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'

If you want to know when there is a new post here without having to keep checking, and are a member of Facebook, like or follow the ASSAP Facebook community page at this link.

26 Feb: The bloody footprint

Dark skyI happened to look down recently and saw a bloody footprint on the carpet just in front of me. I was alone at the time and since I knew the footprint hadn't been there earlier I felt distinctly uneasy. Although I felt no pain I wondered if I'd had an accident. Then I wondered if I was somehow imagining it. But, no, I looked more closely and it was definitely there. It was bright red suggesting new blood.

Next I looked on the undersides of my feet. I was barefoot at the time so the most obvious solution to the mystery was that one of my feet was bleeding. Both feet looked perfectly clean, no sign of blood. The mystery remained! I was not wearing my glasses at the time (I am myopic) so I wondered if there were tiny traces of blood on my feet but I just couldn't see them.

So then I reached out and touched the bloody footprint. I was astonished to find that the footprint felt solid, rather than wet as I was expecting. In fact, I was able to pick it up! It turned out to be a bright red cord a few millimetres in diameter. It had fallen to the floor and just happened to adopt the shape of the outline of an adult human foot. If it was only an outline why did I think it was a bloody footprint, you might ask? Well, I have cut my foot by accident in the past and it often seems to leave footprints just of the outline, particularly if it is not the first one.

OK this was not paranormal but it showed how we can seriously misinterpret things we see. And such misinterpretations could be seen as paranormal. It was an example of a coincidence causing a strange looking phenomenon. Various factors needed to come together to produce the effect. If I'd been wearing my glasses I expect I would have seen what it really was straight away. But what are the odds of a blood red cord, of just the right length, just happening to be dropped in such a way that it forms the apparent outline of human foot? The ends even met so it looked like a looped cord. I know it was dropped, not placed there as a joke, because I was the one carrying it, with several other items, but hadn't even realized I'd dropped it. I was certainly convinced enough when I saw it to check my foot in case it was bleeding! I am sure many apparently paranormal reports of odd occurrences are the result of coincidences like this.

18 Feb: Searching for ghostly voices

GraphIn my last post I mentioned that I thought my acquaintance's (MA) "voice MWRs" (microsleep with REM - see here) might be memories of actual overheard conversations. MA often hears these voice MWRs when reading. A voice will be heard even though there is no one else present. Typically, it is just a few words which appear to be spoken to someone other than MA. So, I decided to do a bit of informal research to see if I could find any evidence to support my theory.

I decided, when on a shopping trip, to deliberately listen to any conversations I might casually overhear while walking around the shops. Here is what I found. Most people were too far away to make out more than the odd word. However, some people were close enough, or loud enough, to overhear a phrase or sentence. As well as conversation between groups of people another common source of overheard speech was mobile phone calls. I realised that I, in common with most people I imagine, simply filter out all this overheard speech normally.

I heard snatches of speech from a few words to a around a sentence in length. The words clearly were not addressed to me. The snatches of speech made perfect sense within themselves but, without any context, they sounded like random phrases. Interestingly, almost none of the snatches appeared to be about shopping. I only rarely heard more than one voice in the conversation (see here). Strikingly, all of these statements also apply to MA's voice MWRs!

So is MA overhearing conversations in everyday life and remembering them, all unconsciously? The fact that I overheard conversations when I deliberately listened to them demonstrates that it is possible. I do not normally pay attention to these overheard words but I clearly must hear them. I have mentioned here in the past that I can, sometimes, recall what someone has said to me by 'replaying' it in my mind. In this way I can recall more of the words than I originally heard. It only works for a few seconds and so is probably linked to working memory. But it shows it is possible to remember words unconsciously, at least for a while.

I think this experiment shows that voice MWRs MIGHT be unconsciously memorized fragments of real overheard conversations. Of course, that memory may, like all memories, not be terribly accurate. The brain may use a vague real memory to concoct a voice MWR that conveys the essential message of the original speech with different words. If someone who gets voice MWRs went round recording everything they heard all day, it might be possible to test the theory properly. Until then it remains a likely possibility.

12 Feb: Remembering ghostly voices?

fark sky"Comes a man who does’t recommend convenient foods". This comment was recently heard by my acquainted (MA) who gets microsleep with REM experiences (MWR - see here). It was said in an American accent. It was interesting because MA was reading at the time with no one else present. It was an article about an event in American history.

