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'

25 January: Ghostly conversation

ShadowReports of ghosts talking are rare never mind conversations between them. So the latest report from MA (my acquaintance who gets microsleep with REM - MWR) is fascinating. MA often hears voices talking during MWRs. The speech usually consists of short, random phrases not obviously aimed at MA. But there was something new in the latest example. There were TWO voices involved and they appeared to be interacting. The incident took place in an empty room with no one but MA present.

A female voice says "we were going to get married anyway". A male says "shut up". The female voice then says something else which MA could not recall. The male voice again says "shut up". The female voice then says something else, also not remembered by MA and the male voice says "shut up" once again. The male voice sounded annoyed! This voice MWR is also notable for being much longer than usual. Previously such MWRs have consisted of just half a dozen words or so at most.

The fact that the MWR was longer than usual is highly significant, I think. It is possible that some, or all, of the previous voice MWRs that MA reported were, in fact, part of a 'conversation'. But because they were so short, MA only ever heard one voice. And it would explain why the voice MWRs never appear to address MA. It's because they were talking to a third party! It is as if MA was somehow eavesdropping on someone's conversation without them noticing. This parallels the common observation that ghosts do not appear to notice their witness.

If someone who gets MWRs, and is not aware of their natural cause, were to hear such a 'conversation' in an empty room, they might well conclude it is ghosts talking to each other. Reports of ghosts that talk are rare. It is one of the reason why the idea that ghosts are spirits is not well supported by witness evidence. At least some of those reports where ghosts DO apparently talk may well be hallucinations. A MWR, which is a type of near sleep experience, is basically a hallucination. The range of ghostly experiences that could be explained by MWRs appears to grow all the time with each novelty reported by MA!

19 January: Ghost selfie?

Sun behind treeI mentioned recently that I seem to have an aptitude for noticing odd things. Maybe that's why I appeared to be the only person who noticed a photo booth apparently talking to itself recently. The booth was going through instructions to the user but there was a snag - no user!

I could see the seat below the drawn curtain and there was no one in it. Anyone in there would have had to be floating and there as very little room even to do that! As it happens, I used that very machine just a few months before so I was familiar with its dimensions and how it worked. The verbal instructions had reached the point where the photo was about to be taken. But, as I knew from experience, to reach that point requires money to be inserted as well as answering several questions with a touch screen. So clearly the process requires someone to be present for it to work.

Unfortunately, I was in a hurry at the time and it only occurred to me later that I could have stood by the unattended booth - there was no one anywhere near - to look at the photos it produced! I'm guessing they would have shown an empty booth but who knows?

So, what explanations may account for this strange occurrence? One might be a ghost taking a selfie! Among the possible natural explanations are a machine malfunction. However, had the machine been taking pictures of an empty booth for any time, lots of photos would have spilled out of the dispenser by then but there were none there. Unless it was a one off malfunction and my timing was impeccable. Another obvious explanation, and the one I favour, is that someone had started the process of having their photo taken and then, for whatever reason, left before it was complete. I doubt I'll ever know.

10 January: Fame thing - the mystery remains!

Shadow It seems that the fame month phenomenon has finally failed. December was supposed to be a 'fame month' but I saw no celebrities. Regular readers will know what this is all about. For everyone else, here's a catch up. I had noticed my tendency to see more famous people than I thought was 'normal' - an average of 0.23 per month. I do not seek out celebrities, I just see them during my normal everyday activities. What is really weird is that, recently, I appear to have been seeing them at regular intervals, every four months. Random events should not occur at regular intervals! I last saw a celebrity in August (see here and here) and before that in April (see here), right on cue. I 'should' have seen another in December, but I didn't. So with the pattern broken is that the end of the mystery?

