Paranormal Research Field Trends and Implications
Just as with any other specialty, paranormal research is an ever-evolving field that goes through various changes and trends. There are many aspects that affect the shifting developments in supernatural study, whether they include new theories, advanced equipment, fresh experimental methodologies, metaphysical approaches, etc. As with any field, time yields these augmentations so as to prevent stagnation; in other words, it’s imperative that we maneuver through these inevitable trends so we can keep the door open to expanding our knowledge and understanding of what lies beyond the mortal realm. This article will explore some of the commonly pervasive trends in today’s study of the supernatural and how they affect the field at large.
Indeed, the field of paranormal study has progressed technologically since the days of the field’s founding fathers. In the early days, those studying the supernatural relied on non-technological ways of approaching field methodology. Today, many modern researchers still employ many of these ingenious ways of approaching paranormal investigation in addition to using various constructed devices specifically for supernatural research. While this article doesn’t focus on this aspect entirely, it will mention that each family of electronics (photography, videography, audio, surveillance and environmental monitoring, etc.) has seen drastic industrial advances and improvements, which obviously provide benefits, and even some drawbacks, to supernatural researchers. Again, this concept should be solely addressed in another article altogether.
One common trend lies in the ability of engineering / technological specialists to augment a device so it functions better for paranormal research standards. For example, AM/FM radio scanners / ITC devices can be altered to allow for less static noise, ultimately allowing the researcher to better hear any anomalous voices or sounds emanating through the device. Another illustration is evident in the Xbox Kinect system, which can be plugged into a laptop computer and highlight with lines and dots, the exact positioning of an alleged apparition. Various environmental monitoring devices have “three-in-one” utilizations. For example, one of the versions of the “Mel Meter” has EMF, shadow detection and KII functions built into one device. Of course, this provides for convenience; however, there may be drawbacks to lumping all of these uses together in one device. Please keep in mind that there is no such thing as a “ghost detector.” There isn’t one piece of equipment that has proven the existence of ghosts, spirits and other paranormal entities.
The utilization of technology in paranormal research may seem fool-proof; thus, it’s always beneficial to realize that even the most advanced, up-to-date apparatus comes with imperfection and flaws. This is why it’s mandatory that all researches completely understand a gadget’s design, function and reasons for use. I continuously ask myself this question, “Do all of these various improvements in technology help or hinder us in terms of paranormal research?” In discussing this aspect with trusted colleagues, I have found pros and cons to modern-day leaps in technology. As you shop around for more modern types of equipment, please be aware that, even though your chances of capturing an anomaly may be increased with more gadgetry, in my opinion, the more convoluted your environment is with added, sometimes unnecessary, types of equipment. Another drawback affects the investigator directly as he or she will have to spend more time monitoring excessive technological pieces when he or she could be entirely focused on the environment. In my opinion, you don’t have to own every single technological gadget utilized in paranormal research. That would be ridiculous. Carefully study and choose which devices you want to own so you can create an equipment arsenal that includes those designed for photography, videography, audio and environmental monitoring, etc.
This leads me to the next popular trend occurring in today’s supernatural research field. In addition to electronic gadgetry, the use of metaphysical instruments is becoming more mainstream for many researchers, including psychics and mediums. Many intuitively inclined individuals use metaphysical tools in communicating with spiritual energy. Those deeply based in scientific approaches may cringe at the thought of using items like gems and crystals; however, you have to realize that paranormal study is not an exact science. Thus, all the more, should someone welcome a variety of approaches to the field’s ongoing study.
Historically speaking, various gems and crystals are deemed to hold supernatural powers of their own. Wearing them on your person may assist (almost like a liaison) in communing with spiritual energy and empowering your innate psychic powers. Using them in conjunction with technology may assist the device in picking up spiritual energy. I believe that everyone has some intuitive ability; however, it’s similar to a sport in that the more you practice, the better you will get. Various gemstones and crystals are utilized for promoting mental and psychic clarity (Amethyst), absorbing or deflecting negative energy (Amber, Black Tourmaline), removing stress and unwanted tension (Celestite), uniting the mind, body and soul (Celestite), etc. – all useful for anyone working in the paranormal research realm and beyond.
In my opinion, blending intuition, technology and metaphysics allows for a more holistic approach to working with spiritual energy. It is for this reason why the San Diego Paranormal Research Society often employs the use of diving rods, pendulums and certain crystals as they can serve as an adjunct to technology. For example, let’s say we capture an EVP of “Yes” in response to the question, “Is anyone here with us?” in addition to our divining rods also crossing, which indicate a “Yes” response. That’s two pieces of corroborating evidence, ultimately authenticating the spirit reply all the more.
Spirit Resolution vs. Paratainment
Thankfully, many paranormal investigators and psychics are taking up more of an interest in providing spirit resolution to many ethereal beings that may need assistance. This is the focus of the San Diego Paranormal Research Society whose projects are twofold: conducting an investigation as well as offering some spirit counseling. If our research is suggesting that life does exist after the physical body ceases to function, then all the more should we offer to help provide peace and harmony to those in the spirit realm.
