Sunday, 13 November 2016

5 Ways To Challenge Your Paranormal Team's Psychic/Medium - and they are going to love it!

To each their own is my philosophy. Some teams in the para field are adamant that psychics have no place in the field and some have their own, in-house psychic. Some teams are comprised of psychics entirely. Some have sensitives, some have skeptics. Some have a mixture of all of the above. This article is not about telling you which one is the best combination. As far as I am concerned all that matters is that the team are happy and work well with eachother.

If you work with psychics or may be considering working with them in the future, you will find this article useful. Well, I hope anyway.

Here are five ways to engage them in your paranormal investigations, whether private cases, public investigations or commercial locations.

1            Prepare a kit for them to use prior to the investigation. Include items that relate to the location you're investigating. Include some "easter eggs", items that have nothing to do with the location. It can contain things like old photos, items that were used at that location or relate to activities being carried out at the location, even replicas of items, sound bytes or even paragraphs of stories. Get as creative as you like. This is also a good way to gauge how suggestible your psychic is as well as whether they use cold reading techniques to gather information. Disclose nothing of the location you're investigating but leave your psychic plenty of time to work on items from the kit. They may use all of the items or just some of them. Extra brownie points for those who can point out the easter eggs.

2              Obtain a floor plan to the location you're investigating. If a floor plan is not available, just draw one up yourself. Don't worry about it not being an architectural drawing as long as it represents the rough proportions of the property. Give it to your psychic in advance for them to get a "feel" for it. Ask them to give your information on things like, what type of activity they feel is occurring and where. What each room feels like or looks like. Who does what in each room. As in what the day to day use of a space is. Are there any significant items in any of the spaces that might relate to activity. Again, get creative but also allow them to come up with their own information. If you want to push them just a little bit further, ask them to draw the floor plan themselves based on the psychic information they are getting. Do not disclose any information about the location. Extra brownie points for those who can differentiate between the activity of the living and any supposed spirits that may haunt the place.

3              Many psychics read from photos. If you've researched your location, like a diligent paranormal investigator should, you would more than likely have come across some images from that property's past. Pick one that is not an obvious and popular image and get your psychic to read the image. Ask them to provide information on people that have associations with that property or historic events that might have happened there. For a private case, ask permission from the client to use a photo of people living in the house, including some that have passed. Your psychic should attempt to point out relationships between people in the photos as well as gain insight on whether any particular person has any paranormal activity happening around them and what that activity is. Of course for this, as any private case, you'll have to pay particular attention to the client's privacy. As in all of the previous suggestions, give no information to your psychic. Extra brownie points go to anyone that can give names or initials of persons of interest relating to the photos.

4              Re-enactments can be useful during investigations as era cues have been show to produce some great results by teams. Your psychic can help you with that. Tapping into time lines and events that happened at a location, be it indoors or outdoors, private case or commercial building can assist with determining how or where to focus effort during investigation. Get your psychic to help act out events they pick up, either by taking on the role of one of the perceived spirits during the re-enactment or the role of the director where they instruct members of the team what to do or say, how to act etc. Much like a film director. I suggest recording this part on video as well as a separate audio track (or even several) for the chance to gather any possible EVPs these era-cues may generate. Of course, keeping all details from your psychic in this instance is also imperative. Extra brownie points for those psychics who can come up with some scenes to act out prior to the investigation where the events can be verified by the investigator team.

5              Many investigations involve haunted items. Clients report items disappearing or moving or otherwise being involved in paranormal activity. You may want to get your psychic to concentrate on those particular items. If you have the opportunity to get your hands on an item like this prior to the investigation, let your psychic sit with it for a while to see if they will pick up on anything that might relate to the origin of the activity around that item. If that is not possible, a photo of the item might suffice. Or even during the investigation, let your psychic spend some time with the item. In this case don't tell them beforehand what the item that was reported have phenomena around it is. Challenge them further by, again, using the easter egg technique. Expect information from your psychic that is not outright obvious about an item. Eg, a shaving brush being used by a male. Restricting information for this challenge is as important as for the ones mentioned before. Extra brownie points to the psychic if they can pick out any easter eggs or if they can provide information of the origins of allegedly haunted items.

