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In recent years, the paranormal has gained new footing as reality television has grabbed onto this research and created a cultural frenzy around it. There are those who are skeptics, those who believe, and those who seek to prove the existence of the paranormal. In The Double-Blind Ghost Box, authors Shawn Taylor and Daniel Morgan share their research and personal experiences with the paranormal, focusing on the development and use of the ghost box, a device that can establish a...
In recent years, the paranormal has gained new footing as reality television has grabbed onto this research and created a cultural frenzy around it. There are those who are skeptics, those who believe, and those who seek to prove the existence of the paranormal. In The Double-Blind Ghost Box, authors Shawn Taylor and Daniel Morgan share their research and personal experiences with the paranormal, focusing on the development and use of the ghost box, a device that can establish a two-way communication beyond death’s veil.
The Double-Blind Ghost Box reviews the process of Taylor and Morgan’s studies of the device, along with how they determined its usefulness in researching the paranormal. They explore the history of the ghost box and the issues arising in today’s ghost box methods, and they offer methods for conducting an objective ghost box investigation, processing ghost box evidence, analyzing the findings, and presenting the results to clients. Taylor and Morgan also discuss the different spirits an investigation might uncover and future ghost box applications and technologies.
Sharing actual transcripts of investigations, The Double-Blind Ghost Box works toward communicating the existence of the paranormal through objective research.
Shawn Taylor has a technical background in computer hardware, software, programming, digital media, Six Sigma problem solving, statistical analysis, psychology, and counseling.
Daniel Morgan earned degrees in behavioral science and electrical engineering.
From Skeptics to Believers
What is a ghost box?
"What is a ghost box?" you may ask. A ghost box is basically an electronic device that sweeps a wide band of frequencies without stopping. These bands can and usually do include the frequencies of your standard AM/FM radio. Many of these devices are, in fact, converted radios. The device scans through the different frequencies at varying rates while the Listeners try to hear a message from the great beyond.
High standards for paranormal investigations
When we began our research about the ghost box, we decided from the start that no matter the outcome, we would be as transparent as possible. Our goal was to allow any and all to take our findings and come to their own conclusions. Our paranormal investigations adhere to strict scientific guidelines for all our team members. When processing evidence we look for all possible natural explanations for the event being observed. With that being said, we understand that this level of scrutiny is not for everyone. Nevertheless, we believe that it is necessary to practice the scientific method when conducting investigations. Ironically, our findings have been so spectacular that when people see the evidence, it seems unbelievable. We have been accused on more than one occasion of fabricating our results. Oddly enough, it is these critics that give us the most pleasure. While this obviously does not help to convince others that our findings are valid, it does prove to us that we are not "just hearing things." When a critic hears the same thing we do and the only support for his or her lack of belief is that we fabricated evidence, it validates our findings, because we know we did not.
Ghost box experiments are remarkable
If you have never seen our videos, it is hard to understand just how incredible the process is to watch. While we were conducting a battlefield investigation in Gettysburg, a couple who was visiting the site happened upon us during a ghost box experiment. The Listener with the box in this case was Shawn. He had his hood up and head down while Patrick, the Questioner, asked specific questions about battle events. The couple listened as Shawn provided responses from the ghost box to Patrick's questions. The responses were coming so quickly and were following the questions so closely that one of them said, "He must be a psychic." They were even more amazed when Shawn removed his hood to reveal that he had on headphones and could not hear any of the questions Patrick had asked! This is at the very heart of the double-blind process, and it is sessions like this where the ghost box really shines.
We would like to take you through the process by which we eventually accepted the ghost box as a valid tool for paranormal investigations. Keep in mind that we did not start this process lightly. We encourage anyone who wishes to follow this path to take the same approach. We took a long time to include the ghost box in our evidence. When we began our double-blind experiments, we wanted to make sure that what we were hearing was truly supernatural. Any researcher should take an objective approach to his or her investigations. The ghost box takes time to get used to, and you may or may not have good results right away. No matter how you begin, you should use this method in a way that can validate findings and verify that what you're hearing is truly supernatural. The bottom line is that a ghost box should be one tool, but not the only tool, at your disposal.
