~Odds & Ends~
White Haven Paranormal uses digital audio recorders and video cameras that also record audio. We try our best to have 1 audio and 1 video recorder in each area of the location being investigated. This is very important because when we are reviewing everything it gives us a not only a second audio recording and video to confirm or debunk potential evidence.
As we are reviewing the audio recordings we will find unexplained noises and voices which are called EVP's which is the acronym for "Electronic Voice Phenomenon". All our audio/video recordings have a time codes/time stamps so that we can tell exactly what time it was recorded down to the second. The exact time of these EVP's is written down so that we can look for them on all the other audio and video recordings made during the Investigation. At least 75% of all potential evidence is ruled out because after reviewing another recording the noise or voice was something explainable.
It is rare that EVP's can be heard with the naked ear for two reasons. The first is that the typical human voice is spoken at 45 to 60 decibels. The second reason is that it takes a lot of energy for a Spirit to produce any sounds at all so what they do produce is simply too faint to hear but can be recorded and amplified later to hear them. A lot of other research groups will "enhance" the EVP using software to adjust the tones, etc so they can hear it better. White Haven Paranormal will never "enhance" them in any other way, the only modification we will make to the original file is to amplify and sometimes filter out some of the background noise. It is amazing how much the squeak of a hinge or a stomach growl can sound like a voice if it's manipulated enough.
Paranormal researchers have come up with four classifications of EVPs. Theses classes are A, B, C.
Class A EVP's are those that are so clear that everyone who listens to it agrees on what is being said. Class A EVPs are the best recorded voices of the dead and are very rare. In most cases these are also heard by the Investigators as it's being recorded.
Class B EVP's are those that may not not be understood by everyone who listens to it. One person may think it says something completely different than another person does. One thing that can be agreed upon is that it is clearly a voice. Many times amplifying the voice will make it clearer. Class B EVP's are the most common type recorded.
Class C EVP's are the worst quality voices captured. It is nearly impossible to understand what is recorded without the help of computer enhancement which White Haven Paranormal is completely against. Often these EVP's are just whispers, mumbling, accented speech. White Haven Paranormal will often not even classify these voices because the recorders we use are very, very sensitive and what may sound like a voice can be explained away by any number of things such as wind, or even an investigators stomach growling.
EMF (Electromagnetic Field) is radiation that is created by anything electical and is measurable. Please read the article on EMF in our section for a more detailed explanation.
Because Spirits are made of energy they can be detected using devices which are built for electricians to troubleshoot bad wiring and appliances. During the initial stages of an Investigation we go into every room to get a "baseline" reading and to unplug any device that is creating EMF. Quite often when a Spirit is attempting to communicate the readings on these devices will vary for no reason past the baseline readings we've already recorded.
White Haven Paranormal does not believe that unexplained fluctuations in EMF readings is enough evidence to prove that a Spirit is active at that location but it can be supporting evidence to any audio or visual evidence.
It is rare to capture a Spirit on video for a couple reasons. First is that they don't have a physical body so they cannot be seen with the naked eye. Second is that in most cases any form that a Spirit can manifest themselves as is not usually a solid form so light will pass right through them.
Spirits if they have enough energy can manifest themselves into something we call a Apparition. An Apparition can be anything from a full body which looks like a living person, a partial figure which can be seen through, or a fog like mist.
Another thing that can be recorded on video besides things being moved or Apparitions are Orbs. An Orb is a transparent ball of light which vary in size. Some researchers believe that an Orb is the way a Spirit travels, other researchers believe Orbs are simply balls of energy created from any of several possible sources including power lines, batteries, motors, transformers, or static electricity. The Laws of Physics does prove that energy does travel in spherical form through the atmosphere so we do know that Orbs exist.
A lot of amateur investigators that believe every ball of light they see in either a still photo or a video is an Orb. In most cases what they are looking at is an out of focus raindrop, bug, speck of dust, or lens flare.
