ASSAP: Paranormal Research
ASSAP: Paranormal Education
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Maurice TownsendWelcome to the ASSAP paranormal blog! Though this blog is aimed at anyone interested in the paranormal, it will be of particular interest to the paranormal research community. Updated frequently, but not regularly (don't expect something new every day!), it covers any paranormal topic, as well as highlighting recent changes to the ASSAP website.

Whenever new information becomes available on a subject ASSAP covers, it is added to the relevant pages of the website straight away. So, just because you've read a page, don't assume it will still be exactly the same when you next look. That way the ASSAP website remains an up to date research resource.

The photo (above right, pic by Val Hope) is the ASSAP blogger himself, out looking for anomalies wherever they are to be found, so that you can read about them here. To contact the ASSAP blog, email here.

Important note: If anything in this blog does not make sense, try following the links in text! If it still doesn't make sense, that's probably my fault ...

Previous blog pages ... (including ghosts, UFOs, poltergeists, flying rods, miracles, orbs, hypnotic regression, big cats, vampires, near sleep experiences, premonitions, shadow ghosts, paranormal photos, auras, river monsters and dozens of other subjects)

NB: WDTHDWP = 'what does this have to do with the paranormal'

26 April: The end of fame month forever?

Weird sunIt's another 'fame month' but I haven't seen any celebs yet and time is rapidly running out. Regular readers will know what this is all about. For everyone else, here's a catch up. I had noticed my tendency to see more famous people than I thought was 'normal' - an average of 0.23 per month. I do not seek out celebrities, I just see them during my normal everyday activities. What is really weird is that, since April 2015, I appear to have been seeing them at regular intervals, every four months. Random events should not occur at regular intervals! See here for more background.

However, recently things have gone wrong! There was no sighting in August 2016 but the pattern resumed in December of that year. There was another gap in April 2017. And recently there was no celeb spotted for two 'fame months' in succession, December 2017 and this month. Not only has the four month pattern gone but I haven't seem any celebrities at all for around nine months. So why have I lost my apparent uncanny ability to spot celebs?

The whole point of this phenomenon is that I've never actively sought famous people. I've just seen them going about my normal life. So has my 'normal life' changed in the past nine months or so? Looking back I would say no. Thinking about the places where I've seen famous people before, I still visit them with a similar frequency. It's beginning to look as though I was just on a lucky streak and now it has ended. It looks as though the statistics are correcting themselves back to 'normal'. Interestingly, I once lived very near to a celebrity for a while though I hardly ever saw them.

18 April: Should ghosts be more commonly seen at night?

Weird sunShould lots more ghosts be seen at night compared to daytime? More specifically, shouldn't misperception, which is a cause of many ghost reports, be more more commonly noticed in low light? Given that misperception is caused by poor viewing conditions you would think so.

We all misperceive all the time but it is only noticed very rarely. When misperception IS noticed it can easily lead to reports of ghosts and other anomalous phenomena. For the past few years I've noticed my own misperceptions much more frequently than I used to. This has given me useful insights into how misperception works. And one thing I've noticed is that misperceptions don't seem to occur more frequently in low light compared to full daylight. So why is that?

My best theory, until now, is that our brains somehow adjust to low light by trying less hard to make sense of what they see. In other words, they expect not to be able to see stuff well so they don't misperceive to compensate. But it now turns out the real explanation could be quite different. New research, reported recently in New Scientist, showed that people actually see better in twilight conditions. It seems that at dusk and dawn the background activity in the visual centres of our brains is reduced. This improves the signal to noise ratio making us better at seeing stuff! So the low lighting conditions are compensated for by improving our brain's ability to make out what it is seeing!

This 'improved seeing' phenomenon has been reported for dusk and dawn but what about in the middle of the night? In most urban settings there will, of course, be street lighting all night which approximates to twilight conditions. So I guess the effect still happens then. I'm not sure what happens in situations away from street lighting. I don't have enough personal experiences at those very low lighting levels to say what happens to misperception. It's certainly something I'll be looking out for in future.

14 April: When the sounds behind music are real!

Weird sunI was listening to loud music when I heard something else. It was night time and I was alone in a building at the time. The noises sounded like someone moving about! Regular readers will be aware of the phenomenon I've noticed that I've called 'sounds behind music', for want of a better description (see the last post for more on this). I realised this was an interesting test of my observation that the phenomenon usually only happens when I'm expecting someone to turn up shortly. On this occasion I was definitely NOT expecting anyone so it appeared to contradict previous observations.

