ASSAP: Paranormal Research
ASSAP: Paranormal Education
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Maurice TownsendWelcome to the ASSAP paranormal blog! Though this blog is aimed at anyone interested in the paranormal, it will be of particular interest to the paranormal research community. Updated frequently, but not regularly (don't expect something new every day!), it covers any paranormal topic, as well as highlighting recent changes to the ASSAP website.

Whenever new information becomes available on a subject ASSAP covers, it is added to the relevant pages of the website straight away. So, just because you've read a page, don't assume it will still be exactly the same when you next look. That way the ASSAP website remains an up to date research resource.

The photo (above right, pic by Val Hope) is the ASSAP blogger himself, out looking for anomalies wherever they are to be found, so that you can read about them here. To contact the ASSAP blog, email here.

Important note: If anything in this blog does not make sense, try following the links in text! If it still doesn't make sense, that's probably my fault ...

Previous blog pages ... (including ghosts, UFOs, poltergeists, flying rods, miracles, orbs, hypnotic regression, big cats, vampires, near sleep experiences, premonitions, shadow ghosts, paranormal photos, auras, river monsters and dozens of other subjects)

NB: WDTHDWP = 'what does this have to do with the paranormal'

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27 February: Ghost appearing out of nowhere

Late misperceptionAs I've often said. most reports of ghosts say they look like perfectly normal human figures. It is only when they do something apparently impossible, like disappear, that the witness realizes they've been looking at a ghost. There are other ways you can tell you've seen a ghost. For instance, suppose you see someone go around a corner and. on arriving there, you see no sign of them. And there's nowhere they could possibly have gone in the time.

I was reminded recently of another way you might recognise a ghost - a figure simply appearing from nowhere. It seems to be much rarer than disappearing ghosts but I have read reports of it happening. Then I realised I'd seen something of the sort of thing myself. I've never seen a human figure appear from nowhere. However, I HAVE seen other objects appear when they were not there before. It happens, extremely rarely, if I'm looking at a scene for a little while. Having noticed nothing in particular, an object will 'emerge'. It usually vanishes again after a few seconds or if I look at it more closely.

I think it is another example of a misperception. Generally I see misperceptions straight away and then they they vanish after a few seconds, never to return. As I said, I've never seen a human figure just appear but I see no reason why I shouldn't, given that I've seen other things do it. And a witness seeing a figure just appear would be quite likely to interpret it as a ghost.

So what kind of conditions are required for this type of 'late misperception'? It's difficult to say because I've only seen it a few times. However, as with all misperceptions it's about not seeing something well. I've tried to illustrate this in the photo (above right). A 'late misperception' might just appear in the darker areas of such a scene because they lack visible detail. It isn't a known example, unfortunately, just an illustration of the sort of situation that might produce a 'late misperception'. I'm sure there are many others. I will try to document the circumstances next time it happens to me. Clearly misperception is an explanation to look into when encountering this type of 'appearing' ghost.

21 February: Are ghosts warning us about something?

Shadow ghostAre some ghost sightings a warning to the witness? In my previous post I speculated that the 'sounds behind music' phenomenon was some kind of reflex reaction reminding me to be vigilant when I cannot hear anyone, or anything, that could be approaching me. This auditory phenomenon could easily be taken for ghostly activity by some witnesses. Now I am wondering if misperception, a common cause of ghost sightings, might also be a way to maintain vigilance.

Misperception is what happens when we don't get enough information from our eyes to positively identify what we are looking at. Misperception occurs all the time, in peripheral vision for instance. However, most people rarely. if ever, notice it. That's because our brains substitute an object from visual memory into our vision. So what our eyes detect only as a distant vague object, that could be a bush, is actually seen as a perfectly clear human figure, for instance. But why do our brains do this? Why do we not just see vague object that could be a bush?

Having never knowingly noticed misperceptions before, I started perceiving them frequently a few years ago. The visual substitutions took all sorts of forms, mostly pretty good guesses as to what was really there (which is why people don't notice them). The variety of substitutions was incredibly wide but there was one form I saw far more often than any other - human figures. And in the vast majority of these cases there was no actual person present. They were seen as ghosts (see here for relevant definition)!

