Timothy M. Harte and Debbie Lowery
Haunt phenomena, including RSPK (recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis) continue to be linked with fluctuations in the magnetic field and other energies associated with the electromagnetic spectrum, including infrared, visible and ultraviolet light, and vibration. This paper presents the phenomena, experienced by many researchers at the site, and the results of the investigations. It also describes a sampling period featuring an investigation by MESA (Multifrequency Energy Sensor Array): a laptop computer data acquisition system and sensor array that can measure these different types of energy (Harte, Black & Hollinshead, 1999; Harte, Black, Hollinshead & Mitchell, 2001). The energies are measured electronically and correlated by examination of graphs produced upon analysis. Haunt and RSPK phenomena include object movement, erratic functioning of electrical or mechanical equipment, the hearing of strange sounds including intelligible voices, unusual emotions such as sudden, inexplicable rage, physical complaints, physiological alterations, odd odors, sensed presences and the perception of visual forms.
A homeowner, Diane Senalik, originally contacted Troy Taylor of the American Ghost Society (web site http://www.prairieghosts.com/) in April of 2001 regarding anomalous activity at her residence. The home is located on eight acres of land, partially wooded. The age of the home is about 11 years, originally designed and built by her husband, Larry. Diane and Larry are the fourth owners of the plot of land, which has been recorded as occupied as early as 1821. Diane has lived in the home for about six years, and began noticing strange things the first night she stayed there. These strange things included doors slamming, the sound of footsteps, children crying, talking and laughing, the sound of objects being moved around in the kitchen and the continuous beating of a drum. Larry claimed he never experienced or heard any of these things. Diane's teenage daughter has had experiences similar to her mother. A young male child also had many experiences there and both children claim to hear their names being called by their mother, even though there mother had in fact not called them. The male child has an “imaginary friend” named Josh that he sees and plays with at times. The pets, one dog in particular, avoids the hallway and bedrooms in the home (the “west wing”) at all times. It is not unusual for this dog to stand at the entrance of the hallway and stare with the hair standing up on its back. He may growl, snarl or cower up to other people present. This “west wing” in general shows the highest level of activity, in particular the male child's bedroom.
Other anomalous activity noted includes erratic functioning of electrical equipment – usually a computer or cameras, sensed presences both in the home and elsewhere on the property, unexplained globes of light that have been seen and caught on both 35mm and 8mm film, transient cold and hot spots or other unusual changes in temperature, sudden intense mood changes in people, magnetic field fluctuations, and vestibular system alterations.
Five investigations conducted by a local ghost hunting group plus a sixth by the MESA team have produced some unusual results and subjective experiences as well. The investigations were conducted over a nine month period, from June 8, 2001 to March 23, 2002. They were initiated by the American Ghost Society and the Springfield Ghost Society (web site http://www.angelfire.com/il/ghostsociety/). Evidence continues to link magnetic field fluctuations, especially of static (non-alternating) magnetic fields, with processes underlying some haunt and RSPK phenomena (Persinger, 1983, 1988; Gearhart & Persinger, 1986; Persinger & Cameron, 1986; Radin & Roll, 1994, 1996; Roll & Nichols, 1999, 2000). “Ghosthunting” groups around the world continue to document and record strange globes of light, smoke, mist and fog-like anomalies on 35mm film, Polaroid film, Kodak infrared or black and white Tri-X film, as well as with digital cameras. The source of these apparent photographic and optical anomalies remains controversial – for more info, see the Internet web sites http://www.prairieghosts.com/, http://www.ghostweb.com/ and http://www.ghostinvestigator.net/photos1.html. These groups are also using magnetic field meters, laser thermal sensor guns, infrared video cameras, and even dowsing rods to locate, capture and document haunt phenomena ( http://www.newyorkghostchapter.com/ ). This research was extended by use of an assisted environmental measurement system called MESA (Multifrequency Energy Sensor Array) during an investigation. MESA can detect, measure and correlate electromagnetic fields (60 Hz) and static fields (0-0.5 Hz: the static field sensors accurately track changes in ambient magnetic flux with a period of no shorter than two seconds), electric and radio frequency fields, infrared, visible and ultraviolet light, temperature, vibration, galvanic skin response of a human subject, and other energies whose characteristics can be recorded electronically by connection of an appropriate sensor.