MA often gets such "voice MWRs" while reading but they are always nothing obviously to do with what is being read. Of course, the American accent could just be a coincidence but I suspect not. Regular readers will know I have a theory that MA's voice MWRs are actual memories of casually overheard conversations that MA cannot readily recall. That would explain their seeming randomness. Most people will have noticed how we can remember a seemingly random memory when prompted by a particular smell, sound or sight. Often the smell or sound did not play any significant part in the event recalled but was presumably present at the time. This is one of the oddities of human memory, that things can get linked so strongly that the experience of one naturally brings about the involuntary recall of the other.

As I said, MA frequently gets voice MWRs when reading. I think this is because something in the text brings back a linked memory of an of overheard conversation. The link is not often obvious. In this case maybe it was. Perhaps reading about American history prompted the memory of an overheard conversation involving an American. OK this may sound tenuous right now but if there are more similar examples in future it may help build a case.

To some people who get MWRs and are not aware of their natural explanation, voice MWRs could be interpreted as evidence of a nearby ghostly presence. I'd love to know how often people who hear ghostly voices are reading at the time.

4 Feb: The child that wasn't there

dark skyI noticed a man talking to someone in a parked car as I walked by recently. So what, you may rightly ask? Well, as I got closer I realised there was no one in the car! The man continued chatting as he walked away from the car. I then saw he was talking on the phone through wireless headphones that I hadn't previously noticed. I think he only stopped at the cart to look at his reflection in its window.

I had a similar odd experience in a restaurant a few months ago. A woman at a table a few metres away was talking to a child. The child was making a lot of noise which is why I noticed. I couldn't see the child so assumed it was under the table. I happened to walk near the table and noticed there was no child anywhere to be seen! But I could still hear it! Then I saw that the woman was talking to a laptop computer which I couldn't see when I was sitting down. The woman was making a video call to the child.

So what? In both cases I initially got a completely inaccurate idea of what was going on. And had I not got a closer view I might still have those wrong ideas of both situations. Now imagine I'd seen something that looked paranormal to me. Without a better view I might continue to be sure I'd seen something extraordinary though, in reality, it might have a normal explanation.

These two incidents both made a strong impression on me. I could see how easy it is to get completely the wrong idea about something you see. It makes me wonder about some of the extraordinary things that get reported. It is certainly a possibility to be considered when investigating paranormal cases.

© Maurice Townsend 2020


Previous blog pages ...

  • Jan 2020 (including are distracted people more likely to see see ghosts, on seeing disembodied legs)
  • Dec 2019 (including a couple disappear, talking fox, ghost without presence)
  • Nov 2019 (including multiple witness sightings, recording ghosts, reproducing a mini-OBE)
  • Oct 2019 (including how you know you've seen a ghost, ghost in an alley and a hi-vis jacket)
  • Sep 2019 (including instrumenting ghost vigils, are OBEs paranormal, day to night instantly)
  • Aug 2019 (including how do you recognise an OBE, ghost people, the unnoticed witness - a type of ghost experience)
  • Jul 2019 (including old style ghost vigils, fairy-like photos, tiny shadowt on roof)
  • Jun 2019 (including same ghost seen twice, am I a ghost, why so many ghosts)
  • May 2019 (including hidden ghosts, phantom building work, what should a ghost look like)
  • Apr 2019 (including witness testimony versus photos, can ghosts be photographed, the Vardoger connection)
  • Mar 2019 (including ghostly music, touched by a ghost, ghosts in hi-vis clothing)
  • Feb 2019 (including ghost appearing out of nowhere, hearing music when ghosts appear)
  • Jan 2019 (including staring ghost, are ghosts common, sense of presence, recognizing ghosts)
  • Dec. 2018 (including strange sound from sky, mocked by fate, comparing eye witness report and photo)
  • Nov 2018 (including another bolt from the blue, why aren't ghosts more common, seal in car)
  • Oct 2018 (including unseen in plain sight, street light interference, ghostly sounds - a purpose?)
  • Sep 2018 (including ghost crow, ghostliy sounds and attention overload, ghostly noises and day dreaming)
  • Aug 2018 (including how do you know when you're looking at a ghost, have ghostly voices stopped)
  • July 2018 (including new mini-OBE, 'sounds behind music' factors, followed by a ghost)
  • June 2018 (including hearing someone who isn't there, a bolt from the blue, when nothing happened)
  • May 2018 (including whether strange phenomena can evolve over time and the sleeping commuter phenomenon)
  • Apr 2018 (including should ghosts be commoner at night, book turns over instantly, 'garden poltergeist' returns)
  • 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