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Introduction from the Director

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Calvin von Crush - Macabre Collector

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Karen Rontowski - Paranormal Commedian

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Packing From Mars

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My Spooky Business

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Brian J Cano - Paralosophy

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An Update on Orbs

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Saturday Schedule

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Sunday Schedule

ALEX CAYAS, DIRECTOR

A word from the Director of Paracon Australia

22 Meet the Sponsors

Here we are another year and it’s Paracon Australia time. On the cover: The Carrington circa 1912 Director: Alex Cayas Designer: Peta Banks Information is correct at press time. Check www.paraconaustralia.com for updates.

F R E E B I E S :

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CONTENTS

2016 will mark the third Paracon Australia I have put together piece by piece. Like each year before this one I have had an amazing team working to bring Paracon to life and there are not enough kind words in the world to describe the thanks I have for my amazing team.

D E S I G N

2016 has been an interesting year and the lead up to Paracon Australia has at times been a challenge. What I was reminded of this year is that events and ideas must be constantly evolving to meet a community that is continually changing. In saying that I am very proud of the final schedule and I actually overjoyed when people complain about sessions they like clashing or having to spend hours mapping their Paracon Australia experience. This means I’ve done my job. If the choice was easy it means I’m letting you down.

M O R E

G R A P H I C

A bit of a theme that has emerged this year is the mighty question mark. There seems to be a lot of talks centered around questions or talks unpacking topics. I like that, it is the chase of the question that thrills me the most and I’m inspired by my own conference and all these fantastic speakers to ask and unpack a few questions of my own in relation to Paracon Australia.

F O R

What have I learnt over the three years of putting this conference together? What is Paracon’s next evolution? What do audiences and Paranormal people want? What will 2017 look like? I hope this isn’t too ominous. I don’t mean it to be. Nothing is certain but lets face it. I think that’s how we like it. See you at Paracon Australia 2016 my misfits. Jump 2

Alex Cayas


CALVIN VON CRUSH - MACABRE COLLECTOR Article written by Peet Banks

G R A P H I C

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PIC. Calvin Von Crush

The life behind a medical specimen is often a great mystery. This seemingly normal human skeleton might be the exception. An aged tag attached to the arm gives grim detail to the person who once lived and breathed. Signatures of doctors who either owned or prepared the skeleton accompany the horrific details of how this model came to be. The writing states that her name is Monique and she was a Parisian prostitute in the 1920’s. That is until she was killed by another lady of the night. There is no way to confirm these details, so I remain skeptical of her true origin.

V I S I T

We asked Calvin to tell us about his top five macabre collection pieces. We would’ve loved for him to bring some to Paracon Australia 2016 with him, but of course Australian Custom Laws forbid them… In his words:

1. Monique: The Skeleton of a Murdered Prostitute

F R E E B I E S :

Calvin’s entire apartment is consumed by his collection. A black bear mounted from the navel upwards, wearing boxing gloves and a fez watches over him as he sleeps. A dozen or so taxidermy critters lurk in his office, but it is his dining room which holds the bulk of it, including a dining room table with an antique Ouija board.

D E S I G N

Calvin’s preference with his macabre collection swings towards the freak specimens over manmade ones, but his very first piece of memorabilia was a man-made sideshow gaff (a tricked exhibit). It was a 4 legged baby duckling created by legendary artist Mark Frierson.

M O R E

He originally started to collecting strange objects as a chance to live amongst the supernatural. He wanted to give himself every chance to witness paranormal phenomena, and if that meant he was creating his very own haunted house, so be it! Interestingly, with all of the crazy stuff he owns, he has not seen one single spook, spirit of spectre, but he lives in hope!

F O R

Calvin Von Crush has been collecting objects all of his life. If it wasn’t coins, rocks or toys, it was comic books. He moved into macabre objects due to his passion with the paranormal. As he words it, “I guess it’s just my desired aesthetic.”


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Photo’s courtesy of Calvin von Crush

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“He’s better off chasing away the evil spirits at home on my shelf.”

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Speculation does allow for her corpse to have been donated to a medical school when she couldn’t pay for a proper burial and no family could be contacted. It was not uncommon for classes of future doctors to prepare skeletons and cadavers prior to graduation. Monique has yet to show up seeking justice or revenge for her cut short existence. And bringing her to Australia for Paracon won’t increase those chances. She’s better off home where she won’t be confiscated or damaged passing through customs.

2. Uncle Nutty: A Real Shrunken Human Head The Jivaro people of Ecuador and Peru are brave and savage warriors who survived the Incas, the Aztecs, and Spanish empires. Perhaps their strength of reputation has helped them to survive. You see the tribe is known to take heads and prepare them as a grim reminder of their victory. Using a traditional method handed down for centuries, the skin is peeled off a head then boiled and packed with hot sand until it shrinks. This tiny head, now called a tsantsa has its eyes and lips sewn shut and is present at sacred

ceremonies. While held as a powerful item they are not a war trophy at all. They are in fact a talisman meant to prevent vengeful spirits. European and American explorers and tourists couldn’t resist the urge to bring these curiosities back with them. So much in fact that the demand for new heads kept the Jivaro very busy. War parties are too great of an endeavour and quite risky so morgues and graves were robbed to supply the head trade. These tourist trade heads lack the sewn features like a traditional tsantsa but are no less striking or bone chilling. This head came to America after a gentleman travelled to Peru and picked it up as a souvenir sometime in the 1950’s. After he passed of old age his wife hated having it in the home but couldn’t bring herself to throw it out. He was placed in a chick full of nuts coffee can and hidden away for many years. His skin is cracked in many places but he is no less loved. He’s been named Uncle Nutty for his time spent in the coffee can. To prevent any further imprisonment he will

remain in the U.S. under glass far away from the scrutiny of customs agents. 3. Mummified llama fetus talisman Another oddity from South America, this dried out specimen comes from the witches market in Lima, Peru. Local folks believe hurrying one of these creepy critters underneath their homes can do a number of things from warding off evil to insuring fertility. While llamas are a domesticated species and not illegal to own skins or parts, this little guy is far from properly preserved. Naturally mummified for the market place and not containing any chemicals to prevent bugs or decay can make this little guy a Trojan horse for a number of nasty invasive species. He’s better off chasing away the evil spirits at home on my shelf.


