Ghosts - research, evidence, and discussion.
Newsletter Subscription:
Subscribe to our free monthly email newsletter:

Features Archive:

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
2006 Archive:
The Winchester Mystery House - Ghost Chronicles
December 28, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Investigating Jane Doherty - Ghost Chronicles
December 20, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Shadow People - by Lee Prosser
December 16, 2006

Column - regular feature

The Westford Knight - Ghost Chronicles
December 15, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Haunted Real Estate by Richard Senate
December 13, 2006

Traditions Behind Christmas By Vince Wilson
December 8, 2006

The Haunted Dibbuk Box - Ghost Chronicles
December 6, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Have Ghosts? Will Travel: A Ghostgeek's Guide to the RMS Queen Mary By Jen Brown
December 4, 2006

Thanksgiving: A Day of Forgiveness - by Lee Prosser
December 1, 2006

Column - regular feature

America's Stonehenge - Ghost Chronicles
November 29, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Instrumental TransCommunication (ITC) - by Jeff Belanger
November 16, 2006

Ghost Hunt Seminar - Ghost Chronicles
November 15, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Ghost Photography: Orbs by Robbin Van Pelt
November 9, 2006

Pet Ghosts - Ghost Chronicles
November 6, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Ghosts Haunt the Inn by Richard Senate
November 3, 2006

Japanese Woman Artist - by Lee Prosser
November 1, 2006

Column - regular feature

The Ghosts of the Windham Restaurant - Ghost Chronicles
October 30, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

The Salem Witches - Ghost Chronicles
October 23, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Homan House, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: A Preliminary Report by John Sabol
October 20, 2006

What Does Halloween/Samhain Mean to You? - Compiled by Jeff Belanger
October 16, 2006

That is the Way of It - by Lee Prosser
October 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Fooling the Ghost Hunter by Richard Senate
October 11, 2006

Jack Kerouac - by Lee Prosser
October 2, 2006

Column - regular feature

Civil War Re-enactors and the Ghost Experience - by Jeff Belanger
September 15, 2006

Who Goes There in the Shadows? - by Lee Prosser
September 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Engagement and Data Analysis in Symmetrical Field Investigations by John Sabol
September 11, 2006

Occult Warfare by Richard Senate
September 6, 2006

Cats and Other Critters From Beyond the Grave - by Lee Prosser
September 1, 2006

Column - regular feature

Chicago's Strange Angles and Haunted Architecture by Ursula Bielski
August 25, 2006

I Have a Hunch: A Look at Psychics, Mediums, and Clairvoyants - by Jeff Belanger
August 16, 2006

Geof Gray-Cobb - by Lee Prosser
August 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Orbs: Have They Become that Boring? by Tuesday Miles
August 14, 2006

A Night on Char-Man Bridge by Richard Senate
August 7, 2006

Five Union Soldier Ghosts - by Lee Prosser
August 2, 2006

Column - regular feature

A Visit With Author and Witch Kala Trobe - Interview by Lee Prosser
July 26, 2006

Perceptual Stratigraphy: Making Sense of Ghostly Manifestations by John Sabol
July 24, 2006

The Trouble With Witches - by Lee Prosser
July 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

A Look at Our Haunted Lives - by Jeff Belanger
July 13, 2006

An Active Ghost Hunt at a Haunted Bed and Breakfast by Richard Senate
July 7, 2006

Lee Prosser, 1969 - by Lee Prosser
July 4, 2006

Column - regular feature

My Theory on Spirits by Edward L. Shanahan
June 28, 2006

Ethnoarchaeoghostology: A Humanistic-Scientific Approach to the Study of Haunt Phenomena by John Sabol
June 19, 2006

Christopher Isherwood & Lee Prosser in 1969 - by Lee Prosser
June 16, 2006

Column - regular feature

ESP, M&Ms, and Reality - by Jeff Belanger
June 15, 2006

A Duel on the Airwaves by Richard Senate
June 5, 2006

Marjorie Firestone and Her Dream Predictions - by Lee Prosser
June 1, 2006

Column - regular feature

Until Death Do Us Part? by Rick Hayes
May 31, 2006

Part Four: the Conclusion: Primrose Road - Adams St. Cemetery - by Marcus Foxglove Griffin
May 22, 2006

Column - regular feature

Folklore, Folklore, Folklore with Dr. Michael Bell - interview by Jeff Belanger
May 16, 2006

Swami Chetanananda and Lee Prosser - by Lee Prosser
May 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Theatre, Sance, and the Ghost Script: Performances at Haunted Locations by John Sabol
May 5, 2006

Willard David Firestone and the River Ghost - by Lee Prosser
May 1, 2006

Column - regular feature

When the Spirits Held Sway at the White House by Richard Senate
April 25, 2006

Part Three: Investigation: Primrose Road - Adams St. Cemetery - by Marcus Foxglove Griffin
April 20, 2006

