Sunday, 29 July 2012

Paranormal Investigators: Past and Present: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

“The Great Detective”

Arthur Conan Doyle

Born into this world on 22nd of May 1859 in Edinburgh Scotland of English and Irish parentage, Arthur Ignatious Conan Doyle was destined to be one of the worlds great writers.
Arthur's parents lived below the poverty line, with his father a reported alcoholic, his wealthy uncles supported him and sent him to a Catholic preparatory school, followed by Stonyhurst College then a Jesuit school in Feldkirch, Austria.
Arthur also studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, it was around this time he began writing short stories, one of which was published in 1879 “The Mystery of Sasassa Valley”, only a few months later his first non-fiction article was published in the British Medical Journal; “Gelsemium as a Poison”

Whilst his Father was suffering at the hands of a psychiatric condition , Arthur sailed the world as a ships surgeon on the SS Mayumba, it whilst on this voyage he completed his doctorate on the subject of “tabes dorsalis” (1885), within a few more years his father had passed on from his illness.

In 1906 Arthur had a succession of deaths in his immediate family that affected him deeply, firstly his much beloved wife Louisa died, followed closely by the death of his son, brother, two brothers-in-law and two nephews. Arthur became deeply depressed and sought refuge from his depression in the newly popular spiritualist movement that had flooded Great Britain.
Arthur became friends with various popular psychics and mediums, attending as many conferences and seances as he could, he became a member of both, “The Ghost Club” and “The Society For Psychical Research”and befriended illusionist Harry Houdini. In 1925 he opened “The Psychic Bookshop”in London.

Arthur’s investigations and research covered a wide range of topics, but his own personal experiences were few and far between.
He wrote in a book titled “The Whispering Ghost” in 1930 of a personal experience with “Old Hag Syndrome” a phenomena often written off by today’s paranormal investigators as “sleep-paralysis”.
 In the book Arthur tells of how he was facing a wall when he awoke and could not move, he could feel a “presence” in the room and that “The presence was not of this world”...
Arthur then describes how he heard footsteps approach him across the wood floor and a voice whisper “Doyle, I come to tell you that I am sorry”.
Arthur was convinced he knew who the phantom visitor was, but did not elaborate any further, other than to say “ It was a certain individual to whom I had tried to give some psychic consolation when he was bereaved. He rejected my advances with some contempt and died himself shortly afterwards. It may well be that he wished to express regret.”
From this intrusion into his bedtime habits, Arthur presented his theory that a spirit when materialising, needs to draw energy from a material source, and this is what rendered him unable to move whilst the entity was in his presence.

The Doyle family and a two friends may have actually seen a ghost when the group set out one night to visit a church. The family and friends sat in the dark in an allegedly haunted Church where Arthur noted: “There was a dull haze of light, a sort of phosphorescent cloud, a foot or so across, and about a man's height from the ground”

The most famous of cases associated with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was that of the “Cottingley Fairies”
Arthur was commissioned to write an article in 1920 for The Strand Magazine, an article about fairies for the Christmas issue. Arthur had learned of two photographs taken by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, that pictured the girls with fairies in the garden. Arthur contacted the family and asked for permission to use the photographs for his feature. Impressed that the author of Sherlock Holmes, would consider the families photographs, they gave permission for publication.
The photo's were inspected by experts at the Kodak company who stated they “could not find any evidence of the photos being faked” but, the company refused to offer a certificate of authenticity as their findings does not prove conclusively that the photos are genuine, just that they haven't been tampered with.
More can be read about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's experiences and belief with the Cottingely fairies in his book “The Coming of the Fairies”

On the 7th of July 1930, Sir Arthur Conan Ignatious Doyle was found dead in his house in East Sussex, of a heart attack, his final words were to his wife “ You are Wonderful”.
After his death much controversy persisted, not being a “christian”, but seeing himself as a “spiritualist” his body was buried in Windlesham Rose Garden, but later he was re-interred, with his Wife in Minstead Churchyard, Hampshire. The couple were buried outside the Churchyard, in unconsecrated ground.
With the graveyard being extended, the couple now lie amongst the newer graves.
The Epitaph on wooden plaques that are no longer accessible to the public reads: (in part):
Blade straight
Steel true
Arthur Conan Doyle
Born May22nd 1859
Passed on 7th July 1930”

What is written upon the current headstone reads (in part);
Steel true
Blade Straight
Arthur Conan Doyle
Patriot, Physician
and man of letters”

Researched and Written by
Allen Tiller

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Insects and Photography

Insects and Photography
written for 
The S.A. Paranormal Meet-ups

Insects are often flying and crawling about in many locations paranormal investigators visit, whether it be cemeteries, abandoned buildings, or even private homes, hotels and mansions, it doesnt matter where you go, the likelihood of a flying insect being present is high.