“The talisman is said to grant 3 wishes to the owner...” 4. Monkey Paw Talisman

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Sailors of old were known to be quite superstitious. Omens, monsters, mermaids, and bad luck were all part of the day to day routine. Evidence of this mindset is given in great detail in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. The epic poem details how the wrongful death of an albatross lead a ship’s crew to great misfortune. This grim reality is echoed and evidenced by one of my collections shining jewels. Housed in a modest handmade wood and glass case. Two very long but thin bones are wrapped with various strings and

M O R E

5. Cursed Albatross Bones

mounted to the back of the box. Also tacked to the back are the hand written accounts of how these bones came to be in this makeshift ossuary. In the 1850’s the crew of a ship plucked an albatross from the sky by casting hooked fishing lines to where the birds soared. It was brought to the deck and killed. The author of this grisly tale decided to keep the carcass and mount it as taxidermy. The dead birds mate continued to stalk the ship, circling in the hopes to find its dead lover. This action was taken as a grave presence and spooked the sailors who stormed the cabin and forced the remains over board. Thus halting the

F O R

The story of “The Monkey’s Paw “ was first published by W.W. Jacobs in 1902 and has been reconstructed numerous times in pop culture ever since. The talisman is said to grant 3 wishes to the owner, often with ghastly results. While this one has never shown to work, believe me I have tried, it does come with a great history. It was once owned by the late great Billy Jamieson, a world renowned macabre collector and dealer. Billy purchased it along with many other Victorian era curiosities when he bought the Niagra Falls Museum. It may have passed over a boarder once but carrying over any kind of animal taxidermy is always a risky endeavour. Many a collector has found that out the hard way when specimens don’t arrive and end up confiscated by customs. While I doubt it is from a protected species, most likely a vervet monkey, I won’t chance losing it or waste any time on wishful thinking.

mournful chase. All but these two fragile and hastily repaired wing bones remain to tell the superstitious tale. While the birds life was taken well before legislation was ever considered, making this piece legal to own, migratory birds are heavily protected by many countries. Collectors have helped make extinct many a species. Any chance at speculation by authority is best avoided, and I’m not sure my fellow passengers would like to travel over water with a potential curse in my carry on.

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KAREN RONTOWSKI Article written by Jacqueline Anderton. First appeared on the-ghostwriter.net/blog/meetthe-speakers-karen-tontowski W W W . D E S I G N F R E E B I E S . O R G

Did you know that it IS possible to actually die from laughter? The British Medical Journal published a study in 2013 highlighting the benefits - and drawbacks - of a good gaffaw. For example, prolonged laughter can cause asthma attacks, heart attacks, trigger the rupture of brain aneurisms and collapse lungs.

V I S I T

In comedian Karen Rontowski’s case then, this may possibly be the best way of perpetuating a constant stream of paranormal investigations whilst on tour!

D E S I G N

F R E E B I E S :

Karen is Paracon 2016’s OFFICIAL comedianne - because what self-respecting paranormal convention doesn’t have one? - and has been involved in the paranormal field for the last 15 years, conducting and leading investigations as well as reading tarot and practising reiki.

M O R E

G R A P H I C

She’s hosted and performed at veritable plethora of paranormal gatherings, as well as appearing on Late Night with David Letterman, Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham and Comics Unleashed - somehow finding time to become part of the furniture at Flappers Comedy Club in Claremont, CA with a monthly Psychic Standup show with two incredibly talented mediums for accompaniment.

F O R

During this she’s also racked up an impressive list of investigations, from Gettysburg Battlefield to The Ritz and The Queen Mary to the Eastern Men’s Penitentiary. In preparation for Paracon this year, I got to ask her the ins and outs of being a Paranormal Comic… and find out her favourite Australian animal…

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I suppose firstly I have to ask; do you see yourself as a Paranormal Investigator who does comedy? Or a comedian who likes to investigate on the side? If I had to categorize I would say a comic who investigates, only because comedy is one of those jobs that you are… like a prostitute or a cop. The uniform never comes off - just ask the last guy I slept with. Investigating is another wonderful outlet for the continuously curious comedy mind. The unknown and unanswered questions are wonderful material for my obsessive mind; they keep each other working. So with Paranormal comedy… which came first; the interest in the paranormal or the standup? That is a toss-up. I don’t think comics are made, I think they come into life somewhat already built for seeking attention and creating laughter. It’s a strange never

ending puzzle, finding what makes people laugh. I think that also applies to the paranormal, it’s another puzzle but with fewer laughs. I have memories of dreaming to do both as a kid. I had paranormal experiences and loved making people laugh. I came from a small town and no one ever told me you could do either of them for a living. I became a cigarette girl in Las Vegas at age 24 and met a bellman that was a stand up. He took me to my first open mic and it just felt like home. I never looked back. About 15 years ago I started looking into the website Meetup.com for psychic classes and couldn’t believe there were paranormal investigation groups. I went to a bunch and got to know the people who were putting together ParaCons and asked if I could perform. The rest is history!


“I knit... all the time.” Did you have a particularly spiritual background growing up?

--About the author: Jacqueline Anderton is a writer, a cosplayer, and a paranormal investigator for APPI Ghost Hunts & Tours. Jacqueline is the owner of The Ghostwriter Oz. Bridging the gap between story, investigation, inquisition and analysis in the paranormal field Australia-wide.

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I’ve done studies on what type

All that focus gave me some training wheels and my psychic abilities grew along too. I am still too insecure to read without them. I think of them as my friends. If you want a [tarot] book that will blow your mind I highly recommend The Rabbi’s Tarot.

Russel Crowe

V I S I T

Yes! I love to investigate old theatres and have [investigated] in ones I have performed in just to see if I can make a connection with other performing spirits.

I am a diehard Rider-Waite girl! When I didn’t have confidence in my intuition I decided I would study everything about that deck. Even to this day there is a new tarot book being delivered to my house once a month. I thought if I could learn what every symbol, color, line and number went I could put them together an do readings.