Column - regular feature

Talking Reincarnation with Dr. John Gilbert - interview by Lee Prosser
April 17, 2006

Billy Bob Firestone and the Ghosts of Pythian Castle - by Lee Prosser
April 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Cryptobotany: the Search for Lost Plants by Richard Senate
April 7, 2006

The Mysteries of Druidry Book Excerpt Part 4 of 4 by Dr. Brendan Cathbad Myers
April 6, 2006

Vedanta and Durga - by Lee Prosser
April 2, 2006

Column - regular feature

The Mysteries of Druidry Book Excerpt Part 3 of 4 by Dr. Brendan Cathbad Myers
March 30, 2006

Ritual, Resonance, and Ghost Research: The Play in the Fields by John Sabol
March 27, 2006

The Mysteries of Druidry Book Excerpt Part 2 of 4 by Dr. Brendan Cathbad Myers
March 23, 2006

Celtic This, Druid That, Saint Patrick Hit Me With a Wiffle-Ball Bat - by Marcus Foxglove Griffin
March 21, 2006

Column - regular feature

The Mysteries of Druidry Book Excerpt Part 1 of 4 by Dr. Brendan Cathbad Myers
March 16, 2006

Christopher Isherwood, Time Loops, and Ghosts - by Lee Prosser
March 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Druids - by Lee Prosser
March 3, 2006

Column - regular feature

Natural Selection and the Involution of the Gettysburg Ghosts by John Sabol
February 28, 2006

Part Two: Investigation: Primrose Road - Adams St. Cemetery - by Marcus Foxglove Griffin
February 20, 2006

Column - regular feature

Lights, Camera... Action! by Brian Leffler
February 16, 2006

Divination and Geomancy - by Lee Prosser
February 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Spirit Messages from a Murderer by Richard Senate
February 8, 2006

The Ghosts of Springfield, Missouri - by Lee Prosser
February 3, 2006

Column - regular feature

The Ghost Storyteller: A Dinosaur Among Lemmings? by Charles J. Adams III
January 23, 2006

The Fools Journey: A Magickal Roadmap to Life - by Marcus Foxglove Griffin
January 20, 2006

Column - regular feature

Tarot and Spiritual Alchemy - by Lee Prosser
January 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Demons from the Dark by Chip Coffey
January 9, 2006

Spooky - by Lee Prosser
January 3, 2006

Column - regular feature

June 15, 2006

ESP, M&Ms, and Reality

By Jeff Belanger

Extrasensory perception, or ESP -- the sixth sense. Do we all have it? Is it a sixth sense or simply an as-yet unexplained extension of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, or tasting? ESP is too big of a subject to tackle with just an article, so I wanted to touch on the ES, but focus on the P --  perception.

Extrasensory simply means experiencing something beyond the traditional five senses. The ghostly-inclined might immediately think of the experience of seeing a ghost -- the visual sense of being able to perceive an apparition that others may not notice, also called clairvoyance. But there are many other examples of this, and the visual experience is certainly the most rare, even though its what we think of first. What about hearing a disembodied whisper? Or smelling cigar smoke or strange perfume even though no living person is nearby? And what about those gut feelings we get about issues in our life?

Loyd Auerbach is renowned in the field of parapsychology and is the author of books such as ESP, Hauntings and Poltergeists, and Ghost Hunting. I asked him for his definition of ESP. First of all, its not extrasensory, Auerbach said. Its not beyond what we normally have. It is extra beyond what we consider sensory perception. So it really covers those abilities to pull information in, whether its real-time, which would be clairvoyant to remote viewing, that kind of thing; precognitive from the future; or retrocognitive, from the past. Its also the ability to pull information from objects and events. So with hauntings were pulling information from a place, which is very similar to pulling information from an object, which is what we call psychometry.

ESP is gleaning information from someplace just beyond the reach of our traditional understanding of the five senses. ESP is part of most of our lives already, though we may not know it, or label it as such, but this perfectly natural ability came with your operating system and can be developed. The information or data is there -- interpreting the data is the trick.

The term "ESP" was first used by French researcher Sir Richard Burton in 1870. In 1892, Dr. Paul Joire used the term to describe the ability of certain people in a trance or hypnotized state to sense external stimuli without using their traditional senses. There is evidence of the phenomena going back millennia, and the concept can be found in multiple religious texts, but in the late-nineteenth century, the phenomenon was given a name.

When discussing senses, emotions, and perception, there is little that is black, white, or red. The human experience is unique to every person on this planet. For example, why do I have an absolute weakness for peanut M&Ms? If the famous colored candies are in the house, Ill eat them all. When I walk by them in the grocery store, my knees get a little weak, I feel the pores on my forehead open, ready to let forth the deluge of anxiety sweat, and my mouth waters in anticipation of getting my fix. For me, peanut M&Ms are my favorite treat. Thats my perception. Thats my reality.

