Parapsychology and Ghosts

Host: George Noory
Guests: Loyd Auerbach, Marc Seifer

Parapsychologist and paranormal investigator Loyd Auerbach discussed the ins and outs of working with psychics and mediums in ghost investigations, as well as how the media has spawned a paranormal community that is unfortunately quite separate from the scientific parapsychological community. For his recent book, The Ghost Detectives' Guide to Haunted San Francisco, he teamed up with the medium Annette Martin (the two were planning a series of books but Martin suddenly passed away in September). Annette would have conversations with the ghosts at some of the locations they investigated such as the Presidio's Officer Club, Alcatraz, and the Queen Anne Hotel. At the Hotel, Annette communicated with the spirit of a woman who'd been the headmistress when the building was a school, and a little girl's ghost, and made a little play with them, he recalled.

Hotels and restaurants are often the sites of hauntings, as ghosts like to be around people, Auerbach posited. A bar in Banta, CA (near the city of Tracy) was said to be haunted by the bar's owner who died in 1968, and his ghost was seen and identified by numerous witnesses. Eventually, the spirit started moving objects, even throwing an ashtray, and Auerbach witnessed some of this first-hand. Some of the strongest evidence comes from cases in which groups of people all report seeing/hearing the same phenomena at the same time, such as occurred aboard the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, he reported.

One fascinating case he investigated, involved a family's purchase of a home in an estate sale that included the previous owner's porcelain doll collection. After they moved into the home in Livermore, CA, the parents saw a spirit, and their young son began having extensive conversations with her, the deceased owner, who told the boy she was like a "ball of energy" who broadcasted her appearance for the living to perceive. Auerbach was critical of the methodology used on many TV ghosthunting shows, which have inspired a rapidly growing group of amateur/hobbyist investigators. He suggested that these groups study and read about parapsychology rather than just emulate techniques depicted on the TV programs.

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