The first five investigations were conducted using groups of one or two people, to document haunt phenomena using 35mm film, 8mm video, camcorders, tape recorders, and laser thermal guns. On most of the investigations, the researchers experienced the aforementioned reported haunt activity such as moving orbs of light, sensed presences, mists, fog, forms mistaken for people and magnetic fluctuations on hand-held and computer-connected sensing equipment.
The first investigation conducted on June 8, 2001 revealed the age of initial recorded occupation of the property, which according to a deed is 1821. Investigators experienced sudden intense emotional responses of fear and anxiety, cold spots, glimpses of visual forms or mist, transient “hot spots” or feelings of a hot limb on an individual researcher, and unusual magnetic field readings on a handheld meter, both inside and outside the home. A brother of the designer/builder has also stayed on the property and related some unusual experiences, such as the sounds of little boy hollering and running, doors opening or closing, children crying, papers falling, a barbecue party with many people in the back yard from inside the home, strange pet behaviors, and sensed presences. Another follow-up investigation conducted on June 19, 2001 noted sensed presences and cold spots outside, in or near the wooded area where many researchers experienced anomalous activity.
On an investigation conducted July 7, 2001, visual images or forms were witnessed, along with sensed presences, batteries in 35mm film cameras inexplicably drained, and apart from the batteries, malfunctions of the cameras. Some fluctuations were noted on a magnetic field meter held while on the stairs inside the home, and a possible anomalous shriek from the woods was heard. The researchers believed the shriek may have come from a bird or other animal. Another researcher reported feelings of “pressure around his head” and other perceived visual images while inside the home. “Uncomfortable feelings” were felt by all of the researchers, especially while they were in the hallway and bedroom “west wing” area. This could have been a contagion effect, but these particular researchers had not been told about any particular areas where anomalous activity had previously been reported. Globes of light were also captured on 35mm still film.
On September 11, 2001, Diane reported that her son reported that “Josh” came into his room, jumped on his bed, and had a bowl of popcorn. Her son said he didn't want “Josh” to jump on his bed or wake him up any more. This was the first time in a long time he had seen “Josh.”
On July 28, 2001, another investigation noted sensed presence, visual images seen in the wooded area, a low growl heard saying “get out” emanating from the same wooded area, and erratic functioning of cameras and flashlights. Cold spots were felt, and at one point a reported unseen force knocked a flashlight out of a female researcher's hands. Several people heard something hit the flashlight before it went out of her hands. Another female researcher reported feeling as though she was pushed forward slightly by something unseen. Once again, globes or balls of light were seen in the young son's room. A blank slate was set up to see if any writing would appear on it. Nothing was seen on the slate afterwards.
On October 12, 2001, Diane reported that one of their dogs returned on this day, after being missing since September 14, 2001. She also reported a “ghost” dog in her home the same day. She referred to it as a “guardian angel” dog for the one that had returned. Using a digital camera, Diane also took several pictures showing globes of light, and she reported they seemed to be floating around her dogs at times.
On October 17, 2001, Diane again reported further strange occurrences in her home. First, a wedding ring came up missing and then reappeared. During the episode, a voice was heard that was mistakenly perceived as the designer/builder's, but he hadn't said anything. There was also some erratic functioning of a television when 11:22 appeared on the screen. This is the date Diane's first husband was killed in an auto accident. She seemed to be preoccupied with the dates of her first husband or her father's death.
On January 14, 2002, Diane took approximately 20 pictures with her digital camera, in her son's room. She reported she went through four sets of batteries, and did capture some globes of light in two different pictures of the room. The numbers on the pictures are also reversed, which Diane cannot explain.
