It takes all sorts and you don't find a more varied bunch of people than in the paranormal
community. Although supernatural experiences like moving objects, apparitions and oppressive atmospheres are agreed upon and well documented, the causes for these phenomenon are still debated.
Some think that hauntings are the result of the spirits of the dead, while the more scientific amongst us feel that these experiences are the result of lingering energy imprinted on a location, but it doesn't end here. Others will look at the same set of proposed evidence of the paranormal and conclude that it is the result of demons, guardian angels, or even pixies.
These beliefs tend to be very personal and deep-rooted. Convincing someone that the cause of what they've seen or experienced is something different to what they originally thought it was is nigh on impossible.
However changing the mindset of the paranormal community, is the mission of one paranormal researcher with some unusual thoughts on what causes the things that go bump in the night at haunted locations around the world.
When you first get into ghost hunting you have to take a few leaps of faith. How can a poltergeist throw something when it has no physical form? How can a ghostly voice end up on an audio recording when it wasn't heard at the time?
These things seem illogical and they are. Even the best paranormal investigators can't offer up a satisfactory paranormal explanation for these and other aspects of the behaviour of ghosts. Apart from one man, Patrick Jackson, who does have logical explanations for all of these strange goings on, including the age old question... why is it never a ghost running around shouting "it's Britney, bitch?"
Patrick grew up in a rural village outside Cambridge, now in his 40s he's an IT specialist who has been reverse engineering paranormal concepts for the last 20 years. Unwilling to accept the status quo, he's on a mission to convince the paranormal community that the hauntings they are investigating aren't caused by the spirits of dead humans, but are in fact signs of the presence of undetectable alien spheres.
Patrick talks about his unusual theory in detail in his book, 'Quantum Paranormal: A 21st Century Analysis Of Paranormal Phenomenon
', but despite dedicating years of research to his theory, he's finding it hard to get the paranormal community to take his research seriously. Because Patrick is passionate about his mission, he can sometimes come across as a little aggressive when pushing his beliefs on people. He says this has lead to him feeling like the black sheep of the paranormal world.
Paranormal teams have kicked him out of their groups on social media, prominent researchers have refused to engage with him, and others have turned their back on him. His reputation isn't helped by statements like the claim in his book that he's single-handedly answered more questions than in the last two hundred years of paranormal research.
The problem is only around 40% of people believe in ghosts. So already more than half of the people Patrick talks to think the phenomenon associated with hauntings are just tricks of the mind, fakes or folklore. The others do believe the activity is real, but they think it's caused by spirits of the dead. They want to believe in ghosts. They like believing in ghosts. They have no reason to question their beliefs.
It's like stepping into the middle of a debate between the staunch atheist Stephen Fry and a Christian minister. You'd first have to convince Stephen that Jesus did exist, then convince both of them that Jesus is actually a time traveling robot from the future.
However, the truth is that if some investigators were more open minded they might realise that Patrick's explanation for the causes of paranormal activity is just as logical, if not more logical than their own beliefs. Whether this would lead the investigator to back Patrick's theory or doubt their own is another matter.
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Patrick really has left no stone unturned as he questions every aspect of a much-loved belief system and the core areas of paranormal experiences and activities. Asking hard questions about common premeditated conclusions relating to everything from apparitions to EVPs, some of which haven't been challenged since the observations originated in the 16th century.
His logic has lead him to believe that we're not dealing with human spirits in hauntings
, and it makes perfect sense. As he explains in his book, in 2015 around the world 57 million people died. Despite this high number of deaths, paranormal activity seems to remain at a constant level - neither growing or decreasing in line with the death count.
As well as this, Patrick has studied the behaviour patterns in haunting cases and has come to the conclusion that they aren't like the behaviour of humans, but are more like a compute program. For him, these two pieces of logic combined rule out the possibility that it is human spirits behind hauntings.
But if it's not human spirits, then what is it? Well, Patrick started to notice other trends in paranormal evidence. He saw spheres.
These metal objects popped up in many strange images including classic ghost photos and videos of orbs. It's not just in ghost photos that Patrick has found these spheres, they also appear in alleged photos of UFOs - not to mention the tales of "foo fighters" during World War II, which were also described as unidentified sphere-shaped aircraft that reportedly followed allied aircraft.
