IS IT A GHOST
YOUR GHOST STORIES
Director of the Office of Paranormal Investigations and author of A PARANORMAL CASEBOOK: Ghost Hunting in the New Millennium, which hit the bookshelves
Is there any new work or events that you would like to talk about?
I will be doing a ghost fest next month in Long Beach, and we are currently working on the Parapsychology program. The class is not available on line because it would have been just like writing another book, so were offering the class in person and as a teleclass. That means that we offer recordings of the classes and then you can phone in for parts of the class and talk to me or other students.
What is the different in this class as compared to others that are being offered?
This course doesn’t just touch on “ghost hunting”, we are doing a full rounded intro to parapsychology, we are working with the office of parapsychology to offer the course to people that want to become “ghost hunters”
We have had people contact us and say that they are “certified Ghost Hunters’ and we don’t really look at that as being a benefit, what do you think about the current “certifications”?
That would be the IGHS and as soon as people tell me that I say be aware that means absolutely nothing to anybody in the field.
What is your take on the IGHS?
It is really interesting how they claim the things that they say that they never said. They claim that they were the first people to use the word “orb” that word has been in the language for a very long time, and not to mention that I have a video of a person looking at a picture and calling something in the image and “orb”. Dr. Dave’s claims of how he knows physics show how badly that he does not know physics. He stated in one of his newsletters that “parallel worlds have been proven by physicists” mathematically they exist but, multiple dimensions have not been proven to exist.
In your book, you talk about judging the credibility of a “ghost hunter”? what do you think are the things that people should look for?
There are several issues. One is how much they know and the other is what they do with that knowledge. They could be very knowledgeable but just bad people, and that is an ethics issue that people need to look at carefully. That is something that you have to look at in all situations not just with this but also with all scientists, researchers & people that you do business with. I think that the most important thing is to find out what the knowledge level is and not based on the pronouncement that they are “certified ghost hunters” you could have a certification from my group and they should check out what that means. They need to check the credentials of the people, just because I have a website that does not mean that I not b/s’ing you. Check with the Parapsychology foundation and organizations that know who these people are, or contact other groups and get their opinions of them. The first thing is if a person wants to join a group they need to find out if the group has any knowledge whatsoever, and it frightens me when I hear things like Grant and Jason saying that they have only read one book on the subject. Now granted they say its my book but still that bothers me more than anything else. I have a running Google search that keeps me informed about my name on the web and I got a hit from a guy in a group that said “who is this Lloyd Auerbach? And in the same breath he is saying that he has not read any books, and he is running a ghost-hunting group.
We have a lot of groups like that here in town that we refer to as overblown camera clubs.
They are like bird watchers. One of my former students called them thrill seekers.
Its like in one of my books, I look at how to judge a Parapsychologist. And the first question is to have them define what is Parapsychology, and if it doesn’t come close to what the Parapsychology association says, then there is a problem. If ghost hunters don’t even mention Parapsychology on their website or even know what it is, I would say that their knowledge is probably minimal and that it can be traced to some other group that we all know. They tend to have a lot of back fighting and territorial issues, which just blows my mind. We generally don’t have the territorial issues in the Bay area. I think that it is because we have such a large population of Parapsychologists.
We have had issues with groups like that here and another trend seems to be that they like to break into places without permission.
The trespassing issues are bad and I am glad to see that that is even a no-no on the rules of the IGHS. But people associate a “spooky” place with a haunted place. When I go out to Colleges to lecture, I regularly meet local ghost hunters and they say “do you now anything about this local place, it was an asylum and we think that its haunted” I ask why do you think that its haunted? They say because it’s spooky and its abandoned, or people were tortured there. But that description fits everywhere. People die on the streets everywhere, they die on the streets of Denver they die on the streets of Chicago, and they die tragically and it is usually more tragic then the deaths in the buildings. This kind of goes back to the whole bird watcher thing. And I will tell you another thing that bugs me, and I know that it is a product of TV, it’s the focus on night vision cameras.
We have questioned the reason behind the use of night vision cameras in total darkness as well. We asked when does someone see a ghost in total darkness?
That only happens when a person just wakes up, and that is suspect right there. To go to a place and turn all of the lights off, first of all you can use the night vision with the lights on if you think that it is the illumination of the lights that is needed. But it is that “spooky” factor again.
One of the protocols that we have is that any equipment we use, we need to learn what its real world applications are how to use it and what limitations they have. Most groups seem to not know what the equipment does or how it works.
That is because they never even read the manuals. Do you have a natural tri-field meter? We do but they are really difficult to use accurately. That’s because you can’t walk around with them, but we have had some interesting results with them by setting them down and literally asking the ghost to walk to the meter.
