Ghosts aren’t dead. At least not all of them.
So many ghosts live inside us. They are versions of ourselves we sometimes have to leave behind. The shelling of the seeds we’ve grown. Ghosts are memories; smells, sounds and feelings. Reverberations of life, and not only in the final absence of it.
My best advice to those who want to see a ghost is to first ook back at yourself.
After many years investigating the paranormal and even more years experiencing it, the most common concern that is brought up to me is - “What about demons?”
What about protection? What about the spiritual and physical dangers of investigating the paranormal? Often times I give these people grace. I attempt to explain to them that it is not something I personally worry about but that I appreciate their words of caution. Today, however, I find myself a tad more frustrated with the topic than usual and further pondering the implications of the comment “You should be concerned about demons”
People all over the globe of different cultures and religious backgrounds have been experiencing paranormal phenomenon since the beginning of written history (and longer). Yet, in our current sociological climate, a certain portion of the paranormal field has become increasingly bold in their opinions on what the people interested in the paranormal should believe accordingly to their particular lens. Top that with our penchant for scary movies and access to social media, and we now have a very demon-centric approach to paranormal media and an ever-growing, fear mongering fanbase.
I’ve never been concerned with trying to convince others that my spiritual beliefs are what’s universally True and Good. Actually, this is quite literally the point of this post today. What I believe to be true and good, is what is real - TO ME. If someone believes that there is a real threat to our safety when exploring the supernatural, then that is very real - FOR THEM. There is not one wrong or right way (as long you’re not hurting anyone) to believing in the paranormal. And so, when someone is saying that my Ouija board, or haunted object, or mirror, is something to be concerned about or something to fear, those people are also not respecting the reality that I may have a completely different belief of that topic and therefor disagree.
I believe I am safe and protected and therefore I am. If you do not believe that you would be safe and protected in my shoes…then stop wearing them. It’s not for you.
Radical Empathy in the Context of Paranormal Investigating
Upon research into the concept of radical empathy, where the usual approach to empathy is radicalized to eliminate judgment and better understand another person's point of view, I began to ponder how it relates to our communication with spirits and the work being done within the paranormal field. What I came to find was an unsuspecting group
taking a valuable dive into the human subconscious that could surprisingly benefit both the living and the dead.
Sympathy for someone postmortem, or empathy for their situation prior to death, is commonly seen in paranormal investigators, psychic mediums and regular people alike. Some particularly gifted people even dedicate their entire lives to bringing spirits peace or purpose as a reaction to this sympathy. But when we begin channeling these spirits directly, using extreme or unusual methods like sensory isolation or trance meditation, I believe we are actually practicing empathy, in a radical and unconventional way.
Recent experiments with the El Method - the merging of sensory isolation techniques, art channeling and the Spirit box to enter a state of trance and channel messages from people, places and yourself - have plummeted me into the depths of the human subconscious, where I’ve found my empathy to be naturally heightened. If a spirit is nearby, I can channel their sorrow, euphoria, fear. I no longer imagine it but have the ability experience it myself and sometimes even psychically view their experiences myself. After many successful sessions, I began to weed through and assess what I had learned about discrimination, abuse, generational trauma, and furthermore the biases the spirit may had themselves in their waking life, through the phenomenons lens. And then applied it to my understanding of empathy for the living and the tangible action I take to help heal my community.
I’m only in the beginning stages of understanding the concept of radical empathy and how I will use it in my everyday life. There is much more to discuss and practice on the topic then the above. However, I felt it’s important to mention as it came to mind. There is no paranormal phenomena without living human beings, who are in need of immediate support and kindness…which can still be prioritized while partaking in our field of paranormal work.
Our living, human emotions can haunt us in our life and in the spaces we inhabit, just as ghosts do. One of the ways we can investigate these emotions is by using methods, techniques and electronic equipment found in traditional ghost hunting. However, there is additional information that is important to an investigation of the Paranormal Emotive Touchpoint and subsequent Odd Emotions. Sometimes, the best way to log that information is with pen and paper and a good list of things to simply pay attention to.