And lastly, what is your favourite Australian animal?

F R E E B I E S :

Have you ever tried to run a routine past a spirit to see what would happen? And if you have, did anything happen or was it a bit… dead (ah-ha…ha…)?

What is your favourite deck of tarot cards?

I knit.... all the time.

D E S I G N

It just reinforces everything I have ever felt intuitively and never stops amazing me. I also love dark scary places, not that daytime hunts aren’t fun but I love the night… … Okay i get a charge out of being scared too. I think you can get 100 EVP’s and it’s still exciting when you get the 101st.

Given that you’re probably sick by now of about talking about comedy and the paranormal… what is one thing that people probably don’t know about you?

G R A P H I C

Why do you investigate the paranormal? What do you get out of it personally?

I love ghost photography. I used to carry everything with me and realized I was just taking photos. I know video would probably get more results but I love pictures.

Trump’s an idiot. (Editor: Amen to that!)

M O R E

I think I got to bypass a lot of guilt, fear and the threat of eternal damnation. Those seem like downers but maybe that’s just me.

What is your style of investigation? Do you prefer paranormal equipment like your IR camera and recorder or ‘au natural’?

If you were dead and you could only say one thing for an EVP – what would it be?

F O R

No, in fact I was brought up Methodist and feel very lucky about that. We were very active in the church and it was a very positive experience. As I say in one of my jokes, “It is a very light religion with only one commandment; Take Care!”

of humor was popular around the time when the theatres were built and it’s always wife and bathroom humor! (People never change) I figure you can’t be telling jokes about cell phones to 18th century audiences. Unfortunately the dead aren’t my biggest fans or they laugh very quietly.

http://the-ghostwriter.net/

Visit thecarrington.com.au for more history of this beautiful, historic venue. 7


PACKING FROM MARS

F R E E B I E S : G R A P H I C

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courtesy of Frank Jacob

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Frank Jacob is an award-winning international filmmaker; his work includes ‘Solar (R)evolution’, ‘The Klaus Dona Chronicles: Secret World I’, ‘Stranger at the Pentagon’, and the hit Red Bull TV Series ‘Ultimate Rush’. Known for his enigmatic approaches, Frank has visually realized many different subjects that would not ordinarily find their way into the audiovisual medium. He graciously agreed to speak with Sharon Ann Rowland, Editor of the Oddities e-Club Magazine, for Paracon Australia, about his new documentary film ‘Packing For Mars’ and his approach to documentary making.

M O R E

ARTICLE BY Sharon Ann Rowland Oddities e-Club Magazine Editor

F O R

What drew you to make a documentary about the various government projects involved with time-space travel on this and other worlds?

I always felt UFOs were real, even as a child. I remember doing a school presentation 8

on the Billy Meier case way back in 6th grade! But as I ‘grew up’ I got pulled more into music and arts, and I stopped paying attention to the subject. I had this feeling that, if it was real, we’d find out soon enough but it wasn’t my job to partake in exposing the truth. Fast forward to 2009. One day while surfing the web I came across Project Camelot’s ‘Exopolitics’ conference in Barcelona,

Spain. The term Exopolitics was not something I had ever heard, so it peaked my interest. I soon discovered a whole world centered around disclosure. Things had evolved considerably since I last paid attention. There had been a Washington press club press conference, involving 30 high level and credible whistle-blowers. Even a US president’s chief of staff had gotten involved! A few months later I stumbled across an interview with Laura Eisenhower, the great granddaughter of the famous US president. Amazingly, she was telling the interviewer that she had been recruited for a Mars colony. It immediately brought to mind the cult sci-fi novel ‘Alternative 3’; I had read many years earlier. There was a whole mythology surrounding that book. I thought, ‘could this be real after all’? I needed to find out. Obviously Packing For Mars has been heavily influenced by the 1970s fictional novel Alternative 3, do you believe that both the concept and storyline of this novel was based in reality? ‘Alternative 3’ is no ordinary novel. The story behind it was that it was written as fiction by its author Leslie Watkins, based on a British

televised mockumentary by the same title, broadcast in 1977. The TV show was pure psychological manipulation on the part of its authors Christopher Miles and David Ambrose, who had devised it as a scheme to prove how easily people are gulled into believing things they see on television. Leslie Watkins took the premise of the television screen play, which had impressed him, and proceeded to write a novel that appears to have come so close to the truth, that it shook up researchers and intelligent people around the world. Regardless of how insistent Watkins was about it having been purely contrived, many refused to believe him, and even began to think of him as some kind of spy, or insider, who had been contracted by the powers that be to drop the truth out into the open as fiction, to keep a huge secret from ever being taken seriously. The reaction Watkins got, coupled with the insistence of the person who had given me the novel that it was real - a highly respected man - impressed upon me. The thought never left my mind that it could all be true. You manage to capture moments of sublime peace, and dare I say ‘understanding’ of the usually


“Things on this earth look pretty grim from certain perspectives.” go on.... Often I see documentary films that deal with difficult subjects in our society yet they don’t really provide a solution. Do you think Packing For Mars will satisfy the curiosity of the broader UFO and conspiracy-related communities?

M O R E G R A P H I C

The makers of ‘Alternative 3’ the television program set out to make a mockery of people who believe everything they see in the media. That’s dangerous, because it can make people apathetic toward sincere disclosures. This is where our film deviates significantly. It explores deliberate deception. On the one hand it shows you incredible evidence that is real, while on the other, some that may have been messed with for a specific reason. So it gives viewers the chance to have their own ‘aha’ moment. Cognitive dissonance is very prevalent in society, so we need to study that. There are some totally new revelations in the film alongside material that may even be familiar, but it’s never been tied into

