Friday, July 3, 2015

The black box of ghost boxes - ITC & EVP, Part 3

Ghost boxes are something of a black box -- these devices produce voices, but why this occurs is still a mystery. Even more, no one knows for sure where these electronic phenomena are coming from. 

Who is talking to paranormal investigators when they use a legitimate ghost box?

This is the third in a series of articles on Instrumental TransCommunication (ITC) and Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) and their role in paranormal investigating. If you missed the first article in the series, click here. If you missed the second, click here.

 The original generation of ghost boxes relied on radio frequency (RF) sweeps as a source of words, claiming such utterances were RF manipulations to allow the Other Side to communicate. But this claim is difficult to defend except in those instances where captured words record correlations to investigator questions or else describe historical circumstances surrounding reported paranormal activity.

Even then, it's a tenuous argument to say radio-generated words carry the freight of new intentions, and skeptics aren't without some justification to suggest the explanation is a combination of coincidence and investigator expectation as a more likely cause for many ghost box EVP.

For our money, we find the newest generation of ghost boxes more defensible since these devices rely on so-called phonetic generators that use only random banks of sounds as a source of utterance. These boxes contain no words at all, which means the capture of intelligible words, phrases, and sentences are remarkable.

Such gen-2 ghost boxes may produce more reliable EVP, but the voices still originate from unexplained sources.

One long-term paranormal investigator and early ghost box user is Tim Woolworth, whose ITC Voices Website is filled with careful analysis of and thoughtful insights about the nature of the phenomena. (Woolworth is a former investigator for Central New York Ghost Hunters; he also has a background as a sound engineer. We highly recommend both his Website and his insights).

One of the more thought-provoking observations he makes is that ghost boxes don't just communicate with the dead. The devices can also result from the living when they dream. (See Woolworth's article, "Consciousness Projection: Voices of the Living Through a Ghost Box.")

If you checked out the ATransC "TransCommunication White Paper" on EVP characeristics cited in the previous article in this series, you've already encountered the notion that EVP are also reported from other possible origins such as coma patients, transmissions from other dimensions, and even telepathic communications from extraterrestrials!

Maybe we should be calling these devices "Consciousness Boxes" rather than Ghost Boxes!

Some reports go even further, suggesting communication from other moments in time -- both from the past and from the future. The notion is certainly consistent with the Einsteinian theories of Special and General Relativity, which state all moments in time exist simultaneously just like all locales in space. This corollary of Relativity may be over a century old, but it nonetheless challenges our own paradigm of reality.

Although the inquiries we made for our new book WILD WEST GHOSTS tried to elicit responses from lingering residents at the haunted locales we investigated, we seemed to have collected EVP that include other non-local sources as well.

In effect, our own paranormal investigations produced instances where recorded voices sometimes converse with one another -- occasionally commenting specifically on our ghost box or else the other technology we use. At such times, we felt like eavesdroppers. At other times... perhaps the subjects of someone else's paranormal inquiries from some undefined Other Side! (At least, that's our take during moments when we let ourselves consider such unsettling possibilities.)

* * *
In light of our research into the phenomena of EVP and ghost boxes, next week we'll revisit some of our own EVP captures and puzzle over the range of possible sources for these voices as well as offer a few tentative observations and conclusions.

Don't forget WILD WEST GHOSTS is now also a Kindle book and available worldwide. Here's the USA link, but easy enough to find on Amazon from any other country. :)

Until next time, Happy Fourth of July to our stateside followers, and a good weekend to our many other international friends.

Happy hunting!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Communicating with the Other Side -- ITC & EVP, Part 2

Paranormal investigators who use ghost boxes do so with the expectation these devices may provide a means of communicating with the Other Side. But ghost boxes might as well be black boxes. Sure the results can be very impressive, but where are these results coming from?

(This is the second in a series of articles on ITC -- Instrumental TransCommunication -- and EVP and their role in paranormal investigating. If you missed the first article in the series, click here. You might  want to revisit the final part of that article anyway to get a running start into this one!) 

For one thing, we have to remember that EVP are *not* human voices.

