my story published because ever since
things changed so radically, I have been thinking about all those unlucky people and
all their problems. And I tell myself that if Chris was able to help me and my husband
like that, he could surely do a lot for other people, too.
So if you have problems in your life, do not hesitate to do what I did. Ask Chris for
help. You are not risking a thing. his help is free…And I can tell you, you will
not regret it.”

Agnes C.

Well, that was really something, wasn’t it folks?

A lady who I can only imagine was a stay at home mom, who started out on the path to “easy” money though questionable (or “unconventional”) means, found a clairvoyant to fit their needs.

And lets remember that it was not the hard work (and the past reputation) of the husband that got him that great job that has them rolling in the doe, giving HER money to spend. It was all “Chris”.

Oh, and that bit in the end about feeling bad for all the “Unlucky” people out there. That is such a typical greedy, western world reaction. Don’t send them to this “Chris” asshole and feel better about yourself!
Take some of that “Good luck” money, and donate it to charity.
There is nothing that bugs me more then self righteous assholes with the means, that make a choice to “contribute” help to a situation by way of some useless gesture. Like praying, or liking a fake “charitable” post (“for every like, __________ will donate $1 to _________ !), or shit like this.

If there is one thing that the whole “testimonial” did not do, it was tell us anything about “Chris”, nor about his abilities. Hell, it didn’t tell us ANYTHING at all. If credibility is earned by way of ability to fact check, then its a whole lot of crap.

On the front, there seems to be a small “profile” of this “Chris”, written by another source. Or in the 3ed person. Judge for yourself (its unsigned or credited).

Chris has devoted his entire life to helping the poor, the underprivileged and the marginalized.
Most of those people had been desperate cases. The growing difficulties they had come to face
in their lives had gradually destroyed them, leaving them little hope of ever finding a way out
of their horrible situations. But to their great surprise, their lives turned around, virtually overnight.

One thing is certain: This man has not only “secret” know-how, but also an exceptional gift, a
vision and ability to transmit thought. As he puts it, he is able to enter into “spiritual communication”
with other people. That ability is extremely rare – he is the only one we know with that particular gift –
and it apparently allows him to feel intently and at exactly the same time, what the person he is in
contact with telepathically is feeling. In addition, his incredible visions – in particular when it comes
to money – allow him to project himself into someones past, present and future and to  see the often
unexpected solution to the person’s main problem.

That is the most ridicules claim that I have ever read. Give me a FUCKING break.

Honestly, when someone has a “gift” so rare that apparently NO ONE else has it, “rare” is not the word I would use to describe it. “Fake” or “Crock of shit” works just as well.

And look at that ability. He can “tune” into your thoughts, and see your past, your present and apparently, your future. That is not only the stupidest thing I have EVER read, but that is the creepiest thing I have ever read.

I mean, think about it. This man can “see” into your past, your present, and your future. All based on something that you wrote on a piece of paper that you mailed to him in Old Bethpage, New York. He could be a huge asset for an organization like the CIA or the NSA.

Imagine full access to someones ENTIRE life. Not just digital scraps and metadata, but thoughts and memories. It would be impossible to lie. AND theoretically, possible to predict future crimes before they happen. Imagine the possibilities!

Also, the reply envelope included (notably with no postage) is addressed:

696 Old Bethpage Road, #297
Old Bethpage,  New York,

So “Chris” just HAPPENED to be stopping by my neighborhood in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. A likely story.

But let us continue with this “Chris” resume of skillz.

Whether it is a problem concerning money, love or bad luck, nothing and no one can bring happiness as
quickly and long-lastingly into someone’s life as the hapiness he can bring to yours.

When asked about the incredible “gift” which allows him to bring others happiness, Chris prefers to
speak about his complete dedication to each individual he helps and about his personal quest for know-how.

His background speaks for itself: at the age of 20, he became the youngest professional in his field in Europe.
At the same time, he began to do experimental studies on hypnosis and on parapsychological
phenomena such as telepathy. Then he had his series of “firsts” in the world: the first experience of
collective telepathy (with an audience of 50,000), hypnosis though television (2 million subjects asleep),
all crowned with success. he still continues his rounds at conference and his research to understand the
mysteries of the human mind and the benefits of paranormal practices to mankind.

Every day he receives more and more requests. His countless achievements attest to the wide
range of his powers. For him, nothing is impossible when it comes to helping his fellow man.
And what he has done for others, he can do for you, too.

How about that,  folks. Nothing is impossible or over the top, when it comes to helping his fellow sheep . . . OPPS! I mean man.

The amount of words, conveying so much nothing, is truly amazing. There is the claim of “collective telepathy” with an audience of 50,000. Hell, that is around 3/4’s of the populace of the city I live in. Not to mention, how is that even supposed to work?
If we look to the above explanation of his “powers”, we know that he can get into your mind. He individually goes in, and searches your past, present AND future, for solutions to your every problem.