I want to lay out some pieces of information and situational details that I believe are vital to make note of when investigating Paranormal Emotive Touchpoints and the Odd Emotions that come with them. This is to help further research on the phenomena and a better understanding of what could potential be affecting it. A simple list, yes, but important.
Log Points of Paranormal Emotive Touchpoint's and Odd Emotions:
Liminality, I believe, is one of the biggest anthropological/occult/internet conversations happening today. Short form video content about liminality has featured a range of interpolations including nostalgic, 90’s photo slideshows and “Backrooms” video series. For the sake of our conversation today we will first use the anthropological definition of liminality which is, “The transitional period or phase of a rite of passage during which the participant lacks social status or rank, remains anonymous, shows obedience and humility and follows prescribed forms of conduct, dress etc.” In more simplistic terms, according to dictionary.com, liminality is a state of transition between one stage and the next. It is within this stage, that I believe a Paranormal Emotive Touchpoint lies - and the other side is ever nearby.
Although liminality began as and is largely recognized as anthropological term, it has grown in interest to people and now has a rather para-normal connotation. Definitions today also more commonly include modern places, or spaces that are between one place and the next that we are not intended to be in for a long period of time. These places include hallways, airports, abandoned malls, etc. and I believe they can be investigated as Paranormal Emotive Touchpoint as well.
I have had the pleasure of coming across many liminal spaces in my time. They typically include some kind of abandoned house, dying shopping mall or office building. In addition to my explorations, I’ve seen myself become a liminal being as well, often transitioning between one phase in my life and the next until I feel more comfortable in my skin and find confidence and surety once and again. In my experience with these liminal spaces and moments in time, I have found myself closer to the other side than ever and in that closeness, I’ve noticed a peculiar feeling creep in. I sometimes find myself with a paranormal entity nearby, a psychic impression, or a faint look into the future. In any case, the connection the other side becomes clearer.
What can we do with this liminality though? How can we harness that energy, channel it perhaps, and learn from it? Control it? That is where investigating comes in…
How do I investigate Liminality?
Tools to use will be the same as the tools I mentioned in my Nostalgia post, but the questions and approach change a bit. Different from nostalgia, liminality is often uncomfortable. It’s unnerving. So prepare to work through that and against your inherent fear of it. Most importantly, although sometimes liminality is within us (re: the anthropological definition) it is most often, in terms of the paranormal, dependent on its location. Meaning you will need to investigate it in the moment and place to experience it.
Questions you can ask Liminality within liminal spaces are:
Are there any beings with this liminal space that would like to communicate?
When did this feeling of liminality begin here?
Do I affect the liminality of this space or does it exist without me?
Questions to ask when you are in a liminal phase:
What is the most important lesson for me in this liminal phase?
Are there any entities nearby who are here to guide me? What would they like to say?
Where am I headed next?
For now, I will end this here. And although there are many other Odd Emotions to explore when learning about Paranormal Emotive Touchpoints, my next post will instead talk about the ways in which we can log our experiences with PET’s and our investigations into our Odd Emotions. There are more ways than the El Method or using traditional ghost hunting equipment that can help us explore further.
I’ve talked before about the importance of paying attention to our emotions when exploring Paranormal Emotive Touchpoints, as well as the strangeness of our emotions (Odd Emotions) but what exactly can you do with this newfound appreciation for emotions in the paranormal world? Well, I theorize that you can investigate them just like you investigate a ghost!
Investigating living emotions is something that I’ve been doing for a couple years now and in doing so I have gained not only an incredible amount of insight about myself but also an understanding and connection to others that I had never felt before. Investigating my emotions has even helped me strengthen my psychic abilities and given me the gift of being able to channel other investigators to gain further insight into their paranormal investigations.
