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20 QUESTIONS WITH Loyd Auerbach

Loyd Auerbach is well-known to the public as an expert on Ghosts and Psychic Experience. With a Master's degree in Parapsychology, he is Director of the Office of Paranormal Investigations, a Professor at JFK University, and creator and Instructor of the Certificate Program in Parapsychological Studies at HCH Institute, now available for distance learning. He is a member of the Rhine Research Center Advisory Board. He was a Consulting Editor and columnist for FATE magazine from 1991-2004.

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Loyd Auerbach is well-known to the public as an expert on Ghosts and Psychic Experience. With a Master's degree in Parapsychology, he is Director of the Office of Paranormal Investigations, a Professor at JFK University, and creator and Instructor of the Certificate Program in Parapsychological Studies at HCH Institute, now available for distance learning. He is a member of the Rhine Research Center Advisory Board. He was a Consulting Editor and columnist for FATE magazine from 1991-2004. He is a past President of the Psychic Entertainers Association, and past President of the California Society for Psychical Study.
He is a professional mentalist and psychic entertainer, performing as Professor Paranormal – a title that follows him into his more serious work.


Auerbach is the author of seven books on the Paranormal, including A Paranormal Casebook: Ghost Hunting in the New Millennium (Atriad Press, 2005), Hauntings & Poltergeists: A Ghost Hunter’s Guide (Ronin Publishing, 2004) and Ghost Hunting: How to Investigate the Paranormal (Ronin, 2004).
His next book will be taking him in a different direction. Haunted by Chocolate: How to Go from Chocoholic to Chocolate Gourmet is coming from Atriad Press in early fall, 2007.
He has appeared on numerous national and local TV shows including Larry King Live, Oprah, Criss Angel: Mindfreak, Sightings, In Search Of, the Today Show, and Unsolved Mysteries, Late Night with David Letterman, and frequently on A&E, the History Channel, the Travel Channel, the Sci Fi Channel, the Discovery Channel, and The Learning Channel (where many of his appearances are in eternal reruns).

Loyd Auerbach is a youthful 51, and lives with his wife and three cats in Martinez, CA, outside of San Francisco.

He can be contacted via email at esper@california.com or by phone through the Office of Paranormal Investigations at (415) 249-9275.

Visit his Paranormal Network website at www.mindreader.com

Visit the webpage for the Certificate Program in Parapsychological Studies at www.hypnotherapytraining.com/parapsych.cfm

Visit his new website (for the forthcoming book and more) at www.hauntedbychocolate.com

www.hauntedbychocolate.com


UPCOMING APPEARANCES:

Loyd is scheduled to lecture at the Paranormal Lock Down Retreat at Eastern State Penitentiary, June 21-24, 2007. www.darknessradio.com/TRIPS/easternstatepen/

Loyd is scheduled to appear at the San Antonio Paranormal Extravaganza, August 3-5, 2007, in San Antonio, Texas (for a lecture, a Professor Paranormal performance, and a chocolate tasting session). Go to www.ghostchickspromotions.com/sape for more info

Loyd is scheduled to appear at Univ-Con 2007 in Pennsylvania in October.


20 Questions for Loyd Auerbach, MS


1. Where do you see ghost hunting and Paranormal groups, web sites or Ghost information, tours Books like your own in 10 years?

That’s quite a list, and I’m really not sure where most of them will be in 10 years without some change.

I’d like to see ghost hunting and paranormal groups recognize that what they’re doing should not exist in a vacuum – there needs to be cooperation between groups, not territoriality, sharing of actual data and purpose, not some of the petty competition I’ve seen.

Beyond that, I hope groups recognize that what they’re trying to “hunt” is part of the greater field of Parapsychology, and that to understand what these phenomena and experiences are one must do much more to ask questions and incorporate what has been learned in the larger study of psychic phenomena. I hope that the end of ignoring Parapsychological history and methodologies is coming soon.

There are so many curious people out there who could do much to help our understanding of apparitions, hauntings and poltergeists, and if they can begin to understand how to properly work through the information gathered from technology and from psychics (and witnesses), the field would get a big shot in the arm – maybe we’ll be closer to understanding what’s actually behind these experiences.

Ghost tours will probably continue to do well in some cities, not so well in others. Frankly, it depends on the people running the tours and how good they are as story-tellers.