One way that we have used the meter is by having it remotely monitored so it will not be interfered with by us. That is a wonderful way, when I see people walking around with one and they get readings and have no idea what it is. I like to say that I have found more bad wiring in homes than ghost with the meter. I have said to people that you may have paranormal activity but first you need to call and electrician. We have gotten into the habit that if we can shut the power down at a location we will just to limit the EMF. That’s really smart, we do that when we can too. Then when you do you have to use a night vision camera that is a good reason to use one.
Why do you think that ghost hunters investigate at night?
Its not about night or daytime, its actually about their being less distraction. People have experiences when things are quiet. People experience things at night and in the early morning. Morning time is actually more active than late at night because people are awake. At one of my mainstays, most of the activity that we get is around 11:00 in the morning, it’s just before they open and it is quiet and everyone is awake. I want current witnesses so we can determine when we can go. We ask people to keep a diary of what is happening so we can determine when to go. Exactly you want to find a pattern, plus it also helps them start to remove the fear from the people. Then its ok if you go in and take some pictures of “orbs” and say its ok your not crazy you have ghosts, but then the next step is who are they, what do they want and how do I get rid of them. Unfortunately that is something that most ghost hunter doesn’t have a clue about.
What are your ideas about getting rid of them?
If the indication is that this is a discarnate entity, and the people are experiencing activity. I try to have the people talk to the ghost, just because they have already established a relationship with the ghost. That can be difficult because sometimes they are freaked out. So we do work with Psychics as well. One thing that I ask of people if they are willing to, is that even before we go if they will ask: who are you and what can I do for you. Not what do you want because that is an adversarial question. People have told me that they thing that the ghost was totally shocked and apparently left, never to come back. We think that the concept of getting rid of ghosts begins with diplomacy, and possibly counseling the ghost. We have had Psychics talk to ghosts as well. We have also tried something that has been done fro quite some time but is new to us. That is to annoy the ghost out of the house. We had a case that we had not even brought a psychic into at that point, but there was a 5 year old little boy that was telling us knock knock jokes from a book that he got the day before on his birthday, and I realized how annoying that was, so we sat around and read the jokes for about an hour and I would stop once in a while and say “if you come back tomorrow we will read these books again” Then we started using music, you need to find music that will annoy the ghost. This also gives the people having the issues the power to do something themselves. They tend to work, but where they go, do they go to the light or do they go next door? I don’t know. That’s not my problem until the next-door neighbors call us. As far as imprints, once the people understand what it is even if it was something horrible like a murder that they see over and over. They tend to get used to it. Its just like if you live next to a loud highway you get used to the sound. Once you know what the source is you tend to ignore it and it goes away. We also work with Psychics who seem to do something that changes the environment, we have had location that have high EMF levels even when the power to the house is off. The Psychic that we were working with used her “white tornado” visualization, and I watched on the EMF meter as she was doing this and the readings slowly dropped. The thing is that we don’t know what is creating the magnetic field in the first place it may just be related to the haunt, but it actually works. I have also had a lot of luck using a degausser or small neodyne (rare earth) magnets. We have found that placing a lot of these around an active area not only seems to disrupt the activity but also the EMF readings that we are getting in the area. We have no idea why it works but is does seem to work. If I don’t have an explanation of how it works but it does, that is how medical science works too.
We do have to remember that there are two components to this. The ghost story is much more interesting than the readings that we get, at least to me but some of the other groups are more interested in “orbs” than anything else. And number two we are there to help the people. You want to get into the homes that are haunted, but you also need to help them and that needs to be set as your main goal. Learn as you help them. We have thousands of people running around with “toys” claiming that they are doing science, but I would liken them to giving a chimpanzee a tri-field meter, they are getting excited because the needle goes up and they get a banana. That’s something that Dr. Dave Oester do, they seem to equate using technology with doing science, and that’s so wrong. They don’t need the equipment they need interviewing skills. They also need to know what else can cause people to have experiences, and it’s not all paranormal. We had a case that because of the environment of the house it was causing the people to conclude that it was haunted. People were feeling dizzy in certain spots, seeing shadows out of the corners of their eyes, noxious odors occasionally appearing and even balls of fire appearing. They called all sorts of people here in the Bay area to try to get help before they got to us. Including the Psych Department at U.C.Berkeley and they called the Bay area Skeptics who should have thought to debunk the case, but they all told them that they needed psychological help. However it was all four people in the family that were involved. They finally called the local Police and they knew someone in my group so they contacted us.
We went to the house and discovered that the house is directly under high power lines, so the tri-field meters were useless. But we noticed a low buzz. That was a low frequency noise and that was the cause of the people seeing shadows from the corners of their eyes.