For more help with perception, I gave my sister, Dr. Susan Belanger, a call. My sister has a Ph.D. in psychology, and if you dont have a psychologist in your family already, I cant recommend getting one enough. Perception is an intensely personal experience, Dr. Belanger said. How I perceive the color red and how you perceive the color red could be very different.

Okay, Sue and I were forced to share more than one crayon box growing up, and I can tell you that if you independently asked us to pick the red crayon, we both would have reached for the same one. Right, Dr. Belanger said. Theres a concept of redness based on a certain wavelength of color, but how we perceive it, the richness of the color, the hues, could be different. Even a person who is color-blind can learn to identify red. They know red on a traffic light, and theyre perceiving red even though theyre not seeing red. So the perception of color is a personal experience. You might look at a certain shade of color and say its purple, but I would look at it and say, no thats red. Its the same stimulus -- youre looking at the same color crayon, but some people see it as purple and some people see it as red.

Fair enough. But what about these gut feelings we sometimes get? Im talking about a physiological reaction to an idea -- like when you get a great idea for writing a story or a song; or when you have a terrific business idea that you know would be a hit. In the pit of your stomach you may feel something like butterflies, you may feel your entire body want to spring forward to chase this idea into reality. Is that ESP? Lets ask the psychologist, then well ask the parapsychologist.

Im not saying that its not ESP, Dr. Belanger said, but is that just paying attention to your past experiences and past behavior? Some people go through life with blinders on. They dont pay attention to people, places, things, or their own feelings, so they dont have a large database to build on. Other people do, so what you call a gut feeling I may call past experiences, or learning -- learning from your mistakes and learning from your successes. If you do things enough time, you create a database of experiences so you can say, Okay, Ive done this so many times in the past that you get good at anticipating what to do in the future. You can call that gut, or learning, or ESP.

The parapsychologist: A gut feeling can be ESP, Auerbach said. In fact, theres current research going on over the last couple years by Dean Radin and others looking at whats called presentiment. And thats our gut -- our bodies -- know before something happens that something is about to happen. It doesnt have to be conscious and it doesn't have to be verbal or a left-brain type of thing. So our guts, which is the largest collection of nerve ganglia outside of the brain, can sometimes pick up information. Its the translation of information thats always the problem. ESP covers any sensation. The whole idea of perception is that we perceive things in different ways and we sometimes perceive them kinesthetically.

When I used to work in advertising, there was a mantra that went around the office: Perception Is Reality. Perception is reality. If you perceive something as real, then for you, its real. If you have a gut feeling on an issue, or simply know something with no explanation as to why or how you know it, ESP is at work. If you act or react based on those feelings, you just used ESP to interpret that data. Conversely, we can learn to tune out these unique perceptions. If were told enough times that what were seeing or hearing cant be real, we may start to believe that, and thus stop perceiving.

I asked Loyd Auerbach about how we can develop our ESP skills further. There was a psychic I worked with years ago named Alex Tanous, and Alex worked at the American Society for Psychical Research in New York. He told me really good advice and its something Ive heard from other psychics since then. He said you can simply learn to notice whats already there. This is actually a memory exercise that works to the advantage of learning to be more psychic. He said pay attention to each of your senses for three to five minutes on any given day. So you focus on what youre seeing, what youre hearing, you consciously pay attention or tend to the input, and after a couple of weeks you notice theres this extra stuff that your normal senses can't account for, and once you start noticing it, you start noticing it more.

ESP is an inward study. Its listening to ourselves and paying attention to our environment and human experiences. And if there is a way to extend my sense of taste so I can savor those peanut M&Ms without having to open the bag and ingest all of those calories, I want to know about it. If you see me meditating on the floor of aisle six in the grocery store in front of the candy section, please try to keep quiet and dont run into me with your cart.

You can visit Loyd Auerbach's Web site at: Loyd highly recommends the book, Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality by Dean Radin for more information on the study of ESP. If you'd like to reach Dr. Susan Belanger, you can't -- stay away from my sister.

2014 Haunted New England Wall Calendar by Jeff Belanger photography by Frank Grace
Check out the 2014 Haunted New England wall calendar by Jeff Belanger and photography by Frank Grace!

Paranormal Conferences and Lectures
Don't miss the following events and lectures:

Jeff Belanger and “The Bridgewater Triangle” at Dedham Community Theatre - April 6, 2014 9:00PM

The Spirits of the Mark Twain House - Hartford, Connecticut - April 12, 2014

Paracon Australia - East Maitland, New South Wales, Australia - May 10-12, 2014