So I turned off the music and, as expected, the movement sounds stopped. But only for a couple of seconds! I have to admit I became slightly anxious at this point. The sounds appeared to be coming from an external door. I inspected it from inside and could see nothing. So I went to a window overlooking the door outside to see what might be causing the noise, which had now stopped. I was in time to see a fox trotting away from the door! It appeared to be another instance of our local 'garden poltergeist' (see here) up to its tricks!

I wasn't expecting anything else to come of the incident but the next day I examined the door concerned. Outside I found not only disturbed earth from nearby but identifiable fox paw prints on the door step. It was clear evidence that a fox had certainly been doing something quite intense, and certainly noisy, at the door, though I've no idea what.

This latest observation actually supports the idea that 'sounds behind music' are indeed less frequent when I'm not expecting anyone. I had had the loud music on for some time when I heard the fox and heard nothing up to that point. Unlike when I've tried to experiment with this phenomenon I was not thinking about 'sounds behind music' at the time. This factor also appears to suppress the phenomenon.

10 April: When not to call out!

Weird sunI heard the 'sounds behind loud music' (see here) again recently. Alone in a building I called out, against all the obvious warnings from horror movies. This time there really was someone there. They had just arrived but I didn't know that before I called out. I had another 'sound behind music' experience next day when no one was present. Able to compare the two experiences I was struck by the fact that the sound of a real person was much the same as my 'sounds behind music' phenomenon. I think this is because my brain is recreating 'real' sounds, just like a misperception, with this phenomenon.

I've also noticed something else having experienced a number of these phenomena now. The 'sound behind music' phenomenon is much more frequent when I am expecting someone to arrive. When I expect to be alone for a long period I hardly ever hear the phenomenon. This suggests that expectation is a strong factor here. Also, the fact that the sounds stop precisely when music does suggest that this phenomenon is an aural misperception rather than a hallucination.

I then tried an experiment with loud music when someone was definitely known to be present. I didn't hear the 'sounds behind music' this time. However, this failure could be because I was deliberately listening out for the phenomenon. This suggests, again, that it is form of misperception where the same thing happens.

5 April: The book that turned over - instantly!

Weird sunThe book was just as it should be, in a perfect position to be read. But less than a second before it had been upside down! How could it flip over instantly? If I tell you the book was being read by my acquaintance (MA) who experiences microsleep with REM (MWR - see here), regular readers might be able to guess. The majority of MA's MWR experiences occur while reading. I'm not sure of the significance of this but I suspect it's important.

Anyway, MA was reading and decided to turn the book upside down - as you do! Except MA can't actually remember deciding any such thing. Suddenly MA was slowly turning the book round for no obvious reason. Then it suddenly flipped back to it's normal position instantaneously. MA realised that it was the end of a MWR, which produces a peculiar feeling. MA gets lots of odd experiences during MWRs, many of which I've documented here. However, all the other experiences involved sight or sound. This was the first experience where MA appeared to physically manipulate an object. Except that it was obvious no such manipulation had taken place in the real world.

This new (to me at least) aspect of the MWR phenomenon is significant. In all the other experiences MA was merely a witness. In this latest episode MA appeared to actually manually affect the outside world, though with no actual physical result. Someone experiencing such a MWR, who was not aware of its cause, might appear to move an object only to see it instantly and mysteriously return to its original position. This might be interpreted as psychokinesis. It is said (though I've not come across it in cases I've examined myself) that objects, when moved, often return to their original position in some haunting cases. This movement is not usually witnessed in such cases, nor does it happen instantaneously, but it is still basically the same phenomenon. Either way, it is easy to see how any such incident could be interpreted as paranormal.

3 April: The return of the 'garden poltergeist'!

FoxA few years back, our neighborhood had a series of odd events in people's gardens. Small items left in gardens overnight were found to have moved or disappeared. Larger items were pushed over. Nobody ever saw these things happen as it was all under cover of darkness. Well, the 'garden poltergeist', as I called it at the time, is back!

A large heavy ball, similar to a football, has been moving around at night even though strong winds fail to move it when observed by day. It was after the latest such episode that I said I thought it indicated the presence of foxes. Then, just minutes later, to my surprise and delight I saw a fox wander right beside the ball in broad daylight! Having not seen a fox in that area for many months it appeared to confirm that the animal was indeed responsible for the mysterious wandering ball.