Most investigators don't even factor in their presence, being more interested in getting EMF readings and other measurements before starting their vigils and EVP sessions.

 At Eidolon Paranormal, we take into consideration the fact that many flying insects may be present at a location and we try to identify them, and if possible take photos of them in action for later comparison, as this is not always possible we have invested in some bug catchers from Toy's-R-Us. 
We place bug catcher in the location to collect a sample of insects, which we can then identify at a later time, making it possible to compare and disregard many photography anomalies based upon the structure of the insect in comparison to orbs and other phenomena in our photos and videos.

There are ways to attract the insects towards your camera for photos, a black light, or insect bug zapper placed underneath the front of your camera tripod will attract certain bugs and moths, allowing you to take the photos you need for later comparison, or you can use our own method from above
What you will notice in your photos is that the “orbs” created from insects are usually of an irregular shape, the further from the camera, the “rounder” they will appear.

If the insect is close to your flash it will usually reflect back to the lens causing a glowing effect around the insect, but the body of the insect, or its wings will usually have shape and definition, but appear glowing and distorted when compared to an insect photo taken without the flash.

Some insects will appear very small and will look like a solid object inside a glowing orb of colour, after trialling the experiments above, you will soon see how to distinguish differing types of smaller insect orbs.

Another common orb is a white orb with a brown “face” like appearance within the orb, in Australia these can often be attributed to Mosquitoes, the smaller body of the mozzie creates less “feedback glow” from the flash but still makes an orb shape, and it's legs often create the illusion, combined with the torso, of a “face" within the orb itself.

For more on Pariedolia please visit our website at:

Many amateur ghost teams and spiritualists post photos of insects online claiming they are “Angels” or “fairies” when quite clearly they are insects, in some of the ones we have come across, even right here in Australia, they are clearly insects, such as moths and gnats.

Eidolon Paranormal is currently undertaking a survey in a local haunted “hotspot” where we are collecting insects at different times of the day/night and in different seasons, to establish the types of flying insects in the area. We are hoping to create an online database for our website, so people that visit the hotspot with little photography knowledge, thinking they have caught something paranormal, can then compare their photo's to our database and debunk their own paranormal photography themselves.

Photo's of our field trips to collect data will be posted at intervals over the coming months.
One of our Bug Catchers

I would like to thank "MidNite Walkers Paranormal Research Society"  for allowing us the use of some of their photographs for this particular blog

Allen Tiller

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Paranormal Investigators: Past and Present: Hans Holzer

Austrian Pioneer

Hans Holzer

Born in Vienna, Austria in 1920, Hans Holzer was destined to become a world famous TV host, Author, Researcher, Parapsychologist and Paranormal Investigator. Credited with writing over 100 books on the paranormal and occult topics, Hans would also write plays and musicals.

Hans starred as host of the TV show “Ghost Hunter” (not to be confused with the current Ghost Hunters television show) and was also seen on “In Search of” starring Leonard Nemoy, the “Today” show, “History's Mysteries” and the more modern “A Haunting”.

Hans interest in the paranormal was sparked by his uncle Henry, who told him ghost stories as a child. Hans, who is became a strict vegan at age 11, went on to study Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Vienna, but as war was closing in on 1938, the family fled to New York City to avoid the oncoming conflict.
After his arrival in America, Hans went on to learn the Japanese language, and studied religion and parapsychology at Columbia University. Later Hans went on to teach parapsychology classes at the New York Institute of Technology

Hans Holzer is often credited for coining the term “Ghost Hunter” after his first book in 1963, but, Harry Price (who we profiled in a previous story) had already used the term in the title of one of his books “Confessions of a Ghost Hunter” in 1936.
Hans is also often credited for coining other phrases and terminology still used today in the paranormal community such as “The Other Side (of Life)”.

Hans Holzer believed that ghosts were imprints left on the physical planes environment that people, who were sensitive enough, could perceive, or “pick-up”. He believed Spirits were intelligent beings, able to communicate and interact with the living, whilst “Stay behinds” were souls bound to Earth after death (for reasons not yet known).
Holzer also believed in “levels of consciousness” and reincarnation.
Many of today’s theories regarding paranormal investigation, particularly those involving sprits, or ghosts, are directly influenced by Hans Holzer's body of work and case studies.