That's a hard concept for us to wrap our heads around. Sure, one of the possible origins of the voices are the survival of  personalities after death, but the voices recorded are not really their actual voices. In fact, many paranormal researchers point out EVPs can fall outside the expected frequencies and characteristics generated by human vocal cords.

EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomena, and the operative word is electronic, which has two senses: 1) voices captured through electronic equipment, but also, 2) voices *generated* through electronic equipment. That means EVP are not disembodied voices since they occur as the result of electronics -- they are, after all, electronic phenomena by definition! -- and therefore produce human-like speech but not human speech.

This is true whether we're talking EVP produced by ghost boxes or audio-only digital recorders since even direct recordings capture sounds that need to be replayed in order to hear.

Nikola Tesla
A Short (& Selective) History of EVP Capture
EVP production has a history dating back to the beginnings of practical electronics.

Seems like every time a new technology emerged -- telegraph, wireless radio, telephone, audio recordings -- inventors and users reported strange and inexplicable messages. Even Nikola Tesla picked up unexplained voices, and since no one else was transmitting within range at that early stage of radio development, he assumed he was receiving conversations from nearby planets.

Thomas Edison considered the phenomenon, correctly deducing that EVP (a term that wouldn't take on coinage until the 1970s) would be a matter of a device sensitive enough to amplify very faint signals.

In his private diary, Edison writes, "I do myself hope that personality survives and that we persist. If we do persist upon the other side of the grave, then my apparatus, with its extraordinary delicacy, should one day give us the proof of that persistence...."

Oscar D'Argonell described voices with discarnate voices through early telephones in 1925, and Edgar Wallace captured the first EVP on a 78 r.p.m. record cutter in 1932. By 1947, Attila von Szalay reported success using magnetic tape. Father Ernetti of the Experimental Physics Laboratory at Catholic University in Milan conducted oscillograph experiments with a wire magnetiphone in 1952, but when the wire broke, he still recorded voices -- and conducted and recorded conversations with his dead father.

78 r.p.m. record cutter
When Swedish scientist Friedrich Jürgenson was recording bird songs in 1959, he also captured a voice commenting on his work. In further recordings, he captured his deceased mother's voice telling him, "Friedrich, you are being watched." He shifted his scientific focus to EVP.

Over subsequent decades, researchers like Konstantin Raudive, Franz Seidl, Marcedllo Bacci, Americans Scott Rogo and Raymond Bayless, Hans Otto-Koenig, Sarah Estep, and many others from around the world have continued to accumulate instances of EVP. Every time a new or refined technology advanced, EVP occurred in the new form-- as though voices on the other side were indeed "watching" progress and responding.

 And on this side, paranormal researchers -- especially the Association of TransCommunication (ATransC) -- have pulled together enough data to propose a growing list of characteristics that seem to distinguish these EVP. (In particular, take a look at the ATransC "TransCommunication White Paper" to skim through a list of 21 characteristics.)

There seems to be plenty of evidence of reported communication throughout the 20th Century, often from scientists and researchers who stumbled onto EVP even when they weren't looking for the phenomenon.

Ghost Box Tech
But let's fast-forward to 2002, and the invention of the first ghost box by Frank Sumption, often called "Frank's Box." The purpose of Sumption's device was real-time communication with the dead, and he claimed he got inspiration for the design from the spirit world -- guess they were "watching" him as well!

Frank's box was perhaps the first device to combine white noise and radio frequency (RF) scanning to provide sounds that spirits could use for communication, and it received its share of criticism from skeptics and paranormal investigators alike, citing that even though words were random, the experience was still explainable as auditory pareidolia – a situation created when the brain incorrectly interprets random patterns as being familiar patterns. Not to mention other sources of transmission such as Citizen's Band radio!

Fair enough, and one of the plausible objections to many subsequent iterations of ghost boxes over the next dozen years. But the latest generation seems to have sophisticated the process in a way that no longer relies on RF. 

And at that point, the game just got more interesting -- the subject of the next article.