And, to go back to a comment from “Agnes” earlier in her “testimonial”, he can institute a “stopgap measure”. No where is that explained. So the only thing I can think of, is that “Chris” can change your future. Thats pretty damn wild!

Now, back to the collective telepathy thing. Is it that he “connected” to 50,000 people, all at the same time? Or that he did 50,000 single “connections”?
When it came to the first choice (collective), one would wonder what would be to gain, besides bragging rights. And as for the other (single connections), think about how long that would take. Even if he didn’t “help” them all in any way, just focusing on each of the 50,000, would take a LONG time.

Then there is the hypnosis by television, where apparently he put 2 million subjects to sleep.

These are all, some pretty damn good feats.If I were responsible for all these world firsts, I would not hesitate to share them with the world either. And I would not hesitate to show evidence of all these feats.

But, wait, good point. Where is the evidence for any of this?

Having a crowd of 50,000 at your clairvoyant disposal is quite a feat. That also entails quite the venue. Why is it that we have to not know the venue? Or for that matter, WHERE this took place geographically.

His “bio” says that he was a professional from a young age in Europe, so I am under the assumption that is where “Chris” was born. But the mailing information, is a US address. So I am assuming that he also has US connections or a residence.
Did this event happen the Us, in Europe, or somewhere else?

Now to the next crowning achievement on his list, the mass hypnosis of 2 million television viewers.

Once again, were only given “meta data” of the event.

What network or networks did this program air on? In what country, or what countries? And how did you KNOW that 2 million people were indeed, “asleep” at the hand of your techniques?

One wonders why there is a need to hide all this information. Could it be because, listings of things like venue names or television networks, would make it to easy to “verify” the information? Why do you not want us to verify it?

Since I have retyped this whole damn thing word for word (at the expense of much time. My scanner was not working), I may as well include a small “personal message” from “Chris”.

Personal Message From Chris

Do you really think you are different from other people?
That you do not have the right to your share of happiness?
That people with everything are better than you? NO!
So why do they have everything and you do not?
There is a simple reason for that, but no one has
ever told you before! Just send me your first name,
Surname, address and a photo of you in response 
to this ad, and I will send you a free Clairvoyance report.

It will reveal the secret to the supernatural laws, as well
as well as the secret behind your own hidden powers.
Plus, it will contain some key information that will
help you transform your life.

All this is Absolutely free.

Just send me your first name, surname,
address and a photo of you (I will return it to you)
and fill in the form below.

your friend,


 Well this whole sheet has been quite insightful. We learned of this fellow “Chris” who has supernatural powers, about how he is selfless in his usage of said powers in helping people overcome adversity, free of charge. We learned a new termonology, “Astro Clairvoyant”, and that “Chris” is an expert in the field. He is such an expert, that he is the only one at the moment with his skill set. Out of all the humans making tracks on this planet, “Chris” is it.
And we learned that “Chris” has many accomplishments that he is proud to share with us.

In fact, “Chris” is so selfless and sure of his power, that he is willing to PAY YOU $75, just for taking the time to allow him to “telepathically” lock onto you, and change your life for the better.

This seems like a great guy.

Well, this is interesting. I just spotted a tiny bit of fine print along the boarder of the right hand side of page 2 of his “ad”. It reads:

GUARANTEES AND INFORMATION: In accordance with the “Data protection Act”
you have the right to access and correct any information held concerning you. In the
absence of your refusal, this information may be used by third parties.

I have to admit, that with the intensity that I have been studying this advertisement, it was only by accident that I noted this little bit of fine print, just now. If I have been looking at this page for hours and missed it, then its a safe bet to think that many people will miss it all together. Especially those swept up by the “powers” of “Chris”.

I had been reading this whole thing, trying to figure out what possible motive one would have, for sending such a letter. paying $75, for a testimonial? This has ALL the earmarks (including playing into the thought processes of the gullible, greedy and lazy) of a scam of some sort.
This little disclaimer tells me that your not worth as much as your INFORMATION is. By sending him info, this fine print gives “Chris” the okay to share (and sell) it all as he pleases. $75 to you? Hell, thats probably pocket change compared to the cash that could be made selling you.

But I am not done yet.

I still have curiosities that this piece has not satisfied. So I will make use of humanities best tool in the fight against lies and mis-truths, the internet. Primarily, a  search engine.

My first curiosity, was with the term “Astro Clairvoyant”, which is a term I had never heard before. And it seems that I am not alone. Google only had one website that mentioned it by definition. As it turns out, a blog entry by an Astro Clairvoyant in Las Vegas named Narah Guide.



The screen capture is just an excerpt of a longer piece, but the goods are in the 2ed paragraph from the bottom.

