National Paranormal Society NPS FOCUS June 2016 - Page 60

itself, but it is important to note whatever term has been used, paranormal has been used to include psychic work, mediumship, ESP, clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, telekinesis as well as ghost investigation and communication. The fact is you may be able to take the paranormal out of the occult study; it is much harder to take the occult out of paranormal study. Sightings and communications with the dead were directly under the jurisdictions of theology and the occult before scientific paranormal investigation even began!

The idea that the occult can be at best a controversial subject and at worst a conversation leading to consternation may be one reason that some paranormal teams avoid using occult techniques, practices or psychic personnel. Others point out the importance of remaining purely scientific and looking for hard evidence. This means an objective versus subjective approach or choosing quantitative over qualitative methods. While getting numerical numbers is a goal of pushing parapsychology into the new millennium, many would agree that documented experiences are also important in furthering the work. Certainly the field is progressing with the use of technology and an array of better data collection.

It is important to keep the

groups that Judaic theology involved spirits and demons. It is believed King Solomon used magic to construct his temple. Ancient Rome and Greece also had belief in communication with the dead. Magical beliefs and practices continued to spread through mystery schools such as the Hermetic tradition and into Christian beliefs. During the Renaissance, according to Michelle Belanger, the first magician' names came to light: Johannes Trithemius, a Benedictine and Henry Cornelius Agrippa, his young prodigy. Later, John Dee was known for many magical acts and development of Enochian magic as well as communication with the dead, while he served as the magician for Queen Elizabeth I. The Victorian era brought an increased interest in all things occult, including mediums, séances, table-tipping, talking boards and automatic writing. Madame Blavatsky’s Theosophy also attracted the attention of the elite but it was Spiritualism that captured the attention of many and brought communication with the dead into halls, churches and living rooms.

Spiritualism started off with a knock, and the door was opened to communication with the dead. In the cold weather of March 1848, in Hydesville, New York, an 11 and 14 year old began hearing knocking on the bedroom walls. A group convened and watched as the raps were able to count out the numbers

occult in its proper place in paranormal research, but to discount it entirely as “mumbo jumbo” or “evil” would be remiss. Regardless of the media’s fascination with occult topics and reality shows in the last decade, one may want to remember that Benjamin Franklin and many of our founding fathers, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, and Ronald and Nancy Reagan all engaged in some beliefs in occult subjects. Further, occult symbolism is found on and in religious buildings, government edifices and monuments, and even on American currency. The correct interpretation of occult symbols is key to understanding certain cases for paranormal investigators.

The use of EVPs and K2 meters (both technological tools) may not be that different than the use of dowsing rods or mediums (both occult tools) … all mentioned may produce controversial evidence depending on which investigators you speak with about such findings.

How and when did this concern with attempted communication with the dead begin? It may have been around as long as humans have walked the earth.

In the ancient Sumerian, Babylonian and Egyptian cultures there were magical or religious techniques to communicate with spirits. It may have been from these