* * *

We're pleased to announce our book WILD WEST GHOSTS is now a Kindle, and it's available worldwide! Here's the USA link, but easy enough to find on Amazon from any other country. :)

The book recounts 14 investigations we conducted using both ITC and ghost boxes (guess it's something of a spoiler to reveal that the next article is going explain why we still buy into ghost box-generated EVP!)

In the meantime, happy hunting!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Using ITC & EVP for paranormal investigation

Paranormal investigation has its share of esoteric alphabet soup, and skeptics have developed an equally bewildering array of specialized jargon to propose alternative explanations.

When we committed to serious paranormal inquiries for our book WILD WEST GHOSTS, we decided to employ an investigative approach called ITC -- Instrumental TransCommunication. In a nutshell, ITC is  the investigative strategy of using electronic devices to elicit communication with the Other Side.

Seemed like the right approach for us since neither of us has much -- okay, let's be honest, *any* -- psychic ability.

We relied upon a number of specific devices, including electromagnetic field meters (add EMF to the soup). Most ghost hunters operate under the assumption that disincarnate entities draw upon electromagnetic energy to manifest or communicate in the physical realm. (Yes, that's a big assumption -- one we'll come back to later.) Establishing baseline readings first, investigators can then monitor fluctuations in EMF that might indicate the presence or interactive willingness of a spirit.

Our primary GB: an EchoVox,
which generates sounds
rather than words, but
also a reverberating
feedback loop of sounds
We also used more conventional electronic devices such as digital cameras, camcorders, and digital audio recorders, but we decided to use Ghost Boxes as well (often referred to as GB in the trade). A fairly new innovation, ghost (or spirit) boxes provide a flow of potential sounds or words that, again in theory, spirits can manipulate in order to communicate with investigators. Many such devices rely on rapidly and randomly scanned radio frequencies (RF) as a source of ready words. Others fall into a category that generates random phonetics or phonemes only, requiring spirit manipulators to splice together provided sounds in order to create words or phrases.

The words that come through either a ghost box or digital recorder are collectively called EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon).

Ghost box technology is new enough that many within the paranormal community itself are still skeptical of the phenomena; at the same time, the results of these devices have garnered many strong advocates.

As n00bs to the field, we were oblivious to this in-house controversy and jumped right in, using a ghost box during all our own investigations. We also got immediate -- sometimes startling -- results.

Just to be clear: we were operators, not sound engineers, and hadn't a clue how long the technology had existed or how it worked. Think of us as drivers rather than mechanics. But since we started offering our GB findings as evidence of the paranormal, we soon realized we needed to get a better handle on just what was going on.

We can't help but break into something of a wry smile at skeptical tirades that paranormal investigations employ "pseudoscience." Wry because of the Copenhagan Interpretation of quantum mechanics. (Let's add quantum mechanics to the alphabet soup as QM.) Quantum theory underpins much contemporary electronics -- from transistor radios to lasers to quantum computing. Even though no one can figure out how it works at the quantum level, QM works 100 percent of the time.

So scientists find themselves on the horns of a dilemma: either accept they can't explain it (yet) and use it anyway, or continue to wrestle with the inexplicable. It's like a black box no one can see into but which "spits out" correct answers every time. To accept that it works and let it go at that (QM whiz kid Richard Feynman's ultimate solution) seems metaphysical and unscientific. But that's where QM theory stands.

Ghost boxes are something a "black box" as well. The engineering and circuitry aren't that mysterious -- the devices either scan RF signals or else generate their own random phonemes -- but what results from GB-generated sounds in a paranormal investigation -- that's a whole other realm, literally. Results can seem spot on and undeniable in context.

But do they originate from the supernatural?

We've come full circle to the assumption EVP represent disincarnate voices of personalities surviving into another realm. But the assumption is huge. It's like a potentially faulty syllogism -- the logical construction of two premises and a conclusion in the form of "if A is true, and B is true, then C is true." For EVP, the syllogism might read this way:
  • A: Ghost boxes produce EVP
  • B: EVP are voices of the dead
  • C: Therefore, ghost boxes produce voices of the dead.
To accept this syllogism, paranormal investigators have to build a convincing argument that premise B is true. That, or resort to a version of the Copenhagen Interpretation, allowing the sounds that come out of ghost boxes as a kind of black box we can't explain.

