ASSAP: Paranormal Research
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ASSAP bloggerWelcome 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. You may not notice it but this site changes on an almost daily basis.

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.

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)

ASSAP @ 30: A series of posts summarising what we have learned through thirty years of ASSAP, whose anniversary was 10 June. See here!

29 August 2011: Seriously Strange

Less than two weeks until the Seriously Strange conference celebrating 30 years of ASSAP. There is still time to book your place but you'll need to be quick! Go here for details! With 20 speakers and a whole range of anomalous lectures on offer it's going to be ASSAP's biggest anniversary event ever. But time is running out ...

26 August 2011: Faster, colder, more dramatic cold spots!

The icy, invisible fingers of cold air enveloped me so briskly, it almost took my breath away. All I had done was open the door a little and the speed with which cold air entered and spread, with freezing tendrils, startled me. If it had happened in a haunted building I've no doubt that the idea of a ghostly cold spot would have come to mind!

Everyone knows that hot air is lighter (and less dense) than cold air. It is what causes convection, where hot air rises and is replaced by cold air below. What I had not appreciated until recently is that this effect can be dramatically increased if the hot air is also humid. That's because humid air is also less dense than dry air at the same temperature. It is a bit counter intuitive, because liquid water is clearly heavier than air and because humid air can feel 'heavier' when you breathe it. But when liquid water becomes water vapour, its molecules are lighter than the diatomic oxygen and diatomic nitrogen molecules they replace.

What about paranormal 'cold spots'? We know that anything that makes someone feel colder (the actual temperature need not drop in all cases) rapidly in a small locality can appear like a cold spot. This includes areas of colder air, moved by convection, touching someone's skin just like the 'tendrils' I felt in that humid room. Such convection is normally caused by warm air rising but it can also happen with humid air. And when you combine the two, where cool dry air replaces warm humid air, the effect is a more pronounced and chilling.

For this convection to happen, you need either a heat source, warming up the air, or a point of entry for cooler, drier air from another room or outside. This might happen, even with all doors and windows closed, if there is a gap around the door or missing insulation. It would be interesting to know if ghostly cold spots are reported more frequently (or are more noticeable) in warm, humid rooms than cooler, drier ones. Many cold spots are reported in already cold buildings but there could still be pronounced differences in humidity causing convection. And cold spots have also been reported in warm rooms. Kitchens and bathrooms could be particularly humid.

There are several other natural causes of cold spots. But, having felt it myself, I can perfectly understand how a dramatic apparent 'cold spot' could appear in a warm, humid room if cool dry air can get in somehow. The cold spreads so quickly that it could be seen as too swift a change to be caused by natural physical processes.

22 August 2011: When does a coincidence become paranormal?

She clearly knew me but I didn't know her! For a few embarrassed moments I stood there, bemused, offering non-committal answers while struggling to recall who she was. Then, at last, it hit me! We had been friends perhaps two decades before but had completely lost touch. We were meeting, completely out of the blue, despite living in quite different parts of the country.

What were the odds against such a chance meeting? I'd put them in the millions to one region though I may, as most people do, be overestimating. As statisticians constantly remind us, most people have no good grasp on the subject of odds at all.

But was the chance meeting paranormal? I would say no and so would most, if not all, others. It was just blind chance. But suppose I had dreamt of my old friend maybe just a few nights before. Many people would then consider the dream a premonition. And what if I hadn't dreamt about her but simply wished that morning for something special and surprising to happen that day. Would that be paranormal? It would be a more difficult case to make but some might still consider the subsequent meeting a paranormal event.

Consider another example, this time hypothetical. Suppose you have lost something very important to you. In desperation, you consult a psychic and they give you information that leads you to find the item exactly where they said it would be. Many people would consider that paranormal. But suppose, instead of consulting a psychic, you draw a plan of the area where the lost object might be, divide it up into squares and decide by a dice roll where to look next. And you find the object in the first square you try! Is that paranormal? Many people would say it was just luck.

So when does a coincidence become paranormal? Is it a question of odds? If you look at the chance of any individual dreaming of something that subsequently really happens, the odds can be quite high against it. However, if you consider the entire population of a country, numbered in millions, what are the odds that, purely by chance, SOMEONE will have a dream that then comes true? Now the odds are comparatively low. Indeed, it is likely that during any single night, one or two people somewhere in the UK may have a dream that subsequently comes true, by sheer chance.