I've wondered about this. Could it be another survival reflex, like the 'sounds behind music' phenomenon? In modern society, the most obvious general threat that might unsettle someone could be the unexpected appearance of an unknown stranger. This is particularly so in situations where the witness is alone. Nearly all the misperceived human figures I've seen over the years have appeared when I was alone. So these ghosts may, in fact, be a reflex warning to witnesses to be vigilant.

12 February: Hearing music when ghosts appear?

Shadow ghostRegular readers will be aware of the ghostly 'sounds behind music' phenomenon I've been reporting. Briefly, I am alone in a building listening to loud music. Then I hear sounds that indicate someone else is present. I turn off the music and the 'sounds' disappear instantly and investigating shows I'm still alone. Getting a feeling of deja vu?

In another 'sounds behind music' incident recently I heard what sounded like a door opening, while I was alone in a building. Then, a couple of minutes later, I heard it again. Only this time, it really WAS the door opening and the two sounds were pretty much identical. I got a strong feeling, not of deja vu, but premonition. It was as though I'd had a psychic preview of the door opening just before it actually did. But, in reality, it was no more a premonition that any of the other incidents of this type when I've heard a door opening sound before the real thing happened. The only difference was that this time it happened very close to the real event. It was, in reality, just a coincidence!

Anyway, it got me thinking about my idea of what the 'sounds behind music' phenomenon really is once again. The basic factors that are needed for this phenomenon are: loud music (enough to drown out ambient noises), being alone, expecting something to happen and concentrating on a task. There may be others - so far it has always happened when I've been sitting still, for instance. Anyway, my idea is that the 'sounds behind' is an aural hallucination. I think that because it sounds just like the sound I'm expecting, as if it comes from my own memory (the source of hallucinations). My idea is that the phenomenon is some kind of reflex reaction reminding me to be vigilant when I cannot hear anyone, or anything, that could be approaching me.

Then I thought, could this phenomenon produce a visual hallucination too? Maybe even a human figure! In other words, could it produce a ghost sighting?

So here's a possible scenario I thought of. Suppose I was alone in a building, expecting someone to arrive. I would be listening to loud music but doing something like reading. Crucially, I would have the door in view (which I don't in the examples I've had so far). Might I hear the 'sounds behind music' and look up to see the door handle turning? It would, of course, be a hallucination and the door would not open. The trouble is, if I tried this it wouldn't work because I'd be expecting the phenomenon. Such a situation needs to happen casually without any planning.

And could there be a situation where a hallucinatory human figure might appear? Well, if I hear sounds that suggested someone moving around in front of me then why not? So far all the sounds have appeared to come from elsewhere in the building. Not sure how I could make the sounds appear in the same room but I'll think about it.

5 February: They only come when you're not expecting them!

Sound graphRegular readers will be aware of the ghostly 'sounds behind music' phenomenon I've been reporting. Briefly, I am alone in a building listening to loud music. Then I hear sounds that indicate someone else is present. I turn off the music and the 'sounds' disappear instantly and investigating shows I'm still alone. It does not recur that day.

At least that's what happened until now. A few weeks ago I heard the 'sounds' repeatedly over a space of around an hour. Each time I stopped the music, thinking there was really someone there but when I checked there was no one. Since this repetition has never happened before, I wondered if it might be real sounds from the street, but investigation showed it wasn't. One example even sounded exactly like a particular door opening, which it didn't!

So I tried to think if there was anything different about this particular occasion. There was! I was reading. On previous occasions I was always doing something else. It is possible that by reading I forget about the 'sounds behind' and stopped expecting them. Expectation definitely seems to suppress this phenomenon.

Meanwhile, as I've been writing this, I've just had another 'sounds behind' experience!. What makes this particularly interesting is that I haven't had the experience for a few weeks, despite playing loud music. This HAS happened before! Maybe writing is also sufficiently distracting for me to forget about the 'sounds behind' and stop expecting them. All of this means that it isn't easily possible to experiment on the phenomenon.

© Maurice Townsend 2019

ASSAP

Previous blog pages ...