Is there enough collaborative evidence to accept premise B? That's the important question, and the focus of the next article.

* * *

The next article delves into the history of the GB as well as the nature of EVP, plus share some resources for those who, like us, want more answers.

Remember that our new book WILD WEST GHOSTS is out, exploring 14 haunted hotels in southwest Colorado -- including a lot of ITC and EVP evidence. It's available now as a trade paperback from Amazon and Barnes&Noble. Also available as a Kindle e-book.

Check out our FB page for book talks and readings we're offering in the weeks ahead.

Happy hunting!

Friday, June 12, 2015

WILD WEST GHOSTS ... is out!

We are delighted to announce that the publisher has released our new book on Colorado haunted hotels.

Wild West Ghosts is available from a variety of sources, including both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It will also appear in a expanding number of independent book stores and tourist shops in Colorado and the western region.

Here are some online links to order your copy:

Please check out (and like!) our Facebook page for the book to see the latest updates as well as upcoming book talk events we've scheduled for the coming weeks across the Mountain West.

Here's what reviewers are saying:

"These are not 'ghost stories,' but rather are a collection of documented paranormal evidence that the authors collected at each of these wonderful Colorado hotels from the past... Wild West Ghosts is your tour guide to a wild ride of haunted locations that will definitely keep you from getting a good night's sleep!"
- Shane & Jennifer Herrin, founders of Small Town Haunts

"We live in a mysterious world filled with peculiar happenings, and Mark and Kym have done a fantastic job illuminating some of the curious corners of our world so that all of us may see them. This book is a wonderful addition to any library but keep it in your travel-bag, not on the shelf."
- John E.L. Tenney, co-host of Destination America's Ghost Stalkers reality series

"Wild West Ghosts is a must-read not only for those passionate about the paranormal world but also for Old West history buffs or anyone who loves to travel and experience a wonderful overnight stay. The coolest part of all is that they provide very specific local information, much like a travel guide, that will allow you the opportunity to find each of these beautiful locations and to do your own ghost hunting...and perhaps experience the very same paranormal events!"
- Timothy Yohe, paranormal investigator and founder of Paranormal Insights

* * * *

The book may be out, but what we're learning from those investigations is ongoing. Next week, we'll start sharing new findings from our evidence that are still developing since the book went to press.

Happy hunting/hauntings, all!

Friday, June 5, 2015

S/O to our indispensable paranormal community

The past year's journey into the paranormal has introduced to us to more than just things that go bump in the night (or day). It's been an introduction to a fascinating exchange of ideas and an opportunity to cultivate both friends and mentors.

As we stand poised to launch our new book, WILD WEST GHOSTS, we want to take a moment to reflect not on analyses of EVPs and anomalous activity but rather on the good will and support of our paranormal community.

The friends we've made in the  Google+ communities that we've joined have been a constant source of new ideas and puzzling findings. Friends and followers who have experienced that world secondhand through our writing, we want you to know that these are a dedicated bunch of folks. They burn the midnight oil in some really creepy locations (sometimes even in their own homes!) ... and wait ... and wait ... and, sometimes, extraordinary things happen.

To each and everyone of you in these groups, we say, "Thanks for the warm welcomes and the generous sharing!"

We also want to shout out our thanks to the fourteen hotel owners and staff, who allowed us into their haunted locations. Without exception, they invited us in and supported our every request. (And, we might add, the results and material we collected were amazing.) These are the people you'll meet if you use our book to visit these paranormally special locales.

Thank you!

