Tag Archives: EVPs

226 – Strange Frequencies: Technology and the Supernatural with Peter Bebergal

At the beginning of the Millennium, I used to visit the website tarot.com almost every single day. It was a good-looking page that had some really cool tarot cards and it was free to do a little reading everyday. You could pay for a full “Celtic Cross” elaborate kind of thing, or you could just get a little three card session for free. You would ask it a specific question and get three cards back, one to tell you about yourself, one to tell you about your situation, and one to tell you about your challenges.

But there was always something that I felt was off in trying to use a computer to divine something about your life. There’s no human element, there’s no psychic or medium to help you interpret the cards, while it felt interesting and fun, it never felt magical. Tarot on a computer screen never felt sacred. It’s zeroes and ones, I never felt what Peter Bebergal in his new book Strange Frequencies: The Extraordinary Story of the Technological Quest for the Supernatural, calls “enchantment”. That feeling you are participating in something outside your natural human experience, like religious ecstasy or the of meditation, or when you’re talking with a medium and they tell you things that are impossible to know.

The last time we had Peter Bebergal on, we talked about his great book, Season of the Witch: How The Occult Saved Rock ‘n’ Roll, and this book is just as fascinating. He argues that using technology to uncover the paranormal has been with us since we started trying to explain the universe. Something as simple as rubbing a lucky rabbit’s foot is magical technology. It doesn’t have to be an Ovilus plucking words out of the ether. And really, is looking for signs of the future in animal entrails any different than a computer program designed to spit out random predictions? The same forces that would use the viscera to relay a message could just as easily use the zeroes and ones, couldn’t they?

Author Peter Bebergal

Fast forward fifteen years and I use my Apple Watch to meditate every day. I’ve listened to MP3s of hypnosis sessions where I try to recollect past lives. I use my phone alarm to wake me an hour before I’d normally awaken sometimes so that I can explore lucid dreaming. I’ve gone from someone who scoffed the first time a psychic told me that she would do phone and Skype sessions (all I could think of was Miss Cleo) to being shocked and amazed at some of the things I’ve been told during those very same sessions.

When you watch Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures, the technology is as big a part of the show as the history of the haunted location. They set up digital voice recorders to catch EVPs, thermal imaging cameras to look for variations in the temperature (cold spots!), Electromagnetic Field Detectors to reveal temporary energy fluctuations. We don’t have the technology to capture a spirit like in Ghostbusters, but we can try to “capture” phenomena on tape when they happen. Technology and the supernatural are more intertwined than ever, but as Peter argues in his book, that’s nothing new. Some of the things we touch on:

In the episode, Wendy and I talk about how much fun we had at Krampusnacht in Milwaukee on the day before St. Nick’s. We have a whole episode dedicated to everyone’s favorite Christmas demon! Here’s a link to some amazing photos of Milwaukee Krampusnacht 2018 as well!

The song this week is inspired by the title of Peter’s book Strange Frequencies and the Spirit Box. Even our most famous inventors, Edison and Tesla, both thought that they could eventually design a radio to communicate across the veil (or even between planets) and we took that idea and ran with it. Here is Sunspot with “The Strangest Frequency”.

If I could talk to those I lost again
to try and make amends
among the graves

Some kinda wiretap
from far beyond the map
somehow these words get trapped
between the waves

Screaming in the darkness
broadcasting our callsign
hoping to break though reality
a mechanical catharsis
tuned in from the other side
I heard you on the strangest frequency

Finding patterns in the static
is automatic
with all these toys

sufficiently
advanced technology
is just necromancy
with some white noise

Screaming in the darkness
broadcasting our callsign
hoping to break though reality
a mechanical catharsis
tuned in from the other side
I heard you on the strangest frequency
I heard you on the strangest frequency
I heard you on the strangest frequency

76 – In Pursuit of the Paranormal: An Interview with Matthew Jesso

Although we haven’t been hit by snow like the East Coast this week, we’ve been experiencing a nasty deep freeze here in the Midwest. I had the misfortune of catching a cold, but Mike was lucky enough to escape to California for a little sunshine and a whole lot of awesome musical instruments (and musicians playing them) at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 2016 convention.