Investigating and acquiring potential evidence of the paranormal is important for the ongoing study of the supernatural. However, I am always left with the question, “Okay, what now?” It seems that the cosmic universe is onboard with assisting us in the appropriate communing with the ethereal world. Perhaps, the pervasive intrigue into the supernatural realm exists as a way to recruit those who will genuinely assist those who are in need of help. There seems to be a shift in our collective outlook regarding mainstream media and “para-tainment” as far as the paranormal is concerned. More and more people are realizing that the various sensational TV shows do little to authentically advance the field of paranormal research. While these shows serve mainly to entertain the masses, they don’t accurately portray real-life supernatural research and investigation. Furthermore, the sensationalism surrounding these shows does little to promote spirit resolution as it more or less exploits the dead via egotistical objectives.
It seems as though the once feverish intrigue into the ghost hunting phenomenon is finally on its way out as more and more individuals are on a quest to delve deeply into what matters: not only discovering what lies beyond the mortal curtain but devising ways to genuinely connect with spirits. Those who fervently engage themselves in down-to-earth paranormal research, including proper protocol, standard operating procedures and empathy, are becoming more comfortable calling out those amateur groups of people who act in manners that disrespect the departed and the field at large. All in all, I do see more and more genuine, grounded paranormal research teams expanding their repertoire by helping the ethereal energies they investigate and commune with. In my opinion, this is vital in the rapport building between the living and departed – the ultimate, natural way to improve not only the research arena but how the public at large perceives it.
Getting Rid of “Ego”
This brings me to my next point, which is to highlight how human ego and working with spiritual energy do not mix. In a sense, they are like oil and water, having nothing in common. Ghost hunting teams sprouted like grass after a long rain once the televised paranormal shows commenced their craze. During this time, it was common to see teams sporting their t-shirts and other team promotional items, initializing a phase of competition between groups. As the concept of ghost hunting wanes, we are seeing an influx of those who want to delve deeper beyond the superficial façade of ghost hunting. We are seeing certain groups of paranormal investigators coming together to not only assist each other but to improve paranormal research as a whole. This is so vital and necessary for the eventual building of one, giant collective supernatural study unit – where all like-minded teams can unite for the purposes of not only advancing the field but helping those otherworldly beings in need of assistance. I am hoping that one day, this will be accomplished in entirety; but for now, we need to all realize that “ego” needs to be removed from the equation when communicating, studying and working with the ethereal world.
More and more paranormal research specialists are jumping onboard to educate the public and each other about various aspects related to the supernatural. Again, technological strides and improvements in social media directly assist in these educational concepts reaching the masses. Individuals are volunteering their time to lecture at libraries, local events and national conferences all designed to bring together those who possess a budding interest in the paranormal. The same goes for researchers who educate those at colleges, universities or via local avenues. The online presence is even expanding with new radio shows, informative documentaries and television designed to teach those about haunted locations and history, paranormal research experimentation, etc. Many teams are starting to blog more about their conducted investigations and findings or even offer live-viewings of actual investigations. More and more books discussing diverse aspects related to the supernatural are being published. Indeed, education is at the forefront as it allows people to come together and expand their minds; in doing so, the field of paranormal study will also continue to develop.
Paranormal Researcher, Author and Lecturer
Paranormal Research of Private Residences
The San Diego Paranormal Research Society Model
Private residence paranormal research projects are not only rewarding but can function as an opportunity to educate families and home owners on ghost research and the supernatural. One of the common threads that I am seeing in regards to “haunted house” investigations is evident in the fact that home owners or tenants seem to exhibit fear, anxiety and a lack of understanding of what makes ethereal energies go bump in the night – or day. With this in mind, the goal for each project should not only encompass going into the site to collect personal experiences and/or compelling evidence of the supernatural. What’s most important is to help clients comprehend their individual situation and thus, help to provide peace. When I leave a client’s apartment or home, I want to make sure that I can help to assuage any unwanted emotions of terror or uneasiness. It’s the greatest feeling when clients give you a hug and let you know that you helped them feel more comfortable in their beloved home. It’s the greatest compliment that any researcher can get from a client.
The San Diego Paranormal Research Society (SDPRS) has been conducting private residence investigations since 2009 and has served home owners in many areas of San Diego County. As with any project, protocols and standard operating procedures should be adopted as a way to ensure professionalism, functionality and seamlessness. Furthermore, in order to ensure an unbiased and controlled investigation, it is imperative that all team members follow these set guidelines.
There are some key differences between a historical site project versus a private residence investigation. For the most part, individual groups express an overall interest in researching a historical location; thus, they typically ask to conduct a private investigation at the property. With the private homes, usually the client will contact the team of his or her choice and have that group come to the property to investigate its premises. I find that most requests come from word-of-mouth, referrals from other reputable teams or via the team’s online website request form. The website acts as a first form of contact and should give an overall impression of the group’s mission and philosophy regarding paranormal research. For this reason, the San Diego Paranormal Research Society is not all about frilly graphics and flash intros; our main goal is to impart the professionalism, dedication and respect that we have for the field. We have had many private residence clients tell us that they chose to contact us because of the authenticity of information on our website.