In my initial search of the terms “Astro Clairvoyant” (without “definition” added) I was linked to a number of sites pertaining to this Narah women, but also this:


Well were off to a good start lol. But notably, nothing about a “Chris”.

Which brings me to my next query.


So the guy is on the Google radar, and even has a facebook page. But no last name. Curious.

But if you scroll the page down even just a little bit, you find this.




If you want to play around more with the “CHRIS” search results, here they are.


So there you have it, my suspicions confirmed.

Many people over the years, have chastised me over my distrust in people. How I am always looking at things, in the most negative ways. Translation, I am critical of EVERYTHING I hear and see, pretty much anywhere.

While there are problems that arise from this, I make the argument that many people are TO trusting. I have no doubt that many will take this “Chris”/Earol’s offer, and answer right away. Not even realizing that they just got had.

When seeing though the smokescreen, would be as easy as typing a search term into a search engine.

In the words of Bill Maher, BE MORE CYNICAL!

Spirituality – When Does Harmless Belief, Become Not So Harmless?


Last year, I wrote a post called Psychics , which was intended to warn people not to fall for the ruse of fake psychics. Though I will say that it is hard to definitively prove that anyone is NOT gifted, its very easy to fake the “gift”, if you know how. If I did a little bit of Internet research, I am sure that I could become “gifted” in no time (ever see that episode of South Park? 🙂 ).

The situation that provoked me to write the post last year, was a family situation, which started (of all places), on Facebook. One of my aunts posted a status update claiming that she had been visited by her deceased father (my grandpa), and that he had said mostly positive things about what he seen, and about (apparently) the future.

Later inquiry brought out the fact that this “visit” happened my aunt as she was in to get a free card reading from a friend of hers, an apparently prominent psychic out Ontario. Apparently the “visit”,  was completely out of the blue. My grandfather I guess, just happened to be in the vicinity.

Either way, after that, I seen them post further details about other assorted  “spiritual”  journeys they had taken with this person, and various items purchased to do various things in the home. Something that really made me raise an eyebrow, but I kept quiet. After awhile, it quieted down, so I figured that the phase had probably moved on and past.

Being in to visit my family for the holidays, I came to realize that I was wrong. It begun innocently enough, with overhearing a discussion between my cousins about what they were in past lives, and how they were apparently somehow connected (imagine the chances! But I digress . . .). Then in the middle of a conversation with another cousin, a weird hush suddenly came into the room. Me being engrossed in my conversation, didn’t have a clue what was happening. But I later learned that my uncle and grandfather had apparently “dropped by” our family celebration.
Because now apparently, one of my cousins has the ability of seeing ghosts to (later that night, she apparently seen another women in the house we were in to).

Though on the surface this is seemingly harmless, I was later told that this happens at pretty much  every family gathering there is.

It was an interesting thing, being their in the middle of this. It was a like a microcosm of the bigger picture that is the debate for and against the paranormal. On one side, you have the believers, who are convinced of the accuracy in their scenes. And on the other, you have the skeptics, convinced that its all a load of crap, and that its just a figment of imagination.
And as with most times, both sides are trying to convince me how the other is clearly wrong. And both missing the point that neither can possibly be right OR wrong, because neither can show me any definitive proof to back it up (to the credit of the skeptics  side however, they may have just been overly willing to take that stance, having grown fed up with the paranormal showing its head in EVERY family event to date).

I was trying to keep myself on the fence (in the name of both keeping rational, AND not stepping on to many toes. It is family, after all), so I didn’t really give much of an opinion. But I know that the skeptics were probably the closest to being right. And not just because that is where my bias lies,  but because I have some evidence, my senses. Not my non-existent “sixth” sense either, but more, my sense of feeling and touch.

One of the things that “convinced” some of my grandfathers presence, was a “cold spot” over an empty chair (where apparently my grandfather was sitting). Which would be something to think about in a room that has a uniform  temperature.
But, being a cold winters day in Manitoba, and being that both front and back doors (not to mention windows, the house is at least 100) let in a bit of draft, your feet are always slightly cool. And as one skeptic pointed out, one vent by him was continuously blowing cool air into the room.
Which is a good, solid argument against.

One could say, though this behavior may be irrational (believing the seemingly unbelievable), what is the harm?

And on one hand, I tend to agree.

But one problem that I see  with this, is eluded to in my past Psychics post, as well as earlier in this piece. Though seeing ghosts and such is relatively harmless, there is a danger in shutting off all resistance and reason, in that it leaves one vulnerable to manipulation.
Many a medium and psychic has turned a good profit by way of being master manipulators.

Not to mention the harm and friction that this “harmless” belief may stir up in some situations.