The case with the widest notoriety for Hans Holzer would have to be the infamous Amityville Haunting in Suffolk County, New York. Amityville came to the fore after Ronald Defeo Jr. shot and killed 6 members of his family in 1975. Then again in 1977 when the Lutz family claimed the house to be haunted, of which there has been much conjecture to the validity of the haunting since.

Hans wrote a non-fiction book about the Amityville murders entitled “Murder in Amityville” which was released in 1979, he later wrote two novel titles “The Amityville Curse” and “The Secret Of Amityville” released in 1981 and 1985 respectively.
The book “Murder in Amityville” would later be the basis for the screenplay of a movie released in 1982 titled “Amityville II: the Possession”
Amityville House

During an interview about the goings on at Amityville Hans Holzer made a statement that rang true with us here at Eidolon Paranormal. When asked by the interviewer;
“Can you tell us your first impressions of the house when you arrived?”
Hans replied with;
“I don't get impressions as I am not a medium. My job is to investigate the facts”

Obtaining a PhD from the London College of Applied Science, Hans travelled the word extensively in search of first hand reports and interviews on phenomena, interviewing paranormal researchers everywhere he went.

Hans Holzer referred to himself as “A scientific investigator of the paranormal”, he disliked the words “supernatural” and “belief” because supernatural implied that phenomena was not in the reach of explanation by science, and belief suggested irrational adherence to doctrines and ideas not support by facts.
He had a dislike of electronic gadgets that are the core of paranormal investigations today, instead using psychic mediums for direct contact with any spirits present

In an interview with Leonard Nemoy for the series “ In Search Of”, Hans is quoted as stating
“In all my years of Ghost Hunting I have never been afraid, after all, a ghost is only a fellow human being in trouble”

Hans Holzer died on April 26 2009 aged 89, he is survived by his two daughters and many grandchildren. One of Hans daughters, Alexandra Holzer, author of “Growing Up Haunted” will be the subject of a future presentation

Researched and Written by
Allen Tiller

Saturday, 21 July 2012

"The Cauld Lad of Hylton"

The Legend Of Robert Skelton

"The Cauld Lad of Hylton"

What happened in the Hylton Castle in Sunderland England, will forever remain a mystery. The Castle is but a shadow of its former self, a ruin, attracting tourists and ghost hunters from across the globe.
There are rumours of a haunting by an elf, a barghast, a brownie..a poltergeist, they all may exist, they all may exist in this location, but almost all the actions of the spirits in this location are locally attributed to one spectre “The Cauld Lad of Hylton” Robert Skelton.

The origins and stories of the murdered stable boy are varied, it is thought he lived sometime in the 16th century, with the ghost story arising sometime soon afterwards.
One interpretation of the legend states that Robert, a stable boy, was caught by the Baron Robert Hylton courting his precious daughter, and that the Baron being so angered that a lowly stable-boy could ever think of offering his affections to his daughter, killed the boy.

Another of the legends has a different take on happenings, in this version it is stated that the boy overslept, and had not prepared the Barons horse in time for him to leave for a very important engagement. The Baron, angered by the boys insolence and neglect of his duties, killed the boy.

There are varying details on how the Baron Hylton ended the life of Robert Skelton, depending on the storyteller, you may hear that the Baron decapitated the boy with his sword, or you may hear that Robert was hit repeatedly with a riding crop across his head, fatally wounding the boy. There is also the version, that, in his angered state, the Baron reached for whatever was near to strike the boy down, grabbing a pitchfork that was sitting nearby, and instead of hitting the young lad, impaled him upon the fork.

The rumours of ways in which Robert was murdered differ greatly, but the way in which the body was disposed of does not. It is said the Baron disposed of the remains of Robert Skelton by dropping his body down the shaft of an used well on the property.
It is here that the stories, of which the variations lead to legends, become facts. Several months after the boy died, his body was recovered. The Baron was tried for murder, but an old estate farmer, one of the Barons workers, came forward telling the court that the boy had ordered the Baron to get some tools from a high shelf in a barn, the boy had slipped, fell and mortally wounded himself in doing so. The Baron, being the good man he was, tended to the boys wounds, but the poor young chap died. Baron Robert Hylton was pardoned of the crime in 1609.
Was the court corrupt?
Was the farmer corrupted?
 It is hard to know in this day and age, as records are not going to state such things, but you can guess at what a local court would rule against a man in their village with such high standing, against a boy with such low standing.