  • Jan 2019 (including staring ghost, are ghosts common, sense of presence, recognizing ghosts)
  • Dec. 2018 (including strange sound from sky, mocked by fate, comparing eye witness report and photo)
  • Nov 2018 (including another bolt from the blue, why aren't ghosts more common, seal in car)
  • Oct 2018 (including unseen in plain sight, street light interference, ghostly sounds - a purpose?)
  • Sep 2018 (including ghost crow, ghostliy sounds and attention overload, ghostly noises and day dreaming)
  • Aug 2018 (including how do you know when you're looking at a ghost, have ghostly voices stopped)
  • July 2018 (including new mini-OBE, 'sounds behind music' factors, followed by a ghost)
  • June 2018 (including hearing someone who isn't there, a bolt from the blue, when nothing happened)
  • May 2018 (including whether strange phenomena can evolve over time and the sleeping commuter phenomenon)
  • Apr 2018 (including should ghosts be commoner at night, book turns over instantly, 'garden poltergeist' returns)
  • Mar 2018 (including are rare events paranormal, like a time slip, strange leaning man, mystery flashing light)
  • Feb 2018 (including explanation for apparent precognition, ghostly figures, a huge invisible presence)
  • Jan 2018 (including ghostly conversation, ghost selfie, person vanishes, more stuff 'behind' music)
  • Dec 2017 (including a connection between reading and phantom sounds and investigating coincidences)
  • Nov 2017 (including man moving instantly, unexpected fall of night, ghosts rarely turning up on vigils)
  • Oct 2017 (including sounds 'behind' music, non-blurry ghost, ghost with a paunch, small human ghost)
  • Sep 2017 (including seeing ghosts to order, paper defies gravity, precognition, moving aerial mystery)
  • Aug 2017 (including identifiable ghosts, psychic message, like time standing still, on not seeing foxes)
  • Jul 2017 (including invisible ghosts, sense of presence in rain, precognition, haunting sounds)
  • Jun 2017 (including more real that reality, white flying object, pale figure at a window)
  • May 2017 (including ghosts: in a crowd, in a hi vis vest, object movement and sounds)
  • Apr 2017 (including no glasses no ghost, odd ghost, embarrassing ghost, fame month works again)
  • Mar 2017 (including white glowing shape or ghost, another source of 'presence', a ghost returns)
  • Feb 2017 (including fish in sky, best ghost in months, strange transparent object, recounting experiences often)
  • Jan 2017 (including ghostly face, phantom snow boarder, unexpected return of fame month)
  • Dec 2016 (including vanishing mouse. grey fuzzy thing, yellow dots, doppelganger)
  • Nov 2016 (including ghost fox, strange small figure in photo, haunting noises)
  • Oct 2016 (including strange voice, disintegrating ghost, ghostly leaf in focus to short-sighted witness)
  • Sep 2016 (including ghost on demand, shadow ghost, amplified hearing, anniversary ghosts)
  • Aug 2016 (including figure vanishes, strange music, phantom squirrel, fame month again)
  • Jul 2016 (including robot on wall, ghostly hooded figure, new house effect, transparent figures in photos)
  • Jun 2016 (including odd UFO, amplified hearing, alternate realities, strange stick figure on roof)
  • May 2016 (including farewell to the door ghost, restaurant ghost, invisible book, shrinking object)
  • Apr 2016 (including double UFO photo, strange animal, amplified hearing, fame month)
  • Mar 2016 (including time slip, strange brown blob, pig becomes horse, ghosts out or in focus)
  • Feb 2016 (including identifiable ghost, ghost in odd pose, leaning ghost, door ghost returns, ideal witness)
  • Jan 2016 (including too strange to be noticed, vanishing man, giant glowing pig, UFO reports)
  • Dec 2015 (including strange object with a tail, crouching ghost, scurrying ghost, sea serpents, false stepping)
  • Nov 2015 (including paranormal object movement, premonitions., distance of sighted ghosts, soundproof barrier)
  • Oct. 2015 (including monk and nun ghosts, white ghosts, red ghosts, touching ghosts, life going fast forward)
  • Sep 2015 (including glowing transparent ghost, unsettling ghost, insect ghost, UFO in clouds, linear photo anomalies)
  • Aug 2015 (including alien robot, white UFO, unlikely prediction comes true, animal ghosts. streaks in photos)