Of course keep in mind that experimentation around psychic phenomena has many critics not to even mention the question that is in the most part and for a lot of people is yet to remain solidly unanswered. Is psychic phenomenon real?

I have had many experiences that I can't explain that led me to question and theorise for both for and against the validity of claims of psychic "powers" and mediumship. I never stop questioning and challenging myself in that regard and I look for answers on both ends of the spectrum. Pushing my own limits has become an obsession of sorts and I take great pleasure in guiding others to do the same. 

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Top Tips For Psychics Who Want To Get Into The Paranormal Field

It usually creates grumbles in psychic circles when I say that you need some specialised skills to be efficient as a psychic/medium in the paranormal. I wouldn’t say it if it weren't for the years of experience I have working in the field. And by that I mean actual field. I am not someone who does one on one readings or stage mediumship, for good reasons that belong into a whole other blog article. From very early on in my run as a medium, I knew that those things weren't for me. I enjoyed the challenge of investigations too much, the questioning of the investigators, participating in experiments and even designing them. The more something or someone challenges me, the more I like it. I revel in seeing the paranormal field develop and grow year on year, something that really cannot be said for the spiritual field in general.

There are many distinct attributes that set aside a paranormal medium from stage mediums and those attributes will decide whether a medium will be efficient and effective in a paranormal investigation setting or not. I get asked a lot what those attributes are, how people can gain skills as mediums to be useful in the paranormal and what they need to do start working as a useful part of a team.
Here I am sharing some of my top tips regarding how you, as a psychic or medium can gain entry into the paranormal field and become an integral part of a team or even work as an independent medium investigator.

1              Just because you make claims that you're a psychic/medium it doesn't mean that anyone will employ your services as one.

You can write all the emails you want to teams out there. Chances are that if they even work with a medium they already have one. Someone who is tried and tested and with an established rapport with the other team members. Don't be disappointed if you get rejected. Many teams look for someone with some demonstrated experience in the paranormal field. The less training they have to give you on how an investigation works, the more time they can spend on investigating.

2              Make a name for yourself in the field.       
The paranormal community, anywhere in the world pretty much, is a pretty tight knit community with teams knowing eachother, independent investigators consulting with teams and eachother so when a name pop ups that they don't know, there is a degree of avoidance. Trust is imperative whether you're a solo investigator or a team so the best way to get started is to get involved in the community. If you just insert yourself from nowhere in the community and demand attention, I can tell you, all you will get are cold shoulders. People work extremely hard to establish themselves in this fringe field and they will expect, rightfully so, that newcomers will pay their dues so to speak. Go to events where those people hang out, there are plenty of them and the offerings are growing every year, talk to them, find out what they do, ask them lots of questions and make it known that you're looking at entering the field yourself. Investigators are social people, well most of them anyway, and they will be happy to introduce you to even more people in the field.

3              Learn about psychic research and paranormal research in general.

The paranormal scene has changed a lot in the last 5 years or so and teams are increasingly critical of mediumship and emphasis is now on using electronic devices to gather evidence. A medium's word is no longer taken at face value. And that is how it should be. The more familiar you are with investigative procedures, experimentation and what goes on during an investigation in general, the more useful you are going to be in the field. Forget about TV shows as a benchmark for good investigative practices and look at the work of reputable researchers. The field is diverse and there are plenty of great brains out there publishing about paranormal research. Seek them out and be an informed psychic/medium.

4              Have an impeccable record of integrity and professionalism.

Many a team has been brought down by an unscrupulous medium and their credibility lost due to shady conduct. It takes a long time to recover trust lost, not only with the clients but for the team as well. Same applies if you're a solo medium investigator. How you conduct yourself publicly, and that includes any sort of social media, will impact on your standing in the paranormal field as well as your ability to gain entry to a team.

5              Be prepared to be challenged in your skills and abilities.

This is a growing field and those who can't grow with it will be left behind. Growth happens when you are challenged, pushed to the very boundaries of your abilities and your beliefs. You have to have the strength to get up and keep going, the humility to say that you are wrong or don't know the answer to a question and the ability to recognise that you are not the centre of the universe at the investigation. A willingness to go anywhere you need to go and deal with whatever is at hand at a moment's notice is also a desirable skill that will stand you in good stead with investigators. I have climbed sand dunes and river banks in searing heat as well as spent nights in derelict buildings in the middle of the woods with no running water many a time to support an investigation. If you're not the type of person to do something like that, reconsider whether you really want to get into the field.

