Insights into Working with Paranormal Phenomena
As someone who often brushes against the inexplicable, I’ve learned that, while the existence of the paranormal is undeniable, there are often other explanations lying just beneath the surface. In many cases, supernatural events reflect the complex dance between our senses, our emotions, and our environment. Through skepticism and sensitivity, I try to navigate through the veils that separate our understanding from the vast expanses of information that make up the universe.
I’ve heard countless stories of eerie encounters and unexplainable phenomena. More often than not, paranormal experiences can be demystified when we look into the subtle relationship between our environment and our perceptions. In diagnosing paranormal phenomenon, the first step is always to rule out influences that do not have a root in the paranormal. Here are some of the most common scenarios I have encountered that contribute to misinterpretations of the paranormal:
Infrasound: The Silent Influence
Infrasound, sound waves with frequencies below the range of human hearing, has been linked to a range of eerie experiences. Vibrations caused by infrasound can create feelings of unease, dizziness, anxiety, and even hallucinations. Research has shown that these low-frequency vibrations can be produced by natural sources like earthquakes, and wind patterns, but more often than not it is due to the vibrations of engines and machinery in the area of the haunting.
These vibrations can travel underground and connect with the foundations of a house, for example. The sensation of a “haunted” location could very well be due to the subtle effects of infrasound on the human body. The mind tries to interpret a sound that is felt but not heard, and this can create a true sense of unease.
Further, what seem like ghostly whispers or footsteps could simply be an interplay of ordinary sounds. Natural acoustics, building creaks, and even wind gusts can conspire to create the illusion of a presence that isn’t really there. I had clients who were afraid to go into their basement because of how it made them feel. The culprit turned out to be a documented case of infrasound created by a nearby factory.
The Creepy Crawlers: Animal and Insect Infestations
Many spine-tingling experiences attributed to ghosts could be the result of hidden critters. Insects and rodents can scurry, scratch, and create noises in walls and ceilings that sound eerily similar to footsteps or whispers. These unexpected sounds can easily give rise to the perception of a haunted space. If there are also other factors at work in a house (infrasound, emotional upset), the perception of these sounds can become heightened. One woman continually sensed a “presence” in her house that turned out to be a large wasp’s nest behind the living room wall.
Mold Matters: Fungal Hallucinations
Mold infestations in buildings have been connected to a host of health issues, including respiratory problems and allergies. Interestingly, some molds can release mycotoxins that induce hallucinations and altered states of consciousness. These hallucinations have been misinterpreted as paranormal activity, especially in locations with high mold concentrations. The human mind is wired to seek patterns and meaning, even in the most abstract forms. A flickering shadow or an oddly shaped object can easily trigger our imaginations, leading to the perception of a paranormal entity, especially if under the influence of these mold spores.
Emotional Turmoil: Impact on Perceptions
Human emotions are powerful, and they can greatly influence our perception of reality. Individuals going through challenging life transitions, such as puberty, the loss of a loved one, or other major changes, may experience heightened sensitivity to their surroundings. This heightened emotional state can lead to misinterpretations of ordinary occurrences as paranormal events. Our emotional state has a profound impact on how we perceive and remember events. In moments of vulnerability or heightened emotions, the boundaries between the rational and the mystical can blur. Personal experiences can tinge perceptions with an otherworldly hue.
The Haze of Half-Sleep: Unraveling Sleep Paralysis
Sleep paralysis is a well-documented phenomenon where individuals find themselves temporarily unable to move or speak while waking up or falling asleep. This experience often comes accompanied by vivid hallucinations that can be both terrifying and surreal. Many historical accounts of ghostly encounters might find their origins in sleep paralysis episodes. Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon that often dances at the edge of the supernatural realm. It’s an experience that can feel like a surreal blend of reality and dream, complete with hallucinations.
In my experience, cases of sleep paralysis most often occur during or just after travelling, especially when a person has travelled long distances and in between time zones (in a sense, traveling forward or backward in time). While they are many studies touching on the psychological causes of sleep paralysis, I remain open to the idea that sleep paralysis could very well be some kind of paranormal phenomenon. That said, in my experience, when the underlying cause (travel, stress, transition) resolves, so does the sleep paralysis.