  • July 2015 (including coincidence versus precognition, paranormal smells, music and ghosts)
  • June 2015 (including interactive ghost, presence on train, orbs, spade wings)
  • May 2015 (including ghosts seen during vigils, mystery flash, sense of presence, transparent ghost, daytime UFO)
  • Apr 2015 (including UFO behind trees, orbs behind anything, possible cause of road ghost sightings, white-hatted ghost)
  • Mar 2015 (including moving object looking motionless, retreating ghost, IFO turning into a UFO)
  • Feb 2015 (including best ghost yet, how things vanish, purple thing, ghost in inappropriate attire)
  • Jan 2015 (including winter insect orbs, ghost from a train, strangeness threshold, flashes in the sky)
  • Dec 2014 (including lumpy horizon, green blob, strange lights, orbs, white floating thing)
  • Nov 2014 (including doors opening by themselves, haunting flashes, sense of presence, formant noise)
  • Oct 2014 (including animal ghosts, tricorn-hatted figure, seeing 0.23 celebrities monthly, dancing ghost)
  • Sep 2014 (including paper defying gravity, low flying UFOs, photographing ghosts, moving still photos)
  • Aug 2014 (including figure on a pillar, orbs still worth studying, ghost objects, shadow ghost)
  • July 2014 (including yellow orb, teleportation, ghostly whispers, owl, strange announcement)
  • June 2014 (including hand in a tree, blurry flying object, white alien, strange pattern on a dragonfly)
  • May 2014 (including single witness UFOs, ghosts vanishing, anomalies seen through gaps, rock face, creeping doppelgangers)
  • Apr 2014 (including unrecognized ghosts, odd UFO photo, do short-sighted people see ghosts, man with no face)
  • Mar 2014 (including unusual shaped UFO, ghost on a train, ghost presence, vampires, ghost calling)
  • Feb 2014 (including confusion, daylight orbs, haunted milk bottle, ghost on a bridge, too obvious explantations)
  • Jan 2014 (including colliding orbs, ball lightning, de-orbing, ghost mouse, mysterious flashes, ghost misidentification)
  • Dec 2013 (including popping orbs, new shadow ghost, ignoring a ghostly hand, dust turning into orbs videoed)
  • Nov 2013 (including hearing voices, blurry ghosts, mirrors and ghosts, coincidences, UFOs near airports)
  • Oct 2013 (including fairy photo, mist ghost, yeti, premonitions, orbs are NOT dust, how hauntings start)
  • Sep 2013 (including moving sticks, targets affecting odds in psi tests, shape shifting, not photographing ghosts)
  • Aug 2013 (including ghosts in plain view, mystery photo, seeing faces, ear pointing, shadow presence, time distortion)
  • July 2013 (including floating ghosts, on being a ghost, ghost ducks, follow that ghost - yes, ghosts galore)
  • June 2013 (including transparent ghosts, distance of UFOs, other stuff going on while witnessing anomalous phenomena)
  • May 2013 (including ghost seen AND photographed, time distortion, reproducing anomalous phenomena)
  • Apr 2013 (including door ghost moving, UFOs from a train, missing time, reality glitches, EVP without E, weird photos)
  • Mar 2013 (including witness credibility, distraction to see ghosts, movie in real life, photo or witness)
  • Feb 2013 (including possible orb comeback, OBEs go mainstream, walking ghost, feelings without touch, object movement)
  • Jan 2013 (including a big problem with ghost vigils, time distortions, cryptids, snow ghosts and rods, causes of hauntings)
  • Dec 2012 (including mysterious injuries, ghosts versus people, voice from nowhere, experimenting with a ghost)
  • Nov 2012 (including reflected ghost, isolated EVPs, ghosts talking to each other, invisible presences)
  • Oct 2012 (including ghostly presence, shadow ghost, strange pigeons, window ghosts, hallucinations)
  • Sep 2012 (including yellow grass, weird waterfalls, vanishing buzzard, ghost vigils, slowing down time)
  • Aug 2012 (including seeing unknown animals, glowing lampposts, EMF meters as an accident of history)
  • July 2012 (including turning rods into orbs, psychic insight, making insects spell, glowing eyes, haunting hot spots)
  • June 2012 (including doppelganger mystery, not expecting ghosts, anecdotal evidence, credible witnesses)
  • May 2012 (including lenticular cloud, ghost encounter, ghost train, weird stuff in a tree, van Gogh, resolution)
  • Apr 2012 (including naturalists and ghosts, odd feelings during OBE, wrong kind of sound, voice from nowhere)
