Tuesday, 20 June 2017

What is the best Equipment for recording EVP?

What is the best Equipment for recording EVP? 

If you are interested in the paranormal and have seen the ghost hunting TV shows, you would know straight away what an EVP is, but if you haven’t had an interest, it stands for Electronic Voice Phenomenon.

 It is believed by most ghost hunters that EVP are the voices of the dead. Sceptics believe it is actually noises that we give meaning too (Apophenia[i]), they often point to the fact that the same people will not hear the same thing, unless one person states what they are hearing, then 90% of the time, both will hear the same thing after that time.
The sceptics do not consider the tireless work of Parapsychologist Konstantīns Raudive, who in the 1970’s spent many hours in his laboratory experimenting with EVP in closed, scientific conditions, logging various voices through his experiments.

The debate about EVP, like many things in the paranormal continues to this day, but I digress!
With all things in paranormal evidence gathering one needs to keep “evidence” in its purest form. In photography and videography this is referred to as a RAW Image File – which is basically a file that the camera has yet to process into a “standard saving format" such as TIFF or JPEG. Raw files are basically the exact image the camera sensor sees, before the computer inside process’s it and turns it into a JPEG or other files format

Audio formats s also have a variation of Raw files (lossless audio) known as WAV which stands for WAVE AUDIO FILE FORMAT - WAV is the Microsoft version of this format, Apple Macs use AIFF format (FLAC, and ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec, used by iTunes) are other types of Lossless audio)

Wav. is the recording in its rawest digital form and is usually uncompressed audio recordings. This format is easily compressed into other formats such as MP3, but as with all compression, will lose some audio quality with the filtering that compression causes.

One disadvantage of the WAV file is its large size, which is due to the rawness of the audio. Many recorders limit this to a 4-gigabyte chunk, which is equivalent to about 6.8 hours of CD quality audio.
Sony Sound Forge uses a 64bit recording option allowing for greater audio sample quality.
Mp3 was devised by the Moving Picture Experts Group or “MPEG” as most people know them. MP3 uses the “Lossy compression algorithm” to encode and compress data, this causes a significant loss of data to make file sizes smaller and easier to transfer. 
Advantages of MP3 are the ability to split and “album-wrap” audio files and the ability to upscale or downsize a file format and audio quality – however neither of these are useful to the paranormal investigator.

Essentially what we are looking for is to keep our EVP files as raw as possible for ourselves and other investigators, as well as audio specialists to be able to evaluate what we have captured in its purest digital form. MP3 format does not allow us to do this, thus the WAV files format is a much more useful tool – the only downside being when one tries to make a video of their EVP capture, some video editing programs use MP3 encoding as standard and therefore the audio quality will drop in the video.

 This can also apply to uploads to some social network sites and site similar to Youtube. 

Voice Recorders utilising WAV recording include (but not limited to😊
Zoom H1 Handy Recorder (the same model I used on Haunting: Australia)
Tascam DR-05 mk2 Linear PCM Field Recorder
Olympus LS-14 Linear PCM Digital Voice Recorder
Roland R-05 Studio WAVE/MP3 Recorder
Sony PCM-M10

Don’t be disheartened if you cannot afford a top of the range voice recorder, at the end of the day most modern phones will do the job just as well. They may not record in WAV. But that shouldn’t stop you at least trying to record an EVP session – heck, back in the early days of EVP, people were using real-real tape recorders, I even have a cassette recorder in my equipment bag and have recorded decent EVP session on it.

 Saying that though, if you are trying to hold your EVP session up to scientific scrutiny, then its best to use a high end, stereo recorder with WAV. Capabilities. It is also crucial you have at least one video camera locked off on a tripod filming you and your surrounding while you record – film using a visible time stamp that is synchronised with your watch. When you start your EVP session read the time out loud.

 Why is this crucial? The video will show any movements you make, it will also record background noise, or any noises you make subconsciously. In your EVP review, note how many minutes/ seconds from stating the time you hear anything you think might be an EVP, then go to your video and double check that it is not you moving about, or something else you haven’t accounted for!

There are many audio programs for editing your audio such as:
Sony Soundforge
Acoustica Digital Audio Editor
And a ton of others!

Good luck on your next EVP session, and say hi to the spirits for me!

[i] Apophenia is the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Manhattan Dry Cleaners Haunting - Adelaide Arcade

The Manhattan Dry Cleaners Haunting - Adelaide Arcade

The Adelaide Arcade was officially opened on the 12th of December 1885 by Governor Sir William Robinson to much fanfare and celebration.
 The new arcade, between Rundle Street and Grenfell Street was to host Turkish Baths, 50 stores, accommodation for store owners, floored with Kapunda Marble, specially sourced glass panels from England and a first for the City of Adelaide - electric lighting.