There are also several individuals we want to single out who helped us specifically with the content of our book. These folks read our manuscript, made suggestions, and offered kinds words to help make the final product a better book:
  •  Shane and Jennifer Herrin
This dynamic pararnormal duo founded both Small Town Haunts and The Daily Ghoul -- and these publications are a constant resource for anyone serious about the supernatural world. They're also active with their own investigations. Check them out!
  • John E. L. Tenney
John has been a longtime and well respected paranormal investigator even before co-hosting Destination America's reality series Ghost Stalkers, and his kind words about our project have encouraged and sustained our own determination to seek the truth.
  • Timothy Yohe
Tim, an even more prolific writer than we are, offers astounding insights from his own investigations and about the supernatural world in general through his Paranormal Insights blog as well as his weekly newsletter. And we can't wait for his own forthcoming book!

Finally, we want to give a vigorous hat-tip to those who lended critical copyediting eyes to the manuscript: Debra Anderson, Marty Grantham, and Teresa Milbrodt. Included in that team, of course, is our publisher Larry Meredith of Raspberry Creek Books. He's been with us in "spirit" every step of the way!

* * *
We'll announce venues where the book will be available next time, as well as locations of a half dozen initial readings we're offering in Colorado and Montana over the next few weeks. In the meantime, please feel free to check out the WILD WEST GHOST Facebook page, which will post regular updates as we tap our feet waiting for publication.

The book may be done but our paranormal journey is just beginning, and the following week we'll begin a new series of articles about the fascinating phenomena of ghost boxes and what we're learning.

Until then, happy hauntings, all!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Our Eureka! moments - 12 months, 20 para investigations

This is the final in a four-part series featuring highlights of our past year's paranormal investigations. This week we share the sometimes unsettling but mostly Eureka! moments during our inquiries.

(If you missed Part 1 on anomalous photos, click here. If you missed Part 2 on ghostly voices, click here. If you missed Part 3 on video documentation, click here.)

We've always approached our investigations with optimistic skepticism, never expecting other worldly encounters -- in fact, always assuming the next site visit would prove uneventful. We've also tended to minimize pre-visit research so it wouldn't prejudice our own experiences.

To call the following moments unsettling might be a bit misleading since we've yet to encounter anything that frightened us. (Still waiting, of course, for that full-bodied apparition that whispers "Boo!" in our ear. That might elicit a scramble of retreat on our part.)

Nevertheless, the accounts below describe events that challenged our sense of reality -- even when we found ourselves at a loss at how to measure those experiences.

The Bross Hotel
Our first full-fledged investigation for the book took place in Paonia, Colorado, at the Bross Hotel.

All three above-ground floors as well as the basement have almost a century of paranormal accounts, including multiple and different full-bodied apparitions, mussed bedding, and even dramatic movements by physical objects before the eyes of surprised guests and owners. (Click here for our research into those paranormal accounts.)

We were nervous as we began -- not because we feared paranormal activity but because we doubted anything would occur. And we had a book to write!

We concentrated our initial investigation in the "English Room/Ghost Room," where the original early1900s  owner "Mother Bross" still makes appearances in the room where her son Otto died.  Otto also still makes regular appearances.

English Room/Ghost Room
We realized we were on to something when all the newly installed batteries for our equipment promptly drained and needed replacing.

We also received a series of contextual spirit box responses that described what we were doing and when -- as Mark set up the camcorder, we heard "Camera"; as Kym snapped shots of the room's interior furnishings, the box announced the several objects she photographed ("Bed," "Fan," and "Stairway," which was just beyond the open guestroom door). All promising, but none of it knocked our socks off.

The Eureka moment did arrive -- but after we'd packed up and re-straightened the room. The proprietor had just called up the stairs as we began to descend, suggesting we go back and pick up the tourist literature in that room.

So five seconds after leaving the English/Ghost Room, we walked back in ... and saw a perfect fanny print pressed into the bedding. Horrified we'd left the bedding mussed, Kym instinctively smoothed out the imprint -- and then realized the only impression should have been the rectangular pattern of our camera bag, but Mark had already flattened and erased those ruffles before we left.

A beginner's mistake on our part, to be sure, but it was still the first Eureka! moment we'd have, assuring us at least one chapter's worth of material for the book. (As you probably know by now, we eventually ended up with enough investigative material for 14 chapters!)

