Tuesday, 27 June 2017



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., & GarcĂ­a-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”