 The Arcade needed to have its own power generator, as electric lighting as we know it today did not exist. A gas fired generator was bolted to the floor of shop nine and was written about in the

Adelaide Observer, 19th Dec.1885, page 33:
“The engine Room is well worth the visit. Here there is the dynamo which works the electric light. In the centre are the soft-iron magnets and the thousands of coils of wire so beautifully placed in relation to each other that the slightest current engendered in the wire shall immediately accumulate over and over almost ad infinitum. The soft Iron magnets do their part by reason of the positive and negative poles in their mutual attractive force creating electricity. The current before passing on to the insulated wires branching off to the sixteen lamps has to pass over a little bridge of thin platinum.”

 It was the job of Henry Harcourt, the Adelaide Arcades Engineer, to light and extinguish the Arcade lights, and monitor and service the generator as needed. On June 21st 1887, Mr Harcourt had to leave early for an Exhibition elsewhere in the City, telling Francis Cluney, the Arcade Beadle (a person like a cross between a security guard and an usher) that he would return in 15 minutes.

 Francis was a well-liked gentleman, always dressed in his red military uniform that he had worn during service in the Crimean and Boar Wars. On this evening a group of young men had been making a nuisance of themselves, breaking picture frames at Mr Tattles Photography shop at the Grenfell Street end of the Arcade.
 Francis chased them down, and brought them back to the Arcade to pay for their damage. The young man hung around though, and Francis was heard to say to Mr Tattle; “If the Larrikins keep going on like that I will do as I did last night and put all the lights out”

Mr Harcourt left at 5 minutes past 8pm, and sometime in the next ten minutes, Francis Cluney, who had gone to check on the gas turbine, lost his life.
At 8:12pm – Mr W.C Sims was walking through the Arcade and noticed the lights suddenly go off, and as he got closer to shop 9, he noticed a young fellow by the name “Horne”, leaving the shop, exclaiming “There is a man killed!” – was Mr Horne, perhaps, the last person to see Mr Cluney alive?
A Police Officer was called, and with Mr Sims, they entered shop 9 to find what was a distorted and almost totally unrecognisable person caught in the electricity generator – unrecognisable, except for the distinct red uniform.

The following newspaper report comes from the Territory Times on August 6th 1887, describing the condition of Mr Cluneys body

“It took all the strength of six men to drag the fly-wheel back so as to extricate the body of the unfortunate victim. The engine has two fly-wheels parallel to each other and about 4 feet apart. The body was found with the head and shoulders jammed in between the right fly-wheel and the body of the engine. The upper part of the man's head was smashed to atoms, the fragments of the skull being' scattered upon the floor and the engine. The head disfigured beyond recognition, and one foot was torn off. No one saw the accident, and the unfortunate man seems to have been killed almost instantly by the revolving fly-wheel, one of the spokes of which smashed the skull. As far as can be judged Cluney must have fallen accidentally against the inner edge of the fly-wheel, which is five or six feet in diameter, and was then jammed against the engine, his body checking the machinery and causing the extinction of the light”

 Since the death of Francis Cluney, there have been sightings of his spirit in the Arcade, but particularly in shop 9, which is now held by the Manhattan Dry Cleaners.
 Most sightings of Francis are fast moving blurs and shadows, and it is said he has a distinct dislike to rude, arrogant and loud people, or for people talking about electric lighting.

 The Manhattan Dry Cleaners, was where the death of child, Sydney Byron Kennedy occurred (not in the Adelaide Arcade museum as so many reports and tours state).

 Madame and Professor Kennedy, “Clairvoyants, Phrenologists and Palmists”, had their business in shop 11 (now one half of the Manhattan Drycleaners). Their real names were Bridget Lauretta Kennedy Byron and Professor Michael Kennedy Byron, the two had a young son named Sydney.
 Whilst their relationship looked good from the outside, the couple were not getting along. Michael left Bridget, and took their one year old son to live in Tasmania, while there, he met another woman, and began a relationship with her.

 Bridget, grief stricken over the lost relationship, and not sure where her husband and son had gone, hired a private detective to track them down. To deal with the emotional turmoil while awaiting news of he son, Bridget turned to alcohol and pills to quell her grief.
 The detective returned just before Christmas in 1901, and with him was Sydney. Bridget was overjoyed, and again, took to alcohol to celebrate.
 On the 12th of January 1902, newspapers reported the tragic finding of a 3 year old boy, found dead under peculiar circumstances. Mrs Kennedy was arrested and charged with murder – the story broke nationally.