A true Orb of energy although usually invisible to the human eye produces it's own light which let's us take pictures and record them on video. When viewing any Orb on video we look hard to see if it's producing it's own light which can be proven if it's a different color or if it creates shadows or reflections as it's passing objects in the room. Another thing we look for is if it is moving in a straight line or if it is moving with intelligence behind it.
Spirit's need energy to do interact with the living world. In most places there is usually enough ambient energy in places that they can absorb to do what they need to do. If for whatever reason they require more energy to perform a task such as interacting with the living through voice, movement, or becoming an Apparition they can remove the energy in the warm air which will create what we call a "cold spot". These spots usually range in size from that of a softball to the size of a human body.
These cold spots can simply disappear after a few seconds or minutes. The thought behind this is that the Spirit has simply "changed their mind" about what they were trying to do or simply moved to another source of energy.
When a Spirit touches a living person the person can feel it as either cold or warm. Some Investigators believe that warm spots are evidence of Poltergeist activity while others believe that the Spirit has enough energy to do what it's wanting to do.
~Personal Experiences as Evidence~
Investigators sometimes experience the feeling of being watched, touched, grabbed. They can also experience smells or see things out of the corner of their eye. These are recorded as "Personal Experiences" because they cannot be replayed for later review. The human brain is known to take information from it's senses that doesn't recognise and create something quite different (this is commonly referred to as matrixing).
Smells are very tough for us to consider as evidence of Spiritual activity. Investigators will sometimes smell unexplained perfume, cigarette/pipe smoke but we believe those come from either a room being saturated with that smell over years or the smell coming from air leak around a window or door or through the ventilation system.
Touching can sometimes be recorded by seeing the temperature change with the Thermal Imaging Camera. Skin irritation and scratches can also be recorded with a still or video camera.
What else could it be?
When trying to decipher the clues of the paranormal, it's important to take into consideration all natural explanations for events. Below are many of the things we try to rule out prior to considering paranormal causes. While we do not discount nor distrust any feelings you might have about possible paranormal activity in your location, we recommend objectivity at all times. By stepping back and thoroughly considering all non-paranormal causes for the activity, we can better address your concerns, and help you feel comfortable in your location.
- Humidity – An increase or decrease in humidity can affect how your structure, and the things in it, behave. Wooden floors, doors, support beams, stairs, etc. are constantly absorbing and releasing humidity in the air. The wood in a door can expand and contract with the amount of moisture it takes in and releases, meaning the size and weight of the door itself is changing. Even a couple of millimeters difference in the size and weight of a door can cause it to seemingly open and shut "on its own." The same phenomenon can be the cause of creaks, cracking, and other noises in your floorboards and building frame, all of which can be mistaken for disembodied footsteps or other paranormal events.
- Age of home – Creaking and groaning of a home from foundation settling is common in both new and old homes. Old homes tend to “feel” spookier when they settle because, well, they’re old. The biggest thing to look for in old homes is the general structural integrity. Are you feeling a cold spot in a particular area? Check the windows and window frames for holes or cracks. How thick is the insulation? Are there any breaks in the bricks or mortar in the foundation or exterior walls?
- Plumbing – Plumbing is one of the easiest non-paranormal explanations to find and fix. If you hear knocking in a particular wall, or footsteps across a particular part of the floor, check to see where the pipes in your home run in relation to the noises. Loose plumbing, rusty pipes or dripping pipe fittings can cause any number of odd noises (not to mention a rise in your water bill). Water pressure through the pipes is an important factor. If the water pressure is set to high, you may see your faucets dripping or “coming on by themselves.” This is not a paranormal event, but a reason to call an accredited plumber.
- Household EMF (wiring and electrical currents) – While the reasons are debatable (read the article here), high electromagnetic field levels can cause strange events, real or perceived. If you feel a presence in the kitchen, or you feel like you’re being watched in the dining room, it is a good idea to check where the circuit box is in relation to the area. Old wiring and sometimes standard appliances can emit high quantities of EMF. Having an electrician check your circuit box and wiring is a good first step in ruling out any paranormal activity.