Confidentiality should be upheld at ALL times. Occasionally, a noted historical landmark or private residence client will give written permission to the team to disclose some findings from the investigation. However, regardless of the type, no team should EVER disclose anything about that case without the client’s written permission. On the San Diego Paranormal Research Society’s standard permission form and liability waiver, there is an option for clients to check whether they want the team to disclose certain investigative data acquired from the research project. Even if you are allowed to reveal certain data, never divulge pertinent information such as the clients’ names or specific identifying information about their house.
Respect and reverence are vital to a successful investigation. The San Diego Paranormal Research Society firmly believes that you will get back what you put out. For this reason, we do not tolerate provoking or antagonizing an entity for the mere reason of gaining evidence. I do not care what type of life a ghost or spirit had in mortal realm; it’s our policy to respect the energies we come into contact with. Not only does this help ensure the physical, emotional and spiritual safety of each researcher, it assists in establishing a healthy rapport with the living and departed. We are not talking about just respecting the location and its spiritual inhabitants, but also our clients and colleagues as well. Remember the Golden Rule at all times.
It is also important that team members remain professional and objective during the entire investigation process, including the interview phase, preliminary stages and post-investigation evidence review process. Thus, investigators should, in no way, commiserate with the client(s) or provide psychological therapy. A good rule of thumb is to always adhere to, and not deviate from, the team’s mission and objectives for each investigation.
Remember to always try and figure out a logical and natural explanation for the alleged anomalous phenomena. It is important to go in to each research project with an open and objective mind. If you cannot explain some type of activity, conduct experiments to try and make sense of what’s happening. If, after you are done, you still cannot figure out the reason(s) for why something is occurring, leave it as “this is something that we cannot explain.” I certainly cannot speak for other teams; however, the San Diego Paranormal Research Society is not out to prove the existence of spiritual phenomena. We are here to better understand what constitutes life after death.
The San Diego Paranormal Research Society employs five stages to each investigation. Typically, phase (1) occurs when the client contacts the team. During this stage, the team will conduct its client interviews and commence supplemental research of the property (historical, geological, archeological, etc). The team should have some sort of questionnaire for each prospective client to fill out. Once the client completes it, the team’s case manager should set up a phone appointment to briefly go over the topics on the questionnaire. The basis for the phone interview is to acquire an overview knowledge base of what’s occurring at the location. A subsequent in-home client interview should then be conducted to delve more in detail as to what’s happening in the home.
Another reason for the on-site interview is to check for continuity and consistency. Questions to ask are, “Has the client provided me with consistent information on both the phone interview and during the in-home interview? Or, are there discrepancies with each interview? If there are discrepancies, it may be a sign that the client is making up information and not telling the truth. Or, it can be innocent on their part, too. All witnesses should be interviewed separately as to avoid bias or power of suggestion.
The following points are important to remember for phase (1):
The second phase that the SDPRS team employs is the preliminary investigation and continued supplemental research process. During this phase, team members will go to the investigation site and conduct baseline EMF, temperature, ionic energy readings, etc. Additionally, the team will take photographs of each room; thus, if an anomaly occurs during the actual investigation, there will be baseline photographs for comparison. Furthermore, the research group will examine the location for any possible safety issues and anything else that could potentially interfere with the project. Supplemental research continues at this stage.
Aspects to keep in mind are as follows:
For this phase, be sure that investigators adhere to the following:
There is an unspoken and inherent bond between humans and their animals, an eternal connection that exists forever and even grows stronger when physical death knocks at the door. One of life’s ultimate cruelties, having to say goodbye to a furry loved one is indeed, one of the most difficult experiences to endure. Even though mortal beings eventually transition from the physical plain, the true essence of their spirited soul remains. This is a concept that I have known for a long time; however, with the 2015 passing of my cat, Max Montgomery Strickland, I gained a further awareness of its actuality.
I am writing this article to connect with those who are going through the heart-wrenching time of saying goodbye to a dearly loved furry friend. All animal lovers can relate to and empathize with anyone who is going through the physical loss of a beloved animal. When Max passed away, I thought that my world would completely end forever. After a few days of complete and utter sadness and dejection, something beautiful happened: I started to feel peace enter my soul, a start to me accepting Max’s passing. It’s extremely hard to put this into words, but I started to feel Max alive in my heart and soul. I started to feel him with me at all times, a feeling that slowly, but surely, overpowered the extreme grief. Of course, I miss his physical self, but I find solace in knowing that his vibrant energy and majestic soul are eternally present in mine.
I do believe that many, if not all animals, can communicate to us when they depart this mortal plane. In the majority of cases, we hear of paranormal incidences with cats, dogs and horses. It would make sense seeing as though they are among the most popular animals to have. However, I think there is more to the equation. I strongly believe that it is due to their expansive intelligence and innately intuitive nature. We can experience ghostly encounters with our adored animals in the same way that we can with our dearly loved friends or family members. Whether it’s an apparitional sighting, a disembodied vocalization or footstep, an olfactory sensation or cold spot, paranormal occurrences with pets and humans are similar across the board.
In my 37 years on this earth, I have not ever had the magnitude of spiritual experiences with any of my animals until I came into contact with my cat, Max. I adopted Max and his sister, Kayli Strickland, after the devastating 2003 San Diego, California Cedar Fires, the firestorm that engulfed the majority of the city in smoke and flames. At their tender three-months-of age I fell in love with Max and Kayli the moment I first laid eyes on them. I even remember Kayli reaching out her paw and Max looking at me with intent green eyes when I walked up to their temporary boxed home in a local Petco. Words cannot definitely explain this, but it was the start of that unspeakable and everlasting bond that I mentioned in my words above. An endless union that not even death could interfere with.