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existence of this remarkable invention with German physicist and Instrumental Transcommunication pioneer Ernst Senkowski. Jerry Wills was introduced to me as an extra-terrestrial and he had never outed himself in any other film or media. But you can imagine my shock when, during one of our informal discussions after a day of shooting, he pulled out an off-world artifact which had been given to him, that left little doubt in my mind as to his credibility. Although these stories didn’t make it into the film, they gave me the confidence that his recollections in the final cut are authentic. It’s unfair to single out only a few, since every person we interviewed gave us so much. Laura Eisenhower was powerful, too, since she strongly advocates staying here on earth to sort out our problems. Couple all of this with clear evidence of photographic tampering done by NASA and an even crazier picture of reality begins to emerge! I could

courtesy of Frank Jacob

Working on sport-related productions for TV, I’ve interviewed many protagonists who have incredible adventures to recount. But the experience of documenting the testimony of whistleblowers is unlike anything. When someone sitting across from you is telling you things that contradict everything you’ve been taught, you have to be able to suspend disbelief to allow their story to emerge. I think we were able to get our subjects to feel completely at ease and trust we were doing something a little different with this film. One of the groundbreaking interviews was with the super soldier Duncan O’Finioan, who really enlightened us as to the depth of the MK-Ultra project. Mind control is one of the bigger themes in the film, and with Duncan it became clear that mind control techniques have reached a very high level in black ops projects. I had started out with the mandate of finding evidence that ‘Alternative 3’ had indeed unearthed some horrendous truth, and here was someone who

confirmed what the book called ‘batch consignments’ - people who had been brainwashed to participate in the off-world colonization program. UFO researcher and author Richard Dolan did an amazing job defining the ‘Breakaway Civilization’. If you have untold amounts of money and highly advanced extra-terrestrial supertechnology to play with, in absolute secrecy, who wouldn’t you explore the possibilities of establishing your own off-world ‘Elysium’? Things on this earth look pretty grim from certain perspectives. Andrew Basiago was another participant with a very controversial story that seemed highly unlikely on first impression. Except we went to all of the locations where he claimed these black ops projects had taken place, and to my surprise, they checked out! His extremely articulate delivery and description of the Chronovisor was very convincing - and became even more so, once we were able to independently verify the

F O R

dry subject matter within the documentary. Do you think this was due to your inclusion of the various forms of music showcased, or something more intangible?


“I’m holding out for the next evolutionary leap in human consciousness”

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the context of a simulated mission to the Red Planet. Bas Lansdorp’s ‘Mars One’ project even selected 100 persons to be the first to travel to and live on Mars. There’s also Bigelow Aerospace and Virgin Galactic which are building private space fleets. Obviously none of these enterprises believe that we are already on Mars. But what’s amazing is that after releasing our film, Dr. Ken Johnston - himself a ‘Mars One’ participant, and the man who trained the Apollo Astronauts, and was Do you know if there are later in charge of the Apollo other ‘think tanks’ still out photo and film archive in our world selecting new - approached us with candidates for a survival original untampered Moon colony on Mars? photographs that confirmed what we show in ‘Packing Although I’m not personally For Mars’. privy to ‘think tanks’ We were also contacted specifically selecting people, by a highly respected in recent years new Marsresearcher who said they oriented projects have were informed by a secret surfaced, and there seems to space program insider be a general ‘obsession’ with about the existence of a the Red Planet underway. human base on Mars as far Incidentally, we screened back as the 70’s. ‘Packing For Mars’ right at This insider made the the same time as the release remarkable statement of ‘The Martian’, and we held that “humans on Earth an exclusive premiere of are currently living like the film even before NASA’s grasshoppers in the sudden announcement summer, with no idea about its water findings on that winter is coming”, the surface of Mars. and claimed if the next There’s the Hawaii Space generation of humans Exploration Analog and ever reach Mars they will Simulation (HI-SEAS 4), be surprised when they where astronauts carry out are greeted by the settlers isolation experiments in who have been there for 10

decades. I’ve often pondered what living in a colony of our more intelligent human beings would be like considering that societal ‘intelligence’ is usually based upon one’s ability to rote learn. So, contemplating a remote location that would host a bevy of scientists, lawyers, magistrates, and of course politicians would not be my idea of nirvana – what about yourself, would you go? Envisioning a colony of humans with the current level of emotional intelligence, the scientific understanding taught in our schools at present, and the interpersonal egoistic control games we see so wide spread in our world today is also no inspiration for me. We’d only bring our same problems to that new frontier. But I’m holding out for the next evolutionary leap in human consciousness, which is due. Working on the film Solar (R)evolution (www.SolarRevolution-Movie.com) we learned that there is a cosmic influence that affects the consciousness of all of humanity, which can be historically demonstrated. We humans are intrinsically intertwined with the entire galaxy, and especially with the Earth’s magnetic field, and our Sun, which is itself experiencing changes. So this evolutionary leap will

be involuntary, meaning we won’t need to rely on millions of people suddenly awakening after years of spiritual discipline and meditation. It could be like a switch has been flipped. We are seeing signs of it already. Potentially we’ll enter into a parallel, higher dimensional

reality, and the change might happen almost imperceptibly. In the movie the actor playing Nicola Tesla states that around 100 years ago the global elite made a decision here on Earth which placed us onto our current path of environmental destruction and in my view unhappiness (due to our lack of control over our own lives), through researching were you able to discover the alternate life path that we supposedly escaped? What Nicola Tesla was talking about was a whole different technology relative to energy. He was very close to being able to send electricity from the Wardenclyffe Tower in New

courtesy of Frank Jacob

a bigger picture in this way, and it’s precisely the connecting of the dots in ‘Packing For Mars’ that makes it a potent film. Allowing people to form their own opinion was another imperative. I think even people who have never accepted any of this information, or ones who have always wanted to dip their toes into the dark waters, but were reluctant to on account of the extreme bias that comes with the territory, will find Packing For Mars accessible.


WWW.PACKINGFORMARSMOVIE.COM

G R A P H I C

Consciousness research has verifiably been restricted. Censorship is alive and well in the Western world! I definitely believe consciousness has a lot to do with gaining access to technology. And it’s sometimes difficult to come to terms with the idea that this Breakaway Civilization is so evolved as to deserve it. I think there’s more involved, perhaps even of an occult nature, trying to keep us from reaching our fullest potential. The Archons play a role in this. If you study them, you’ll note their influence all throughout the ages. I think it also has to do with bloodlines. There are those who believe they are here to shepherd the human race. String us along, making us believe we are creating our reality. It works pretty well. Just one look at the US election process tells you that their system works. Some people truly believe that The Donald is here to save the USA and restore the Nation. It keeps the peace by giving the impression of choice and Will of the People. That’s probably why he’s still alive. But it’s still only a game. What we need to realize is that “the powers that be” are in many ways only “us” at other levels. The amount of “them” in “us” is relative to the degree of conscious or unconscious participation we have with the system.

