Share your paranormal and psychic experiences here. Do you have any stories of how you came to realize that there were other dimensions or levels of reality? NO SKEPTICS ALLOWED!
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This experience happened while in Edinburgh's Underground Vaults and if it is trickery I have no idea how he did it. It involves the use of EMF meters (as always not used for the actual purpose they should be and that is to measure EMF) and requests for interaction.
The investigator (who also claimed to be psychic) claimed there was a "spirit boy" in front of him and asked the boy to interact with the meter held in his hand by making it light up and make the alarm noise go off. Sure enough, it did so, at no point did I see the investigator manipulate the meter I was filming it at the time (as part of the investigating team) so I know this. Then the investigator said "Can you go and find another machine like this one and make that make a noise.) A second later and sure enough the other emf meter which was left on in the next room, went off. In both instances when he asked the "spirit" to stop the noise from the machine, the noise stopped almost immediately . When asked to start again, it started again. Then he asked the "boy" to come back and set off the machine in the hand again and it did so, this time when asked to stop, it didn't stop for at least 1 minute and eventually fell silent. All the people in the vaults were accounted for and the other machine was in view albeit in another room.
Hmmm, how should I put this
There are gimmicked EMF meters on the market that retail for as little as $150.00 to as much as $800.00 that were designed for the Mystery Entertainment Industry that (unfortunately) a handful of hustlers have gotten their hands on for the sake of running cons vs. entertaining folks. I could show you a long list of similar phenomena and all of it is trickery or exploitation of natural phenomena.
Real Hauntings exist in my opinion, but most as easily explained away with the majority of explanations leaning towards electrical & magnetic influences on the body/mind. If you didn't know an electrical panel was mounted on the wall behind you, you would swear that the spot where you stood was "evil" in that you will feel a presence on that spot or feel that you are being watched. This is one of the most common reports when it comes to people and haunted places and yet, it's purely natural phenomena.
In this instance, especially given the "routine" this particular person was doing, I'd have to say that it was an elaborate magic trick. . . and I really hate saying it that way because this is the kind of stuff I do (did) for a living. If this guy was selling his Ghost Walk or whatever as an amusement it's an entirely different story; he's on the up and up but people didn't catch on to the fact that he's taking them on an interactive show. On the other hand, if they promote what they do as a genuine paranormal investigation, they are con-artists and will be stepping things up over time, taking more and more cash from their marks (the folks that participate and show the greatest sense of belief).
As a Side Note. . . if this happened in New England let me know I can have it looked into from here. I have ties to investigators in other regions but the majority of such folks I simply don't trust due to pre-existing bias.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold the phone a minute. Perhaps this might start an interesting (or frustrating) conversation, but are you saying Craig, that if someone was selling a Ghost Walk Tour, then it's perfectly okay to trick people into believing they saw or felt a ghost?! Sorry, I totally disagree!!! I've been on one in Edinburgh Scotland, Gettysburg, PA, and Williamsburg, VA. (Hey, wait a minute. Maybe ghosts only visit towns with "urg" in their name!) Anyway, on 2 out of the 3 walks I was instructed to use my camera to catch orbs. Since I'm skeptical of orbs, I wasn't impressed but I remember it reinforced the belief in ghosts out of some. Actually, the tour in Edinburgh was frightening enough in the bowels of the towns underground that they didn't need to resort to trickery to frighten the hell out of an unsuspecting tourist.
I'm sorry, but if someone uses tricked up equipment or fakery in any way into making one believe in something paranormal, they are con-artists. There is absolutely NO difference between a Ghost Tour leader using fake equipment and a psychic using fake ectoplasm. They are con-artists.
MENTALISTS which I happen to be, sell entertaining attractions that deal with the surreal. They are marketed as an entertainment/curio without any direct claim of being "legit" though they will exploit local legend and lore so as to allude to the possibility of being such -- it's 100% psychological and has been a part of show biz for well over 150 years now.
