I’m fascinated by consciousness. Who are we? Why do we make the choices we make? Can we change who we are by changing our habits? Do psychic abilities really exist? Does any part of us survive death?
My husband and I belonged to WSPR (the Western Society for Paranormal Research) until it disbanded recently. I started out a skeptic, and ended a skeptic. (By “skeptic” I mean I’m someone who is open minded, but desires solid evidence that phenomena can’t be explained by “normal” means.)
The process we used to investigate was meant to help us be as objective as we could in a very subjective situation. Most of us would have no knowledge of what might be going on in the house/building. We’d go through each room individually so we wouldn’t take cues from each other’s reactions. We had at least one tech person checking for a variety of environmental issues. (For example: high electro-magnetic fields may stimulate the brain to either 1) be more receptive to paranormal phenomena, or 2) hallucinate.) It wasn’t like Ghost Hunters. It was sometimes rather tedious.
Despite my doubts, my responses had a fairly high degree of correlation with other people’s and with those who originally reported the phenomena. Unfortunately, my responses are nothing like you see on Medium or Ghost Whisperer. I didn’t have visions like some of the other participants. Mostly I just got vague “feelings.”
The most dramatic experience I had was on my first investigation. I had a dream in which I woke up to a sensation of evil crawling over my skin. I defied the spirit, shouting three times, “You can’t have us! ” The spirit left, and then I woke up for real.
Unfortunately I can’t put much stock in that experience, since I’d been contaminated — I’d read an article earlier that afternoon about Satan worship supposedly taking place in that building in the 1970’s, and I’d seen strange unidentified writing on the inside of the closet of the room where we were sleeping. I was primed for a nightmare.
Does being primed mean my experience wasn’t real? There’s no way to know. But it does mean it can’t be used as evidence of spiritual activity.
I went on about a dozen investigations over a decade. I’d just about decide there was nothing to any of this, and then some little thing would happen, some interesting correlation of responses that couldn’t be easily explained away would occur, and I’d have to question again.
And that’s where I am now. Still skeptical. Still questioning.