Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Hyperesthesia



Hyperesthesia




Hyperesthesia, or why drinking coffee or energy drinks during a paranormal investigation could lead to a paranormal attributed sensation that is explainable through medical science.

 Most paranormal investigators like to ply their trade at night, there are number of very good reasons for this. The darkness adds a spooky factor, some locations are closed to the public at night, giving the investigator free range of the location without interference or interruption. Others like the quietness, and the fact that the cooler air temperature allows sounds to travel further, some work during the day, and the night is the only time they have to ghost hunt – whatever the reason, almost all will use a stimulant, like coffee or energy drinks to help them stay awake during their investigation.
Excessive consumption of caffeine can induce Hyperesthesia[i] in humans (this is not the only cause, but the one I am focusing on for this blog). The caffeine creates stimulation of the spinal cord, the cortex and the medulla in the central nervous system, thus bringing about a temporary state of hypersensitivity where an investigator may have an elevated height of senses.

 Why is this bad you ask, wouldn’t heightened sense be preferred on an investigation to better hear/feel/see something paranormal?

  No, as you’re leaving yourself open to experience sounds, touch or smells that are minute and normally indistinguishable, experienced at a much higher level (or in a more concentrated way) than normal, thus giving a “personal experience” that is not quantifiable.
A person may have a twitch in their body, on a daily basis this twitch happens irregularly, and is often not noticed by person, but introduce hyperesthesia, and a paranormal investigation, and suddenly that twitch, which is now felt at heightened level, along with the psychological priming of expected paranormal phenomena via being on a ghost hunt, and you have person sensing they are being touched by a ghost, when in actual fact, it is the same muscle twitch they’ve always had, but just didn’t notice without the heightened senses. 

Another example could be a person walking through an old haunted hotel, a place they are familiar with. As they walk through in the hypersensitive state, they begin notice begin to notice the smell of tobacco, a smell that is there normally, but unnoticed when not in the heightened state, that heightened state of sensitivity and the smell of the tobacco then invokes the idea that a spirit may be present, and therefore the person has a ghostly experience – but it isn’t real, as the smell is always present, but not usually noticed in the persons natural state.
Hyperesthesia works in other ways too, such is in psychic “readings”. In this case the psychic may be someone who can manipulate their own mind (or through other means) to gain a level of hyperesthesia.
 While in this state, they can perceive useful information, via their now heightened sense, such as subtle facial expression, body movement, or voice tones, that in a normal state one would not notice. They can then answer questions, or change the course of a “reading” via their interpretation of their hyperaesthetic state.


I know a number of questions are going to arise from this blog, so I am going to try and answer the ones that have popped into my head already – and if you have more questions, please pop them on the thread for this post on the facebook page.

1.      If two people smell the same “tobacco smoke” smell, does that rule out one person’s hyperesthesia?

No. simply because the power of suggestion is incredibly strong. For example, in 1899, Slosson presented a study on the spatial-temporal spreading of ambiguous perceptions among a group of observers. In a classroom demonstration, he poured unscented distilled water over a small white cotton ball and led his students to believe that a chemical odour, one never smelt before, was being emitted. Within 15 seconds, the students in the front row claimed they could smell the odour, then came the students at the rear, within a few minutes three quarters of the class could smell the odour. Are the students suffering from olfactory hallucinations or bowing to peer pressure, not wanting to be “left out by”, or “be different” to their peers? Whatever the reason, Slosson’s study concludes that hallucinations of smell are easily induced by suggestion.

2.      So, if we cannot rely on our senses, how do we quantify paranormal phenomena during investigations?

 Quite simply, you can’t. The truth is
no ghost has ever been confirmed, caught and examined, studied or measured by anyone. If it had, the scientific community would be all over it, and all us amateur ghost sleuths would be pushed out of every supposed haunted location so scientific research teams, with endless Government and private sector funding, could recreate the capture, then study the ghosts. Whether you like that explanation or not, it is the truth, there is absolutely no hard evidence for ghosts existing.
That should not stop you from going out and investigating and trying to find a ghost. Just make sure if you do so, that your evidence, and the way you collected it, stands up to scientific scrutiny…otherwise, ghost hunt for the thrill and fun, and for personal experience, not everyone gets to go into big spooky places after dark!


I am sure there will be many questions other than the two I’ve answered here. If you do have a question, please post it on the Haunts of Adelaide Facebook page, and I will try my best to answer it.

Allen Tiller
researched and written by Allen Tiller  © 2017

Bibliography and Footnotes.


Donnelly K, 2011, Hyperesthesia, Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology, p 1279, viewed 12 Mar 2017, http://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-0-387-79948-3_742

Gertrude Schmeidler (schmeidler, 1952, Schmeidler & McConnell, 1958) demonstrated that attitudes effect psi performance. If you believe, you are more likely to encounter a paranormal experience.
Glicksohn J & Alon A & Perlmutter A & Purisman R, 2001, Symbolic and Syncretic Cognition Among Schizophrenics and Visual Artists, Creativity Research Journal, Vol 13, Iss 2, viewed 13 Mar 2017, http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hcrj20/current
Molto K, 2008, More True Tales of the Paranormal: Ghosts, Poltergeists, Near-Death Experiences and Other Mysterious Events, Dundurn, Canada.
 Peyron, R., Laurent, B., & García-Larrea, L. ,2000, Functional imaging of brain responses to pain. A review and meta-analysis. Neurophysiologie Clinique, 30(5), 263–288. Review. PubMed PMID
 Robinson, M. D., & Shannon, S. 2002. Rehabilitation of peripheral nerve injuries. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 13(1), 109–135. Review. PubMed PMID: 11878078.
Saleen, S 2012, Hyperesthesia: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment, Medicalopedia, viewed 13 Mar 2017, https://medicalopedia.org/2462/hyperesthesia-causes-diagnosis-and-treatment/
Slosson, E. E., 1899, Shorter communications and discussions: A lecture experiment in hallucinations. Psychological Review, Vol 6(4), Jul 1899, 407-408. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0071184
 
Schmeidler GR, & McConnell RA 1958, ESP and personality patterns, New Haven, CT:Yale University Press,
Schmeidler, G R, 1952, Personal values and ESP scores, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 47, 757-761
Schmeidler, G R, 1966, Quantitative investigation of a “haunted house” Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 60, 137-149
Thalbourne MA & Dunbar KA & Delin PS 1995, an investigation into correlates of belief in the paranormal, Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 89, 215-231
Thalbourne MA 2000, Transliminality, a review, International Journal of Parapsychology, 11, 1-34
Thalbourne MA, 1996, An attempt to predict precognition scores using transliminality-relevant variables, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 61, 129-140
Thalbourne, MA, 1998, Transliminality: further correlates and a short measure, Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 92, 402-419


[i] Hyperesthesia is an increased sensitivity to stimuli. It could be elevated sensation of touch, hearing, smell or vision, sometimes referred to as “Hyper-sensitivity”


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:
Audacity
Sony Soundforge
Wavepad
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.