As for books like mine, they’ve been around for over 100 years. New information and new stories mean continued demand for them – even though the demand will never really be great enough for book sales to support research.

2. What would you personally consider to be the definitive proof that ghosts are real?

First, we have to have two things happen in Science: a definition of consciousness and proof that consciousness exists. Proof (actually acceptance of proof) of the existence of consciousness (presumably IN the body) is essential for any evidence to be accepted as proof of the existence of ghosts – which are consciousnesses outside/without the body.

Unfortunately, nothing of a technological nature we use today is providing proof of ghosts, and Science rarely accepts people’s experiences. On the other hand, the environmental sensors might reveal patterns of how disembodied consciousness can affect the environment.

3. What is the most real evidence you personally have uncovered so far?

Verifiable information perceived by witnesses (and on occasion psychics) from the apparent apparition or haunting that there is no way the witnesses/psychics could have known.

The tech can only provide us with anomalies in the environment – none of it has been designed to detect ghosts or psychic anything, mainly because we still don’t know what we should be trying to detect. No consensus on consciousness means no path to try to detect it in science.

4. Are you skeptical of the claims other make of their findings?

I’m assuming you’re speaking of “findings” as in evidence and the conclusions folks reach. If so, this depends on who they are, their knowledge base, technical expertise, and how well they eliminated alternative (non-paranormal) explanations. I’m certainly skeptical of people who claim to have detected something when they demonstrate they don’t know how to use the technology they claim has made the “finding.” I am also skeptical of people who are less than critical about their own evidence, who don’t at least consider alternative explanations.

And there are some of my parapsychologist colleagues whose evidence is exceptional, but I disagree with the conclusions they’ve reached about it. Just as they might disagree with me. Discussion of the differences of opinion is essential when it comes to trying to figure out what’s going on.

5. If you could investigate your "Dream Haunted Hot Spot" where would it be?

That’s a tough question – I guess I’d love to visit a few castles in the UK, especially Wales and Scotland. No one in particular, though because I have parapsychologist-colleagues at the University of Edinburgh, I’d love to visit Edinburgh Castle.



6. What was your first Paranormal encounter?

This is tough – I had a couple of very interesting readings done for me by a medium from Canada, and by the late psychic M.B. Dykshoorn (who worked with Interpol). I saw someone do PK at a parapsychology workshop in Chicago while I was in college.

My first personal experience was my first case, a poltergeist case with a telepathically-created “black knight” (representative of the psychology of the situation). While I did not witness either movement of objects or the ghostly knight, I did feel myself “pulled” in a particular direction while walking around the house for the first time, and ended up standing where, as the mother stated “that’s where He appears.”

The case can be read about in my first (out of print) book ESP, HAUNTINGS AND POLTERGEISTS: A PARAPSYCHOLOGIST’S HANDBOOK (Warner Books, 1986) and in my more recent A PARANORMAL CASEBOOK: GHOST HUNTING IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM (Atriad Press, 2005).

7. What scares you about Ghost Hunting or Paranormal Investigations?

Really only two things: Living people (because they can hurt you, carry guns, knives, etc.) and unsafe locations (problems with the building itself, and I’m not too thrilled with rats and spiders). In my opinion, there is no paranormal/psychic phenomena to be afraid of.

8. If you could work side by side with one of the Paranormal Investigator greats, who would it be?

I have been fortunate to work alongside some of the greats (hey, do I count?), and fortunate to have been mentored to some extent by the late great Dr. Karlis Osis and the ASPR’s psychic Alex Tanous (also no longer with us).

While I know William Roll, I’ve not had the opportunity to work with him directly on an investigation. Same goes for Tony Cornell in the UK.

If I could go back in time, I would like to go on a case with Hans Holzer in his heyday, as well as Scott Rogo, Harry Price, Nandor Fodor and some of the original SPR/ASPR greats.

9. Read any good Paranormal Books lately other then your own?

Right now, I’m reading THE INTENTION EXPERIMENT by Lynne McTaggart and EXTRAORDINARY KNOWING by Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer. I’m also rereading ENTANGLED MINDS by Dean Radin (highly recommended) as I’m in the midst of teaching my “Theories and Models of Psychic Experience” course at HCH Institute. Also taking another look at INVESTIGATING THE PARANORMAL by Tony Cornell.

