Why Having Your Ducks in a Row Before Investigating is Essential

file1191240572265Paranormal investigating is both a thrilling and inquisitive experience, where we try to lift the veil between our physical world and a world that we’re not quite familiar with yet. Whether we are trying to communicate with the afterlife, an alternate universe, etc. we are definitely dealing with the “unknown.” For anyone that has taken part in a ghost hunt or investigation, is well aware of the fact that your personal dramas can greatly affect the quality of your investigations. If you are a part of a team, or investigating solo, and you’re assisting other people in residential cases, to put it bluntly, you have to have your life together. Before anyone gets upset, allow me to clarify.

As paranormal researchers and investigators, we have to remind ourselves that we’re human. Most likely, we’re all going through something or dealing with an issue in our lives. It is usually the course of life, as it is a balance between peace and chaos. How you choose to handle both situations is what builds your character and makes us human. So, I’m not saying that if you have a terrible thing or two going on in your life, you shouldn’t be investigating. How you’re handling the situation(s) should determine how you participate in investigations.

If you’re stable, emotionally, and psychologically peaceful, then by all means, move forward with your investigation endeavors. However, if you’ve been unable to handle your issues in a healthy manner, for the sake of yourself and the residential case, it is best to take a step back until things become more peaceful or you have a better grip on things. Why? Well, if you’re working on a potentially dark case, you have to be spiritually and emotionally stable and strong. Regardless of your beliefs on darker cases; whether they’re demonic, negative, inhuman, etc. these complex cases tend to pick at your most vulnerable aspects. For the sake of your client, you want to be strong, and be the expert. Working on a darker case in a residential scenario is not the time to be facing your inner demons, because you get to go home at the end of the investigation. The client does not. Also, if you decide to do a public investigation at a location that is known for dark entities, I advise the same tidbit. If you’re not able to handle the potential aftermath, or you’re not prepared for your weaknesses to be exposed and challenged, don’t do that to yourself.

Basically, to sum things up, you shouldn’t use the paranormal as your therapy, especially in the context of a residential investigation. The more turbulent your life is and your reaction to the events in your life, the more turbulent your dynamic will be during an investigation. I’ll put it this way: people don’t pray or ground themselves before an investigation for nothing. It is also all about the laws of attraction, and what you put out to the universe. Eventually, what you give is what you get back in return. Staying grounded, peaceful, and positive will do wonders for the quality of your investigative work and how you react to the emotional and psychological battles that come your way.

Pareidolia; funny name, funny phenomena, not so funny problem…

How many times, while surfing the Internet, have you seen someone post photos on a paranormal society’s Facebook, asking if a face in an inanimate object is paranormal or not?

A face in toast, plaster, smoke, a ceased shirt, trees and foliage, and…..CLOUDS? The clouds should have given this away. Remember laying on your back as a child and looking up at the clouds and seeing animals? We would point out dolphins, alligators, dragons and elephants. This is the same thing. This phenomena is called pareidolia matrixing.

Pareidolia (ˌpæraɪˈdəʊlɪə) — n the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist.

360px-Fakeface

It seems that over the course of evolution, human beings have adapted a survival skill of recognizing human faces in shapes and patterns. American astronomer and astrophysicist, Carl Sagan hypothesized that as a survival technique, human beings are “hard-wired” from birth to identify the human face.

This is referred to as face perception. This survival skill gives us the ability to discern emotion. From birth, faces are key to the individuals social interaction. This can help us figure out if we are in danger, or if another individual is safe or approachable. Faces are key to a humans interaction with the world around, therefore we recognize them immediately, even subconsciously.

EXAMPLE: This is simply 3 circles and a line, but configured into this pattern, the human brain perceives this as a face. The human mind is also so quick to sum up the image, one may assume this face has a negative demeanor such as disappointment or mild unhappiness.

This is a survival skill.

Famous examples of pareidolia: 

Face on Mars

Face on Mars

The Rabbit Moon

The Rabbit Moon

The Old Man of the Mountains in Franconia, New Hampshire

The Old Man of the Mountains in Franconia, New Hampshire

The Man in the Moon

The Man in the Moon

The "Rock Face" in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado

The “Rock Face” in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Horsehead Nebula, Orion

Horsehead Nebula, Orion

There are literally millions of other examples of this, but these are some people may recognize right away.

