Giving the paranormal a jolt of science and technology
(Published in the Nov. 13 Becker County Record)
BY BRIAN WIERIMA
With the popularity of paranormal research reaching an all-time high, there are an abundance of theories, guesses and ideas of what motors one of man’s final frontiers.
Everything from “it’s all the devil’s work” to quantum physical theories have been thrown on the wall, but as of today, none have stuck or have been 100-percent proven.
In essence, there isn’t a rulebook on the paranormal.
But that isn’t saying there are not people out there trying to prove theories by intensive scientific research, supported by evidence using some of today’s most technological advances.
Last weekend, some of the most high-profile paranormal personalities were featured on the first-ever Shooting Star’s Paranormal Convention Nov. 4-5.
For two of the presenters and guests of the convention, using strict scientific guidelines propels their work — and it’s being noticed internationally.
SyFy’s Ghost Hunters International Barry Fitzgerald and Kris Williams were the featured speakers last Saturday, while Discovery Channel’s former show “Ghost Lab” head investigators Brad and Barry Klinge also were on the ticket.
Although the two groups do have different methods of investigating the paranormal, they both tread on the same path of adding scientific research into the sometimes controversial field of the paranormal.
The two groups also have the same attitude that the paranormal has no rules — yet.
“I don’t know what the future holds (for paranormal research),” Fitzgerald said. “But there are engineers in Europe which are developing technology, where for the first time we will be able to listen (to the paranormal) without misinterpreting it. It will be a black and white issue.”
But, as of now, no one has been able to open that door and pull out concrete answers.
“No one can claim to be a professional in this field, because we don’t have the science or technology to explain it,” Williams added.
But that also doesn’t mean there are those out there ready to allow such a thing to go unanswered, because according to the Klinge Brothers, that includes doing extensive research into it.
“For one, just because there are people on TV shows doing this, doesn’t make them an expert, including us,” Barry Klinge said. “But you need to go out and think outside the box. Don’t call yourself a paranormal researcher, if you’re not willing to do the research.”
An international phenomena
Only until the last seven to eight years, the subject of the paranormal was basically taboo in the United States.
Sure, it was talked about in inner circles, but the paranormal field rarely hit mainstream America.
“It wasn’t even sidestream 20 years ago,” Brad Klinge added.
But with the emergence of SyFy’s “Ghost Hunters” eight years ago, which featured the paranormal group The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS), ghosts were introduced to pop culture.
Overseas, though, the paranormal was always normal and was more accepted.
Fitzgerald, who hails from Ireland, grew up with the notion paranormal was an accepted part of society.
“In Ireland, the undertone of spirituality ran in everything,” said Fitzgerald. “People always talked about it, but they never wanted to get involved in it. There were always warnings attached to the paranormal.”
After the popularity of “Ghost Hunters” caught on, especially on cable television, many different paranormal shows were spawned, such as “Ghost Lab”, “Ghost Hunters International” and “The Haunted Collector.”
Williams has played a big part on both “Ghost Hunters” and “Ghost Hunters International”, in which she is one of the lead investigators — along with Fitzgerald — with its third season starting this coming February.
But for Williams, she still is skeptical if any of the paranormal exists, despite traveling all over the U.S. and world investigating some of the suspected most haunted places on earth.
Her first attraction to paranormal investigating blossomed out of her love for history and genealogy.
“For me, it was the possibility of historical events still being alive,” Williams said. “There is a side of me which wants the facts and records, so there is still a side which is skeptical. At the end of the day, I don’t know what to believe in.”
But for Fitzgerald, he has dedicated over 20 years of his life studying the paranormal and trying to development technology to open more doors to provide answers for it.
Living in Europe has supplied lots of opportunities for experiencing paranormal activity.
Time — or more specifically, history — plays a part in studying the paranormal, as well.
“The oldest location I investigated with T.A.P.S. was a location from the late 1700’s,” Williams added. “My first run with GHI, we investigated this castle which was built in 1190. The Aztec Ruins we investigated was over 3,500 years old.”
So with more history, comes more potential for paranormal activity, as well as different legends and beliefs.
But all that can be tied together with one factor — technology and science.
Fitzgerald has written several books on his experiences and theories with the paranormal, and says technology is finally advancing in the field again.
“About five years ago, the technology was stagnant with all its fluffy lights which we were getting nowhere with,” Fitzgerald said. “We are now getting rid of those flashy lights and giving them a voice.”
Which, in the end, could lead to the answers people like Fitzgerald and Williams are searching for.
Using the law of physics to understand paranormal
The Klinge Brothers have set out to be different and unique, thinking outside the box to help in the quest for answers.
And don’t think for one second they care what is said about their theories, because they don’t. They are concerned about one thing — and that’s hard-core proof.
It all started when Brad captured an amazing video from the Gettysburg battlefield when he was on a family vacation as a 17 year old.