10. What Question do people ask you most when you tell them your a paranormal investigator, writer?

“Have you ever seen a ghost?”

To which I answer – “I’ve felt, smelled and heard what I consider perceptions from apparitions, and I’ve seen objects moving about on their own, but I’ve yet to SEE a ghost.”

11. In your opinion, Where is the most Haunted city in America?

Can’t really say – technically, it could be the city with the most reports of hauntings OR the city with the most reported locations. Don’t really know which, though certainly a lot of cities make the claim.

I can say the least haunted cities are places like Las Vegas – just too new a city, and too much going on 24 hours a day for folks to really notice ghostly experiences.

12. Do you feel more people should get involved with Ghost hunting or Paranormal Investigation?

Am I recommending that they do? If they are really interested in the phenomena – in other words, the experiences people have with apparitions, hauntings and poltergeists, as well as the incidence of the phenomena – then yes.

If they are interested or curious about what these things are, what causes the experiences, how the phenomena might impact the environment (which is what the technology is measuring: the impact on the environment), then again, yes.

If they are interested in field investigation of such experiences as they fit into Parapsychology, and what these experiences say about the implications for psychic experience (psi) and survival of bodily death, then again, yes.

If they are interested in helping people deal with their experiences, definitely yes.

However (and this may not be very popular with some folks), if they are NOT interested in learning what is already known about the phenomena and experiences (I note the lack of even awareness of what Parapsychology knows about such things), then they need to stay away from cases where people (witnesses) are involved. I’ve met ghost hunters who are proud of their photos and EVPs – and somehow also proud that they’ve never read a book or article by or about what parapsychologists know about all this.

If they are not interested in working with witnesses, and are more interested in simply running around spooky places (which are not “haunted” by the way unless there are witnesses who have had experiences) merely for the thrill of it, then they should take a look at what they call themselves…they may be “hunting” for ghosts, but they are certainly not “investigators.”


13. What does the future hold for you?

Honestly, things are a little uncertain at this moment. I am currently pushing out my Parapsychological Studies distance learning program in hopes that more “ghost hunters” and people calling themselves “paranormal investigators” will have an opportunity (and the inclination) to really start understanding what we need to learn about apparitions, hauntings and poltergeists in order to really get to what they are and their properties --- more to develop real theories of consciousness, psychokinesis and more.

Living on the West Coast, with most of the paranormal conventions some distance from California, I’ve not been able to attend more than a couple over the years. I’m now putting myself out there to the convention folks a bit more, in order to hopefully get to a point where I can make the rounds and impart some of the knowledge and experience I have as a parapsychologist and field investigator. But in the meantime, the distance learning certification program will help fill the gaps, once people know about it.

I’m also hoping to somehow get involved with a process to bring ghost hunting groups together, both so that data may be freely (and properly) gathered and shared, and also because I keep hearing terrible things about the bad behaviors of some groups – both how they treat other groups, and how they treat people who call them in to help.

I’ve also got a new book I’m just finishing up, though it’s on a different subject. The book is called HAUNTED BY CHOCOLATE: HOW TO GO FROM CHOCOHOLIC TO CHOCOLATE GOURMET, and will be out this fall, 2007, from Atriad Press. While it is mainly about chocolate, there’s recent research tying the stuff to psychic implications, and that will be discussed in the book.

Why chocolate? Ummm….because it tastes REALLY good! Plus the chocolate world is headed the way of wine…more and more chocolate makers, more and more variety, more and more excellent chocolate.

Along with the book, I’m actually now presenting a chocolate tasting session/lecture, and will be doing it for the first time for a paranormal audience at the San Antonio Paranormal Extravaganza in the beginning of August.

14. Paranormal Conventions do you see them growing? And which ones are the Must go
to ones?

Clearly they’re on the rise, but I’m not sure they’ll be “growing” other than there being more of them. For the conventions to really grow in popularity, they need to start reaching out to parapsychologists, psychics and others who are the professionals in the field, and not put emphasis on the latest amateurs with the biggest claims or gimmicks. They’ll also need to be more financially set so they can pay for the appropriate folks to speak.