Childhood Fun

As I mentioned earlier in this entry, I talked about clouds. Clouds are probably the most common way we can demonstrate pareidolia, in a way in which everyone can relate. While we recognized that this takes place in abstract patterns, we also recognize that the lion cub we see in the clouds, is not in fact a lion club, but a pattern that happens to look like one. This is the same when it goes for human faces in patterns. Whether its animals, humans or objects such as planes trains and automobiles- the basis is the same, our brains are trained to recognize familiar objects in patterns.

CLoud

pareidolia3-12966_630x210

pareidolia-580x333

pareidolia or photoshop

pareidolia3

faceinthesky4

Pareidolia and the Paranormal –
Greying the area between Paranormal and Paranoid

To our team, education is extremely important. We feel that if we want to see positive changes in the Paranormal community, we must be part of that positive change. We cannot complain about how things are being handled, if we are not willing to help change it. Education is key. It’s a goal of ours to help educate the public as well as new investigators who might be coming into the field. We’re sorry if what we’re about to say comes off as critical or rude. It’s not our intention. We do however feel this all needs to be said.

  In the day in age of the Paranormal reality revolution, its easy to get caught up in the hype. In the attempt of being recognized and  being seen as really open minded, some have become so open minded that they have become closed minded to the idea of anything “normal”. Believing skeptics are becoming harder to find. This does not mean being skeptical of ghosts or other paranormal phenomena, but being skeptical of the people who give us material and skeptical of the methods being used to capture it. Some things that can be easily explained, are being labeled paranormal in fear of appearing close minded. Critical thinking has fallen by the way side.

Before the internet there was more of an excuse for this sort of thing to be believed of as paranormal. Unless we had access to scientific journals or knew someone who understood these things, we may not know. But now days with information readily available at the tips of our fingers, there really is no excuse for passing off common human reactions to patterns, as anything but just what it is: a survival skill.

We learned that the world wasn’t flat, we should be able to understand this.

Also, we are also in the age of “not offending anyone”, so instead of offering a plausible explanation for phenomena, we find ourselves nodding and saying “maybe” as opposed to educating the public on whats really happening.

 Paranormal Investigators are especially guilty of this. Everyone wants a piece of the “paranormal glory”, and to be part in an ongoing popularity contest in the community. This is very prominent on social media. People seem more concentrated on numbers on their counters in the form of “likes”, than producing valid evidence and giving good plausible reasons for unexplainable phenomena. It doesn’t have to be unexplainable, if we would just do our duty of explaining. In the effort of proving that the paranormal exists, we are deeming anything “possible” into being absolute. Evidence review has become very diluted when we are calling a face in a pile of unfolded laundry, the spirit of a deceased human being. This is not helping the community, this is damaging it’s integrity.

Ranting Moment: Problems in the Paranormal Community

At the risk of sounding catty or rude, the best way I can express how this makes me feel as a paranormal investigator who has dedicated their time into educating themselves-

“Let’s not be SO open minded, that our brains fall out.”

YOU MUST THINK CRITICALLY.

Our team has collectively over 20 years experience in the paranormal. On most cases, considering that we visit highly active areas, we produce a small handful of EVP, and rarely something photographic (or visual) per case. 70% of what we find is usually personal experiences. If your team is rendering 30 EVP, 40 “evidence” photos, and other phenomena, its time to consider possibly honing in on your evidence review skills.

It very easy to spot out teams on social media who have been in the field for a long amount of time, or who strive for education of their members. We do not mean to demean other teams who enjoy doing what we do, everyone is entitled to be here. We certainly do not feel that we are better than anyone else. We do however pride ourselves in doing the foot work of educating our members on common phenomena that occur in this “field” (word used loosely), that are frequently mistaken as paranormal. And by this, we mean having strict standards in what we call evidence of the paranormal. Our evidence goes through rigorous debunking before we label it. This includes submitting it for peer review to others in the community, NOT JUST OUR TEAM MEMBERS.

