Putting the theory to the test
The VGHRS Audio/EVP expert Jim Hale has devised an instrument to measure infrasound. The instrument uses a commercial seismograph transducer that converts low frequency vibrations into an electrical signal. This electrical signal is amplified and fed into an oscilloscope which provides a visual display of the waveform thus revealing its frequency and relative amplitude. The VGHRS has used this infrasound instrument in an investigation of the Byrd Theatre in Richmond, VA. During the course of the investigation, Jim Hale experienced several “kicks” to the back of his seat in the theatre when no one was around. Notably, infrasonic waves were registe#730400 on the oscilloscope for each “kick”—perhaps indicating that infrasound may be responsible for more than just hallucinations and “creepy” sensations. The VGHRS will continue to test for infrasound at future investigations as possible to collect more data.
THEORY # 2: Electromagnetic Waves Affecting the Brain
This theory was first introduced by Michael Persinger. He is the Professor of Psychology and head of the Neuroscience Research Group at Laurentian University, Ontario, Canada. His theory is that the sensation commonly described as “having a religious experience/paranormal experience” is merely a side effect of our bicameral brain’s feverish activities. Simplified considerably, the idea goes like so: When the right hemisphere of the brain, the seat of emotion, is stimulated in the cerebral region that is presumed to control notions of self; and then the left hemisphere, the seat of language, is called upon to make sense of this nonexistent entity, the mind generates a “sensed presence.” Dr. Persinger believes such cerebral “fritzing” is responsible for almost anything one might describe as paranormal, incuding aliens, heavenly apparitions, past-life sensations, near-death experiences, awareness of the soul, and so on. Experimental subjects who were exposed to a specific series of pulses from TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) described feeling an invisible presence near them or feeling connected to the whole world.
The experience of an "other worldly experience" is well-documented in the neuroscientific literature. It tends to happen to people who are capable of vivid imagery and who are under some sort of stress -- anything from lack of oxygen and food to a recent bereavement. Such experiences are thought to be trigge#730400 somehow in the temporal lobes, those parts of the brain around and above the ears.
Putting the Theory to the Test: M.A.T.I.S.
The VGHRS routinely conducts EM surveys of all of the property/buildings that we investigate, including initial investigations if at all possible. Typically, we ask that the electricity to the building beshut off ann wait 20-30 minutes for any residual energy to settle before the survey is conducted. We then use a Trifield meter to measure EM waves throughout the location. If an EMF spike or unusually high EM activity is recorded, we first look for natural explanations such as nearby power lines. Jim Hale gave birth to M.A.T.I.S - the Magnetic Anomaly Tracking and Identification System (read more about it here) This system presently measures infra#730400 (IR), visible (Vis), and ultraviolet (UV) light; geomagnetic (0-0.5 Hz) static electromagnetic fields; 60 Hz dynamic electromagnetic fields from wiring, vibration, and galvanic skin response of a human subject. If Dr. Persinger’s theory holds true, then one might except to find high levels of EM at a reportedly “haunted” location. The VGHRS is still collecting data to assess this theory.
Putting the Theory to the Test: The Brain Fritzer
See our techology page for more info about the Brain Fritzer
During Halloween of 2004 the VGHRS gave a presentation at the Chesterfield Historical Society's Spirit Walk at Magnolia Grange - (you can read about it here) - and had a number of people try out the Brain Fritzer. The results were exactly as we had expected - once we pulsed at least 40 hz through and around their temporal lobes people began to have the same experiences/symptoms they have before/during a paranormal experience. The VGHRS/CPRI hopes to do more research to try to pinpoint exactly how this works. Initial results look very promising.
On a side note: Dr. Persinger theorizes, for example, that just prior to earthquakes there are deformations in the natural EM field caused by the intense pressure change in subsurface tectonic plates. This might explain why some researchers have noted that when local geomagnetics conditions are ACTIVE, people often report increased levels of paranormal activity (hence, the reason for “Ghost Weather”" on our website)
THEORY # 3: Haunted People
The VGHRS has noticed a trend in the type of people that report paranormal phenomena. We are trying to figure out why some people experience a lot of paranormal phenomena and others experience none.
Putting the Theory to the Test:
Bobbie Atristain is currently conducting both online and telephone surveys to figure out if there is a common thread that all of the "haunted" people have in common. If you would like to read more about this project please click here.
THEORY # 4: PROJECT HAWKEYE
Jim Hale, the Audio/EVP/PCFTD Expert for the VGHRS is conducting a landmark experiment - Project Hawkeye. This project will explore the realm of ultraviolet photography using the Kodak Brownie camera and special film that DOES NOT cut out ultraviolet light. Jim believes that ultraviolet light may be responsible for not only strange images on film but also strange "chirping" sounds in EVP recordings. Jim is working on a website that explains this theory in more detail - it will posted soon.
Putting the Theory to the Test
Details to be released soon.
THEORY # 5: Histamine and its receptors' role in paranormal phenomena
There has been evidence to suggest that the neurotransmitter Histamine may play a role in people who have a LOT of paranormal experiences. Well known parapsychologist Dr. William Roll has suggested that allergies such as hay fever and sinus problems seem to accompany people who have a lot of "psychic" ability - therefore leading to more paranormal experiences. CPRI Researcher Bobbie Atristain also noted this correlation when conducting surveys for her "haunted people" research (http://www.virginiaghosts.com/bobbies_research.php).
Putting the Theory to the Test:
Bobbie Atristain is working on a set of metrics in order to create a survey to be conducted in conjunction with various mental health departments around the state. She is also working on a formal research proposal which will be made public via the website once it is completed.