That's fine but it doesn't explain the psychic finding your missing object. The odds are still high against it happening by pure chance. But so what? Even if the odds against something happening are high, it can still occur! Unless there is some physical law preventing an event then it can happen, even if the odds are stacked highly against it. What the high odds really mean is that the event only happens very rarely not that it is strange or paranormal. Even if the odds of me bumping into a friend I hadn't seen in 20 years are millions to one against, there was nothing to physically stop it happening. It was just two people happening to be at the same place at the same time.

Looking at the missing object example again, you may still ask, how did the psychic KNOW where the object was? But what if, in reality, they didn't KNOW at all! What if they guessed, not by throwing a pair of dice but by plucking a thought randomly from their own unconscious? The psychic may have had a vision but how do they know whether it was paranormal or simply something created by their own unconscious mind? And what if the psychic had been wrong? Would anyone consider they had used paranormal powers to get such an answer?

Whether a coincidence is paranormal has nothing to do with odds. It appears to be more to do with HOW the events unfolded. If the coincidence involved something like a dream, use of a psychic, some kind of divination or maybe a sighting of a ghost then it would be thought of as paranormal. It is the association with something paranormal that appears to make a coincidence look paranormal itself. Without that connection most people would say it is just blind chance.

This means that it is very difficult to decide if a single coincidence is truly paranormal. Just something paranormal was involved, it doesn't rule out blind chance. If, however, we were to witness a series of rare coincidences, all associated with same kind of paranormal phenomenon, it would be difficult to argue that it was blind chance. If our hypothetical psychic has a habit of finding lost objects, without any useful information to help, it starts to look truly paranormal.

I have not met any more long lost friends in the many years since that chance encounter, which suggests that it was not paranormal. We are all likely to witness one or two highly rare coincidences during our lifetimes. It is only if they keep happening that we should consider there might be something paranormal going on.

19 August 2011: Do hauntings cause ghosts?

Why do so many people think ghosts are spirits these days? Back when ASSAP was formed, few serious paranormal researchers thought ghosts were spirits. Popular ideas then included the stone tape theory, retrocognition, telepathy and even time slips. The reasons for this were simple. The evidence from ghost sightings then did not really support the idea of ghosts as spirits. It still doesn't!

I think the change stems mainly from a shift of focus from interviewing ghost witnesses (who've actually seen ghosts) to the investigators themselves (who largely haven't) who hold vigils in allegedly haunted locations. We are no longer looking at witness reports of actual ghosts to learn about them but instead exploring places where they may, or may not, hang out. Or might have hung out once in the distant past. It's a bit like studying crows by looking at a tree where they might, or might not, once have nested.

So instead of reviewing the evidence from ghost sightings, modern paranormal researchers try to capture evidence at haunted locations. A major problem with this approach is this - do ghosts even CAUSE haunting phenomena? There is surprisingly little evidence that they do! Firstly, ghosts appear only in a minority of haunting cases. Secondly, ghosts are never observed 'doing' haunting phenomena, like knocking on walls or moving objects. Thirdly, many ghost sightings are not accompanied by any haunting phenomena at all. The best we can say is that ghosts sometimes appear during hauntings. It is entirely possible that ghosts are just one of a series of effects caused by hauntings.

The big problem with the whole 'ghosts are spirits' idea is that it distorts how we analyse the available evidence. It is like starting half way down the road rather than at the beginning. So, going back to start of the road, what does the evidence imply? Firstly, we know people report seeing ghosts. We also know that people report recurrent weird events at a particular location - a haunting. We know ghosts sometimes appear during these hauntings, so there is clearly a connection. What we DON'T know, purely from the witness evidence, is the nature of that connection.

Consider this scenario. We know that people report more paranormal phenomena in 'spooky' locations ie. colder, darker, more humid, eerie-looking and so on. We also know that people can be psychologically 'primed' by prior experience to notice misperceptions (see 'a spectral hound' below). Many ghost sightings are caused by misperception. So, if someone becomes convinced they are in a haunted building, this may prime them not only to notice misperceptions but for those experiences to be interpreted as ghosts! In other words, the haunting may be CAUSING ghost sightings that would not otherwise occur. And the reason people misperceive ghosts in haunted locations is because they EXPECT them there from a prior belief that ghosts are spirits. The whole phenomenon becomes self-fulfilling.