While he was there, Mike searched high and low for anything paranormal, weird (aside from the wild assortment of freaky musicians everywhere- Hey, as one of them, I’m allowed to say that!), and/or otherwise interesting to those of us into that kind of thing. If you didn’t already get the chance to check out his blog posts, his intriguing investigative reporting and commentary can be found in articles such as The Best Occult Imagery at NAMM 2016 and Moog at NAMM 2016: Synthesizers and the Sound of Horror.

Back in Wisconsin, I had the pleasure of conducting my first interview with a paranormal investigator by the name of Matt Jesso. Another Midwesterner hailing from Minnesota, Matt has spent years working with people who have experienced the unknown or inexplicable phenomena, and works without compensation to help find resolutions – or at least clues – to many mysteries.

As a Parnormal Investigator, Matt reviews claims from people who experience something “beyond the realm of understanding”. After gathering information about what is happening, he determines whether an in-home investigation is appropriate. He does Electronic Voice Phenomenon analysis, both for recordings made on investigations in which he participated as well as recordings sent to him from other investigations. The goal of each investigation varies depending on the objective of the client, and depending on the nature of the claim, he may involve other members of his network experienced professionals in the paranormal (demonologists, psychics, mysticologists, mediums, remote viewers, and clergy people) to collect as much information as possible.

Matt had a curiosity about the paranormal from a very young age, reading everything he could about it. He discovered that, through information and understanding, he could overcome the fear that often accompanies experiences with the unknown.

One way people find Matt is through the web site Paranormal Societies, an “internet Rolodex of paranormal investigators” willing to help people in search of haunting assistance.  Matt became friends with Bill Wilkins, the founder of Paranormal Societies, through Twitter, and joined the database so he could provide his service to those looking for help. Matt, like many other investigators, does not charge for his services, but offers to help as a kind gesture.

Part of our discussion touched on this blog article: “Too Many Ghost Hunters” written by our very own Mike Huberty, and Matt shared his opinion on the current trendiness of ghost hunting.  Although he agrees that the field is a bit saturated at the moment, but  the true professionals will continue to work together and have a very strong community that will thrive beyond the current ghost hunting craze .

Some of Matt’s expertise comes from reading works of famous parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach, who has an extensive history of his own in-home paranormal investigations. We learned a lot from Mr. Auerbach in our own Episode 27 – Parapsychology: Fact vs. Fiction, so I thought it was cool to hear Matt reference some of those concepts.

Audio and video recorders, EMF detectors and K-II meters are some of the tools used in Matt’s investigations.

The topic of orbs did enter our discussion when Matt shared the scariest experience he has had.  Upon seeing a video of himself surrounded by many orbs, Matt admitted he was frightened. However, he uses prayer to protect himself from negativity and determined it was a positive, rather than a negative, sign.

I brought up that Mike is a “non-orb guy”, and Matt agreed that orbs are overblown. But he did have a story of a compelling video of an orb. Here it is… The original footage:

And in slow motion:

What do you think? Mike shares his opinion at the end of the episode.

You can reach Matt online through the following channels:

  • Twitter: @mattjesso
  • Periscope:  @mattjesso  (He broadcasts from “The Paracave” every Sunday at 5 PM Central Time) #paracave

Featured Song: Paranormal Sleuth by Sunspot

Searching for an answer
A paranormal sleuth
So many questions
But where can I find the truth?

I won’t be frightened, I won’t be weak
It’s only in my mind
My dread will be abolished
by the evidence that I find

I’ll keep on looking
listening, feeling for a sign
Power in the knowledge,
Whether sinister or divine

I won’t be frightened, I won’t be weak
It’s only in my mind
My dread will be abolished
by the evidence that I find