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Two things happened. One, if you plot the amount of information and knowledge passed on from one generation to the next on a graph, what you’ll see is that for many thousands of years, the line runs almost parallel to the x-axis, only very gradually rising. Suddenly, starting I believe in the 1900’s, this line begins rising noticeably on the y-axis. Since the amount of information being passed on is cumulative, the line rises exponentially. Starting in the 1950’s the information passed on virtually doubled each year. The result is that the quantity of information currently being passed each year is equivalent to what it used to take a thousand or more years to pass on. So in 2016 that line is rising vertically. That would probably be enough to account for the development of computers and the iPhone on our own. Let’s not forget it was woman who invented computer binary code with her weaving machine... However the other thing that happened was the influence of technology recovered from extra-terrestrial sources. Starting from at least 1947, with the Roswell crash, there has been a cumulative acquisition of technology by the Breakaway Civilization through reverse engineering of crashed alien vehicles, and apparently also direct interaction with advanced civilizations. What we think of as high tech - our iPhones and computers, wireless technology and AI robotics - may be one thing, but the technology being

Consciousness is a recurring theme throughout your documentary, especially in relation to teleportation and the Chronovisor. Do you believe that mainstream science has been told to restrict Consciousness research, to ensure that only certain parties on our world have access to timespace travel?

M O R E

I often get the feeling that the past 100 years has accommodated approximately 1000 years of development. How could a people who only 150 years ago used candles as their main source of night lighting walk around now with a smart phone that contains a means of world-wide communication (and of course a flashlight) - what do you believe happened to put us onto this technological fast-track?

engaged by this secret society may be literally hundreds of years ahead of what we have access to now. This is the technology that is being described by the whistleblowers: teleportation devices, time-travel, looking glass technology, free energy, communication with other dimensions or universes.

F O R

Jersey across the ethers to a receiving device in Europe wirelessly. That was back in 1906! Had he not been cut off by his financier J.P. Morgan right at that critical moment, life as we now know it would have changed forever. We would not be reliant on carbon based systems of energy; we would not need to spend enormous amounts of our incomes on energy like we do now. The entire banking cartel and economy we have as a result is built on an oil-based system that supports a war economy. The wars would not be needed if we didn’t have this immense struggle to maintain control over energy resources.

And now for the most important question - where did you purchase that fabulous shirt that you wore throughout the movie (I want one, my Cat wants one, Alex will definitely want one)? Well, I’m afraid that’s top secret proprietary information, Sharon, and unfortunately you lack the necessary security clearance for me to disclose that to you! ;) 11


MY SPOOKY BUSINESS...

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An interview with Peta (Peet) Banks

by predicting things that were going to happen, like telling them who was on the phone before they answered it etc. It seemed like a natural progression to become a paranormal investigator for me – it felt like I was coming home.

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What ignited the spark to start a new business in the paranormal field? How did the idea for the Australian Paranormal Phenomenon Investigators (APPI) come about?

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As the paranormal community continues to grow in popularity and gain momentum in Australia, we see a move towards this on film, television, and in the growing number of paranormal/ spiritual events and ghost tours.

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Founded in 2011, the Australian Paranormal Phenomenon Investigators (APPI) has grown from its humble beginnings of a small group of friends to be a hugely successful business to be reckoned with. With events such as tours, expos, seminars, and even a documentary under its belt, I sat down with owner and founder, Peet Banks to talk about how she has built and nurtured a thriving business, what led her to this and her thoughts on the paranormal community today.

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I was a member of another team. The way they operated and the methods they used frustrated me. So, with the help of a few friends, I decided to form my own team. APPI is run the way I want it run, and I believe it’s thrived because of it. I like to think we add in a professional element. Nobody will take you seriously if you aren’t professional. Do you run APPI full time? Describe a typical day in the life of Peet Banks. By day I am a Project Co-Ordinator with the NSW Government. My day consists of researching material for Ministerial briefing notes, arranging events, coordinating meetings etc. It is so far distant from my paranormal life that I really do feel like I have dual personality sometimes ;) Getting back to the paranormal. What is the most convincing evidence you personally have uncovered so far?

How and when did you get into the ‘paranormal’?

The answer to this question changes frequently. At the moment I think the most convincing personal evidence I have uncovered would be when I showed a guest the hospital wing at Parramatta Gaol. It was only about 15 minutes into the first vigil and all guests are escorted around the gaol during vigils, so I knew nobody was walking around.

I’ve always had an interest in the strange, scary and spooky. I used to freak my parents out when I was a kid

We walked into the hospital, and we were about a metre in when I heard a noise. I shined my torch down the hallway, and

a very heavy, plastic curtain was moving quite vigorously, on one side. It wasn’t just moving down the bottom, so I knew it wasn’t a rodent who made it move. We tried to debunk it. It was almost like something had grabbed the curtain and pulled it aside to check out who had entered the building. When we moved the curtain ourselves we saw it was actually quite hard to make it move as vigorously as it had been moving when we entered. What question do people ask you most when you tell them you’re a paranormal tour owner? Do you think that the paranormal is more accepted in the wider community or do you find it still taboo? People automatically assume that I am a believer, so whenever they find out what I do, they automatically start telling me about experiences they have had. I have found that people often don’t want to hear reasonable explanations for what may have happened to them, and would rather believe it was paranormal. I wouldn’t say it was taboo – but it definitely does not receive the respect it deserves. I know people who think I have a silly little hobby and don’t actually realise the extent of my business. APPI runs very successful ghost tours and at many of your venues, a ‘paranormal investigation’ component is also incorporated to the night. What compelled you to implement this element? Has this been well received? I wanted to give people more value for money! A ghost tour is great, it is informative and, depending on the guide, it has the creep factor. But the idea of actually going out there and searching for ghosts – using specialised equipment that people wouldn’t get to use in their everyday lives was a big factor.