Lets go back to the family gathering. Present there was my 80 something year old grandmother, who lost my grandfather suddenly years back in 1998, has grieved, and has not (for the most part), moved on.
Now, in the end of 2013 (15 years later),  we have relatives  announcing that he has come back to visit our family! Oh the joy!

Though they see no harm in mentioning that, what about my grandmother? What is she supposed to be thinking? Sure, she might find it comforting. But what if its just opening an old wound?
Why should she go though that alone, even if she does not feel right mentioning it to family members?

I knew that religion had the ability to really corrupt minds, and make for some nasty situations. But the paranormal, I have never really considered in the same category, until now. Sure, I have always known that people have a tendency of forgetting that there are other options and stances then the extremes. But I never seen it as “harmful”.

Then there is the argument against, which is very difficult.

Its relatively easy to argue against the concept of god, because there is nothing to see. Though people may claim to see god’s hand in the world (figuratively of course), they do not actually see the person, or thing, that IS god.

But how do you convince someone that claims to be seeing the ghost of a past relative (or of anyone for that matter), that this might not be anything more then a figment of imagination?
But more importantly, just as I leave my atheist cue cards put away during holiday events and most day to day conversations (and most people leave there religious cue cards put away), how do you tell someone of a more “spiritual” belief, that the same is expected of them?

The reaction to the resistance of my other family members towards the vocalized spiritual sightings, was contempt for  just not “accepting”. Is it possible that maybe, just maybe,  they did not want to have someone elses spiritual beliefs thrown in their faces?

If I decided to start an ongoing (perpetuated by me) conversation about how there is likely no god, people would respond with proof as they see it, which might be oppisition. Am I right to get angry that some people happen to be vocally opposing to my views, if I was the one who started the conversation in the first place?

Though having overly spiritual beliefs is not inherently bad, please remember not to completely surrender your common sense in the name of being “open to the other side”.

Do not spend money on anything that anyone is claiming has  any “spiritual” value, because there is a 99.9% chance that you are being duped. This includes not just objects and such, but also spiritual “sessions”.
And when it comes to these “sessions”, even avoid ones that are free of charge. Advertisers and marketers everywhere know that “try before you buy”, the reality coupon,  is a great way to snag steady consumers of whatever snake oil they are pedaling.
And specialists in spirituality are no different (my aunts “free card reading” proved to be quite rewarding to the psychic, though I am guessing my aunt would never see or admit it).

And lastly, just as one’s  religious  (and non-religious) beliefs  should be treated in the same way as one’s penis or boobs (don’t whip em out in public!), the same rule applies to ones spirituality.
And if you do insist on sharing with the rest of the world, do not be angry if your opposition decides to chime in their piece.

The Loch Ness Monster – Can You Change Your Mind?

Loch Ness Monster mystery could be explained by a fault line under the lake


The legend of the Loch Ness Monster has persevered for more than 200 years. But could tales of a prehistoric sea creature located in a deep Scottish body of water be explained by science?

That’s the source of a new theory, which speculates that the Loch Ness Monster may actually be a fault line lying underneath the Scottish lake.

Even after 200 years of technological advances since the first reported spotting in 1806, rumors of the Loch Ness Monster continue to persist. In fact, technology has played a role in spawning some Nessie theories.

For example, in 2011, local boat skipper Marcus Atkinson produced a sonar image of what he described as a large object following his boat for several minutes at a depth of 75 feet.

And in 2012, George Edwards shared a photo of an unexplained image in Loch Ness. Skeptics have said the image was likely of a log floating atop the water.

Scientific American reports that Italian geologist Luigi Piccardi believes the Great Glen fault system is actually responsible for mysterious bubbles and the shaking ground commonly associated with supposed creature sightings.

“There are various effects on the surface of the water that can be related to the activity of the fault,” Piccardi told Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

And he has some compelling evidence to back up his case. For example, he notes that many of the alleged sightings have happened at times when the 62-mile fault was experiencing an active period.

“We know that this was a period [1920-1930] with increased activity of the fault. In reality, people have seen the effects of the earthquakes on the water.”

So, what do you think? There have been strange reports near Loch Ness going all the way back to the 7th century. Are the numerous sightings over the years proof of the creature’s existence, mere coincidence, or even a self-fulfilling prophecy continued on by people who want to take part in the legend? Or, could it all actually simply be explained by a natural phenomenon found across the planet?

When it comes to the legend of the Loch Ness Monster, I really can not say that I was a believer, nor did I totally reject the possibility. Like Lake Manitoba‘s Manipogo , Lake Okanagan‘s Ogopogo, and likley countless other local legends world wide, its one of those things. There may not be proof to go either way, but the legend adds to the local culture, and to peoples imaginations.

There has always been images that were mistaking one phenomenon or another for “Nessy”, and many hoaxes to. And there was speculation of potential answers, but nothing that was ever more then mere speculation. Until very recently (the above article), the Loch Ness Monster question has remained largely open ended.