The first Odd Emotion we are going to dive into is nostalgia. Nostalgia is the first emotion that piqued my interest in this regard and helped me start connecting the dots between myself and paranormal phenomena. The most basic definition of nostalgia is “A sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past; typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.” Interestingly, you’ll notice the emphasis on “happy”. Although nostalgia can sometimes hurt (ex. a pain in the chest from longing) it is generally associated with a time in which we were once happy. And that is much different from the typical emotions associated with traditional ghosts (that same longing but coupled with dread, sadness, confusion etc.) So, if we are to investigate nostalgia as if it were a ghost, we need to remove these specific feeling-related expectations from the equation. Do not be afraid to dig deep into yourself.
Why would we want to investigate nostalgia?
Nostalgia is inherently connected to the past. Sometimes to certain people but always to a version of us that once was but is no longer. Nostalgia is a memory. And so, when we are presented with the feeling of nostalgia, we are in some sense coming in contact with a version of ourselves from the past. Making ourselves the ghost. And that ghost likely has some lessons to teach us.
How do we investigate Nostalgia?
I personally like to use a spirit box to communicate with nostalgia. A traditional piece of ghost hunting equipment like this allows for a unique supernatural connection to the phenomena of nostalgia and can be used in conjunction with a technique like the El Method to help you enter a better state of trance. Although, you may not want to use a blindfold in case you need to read or write notes. I would also suggest recording the session with a digital recorder or video camera to review later. But pen and paper will do just fine if that is all you have.
Investigating an emotion like nostalgia is entirely dependent on when and how the emotion surfaces. Let’s say you have been visiting your childhood home and are hit with a bout of nostalgia. That would be a great time to stop in the moment, if possible, and investigate the emotion right then and there. But if you were to feel nostalgic during the day and didn’t have an opportunity to whip out the gear and investigate, you could also prepare some questions and conjure up the nostalgia later.
Some of the questions I like to ask nostalgia, and the ghost of Me-Past, are similar to that of a tarot reading. They are worded in a way that is intended to be an introspection of self with the purpose of growing, learning about, or helping yourself and those around you (living or dead). Here are some examples for you to use if you choose to do the same:
Why is this nostalgia presenting itself to me right now?
Are there any familiar spirits attached to this memory or feeling of nostalgia? Do you have a message for me and if so, what is it?
Is there a Paranormal Emotive Touchpoint near? If so, are there any unknown spirits or supernatural beings near who would like to communicate?
What part of the past am I currently longing for?
Why am I longing for the past in this way?
How can I bring this affection and happiness into my present day life?
And that’s about it! Although this topic is complex and I could probably write about it for ages, I will stop here. Let me know if you have any questions to help better understand the concept of investigating odd emotions and of course, tell me if you try any of the above. Next up we will be talking about another favorite Odd Emotion: Liminality.
As above, so below. This popular Hermetic phrase has interpretated and expanded on in The Kybalion to include The Principle of Correspondence which is, "the correspondence between the laws and phenomena of the various planes of being and life.” It is this interpretation and line of thought that comes to mind when I contemplate the affects that the currently living have on paranormal activity.
In spite of popular belief that ghosts are almost always the souls of deceased people, there is a growing number of paranormal investigators and researchers working to understand the phenomena beyond this notion. Established theories along these lines include poltergeists, egregores and tulpas, all of which have complex definitions of their own but share one thing in common - they do not require a deceased person in order to exist. Two years ago, this encouraged me to begin exploring exactly how living humans and furthermore, their emotions, play a role in the paranormal activity that we experience. And so, I began to experiment with and investigate living emotions in the same way that I would with traditional ghosts.
I first began noting my own feelings; how and when I felt something during an investigation. Noticing a sort of supernatural vibration that would result after I experienced particularly intense or bizarre emotions, I started to elaborate on what exactly these “bizarre” emotions were and what to do about them. This is when I created the term “Odd Emotions” and subsequent Paranormal Emotive Touchpoint (PET) theory - the theory that there are touchpoints, or soft spots, in the world, where the other side is easier to communicate with and is shown to us by making us experience odd emotions. Similar to hitting the right button on an intercom system or standing where there is better phone reception; a paranormal touchpoint is that place or moment time when talking to ghosts (or whatever else might be on the other side) is easier. And those touchpoints communicate with us by making us feel WEIRD.