“Ghost Hunts are VERY well received” In your experience, what in the field of Paranormal Investigation or ghost tours needs the most attention?

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How important has good employees/volunteers been to your success? I have an amazing core team and wonderful volunteers and I couldn’t run my events without them! Words cannot express the importance of having good volunteers – these guys take time out of their own busy schedules to come along and help with the running of these events. I have quite a few volunteers, because I don’t want them to feel obliged to come to everything – but at the same time I don’t want to be left short. It works out well! I ask who is available on a selection of dates, and then a roster is created from the volunteers’ answers.

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I also wouldn’t be able to have the number of guests that I have without my core team and ‘vollies’ (as I like to call them). We split our guests up into smaller groups with the core team being lead tour guides, and the vollies being the go-to people to help out and assist where needed.

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I’ve been on many! I love going on other tours. The best tour I have ever been on would have to be Beechworth Lunatic Asylum. The tour guide dressed up like a nurse from the 1800s. She was incredibly knowledgeable and personable and told us everything that you could possibly want to know What makes APPI events different about the venue. from others ghost tours in Sydney and in Australia? Do you think There was one that comes to this has been important in the mind that annoyed me a little. success of your business? The tour was run by ‘psychic mediums’. They knew very little We run all kinds of events, not about the history of the venue, just tours. We love to focus on and basically ran the whole “Paranormal Entertainment”, tour talking about their psychic so we also run the Australian impressions without actual Paranormal & Spiritual Expo, fact to their stories. Psychic Sunday events, have made a professional documen- I also don’t like staged scares. tary called “Ghosts of Casula”, We have only ever done and every couple of months ‘staged scares’ once, and we organise for a speaker with although it was a lot of fun, our knowledge in some form of guests knew it was going to ‘Death Culture’ to come along happen beforehand. It was a to one of our venues and give a Halloween tour and it was an talk on varying topics. added bonus.

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Professionalism. There are too many unknown/inexperienced people out there who give Ghost hunts are VERY well those of us who are legitimately received. It’s another great way trying to operate a business a to ensure that most people bad name. have some kind of paranormal experience. Have you ever taken a ghost Tour other then your own? What about it did you like/not like about it?

Believe it or not, our Facebook page started with me just asking my friends to share it. Over time it has increased exponentially and I have learned the perfect way to use it to promote our events. Nine times out of ten, our tours sell out well in advance, and I put it down to the fact that I am not scared to boost a post on Facebook! I have also developed a great network in the paranormal community and have some wonderful friends from other teams or other paranormal entertainment media, and we share each other’s events etc.

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It’s interesting how many people come along not realising they’re on a ghost hunt, not a tour. We always incorporate a tour of some kind on our ghost hunt nights, so our guests get both.

APPI tours are hugely successful both with those interested in the paranormal field as well as outside of it. How have you built such a successful customer base?

We are a well-oiled team with most knowing what needs to be done and anticipating what I may need done next.

I think it’s important to understand your boundaries, but to also push outside of them. 13


Finally, where do you see yourself and your business in ten years?

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I love the event management side of things, so I would love to explore that more and see myself running successful events all throughout Australia.

APPI GHOST HUNTS AND TOURS run ghost hunts at 5 venues throughout NSW. They have the most venues out of any paranormal tourism company in New South Wales and a great reputation to match.

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Check out their website appighosthunts.com or their Facebook page www.fb.com/ appi.ghost.hunts

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Article by Jonathan Zhao

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Jonathan practices as an architect, however under the cover of darkness he is a paranormal investigator with a keen interest in history, memory of place and all things Doctor Who

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BRIAN J CANO First published on The Ghost Writer Oz

I got the chance to talk with Brian and see if we could get a sneak peek at what we can expect from his talk “Paralosophy” before Paracon, as well as a few flaws and strengths that he’s observed in the paranormal field in the last few years.

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If there’s one thing I’ve noticed in the last four years, it that the paranormal community has a habit of labelling things.

they’re the ones making it, not the teams before them. Then when the boat fails to become a car, they break it back down and try again under the impression that they made a mistake, or did it wrong somehow.

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With his beginnings in Urban Exploration, it’s not uncommon to see Brian crawling under a house looking for answers. On ‘Haunted Collector’ he worked with renowned Demonologist John Zaffis to assist clients in identifying and removing haunted objects from their homes that were causing chaos.

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Yet it’s interesting how many teams in the field will take out that puzzle, expecting the result to become different because

This year at Paracon, investigator and once-skepticnow-scientist Brian Cano from ‘SCARED!’ and SyFy’s ‘Haunted Collector’ has been invited to help shed some light on just why that puzzle may not be coming out the way that we want, and remind us that it’s not simply ghosts that we’re searching for.

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However when the puzzle is completed, it’s still the same result… no matter how many times you put the box away and make it again. A puzzle of a boat is still a boat, and will never become a picture of a car.

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Like the pieces of a boxed puzzle, each shape is used to perform the same job over and over again to create the same result; The Tech Manager uses the gadgets, the Believer sees a shadow person, the Medium talks with dead people, the Sceptic calculates coincidence and the Spiritualist burns some incense and smudges the room with Sage.

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You’re either a Sceptic or a Believer. You’re either a Medium There is so much focus on how or a Cynic. Or a Spiritualist to complete the puzzle to make versus a Tech Manager. it look like the desired result, that very often the question of why it is not turning out the way we want is never asked.

Of most interest, however, is his role in ‘SCARED!’ as the Scientist, a link between the Psychic and the Skeptic in their ‘Three Pillars’ team; a structure which challenges the status-quo of most paranormal team structures with rather conducive results.

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“Many out there are just doing this to be the next television sensation and the reality is, they won’t be it. “

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measurements. That is data. Anything you get from a pendulum or dowsing rods is subject to the opinions and perspective of the investigator. Our job as investigators is to collect information and interpret it as best we can. We search for truth, not ghosts. You’ve said that working with John Zaffis changed your perspective on many things. How did working with him on ‘Haunted Collector’ challenge some of the pre-dispositions that you had towards the paranormal?