But the fault line explanation, does make a lot of sense. If the lake bed is shifting (especially being pushed UP with force), this could make for some interesting expulsions on the waters surface.

In the image above, it indeed looks like monster of some sort. But there may be the key word, LOOKS. If you are in the area, then you likley know about the legend. And if you happen to capture an image such as this, even if you are a skeptic, you still have the legend in the back of your mind.
Your pretty much predisposed to be biased.

I have always seen a “monster” in the image above. Not to surprising, because everyone does. But given this new theory, I can also see the possibility there to. The image above is black and white, so it doesn’t tell us a whole lot. But “Nessy’s” head could indeed, be a column of water being pushed up.

Though this is far from being scientific proof, it is likley as close as were ever going to get. For me, though I always leave my options open (you never know!), this is a pretty good conclusion to the age old problem.

Though this was easy for me to accept, ive discovered, not everyone is willing to part with the idea of “Nessy”. I sense with most, its because its a familiar legend, and always peaked there imagination, and those things can be hard to let go of. But I have had one occurrence where a person was flat out hostile towards the idea of fault disruption causing the phenomenon (they went as far as calling the scientist with the idea a Quack).

This I found to be quite interesting. Why is it so hard to accept new information on some subjects such as this? Can you change your mind?

The Paranormal

Brown Lady Hospital

Today I will tackle a topic that has always interested me though out my life, the topic being, the paranormal. This is a topic that has been fascinating man for ages, yet at the same time, a topic that has gained a bad reputation, due to many hijacking it VIA hoaxes, or otherwise dishonestly using the term. The photos above are a good example of the bad side, as imagery isn’t foolproof even if the person isn’t deliberately trying to pull off a hoax.

I touched on a VERY tiny portion of this topic in a previous entry, which was about psychic’s (or more so, how I felt a family member was being deceived by one, and a short explanation as to how pretty  ANYONE can pull off such a deception). But though its relatively easy to debunk people whom claim to COMMUNICATE with the “Other Side”, the bigger issue of “the other side” is, not so easy to dispel.

The first place I personally heard about the paranormal, was though stories ive heard from my family (mainly my dad), over the years.

My dad grew up with both parents and 7 siblings in a huge old farm house in rural Manitoba, and there was quite a few stories from there. One interesting factor, was that none of the male occupants or visitors of the household ever had an experience within the house, but all the female occupants (and many visitors), did have experiences.

Not all of them recall the incidents today (as they occurred in childhood, and you forget stuff over the years), but from what the others have said, it was mostly visual, apparitions. Mostly of a man.

In one instance, a visitor would not step past the porch (into the house), for she said she felt “a bad vibe” about the place. One overnight visitor, sleeping in one of the bedrooms, claimed she awoke in the middle of the night to see a silhouette of a man standing in the doorway of there room. And upon trying to wake her husband, she was not successful (though it was the first night of a pre-planned weekend stay, they left hastily the next morning).

And a third story, this one from my aunt. Apparently she was running up the stairs to the 3ed floor (attic) of the house, and as she rounded a corner, she ran into (and right THOUGH), an apparition of a man.  She didn’t realize what had happened, until she was though him (she says it felt like running though a cold shower). An interesting side note to this story, is that it was later found out that the builder of the house had passed away on the day (and within the hour), of this “incident” occurring.

Though all this is indeed hear-say, I consider it all interesting, because its from my family. I knew there backgrounds, and the people telling the stories aren’t the kind to fib or embellish anything.

When it comes to ME personally, ive never actually SEEN anything “paranormal”, like apparitions or anything like that. But I have had a number of interesting (and sometimes humorous) situations happen, over the years.

The first, im not exactly sure how long ago it occurred, but im thinking I was in grades 7 or 8 at the time. We were staying at my aunties house, which was located a short distance outside the settlement of Otterburn Manitoba (I quote wikipedia lol). Known primarily for  the Providence University College and Theological Seminary (located in the town), there was not a whole lot else. Only a local post office. Not even a restaurant or food store.

The days were usually filled with a trip to Winnipeg, or nearby  Steinbach or St. Pierre for shopping (or other errands with my aunt and uncle), but at night, there was never a whole lot to do at there place. In the winter, me, my sister and my cousin (same one mentioned in my Candles & Campfires entry) would play video games, or hockey on the frozen Rat river (located down a hill, and behind there house).

In the summer, we would sometimes walk to the town, and walk around there. I remember that the town always had a creepy feel to it, all quiet and eerie. But of course, the senses can do funny things in strange situations.

In the back of the town, right beside the road to my aunts place, was small graveyard.