“We were leaving town around noon, when we looked in the field and saw 10-12 Union soldiers,” Brad Klinge said. “You could clearly see the American flag, their dark uniforms and even some of the drums some of them carried on their back.
“I was about 500 to 600 yards away when I started video-taping them (with his VHS video recorder) because I thought it was just a re-enactment.”
When he shut the camera off to try and get closer to the soldiers, he looked up and they were gone.
“It was only about a split second, but I looked at my video tape and I had them taped crystal clear,” he added. “Unfortunately, there were only the three of us (Brad and his parents) and not like 15 people to witness it.
“But right then and there I believed that this ghost stuff was real.”
For 20 years, Brad only showed the video to three people, which included his brother Barry.
“It was so real and unbelievable, that if I showed it, people would say ‘Whatever,’” Brad stated. “But, that’s when it started for us because if you can videotape (the paranormal), there needs to be some kind of science behind it. There needs to be some mass qualities to it and some conventional scientific qualities.”
When the Klinge Brothers were signed on to film “Ghost Lab”, their first episode was revisiting where Brad’s experience happened at Gettysburg.
They found out several very profound aspects.
“One, we found out where Brad was when he filmed it,” Barry Klinge said. “Two, we found out that re-enactments don’t occur on the original battlefield. The only re-enactment allowed was during the filming of the movie ‘Gettysburg’.”
Add to the fact, there were no spectators watching the soldiers when Brad was filming, makes it proof-positive that what he saw was no re-enactment.
With the creation of the “Ghost Lab”, which was made out of the majority of the Klinge’s equipment, they set out testing new methods and theories.
Their instant analysis was a unique aspect of the show, where members were in the Ghost Lab listening to live EVP sessions (EVP stands for electronic voice phenomena, in which disembodied voices are captured on a digital audio recorder.)
“What good is it to be listening to EVPs a week later?” Barry said. “If we get an EVP in the basement of a location, I want to know now, because that’s where we’ll be investigating.”
The Klinge Brothers’ basic theories they practice include the Law of Conservation of Energy, which leads into the Natural Recording Phenomena (NRP).
The Law of Conservation of Energy simply states that energy can’t be destroyed or created, it is merely transferred.
“When you die, your energy needs to go somewhere, we believe that energy is captured,” Barry Klinge said. “NRP is merely an imprint of a voice, which is captured from our surroundings. It could be your chair you are sitting on or anything around you (which acts like a magnet).
“It maybe just one or two words captured and 20 years later, something (activates) it and you get an imprint of a voice (or EVP).”
One theory the Klinge Brothers are proud of and feel they have proven is their Era-Cue method.
It is similar to the Singapore Theory, which is used in investigation work to illicit a reaction by an entity of a different time era by re-enacting something which can trigger that said reaction.
But the Klinge Brothers took it to another level — and registered one of their best pieces of evidence to date.
“It happened in Deadwood, S.D., after we captured an EVP saying ‘Nine diamond’ which of course relates to Wild Bill Hickok” Brad said.
The Klinge Brothers re-created Hickok’s murder precisely by bringing in re-enactors, who did the scene, while having freeze frames, while the investigators conducted EVP sessions.
“We provoked the hell out of Wild Bill, like telling him you never sit with your back to the door and things like that,” Barry said. “When we got to the part where the gun was to the back of his head, we froze it and asked, ‘Bill, do you have any last words?’”
They received an answer.
“The guys out in the truck heard some words and just went crazy,” Brad said. “We re-listened to the EVP and heard the words, ‘Tell my wife I love her.’”
At the time, the Klinge Brothers didn’t even know Hickok was married, which he was in fact a newlywed. They later were introduced to a letter in which Hickok wrote just days before his death, in which he wrote to his wife about a bad premonition he had.
With the success of the Deadwood Era-Cue, there was a potential revelation revealed to the Klinge Brothers.
“What this tells us, is paranormal activity can be predictable,” Brad said. “We did it in a scientific way, but it was paranormal.”
Another theory the Klinge Brothers have proven again and again was the presence of electro-magnetic frequencies (EMFs) when an EVP is captured.
“When you get something of one, you need to go out and get two or three of the others to help prove your theory,” Brad included. “If you are out to prove skeptics wrong, you need to throw all your evidence, which relates to each other, to leave no doubt in their mind.”
One common notion many paranormal researchers believe, in which the Klinge Brothers don’t buy into, is the practice of house cleansing or smudging to rid yourself of entities in a location.
“Humans will not be able to get rid of (the paranormal activity), because it’s a natural occurrence,” Brad said. “You maybe can repel them, but not get rid of them.”
No matter what frame of mind one takes in the paranormal field, keeping science and technology out of it will not be choice, simply because those two aspects are being nurtured to finding answers to something which, as of now, has none.