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'

28 November: Ghost fox

Night foxI was looking out of an upstairs window recently at night. I noticed a fox on the opposite side of the road outside trotting along the pavement. It reached a point maybe 20m away and stopped. I waited to see what it would do next. I gradually became aware that it was no longer there, despite having watched continuously and not seen it move. I waited a while but then a pedestrian walked by so close to the 'fox' that they would undoubtedly have made it move had the animal still been present. So, a fox ghost then!

I was astonished by this incident. I could not believe I had manage to 'lose' a fox I had in plain view. Admittedly, the area where the animal went 'missing' was less well lit than most of the surrounding area. I think this was a special kind of misperception. I've come across other instances with birds (I am a keen birder). On many occasions I've seen a bird 'land' in a bush only for there to be no sign of it when the area is examined with binoculars. In reality, the bird flew INTO the bush rather than landing on it. It is a case of expectation causing misperception. With the fox, I believe it never stopped where I thought it did but instead went behind a nearby car out of sight. Because I EXPECTED it to carry on in a straight line, that's what I saw. And because I could no longer see any movement, I 'saw' the fox come to a standstill. Obviously, this kind of misperception would never occur in good viewing conditions, such as daylight.

So this is a different kind of misperception based on expectation. The way the fox 'vanished' was interesting. At one moment I was convinced I could see it. Then it was just no longer there, replaced by poorly-lit paving slabs. Anyone not aware of misperception might certainly have seen this as a fox vanishing. Indeed, that was just how it felt to me at the time and it was oddly disturbing. Solid objects are not supposed to vanish in plain sight.

PS: Fijavan Brenk has translated part of the ASSAP blog into Hungarian here!

16 November: Strange small figure

Shadow figureIn the photo (right) you may notice a small dark figure. It is just beyond the right-hand side of the bush in the centre of the photo. The figure was visible to the naked eye at the time, as well as in the photo. However, even before I took the photo, the object no longer looked like a human figure.

There are several things wrong with the 'figure'. Firstly, it is unusually dark for a human figure. That doesn't rule out some sort of shadow ghost, of course. A second objection is that at the apparent distance of the figure it would incredibly small for a human.

Looking more closely at the 'figure' it turned out to be a cluster of leaves attached to the bush by a couple of thin twigs from above. The twigs are not visible from a distance. Together, the leaves block more light than the nearby single leaves. That is why the cluster appears so dark. Finally, the leaf cluster just happens to produce a shape resembling the proportions of a human figure.

Had I taken the photo without noticing any 'figure' at the time I might later, on examining the picture, have thought it was a strange human figure - a miniature shadow ghost perhaps. In most anomalous photographs nothing unusual is noticed at the time of exposure.

10 November: Haunting noises

VigilRecently I entered a familiar building that I expected to be empty. Straight away I heard sounds from inside that suggested someone was there. I said 'hello' in a friendly way but there was no reply. I felt uneasy as it suddenly reminded my of a scene from a horror movie. And I knew what usually happened next!

I told myself to stop being silly and cautiously went to investigate. I entered the room where the noises came from and there was no one there! So, a ghost then! After a while I heard the noises again. Yes, you've guessed it, they came from that new fridge I wrote about recently (see here). It was a different noise this time but was undoubtedly coming from the fridge. The sound did gave a vague impression of objects were being moving around. Despite that I was puzzled by why the sounds gave me the strong impression someone was present when I first heard them.

I think at least part of it was that the sound source was round a corner, out of sight. So how different would it have been if the fridge had been visible when I first heard the noises? I could have immediately visually ruled out the presence of a real person. And I would have been able to hear that the noises came from the fridge, so also ruling out the possibility of a ghost. There is more about how noise coming from round corners in this article (here) about paranormal sounds.

So I've now been caught out twice by the same appliance! If I hadn't definitely tracked the noises down to the fridge I might well consider the building haunted by now.

I've learnt two lessons from this experience. Firstly, I can easily appreciate now how unfamiliar noises in a familiar environment can produce a feeling of a ghostly presence. Secondly, people really do say 'hello' when they enter what they think is an empty building and hear sounds they think show they're not alone. I thought it only happened in horror movies.

2 November: Knock knock

House with internal noisesWho's there? A ghost perhaps! I was alone in a building I know well. It was silent. Then I heard a loud single knock. I assumed something had fallen down in an adjacent room and went to investigate. Finding nothing out of place, I went back to my original position. A little later I heard the same single knock sound. Once again I investigated and found nothing to explain it. Maybe it was a haunting sound (see here for more on such sounds).

This time I decided to stay where the sound appeared to originate to see if I could hear it again. After a while, there it was. I now realised the sound was unmistakably coming from a fridge. Interestingly, it was a new fridge. I was used to the sounds of the old fridge it replaced and no longer really heard them at all. But the new fridge produced different sounds that appeared obtrusive.

This is a variation on the 'new house effect' (see here). Do you remember the last time you moved house (or flat)? Do you recall a moment when you woke up in the middle of the night in your new house, perhaps not quite sure where you were? Did you hear a distant knock or a loud creak nearby that caught you by surprise? Was there a shadow on the wall of your room that looked unfamiliar and even faintly sinister? This is the new house effect. Until you get used to the peculiar sounds and sights (and even smells) of your new house, they can seem a little disturbing, particularly in the middle of the night when the relative quiet outside can appear to magnify them. If the creaks and knocks are particularly loud and frequent it might even sound as though there is 'someone else' in the house with you. And if you're alone, that could lead you to think that the house is haunted.

What hadn't occurred to me until now is that even introducing some new item of equipment could set off a new house effect in an otherwise thoroughly familiar property. Anything that can produce noises without human intervention, like a fridge, could easily give rise to 'ghostly sounds'. It's not quite a case of a haunted object but certainly an object that can give the impression that a haunting is happening. Anyone investigating odd noises in a haunting case might consider checking if anything has changed in the physical environment of the affected premises recently.

Last month's (October) website figures are an average of 15982 hits per day. This is up on the previous month's 15261 daily average.

© Maurice Townsend 2016


Previous blog pages ...

  • 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