The Forest Queen Hotel
This one was also an early investigation, and perhaps the most unsettling, well, for Kym. Crested Butte, Colorado, was a violent frontier mining town, and most of the buildings on the original thoroughfare of Elk Avenue have reports of hauntings. The hotel is the one remaining building that comprised the one-block red-light district.

The saloon-below-and-brothel-above arrangement of the hotel still feels like the Old West -- even though the lower level is now a trendy bar and grill while the upstairs caters to winter skiers and summer bicyclists.

The premises still resonate with much of that by-gone era's drama through regular reports of paranormal goings-on. (Click here for our research into those other accounts.) We were fortunate to visit the hotel during off-season, and we had the solo run of the entire upstairs during our investigation.

We encountered a variety of phenomena on site, including invisible footfalls in the hallway as well as audio-only and spirit box EVPs. One was an EVP capture announcing Kym's name. That should have clued us in to what followed.

Note horizontal "pinch" striations
As soon as we reached the top of the steep, narrow, single-flight stairway to the second floor, Kym had the sensation her feet were shackled. With each step, she felt a tug on the opposite leg as though her feet connected through some sort of restraints. After the initial EMF sweep, we went back downstairs to interview staff and the shackled feeling disappeared. When we revisited the second floor, the feeling of restraints returned, persisting throughout our time on that floor -- but only on that floor. In fact, she pulled off her socks and boots to discover pinch marks on the inside of her left foot.

Kym subsequently "tested" her well-worn footwear, wearing the same socks, at home and on other investigations but never again experienced those sensations in both feet or any pinch marks.

Hotel Norwood
This establishment proved a hotbed of paranormal activity, examples of which we included in earlier articles in this series. We also encountered three further anomalies harder to document while we investigated.

Our first experience occurred before we'd taken three steps into guestroom No. 2 on the second-floor east wing of the hotel: A coffee cup flew off the table and hit the wall behind it. Kym’s EMF meter jumped from 300mG to 3,000mG, and two team members' spirit boxes began spitting out in rapid succession the words “Follow,” “Instinct,” “Dining room,” “Kitchen,” and “Cook.” Who were we to argue? We repacked our gear and headed downstairs to the dining room and kitchen.

The cold spot occurred
between the wardrobe
and the bed in Rm 12
During our third team member's scan for EMF baseline readings in the dining room, she stopped and asked us each to stand in front of the corner bookcase. We did, and we all three reported the same sensation -- an inexplicable heavy feeling that gave each of us goosebumps. Ironically, the EMF meter registered no elevated readings in that corner at all. (We did record an EVP that said, "Help me." Alas, we didn't hear the whisper in real time but only in later analysis.)

In our initial sweep of the building, we'd encountered a cold spot in the guestroom directly above the kitchen, so we moved there next. The cold spot was still present, a column of air three feet in diameter and extending from floorboards to ceiling, and several degrees colder than the ambient air temperature outside the column. Positioning spirit boxes both inside and outside the column, we conducted a two-way conversation with a spirit identifying herself as "Leah." (Click here for a fuller account of that ghost hunt.)

That investigation provided a whole sequence of cascading Eureka! moments.

The portal is reportedly under
the redstone building on the left.
Linda Goodman's Miracle Inn
The final Eureka! moment we'll share occurred in a follow-up investigation in Cripple Creek, Colorado, and after midnight in the basement of the Miracle Inn B&B.

We'd teamed up with paranormal investigator Shaun Crusha, who has a lot cooler equipment than we do, to check out a reported spirit portal in the substructure of the building. Shaun set up an array of devices, including a laser grid pattern that aimed a hundreds of points of light into the portal, which ran the length of the basement under the house but  beginning just beyond the stairs.

Accompanying us during this investigation were the owners, Sofia Balas and Jason Barton.

In front of the portal with Shaun Crusha's
array of paranormal detection equipment
Stationed along the array of equipment, Shaun and Mark noticed several of the laser points temporarily wink out in a sequence that seemed to approach our position. Shortly afterward, both Jason and Kym felt decisive tugs on strands of hair at the tops of their heads. (The basement didn't have much clearance, but Kym was at least a foot shorter than the beams above her.)