I have deduced Odd Emotions (I use the term “emotion” loosely as some of these are more-so experiences) to the following but they can be elaborated on as one feels is appropriate:
Not only can PET’s be identified by Odd Emotions, but they can also be created when these odd emotions present themselves due to outside circumstances, like newly abandoned structures, weird weather phenomena, or freaky movie premieres (Check out my Instagram Reels page to hear my thoughts on a PET being made at a movie premiere). Have you ever been to a "dying mall"? Only a couple stores are left open, long corridors echo soft 80's music, and fluorescent lighting buzzes lightly overhead. You start to feel liminal...like your trapped in some in-between world. Nothing feels right, and you feel a need to leave as soon as possible. This could be a Paranormal Emotive Touchpoint coming into existence. This could be a soft spot and the other side could be close. What if you stopped for a moment and... investigated that emotion? What if you talked to that liminal feeling like it was a ghost itself? How does one investigate an emotion? That is what I will be breaking down in my next blog.
But for now, tell me about the last time you remember feeling one of the above Odd Emotions. Perhaps the last time you felt nostalgic, or the last time you found yourself in a liminal space. Allow yourself to go into as much detail as possible and explore the way that it makes you feel while remembering it today.
Without divulging too much about my day job (ew), I will say that I’ve been lucky to have coworkers who are surprisingly willing to hear about all of the Weird Stuff that I’m often up to. After telling them a multitude of stories and ramblings about all the ways my paranormal investigations and magickal workings have “worked”, one coworker garnered a particular interest in my magickal assistance.
She had recently been enmeshed in an incredibly toxic, yet admittedly entertaining, love triangle with a man and his wife. She had developed feelings for him and he stoked those feelings with the control of a man some years her senior, eventually leading to them beginning a full blown, love letter-writing relationship. When it became known he had actually NOT left his wife, she tried to pull away but found herself being brought back to him time and time again. Like a rubber band snapping back in to place. Or maybe more akin to a leash. At any rate, she did genuinely want to free herself from the situation. And so she asked for my magickal intervention.
I agreed and landed on a plan to perform a simple cord cutting-like ritual for her, under the assumption that he was the reason the situation had dragged on. I figured, perhaps naively, that it would be like cutting the leash he had put her on. What I came to find out in ritual however was…different.
Anyone on the occult side of the internet has likely seen a standard cord cutting ritual which involves two candles to represent each person and a string connecting them, to burn and sever the connection between the two. I added quite a bit of my own spice to it, of course, but this was the gist of what I was going to do for her. When I began the ritual, I immediately noticed that her side of the spell was not cooperating. His unwillingness to let go still spilled out, but so did hers. Her flame burned chaotically. Passionately. She did not actually want to let go.
I sat in meditation and soon came to realize this specific ritual was not going to work. Recognizing the unique challenge, and opportunity, that was in front of me, I switched gears. She had given me full permission and I was already “in the zone” so I changed direction and began perform a self love and healing ritual for her instead. I focused in on her and set my intent on lifting up her voice, tending to her courage and strong will, and surrounding her with love. I stated that I wanted her to find the help and love that she needs, without stating the expectation of what that would look like.
The next day, I told her that the ritual took an interesting turn but didn’t say exactly how I had course corrected, curious to see if it would be successful without her knowing. That afternoon a therapist came to the office. He had an opening for a new client, and accepted our insurance.
My coworker is now two sessions into her newly found therapy. Something she has never done.
And she finally, just recently, got the ick and called it quits with the guy. All on her own.
(Story shared with permission from my coworker.)
What if I told you that Stranger Things was on to something when they wrote about Eleven's psychic abilities...
I've been paranormal investigating since 2008 but intrigued by paranormal phenomena long before that. And although my slew of paranormal experiences should have indicated to me that there was something inherently PARA-normal about my perception of the Other, many times over the last decade and a half you could catch me saying that I wasn't psychic and was definitely not a medium. Why I would say this, I'm not sure. Maybe it was my Baptist upbringing or comments made by peers or just my fear of taking up space. However, you can always count on me to tell you when I am wrong and in this case...I was very wrong.
