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Please Stand By... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wes Forsythe   
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 14:41

Just when everything is coming together, some faceless corporate entity has to screw things up.

Long story short...

AOL owned ShoutCast. ShoutCast was the directory site that provided the Flash code that I use to embed the feed from my 24/7 archives. AOL sold ShoutCast because they were too stupid to figure out how to get revenue from a web site that got like a bazillion hits a month. The new owners have not enabled the feeds yet.

Soooooooooooooooooo...

Basically the 24/7 feed is in a holding pattern. TECHNICALLY the feed is still there, but without an easy-to-embed Flash player, only visitors to the ShoutCast directory or sites that used their own media players can access the feed.

To add insult to injury, the company that actually hosts the stream for me offers a nifty little Flash player that WILL NOT WORK on most web sites, including mine.

So I apologize to my Broadcast Partners that are using the 24/7 stream code. As soon as a fix is in place, I will be posting the updated code.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 14:53
 
Pareidolia: Cry Wolf PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wes Forsythe   
Monday, 06 January 2014 12:21

Pareidolia: Misperception in which vague or random images or sounds are misinterpreted as meaningful patterns.

This past week on my 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.

After the show, he emailed me a thoughtful reply to continue the discussion.

“I think that we should be careful when we so quickly dismiss something as pareidolia. Because there are some key critical thinking aspects, as well as some facts that we already know to be true, that we could be overlooking. For instance, we know that some people have gifts that provide aid to them concerning the spiritual world and their connection with it. Such as people that have the gift of sight, whether it be that they can see spirits or visions.”

In essence, he was convinced that the individual patterns from the photograph were paranormal beings, largely based on the psychic gifts attributed to his wife.

Unfortunately, if we want to be taken seriously as investigators and researchers, we have to acknowledge that any gifts some of us may have are not automatically accepted as evidence and the general public will not allow us to make claims based on “Because I said so.”

I am not a skeptic. I do believe that many people have gifts that allow them a higher, clearer connection to “the other side”. But any person, let alone a psychic, worth their salt will also admit to you they are on occasion wrong.

Once we acknowledge and admit that we humans share common flaws whether we are psychic or not, we can then expand the discussion.

Let’s start with perception bias. Perception bias is a person’s tendency to interpret things in ways that are most meaningful to them. A very simple example would be that if I see an attractive woman, I might designate her as “hot” or “sexy”. You, on the other hand might be more comfortable with “That’s my mother, dude!”

The point is that those of us that are desperately wanting to find evidence of the paranormal and display our findings to the public are quite a bit more likely to interpret things as paranormal. While being psychic might give one another input to rely on, the interpretation of that input will still be weighted towards one’s beliefs and desires.

Now let’s look at my own observations of psychics in the field. I love working with mediums. I have encountered several that I believe are truly gifted. But I have also been in enough rooms with two psychics at once to tell you that they don’t always agree on details.

Assuming that both psychics are gifted, but the two interpretations of the activity, messages, entities, or what have you are different, doesn’t that mean someone is wrong? At least to a degree I have to say yes.

My own talents with dowsing are so “respected” (term used loosely) that I have literally had psychics admit that they were wrong. I should clarify that this does not mean they were wrong. It just means that someone had to admit they were wrong and for some reason, my abilities and methods usually seem to come out on top.

If we accept that no one is ever always right, then how can we presume that our interpretation of a vague piece of evidence is automatically correct and reliable?

My guest continued to make the point that if we leaned towards pareidolia when viewing such evidence (in this case a mist photograph taken outdoors) wouldn’t we be in danger of missing something?

Maybe. But is there that much value in putting our reputations on the line over data that is easily questioned? Could the evidence do anything to advance the field? Even if there are a half dozen ghosts and/or demons in the mist, can we leverage that information into something useful that we can share? Is our interpretation important enough to “stick out necks” out?

Isn’t there more danger that if we “cry wolf” then people will dismiss us when we actually find the wolf?

Last Updated on Monday, 06 January 2014 12:48
 
Thank You & Happy New Year PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wes Forsythe   
Tuesday, 31 December 2013 15:56

Thank you

I wanted to take a moment as the year comes to an end to reflect a little, plan too much, and just let my mind do what it does.

First off, I want to thank everyone for the growth and success of Paranormal Filler. It is still a work in progress. But that a simple farm-boy from Central Kentucky could gain the acceptance in this field that I have obtained is very flattering.

Note that the common phrase would have been to say that it was humbling. It is not humbling. The nights that no one shows up to listen are humbling. Overall the experience has blown up my ego like the tacky Christmas inflatables that still occupy my yard.

The show has allowed me to meet some of the most interesting people that I can imagine on the face of this planet. I have exchanged ideas with people so smart that in comparison I am little more than a monkey that knows the sign language for banana. Once in a while those ideas have even been acknowledged and accepted.