If after all the above you feel like you want to take the leap, I suggest you jump in with both feet or not at all. This field requires a high level of personal commitment and the diversity means that you never know what you'll get when you go out investigating so you'll have to think on your feet. If you like being challenged and to push yourself then don't hesitate. The rewards are well worth it!

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Top Tips For Handling Kids' Paranormal Experiences

Children are a lot more open to the world of the unseen and if my own two (not so) little cherubs are anything to go by, there are plenty they experience. Because they have no framework at a young age to put the experiences in, they often get missed in the babble of talking about imaginary friends and storytelling games. Is there anything you can do to have those conversations with your child where they tell you about their unusual experiences? Of course there is.

1              Take your child seriously when they talk to you about their imaginary friends. Some of them may not be so imaginary. When our daughter spoke of seeing her grandmother in her bedroom a few days after she died, she was too young to understand the concept of death. She was perplexed by the fact that as far as she was concerned, her grandmother was living in a different country. Until one night she visited her granddaughter wearing her trademark polka dot blouse she loved so much. Michelle was adamant in the morning that she spoke with grandma in the night and the description she gave was a perfect likeness to what she looked like before she died.  The visit was a comfort not only to her but the rest of the family and we wouldn’t have known about it had we not taken the time and care to listen to her story.

2              Some spirits in your house or around your children may not come from your family tree. As it was the case with the house we live in. It's an old farmhouse and there are plenty of spirit shenanigans going on on a daily basis. As it turned out, the gentleman who built it was still around in his corporeal form after we have taken ownership of it and he took his cranky self to the kids room at night on occasion. Having not the heart to dispatch the old man from the house he built, we still wanted to take some steps to make the kids more comfortable sleeping in their own beds at night. We have put a sign on the door of their room that said loud and clear, "NO SPIRITS ARE ALLOWED!". That took care of that problem. They felt they have exerted their authority over their own room and who is allowed in and peace at night has returned once again. The old man was never felt or seen in that room again.

3              Sometimes it's hard for children to put into words what they see, especially if they have no concept of it, such as someone walking through a wall or hovering on the ceiling. In that case asking them to draw what they experienced will make it easier for them to recall the experience and getting them to talk about it. It also helps in getting the scale of what they experienced and some clues on how they feel about it.

4              Sometimes siblings will have shared experiences. Depending on their age and the age gap in between them, they might express their experiences differently. It's important to be supportive and listen to what they have to say and give them a platform that promotes trust and a feeling of not being alone with their experiences. Kids are naturally mediumistic and some will grow up keeping their ability and growing it, however some will push it into the background only for it to come out later in life in a higher intensity but with much less control.

5              Introducing concepts such as angels and spirit guides is all and well. However I would very much caution against labelling any sort of spirit or other paranormal experiences as evil. Apart from causing unnecessary stress for children, as they have no understanding of what it is other than it's bad, it can cause severe anxiety that will last for years and other disorders.

6              If you're concerned and you feel that you need to discuss your child's experiences,  I suggest that you do that away from your child. Children are very perceptive and will pick up on your beliefs about their experiences. They will need you to be the one they look to for comfort and as a confidant that won't laugh at them. You might not be of the opinion that what they experiences was real but to them it was.

In any case, the most important to remember is that if you are concerned about the mental or physical wellbeing of your child, you need to see an appropriate health professional without delay. 

Sunday, 24 January 2016

When The Bell Rings for Spirit and Other Ghostly Encounters

Some call it a paranormal fix, others call it a ghost tour,  or just what you do on a Saturday night. I spent my Saturday in Picton, considered to be the most haunted town in Australia. The town has a longer history of running tours than I care to remember. The late Liz Vincent had started running hers in the late 90s, bringing tourism and the spot light to this sleepy little town in the Southern Highlands of NSW Australia.

I like a bit of education with my tour and with dinner at the IV George Inn also included, I found myself making a booking for the workshop and investigation event put on by SIGHT - Sydney Investigation Ghost Tours. Who can resists an original sandstone pub, one of Australia's oldest and still operating inns, built in 1839?