PIC: Jacqueline Anderton

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What do you think it was that made ‘Haunted Collector’ so different to other paranormal shows on tv?

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For the shows that were on at the time, ours seemed to be the only one with actual stakes involved. If we didn’t do our jobs and find the cause of the negative haunting, a business would close or a family might have to move. It wasn’t pure curiosity or adventure that drove us, it was an attempt to educate the audience while we helped others.

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After working on ‘Haunted Collector’ as a Tech Specialist – how did you find the ‘modern’ technical approach of investigation measured up to the more traditional techniques of investigation? Was there any difference at all?

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My title was there merely to give the audience something to focus on. While I was, “the tech guy”, my range includes the old as well as the new. Only recently have we begun to see devices whose sole purpose is the investigation of the paranormal. Traditionally, things we would use were repurposed from other disciplines. The difference though is that with devices like the Mel Meter, you are given actual 16

Working with someone as seasoned as John is both a pleasurable learning experience as well as a frustrating hedge maze of brambles. He has experience from an era where that experience was gained not just to garner a television show. He has a wealth of information to give, the challenge is how to unlock it. Even to this day, I learn things from him. At the same time, I know that eventually the student becomes the master, so I’ve never been afraid to challenge him on certain topics - and he encourages that. I’m still far from mastery of any sort so I’ll keep growing and lately that has taken me into the philosophical area of the topic. You push the importance of research, field experience and more research when it comes to newcomers to the field. What were some of the mistakes – if any – that you made when you started out in the paranormal field? I made plenty of mistakes. Some of them are necessary mistakes - things that one has to experience to know how to better handle it in the future. Other things were just time wasters - and those are the things that I endeavour to help others avoid. Finding a clever acronym for your team name is not important. The logo on your

black t-shirt is not important. “Getting your name out there” is not important. No other field out there can be undertaken by watching a television show, so why should ours? What is one of the major flaws that you’ve observed in the paranormal field lately? What could we be doing better and what do we seem to be doing well? The focus on fame. Many out there are just doing this to be the next television sensation and the reality is, they won’t be it. I was raised to work hard and do my best always, even if no one is watching. I think that’s a good formula for success. And by “success” I don’t mean fame. What we do well? Mobilize - when the community works together and decides to do something, some pretty great things are accomplished. I’d like to see more of this on a longer time frame. On ‘Scared!’ you’re touted as being the parapsychologist or scientist. What are some of the advantages and drawbacks of that role when working within the team? We operate on what we call the Three Pillar System. Those pillars are Psychic, Scientist and Skeptic - three different perspectives to make for a more wellrounded investigation. For me, as the scientist, that puts me in the middle of the pendulum swinging between belief and proof. I’m not looking to prove or disprove the paranormal - I want to measure it.


“Paralosophy is my attempt to change the perspective of the community. “ What are your beliefs when it comes to someone experiencing a paranormal event? Are we truly experiencing the remnant of a deceased persona, or something else?

If you’re not coming to Paracon this year… then you’re making a grave mistake!

The paranormal is an unknown that we are still trying to understand. The possibility exists that it could be supernatural in origin - but we cannot arrive at that conclusion until we’ve exhausted all other possibilities.

Hope to see you there!

Tickets can be purchased from paraconaustralia.com. F O R M O R E G R A P H I C

2015 Opening Night Party

What topics will you be addressing in your Paralosophy talk?

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Paralosophy is my attempt to change the perspective of the community. I want people to THINK more…and DO less. I want people to consider the whys of what we do before we figure out the how.

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Lastly - If you were a spirit, and you could only give one EVP, what would you say? Get out! lol

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Brian will be giving his talk on Paralosophy at Paracon on Saturday (28th) and Sunday (29th) morning in the Ballroom of the Carrington Hotel, Katoomba, and it’s sure to be more than a little mind-blowing! This year, Paracon guests also have the opportunity to investigate the historic Woodford Academy alongside Brian as well as Paul Bradford (GHI) and Shawn Porter (GhostStop/GSI), as a part of Paracon’s ‘After Dark’ Events. Don’t forget: if you’re coming to Paracon this year then make sure you attend the Opening Night Party at the Harp and Fiddle on Paracon Eve (Friday 27th of May), where you’ll get to rub shoulders with sponsors, speakers, staff, other guests and experience the hilarity of Karen Rontowski’s Paranormal stand-up during the night. 17


“...to help understand some of the common photographic anomalies that are easily mistaken for paranormal phenomena.“ An Update on Orbs: photographic anomalies in paranormal investigation.

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Some readers will have heard my talk ‘Photography and the Paranormal’ at Paracon 2015. You may have been one of the people who came up after and said, ‘I’m really glad you explained orbs in that way,’ or you may have sat politely and perhaps ground your teeth a bit. Thing is, not everyone wants to hear what may be a rational explanation for something they genuinely believe is paranormal. I don’t much like it when lazy skeptics dismiss possibility of ghosts with pat, armchair explanations; it’s just this / it’s just that / it’s all in your mind / you’re totally wasting your time even bothering to look; because I think they’re being dogmatic, conventional-minded, and may well be missing something really, really important. (Not all skeptics are like this, but that’s another topic.) Truth is, I am a skeptic when it comes to photographs, but at least I take the time to look closely at each photo, ask questions and remain open to the possibility that there is something there.

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So, when (or if) you read this article, please don’t regard it as dogma. The purpose of it is to help to understand some of the common photographic anomalies that are easily mistaken for paranormal phenomena. Also please note that if I give an opinion on a photo, it is just that: an opinion. Interpretation and meaning is ultimately personal. If your uncle recently passed away and an orb appears just over his head in the last photo ever taken of him alive, who am I to tell you it’s just a bit of dust? DUST ORBS These little chaps began to crop up in large numbers early this century, when small, cheap digital cameras came into common use. These new cameras had more compact optical systems than their 35mm film predecessors, with lenses that 18

had lots more depth of field (meaning when they were focused out into a room, objects only a few centimeters away, such as airborne dust and moisture droplets, could appear partially in focus). Also, the flash was typically situated close to the lens, so it would light up the area just in front of the lens and highlight said objects. Voila – orbs! At this time the new wave of TV ghost hunting shows hit our screens, which was like throwing petrol on the barbecue as far as paranormal claims for orbs were concerned. (For a detailed explanation of how tiny objects manifest as orbs, go to the Photos section of www.strange-occurrences.com.)