Of course, it's only circumstantial evidence. Definitive evidence would be a witness report or video of the fox pushing the ball about. In most reports of anomalous phenomena we only have circumstantial evidence available on which to base conclusions so this 'poltergeist' case is actually quite typical.

In the original 'garden poltergeist' case the 'poltergeist' showed a particular interest in moving shoes. It turned out that foxes are quite well known for taking a particular interest in shoes. But then, finally, there was an eye witness report of a fox actually seen picking up and moving a shoe (see here). So, given time and a little luck, such matters can finally be resolved. Until then I'm quite satisfied that the current 'garden poltergeist' is the same culprit as last time.

© Maurice Townsend 2018


Previous blog pages ...

  • Mar 2018 (including are rare events paranormal, like a time slip, strange leaning man, mystery flashing light)
  • Feb 2018 (including explanation for apparent precognition, ghostly figures, a huge invisible presence)
  • Jan 2018 (including ghostly conversation, ghost selfie, person vanishes, more stuff 'behind' music)
  • Dec 2017 (including a connection between reading and phantom sounds and investigating coincidences)
  • Nov 2017 (including man moving instantly, unexpected fall of night, ghosts rarely turning up on vigils)
  • Oct 2017 (including sounds 'behind' music, non-blurry ghost, ghost with a paunch, small human ghost)
  • Sep 2017 (including seeing ghosts to order, paper defies gravity, precognition, moving aerial mystery)
  • Aug 2017 (including identifiable ghosts, psychic message, like time standing still, on not seeing foxes)
  • Jul 2017 (including invisible ghosts, sense of presence in rain, precognition, haunting sounds)
  • Jun 2017 (including more real that reality, white flying object, pale figure at a window)
  • May 2017 (including ghosts: in a crowd, in a hi vis vest, object movement and sounds)
  • Apr 2017 (including no glasses no ghost, odd ghost, embarrassing ghost, fame month works again)
  • Mar 2017 (including white glowing shape or ghost, another source of 'presence', a ghost returns)
  • Feb 2017 (including fish in sky, best ghost in months, strange transparent object, recounting experiences often)
  • Jan 2017 (including ghostly face, phantom snow boarder, unexpected return of fame month)
  • Dec 2016 (including vanishing mouse. grey fuzzy thing, yellow dots, doppelganger)
  • Nov 2016 (including ghost fox, strange small figure in photo, haunting noises)
  • Oct 2016 (including strange voice, disintegrating ghost, ghostly leaf in focus to short-sighted witness)
  • Sep 2016 (including ghost on demand, shadow ghost, amplified hearing, anniversary ghosts)
  • Aug 2016 (including figure vanishes, strange music, phantom squirrel, fame month again)
  • Jul 2016 (including robot on wall, ghostly hooded figure, new house effect, transparent figures in photos)
  • Jun 2016 (including odd UFO, amplified hearing, alternate realities, strange stick figure on roof)
  • May 2016 (including farewell to the door ghost, restaurant ghost, invisible book, shrinking object)
  • Apr 2016 (including double UFO photo, strange animal, amplified hearing, fame month)
  • Mar 2016 (including time slip, strange brown blob, pig becomes horse, ghosts out or in focus)
  • Feb 2016 (including identifiable ghost, ghost in odd pose, leaning ghost, door ghost returns, ideal witness)
  • Jan 2016 (including too strange to be noticed, vanishing man, giant glowing pig, UFO reports)
  • Dec 2015 (including strange object with a tail, crouching ghost, scurrying ghost, sea serpents, false stepping)
  • Nov 2015 (including paranormal object movement, premonitions., distance of sighted ghosts, soundproof barrier)
  • Oct. 2015 (including monk and nun ghosts, white ghosts, red ghosts, touching ghosts, life going fast forward)
  • Sep 2015 (including glowing transparent ghost, unsettling ghost, insect ghost, UFO in clouds, linear photo anomalies)
  • Aug 2015 (including alien robot, white UFO, unlikely prediction comes true, animal ghosts. streaks in photos)
  • July 2015 (including coincidence versus precognition, paranormal smells, music and ghosts)