And during one visit, us 3 decided to visit the grave yard, look around at the names. We were accompanied by “buddy”, a big black dog owned by my aunt’s  neighbors, but who was allowed to run loose (so he usually ended up at my aunts LOL). Anyway we walked to the grave yard, buddy in tow, and looked around a bit. Then, buddy stops, and starts barking at a grave right in the middle of the cemetery. When he didn’t stop, we all got creeped out and left LOL.

The next night, we decided to go back. So we walked back there, buddy once again in tow. We were looking around again, reading the headstones. Buddy was following us, today, not focused on anything in particular. We were just past the grave that buddy had barked at the night before and looking at another one, when we looked back to see buddy peeing on that very grave. We laughed, then moved on.

Then, out of nowhere, it got REALLY windy (it was a calm night). We quickly, decided to get the hell OUT of there LOL (did buddy “piss” someone off?). When we were a short distance away, the wind once again died down, and didn’t return.  Though we walked to the town at different times after that, we never went back to that cemetery lol.

My aunts house itself, has had its fare share of activity in the time that they have lived there as well. It was apparently a replacement to a home that had been there before (which had burnt down), but im unsure if  anyone perished in the fire though.

But when it comes to weird occurrences in the house, my uncle once seen the nightlight flicker in the bathroom, and seen an apparition standing in the room. My cousin had just come home from work after a late night shift (got home at around 1am), and seen an apparition walking up the basement stairs. My sister always felt creeped out and had trouble sleeping in the house (and avoided the guest bedroom at the very end of the hall, as it REALLY creeped her out). 

I have personally, never seen anything in the house, nor did I ever feel  “creeped out” anywhere in it (including in the back bedroom). I can explain the “creepy” feeling my sister had.

For one,we slept in the living room (on the couch), which had big windows on both sides, that were uncovered (being in the middle of nowhere, all that was across the road was an empty feild). At night I didn’t like it, because with the bright overhead light on, you could not see out (but people could see IN).

And after dark, outside is a whole lot of blackness. So thats likely a big part of it.

Plus we often talked about paranormal things (or watched paranormal videos) with my cousin, so he was of no help lol.

When it comes to my “personal” experiences in the house,  I can only think of are 3 things.

The first, I admit, is not exactly a “personal” experience, but it involved me in an interesting way.

I was told by my uncle told  (the next  morning ), that he thought he had seen me standing by the patio door in the middle of the night (they made a sun room in the back of the house, and that was where I usually slept). Apparently he called my name and I didn’t answer. Presumably because I was sleeping on the couch 5 feet away.

 Another experience that I “had”, also happened in that sun room, but in broad daylight. Me, my sister and my cousin often play fought each other, and my sister and my cousin were. I was about 15 or 20 feet away (the other side of the room), looking out a picture window, when I felt a punch in the back of the arm.

I quickly turned and said “OW CUZ”, then realized they (him and my sister) were on the other side of the room. And they seemed just as surprised as I was. Of course, its entirely possible that 1 could have been messing with me, but they would have had to move across the room pretty fast to beat my quick head turn.

Another “incident” (if you even want to call it that), occurred in the back bedroom of the house. At night it was normally occupied by my dad, but during the day, I liked going in there and reading. One time I must have fallen asleep, but the interesting part was that when my aunt and dad tried to wake me up, they didn’t have any luck, no matter how much they poked and moved me around.

I did not consider this an “experience” at the time, but later on, I found an interesting correlation to one of the stories of my dads childhood home. Its likely a fluke, but considering the status of the house, one can never know. One thing I can tell you, is I did not remember any “dreams” from the sleep, nor do I have even a recollection of them attempting to wake me (not to surprising).

I did have a BIT of an experience, fairly recently (maybe 2 or 3 years back), at my best friends parents place when they lived in a house in the western most area of Brandon.

The family is Wiccan, and are very spiritual in nature. And it showed in the way they decorated there home. Some found it creepy, I found it very relaxing.

In any case, a reoccurring issue, was my inability to fall asleep in the downstairs rec room area (though a part of that may be uncomfortable sleeping arrangements and the room being to hot). But every time ive been down there, even with much hard liquor in my system, ive always got little to no sleep.

One time, my friend was  having a party there, and we were all in the hot tub (inebriated. lol). And he said he wanted to do a Wiccan cleansing ritual. A couple of us were curious, so we tried it. We held hands, closed our eyes,  and let ourselves get completely relaxed, totally calm, minds clear. It felt relaxing, but I felt this strange sensation, like something was pulling at me from behind (not in a literal sense, more like a feeling. Its the best way I can describe it).

I was told that, apparently I was feeling spirit that was to the right of the hot tub (I heard them mention this “spirit” before, but I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention. And I didn’t make the connection, because right of the hot tub was BEHIND me). That was an interesting experience.

The above may paint me as being a believer in this phenomenon, but in reality, im on the fence. In the middle. An agnostic to the concept.

