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'

If you want to know when there is a new post here without having to keep checking, and are a member of Facebook, like or follow the ASSAP Facebook community page at this link.

21 January: A shadow ghost

odd reflectionSo, I know a door where a shadow ghost visits. It is only seen from indoors and only occasionally at unpredictable times. It is an outer door with a frosted window so anyone standing outside is visible but not necessarily recognisable from inside. The shadow ghost is different from a real person outside because it is only seen in peripheral vision and vanishes when you look straight at it. The ‘ghost’ always looks dark, never moves, and its shape is indistinct but large. The figure has been seen from various different positions in the room.

So what is it? I think it is a peripheral vision misperception. Why? Like many reports of shadow ghosts it is dark and seen in peripheral vision only. I think such ‘figures’ are dark because peripheral vision relies on rods in the retina that only see black and white as well as not seeing detail well (see here). Such figures vanish when seen straight on because misperceptions 'break' when the underlying object is seen well. In this particular case I think there is a particular pattern of light in the frosted window, that only occurs in certain specific conditions, that is being misperceived rather than a solid object. I have often seen misperceptions caused by shadows. Being a window to the outdoors, the light is constantly changing on it all day. Why misperceive the pattern of light as a figure? Misperception chooses likely objects to substitute for what’s actually there. A human figure is a highly likely object to be seen the in the door window!

Shadow ghosts are often reported in doorways seen in peripheral vision. Sometimes they appear to change shape. I have often seen this phenomenon with misperception as the brain tries various objects to fit what it actually sees.  I suspect peripheral vision  misperception is behind many reports of shadow ghosts. And the picture? Not a shadow ghost but some strange reflections.

15 January: Dreamlike but not a dream

ghost tieMy acquaintance (MA) who gets MWRs (microsleep with REM experiences – see here) which, while normal, could easily be taken for paranormal, frequently gets them while reading. Usually this means speech (heard when MA is alone) which sounds like part of an overheard conversation. So MA was startled to get a different kind of MWR while reading recently, one where a different scene appears, not what was actually there. In the scene there was a man on his knees, apparently in distress, asking an (invisible) person nearby for help. MA had no idea from the scene what was going on or what had led up to it.

Last month I speculated (here) on the causes of MA’s various MWRs. I thought the sound-only ones and real scenes where one fictitious object, like a human figure, had been added were related to hypnagogic hallucinations. And I thought the ones where the entire real scene was replaced by a different one was related to dreams, albeit very short ones. But now I’m seriously doubting the dream connection.

In dreams we usually ‘know’ stuff even though we haven’t experienced it in the dream. Take a nightmare I had recently as an example. I ‘knew’ I’d previously helped a friend with their scientific research though it didn’t happen in the dream. I also ‘knew’ that the friend had then set up a highly successful company using the results of our research. What I actually saw in the dream was me reading a letter. It was from my friend’s company in reply to a letter I’d sent to them (which I also didn’t see in the dream) suggesting I might be due some financial compensation for my considerable efforts that led to the company's huge profitability. The reply said that I had made no material contribution to the company’s success and so was due nothing. Furthermore, should I disclose this private communication to any third party they would take legal action against me!  Most people have nightmares where they are chased by monsters, mine consist of disputes with rich tech companies! Unsurprisingly, none of the dream is true!

The important point was that I just knew the background to the dream scene without ever seeing it. I have always experienced this background knowledge in dreams. But MA had no idea of the background to the kneeling man scene or other MWRs where the whole scene was different to reality. So, these ‘alternate scene’ MWRs are actually more like hypnagogic hallucinations than dreams. So, I’m now thinking that ALL MWRs may be related to hypnagogic hallucinations. They are dreamlike but not a dream. And the illustration? A ghost tie, of course.

3 January: The grey angel?

angel shapeSo I got a nice pic of what looked like a grey angel hovering over a house (see right). I can already guess readers will not be terribly convinced that it is anything truly remarkable. There seem to be so many anomalous photos in the media and on-line these days and few, if any, look terribly convincing. So what might the grey shape be?

One obvious answer is a cloud. But what about a flock of starlings? These birds form murmurations this time of year at dusk (the time of this photo) forming all sorts of interesting shapes. Well, if you zoom in on photo editing software to see more closely the shape does not become thousands of birds - it is indeed just a cloud!