  • Mar 2012 (including jogging and ghosts, misty ghosts, image noise, full spectrum photography, EVP of machines)
  • Feb 2012 (including ghost car, analyzing anomalous photos, ghost at rock concert, OBEs and motion sickness)
  • Jan 2012 (including stopping flying rods, photographing fairies, time warp, a ghost tie, ghostly fingers, New Year UFOs)
  • Dec 2011 (including missing time, improving ghost vigils, anomalous photos, ghostly faces, seeing fiction)
  • Nov 2011 (including OBE video games, EVP and VLF, whatshisname, paranormal misconceptions, invisible ghosts)
  • Oct 2011 (including smartphone ghosts, similacrum, smell of ghosts, morphing UFOs, slowing time)
  • Sep 2011 (including tidy ghost, MADS, transparent ghost, big announcement, ghost fox, not alone)
  • Aug 2011 (including cold spots, spectral hound, triangular UFO, ghost photos, rushing air and being dragged)
  • July 2011 (including Hilary Evans, Harry Potter, witness investment, bias in paranormal research, TV detectives)
  • June 2011 (including ASSAP @ 30, detecting lies, hyper-vigilence, strange thunder)
  • May 2011 (including ASSAP @ 30, lone shoes, flying rods, bias, early memories, strange floating object)
  • Apr 2011 (including royal wedding, mirror touch synaesthesia, sleep disorders, new ghost sighting)
  • Mar 2011 (including roof heron, Atlantis, first time witnesses, comparing film to digital paranormal photos)
  • Feb 2011 (including predicting the future, ghost bird, time slip, weird floor, what do we really know about paranormal)
  • Jan 2011 (including the ghost hunting boom, orange UFO, EVP experiment, extreme normality)
  • Dec 2010 (including microsleeps and road ghosts, shadow ghost in snow, lack of ghosts in photos, anthropomorphism)
  • Nov 2010 (including EMF meters, auras, evidence for precognition, sensitisation, the ghost hunting boom)
  • Oct 2010 (including black orbs, UnConvention, mirror visions, levitation, flying rods and orbs)
  • Sep 2010 (including a ring tone from the roof, shadow ghost video, time slip explanation, daylight orb video)
  • Aug 2010 (including Parisian UFO, sense of presence, SLI, consulting experts, misperception)
  • Jul 2010 (including Sherlock Holmes as a paranormal investigator, haunting sounds, what ARE hallucinations)
  • Jun 2010 (including the Loch Ness Monster, gorilla video, getting ghost stories the wrong way round)
  • May 2010 (including ball lightning, Wem ghost photo, waking up twice, eyewitnesses, Robin Hood)
  • Apr 2010 (including causes of road ghosts, new orb evidence, bird UFOs, UFO photo, not quite seeing is believing)
  • Mar 2010 (including experiencing hypnagogia, consciousness, belief, prolonged misperception, doppelganger)
  • Feb 2010 (including visual continuity errors - AKA ghosts, near sleep experiences on trains, spontaneous OOBEs)
  • Jan 2010 (including intelligent oil, SLI, inducing OOBEs, orange UFOs, the bleak midwinter)
  • Dec 2009 (including review of research in the noughties, pretty orbs, imperceptions, river monster)
  • Nov 2009 (including EVP without a recorder, demons and entities, why only some people see ghosts)
  • Oct 2009 (including grey ghost, near sleep experiences, a triangular UFO and seeing David Beckham)
  • Sep 2009 (including latent memory, Tufted Puffin, Bermuda Triangle and garden poltergeist)
  • Aug 2009 (including official UFO files, partial ghosts, flying rods and miracles)
  • Jul 2009 (including garden poltergeist, big cat video, orbs and hypnotic regression)
  • Jun 2009 (including thoughts from nowhere, shadow ghosts, premonitions and metallic UFO)
  • May 2009 (including analysing paranormal photos, making ghosts and ghost lore)
  • Apr 2009 (including phantom bird, choice blindness and grass that gets up and walks away)
  • Mar 2009 (including deja vu, ghostly mists, weird UFO photo, white ghosts)
  • Feb 2009 (including hidden memories, coincidences, auras and window UFOs)
  • Jan 2009 (including animals sensing ghosts, vampires, flying rod season and a haunted path)
  • Dec 2008
  • Nov 2008
  • Oct 2008
  • Sep 2008
  • Aug 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • May 2008
  • April 2008
  • March 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • October 2007
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