So there is a plausible reason why hauntings may make witnesses misperceive ghosts. You could argue, of course, that surely the idea that ghosts cause hauntings is a simpler interpretation of the evidence. If there was any other compelling evidence that ghosts are spirits then I would agree. However, the whole idea that ghosts cause hauntings comes down to the idea that ghosts are spirits. Which is an assumption!

Notice how, when you drop the 'ghosts are spirits' assumption and simply look at the evidence, an entirely unfamiliar and excitingly novel picture emerges. If hauntings are NOT caused by ghosts then what are they really and what causes them? Now that is a truly fascinating question that hardly anyone is asking. But before we can explore that fascinating theoretical landscape, there is lots of work to do. For a start, only some ghost sightings are produced by misperception. So how do sightings produced by near sleep experiences and other causes fit in to the picture?

Clearly a lot of research is needed. But first we need to drop assumption-led methods used on ghost vigils that tell us little or nothing about the true nature of hauntings or ghosts. It seems that the methods used 30 years ago, when ASSAP first started, namely to try to record as much data about a case as possible, were not so bad after all.

17 August 2011: A spectral hound?

My pace quickened as I heard the heavy panting behind me. Nervously, I glanced behind and was astonished to see an empty street! Was I being pursued by some monstrous invisible spectral hound? This wasn't Dartmoor in a thick fog but a suburban street on a bright sunny day. Instantly, the menacing rapid breathing changed into someone hammering insistently in the distance, with lots of echo on surrounding buildings!

This happened recently. I only thought the sound was 'heavy breathing' because I'd just seen a huge hound, roaming free, which I hoped had not noticed me! Had I never seen the animal in the first place, I might have recognised the sound for what it really was straight away. Or more likely, I would never even have noticed it at all. It was an example of psychological suggestion. My brain had been primed to expect, or more accurately fear, that the huge hound might be following me.

We misperceive all the time but very rarely notice it happening - usually only when there is an obvious contradiction. Our brains constantly make educated guesses about things we do not see or hear accurately. It is only when such a guess is sufficiently horribly wrong to cause a contradiction that we notice it. My brain guessed at a hound because it had been primed to do so. When I turned round and saw nothing, there was a contradiction which was resolved straight away by a second guess - someone hammering in the distance! I only noticed the misperception because the idea of a huge hound behind me was disconcerting! We often only notice misperception when it is something we fear or desire!

On the very same trip I had another interesting example of suggestion. I was crossing a road and thought I saw a car moving. In fact, it was parked with no one in it! Had that object been a waste paper bin, I can guarantee I would not have seen it 'moving' at all. It was only because cars move and I was being hyper-vigilant while crossing the street that I thought momentarily the car was moving. Another misperception prompted by nervousness and suggestion.

It reminds me of several ghost reports where someone says they were followed by an invisible being or creature. While I doubt these reports were caused by someone hammering, they could, nevertheless, have had a more mundane explanation than a spectral entity.

Now, suppose I HAD heard a panting sound while out walking on Dartmoor on a foggy day. No, I'm just not going there!

PS: A decent obituary of Hilary Evans here.

11 August 2011: How partial explanations are worse than useless

Paranormal researchers are, by definition, looking at uncommon and often quite minor anomalies that nevertheless appear to defy our current understanding of how the universe works. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with this approach. There is a fine tradition in science of major new discoveries resulting from someone spotting something that 'did not quite fit' the existing consensus theory. But when paranormal investigators are offered only a partial natural explanation for something, they will quickly find cases or circumstances where it does 'not quite fit'. And since the point of anomaly research is to eliminate known natural causes, they will feel this actually strengthens their case for claiming something is indeed paranormal! So even where there IS a natural explanation for an incident or phenomenon, offering a partial version can, and often does, lead to its being wrongly rejected.