  • June 2015 (including interactive ghost, presence on train, orbs, spade wings)
  • May 2015 (including ghosts seen during vigils, mystery flash, sense of presence, transparent ghost, daytime UFO)
  • Apr 2015 (including UFO behind trees, orbs behind anything, possible cause of road ghost sightings, white-hatted ghost)
  • Mar 2015 (including moving object looking motionless, retreating ghost, IFO turning into a UFO)
  • Feb 2015 (including best ghost yet, how things vanish, purple thing, ghost in inappropriate attire)
  • Jan 2015 (including winter insect orbs, ghost from a train, strangeness threshold, flashes in the sky)
  • Dec 2014 (including lumpy horizon, green blob, strange lights, orbs, white floating thing)
  • Nov 2014 (including doors opening by themselves, haunting flashes, sense of presence, formant noise)
  • Oct 2014 (including animal ghosts, tricorn-hatted figure, seeing 0.23 celebrities monthly, dancing ghost)
  • Sep 2014 (including paper defying gravity, low flying UFOs, photographing ghosts, moving still photos)
  • Aug 2014 (including figure on a pillar, orbs still worth studying, ghost objects, shadow ghost)
  • July 2014 (including yellow orb, teleportation, ghostly whispers, owl, strange announcement)
  • June 2014 (including hand in a tree, blurry flying object, white alien, strange pattern on a dragonfly)
  • May 2014 (including single witness UFOs, ghosts vanishing, anomalies seen through gaps, rock face, creeping doppelgangers)
  • Apr 2014 (including unrecognized ghosts, odd UFO photo, do short-sighted people see ghosts, man with no face)
  • Mar 2014 (including unusual shaped UFO, ghost on a train, ghost presence, vampires, ghost calling)
  • Feb 2014 (including confusion, daylight orbs, haunted milk bottle, ghost on a bridge, too obvious explantations)
  • Jan 2014 (including colliding orbs, ball lightning, de-orbing, ghost mouse, mysterious flashes, ghost misidentification)
  • Dec 2013 (including popping orbs, new shadow ghost, ignoring a ghostly hand, dust turning into orbs videoed)
  • Nov 2013 (including hearing voices, blurry ghosts, mirrors and ghosts, coincidences, UFOs near airports)
  • Oct 2013 (including fairy photo, mist ghost, yeti, premonitions, orbs are NOT dust, how hauntings start)
  • Sep 2013 (including moving sticks, targets affecting odds in psi tests, shape shifting, not photographing ghosts)
  • Aug 2013 (including ghosts in plain view, mystery photo, seeing faces, ear pointing, shadow presence, time distortion)
  • July 2013 (including floating ghosts, on being a ghost, ghost ducks, follow that ghost - yes, ghosts galore)
  • June 2013 (including transparent ghosts, distance of UFOs, other stuff going on while witnessing anomalous phenomena)
  • May 2013 (including ghost seen AND photographed, time distortion, reproducing anomalous phenomena)
  • Apr 2013 (including door ghost moving, UFOs from a train, missing time, reality glitches, EVP without E, weird photos)
  • Mar 2013 (including witness credibility, distraction to see ghosts, movie in real life, photo or witness)
  • Feb 2013 (including possible orb comeback, OBEs go mainstream, walking ghost, feelings without touch, object movement)
  • Jan 2013 (including a big problem with ghost vigils, time distortions, cryptids, snow ghosts and rods, causes of hauntings)
  • Dec 2012 (including mysterious injuries, ghosts versus people, voice from nowhere, experimenting with a ghost)
  • Nov 2012 (including reflected ghost, isolated EVPs, ghosts talking to each other, invisible presences)
  • Oct 2012 (including ghostly presence, shadow ghost, strange pigeons, window ghosts, hallucinations)
  • Sep 2012 (including yellow grass, weird waterfalls, vanishing buzzard, ghost vigils, slowing down time)
  • Aug 2012 (including seeing unknown animals, glowing lampposts, EMF meters as an accident of history)
  • July 2012 (including turning rods into orbs, psychic insight, making insects spell, glowing eyes, haunting hot spots)
  • June 2012 (including doppelganger mystery, not expecting ghosts, anecdotal evidence, credible witnesses)
  • May 2012 (including lenticular cloud, ghost encounter, ghost train, weird stuff in a tree, van Gogh, resolution)
  • Apr 2012 (including naturalists and ghosts, odd feelings during OBE, wrong kind of sound, voice from nowhere)