In 2015, I had to take Max into our community’s veterinarian due to an eye infection known as conjunctivitis. While Max was there, his doctor listened to his cardiac and pulmonary functions and it was then that I received the news that he had a heart murmur. A murmur does not necessarily mean that there is heart disease present; however, it can indicate that something more serious is going on. The following day, I took Max to a specialist to get a cardiac ultrasound or echocardiogram of the heart. Just like the wildfire overwhelming San Diego twelve years prior, I was then engulfed with the tragic news that no animal lover wants to hear: Max had cardiomyopathy, an acquired and often hereditary physical ailment. As tears swept down my despondent face, the doctor reassured me that medication could help treat the disease and keep Max alive for many years to come. Needless to say, I drove home with a mixture of reassurance, anxiety and anger.
Max was on beta blockers for a few days to help manage his cardiac functions. On the fourth night, I noticed that his heart and breathing rate were extremely high. My mom and I then rushed him to the emergency hospital, perhaps, the most terrifying time that I have ever had to experience. After a few minutes, the veterinarian came out to talk to us and told us that Max may have had a reaction to the beta blockers or more seriously, he may be going into heart failure. Thus, he had to undergo some more tests, taking the total time of about an hour. At about the 60-minute mark, I heard the song Endless Love playing on the ceiling’s radio speakers. Being of no coincidence, it was then that I saw the doctor’s forlorn facial expression as he came out to brief my mom and I. No words needed to be relayed as I knew the tragic words we were about to hear: tragically, it was the latter and Max was going into cardiac failure.
Max stayed overnight so he could be monitored and receive the oxygen that he so desperately needed. The following day, my mom and I went to see him and it was then that his attending doctor conveyed that nothing more could be done. My whole world collapsed and my soul was stabbed with anger, sadness and hopelessness. I must say that the veterinarians catering to Max were relentless in their treatment of him, as they tried everything to help prolong his beautiful life. After a 45-minute consultation with the medical staff, I was hit with the decision to either keep him on life support or allow him his rite of passage to peacefully transition to the stars. Of course, I chose the latter as it would have been completely selfish to keep him alive in the condition he was in. It was his time and I did everything I could to honor it.
The registered veterinarian technician then took us into a room, a location that I never wanted to see again in my life. Max was lying on a table with an oxygen mask surrounding his face. Placing my arms around him, I told Max how much I loved him and echoed the following words, “Max, my prince and golden boy, I love you so much and our bond will last forever. Always and forever. You will always be a part of my heart and soul. Endless love, baby. I love you.” As I saw the needle responsible for delivering the medication to commence his transition, I kept telling Max how much I love him and held him until he breathed his last breath and crossed the Rainbow Bridge. When that time came, he had such a peaceful look to his face and body. They then wrapped a paw-printed blanket around Max as they brought him into a serene private room where my mom and I had some time to be alone with him. I must say that this was a very therapeutic experience as it gave us some time to say goodbye.
With death, comes the departure of the physical body and only the physical body. Death cannot touch the soul or energy of our animals. It is my belief that the bonds we have with our beloved pets grow even stronger in spirit. In fact, the night I came home from the veterinary emergency hospital after Max’s passing, I heard his meow in my bedroom as I was getting ready for much needed sleep. His vocalization was so loud and clear as if he was reassuring me that he was at peace in heaven’s pastures. It was later that same night when I felt Max breathing underneath my hand as I rested in bed. I couldn’t help but think that his ethereal inhalations were representative of a new life beyond the ethers. Then, in one of my often lucid dreams, I saw Max sitting right in front of me as he wrapped his front legs around me. Needles to say, I woke up with complete serenity.
In the days and months to come, I continued to encounter his angelic spirit many times and in many special ways. Almost on a daily basis, I hear Max’s meow, sometimes several times in a row. I have both seen him partially or fully manifest before my eyes. Many nights and mornings, I will tangibly feel him jump up on my bed and curl up beside my warm body. I have even felt his disembodied breath in my face as he ethereally lay on my chest, something he often did when he was of body.
Since his passing, Kayli and I have grown infinitely closer. On many occasions, I will even see her big green eyes morph into her brothers. She has become so much more affectionate since that fateful February night at 4:44 pm when Max evolved into spirit. It’s almost as if he continues to live through his sister. Intriguingly, when I first adopted Max and Kayli, I created the nickname of “KayliMax,” not yet aware of how profound that moniker would be in the years to come.
Now, I have pondered why I haven’t had as many of these spiritual experiences with my other fur babies who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Perhaps, Max and I were destined to have such a close soulful relationship, a woven tapestry of pure cosmic love and connection. Maybe we had past lives together, with fate bringing us together in this lifetime. My mind can speculate all day, yet there may be elusive reasons for why Max and I are so intrinsically connected. Maybe it’s something that is not intended to be explained but to only be experienced.
