Category Archives: Blue Guitar

Ghost are voices of history in the present



great blog


As light faded, a century dissolved, and I heard ghosts. No ectoplasm or voices, just a powerful presence of the past, heightened by the potential consequences of my own folly in being there.

So, think about ghosts. If we visit the original place, or we hold the artifact in our hand, and, if we find the right frame of mind, then something happens. Combine knowledge of the past with the physical object, and we can get much more than the sum of two parts. If the circumstances are right, we share something with those who once touched — or who saw — what we now touch or see.

We find history transcending dates and facts. We join the past by sensing its unique texture. We hear what it’s telling us. The same thing happened to me when a Polish friend took me to see Auschwitz on a rainy weekday — a day when we, and the ghosts, were the only beings in that desolate place.

But, put aside slaughter and genocide. Happier ghosts dwell in, say, old books. Look at marginalia in books from other centuries — in books that’ve changed lives. As we read what readers have left in the margins, their ghosts reveal the transforming power of the written word in other ages. Or walk through old houses, for all houses are haunted in the sense that I offer the word.

And I leave you with this claim. It is, simply, that we never fully know any history until we quiet our minds, and listen to the people who once lived it.


From a John Lienhard blog post at the University of Houston

North Carolina Ghosts

North Carolina’s mountains are full of phantoms, spooks, haunts, haints, weird creatures and crazy happenings. The hills are filled with classic ghost stories, and with places to go to seek out the unusual and paranormal. We’ve got demon dogs, haunted hot springs, mysterious lights, stories and songs to keep folk singers and storytellers busy forever.

Two for one deal, just saw this in the news

My quick thought on debunking

I see the term “debunking” as negative.  Too skeptical is as bad as too credulous.GhostWarsBGRed

Ghost Hunting, Dopamine, am I getting delusional?

Looking at the DSM 5.  Look you’ll. Let’s look at hormones and could they influence a ghost hunt, Bigfoot hunt, paranormal investigation?

For this blog we are just looking at one hormone.  DOPAMINE!

What is dopamine

Dopamine is one of the brain’s neurotransmitters – a chemical transmitting messages between neurons.

Why is it important?

Dopamine is often referred to as a “reward chemical.”  “Reinforcement” would be a better term.  Dopamine reinforces and orients attention and motivation.  When dopamine gets activated in our brains by a particular stimulus or action, it is nature’s way of telling us that something is important for us.  It is nature’s way of telling us to focus on particular stimulus.

How does it relate to paranormal investigations?

When we detect more “signal” than relative to “noise”, then we identify more patterns.  This is called “patternicity,” the tendency to find meaningful patterns in both meaningful and meaningless noise.

New research suggests that dopamine plays an important role in error detection, helping to determine whether a perception meets expectations or predictions.  When there is a discrepancy or error between expectations and perceptions (say a signal of the paranormal) then dopamine release might mark the event as important, novel and warranting attention.  If the perception exceeds expectation, it may be experience as rewarding or pleasurable and the person will want to repeat the experience.

It gets worse!

The most common type of delusion is called a “referential” delusion.  Everything happens for a reason.  The environment is somehow being manipulated.  With patternicity the detection of hidden messages and signs are not coincidences.

Dopamine over-activity may erroneously reinforce the learning or pairing of associations between what would otherwise be unrelated, or coincidental events to be attributed to the paranormal.

As I have said many times, I want to believe, but also want my science training to kick in and verify and validate my conclusions.  A dopamine release in a ghost hunt could influence the reality of what is happening.

Jus saying….


Keep smiling and thinking!

Dean Russell


Thought for the day

What would happen to the earth if the sun switched off?

Answer: There would be better satellite reception,….. but we would all freeze and die!

from “What if” comic strip by Randall Munroe

Throwing fellow hunters under the bus

From the Vital Smarts newsletter:  “Throwing someone under the bus—all in the name of fun.”

In these situations, silence isn’t golden. It’s agreement. When we don’t speak up, we show our support for the people doing the badmouthing. We’re helping to throw the person under the bus.

It’s this kind of poisonous conversation that causes bad morale to spread across a team or organization. It begins with a seemingly innocuous joke, which is really the leading edge of an attack. Instead of saying something like, “I see it differently,” others in the conversation remain silent or add to the wisecrack, amplifying the attack.