  • Mar 2012 (including jogging and ghosts, misty ghosts, image noise, full spectrum photography, EVP of machines)
  • Feb 2012 (including ghost car, analyzing anomalous photos, ghost at rock concert, OBEs and motion sickness)
  • Jan 2012 (including stopping flying rods, photographing fairies, time warp, a ghost tie, ghostly fingers, New Year UFOs)
  • Dec 2011 (including missing time, improving ghost vigils, anomalous photos, ghostly faces, seeing fiction)
  • Nov 2011 (including OBE video games, EVP and VLF, whatshisname, paranormal misconceptions, invisible ghosts)
  • Oct 2011 (including smartphone ghosts, similacrum, smell of ghosts, morphing UFOs, slowing time)
  • Sep 2011 (including tidy ghost, MADS, transparent ghost, big announcement, ghost fox, not alone)
  • Aug 2011 (including cold spots, spectral hound, triangular UFO, ghost photos, rushing air and being dragged)
  • July 2011 (including Hilary Evans, Harry Potter, witness investment, bias in paranormal research, TV detectives)
  • June 2011 (including ASSAP @ 30, detecting lies, hyper-vigilence, strange thunder)
  • May 2011 (including ASSAP @ 30, lone shoes, flying rods, bias, early memories, strange floating object)
  • Apr 2011 (including royal wedding, mirror touch synaesthesia, sleep disorders, new ghost sighting)
  • Mar 2011 (including roof heron, Atlantis, first time witnesses, comparing film to digital paranormal photos)
  • Feb 2011 (including predicting the future, ghost bird, time slip, weird floor, what do we really know about paranormal)
  • Jan 2011 (including the ghost hunting boom, orange UFO, EVP experiment, extreme normality)
  • Dec 2010 (including microsleeps and road ghosts, shadow ghost in snow, lack of ghosts in photos, anthropomorphism)
  • Nov 2010 (including EMF meters, auras, evidence for precognition, sensitisation, the ghost hunting boom)
  • Oct 2010 (including black orbs, UnConvention, mirror visions, levitation, flying rods and orbs)
  • Sep 2010 (including a ring tone from the roof, shadow ghost video, time slip explanation, daylight orb video)
  • Aug 2010 (including Parisian UFO, sense of presence, SLI, consulting experts, misperception)
  • Jul 2010 (including Sherlock Holmes as a paranormal investigator, haunting sounds, what ARE hallucinations)
  • Jun 2010 (including the Loch Ness Monster, gorilla video, getting ghost stories the wrong way round)
  • May 2010 (including ball lightning, Wem ghost photo, waking up twice, eyewitnesses, Robin Hood)
  • Apr 2010 (including causes of road ghosts, new orb evidence, bird UFOs, UFO photo, not quite seeing is believing)
  • Mar 2010 (including experiencing hypnagogia, consciousness, belief, prolonged misperception, doppelganger)
  • Feb 2010 (including visual continuity errors - AKA ghosts, near sleep experiences on trains, spontaneous OOBEs)
  • Jan 2010 (including intelligent oil, SLI, inducing OOBEs, orange UFOs, the bleak midwinter)
  • Dec 2009 (including review of research in the noughties, pretty orbs, imperceptions, river monster)
  • Nov 2009 (including EVP without a recorder, demons and entities, why only some people see ghosts)
  • Oct 2009 (including grey ghost, near sleep experiences, a triangular UFO and seeing David Beckham)
  • Sep 2009 (including latent memory, Tufted Puffin, Bermuda Triangle and garden poltergeist)
  • Aug 2009 (including official UFO files, partial ghosts, flying rods and miracles)
  • Jul 2009 (including garden poltergeist, big cat video, orbs and hypnotic regression)
  • Jun 2009 (including thoughts from nowhere, shadow ghosts, premonitions and metallic UFO)
  • May 2009 (including analysing paranormal photos, making ghosts and ghost lore)
  • Apr 2009 (including phantom bird, choice blindness and grass that gets up and walks away)
  • Mar 2009 (including deja vu, ghostly mists, weird UFO photo, white ghosts)
  • Feb 2009 (including hidden memories, coincidences, auras and window UFOs)
  • Jan 2009 (including animals sensing ghosts, vampires, flying rod season and a haunted path)
  • Dec 2008
  • Nov 2008
  • Oct 2008
  • Sep 2008
  • Aug 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • May 2008
  • April 2008
  • March 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • October 2007
  • Even older