I was utterly devastated when Max transitioned. I felt my soul being ripped apart; however, it was slowly pieced back together when I accepted his passing and undeniably realized that he further became a part of my soul. I know it’s hard to not have our furry babies’ physical presence with us, but you will find everlasting solace in knowing that their spirit is always with us. Once we come to terms with this, we will feel peace permeate our soul.
Written by Nicole Strickland, San Diego Paranormal Research Society
Copyright Nicole Strickland and Paranormal Underground Magazine.
Man has had an innate interest in the afterlife since the dawning of time. Exploring the unknown is a passion for many paranormal researchers who continue their quest into the supernatural realm. Picture yourself standing on a mile long sandy beach. Then, pick up a small handful of sand. You see, this tiny handful constitutes what we know about the vast field of the supernatural. The remainder on the ground remains elusive; perhaps, those living in the mortal realm will figure out the rest of the puzzle once they transition into spirit.
For years, we have developed various theories attempting to explain the paranormal. As we know, our research only knows the color grey, as white and black don’t quite fit into its paradigm. Today, and in the past, we’ve tested these theories, having figured out that some of them seem to strongly fit within the paranormal field template. Others may not. However, as time goes on, new hypotheses are being developed and tested with the ultimate goal of understanding what constitutes life after death.
There are many classifications of ghosts, spirits and hauntings. Some of them are more prolific, occurring more often than others. However, these categories help to explain both the physical attributes and behaviors of certain spiritual energy types. It is important to remember that not all paranormal activity constitutes a haunting. Some energies are transient in nature, briefly passing through a location prior to moving onto the next. In order for a haunting to take place, a spiritual being has to have some sort of connection to the location. After reading this article, you will be more knowledgeable at comparing and contrasting the various types of ethereal beings.
Ghost versus Spirit: It is very easy to use these terms interchangeably. However, they are both similar and different. They can both manifest themselves and interact with the living. They both occur in various places that have seen happiness and sadness. Let’s start with ghosts, first. Another term for a ghost is an earthbound entity that essentially remains stuck in the mortal realm due to unfinished business, a connection to a location or object or for some other reason. Ghosts have not moved into the “light.” Sadly, some of them don’t even know that they’ve passed on. Sometimes, they continuously repeat their final moments before death. It is possible to help these beings move on into spirit; however, it usually takes time to do so. Then again, some earthbound energies choose to remain in the mortal realm for whatever reason. Spirits, on the other hand, are energies that have been able to find the “light.” Spirits have been able to find peace and are no longer stuck in the mortal plane. With this said, they have free will to travel to and from our world, usually to help out a friend or loved one. As you can imagine, spirits are more highly evolved than ghosts.
Residual versus Intelligent Hauntings: A residual haunt is similar to a psychic imprint. Residual ghosts and spirits do not interact with the living as these types are basically memory imprints onto the environment. They usually occur at specific time intervals or on important historical dates and anniversaries. Places that have experienced a lot of death, emotion, tragedy and/or triumph, typically have these types of remaining energy. Think battlefields, hotels, theaters, sanatoriums, hotels, schools, universities, etc. For example, a phantom cannon blasting off at Gettysburg represents residual activity. On the other hand, intelligent energies do interact with the living. Evidence suggests that these ghosts and spirits utilize their senses when communicating with the living. Their occurrences are random and/or dependent on who is interrelating with them. Intelligent hauntings do occur at the same types of places that residual ones do. Live two-way spirit communication via ITC devices, especially when answering specific questions, comprises intellectual activity.
Shadow Figures versus The Classic Shadow Person: It is very easy to confuse these two types of spiritual energy. We know that ghosts and spirits have different stages of physical manifestation. Witnessing an apparition with no legs or arms may be an example of a partial appearance. Furthermore, your sightings of wispy shadows or shaded human forms also fall under the umbrella of an unfinished manifestation. Thus, you can derive that grey and/or black shadow figure sightings comprise these particular ghostly displays. They can be either residual and/or intelligent and move very fast. Usually, they are spotted peripherally. An example of these types frequently occurs on the RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, specifically in her former first- and third-class pool area.
The classic shadow person is an entirely different story. You see, it is theorized that these non-human forms are here to strictly observe the living. Some researchers feel that they are extraterrestrials or Men in Black (MIB) sent through a wormhole to study human nature. Additionally, many investigators feel that they are menacing in nature. In fact, some people believe that they belong in the Djinn category where Western culture believes they are demonic beings. In regards to their physical attributes, they appear as either very short or tall, typically adorned in a long jacket or cape with a wide-brimmed hat. As with the previously discussed type, their movement is rather fast and we usually spot them peeking around a corner with peripheral vision. Furthermore, these beings are often described as being “darker than dark.” Also, witnesses have described feeling the sense of pending doom or extreme anxiety either before during or after their sighting of a classic shadow person.
Doppelganger: A doppelganger is basically a spirit double. Witnesses who have experienced this phenomenon have reported seeing exact physical doubles of their person, even down to the same type of clothing they are wearing. Recently, I interviewed one of the security crew aboard the RMS Queen Mary and he shared how he saw a man identical to him walk out of one of the restrooms. One circulating theory regarding this type of ghost is that they are a harbinger of death. Some researchers, including myself, feel that these types have to do with parallel universes and/or dimensional time shifts. One intriguing historical account has to do with Queen Elizabeth I. You see, she actually saw her spirit double laid out on her bed. Shortly thereafter, she passed away on that same bed!