The house was actually sliding off of its foundation, we discovered that they were renting the house from an architect that built the house from “new materials” and it was not even up to code. There were parts of the house that were sliding so there were angles in the home that weren’t exactly 90 degrees, but our perceptions force us to believe that they are and this was causing the headaches. The noxious odors turned out to be the house was built on the site of a landfill, and there was a high level of static electricity, which we easily detected with a fluorescent light tube, and that is where the flames were coming from, the methane and the static were causing the fire. They were a little embarrassed that they did not have paranormal activity in their home but we did get them a way to get out of their lease. And that is important because paranormal investigators may go out and find an absolutely normal cause for the events but we still help the people completely deal with the situation. This is one of my favorite cases.
What do you think about groups that charge?
We do charge but we charge on a sliding scale, we understand that this is not in the family budget and most that we have ever charged is $200.00 and it is usually much less. If we have to bring in a psychic that they want or someone else that is a specialist that needs to be involved, we may charge more
I was working at the college and we went out to an investigation and the woman that we were helping kept trying to give me money, a woman that I was working with told me that many people don’t value something unless they pay for it. So when you have people that insist on paying tell them they can pay for gas, or tell them that you are all going to go out afterwards to discuss the case so they can buy dinner. At the time my accountant asked me, you teach classes don’t you? He said that when you teach you give information about ghosts correct? I said yes. He said, do you get paid for teaching? I said yes. Then he asked when you go on an investigation do you give similar advice to what you teach in your classes? I said yes. And he said that you are teaching and not getting paid for it. He then asked why is the information that you give in the classroom valid for money but in the filed it isn’t? so I think that it’s really about a couple of things. Are you providing a service that is valuable and giving people what they need and how valuable is your time.
However going in and taking an “orb” picture getting and EVP and pronouncing that the place is haunted is not a service.
People ask me what I’m afraid of and I say that I’m afraid of people. Ok spiders too but that’s another story.
Have you ever been involved in a case where someone in the haunting was harmed?
Only if the people are scared enough to run into a wall. We had a case that a family was coming down the stairs of their home and saw the ghost of a man who looked like he was trying to talk but there was no sound, it was kind of freaking then out so the husband turned around and ran into the wall so hard that he knocked himself down. And the first words out of his mouth were “the ghost threw me into the wall” The rest of the family said that it was like watching a cartoon, the way that he turned around and ran.
Its clear that people are hurt because of the fear not because of the ghost.
Tell us about your upcoming book
My next book is on a completely different subject, I am writing about Chocolate.
My publisher fond out that I had become a fanatic about chocolate, the gourmet and high-end chocolate. So my publisher said “you are writing a book about chocolate”
The title now is “Haunted by Chocolate – going from chocoholic to chocolate gourmet”
I’m including interviews with some of the Bay area Chocolate makers and it will be aimed at someone who is not a chocolate expert.
What do you think about some of the “theories” that people have now?
I’m speaking at a conference in Long Beach next month and the topic is “what ghost hunters need to know about parapsychology” It helps connect hauntings and poltergeists to other psychic experiences, and lays out why you need to understand psychic phenomena to understand these other things. Some people will say that ghost are in another dimension and they are just peeking from the other dimension. What does that mean? How is it that they don’t have a body and they perceive us? How is it that they can communicate with people? And the thing that I see being left out almost exclusively by most of the IGHS type investigators is the communication process. They say that they communication is done by EVP. Then how do thousands of people each year report conversations with a ghost? Most people seem to be learning form ghost stories on line now and they don’t really research what they are doing.
Have you read any new books in the field?
I did just pick one up on demonology.
I get questions about angles and demons and I tell people that the words have a religious context to them. If there are non-human entities which is possible, we need to know what were looking at. To call something you don’t understand a Demon or call something an Angel because its pretty and bright is silly. It’s hard enough to study ghost which is something that you cant see, but the only proof of Demons is Biblical of Mythological, and in reality if they do exist I don’t think that I want to see one. The Demons aren’t much worse than the Angels are. I don’t want a guy showing up with a flaming sword turning me into a pillar of salt.
People that seem to have “Demonologists” in the group seem to always find a demon as the cause.
Lets take Ed & Lorraine Warren. They never went to a house that didn’t have a Demon. I know a therapist in the New York area, who made her living off of the Warrens. She would find out the locations that they had gone to and then she would have to council the people who had been freaked by the Warrens telling them there were Demons there.
What do you think about “orbs”?
When people ask me about orbs, I ask have you seen the web sites that are out there from the U.F.O. people that claim that orbs are actually extraterrestrial? As it was pointed out to me, how come they are all camera hogs? They are always in front, they are never obscured or behind something? Some people say that if you blow the images up a little you can see faces in them. You can take an image of anything and see a face in it. It’s a really crazy thing and its all the IGHS fault.
Recently someone contacted me and said that they wanted to be listed in my referral network, so I said what are your qualifications and what do you know? He replied that I’m a certified paranormal investigator from the IGHS. So I said unless you have some other qualifications that points against you, and I never heard back from him.