Over the years using the Estes Method, a method used in paranormal investigating created by Karl Pfeiffer, Connor Randall and Michelle Tate, that uses sensory isolation techniques with the spirit box in order to remove bias from Q&A style investigations of paranormal entities, I started recognizing that I was actually seeing more than I was hearing answers through the spirit box. Not only that, but I was also entering a state of trance very quickly, something I realized later would be a talent of mine. The messages coming through weren't from the dead though...instead, I was seeing, hearing and smelling things coming from the subconscious of the living or in connection to the land. This didn't look like how I'd expected paranormal investigating to look, and I was admittedly disappointed in my inability to communicate with the dead. But I pushed forward and kept exercising this muscle to see how accurate I could be with this new kind of "channeling." ability.
As I did this more often, I developed a methodology that would produce the best results for me. Using a blind fold and noise isolating headphones with the spirit box (much like the Estes Method), I incorporated automatic drawing to help get my thoughts out on something tangible. The white noise from the spirit box is used l then to assist me in entering a trance state quickly (the primary focus no longer being communicating through the box but just a tool to "zone out"). I'll sometimes state aloud the words that I hear come through the spirit box however what is most important is that I allow my mind to drift. I then start to journey visually into the subconscious of who or what I'm reading, including myself if need be. At the end of a session, which typically takes around 15 minutes, I then review my drawing looking for what images stick out and write or speak about the general message that came through, similar to the style of a tarot message. This is what I have named, The El Method.
Now back to Eleven from Stranger Things. I've always been a fan of fantasy and sci-fi television, but I first developed the above method without any inspiration from Stranger Things. That is, until long after I had been practicing my new method, when I decided to rewatch Stranger Things and started Season Three. Suddenly, I realized - Eleven was using nearly the exact same method that I was! I pondered the absurdity of the Duffer Brothers writing an element of fantasy that I had come to learn actually worked in real life. But...I had read that they drew some inspiration from The Montauk Project. And so, I decided that I was on to something. And they were on to something. I then decided to work on coining a term for this method and bring it public for everyone to use. And thus the El Method came to be.
An exercise of our psychic abilities. An opportunity to touch the Otherside in a unique and extremely empathetic way. A peak into the dreams and lives of each other; and a way to understand the living condition beyond what is normal.
I've always been at least one of the following, albeit at different times and with varying degrees: a paranormal investigator, an artist, a writer, a liminal being and a sensitive, yet deeply damaged person, fighting to be seen. I never understood, however, who I was as a complete and whole person. And furthermore, I could never grasp how I mattered or how I could help - in the most authentic way - in my field.; in the paranormal.
At any given time in the last handful of years you could hear me saying I was NOT "psychic", which now looks to be something I did in fear of both claiming a title I didn't quite understand and taking space away from others I had deemed more worthy. Later, the martyrdom-esque nature of this became more apparent and exhausted defeat set in. Turning away from the public eye, the veil around me began to lift and reveal that by hiding and belittling myself, I was helping no one and accomplishing nothing.
Contradictive to the former, each passing year I've studied and investigated the occult has shown to be more and more fruitful in my personal, paranormal endeavors. I've given my friends and family transformative insights, have channeled visions and messages from beyond, procured information I could have never known, and opened a throughline to the Otherside. And then began redefining it all together.
It's funny how one could be so enveloped in a world where weirdos reign, and yet still feel ashamed to be yourself. Not that it's the only contributing factor but the internet does have an uncanny ability to strip us of our individuality and manifest shame when reclaiming it. Never less, I feel compelled to say...I should reintroduce myself.
My name is Amanda D. Paulson. I have gone to great lengths to like myself. To feel seen without the words of others. To believe my paranormal experiences without further validation. I am a paranormal investigator, an artist, a writer, a liminal being and an intuitive medium. I can communicate with the deepest, hidden parts of people, objects and places, through spirits, visions, or smell. And I use the spirit box and a blindfold to help me channel this into art and prose to share with others to help them journey through the darkest liminal passageways of their life and thereafter.