 During the trial evidence was submitted that Mrs Kennedy had left Sydney asleep in the upstairs dining room of shop 11. Mrs Kennedy, who was lying next to the boy, and not in her bedroom, was awoken by her housemaid and the child’s nanny at 7am, both of whom complained that there was an unusual smell of gas in the residence, and began to open windows.

 The Nanny tried to rouse the 3 year old boy, but unfortunately he was dead.
 The trial proceed for many days, with national press coverage, but eventually, because of her doctors evidence of substance abuse, Mrs Kennedy was not charged, however, in her head she was guilty, and she fell into a pit of despair and gloom, turning even harder into the bottle.
 Mrs Kennedy was found dead only a few months later in August, her body was recovered in the west parklands.

 It is thought Bridget Kennedy still haunts the arcade and on occasion she has been seen. Sydney Kennedy on the other hand, has been seen many time in the Arcade, and during the filming of Haunting: Australia, myself and psychic Ian Lawman had our own experience with a young child in Arcade lane, between the Regent and Adelaide Arcade, running past us and into a now bricked up doorway.

 In 2013, I was part of the first ever professional paranormal investigation by anyone in the Adelaide Arcade as part of Haunting: Australia. Whilst in the Manhattan Dry Cleaners, Robb Demarest and myself experienced phenomena that intrigued us greatly. We both felt touching sensations on our hands, as if being shook, hot and cold touching, and a very distinct disembodied voice answered Robb’s question directly – none of this was sensationalised nor faked – what you saw on the show, is as it happened.

In 2015 my team Eidolon Paranormal was invited by the Berry Family to investigate the Dry Cleaners after hours, and in turn , we invited Ghost Crime Paranormal Investigators to join us on the evening, in what became the 2nd ever paranormal investigation to ever happen at the shop.

While it didn’t seem as active as the night we filmed Haunting: Australia, we did have interaction via REM Pod with what we believe to be a spirit, however, on this occasion we were not able to record any EVP’s or other useful data to corroborate the REM Pod as definitive proof of the haunting.
 The Berry family have experienced many strange and unusual happenings in the shop, including disembodied voices, poltergeist like activity, phantom footsteps, touching and cold spots.

More recently, as part of an interview for a local newspaper, we visited the shop and talked to members of the Berry family, who stated that Mr Cluney, is indeed still haunting the premises,  and making himself known.

I am wondering, if one day, Adelaide might embrace its most famous ghost and celebrate him with a festival like the "Festival of Fishers Ghost" in Campbelltown NSW, a festival so popular and inclusive it spans 10 days and includes a parade and fireworks!
 How can we make something like this happen in Adelaide, one of the most haunted cities in Australia!?!
Allen Tiller in the Adelaide Arcade - Picture: Tricia Watkinson.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The Parkside Body in the Freezer Case: The Appeal (part 5)

The Parkside Body in the Freezer Case: 
The Appeal (part 5)

The House

The house in which Mr Stevenson was murdered was located in Parkside, across from the South Adelaide Parklands. A very distinctive house with a slanting roof, it was bulldozed in 2008, and is now an empty space alongside the Transcendental Meditation headquarters. I doubt anyone waiting for a bus right at the front of the property would have any idea that almost 40 years ago, a horrendous murder took place there.
189 Greenhill Road , Parkside - circa 1970's
189 Greenhill Road , Parkside - 2007

189 Greenhill Road , Parkside - 2017

The Appeal
David Szach’s is a free man after serving his time for a murder, he (possibly) did not commit. He may be free, but he will forever have that conviction recorded against him in the annals of law. He has claimed right from the start that he did not murder his lover Derrance Stevenson, and now evidence would suggest that he is telling the truth, However, Government officials will not Mr Szach’s appeal the conviction, even though there are laws in place that give him the right to do so.
Mr Szach’s is now fighting not only for his right to clear his name, but for his life, with a diagnosis for motor neurone disease that will eventually rob him of his freedom yet again.

In 2016 Maurice Blackburn Lawyers launched a challenge to David Szach’s murder conviction under South Australian legislation that permits convicted criminals to launch an appeal if there compelling new evidence to clear their name.
In Szach’s case that compelling new evidence is the manner in which Dr Manock conducted his forensic pathology testing, and his non-scientific reasoning when substituting data or methods to gain an end result. (Dr Manock’s testing methods are being brought into question in a number of different cases in South Australia).
There is also the compelling evidence of young man who turned up at the South Australian Legal Aide Commission the morning after the murder, that had been with Mr Stevenson the night he was murdered. This young man was never sought for the court case, nor was the staff member he spoke to sought as a witness.

