ASSAP: Paranormal Research
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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. 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. 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)

ASSAP @ 30: A series of posts summarising what we have learned through thirty years of ASSAP, whose anniversary was 10 June 2011. See here!

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

2 October: Unfamiliar recall

Crows in a treeWhile at Seriously Spooked, I saw someone (let's call them A) that I recognized instantly. I was also sure I'd never met A before. I decided I must have seen their picture on the web. Except, I couldn't think where. A's identity was later confirmed to be who I thought it was. So, how could I recognise someone I'd never seen before, even in a picture? Maybe it was a psychic insight.

I was discussing this puzzle with someone else when they pointed out that A had actually been at Seriously Strange, about a year before. That's when I started to remember that I HAD indeed seen A at Seriously Strange. In fact, I'm now pretty sure I'd actually spoken to A there. So, mystery solved. But then something struck me.

I have mentioned before how people who recall facts, without being consciously aware that they knew them before, may well consider themselves psychic. I have always excluded myself from that group of people because I have a terrible memory! I'd assumed that cryptomnesia is a phenomenon associated with people can remember a great deal of information, some of which perhaps gets 'misfiled'. But now I'm wondering if it's the other way round completely.

I was able to recognise A but could not recall why. I might still think it a possible psychic insight had I not, by chance, mentioned the event to someone else who was able to fill in some gaps. If I'd had a good memory, on the other hand, I would probably have known instantly why I recognized A.

Later at Seriously Spooked, someone asked me a technical question concerning a subject which I don't know well. Instead of saying 'I don't know', I confidently supplied an answer. It felt right at the time but later I wondered if I'd made a fool of myself. So I looked up my 'answer' and discovered I was completely correct! Even though I can't recall how I came by the information. I think it is probably another example of cryptomnesia. I think that some word or phrase in the question acted as a key to a memory I didn't realise I had. That might be why I felt oddly confident in my answer.

It would be interesting to test the memory capabilities of people who get apparent psychic insights versus the general population. I think you can guess what result I would predict.

Regular readers may recall a song called xenonormal (see here). Now there's another musical piece sharing the name.

1 October: Seriously Spooked

Seriously SpookedASSAP's Seriously Spooked conference, held last Saturday at Aston University, could have been entitled 'an alternative view on ghosts'. But why?

When ASSAP was formed, and for a while after that, the number of people actively investigating ghosts was relatively small. Within that community one of the most popular ideas was that ghosts were some kind of recording somehow imprinted onto the local environment (see here). Another view, fairly widely held, was that there were many different causes for ghost sightings that varied from case to case. Surprisingly few members of the ghost community thought that any ghosts were spirits for the simple reason that there was no compelling evidence from investigations.

Today, of course, the ghost investigation scene has changed out of all recognition. Far more people are involved and the majority take the view, popular among the public, that ghosts are spirits as a given. This is, no doubt, why assumption-led techniques are widely used. Witness interviewing is now much rarer with the emphasis on ghost vigils.

But there are still a small number of people who persist with the 'old' ideas and techniques of investigation. There is a good reason for this. In spite of all the vigils going on, there remains no compelling evidence that ghosts are actually spirits (see here). This group of people effectively form an 'alternative' ghost investigation scene. Many of them are highly experienced, having investigated for decades.

Members of this 'alternative scene' continue researching in their own way. Despite their small numbers, progress is still being made in ghost research. For instance, we have always known, through investigations, that a high proportion of ghost cases are caused by misperception. However, a central mystery remained - how could a witness see details, such as hair colour and clothing when they were, in fact, looking at a poorly-seen tree stump? We now that the visual substitution does this trick. Witnesses really do SEE 'details' about figures because their own brains add them to their visual field. Once this was realised it became obvious that an even greater proportion of ghost cases could be explained in this way. Many others are explained by hallucination and coincidences. There still remain, however, a small proportion of intriguing well-documented cases that are not explainable by these causes.

So Seriously Spooked was mainly for those people who have taken the 'alternative' path to ghost research, or maybe would like to. It was reassuring to see that the 'alternative scene' is thriving.

PS: For more on what actually happened on the day read one person's view here.

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

Last month's (September) website figures are an average of 18285 hits per day. This is significantly up on the previous month's 16693 daily average.


Previous blog pages ...

  • Sep 2014 (including paper defying gravity, low flying UFOs, photographing ghosts, movonmg 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

© Maurice Townsend 2014