Though “the paranormal” is an umbrella term that is inclusive of a whole host of different phenomenons, the area I am most familiar with is the “Ghostly” aspects. Ghosts, disembodied spirits and such.

Though I consider all the stories above as both amusing and interesting, they are not a confirmation of a belief that any of it is INDEED super natural. In fact, memory is a funny thing. All may be 100% explainable to events and processes in reality. But they are just what I say they are, stories. Fun and interesting little tales, that make the topic interesting and (somewhat) personally relevant.

When it comes to the paranormal, though there are people that try to stay in the middle, ive found that most tend to gravitate to the extreme edges. You are either all in, have no doubts in your mind. Or you are flat out opposed, certain that there is no such thing as paranormal phenomenon.

Having an unwavering stance on either edge of the scale is irrational.

When it comes to those who believe with absolute certainty, you run the risk of falsely equating something explainable as something “paranormal”. Assuming the incident isn’t scary or causing fear, this may not be an overly harmful thing (can make for an interesting story). But putting all your eggs in the paranormal basket, CAN be risky. For example, people often pay good money for a “psychic” to read to them from the “other side”, when realistically, there reading YOU. I covered it awhile ago here.

On the other side of the coin, we have the paranormal deniers. Those that refuse to even entertain the possibility of anything paranormal. Based on the fact that, you can not see it, test it. Which in a sense, is alright. I look around the room, and I see nothing.

But on the other hand, that does not tell us anything. One can not see radio waves.

But you would not see this, or any of my other entry’s, without them (WIFI).  And my cell phone would be a paperweight, without those invisible waves carrying information back and forth between the tower/WIFI router.

But some have argued against this argument, because though you can not SEE radio waves with the naked eye, antennas “see” the waves (like my computer and my cell phone).

So though the above argument is rendered moot, one still can not draw a definitive conclusion.

Indeed, many a person has done there own “testing”, using all kinds of methodologies. All looking for some sort of answer to that ever present question, is there such a thing as ghosts?

And more often then not, they come up empty, or with easily explainable findings. But even this does not mean a whole lot.

To use a quote I heard recently “If you test a cup of ocean water and don’t find fish, does that mean there is no fish in the ocean?”.

One big problem when it comes to the paranormal is, people using the curiosity (gullibility?) of others, to make a buck off of it. Past and present, many have successfully made a buck with flimsy “evidence” caught on camera or tape recorder. And though the technology is now more advanced, you can still see the same thing happening. Your favorite popular Ghost Hunting show may be guilty.

Though its hard to prove, I go by the findings of a small local group in my area called “Assiniboine Paranormal“. They have a lot of material that one could call “possible”, but nothing that can be called “definitive”.

Though many, especially the “Ghost Hunting” shows, claim to be in it primarily to debunk, looking at what is considered “good” often begs to differ. A good rule of thumb, if there looking for ratings or DVD sales, then be very mindful of the content.

In fact, finding something “genuine” that is related to the paranormal ANYWHERE in the media, might be impossible. Though there is more available then ever thanks to the internet, one would not be able to tell is anything is indeed “genuinely” paranormal, amongst the ocean of  explainable and doctored material. Just the nature of the material, automatically renders pretty much everything found by anyone else, suspect.

Its good to be suspicious. And its good to ask questions. Anyone that takes the integrity of the field seriously, should not be afraid to answer your questions as best they can.

Even though the paranormal field has gained a bad reputation, one must not forget that the concept itself, is still a question mark.

So one must be careful when applying the label of “supernatural” or “paranormal” to anything. But also, one must be careful in writing off what does not have the proof to back up such an action.

You can not get a  can not get a positive OR negative result from an informational void.



I’ve been busy with odd shifts at work and navigating through this ole life of mine, so I hadn’t realized it had been almost 10 days since my previous entry (April fools day). But today I’m back, with a topic that you will hopefully deem interesting.

I’m sure we all have heard about psychics at some point in our lives. They also go by mediums, card readers, crystal ball gazers, and have all sorts of other ways to gaze into the future, the past, or to talk to our deceased loved ones. They often charge horrendous rates for demonstrations of their “special” gifts.

Now, I have heard about such people in the past, but not for a very long time.

Until a few days ago, when a family member shocked the rest of us, by announcing (via a status update) that she had been in contact with her father, my grandfather (who passed away in 2004). Browsing through Facebook on my phone at a coffee shop with a family member, my face must have registered my surprise because the person I was with asked what was happening lol. And so I showed him, who too, was initially surprised.

I then re-read the status update, and realized that it said that grandpa had dropped by during a visit to “Susan“. Of course, I initially didn’t put 2 and 2 together, and was wondering who on earth “Susan” was (was it a dream that she was reliving? Entirely possible. Though she forgot to add THAT part into the status update). And so I commented “Susan?”,  curiosity peaked.

