Thursday, February 28, 2008

Are Seances real, or just another scam?

Are Seances real, or just another scam? When we think of hauntings the natural next thought could be seance! But what is a Seance?

A séance (pronounced /ˈseɪɒns/) is an attempt to communicate with spirits. The word "séance" comes from the French word for "seat," "session" or "sitting," from the Old French "seoir," "to sit." In French, the word's meaning is quite general: one may, for example, speak of "une séance de cinéma" ("a movie session"). In English, however, the word came to be used specifically for a meeting of people who are gathered to receive messages from ghosts or spirits or to listen to a spirit medium discourse with or relay messages from spirits; in modern English usage, participants need not be seated while engaged in a séance. One of the earliest books on the subject of communication amongst deceased persons was Dialogues with the Dead by George, First Baron Lyttleton, published in England in 1760. [1] Among the notable spirits quoted in this volume are Peter the Great, Pericles, a "North-American Savage," William Penn, and Christina Queen of Sweden. The popularity of séances grew dramatically with the founding of the religion of Spiritualism in the mid-nineteenth century. Perhaps the best-known series of séances conducted at that time were those of Mary Todd Lincoln who, grieving the loss of her son, organized Spiritualist séances in the White House, which were attended by her husband, President Abraham Lincoln, and other prominent members of society.[2] The 1887 Seybert Commission report marred the credibility of Spiritualism at the height of its popularity by publishing exposures of fraud and showmanship among secular séance leaders. [3]. Contemporary séances continue to be a part of the religious services of Spiritualist, Spiritist, and Espiritismo churches today, where a greater emphasis is placed on spiritual values versus showmanship. - Wikipedia

However with that said, how many have really contacted the dead? One of our staff as a teenager had a guidance counselor who he'd grown close to. She died over one weekend during his Junior High years. The counselor was in a habit of driving him to school everyday. The Sunday of that weekend he received a call from what he thought was her. She stated that she wouldn't be able to drive him to school on Monday and to take the bus instead. The phone call then ended with a static noise growing louder and finally ending in a dial tone.

Millions and millions of personal accounts exist of being contacted by relatives and friends shortly after their demise.

Harry Houdini even devised a code so that his wife would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was he that was calling from beyond the grave. However, no one ever gave the right code to her before her passing.

Ouiji (a.k.a Ouija) have been used during Seances to allow the dead a medium to communicate with the living during the session. We provide such items in the Phantasmagoric World Store Old Technologies if you're curious!
Pendulums have also been used to communicate with the dead which is in some ways simpler than using other mediums. A person can either swing the pendulum over an object and ask simple yes or no questions or they can use it as a dowsing direction finder to locate a spirit.
Pendulum dowsing has been sworn to be many water dowsers which also use it for diagnosing aches and pains which we don't recommend!

And finally, spiritualist claim to have the ability to either be possessed by the spirit or talk to the spirit which can't be verified! Whether Seances actually do talk to the dead or whether their just another scam we may never know!

Thanks for your time and attention! Have a Phantasmagoric Day!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I've been slimmed!

Ectoplasm, what is it?

We've heard throughout our lives about ectoplasm being left after a haunting or manifesting during seance. However, ectoplasm is (from the Greek ektos, "outside", + plasma, "something formed or molded") is a term coined by Charles Richet to denote a substance or spiritual energy "exteriorized" by physical mediums.[1] Ectoplasm is said to be associated with the formation of ghosts, and hypothesized to be an enabling factor in psychokinesis.

Although the term is widespread in popular culture, the physical existence of ectoplasm is not accepted by mainstream science. Some tested samples purported to be ectoplasm have been found to be various non-paranormal substances, including chiffon and flakes of human skin.[2][3] Other researchers have duplicated, with non-supernatural materials, the photographic effects sometimes said to prove the existence of ectoplasm.[4]

Since its inception in the field of spiritualism, the concept of ectoplasm has escaped to become a staple in popular culture and fictional supernatural lore. Notable examples include Noel Coward's 1941 play Blithe Spirit, and the 1984 film Ghostbusters; in which "ectoplasmic residue" secreted by ghosts is portrayed as viscous, cloudy and greenish-white, similar to nasal mucus, famously referred to in Bill Murray's line, "He slimed me!" - Wikipedia

Those that have claimed to have seen this substance say that it is a filmy white substance however, recent photographs of the substance show it to be greenish in color.

Others have said ectoplasm to look like a spider web in appearance.

The effects one experiences from this substance is those akin to out-of-body experiences. Leaving the person feeling drained or conversely, highly energized. The purpose of this substance still isn't quite clear except to prove that the medium has contacted "the other side!"

Thank you for your attention and time! Have a great Phantasmagoric World Day!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Remote Viewing and Astral Travel, the only way to fly!

Astral travel/projection, remote viewing has been used by the military as well as intelligence agencies in an effort to collect information from the "enemy." How much success and whether these methods are used today is also classified. However, many have been interviewed and proclaimed that they in fact used these methods for clandestine purposes. But, let's see what remote viewing and astral projection/travel really is/is not!