Yes, we will present what we do as real, this is what makes Mentalism so powerful -- it's not played at as being "a trick" but actually depends on the act of invoking belief and commitment from the audience, whether I'm doing my Blindfold act or presenting a Seance. It is a standard to the craft to neither make claims nor deny the paranormal possibility even though many a wannabe magic buff and self-described skeptic that's read on Houdini believes all entertainers need to use a disclaimer. . . that's their insecurity, not mine. Most that use the disclaimer are a joke in that they are some of the poorest showmen and frequently terrible slight-of-hand artists around. . . and that's before we get into the Jamie Swiss types that condemn parlor Readers for bilking the public but feel it perfectly fine to use Barnum statements as a means to seduce young ladies. . . I can assure you, he don't use a disclaimer for that, he wants the illusion of power so he can dominate them. Which is the more more "moral" and "ethical" when it comes to such things? Be careful, Swiss isn't the only magician that plays this hypocritical game. . .
The other thing when it comes to Ghost Walks as well as Seance shows, is that 90% of what people experience is pure psychology, we just prime the pump. It's amazing what people experience in a quiet, dark space when they are left alone for a few minutes.
Orbs. . . as we know, many such things are due to natural phenomena but not all. Most professional ghost hunters know about the classic explanation and deliberately warn their guests of it, telling them to not assume that every dust particle in their photos is an Orb. In fact, the legit ghost hunters out there go to extremes when it comes to discounting certain phenomena, but these guys see themselves as serious researchers, not entertainers. Very few of them ever do "charters" and tours.
BTW. . . I've installed ghosts into several bars and private homes; actual systems that make people feel they are in a haunted house as well as mechanical bits like glasses that slide on their own along a bar and the classic moving eyes behind the portrait. I've even put a Lady in White in a few places; you see her at a distance as she moves from point A to B; translucent but solid at the same time. But what makes her enchanting and impossible is that she's not seen every night, just on certain nights at certain times; it's the local lore around her that brings people to the establishment with the hope of catching one of those rare glimpses. At least one such display that I'm away of, was built into a facility that's known a 200 year history tied to just such a visitor or two, so why not exploit it if you are a business owner needing to bring folks in?
Skeptics just take things far too seriously, they need to learn how to relax and let their inner-child out so they can enjoy the magic in life.
Thanks for the replies folks. This wasn't on a ghost walk or any type of public event, but on an investigation with the team I was with. I'm very interested in the fact that these rigged machines are available as that wasn't on my mind at the time. Would this guy waste all the money on these machines to make himself look "legit" to the rest of the team? I don't think he would. But that is just my opinion based on my knowledge of the man.
Many locations now charge for paranormal teams to investigate some even over £100 per hour. One castle requested over £1000 for 6 hours. So it does pay to be "haunted." Especially when it pays for restoration. I'm intrigued by your setting up of "ghosts" for establishments Craig, but many locations although they really may be "haunted" certainly don't like to advertise the fact and it does take a little digging and some sweet talking to the owners to be allowed in.
Strangely as the recession bites, a lot more businesses and historic buildings are warming to the word "haunted."
This I can agree with. The wonder in a child's eye is one of life's greatest treasures, be it general curiosity or wonder at your parlor trick at a Saturday afternoon magic show. However, ussing trickery to scare the bejeezus out of unsuspecting people and making them believe in ghosts is something completely different.
We'll probably never come to an agreement on this point but the Mystery Entertainment Industry is a multi-million dollar a year entity that's especially popular in Europe and growing with popularity here in the states. . . a large niche element of it are these "paranormal investigation" groups who conduct Ghost Walks, Cemetery Walks, Haunted Investigations, etc. I know of at least 3 such groups in the New York City area that guarantee the main operator over $1,500.00 per group, which isn't bad for a part-time job. The people that attend know, based on the marketing techniques used, that what they are about to encounter was designed with fun in mind alongside education and most importantly, allowing them an EXPERIENCE, it's up to them to discern whether it is real or memorex. . . it's not my obligation to educate them or guide them to believe or not to believe whether I'm doing this type of program or my old club act. . . trust me, there are people in this world that will swear that Copperfield can actually fly (some credit his Jewish roots and the Kabalah but I doubt David would see it that way. . . I think the half mill he invested into R&D might have something to do with it though).
THE SIN of misrepresentation is when you do such things as a deliberate predator, as the primer towards solicitation a.k.a. larceny. It should be rather well established here, that I don't put up with such operators and will go out of my way to expose and if possible, have criminal charges laid out against them. Like a B.B. Gun, it's all well and good until someone gets shot in the eye. . .