After the trial of The Baron, strange events began to occur in his castle. Kitchen staff would tidy their kitchen, and ready it for the morning, only to find in the morning, the kitchen to be messy again, and, if they didn't clean it, the next morning it would be clean!
Other stories of an “unseen” person taking hot ashes from the stove fires, and placing them on the ground, then laying on them, and leaving a body imprint in the hot ashes are also told.
Chamber pots around the castle would be upturned, spilling their contents onto the floors.

Intrigued as to what was going on, legend has it that one of the kitchen staff stayed up one night in the kitchen, awaiting the phantom causing so much trouble. He saw the ghost of a young naked boy enter the room, crying to himself “I'm Cauld “ (I am cold ).
The next night, the kitchen staff left an old cloak in the kitchen for the naked boy ghost. It is said a voice was heard through the castle,
“Here's a cloak and here's a hood, the Cauld Lad of Hylton will do no more good”.

It is said that after the voice was heard, the mysterious ghostly goings on at the castle came to a halt.

Or did it?

To this day, people speak of hearing a young boys hallowed cries within the castle walls, eerily coming from nowhere, but seemingly from everywhere....does Robert still haunt the old ruins, seeking the justice that was never served for his death?

What do you think?
Comment below!

Researched and Written by
Allen Tiller

As a supplement to the above story, here is a little production out of England about 
"The Cauld Lad of Hylton"

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Paranormal Investigators:Past and Present: Harry Price

The Godfather of the Paranormal
Harry Price

Born in London, England in 1881, Harry Price was to become one of the most controversial figures in London in the 1920's and 1930's.
Armed with a passion for investigating paranormal events, and exposing frauds, Harry also had a flair for getting public attention brought to his investigations, research and reveals.
He is the precursor to today’s “modern” ghost hunter, using gadgets and science to prove, or disprove, psychic and paranormal phenomena.

At the age of 15, Harry and a friend gained permission to stay overnight in an allegedly haunted house in Shropshire, in the West Midlands of England. It was this night that would shape the rest of Harry Price's life. During the overnight stay, Harry and his friend heard a number of noises that indicated a spirit or ghost may be present in the house, when Harry tried to take a photo, he found in his over-excitement that he had loaded too much flash powder into his camera, that caused the photo he tried to take of the ghost not work. This one event would change life direction.

One of Harry's earliest writings is that of a play he wrote for his own “Carlton Dramatic Society” detailing his experiences inside the house where he had an experience with the poltergeist.

It was around the same time Harry developed an interest in magic, illusion, hypnotists and fortune tellers. His obsession led him to learn whatever he could about the “magic arts”, and to become a very a very skilled magician himself. In later life this would lead to Harry becoming a member of the “Magic Circle” and “society of American Magicians”.
These skills would, in-turn, give Harry insight into debunking and exposing various acts of trickery and fraud whilst investigating phenomena.

Harry Price also had a keen interest in archaeology, in 1908 he moved to Pulborough in Sussex where he had begun writing for the the “West Sussex Gazette” and the “Southern Weekly News” about antiquities.
It was also in 1908 that Harry married his fiancee, Constance Mary Knight who would be his companion until death.

In 1920 Harry joined the “Society for Physical Research”, already known as a leader in this field, it was from here that the reputation of Harry Price grew exponentially, one case would promote him into the public eye in England and abroad.
As a representative of the “Society of Physical Research”, Harry would expose “Spirit Photographer” William hope as a fraud.
William Hope specialised in taking photos of people that would feature a dead relative in the final print, Harry Price, whilst visiting Mr Hope, Harry secretly switched the photographic plates Mr Hope was using, revealing that William hope had been using pre-prepared photographic plates for his “spirit photos”.
After making public his findings, Harry Price's became somewhat famous, whilst William Hope faded into obscurity.

It was also in 1922 that Harry, along with other notable members of the Society, travelled to the home of Baron Albert von Schrenck-Notzing in Munich, Germany to investigate the noted psychic medium Willi Schneider [1], Harry was now an International Investigator.