So mystery solved! But it is not so easy with many contemporary anomalous photos. That's because if you zoom in there is no more detail, instead just pixilation. The reason for that is most anomalous photos these days are taken using smartphones. Modern smartphone cameras actually have pretty good specifications but they are still not as good as purpose built cameras. So while you CAN fiddle with things like ISO, shutter speed, focus and so on with a modern smartphone camera hardly anyone does. So they rely on automated settings which cannot always cope with all situations. And there are other disadvantages for smartphone cameras versus cameras - see here.

Another big problem is that, though smartphones can take quite high resolution pictures, resulting photos often end up heavily compressed. This often happens when the photos are copied using various bits of photo software. Indeed, sometimes it might be necessary to deliberately compress a photo to email it to someone because of file size limits. In the days of film you could always go back to the negative and make another print but once a digital photo is compressed, detail is lost forever.

Obviously, a photo of an anomaly taken with a smartphone is better than no photo! Just don't expect it to provide definitive evidence.

© Maurice Townsend 2022

ASSAP

Previous blog pages ...

  • Dec 2021 (including psychic voices, shadow ghosts, mysterious red box)
  • Nov 2021 (including ghost ship to time slip, ghosts walking on a different level)
  • Oct 2021 (including partial ghosts, ghosts from a train, some odd happenings)
  • Sep 2021 (including skittering black thing, the 'ghosts in the breaks' effect)
  • Aug 2021 (including when ghosts break, ghost crossing, pigeons that aren't pigeons)
  • Jul 2021 (including strange rules, spatial distortion and mini-OBEs, did a wish come true)
  • Jun 2021 (including 40th anniversary of ASSAP, ghosts in circles)
  • May 2021 (including glimpsing a parallel universe, white blob ghost)
  • Apr 2021 (including capturing a fragment in time, a ghost crow, the ghost in the avenue)
  • Mar 2021 (including remote viewing, ghostly hand photo, voice from no one)
  • Feb 2021 (including paranormal object movement, being psychic or having a poor memory)
  • Jan 2021 (including ghostly footsteps approaching, seeing and photographing a ghost)
  • Dec 2020 (including shadow ghost, haunting noises, disappearing figure)
  • Nov 2020 (including doppelganger, distorted voice from nowhere, a psychic hit)
  • Oct 2020 (including a psychic near miss, what connects most paranormal photos, UFO sizes)
  • Sep 2020 (including experiencing time loss and coincidences in paranormal reports)
  • Aug 2020 (including the 'thing', moaning ghost, not seeing what is right in front of you)
  • Jul 2020 (including unidentified aerial phenomenon, paranormal apparition, false memories)
  • Jun 2020 (including glitch in time, black bag animal phenomenon, stationary ghosts)
  • May 2020 (including a different kind of OBE, haunting smells, voice over the water, shadow ghost)
  • Apr 2020 (including likely increase in paranormal reports during virus crisis)
  • Mar 2020 (including empty streets with voices, crisis apparition, talking ghost)
  • Feb 2020 (including bloody footprint, ghostly voices, child that wasn't there)
  • Jan 2020 (including are distracted people more likely to see see ghosts, on seeing disembodied legs)
  • Dec 2019 (including a couple disappear, talking fox, ghost without presence)
  • Nov 2019 (including multiple witness sightings, recording ghosts, reproducing a mini-OBE)
  • Oct 2019 (including how you know you've seen a ghost, ghost in an alley and a hi-vis jacket)
  • Sep 2019 (including instrumenting ghost vigils, are OBEs paranormal, day to night instantly)
  • Aug 2019 (including how do you recognise an OBE, ghost people, the unnoticed witness - a type of ghost experience)
  • Jul 2019 (including old style ghost vigils, fairy-like photos, tiny shadowt on roof)
  • Jun 2019 (including same ghost seen twice, am I a ghost, why so many ghosts)
  • May 2019 (including hidden ghosts, phantom building work, what should a ghost look like)
  • Apr 2019 (including witness testimony versus photos, can ghosts be photographed, the Vardoger connection)
  • Mar 2019 (including ghostly music, touched by a ghost, ghosts in hi-vis clothing)
  • Feb 2019 (including ghost appearing out of nowhere, hearing music when ghosts appear)
  • 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
  • Even older