Wednesday, 27 July 2016

BRITISH TOWNS & CITIES: #1 - A BRIEF, CURIOUS LOOK AT BRISTOL


Broad Street, near to Bristol Bridge - the earliest, historical area of Bristol and from where it gets its Medieval name of Brigstowe, or 'Stone Bridge'.


In recent years the centre of historic Bristol has altered with some key modernisation, yet many parts of my birth city retain an antique atmosphere – including numerous tales of the paranormal. 
    One such location, at the end of cobbled King Street, is the ‘Llandoger Trow’.  Originally built in 1664, this pub lies in King Street, Bristol, right by the river.
There have been many accounts of paranormal activity here since it was built, but the most common occurrence is that of a disabled ghost who walks around the pub.  People have often heard the sound of one foot being placed down on the floorboards, followed by the dragging sound of a lame foot.
Occasionally the footsteps will be accompanied by the sighting of a young boy, who seems not to have the use of both his legs.  Sometimes the limping appears with the apparition of an older man – whether this is the same person as a boy and grown up is debateable – or it could be two separate individuals.
It has been reported that the name of the limping boy is Pierre.
Footsteps have been heard all over the pub and these have often been captured by paranormal teams in recent years. 
Torches and lights have also been turned on and off during investigations.
Security cameras have picked up two men who sit in the pub long after closing hours (usually one in the main bar and another in the Jacobean Bar at the same time). 
The pub has been claimed to house 15 ghosts over the centuries.
The Llandoger Trow

    Further along King Street, the impressive ‘Theatre Royal’, built in the 1760’s, still receives appearances from the famous actress, Sarah Siddons, (1755-1831).  In 2012, eighteenth century manager Sarah Macready showed up during renovations, smiling sweetly at one of the workers before promptly disappearing. Indeed, it may have been one of the Sarah’s who frightened a sceptical security guard in the 1980’s, firstly by causing his Alsatian dog to freeze in panicked terror on a routine patrol, just before the arrival of an overpowering scent of lavender and accompanied by the disembodied words ‘Get out!’ from an insistent, female voice. 
Both terrified guard and dog duly obliged in record time.
 
  Along with the ‘Llandoger Trow’, several Bristol pubs have been known for offering more than liquid spirits. 
The now-demolished ‘Lamb Inn’ in West Street, Bedminster, was subject to an unruly poltergeist throughout the whole of 1761 – hurling glasses and furniture at both patrons and staff. 
Not to be outdone, the medieval ‘White Hart Inn’ near the main bus station, has also experienced poltergeist activity in its time (plates and crockery being the projectiles of choice), alongside a former barman who occasionally makes guest appearances in the cellar.
Meanwhile in the oldest part of the city, near Bristol Bridge, ‘The Rummer’ sees visits from a ‘White Lady’ who roams the upstairs bar, while a young man with dark hair does regular shift-work within the pub’s cellar.
The ‘Post Office Tavern’ on Staple Hill has also attracted attention, due to the arrival of floating lights and odd aromas, complete with phantom footsteps. 

    Away from the bustling city centre, ghostly tales are equally common.  A man approaches strangers in Stapleton Woods, as if to ask a question, before passing right through them.  Perhaps the ghost is trying to ascertain why another spectral man has been seen hanging from the overhanging branch of a tree in the woods? 

Near Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s ‘Clifton Suspension Bridge’ – itself the scene of apparitions from poor, suicidal souls who have leapt from its 331 feet height – lies the eleventh century Ashton Court.  Now, best-known for the annual Balloon Festival, until 1946 it was the ancestral home of the Smyth family.  Here, the apparition of a young lady with a knife protruding from her chest (possibly also the young lady who wanders through the Great Hall) joins forces with odd, misty figures hanging motionless from surrounding trees, a tool-throwing poltergeist (objecting to some improvements in the main house during 1960) and a headless horseman, roaming freely amongst the 850 acre grounds.
In Clifton, a monk in black wanders around All Saint’s Church in Pembroke Road (one of many monks still seen in Bristol), while, in 1840, an adjoining house was so badly haunted by the spirit of an elderly man that the owners tried jumping out of an upstairs window to escape the spectre.
Nearby, a horrific haunting was inspected by the prominent Bristolian paranormal investigator, Montague Summers (1880-1948), when a large Clifton house was terrorised by the apparition of a young, hunchbacked girl, who had spent a pitiful, tormented life in the house, working as a maid. When a family of five bought the house in the early twentieth century, they were subjected to a frightening series of visitations from the hunchbacked girl throughout the house, attired each time in a dirty, pink dress and wearing a hideous smirk.  Once, chased by a braver-than-average daughter, the search ended in an empty, lower room.  Returning upstairs, the daughter was horrified to see the pale, floating head of the girl through a window, some thirty feet above the ground and grinning back at her.
Needless to say, the family soon left. However, future occupants fared no better.