The group is creating a villain story at someone’s expense, without stopping to question the story’s truth or giving the person a chance to respond. As the story is repeated and grows unchallenged, it becomes full of what the comedian Stephen Colbert calls “truthiness.” It may be several steps away from the facts, but it feels true. And it poisons the workplace.GH-GuideCover-V4

A Research Study into the Interpretation of EVP, post by Mark Leary

Great article by Mark Leary


evp recorder


A Research Study into the Interpretation of EVP

by Mark Leary, Ph.D.
Published in the Winter 2013 ATransC NewsJournal

Anyone who has listened to even a few EVP recordings knows how difficult they are to interpret. Listeners often disagree, sometimes strongly, regarding what a particular EVP seems to say, which raises questions about the validity of each person’s interpretation. Yet, the usefulness of EVP depends on the degree to which investigators can trust one another’s interpretations of the EVP that they record. Although a great deal has been written about the possible mechanisms that produce EVP and the types of equipment that are most effective in recording them, EVP enthusiasts have devoted far less attention to problems associated with interpreting the sounds that are recorded.

After observing repeated disagreements among investigators (and rarely feeling that the interpretations of EVP on paranormal television shows match what I hear), I undertook a study to examine how serious the problem really is. The study that I conducted had two main goals: to document the degree to which investigators agree or disagree on their interpretations of EVP and to create a means of identifying which interpretation of a particular EVP is most likely to be “correct.”


Please go to the below link for more info.

I need a ghost who is good at doing taxes

Just a thought!


Jonathan Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis.  In his quest to answer the question, “What makes a human being happy?” Haidt discovered that seeking happiness is not the real goal; happiness occurs once you simply remove stress.  Finding and mitigating stress factors in your life automatically results in a calm, stress-free brain.

In one of the many sources of research cited in the book, it was discovered that a major source of stress for humans is dealing with the unknown.  The brain can literally reset itself to accept most sources of pressure, adapting to situations and labeling them as “normal.”  As such, people can live in high-pressure, anxiety-ridden environments and the brain can adapt so the person doesn’t suffer in the long run.

The unknown, however, seems to be one source of stress to which the brain cannot adapt.  The lack of control over one’s immediate environment causes angst that is too great for the brain to manage. Over time, living in a state of constant unknown can cause depression, anxiety disorders, higher rates of illness, and a shortened life span.  Conversely, even a small amount of control eliminates stress.  In one study, for instance, people were sat alone in a room and told that a very loud horn was going to be blast in their ears at unexpected intervals.  The noise was painful enough to cause anxiety, so the participants demonstrated elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, and other signals similar to someone visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles.

However, some participants were given a small button and told that if they pushed the button the noises would stop.  They were told that they could push the button at any time, but to try to go for as long as possible enduring the painful noises.  The participants given control over stopping the blasts from the horn were able to endure much longer periods in the noisy room than those who were not.  The simple knowledge they had control over their environment allowed them to better withstand the unknown without anxiety.

The reason I was reminded of all this research was another discovery in the book; that start-and-stop traffic is one source of stress that the brain cannot seem to manage.  With all of its ability to reset itself to manage sources of anxiety, the brain can’t seem to adjust to the inconsistencies of a daily commute.  If your daily commute involves a nice, long drive through the country, then your stress actually dissipates.  However, if your commute is in heavy stop-and-start traffic, anxiety will increase.  No matter how often you experience the same commute, your brain will never get accustomed to it.

So naturally, as I sat in traffic watching the GPS remind me I should have left a week earlier, I thought about how the unknown has affected me as a customer and/or business colleague.  I thought of how calming it was to get simple confirmations of meetings or conference calls the day before the event.  I thought of how surprised I was when I provided confirmation calls to clients the day before a keynote, workshop, or meeting and they were so appreciative of a simple phone call.  All the details of these events had been set weeks earlier, but one final call made everything more relaxing.  Even better, I remembered how much more calming a phone call was compared to an e-mail.  Sure, electronic communication provides written confirmation, but human beings are ultra-social animals.  Social mammals aren’t calmed by reading text, we need human contact.  A voice calms a person better that text ever can.

From a Stevie Ray blog!