“When in doubt- THROW IT OUT!”

I would rather have 1 solid piece of evidence, than a thousand “maybe” pieces of evidence.

Which would you rather have? One $1 bill or one hundred pennies?

Many teams do not like being told anything contrary to what they believe they have captured. If you do not agree with them that it is paranormal, and all out war ensues. Blocking and nasty words are exchanged. If you do not wish to have your work critiqued, it is suggested that you do not put it up on social media. Because, eventually, people will question your work.

While we have no problem with people having teams who ghost hunt, what we do have a problem with is people who do not understand these basic debunking fundamentals.  These are the individuals who proclaim themselves as professionals and who go into peoples homes and declare some very basic non-paranormal phenomena as evidence of a haunting, leaving their clients more confused than ever and with no resolution. This is not okay.

And the clean up for teams who do strive for paranormal excellence and professionalism? This is a nightmare.

PAREIDOLIA IS NOT PARANORMAL PHENOMENA.

So PLEASE, educate yourself and your team on these different subjects. Learn your equipment. Learn what causes these phenomena. Read books. Read articles. AND PLEASE, learn as much as you can before going into people’s homes and causing more panic and disorder! They still have to live there long after we are gone.

484406_10151435796863386_391262997_n

Paranormal Q&A with D.T.M. Wicked Radio

D.T.M. Wicked RadioDenny and Tiffani Gager are the owners/managers of DTM Wicked Productions, LLC and DTM Wicked Radio. DTM Wicked Productions is a network created to bring the world of entertainment together. It was formed in May 2013. DTM’s goal is to give each listener an opportunity to interact with the talk show host and guests.

Denny Gager is an author of children’s books, co-owner/manager of DTM Wicked Productions and a paranormal investigator. His wife Tiffani Gager is a singer, co-owner/manager of DTM Wicked Productions, psychology student, talk show host of Wicked Edge on DTM and a paranormal investigator. They reside in the southern tier of New York State with several rescued fur babies. They are previous founders of their own paranormal team and big animal advocates.

How did you get started owning a network?

We had an internet radio show on a previous network. We loved doing radio and being able to talk to all the different people.  After a few differences of opinion we had with the previous network we decided “hey wouldn’t it be great to continue doing a radio show but on a network we own??” Thus the birth DTM WICKED PRODUCTIONS, LLC and DTM Wicked Radio Network.

What type of shows does your network carry and where can people find your network?

We have a very diverse network with a variety of shows to feed everyone’s entertainment hunger. We have the Wicked Edge which has on authors, musicians, other podcasters, comedians, actors A list celebs and a plethora of many other guests.  We also have music shows for example one by the bassist of a System of A Down – Sgavo Odadjian called iHeartShavo. He has A list musicians, independent musicians and A list actors on his show. He is very funny open and down to earth show. We have shows on a variety of subjects such as weather, animal rescue, LGBT Diversity, women issues, sex and other controversial topics.  We are constantly adding all different types of shows.  For example, we are adding a metal music show hosted by women.   We can be heard on www.dtmwickedradio.com, IHeartradio.com Twitter, Podbean, Videobash, Freedom Talk Radio and I few other I can’t remember…..sorry!

What do you find the hardest thing about running a network?

The hardest thing about running a network is making sure everything runs smoothly such as making sure all your sponsors are happy. Making sure your hosts are following network contracts and are happy as well trying to maintain a personal and family life outside the paranormal field and network. Holding on to your sanity or what sanity you have left. It’s a balancing act that not many would understand.

As a couple do you find it hard to run a business together?

Mmmmm, sometimes. We can butt heads sometimes and disagree. I (Tiffani) can be headstrong and stubborn when I believe something isn’t right or should be confronted and handled a certain way. Denny is a little more laid back. But at the same time it’s nice to have a relationship where you can work together because then you understand each other’s ups/ downs and frustrations. It is also nice because we support and encourage each other.

Who is the most interesting person you ever interviewed on your show?