My home city is also responsible for my personal interest in the paranormal, as it provided a pair of key locations to peak my interest during my much younger years; namely two of the houses I grew up in during the 1970’s & 80’s.  Firstly, a shop at the lower end of St. Michael’s Hill, opposite the church caught my attention as a child, when an older man would tend to walk up from the old cellar and wander around the house; including my bedroom.  While his introduction was lengthy (a lot of footsteps and tuneless whistling) his disappearance was instant.  Furthermore, a house in Downend Road, Horfield – not far from the current home of Bristol Rovers FC – yielded several interesting experiences, including apparitions, footsteps and disembodied voices.  At one time, the land was owned by a religious order, which may have explained the partial apparition of a happy-looking monk. 


Over towards the southern bit of the city, at Arnos Vale cemetery, the apparitions of two separate ladies have been spotted over the years, along with the sound of mournful crying.  Meanwhile, back in the upmarket area of Clifton, a house in Bellevue has been party to odd movements of a poltergeist style, complete with eerie noises, while Durdham Downs in the same area of Bristol was once well-known for appearances from a highwayman and a dwarf…perhaps the same person in the spectral form of an 18th century outlaw called Jenkins Protheroe.   

Like any large city with a long history, Bristol has many more curious tales to discover and these tales are merely a taster of my favourite city.  
And yes, I am totally biased. 

Looking towards 'The Portway', beneath Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Suspension Bridge.  Leigh Woods is to the left, said to have witnessed Brunel's apparition in former years.



Tuesday, 21 June 2016

A CURIOUS GLANCE AT HISTORICAL EXAMPLES OF 'ELECTRONIC VOICE PHENOMENA' (E.V.P.) - PART I: TESLA TO JURGENSON (1890'S - 1950'S)

WHAT IS E.V.P., WHAT IS ITS HISTORY AND WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE?


E.V.P. is an abbreviation for 'Electronic Voice Phenomenon'.  
It is also a part of I.T.C. - 'Instrumental Transcommunication' - which basically covers every form of attempted communication between the living and the physically dead that can be recorded upon a machine.
E.V.P. is the part that focuses purely upon audio recordings, claiming to have captured the voices of people who have passed away.

So, how far back can E.V.P.s be traced?  
It's probably common for people to associate E.V.P.s with more recent technology, especially as most of them currently appear to originate from modern voice recorders, as seen often on paranormal television programmes.
However, there is evidence to suggest that the first disembodied voices were picked up much earlier, as far back as the 1890's, when pioneering, curious minds were engaged in the exploration of early radio.
If we examine the notes made by two prominent and gifted scientists - namely Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla - there is mention of unusual, disembodied voices by both parties.
Although an originally strong sceptic of all things spiritual and other-worldly, Tesla persisted with experiments to discover the source of such voices. 
In 1918, Tesla wrote:
'The sounds I am listening to every night at first appear to be human voices, conversing back and forth...I find it difficult to imagine that I am actually hearing real voices from people not of this planet...there must be a more simple explanation that has so far eluded me'.

Nikola Tesla (1856 - 1943)
As fierce rivals, Edison discovered that Tesla had been 'hearing voices' and publicly denounced him.  In truth, Edison and his assistant, Dr. Millar Hutchinson, had also heard similar disembodied voices during their own experiments. 
Dr Hutchinson wrote:
'Edison and I are convinced that in the fields of psychic research will yet be discovered facts that will prove of greater significance to the thinking of the human race than all the inventions we have ever made in the field of electricity.'

Around the same period during World War I, disembodied voices were heard on early radios and also recorded as faint whispers on magnetic tape. While these were noted, not too much emphasis was placed upon them.  After all, it's a tough scenario - you're dealing with the latest technological advances in communication so it's easy to imagine the head-shaking as unusual sounds and voices emerge from the recent invention of a radio.
Even Tesla himself was never able to fully understand the source of the voices. His estimated guess was they probably originated from an extraterrestrial source; a not too unreasonable assumption at that time, with no real comparisons at his disposal.