The Subconscious Symphony: Medications and Hallucinations
Certain medications and substances have the potential to create hallucinations and distort perceptions. What might appear to be a spectral presence could, in fact, be the result of the brain’s interaction with these often powerful compounds. It’s a reminder of the intricate interplay between the chemical and cognitive realms. Certain medications, particularly those affecting the central nervous system, can induce hallucinations and altered states of perception.
Even seemingly innocuous over-the-counter drugs, herbal, or homeopathic remedies can have unexpected effects on the mind. These altered perceptions can lead individuals to believe they’ve witnessed something otherworldly. One client was certain he was being chased by an entity who meant to do him harm, but later came to understand that his new medications were affecting his perception. Once his medication levels were checked and altered, the “haunting” stopped.
Living in the Overlap
Living in the overlap between understanding and doubt is a paradox I embrace. Each encounter with the paranormal leaves me in awe, yet my instinctual skepticism urges me to seek out the underlying truths. In many cases, what might seem like a supernatural occurrence could have plausible explanations rooted in the intricacies of human perception, the unconscious mind, and the mysteries of the universe.
That said, here are some of the paranormal phenomena that I have encountered and resolved for clients:
Ghostly Residue: House Energies and Hauntings
Ghosts have crossed my path more times than I can count. Sensing their presence is an experience that defies easy explanation. Interactions with these energies have unveiled stories of unfinished business, of tragic events, and sometimes, of unresolved emotions seeking release. Often these phenomenon merely make their presence known, but sometimes they convey messages. Once, the ghost of a child told me where “the body was buried”; another energy inside an abandoned department store communicated how much he enjoyed going to work every day, continuing with his routine from a hundred years ago.
Houses can be cleared of energies by many means, but the most effective in my experience is when the inhabitants of the space exert their own will and energy into the haunted areas of the house or building. Sometimes the prescription is to throw a party, paint a room white, or spend more time in the unsettled space.
Homes, like living entities, can absorb the energies of their inhabitants over time. I often sense the emotional imprints left behind by previous residents. Some places are marked by residual energy that lingers. This creates an eerie atmosphere that can bring about a haunting experiences. I respect the emotional weight these energies carry; I also continue to explore whether they are truly evidence of the supernatural and if they are comprised of memories and echoes from moments in time.
Poltergeist Phenomenon: The Chaos Within
Poltergeists, agents of disruption, have made their presence known in my life when working with paranormal investigation clients. Objects moving of their own accord, unexplained noises, and sudden disturbances can be disconcerting. Yet, the skeptic in me has probed for physical explanations—subtle shifts in the environment, the unseen power of the mind, or psychological manifestations that create these disturbances.
Poltergeist phenomena almost always coincide with periods of intense emotional turmoil within a household. Usually, if not always, an upset person is the source of the poltergeist issues in a house—but they are unaware of what they are doing. It’s fascinating to observe the way fear and externalized, unexpressed emotions can influence the environment, leading to what appear to be the unexplained movements of objects and inexplicable disturbances. In such instances, the energy of an upset individual interacts with the surroundings, hinting at a deeper connection between human emotions and the apparent supernatural.
As a skeptic, I scrutinize these connections, seeking to understand whether they originate from the hidden depths of our psyche or whether there exists a more mysterious and elusive force at play. Poltergeist phenomena, with their ties to human emotions, serve as poignant reminders of the intricate interplay between the mind, emotions, and the unexplored dimensions of reality. Encountering poltergeist energy has been very surprising, but in the end there is usually a need to collaborate with other resources to resolve these cases, such as medical, psychological, or counselling services.
A Knower, Not a Believer: A Paradox
I always say that I don’t believe anything—I either know something to be true or I don’t. The life of an empathic skeptic is sometimes a complicated journey. Encounters with ghosts, house energies, prophetic dreams, and otherworldly phenomena have enriched my perspective, instilling in me a profound respect for the unknown. As I continue to straddle the realms of the seen and the unseen, my goal is not just to experience the paranormal, but to unearth the threads of truth that lie underneath, and to use that information to help others.