- Air quality – The air quality in your home plays a huge part in your general well being. Aside from the dangers of radon and carbon monoxide, there are elements that can make you feel paranoid, sick and generally uneasy. Inadequately secured cleaning supplies and paint cans, poor ventilation of oil and gas heaters, and even mold behind your basement walls can cause that sick, headache-y feeling you get every time you go down there. Prolonged exposure to these environmental contaminants can lead to everything from physical illness (shortness of breath, chills or hot flashes, nausea) to distorted perceptions (general anxiety, feelings of being watched or touched, etc.). Check your foundation for cracks, the walls and ceilings for moisture leaks, the circuit box for exposed or damaged wiring (those EMF fields are everywhere), and your AC and heating systems for malfunctions.
Speaking of your AC system… Do you hear strange bangs in your ceiling or floors? Ruled out the plumbing? Where does your duct work run? When a central air system turns on and off, it creates a minor vacuum. Metal duct work is susceptible to changes in pressure which can cause the metal to buckle producing a loud pop. Window unit air conditioners have a way of not being very well insulated. If you leave your window unit in during the winter, you could notice cold spots due to drafts around the window.
- Critters and Crawlers – In the fall and winter, rodents, crickets and other outdoor critters try to come in where it’s warm. In urban areas and older properties, nature has a way of refusing to leave anytime of the year, and can cause environmental and structural problems in your home that you may not even be able to see. It’s not uncommon to get mice in the duct work of a central air system. Hearing scratching in the attic? What about the scratching and bumping in the walls? Squirrels, mice and raccoons all like to make their nest some place quiet and warm. Crawl spaces, attics and interior walls are all perfect homes to the average critter. And, much like mold, waste materials from these and other pests can collect behind walls and in out-of-sight locations, releasing contaminants and allergens into the air. In more serious cases, these can cause shortness of breath, light-headedness, nausea and other physical symptoms -- all of which can be eliminated by calling a pest control specialist.
- Area transportation patterns – Airplanes, trains and cars can cause all sorts of strange happenings in a home. Airplane flight patterns over or near a home can cause vibrations of unsecured items or the structure itself, particularly if the house is close enough to the airport for low flying aircraft. And you don't need to be located near a major airport -- activity from regional airports and personal aircraft can be just as disruptive. Do you notice that your favorite family photo has moved a few inches on your table everyday when you get home? That could be caused by the vibration from low flying aircraft or the home’s proximity to train tracks. Do you see weird shadows while watching TV in the evening? Take a few minutes to see how stray beams of light from any cars passing down your street reflect off mirrors, glass picture frames, and your china cabinet. These stray light beams will be even more distorted if they are shining through trees, patterned curtains or reflecting off street signs. Older homes often have older windows, and the bowing of glass as it ages can perform all kinds of bizarre light tricks with light sources outside. The physics of light is sometimes bizarre, but perfectly normal. This sort of behavior can easily be mistaken for paranormal activity -- especially at night!
Some paranormal terminology...
This is a very brief listing of paranormal terms/definitions.
