Do you have a ritual that you perform every New Year’s Day?
I think most people have some ritual associated with the holiday whether they realize it or not. Many of us don’t even know why we do them…we just always have.
My wife and I have practiced some silly ritual every year since we have been together I think. The first that I remember was that on New Year’s Day you are supposed to do at least one important activity that you want to make sure you do all year. Later we picked up that one should eat cabbage. Guess what has been included in every New Year’s Day dinner since?
Some years, to insure our happiness and financial prosperity, we put the “pedal to the metal” and go all out. Most years we just sort of bounce around the list.
By now everyone has seen a certain photo taken at an accident scene that has been making its rounds.
I thought I would throw my own analysis into the mix.
My own method of breaking down a “ghost picture” involves a rather amateurish process of looking at what makes up the “ghost”, identifying known elements, and then deciding if the “ghost” exists without those identifiable elements.
I am NOT a professional photographer. I just like looking at details. I also have the advantage of having a 55-inch high-resolution television screen that I use as a computer monitor when I look at stuff.
My dreams have taken an odd turn and seem a little more vivid as of late. I managed to make some notes on one of them and this is what I remember.
A couple of nights ago, this dream involved me being at a radio station with some “colleagues” to be interviewed about The Scarefest, a horror and paranormal convention that I am a part of.
We have all heard the question “is it haunted?” Clients want to know our opinion in the field. Someone on a television gives his or her opinion weekly. There are even persons and groups running about that will “certify” a location as haunted for whatever that is worth.
It might surprise you to find out that I generally don’t like the term. It might surprise you even more to find out WHY I generally don’t like the term.
I don’t like the term because it is subjective and hard to measure.
I think that nearly every place is haunted.
Now before you start accusing me of misleading clients and assuming that all of those “orbs” in my pictures are spectral beings flitting about the countryside, let me explain.
A recent tragedy in the Paranormal field brought this topic to mind.
When someone dies, tragic or otherwise, the standard procedure for their spirit is to leave or become disconnected from their worldly body, take a quick look around, and then proceed in an orderly manner to the nearest exit into the next world.
It is not unusual for the spirit to want to hang out a few days for any number of reasons. They may be upset that they died before they were finished with life. Often they are in denial of their circumstances. It may be something as simple as wanting to comfort their loved ones or to get one last message across to the living. I suspect that some just stick around just to see who shows up for the funeral. Despite the endless possibilities, the point is that in death – as in life, we all find a lot of excuses to not follow instructions.
Every now and then I come across something in the paranormal field that takes me beyond the typical “I disagree” or “That’s just silly” to a rousing “Who do they think they are?”
Let me preface the following by explaining that I tend to be a bit of a purist when it comes to words. Words have meaning. Someone unilaterally deciding that a word should be redefined tends to bug the piss out of me.
Also, at the risk of sounding hypocritical, I get very tired of persons or groups implying that they are authorities in this field without producing the evidence to support such a claim.
I would like to make it VERY clear that I do not claim to be an expert nor an authority in the field of the paranormal. The goal of my writing and speaking engagements is to encourage people in the field to think for their selves, question what they have heard, and to learn as much as they can from as many sources as they can.
This must be my week for strange and vivid dreams.
This one is particularly hard to piece together so please bear with me. When I do these journals I write down the broad themes and then try to fill in the details as they pop into my head. I know it makes my writing style a little “jerky”. This dream had a lot of seemingly unrelated elements.
Last night I went to a party. It felt like a reunion, but I only recognized a few people.
I probably won’t be much good to anyone today as I FARMED ALL DAMNED NIGHT.
I had a very vivid (if factually muddled) dream last night. I suspect it reflects some things that have been in the back of my mind more than any message that might be buried in it, but here goes.
The location was “the farm” in late autumn. This farm pops up from time to time in my dreams. It is based on the farm where I grew up. Most of the geographical features are there, but it always has these glaring anomalies that separate it from the real place.
A while back I sort of got sucked into a conversation on Twitter about a piece of evidence in particular, but about skepticism in a broader context.
Let me see if I can set this up without boring you. My friend, Jim Malliard of the Malliard Report was working on a project where he would post “paranormal standards”. Of course the format of Twitter doesn’t leave a lot of room to elaborate on what is the idea and reasoning behind the standard.
One particular post said something to the effect that one still picture isn’t evidence. I took it to mean that because a single picture is a moment in time with no supporting data to reflect the conditions and environment present that it will always going to be an unreliable and easily dismissed data point.
Someone decided to argue the point by posting a picture that they had taken (presumably on a cell phone) that in his or her opinion obviously contained a shadowy demon-looking pig-man thing of some sort.
Pareidolia: Misperception in which vague or random images or sounds are misinterpreted as meaningful patterns.
Early in 2014 on a Friday Night Paranormal I-Con episode, I had a spirited, but civil, discussion about a piece of evidence that a guest had centered a lot of time and analysis around and presented on his web site.
My thesis was NOT that there was nothing to be found in the photograph in question. I even offered that I found one feature of the photograph very interesting and probably would have placed it on my own website for further examination and discussion had it been mine. My point was that if we spend enough time (several days according to the guest) looking a picture, pareidolia (or matrixing if you prefer the pop-culture term) was likely to take over, and our minds are programmed to find any number of patterns that we might interpret as recognizable images that we will then feel obligated to circle in red.