National Paranormal Society NPS FOCUS June 2016 - Page 40

losing you mind? Most likely, neither, potential logical explanations abound. Shadow figures, or shadow people, are simply defined as dark, shadowy masses of vaguely human form. These have garnered a lot of attention in recent years, with much debate over whether they are benign or malicious, if they do indeed exist. Others feel they are entities attempting to manifest, or lacking sufficient energy to fully manifest. In the past, shadow figures were reported predominantly in the periphery (what most refer to as out of the corner of the eye.) Recently more and more are reporting seeing these figures in their main visual field. The reason for this shift is unknown; perhaps it is merely human perception based on the phenomenon being more accepted. To address the benign versus evil debate, society has associated darkness and even the color black with mystery, fear and even evil. We fear what we don’t understand and clearly see. Shadow figure reports, however, are sometimes of light gray rather than black. Some are reported to have glowing red eyes…again most likely, human imagination. Our peripheral vision cannot always be trusted; it is not as refined as our primary field of vision. A living person may have walked past quickly, appearing as a dark blur. If you are in a heightened sense of awareness due to a scary movie or expectation of an experience, your brain is more likely to perceive it. Many

claims are in dark bedrooms. Again, human innately fear what they cannot see. The human brain creates familiar shapes out of randomness, through pareidolia, a humanoid shape is familiar. Multiple medical and mental health issues, as well as certain medications, can account for seeing dark forms in the peripheral vision. As for that selfie with the shadow behind you, motion blur due to human error and rolling shutter of cell phone cameras, or a person going past gives sufficient doubt to rule it out.

More commonly known as Intelligent or Classic Hauntings, the traditional haunt is characterized by the spirit’s being aware of itself, its surroundings and human presence. They are able to interact with the living by speech or perhaps moving small items. This alleged ability is not to be confused with poltergeist activity. During an investigation, a researcher may be able to elicit a response upon request, such as answering a question to be found as an EVP during evidence review, knocking in a particular manner (for example, completing the old favorite “shave and a haircut’ knock). Intelligent spirits may be positive/benign or negative. In theory, if a person was not very nice in life, they will not change after passing. A negative spirit is not to be confused with demonic

presence, though many people do make this mistake. The prevalence, level of negativity, as well as power is vastly different between the two. Many believe that intelligent hauntings occur when a person who has passed is deeply attached to the building; perhaps they built it, grew up there, died there, etc. Others may have remained due to unfinished business or not wishing to leave a spouse/child alone. The actual building need not remain standing; evidence is captured in many investigations that indicate spirit activity from a time prior to the construction of the current building. For example. when Native American chanting in a modern home. Natural explanations for traditional hauntings are similar to those for residual, from trick of the eyes to misinterpretation of sounds in a house (bangs from air in water pipes or doors opening due to a vacuum formed when another door is closed) to many medical/mental health/medication issues at play.

Crisis apparitions are distinctly different from other manifestations in that they are focused on a particular person for a specific reason. The alleged apparition is that of a loved one who is believed to have come to warn a person of danger, impending