The workshop was an overview of the most popular topics in the paranormal, peppered with a gamut of compelling personal accounts from the team. With a combined experience of several decades, it's fair to say they have encountered things many won't during their stint in the paranormal.

It wasn't surprising at all when an impatient spirit made sure he was noticed in the middle of a talk as he made his presence known to my companion, Sharon. Boy, was he persistent? Being experienced enough with those from The Other Side who just won't take no for an answer, Sharon was a good sport and took some time out to hear out this guy. An unsavoury personality, the man was not your Casper the friendly ghost type but we dealt with him with no fuss, as we do, and with no disruption to the rest of the guests at the event. It wasn't long before he moved on to SIGHT medium Dannie for a bit of a twirl. We noted all information down as a habit, just in case it will come handy later on in the night.

After a plentiful dinner and some great conversation we have made out way over to the Wollondilly Shire Hall where the rest of the night was to unfold. We heard about the history of the place as well as personal accounts of people who have had spirit encounters at the Hall followed by respect and welcome of the traditional custodians of the land by the tour operators.

Freetime ensued, my favourite, where we could freely roam the Hall, well almost, as the one place I really wanted to go to, behind the stage curtain, was off limits. Nevermind that, Sharon and I proceeded to bring out our Konxari cards, a much loved tool in our circle, to initiate communication with The Other Side. We threw in a KII meter for good measure to see if we can catch some EMF fluctuation while having our Konxari session. We found a place that was relatively quiet for EMF and made sure our phones were not interfering with it either and laid the cards out. For the sake of privacy I will not disclose the information we were working with in greater detail but here is the first sheet we did.

The KII did not indicate any fluctuation at all until we hit on a particular piece of information that indicated that there was a new player in the game, namely another person in spirit we needed to connect with. We moved our gear over to the part of the stage that was accessible and laid out a new sheet of the Konxari, again using the KII to indicate any fluctuation in EMF. Below is the photo of the sheet for the second session.

The device didn't indicate anything and we were about to call the session quits when I made my own spirit connection. My left side was being affected and I went into a semi-trance state to connect better with the energy that was communicating with me now. Sharon grabbed the notebook habitually and started writing information I was bringing through. She even thought of moving the KII to my left shoulder and interestingly enough it gave a positive reading. Sharon also checked around me for EMF, including the right shoulder which gave a zero reading in EMF. While that is not conclusive of anything, the phenomenon is no doubt interesting as it correlated with me connecting with spirit on my left hand side.

The communication only lasted for a few minutes but both Sharon and I knew that there was more work to be done so, as usual we invited the female spirit back to our circle to work with us. This is what we do.

As a side note to this, while I'm writing this blog something incredible just happened. The bell we use for our circle to ring in the spirits before each session has just rang three times in the temple. Just like we/I do it before inviting spirits to work with us. As the temple is a closed space (a separate structure from our house) and one we don't use for anything else other than circle work, there is no conventional explanation for it. Of course we went out to investigate immediately and found nothing but the pendulum in the bell vibrating irregularly. I think the message was clear. 

Friday, 22 January 2016

My Top Tips for Séances

Séances are back in fashion or maybe they have never been out. Social media now makes it so easy to connect with people and communities with similar interests. Whether you are part of an online community or an offline one in the field of paranormal or spiritualism, you may have noticed that séances are starting to come out of the shadows of Penny Dreadful and are being enjoyed once again more widely. This once favourite Victorian past-time activity is enjoying a revival.

If you're not particularly keen on joining a paid event with bunch of people you have never met before  but rather take part in a séance with your friends on a Saturday night, here are some guidelines that will assist you in making the night enjoyable.

Who should I invite?

In my experience the ideal number of people to get around a table for a séance is between four and seven. There really isn't a rule as to minimum or maximum numbers. If you have any friends who have some psychic development under their belt then ask them to come along. It's a great opportunity for them to practice their new skills. If not, then there are plenty of mediums around who will come to your house for a reasonable fee to conduct a séance. Google is your friend in this case but do make sure that you pick someone reputable and experienced in leading séances.

What sort of setting will I need for a séance?