Yea, I agree.
So what's the difference between larceny and a ghost walk tour operator who is using trickery but promotes his tour as authentic? He/she is a fraud--absolutely no difference. As you say, they are commiting the "sin" of misrepresentation.
Now, as I mentioned earlier in my own experiences, if a tour guide operator wants me to take a picture and then tell me to decide for myself if that orb is a ghost or a dust particle, then that may be more legitimate.
I don't believe that Kreskin ever said publicly that he was, or wasn't using trickery, and I'm kind of on the fence whether that was cool or not, but at least he wasn't doing the Uri, Van Prague, Sylvia thing by claiming that he/she most definitely was--when he/she wasn't.
In Europe, mediums and spiritualists and those holding events, even astrologists must list what they do as "for entertainment only" as a matter of law. They must work under the Consumer Protection laws. Those who do not are in breach of these laws and are open to civil proceedings for fraud if the information they give proves to be false. Is there a similar law in the US and if not how bad would such a law be for such people there if it were introduced?
The ONLY TIME I consider someone has crossed the line in the sand is when they use the deception as a way into a person's life and thus, create a bigger con via which they victimize the believer. As I said, there are people who swear the David Copperfield can really fly even after you send them to the Patent Office to see the diagrams of the actual device. They KNOW the man can fly and they KNOW it's because he's dabbled in the Kabalah. Doug Henning had the same reputation because of TM and how it allowed him to walk through solid brick walls and dematerialize like Houdini did, and escape various devices.
In order for my "illusions" to work as they were designed I must invoke belief otherwise I'm just doing a magic show. People won't pay $100+ each to see most magic shows they'll gladly pay that much and more to experience a "real" Mind Reader or Spiritualist, etc. People won't pay to see a fake psychic! This was said by Dunninger, Annemann, Webster and a plethora of others.
Back in the 60s & 70s when Kreskin had is Tv series he alluded to the idea that he was a paranormal investigator that took a scientific look and understanding of things associated with psychics, mystics and Spiritualists. His claim is that he was employing scientific based methods -- this was his "Lie" and remains such. His approach is quite popular and common to the era but has seen a couple of different shifts since the late 80s to present, especially so following the first Criss Angel & David Blaine Tv shows.
As I've mentioned, the true mentalist will give the audience enough breadcrumbs for inspiring thought -- outs, if you would, that will allow them to consider things based on the idea of trickery or that of legitimacy. The most common "disclaimer" is the fact that it's a SHOW. . . a Curio or Curiosity as they used to be referred to.
Sylvia Brown and VanPraagh, etc. are predators and in my book, horrid when it comes to how they come across in performance (I have Cold Reading students that could bury them after as little as six months study). While they do enjoy charging people premium fees for private Readings they really aren't predators in the sense of invading a person's privacy and sucking them for every nickle they know. Rather, they encourage folks to attend this and that seminar, buy their books and other "mainstream" activities. It's a passive mode of exploitation.
The people that take undue advantage of others are rarely seeking the headlines and actually try to keep a somewhat low profile out of fear of getting the attention of the authorities or someone like me, who will investigate them and help the authorities deal with them. This is what happened in Reno and those two sisters I've mentioned; they generated a far too high profile reputation of manipulating folks via the classic YOU HAVE A DARK CLOUD HANGING OVER YOU AND THE ONLY WAY TO REMOVE IT IS A RITUAL THAT WILL COST THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. . . I DON'T KNOW OF ANY OTHER WAY TO ESCAPE THIS CURSE. . . etc. I call it the Anna Riva Reading Method in that Anna Riva wrote a book long ago called "Black & White Magic" in which she basically shows certain conditions or plots and the remedy. . . she shows how to identify this and that curse and thus, bait people in.
This is NOT what I or other such performers do. Yes, we will lead you down a primrose path and we will give you AN EXPERIENCE, but that's it!
I do not use a disclaimer no do the majority of Psychic/Mystery Entertainers, they are insulting and psychologically hurt the public's ability to enjoy what we do as a mystery. As I've said, we don't do Magic Shows and we depend on this psychological angle. There is nothing immoral or unethical about it as long as we do not cross that line and use it as a means by which to victimize others, it's that simple.
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