During the 1920's, Thomas Edison also experimented with E.V.P. - guided by a predominant belief that it was theoretically possible to build a machine that could act as a communication device between the physically living and people who had passed on.  
He named his planned device 'Spiricom' and although his blueprints for the machine exist, Edison never lived to see his instrument built.


In the 1930's, an unusual event occurred during a spiritualist demonstration at Wigmore Hall, in London, England in front of a few hundred witnesses.  A stage microphone began to suddenly 'pick up' disembodied voices, which began talking through the speakers.  Despite a strict technical examination by the makers of the equipment, no logical reason could be established as to how 40-50 individual voices had been talking, when no-one was standing near to the microphone.


Another early pioneer of E.V.P. was an American photographer, Attila von Szalay.  Originally, von Szalay had experimented with the possibility of recording 'spirit voices' in 1941, but with minimal success.  In 1956, after discarding the process of using 78 rpm records and replacing them with reel to reel tape recorders, von Szalay began working with the psychologist, Raymond Bayless in Los Angeles.  During these experiments, the pair recorded several odd whispers, noises and odd mechanical voices. 
In 1952, two eminent Roman Catholic dignitaries - Father Pellegrino Maria Ernetti and a former physician, Father Agostino Gemelli - were attempting to record a live, musical performance of a beloved Gregorian Chant.  When Father Gemelli's recording equipment chose to start misbehaving, he became frustrated at the bad timing.  Becoming increasingly frustrated at the machine's resistance to work, Gemelli verbally asked for spiritual assistance from his deceased father.  Later, when the priests listened to the results of the partially-successful recording, Father Gemelli was astonished to hear his father's voice amongst the music.  Gemelli was referred to by a childhood nickname and apparently told: 

'Zucchini, it is I...it is clear...do you not know it is I?  I am always with you and help you.'
Concerned at what exactly they had captured on the tape recorder, the priests took the bold step of approaching their highest source and went to ask the Pope - at that time, Pope Pius XII (1876-1958).  Thankfully, instead of merely branding the voices as 'demonic' or hateful, Pius XII listened to the recording and declared:
'Dear Father Gemelli, you really need not worry about this.  The existence of this voice is strictly a scientific fact and nothing to do with spiritism.  The recorder is totally objective...it receives and records only sound waves from wherever they come. This experiment may perhaps become the cornerstone for a building of scientific studies which will strengthen people's faith in a hereafter.'
Friedrich Jurgenson (1903-1987)


A man considered by many to be the 'Grandfather of E.V.P.' became immersed in its study during 1959.
Friedrich Jurgenson (1903-1987), an artist and film maker, was preparing a wildlife documentary. While walking through woods and using a tape recorder to capture birdsong, he was astonished on hearing the playback to discover an odd noise, followed by a loud burst of trumpet, as if to grab his attention.  This was immediately followerd by a male voice, speaking in Norwegian about different birds...becoming even more surprised when the voice of his mother appeared on the tape.
As with Father Gemelli, the voice used a childhood name known only to Jurgenson and his mother, who had died four years earlier:
'Friedel, my little Friedel...can you hear me?  It's Mammy.'  

Both encouraged and mystified by these voices, Jurgenson ceased his painting work and decided to focus his energies on research and experimentation.  In 1964, in a book titled, 'The Voices From Space', Jurgenson commented how his life had been changed by the discovery of the E.V.P. voices.
'I heart-searchingly asked myself if it was the right thing for me to abandon the art of painting, a creative occupation that I had submitted my whole life to...instead I was sat here with an enormous jigsaw puzzle, brooding in despair over the problem of whether one could assemble a more complete picture from all these 'fragments'.  I had never before been so touched and captured by any other urgencies, than by these 'mystical connections', literally floating in the ether'.

Jurgenson's style of recording was initially simple, utilising a tape recorder and microphone.  While he sometimes had to experiment with the speed of the playback, Jurgenson collected thousands of voices.  All of the disembodied voices were in languages that Jurgenson could speak, including English, German, Russian, Swedish and Italian.  However, in 1960, he was encouraged by a recorded voice to experiment with radio.  Via this method, Jurgenson discovered that the voices became more 'natural' and rapid, meaning that there could also be potential two-way dialogue between himself and voices coming out of the radio.   
In later life, Jurgenson continued to experiment with E.V.P., giving it his own title of 'Audioscopic Research'.  He also expanded his experiments out into wider forms of I.T.C., such as using television to receive messages, voices and images.  (More on I.T.C. in a forthcoming article)

Jurgenson's work was examined by others, including prominent parapsychologists such as Hans Bender and his team of scientists.   
Jurgenson died in 1987, leaving hundreds of audio tapes, full of E.V.P. recordings.  While certainly an important 'cog in the wheel', Jurgenson's research served not only to satisfy his natural curiosity, but also created an inspirational path for others to follow.