Remote viewing is the purported ability for a person to gather information on a remote target that is hidden from the physical perception of the viewer and typically separated from the viewer at some distance, a form of extra-sensory perception.[1][2] The term was introduced by Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff in 1974 - Wikipedia

And Astral Travel, (a.k.a Astral Projection) is a paranormal interpretation of an out-of-body experience achieved either awake or via lucid dreaming or deep meditation. The concept of astral projection assumes the existence of another body, separate from the physical body and capable of traveling to non-physical planes of existence. Commonly such planes are called astral, etheric, or spiritual. Astral projection is often experienced as the spirit or astral body leaving the physical body to travel in the spirit world or astral plane - Wikipedia

With that said, there are a host of cults that claim the use of Astral Projection such as Eckankar which purports to be able to travel to other dimensions of existence.

Astral Travel/Remote viewing has also been reported by patients having Out of Body Experiences (OBE).
These occur mainly during surgery whereby the patient experiences floating about the doctors and then traveling to various places and encountering other beings.
This usually occurs where the patient is close to death or in a state of arrest known as a Near Death Experience (NDE).

To date, there hasn't been any scientific proof that these people have had an actual NDE or OBE. However, there have been millions of personal accounts that they have! We leave this for you to decide!

Thank you for your time and attention! Have a Phantasmagorical World Day!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Where is a good psychic when ya need one?

Psychics, mediums and spiritualist oh my!

Well, they knew we were going to write this article, but for the rest of us mere mortals... when do you bring a psychic, medium or spiritualist into an ghost investigation?

First, what is a psychic, medium or spiritualist? A psychic is a (pronounced /ˈsaɪkɨk/; from the Greek psychikos - "of the soul, mental") claimed ability to perceive things via extra-sensory perception. The term also refers to theatrical performers who use techniques such as prestidigitation and cold reading to produce the appearance of having such abilities. - wikipedia

And a medium is a person who practices Mediumship which is a form of relationship some people say they have with spirits that is practiced in religions such as Spiritualism, Spiritism, Espiritismo, Candomblé, Louisiana Voodoo, and Umbanda. - wikipedia

A Spiritualist is a person who practices Spiritualism.

Spiritualism is a religion that began in the United States and flourished from the 1840s to the 1920s—especially, though by no means exclusively—in English-language countries. By 1897, it is said to have had more than eight million followers in the United States and Europe.[1] The religion's distinguishing feature is the belief that the spirits of the dead can be contacted by "mediums," and can therefore provide living people with information about the afterlife. - wikipedia

If you've been keeping up with PW's articles on investigating hauntings we state that the initial ghost investigation shouldn't have any Psychics, Mediums or Spiritualist! It should be as emotionless as possible. And the investigation should eliminate all of the basics of factors that contribute to the experience of hauntings. Such as:

  • Psychotropic experiences from Black-mold,
  • Loose flooring or supports,
  • Faulty wiring,
  • Telescoping vibrations,
  • Micro-wave resonance on a building,
  • Plumbing problems,
  • Loose house fixtures,
  • Animals, mice, rats moving around within a building,
  • Psychotropic experiences from arsenic oxide (e.g., swamp gas),
  • Psychotropic experiences from DDT, Clearners and Deteriorating Rug Adhesives,
  • Occupants with psychological disorders requiring doctors care.
Once the above has been determined to not be the cause of the haunting experiences then we'd recommend that you bring in Psychics, Mediums or Spiritualists.
Now the question should be: How do you check the references on a Psychic?
The best is to use one of the online background checks such as: Instant Background Report!
And don't be afraid to test this person out with a simple test! If they fail then send em packing!
Especially if they are investigating your house for a "Donation!" Money is money no matter how it's wrapped!
Another thing to consider is the advice given to you. Some of these people have damaged property, had home owners sell their property when they didn't have to and had the psychic move in to protect a property. Don't take what they're saying on blind faith no matter what mantle, collar or title they've presented! A Scam Artist comes in many disguises! Caviat emptor!

Thank you for your time and attention! Have a Phantasmagoric World Day!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Couldn't Wake UP!

One of the most terrifying experiences that humans can have is Sleep Paralysis!

There have been more reports of alien abduction, vampire experiences and nightmarish visions due to this phenomenon than any other contributing event!

Sleep Paralysis is the psychological phenomenon whereby one feels as though they can't move and/or they can't wake up!
Clinically it's known as: Hypnopompia or Hypnagogia (also spelled hypnogogia) describes vivid dreamlike auditory, visual, or tactile sensations, which are often accompanied by sleep paralysis and experienced when falling asleep or waking up.

This state can be produced due to a number of factors:

  • Sleeping in an upwards supine position
  • Irregular sleeping schedules; naps, sleeping in, sleep deprivation
  • Increased stress
  • Sudden environmental/lifestyle changes
  • A lucid dream that immediately precedes the episode. Also conscious induction of sleep paralysis is a common technique to enter a state of lucid dreams, also known as WILD .
It is a very serious disorder and should be attended to by a qualified AMA Board Certified Physician who has a background in Sleep Disorders.

