Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Parapsychology: Information all Ghost Hunters Should Know

If you are a  ghost hunter or investigator I recommend you read some books written by parapsychologists. 

A man who wrote two of my favorite books about ghost hunting is Loyd Auerbach. Auerbach has his masters in parapsychology and his book entitled Hauntings & Poltergeists: A Ghost Hunter’s Guide is one of my favorites.

Instead of giving a laundry list here of what parapsychologists believe and how they use these beliefs to inform their scientific studies I will share a case that Auerbach participated in and how he determined if the activity being experienced was indeed what parapsychologists consider a real haunting. 

Having stated the above let me mention one thing I learned from Auerbach’s books that hadn’t occurred to me before. This item is obvious but often overlooked.

Here is ammunition that can be used when dealing with skeptics who brush aside other’s belief in ghosts. Skeptics often state people who see ghosts are just experiencing a hallucination caused by an environmental magnetic field –so it is just their brains playing tricks on them. 

What skeptics don’t address in this scenario is that these supposed hallucinations often include historical facts that the witness had no prior knowledge of. For example, a person might be able to describe a ghost ship they witnessed from another era in detail—even though they have no prior knowledge of sailing ships through history.

When I do investigations, I remember the following case conducted by Loyd Auerbach, which he considers as one of his favorites. 

This case involved a family that had moved into an older established home in Livermore, California. This family—a father, mother, a grandmother and a twelve-year-old son all saw an apparition. The family had not discussed this with each other until the mother found out that her son was talking to a ghost in the home on a regular basis.

She discovered her son’s interactions with the ghost when one day he started telling her specific details about several of the antiques and dolls that had been left by the previous owner. The mother first felt her son must have gotten his hands on some papers or diaries hidden away in the home that had supplied him with this unusual information. 

When she ruled this possibility out she took her son to see a psychologist. This man reassured her that her son was happy, healthy and didn’t appear to have any emotional problems. 

The son told his family that this ghost was a female by the name of Lois and that she had lived in the home from when she was born in 1917 until her death in 1980. 

Wanting to learn more about what was going on the mother decided to contact JFK University where she was referred to Auerbach. He and two others drove to the home in Livermore to interview the family. Auerbach was impressed with the twelve-year-old son and his articulate descriptions of what was occurring.

The family and team sat down in the living room where the son announced Lois was sitting with them. Auerbach asked if he would help them communicate with Lois. 

The team watched as this boy conveyed their questions to the ghost, listened and then gave them her answers. 

Auerbach asked why she was still there, Lois via the son told him that while alive she had been a socialite who often threw parties in the home. She stated that she had spent many happy years there. When Auerbach asked why she didn’t “move on,” Lois told him that she was afraid, for she believed in heaven and hell and since she had never been a churchgoer and lived a “party” lifestyle she was afraid she might end up in hell.

Auerbach and his assistants asked specific questions about Lois’s life and her existence after death, in turn, they received specific answers. She told them about her life and that she still had one living relative. She gave them a specific description of herself –in the present—she described herself as a ball of energy and told them she communicated with the families’ son on a telepathic level. 

The son told them that he had seen her appear in various stages of her life—meaning on one occasion he had seen her as an old woman, on another, she had appeared as a young child of 6 or so and yet another time she had appeared as a woman in her thirties. 

The team was surprised because his description of her changing appearances fit into what parapsychologists believe which is ghosts depending on their mood often appear at various ages. Since the son had no knowledge of parapsychology, this information stunned the team.

Another interesting fact was that this son was communicating with the ghost on a telepathic level. 

Parapsychologists believe since ghosts no longer have a human form they appear to the living in the form of a kind of hallucination and that they communicate with their minds. The son and his mom understood that they perceived a projection of Lois instead of actually seeing her. Amazingly, the son also understood that Lois was projecting her thoughts to him. It appears Lois had explained all of this to him.

Auerbach asked if she would appear for them which she refused, she stated she didn’t quite trust them. She expressed a concern that they were there in order to make her leave. She asked if they had brought any ghost traps. 

The team, which included a woman and a male student, asked if Lois had any questions for them. Her response basically shocked them. Since she was afraid they meant to get rid of her-- she had ridden in the car with them when they left the university that morning to drive to the home.

She had listened to their conversation in the car to discover their intentions. Auerbach had mentioned he wanted to buy a new car. Lois asked if he knew what color car he wanted. 

The woman had mentioned she wanted to quit her present job, Lois asked her if she knew what kind of new job she wanted. 

The male student had mentioned that he had been a dancer for ten years. This had surprised his two companions in the car because they didn’t know this part of his history. Lois asked this male student how long he had been a professional dancer.

Auerbach spent time after this interview verifying the information Lois and the family had given him. He tracked down her one living relative and this man told him essentially the same history Lois had shared with him. 

He then talked to the psychologist, with the mother’s permission, this man confirmed his impression that this twelve-year-old was a normal, well adjusted young man who had no emotional issues. 

The multiple family witnesses, the fact that the son had information that he could not have gotten otherwise and the fact that the family were not afraid but instead curious led Auerbach to conclude that this haunting was real.

This case highlights information that the ghost hunter can use. First, the fact that ghosts communicate with their minds and secondly that they can appear or project themselves at various ages. It is interesting that parapsychologists view what the living see as ghosts are actually in their mind's eye and not physically there—even though it seems as if they are.

Here is a recent bio about Loyd Auerbach.

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