Variation of responses by location
As we continued the research in a variety of venues, we were shocked time and time again not only at our findings, but at how differently each location responded from the ghost box. Some locations gave no coherent responses whatsoever. We have been on investigations where the box never produced a valid response. We have been on investigations where the box would talk so much we could not keep up. We perform investigations in both daylight and darkness, and there seems to be no difference in how the box performs. Through the cases we present, you will see this diversity of responses and "moods." We do not believe that this is the box's fault, but instead that it speaks of the disposition of the entities present at each location.
Variation in the number of spirits
We have investigated a few cemeteries, which have exhibited their own unique dispositions. Here, as one may expect, the ghost box was crowded with people that wanted to communicate. Some spirits are open to speak and others are not. The problem with cemeteries is that the experience can be so overwhelming that you may not be able to distinguish who is talking and who is answering. We have had incredible experiences at them, though, and in this book we will share with you one of the most incredible.
Variation between users
We have also used two different ghost boxes in tandem with two separate Listeners to see what would happen. The results were astounding! When two Listeners utilized the double blind on two separate boxes, what began to happen was a sort of dual answer. However, this is not what we expected. Obviously, we knew that it was impossible that both radios would browse the frequencies at the same time. Different radios have different speeds at which they sweep through frequencies, thus making any kind of synchronization impossible. The boxes also began finishing each other's sentences. At one point, we almost felt like we were watching a tennis match between the two Listeners. This is to say that one box would start talking to the second box and the second would answer back!
Variation between boxes
So we began the experiment. What happened was that when we would ask a question, we would get an answer from both boxes using different words! One box would say "yes" while the other would say "affirmative." At one point, the boxes seemed to begin talking to each other. A casual observer would see two people talking to each other, not realizing that they couldn't hear the responses. It was a really strange occurrence.
Variation between tools
The first case that began to focus us on the ghost box was an investigation at Ramsey Middle School in Bluefield, West Virginia. The first time we arrived at this location, we used the ghost box near the end of the night and began getting signals from an entity. We were employing a technique by which an electromagnetic field (EMF) detector was used to give a yes/ no response by blinking once or twice respectively. We have used this method in the past, with its obvious limitations. When we began to use the ghost box, we used the EMF detector to determine if the devices agreed with each other. We began to shape our questions to the answers we were receiving on the box, with incredible results. The first double-blind experiment was a success.
Ghost box hide-and-seek tests
We returned to this location for a second time and truly had our minds blown. The school has five floors, providing quite the workout, especially when dragging up equipment. We were on the third floor and were fishing for answers with the box. As we began the session, we were shocked when the rhythmic pulsing of stations seemed to quiet and a voice began to "instruct us" as to what we needed to do. We later would understand this to be an entity known as John. We discuss this more in later chapters. After this brief session, a spirit began to tell us about letters that she wanted to find. We began to ask the entity, whom we believed to be a girl named Edith, where these letters could be found. She stated on the ghost box that they were in a safe in the basement, so we made our way there.
When we got there, we began to ask where the safe might be. The entity began to talk about a brown box, but we were having a hard time determining exactly where the box was. There were three members participating in this exercise, so we decided to fan out in a triangle to see if we could determine in which direction the safe was. We used this method and determined the direction in which the box lay, but we still could not pinpoint its location. The entity then instructed us to start at the fireplace and walk forty-five feet. Since we knew the direction, we began to pace off the distance. As Dan finished up at the end of the measurement, he looked down, and there was an old, rusted electrical box, lying partially covered in a sand pile. As he picked it up, the ghost box declared: "You got it!" Obviously, there were no letters in the box, but this incident revealed that the ghost box was able to lead us to the brown box. When we revealed our findings to the owner, he indicated that the "closet like structure" about five feet away, in the center of that room, was the old safe for the school board records!