I got my answer the next day when I was told that she was a psychic/card reader/spiritualist type of person. This person is a friend of the family member of which this happened to. And it was during her “free” card reading session, that the visit had occurred. Yep, my grandpa just decided to drop by, and tell her how great it was on the “other” side, and that everything was going to be ok.

 This was followed a day or so later by another 2 family members (a cousin, daughter of the one who had the “experience” (my aunt), and another cousin) posting about how they had gone in for some sort of session where all the negative memories were  “removed” from there bodies. And after that, my one cousin said that she had been in a session, where they went through some of the things she was in “past” lives, in great detail.

I’m hoping that all of that was also “free” friendship readings. But I did find out that they had apparently purchased some sort of spiritual “rocks” from this person. Though I have not a clue what their purpose could possibly be (frankly, it took much willpower not to introject my atheistic rationality into any of the conversations).

In any case, the lady is not from around here but is travelling around my province for the next month or so (even coming to my city for a few days). And she has a fairly wide range of “services”. I’m unaware of all her prices, but I know that a card reading is $40 and a full-on psychic reading is $100. And as far as I can tell, one has to book in advance (make an appointment), which is interesting.

When it came to this aunt of mine, whether or not she is aware, being someone’s friend on Facebook gives a person access to a whole treasure trove of information. Quite possibly a boatload of useless stuff, but you may post little clues here and there, and then forget. Clues that one could later find, and when put together, build a profile of you as a person.

Clues, such as information on your parents. Which, may lead to other sources you may not think of. For example, the presence of a Facebook group dedicated to “uniting” all of our family members worldwide, which contains all sorts of details of our family tree. Here (or though one of the other related family members that have parents listed openly), is a good bet to where the name of my grandpa could have been picked up.

So I then decided to plug my grandpa’s name into a google search. Something I (and others) would never have even thought of doing before, for good reason (he never used the internet, so why would he be out there on it?).

But imagine my surprise, when I start finding little bits and pieces here and there. Obituaries from newspapers. Trails posted by family members on websites like ancestry.com. I even found a trail that led back to ME, a listing on an ancestry website that I had never come across before (as it used my full 4-word name). This I found interesting because I have been googling myself for YEARS, just to check what I (and possibly others) have put out there (and cleaning up old digital breadcrumbs as I find them, if possible).

I am not a pro at finding out info about people using the public domain, but I’m sure if your livelihood depends on it, you will have expert methods.

But that brings me to something I mentioned earlier, digital breadcrumbs.

Anyone who grew up in the age of broadband, likely grew up using a variety of past social networking websites that are no longer “the in thing” due to modern facebook dominance.

Nexopia. Hi5. Beebo. Myspace. Friendster. And likely hundreds, if not thousands, of other websites of which we once used to share photos and other posts. Then there could be forums we once participated in. All sorts of sites, with all sorts of purposes, once used, but now forgotten.

 But even if YOU forget about your accounts in all of the above, do they forget YOU? More often than not,  no.

All the information that you added just sits there. To be logged by search engine crawlers. Until the day that someone decides to throw your name into a search engine, and all of this forgotten past digital chatter (attached to your name), could be on display for them to see.

I know it can happen, because about 2 years after high school, just for the hell of it, I threw my name into a search engine (not expecting to find anything, as my real name is uncommon). I was surprised when my past activities on websites popped up right before my eyes.  I even found a posting I had made in grade 9 on a website guestbook (thanking them for the info, as it helped me with a project lol). And the posting is still up to this day.

After finding this, and realizing that I am not the only one who could stumble onto this stuff, I went into cleanup mode, attempting to gain access to each and everyone, and taking down the profiles (since I no longer use them). I was successful, sparing 1 site, which I’m not overly worried about anyway.

If there is a lesson here, it’s that with modern technology today, there are many ways to learn about a person’s background. And that we each may inadvertently give away all SORTS of information that one could use to build a profile on us. And though in this case, we’re talking about psychics, they are not the only entities that may have a vested interest in your past (current, or potential employers?).

And even if the “psychic” seemingly does not have time to build a profile of her clients, there are methodologies that many employ to give you the illusion they are indeed “connected” to the other side, but in reality, they are reading you like a book. South Park did a whole episode, mocking it lol. And if you dig online, you will likely find more about it.

As for my family, it is my hope that they will eventually grow out of this “phase”, or come to their senses about this “Susan”. Frankly, I’m an agnostic in many areas. Anything is possible.

But with the tools available today, it’s easier than ever to be a cheat psychic.

So if you ever find yourself in a situation where your about to spend ANY amount of money in order to contact those deceased, or to gaze into the past or future, remember. . . . . . 99% of the time, things that seem to good to be true, ARE.

And the psychic isn’t reading from the cards, ball, or the “other” side . . . . . . . they are reading YOU.