But one fine specimen from the wide realm of dust orbs. CHANGING TECHNOLOGY What will surprise few of you is that the majority of the more recent photo that show suspected paranormal phenomena (ghost apps aside) have been taken on cellphone cameras. With this change in the prevalent camera technology has come a shift in the frequency and the way certain anomalies appear. The photographic principals of phone cameras are the same but the scale of the optics is much smaller than even the most compact of dedicated digital cameras. Depth of field is so great that objects extremely close to the lens, or touching it, are rendered in the photo. Try placing a hair across the lens of a DSLR camera; it won’t show in the photo at all. Then try it with your phone camera (with the LED flash on) and woohoo – ectoplasm!

Playing with a fine hair near or touching the lens of a phone camera with its LED flash switched on. Also, due to the flat profile of the cell phone and the way it’s usually held to take a photo, there is no shielding of the lens from stray light, so lens flare has become a more common factor in anomalous photos. Lens flare occurs when light which is not part of the image, and/or any bright light source within the image area, gets into the lens and interferes with the camera’s ability to render a clear image of the scene. FLARE ORBS If you look at the surface a camera lens at a certain angle you’ll see its anti-glare coating, which is slightly iridescent, like oil on water. It’s similar to the coating on modern eyeglasses, and it turns out that lens flare that manages to penetrate the coating usually gets coloured by it. So what we’ve been receiving by email recently have been little round, coloured orbs (often green) that look a bit like dust orbs, but aren’t. (Dust orbs require flash, flare orbs don’t.) They occur mostly when there’s a very bright light in the photo, maybe the sun or the moon, or a streetlight or naked light bulb. The Flare Orb (we’ll call it) is often in the opposite part of the photo to the light source, so if the sun (say) is in the top left of your photo, look for a flare orb on the bottom right. You can draw a line through the approximate centre of the frame to connect the two.


“The best way to learn to recognise these photographic anomalies is to try to reproduce them for yourself “

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The is really strange stuff out there: unexplained stuff, unaccepted stuff, paranormal stuff, and we all want to find it, experience it, document it and try to understand it. Photography and videography are great tools for documenting and learning about things. Cameras are constantly improving and

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The benefit of understanding these anomalies by deliberately creating them yourself is to see what is normal and not paranormal. This is important if you’re involved in paranormal investigation, because it could help avoid that embarrassing situation where something is offered up as evidence of paranormal activity when in fact there is a perfectly natural explanation for the thing, and you end up with egg on your face (as has happened to me, and to most of us at one time or another). In the eyes of the scientific community, and even the general public, we in the paranormal field have some credibility issues, so the less egg we end up with on our collective face, the better.

Despite finding that many paranormal photos probably have mundane explanations, I’m still excited about the uses of photography in exploring the paranormal, with the present technology and with what’s yet to come. I hope you are too. Keep at it, and if you capture something you don’t fully understand and would like a second opinion on, please email me and my team. strangeoccs@gmail.com

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The best way to learn to recognise these photographic anomalies is to try to

The same scene taken with a Nikon DSLR camera and standard (cheap) zoom lens. There’s much less flare effect than with the phone camera.

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What direct sunlight can do to a cellphone photo

Detail of lens flare artefact, which resembles a fuchsia flower

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Flare orbs from different photos, different cameras, but all with the sun low in the sky, within the photo frame or slightly outside it.

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In this photo I took with a DSLR camera in Wellington’s historic (and reportedly haunted) St James Theatre, there’s a small flare orb caused by the bright lightbulb. The line-through-the-centre theory is a little off in this example. Flare orbs stand out best when there’s a dark area behind them (see examples), but still occur in light areas – you just won’t notice them, for the same reason you can’t see the stars during the daytime.

are increasingly able to show things well beyond the range of human vision, and they’re becoming cheaper to obtain and easier to use. F O R

reproduce them for yourself with your own cameras. I spent a while trying to get little green flare orbs like the ones people sent in, but found that none of my cameras would make me one. However they did produce their own versions; not in every shot, and only if I held my tongue right.

Detail of lens flare artefact from a similar photo; same camera, but held at a slightly different angle and with a wider zoom setting. James Gilberd lives in Wellington, is a photographer by trade and a co-founder of the New Zealand Strange Occurrences Society. He’s been seriously interested in the paranormal for ten years, and in 2011 co-authored (with Jo Davy) the book ‘Spooked – Exploring the Paranormal in New Zealand’ (Random House NZ). 19


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SCHEDULES

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SCHEDULES

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Moonlark Media

APPI Ghost Hunts & Tours

Newcastle Ghost Tours has been in operation since 2010. We are the original and best ghost tour provider in Newcastle. We love our city and hope that our tours will get people excited about the history of Newcastle and showcase its very interesting past in a different light.

At Moonlark Media we specialise in visual content for the New Age and spiritual community. This includes but is not restricted to spiritual practitioners such as mediums, healers, psychics, natural therapy practitioners, yoga, alternative therapies, teachers, authors and so on.

The Australian Paranormal Phenomenon Investigators, or APPI for short, are a fun, energetic paranormal investigation group, who give the public the chance to join us on ghost tours, and to have a look inside what a paranormal investigation entails.

Come and walk in the steps of our early settlers. We provide tours including cemetery tours, East End Tours and Heritage building investigations.

In addition, we offer our services to spiritual churches and other non-profit organisations in order to offer a professional presentation of their practice.

Come along to one of our events and be taken through the history of the location, as well as the tragic deaths, ghostly sightings and paranormal occurrences that have occurred. We currently offer five venues for tours and investigations.

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Newcastle Ghost Tours

newcastleghosttours.com.au 22

moonlarkmedia.com

appighosthunts.com

Paracon australia 2016 magazine  

Paracon Australia is Australia's only Paranormal Conference. Taking place May 28th and 29th at The Carrington Hotel Katoomba http://www.pa...

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