On February 2, 2002, another investigation revealed the sound of footsteps out in the woods, orbs captured on different cameras, some orbs were seen and then photographed, which is unusual. A possible apparition was captured via 35mm film, outside the room of the young boy, but this could be a reflection of the flash against the wall. Cold spots, anomalous voices saying or calling for “mom,” and an orb that looks like a face (not captured on film). There was an unusual occurrence, once again, in the young boy's room. Three researchers and the young boy are in the room. A blind on the window mysteriously reopened after a researcher had closed it. The light also went off in the room before the blind opened again. Some experimentation with dowsing rods, digital cameras, and captured orbs was done, with some success. One researcher thought she saw the young boy run through the kitchen, but he was on the bed in his room the entire time. Another male researcher felt tightness, or heaviness in his chest. Later, he felt a voice phenomena (EVP) were captured on videotape. A small voice seems to mimic what the young boy and a researcher are saying, which sounds like “beep, beep.”
On February 8, 2002, Diane reported she heard a voice say, “sshhh” while the dogs barked outside. It was about 7:30 A.M. and no one else was home.
One February 28, 2002, Diane reported she heard a voice of a little girl singing, but she could not make out the words. It was not recorded, as it was 2:12 A.M. at the time.
On March 7, 2002, Diane thought she heard someone pass gas above the bed. Larry was sound asleep. She knew the sound didn't come from the bed. It came from above the bed. She then heard a female's voice say “mmmhmm” in “a giggly humorous way.” Diane reports, “I thought to myself 'this is just wonderful. Now they are farting in my face and laughing about it. I guess if they can produce a voice from the other side, they can produce gas too. At least they have a sense of humor, although I would prefer it in a different manner.'”
On March 23, 2002, an investigation was done with the Springfield Ghost Society and the MESA team. The MESA team was lead to the young boy's room without any knowledge of previous investigations. The MESA investigation focused on a specific SW corner of the room, in which all the sensors were placed ina a 3 by 3 foot section. The sensors used include infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light; vibration, 60 Hz electromagnetic field (Tri-Field Meter) sensor, and three orthogonal magnetic field sensors. The sensors are connected, using BNC connectors and coaxial cables, to an analog-to-digital converter box. The software on the MESA laptop computer is capable of analyzing the data on the computer itself. A sampling rate of 40 times per second was chosen, as this has been used in all the previous experiments. Other technical details can be seen in other publications (Harte, Black, Hollinshead, & Mitchell, 2001; Harte, Black, Hollinshead, 1999).
We expect to find significant fluctuations at haunt sites. This would be on perhaps more than one sensor/channel, and that there might be a correlation across different energy spectra. A “significant change” was defined previously (Harte, Black, Hollinshead, & Mitchell, 2001) as a change in the magnetic fields of 700 nanoTesla (nT).
Channel 1: Infrared light. The graph begins with a level of 349.83 lux, and varies down at 0.4 hours to 322.92 lux. (see Fig. 1).
Channel 2: Visible light. There is a level of 5382 lux, with spikes after 0.2 hours to 5920 lux (see Fig. 2).
Channel 3: Ultraviolet light. No ultraviolet light was recorded in the room. The graph shows an adjustment at 0.3 because of researcher error on the A/D box setting. Disregard this graph (not shown).
Channel 4: (60 Hz) Tri-Field Meter. This meter recorded a constant level of appropriately 10 nanoTesla (nT) and one slight jump just after the 0.4 hour mark with a 20 nT level (see Fig. 3).
Channel 5: Vibration. This sensor shows one slight variation between 0.2 and 0.4 hours. This could be normal vibration caused by people outside the room (see Fig. 4).
Channel 6: Static magnetic field meter (WEST). It begins at -750 nT and then up to -600 nT before a dip to -750 again. Then there is a gradual rise from 0.023 hours to almost +400 nT. A sudden dip occurs at 0.4 hours to approximately -300 nT. Then there is a sudden fluctuation up to 0 nT, and back approximately +600 nT (see Fig. 5).