As for which are the “must go,” I really can’t say at all. I live on the West Coast, and most conventions seem to be Midwest and Eastern seaboard. I’ve only been to a couple due to distance and lack of time (and funds) to travel to them.

At the moment, I have to say the San Antonio Paranormal Extravaganza at the beginning of August is a “must go,” because I believe it’s the first of many great conferences put on by two of my recent students, the Ghost Chicks.

15. What is your most favored tool of the trade?

People are the best detectors – we DEFINE apparitions, hauntings and poltergeists by how people have and do experience them. No tech has been designed to detect anything psychic or paranormal, as we don’t know what we’re actually trying to detect. Most tech, when used properly, can only tell us of anomalies in the environment that can be correlated to people’s experiences.

That said, the tech that’s been the most correlated is a magnetic field detector (in hauntings and apparition cases; nothing helps in poltergeist cases). However, because there can always be other natural or technological sources of EMF one must completely eliminate other causes of anomalous readings.

16. Tell us about your best moment in investigating or conference attending for you?

As far as investigating is concerned, it was when the Blue Lady (the ghost) at the Moss Beach Distillery restaurant walked through me repeatedly back in 1999, followed by three psychics walking into the room after more than two minutes of this, with them “seeing” her do so. I’d been investigating the place since 1991 (and still do), and this was by far my “closest” encounter.

As for a conference moment, I think it was at the 2005 Parapsychological Association Convention in Petaluma, CA. I was the keynote speaker after the banquet. Very nice to get recognition from my colleagues.

17. What is the hardest part about being a paranormal writer?

Frankly, making a living as a writer. This is true for all manner of writing, not just about the paranormal.


18. How do you document your investigations?

Note taking, audio recording (and sometimes video) of interviews with witnesses, testimony of witnesses, psychics, investigators and sometimes people we’ve brought in who know nothing about the case (psychically sensitive or not at all sensitive). We note the environmental readings we get with technology like thermometers, EMF detectors, magnetometers, geomagnetometers, and such –we especially correlate anomalous readings to the concurrent experiences/perceptions of the witnesses and psychics. Naturally, we spend a lot of time eliminating normal explanations for the individual incidents reported by the witnesses (and for the individual readings we get on the equipment), and consider alternative explanations such as low frequency sound and high magnetic fields as being responsible for the perceptions.

19. Have you ever taken a ghost Tour? And, What about it did you not like?

I’ve taken a few – in San Francisco, in New Orleans, and in NY City, and probably others I’m forgetting about from over the years.

Most were good – sometimes the stories didn’t quite sound right, either historically or parapsychologically. For some, there was a lot of misconception about ghosts being bandied about. One tour guide was a terrible public speaker.

I will say none of this is true about the San Francisco Ghost Hunt (run by my buddy Jim Fassbinder).


20. What in the field of ghost hunting and Paranormal Investigating needs the most attention.

Three things:

Education of the ghost hunters and investigators. There’s SO much bad information and misconception being perpetrated by folks on the web and on TV. If nothing else, there should be some required reading for anyone and everyone who wants to do this. People need to learn not to accept their readings and photos and EVPs as proof (it’s evidence) and should ALWAYS try to eliminate alternative explanations. How else can we study the real thing? And please, everyone, at least take a little time to understand the place of ghost hunting and paranormal investigation in the greater field of Parapsychology (start learning about the field at www.parapsych.org, www.parapsychology.org, and www.mindreader.com)

Secondly, the “field” needs people in it to start using a little common sense and definitely develop people skills. People/groups don’t even try to get along. They claim areas as their “territory,” which is not only unprofessional, but kind of crazy – what other area of business or science does someone claim territorial rights? This happens within companies where people are assigned territories to work. And it happens with Gangs. Silly, really, if people have any real interest in understanding what’s going on.

Finally, there needs to be cooperation. What CAN be great about the numbers of people and groups springing up all over is the amount of data that can be gathered. But it needs to be GOOD data, and it needs to be shared, torn apart, and really looked at so we can find the common factors and what’s really going on here.

There’s so much that can be accomplished if people take the time to understand what we know so far (some of which is unfortunately still probability, rather than hard fact), to cooperate and to share what they have learned. But to do this, people need to know that it’s okay to be wrong sometimes, to have other people question your data, and even question your methods. It’s how Science moves ahead and learns things.

 

 

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