Take orbs, for instance. Most paranormal researchers now accept that orbs are bits of dust. However, this partial explanation leaves a lot of latitude for people who think orbs are paranormal to find all sorts of apparent exceptions. There are other key points to the 'orbs are dust' idea that need to be mentioned before it is a viable explanation. Firstly, orbs are out of focus, a point surprisingly few people bother to mention. If orbs were not out of focus, they would also not be circular. As anyone who has looked closely at domestic dust particles knows, most are linear fibres, not spheres. Secondly, the position of the dust particles relative to the camera is vitally important. Some people think that the dust is ON the lens of the camera and that cleaning it will therefore eliminate any 'non-paranormal orbs'. In reality, any dust on the lens of a camera never appears in the photo. If the lens is really dusty, the whole picture may appear slightly fuzzy but it still won't produce orbs. Without such key components, any explanation of orbs is worse than useless.

For more on this topic, see xenonormal studies. For the theory of orbs see here and to see how it explains all sorts of common and even uncommon objections, see here.

PS: Yet more MOD UFO files have been released - see here and here.

11 August 2011: Reaching the ASSAP website

It is possible that if you have visited the ASSAP website before and returned recently, you might be wondering if we are even the same organisation! After all, the look has changed radically and we have a new address! So, yes it IS still the same ASSAP, the one that's been around for over 30 years now, taking the weird seriously and investigating the seriously weird!

Although the ASSAP website has moved to www.assap.ac.uk, you can still reach us through the www.assap.org address as well
(existing links still work fine) . Both domain addresses are now owned by ASSAP and they point exactly to the same single website. I hope that clears up any confusion for people who are looking for ASSAP at the www.assap.org site and wondering what's going on.

8 August 2011: The sound of rushing air and the feeling of being dragged

There is a sound like rushing air, a slightly nauseous feeling of being dragged and one reality dissolves quickly into another. That's what it feels like when a microsleep with REM (MWR) experience finishes. It is, perhaps, the best diagnostic sign to realise what has just happened. You don't tend to to notice going INTO a MWR, just as you don't notice going asleep normally. This is the latest information I've gleaned from my contact who has these rare and weird experiences.

Interestingly, some of these feelings are also often experienced by people having out of the body experiences (OBE). This is not surprising as both phenomena are near sleep experiences involving our brains going into atypical sleep states. When OBEs finish, experiencers often feel they are being dragged back into their bodies. In MWRs there is a dragging feeling too. However, instead of the seemingly logical visual perception of going back into a body, the observer sees a bizarre dream scene which dissolves, without any pretence of logic, into everyday reality. Understandably, it produces a state of confusion for a second or two. Once you're used to it, however, apparently it doesn't feel too bad or weird. So someone having a MWR should be able to easily differentiate between the dream state and being fully conscious.

However some people, unfamiliar with near sleep experiences, might think they have been physically transported, in some weird unexplained way, from another place. They could see it as returning from an alien abduction or astral travel, depending perhaps on what they know about these concepts. If the dream sequence involves a different era, the experience could also be interpreted as a time slip. As with misperception, if you know about it before you experience it, you can understand what is happening to you. Few people know much about how misperception works and even fewer have heard of MWR. So, to most people, a paranormal interpretation of their experiences is not so unlikely or even unreasonable.

As paranormal researchers it is important that, when interviewing people, we look for clues that they may have had a near sleep experience, like a MWR (also characterised by being very short) or hypnagogia. These clues are often to be found in the way the experiences ended. The interviewee may not even remember this, given that it will not seem as important as the experience itself. Many interviewers, too, are so concerned with the content of the experience itself, whether it was an apparent ghost, alien or angel for instance, that they forget to ask the vital question, what happened next?

PS: Interesting new summary of his latest thoughts about Rendlesham from David Clarke here.

5 August 2011: You never forget your first triangular UFO

Triangular UFOIt's what they all want to see on skywatches. Flying saucers are so last century! The triangular UFO is the one to see! Luckily, I happened to have a video camera when I saw three orange lights floating silently through the night sky. They formed the vertices of a triangle outlining a jet black triangular area. I felt a kick of adrenalin as I saw them! If you want to see the video that resulted, go here. The photo, right, is a still from the video.

What I find amazing is that a conspicuous UFO can float across a built-up area and yet only one witness reports it. OK, if it's at night then most people would be indoors with the curtains closed. But there are always a few people walking the streets or driving around even in the small hours.