Agent – a person whom poltergeist activity is focused on or emanating from
Apparition - a spirit-like image of a person that materializes without a physical body present
Aura – an emanation of light (seen or unseen) that surrounds a person or object, often thought to be a reflection of a person’s personality
Banshee – a wailing spirit that may appear to be in multiple places at the same time
Case Study – an in-depth investigation of a location or situation
Clairvoyance – having the ability to see (in the form of mental imagery and intuition) events or entities that cannot be perceived by the senses (See also ESP)
Collective Apparition - a type of paranormal sighting where multiple individuals see the same apparition or phenomena
Demon - a being or entity often spoken of in religious text as pure evil
Doppelganger – an exact spirit double of a person, considered to be a negative entity
Earthbound –refers to a spirit that is unable to cross over to the other side at the time of death and remains on earth
Ectoplasm – a substance associated with spirit manifestations
Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) – voices and/or sounds that are captured on some form of electronic recording device
Elementals – entities or spirits sometimes also called “Earth Spirits” (i.e., elves, fairies and trolls)
EMF Detector (magnetometer, gauss meter) - instrument used to measure the strength and direction of an electronic and/or magnetic field (also called a magnetometer or gauss meter)
Extra Sensory Perception (ESP) - perception and communication without use of the physical senses
Exorcism – removal or banishment of an entity(ies) thought to possess or haunt a location or human
Gauss meter (EMF, magnetometer) - instrument used to measure the strength and direction of an electronic and/or magnetic field (also called an EMF or magnetometer)
Ghost –an apparition or entity that is thought to be a deceased human's spirit/soul
Ghost Hunting – a strategic investigation at a location that may or may not have paranormal activity, no verifiable witness to activity prior to the investigation (goal is to find paranormal activity)
Ghost Investigation – a strategic investigation at a location that has verifiable witnesses to/reports of paranormal activity (goal is to try and verify claims of paranormal activity)
Ghoul – dark, demonic or parasitic entities
Hallucination – the perception of sights and sounds that do not actually exist
Haunting – reoccurring unexplained paranormal phenomena – may include spirits, shadows, moving objects, unexplained sounds
Instrumental Transcommunication (ITC) - using electronic recording equipment (digital or tape recorders, video recording equipment, Frank's Box devices) to aquire and/or capture communication from paranormal sources
Intelligent haunting - haunting in which the paranormal activity/entity/energy interacts and may directly respond to individuals involved
Magnetometer (EMF, gauss meter) - instrument used to measure the strength and direction of an electronic and/or magnetic field (also called an EMF or gauss meter)
Materialization or manifesting – act of forming something solid from the air, when a part or the entire ghost/spirit becomes visible
Medium - an individual who professes to be able communicate with spirits or can act as an intermediary between the world of the living and the dead
Orb – a photographed ball of light that may represent an entity or a bundle of energy, orbs may appear as balls of light on video or film though often they are not seen at the time
Ouija Board – a printed board with letters, numerals, and words used to receive spirit communications by use of a movable marker or planchette
Paranormal – refers to something that is beyond scientific explanation and it out of the normal scope of human experiences
Parapsychology - the study of evidence relating to psychological phenomena
Percipient - person who sees (i.e., perceives) an apparition.
Phantom - entity that is seen/heard/felt/sensed but has no physical reality (i.e., ghost)
Poltergeist - a non-human entity literally meaning "noisy ghost,” usually more destructive than human ghosts (more recent theory suggests that poltergeist activity, at least in some instances, may be subconscious energy manifestations (PK) emanated by an adolescent agent)
Provoke (provoking) - to try and draw out or encourage an entity to communicate or materialize by means of making it angry
Psychic - person who can detect psychic forces, having above average ESP abilities.
Psychokinesis (PK) - power of the mind to affect matter without physical contact
Residual - type a haunting in which the paranormal activity/entity/energy replays over and over like a movie, this type of activity does not interact with individuals (also known as an anniversary ghost/haunting)
Séance - gathering of individuals, generally lead by a medium, to communication with non-living entities
Specter – a ghostly apparition; a phantom (see also ghost, phantom and ghoul)
Spiritualism - belief system that the dead are able to communicate with the living through the help of a medium
Supernatural - of or relating to existence outside the natural world, unlike paranormal, the term "supernatural" often refers to divine or demonic involvement
Telekinesis - movement of objects by scientifically unexplainable means
Vortex – unexplainable funnel or rope-like image in photographs
White Noise – acoustical or electrical noise with an intensity that is the same at all frequencies within a given band