Building on this Patrick has concluded that there is an artificially intelligent network of thousands of invisible metallic spheres stationed around the globe acting as a weaponised firewall to protect Earth's airspace from possible hostile invasion.
These spheres are evenly distributed around the world, Patrick says this is why haunted locations tend to be in lines or clusters approximately five miles apart. The subtle clues of these spheres' operation and existence at these locations is what paranormal investigators mistake for ghosts.
Patrick goes on to apply this logic to all aspects of a haunting and ghosts' behaviour and there's not a single answer he doesn't have.
Why can't they be seen? A cloaking device.
How are objects in haunted houses thrown? Tractor beams.
How do those objects pass through solid walls? Quantum tunnelling.
Why are haunted locations more active at night? Spheres mainly operate between 1am and 4am - the witching hour.
Paranormal hangovers - that sensation of feeling drained after a night-long vigil, surely Patrick doesn't have an explanation for that? Oh yes, he says this is due to low-level radiation poisoning caused by proximity to a sphere.
Sounds dangerous. Well, yes, but Patrick says that's why the spheres try to scare people by throwing objects, making sounds and communicating phrases like "get out". These are all warnings of the danger spheres pose to them.
How about EVPs and spirit boxes? The result of a method of broadcast directly transmitted from the sphere to the circuit of the recording device, which is why EVPs can be captured even when no microphone is connected.
How about the shadow figures or black masses that are often seen at haunted locations? Well, Patrick says that the dark shadow is a result of the spheres' gravitational wave based propulsion system which inadvertently blocks photons of light.
Forget shadow figures, how do you explain apparitions? The sphere projects an image of a human that's stored in its database to scare people away. These apparitions can take any form, from a cowled monk to a lady in Victorian-era clothing.
So, why is it never a ghost running around shouting "it's Britney, bitch?" Well, Patrick thinks it's a bit like the chameleon circuit on the Doctor's TARDIS which has got stuck set as a retro police box. In the spheres' case they are stuck with the disguise of a Roman soldier or grey lady rather than any modern day imagery.
It seems there's not a single question or paranormal phenomenon that Patrick can't explain, but despite his sound logic, he isn't able to offer up any tantalising evidence for his theory.
Sadly the only evidence he has is the exact same evidence that ghost hunters present - the same blurry photos and questionable responses from unproven ghost hunting gadgets. The only difference between Patrick and ghost hunters is how they interpret the evidence. One thinks a glowing ball of light is a manifesting spirit, the other thinks it is an alien sphere. If you believe in neither of these things then neither argument is more compelling than the other... or that the light is being caused by an invisible glass donkey for that matter.
This isn't to say Patrick is wrong, but he's unwittingly fallen into the same trap as ghost hunters. In his book Patrick writes that after decades of investigating ghosts are still unproven, but the evidence Patrick presents is no better than that which has been presented for decades and his theory is equally as unproven.
The above is just a very brief overview of Patrick's theory. In his book, Patrick goes into much more detail about all of these paranormal phenomenon and what he's deduced to be the science behind the spheres, why they are here, and how they communicate with one another.
The most important thing to point out is that 'Quantum Paranormal' is not a book for skeptics. If you're looking for a book that challenges and debunks paranormal phenomena, then this isn't for you. The author believes phenomenon like voices through spirit boxes, EVPs and even orbs to be real, he just doesn't believe these things are caused by ghosts. In the book he attempts to authenticate these phenomena with a fresh pair of eyes in order to cut away the fog and see what is really going on.
However, when Patrick does occasionally challenge existing paranormal theories, like the belief in stone tape theory, he debunks it well showing a good understanding of the conflicting scientific principles. He also writes about the vast array of ghost hunting gadgets available, showing a good understanding of how these devices work and how they can be falsely triggered.
As well as theory, the book has detailed accounts of the author's paranormal investigations, which includes accounts of the activity witnessed and recorded and how it can be explained by Patrick's theory. Although again, these investigations employ no methods of obtaining evidence that are significantly different to that obtained by ghost hunters.
You can find out more about Patrick's theory in his book, 'Quantum Paranormal: A 21st Century Analysis Of The Paranormal Phenomena', which is available from Amazon now, or by joining in with the hearty debate on Patrick's Facebook group. His theory will also feature in the upcoming US television series, 'Paranormal Outcasts'.