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Case Sample 2

Case Sample 2
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Extract from original report

The sheer size of the Kemore complex in Goulburn is nothing short of impressive. Since the late 19th century the well-known Psychiatric Hospital housed countless patients. Today, however only empty corridors and dilapidated structures remain.
For conducting studies of the paranormal the 200 acres of many different buildings is almost a like feast – one does not know where to begin.

Towards the final operating years, staff members reported unusual happenings within the complex. Typically in places as such people often claim to have seen shadowy figures wandering aimlessly through the corridors, windows and doors open without the effort of any physical presence and phantom footsteps.
By identifying where the majority of reports originated from, it narrows down the parameters slightly.

In ‘spooky’ old places many investigators fall into the psychological net of expectancy, especially when our conscious minds are induced with second hand theories about a certain place being ‘haunted’. This is when even the slightest noise, be it structural movement of a building or wind rustling loose fixtures can lead to misinterpretations. The best way to approach any investigation is to attempt to exhaust a list of prosaic explanations rather than assume that anything that goes ‘bump in the night’ maybe paranormal. Only when our checklist of natural possibilities is totally depleted we can then start to raise suspicions.

key words on this page are: Kemore Psychiatric hospital Goulburn

The (second) investigation at the Kenmore complex began at the remote end where two particular wards once held some of the more dangerous patients. A two storey Victorian style building enabled a base to set up equipment and monitors displaying real time footage from two cameras in the upper floor. The external microphone sensitivity was set on high. There were over 30 metres of AV cable running from both cameras all the way down to the base (kitchen) and connected to two VCRs.
Staring for hours at a couple of small screens that showed nothing more than an empty hallway and a bare room requires a lot of mental discipline.

The first point of interest was an orb crossing the screen. The sudden appearance obviously demands attention but there was nothing exciting about sailing dust particles or a tiny insect flying past. Because the camera was set on infinity (focused on the far wall), anything small that falls within close proximity to the lens (within the depth of field) will reflect the infrared light produced by the IR LEDs. The result is usually an out of focus sphere with unusual patterns, almost like an inkblot. Here pareidolia provides us with a psychological explanation to the faces and other figures one can see in an orb that causes misleading perceptions. Furthermore, these ‘orbs’ are not iridescent in nature but rather reflecting IR light that is otherwise invisible to the human eye.

Almost immediately after the blob sailed passed a hard thump echoed through the hallway upstairs. The wind had picked up a little while ago so the obvious assumption was that something loose was being agitated – a likely change in wind direction. All windows were shut before the investigation began but one could not rule out the fact that a draft had somehow made it through the seams or other unnoticeable structural gaps. This would have explained the reason why more orbs were being noticed as the dust was disturbed.
Just then an unexpected occurrence took place - Sounds of footsteps were now apparent. One could hear heals of a shoe slowly stepping and pressing against creaking floorboards. In an old building at night, one inadvertently becomes hypersensitive to the environment. The slightest sound can easily be mistaken as paranormal and thus autosuggestion is sometimes induced into the minds of the participants.

As a researcher, we must be careful not to misdiagnose simple structural movement (caused by temperature variations – also dislodged debris in derelict buildings, rodents etc.) for something extraordinary.
Despite these natural explanations, there have been a number of cases where clear and present steps were heard in areas free from anyone or anything. After years of study a researcher is expected to be able to distinguish between structural movement and actual footsteps (weight pressing on floor, heals hitting timber, shuffling, pacing etc.).
Upon investigating the upper floor nothing unusual was noted. Each door was inspected. There were attempts to replicate the sound but with no avail.
Then one of the participants claimed to have heard sound that resembled piano music. Shortly after some of the other participants began to hear it as well.
There were no residential dwellings within close proximity to suggest any independent source being the culprit.
Nevertheless natural intervention could not be ruled out.
Musical hallucinosis can be a psychological misperception of certain auditory experiences. We cannot discount the fact that such hallucinations experienced by an individual could not be a suggestive interpretation by another.
Another plausible explanation is infrasonic sound. Wind can produce levels of infrasound, especially when air pressure finds its way through tight passages or vents and out narrow cavities or an aperture of some kind. Prolonged exposure to certain frequencies in this range (under 20Hz) can have certain unpleasant side effects (hallucinations, headaches, double vision, light-headedness etc).

Around 3.00am something unusual happened. An icy breeze brushed over my forehead, followed by a stinging sensation. A close inspection revealed a thin paper like cut. I can assure you that the incident occurred indoors in a clear, obstacle free environment. My hands were clear of any sharp instruments at the time and I did not have any previous injuries that would have been aggravated in any way.
Another plausible theory was skin irritation caused by perspiration. Considering that I have never suffered from such conditions, the time of investigation was during winter and I was not under the influence of anxiety/hypertension (which can contribute to excessive perspiration) this theory could be ruled out. It was without any conventional explanation.

There is no doubt that the ward was a psychological hotbed of activities, but there is also no doubt that simple psychology could not explain certain occurrences experienced that night.



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