One interesting point was that I only remembered December was 'fame month' after it was over. This suggests that if I'm expecting to see someone famous it makes me more likely to notice them. I even caught myself doing just that in August (see here). Of course, even if I'm on the look out for a famous person they still need to be present in the first place. If I'm only noticing celebrities when I'm expecting them, it implies I must be in the presence of famous people a lot more than I previously thought but only notice them occasionally! That would be strange in itself. Also, the explanation of being more alert does not explain how the pattern started before I noticed it nor the previous months when I forgot it was a 'fame month' at the time! So, for now, the mystery remains. Everything now depends on when I see my next celebrity!

In other news, it's back! I saw the door ghost (door what?) again recently for the first time in a long while. It was just a brief glimpse of legs but, turning round, there was no one there. I've no idea why the ghost suddenly returned after so long away. On subsequent visits to the door the ghost didn't appear. I'll have to wait and see if it was just a one-off visit.

9 January: Person vanishes!

ShadowThis has never happened to me before and it took me by surprise. I suddenly realised that the person standing right next to me had vanished! I wasn't looking straight at them but they still should have been obvious in my peripheral vision. Disconcerted, I looked around to see they were still there, in exactly the same position.

I was bird watching and so concentrating on the scene ahead rather than on the people around me. I was, however, fully aware that there was someone standing next to me. So when I realised I could no longer see them it drew my attention. I tried an experiment. I moved my head slowly, looking ahead all the time, until the person suddenly completely disappeared from my peripheral vision.

Obviously there is always an angle at which an object is lost from peripheral vision. However, in this case that angle had definitely not been reached. Instead, I could still see the place where the person should have been, just not them! I believe it was a case of 'imperception'. This is a variant of misperception when you fail to see something that should be visible. An example would be a camouflaged object not visible despite being in central vision. I believe my brain had given up the struggle to see the person as they became less and less distinct. Eventually, it simply did a visual substitution where the background replaced the human figure. I've never noticed this peripheral vision imperception effect before. I should say that the lighting conditions were good (overcast daylight). As someone with myopia I get my eyes tested frequently and my peripheral vision has always been good.

A vanishing person could, of course, be interpreted as a ghost by a witness. If there was something stopping the witness from turning to see if the person was still there, it might well be interpreted as a ghost sighting. If the person simply moved away it is unlikely to cause an imperception. That's because peripheral vision is good at spotting movement. The effect requires the vanishing object to be stationary. For more imperceptions see here and here.

2 January: Ghostly sounds not just behind music!

FrequenciesI have reported a weird phenomenon recently that I call 'sounds behind music', for want of a better term. If there's an official name for this I'd love to know it. Essentially, it happens when I'm on my own listening to loud music. I think I can hear sounds, usually like someone moving around in a nearby room. If I turn the music off the sounds stop straight away. Various experiments have convinced me that the phenomenon is a brain thing. See here for more background information on this phenomenon.

Now I have heard what appears to be the same phenomenon but with no music involved. Instead, I was taking the tight plastic cover off a new purchase. The plastic cover film was difficult to remove and particularly loud. To my surprise, I heard sounds like someone moving about in an adjacent room. I stopped pulling at the plastic and everything went silent instantly. When I resumed unpacking, the 'sounds behind' returned. From its characteristics I would say this phenomenon resembles the 'sound behind music' one exactly.

My first thought is that this is, indeed, the same phenomenon as 'sounds behind music' If so, it suggests that music is not essential as a foreground sound. I think sound complexity may be important, however. Music is a usually a fairly complex sound, as is the one generated by manipulating plastic film. I suspect that a simple hum or tone would not produce this phenomenon, however loud. It is not easy to experiment with this phenomenon because if I'm expecting it then nothing happens, suggesting it is a form of aural misperception. I'll just have to wait and see when it occurs again and in what circumstances. This phenomenon, given that it sounds like someone moving about, could easily be interpreted as a sign of a haunting by some witnesses.

Last month's (December) website figures are an average of 8638 hits per day. This is down on the previous month's 10604 daily average, which is usual for December.

© Maurice Townsend 2018


Previous blog pages ...

  • 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
  • Even older