Crisis Apparition: Crisis apparitions appear usually just before or just after someone’s death. This phenomenon can also relate to a doppelganger, where some people actually see their spirit double around the time of their demise. These sightings can either be disturbing to the observer or provide them comfort. There seems to be a telepathic link between the crisis apparition and its observer. Additionally, these types of energies may actually appear as they looked the moment they passed away. I have talked with a few people who have witnessed seeing their loved one’s spirit just before their death. Note that the observer and his or her loved one typically do not live in the same house or even the same city when this happening occurs. You have probably heard the story of someone seeing their grandmother’s spirit and receive a phone call about her death just minutes after.
Lower Level Entity versus Malevolent Entities: Although there are similarities between these two types of phenomena, there is a significant difference. Lower level entities are the energies of once living people who were “not so nice” in life. Thus, they continue on with the same personality in death. Typically, murderers, pedophiles, psychotic individuals and those who lived a very unhappy life fall into this category. However, malevolent energies are theorized as being non-human entities (demons, Djinn, some elementals) that can possibly cause harm to humans. Personally, I always feel that light cancels out dark and that you have to give these types of energies power to inflict harm. Extremely vulnerable people may be more afflicted by these types of energies. Malevolent energy is extremely rare. Additionally, some researchers, including myself, feel that some of these very negative types correlate to tulpas or human thought projections actually coming to life. For example, is it possible that peoples’ ill feelings toward others manifest themselves in the form of a malevolent entity? I think so.
Animal Ghosts: There have been many sightings of animal ghosts. Typically, this is most common with horses, dogs and cats. Many people, including myself, have had experiences with seeing their beloved animal’s spirit or perhaps, its favorite toy(s) moving of their own volition. A lingering question remains: Can all animals appear to us in spirit form? Plausibly, yes. However, it is believed that the higher the animal’s intelligence, the greater chance for it to materialize in ghost form. They can appear fully manifested or come through as wispy grey tones. The Whaley House in San Diego, California, is home to a ghost dog named Dolly. Dolly was owned by the Whaley family. Today, visitors to the home report seeing a phantom dog running around or experience being licked on the leg by an invisible force. Furthermore, people also report hearing Dolly’s voice inside the house or in the backyard. The San Diego Paranormal Research Society (SDPRS) conducts monthly tours at the Rancho Buena Vista Adobe in Vista, California. The team has experienced hearing the invisible specter of a horse as well as smelling hay throughout the property.
Tulpas and Thought Projections: Human energy is very powerful and when combined it can create a formidable force of energy. Tulpas can be described as peoples’ thought forms actually generating a life of their own. There seems to be a link between psychokinetic energy and thought projections. There are even cases where researchers’ clients strongly believe that a ghost or spirit exists when in fact, it really doesn’t. After a while, the PK energy is so strong that their beliefs actually develop. As previously mentioned, could tulpas actually be the cause of many negative and/or malevolent types of hauntings?
Extraterrestrials and Ultra-terrestrials: In my opinion, people have to be extremely egocentric to think that humans are the only life forms in the universe. There are existing galaxies that haven’t even been identified yet. Extraterrestrials (ETs) are living beings not originating from earth. One prolific theory postulates that many paranormal encounters may in fact be other distant life forms attempting to communicate with humans on earth. Ultra-terrestrials are not as understood. They are believed to be higher evolved beings that possibly live among human life and other life forms. They can be linked in with some elementals, fairies, gnomes, sprites, etc., and live in dimensions that we don’t yet understand. Is it possible that they travel through wormholes, possibly explaining why they suddenly appear and disappear? Is UFO activity the product of extraterrestrial, ultra-terrestrial visitations or both? Is it possible that some of these beings take on human form when manifesting to us? Are they here to observe or interact with the living, or both? Indeed, more research needs to be done to better ascertain these types of beings.
Portal Hauntings: A portal can be described as a bridge from our world to the next, where energy in the afterlife can travel to the mortal realm. It is thought that ghosts and spirits may travel through them, but who is to say that extraterrestrials, ultra-terrestrials and/or other beings cannot come through? There may be life forces that we don’t yet know about that come via portals. Many places with these alleged bridges experience consistent amounts of anomalous energy. The idea of having doorways, which lead to another world have been conjectured for thousands of years. I wonder if there is a possibility for a portal to gain energy that parallels the expansion of paranormal knowledge and research. Are portals also influenced by psychokinesis? The RMS Queen Mary is thought to have this passageway inside its former first- and third-class pool room. However, I feel that the entire ship is a doorway to the afterlife. There may also be a link between Ley Lines and portals as they seem to connect to consecrated areas. Obviously more research needs to be conducted to see if places along these geometric alignments also contain these bridges to the afterlife. Could it be that the alignments, themselves, are the portals? Indeed, more research needs to be done as this type of haunting is very controversial.