Séances are best conducted in comfortable spaces where all participants can sit around a table (our circle has a round table) and move around as needed. A space that is well ventilated that can be made dark and away from noise is ideal. Pick a time when there will be no other disturbances in the house and there is nowhere to rush off to afterwards. If you're doing this séance in your home, the best time is when all people present in the house during a séance actually participate in it. If that's not possible, ask them to keep noise and movement to a minimum.  Otherwise you and your séance buddies might mistaken their pottering about the house for genuine spirit phenomena.

What other things do I need?

There is no special equipment needed for séances unless you want to get into physical mediumship. If you're just starting out, it's unlikely that you will encounter phenomena that will need special equipment. It's good to have some paper and writing instruments on the table during the séance. We have found in our circle that often information will come through the medium that is worth writing down. The spirit coming through the medium on occasion requested pen and paper to write something down or even draw. Some candles will set the mood with incense though they are not necessary. A low light desk lamp is sufficient. If you're going for candles, use the ones in jars as the chance of spilling is the lowest. If you're using a lamp, try a red bulb, it is easier on the eyes when the room is dark. Some would recommend to put a bowl of water in the middle as a focal point, though I believe that is more tradition than actual necessity. Things like creaky chairs and tables should be avoided for obvious reasons and it's good practice to check for droughts beforehand. When your candle flame moves or you feel a cold breeze across your face, you want to make sure that you are able to discount all natural and obvious explanations.

What if something scary happens?

For séances, the atmosphere builds up over time through repeated sessions in the same place and , ideally, with the same people. It's unlikely that the energies will be very strong if you're only just starting out. If you're more comfortable with someone more seasoned leading the séance then engage a medium.They should have ample experience in dealing with the unexpected. However in the absence of such person, it's good practice to have a plan for any untoward events. Those plans may include things like providing grounding for anyone in need, have access to water to offer to anyone affected, assertively ending the session or saying a prayer if that is deemed to be required. There is one thing you shouldn't do however and that is to upset and disrupt the circle and abruptly leave the room in panic. If you think that you or any of the proposed participants may behave that way, it's best not to attend such an event.

The purpose of the event is to encounter spirit phenomena and that may come in many forms, such as sensation of being touched, voice heard, movements experienced or even channelling. So, don't run away when things start happening. The phenomena are unpredictable and you never know when you shall encounter  them and in what power. You also have to be prepared for not experiencing anything at all.

It's also good practice to document séances either by someone who can act as a scribe, or recording them on voice recorders or even a video camera if that's possible. This is good for several reasons. You may catch a possible EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) on your audio track or if you opted for video, you might record something unusual on the footage that correlates with the audio track or someone's experience during the session. Notes are handy when you have a spirit return to the circle to communicate as you will find that doing repeated and regular session, you will have your regulars and familiars making appearances from The Other Side.

The process of a séance session is a topic for another article as there are many schools of thought and different traditions dictate different rituals.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Top Tips For Making The Most Of Your Next Ghost Tour

There isn't a town nowadays that doesn't offer a ghost tour or two or at least a historic walk. Even I have been known to pop in a tour with my friends once in a while. If you're a serial ghost tourist, you probably wonder what new those tours can offer once you have been to so many of them.

Apart from the spooky stories and the obvious history component there are things you can do to spice things up a little, not only for yourself but for your companions too, especially if you're lucky enough to be attending with your mates instead of a partner who just tagged along to keep the peace and would rather spend the night watching cat videos on their phone than participate.

Here are some tips to make the most of your time on the tour.

1              Listen to the history. I mean, really listen to it. Those stories not only contain anecdotes of ghost sightings and gruesome events but also little morsels of important history of the country you live in. The historic buildings that you normally would just walk by without a second glance are places where pivotal events may have taken place. Many tours pay a particular attention to the historical component of their event and you will hear about local legends, intrigue and mystery.

2              Take a moment to imagine yourself being a part of history. What it must have been like to live in the particular era the building or site is from? Having a great imagination is a very important stepping stone to your psychic senses as it disengages us from our logical mind and allows us to perceive information that is not immediately visible and makes sense.

3              Participate in the activities, don't be a bystander. Tours offer activities such as staying in a cell on your own at gaols for lone vigils, partake in dress up re-enactments, have access to basic equipment such as cameras, voice recorders, EMF meters and the like. Don't be shy!