Channel 7: Static magnetic field meter (UP). This sensor shows a constant level of +1191 nT (not shown).
Channel 8: Static magnetic field meter (NORTH). This sensors also shows a constant level of +1191 nT (not shown).
35mm, digital, and digital video cameras recorded globes, mist, and fog-like anomalies, both inside and outside the home, throughout the evening. Some researchers experimented with different flash and light levels in the hallway, and also recorded some unusual globes of light. Several researchers reported feeling a sensed presence, and “uncomfortable” feelings in the hallway of the “west wing.” Some object movement was noted by one of the researchers, of a soda can and a pair of shoes. These items mysteriously appeared after the experiment with MESA was completed, in the hallway.
This is a single case study of one house, multiple investigations, to document and verify haunt and/or RSPK phenomena. It would be interesting to continue documenting and study this house, especially since the owners are open to these investigations. Diane, and perhaps her young son are also a part of the dynamic, with some RSPK activity occurring.
The results with infrared light from are a bit strange as there was no source of heat or infrared light in the room. As far as visible light, the researchers thought this was unusual because they didn't see the light fluctuate while setting up the equipment. Careful analysis of the video will need to be done to determine what caused this, or if it occurs naturally as 60 Hz hum/interference. One researcher mentioned this could be from the furnace turning on and off, causing the light to dim and come on again.
The Static magnetic sensor pointing WEST recorded the most unusual readings. This might be causing some of the haunt phenomena in the area, or perhaps throughout the whole property. It could cause a feeling of sensed presence, in the young boy's room. More research with MESA is needed at this site, perhaps in other locations, to see if the energies present fluctuate at other areas.
One explanation we cannot overlook is that Diane and her son might be the cause of some of the phenomena. This would mean a possible RSPK explanation. Yet it does not explain the phenomena that occur outside, in the wooded area.
Gearhart, L., & Persinger, M.A. (1986). Geophysical variables and behavior: XXXIII. Onset of historical poltergeist episodes with sudden increases in geomagnetic activity. Perceptual and Motor Skill, 62, 463-466.
Harte, T.M., Black, D.L. & Hollinshead, M.T. (1999). MESA: A new configuration for measuring electromagnetic field fluctuations. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 31, (4) 680-683.
Harte, T.M., Black, D.L., Hollinshead, M.T., & Mitchell, D.E. (2001). MESA: Multi-energy sensor array in a baseline vs. haunt site. Proceedings of the 44th Annual Convention, Parapsychological Association. August 2-4.
Persinger, M.A. (1983). Mystical and religious experiences as artifacts of temporal lobe function: a general hypothesis. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 57, 1255-1262.
Persinger, M.A. (1988). Increased geomagnetic activity and the occurrence of bereavement hallucinations: evidence for melatonin-mediated microseizuring in the temporal lobe? Neuroscience Letters, 88, 271-274.
Persinger, M.A., & Cameraon, R.A. (1986). Are earth faults at fault in some poltergeist-like episodes? Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 80, 49-73.
Radin, D.I., & Roll, W.G. (1994). A radioactive ghost in a music hall. Proceedings of the 37th Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association. University of Amsterdam.
Radin, D.I., & Roll, W.G. (1996). A study of five Scandinavian castles. Electonic Journal of Parapsychology, http://www.psy.uva.nl/resedu/pn/ejap/1996.4/inv_res.html#drag
Roll, W.G., & Nichols, A. (1999). A haunting at an Army post. Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association. 253-270.
Roll, W.G., & Nichols, A. (2000). Psychological and electromagnetic aspects of haunts. Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association. 364-378.
www.angelfire.com/il/ghostsociety (2001) Internet web site.
www.ghostweb.com (1999) Internet web site.
www.newyorkghostchapter.com (2001) Internet web site.
www.prairieghosts.com (1996) Internet web site.
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