The show has brought me to the attention of some truly gifted people, and of course the inverse is true. It has allowed me a network of colleagues that if needed could move the Earth for me.

I have been constantly encouraged to pursue my gifts, both personal and spiritual. The support, advice, and compliments that seem to be constantly offered are nothing short of staggering. I would list those of you that have influenced me most, but there is no way I could fairly and completely do so. Also it would make me sound like a huge name-dropper. So I will just hope that anyone who has taken a personal interest in me that reads this will accept my thanks that I have applied so widely.

I will throw in the following personal, if anonymous, message that comes to mind. It applies to more than one person in my life.

I am glad I kept showing up.

The future looks good: And it had better be or about a half dozen psychics (you know who you are) have a butt-load of explaining to do.

For one thing, I am well into the process of surrounding myself with positive, helpful, and – maybe most importantly – talented people. While I am a control freak, I am also someone who is neither against asking for nor accepting help.

My efforts at blatant self-promotion (tempered what is an apparently an annoying slant towards self-depreciation according to my wife) are starting to pay off. I have already been offered my first speaking engagement of the New Year, and they actually offered to pay for the trip.

Along these lines, my syndication feeds are expanding my listener base slowly but surely and new sites are adding my content regularly. As my profile rises then it will be even easier to attract quality (as defined as people who other people want to hear from) guests.

My next broadcast project will be to try either a Ustream or YouTube feed. While this will be nothing more than my simulcast feed with video of me sitting at the microphone, smoking, and frequently waving my hands, we live in a visual society.

But my main project for 2014 will be an effort to get back to writing more regularly. Several sites that want me to pump out articles for them have approached me. I have been putting them off. I have had plenty of excuses ranging from a lack of time to a lack of inspiration, but I need to get with it. Writing is my first love. Call this my New Year’s Resolution if you want.

My plan is to write something nearly every day. If it is nothing more than a short blog post here, that is fine. I just have to get back into the habit of putting words to paper keyboard. Hopefully, I can redevelop my old habit and then get back to work on an actual book.

I also need to get back into the habit of visiting pertinent social sites regularly and not spend so much time trying to spread my wisdom via the 140 characters of Twitter – although I do love Twitter.

I really, really want to publish a book. My biggest problem (other than laziness) with the project has been torturing myself over what direction to take my first effort. Do I want to write a “how to” book? Should I jump back into the “highly fictionalized” account of my spiritual journey that I started last year? Should I attempt an account of my theories behind the paranormal? I am still struggling with these and other false starts.

Finally, I need to read more and meditate a lot more. Both would be good for me.

So there you have it: My reflections, my resolutions, and my positive affirmations.

Happy New Year everyone.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 January 2014 12:32
 
Yeah, I’m THAT Superstitious PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wes Forsythe   
Wednesday, 01 January 2014 16:09

Do you have a ritual that you perform every New Year’s Day?

I think most people have some ritual associated with the holiday. 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?

This year, to insure our happiness and financial prosperity, we put the “pedal to the metal” and went all out.

Before I continue, I want to acknowledge an article from Bellesprit Magazine titled Belle’s New Year’s Stuporsitions. I recently interviewed Belle Salisbury on Paranormal Filler and I got the idea to follow the guidelines in the article as closely as possible. Go to the article to find even more traditions than I have listed here and to find out some of the lore behind them.

Before New Year’s Eve

The entire house should be clean before New Year’s Day.
This has to do with sweeping all the negative energy out of your home. While it makes sense, in practice the correct procedure is hard to follow in my house. You are supposed to sweep the dirt to the center of the room and then apparently keep it for a few days. We vacuumed. Partial credit.

The New Year must not be seen with bare or empty cupboards.
Easy enough. Stocked up on food (Fritos in particular). Check.

All debts should be paid before the New Year.
I am not sure how one can get rid of all of their debts for this one. We just made sure all the bills that were due were paid. Partial credit.

Make sure any unfinished projects are completed before New Year’s Day.
My entire life is defined by unfinished projects. FAIL

Plant a new plant or tree before New Year’s Day.
We plant trees and stuff all the time. Mother Earth should be happy. Pass.

Make a list of things that you have done during the old year, both good and the bad, and then burn it outside.
Didn’t even attempt this one. Maybe next year.

Place a dollar bill under a new loaf of bread to insure that you have food all year long.
Easy-Peasy. Check.

Place a dollar bill under a New Year Calendar to insure that you will have money all year long.
Still pretty easy. We took it a step further and put dollar bills under all of our new calendars (which we never hang until New Year’s Day) and I stuck one in my date book just to be safe. Check.