There have been cases recently, due to new over the counter sleep remedies, of people driving, eating, becoming combative and so forth. This isn't the same as Sleep Paralysis.

The religious community and other writers for centuries, has taken advantage of this condition and ascribed this phenomenon to angels, devils and demons such as succubus and incubus possessions! This form of charlatanism and scamming hasn't died out in the 21st century!
In fact, it has flourish with the movie industry and religious groups using mass media to bring in more poor uneducated souls to dupe.

In more extended cases, strokes and heart attacks have been brought on by the fear and panic within Sleep Paralysis.

If you perchance experience this phenomenon, the first thing you need to realize is that you're dreaming and that this condition will pass. In essence, don't panic! You'll come out of it naturally. If it persist, seek medical attention before you look for spiritual advice!

Thank you for your attention and time! Have a Phantasmagorical Day!

Friday, February 15, 2008

China regulators now spooked by ghost stories!

This is under the "When you thought you'd seen it all category!" Chinese regulators in mainland China "has added ghosts, monsters and other things that go bump in the night to its list of banned video and audio content in an intensified crackdown ahead of the Beijing Olympics." According to a recent Reuters UK report.
Offending content included "wronged spirits and violent ghosts, monsters, demons, and other inhuman portrayals, strange and supernatural storytelling for the sole purpose of seeking terror and horror", the Chinese administration said.

This isn't the first time countries have banned Ghost Stories nor does PW think it's going to be the last!

There are numerous events in history where suppression of information has occurred. This is one of a number of recent events where China has cracked down on personal internet content. And imposed censorship on it's people dealing with ghosts!

If in their mind, ghosts and spirits don't exist, then why ban stories about them?

Thank you for your time and attention! Have a great day!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Who ya gonna call... ghosts hunters!

PW been asked on numerous occasions what a real ghost hunter should have when they investigate a haunting?
PW is staffed by more of the scientific type and would suggest that anyone coming into your home be bonded and insured. There are several online services that will provide you a quick check of their background as well! Such as Instant Background Report . This service will quickly let you know if you have a con artist crook or a decent person!

Most hauntings, PW can say from experience, come from gases leaking through the house as well as loose plumbing, wiring and floorboard! The imagination can play a lot of tricks on you when you let it.
However, not all hauntings come out to be those items! Gases leaking through are normally in older houses that maybe build over ancient swamps such as the cases in Washington DC. Mix swamp gas along with DDT and Cleaners over centuries and you've got a powerful cocktail!
Loose fixtures under, around and within the house can also contribute to noise interpreted as a ghost. Go around and shake a few things to see if their loose. You may find that set of footsteps you thought was a ghost.

Let's say you've done all that and nothing is loose and gases aren't present! There's one last item. Telescoping vibrations from other buildings and under the street.
Older neighborhoods sometimes have entire housing rows that are built on older structures foundations. Those foundations were crushed and used for a base layer. Over the years, whenever a bus, truck or car hit it just right, you could get all sorts of sounds out of it including moans, screeches and whispering noises.

Ok, you say! Say it's not any of those things as well? A good ghost hunter should have EVP and EMF Meters. These meters actually are used to measure electromagnetic fields thrown off by electronic devices. Ghost hunters use them because they claim it picks up on a spirits presence. Oh, one thing we forgot to mention! A transformer hooked into your house wiring throws off the same EMF as a "spirit." Some older houses have these transformers all over the place to compensate loads in the wiring. The Electro-Magnetic-Force from these (a.k.a., Eddie Currents) can feel like someone is watching you! Remember, you're brain is an electrical device that responds to such currents.
You could test this by holding the meter next to an electric socket and it should spike when it gets close. The person or ghost team should bring plenty of batteries as well as portable audio recording equipment that can be carried with them as well as place strategically through out the structure.

Phantasmagoric World also recommends that the person or team bring Wireless Camera equipment along with recording devices. The person or team should bring an Infrared Camera as well to detect and record events as they investigate the house.
One thing that PW has noticed is that a majority of Ghost Hunters and teams don't consider is Radon Detection Equipment.
Nor do they consider Poison Detection Equipment !
These last two pieces of equipment will eliminate 90% of the supposed hauntings for what they really are, which is some form of psychotropic reaction to low level toxins in the building.

Should psychics be brought in when investigating? That's a touchy subject. As we've stated above, since we're mainly staffed by scientists, our bias is toward No!

There's a phenomena called Mass Hypnosis whereby others can be suggested into believing something that may or may not be really happening. Some psychics talk themselves and others into believing there's a ghost when there's no evidence of such.

And finally, comparison shop and get references! Be the Skeptic! True ghost hunters in our opinion should be spending more time disproving a ghost than proving it!

Thanks for your attention and time!
Phantasmagoric World

Welcome to Phantasmagoric World

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. - William Shakespeare, "Hamlet"

We use to think that the earth was the center of the universe and that all planets revolved around us! We also use to think that the earth was flat. That was before science proved itself over and over again to be true with their hard earned facts.

Phantasmagoric World provides it's findings from the strange world of Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP), phantasms/ghosts and other phenomena.

Hang onto your sanity and explore with us, the other side of our dimension.