The "F" test
On another occasion we were investigating the property of one of our own members, Dave Henderson. His family had owned this property for generations, and he was curious to see what we would find if we investigated. One of the things that he wanted to focus on was an old family burial site that had been lost over the years. He had heard stories of the cemetery but had been unable to locate it on his hundreds of acres. We began the ghost box session and inquired as to the location of the gravesite. The box began to lead us in a particular direction, so we followed. As we continued it became clear that the box was focused on an area that was overgrown with briars. A detail that Dave had learned from his family was that there was a stone marked with an "F" carved into its top. As we kept searching for grave markers and coming up empty, one of the team members found the stone and observed the "F" carved there. We were unable to find the grave markers, but the stone was exactly where the ghost box said the site was.
It is details like this that make the ghost box an incredible tool. When you are able to pinpoint details of the history, it not only helps you to find out historical details, but also determines with whom you speak. In other words, if you receive details concerning the Civil War then the entity you are speaking with may come from that period of time and be easier to identify. Details like this can be used to prove the validity of the ghost box and prove to the critics that there is more to it than just a jumble of radio stations. In the case of the ghost box, although Dave knew which direction the site was in, he had no definite details. The fact that it was dark during the session makes it that much more incredible. Even more incredible was that when we thought we were cold about the location and wandered away from that site, the box would tell us to go back. This helps to substantiate that the box was guiding us, and not the other way around. At this point we hope you see a clear potential application for the ghost box to assist in even non-paranormal cases like finding a missing person, which is an upcoming experiment for our team.
Variation in types of spirit
During that same investigation, we began a ghost box session in the same room where the box was found. Then a peculiar thing happened. A voice began to come across very clearly, introducing itself as John. It explained that we needed to keep doing what we are doing, that we could make a difference. This single experience began to shape what our group does today. One of the questions we get asked a lot is "Who is John?" Our answer: "We don't know." To be honest, when John shows up during our investigation, he is very task-focused and rarely, if ever, speaks with us directly. We have never tried to ask questions, because he doesn't appear to want to answer any. The philosophy of who or what John is goes beyond the scope of this book. We just want to point out that there are entities that may manipulate the box in greater ways than we are used to, so be prepared. Demonic or nonhuman spirits appear to have a greater control as well, and we have encountered a few throughout our investigations.
The next time that John showed up in an investigation was at Pearis Cemetery in Pearisburg, Virginia. When we arrived, we performed our investigation in our normal manner, receiving some interesting EVP but little else. At the end of the night, we began our ghost box session. Often we will try to have one group session with the entire team in attendance. This night there were only four of us present, so we all sat around and began our attempt to establish communication. Immediately a chorus of voices began to flood in, asking for help. We began to speak with these voices and got a picture of what was happening just beyond our ability to perceive. Basically, the voices kept repeating the phrase "ten thousand years, ten thousand years." This intrigued us, because we knew that the radio would not be repeating this in a normal radio scan. It was so incredible that at one point the Listener had others listen, and it was obvious to all that it was repeating this phrase. As we began to point our questions in this direction, we learned that these spirits had been told that if they would only wait ten thousand years, redemption would come. When we began to ask who had said this, they referred to a demon. We began to speak with these spirits, telling them that they had been lied to, when the demon spoke up and began telling us to leave. When we refused and began telling it to leave, a funny thing happened. As we were speaking to this thing, the night, which was completely still, began to stir and a fairly bad wind began to blow. At one point, the ghost box said "Walk!" very clearly. Five seconds later we heard a voice snarl from the corner of the cemetery, "Walk!" Of course the Listener never heard this. Eventually, the "strong man" was dealt with, and we were able to help the spirits. This entire scene is available on our website.