More of that in Part II.  

Friedrich Jurgenson with some of his recording equipment, used to capture Electronic Voice Phenomena.


Thursday, 6 August 2015

Media Coverage




Yesterday, some sections of the media decided to focus upon British TV celebrity Noel Edmonds, or rather his personal views on spirituality and the afterlife.  Below is a link to the report in the British newspaper, 'The Independent'. 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/noel-edmonds-says-death-doesnt-exist-and-electrosmog-is-more-deadly-than-ebola-or-aids-10439536.html

The article doesn't start promisingly...'Noel Edmonds has given a bizarre new interview...'
What is perhaps more interesting is the media portrayal here, covering what is essentially one man stating his personal views on metaphysics, spirituality and what he believes may lie beyond physical death.

Reading the comments from 'Independent' readers is also interesting - mostly ranging from 'this man is a raving lunatic' and 'what the hell is Noel Edmonds smoking these days?' to other members of the general public who believe that he 'makes a reasonable point'.

In the 'civilised' West, we tend to deride anyone who wanders into conversational matters concerning the afterlife, or even the crazy, wacky possibility that it exists as a viable, alternative option.
Is this because we are more afraid of death here in the West?
Is it because 'Science' has become an ultimate authority over the recent centuries...replacing religion as the supreme body of all-knowing and enlightenment?  
Is it simply too easy to point judgemental fingers at individuals and groups and take the piss, for cheap laughs, rather than focus on anything 'deep' and 'meaningful'?

Perhaps we should take these feelings further and focus upon hurling derisory coconuts at all Christians, for harping on endlessly (for two millennia and counting) about talking snakes, magic apples, arks filled with every animal on Earth (except dinosaurs), flaming, desert bushes proclaiming to be God and conjuring tricks involving wine, bread, reanimation of the dead and walking on water? 

What Noel Edmonds is stating can be placed under a metaphysical 'umbrella' - essentially, we are all comprised energy, we can focus that energy for good (or bad) and that physical death is not the end of us.
All of these concepts are a very long way from Noel saying 'I see Elvis riding unicorns when I ride my dragon to Atlantis through the magic wardrobe in my bedroom', yet - as usual - the media delights in writing biased articles, which can't help but give the image of a smirking reporter, regularly consulting his thesaurus to find words that mean the same as 'lunatic'.

The main reason that this is constantly annoying is perhaps more serious.  As anyone who has had any form of paranormal/spiritual encounter will understand, it is not encouraged for anyone to share our tales with a vast section of the general public, as the most likely result will be complete derision.  The 'snowball' effect of this is that people simply stop sharing (or are much less likely to share) any experiences which involve the paranormal, as this is currently deemed to be a socially odd practice.  Naturally, this then results in far less experiences being mentioned at all, fuelling any cynical arguments of 'so why aren't there more personal accounts of the paranormal/metaphysical?' 
The media plays a huge role here, but what perhaps is most encouraging to see are some of the responses in the comments below the article in the 'Independent'.  Yes, there are the obligatory 'Noel is a nutter' jibes, along with the standard 'there is no scientific evidence for an afterlife whatsoever'.  It's also clear that the vast majority of the people writing such phrases have done precisely no research or experimentation into anything remotely resembling the parapsychological/paranormal/metaphysical areas and are relying purely on lazy, stereotypical concepts.   

'There is no evidence of life after death - not a single shred' say many of these comments - yet how many of these same people have explored (or even considered exploring) research dating back over nearly 200 years, including near-death experiences, paranormal accounts, alleged spirit communications and psychic phenomena, tales of reincarnation and many, many other aspects of parapsychology?  
It's easy to sit back and throw stones at other people's 'stupid' ideas, but - if people are not prepared to get off their idle backsides and, at the very least, study the mountain of past and ongoing research into the possibility of life beyond our physical deaths, then who really is the idiot?