It felt as though something had passed through the space in front of our position and joined us on "this side."

Sofia told us a psychic had described the portal as shaped like a pentagram that originated in the basement but extended up into the main levels of the B&B. Guests often report prankish hair tugs from invisible agents, so maybe those entities use the portal to pass from the Other Side to tease the residents on this side. (Click here for our research into some of those accounts.)

The tangible encounters of that evening found a place on our accumulating list of Eureka! moments over the past year, and the cumulative effects of all the events we experienced have left us with more questions than answers.

If "Eureka!" means "I found it!", we're still not sure exactly what the "it" is that we've discovered during these moments. If anything, such experiences have strengthened the resolve to continue our paranormal journey and our investigations.

* * *
WILD WEST GHOSTS: an amateur ghost hunting guide to southwest Colorado, available now as a trade paperback from Amazon and Barnes&Noble. Also available as a Kindle e-book..

We also invite you to LIKE our new Facebook page for the book, where we're providing updates on readings and events as well as notices of our continuing paranormal journey and investigations.

Happy hauntings, all!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Our Best Video Paranormal Evidence - 12 months, 20 investigations

This is the third in a four-part series featuring some of the past year's best evidence from our paranormal investigations. This week we share our most intriguing video documentation.

(If you missed Part 1 on anomalous photos, click here. If you missed Part 2 on ghostly voices, click here.)

We seemed to be slow learners.

Well, at least lazy ones at first. It took us a while to realize just because nothing seemed to be happening during an investigation, that didn't mean we should let up our guard.

Ghosts don't seem to work on our timetable. (Duh.) In fact, they often seem to respond when it suits them.

We learned the hardest lesson during one of our earliest investigations, this one at the Hotel Norwood in Norwood, Colorado. At that site, we moved our inquiries a half dozen times (lots of reported hotspots at this hotel), and toward the end we got lazy in setting up our camcorder to document findings. We'd already experienced multiple encounters during the visit, including a poltergeist incident involving a cup flying off a table (not our fault we missed capturing that one since it occurred while we unpacked), a cold spot, and EVPs that repeatedly led us from one locale to another.
Hotel Norwood

By the time we made our last stop, we were tired and sloppy. Big mistake. In the final location, we didn't set up the camcorder -- just as our spirit box announced, "Flashlight," which we hurriedly pulled from the bag and switched on. At that moment our EMF meter jumped 45 fold, from a baseline of 230mG to 10,710mG! A second later, our flashlight dimmed and then completely winked out.

A stunning correlation of spirit box, EMF meter, and flashlight -- even our new batteries drained completely. And we failed to document the incident. It'd be an understatement to say we felt chagrined. We just knew we'd never experience a similar event during future investigations. Fortunately we were wrong, and many times over. In our subsequent paranormal inquiries, we took care to record what we did and what occurred at each locale.

Although we ultimately recorded to camera eight other successful flashlight experiments during our 20 investigations, below are three experiences representing some of the strongest evidence we captured of unexplained activity -- two involving flashlights and one involving a flurry of orbs around a co-investigator.

The Beaumont Hotel
The Beaumont Hotel & Spa
The proprietor told us she couldn't think of a single room or space in this hotel in Ouray, Colorado, that didn't harbor accounts of paranormal activity, and our own on-site inquiries produced results confirming her claim for the three locales we visited, including three separate and successful flashlight experiments.

We'll discuss some of our other experiences at the Beaumont in the next article, but the following video clip is a typical response we received using a flashlight. The light we used had a switch requiring a firm, deep push and "click" to engage. Notice in the background we ran our EchoVox spirit box during the experiment, set for reverberation, and you can hear the echo effect for our own queries as well as the voices produced by the box.

Flashlight Experiment at the Windsor Hotel.

Notice the above video clip includes a clear response of "No" to our query to try turning off the flashlight. But we also invited any spirits present to simply dim the light, which they could do very well, and to dramatic effect. We were also pleased by the number auditory responses this clip captured as we coaxed spirits to interact with us.