Poltergeist: Defined as a “noisy ghost,” poltergeist energy may not even be ghosts at all. There is a strong link between telekinesis, psychokinesis and poltergeist activity. You see, it is thought that the emotional whirlwinds and extreme stress of people, typically those of a pre-pubescent or pubescent teenager, are powerful enough to move various objects, big or small. Signs of this type of phenomena are varied and include random noises (bangs, rapping, scratching, tapping, thumping, etc), apports (the ability of an object to manifest out of nowhere), objects appearing or reappearing, electrical and/or plumbing problems, erratic emotional states, all the way to possession. As the human agent’s emotive states increase and strengthen, so does the activity. It is almost as if a person’s anxiety, stress and emotions manifest into life form.
Sleep Paralysis: It is theorized that people living in or visiting places with supernatural forces may be more prone to sleep paralysis. Those who are prone to this disorder usually have underlying stress, disruptive REM sleep cycles, sleep deprivation, under the influence of illegal and/or pharmaceuticals, and fatigue. In this state, people are usually hynagogic (just falling asleep) or awakening (hypnopompia) and cannot move any part of their body. The senses of fear, anxiety and impending doom are common in this sleep disorder. It is usually accompanied by hallucinations and/or terrifying sightings of figures looming over their bed. Furthermore, some individuals report incubus or succubus attacks. Are these hallucinations real or are they the product of a person’s emotional states? Interestingly, some scientific researchers believe that alien visits occur during this slumber state. The patho-physiology of sleep paralysis is still quite misunderstood and various speculations exist regarding its etiology.
Angels and Higher Beings: Every culture on earth has its own belief system regarding angels. Although there are different classifications of angels and higher beings, it is thought that they originate from higher dimensions. They are immortal, eternal creatures crafted by the gods. They are important when conducting spiritual work as they are thought to operate with love and light. Additionally, some researchers have theorized that these non-incarnated beings are part responsible for spiritual awakenings that have happened in recent years. Primarily working in the emotional plane, angels are responsible for guiding humans and even elemental energies in certain aspects of their lives. For example, those that work alongside the Archangel Michael specialize in protection and faith. For those who have had encounters with these higher beings, they describe feeling an intense warmth and peace, sometimes visualizing a whiter-than-white presence around them. Then again, some sightings of these entities match those depicted in mainstream society – replete with a bodily form and wings. Some people believe in guardian angels, where one of these positive entities is assigned to a particular person, helping him or her throughout life. Even though most angels are benevolent toward humans and elementals, some are thought to exhibit malevolent behaviors.
Men in Black (MIB): More along the lines of ufology, men in black are supernatural beings claiming to be government agents. Most often, they are seen with slick black hair, adorned in a black suit, wearing dark shaded sunglasses. Like the classic shadow person, MIB are thought to observe and study the living. Some people feel that they, too, have a menacing and intimidating presence. The theory is that they harass UFO witnesses in an attempt to “shut them up.” There are many reports from witnesses claiming that they’ve come into contact with the MIB. Interestingly, the majority of eye witnesses claim to see two or more MIBs present during their sighting. The first report of MIB came from a man by the name of Albert Bender, who formed the International Flying Saucer Bureau. He was apparently visited by three MIB, who told him that he was getting “too close to the truth.” After that visitation, he shut his organization down.
With this, we will start to notice particular patterns in regards to the various types of supernatural energies. It is my hope that each researcher keeps a journal and logs relevant experiences and observations while conducting their investigative projects. We need to share our ideas, philosophies and discoveries as they will help to further assist us in our general understanding of ethereal beings.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you have a better overview understanding of the various types of ghosts, spirits and hauntings. Paranormal research is an ongoing process and within time, we may acquire both personal experience and captured evidence of other life forms that we don’t yet know about. As the galaxies are infinite, it would make sense that other beings are, too. In addition to acquiring knowledge about the supernatural, people have to be willing to share their encounters, theories and methodologies. With this, we will start to notice particular patterns in regards to the various types of supernatural energies. It is my hope that each researcher keeps a journal and logs relevant experiences and observations while conducting his or her investigative projects. We need to share our ideas, philosophies and discoveries as they will help to further assist us in our general understanding of ethereal beings. Only then, will we be able to start further connecting the puzzle pieces. Next time you are standing on a sandy beach, think about what’s remaining to be studied, examined and heard.
Written by Nicole Strickland
Paranormal researcher, author and public speaker
Founder and Director of the San Diego Paranormal Research Society (SDPRS)
I realize that the topics in this article may be controversial; however, they’re vitally important to discuss. In the paranormal research field, there seems to be a shift toward believing that malevolent energy constitutes the majority of spiritual beings. Personally, I don’t agree with this notion and I strongly believe that tulpas and/or thought projections are to blame for the majority of alleged “demonic” cases. In other words, these terms connote a physical materialization of a thought eventually resulting in a formation of beings or objects. The term “tulpa” is a Tibetan word, meaning “emanation” or “manifestation,” which describes a form of thought projection. For example, the Shangri-La or fictional earthly paradise full of mysticism and harmony, as described in James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon, is a prime example of a “tulpified” location, where constant thought about it has practically cause it to come to life. In order to power the tulpa, a person has to spend much time to the thought he or she is forming in his or her mind. The more attentiveness to it, the more it will generate energy and life. The whole notion of malevolent energy and demonic beings are in a sense, one huge tulpa that has gained more energy through the years. It makes me think of the ripple effect and how it can pervasively spread unwanted anger and hate into the world. Now that the paranormal field is acquiring more of a spot in mainstream culture and society, we are seeing this particular phenomenon exponentially powered – thus, further manifesting itself, just as a tumble weed blowing in the wind.
