places of interest
- Algoma University
- The Windsor Park
- Camp Korah
- Hiawatha Falls
- Old Stone House
- Steelton Library
- Plummer Hospital
Calendar of events
October 31, 2009
Halloween - but of course
October 31, 2009
Halloween - but of course
October 31, 2009
Halloween - but of course
Wade through the info below and if you still cannot find answers to your questions, feel free to log into the live chat room and ask away.
Dead Time - 3am?
So what exactly is "Dead Time"? Well, this opinion varies from person to person. Some paranormal investigators believe that 3am is the time when paranormal activity is at its peak. Investigators feel that it's the most active time because one theory is that Jesus died at 3pm, so the opposite is 3am. They feel that this particular time, because of this very reason, tends to be the preferred time of spirit activity.
Now personally, I don't really feel the same way. Spirits are active 24 hours a day and I've seen no evidence that 3am is more active than say, 1am or 5am. Ghost hunting is done in the dark more for practical and technical reasons rather than a personal belief about a particular time. On the practical side, paranormal activity is more prevalent at night. I mean, you typically don't tell ghost stories at 1pm in the afternoon, do you? On the technical side, darkness is more suited for using cameras, recorders and other instruments, especially IR and FLIR cameras (Infra Red & Thermal Imaging.) It's easier to see possible manifestations, apparitions and anomalies at night, that's a given. But night time is also better suited for a persons senses: the environment is more quiet.
But... night time can also play on your senses in a negative or false manner. Since everything is quiet you tend to hear more of the subtle normal sounds of a home or the environment, the sounds that are typically present at all hours. Also, the night is usually cooler. The wood used in houses expands in the heat of the day and constricts at night, causing popping and creaking sounds. The sounds can lead a novice or rookie investigator to believe they are caused by the paranormal. The darkness can play "tricks" on your eyes, fooling you into thinking you see shadows or something that's not really there; this is especially true if investigating in a wooded area.
There are other speculations about "Dead Time". Some believe that 3am is actually the devil's hour. They also believe that 3am is not the time when all spirits are more active, but rather when demons are active. Again, they believe that since Jesus died at 3pm then 3am is the polar opposite. Demons will do what they can to defy Christ and therefore being most active at the polar opposite 3am is what they enjoy. Also, more specifically, 3:33 am is widely believed to be the "Witching Hour". Supposedly, 3:33am is the time when the veil between the two worlds is the thinnest, allowing the spirits to cross over easier.
So, is this all true? Well, it's an opinion. There's nothing to really support these theories other than some personal experiences. But there are just as many personal experiences contradicting this "Dead Time", experiences that occur at all hours. For me, I don't believe in "Dead Time". I think spirits are active at all hours. Sure, night time may yield more results for ghost hunters, but this is because our senses are heightened at night.
Most of the time, it's referred to as the Theory of Familiarization or simply Paranormal Stimuli. In essence, the theory is really basic. The method involves trying to recreate the environment, or a part of the environment, of a particular era during an investigation in an attempt to stimulate paranormal activity. The theory, in part, is based on familiarization, believing that if spirits occupying the location recognize the environment or something positive within it, they will become active and possibly show themselves in some form. The ultimate desire is for this theory to be so effective and stimulating that the end result is an apparition (but that of course is the "Holy Grail" of paranormal investigation anyway, right?). But that doesn't mean it's always a positive ending.
The technique can be
used with music, visual stimuli or perhaps even reading passages of a
book or poetry that the spirit might be familiar with. The use of
meaningful names of personalities can also do this.
Being armed with a foreknowledge of the area being investigated is helpful and carrying a small MP3 player with music from many eras is not a bad idea (as well as portable speakers to broadcast the sound) as a part of the paranormal investigator's repertoire.
portions of a costume, creating an environment familiar to the ghost
(say, a poker table with all the classic parts like chips, whiskey and
the like) might coax a ghost forward to participate.
It is difficult to say what might work and what would not. The only way to know is to try and see what comes forth in your investigations. Music, being a universal language, does seem the best way to go and given the inexpensive nature of MP3 players these days, makes it possible to play relevant music on-site and to perhaps stimulate activity that otherwise might not be possible to bring forth. Experiment and see what works and then record this in your case notes.
There is general disagreement as to the effectiveness of the method, but who knows? It is yet another potential tool in the arsenal of tricks available to the investigator. Given the low-cost (simple research and planning), it is worth trying as a regular part of any investigation.
The New House Effect
Do you remember the last time you moved to a new house ? Do you recall a moment when you woke up in the middle of the night in your new house, perhaps not quite sure where you were? Did you hear a distant knock or a loud creak nearby that caught you by surprise? Was there a shadow on the wall of your room that looked unfamiliar and even faintly sinister? This is the new house effect.
Until you get used to the peculiar sounds and sights (and even smells) of your new house, they can seem a little disturbing, particularly in the middle of the night when the relative quiet outside can appear to magnify them. If the creaks and knocks are particularly loud and frequent it might even sound as though there is 'someone else' in the house with you.
Many people report cases of haunting when they first move into a house, despite the previous occupants having had no problems. Similarly, it is often visitors to a building that first report strange things going on that the residents have never noticed. That's because the residents are used to all the creaks and groans that any building inevitably produces.
The most commonly reported odd occurrences in buildings are sounds. Many of the sounds originate in places you can't see; behind walls and under floorboards. This makes them difficult to explain. It is common for metal objects (such as pipes) to make knocking sounds as they contract while cooling down at the end of the day when there has been heating on. Floor boards can creak as people walk across them. Doors can even open by themselves if they are not secured properly. On windy days windows can rattle and tree branches might knock on walls or even doors. The wind in chimneys can often make spooky groaning noises.
It is less common to see things that puzzle newcomers to a building. That's because it's easier to investigate and explain what you can see. But there can be puzzling unfamiliar shadows and lights that can seem weird in the middle of the night. Lights from headlights in a road outside can send strange pools of light moving across walls and ceilings. Trees outside can cast spooky shadows with the help of street lights, sometimes animated by the wind.
When people go on a vigil they are looking for ghosts. Just telling someone a house is haunted will affect how they interpret anything they hear or see.
When people move to a new house they too may decide, for whatever reason, that the place has an 'atmosphere'. Once the idea is in place, lots of things will be interpreted in a paranormal context. Once established, it is a difficult idea to shift.
When faced with unfamiliar situations, some people react by feeling anxious ('fear of the unknown'). This can adversely affect how accurately they interpret their surroundings. This factor contributes to the New House Effect, increasing the likelihood of reports of unusual or paranormal phenomena, whether present or not.
It's Just The Ghost
When people first notice something odd going on in their homes, they are usually understandably reluctant to consider the possibility that it could be paranormal. However, once they have decided that it IS paranormal (for whatever reason), everything becomes paranormal! Not only are unexplained knocks down to the 'ghost' but so are apparently normal chance incidents. Anything that goes missing is now the 'ghost'. Any malfunction of a household appliance becomes suspicious. Unusual pet behaviour is attributed to supernatural causes.
Of course, not everyone reacts in this way but once the idea that a house is haunted takes hold, everything tends to be seen in a different light. Anything that doesn't have an immediately obvious cause can be attributed to the haunting.