Maybe these other potential witnesses simply don't notice the big obvious UFO in the sky. Few people look up very much these days unless they hear a noise to attract their attention. So a silent UFO would need to be pretty spectacular to grab people's attention. Or maybe these people DO see the UFO but don't think anything of it. Maybe they realise it looks odd but aren't interested - not everyone finds anomalous phenomena fascinating. Or maybe they simply think it must be something 'normal' and feel they would be ridiculed for reporting it.

But even after taking these factors into account, if a conspicuously weird object floats across a city, you'd expect more than ONE person to report it. Sometimes they do and dozens or even hundreds phone the police or newspapers. But it is amazing how often there are just a handful of reports or even just one. Why would that be?

One obvious explanation is that the UFO is, in fact, a misperceived aircraft, balloon or some other normal aerial object. Other people don't report the object simply because they recognise it for what it is and not as an alien spacecraft. In a tiny number of cases, the object might even be a hallucination.

As for the remainder of the cases, they remain a bit of a mystery. I can only assume that the reasons I gave earlier for why people don't notice odd aerial objects may be largely responsible. It would be an interesting project for research.

3 August 2011: What would a photo of a ghost look like?

Shadow ghostI've personally examined hundreds of alleged ghost photos in detail. However, in all the ones I've looked at so far there was good reason to doubt that they showed an actual apparition. Many consisted of transparent human figures or other objects. Such photos are mostly cases of long exposure or camera shake. A major problem with such photos is that almost all ghost sightings by eye witnesses describe apparitions as looking perfectly solid and normal. There are good reasons for thinking that the tiny minority of transparent ghosts reported by witnesses, as well as partial figures, are probably mostly hallucinations, like near sleep experiences.

A better claim for a ghost photo is one where there is a solid human figure present that was not there at the time of exposure. However, this relies on human perception and memory. Maybe the person WAS there but the photographer either failed to notice them at the time or remember them later. As I pointed out in yesterday's post, it is easy to miss details in a scene, especially when your attention is taken up with taking a photo. There are even cases where a long exposure and lack of concentration can lead to ghostly 'spirit extras' in a photo that look perfectly solid but were not inside the original frame (see here).

Then there are orbs, mists, lights and shadows that, though they do not resemble human figures, are claimed by some to be ghosts when recorded in photos. Orbs can be explained, as can mists, both as photographic artefacts rather than anything paranormal. Various other artefacts produce shadows, light trails, vortexes and weird light shapes. Another major objection to all of these kind of photos is that they do not resemble the ghosts actually reported by eye witnesses.

So, what exactly WOULD a photo of a ghost look like? Many ghost sightings are produced by misperception or hallucination. We cannot photograph hallucinations YET but brain scanning technology may make this possible soon. You also cannot photograph a misperception as it is something taking place in someone's brain. However, you can photograph the object causing the misperception and sometimes, if you're very lucky, the resulting video (still photos lack the vital element of movement that is important to many misperception experiences) MIGHT produce a misperception in some people, at least for the first viewing. Try these two videos to see if they work for you - shadow ghost and snow ghost.

But what of paranormal ghosts? Well, if they exist they must be among the ghost sightings without obvious explanation. These are no different to other apparition sightings, consisting of fully solid looking human figures. So, assuming paranormal ghosts show up on photos, they should look like normal people! This raises the intriguing possibility that many of us already have photos of ghosts and don't even realise it!

So, if you wanted to get a photo of one of these paranormal ghosts, assuming it's possible, how might you go about it? One photo is never going to be enough because it could simply be a case of having forgotten there was a real person there all along. Instead, multiple photos taken at quick intervals, or better still a video, would be a better bet. A human solid figure appearing or disappearing in full view of a video could be good evidence for a ghost. A second video recording the same scene from a different angle would increase the evidential value hugely - sadly it is all too easy to use video effects to simulate this sort of image!

I've said before that I think by far the most important equipment to take on a ghost vigil is as many video recorders as you can afford! I think these thoughts about photographing ghosts tend to support that idea. And arranging the cameras in pairs to record the same scene would help too.

PS: I saw a real blackbird today next to the plant I described yesterday ('lost in plain sight'). It looked just like the plant, except it moved more!