Ultimately, as some commentators on this article noted, we do not know what happens when we die.  We can all have views and ideas and notions and theories - based upon personal concepts within religion or conventional science, but none of us know for certain, because we're still alive and not there yet.  
Opinions are opinions, whether you're the Pope or a rocket scientist and faith - no matter how strong - is not fact.  Otherwise, every religion in the world would be right and we would never be wrong - ever - meaning that all arguments and disagreements would endure to infinity.

How do you cope with derisory or judgemental opinions when they're directed at you for your spiritual or personal beliefs?

Do you think that this is changing socially?  As more discoveries are made in the future, will the tide turn and will society become more accepting/liberal/tolerant in their views towards the paranormal and spiritual worlds?

Do the current crop of paranormal TV shows and movies play a positive or negative role in public perceptions?


Saturday, 18 April 2015

The Facebook Page

It's been a little quiet on this blog for the last few months.  

This is partly because I cleverly managed to lock myself out of this blog altogether, but also because I've been working towards building up the profile of Paranormally Curious on Facebook.

The link to the Facebook page is below.

https://www.facebook.com/paranormallycurious

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Ongoing Research Project

A large part of 'Paranormally Curious' is focused around research within several fields associated with the paranormal and parapsychology.

As part of an ongoing research project, we are currently compiling a database of paranormal experiences from people across the world.
While primary aims are geared towards the collection of information/data into a central source, there are also potential aims to collate some information into a printed book.

We're particularly keen to hear accounts of 'After-Death Communication' (ADC).  
This is where someone known to us appears to communicate to us, after their physical death.  This usually feels like someone is saying 'goodbye' to someone, or to comfort that person with the knowledge that life continues.
Although this is still sadly classed as a 'socially uncomfortable' experience, nonetheless it appears to be a common happening. ADCs tend to range from simple dreams and thoughts, right down to specific communications such as telephone calls, full-body appearances and even e-mails & texts.

As current research relates strongly towards personal experiences, we're not currently interested in 'third party' accounts, such as mediumship or advice from tarot/divination readers.  Nor are we interested in messages from ouija boards or other 'tools' used by some people/groups.
Accounts of physical mediumship, such as transfiguration, direct voice & materialization would be of interest - especially those conducted in a controlled environment using strong, visible light.

A list of suitable experiences would include:

Apparitions (whole or partial)
Apportations (the sudden appearance of physical objects) 
Clairaudience (the physical hearing of spiritual activity)
Clairsentience (the sensing of spiritual activity)
Clairvoyance (the sighting of spiritual activity)
Deport (the sudden disappearance of physical objects)
Electronic Communication Sources (TV, Phone, PC, Radio)
Electronic Voice Communications (E.V.P.)
Ghosts
Hauntings
Healing
Levitation
Near-Death Experiences (N.D.E.)
Out of Body Experiences (O.B.E.)
Premonition
Reincarnation
Time Disturbance (the feeling that time has somehow altered)

The overriding purpose of this research and any subsequent publications will be to share information concerning paranormal/spiritual experiences in the hope of 
a) spreading knowledge to the general public concerning the 'paranormal' and the possibilities of the continuation of the soul/spirit beyond our physical deaths. 
b) alleviating general ignorance and stereotyping concerning paranormal research. 
c)  alleviating general fear from those who worry about physical death.
d)  the promotion of knowledge that potential 'life after death' is open to ALL people and not merely those of a certain religious persuasion. 

Personal accounts can be sent in confidence to either of the following emails: 


kevmilsom@yahoo.co.uk 


or


paranormallycurious@yahoo.co.uk


Naturally, we are aware that privacy can be a key element, or concern, where paranormal subjects are involved.
As made clear to everyone who has so far contributed personal accounts for consideration, we are very happy to use partial or complete aliases for any form of publication.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Paranormal News: Colorado, USA.

'The Colorado Center For Paranormal Studies' has reopened, focusing on topics such as metaphysics, quantum mechanics and the paranormal.

Check out their blog at the link below.

http://indeparacon.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/the-opening-of-colorado-center-for.html

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Upcoming Event.

PARANORMAL INVESTIGATION:

On Friday, October 31st, 2014 - two members of 'Paranormally Curious' will be joining up with 'South Bristol Paranormal Group' for a Halloween investigation of Calidicot Castle in Monmouthshire, Wales, which was built around the year 1100 AD.  

As we have around 8 hours of investigating time, it is planned to focus some individual time on both Proof-Orientated and Process-Orientated experiments, as well as working alongside the team at S.B.P.G. and learning from their vast experience within paranormal research.

Hoping for a hugely interesting evening.