Place change in your left pocket to bring change to you in the New Year.
This meant that I had to wear pants, but I made it through the evening. Check.

The wallets of everyone in the household should be stocked with money to guarantee prosperity.
I hope I did this one right. We took our “bail money” stash (hey, you never know) and put it in my wallet. Unfortunately, this made my wallet too fat to carry with me so I hope that isn’t an issue. I did however tuck it under my pillow for the evening. Check.

Forgive friends and family for any misunderstandings and disagreements they may have had that year so they can make a clean start of the New Year.
Already taken care of. I can’t think of anyone that I am currently pissed at. Check.

The Japanese ring bells 108 times on December 31st to chase away 108 troubles.
Sounded tedious. Fail.

To keep out evil spirits and misfortune hang a rope of straw across the front of your home.
Being a farmer I do have access to straw. However, being me, I do not have the patience to make a rope from it. Fail.

On the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve every door in the house, and even the windows, should be opened to allow the old year to go out unimpeded.
Technically we didn’t open every door. There were only two of us. And no, I did not open the windows. It was cold and this house costs enough to heat without airing it out during a winter night. Incomplete.

We kiss those dearest to us at midnight to share a moment of celebration with others but also to insure that those affections and ties will continue throughout the next 12 months.
Check.

Make as much noise as possible at midnight. You are not just celebrating; you are scaring away evil spirits.
I wanted to fire off a few rounds in the air from the .38. Anita wouldn’t let me so we just laughed really loud when we opened the doors. Pass.

When the New Year begins laugh as loud and hardy as you can! This is believed to bring good luck in the New Year.
See previous. Check.

New Year’s Day

Nothing is to leave the house of the first day of the year.
This was a new one on me. We have made every effort to keep everything in the house with one exception. We chose today to plant our Christmas tree despite the rule listed previously. We always get a live tree and plant it in the yard. I felt that planting it today (along with a charmed stone I had been carrying) would be a great gesture to the earth. Better Pass.

Everyone should refrain from using foul language and bad or unlucky words.
Probably @#$&ed that one up. Fail.

Anything in the shape of a circle is good luck because it symbolizes coming ‘full circle’ completing a year’s cycle.
Powdered Donettes for breakfast? I don’t mind if I do. Check.

The hog, and thus its meat, is considered lucky because it symbolizes prosperity.
Pork chops for dinner? Not a problem. Check.

Eat collard greens or cabbage for money in the New Year.
We substituted spinach and cole slaw. Work with me a little, universe. Check.

Eat black-eyed peas to bring luck in the New Year.
That was a really good dinner. Check.

Do not use knives or scissors on New Year’s Day as this may cut away your fortune.
I had not heard this one before, but I managed by eating the pork chops with my hands. I did miss having gravy though. Check.

On New Year’s Day you are not to wash your hair because it would mean you would have washed away good luck for the New Year.
I probably won’t take a bath either. It’s my day off. Don't judge me. Check.

Do not do laundry on New Year’s Day as to do so would be to wash away your good fortune.
It was surprising easy to talk Anita into following this one. Check.

Do not pay loans or loan out any precious goods on New Year’s Day.
Not a problem. Check.

Above all else, remember, whatever you do on New Year’s Day, you will be doing all year long!
And that’s why I am here and you have this to read. Check.

Happy New Year, everyone.

 
Good Weekend PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wes Forsythe   
Monday, 16 December 2013 06:53

I had a good weekend. It could have only been made better by getting more sleep (despite the fact that I took two naps over its course).

Friday I did the Rohs Opera House Event with Cassidy Rae. I was sort of the comic relief for the evening I guess, but the crowd did seem to genuinely enjoy my demonstrations and I actually freaked a couple of people out.

Above is a photo taken during the event. It's an interesting photo because of the "light anomaly" in the center. The anomaly does not seem to be lens flare (no light sources behind the subject) nor is it a simple light source coming from the front of the subject. It is something in front of her as the lines do not change as it crosses her jeans.

Is it paranormal? I doubt it, but I guess it's possible.

The thing is, that the EXIF data from the photo shows that the shutter stayed open 1/20th of a second. This is a loooooonnng time in photo terms. This shutter speed would allow any passing bug or even a dust particle to make quite the impact.

But it was definitely something interesting to look at and find a possible explanation for. If you would like a copy of the original in its pristine form just shoot me an email.

Finally, it appears that all of the syndication feeds worked as advertised Sunday night. Other than misspelling "Filler" on the ShoutCast feed and labeling the 9PM Spotlight as a Paranormal i-Con (since fixed) I was pleased. Spreaker turned some good listener numbers and the chat at LiveParanormal was packed.

Now I guess I can move onto my next project...

Last Updated on Monday, 16 December 2013 07:11
 
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