2 August 2011: New ASSAP address - ASSAP.AC.UK!

ASSAP has moved web address! If you arrived from a bookmark or link you might not even have noticed. From today we are now at www.assap.ac.uk! While the old address will still get you here, please bookmark the new address!

2 August 2011: Lost in plain sight.

The blackbird was weirdly motionless. I'd never seen this species stand still for so long before. Gradually it dawned on me that it wasn't a bird I was looking at. Closer inspection revealed that it was a plant! What made this so weird was that I had looked at the same scene just minutes before and not seen any plant or bird in that position. It was a scene I very familiar with and thought I knew intimately. But that plant must have been around for days, at least. How could I have failed to notice it when it was now so large and obvious?

This trivial incident, which happened a few days ago, is the sort of occurrence from which a paranormal report can grow. I could have viewed the plant as an apport, suddenly transported there in the few minutes when I wasn't looking at the scene. After all, apports have to go somewhere! However, there was absolutely no reason to think anything paranormal was really going on. It looked like an ordinary plant that had just grown where it was.

The point of all this is that we miss so much detail of our surroundings as we go about our everyday lives. So we can suddenly notice something in a familiar scene for the first time even though it's been there for some time. In fact, it is possible to miss large changes to a scene even when we do not take our eyes off it (see change blindness). So missing changes when we look away is even easier and probably extremely common.

Many ghost reports feature distant human figures that just appear or disappear when the witness looks away briefly. This is usually taken as a sign of a paranormal phenomenon. In fact, in many cases it is much more likely to be that we simply don't miss changes in plain sight. Such 'quick' appearances and disappearances should not be taken on their own as a sign of something anomalous.

1 August 2011: Does seeing a UFO make you an expert in aerial phenomena?

I like to think I know what's going on in the skies above me. I have had, down the years, an active interest in astronomy, meteorology and natural history. As a result I've seen planets, satellites, meteors and funny-looking clouds among many other aerial phenomena. When it comes to birds, I can often assign the commoner ones to a particular species simply by seeing them flying by, even distantly. I'm also familiar with planes, helicopters and balloons though I don't have the expertise to identify them specifically. I can tell a civilian jet from a military one (I've been to air shows!) though I sometimes cannot tell a light aircraft sideways-on from a helicopter. There are also things I haven't seen. I've never knowingly seen a weather balloon or aurora, for instance. But I HAVE seen remote controlled model aircraft and sky lanterns.

So, overall, I 'd say I'm quite familiar with most of what it is possible to see normally in the skies. I'd go so far as to say I know the skies better than most people. Few people bother to look up as much as I do. Most of their interest is held by things on the ground, which understandable. Indeed, I myself really ought to know planes a lot better because I used to live near a popular airfield. But I can't remember taking much interest in the planes coming and going at the time so I still can't tell various light aircraft apart.

Occasionally, I come across people who've seen a UFO and are convinced it has no natural explanation, which is fine. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, such people will often state, with perfect confidence, that what they saw was definitely NOT an aircraft. Now while there can few people on the planet who've never seen a plane, there are are also very few who are experts in identifying the many different types. And yet, people with considerably less experience of aircraft than even me nevertheless feel confident enough to dismiss aircraft as an explanation. Even weirder, I've come across people who describe a sighting which sounds exactly like a sky lantern but who insist it definitely was NOT one. This is despite admitting they've never even seen a sky lantern!

I'm happy to acknowledge that these people have seen something they did not recognise. That does not, however, mean that it would not be recognised by someone else present at the time with more experience of various natural aerial phenomena. In essence, such witnesses are expecting us to believe that, because they've seen a UFO, they are suddenly experts in all natural aerial phenomena!

This looks like another example of a witness 'investing' beliefs in their experience. While this is perfectly understandable but it does mean such a person may be prone to confabulation. As anomaly researchers, we need to take witness's attitude into account. It does not mean we should reject reports from people with a heavy investment in their experiences, but we need to be particularly careful when reviewing their testimony.

For a review of paranormal research in the noughties, see here.

Last month's (July) website figures are an average of 12196 hits per day. This is vastly up on the previous month's 8512 daily average! The main reason is that, in mid-month, we got linked by a highly popular website and it generated a lot of hits for a few days.

ASSAP

Previous blog pages ...

  • 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 and naked eye orbs)
  • 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

© Maurice Townsend 2011