I will be watching the outcome of Mr Szach’s appeal, and no doubt will write about the result sometime in the future.

As an interesting side note, and a look into Adelaide’s mythology, and urban legends, could the murder of Derrance Stevenson be, in part, where the origins of the Dr Schneider/ Schneider’s Alley haunting began?
 In my original research into Schneider’s Alley, way back in 2008, there was talk of the time of a nearby doctor chopping someone up and putting them into the freezer…considering the notorious park is only 5.8km’s away from the murder scene in Parkside, I believe this, in some weird way, helped propagate the Alley’s notorious (but fake) reputation and origins – a case of misinformation, and urban legend story telling!

rear view of Derrance Stevenson's house 2007

side view of Derrance Stevenson's house 2007

front view of Derrance Stevenson's house 2007

researched and written by : Allen Tiller - 2017


TV & Radio:
Archer, G, 2007, Szach Polygraph, Today Tonight, Seven Network, Adelaide, South Australia, aired 12 Mar 2007, viewed 10 Mar 2017, https://www.todaytonightadelaide.com.au/stories/szach-polygraph
Carrick D, 2016, The body in the freezer, ABC Radio, viewed 10 Mar 2017, http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/2016-09-18/7848700#transcript
Mann A, 2015, 'Shonk' forensic expert could trigger legal crisis in South Australia, 7:30 ABC Network, viewed 10 Mar 2017, http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2015/s4368496.htm
Mann, Tom 2015, Body in the freezer : the case of David Szach, [Gawler East, South Australia] Tom Mann
Orr, Stephen 2011, The cruel city : is Adelaide the murder capital of Australia?, Sydney Allen & Unwin

1979 'Lawyer's body hidden in freezer, court told', The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), 7 August, p. 10. , viewed 10 Mar 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110573111
1979 'Lawyer's death: man for trial', The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), 15 August, p. 17. , viewed 10 Mar 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110575069

1979 'Lawyer's death: man for trial', The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), 15 August, p. 17. , viewed 10 Mar 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110575069
1991 'Murphy visit to death house alleged', The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), 14 April, p. 3. , viewed 10 Mar 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article122356759
1993 'Convict's life sentence to end in July', The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), 27 March, p. 18. , viewed 10 Mar 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article127204589
Carrick D & Story-Carter J, 2016, The body in the freezer, ABC News, viewed 10 Mar 2017, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-16/david-szach-and-the-body-in-the-freezer/7851166
Hunt N, 2014, Lost diary gives South Australia police new lead into Alan Barnes murder by The Family, The Advertiser (online), viewed 10 Mar 2017, http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/lost-diary-gives-south-australia-police-new-lead-into-alan-barnes-murder-by-the-family/news-story/eaf66c4823f20f55981177c02d2bb657
Loussikian K, 2016, Lionel Murphy’s misbehaviour: inquiry documents released, The Australian, viewed 10 Mar 2017, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/lionel-murphys-misbehaviour-inquiry-documents-released/news-story/541db65962e1432b27b7fad110b7cbe9
Manock CH, 1979, Autopsy Report, The State Coroner, Forensic Science Centre, viewed 10 Mar 2017, http://netk.net.au/Szach/AutopsyReport.asp
Mata M, 2016, Maurice Blackburn launches David Szach’s body-in-a-freezer appeal, Australasian Lawyer, viewed 10 Mar 2017, http://www.australasianlawyer.com.au/news/maurice-blackburn-launches-david-szachs-bodyinafreezer-appeal-223715.aspx
Sydney Morning Herald, 2013, I didn't do it, I wasn't there, Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 10 Mar 2017, http://www.smh.com.au/national/i-didnt-do-it-i-wasnt-there-20131215-2zfwf.html
Urban, AL, 2014, David Szach: denying a dying man, Civil Liberties Australia, viewed 10 Mar 2017, http://www.cla.asn.au/News/david-szach-denying-a-dying-man/
Vaughan, J, 2008, Body-in-freezer murder house demolished, The Advertiser, viewed 10 Mar 2017, http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/body-in-freezer-murder-house-demolished/news-story/10b1d5a4673ace5791be3a969cbd2d1b
James C, 2014, How the death of Anna-Jane Cheney stopped South Australia in its tracks, The Advertiser, viewed 10 Mar 2017, http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/how-the-death-of-annajane-cheney-stopped-south-australia-in-its-tracks/news-story/0ecd38982fa994ae88e20dda1eb94eaa