4              If you're not into dress ups or equipment, you can cut your teeth on some psychic development. Even if you don't encounter any active spirits on the night, residual energy and psychic imprints are easy enough to pick up by just about anyone. Whether old or fairly new, they are a good opportunity to get some hands on experience. Most tours would be familiar with psychic phenomena and will be able to guide you in your experience. Pay special attention to your emotions and your thoughts as they will be your psychic indicators. Voice what you feel whether you think it's relevant to the location or not as you will find that often the history of a site is more complex than it appears.

5              Last but not least, don't pay attention to those who treat those tours as a distraction. Rowdy and inconsiderate guests can ruin it for the rest of the tour group. Most operators will deal with them swiftly and decisively. If you feel uncomfortable by any other guest/s just let the tour operator know. Chances are that other feel the same way. People who don't take ghost tours as seriously as you do still buy tickets and think that their attitude and behaviour is somehow warranted and OK. You just go and do your psychic "thang", regardless.

Sydney as well as other capital cities in Australia have an abundance of great tours available to cater for all ghosty tastes so next time you're here, make sure that you book yourself and your friends tickets to at least one of them. Enjoy!

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Kicking Off 2016 in Gaol

When you're in the paranormal field for as long as I have been, there is not much left that whets your paranormal appetite as much as a location you haven't investigated before. Gaols, psychiatric hospitals and other places of obvious trauma, staple locations for paranormal investigators, are in short supply nowadays so last night I grabbed the opportunity to get stuck into some work at Parramatta Gaol with my long time para gal pal, Beth Luscombe from Access Paranormal.
I started the night with taking some location shots with my Fujifilm XF1 but had to give up shortly as the originally fully charged battery expired only seven shots into my session. An inconvenience to say the least as I wanted to travel light on the night an didn't bring a spare batter or a charger even. Rookie mistake, one that I'm sure my partner in crime, Beth will not let me live down anytime soon.
We started off at the shower block, a sandstone building with the floor sunken into the ground about three feet deep. A small and largely featureless space with a tiled floor and walls with some of the shower roses still in place. This area had an interesting environment for audio with the natural echo the high ceiling and general interior sparseness created. The only features of this space were two benches and a laundry trolley. We decided it was as good an opportunity for an EVP session as any other.
While Beth reports that there were no EVPS captured, there were some interesting personal experiences during the session. I had several sensations of being touched, something I had given the spirits I was sensing permission for. One in particular, whom I sensed, paid special interest to my hair, playing with it before moving to the silver chain around my neck before I felt a hand around my neck tightening somewhat but never to the point of hurting me. It felt like a power play playing out that formed a  part of this man's personality while he was alive. He didn't speak or gave me any more information about himself at the time so we invited him to accompany us to the other structures on the ground of the gaol we were planning on visiting on the night.

We decided to try our luck in a building next that is largely ignored by people for some reason. We headed to the first floor with our torches and after exploring the level we settled on a cell where I heard a deep groaning sound from on our walk by.

The EVP has again revealed nothing conclusive but while in the cell I saw some mist forming evenly in the cell almost opposite the one we were in, across the concourse. 

to watch the this file, visit my Facebook page

The footage and audio recording we took didn't yield anything paranormal at the time. It was as this time that the batter on my near brand new phone where I was recording the video with was getting close to depletion, even though I started the night with an almost full charge.
We headed over to another cell block where a séance just finished. Shortly after entering the building a large metallic clanking sound was heard that was repeated a short time later. The direction of the sound was obvious and we agreed that it was coming from above us. I took the opportunity to scan through the first and second floors to establish whether anyone else was there to make those sounds and tried to find the source of the audible phenomena. It wasn't until I reached the middle of the second floor concourse that I found a possible source, a metal sheet placed across the wire mash connecting the two side of the concourse. As soon as I walked on it, it made a familiar sound, a groan under my weight. I was the only one on that floor and on my way up I hadn't come across anyone there, aside from a man who was a part of the tour and who witnessed the sound with me from the ground floor to begin with. The sound has repeated a few times later on during the night with no one in the vicinity other than the investigators on the ground floor with me.
All in all it was a great night and a perfect way to paranormally start the year.

Regular tours are run at Parramatta Gaol by APPI - Australian Paranormal Phenomenon Investigators