In 1923 Harry made an offer to the University of London to equip the university with a “Department of Physical Research”, The University of London Board of Studies in Psychology replied with a positive answer and a collection of books and equipment was loaned from the National Library, as well as Harry Prices own collection. Many years later, in 1934, the National Laboratory of Physical Research, holder of Harry Prices collection was renamed as the University of London Council for Psychical Investigation, with Harry and as Honorary Secretary and Editor.

1927, Harry Price became a member of the “Ghost Club”, it was also in 1927 that Harry claimed to have Joanna Southcotts “box” [2]. Inside the box, it was claimed, were a number of prophecies written by Southcott. Harry set about opening the box only to find it contained some unimportant papers, a lottery ticket and a horse-pistol. It has since been disputed by followers of Southcott that the box Harry opened was indeed the true box of Joanna Southcott (We will be following up on Joanna Southcott in another future post)

In 1932, upon hearing Harry Price had a copy of the “Black Book” a hand written manuscript that involves many magical practices and rituals, written in the 1500's, The Harz Goethe Centenary Committee invited Harry to Germany to be involved in the centenary celebrations of poet the Goethe, recreating the ritual. The experiment became known as “ The Brocken Experiment”.
Goethe had written an intensive study based on a ritual called “Blocksberg Tryst”in the book Harry now owned. The classical scene is known as “Walpurgisnacht” in the play “Faust”.

Harry set about re-creating the experiment for Goethe's centenary. The following extract is from Harry's own writings:

Where the Bloksberg Tryst differs from similar experiments is that it can be effective only at a certain spot (on the Brocken 'neer the Granit Altar') and only during a full moon. And the apex of the triangle has to point to the Tower of Kassel and its base to the Hexentanzplatz - a famous plateau opposite the Brocken where tradition has placed the scene of the witches' orgies. So we journeyed to the Brocken as the guests of the Harzer Verkehrsverband, determined to carry out the experiment with scientific exactitude in order to forestall any criticism by the remaining devotees of the Black Art. I was accompanied by Mr. C. E. M. Joad, whose interest in magic and psychic matters is well known.”

Harry Prices work included many famous cases, he examined Helens Duncans “ectoplasm”, which would later lead to Price giving evidence in court against Duncan, he found she had swallowed cheesecloth and regurgitated it. [3]
Harry also investigated the Karachi Indian rope trick and the fire walking abilities of Kuda Bux, but he is most often remembered for his work with Borley Rectory.
Borley Rectory

The Borley Rectory investigations were to prove the most controversial for Harry Price, and the investigation he is most often known for. Accusations of misleading and falsifying evidence for public gain and acknowledgement were aimed at Harry by the media and members of the paranormal community (which continues to this day).
Harry denied any wrong doings and presented various evidence and writings to try and disprove his accusers. He wrote various reports and books about his time at the Rectory, and even rented the rectory for a year.

Harry Price produced a large volume of work in his time including the following books
  • Revelations of a Spirit Medium 1922.
  • Cold Light on Spiritualistic "Phenomena" 1922.
  • Stella C. An Account of Some Original Experiments in Psychical Research 1925.
  • Rudi Schneider: A Scientific Examination of his Mediumship 1930.
  • Leaves from a Psychist’s Case Book, 1933.
  • Confessions of a Ghost-Hunter, 1936.
  • The Haunting of Cashen's Gap: A Modern "Miracle" Investigated 1936.
  • Fifty Years of Psychical Research: A Critical Survey Longmans 1939.
  • The Most Haunted House in England: Ten Years' Investigation of Borley Rectory, 1940.
  • Search for Truth: My Life for Psychical Research, 1942.
  • Poltergeist Over England: Three Centuries of Mischievous Ghosts, 1945.
  • The End of Borley Rectory, , 1946.

Harry Price suffered a heart attack on the 29th of March 1948 and passed away in his home in West Sussex. His archives of research, reports and anecdotes were donated by his widow in 1976 to the University Of London, where they remain to this day.

The Grave of Harry and Constance Price

To this day Harry Price remains a controversial figure, with his love of media as a means to gain more cases, and his use of devices and contraptions to garner evidence, he is the Godfather of the modern Paranormal Investigator, with a legacy and style that lives on today

A video featuring Harry Price for the BBC in England

Written and Researched By:
Allen Tiller

[1] Willi Schneider A spiritualist medium from Austria
[2] Joanna Southcott (April 1750 – 27 December 1814), was a self-describe religious prophetess
[3]"Leaves from a Psychist's Case Book - Harry Price: in a chapter called "The Cheese-cloth Worshippers"