Ghost box validates history
The final case, and perhaps the most bizarre one to date, is a battlefield investigation we conducted with Patrick Burke, a founder of the American Battlefield Ghost Hunters Society. In this session we made contact pretty quickly. The details of the battle were mind-boggling. We were given details that we had no prior knowledge of as well as of what units were present. All of this was later substantiated through historical accounts. At one point Patrick asked if they had to charge back in to retrieve their dead commander. When he asked a second time, a voice replied, "Isaac? He's dead over there." The name of the commander in question was Colonel Isaac Nicoll. We were flabbergasted at the level of detail. What made this session so bizarre was that during most of the session, the sounds of guns and cannons could be heard in the background. Shawn stated that he felt like he was there in the midst of the battle. At one point, a cannon with a very distinct sound could be heard. It was clear enough in the recording that, after research, it could be traced back to a twelve-pound howitzer.
This session was also unique in that we had tried a new training technique that also helped to establish our triple-blind ghost box session. In this a splitter was introduced, allowing a second Listener to be included to validate what was heard. This was important in this case, because at one point both Listeners could hear "angelic music" cutting through the radio chatter very clearly. It was so clear and distinct that they were both very excited during this time frame. However, when the recording was played back, no music could be heard. Why? We aren't sure. To be honest, we had not encountered this phenomenon before and did not know what to make of it. Outside of philosophical explanations, it's possible the recorder couldn't pick up the frequencies, although we find this to be a bit hard to swallow. No matter what the reason, the music was heard and substantiated through a second Listener but was not recorded.
Variation in languages and dialects
Just as you would expect when traveling to different areas, we run into a variety of different spirits who wish to communicate. We have heard different languages, including what has sounded French and Native American. This obviously presents new challenges to the Listener but also lends credence to the device. We have been to locations in which it appears that the spirits have very little energy, in that you can hear them but they are faint and easily lost in the noise and static that is inherent in the device. As you use the device in your own investigations, it is important that you be open and listen for the subtleties. If you are the Listener, just say whatever you hear, because it rarely makes sense to you, as you do not hear both sides of the conversation. Many times on our investigations, the Listener stops and asks if it is making any sense. These are usually some of the more incredible conversations.
The History of the Ghost Box and How to Get One
About EVP: Electronic Voice Phenomenon
Perhaps one of the most controversial tools in the paranormal researcher's bag is the ghost box. Before you can understand the theory behind the ghost box, you must first understand a little about Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP). In this process (which was discovered in the late 1950s by Attila von Szalay), a researcher receives an audible message on a voice recorder. These messages are not detected by the researcher's ears, but only on the device itself. The problem with this method is that messages can be received only after the researcher replays the device. This means that no real two-way communication can be achieved using this method in real time. If you are familiar with TV shows like Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Paranormal State, and Ghost Lab, to name a few, EVP are typically seen during evidence review. The team would play an audio file made with a recorder either placed in a room or on an investigator during the time of the investigation. Within the audio file an "unknown voice" would be heard and the team would display on the screen what they believed were the words or phrases stated. Again, this is all after the fact. Suppose the EVP caught was of significant importance, even leading to the possibility of bringing the case to closure. EVP rip away the team's opportunity to respond to the spirit who produced the EVP in the first place. So that is where the ghost box comes in. Granted, most recent advancements in recorder technology have allowed devices to record, then play back, almost instantly revealing EVP on the fly. These devices are called recorders with "EVP Live Listening Capability" and are becoming more and more popular.
Excerpted from The Double-Blind Ghost Box by Shawn Taylor. Copyright © 2013 by Shawn Taylor & Daniel Morgan. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc..
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About the Authors.................... xi
Chapter One From Skeptics to Believers.................... 4
Chapter Two The History of the Ghost Box and How to Get One............... 16
Chapter Three The Issues with Today's Ghost Box Methods................... 26
Chapter Four Conducting an Objective Ghost Box Experiment................. 34
Chapter Five Processing Ghost Box Evidence.................... 42
Chapter Six Spirits: The Good, Bad, and Ugly.................... 52
Chapter Seven Future Ghost Box Science, Tech, and Applications............ 62
Chapter Eight Conclusions for the Not-So-Faint of Heart................... 66
Chapter Nine The Best of Team SAI's Ghost Box Transcripts................. 70
Contact the Authors.................... 164