The Vintage Inn B&B
The Vintage Inn
Our investigation at this Gunnison, Colorado, B&B produced another classic flashlight experiment -- but with a startling twist we only realized on later analysis.

This investigation was different for two reasons. First, the building certainly looked the part but had no history of hauntings. We went in on a hunch because we thought it had the look and longevity of a place that ought to hold paranormal potential. And second, the owner wanted to accompany our investigation out of curiosity. We had no objections, inviting her to help set up our equipment and even inviting her to question her invisible B&B "guests."

The following video clip once again records our spirit box (this time without reverb) and allows you to hear the interaction with the voices we recorded both before and surrounding the spirit manipulation of the flashlight. Listen especially for their polite acknowledgements of our thanks for interacting with us at the end.

Flashlight Experiment at the Vintage Inn

When we analyzed this recording later that day, we discovered something that astounded us. Listen again to the above clip for the voice saying "Good" and then Kym moments later saying the same thing, this exchange occurring from 00:26 to 00:30. And in particular, pay attention to the voice inflections, which match exactly.

What may not be apparent from this exchange is that the spirit is talking under Mark's chuckle -- he was poised very close to the experiment. But Kym was on the other side of the room at the time. She couldn't hear that spirit voice, drowned out at the time by Mark's voice. (We've amplified the spirit voice at this moment in the recording to make it easier to hear.) In other words, the spirit "repeats" Kym's voice, mimicking her inflection *before* she utters her response to the the spirit saying, "Happy" five seconds earlier in a loud, clear voice.

The implications are profound, even if illogical.

Our recording leads us to conclude the spirit mimicked Kym's inflection and response but "repeated" it back before Kym's arrow of time uttered it.

We've heard other investigators report that EVP recordings have sometimes only made sense when played in reverse. Others report receiving answers to questions before investigators ask. For such occurrences to be meaningful, spirits must not be bound by our arrow of time -- a conclusion consistent with the notion they're also no longer bound to the space-time plane of existence. Do they choose the When of their interactions with us, synching to our own arrow of time so we can understand and engage with them?

Before we wax any more epistemological, let's move on to our final evidence.

Lawmen and Outlaws
Jail Museum
Lawmen and Outlaws Jail Museum
For this investigation, we teamed up with Hotchkiss Paranormal Investigators (HPI) for a lock-down at the Old Jail Museum in Cripple Creek, Colorado. We spent half the night at this site.

It was the fourth visit to the jail museum for HPI, and that team had a harrowing encounter with a malevolent spirit that actually attacked two members of the group on previous occasions. The spirit is known as "Joe," a pedophile incarcerated at the jail until his death. (Even Zac Bagans & Co. have investigated this location and interacted with Joe for their Ghost Adventures television series.)

All our previous investigations had occurred with spirits that seemed benign or, at the very worst, mischievous. We felt a bit nervous to up our game to this level of paranormal  inquiry, but we also wanted to see what our own reactions would be under such circumstances. Turned out we were up to the challenge.

The following clip records a portion of our time in the confinement cell where Joe spent much of his time while alive and, it would seem, still does now that he's dead. The camera focuses on investigator Seth Davis, one of the HPI members previously assaulted by Joe. For this session -- and the only ones present during this filmed inquiry were Seth, Kym, and Mark -- Seth donned vintage inmate clothing the museum had on hand.

Swirling orbs in the Cripple Creek's old jail museum

We finally got our orbs, and in spades. We actually captured close to 30 orbs over the next 15 minutes but decided to restrict the video clip to the beginning minutes, capturing a dozen or so in rapid succession. That's Kym's voice behind the camera. Did you notice how cocky she gets? In the end, it never even occurred to us to be nervous or apprehensive during the investigation.

* * *
Next week, we'll share findings harder to categorize -- certainly harder to document -- ghostly touches, visual scene flashes, cold spots, aromas, and our brush with a spirit portal.

WILD WEST GHOSTS: an amateur ghost hunting guide to southwest Colorado, is available now as a trade paperback from Amazon and Barnes&Noble. Also available as a Kindle e-book.

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Happy hauntings, all!