Oh boy that’s a touchy one. We have interviewed so many wonderful interesting and fun people it’s hard to choose. I loved interviewing William Shatner, Doris Roberts, Bruce Boxlietner Tim Reid and they were all very interesting and insightful. I have also interviewed authors who I will never forget. One of my favorite gusts to interview though was Mike Sciabarrasi of Deftone Pictures. He is such a kind, warm and funny guy. We just love mike every time he is on Wicked Edge.

Why should people tune into the DTM Network?

BECAUSE WE’RE AWESOME!! HELLO!! Lol People should listen to  DTM because we have fun amazing shows with interesting hosts that talk about a  wide range of subjects….you are never bored listening to ANY show on DTM Wicked Radio Network.

You are paranormal investigators. What does a paranormal investigator mean to you?

It means helping someone who feels they have unexplained activity.  Who needs a “sort” of confirmation and/or helping what/who is responsible for the activity to move on and giving the clients comfort.

Why did you become paranormal investigators?

To seek answers to questions of the supernatural and to help others.

Tell us your approach to investigating?

Calm, skepticism and compassionate.

You have been in the field for a while and you have seen people come and go in the paranormal field …why do you think this happens?

Everyone has their own reasons so it varies….but what I have observed is a lot of people leave the para field because sometimes they feel targeted by those who feel they are “paranormal martyrs”.  These people feel they have the right to “expose” people for God knows what reason when in reality they are just bullying them. I mean who wants to put up with that? Others leave I believe because they probably didn’t think “Ghost hunting” or Investigating required alot of time, effort and work.  Others simply didn’t get the attention or fame they thought they would have after seeing all the para shows.

Tiffani, you are working on a degree in psychology do you think knowledge in psychology or human services can help you in your business and the Paranormal field? If so please elaborate?

That’s a very big YES.  With both the investigating and the network it helps me read people and understand people.  It also helps me analyze people (investigators and clients) so I can make the best judgment calls on how safe it would be to have someone on our team investigate a client’s home.

Denny, you have written a series of children’s books. Why children’s books and what made you want to become an author?

English was my favorite subject. I have always liked kids. I wanted to write children’s books to view everything through the eyes of a child again,. Leave the troubles of the world behind while I write the stories.

What is the toughest thing about being a paranormal investigator?

Putting up with criticism from those who do not understand what we do and why. Having to explain to “potential” team members why we don’t have a camera crew following us and why we don’t have a show. Also, why we don’t always pick up activity on every investigation.  Determining who really needs our help and the ones who just want to be on TV.

There are lot of paranormal bullies out there. Why do you think this occurs. Why do you think paranormal people feel the need to attack others in the field?

There is absolutely no one reason why anyone should attack anyone. I understand people can disagree and people can have a different way of doing things. However there is a time and place for everything which you can always be professional.  You can also handle any issue you have with anyone with integrity and respect. Those who bully are egotistical and narcissistic. They feel they have impress upon the world their superiority by “intimidation”.

What would you tell a newbie who wants to get into the paranormal field?

The para community is smaller than you think. It’s more involved and complicated than it looks. The people within the para field (clients included) are more intense regarding inner family dynamic and relationships.  The actual investigation is complicated. You are working with people who may have a variety of issues and problems going on in their life.  Not everything is haunted or demonic. If you are looking for fame and fortune than you are in the wrong field for many reasons.

Where would you like to see your network and team within the next five years?

As for DTM Paranormal Investigations we have dissolved our team. Other than investigating with trusted teams when asked to or a public investigation we just don’t have the time to dedicate to it  We are  so busy with the network. As far as DTM WICKED PRODUCTIONS, LLC and DTM Wicked Radio Network…..the sky is the limit and we are reaching for the stars and beyond. We hope one day for the DTM name to be on everyone’s tongues and a fixture in everyone’s ears!

One last question.. tell us one thing about yourselves that people don’t know about you?

Denny is a nerd at heart. GO MARVEL!

Tiffani-Beth  I got so nervous before interviewing Bruce Boxleitner I almost hyperventilated.

You can find DTM Wicked Radio at www.dtmickedradio.com or on Facebook.