By writing this article, I am not stipulating that negative energies don’t exist; I just don’t believe or put much stock into the current belief that most of the spiritual energy is malevolent. There is just too much inherent good in the world for that and we’ve all heard the saying that “love conquers evil.” If the paranormal community at large starts to focus less on the concept of extremely negative beings, I do believe that the tulpa’s power will lessen. Sadly, it’s being propelled not only by a person’s belief, but by mainstream media, such as the supernatural-themed television shows. Unfortunately, these programs are strongly confusing people by showcasing how spiritual energy is mostly wicked and cruel. Furthermore, these widely distributed television ensembles do little to advance the paranormal research discipline – thus, earning them the moniker of “para-tainment.” Hollywood has further ignited the tulpa due to its numerous films about spiritual entities attacking humans. Although these movies are essentially made for entertainment, they misconceive those who watch them, leading these individuals to believe that the supernatural should be feared – once again, the tulpa is charged.
This very aspect is causing widespread problems in the paranormal research field. The tulpa is being propelled by a number of other factors. For example, we are seeing an influx of demonologists whose main goal is to study these alleged malicious beings. The question that I have is, “Do we really need all of these demon-studying individuals, especially when the majority of alleged evil beings is mostly caused by the mind’s concentrated thought projections? This is no offense to those studying the occult or demonic energy; my main point by the previous sentence is to relay that we should strive toward a core understanding of the origins of thought projections and tulpas – by doing so, we will start to gain an awareness of the true composition of those alleged beings we once thought existed - the true composition being that of a mind-concentrated thought.
Furthermore, this problem is causing teams to receive many paranormal research requests from those who believe they have a malevolent entity in their home or business. Perhaps, if society in general didn’t highly focus on these hateful tulpa-fixed energies and therefore instilling fear in people, then we would see less of these particular case requests – and thus, have more time to devote to those investigation requests with genuine paranormal phenomena. In other words, ghost researchers around the world need to spend more time educating humanity about the consequences of these tulpas and generated thought formations and projections. Additionally, the more powered this specific tulpa is, the more it will influence certain religions that already have a preconceiving notion that ghosts and spirits are malevolent. While striving to avoid disrespect of someone’s religion, it is also critically important to help prohibit certain religious beliefs that are caused by something that isn’t actually real. In other words, if a certain faith is influenced by something that is tulpa-created, it could cause superfluous and polluting issues for that particular type of dogma.
We all have our own personal “demons” or baggage to contend with. It’s vitally important that we recognize the signs of projecting our own issues onto the environment. As a defense mechanism, it is sometimes easier to project or displace our personal problems onto someone else. As a veteran paranormal researcher, I am noticing that people are also blaming some of their own individual issues on the paranormal, instead of dealing with them head-on. By doing so, some of these folks are making it seem that the ghost in their house is responsible for their emotional or mental issues. Now, in rare cases, this can be the result of some type of spiritual possession, but then again, this is rare. When an investigating team acquires a case request regarding this problem, it is a delicate process to weave through. Generally speaking, the San Diego Paranormal Research Society does not take on any cases where a preponderance of evidence suggests that personal, emotional and/or mental issues are the hallmark problem. With these types of requests, we urge clients to seek medical help as combining paranormal research with a legitimate physical or psychological problem could pose serious consequences for the individual. It is for this reason why I strongly support supernatural researchers further educating themselves in medicine, psychology, abnormal psychology, sociology, etc., as it will help them to recognize when the dilemma is originated by external factors other than ghostly phenomena.
There needs to be more study devoted to the differences between negative entities versus actual malevolent beings. In my opinion, these are two words that should be separated as they do connote two separate meanings. The San Diego Paranormal Research Society has differentiated these two types of energies by applying definitions for them. Negative energies or lower level entities comprise the spiritual makeup of once living individuals who were innately mean or lived an unhappy life. In ghostly form, these particular earthbound units showcase themselves to mortal beings just as they would when they were of body: gruff, mean, territorial, etc. Now, true malevolent entities are theorized to be non-human creatures with the intent to harm the living. There are telltale signs of the presence of these organisms, which directly affect the person(s) they’re after. For example, those dealing with an authentic malevolent haunting may experience a plethora of unwanted situations – odd sulfur-aroma smells, changes in personality or health, a sense of impending doom, strong psychokinetic (PK) interference, odd animal behavior, etc. As paranormal researchers, it is our duty to educate people about the differences between these two types of spiritual beings; by doing so, we will help to prevent the undesired consequences that accompany a misconception about them. Furthermore, this will help stop the tulpa from gaining more life-sustaining energy.
In modern day society, we are at a crossroads in regards to paranormal research. Collectively, we can go down the path to forwarding and advancing the field for the betterment of humanity or we can go down the other path that will, eventually cripple its foundation. Learning more about tulpas and thought projections are significantly imperative to the survival of supernatural field research. It is for this reason why I highly believe that both terms should be included in the classification list of ghosts and hauntings. My main objective for writing this article is to further ignite awareness about this subject and its implications in paranormal research.
* This article was also published in Paranormal Underground Magazine.